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De Ranke XX Bitter | Brouwerij De Ranke

497 Reviews
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De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Ranke
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
XX Bitter or Extra Extra Bitter is a blond, bitter ale containing 6.2% vol. Alc. It’s famous for it’s very bitter and strong flavour. XX is being made with pale pilsner malt and loads of Brewers Gold and Hallertau hop flowers. A perfect combination that has been nationally and internationally praised. This ale has been a real trendsetter for the current comeback of bitter ales in Belgium.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-28-2002

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Reviews: 497 | Ratings: 910
Photo of Radome
3.49/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served from a 33 cl bottle bought in Brussels.

A - Beer is a light straw color and slightly hazy. The head is bright white and made of tiny bubbles. It stacks high on the pour and sustains throughout.

S - Aroma is a mix of fresh, green, noble hops and a bit of funky, aged aroma. The malt barely comes through as a mild bready smell and maybe a faint sweetness.

T - There is a moderate to high hops bitterness that ends in a sharp astringency. No malt to balance the strong hops flavor. Nothing to add depth or complexity. Maybe a tiny hint of lemon and horseblanket in the final edge of the palate to show that Brett. character that was in the aroma.

M - Body is thin. No alcohol burn. Carbonation is fluffy and mouth-filling. Dry and astringent finish.

O - I find this beer disappointingly one-dimensional. There is a bit of Brettanomyces character in the end of a swallow, but there is a lack of malt to round out and balance the strong hops. I'm not a hophead, so I find this one disappointing.

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Photo of catadoraccidental
2.77/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

APPEARANCE: Many white foam mostly inconsistent. There remains a layer thickness of a finger for several minutes passes before stabilizing at a thickness of half finger. Many brands irregular foam from the maximum height reached to serve. Hazy blond color. MSE gaseous seen intense activity coming from the background, as if boiling. The "boil" is very curious. AROMA: In the first instant, herbal flavor that gives way after a bitter notes. That smell becomes final. I like. TASTE: No shades or is especially attractive. I expected a very intense bitterness, but is moderate. Very ordinary except for the bitterness that, again, is present, and is intensifying, but without being excessive. Easily drinkable and refreshing, but nothing more. Okay to accompany nibbles like some fries or a rough, and in that sense is a good alternative to the plague of European lager, but nothing more. Overall rating: Not rated I think it's okay to consider it more like an Orval, for example. For me there is more than a good quality lager. I said. If your budget allows, alternative to a common European lager. € 2.20

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Photo of schnarr84
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage .. insane carbonation. smells like a lambic?? great sour taste up front, almost pours like a champagne. must have taken 5 minutes for the head to settle. nothing like ive ever seen before! definitely an interesting brew from de ranke and worth a second glance, even at 11.49/26oz

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.64/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When this beer is fresh, it's quite excellent.

Crystal-clear and bright, glowing gold and topped with a ridiculous cottony-looking white head, sticking all over the glass. Lovely contrast and truly awesome.

When fresh, the grassy-herby hops really bust out on the nose, though it can take on more band-aid-y phenolic notes while the malt seems neutral and bland.

Peppery, zippy bitterness is a force on the palate from the start and it does linger long through the finish - earthy, grassy, and slightly spicy, but never harsh or biting. Thankfully, it drinks well with a light-medium smooth roll. The phenolic flavor melds together well with the malt, but snuffs out its cereal quality a good bit. Perfumy in the aftertaste.

Again, when it's fresh, this is quite enjoyable for what it is. When the hops begin to or have all but faded (in flavor), it's not so superb, yet it's still surely drinkable. Still, a must have for any (burgeoning) Belgian beer enthusiast.

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Photo of dsprainman
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Appearance is outstanding! Poured into a Chimay chalice it has a golden body with a light fluffy head that remains at 1 finger for the entirety of the drink. Unfortunately some chunks of red yeast flooded the glass.
S- Smell is amazing as well. Hints of Belgian yeast give off phenols almost like a hard pear cider. The hops are recognizable as well, but far from dominant.
T- Taste is very dry and bitter. At first it's a little off-putting and I thought that I had ruined the year with too much yeast in the pour. It's certainly breaking the norm.
M- Extremely lively! This one comes off really dry and crisp like an Orval.
O- This beer is growing on me. Certainly worth trying for a change amongst Belgian beers. I'd compare to Orval Trappist beer and Russian River's Damnation. TIP!

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Photo of dv8sean
4.87/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Full disclosure: I am an unabashed hop head pre-disposed to favor Belgian beer. Now, I can say, this is one of the greatest beers I've had.

750ml bottle with "Best By Feb 2017" on label, thereby deducing bottled in Feb 2012. Served in tulip glass and enjoyed before, during, and after dinner.

A: Pale golden straw colour, rather cloudy and hazy. Hyper-carbonated when pouring (even with extreme care), but settles nicely while retaining nice Champange-like bubbles. Dense egg white head with tenacious lace.

S: Tropical, grapefruit and lemon zest that reminds me of the best New Zealand hops (Nelson Sauvin?) and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. All that fresh fresh fragrance with undertones of clove and cut grass...heavenly!

T: Taste follows smell, like a good bridge partner follows suit. Plays with the palate, but finishes delightfully dry and crisp. Never cloying and doesn't linger too long. Leaves me eager to take another sip.

M: Tiny, dense bubbles contribute to pleasant mouthfeel. Beer is a bit too fleeting, ephemeral to score a perfect 5.0. Just a little more staying power, please.

O: Truly outstanding. A beer that I have, do, will continue to aspire to brew as a homebrewer.

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Photo of allouez86
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into my New Belgium globe.

As soon as we popped the cap the bubbles began to rise just slightly over the top of the bottle. With a very gentle pour I'm getting 20% beer and 80% foam. Very excited for this one. Is a golden straw color with a very nice white head.

The smell is definitely full of lemon zest with a bit of horse blanket and funk. The hops aren't as strong in the aroma as I'd thought they'd be. The smell isn't that far of from that of Saison Dupont.

The taste doesn't have the tart bite that the smell would have lead me to believe. The hops are more apparent in the taste, a bit resiny. Has a slight yeasty/biscuity flavor along with a mellowed out citrusyness. Also has a pleasant green grass taste to it. To me it's like a blend of Saison Dupont and Orval, then jacked up on hops.

Has a medium to thick mouthfeel for the style. As mentioned above, it is very carbonated and has a slight bight to it.

Overall I am pleased. I'm always excited to try something from De Ranke as it's fairly difficult to come by in my neck of the woods. This beer did not dissapoint and for the price would happily buy it again.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Fully hazy golden, carbonated to the point of annoyance (so much that i'm docking half a point), head comprised 75% of the first 2 pours and would not relent
S - Tart sour lime, spicy yeast, grains, and light mustiness
T - Funky yeast flavour with lime citrus, light perfume hops, pale grain, and a spicy finish
M - Light body with crazy carbonation, gets very dry and grainy
O - Has grainy and big belgian character, definity interesting and well worth a purchase, just make sure you have some time to sit and let the head settle!

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Photo of ZethOfTheNorth
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big bottle poured into a wine glass. I believe it was $13.99.

A: A lovely opaque orange and a huge, billowy head. Hard to top in this department.

S: Musty, haylike. A little peppery. Nothing sweet or synthetic-smelling whatsoever. Not hugely inviting, but impressively natural and funky.

T: Extremely unique. Peppery. Grasslike. Very bitter on the back end, although it's a totally different sensation than hop-forward American beers. It actually leaves your mouth dry. I got absolutely none of the citric tastes other reviewers have experienced.

M: Only moderate carbonation on my bottle. Again, the primary feature here is the crazy dryness.

O: Definitely for "advanced" beerheads. This being my first, a big part of the enjoyment was the novelty. This is a very original beer that -- like a lot of Belgians -- doesn't neatly fit into any style.

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Photo of danieelol
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice yeasty yellow. Good head/lacing.

Smell is big on grassy, earthy, plant-like hops. Sharp, with yeast in the background.

Taste has a lot of yeastiness and of course bitterness.

Mouthfeel is decent with yeast and hops.

Overall an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy yellow straw color, with some fine sediment visible. Notably carbonated. This is fine, of course, since it is an unfiltered beer. A frothy, sort of soapy-looking head with a nice inch thickness sits on top. It does go down a bit, but it does in fact provide some great lacing on the side of the glass as it clings to the side.

Smell: Wow! This is immensely complex... I can detect the pineapple-like hops, but I am also getting yeast, farmhouse funk, strong pepper, a certain tartness, and malt sugars. I like complex. This is going to be good!

Taste: Very bitter initially, which I like... Resinous hops, very tart fruit, and white pepper notes are picked up. But there is also a sweeter, phenol fruit character that is a bit more subtle. There is this nice duality to it until the two forces converge into a strong bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: This beer is surprisingly soft and medium bodied. The finish is terrifically dry, as previously mentioned, slightly herbal, and pleasantly numbing. Definitely leaves one to want some more. Being only slightly warming on the way down, you cannot detect the alcohol presence here.

Overall: XX Bitter has some of my absolute favorite beer characteristics in it. What at first seemed like a niche selection to me, I now realize is something closer to a crowd pleaser, if one is already inclined towards Belgians and craft beer, that is.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle was poured into a tulip.

Appearance: I poured the beer, but I swear the one inch head puffed up more and more over the rim every time I looked at it. It a golden yellow with some clarity and visions of carbonation coming up through the glass.

Smell: bready malts, yeasty esters, citrus, earthy notes, lemon, pineapple, and tangerine.

Taste: The citrus is more up front on the taste. Some lasting bitterness too. Beer seems a little tart from the lemon taste produced from the hops.

Mouthfeel: smooth, a little chewy, medium carbonation, medium bodied,

Overall: A very tasty BIPA. I will add this one to the list. Very enjoyable and easy to drink too.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, best before 11/2016(11/2011 bottling). Pours lightly cloudy golden amber color with a nice 2-3 finger fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big lemon, pepper, clove, pineapple, herbal, floral, grass, earth, and yeast spices. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of lemon, pepper, clove, herbal, pineapple, floral, grass, earth, and yeast spices. Fair amount of spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, pepper, clove, herbal, floral, pineapple, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Great flavor balance and complexity; no cloying flavors at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly crisp and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian IPA. Great flavor balance and complexity; and extremely smooth to drink. Highly enjoyed this one.

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Photo of dbell23
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. Nice head with large bubbles. Except for the haziness it looks almost like champagne. The head disappears with little lacing.

The smell is very nice. Grassy,hoppy, that's different from other Belgian ipa's.

The taste is very hoppy. Hoppier than other Belgian ipa's but not like a domestic. Bitter and very clean. This would be a great food beer with something spicy and flavorful. I like the taste but I prefer a little more malt/yeast/fruitiness in a Belgian ipa.

The mouthfeel is crisp and carbonated.

Overall a very good beer. At $13 a bottle I expect a little more. Because of the price I'll probably stick to the le chouffee ipa, which I prefer. This beer doesn't hold a candle to duvel triple hop.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz tulip

Appearance – Served a lightly hazed yellow color straw color with a one finger white head. The head faded rather fast to give a nice level of lacing.

Smell – A grassy and herbal hop aroma are the most potent. Mixed with these however is a nice sweet fruit aroma of some tropical fruit and some aromas of a spicy and yeasty nature.

Taste – The flavor begins of a hoppy and malty flavor. The hop flavor is largely grassy and lemon hop. The maltiness remains constant throughout with the hop changing its profile some. While initially almost entirely of grassy and lemon flavors, soon some pine and grapefruit come to the tongue. At the end a light yeasty and somewhat spiced sweetness come to meet the hoppy flavors, rounding out the taste nicely.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the average side with a carbonation level that is just slightly above average. The higher carbonation is quite fitting and suits the blend of hop and Belgian flavors well.

Overall – A tasty and easy drinking Belgian IPA. Nice hop flavor profile and a nice aroma; give it a go.

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Photo of yonnie
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured into chalice. Straw gold in color with 2 fingers of bright white head.

S - Sweet, grassy, pilsner, light hops and malt.

T - Much more complex than the aroma... starts off with a crisp refreshing pilsner-like flavor that develops into bitter hops, grassy, floral, some earthy and yeasty spiciness but subdued.

M - Light to moderate and easy to drink.

O - Very interesting take on the Belgian IPA, although it seems to be more of an experimental brew. Very good.

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Photo of Arno
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

appearance: Bright golden color. Good 1/2 finger head, nice lacing. Loads of bubbles.

smell: Very hoppy. Some fruit, flowers, medicinal. Smells sweeter then it tastes.

taste: Quite a hoppy kick quickly followed with some fruity & yeasty sweetness halfway and quite a huge grapefruit bitter finish. Love how the flavor develop so heavily in such a short time :)

mouthfeel: Very reshreshing. Loads of carbonation with quite a smooth dry finish.

overall: It's a nice beer, but still in doubt how to judge this one. I like the hoppy dry grapefruit bitter together with the more wet and easy fruity sweet flavors. I love the effect and development of the flavors in your mouth, but it does feel just a tad too much to the bitter/grapefruit side to really enjoy any day. I really need to be in the mood for this one. Just lacks the final word in balance. But i'm sure if you're a fan of these flavors you'll love this one.

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Photo of brentk56
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Spectacular - the cloudy goldenrod-colored liquid sports a massive head that sticks around as if to pose for a picture; copious amounts of Belgian lace coat the side of the chalice

Smell: Grassy hops, cracker malt and pear; yeasty phenols waft around, as well

Taste: Cracker malt and grassy hops dominate the front end, with the pear rounding out the profile in the middle; the yeasty phenols, in particular, the Brett, drive home the finish, with a bit of Barnyard funk and a very dry, mineral-like character

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with buoyant carbonation

Overall: Surprised that I haven't tried this before as I have tasted many other Belgian IPAs over the years; this, apparently, is the original and is well worth seeking out

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Photo of bump8628
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Handsome, paper-wrapped, corked and caged bottle, but the price tag is a tad steep - $12.99/750mL. Looks brilliant poured into a chalice. Glowing goldenrod with an enormous head of airy white foam. It's bitter and elegant all at once. Bright grass and herb notes with a lingering black pepper bitterness. Smooth malt lends a touch of freshly baked bread crust. Dry and drinkable. Almost too drinkable, 750mL washed down my gullet in less than 60 minutes. A world-class Belgian pale.

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Photo of Cozzatoad
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle

A- Golden colour, maybe slightly on the amber side, quite hazy. 1 and a half finger white head that shows pretty good retention and lacing. A bit of carbonation is visible

S- Herbal/grassy hops (euro hops) with a bit of funk to them. A bit of earthyness from the yeast on the back of things to bring balance

T- Similar to the aroma but luckily a bit more complex. Very much a hop-forward beer with dominant herbal notes (mint, fresh grass, maybe tobacco) among a clean/plain bitter taste that also feels slightly funky. A bit of spiciness and earhtyness may be detected on the back of things. Finish and aftertaste are sweeter than taste, with citric notes and a touch of malt sweetness that eventually makes itself heard

M- Light to medium body with plenty of carbonation to bring a lot of life. Pleasantly vivid but a bit too prickly. Plus, flavours tend to vanish a bit too quickly. Pleasantly dry and refreshing aftertaste

O- Highly enjoyable and thirst-quenching despite dominant bitterness. Not very complex but at least i'm finally tasting a belgian ipa that has some distinctive character, not just a random strong pale ale with a bit more hops than usual

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a golden amber, cloudy from the yeast. Nice white head is bubbly and wrinkled. Spit bubble lace covers the glass.

S- lemony herbal hops and somewhat meaty. A little bit of yeasty band aid funk with notes of pineapple and banana. Lightly toasted grains.

T- pleasantly hoppy from start to finish with some cracker like malt character. Hop flavor is grassy lemon pith and earthy and lingering. Some rubbery band aid yeast flavor and very little sweetness.

MF- expansive feel and tight prickly carbonation. Nicely dry and refreshing.

D- what seem to be pils malt and noble hop creates a lot of similarity between this one and a pils. Yeast is understated and the beer isnt too ale fruity. Belgian ipa isnt my favorite style but this one is pretty good.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a cloudy light orange amber, two finger medium white head with nice lacing. Aroma of funky herbal hops, light sour fruit, interesting. Belgian yeast, light fruit; starts as a Belgian light ale, quickly followed by hop bitterness that has a strong floral component. Finish is semi-sweet malt and hop bitterness. Quite different and tasty. Mouthfeel is medium with a hint of creaminess. Nicely made and interesting.

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Photo of billab914
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my Allagash glass. It poured a hazy, golden amber color with a thick, bubbly, foamy white head to it. Very nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma shows a lot of earthy, spicy, European hops to it. I get some Belgian yeast spice and a little zesty citrus coming through as well. It had a nice range of flavors to it and felt well balanced as well.

The taste also has a bold, earthy, spicy, hop profile to it. Some zesty citrus is there up front with it turning into more of a bitter orange flavor in the finish. Pale, bready malts and a little yeast spice round out the flavors. Easy drinking and well balanced.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with above average carbonation. Overall it was a very good beer. It had a nice hoppiness to it with the yeast spice and pale malts complimenting well. Very drinkable and enjoyable beer of the style overall.

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy. Light gold color.

S: Grassy, floral hops. Grain.

T: Refreshing acidity. Piney/grassy/citrusy hops still dominate, but balanced with some grainy sweetness.

M: Light body with plenty of carbonation. Dry in aftertaste.

O: A drinkable beer. The bitterness in the finish is a bit overdone. Also wished they would have used less earthy hops to bring more focus on fruity yeast flavors. Would drink again if readily available, but not worth going out of your way to obtain it.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

De Ranke XX Bitter pours up with poise & finnesse creating a voluptous foaming head that layers like icing on a cake above the bright sunglow-goldenrod colored body. The aroma is fruity (Bosc pear, Fuji apple, Costa Rican pineapple), snappy/spicy (lemon basil, tumeric, saffron) with some pleasant floral (chamomile, daisy) notes from the late hop additions that overlay a light-moderate graininess. The flavor starts of with a subtle graininess that develops some cracker-like waferness before being completely overtaken by a dominate, but pleasant bitterness that carries completely through to a clean, dry, biting finish. This light-moderate bodied Belgian specialty derives its complexity from its simplicity. I wouldn't expect anything less from the original Belgian IPA. It's always exciting to find this one on draught... three cheers for De Ranke!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
91 out of 100 based on 497 ratings.