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De Ranke XX Bitter - Brouwerij De Ranke

Not Rated.
De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

750 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 470
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 64
Gots: 39 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Ranke visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian IPA |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-28-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 750 | Reviews: 470 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of soultrain
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A-Clear golden straw colored beer before the yeast pour, in which case it's a cloudy yellow/orange. 2" head settles to 1" in a minute. O.k. lacing.
S-Belgian malts, with a pilsner-esque twist. Hops (saaz?) are in the house, which is fine by me.
T-Great bitterness for a belgian, hops are on showcase here, and hop burps of the noble variety are inflicted upon me, and I'm really diggin' this beer. This really reminds me of a pilsner when it's cold; as it warms it's not a hop bomb by any means, but a wonderfully lite, hoppy, belgian ale.
M-Good carbonation. Medium mouthfeel.
D-Good ice cold, better at cellar temp. Supreme drinkability. I could drink this all night.

CRUX: GREAT BELGIAN PALE ALE. One of the hoppiest Belgians? Nah, but a very enjoyable brew, and I appreciate it immensely, but I wish it was, uh, cheaper. I'd get this again, though.

soultrain, May 23, 2006
Photo of canucklehead
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to Malto for this sample. Golden orange colour with a big head this is a strange beer in that it has all the citrus, big yeasty notes of a Belgian pale ale but there is considerable US style hope that come across in the nose and the finish. A very nice combo of old and new world and a overall big balanced flavour.

canucklehead, May 06, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is near perfect to perfect. big white frothy head, although easily managed leaves the rocky like lacing that makes you watch it in wonder. Extremely fine champagne like carbonation melds into this golden body.

Pretty god damn hopped up for a belgian, possibly the biggest hop presence I've personally had from this brewing mecca. Don't get carried away...by U.S. standards it is still hoppy but the one thing I'm missing here is some sort of balancer, it doesn't have to be big just give me a note of citrus, or malts. Kinda raw and sharp and dry, the dryness is powdery towards the end of the pull. I loved the fact that they wrapped this in some paper keeping more light out and keeping it fresh...thanks.

Notes: The hoppy dry powder effect really controls this brew. I never let the price dictate the final score as I would have scored this the same at $1 or $100 dollars but for a staggering $15 bucks I'll pass next time I'm around this offering....is it hella good? You bet but far from excellence.

DogFood11, Apr 29, 2006
Photo of bditty187
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly hazy, yellow with a peachy-gold influence; the color is warm and appealing. Fluffy white head, at the apex the head was three fingers tall. The bubbles slowly faded to a half finger cap. Some organized lacing started before I even took a sip. The subsequent lacing was rather prevalent. A small cap lasted the entire consumption. What a beautiful beer!

The nose is bright and friendly. While not rich in conversation the melody it hums it truly lovely. Citrusy like few Belgians I’ve smelled. Lemon zest infused with marshmallows, grain, lightly spicy. I can’t really distinguish any of the spices singularly, which is a sign of a great beer. At the back are some light caramel notes and some dry, cracker-like maltiness. Moderate potency, I really like the nose… maybe a little concise to be great but it is inviting.

This is clearly the hoppiest beer I have ever tasted from Belgium. IMO, it doubles Duvel’s hoppiness. Cheesy in spots, pine bark, citrus, flowers, earth, wood. The hoppy flavors run a very natural, outdoorsy gambit. I get hints of mangos and white pepper too. The malt is secondary, cracker-like, and similar to a nice Pilsner. Lightly fruity plus there is a dry, flowery taste. Again, like the nose the palate isn’t overly chatty or complex but there is a wonderful melody being sung. Mild bitterness. The alcohol is hidden. I detect a slightly cheesy aftertaste with a nice sweetness that really isn’t found anywhere else. What a charming beverage.

The mouthfeel fits this beer very damn well. It is about medium in body, low but natural carbonation, creamy on the tongue. I bet this beer would kill with a variety of cheese and fresh fruit. Hell, this beer might kill with fish. This beer is tasty and delicate, what a combination!

I am truly impressed. It would have been easy to brew a “heavy-handed” hoppy Belgian ale, it is truly skillful to brew a hoppy beer with restraint and keep so much flavor! What a playful beer. The more I quaff the more I like it. This is so damn drinkable! I hope this beer will be available in Omaha soon. I purchased this bottle in Lincoln, NE a few months ago… plus I lost these notes for about a month. Recommended.

bditty187, Apr 24, 2006
Photo of Crosling
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold. Aroma of of mainly fruity hops (nectarine, apricot, peach), herbs, dough, caramel and butter toffee. Characterful hop flavor. I wonder if the Belgians like this stuff or if they think it is over the top. Notes of peach, nectarine and lemon. Great hop flavor without much bitterness. Nice balance and texture. A different, but worthy saison.

Crosling, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of JohnfromDublin
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in De Zolder, Brugge, Belgium, April 06.
Appearence was a lovely golden cloudy brew with an off-white head. Nice lacing on the glass as it emptied.
Smelled good, hops with a hint of caramel.
Tasted bitter (yes!), at first but then mellowing into a very nice flavoured ale. Mouthfeel was very very good. Very nice to swirl about. Very drinkable.

JohnfromDublin, Apr 04, 2006
Photo of JasonCoop
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a snifter. pours a beautiful hazy light gold color. nice big white foam on top.

smells herby, a bit grassy, and quite hoppy. piney and citrusy. smells delicious.

taste is nice and juicy up front. full, yeasty and buttery at first. into a nice hop bitterness with hints of lemon mainly. delicious. nothing like an american hop head's highly hopped IPA or something, but generously hopped. finishes dry and bitter with great hop flavor and a sort of earthy/piney aftertaste.

mouthfeel is great. nice and creamy but with a dry finish. highly drinkable, but a bit expensive.

JasonCoop, Apr 03, 2006
Photo of TastyTaste
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yeast clouded white body, head is ample, leaving a nice amount of lace on the way down. Citrus hops are present, slightly sweet. Taste is hoppy, yes, but the hoppiest Belgian beer? Doubt it. It does have a nice sharp but refreshing flavor. Mouthfeel is creamy, carbonated well enough. Drinkability is good, I could session these easily, if the price wasn't so prohibitive.

TastyTaste, Mar 28, 2006
Photo of carln26
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straw colored gold and very hazy, this beer is topped by a clumpy white head that looks like it will stay around for days. The aroma has a bit of bread dough, some mild orange, and light caramel, and a bit of hop flower. The flavor moderates the Belgian triple character. The orange and yeast notes are there, but the bitterness from the hops is more pronounced. It resonates throughout the entire drink. Nor residual sweetness, which I like. Full and slick mouth feel, with a mild alcohol heat on the finish. I had this beer on tap more than a year ago. It’s great to finally have it from the bottle.

carln26, Mar 26, 2006
Photo of mdagnew
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle bought from belgianshop.com

Poured a light golden yellow colour... White head poured very thick and foamy and faded to thin layer...

Aroma - Lemony, honey sweetness, grassy, spicy hops, light malts, some traces of basil, floral...

Taste - Very strong spicy hop bitterness (mouth dryingly good !!), strong lemon citrus notes, hints of hay / grass, little or no sweetness, peppery, floral...

Feel - Very sharp and dry. Light body. Very refreshing and pretty drinkable..

Overall - An excellent beer !! Highly recommended !! Pretty unusual for a Belgian...

mdagnew, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of nlmartin
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer was poured into a wide mouth wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer was a clear pale coppery yellow. The head was explosive and off white in coloration. The head was two inches thick. Pan cake like lacing trail behind on the glass.

Smell: The beer has an extremely hoppy pine citrus smell for a belgian. There is a sweet malty under tone to the beer.

Taste: The beer has a very strong citrus and hop kick. This is sort of an oddity for a Belgian in my experience. There is a very subdued malty prescence to the beer.

Mouthfeel: The beer is medium bodied. The beer has a very slick mouthfeel.

Drinkability: This is a very clean tasting easy drinking beer. I think this beer has redefined what a Belgian beer is like for me.

nlmartin, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of gosurfobx
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 750ml bottle with cork and crown cap. Pours hazy golden color with a large frothy white head. Smells yeasty with hints of citrus. Taste is such of belgain pale ale, with more bitterness than usual. Very yeasty with a spicy citrus flavor. The mouthfeel is good and well carbonated. Very good on drinkabilty.

gosurfobx, Feb 28, 2006
Photo of NEhophead
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before date: 4/08

Thick, dense foam; bright white head that stands an inch tall for a few moments. Spotted and condensed lacing with decent strength. Slightly hazy, bright golden with shades of light auburn.

Semi-sweet Belgian candied sugar. Musty, light oak with whaffs of lingering alcohol. Pear, slightly tart green apple, and peach.

Aged oak into light citrus flavors: lemon zest, pear, and apple. Perfume-like, floral hop intoxicant; big, burnt hop bitterness. A mild, underlying malt sweetness providing a nice balance. The hop presence and bitterness develops slowly, but becomes a mouthful at mid-sip. A touch of pepper to accompany the dry finish leaving an oak-flavored, floral hop aftertaste.

Medium bodied; perfume-like and gritty on the palate, yet still quite smooth and inviting.

A unique style for a Belgian brew; think Fantome meets Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Great balance and flavors. At 6.2% abv, this makes for an interesting session Belgian.

NEhophead, Jan 12, 2006
Photo of MattBrooks
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours very cloudy with sandy dust piles and granules clinging to the side of the glass. The head is an enormous white pillow set atop this golden cascading waterfall. Smells like fresh fields of grains found throughout the midwest and tastes fresh with lemon hints springing right out of it. A delicious brew that delivers exactly what one would expect going in.

MattBrooks, Dec 20, 2005
Photo of Sephiroth
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in July of this year. Pours with less head than the storm going on in the bottle would lead one to believe. Appearance is hazy, yeasty, and golden. Aroma is a little spicy and yeasty. Bitter hops abound.

This reminds me of the shock of my first taste of Ruination. This is a lot hoppier than my previous year old bottle led me to believe. No citrus, just a clean bitterness. Some yeast notes. Mouthfeel is quite lively. I'm glad this is a 750.

Sephiroth, Dec 12, 2005
Photo of waughbrew
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Revisited:
Drink before 10/2009
Beautiful white head, nice retention, great webs of lace. A mysterious hazy light golden brew whose look lets you know that you are in for something good. The nose reinforces that idea with strong grass, very slight funk, rose petals, mint, and cherries. Malt lays on the tongue as the crust of a fresh bread, but immediately dries out in a flash of lemon rind and iron. Drinking this one is easy with its medium-thin body that dries out the mouth in a pleasant way and leaves a complex minerally herbal flavor. Finishes oh-so-perfectly, complex yet very dry and yearning for another drink.

For some reason it just seems wrong to try to review this beer in the way that I review other beers. It has something that is just unable to be explained. A magic that must be in the water of West Flanders shared by the wonderful De Ranke and De Dolle.

First Review:

The hoppiest beer in Belguim, eh? Sounds good.

One of the most beautiful heads I have seen - Small bubbles and creaminess combined, keeping the great aroma coming out. Nice leafy hops that are a little spicy and a little citrusy. Very very dry but not harsh at all. Finish lasts a long time and continues with the hoppy leafiness. So very smooth and drinkable. An amazing brew that shows that the potential of hoppy brews when they are polished.

waughbrew, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sits a hazy straw color in my glass with a frothy, pale, off-white head that fades after a bit of time. The aroma is herbal with lots of hoppy notes to it. There is a sharp bitterness cuts throughout the flavor notes of this beer. It is quite herbal as well with a raw grassiness to it. The hops clearly dominate this beer: bitter, chewy and raw, dominating any light malt character that might be present. There is a bit of a tart lemon-like character here, which seems to be hop derived as well. This is quite tasty, though it seems a lot cleaner than the bottled version that I am used to. I definitely like it, but I think I prefer the funkiness that is found in the bottled version.

Gueuzedude, Nov 23, 2005
Photo of HogHill
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased as single 33cl bottle from the Wine Society in Tyngsborough, MA for $3.99. Freshness date on the bottle tells me that this one was bottled about 5 months ago.

I poured "Belgium's hoppiest beer" into a Chimay chalice. The head was small, and a creamy white which faded to lace soon thereafter. The body of the XX Bitter was a cloudy gold with orange tones.

The nose was indeed hoppy but more on the pine tree aroma than the grapefruit side, other than that it smelled like an authentic belgian pale.

The taste in this beer was exactly what an extra hoppy Belgian pale ale, like an Orval would take like. Juicy sweet and a detecable yeast please the palate. The hops seem to be low alphasin this brew. Finish is crisp from the bitterness and carbonation. This is a great Belgian pale ale, and at 6% or so is ideal for quaffing. I think the tag of "Belgium's hoppiest beer" may dissappoint some American hop-heads but it's a good into into this classic style.

HogHill, Nov 22, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Interestingly and experimental. It's a great Belgian even without the hopping. The aromas bring out citrus, tartness, lemon, grapefruit, muskiness, yeast, spice, and sweetness. The hazy golden brew has a fizzy head that retains really well. Tastes sweet and tart at first, but then intense hop flavor comes through in the form of lemons and grapefruit. Combined with the fruity belgian peaches and pears, with spices of corriander and pepper-like prickling. Bitter in the finish with a lingering belgian malt flavor. Alcohols are a little plastic-like, but easy to ignore. The body is light and creamy. The hops give a mild oily and protein thickness--a good combination here. Will have again.

BEERchitect, Nov 22, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle wrapped in paper. Pours out a cloudy golden orange with a tall pillowy white head that drops slowly. Plenty of thick hoppy lacing rings left stuck to the glass. Light grassy and citric hops. Some lighter yeast notes and a bit of spice. Taste has a pretty big yeasty bready backing. Plenty of grassy and earthy hops. Light sweetness. Very much seems like a Belgian IPA. Ends on a funky hoppy bitter note. Solid body with the right amount of carbonation and quite damn drinkable. Good stuff and quite unique.

meathookjones, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of palma
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml corked bottle. They put the wrong label on the bottle - says 11.2 oz.
Wonderful looking pillowy head. lots of Belgian lace
Big time hops in the aroma. Can smell it from a mile away
IPA flavor as expected. Use of hallertau hops is very evident.
A great Belgian pale for hopheads.
Get some MF!

palma, Nov 09, 2005
Photo of marksto
4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been lurking on this site for some time, and having just finished my first of what will be many of these, I felt compelled to write something about this one - it's that good.

Stumbled across this bottle while traveling in Indianapolis at Kahn's. Nondescript bottle wrapped in white tissue with all writing in Dutch except the importer's label. Very lucky find....

Major hops, grassy lemon, and some light horseblanket in the nose. Big cottony head with good retention. The flavor reminds me a great deal of Orval. Intense but flavorful bitterness, complex lemon/citrus elements, and a subtle but unmistakable brettanomyces kick.

Definitely one to enjoy in a snifter or tulip shaped glass, and not too cold. Everyone has their personal preferences, but this one is already very high on my list as a Belgian classic. Highly reccommend.

marksto, Oct 21, 2005
Photo of fisherman34
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep gold in colour. Aromas of eggshell, grapefruit, black pepper, and grassy hops. The flavors start as tropical fruity and yeasty, then progress into bitter hops and the horseblanket that is typical of a saison. Fuller in the mouth than expected, but this is not a bad thing.

fisherman34, Oct 18, 2005
Photo of Bitterbill
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one poured a crystal clear gold until the sediment at the bottom hit the glass and turned it into a cloudy gold....but there are no solid "chunks" so I give this very high honors in the appearance department.

The smell was the only thing I could find negative about it. Almost had a cleaning solution smell to it...very lemony.

The taste was superb! That lemony smell translated into a very hoppy/lemony taste that hit my palate on nothing but positive tones. Boy....am I sad that I only bought 1 bottle....this is GREAT stuff! Hoppay! ;^)

Bitterbill, Oct 18, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wrapped, corked and capped 750 ml bottle. The 'best by' date along the bottom of the label isn't notched. Although it goes all the way to 2017, I've decided to drink it sooner rather than later to get the maximum impact from the hops. One final note: I just noticed 11.2 fl.oz on the label, but this is clearly the big dog. Thanks in advance to OtisCampbell for the bottle.

Gorgeously gauzy goldenrod with a smattering of the superfine particles. A generous amount of carbonation hurries upward to add size to the already large head. Shockingly bright white, it was a top half of the glass filler immediately after the pour and is still a beautiful, rugged, rocky presence. Thick, arching strands of lace are arrayed every which way and should be present until the party's over. Subsequent pours add more haze to the glass, improving what is already an outstanding appearance.

The aroma is a gentle caresser rather than an aggressive pummeler. That's not to say that it isn't wonderful. There's an impressive combination of hop character: citric, floral and spicy at once. I don't appreciate much malt, but that's isn't what this beer is about. I do believe this is the best noble hop dominant nose I've ever experienced. The word 'refined' keeps coming to mind.

Upon tasting, I'm not immediately bowled over. Those looking for an 'aggressive pummeler' of a hoppy beer, along the lines of a supercharged IPA, will be disappointed. Now that I've reset my expectations regarding bitterness, I can assess the beer with a newly opened mind. Pale malt isn't noted on the palate in terms of flavor, but it's obviously working furiously behind the scenes to provide an underlying sweetness and to sand the edges off the hop buzzsaw.

As the ounces disappear, the hop flavor becomes more and more pungent (and more and more delicious). Whether that's due to warming or to the addition of the beer at mid-bottle, I couldn't say. What I do know is that this is a beer for lovers of noble hops. Lemon zest and lemongrass are especially prominent. The flavors usually attributable to Belgian yeast are nowhere to be found. I spoke too soon! My next mouthful delivered hints of yeastiness that will, hopefully, become definitive statements before long. I love how XX Bitter is continuing to change as I get deeper and deeper into the bottle.

Appearance update: we're now at 'considerably cloudy' and the gluesticky head continues to impress. Like the flavor, the appearance is improving with each addition to the glass. Where will it end? The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium and is on the undercarbonated side for a Belgian beer. I like it just fine, but it isn't quite a match for the rest of this remarkable ale.

It took a great deal of effort to remove the cork from this bottle of De Ranke XX Bitter, but it was worth every grunt and heave. I don't believe I've ever had a Belgian pale ale that can compare to this one. Although it isn't the bitter bomb that I was expecting, it is the hoppiest non-U.S. beer I've ever had. All things considered, it's probably a better beer than the one that lived in my hop-fevered imagination. Refined. World-Class. Highly recommended.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 10, 2005
De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
91 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.