1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

De Ranke XX Bitter - Brouwerij De Ranke

Not Rated.
De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

747 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 747
Reviews: 470
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 64
Gots: 39 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Ranke visit their website

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of De Ranke XX Bitter Alström Bros
Ratings: 747 | Reviews: 470 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bark
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%

The colour is yellow-orange, the liquid is a bit cloudy. The gigantic off white firm foam builds an impressive crater.

A powerful bitterness dominates the smell; there are notes of grapefruit, yeast, black pepper, citric acid, toffee and some sour notes.

There is a note of soft malts, but the hops gives an almost aggressive bitterness; I noticed a lot of citric fruits (mostly grapefruit), some iodine, nettles, citric acid and a generous body. The bitterness makes me think of a gueuze in some ways. The long and potent aftertaste got notes of lemon grapefruit, and a flowery-fruity dry note.

The carbonation is rather mild, giving room for even more of the hops.

This is probably the most hop-intensive brew I have reviewed so far. Great stuff.

bark, Sep 12, 2005
Photo of kmcnair
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%

33cl bottle, purchased on a recent trip to Brussels.

Pours a nice light copper and makes a small yet dense white head and leaves a very nice lacing on my glass. Aroma is really huge, slightly funky barnyard to start and then very piney, loaded up with the hops, this is the hoppiest belgian brewed beer I have ever put under my nose. Flavor starts out rather bitter, more piney hop character, sweet malts, light alcohol bite. Mmmm, so this is a belgian IPA... I like it. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, creamy sweet finish leaves some sticky coating on the palate. I like this alot, I have sampled on a couple other occassions... however, I was holding out for a fresh bottle before I reviewed it. This is really great.

kmcnair, Aug 25, 2005
Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%

75 cl capped and corked green bottle wrapped in paper.

The appearance is glowing golden with a touch of haze, topped with a rocky white head.

It's aroma is intriguing; sharp phenolics, earthy and musky tones. Tartness, spicy and herbal notes from the healthy dose of hops.

The palate is light and spritzy. Tart fruits, and a barnyard vibe fade to dry quickly, and just when the finish seemed to go clean, a massive herbal hop flavor emerges and lingers.

Without the hops this beer would have struck me as a Saison, or even a heavy duty Gueuze (minus the lactic characters). As it is, it stands by itself in style as a delicious and unique brew.

Shultzerdugen, Aug 13, 2005
Photo of 3Vandoo
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%

A very cloudy beer of pale orange color with a great foamy head that let itself disapear slowly and stick on the glass.

Smell is of hops, very hoppy, floral and fruity, smell of apples and bananas.

The taste is hoppy, the bitterness hits you first followed by a balance of fruity touchs, then the bitterness of the hops come hit you again. An aftertaste of wood and spices come in too. Some shy notes of coffee are present, now I don't know how to explain these flavours of coffee but they are present especially in the aftertaste, similar to the bitterness of coffee I quess. Pineapples flavours come tickles the palate , notes of phenols and pinewood

3Vandoo, Aug 09, 2005
Photo of cypressbob
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%

330ml bottle, served in Cafe de Wildeman

Pours with dark golden yellow body, cloudy. Creamy white head, good retention

Smell, very strong citrus on the nose, hops, some almonds also

Taste, amazing fresh hoppy bitterness, smooth and creamy fresh fruit coming in to. Strong hops throughout, maybe a few phenols in there too

I'd heard this was a hoppier pale ale but i didnt know what to expect. Its amazing, so drinkable and full of hoppy flavour along with a smooth typically belgian character

cypressbob, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of vitesse
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%

served from green 750 mL bottle. (the bottle actually looks even bigger than 750, for some reason.)
pours a beautiful glowing, hazy, golden color. really gorgeous and appealing appearance. nice heady that isn't TOO thick and creamy. nice bubbly mothfeel, too.
tastes of hops. this is probably the most hoppy non-american beer i've ever tasted. a teeth-rattling bitterness is right up front. i was expecting a much sweeter and more phenolic beer, but this one comes off super dry, slightly and bitter. much more closely related flavor to orval than something sweet like leffe or duvel.
everything takes a back seat to hoppiness in this beer. i liked it.

vitesse, Jul 24, 2005
Photo of maggotbrain
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%

The beer poured from the 750 ml green bottle (thankfully wrapped in a protective paper wrapper) a light golden color with a thick white head.

It smelled hoppy and slightly pungent. The hoppiness set it apart from every other Belgian I've ever had.

The taste was wonderful. Very hoppy, not in an American, citrus assault kind of way, but hoppy in the way that Bluebird bitter is hoppy. In fact, the flavor of this beer reminds me of a drier version of that beer.

The mouthfeel was good. It had soft carbonation and a medium body.

The drinkability of this beer was incredible. If I could afford it, I could drink this all evening with good food and good friends.

maggotbrain, Jul 21, 2005
Photo of Bighuge
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%

Flaming golden yellow with vigorous carbonation quite visible to the naked eye. A nice crop of airy white head crowns the beer. Retention is fabulous and lace ability even better. Interesting blend of Belgian yeast spiciness and citric hoppiness on the nose. Also some candy and dough. Very solid nose. Upon tasting I think, "Wow!! This is some damn unique beer." All the great properties of a nicely put together Belgian beer with the added oomph of hop flavor and bitterness. The bitterness is actually fairly sharp, but not out of place. It really doesn't hit you till about 5 seconds after you swallow. There's nice doughiness and candy qualities on the palate. And also spicy, peppery, earthy tones reminiscent of a nice saison. This beer melts in your mouth like cotton candy. It just dissolves away...all too quickly. Great stuff.

Bighuge, Jul 19, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%

Unassuming simple label explaining: Unfiltered and unpasteurized" and Best before April '09. Topped with a plain white cap pops off to release a light peach hazy hued pour containing an assault of champagne bubbles to meet a 2 inch meringue statuesque ivory head cap that even retains the pour dimple. Plenty of head cap lace left in the glass.

Yeasy scents are competing with a major head cap atrocity. Some delicate peach and peppery notes rise out.

First swigs: Hops jump out initially. A front of soft spicy doughy flavors and finishes with a dry dusty hops essence. Middle of tart Belgian spices and yeasty characters. Sherbert like smoothness. Some lemony citrousness keeps this one leveled.

A zinger on the tongue. Totally crisp and firm.

Lastt swigs: Dry and tart Belgian Ale. Amazing. I have been looking forward to trying De Ranke for a long time. This will be at the top of my seek list. Dd Ranke XX - Where have ya been all my life?

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Jul 18, 2005
Photo of hero27
2.83/5  rDev -30.8%

11.2oz bottle

Pours a hazy, golden orange color with a frothy, white head. Lacing is minimal due to the oily consistency. Smells (and tastes) mostly of spices, yeast, and phenols. Lingering, dry aftertaste. I bought this beer because it's the self-proclaimed "Hoppiest Beer of Belgium". Not much to brag about, considering I can probably think of nearly a hundred brews made in America that are more hoppy. Sorry, but for me, this beer has "average" written all over it..

hero27, Jul 18, 2005
Photo of silver0rlead
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours a cloudy, golden orangish-yellow with a nice foamy white head, a beautiful belgian pale. Aroma is of grassy, floral hops with a light, bready malt background...this is quite a different style of belgian pale ale. Taste is quite hoppy, with phenolic, mineraly, grassy and floral hops flavors being prevalent. There's also a sturdy and lightly fruity malt character with flavors of apple, lemon and unbaked bread. The bitterness is truly unique because no other beer that is so hoppy uses mostly Hallertau and Brewers Gold hops. Really an excellent and unique belgian, a classic in my opinion. Mouthfeel is crisp and carbonation is high, kind of like a hoppy champagne beer. Drinkability is quite good. An excellent brew.

silver0rlead, Jul 16, 2005
Photo of jamesclark
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%

Bottled in Jan 2005.

It pours a very light golden yellow, fizzy, with a thick white head which slowly reduces, but doesn't go away. It is slightly cloudy, and remarkably light in color.

The smell is tangy and yeasty. The yeast aroma is reminiscent of other belgian beers. There is a medicinal quality to the smell, and some wheat and alcohol aroma as well.

The beer tastes light and yeasty, but also bitter and hoppy. The hops are citrusy and acidic, not flowery or herbal. A spicy beverage, which is enhanced by the carbonation. There are some fruity flavors as well, lemon and pear. The finish is bitter and light,

Highly carbonated, it is fizzy and light-bodied.

I like this beer, but I am put off by the aroma - perhaps it is the particular strain of yeast being used. It is quite drinkable, though, and refreshing.

jamesclark, Jul 11, 2005
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%

As I take off the cap, foam starts gushing out of the bottle, and precious beer starts flowing onto my countertop. In a panic I rush to get my goblet under the bottle and manage to save about 10 oz. of the stuff. 1.2 oz. may not sound like much to lose, but this the third bottle of XX Bitter I've had in my life, and by now I know that losing any of this stuff is a near-tragedy. Here's why... Fuzzy neon apricot-colored liquid fills the goblet, topped by a slowy descending layer of white foam. When I swirl the goblet, the center of the head rises in a little yin-yang pattern, while at the edge of the glass the head breaks apart into nets of lace. Farmy smells of hay and sod congeal, clay-like, in the nose. They finish with hints of kumquat and citrus rind, growing more grassy and citric with warmth. The taste is more earthy than fungal; more bitter than acidic... extreme fruit pit bitterness, sour almonds, a Saaz and rosemary sourdough sandwich. It continues with fruit rinds, wheat chaff, shredded cigarette tobacco, and humus. Doughy mouthfeel with froth at the edges of the tongue is quite a contrast, though the carbonation fades a bit too quickly. Just enough alcohol balances the heft of the flavor. Drinking this is like drinking a summer day on the river... your senses taking in the exhalations of mud and loam, the vegetal murk cut by the sun's clear hard vibrance as your mind floats along with the idiot river.

Soooo very good.

NearerMyBeerToMe, Jul 08, 2005
Photo of NoLiberty
4/5  rDev -2.2%

I'm reviewing draft version of this beer but I've also had the bottle and much prefer the latter.

Appearance - Poured a nice golden color with lemon-white head that disipates to nearly nothing almost immediately.

Aroma - Very slight. Musty grassy-straw.

Taste - Fruit front, musty straw middle and bitter hop bite at the end. Estringent and like the woods smells in the fall after a rainstorm.

Mouth - Nice tingle on tongue to stimulate tastebuds with an estringency on the finish leaving mouth dry and clean. Nice.

Drinkability - Very good and could put a few of these modest beers away.

Despite De Ranke's standing as one of the world's finest I'm still waiting to be impressed.

NoLiberty, Jul 05, 2005
Photo of far333
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%

Served at cellar temperature in my commemorative 2nd annual Belgian Beer Fest tulip glass, into which this delight was first poured by Shelton Bros. guest pourer Venom.

Pale goldenrod color, the slightest bit of haze, capped by two inches of frothy white foam that recedes back to chunky meringue. Fresh, moist aroma, lemony with hints of honey and bright hops. Just the slightest bit of yeast aroma.

Gentle flavor, it doesn't try too hard because it doesn't have to. Flavor fairly matches the aroma, perhaps with stronger hop profile and less lemon. Pleasantly light in yeasty flavors. Finishes very clean, little to no aftertaste, just a faint lemon-honey linger.

Crisp, somewhat dry mouthfeel. Very enjoyable beer. Thanks to Venom for filling my glass again and again.

far333, Jul 01, 2005
Photo of Skidz
4.9/5  rDev +19.8%

750ml corked and capped.

Pours out pale, sickly straw and sits hazy pale gold in the glass with a massive creamy white head. Thick and resistant, it marks the glass with deep rings of white lace.

Aroma....rather, fragrance of orange rind, crisp sugar cookies, apple skins and curtailed feet of white pine.

Dynamic arrangements of hop oils and the faintest of fruit flavors mark this beer's highest quality. To the tongue, smothered pears fumble about with hints of grapeseed and lemon zest. Constantly building from the deepest depths of its bowels and arising at full gait, hops dish out a stream of herbaceous flavors commanded by the presence of white pine, sage and the bittering ends of orange rind. Yeast creates a light, doughy body that coats each individual taste bud. Finish is impecibly smooth with rich, head-strong bitterness.

Soft and wavy in the mouth, carbonation shows its softer side and massages each wall of the mouth. A very giving medium body.

If heaven was only a mouthful away, this could very well be one of the keys to unlock the gate. Character is all over the board. I can not imagine anything else of this style that could stand along side this beer without looking microscopic in proportion, but I can only hope it exists. Bottle consumed without second thought.

Skidz, Jun 18, 2005
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.05/5  rDev -1%

Pours like wavy fileds of grain--but with a nice thick and foamy head. Slight carbonation, but does not hold throughout the drinking process. Aroma is my favorite part. Sweet Belgian sugars but with a very bold hop notes in the background. Strong grains too. I couldnt wait for the head to reside and try this beer. I was a little worried when I popped off the cap that it had corked because beer had worked its way on top of the cork. But it must have happened rcently because the underside of the cork was still clean. At first I thought it was sour, but then after a few minutes I just realized it was more bitter than I am accustomed to for the style. Not sweet like a Blegian pale ale but more bitter like an American. also the grains and sugars came through more to complete a really nice balance. Mouthfeel finishes very dry; this would go well with a fruit dessert. Tough to drink this one slow.

MuddyFeet, Jun 18, 2005
Photo of cokes
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Oh how woefully small is 750mLs!
And how infinitesimally so here.

The pain of a cessation is more than I can accept: as the shudders side-effect to the withdrawal from bliss and the ensuing crippling lament gradually saturate my very being.
Anyone curious as to what "insatiable" means and feels like needs only a bottle of this.

The potion glows a phosphorescent turbid straw lumped with a pompous column of chaste ivory.
Seeping lemon poppyseed muffin fragrance, spiced with tarragon, bay leaves, hallertau, and crushed red apples.
Then it booms into the mouth, onset with pale malt. Crackling, hissing, and humming with a crystalline hay and saltine dryness. A steely lemon edge develops, and throws a canvas for the rest of the events to unfold upon. Fruitiness simmers upwards, repressed yet indicated with groping tendrils of pineapple, pear, and kiwi, slowly ebbing towards a rind arrangement of bitter orange and lemon. Yeast churns the middle, pushing up additional dry dough, peppercorns, and the previously indicated tarragon and bay leaves. It terminates with a resurrection of lemon- even though it never left-, and a grandiloquent reedy hallertau assault, full of fescue, reprised hay bales, and wind-whipped prairie.
Despite its perceptible uppity carbonation, this sits only diffidently charged, with a rather sedate carbonation feeding a deftly structured and compact medium body. Close your eyes and feel the very Elysian Fields as they sway and slither, and shimmer down your throat.

This is some choose-your-own-adventure shit right here. Guzzle it or savor it. I tried to do the latter, but could not help myself from the former. So thoroughly quenching while still flaunting every writhing moment of its gaudy wealth of dazzling gradations.

A wholly peerless, addictive, narcotic, rejuvenating, bewildering, holistic, rapturous magnum opus.

Good Lord.

cokes, Jun 14, 2005
Photo of Sixpoint
3.28/5  rDev -19.8%

On tap at the Blind Tiger.

Normally, I found this beer interesting and complex. I remember first having the bottle version about 7 years ago and being blown away. I just had it on tap last night and I was disappointed.

I heard they changed the recipe; I don't know if this is true. It was not hoppy at all. AT all! It's supposed to be a XX bitter, right?

My sample poured a murky orange color, it looked like orange juice.

An aroma of weak malt and some yeast, no hop aroma.

Beer had a low carbonation and a medium mouthfeel. I miss the beer of old.

Sixpoint, Jun 11, 2005
Photo of amherstdrew
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

enjoyed on tap at spuyten duyvil in brooklyn.
pour: light and golden. that sums it up. into a wine glass. solid head.
note: much prefer this in a tulip glass, just me, but for $9 a glass they could let it breath.

smell: light and bitter, herbal.

taste: smooth with a bitter finish. rich undertones, herbal, floral, lemony.

mouthfeel: kind and gentle at first...then surprises you.

drinkability: as long as you're ready for the bitterness at the end, i think you'll find this quite drinkable and pleasing. was with a friend that was turned off by its bitterness though, and you don't expect it from a golden beer. also, the 6.2% abv seems misleading. it's bigger than that, but perhaps this just means you can have one more...

amherstdrew, May 28, 2005
Photo of MarkBlackout
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%

Interesting brew! This is not exactly what I expected. De Ranke XX Bitter pours up nicely into my Duvel chalice, with a healthy head and a nice light yellowish color. Taste is dry, woody almost at first, with a malt backbone to hold up the immediate bitterness. I wondered what all the fuss was about. Then I waited about 15-20 seconds. Unlike any other beer I've had, the aftertaste is a very drawn-out, sequential affair, which ends in a delightful, very herbal flavor filling one's mouth. This was by far my favorite component of the brew. (May 2005)

edit: bumped up several scores.. this stuff is great! Dry, bitter, herbal, medicinal. Bracing bitterness and nice carbonation make it great. No maltiness. Slightly sour. Buy and Drink!

MarkBlackout, May 20, 2005
Photo of putnam
4.95/5  rDev +21%

What a perfect balance of hazy, sun-scorched hop resins, lemon peel, grass and damp cellar aromas! A slow surge of crisp meringue gathers around the top of the bottle and on top of the papery orange liquid in the glass. The lead flavors are a combination of brioche, green tea and ripe lemon sweetness. Delicate, angelfood cake texture provides elasticity to the interplay of bitterness and bright, yellow-fleshed fruit. Quite dry, this is the distilled essence of August tall grass. Cool, flinty blue flavors creep into the warming juice as a dominant pattern emerges of immense breadth of texture combined with pointilist accuracy in dry, volatile resins and pulpy, woody fruit.

There is everything here to please the most hardcore Saison freak while also appealing to the less committed bitter, dry, pale lowland ale enthusiast. No wonder this is such a crossover beer.

putnam, May 19, 2005
Photo of neonbrown82
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Pours to a hazy light golden color with a thick and fluffy dimpled white foam cap. Leaves a massive thick lacing made up of perfectly uniform tiny bubbles.

The smell is quite hoppy. Smells like german noble hop varieties. It has kind of a brett flavor to both the taste and smell. As bitter as an IPA, but distinctly belgian in character. Opens up quite nicely as it warms.

Mouthfeel is thin, drinkability is decent. I don't know if I'll buy this again next time I am craving a fine belgian ale, but I'm glad I tried it. I'd choose an Orval over this for a belgian pale any day.

neonbrown82, May 09, 2005
Photo of connecticutpoet
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

This was a hazy yellow beer with a three finger, very creamy and rocky head. Not sure what I had expected, but the color was in range with what looked right.

The aroma was of hops, lots of grapefruit, a bit of skunkiness, some pine, and a little pale malt.

The taste was VERY bitter, with pine resins, light malt, and a little sweetness on the finish. It was quite dry.

The mouthfeel was pretty good, and drinkability also fine. This was like a Belgian IPA... an interesting animal, and I am glad I tried it.

connecticutpoet, Apr 29, 2005
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.13/5  rDev +1%

Pours with a thick head a straw gold color. Much lacing.

Smells like a British pale ale.

Completely out of balance in the taste until it warms. Some typical Belgian yeast esters, but the hops dominate. Reminds me of a cask version of Hop Devil. More pronounced Belgian yeast esters would have been fabulous.

Smooth once warmer. A very unique and quaffable Belgian.

GeoffFromSJ, Apr 28, 2005
De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
91 out of 100 based on 747 ratings.