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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.

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
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Ratings: 747 | Reviews: 470 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AlexJ
4.78/5  rDev +16.9%

Corked and capped 750

The "bitterest beer in Belgium" pours a murky, cloudy, radient yellow color with a dense head of pure white that retains exceptionally well. Intricate lace encrusts my goblet. This is one of the most unusually colored beers I've seen, it really looks like glowing, radioactive fluid.

The nose screams of hops. There a complex mixture of aromas including grapefruit, skunky marijuana, lemon peel, ans pine resin. There is a delicate malt background and plenty of yeasty notes. It also has a bit of cellar mustiness and chalky dryness.

The flavor is more complex than the nose, and the nose is great. It starts with a multitude of hoppy flavors, mainly grapefruit, skunky herbals, a hint of lemon, and pine. It has enough bready malts in the back to provide balance. The spicey yeast notes add a new twist to a hoppy ale. It is very well rounded, perfectly balanced, and refreshingly different.

The mouthfeel is medium/big with a very smooth, creamy texture. It has a huge finish bursting with juicey hops and a hint of yeasty bread. I can tell right now that this will be something I will be craving from now on. Worth 10-12$ a bottle? You bet your ass it is!

AlexJ, Apr 24, 2005
Photo of goodbyeohio
2.7/5  rDev -34%

pours a murky yellow with little-to-no carbonation, some floating and shifting particles of sediment which i mistook for bubbles. syrupy and flat like a nectar of sorts.. hop nectar, i guess. smells very hoppy with a light sweetness. taste is super bitter. sure, it's called 'bitter', but being belgian i did expect something more mild. not my cup of tea at all despite its uniqueness. will not drink this beer again.

goodbyeohio, Apr 09, 2005
Photo of GClarkage
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

04/08/05- Purchased at Plumpjack Wines in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a best by July, 2009 notch at the bottom of the label. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep golden color, 1/2 head that quickly decreases to a small white rim on the elixer. Nice little ufo circle in the middle of the glass...the only bad part was that the lacing was a bit lax. Very little lacing.

Smell- Very heavy on the hop bitterness. Some fruity scents as well. Not grapefruit, but something sweet. Definite alcohol scent as well.

Taste- Nice hops bitterness, bit of sweetness, kinda dry on the swallow. Maybe even a tad metallic.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation, a bit dry in the pallete.

Drinkability- The most bitter non-US beer I think I have ever had. Not bad, the metallic taste kinda takes it down a notch for me though.

GClarkage, Apr 08, 2005
Photo of alexgash
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%

Cloudy, dull orange, with lemony, witbier-like sheen. Vigorous, incredibly rocky, big, white head that laces the glass like a rabid Belgian hop dog. Lean malt aroma gets lost among perfumey, wet, lemony, cedarish, slightly funky hops. The nice, tissue paper wrapper touts that this is the hoppiest beer in Belgium. Let's just see about that...
Taste starts out with acidic, bitter hop juices that are lemony and ganja-ish. Light, biscuity malt base comes in with a noticeable yeast component. Hops last throughout, and get bitterer near the finish. Slightly numbing, a touch sappy, and some mintiness all come through. Very nice. Finish is bitter and yeasty with some lingering wheaty biscuit malt. Medium-bodied, creamy mouthfeel, with a dry, appetizing finish. This is definitely the hoppiest Belgian beer I've ever had. And hopefully I'll have it again.

alexgash, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of guinnessman
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%

First of all the 750 ml. bottle with the decorative paper wrap sprang out at me from the shelf. This Belgian bitter displayed a golden color with a creamy head. Very appetizing! I sensed the aroma of citrus, a hint of lemon, and a plethora of hops. It was very smooth and drinkable. A great session beer! Very well balanced with an excellent lingering hop aftertaste.

guinnessman, Mar 03, 2005
Photo of karst
4.58/5  rDev +12%

Falling in love with Belgiums!

Belgian golden ale packaged in Champagne bottle wrapped in paper. Corked and capped. An extra large 750ml. for $9.99. Recommended by Joe at Corral Liquors in Granite City. Batch 000018 Unfiltered, unpasteurized.

Hazy opaque lemmon-aprocot color unbelievable creamy white head. Lacing was reminiscent of the exploding Stay Puff Marshmallow man in Ghost Busters.

Aromas of hops and wine alcohol, dry, earthy, ( wet saddle blanket describes it well) hoppiness that balances any sweet maltiness well in background. Great Citrus flavors. A wonderful bitter finish. Clean and crisp.

Medium mouthfeel, clean finish.

Best and most drinkable Belgium to date.
Destroyed a rack of ribs with this beauty - Belgiums boost my appetite.

karst, Feb 21, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%

Bottle: Poured a pale yellowish kind of beer with a medium head with better then average retention. Aroma is quite hoppy thought not in the American sense (IPA) but more in the sense of Orval. Taste is also impregnated with the hops and you can feel brett yeast all the way through. Not too sure of what to make of this one since it seems to exist outside of my usual beer boundaries.

Phyl21ca, Feb 14, 2005
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

I often use Belgian Pales in cooking, so as I planned on drinking a bottle of this tonight, I threw some in the cream sauce I was making for pasta...not a good move, as it gave it a bitter, piney hop aftertaste. Not bad, but not what usually happens. Anywho.

Has a deep, sparkling gold color, with a pungent hop aroma. So hoppy, and yet the hops are so different than what is found in hoppy American ales. Feels like a slick, spongey bitter coating of hop residue is left on the tongue with every sip. Flavor is light and citrusy, yet finishes like eating a pinecone. Stands up to its name, and though its not overpowering, it is quite bitter. Quite tasty too. If it was easily found in mass quantity, this would be a hell of a session.

IrishRedRock, Feb 10, 2005
Photo of Hhawk06
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%

Very interesting presentation of the bottle. Its wrapped in paper with a lot # of 000016 in a 25.4 oz. bottle. It was almost like opening a present on Christmas. Upon opening, I find that it is corked and capped, quite a combo. It also appears that the label on the bottle itself is wrong, as it states the bottle as only 11.2 fl. oz. Hhhmmm. Anyway, onto the beer. The nose is lemony, hoppy, sprucey, and just plain awesome. The body is crystal golden that appears just a bit more yellowish tint than anything. The head is big and pillowy with good traction on the lace. The mouthfeel is liquid yet edgy, good combo. Among the huge hop bitterness, a few flavors intermingle; a lemon, grainy, and some orange rind notes appear. The finish definitely has a lemon pucker to it, but it quickly mellows into a more balanced offering. Its just a little more piney than the body and just dry enough from the dosage of hops. Outstanding brew, definitely in my personal top 10.

Hhawk06, Feb 05, 2005
Photo of SheepNutz
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%

On-tap poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a light yellow-orange color with two fingers of head. There is a good deal of lacing left on the glass. The smell is both sweet and bitter, with some lemon and grassy aromas going on. The taste is malty and sweet at first, then has a little saaz hop bitterness and lemon pepper spice. The body is fairly nice and thick. The drinkability is awesome. This is a unique hoppy treat from the land of beer.

SheepNutz, Jan 11, 2005
Photo of oracle
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%

10 oz draft pour in a tulip glass.

This beer arrived a light clear yellow with about 2 fingers of foam that left extensive lacing.

Aroma was mostly hops, but not the typicall grapefruit/citrus hops in most american pale ales and IPAs. This was a subtler, more floral hop.

Taste was not quite as good as I remember it being when I had it in a bottle. This is quite possibly due to the fact that when I have a bottled wheat, I'm one of those that swirls the last half ounce in the bottle before pouring, in order to grab some of the sediment along with the beer. I'm not positive this is a wheat beer (it certainly tastes that way to me), but I distinctly remembering swirling the sediment into the glass when I had the big bottle of this last August. I felt the taste improved after I did that.

In this daft version, I tasted the hops and the wheat quite clearly,
but it comes through harsh and unforgiving, with no smoothness or yeasty characteristics to mellow it out.

This may be one of the very few beers I prefer in a bottle to draft.

oracle, Jan 07, 2005
Photo of Onceeven
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured this one into my Orval goblet, and was greeted with a sweet golden honey color that was slightly hazy. (Didn't decant the yeast) Not much of a head, but there was a fair amount of carbonation.
Smells of yeast, and mild hops. Still one of the hoppier Belgians, but by no means over the top. Mouthfeel was very creamy, a huge treat.
Initial taste was of yeast and malt. Faint wheat character, followed by a welcome hop flavor, and a mild but noticible tartness.
A very balanced brew, despite being Belgiums hoppiest. It is indeed and entirely different interpretation than say Orval.. but a treat nonetheless.

Onceeven, Jan 05, 2005
Photo of clvand0
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%

25.4oz bottle. Pours a yellow color with a huge head that sticks around nad leaves lots of lacing on the glass. The aroma is mostly European hops - nice and subtle - with some spicy malt for the backing. The flavor is very smooth. The hops give a great bitter character that isn't over the top. The malts back it up nicely and it has a slightly spiciness that makes it very nice.

clvand0, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev -2.2%

11.2 oz bottle served into a tulip glass. Whoa! Lots of foam here, and a messy pour. Slightly hazed golden yellow body underneath an enormous, pitted, head. Hard to believe so much foam came out of such a small bottle, with a delicate pour. Lots of patchy lacing is no surprise, after the head settles down a bit. Aroma has some citrusy lemon, spicy coriander, Saaz hops, and dank yeastiness. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, with that Belgian effervesence. Dryness is immediately apparent. Light medium body. Unusual taste for a Belgian ale(label proclaims this "the hoppiest beer of Belgium"), with leafy, dry hops. Some white grape fruitiness lurks underneath and is the saving grace of this ale. Otherwise, a bit chalky and dry, with a dank yeast note and some coriander spiciness. Not as hoppy as an APA or IPA, but certainly more hoppy than other Belgians I've sampled. A nice session ale at 6% abv, and a most interesting take on a Belgian Golden Ale.

merlin48, Jan 02, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. We're ringing in the new year in style. Beer number 5, and counting down to new years eastern. This one pours a very nice yellowed orange color with a very explosive head that overflowed the bottle upon uncorking it. Stickey lace is hanging in as heavy as I've ever seen it as the head recedes towards the beer. The nose is full of Saaz and Hallertau hops, very much like a highly hopped pilsner would smell in my mind. Underneath the hops there is a really nice orangey spicey character that lets me know this is a Belgian as well. Hmm. I think this is going to be a highlite for me. The flavor is really nice. A nice light hop that is hanging over the sweet and spicey malt. I do like it. The feel is moderate to thick and a nice slight creamy as well. Drinkability is really good. I'm happy to see a Belgian with a decent hop flavor. I do recommend this beer. Good show de Ranke.

kmpitz2, Jan 01, 2005
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%

750 ml bottle with a paper wrapper- label says 6.2% ABV. Label on the bottle says 6%. Take your pick. Lot No. 00018, best by 12/08. Corked and capped; the cork was a bear to get out, and head/foam built up behind it, making this a messy opening. I tried this immediately following one of my favorites, another Belgian hoppy beer, Orval. This was a fascinating comparison.

Pours a cloudy yellow-gold, much more yellow than golden. Not unlike the color of a wit, but looks thicker. Has a pretty 1 inch white head that sticks around a while, leaving lots of lace.

Aroma: make no mistake, it's hops. But not the oily, sharp, bitter smelling hops usually found, but much more flowery, lightly fruity profile (lemon, apples, pears, maybe pineapple?). Aroma is more subtle than Orval, but very pleasant.

Flavor- starts very pleasant, like a Belgian Pale Ale usually does, fruity, buttery, slightly toasted malt, but it quickly passes over to the full-blown hop character. Once again, gentle, but firm hoppiness. More flowery than pine oil hops. A real winner. Balance is incredible.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy. A treat to taste. Drinkability- I could drink it all night (in fact, I did!).

I have a hard time admitting it, but I may like this more than Orval, my favorite of this style. They each do things slightly differently, so I'll call it a draw. But oh, man, this is one of the best beers I've ever had, and this is from someone who generally prefers malty to hoppy!

Dukeofearl, Dec 31, 2004
Photo of Naerhu
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%

750 ml bottle wrapped in paper, with cap and cork (this double annoyance was why I did not give this five for appearance).

Hazy golden peach juice, with large smooth white head. Lacing is just crazy amounts of coating.

The aroma is massive hoppy, some sitting next to me told me it had to be a fruit beer if he could smell it from where he was sitting. Indeed there was citrus and spicy and hoppy beauty everywhere. I could not believe that this was a belgian beer, until I drank it.

The taste betrayed itself as not an IPA, but indeed a belgian pale ale as there was the tell tale belgian yeast smoothness. More than anything, this is a hop salad. The bitterness is refined and never harsh, despite coming in huge bucket loads.

This the easiest drinking belgian pale ale I have ever had. This was amazing. We went through two 750 ml bottles in a heart beat and were cursing ourselves that we did not buy 8 more bottles for the evening. This is amount the three great belgian beers in my opinon, with Saison Dupont and Hommel Popperings.

Naerhu, Dec 29, 2004
Photo of paterlodie
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%

Christmas night and drnking enjoying with friends... somhow have to go to the computer; feel the need to jidge. Why? cause i have a beer in my hands that is exceptional! Noce white head with a bright white coloer. Nose is hoppy, fruity and a wonderfull sweetness. Dry but clean hoppy taste with only litle malts and yeast, happily for that if you have such a nice hoppy flavour! Aftertaste only hop of the finest! Great beer if you like Humulus lupilus at his best!

paterlodie, Dec 25, 2004
Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

on tap at the Moan and Dove. Golden, hazy, white head, strikingly good looking lace. hop/yeast nose, yum yum, this is gonna be good my senses tell me. Medium bodied brew. Gobs of Belgian yeast notes, fruity, spicy, earthy, phenolic. Crushing and crisp hops very evident, spice in the back ground, a bunch of yeast gremlins dancing around in the rear. Complex, sophisticated and mostly just fine and tasty. Seek and enjoy.

Billolick, Dec 19, 2004
Photo of TXHops
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%

Mmm--hops from Belgium. Such on oxymoron. I've been waiting years for this combo and De Ranke finally took a cue from their American craft brethren and threw some hops into that kettle!

If not for the standard Belgian yeast snap in the nose, I'd think this smelled like an APA (with Euro hops). The two conflicting aromas come together to create something like earthy oranges. The murky, hazed, light honey body is not terribly appealing, but the white head adds a nice offset, even if doesn't really want to linger. Still, in a beer like this, the appearance matters very little to my overall opinion.

The first sips reveal that the strange melding of hops and Belgian yeast is going to create tension through the entire bottle. I like this kind of tension… The earthy, herbal, slightly citric hops play against the fresh, sweet, funky yeastiness. At first, I was caught off guard by the touch of funk and though my taste buds were playing a trick of some sort. This beer didn’t have the outright oddity of a lambic (no barnyard), but it had an earthy, stone-like character, vaguely reminiscent of the character the Yorkshire squares impart to Samuel Smith beers, but without any diacetyl. I racked my brain hard until I found this on the Shelton Brothers web site: “Yeast obtained from the nearby Rodenbach brewery lends that Orval-like “Bret” character to the beers.” AHA! I knew something was up. Again—this conflict is rewarding in the resulting complexity, not just strange and disappointing (like Avery using Hallertaues in The Czar).

XX Bitter is smooth, but not as smooth as most other Belgians, and nowhere near as fluffy. An undercurrent of changing flavors rides beneath the dominant hoppy-brettiness. I tasted banana, lemon-lime, something vaguely nutty and a standard pale malt solidity.

Personally, I could do without the Rodenbach yeast, but it’s hard to argue with the complexity and of the results. I like a beer that’s a little challenging, in concept and in flavor and this one achieves both. Of all the Belgians I've had, this is one I'd actively search out to buy again.

TXHops, Dec 18, 2004
Photo of twelvsies
4.58/5  rDev +12%

I've recently been trying the higher-end Belgians (Fantome, De Ranke) and I can't quite say I've been blown out of the water as the hype or the reviews here seem to suggest one might be. Good beer for sure though, I'm just not sure I'm used to this style. Anyway, this one looks simply amazing. Biggest head I've ever seen on a beer, snow white, and laces all the way down. I wouldn't even say laces, it coats it; the actual foam is still sticking to the sides of the glass, creating a cave. Smell bitter of course, but not a hop bitter in the American sense. Spicy, yeasty, dirty, but withdrawn. This is no west coast IPA in terms of hops, but it is "the hoppiest beer in Belgium." The hop boquet is a more mellow floral hop profile here than is found in the American brews. The bitterness kills the palate at first, and is super dry. However, the further down the glass I get I become used to the bitterness and can taste the other fruity estery flavors. This beer is growing on me I'd say. Smooth light mouthfeel, very dry. I'll have to drink more of this style to become accostomed to it however, not as much in your face flavor to me.

Edit: I think I was in an IPA phase when I first tried this beer. I guess I was dissapointed that it wasn't as hoppy as I thought it might be due to it proclaiming itself "the hoppiest beer in Belgium." But on a second sampling this beer is just so good. I've come to appreciate the more subtle hop flavors and bitterness. This stuff is so good. Yum. Yum.

twelvsies, Dec 12, 2004
Photo of BrewMaster
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%

Appearance: Serve from a 750 ml bottle. As soon as it was opened it started frothing like crazy and even after I poured 2 glasses it was still frothing to the top of the bottle. It reminded me of the crazy carbonation in the Mo Betta Bretta from Pizza Port. The beer is a cloudy orange color that glows very nicely in the light. It has a white thin head that doesn't last too long on top (go figure after it was jumping our of the bottle).

Smell: The aroma is tangy with pineapple and sweet natural sugar scent and a bit of black pepper.

Taste: Very clean malt flavor with notes of licorice and dill. Its a bit watery and lacking any pepper flavor was in the nose. The ending is sweet like cane suggar and a nice vaulting rose floral flavor.

Mouthfeel: It tickles the tongue in a very good way. Medium to light body with abundant carbonation to give it a nice texture.

Drinkability: This is a good Belgian Pale Ale worth trying, but it is not a blockbuster. I would certianly drink it again given the chance, but I wouldn't go looking for it myself.

BrewMaster, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%

Grapefuit juice hazy yellow-orange color with a creamh white head. Lacing is just clinging all the way down the glass. The aroma is very citrusy, lemon zesty, slightly phenolic and yeasty as well. Whoa, this is one bitter Belgian bitch. Not at all what I was expecting. The flavor is slightly fruity and citrusy, which flows to a earthy, spicy bitterness, with a light touch of malt in the back. This brew is bitter all the way through. It is as bitter as some IPAs I've had, if not more. It has a light mouthfeel and is easy going down. A really interesting Belgian. This one is going to make me hungry.

BeerBuilder, Nov 24, 2004
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%

Another fantastic offering on-tap at Anam Cara. Go to Anam Cara. Go now.

It all comes back to me...the boisterous head atop the cloudy yellow beer. Lacing everywhere. Aromas are a mix of orange rind, peppery spices, and fresh grassy hops. Flavor is a Belgian crossed with a big-time IPA. Loads of complexity roll across the palate. Dark fruits, hops....ending with a dryness infused with lemon rind. Great body and extremely drinkable. Awesome.

OldFrothingSlosh, Nov 16, 2004
Photo of mschofield
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Pours a cloudy lemon-peach topped with a two finger stark white foamy head, leaves a temporary sheet of lacing.
Leafy aroma, spice note with fruit. I think this is what we'd have if Belgium instead of England expanded into India.
Fruit, leaves, light malt taste, lots of lemon
Medium bodied

mschofield, Nov 03, 2004
De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
91 out of 100 based on 747 ratings.