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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.

785 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 785
Reviews: 474
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 68
Gots: 45 | 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: 785 | Reviews: 474 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of waughbrew
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of HogHill
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Photo of meathookjones
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of palma
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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!

Photo of marksto
4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
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.

Photo of fisherman34
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
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! ;^)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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

Hoppy, malty, like a golden, not too spicey, very attractive with retaining head in the glass. A bit of lemon, not too sour at all. If cellaring had an effect, it was a mellowing. Easy drink, hops there. Unique and drinkable.
This brewery delivers a good product.

Photo of yelterdow
2.88/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Duvel tulip at a few degrees over fridge temperature. This is known to be a different take on the Belgian Pale Ale theme, with more hops than most. Looking forward to the tasting, as I have had this bottle waiting patiently for months.

Appearance- A medium yellow/gold with almost total clarity. The 3/4" rocky head that adorned the top has faded rather quickly to a rim with sporadic, cloudy wisps. Not much lacing to speak of.

Smell- I'm not sure what the dominant aroma is here, but it is offensive. Right off the pour, it became evident that something crazy is happening. Pungent, rotting oranges and garbage is the best way to describe it. Not funk, but spoiled food. Rank.

Taste- Okay, I now see why this is considered the hoppiest beer of Belgium. It is definitely complex, and very interesting. Nothing like the smell suggests, the hops are heavy-handed as they overwhelm the palate with floral, grassy, dry characteristics. The adventure begins with a musty, nasty intro that makes way for the eventual dry mouth-puckering bitterness. It's interesting to note that the finish is very familiar, like a Pilsner Urquell in its simplicity... yet the trek is fresh, new, but dangerous... this beer is not for everybody.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Light to medium weight, pretty average... a slight prickle at the front of the tongue that breeds softly over the whole. Alcohol is evident only by sensation and not by taste, as a mild warming and tingle comes forth. I won't be visiting this one again, although I'm appreciative for the tasting.

A beer like no other, for sure.

Photo of ypsifly
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Green 750 that is crowned, corked and wrapped in paper, poured into a tulip. Bottled 7/04. I noticed the label is small and says 11.2oz....

A few seconds after the cork was disgorged, it the beer gushed a little. Not out of control, but there's a lot of carbonation in this bottle. Hazed orange with a tall white head that settles to a few cms but never goes away. Nice sheeted lace as it goes down.

Very bitter nose. Slightly fruity, but not like a west coast hop bomb.

The taste is, as expected, bitter and dry with a nice citric flavor. Almost like it has half a pinch of lemon zest. The smooth malt gives it a good backbone. Nice bittering finish.

Smooth mouth. The carbonation is strong, but it doesn't cut through all of the malt or hop oils. An excellent session beer when craving hops that aren't over the top.

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

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.

Photo of kmcnair
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of 3Vandoo
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

Photo of cypressbob
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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.

Photo of maggotbrain
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Photo of hero27
2.83/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

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..

Photo of silver0rlead
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of jamesclark
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
92 out of 100 based on 785 ratings.