It's Alive!
Mikkeller ApS

It's Alive!It's Alive!
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Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Ranked #261
Ranked #32,140
3.75 | pDev: 12.27%
Mikkeller ApS
It's Alive!It's Alive!
Notes: Brewed at De Proef Brouwerij, Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium.

Ingredients: Water, malt (pale and cara), light candy, hops (hallertauer and styrian goldings), yeast and brettanomyces.
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Reviews: 196 | Ratings: 423 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.59/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Hits those orange/auburn/amber/copper color notes on the pour, aggressive head formation around 3/5" off white. Aroma was bretty, pale notes, something similar to a light belgian yeast presence and mild caramel influence.

Taste really came in waves, one minute, amber caramel notes, then a chalky, gritty brett mouth feel texture on the teeth. Alternation of slight bitter, fruity and mildly tart feels. Mild green apple. Nothing is huge, its like a pie chart with 10 different slices, all in the same proportion to each other and none of which dominate the flavor profile. The alcohol is hidden relatively well. Didn't get much in the way if anything of woody notes. Carbonation was good.

Its definitely an interesting beer and one I was glad I got to try. But much like the entire Mikkeller lineup, I thought it was pricey, and not something because of that, that I would continue to make a repeat purchase. So its good and unique enough to splurge once, but not good enough to become a repeat or consistent purchase.

Jun 19, 2019
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kitch from Hong Kong

3.44/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A 750ml bottle with a best before date of 31st July 2018. I’m thinking that this has been aged for about 5 years. Poured into a Lost Abbey teku glass.

Appearance: A clear copper amber colour with a big three finger off white head that had pretty good retention and left lots of lacing.

Aroma: Sweetish caramel, brett funk, candied fruit, green apple.

Taste: Light caramel malt sweetness, grass, earthy, brett, funk and apple. Flavours felt a little weak at times though.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with soft to moderate carbonation.

Overall: Quite nice, but I’m not sure why at times, the flavours felt quite weak and just kind of disappeared. Not quite the Orval that it’s tributed to be.

Jul 15, 2018
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rand from California

4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle into a tulip glass

A: Cloudy, orange-copper appearance, the beer offers a giant fluffy head on a gentle pour. Never fully receding, sticky lacing is everywhere.

S: Vibrant nose, yeasty. Horse-blanket funk meets caramelly sweetness. A little citrus rind along with oak. Some fruity esters edge the bouquet.

T: Esters move up on the palate with notes of berries, bananas, maybe a little bubble gum. Funky, but less than expected from the nose. A little minerally mid-sip, combining with drying oak which leads to a clean, relatively short finish.

M: Relatively light mouthfeel, slightly under-carbonated.

Pretty tasty Belgian-style brew, layered and complex but highly drinkable. Was expecting a little more funk and sour from the title, but as I shared this bottle with a couple of friends, no one seemed to mind.

Dec 01, 2016
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best by 2/2/21.

Pours a murky reddish-orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of candied fruit, rock candy, earth, Brett, and funk aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly sour fruit, fruit punch, earth, Brett, and funk flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that has a Brett presence that still allows some fruity characteristics to come out all around.

Serving type: bottle.

Apr 30, 2016
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NilocRellim from Minnesota

4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy, dark orange colour. Grainy, oaty, sweet smelll, with hints of dates and molasses. Syrupy/heavy mouthfeel, Bready, grainy, malty taste; raisin/fig/sticky fruit notes, but also citrus, orange, and clean hops. Very flavourful and complex.

Apr 25, 2016
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber with a fluffy, unusually distributed, thick sea foam head.

The aromas and flavors are hard to describe to be honest, there aren't many discernible notes. I get a hint of apple, and a perfume of strawberry-banana.

Overall it's a pretty smooth, unoffensive Belgian. It does not go overboard with the yeast bite, and is sweet and slightly tangy.

Jan 26, 2016
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josvemden from Belgium

3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Ziet er heel mooi uit. Verwacht een zwaar bier maar Is relatief licht van smaak. Een hele lekkere hopsmaak waar iets zoets aan vooraf gaat. Krijg het er warm van. Ps. Moet iets warmer gedronken worden, vind hem gaandeweg steeds lekkerder.

Jan 22, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

4.34/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Mi Orge Mi Houblon. Nice tribute to Orval, poured into Orval chalice. Amber color with silky, thin head. All else smells and tastes like Orval. Uncanny....

Jan 06, 2016
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GreesyFizeek from New York

2.94/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

On tap at The Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a slightly hazy reddish-amber, with a small head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like honey, stale hops, very mild spicy Brett, and some lightly sweet caramel.

If this was supposed to mimic Orval, it failed in that regard. It's too malty sweet. Neither the hops nor the Brett really shine here, it's just kind of muddled with a sweet malt backbone, and a stale hop character. The Brett is slightly peppery, but I have to emphasize that it's barely there. Possibly a few years in the cellar would help this aspect be more prominent, but who knows.

This is medium bodied, with a somewhat crisp mouthfeel, and a higher level of carbonation.

This was a disservice to the greatness of Orval. It did not work.

Dec 10, 2015
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thefreakinjman from New York

3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

12oz B, Enjoyed 10/20/15

A: blood orange to amber color

S: sweet candy, melons, dry straw scents

T: dry grassy at first with fruity pale ale and bitterness at the end

M: Dry, high carbonation, feels like the little brett bacteria hang on to the tongue

O: Like the funk and bitterness together.

Oct 22, 2015
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Stevedore from Wisconsin

3.52/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Mikkeller Bar in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Essentially, hazy lighter orange body. Smells of sweet pale malt, a bit of graininess, a light white vinous-like character. Not much acidity or hoppiness though. Flavour is similar, a bit bland even. Mouthfeel is thinner, refreshing, a bit astringent on the backend. Not my glass of beer, but not bad.

Oct 18, 2015
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Dentist666 from Russian Federation

3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into tulip.
Pours orange/amber beer, slightly hazy with nice off-white head, good retention.
Smell - funky, vinous, grassy, malty.
Taste - tart, boozy, estery, dry.
Medium body and carbonation, not very impressed by this one.

Oct 18, 2015
SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A foam brick of three fingers of light tan head is quick to reach the top of my glass and curls over the edge with stick bubbles clinging to the side of the glass on the outside. head has excellent retention and turns rocky as it slowly fades leaving lots of lace. Body is a brownish murky amber tone. nose is crisp with some soft hops and fresh fruit tones. A very fruity pale ale kind of feel. With the first couple you really get that same pale ale kind of feel as the hops are very up front. Hops are fruit rind based in terms of flavor. There is a hint of a tartness, just after the hops kick in but it is so muted and really just a led down in terms of what I was looking for in terms of sour or tartness. The beer stays very crisp on the tongue throughout the palate. Mouthfeel is dry and softly hoppy. This is a very easy to drink beer even though it is a bit of a let down if you were looking for any tartness.

Sep 24, 2015
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dustin22martin from Missouri

3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer had been sitting in a cooler for over a year. It was slightly orange, fairly heady with a grassy, barnyardy smell. The taste, however, was nothing but barnyard. It tasted like it was brewed IN a horse. Too much for me, but if that's your thing, give this one a go.

Jul 25, 2015
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dbossman from Nebraska

4.24/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Cloudy orange-ish hue with a big, steady head and lacing is good

S: So much funky cheese, fruity esters, sweet candied sugars; bubblegum, pineapple, hay, grass--this smells delightful

T: Dry fruits up front followed by a bit of funk and grass and mustiness and then even some toasty malts

F: Creamy and lightly carbonated--nice mouthfeel

O: I really like this beer; such a pleasant mix of malts and funk and fruity yeasts--mmm

May 28, 2015
Photo of jellikit
jellikit from Washington

4.43/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Orange. Slight haze. Thin, white head.
Smell: mango and wine.
Taste: Chardonnay. Malt. Booze.
Mouthfeel: medium high carbonation. Medium body. Dry.
Overall: very tasty wine beer. I love it.

Apr 26, 2015
Photo of mahakaya
mahakaya from Canada

3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L-Soapy froth and a orangey amber body. Really active coming out of the bottle.

S- Lightly herbaceous, a bit musty, some mouldy hay, damp grass and other pleasantries.

T- Very herbaceous, but with little caramel rotten apple middle, and cardamon finish. Over bitter, and too green tasting.

F- Very carbonated, a little soapy though, too soapy.

O-Interesting. I think i should have let it sit for a year or so.....

Apr 26, 2015
Photo of aleigator
aleigator from Germany

3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange, amber color, with a fizzy, soon disappearing head.

Fruity, sour aromas of orange and peach, also grass.

Sour Brettanomyces driven first impression, coated up by bready, soft malts. Also ripe, fruity orange, which goes well with the sourness. Then dry, noble hops hit the palate, which give the beer a well balanced, decent complexity. Sweet molasse becomes detectable for a glance, which soon gets swallowed by the hoppy sourness. This actually reminds me of Orval in some way, but adds a very well fitting fruit note to the beer, while it isn’t very aggressive on the hops. Leads to a bitter finish, very dry aftertaste, which dries up the mouth completely.

Jan 28, 2015
Photo of CalgaryFMC
CalgaryFMC from Canada

3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a tulip. A dark red-bronze hue with bountiful sudsy white foam that condenses into thin soapy lace on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is tannic, sweet, fruity, moderately funky. Mixed fruit cup (peaches, berries, pineapple, melon, pears), bubble gum, soap, musty straw, a whiff of horse blanket. A few tart gooseberry notes.

Palate is more fruity than funky, quite drastically so. The aforementioned fruit flavors dominate, with more low key bandage and burlap phenolic notes in the background. Was expecting more sour elements. A good showcase of the "pie cherry" many folks taste in certain members of the brett family but with sweeter fruits (particularly peach and pineapple) and a few peppery spice notes here and there. Does become more dry and vinous over time. Less carbonation than expected and a rather thick body, at least to my palate. The malt contribution is most noticeable in the finish, slight toast and green weedy hops.

A mid-range sour beer. I prefer other Mikkeller efforts in this style space. Was appreciated by my friends who would generally shy away from anything too funky. I might taste this again down the road to see if the present assessment holds up.

Jan 16, 2015
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber to brown in color with plenty of haziness. A fingernail of off white head is on top. Brussels lacing. I smell sour Brett. The flavor is Brett forward with a tart cherry note. The body is heavily carbonated and crisp.

Dec 22, 2014
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dcmchew from Romania

4/5  rDev +6.7%

Pours dark orange with shiny ruby hues and a bit hazy. Huge pillowy fluffy head, gets shredded by bubbles soon, receding to a few floating messy specks and a thick sticky lace.
Smells great, with orchard fruit (red and yellow apple, pear, quince, apricot) rolled in candi sugar, a touch of tartness, even a faint tropical note. Sweet smell amplified by caramel, butterscotch, banana chips, reminding of spongecake and dominating over the Brett funk (a bit of wood, moldy, spicy), hopefully not entirely.
As a first note, it's surprisingly light. Starts fruity, a bit bitter, but mostly sweet and sour, with lime, green apple, white grape, faint pear and sour cherry, with a cider-like acidity. Yeasts take over, with a big earthiness. Somewhat typical Belgian mix of spice & herb (pepper, faint coriander, lemongrass, floral tea) followed by light Brett funk (some mold, hay, faint stave, green grass, twigs). Malts enhance the earthy notes with bread crust, with a lower level of sweetness than in the smell and just a few drops of candi sugar. Finishes with a woody dry feel, funky, with some earthy/green hop showing up to provide a mild bitterness.
Medium to light body, as is the carbonation, just slightly prickly. Taste reminds of a champagne, but the body doesn't. Aftertaste is funky with some lingering fruit, but not much. The sugars seem to settle in more seriously in time, but it doesn't become too sweet.
I prefer the Orval. Getting that out of the way, this was indeed a nice Belgian-style ale with nice saison characteristics, not as funky as the Lychee/Wine Barrel version (only one that i tried, pretty sure the others are great too), but lighter and actually.. almost a different thing entirely.

Oct 27, 2014
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seedyone from New York

3/5  rDev -20%

10/02/12 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. This is a tongue twister. Team taste buds is having issues with signals. One swallow is sweet-ish, the next less so, & the next not at all. Never any sweet or bitterness but far from all together sweet. Hate to submit to the suggestion, but it does strike me as an organic/evolving taste. All this w/a funky finish. Can't imagine what a bottle gets you.

Oct 11, 2014
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1000lbgrizzly from Illinois

3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Surprisingly dark burnt orange, even with a bit of pink at the center. HUGE head, foamy, with long retention but little lacing. Lots of sediment, quick and strong column of bubbles.

S: Pungent since the first crack of the cap. Apple and yeast funk are foremost, white grapes and some tropical fruit make up the background.

T: Heavy on the funk, then yeast, apple, and grapes, in that order. Very, very dry. The initial flavor fades quickly as a slightly unpleasant chalk/earth takes over. It's good overall, a lot to pick out, but the finish is off-putting. I'm pretty lenient and open to unique flavors and overall enjoy this, even some of the stranger notes, but they have to be accountable for some of the components that are downright out of place, even bad. No notes of wood from the barrel aging.

M: Prickly carbonation but exceptionally smooth body, almost to the point of a slick stout.

O: My first Mikkeller experience seems to be a well-worn one. Glimpses of genius hidden behind strange off-notes. The nose was great, clean and clear, the taste markedly less so. The mouthfeel was a mix of both; contrasting but well structured, which I enjoy, but a significantly off for the style. I don't discredit them too much for this, as he is a very experimental character, but that only gives him so much leeway.
I should also note that because there is no bottling date I'm not sure how old this is; I feel like age may account for some of the shortcomings.

May 06, 2014
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

still great beer here, but unfortunately i think i enjoy the many variations far more than the original here. this is more of a belgian than the others, and as such the brett comes through a lot less. the ak alive version i thought was the supreme wild ale, a perfect example of dryness and brett character, while its alive here is just a bit more generic as they go. hazy rust colored liquid, maybe a touch lighter than that, with a prominent several inches of cream colored fluff. it smells like belgian yeast first, orchard fruit esters and dusty grain ith some amber malt sweetness. the brett is really only on the finish for me, not super dry or effervescent, but farmy, more like a belgian saison here than a true wild ale as i have come to know them from mikkeller, but i like it a lot just the same. the brett pushes the denser grain to the forefront of the flavor, where its sweetness is balanced nicely. the diversity of yeasts and yeast characters make this beer unique and special, but i just dont find the complexity or wonderment i discovered in all the variations of it. great carbonation and a lof of body still. very well made beer, but i would take ak alive over this one any day.

edit: the above review is even more true for the new release in the smaller bottles. malty, sweet, with an under developed brett flavor (or lack there of one), and really left quite a bit to be desired. i think this one needs some time to mature and hopefully improve. others have similar experiences?

edit: sure enough this one really does evolve nicely in the bottle, the brett develops like crazy, still malty to me, especially with the oxidation setting in, but the brett now has a lambic wild character to it, iodine medicinal and tart, but so distinctively funky and mature, and i love it in this stage of its evolution. i have had it in many different packages and labels, but the small bottle with the pink and purple label is the winner at this point. raising a few scores to reflect. suffice it to say this improves considerably with age!

Mar 14, 2014
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mverity from Florida

4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle that I split with scotchzi. Pours a perfect amber-brown-tan. Healthy amount of light tan head with very sticky lacing. Aroma is a funky butterscotch, toffee, earthy. Really great smell. Taste is more funky than the aroma; but otherwise follows the smell. Great carbonation lends to the bubbly mouthfeel. Light in body, but it works very very well for this beer. Definitely looking forward to the variants I have of this.

Dec 22, 2013
It's Alive! from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 423 ratings