Taras Boulba | Brasserie de la Senne

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Taras BoulbaTaras Boulba

Brewed by:
Brasserie de la Senne

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by GCBrewingCo on 09-19-2006

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Reviews: 210 | Ratings: 484
Photo of Thorpe429
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the bottle at 't Brugs Beertje in Brugge during last week's trip to Belgium. Reviewed from notes.

Served in a De La Senne cervoise.

Pours a semi-hazy straw color with a huge white head and gobs of lacing on the way down. The nose brings some straw and wheat with some faint hops. Nice and inviting, plenty of Noble hop character. Surprisingly, the flavor really takes a turn in an even better direction with plenty of floral hops to combine with the light malt. Light body and good bitterness. Solidly-dry finish. High carbonation and super crisp. DLS does it again. Fantastic brew. Damn near perfect.

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Photo of Jeremiah459
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of the reasons i enjoy visiting Belgium. Only drink it there too, cause the US imported bottles go through hell getting here and taste awful.
Aroma is very noble hop flowery, low yeast esters. It is as if it was brewed at very low temps to restrain the yeast aromas, which is a really brilliant thing in the case of this beer.
Flavor is of noble hops riding on the backbone of delicious german or belgian pilsner malt.
Aftertaste is a punch in the tastebuds of delicious noble hops (58 IBUs!!!)
THIS BEER IS NOT LIGHT ON THE HOPS, NOR DOES IT TASTE LIKE COORS LIGHT OR PBR!!!! Do not be fooled by bad reviews. THIS BEER IS AWESOME, and the more beers you try, the more you wish you just had a fresh ass taras boulba. A beer i would gladly drink for the rest of my life if i could only choose one. Seriously.

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Photo of tykechandler
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

taras boulba is my favorite beer. i could drink it anytime, anywhere and it would always be fresh and exciting to me. it is wonderfully bitter up front, then crushingly refreshing on the finish. it is perfect in every way, and if you don't like it i don't trust you.

it is also a shame that bottles of this beer just never taste as good as i wish they did. i am sure that the number of people that have had this in a bottle and never want to seek it out again is relatively high, because this is a beer that is only as good as it is fresh, and due to importing, bottles are routinely 6-12 months old when they hit the states (which is a goddamn shame). however, if you are fortunate enough to have this beer on draft, do not hesitate. it is incredibly good, and, again, it is my favorite beer. it is perfect.

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Photo of gregmurer
4.94/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

THE best of...
Best of, for it's drinkability, even after tree or four of them, it's still a pleasure to order a fourth one...
Best of, for it's mouthfeel, so nice, so strong and hoppy, so good and powerfull...
Best of, for it's taste, that is about the best hop-mix of the brewing industry...
Best of, for it's smell, that only let you one way... drinking it...

and... even the appearance is nice... so, actually, it's the best when you like beers that are made by brewers that are not crawling in front of the market.

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Photo of philipquarles
4.9/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

33cl bottle. Pours an opaque straw yellow with a huge white head that lasts. Characteristic sediment. Smells strongly of Belgian yeast and hops. Very floral and somewhat grassy. Light grain in the background. Tastes floral, with a definite hop presence; slightly sweet, grainy malt in the back. Faint yeasty spice. For the style and ABV, the body is as full as it gets. Nice effervescence. Crisp, refreshing, plenty of flavor, lots of character, refined, balanced, etc etc. Fantastic.

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Photo of imagineiii
4.62/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my duvel tulip. pale yellow to hazy orange in color. finger of white head. decent retention.

nose is of grass, maybe hay. light fruits, apples and melons. cloves. smells alot like local 1. but this beer has half the alcohol, hmmmm...

initially its sweet and clovy, with faint fruits that are more dominant in nose. crisp hops clean any residual sweetness away, leaving only a slight bitterness behind. slightly peppery. marvelously balanced.

mouthfeel is perfect. carbonation is just right, flavor complexity isnt nearly overpowering to the palate. clean finish.

this beer is as drinkable as any belgian out there. it is light and clean, leaving the drinker wanting more. unfortunately it is cost-prohibitive to session with this beer, as much as id like to.

advertised as extra hoppy, it is anything but. rather the hops just serve to clean up the sweet fruity esters left behind from the belgian style.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

on-tap at deep ellum during the cantillon/de la senne event on april 24, 2009, week's end of the craft brewers conference.

served in tulip glass.

pale blonde with slight haze. amazing foamy, creamy head. great lace.

bold noble hop nose, herbal, grassy and upfront. faint fruity belgian yeast notes. toasted crackers. whiff of sulfur.

taste: very surprisingly malty and bready, while also hoppy with very crisp herbal tones. snappy bitterness.

light to medium body, with resins in the finish. crisp carbonation has moments of creaminess.

really, this isn't much different from the bottled version. maybe fresher, and of course no gushing. again, this has exceptional depth of flavor for just 4.5% ABV.

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Photo of mynie
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this into a pint glass because what the hell, why not, don't tell me how to live. Also, sidenote, I love creepy cartoons from European nations of no political consequence. Estonian ones especially, but Belgian ones are pretty slick. More of this please.

So this is a Flemmish hoppy pale, I take it. Which makes it my first. And it's also the best hoppy Belgian I can ever remember having, its body and flavor resembling Orval on PCP.

Then again, I don't really remember what Orval tastes like. I remember that it was damned impressive for its size, that it managed to cram in most of the best Belganiness of a good Dubbel only without much of the alcohol burn. This is like that. There's a goddamn Turkishmarketsworth of ripe fruit in there, along with maybe the nicest Belgian yeast profile I've ever come across. It's all the nice flavors you normally associate with burn only there's no burn. And the aftertaste is superb. It tastes the way an old dusty beerstore smells, only in no way gross. One sip of this and it's like I'm standing in the middle of John's Grocery.

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Photo of papat444
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Glouglouburp for giving this to me as a last minute extra.

When i open the bottle (33cl), i see loads of bubbles rising and not long after, it starts foaming out of the bottle. No time like the present to pour...

Appearance: Hazy, golden body with massive foam that doesn't take too long to form a nice 2 finger head which is fluffed like a cloud as if it were whipped.

Smell: A sweet aroma that i can't put my finger on (at first). Bubblegum? Not quite, more like a natural sweetness, sugar cane? Closer but not quite. More of a fresh dough smell, bordering on a fresh donut.

Taste: I like it right off the bat. First thing i taste is hops, mixed with some dry fruit maybe? Malt rounds it off quite nicely. Extremely well-balanced.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is low. Very tolerable biitterness felt throughout the palate. Hops are always present but never dominant. Some kind of rind-like feel (lemon?). A floral/grassy character is felt which reminds me of a meadow or pasture with all the aromas involved.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink with enough taste to match. Seriously, this beer puts to shame all beers that sacrifice taste for ease of consumption.

Overall: The most flavorful beer with a lower ABV i've had to date. A beer i would have again in a heartbeat. Definitely put one on the top of your list.

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Photo of biegaman
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Taras Boulba has a solid appearance. And while that is certainly true in the figurative sense as it is quite commendable, I meant it more literally: I can't see through the damn thing! Its fair golden tone is misleading - this has a dense complexion (such that all highlights have been squashed). Its head too is impressively solid. It is substantial and steadfast.

Its smell is like that of a lover in that while it might seem unusual and unfamiliar at first, in time it grows to arouse you. Indeed, I've become attached (nearly obsessed actually) with this reeking - but curiously attractive - bouquet that has the underlying odor of a dusty attic and stinky, soft rind cheese. Of course, those are mostly covered up by a perfume of fruity yeast and even fruitier, effervescent hops.

I'm not sure that beer (or anything for that matter) can have a taste independent of its taster. But let us not get bogged down debating philosophy and let it suffice to say that this beer tastes amazing to me. Your palate may feel otherwise. But for mine, this simple (but substantial) flavour of pale malts and pineapple-like hops is the knees. And at such a low alcohol makes possibly the most definitive session beer.

Hops! What a glorious discovery! The lingering fruity esters of the yeast would have complimented the toasty sweetness of the malts just fine on their own, as it has been for centuries, but with the help up a hop profile that is thick and bitter and sprightly, the beer is taken to new levels. This may not have been the first European brewery to experiment with American hops, but they may have conceived the best outcome.

I understand Gogol is one of the greatest of all the great Russian writers but I doubt even he could have devised a character so memorable and unique as this. In fact, this is my favourite Belgian character since Hercule Poirot. While admittedly it does a take a great deal of its character from the American hops, there's no mistaking that its intricacy, balance and the first-rate of its craftsmanship were undoubtedly the work of a Belgian mind.

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Photo of Crosling
4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely excellent hoppy saison. Perfect appearence with a lasting froth. VIbrant nose. Tremendously flavorful for such a low alcohol brew. Extremely hoppy, but such a balanced flavor. Excellent longevity as well, i’m guessing this will keep well for at least a year (nothing like an American IPA.) Pure and clearly high in quality. Fantastic belgian ale.

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Photo of dar482
4.52/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a medium to deep gold, with a pillowy cloud like head floating on top of the beer.

This bottle specifically immediately smelled skunked, assuming from issues of mishandling. Citrus, floral, crackers, dough hints of spice.

The beer drives of supple and lightly chewy doughy and crackery malts while prickling the tongue with its effervescence. A hint of acidity of lemon, but leaning towards the sweetness of dessert Meyer lemon. With spice throughout and a cedar woodiness hitting on the finish.

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Photo of xmorgan
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Trappist, Oakland, CA
Appearance: hazy straw color, very nice lacing
Smell: straw like and yeasty
Taste: citrus slight bitter with a herbal finish
Mouthfeel:medium dry with a grapefruit rind slight aftertaste
Overall:drinkable refreshing golden ale

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a hazy, golden color with tall, white foam that persisted and clung to the glass, leaving some lace. The smell was a wonderful aromatic hop aroma (noble?) coupled with effervescent carbonation which tickled the nostrils. The taste was very dry and full of aromatic hop flavors, though not overly bitter. Behind the hops was a mild malt body with only a touch of sweetness. Perfectly balanced. The mouthfeel was dry and crisp with medium body and good, fine carbonation. The hops were present from start to finish. This is a wonderful session beer. Thanks to Daniel from Moan & Dove for recommending this one.

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Photo of AaronHomoya
4.49/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

"Extra hoppy ale" is all I can understand from the label, which I consider a good sign. This is a fairly light Belgian pale ale, bottle conditioned with some awesome hoppy characteristics.

Yellow/light gold color. Light head with tons of great retention and lacing all down the glass. Aroma is grassy, slightly tart, citrus, and a bit of yeasty funk. Tastes incredible. A perfect blend, for me, of refreshing light malt, yeast complexity, slight sour/tartness and of course, a good helping of bright hops!

I can't remember how much I paid for this bottle, but I fear it is a lot more than I'd hope for such a potentially perfect session ale. I'll definitely be trying to reproduce this in my own home brewery.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.44/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Super bright floral and fruity aroma. Citrus, grass, honey sweetness. Sweet pilsner malt. Bubblegum and spices. Chamomile as well.

Hazy gold yellow. Large creamy off-white head. Good lacing and great head retention.

Bitter and hoppy upfront. Surprisingly so. Grassy, fruity, spicy, noble hops, and a lot of them. Yeast esters compliment the hops with pilsner malt rounding things out. Very dry and bitter (as compared to most Belgian beers).

Medium high carbonation. Light body but hop oils seem to coat the mouth.

The aroma appears to be much more yeast driven while hops take over the flavor. Interesting. Despite the bitterness, the beer is still quite refreshing.

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Photo of MarcGetty
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found the 11.2 ounce bottle at a local bottle shop and was intrigued by the "extra hoppy ale" label. As it was "extra hoppy" and from Belgium, I knew this would be more towards regular hoppy than extra hoppy for American tastes (a good thing to me).

Pours a light, almost golden color that is far from transparent, almost cloudy. It has a small head at pour, but retains this all the way through the beer which is a nice touch.

The taste is really great. Slightly more hoppy than a Houblon or Local 1 and very tasty. I'm definitely going to go find some more.

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Photo of paterlodie
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BBE aug 08. Nice and lasting white head and a cloudy golden beer. Nose is quiet hoppy belgium goldings like so spicy with bit of sour orange and some pale maltyness. Sparkling and inviting fresh. Taste is bitter and dry without missing some maltbody. Good mouthfeel and full taste despite only 4.5%. Great session beer IMO.

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Photo of jastack
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

To start, this was a great looking bottle, I really love the artwork. After popping the cork, I did notice some seeping moisture, but this didn't affect the beer at all. Poured a golden/orange color with a big yet thin head. The smell immediately screams saison/farmhouse with a noticeable hop aroma. The taste suggested slight hints of fruitiness, although the dry, yet not all out bitter hoppiness is what shows through in this beer. For me, it had a very similar taste to a La Moneuse I believe, but I could be getting it mixed up with something else, either way I have had a beer that is very similar to this. I found this very refreshing, and would have no problem drinking this on a nice summer day, such as this one. If you can get your hands on this one, I would definitely try it, it's well worth it.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ryan raved so much about this beer that I couldn't pass up when I saw bottles at the Perfect Pour yesterday. Best by 11 Feb 2012, that's quite a ways out, especially for a 4.5% pale ale.

In my Duvel tulip, this beer is a touch hazy, light orange in color with a thick, choppy white head with great retention and lacing. The nose is just outstanding. Delicately bready and delicately hoppy, this is an exceptionally balanced beer. A touch of floral honey to go with the hop character that's equal parts earth and lemon. Delicately spicy as well, with some pepper, this is also mildly yeasty.
The palate is dry and an interesting blend of what I assume is Belgian pale malt and some fresh baked white bread. Not "extra hoppy" by any stretch of the imagination, there's a blend of earthy bitterness and lemony tartness, with a solid dose of floral honey thrown in for good measure. Some yeast too? Again, this is an exceptionally balanced, delicate, and nuanced beer. Drying on the finish with the *perfect* blend of delicate earthy hop bitterness and drying, cracker-like malt. With medium-high carbonation, this beer is darn near perfect. I can (and am) inhaling this beer.

When I get back to homebrewing, I will attempt something like this. Fantastic stuff.

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Photo of largadeer
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a couple bottles from Dyan this week. Thanks!

Into a wide-mouthed goblet, Taras Boulba appears a hazy, yeasty straw color. Champagne-like effervescence feeds a large creamy head that slowly settles to a splotchy cap.

The aroma contains a subtle and pleasant mix of bready malts, spicy Belgian yeast and zesty, lemony hops.

Herbal, floral, zesty hops hit the palate first, quickly matched by bready and earthy malts, white pepper-like spiciness, strong lemon rind bitterness. This has a lot of flavor and complexity, but it never feels heavier than its 4.5% ABV. Light and thirst-quenching, dry from front to back, I'm really liking the balance between the malt, hops and yeast. There's a touch of medicinal phenols in the finish that remind me of aged Orval, faint enough to add an interesting complexity. The bitterness in the finish seems to grow with each sip, lingering for minutes in between sips, exhibiting an herbal and lemon peel-like character. Such a great beer.

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Photo of roan22
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bought a few bottles to take to my tasting club for a belgian themed night. I admit I am getting into belgian beers more and more. I really like the belgian pales due to their addition of hops, because I love IPA's. Taras Boulba is great because its not too strong. There is not too much 'belgian funk' in this beer, almost disappointingly, but I can drink an entire bottle and not be smashed. The hops in this beer are subtley bitter and build up on the palate. The beer is almost fizzy and I like the layer of foam after its poured out. An overall refreshing and hoppy drinkable belgian ale, gold in color.

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Photo of PhillyMonk
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wasn't sure what to expect, but liked the idea of a "hoppy" Belgian ale. This poured a nice rich golden color in the tulip glass it was served with with a good amount of head that clung for a few minutes. Well-balanced smell with hops dominating. The taste was also hoppy up front, but none of the bitter aftertaste of IPAS. This beer finished with a sweet, smooth flavor that was refreshing and different. I had no idea until I got home that this beer was less than 5% alcohol. If it didn't cost me $7.50 a glass, I could drink this one all night. A delicious ale!

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Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belgian bomber, no freshness/brewing date info. Capped and corked, I also found a bit of darker liquid betw. the cap and the top of the cork. The cork seemed to have a slight blue cheese sheen to it, Funky....This one pours cloudy medium tangerine, with an initial huge, wild head, after a minute or two the poor was more controllable and resulted in a real nice slowly fading merainge, and then a thick, wildly undulating film and leaving the now expected extensive thick sheeting and lace. Nose is of candied and spiced cotton candy and popcorn. Earthy, lightly peppery, plenty of yeasty interest. Notes of some light grapefruit, herbal and flowery hop notes and more mild, lingering peppery spice. Very Saison like. Fairly light bodied, quite complex and interesting. I love to come across a new (at least to me), vibrant and very tasty offering like this one. Yeast filled final pour, adds some nutty notes, medium chunks and perhaps a more pronounced hop presence, very nice beer. Not cheap @ $9.99, but oh so worth it

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Photo of marcpal
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

375ml poured into chalice at Monk's.

A: The bottle brought me in- glad it did. Bubbly with an attractive bright light bulb white head.

S: Dry and crisp, peppery with the popping aroma of woodsiness from the spices. This isnt a saison? Wouldve guessed it was.

T: Wheaty, somewhat yeasty, and greatly balanced with spices and bitters. Orange adds some sweetness but dominated with the mild spices. This is one tasty Belgian. Soapiness was a little bit up front but the sharp bitter taste made this one worth going back for more.

M: Dry finish with subtle carbonation that cleaned the palate after each sip. Sweetness appropriate.

D: Definitely Belgian flavor on this one and mild without trying to do too much. Highest drinkability ratings, a treat to drink.

Belgian ale is a broad category but this really drinks like one hell of a mild saison. Try it out.

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Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne
3.9 out of 5 based on 484 ratings.
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