Taras Boulba | Brasserie de la Senne

very good
211 Reviews
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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: 211 | Ratings: 487
Photo of donaldchapman
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Cloudy golden orange, with a long lasting white head.
S - Slight skunk aroma (green bottle), some nice esters and phenolics, earthy hop aroma.
T - Very bitter finish, that accentuates the slight maltyness, accompanied by some subtle ester and phenolic notes from the yeast.
M - Very dry finish, high carbonation.

This is a pretty good beer, unfortunately the bottle I drank had begun to skunk. The dry finish is right on and the spicy aromas and flavors complement the hops well.

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Photo of Kraken
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from capped and corked 750ml bottle into a standard pint glass. This unlike the Zinnebier did not have beer between the cork and the cap. Firm pour yielded a 3 finger head with good staying pour and nice lacing. Beer was a pale translucent amber. Smell was of slight hops, straw and Belgian yeast. Taste was slightly sweet, straw/grassy flavors, very light with a hop bitterness in the finish. Long finish. Very easy drinking, light and somewhat mild. Beer was a little thin. Very nice.

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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 drunkmonk
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Recieved as part of a Birthday gift sample of goodies. Thanks Bob!

Smeirlap! My Flemish is rusty. Not sure what it means, but by the label art, someones going to recieve some beer and a whole lot of it. Some other flemish words written as well.

A- Clear golden, nice bubbly and creamy lace. Good 3-D and very lively carbonation helping to keep that lace there for the duration.

S- Nice earthy and grassy hop aroma's, also hints of lemon, green apple, and pear. Very nice.

T- Pale malts with some pear flavors start on the sweet side, but a grassy lemon pepper and hop bite finishes things off. Nice lingering grassy hop finish.

M- Light to thin, with a push of carbonation keeping things very crisp. I'm thinking this is the point here.

D- A nice amount to consider here in only a 4.5%abv beer. Nicely done. With the low strenth and refreshing components here, it welcomes more recreational fun with this. Being a Shelton Bro's import, I'm not sure what kind of coin it might take to session this puppy?

Really enjoyable.

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Photo of FranklinPCombs
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy, light straw ocher color. Plenty of voluptuous white head (it started pouring out the bottle as soon as i uncorked it), dies back slowly. A bit of thick lacing.

Smell: Fantastic. Refreshing. Earthy, grassy notes balanced with barley husk and lemon rind. A bit of hoppiness too.

Taste: Not quite as fantastic as the smell would imply, but still very dry, refreshing and malty. Slightly tart on the front of the palate, mellow and bitter on the back. Lemon is still there, some granny smith apple too.

Mouthfeel: Great combination of tart, dry, smooth and all over refreshing. The mouthfeel is noticeably different on the front and on the back of the tongue. Carbonation is in perfect balance with this beer.

Drinkability: Very high. This beer is extremely refreshing (especially on a hot day like today), but it is complex enough to give you something to think about while you are drinking it.

Very impressed with this beer. Definitely will pick up some more of this when I can

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Photo of fitzy84
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This was on tap for one night only at Moan and Dove. The drink had a murky and generally cloudy look to it. Colors were a plain gold look with a rather quick lacing. The aromas were of sharp alcohol with some hops. The alcohol was most apparent which wrapped around the drinks grassy aromas. The taste definitely was grassy but it was light enough to not be overpowering. Generally bitter taste. Solid body allowed it from not being heavy or light; just right. Overall, a real treat.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sparkling sunshine yellow with a generous amount of carbonation and an expansive head that was first visible extruding out of the bottle neck following cork removal. The foam looks much better in the glass. It's pearlescent ivory in color, has a fantastic texture (softly rocky and ridiculously sticky) and is depositing patches of thick lace.

TB smells more like a saison than a Belgian pale ale. The nose is lemon peppery and herbal at once. I keep reading about how hoppy this ale is, but it doesn't smell as hoppy as a trio of great Belgians that I've had in the past year or so (Urthel Hop-It, De Ranke XX Bitter and Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel). Let's see what the taste buds have to say.

Taras Boulba is very good beer. It's also amazingly quenching and refreshing beer. Given the flavor and the ABV, this '750' should be gone in no time at all. Back to appearance: a second pour has added a huge amount of yeast to the glass and has made the already attractive head even more attractive. This is one gorgeous ale.

Several ounces are gone and my initial enthusiasm has ebbed a little... but only a little. The beer's biggest negative is that the flavor isn't quite as deep and as complex as it could be. I wonder if a slightly higher ABV would help in that regard. That's pretty much it for the negatives... on to the positives.

Despite a lack of barnyard funk, saison is still the more appropriate style. There's a modest amount of untoasted crackery malt, just enough to give the top notes of hops and yeast an adequate amount of support. Hop flavor and bitterness is generous for a Belgian ale. The finish is especially snappy and tight.

As far as specific flavors are concerned, let's go with lemon zest, meadow grasses, white pepper and spicy cardamom. Maybe a little ground clove as well, but it isn't dominant. The flavor is definitely more assertive as I get into the middle of the bottle. It could be due to warming, but I suspect that the yeast are simply now more plentiful within each gulp. The next highest flavor score is a small step away rather than a giant leap.

Considering the 4.5% ABV, the mouthfeel is surprisingly enjoyable. It doesn't venture beyond light, yet has enough smooth creaminess to get the job done. Longer lasting bubbles would be good; both overall and within each mouthful.

Why would Brasserie De La Senne name a pale ale after an obscure historical novel written by an obscure Ukranian named Nikolai Gogole? Who cares, as long as the beer is delicious. Taras Boulba is another hoppy Belgian that saison freaks owe it to themselves to try.

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Photo of 3leggeddub
2.97/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to BanditBrewingCo for the trade.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Nice 2 inch head of rocky white foam. Sticky lacing all the way down as the glass drains. Cloudy golden yellow. This is a damn good looking beer. Basically, when I think of beer this is what I see I my head. The mouth waters.

Smell: Not a whole lot going on in the aroma department. Mild hops in the background some floral hints, but mostly it's just kind of grassy.

Taste: There's astringent hops bite mixed with an sulfurous tinge. Dry finish with sharp metallic bitterness in the end. Makes me think of the unpleasant tang of mainstream Euro imports.

Mouthfeel: Thin on the tongue with a decent amount of carbonation. Crisp, dry finish. All in all a slightly above average feel to it.

Drinkability: Not a compelling beer, average at best.

Overall: I don't see myself seeking this one out again. Taras Boulba isn't awful, but it's not what I thought it would be. I was not expecting the sulfur/skunk tang of it. It looks great and feels pretty good, but to me the flavor just wasn't good at all. I have to wonder if the problem is my lack of familiarity with the style given the high rating of this by fellow BAs or even maybe a light struck bottle. I actually chose to trade for this because it is supposed to be an nearly top shelf example of a Belgian Pale Ale. I must be missing something, though because for me this was not a reassuring introduction to the style.

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Photo of Benway
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Been skeptical of Belgian beers that lead off with 'hoppy' as draw lately. Probably in a similar vein to US made Belgians, they are fine but I automatically hold them to a standard. Approaching the Commodore 64 looking label (awesome) I had to re-set how I think of a hoppy Belgian.

This beer is quite impressive. There is a lot going on that typically in the territory of beers with a far bigger backbone (and higher alcohol content). Not to insult this beer, but it would make an excellent intro to Belgian beers overall. The yeast is perfectly complex/typical and the 'hoppiness' is of the complementary variety and doesn't overpower the yeast (which seems to happen in other Belgian 'hoppy' beers). The HUGE payoff is drinkability. At 4.5% this is light years better than many mainstream Belgians.

One beer that comes to mind in comparison is Green Flash's Pale Ale. That is an excellent example of a west coast pale that has all the attributes of a bigger beer without the actual huge taste and alcohol.

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Photo of talkingpoints
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just bit into this very attractive beer over the weekend. Great looking bottle the beer was not too hoppy or bitter for me but I didn't find it very balanced either, which for this style beer it doesn't have to be. This beer taste would be taking half a Hennepin and throwing a dash of Stella into it( for lack of better description).
I like it a lot and will have it again.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours beautifully, with a bright light gold body and a pure white head as thick as whipped cream, but lighter. Aromas of fruity and floral hops -- perhaps even some higher AA varieties -- laid on a base of light, slightly biscuity malts. On the palate, things are light and soft, with wonderful integration among the different flavors. Fresh lemongrass bitterness starts things off, with more herbal notes in the middle. The finish dries out in the malt column, but puts across a pleasant lemon note to compensate. Mouthfeel is light, with plenty of carbonation; the overall impression is one of lift and deftness. Overall, this is an excellent saison-ish Belgian beer.

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Photo of jwc215
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for this one...

Pours hazed/cloudy golden with a huge foamy head that descends to a rocky cover. Patchy lacing sticks.

The smell is of orange and lemon with strong grassy and grainy notes. Bready and sourish.

The taste is not up to the nose. Medicinal/herbal - almost too much so, though orange and lemon with grassy notes are there.
It has a chalky, puckeringly dry, leafy finish.

The feel is airy with quite a bit of carbonation.

I don't care much for the herbal/medicinal/Alka-seltzerish aftertaste.

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Photo of wheelinshirt
3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saw this at Abe's and decided to give it a try. $4 for an 11.2 oz capped brown bottle, poured into a tulip.

Very clear on the first pour, big white head that has okay retention and leaves some lacing. Visible carbonation streaming up from the bottom, big bubbles. Color is really a bit sterile and unappealing, the second, smaller pour is somewhat cloudy but still not that appealing.

Smell is somewhat fruity as per style, maybe a little funky, but smell is actually very tame. Not a lot going on.

Taste is even more subdued, it taste like a belgian pale, but it just doesn't have enough umphh. I don't think this is a bad bottle or anything, they just got it in at Abe's, but who knows. Mouthfeel is fairly light, dry, pretty on point with all that carbonation. I could easily drink another, but i just found it pretty boring. If you are a huge fan of belgian pales and its in your price range, pick it up, but not highly recommended.

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Photo of swizzlenuts
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A light coloured beer with a nice size head on it.

S: Smells of fruits a slight bit of hops and a some Belgian malts

T: The beer is quite complex, with fruits, Belgian malts, and a slight bitterness from the hops at the end. The carbonation is perfect, and helps with the other flavours. Like most Belgian beers there are so many flavours I can't pick them out.

M: A bit creamy with some carbonation

D: Quite drinkable. Something that would be nice for 2-3.

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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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Photo of ggaughan
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33 cl bottle. The beer poured a cloudy golden color with a one inch plus head, thick and fluffy. The nose gave me notes of citrus and an earthiness. Taste was smooth, lemon citrus on the tongue. There is a nice hop kick in the mouth but it is not overpowering bur rather pleasing to the taste buds. Overall this is a fairly easy drinking well balanced beer.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33 cL bottle with a best before date of November 2009 (22 months from now). Spiffy cartoon label that says "Extra Hoppy Ale". Who could turn down a hoppy Belgian?

Fruity, yeast, candied sugar aroma. Tall, fine, off-white head leaves a thick coat of lace. Glowing golden beer frames a cloud of lazily rising bubbles. Sugary vanilla and fleshy fruit up front give way to juicy pine and grapefruit hop flavors. The finish is slightly bitter. Just enough to clear all the sweet flavors and drive you to another sip. It starts as a Belgian Pale Ale and finishes as a mild West Coast IPA. IPA.

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Photo of jackorain
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured into a chalice from the bottle by the bartender at Monk's Cafe in Philly. Slightly cloudy, pale golden and cloudy. Not quite pillowy head leaves nice lace and stcuk arounf for a while.

The beer smells of spicy and peppery hops and clove. Hint of banana and a sweet bready malt aroma. maybe even a little doughy and fruity.

The beer is dry and quite hoppy for a belgian pale ale. This beer is dry from start to finish. The hoppiness continues in the finish.

I could have had a few of these, but there were jsut so many to try.

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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 feloniousmonk
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm not a big fan of paying over $10 for a bottle of beer I've never heard of, but I am prone to references to the works of Nikoalai Gogol. One of the strangest labels I've seen in a while. Looks computer drawn, and depicts a bald, moustachioed burly man hoisting a keg and shouting "Smeirlap" over the prone, and outcrying figure of a man with a face out of "Guernica", all before a carnival backdrop, with a slanted church to right of panel. Picasso man is crying out something in Flemish, and if you visit the Shelton Brothers website, they explain the word balloons and the connection to the Gogol story. Somewhat....


capped and corked, ...POP! and out comes the funk! and into a Westmalle chalice she goes...

Clean golden hue, lightly hazed,, huge, pillowy white, lace leaving head. Looks beautiful.

Flowery aroma, a touch of sour, and lots of spice...plenty of Saaz hops going on, I think...Green bottle, and initial aromatic impressions had me worried about skunking, but it just seems the unique character of this brew, and not a bottle of cat pee. (Close, though.) Some lemony, citrusy flavor meets the light spices. Nice.

Taste: hops are in charge on the tastebuds, laying claim of the palate. Light bodied, low alcohol, light in the malt department, this is all hops, and easy drinking. Smooth, with no flaws, but lacks pizzaz, or any real, particular character. A palatable ale with higher hops. No biggie. Would go great with food, but offers no excitement. Nice for sessioning. But at that price, I expect more.

Worth the $10.49? No. But they got me with the name and the label. That's how they get ya!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours quite well carbonated and despite a very careful pour I start out with four-fingers of foam, that quickly grows to 6 fingers in height, including the last two-and-a-half being above the rim of my tulip glass. Quite a well built structure, it shows no signs of overflowing despite its height. The head is a light tan color and sits atop a brilliantly clear, orangish tinged, gold colored brew. The foam is quite dense and creamy in consistency. This is quite aromatic; as I pour I get notes of dried grass and as I marvel at the structure of the head I get bright fruit aromatics that remind me of aromatic apples and pears. I have no idea how I am going to get to the beer under all of this foam, but for now I am content delving into the contents of the aroma. This definitely has a funky edge to it; slightly musty, a touch of cork, damp grain and a touch of sharp esters / phenolics are the funky notes. Really the aroma is about the mix of fruit and hop character though; just under the omnipresent fruit notes (apple, pear, some star-fruit, kiwi and dried Muscat grape) is a nice grassy hop character that has a light herbal edge to it. As my nose gets used to the fruit notes, more aromas start to come out; the aroma now smells distinctly of un-ripened fruit (green mango, green papaya and even a distinctively cucumber like note). As the head slowly recedes it forms a volcanic cone structure that is topped by a bulbous, mushroom crown of froth; really one of the most distinct structures I have ever seen on a beer. A nice, thin layering of Belgian lace clings to the sides of the glass too.

Very dry tasting up front and even creamy feeling on the tongue. After five minutes of waiting for the first sip the beer has lost quite a bit of carbonation, but it still has more than your average beer. The carbonation adds a bit of texture to what is a very light feeling beer. There is a bracing bitterness to this beer though that lingers through to a long finish. In the near finish that un-ripened fruit character / cucumber note from the aroma shows up in the flavor, but it is not nearly as big as the aromatic note was. The fruit notes come out more towards the end as this is where a touch of malt sweetness shows up, just before succumbing to the dry, biting bitterness. The hop flavor in this brew leans towards grassy notes with a touch of lemon zest, perhaps some notes of nettle and even a touch of a tobacco like note that mixes in with the bitterness in the finish. The second pour of this beer retains a lot more carbonation, actually I did not wait a full 5+ minutes before taking my first sip. This causes the beer to almost vaporize as it first hits my tongue. Soft flavors of apple and pear are noticeable at times as is a bready malt / yeast note, some cracker like malt and some honey-like malt flavors.

This beer is very good; probably one of the best visual experiences; it has a very intriguing aromatic character, but is not quite perfect; and the flavor is merely quite good. The flavor seems a touch flat somehow, this is of course a product of the low alcohol percentage, but the best of these hoppy, low alcohol sort of season like brews have more texture and more exciting flavors to them than this does. Still this is very good, and I would be quite happy to see a bunch more beers in this same vein. I like how easy drinking this beer is and also how the bitterness, while substantial, is not overdone. I could use a bit more hop flavor and aromatics, but that might be made up for by getting a really fresh sample of this 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 Phatz
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to roan22 for bringing this beer to our tasting. It is a rare treat. It is a Belgian Pale with hops. It is what I expected from a Belgian pale with hops. It pours a cloudy yellow with white head. The smell is is sweet malts with a grassy citrus edge; And the flavor is bready malt, yeast and sweetness and caramel covered with citrus hops. It is well carbonated and spicy across the tongue. This is a drinkable beer.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of John_M
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting beer. I was attracted by the label, and the promise that the beer is well hopped.

The beer pours a rich honey gold color, with very persistent head retention and outstanding lacing. Visually, this beer is all you could ask for and looks quite impressive. On the nose I get honey and ginger ale, with some light lemon and lime flavor. On the palate I get some hoppy citrus, with moderate sweet honey and some underlying tartness. The beer is surprisingly light (I did not realize at the time that the abv. is only 4.5%, but it was clear this was not a high alcohol beer), and tends to finish a tad short in the finish. This beer really grew on me as it sat in the glass, with an increasingly noticeable hop bitterness (which I was happy to see).

This was a very nice beer, and given the abv., would make for a good summer session beer. Quite impressive.

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Photo of Beerbuddha
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Poured a hazy golden color. Had a huge, fluffy white head.

Smell - Huge smell of hops with hint of fruits and citrus.

Taste - Again huge hoppy falvor with hint of citrus. Has a dry finish.

Mouthfeel - Light body, crisp with medium carbonation.

Drinkability - It was a descent Belgian but nothing too special.

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Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne
3.9 out of 5 based on 487 ratings.
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