Taras Boulba | Brasserie de la Senne

very good
212 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 212 | Ratings: 488
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.35/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light golden color with a small white head that fizzes away. Bubbles busily rise to the surface. The aroma is stinky with noble hops, pungent,citrus, farmhouse dirt, even slightly stanky, suggests that the Tettnang variety was more than likely used.

Bitter flavor which helps since the nose was a bit intense. Light peppery/spicy farmhouse flavor from the Belgian yeast strain and the hops contribute to the spice, as well as all due bitterness. Lemon grass, roots, hop flowers. Semi sweet malts are quickly neutralized. It is nice to see a Belgian pale ale that actually packs in the pungent noble hop flavor. Grainy in the finish with hops cleansing that and a slight cracker character. Light bodied with a high level of carbonation. Finishes crisp and semi dry.

Not a bad Belgian pale ale here, this has more hop flavor than many so credit where its due. The nose is pungent and musty, body light and crisp, and flavor more or less balanced. A beer I could session though it is slightly abrasive.

 1,023 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at AJ's Beer Warehouse in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a golden hazy yellow, with a 1.5 inch head, classically Belgian-looking, with a little bit of lacing.

Smells like grassy hops, a little bit of pine, perfume, flowers, and Belgian yeast.

This is much hoppier than the typical Belgian Pale Ale, for sure. It almost reminds me of it Carton Boat was fermented with a Belgian yeast, and was a little less hoppier. There's a very clean bitter hoppiness here, lots of floral and grassy notes, a bit of pine, and a bit of Belgian yeast twang. There's a kind of a perfume and soap thing going on here that I don't dig, really, and I find is an off-flavor in a lot of hoppy Belgian beers I've had. Clean up the finish a bit, and this is much better.

This is light bodied, with a very crisp and biting mouthfeel. As per the usual, the carbonation is pretty high. It's very drinkable.

The finish knocks this down a few pegs for me, however, up front is a nice hoppy pale ale.

 981 characters

Photo of Chaz
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy* golden in color, topped with a massive, fluffy off-white head. In the bulb this one looks spectacular.

As with the initial, visual impression, the aroma from the hops is pretty outstanding for the style: HUGE blast of complex hop notes, dominated by a lemony-citrus character which I perceive as being from an abundance of traditional "European Pils" hop variety, rather than Pacific Northwest "C-hops." There's a lighter hint of "pine" resin character as well, and regardless of where the origin, the focus of this beer at some level is clearly on the hops, but there are yeast and malt notes lurking in the nose as well.

Crisp, brisk, and astringent on the first sip, this one has much of what I expected from the hopping, and the lemony character is prominent. Malt character is very, very light -- much like a pale lager, but I don't get anything in the way of "adjunct" character. Maybe some candi sugar? Very, very dry all things considered. Dry on the finish, light in body...

As I drink this and as the beer warms a bit, I catch a very, very light "mint" character (think: spearmint), and this is a character I get from some hops, but rarely. It's not a bad thing at all, but adds a touch more complexity to this beer within the context of it being an: "extra hoppy ale."

Easy-drinking, reasonably low in alcohol, and light-bodied, this would be a nice beer to try in the summer -- "session" style.

This is a pretty solid beer altogether, and I am thankful that there were both Bottled-On-Date and a Best-By-Date codes printed on the crown (bottle cap.) As such, this beer is given a full 12-months, and while it is within two months of its Best-By date, it is still quite a decent ale altogether.

*Wheat malt and coarse-filtered (rather than bottle-conditioned) for sure.

 1,809 characters

Photo of ChrisWhoDrinksBeer
2/5  rDev -48.7%

A bit hoppy but mainly bitter. Not particularly nice floral tones from the hops. A little boring. Just had a second bottle and it just really reminded me of PBR. Maybe I got a bad batch but I really didn't enjoy this.

 217 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle. Another localized Belgian name I'll look up later.

This beer pours a cloudy, very pale golden yellow colour, with four fat fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat bubbly eggshell white head, which leaves some stellar layered weeping cloud lace around the glass as it gradually recedes - this is one purdy brew!

It smells of semi-sweet bready pale malt, orange cream, zesty yeast, muted coriander, musty pine needles, and a subtle leafy grassiness. The taste is grainy, slightly biscuity pale malt, mildly acrid yeast, subdued, and muddled citrus rind, faint savoury spice, and pleasantly leafy, grassy hops.

The carbonation is quite tight in its closely-held, edgy frothiness, the body medium-light in weight, and a bit too acerbic to be deemed all that smooth. It finishes mostly dry, the gritty malt, yeast, and various citrus, flora, and spicy hops conspiring and colluding as such.

A generally agreeable BPA, one whose mantra of 'extra hoppy' is played out well enough, I suppose, for the conservative Brussels crowd, even if this reviewer is a little nonplussed. Easy to drink, the kind of beer that once you get through half of it, all the while relating it via words, you feel the urge to just say, fuck it, close the laptop, and sit back and enjoy it. I only mention this, because that doesn't happen very often.

 1,343 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(served in a pint)

A: pale, yellow-amber liquid... hazy as hell... gorgeous, gooey foam stand

S: noble hops galore... grassy, with a farmhouse dirt and spice... dried lemon peel, old cloth

T: grassy, floral edging... mildly piney bitterness that hums and lingers... light lemon in the finish, where a mild malt sweetness and cereal flavor emerges... bitter, yellow grapefruit flesh and a dusting of must in the aftertaste

M: soft, plushy, quiet... sanded smooth, but not polished... mumbling, fade away finish... extremely easy to knock back

O: pretty damn tasty, lovely showcase of hop bitterness... heard this guy say he's more a fan of English ales, and it shows in this one... comes across as a sort of hybrid English bitter and small Saison... curious to try it over there - held up pretty well here

 809 characters

Photo of dcmchew
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy yellow, big fluffy white head, nice retention.
Smells lagerish, some extra lemon and grains, "greener", but not very attractive.
Taste starts with lemon, and ends with lemon. A bit of orange sweetness, grapefruit, faint orchard and tropical fruit, followed by huge green hops, really bitter. A touch of "soapy" aromatic herbs. Finish is very aggressive and bitter, like being hit with a barrel of hops in the head (the label seemed very inspiring).
Medium body and carbonation, very dry. Damn, this is bitter.
Again, huge hops seem to cover up some probably nice notes. Bravo on the hop-bomb, not so happy about the sacrificed flavours.

 647 characters

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.

 809 characters

Photo of pkalix
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

whoa.... popped the cap and got a pilsner-y whiff of something akin to a French chick's armpits. gruff and growl-y aroma, very different indeed! hazy urine yellow, minor head but creamier with a more vigorous pour. bitter, but not traditionally hop-bitter... more like a pilsner/lager hop bitter. this is a hard brew to describe. Heineken/stella-like, low abv. worth a try but wouldn't purchase again...

 403 characters

Photo of macher0
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a wonderful session or outside type ale. A slightly cloudy light straw color with a thick, frothy fine bubble egg shell head. The head slowly retreats with marvelous lace rings. The nose is bright and fruity with strong malt presence. A complex yeast starts off the taste. The mid point of the palate comes through with light malts and dusty grain. The end hits with mild hops. The feel is thin, light, crisp and high carbonation which equates to a fairly smooth finish. Tons of flavor, dry on the end. Go for this if you get the chance.

 545 characters

Photo of jwhancher
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought a single at the bottle shop at local 44. Poured into my Bruery snifter. Bottled on date was on the cap but it rubbed off a good bit.

Pours a bright golden yellow with rocky white head. Seems cloudy with unfiltered particle bits roaming around.

Upon first sniff, loads of floral hops and some citrus - mainly orange and lemon. Seems like it has some underlying wheat malt notes. Hoppiness is front runner here. Smells like you would want this on a hot summer day.

Taste is somewhat bitter and a little astringent like biting into a lemon rind. Light pale or pilsner malt with wheat. Hop flavor is citrus like with strong notes of lemon.

Mouthfeel is light and dry but bitterness seems out of balance to me.

Overall, I want to like this beer. So much, that i want to look past the seemingly overhopped bittering hops. But the bitterness simply detracts too much. Maybe if it was a little older, the bittering would fade and the flavors would mellow out.

 968 characters

Photo of shleepy
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into a Duvel glass.

Murky yellow (probably because I got some of the yeast from the bottom of the bottle into the glass). Fluffy white head.

Smells of fresh, floral hops.

Very nicely balanced hoppiness and pleasant maltiness in the taste.

A refreshing and fairly light (in terms of body) pale ale.

 328 characters

Photo of Lothore
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep, hazy yellow with a small, off white head.

S- Yeasty, wheat.

T- Yeasty and bready up front, moving in to a sharp grapefruit bitterness that lingers on the tongue.

M- Creamy, medium/low carbonation.

D- Decently drinkable brew. Not really my cup of tea but I don't mind it.

 291 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taras Boulba has a very thick, creamy, whipped cream-like, off-white head, an opaque, pale-orange appearance, numerous, angry bubble streams, and a heavy lace curtain left on the glass. The aroma is zesty- yeast, hop oil, bread, sweaty wool, and sugar. The taste is also intense- sweetness, light fruit, yeast, bread, strong bitterness, and grain husk. It comes across as though it has more alcohol that its 4.5%. Mouthfeel is heavy and slick, and Taras Boulba finishes semi-dry, dirty, and harsh. Overall, it’s certainly and oddity but one to try.


 556 characters

Photo of brureview
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle conditioned Bottled in 5/13. BBD is 5/14

Poured a very light, cloudy lemon color in an Orval Trappist glass.
One of the lightest colors I have seen in a Belgian ale.

I could smell the lemon from the bottle. The strong lemon aroma is just like
fresh lemon, and the aroma lingers through most of the tasting.
I have never smelled a beer with so much lemon. Quite a selection of
aromatic hops ( not indicated on the web site) http://brasseriedelasenne.be/EN/?portfolio=zinnebir

The mouth feel is very carbonated.

The strong lemon carries to the taste, which has light grapefruit.

The finish is a strong bitter hoppiness.

The brewery refers to this beer as an extra hoppy ale.

Overall: this is quite distinctive. Trés Different. I have never tasted any light Belgian ale quite like this one.
If you want a beer which is quite different and stands out from the rest in the "style" go for it.

 902 characters

Photo of EmperorBevis
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled and bottle conditioned
Hazy pale yellow with a small dense foam. Aroma is hoppy and from season yeast. Taste is bitter and from bread. Medium body and medium carbonation. Medium bitter finish.

 201 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Per bottle cap: BOT 12/08/13 BBD 12/08/14 00623

The pour produced a nice soft, hazy, light yellow body with a thick, billowy, sticky white head; lots of lacing. Mildly zesty citrus scent; black pepper; yeasty and grainy. Peppery and hop bitter flavors ride over a light malt body; faint citrus character. Light bodied; a little coarse on the tongue; dry finish.

A very interesting and flavorful Belgian pale ale. Spiciness and hop bitterness really standout.

 460 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml Singler

Feels odd drinking De La Senne now after all the time spent politely ignoring their presence when in Belgium, but sometimes its just takes time. Pale golden body - nice healthy head, little bid of sediment. A little bit of euroskunk at first whiff that departs quickly. High bitterness, light clean hoppiness, crisp yeast, a bit grainy. OK, but not something I'm likely to buy again. It may be 4.5%, but the dry bitterness limits its sessionability

 463 characters

Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed pale yellow color. Tight bright white head.Spicy yeast and and spicy, floral/herbal/earthy hop. Richer and silkier body than expected. Carbonation is very bright bu flatter than expected too. Dry semi-sweet fruits up front, taffy, some spice, extremely dry finish with some bitterness for balance. Pretty good, could use more bitterness, has a nice savory flavor to it though from the hop/yeast combination. A boldly flavored session ale.

 453 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From: Etre Gourmet, Beauvechain, BE
Date: Bottled 2013-11-07, best by 2014-11-07
Glass: Tulip

De la Senne's Taras Boulba is a hop-forward, yet not palate annihilating, mild ale that manages to find its way as an easy-drinking session beer at 4.5%. The not-overwhelming character would allow this to be enjoyed multiple times in a row during an evening at a bar in Brussels. The major shortcoming of the beer is its fairly limited malt range and single-minded focus on bitterness; a bit less early hops and some more malt complexity could bring this beer to new levels. Good, but a bit expensive as an import from Belgium, definitely one to enjoy if affordably priced on tap, but also to conjure in one's home brewery.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of white foam, made up of small-sized bubbles, somewhat frothy looking. Retention is average, about one minute, fading to a thick ring around the perimeter of the glass and a moderate sized island lingering atop the body of the beer for the duration of the drink. Lacing is good, with moderate numbers of medium-sized dots and lines clinging to the walls of the glass. The beer's body is a fairly bright golden yellow color, with light bringing out pale golden yellow hues. Carbonation visible through the transparent body, moderate in number, but fairly active in movement.

Aroma is fruity and hoppy, with vague citrus undertones, slight mustiness, somewhat like Saphir, most likely from hops of German origin. Generally noticeable enough to be pleasant and interesting, and not at all overpowering.

The mid and back-palates are a bit flat in terms of bitterness overwhelming the very mild other flavors, but otherwise this is a flavorful, hop-forward pale beer. Front of palate tastes floral and musty-citrus hops with a very faint pale malt sweetness behind them. Mid-palate detects moderate hop bitterness with light grapefruit-like undertones, slight floral notes, and slightly grainy pale malt sweetness in the background. Back of palate experiences moderate bitterness with undertones of grapefruit peel, bitter herbs, and flowers, a bit of yeast, but little malt presence. Aftertaste of moderate bitterness with a bit of musty grapefruit peel, and pale malt graininess (not sweetness).

Beer is medium-light to light in body, with carbonation of fairly high intensity, leading to a foamy (9/10) and slightly smooth/creamy (1/10) mouthfeel. Carbonation nears the border of fizziness, but never gets quite there, thankfully. Closes semi-dry, with light stickiness lingering on the palate and lips.

 2,549 characters

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.

 711 characters

Photo of FLima
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Hazy yellow color with one finger thick head with low retention. It became milky amber at last pour.
Light aroma of bready malt with floral and herbal hops and a citrusy touch.
Superb and assertive flavor, predominant lemon note with hints of green apples, recent cut grass, pears, white grapes, just a touch of grapefruits, wheat, earthy and citrus hops, spicy yeast and coriander. Hops feel incredibly fresh.
Light body with firm and perfect carbonation and a slight acid citrus sensation.
A very original beer, a hoppy Belgian that worked amazingly well. Huge drinkability and very refreshing. It is like a mix of Witbier and Belgian IPA.

 641 characters

Photo of babaracas
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy lemon color with billowing dense white head. Foam settles slowly leaving big chunks behind. Smell: lemon peel, pils, spicy. Taste: lemon pie, intense grassy flavor, finishing with a blast of spiciness over more custard-like sweetness. Drying, hop strewn finish.

 276 characters

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

Cloudy lemon yellow with piles of craggy, crusting white froth.
Lemon curd, flowery perfume, and beeswax nose - alluring.
Saltines, a touch of yellow apples, some yeast spice and crushing grass and hay hops.
Pear finish and clove + long lingering bitterness.
Crisp, light, soft.

Super lean, with some outrageous bitterness - makes XX Bitter look like a cream soda. There are little hints of fruity esters peak through, making the 4.5% all the more sessionable. Complex but drinkable, begs for sun and food.

 510 characters

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A 330ml bottle with no visible BB date. Acquired a while back from Trembling Madness in York. Described as an extra hoppy ale. I'm curious as to what is going on in the scene represented on the label....

Poured into a Delirium chalice. Bottle conditioned. A hazy golden-amber hue with chunky floating sediment and good carbonation. Produces a large head of creamy white foam with good retention; this slowly subsides to a thick surface layer. Some lacing. Aroma of fruity yeast esters with hints of bubblegum, clove, spice, phenolics, faint banana, grass and earthiness. Mildly sweet, with satisfying depth.

Tastes of earthy, fruity yeast with a dry finish. Notes of tart apples, cloves, spice, phenolics, mild bubblegum, faint banana, grass/hay, earthiness and a whisper of stewed hops. Highly attenuated, with a twinge of harsh cardboard and solvent in the background. A subtle bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, bone-dry and tingly, with pleasant carbonation and good body. Very astringent, followed by an aftertaste of earthy yeast, fruity esters and cardboard.

Pretty good, though I can't say the hops really make themselves felt. Perhaps this is too old - without a date it's hard to tell. Looks nice, with a rounded, yeasty aroma. Flavour is OK but various off-notes spoil the effect. Satisfying body. Goes down easily enough; I'll certainly have another if opportunity knocks. Worth sampling if you have the chance.

 1,440 characters

Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne
3.9 out of 5 based on 488 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.