Taras Boulba | Brasserie de la Senne

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Taras BoulbaTaras Boulba

Brewed by:
Brasserie de la Senne
Belgium | website

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: 205 | Ratings: 466
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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of t8s8l8
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Very diverse, the color is a cloudy yellow, gold. the head on this thing screams Belgian. the retention stuck around the whole time drinking and an interestingly it appeared the head retention created an island within the middle of the glass. The aromatics mostly yeast driven it seems gives of an interesting phenol, that plays well with the soft spicy citrus notes present from the hops. the flavor is very similar to the aroma. Its semi sweetness finishes comfortably dry. what makes this beverage above average is the mouthfeel. It has a high carbonation level that does not effect the creaminess in the mouthfeel. There is no alcohol warmth and very approachable. This is overall something to share with friends not an everyday beverage but overall impressed.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.3/5  rDev -15.4%

A: Transparent pale. Light head.

2.5S: Smells skunky and uninteresting.

T: What? How is this extra hoppy? MAYBE for a BSPA. Still. Herbal boring and bad.

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

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours moderately cloudy golden orange color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big pear, apple, grape, orange zest, pepper, clove, floral, grass, herbal, honey, bread, and floral/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop, malt, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of pear, apple, lemon, grape, orange zest, pepper, clove, floral, grass, herbal, honey, bread, and floral/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of light fruits, citrus, pepper, clove, floral, grass, herbal, bread, honey, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of malt, hop, and fruity/spicy yeast notes; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and crisp mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming noticed after the finish; expected of 4.5%. Overall this is an excellent hoppy Belgian pale ale! All around great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy ester, malt, and hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of CookstLiquor
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 330ml bottle. Pours a very pale whitish-yellow colour with big bubbles. The nose has subtle notes of light citrus, spice, cracker and grain. Taste is similar with a very crisp, dry finish. Effervescent carbonation. A light, refreshing session beer.

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Photo of sfprint
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Single finger head, a beautifully bright yellow apricot in color with soda like carbonation, totally hazy with no visible rising carbonation.

Smells basically like a nice witbier. Cilantro, orange zest, citrus notes.

Extremely tangy bitterness like grapefruit rind. Citrus peel bite is first which is a bit difficult, but under that is a very nice, light, pomelo/tangelo citrusiness. However the flavor isn't super strong. The strongest thing is the intial tang.

Light with an initial mouthpuckering tang. Not much carbonation.

A friend of mine says this is his favorite beer and I do agree that it's very nice and well constructed.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Moeder Lambic Fontainas, served in a de la Senne stemmed pokal glass.

A- Pours a hazy golden apricot color with a huge, creamy white head, great retention and lacing.

S- Really nice aroma of hops, yeast, dough, flowers. Smells really light and refreshing.

T- Similar to the aroma, mild hoppiness, some yeast and pale malt dough/breadiness, really nice floral component.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth, soft feel, dry finish.

O- I really enjoyed this beer, I had it on tap a few separate times at Moeder, and this is a very, very drinkable, tasty, good-for-any-normal-day sort of beer.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

EDIT: Revisited this today (7/30/13). Much better than I initially remembered. Still a little too prickly and overly carbonated for my liking, but the flavor is exceptionally simple and refreshing. Recommended.

Poured on tap at Trappist Provisions into a 6oz wine glass. Review is from my notes.

Pours a pale golden color with a 2 finger of white head and loads of carbonation that streak the entire glass almost to the point of making it look cloudier than it really is. As it clears up, the head eventually dies down, but it does retain a lively, champagne-like feel with all of the extra carbonation. Not too viscous overall, as expected, but also looks pretty thickened. Looks like a standard, great take on the BPA style.

The aroma is surprisingly bitter and spiced up, consisting of BIG grassy, bittered dry hops, as well as slightly toasted grains with an off smoked flavor, and spices ranging from black pepper to cumin (?). Definitely not what I expected at all, but De la Senne is known for the experimental releases. At the same time, it is rather normalized as it is low in ABV and a relatively simple recipe stable... However, what they've done with the hops definitely makes it stand out. There's not much of a malty backbone to make out, but the dried, crisp grainy flavor as well as the grass and even leaves (as it warms up) is pretty interesting. Could do less with the overly toasted flavor, but otherwise, it's quite good.

The flavor is exactly what I thought it would be, with the palate getting coated with bittered, dry golden grains and grassy, floral hops. Not too much citrus here, in fact, but undeniably rustic and grassy. Super raw, although the grains at times do feel diminished with the strong hoppy character. I can make out some slight fruitiness, such as dry cider, but I'm getting loads of other wild notes such as tree sap, dried earth, white peppers, and brown grass. It's really fascinating and reveals a lot of these rustic notes in the long run, especially as it warms up. Body is slightly thin, but contains enough carbonation to hold this together in the long run.

At first I was pretty thrown off by all of the wild spicy and earthy flavors, but the more I consumed this the more I realized that a Belgium take on an American session beer is pretty great, as you do get the slightly fruity, funky yeasty phenols here, as well as the spices and dried hop resins, without having to worry about getting plastered after one or two glasses (I'm looking at you, Westmalle Tripel). A very good offering from De la Senne and probably one of the tastiest beers I've had recently that's under 5%. I could stock up on these in the future for casual evenings, no doubt.

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Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne
3.9 out of 5 based on 466 ratings.
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