St. Sebastiaan Grande Reserve | Brouwerij Sterkens N.V.

very good
97 Reviews
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St. Sebastiaan Grande ReserveSt. Sebastiaan Grande Reserve

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Sterkens N.V.

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 12-20-2001

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Reviews: 97 | Ratings: 145
Photo of KyleVick4
1.52/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

16 oz swing top

A: Pours a dark golden color with virtually no head. It creates large bubbles that are clear giving it more of the appearance of swamp water froth rather than head. Not to pleasing. Nothing spectacular about it one way or the other. Actually this is a pretty ugly beer.

S: Strong alcohol up front, with a spicyness in the back. The alcohol dominates this and I cant tell much more. Not impressed.

T: Bah. The distracting burn of the alcohol takes off from the actual taste. When I do taste somthing it comes in at spicy notes and fruit. Really disappointed though...

M: This has a lack of mouthfeel. Its so thick from the alcohol that it kills the mouthfeel. Just kinda sits on my mouth and feels like mouthwash... Lightly carbonated mouthwash...

D: Im trying. Giving it a second, third fouth and fifth chaces. I just dont like this beer. I actually may hate this beer. It looks bad, has terrible smell lacks taste and makes me want to spit when it is in my mouth. In summary its not to drinkable. Actually I think I am going to sadly dump the rest right now

On a positive note, I am pumped about using this bottle for my homebrews!

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Photo of geetlord
1.99/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

this beer poured almost completely without a head. As there was so little carbonantion essentialy no aromas were released. Teh taste was predominantly of alcohol, with some very mild hints of other flavors appearing sporadicaly on my tounge. The lack of carbonantion makes the mouthfeel watery and seriously reduces the flavors experienced, overall I was not impressed by this beer.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.12/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

From 16oz ceramic swingtop to Bruges hybrid glass on 11/8/11
*From notes

A: Fair golden, paleish yellow. a standard pour yields a thick 2.5 finger head. Solid retention and lacing.

S: Wet cardboard.

T: Wet cardboard yet again, with hints of hiney hole.

M: Quite nice, actually. Properly carbonated and creamy.

O: I was simply going to do a "had it" with a D- rating, but I wanted to put the word out that St. Sebastiaan's Grand Reserve is one of the top ten worst beers I've had this year. Purchase and consume at your own risk.

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.81/5  rDev -27%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

16 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber-peach color. Unfortunately there is basically no head. Just a few moderately large bubbles around the edge of the glass. Little to no visible carbonation.

Smell: Quite a bit of apricot in the aroma, together with malts and a bit of grain.

Taste: The flavor seems to generally be a combination of fruits, malts, and grains. Nothing is very distinct or impressive; it lacks any complexity. A bit of hops and some alcohol in the finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and medium-bodied, but almost flat. Very little "feel" to it.

Drinkability: The alcohol is noticable, but not really oppressive. It's hardly an interesting drink. I don't feel inspired to finish it, which is rare for me.

This beer was quite a disappointment. It seems to lack any life whatsoever. I'll curious if the other St. Sebastiaan beers are this uninteresting. Not recommended.

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Photo of emerge077
2.88/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Hazy orange pour, yeast particles, minimal head. Smells artificially sweet, some musty grain.

Sweet with some tartness upfront, yeast and candi sugar seem to be the main component to this. Vague fruit that doesn't really have a physical comparison. Odd vegetal flavors barely mask the unpleasant booziness. Drying finish due to the ABV.

Most likely past it's prime, but reviewed since I won't see it around again.
Vintage bottle, located on a dusty shelf in the Chicagoland area.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
2.93/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance: Orange/amber with a small foamy head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Candy sugar and bubblegum. Apples and some faint hops.

Taste: Malty and sweet apples. Some mild hops to balance out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Nothing really going on here. Seems rather flat.

Drinkability: Easy to drink, but nothing really stands out.

"Grand Reserve"? Not to sure that it means much here. And what's the deal with "Top Fermented Abbey Ale"? Seems like the marketing department went tautological.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
2.99/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: No "psst!" when I opened the bottle. The beer poured a totally stagnant murky reddish brown color.

Aroma: Some plum and raisin aromatics along with some sweet caramel presence. There are some toasty malts there along with what smells like Melanoidins. A bit of a papery aroma.

Taste: Really tangy and fruity. This can't be right. It has some sweetness that you notice, but the tangy...almost mouth puckering flavor is the dominant force. There is some nuttiness here along with some mild oxidized flavors. Bummer!

Opinion: Well, I must have gotten hold of one that had a leaky cap or something. I imagine that it is pretty hard to make a stone bottle with a tight enough tolerance on the cap as not to have one leak once in a while. I am sad to see that this beer is retired as I would have liked to have given it another shot...but I guess not. Oh well.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a clear golden color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma consists of sweet Belgian style malt with some fuse alcohol also noticeable. Taste is also somewhat one-dimensional with some discernable alcohol and some overly sweet Belgian style malt. I thought it was lacing some ester or some yeast character too be truly engaging. Not bad but not something I would go out of my way to try again.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a yellow beer with a one-finger head, and floaters abounded.

The aroma was of rich light malts and apples... not too tart, not too sweet, more of a Cortland than a Mac or Delicious.

The taste was malty, with a slight sweetness and fruitiness... definitely less fruitiness than the aroma would lead one to expect. It was also somewhat flat and subdued, compared to others of the style I have had.

Not what I expected from a "Grand Reserve"... I will not get it again, and it may be some time before I try others from this brewery.

 548 characters

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.22/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

.5 liter ceramic bottle served in a Duvel tulip. Best by 9/11/11. Poured a pale gold with little to no head. Little carbonation. Sugar and a little clove in the nose. Slightly spicy flavor, medium body. Candy sugar sweetness. A little yeasty in the finish. Some alcohol warmth. Pretty bland for a Belgian beer.

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Photo of theopholis
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Fairly clear golden/amber. Looks like apple cider. Almost no head. No lacing.

Smell - Smell is quite subdued. What I do get is floral, malty, slightly fruity and a hint of spiciness.

Taste - Interesting. Light fruits up front (yellow apple, pear) with light spices. Flavor is quite subdued. Has a very interesting after-taste that I can't describe at all. There was no hiss when I opened the bottle, so it may be slightly oxidized.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation. Medium mouthfeel. Very slick.

D - Pleasant, but not outstanding.

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Photo of champ103
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a golden yellow. A large white head forms, then recedes to a rim. Plenty of lace left behind.
S: Sugar and yeast aroma with plenty of fruit. Apple's, peaches, banana's, and other citrus fruits.
T: Very tart and sweet. The same fruity flavors that were in the nose.
M/D: Crisp and clean mouthfeel. Lots of harsh carbonation on the tongue. The 10% ABV does not show itself too much, but the carbonation makes it a little hard to drink.

A middle of the road Belgium Ale, nothing more.

 492 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy orange-gold color, it is very low on carbonation; it barely summons a week wispy white head. Aromas of oxidation immediately waft from my glass as I pour this beer. The aroma is indeed dominated by notes of oxidation; sherry, wet cardboard. Perhaps there is a hint of alcohol in the nose as well as a bit of sweetness. Fairly light beer on the palate. There are some flavors of orange and perhaps some raisin. The oxidation is not nearly so dominant in the, and as it warms up I get a certain spiciness to it. flavor of this beer, but it is here as well. This beer ends with a bit of vegetal astringency that is not quite off-putting. Not a great beer, I certainly expected more from something titled a Grand Reserve.

 730 characters

Photo of evilbeefchan
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From the ceramic bottle with stopper, exp date 09/11/11.

Appearance: Pours golden yellow with fairly vigorous head that resembles wet foam. Dissipates to 1/3 of it's full size within 2 minutes, leaves little lacing. Fairly hazy, not sure if this is very tiny sediment as it's all uniform. (Hazy enough that you cannot see your hand through the glass.

Smell: Honey, with touch of grain at the end.

Taste: Hard to identify at first due to harsh carbonation. Once it setles, a crisp sweet honey finishing with a lasting dry hoppy flavor. The alcohol starts to creep up at this point, though.

Mouthfeel: Very carbonated at first pour, once it settles down it gets better.

Drinkability: I had a really hard time with this beer at first. Again, it's worth waiting for things to subside before going in. The carbonation made it difficult to get down, and fills you up very quickly. Once the carbonation eases, it's crisp and fairly refreshing (though at this point the temperature may cause the alcohol to show itself).

I honestly had to take a break before I could finish, as the first taste left a bad impression. This is my first time dealing with a ceramic bottled beer, as well as something calling itself "Grand Reserve," so the initial impressions I had may just be a first time folly. Once the beer had time to come up in temperature (had it in the fridge overnight), it became more drinkable, and actually pretty enjoyable. At $7 for 16oz, it isn't necessarily a bad buy, but still makes it a tough recommendation.

 1,525 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
3.31/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

16 oz ceramic bottle with swing top. Best By date of 3/27/14.

clear dark golden in color, with big white head. good head retention and a bit of lacing. fairly subdued nose for a big Belgian Ale, not of the usual yeast aroma.

taste of biscuity pale malts, a little alcohol in the finish. some spiciness. medium body, higher carbonation. works well.

Overall it's alright, but probably not worth the high price tag. I probably wouldn't buy again.

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Photo of BucBasil
3.32/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Poured from the awesome 16oz ceramic bottle with a handy swingtop into a tulip glass. The beer is a hazy orange with a strong 3 finger offwhite head.

Smell: Nice light fruits at first glance - crisp apples and pears - as well as a refreshing citrus aroma.

Taste: Starts off a bit flat... A bland, slightly sweet note introduces the tongue to the brew, which is slightly offputting. Thankfully that is followed up by a nice honey note, as well as some light fruit, notably an interesting apricot taste. Finish is subtle with a hint of Belgian yeast.

Notes: Slightly disappointing. I don't know how a beer with such a great aroma can taste so bland. Granted, there are a lot of good things about this beer too, but not enough to make me want to buy it again.

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Photo of dgallina
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

No freshness date. Pours a clear golden-amber with small white head and light lacing. Smells strongly of grain & malts, some sweet fruits, and spicy alcohol. Flavor begins with sweet grainy malts and develops into very powerful solvent-like alcohols and slight spicing. Slight carbonation; feels fairly light in the mouth for the strength.

Easy to drink considering the ABV, but overall a brutish, unsubtle, beast of a strong pale ale. Perhaps my sample was mishandled, but this is not something I'll be returning to when there are *far* better examples out there.

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Photo of dirtsocks
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer came in a ceramic bottle, it pours with a nice big white head and has a constant bubble. The smell is a bit fruity and has some earthy smells. The taste of alchol kind of overpowers the natural flavors. This beer is ok but is not on the same level as some belgian ales(chimay) overall this was a good buy, but the cool bottle might have been part of that. :)

 368 characters

Photo of bbarrows
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a chalice at ~50deg F.

A- Dark amber color and clear, with thin layer of white froth

S- Slightly fruity aroma, like cherries.

T- Fruity, notes of cherries and oranges. Slightly tart finish.

M- Well carbonated, felt almost like Champagne. Finished with a tingling feeling.

D- Easy drinking, alcohol content well hidden and the tart/sweet flavors are well balanced.

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Photo of brystmar
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy golden color. Thin white head atop, poor retention. Belgian yeast, sweet malts, spices, & booze in the nose. Taste is smooth and crisp; mostly follows the nose. Medium bodied, lots of carbonation. Mild boozy warmth as it descends. Not spectacular, not bad either.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Retired? A 16oz resealable porcelain dated 12/01/11.Pours a slightly hazy (sediment) golden amber with a big off white head that leaves a good amount of lacing in place. The smell is fruity over an earthy yeast aroma. The taste is reasonable but reserved; a slightly tart lemony flavor. The initial carbonated tingle in the mouth feel tapers off rather quickly. The flavor and mouth both finish dry and clean so quickly that I'm going back rapidly to consider it, which might be dangerous being that it's clocking in at 10%. I'm having a hard time believing that was 10%...well hidden to say the least.

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Photo of oberon
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep golden with chunks and floaties swirling about with a big fluffy head that leaves a nice amount of lace,yeasty,spicey aromas with some green apple in there but it is pretty light for a big beer.Spicey and yeasty up front with some underlying tropical fruit,finishes pretty sweet with the alcohol flavor slowly kreeping up as it warms.Not one of the best Belgian strong pale ales I have had but still a decent brew none the less.

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Photo of atigerlife
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with a small chunky white head. Decent head retention. Sparse carbonation rising.

Aroma of hops, hay and light fruit.

Taste was very sweet. Some honey, cherry, apple. Light hops and malt. Slightly medicinal.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied, creamy and cleansing.

Overall, a decent beer. Goes down easy. Not a beer I would have too many of due to its rather strong sweetness profile.

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Photo of Onslow
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

... kinda nice, good after a tiring day at work ..." if you label me, you negate me" ... tastes of honey, crunchies, dust, NA mead ... goes down easily, abv is well covered ... light orange-gold with a slight haze ... nothing that will blow you away but an enjoyable kinda tasty beer...

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Photo of HardTarget
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The same great flip-top ceramic bottle as the other St. Sebastiaan beers have.
Aroma: Dominated by the banana like smell I associate with the Weihenstephan yeast strain, on top of a fairly heavy malt sweetness.
Appearance: Clear straw color with a fluffy head that collared and laced.
Taste: Same as the smell, yeast really comes through a heavy malt, but not cloying. There is a significant alcohol burn in the aftertaste, but no hop bitterness noted. There is also a spicy, peppery bite.
Mouthfeel: Thick a touch heavy.
Overall: A good beer, but a bit out of style by my read. The lack of head, lacing took points off, and the mouthfeel is a bit heavy for the style. I also found it had a hard time hiding the substantial alcohol level. While that isn't a deal breaker, it took some points off my review. This is a good beer, rich, well made, fulfilling. It's a bit heavy for consistency drinkability, but a good treat now and then.

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St. Sebastiaan Grande Reserve from Brouwerij Sterkens N.V.
3.85 out of 5 based on 145 ratings.
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