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

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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 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 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 zeff80
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, orange/copper color with a very foamy, thick, three-finger head. It left sticky patches of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled earthy and of dried fruits - apple and some pear.

T - Very tasty Belgian ale with biscuity malts, dried fruits (mostly apple) and a spicy yeast kick.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth finish. A medium bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty good Belgian brew. A bit steep on the price but still good.

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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 superspak
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce ceramic bottle into tulip glass, best before 4/12/2017. Pours slightly hazy golden orange color with a 2 finger fairly dense and fluffy white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon zest, orange peel, apricot, pear, apple, light banana, clove, pepper, honey, biscuit, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, earthy hops, and pale malt sweetness; with solid strength. Taste of lemon zest, orange peel, apricot, pear, apple, light banana, clove, pepper, honey, biscuit, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Good amount of earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon/orange zest, apricot, pear, apple, light banana, clove, pepper, honey, bread, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and balance and fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy hop flavors; with a crisp malt/yeast spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and fairly prickly/dry mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming well after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Belgian strong pale ale. All around good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of russpowell
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Retired?? Oh well this seems to be trend with my & Belgian beers lately. Date code of 15/15/11

Pours bronze/amber with 1+ finger of off white head. Hazed up up a little a the end, probably sediment. Zero head retention & lacing

S: Perfumy hops, pineapple, honey

T: Dryness, lemons & grapefruit & some apple skin up front. Once this warms I get dryness, dates, figs, honey & more citric hops. Finishes dry, with lemony, pineapple & date notes, plus boozey warmth

MF: Slick, with stickiness at the very end, with moderate carbonation & medium body

Drinks really easy for the ABV & style. A pretty good example of the style, albeit a little fruittier than, say Duvel. Shame this is retired. I'm not sure how well this would hold up four years from now though

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearnce: lovely, light peachy color, with a firm, proud, creamy head.
Aroma: big on the citrus!, though sweet, and loaded with fruit (grapefruit, peach, orange), rich, sweet, yet sour.
Very well-rounded fruit overall, altogether a mellow brew, perfectly integrated, but acking in any complexity.
Tasty texture, full-bodied, luscious yeast element, very delicious and easily drunk down.
But, however, the trouble is that I have reservations about exactly how Grande this might suppose itself to be. I've had it many times over the years, and remember a better, more transendent experience than this. A representative from the importer/distributor revealed to me that the brewer had purposefully cut back on the recipe and "farmed out" the brewing to cut back on costs, making it far less dramatic in flavor. Such a shame, nothing Grande about it. But, despite that, a nice ale, anyway.

 890 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Style points go out for the classy bottle that this one comes in. Pours a hazy light golden with a slight green apple tint. Leaves tons of fine wispy lacing and sheeting. Nose is a soft sweet, fruity spicy blend. Soft mouthfeel, notes of melon, honey, pepper, alcohol evident. Tasty, strong, sharp and crisp. Lovely creation in brewing. get some of this stuff and enjoy.

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a true gold color with a lacey off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a strong alcohol scent, accompanied by Belgian pale ale malts and fruity Belgian yeast; very nice. The taste is good. It has a pretty basic malt structure with some fruity yeast and a dry, warm finish. It has a nice flavor. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine brew. It goes down easy with pleasure.

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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.

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Photo of Zorro
4.82/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy light brown ale with a fair white head. This looks exactly like apple cider.

Smell is a little sweet with a big fruity scent. Apples, spice, pine and a whiff of brandy are in this.

Taste is mildly sweet and very spicy in the first sip. Flavor of brown sugar and pineapple are dominant at first. Noticeable alcohol flavor but it isn't very strong. Cinnamon stick, allspice, mace, cloves, ginger, malt, and powdery yeast are all in the flavor of this one. Very quickly the sweetness disappears and leaves only spice in your glass. At the end it tastes a LOT like a spiced rum drink, and that isn't a bad thing at all.

Mouthfeel is very good, perfect in fact.

OK this was an excellent beer experience. If it has a defect it would be the color and intensity of the flavor. I absolutely enjoyed this, the bottle cost $11 and it was worth it! Strange that this is listed as retired, every little shop in Solvang California sells this stuff. I neglected trying this for more than a year because of the bottle, I thought it was just a gimmick to sell second rate Belgian 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 ppoitras
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz bottle purchased at Domaney's Wines & Liquors, Great Barrington, MA. Nice ceramic bottle with flip-top cover to use after cracking the bottle cap open.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 3/4" beige head over the light amber brew, with floaties present. Head is frothy and holds on strong, probably due to rigorous carbonation, with nice heavy lacing. Aroma is sweet malts, with spicy notes, and maybe a tad of veggie. Flavor is spicy yet sweet pale malts, closing with a slight warming. Mouthfeel is good, creamy, possibly seems a bit thin, with excellent drinkability. Can't believe this is 10%abv, could be dangerously good.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz ceramic like bottle into my Leffe Goblet.

Appearance- Poured a fizzy head only a couple of millimeters thick which eventually recedes to a ring around the beer foam with a little film in the middle. Colro is a pale orange peel color mingled with a lot of sediment. If there was any lacing, I couldn't see it with all the debris.

Smell- Just a gneral, sweet, sugary fruit. Couldn't put a specific on any of this beers rather subdued smells.

Taste- I find the abundant flavor of vanilla to be very surprising after having as many Belgian pale ales as I've had. Vanilla mixed with vanilla and honey. A few earthy notes here and there, but mostly sweet. Not barlyer wine sweet just to clarify. But a candi sweet beer.

Mouthfeel- A good overall general sweetness. A medium amount of carbonatio felt on the sides if the tongue.

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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 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.

 499 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer pours a nice lightly hazed orange amber color with a two finger billowy white head. The head has a fantastic level of retention, slowly fading to leave some great levels of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is strongest of a sweet biscuit malt smell being a mix of toasted Belgian malt smells mixed with some sweeter caramel and bubblegum like aromas. Along with these aromas are some other fruitier notes of a lighter fruit variety. Apple, pear, apricot and citrus are all there and are joined by a bit of a banana smell brought along by a yeasty smell. Along with these aromas are some very light alcohol/boozy smells and a little bit of coriander and clove.

Taste – The taste begins with somewhat fruity and biscuity taste. The fruit is a mix of apricot, pear, grape and banana which overall bring a moderate level of sweetness to the brew. The fruity flavors remain throughout the taste, but the sweetness associated with them seems to lessen as the biscuit takes on a slightly grainier flavor and some more bitter lemon and a bit of grassy and hay come to the tongue. Toward the end however, the sweeter flavors seem to kick back in with a bit of a honey and caramel coming to the tongue. Along with these sweeter flavors, so too comes some spice of clove and coriander, and with a little bit of a alcohol taste, the brew ends up leaving a somewhat warming and grainier biscuity fruited flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the medium side for a brew of 10 % abv. with a carbonation level that is average as well. Overall the body and carbonation are rather decent for the brew’s style, although a slightly higher carbonation may have been a bit better for the slightly grainy biscuit and lighter fruit flavors of the brew.

Overall – An alright Belgian Strong Pale ale, but at almost $8.50 for the smallish (16 oz?) ceramic gasket resalable bottle (which is pretty cool) it is rather overpriced. A good one to try, but not worth going back to again, as there are better (and far less pricy) Belgian strong pale’s out there.

 2,165 characters

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.

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pour a clear deep amber, the head is mediorce, the lace spare, the color off white. Nose is malt, citrus tones, light hints of bubble gum. Front is malt, sweet, the top is medium, the finish is acerbic, dry, the 10% ABV, is felt in the "Tummy" and the long lasting alcohol bitter aftertaste. "Works for me!", as I like my beers pungent and brawny. Ranks #504 on my current 1000 beer master list.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz ceramic flip-top bottle pours a very clear gold color with a fluffy, white head. Bubbly and fades at a pretty rapid pace and does not leave much lacing.

Nose is very fruity with some white bread...Yoda thinks strong the yeast is, hrrum? Honeyed grains and alcohol are the secondary aromas I am getting.

Taste is smooth for a 10%'er. The fruit backs off a bit and lets some of the subtle biscuit and grain flavors to come through. Bread dough is there as well as some tropical notes from the alcohol. Mouthfeel is nice and rich, starts zesty and finishes dry and quick. A nice example of a BSPA, little fruitier than a Duvel and definitely less hoppy, but nearly rivals the benchmark of the style in terms of overall enjoyability. This one flies under the radar for sure.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz bottle into Chimay goblet.

A: A slow pour yielded a lively carbonated thick white head that slowly reduced into a fizzy film floating over light orange liquid.
S: Light fruits, green apples, Belgium spices and Belgium yeast, citrus, oranges, roses and other flowers.
T: Light citrus orangey taste with heavy undertones of malt and spices. Yeast notes come through in the finish but are subtle. Notes of green apple juice and raisin bread.
M: Medium bodied that's slick with a touch of syrupiness and a lot of fizzy bubbly carbonation. The alcohol and spices nip at your throat with the last swallow in a good way.
D: This is a very mellow and drinkable Belgium strong pale. It has light flavors that make this beer go down easier than others. It also masks the alcohol content extremely well. Recommended.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Orangish-brown body with a nice head that laced the glass.

Smell – There’s a nice, light, spicy fruit aroma from this one. The melons, peaches, oranges, and apricots are touched off with a bit of coriander and cinnamon. The (very) lightly toasted malt backbone is present as well, but this is all about the fruit.

Taste – This is big flavor. The multitude of spices are out in force, deeply soaked in the light fruits from the nose along with cranberry and apple juice. The malt fades a bit at the tongue.

Mouthfeel – This is lightly carbonated and medium-bodied. The alcohol is there, but comes out more like a light, fruity mixed drink that’s been spiced with white rum.

Drinkability – This one is big on the melons and (especially) peaches, similar to its “Golden” cousin, which makes it go down smooth.

Update – I first rated this in 2003. Oh, Lawdy, have I been a BA that long? Anyway, here we are four years later and it tastes almost exactly the same. If nothing else we have to award points for consistency. Nice job, Sterkens!

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Photo of cokes
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Auburn-infused golden hued with a large bubbled head that wastes itself away in a matter of minutes.
Sugarcane, ginger, honeyed apricots and sweet melons on the nose.
The taste progresses through distinct stages. Flows through the mouth with a honey-drenched cantaloupe sensation immediately. Spicing invades. Peppery and savory. Fruit returns via lightly scorched pineapples. Spicing appears again, but more intense. Still light herbal, leafy and peppery, but it wipes the mouth clean of any sweetness. Continuing this wet-dry / sweet-bitter cycle, raw sugar begins to develops, coupling with something that hints at orange juice. However, the hopping does not allow it to come to fruition, as it sweeps down, and rinses the palate clean. Almost out of spite, a light honeyed sensation develops post-swallow.
Alcohol is of little notice for a 10% brew, but shows up on occasion by way of vodka hues.
Meaty bodied, just shy of full with stunted carbonation.
The drying qualities are both a savior and a distraction. This one seems to be pulling in two different directions. The end result is tasty and very drinkable, but I have the impression that this could have been even more. I'm just not sure what.
Nice brew, regardless. Nice bottle too.

 1,251 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark honey colored brew in the goblet with a small head that lingered.
Smell of malt, oak and a faint fruitiness.
Taste was malty, oakey, alcohol (noticeable but not overpowering) and some fruit at the end which became more noticeable as it warmed. Nicely complex as one might expect.
Medium body, smooth, lightly effervescent. Very drinkable, the only restrain being the ABV. Definitely a fine brew.

 405 characters

Photo of srandycarter
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear straw, stark white head, tight bubbles, not much cling.

S - Light juicy fruit, malt.

T - Fruitiness and esters more prominent, bittered nicely.

M - Light body, good carb and balance. The alcohol is well hidden.

D - An enjoyable beer. Would try again.

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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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