Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
86
very good
97 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
St. Sebastiaan Grande ReserveSt. Sebastiaan Grande Reserve
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Sterkens N.V.
Belgium
sterkensbrew.be

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
97
Ratings:
145
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
18.44%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
10
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 97 | Ratings: 145
Photo of Drinkerofales
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy golden honey with a big dirty white head that dissipates rather quickly to leave some lacing.

Smell is Belgian yeast, and nutty bready malt. A light peppery smell is in the back ground.

Taste is yeasty tang, spice, a hint of citrus on the end accompanied with booze. This lessens with warmth.

Feel is smooth, carbonation makes it glide, but the finish bites you back and is a little tough. This effect also lessens with warmth.

A fine beer, just remember to drink it 20 minutes out of the fridge.

DOA

 518 characters

Photo of SLeffler27
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours slightly hazy, golden amber with energetic carbonation. A big, puffy, off-white head turns creamy as it settles, but never drops below half an inch. Big patches of lace are left behind on a Unibroue tulip glass.

There is some cedar and lemon with undertones of peach and spice. Yeast and funk are evident. Overall, the aroma is much fresher than anticipated.

Musty and much earthier in flavor than aroma. This is well balanced with sweetness, bitterness, sourness. It has a long, subtle finish of honey that eventually turns sour.

Dry with a medium to full body and tingly carbonation. Alcohol is perceptible, but surprisingly absent for a 10% beer.

St. Sebastiaan improves with warmth, reaching its best with cheese and cured meat. This one lacks the power and complexity I expect for its style.

 807 characters

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.

 533 characters

Photo of jayhawk73
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light gold color w/ a one finger white head. Good carbonation and lacing on my snifter. Fairly clear in appearance. There's no doubt this is a BSPA for looks. Nose is mainly Belgian yeast, malt, fruit, spices. It also has an earthy-ness to the nose that takes away from the smell for me. Taste is definitely fruit, spices, yeast and malt. Not my favorite in style, but not bad. Feel is carbonated, slightly syrupy, w/ a nice malt backbone that smooths things out. Overall, this is a good, although not quite great BSPA. Cheers.

 535 characters

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.

 278 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.

 448 characters

Photo of bskrtz
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 ounce ceramic flip top bottle served cold in glass beer challis

A) Spectacular hazy bronze that glows bright when held to the light. Dense with suspended floaties and yeast sediment. White puffy head turns quickly to lace

S) Baked apple stew. Very sweet with mild alcohol esthers

T) Clean and mildly bitter. Apple cider, citrus & pear blended with sweet honey. Surprizingly refreshing. Alcohol content is high yet muted.

M) Sparkling champaign with fine bottle conditioned carbonation that lasts and lasts.

O) Exceptional example of Pale Belgian Ale. Enjoy (if you can find it).

 588 characters

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.

 778 characters

Photo of impending
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml into a tulip. Pours a hazy orange honey, dense orange tinted head slow to subside, nice lacing.

Strong crisp aroma, seems a meld of a strong pale and a tripel. Lively, clean and complex. Much fruit, much floral and spice. Superb depth.

Taste has all the nuances of the nose and adds a pleasant alcohol warmth counter balancing the initial syrupy sweetness. All the hops were just for the scent. Finishes with little bitter or dry, simply fades away rather quickly. Full bodied mouthfeel. Warms well.
cheers
jd

 517 characters

Photo of claireoakhammer
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a - clear, golden color

s - wonderful bready nose, slight smell of alcohol, some tart and fruity notes coming through

t - fruity, bready, subtle and understated, some sharpness, definitely unique

m - full yet almost sparkling

d - totally drinkable. love it!

 261 characters

Photo of mexikrainian
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz cellar temp bottle poured into a Samuel Smith tulip.

Appearance: orange-yellow with thick, white foamy head and decent lacing.

Aroma: apples, cider, floral and peppery.

Flavor: acidic, apples, tart and earthy.

Mouthfeel: high carbonation with medium body and dry finish.

Overall impression: reminiscent of cider, though tart and fruity. very drinkable.

 363 characters

Photo of Fatheranderson
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First thing I have to say: this beer was absolutely excellent. It was the first Belgian produced Strong Ale I've ever tasted and it was definitely one of my top five favorite beers.

Appearance: a smooth, clean golden yellow, rather large and well defined head.

Smell: I distinctly smell apples, with the barest hint of freshly baked bread and flowers. Extremely warm and inviting scent.

Taste: Delicious is the first word that comes to mind. Apples, possibly a little raisin, maybe just a hint of pear, and bread are the predominate tastes, though the tiniest hint of hops is detectable. It might sound strange, but it tastes just like I assume Autumn in a Belgian village would taste like if a season in a village could have a flavor.

Mouthfeel: Lacks carbonation. Reminded me somewhat of Boddington's Pub Ale's mouth feel. That said, it really doesn't detract from the overall presentation of the ale. Also it feels somewhat syrupy which compliments the flavor perfectly.

Drinkability: Exceptional is the only word I can think of. It's amazingly easy to drink and is very refreshing while still complex enough to appeal to even the most discerning beer lover.

 1,166 characters

Photo of 4000qtrap
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Source/Serving: 16oz. bottle, rather old looking but in an opaque ceramic bottle.

Smell: caramelized pear, musky spice, a wiff of golden raisins. Thick with a blunted, subdued, overlapping notes. Moderately yeasty.

Taste: Slightly stale apple cider, a raisiny roundness and fullness, with a touch of pear/orange and spice. Moderately high sweetness. In the middle there is more apple cider with a significant amount of spicy mineral and orange peel bitterness and still lots of thick, ripe raisin and pear. Fairly stale and earthy overall and a little tart. Interesting overlap of flavors which blend and meld together with a subdued depth of flavor. The finish is quite spicy with sweet pear cider, yeasty but not bready, a hint of caramel and has a very thick, lingering character.

Notes: Subdued deliciousness. Great value.

 829 characters

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.

 812 characters

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the ceramic bottle into my Duvel goblet.

Appearance: Pours out a bit orange. Nice frothy white head, excellent lacing held up until the end.

Smell: Nice and mellow. A little fruit, a little bread, not too complex.

Taste: A big swig brings out the fruit (but not too sweet). I didn't taste the yeast as much as expected, a nice little tart kick in the taste buds shows up in the middle. The alcohol is hidden well and doesn't take away from the taste.

Mouthfeel: A bit light on the carbonation and a bit sticky, but not bad.

Drinkability: In my book I'd say it is pretty damn sessionable. It isn't expensive, it tastes good and makes me wish I bought at least one more.

 685 characters

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.

 477 characters

Photo of thekanna
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a strong gold color which settles into a nice orange-amber. About one finger of white head.

S: Belgian yeasts, spices; some faint apples, pears, and citrus fruits; somewhat like the smell of Westmalle Tripel. Floral aromas further liven it up and give it a sense of freshness.

T: Belgian yeasts with some strong peppercorns, coriander, citrus fruits, and pears. Candi sugar is present which gives it a nice sweetness, and spice definitely rounds it out.

M: Nice carbonated juiciness.

D: This is frankly one of the beer Belgian Strong Pale Ales I've had in a while. They seemed to have nailed down everything I love about the style perfectly.

 658 characters

Photo of bminor7
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle from Hoosick Beverage. Date is 9/11/11 on the back.

I remember having this and a couple other of the St Sebastiaan beers back in college. One of them made me feel high. I don't think this is that one.

A - pours a really interesting amber with touch of orange. some hiss when bottle opened, a good sign. light carbonation but good lacing. no extra bubbles in my duvel glass with an etched D in the bottom.

S - faint...smells almost like a tripel but everything is subdued. mainly spice and some malt. yeast is calmed.

T - agree with a previous reviewer who mentioned bubble gum. It has that same sticky sweetness. Apple. Bready malts. Some hops in there too. Mine had a strong tinge of iron, metallic flavor. this took away from the experience a little. I dont remember that flavor when I last had this. Probably just this bottle.

M - just syrupy enough for the style.

D - not bad! most beers of this caliber suffer from the complexity but this is toned back some. that said, it could use a little more complexity to push it in the A tier.

 1,058 characters

Photo of midnite2sixman
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a ceramic/stoneware bottle at Butch's in Holland, MI.

Poured during sunset turns into a nice hazy orange in my tulip glass. Globby lacing scattered throughout.

Nose: Rock candy, apples, citrus and spice, maybe how bout apple flavored bubble gum.

Taste: More of the citrusy apple, think of chewing on a piece of pink bubble gum while eating a slice of granny smith apple.

Mouthfeel: Surpisingly light, not too much carbonation, sweet finish.

Drinkability: I don't drink a lot of belgian's any more, i'll say, but i must stress that this beer is quite worth the money. Make sure it is consumed in the proper setting.

A Belgian benchmark.

Hot damn!

 667 characters

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.

 543 characters

Photo of sjclay00
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer says retired however I just drank a bottle today with the best by date being 12/01/11 from Oliver T's in Grand Blanc Michigan.

T- Mild somewhat smooth. I was suprised the ABV was 10%.
A- A darker blonde with a few yeast sediments floating. Nice head but did not stay very long.
S- Had a hard time detecting much smell. Fruity like. No hop smell present.
M- Crisp, thin, smooth. Carbonation was present

 412 characters

Photo of Dulliwhig
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I guess this beer came out of retirement (and I am glad it did!) I bought the 16 ounce ceramic bottle with the grolsch style replaceable cap. I poured this into a wine glass.

A - golden and hazy with sands of yeast that settle around the bottom of the glass. Decent off white head that laces a bit.

S - yeasty aroma, floral and spicy, a bit of fruit - not overwhelmingly powerful.

T - the first thing that hits me in the mouth is apples and maybe peach, spices and yeast are in there too. The flavor is good, but I would describe it as mild. It's amazing that you don't taste the alcohol more.

M - crisp and carbonated to exactly where I would want this beer to be.

D - this goes down very easy, you cannot detect the high ABV.

 732 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.

 378 characters

Photo of theboozecruise
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hmmm, interesting to find this one retired, I found some on the shelves locally yesterday. Very cool 16.9 oz. bottle with both a standard cap and the plunger variety to keep it sealed between pours.

Poured a golden amber hue with a one finger or so head, left a little lacing but not much.

The smell and taste were as expected for the style, spices, a little fruit, somewhat malty... very nice.

Far from my favorite Belgian ale but I'm certainly not disappointed... plus the 10.00% abv is exceptionally sneaky, making this very dangerously drinkable!

 554 characters

Photo of scootny
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a case I bought last year. Best before 2011. Ceramic resealable bottle suitable for homebrewing. No problem there only six left. This beer has cellared beautifully. A clear golden amber fluid that produces a large creamy head. Though it fades quickly it leaves good lacing. Some bubbling going on. Subsequent pours add yeast and cloudiness and better head retention.

Smell is honey, grape and apples. Light Belgian yeast funkiness. Clean malt sweetness.

Taste is just smooth. Honeyed malt and candy sugar. Sweet white grapes and apples. Yeast adds a bit of nuttiness. Finish is more smooth tastes. A bit short of crisp it is still dry. Hops are super mild. Clean with a light green apple sourness. Sweet rolls linger in the mouth. Alcohol is just peaking around the corners from time to time, never draws attention to itself.

Feel is cream and velvet. Delightful

Way to easy to drink a couple of these.

I gave some away and traded others. Now I'm holding on to the rest for a special time in a few years. Maybe I can find another case. If you can get some of this stuff grab it. Just a very good sneaky strong Belgian pale ale.

 1,139 characters

St. Sebastiaan Grande Reserve from Brouwerij Sterkens N.V.
3.85 out of 5 based on 145 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
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe