Bitter Sweet Symphony | Brouwerij 't Gaverhopke

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24 Reviews
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Bitter Sweet SymphonyBitter Sweet Symphony

Brewed by:
Brouwerij 't Gaverhopke

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Blanco on 08-11-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 96
Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Explodes with a five+ finger off-white head that fades leaving some lace. Hazy amber color with some yeast left in bottle. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Citrusy and yeast nose, flavor is almost sweet citrus, Belgian yeast and a nearly clean finish. $2.95 for a 330ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

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Photo of CowsandBeer
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 stubby bottle poured into a Tired Hands teku. Lot numer A with a best before end of 2017. Hopefully that means it’s somewhat fresh! Opens with a loud hiss and begins to slowly foam out of the glass. Left the bottom of the beer in the glass as it was all milky looking yeast.

Appearance: Pours a huge, rocky head of about four fingers (not unlike a DeDolle or Orval) atop a hazy dark orange body. Head recedes to a fizzy white cap.

Aroma: Huge aromas of resiny pine, white peach, tart lime, and orange peel poke up front with a sweet, doughy malt backbone. There’s a nice white pepper note in the background that separates this from just a regular ol’ IPA. Really nice bright aroma that pulls you in.

Taste: They really hopped up this beer as much as they could. Up front those same resiny citrus notes but here with an accompanying bitterness. Sticky citrus hops, herbal hops, slight peppery yeast, straw and sweet malts. While this is a sweet beer it’s cut by the coarse, drying hoppyness. Odd metallic note (iron?) that pops up now and again.

Mf: This beer is so carbonated that it makes what feels like would be a medium body like pure foam. Finishes dry and coarse.

Overall: Outstanding aroma of bright citrusy hops with complimentary yeast hanging out in the background (not unlike a Grimm beer). Sweet malts and a present alcohol note like you’d expect out of any DIPA. While this makes for a great beer unfortunately it’s so over carbonated it’s like drinking a really foamy beer. If they’d tone down the carbonation this could be really great beer; as it is it’s not the easiest beer to enjoy.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: A cloudy brew with a superior thick white head that settles maybe after tn minutes of sipping. Slight uneven lacing but thats okay, with medium to heavy bubbles on the body. Head upon initial pour was at the very least two finger's length.

Smell: Hard lemon skin scent, comes and goes but very pleasant to inhale.

Taste: Comlex sour taste, smooth yeast feel that is not overly bitter.

Mouth: Comes off a bit dry, hard lemon feel at the end which is hard to pinpoint where most consumers might comes to an agreement except the fact that it stays very sticky.

Overall: Good brew and honestly would pick up again if I found it. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Salud!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY. Appears to be a collaboration with Tired Hands.

Pours with a friggin' massive head, about 4 inches, and it sticks around for a solid amount of time. This one was really hard to pour.

Pours a dark, almost reddish orange- like a slightly variation of the color inside of a grapefruit.

Smells like citrus, lemon peel, with huge herbal undertones, a bit of pine and moss.

Tastes great. The hop attack in this one keeps the Belgian yeast from overpowering, keeping it fairly clean. The yeast is still there, bringing peppery flavors, and the malt is slightly visible, manifesting itself as the candied part of a candied grapefruit. Slightly soapy finish.

This one is creamy as hell, due to the persistent head. It finishes slightly dry, though. Nice mouthfeel.

One of the best Belgian IPAs I've ever had, if not the best. Perfect balance of hop flavor and Belgian yeast- it doesn't clash like the style can sometimes do.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: medium amber and hazy - let some of the yeast from the bottle slip in - a few fat fingers of head; nice persistence and lacing

S: grassy spices, flowers, and hints of citrus; sweet grain malts percolate from beneath

T: grains and hops in the fore, presenting chewy slightly sweet grains and mildly bitter, herbal and floral hops, with some yeastiness to give it a rustic character and some spice to give it some sparkle

M: medium-bodied, lively carbonation and spice tingles, slight chew

O: a good Belgian IPA (DIPA, by the label) - typical Belgian craftsmanship, but nothing really sets this ale apart from or above the rest. Definitely worth a buy and try.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into Tired Hands tulip glass

A- pours a clean deep-golden color with a big two-finger frothy and pillowy white head that retains long after the pour, carbonation bubbles shooting up the glass

S- pilsener malt aroma base with some musty and earthy aromas, grassy & fruity hops with a phenolic finish

T- classic Belgian IPA flavor; spicy and peppery yeast up front with hints of phenols, grassy and herbal hops, fruity notes of lemon and citrus, earthy notes with a musty dry finish, with a hint of peppery spice

M- medium body with light-medium carbonation leads to a soft and foamy mouthfeel, finishing smooth and creamy with just a touch of alcohol

O- high drinkability on this one, probably because it's pretty well balanced for an IPA. It definitely delivers on everything I look for in a Belgian IPA

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, best before 2016. Pours moderately hazy/cloudy bright orange color with a 2 finger dense white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big orange peel, pear, apricot, pepper, floral, grass, light pine, bread, and grass/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hops and fruity/earthy yeast notes; with good strength. Taste of orange peel, pear, apricot, pepper, floral, grass, biscuit, light pine, and grass/yeast earthiness. Good amount of peppery yeast and grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of orange peel, pear, apricot, pepper, floral, grass, light pine, biscuit, and grass/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of bready malt, hops, and fruity/spicy yeast flavors; with a a crisp malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly sticky/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Belgian IPA. All around good complexity and balance of hops, bready malt, and fruity/spicy yeast flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of pkalix
4.48/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

nice color of opaque yellow, good head on top and lots of effervescence.
smells of candy, Belgian yeast and slight hop.
taste is sweet, with a tangy bitterness following as it goes down. Belgian yeasts, some pilsner malts(?) and hops. some fruit, maybe oranges? basically, a standard, tasty, Belgian brew which calls itself a DIPA. or, a BELGIAN DIPA.... very good. very easy to drink, good flavor and nothing extraordinarily striking or off-putting. like a Duvel, but with some different kind of spice. very good overall and perfect for the abv level.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.36/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into St. Bernardus goblet while listening to Bitter:Sweet. Lot B-16.

A: White, clean, fluffy, beautiful head. Slightly hazy, nut-brown, glowing.

S: Floral-sweet Belgian yeast. Grassy.

T: Pleasant! Light, vaguely spicy. The endtaste is odd. Earthy, dirty, brackish, and bitter. On second blush, a bit watery and bland, with the exception of the strong Belgian spiciness. Maybe this is just really old and the dirtiness is faded English hops.

O: Interesting, but underwhelming. Not recommended; would not have again.

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Photo of argock
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from an 11.2 oz brown stubby bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. No freshness date evident. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Fairly clear light golden with amber overtones capped by a 2-finger, nearly white tightly-bubbled head with good retention and a few spots of lace at the top of the pour. There are plenty of floaties despite a careful pour. I had to leave about 20% of the beer in the bottle due to the yeast stowaways.

S: Fresh aroma of lemon and orange citrus with some tangy Belgian yeast bite, lightly but pleasantly phenolic, with a barely sweet pale malt grainy sweet aroma. There are some appricot and peach notes in there are well.

T: A really enjoyable Belgian pale ale, I would not call this one a Belgian IPA myself as the hopping, malt, and yeast components are very well-balanced. The yeast component is a little earthy but tangy with a light phenolic bite, nothing like most overly Belgian-yeast dominated Belgian IPAs produced in the good ole US of A. The Belgian pilsner malt must be blended with a bit of light caramel malt as there is a perfect touch of caramel sweetness before the last lemon, orange, and grapefruit citrus kicks in in the finish. Bitterness is light-medium. A wonderfully crafted beer.

M: The mouthfeel is light for the pretty big ABV, with some fine carbonation and a no astringency to speak of, and it is moderately to very dry.

O: The name of this beer is on the money -- bitter but balanced with subtly sweet Belgian pale, pilsner, and caramel malts to build a cohesive, impressive beer. Take care of some of the excess yeast, and this is a very tough beer to beat.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: cloudy golden orange with fair amount of head, retention good with lacing. Shoulda known better with a Belgian, but got sediment into the pour
S: light, with hints of orange
T: light malty taste up front, effervescent tingle on the tongue, not too overpowering in any way. Little more sweet than dry, with floral notes, little lemon at the end - but very slight
M: carbonation plays on the tongue at first. Not strong feel after, just a light draw on the sides of the tongue
O: Nothing stands out as extraordinary in this beer, but also, nothing at all is wrong. To me it's a very solid offering that I'd have again as a refreshing, tasty drink any time.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy, yeasty orange body with dense head that dies slow and left lace patches. I pick up the yeast in the aroma as well, and some Belgian spice but also a nice little bit of citric hops. Really smooth body that is light and easy to drink, I get a good amount of sweetness and easy drinking ability from the heavy yeast concentration as well as touches of sweet fruit that'll I use the generic term "tropical fruit". Like your typical Belgian ale in that you might also say the sweetness is derived from candi sugar and there's some spce and citric/orange flavors, but the hops do come out and give it a sharp hoppy edge that finishes crisp (also well carbonated). I like the balance in this beer and really enjoyed it but the double IPA moniker seems to be a bit of a misnomer when compared to overly hopped American DIPAs.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy yellow orange. Nice white head. Wispy.

Smell - Very grassy and herbal. Some yeast. Grain and a touch of sweet malt.

Taste - Extremely herbal hop presence. Sweetness comes through next. Slight graininess. Otherwise creamy. Herbal flavor persists throughout. Mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and well carbonated. Slightly bitter with a medium body.

Overall - Love this style and this is a pretty good example of the style. Could be hoppier.

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Photo of Brenden
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A golden-yellow color that's not marred by the murkiness in the depth, further complemented by swirling and settling yeast sediment, this beer screams pure and unfiltered. It develops a nice head that rises over a finger and settles for a while. Lacing clings all over the place in rings, legs and paces to the bottom of the glass.
Belgian yeast is in moderation, as is the hopping for a beer claiming "double" status, though it certainly couldn't be deinied that it is hoppy. Drink it in the same setting with some big, really hoppy beers, though, and it'll be on the lighter, softer side. It doesn't do it too much discredit, as it balances very nicely and displays a nice sweetness that the bitterness that is there offsets.
The ripe fruits and citrus balanced by light earth and breads with a bit of spiciness make up a nicely complex flavor. A bit more bright citrus ad bitterness from the hops would push this into territory few beers are in, but it remains a good one nonetheless.
The body is light but creeps into medium territory with a rolling creaminess that comes off a steady carbonation to work alongside a crisp bite.

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Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation along with lots of miniscule yeast particles floating in suspension. It poured with a two finger high dense light beige head that has excellent retention properties and consistently left a sizeable head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of Belgian yeast in the nose along with some hints of citrusy hops.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of Belgian yeast and orange citrus along with notes of apricots and some hints of spices towards the finish, although the yeast is what really lingers in the aftertaste. A light amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied and both smooth and chewy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is an interesting beer in which the alcohol is very well hidden.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.48/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. Utterly amazing. This is hands down the smoothest Belgian IPA I've ever had. Ever. The hop tones are very gentle, which would make me think it was only a Belgian IPA and not a "double". (at 7.8%, can it really be a double??) The marriage of styles between Belgian and IPA is without a flaw. Certainly, there could be a bit more punch, but we'll ignore that American expectation of mine and enjoy this for what it is. Gaverhopke is my favorite brewery for a reason. It was a pleasure being able to try this one. Funny label too.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very hazy to cloudy golden yellow to orange in color with significant amounts of dark visible yeast sediment in suspension. The beer has a three finger tall dense off-white head that reduces to a dense quarter finger head covering the entire surface of the beer. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of pale malts with orange/citrus hops, light fruit, powdery yeast, and some spices. Similar to a tripel hiding under some hops.

T: Very similar to the smell with a certain light sweetness from the pale malts. There are hints of light fruits with a light amount of orange/citrus hops which does not give a lot of bitterness. There is a moderate amount of powdery yeast flavors. Again, similar to the tasty of a hoppy tripel.

M: Just a hint shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin, lightly coats the inside of your mouth, and light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: This is a very interesting beer with a complex smell and taste. The alcohol is pretty well hidden considering the 7.8% ABV. Enjoyable and easy to drink though not a sessionable beer, one that you have to take your time sipping.

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Photo of bfields4
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy golden body. Large frothy off-white head. Leaves a nice lace.

Very pungent aroma. A little citrus from the hop, but more of that resiny hop aroma. A bit of caramel.

Nice flavor more of that caramel malt, but still heavy on the resiny hop. A bit of orange and slightly fruity.

Good simple flavors that work very well together. more of a traditional IPA from a Belgian brewer than what I've come to expect from Belgian IPAs. I thought this was a delicious brew. Alcohol is also very well hidden.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a slightly cloudy bright orange amber. A carefull pour yields a massive three finger off-white head with good retention and massive lacing. Muted aroma of sweet malt, citrus hops and light fruit. Flavor is light fruit; peach and apricot, caramel, overlaid with hop bitterness and tripel spicing. Finishes with dry toffee, fruit and hops. Lives up to its name with a nice blend of sweet fruit and neutral hop bitterness. Lively carbonation and medium body provides a nice mouth feel. A refreshing and interesting take on an Belgian ale / IPA. Well done.

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Photo of John_M
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Max's during the annual Belgian fest event. This was one of the true surprises (in a good way) during this event.

The beer pours a solid gold color with very good head retention and considerable sticky lacing. This beer has a very intriguing nose, showcasing an unusual blend of honey, gin, lime and cherry orange citrus. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this beer, and once again I'm picking up considerable gin, lime and now tea leaves. The complex flavor array in this beer is truly amazing and unsual, and I'm really digging it. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit lean, but with a long, complex, slightly hoppy finish. Alcohol is somewhat noticeable, but not overly so. Also, the light bitterness in the finish seemed to perfectly balance the modest sweetness in this beer.

Wow! Like nothing I can recall ever having before. It's beers like this that make the event at Max's so much fun to attend!

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Photo of yourefragile
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found a fresh shelf of squat 33 cL bottles on the shelf at Wine Source in Baltimore. I assume this is a few months old now and wish I could have found this sooner/fresher. Served in a Duvel collection tulip.

Pours a dark, murky rust-orange color with a large frothy off white head. Fades moderately quickly to a thin layer and a few clumps of lace. Despite a careful pour, still an abundant amount of sediment. Mildly sweet, bready aroma, Belgian yeast, ripe fruit, light citrus and orange hops. Lighter medium body with soft carbonation and a watery, slightly bitter/cardboardy finish. Sweet flavor, light phenols, bready malt and yeasty fruitiness before turning to a musty, stale finish. Very little hop presence unfortunately. I'd like to try a fresher sample or one that has aged a little more gracefully than the bottle I had.

edit: After speaking to Jean, this is a new batch, but less hoppy than the first

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Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out with a big explosive white colored head on top. The body was a nice yellow color until the sediment mixed in and darkened it up a little bit. The lacing on this brew was nice and sticky looking. The smell of the beer was also quite present and inviting. The aromas of Belgian yeast and hops come together and create a bready citrus floral aroma. The taste of the beer was hoppy, really good amount of sweetness and bitterness from start to finish. The mouthfeel had a good amount of body to it and was very drinkable. Overall this brew was quite nice, I'd probably buy this one again if the mood struck me.

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Photo of avalon07
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had a murky, dull orange color and a thick texture. Lots of sediment. There was a big, creamy, long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: Smelled mainly of hops, possibly with a bit of fruit mixed in as well. Not an overpowering aroma, but pleasant enough.

T: A very hoppy (at least for a Belgian beer) flavor, with a slightly fruity aspect to it. There was a little bit of malt in there, as well as some yeast. An interesting flavor, not what I was expecting.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a super smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is one of those easy to like beers - well made and not at all harsh to drink.

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Photo of Blanco
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a collaboration with Tired Hands Brewing.

Beer pours a dark orange, almost red color. Very cloudy. Huge fluffy white head that was difficult to keep in the glass, which only very slowly disspates and leaves some stickiness on the walls.

Smells is lightly hoppy upfront. Hops are somewhat generic in that they don't smell fruity, citrusy or piney. Stronger whiffs seem more like a tripel is hiding underneath.

flavor is well balanced and the hops go smoothly with the malt. Hints of fruit though dry at the same time. Flavors are hard to describe but simple. Medium bodied with slight mouthcoating.

The description of the beer on the bottle is "Belgian Ale Double IPA." I don't really get the "double" out of this one, though the ABV clocks in at 7.8%. But this is what I would envision a true Belgian IPA should taste like. I've had far too many of the style that I didn't enjoy, the kind that make me feel like someone poured an IPA in my tripel, but this one truly shines.

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Bitter Sweet Symphony from Brouwerij 't Gaverhopke
4 out of 5 based on 96 ratings.
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