't Smisje Calva Reserva | Brouwerij Smisje

very good
162 Ratings
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't Smisje Calva Reserva't Smisje Calva Reserva

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Smisje

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jon on 11-26-2003

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Ratings: 162 |  Reviews: 111
Photo of mrunseen
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


This... this is a beer that if I would ever see again, I would buy as much as I could.

It cost about $6-$7, but it was amazing.

Poured a very nice deep brown/red, a bit murky... a bit creamy look to it. Very fine, grainy bubbles that stood the test of time and did not go flat through the lengthy enjoyment of the beer. Just held on excellent.

Smelled wonderful, had that calvados scent, bright apple and raspberry sort of tart smell, intermingled with wood and earth tones. Hints of pepper and vanilla.

The taste is great. I held on to a bottle for quite a while and it matured well. The calvados comes through in the front, it is sweet. A bit thick but not sticky. There is a soury tartness that cleans the palate. You really get a great pinch and peppery bite from the grains of paradise and the booze. There are cherries and apple, berries, brandy, oaky vanilla flowing through this beautiful brew. There is a slight dryness with the low tone sour and pepper bite.

Mouthfeel is great, as said it is sweet but not sticky. Which I love for the medium to slightly chewy body. The carbonation is fine and gritty. Adds kind of a crunchiness to it.

I can't believe this beer is not rated higher. It is definitely a dessert/cold autumn/winter to spring transition night beer. But I love this beer. One of my favorite Belgian Brewers, and by far my favorite of this brewer's beers that I have had.

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Photo of jim102864
4.85/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was a shot in the dark purchase, but given my love for Belgian Quads, a no brainer. And what a find it turned out to be.

The appearance of this special Quad was cloudy, chocolatey in color with a thin head and some specks of yeast floating in my Duvel tulip glass. Some sticky lace hugged the glass.

The nose was ripe with prunes, figs, raisens and other like dark, aged fruit and candy sugar. Truly a special aroma and classic for a dark quad such as this.

Taste was fruity, somewhat sweet with candy sugar and lively alcohol in the finish. Delicious.

Mouthfeel was full with notes of port and and aged fruit hugging the tongue and alcohol in the background.

Overall, a highly enjoyable and very special quad, meant to be savored in a proper glass. I will seek this one out again and again.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.74/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked one of these up at Mountview liquorafter Terry told me there was only 2 cases of it in the state.
I am drinking a room temp bottle and pouring into a chalice. Upon opening the beer I get some gushing foam out of the top. As quickly as possible I begin to pour the beer into my glass. The beer pours a hazy chestnut twinged orange with some white yeast sediment on the bottom of my glass. After the gushing opening, I am surprised at the rather small beige head of .5 cm that develops, The head fades to a sturday surface layer that does stick around through the sampling.
Aroma is complex with green apple, sour cherry, cloves, some general bready/biscuity scnets and a brief hit of white grapes and alcohol as well. First sip reveals a thick body and fine tingly carbonation. THe texture is actually almost syrupy or chewy. Flavor is tasty and complex with caramel, apples, white grape, and perhaps melon. Overall it is very fruity and sweet up front. I also get some warming alcohol on the finish in my belly.
Overall this beer is very easy to drink for being 12% and I enjoy it thoroughly. Definitely buy this if you can find it!

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Photo of Iguana
4.72/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tonights rainy, drizzly, cold made this seem like a good choice. Pour was a nice deep brown/ruby color with a 1 inch head that receded to lacing fairly quick. Smell is of raisins, and dark fruity sugars. Smells great. Taste blew me away, my initial taste right after I poured was like a smoky quad, but as it warmed up it got alot more complex and alot tastier. Dark fruit simmered in brown sugar is what I am tasting, simply amazing. Mouthfeel was silky smooth, and sweet, perfect for the style. Drinkability is only hindered by the fact this stuff is kinda hard to track down and the fact the bottle is so small. The 12% alcohol cant be detected in the taste but you can feel it warm ya up as ya go. This is a great beer and I would recommend it for anyone who is a fan of quads or belgian strong dark's. Now if only I can find more for me.

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Photo of bigred89
4.71/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of acoatley
4.71/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: hazey golden amber moderate head that dissipated quickly

aroma: sour cherries and heavy caramel malt buttery toffee and light coffee

Flavor: Rich toffee with walnut and pecans, a hint of port or marsala wine just a hint of warm alcohol excellent

Mouthfeel: creamy and smooth low carbonation and full body

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Photo of MissSmisje
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a stubby bottle with a red cab and purple label into HF tulip. Has been in the cellar for 2.5+ years.
L: beautiful garnet red/brown, with khaki, almost mocha head. Head is much less than other Smisjes, maybe one finger, not erupting out of the bottle, dissipates into a thin collar and island.
S: smells like a dry cidar, some raisins and plum, a tiny bit of malt.
T: apples predominate - fresh but not tart apples, and cooked apples. Some raisins and plum, and little raspberry. Oak. There is some tartness, but it is berry tartness, not apple tartness. Some caramel. A very faint trace of baking spices, but it could just be flavor association.
F: just about perfect, like thick apple juice, but not at all syrupy. Perfect for sipping. Light carbonation, but you can feel it.
O: I love this beer. It's undoubtedly more beer than cidar, and I love where it falls on that spectrum. My favorite smisje after the Double. So happy I have a few more socked away in the cellar. Very curious to see if it changes more, but would be happy if it stays as it is.

 1,071 characters

Photo of BeerBuilder
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour to a murky brown color with a bit of ruby highlights. It forms a thick, creamy tan head that leaves a lot of lacing when sipped down. The aroma is malty, brown sugar, rum soaked raisins & dates. It has a sweet candy-like aroma. A bit of alcohol is also present. Very nice.

The flavor is candy-like, with dark fruits and a brown sugar sweetness. It is full-bodied and warms the belly. It has a somewhat creamy texture, which makes it easy to sip despite its strength.

A really enjoyable sipping beer.

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Photo of CoreyC
4.66/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Approximately two year old bottle
A - Brown with light white head
S - Dark fruits and prominent Calvados
T - Really good strong dark stone fruits (raisin, plum, prune) as in other excellent BSDAs which are very much enhanced by the Clavados - excellent flavor
M - Nice, sticky
O - Exceptional BSDA

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4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely one of my all time favorites.
By the time I discovered this brew during the past summer only two bottles remained and the manager told me they didn't deal with the distributor any longer .Ughhhh :(
My friends from Belgium had never even tried this one before as they live in West Flanders and this brewery is in East .
I can't explain the smell and taste, but it has to do with these special barrels it's aged in and the spices .
Super delicious strong and dark Belgian that has a potent kick, but you will not taste the high abv.

Hoping to come across this one again one day, so I can stockpile them for years to come :)

Highest rating I've given yet , though I have not had many great ones and still have to review plenty that I have enjoyed :) Cheers !!

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Photo of tbrown4
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

8 oz. -> Ithaca tulip. Split with my buddy Greg on a brew day, just after final hop addition to an English barleywine.

A - Murky dark brown, just a little bit of a large bubble pressence. Not much carb.

S - Raisins, dark cherry, slight yeast

T - Woody, raisins, dark cherries, slight earthy pungent, light alcohol

M - Slight alcohol warmth, feels not as viscous and chewy as others in the style.

D - Easy sipper. 4 oz pour is enough, two servings from this bottle. This one did catch up on me after about 45 minutes. I'm going hunting for more to let sit for a while. Would be a good special occasion beer.

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Photo of evilcatfish
4.56/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big raisins on the nose with traces of alcohol, biscuit, spice and caramel. It pours hazy reddish brown under a 1” off white quickly dissipating foam cap. The palate is loaded with fruit and biscuit, sugary dark bread flavors, plum, traces of prune, and golden raisins in the aftertaste. Its creamy and silky smooth with a medium body and very luscious, fine soft carbonation.

 378 characters

Photo of WCKDVBZ
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at room temperature. Poured from a couple inches above the glass and no head formed, just some large bubbles around the edges. The aroma is fairly mild, a little bit of alcohol, but not like I expected. Some sweet raisiny smell in there as well. I thought it was going to be pitch black in color, but it's actually more of a glowing dark apple cider color. Wow, this beer is mellow, no bite to it, and the mouthfeel is silky smooth, although I could go for a little carbonation. The flavor is mild as well, especially so for a 12% beer. Raisins and mild apples soaked in dark rum. This is an incredibly good beer and deserves a higher overall rating, but I can't justify giving it a 5 in any category. I am incredibly impressed by how mellow and flavorful this beer is. I wouldn't drink it too cold or the flavors will be drowned by the alcohol.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours with a decent head, the last time I had this ( about a year ago ) it was almost totally still. Body is a slightly hazy amber. Aroma of apples, rum, raisins, plums, all well blended.

Taste is great, age has done this well. Not as sweet as it was last year, it is now malty sweet, rather than sugary sweet. It is bready, fruity(raisins/figs/apples), and warming on this snowy night. The calvados ageing is obvious. Mouthfeel is thick, and moderately carbonated, especially for the ABV. Drinkable as hell, the bottle has got to be like 8.5 oz. or so.

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Photo of silenius
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I always expect something special to come from tiny bottles. This beer met those expectations.

The pour is a bit cloudy and muddled and topped off with a light brown growing head that relaxes back into a thin blanket with lace. I was surprised it was so murky looking - almost like a very dark unfiltered apple cider. Sort of a dullish brown.

Smell is quite pleasant with many aromas. I get toffee, peanut butter, tangerines, peanut brittle, and something slightly woody.

Taste is quite malty sweet, but not cloying in any way. Very much a dessert beer! It hits me with a dense fruity sweetness and a caramel maltiness that is really mouthcoating. Somewhere in there I get some notes of cinnamon. The aftertaste has a light woody bitterness that wraps things up nicely.

Mouthfeel is plush and velvety soft like the backseat of a big ol' Cadillac.

Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have no clue where I got this beer. I wish I had purchased a second one. The beer was served in my trusty Hamms chalice.

Appearance: The beer pours a slightly hazy chestnut brown coloration. The head was a very short lived white coloration. The head quickly resolved to a thin ring of foam. No lacing was left behind on my glass.

Smell: This beer has a strong malty caramel/ vanilla aroma. This combines very well with the apple, pear and berry fruityness of the beer. The alcohol is very spicey and almost gives the beer a bourbon character. In short this beer smell very nice!

Taste: The beer delivers a most excellent carameled apple and dates combination. The beer has plenty of malty sweetness. The oak/ vanilla taste wonderful. The alcohol is noticeable but not obnoxious.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is full bodied and very syruppy. Overall this was a very enjoyable and drinkable beer drink. I wish I had another one of these. If you like Quads or Belgian Strong ale you will most likely like this one.

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Photo of claaark13
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 bottle, 25cl. Poured into a Bell's tulip. Approx. 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Jedwards, thanks for another great bottle that I never knew existed.

A - Dark brown pour, not much light is getting through at all. 1/2" or more of head, slowly but surely dissipates. Lacing retains even now, which is about 45 minutes after the pour. Pretty good looking beer.

S - I could smell it as soon as it started coming out of the bottle. Dark fruits, mild licorice and esters. As it airs out for a few moments, a swirl gives me what I believe are apples. Yes, green (not sour) apples. Very pleasant. Slight amount of cherries.

T - Yep, cherries and apples are coming out. Cherries start and meld into a slight amount of boozy cherries, going into apples....then a pretty dry finish. There is a mild Belgian dark ale in the distant back-flavor. About 1/2 way through each sip, the calva barrel esters start to appear and then turn into apples. It is pretty unique. There is a mild amount of sweetness, but nothing that really stands out. Great balance, smooth, and the noticeable esters are very welcome.

M - Smooth until towards the end, when the slight booze and dryness come out. Medium body that fits perfectly with the rest of the beer. It could work if a little thicker, but I like it how it stands. This is extremely drinkable. I think that red wine drinkers would go crazy of this one.

O - Pretty good beer here. Well balanced, the barrel aging adds favorable and unique layers, the sweetness is low and allows for the other flavors to come out, the mouthfeel fits well. I will get more of this one. I am very happy with it. My only concern is that I've reviewed a beer that is 7 years old and I'm not sure how a fresher one will fare. I can see a younger bottle being hot and something more around the B+ range. I will know soon enough.

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Photo of corby112
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark red/brown color with hardly any head at all. Tart aroma of cherries, grape, blackberry, raisin and plum. Sweet fruit taste perfectly balanced out with strong alcohol flavor rendering it not too sweet. A touch sour in the finish. Very good!

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Photo of fartingdog
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown with a very thin head. Light carbonation. Smell oaky and faintly sweet, you can tell it's gonna be strong. Tatses oaky, candi-sweet, dried fruit, with a bit of bitterness, bourbon notes. First thought was 'delicious'! There's some alcohol warming- no disguising the strength, but it is extremely drinkable. Not much carbonation, but not flat either.

This is a wonderful barrel-aged Belgian beer. Sure wish I could get more of this.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark burgundy color, utterly opaque....nestled 'neath a solid, if thinnish cap of tannish foam.

Aroma: sweet, tart, pungent, cherryish, lemony, deep, twisted, delicious...love it.

Taste it, now: huge presence in the mouth, floods every section of the senses with intense flavors, vast citric feel, sharp, spicy, somewhat sweet taste...brandy and barleywine comes to mind...big plum and grape...a little oaky, but fruit and alcohol reigns supreme.
The 12 % abv becomes king in time, but the flavor there remains Lord of All. Wow. If you want a tasty ride for mind and body...grap onto a bottle of this one!

...it's almost "too strong"..but, then, it's not...it's huge, but...I like that!

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Photo of rallison
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red brown with a 1 finger off-white head that leaves some interesting lacing. Smell is of Belgian Candi Sugar, raisins, dates and toffee.

Taste is quite interesting, and very nice. Lots of Belgian Candi sugar, with port wine soaked raisins, toffee and other dark fruits. No hops whatsoever, with an overall sweetness. Nice touches of oak. Some alcohol, but that seems to have mostly mellowed by this point. Rich and delicious.

Mouthfeel is beautifully rich and creamy. A wonderful after dinner sipper. Drinkability, while not perfect, is pretty good on this one - especially considering the high alcohol and oak aging.

Highly recommended. I believe this bottle has aged for a while - picked it up at Stuffed Sandwich a few months ago - so that I think has really helped this one out. If you see this, give it a try.

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't Smisje Calva Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
3.92 out of 5 based on 162 ratings.
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