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

Subscribe now!

't Smisje Calva Reserva | Brouwerij Smisje

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
88
very good
111 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
't Smisje Calva Reserva't Smisje Calva Reserva
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Smisje
Belgium
smisje.be

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
111
Ratings:
162
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
17.6%
 
 
Wants:
10
Gots:
9
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 111 | Ratings: 162
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Squat 11.2oz bottle picked up at the Coop more than a week ago and refrigerated ever since.... poured into my Chimay goblet... Don't remember exactly, but paid about $5.

Cracked the seal and immediately the brew fizzed up and out of the bottle.. at least I was able to keep it over the counter on the way to the sink and off the floor.... Crap!! about a third of the bottle was gone by the time I got things cleaned up and poured it.

4 finger head stood an easy half inch out of the glass... lite tan and died back noisily leaving descent lace... the brew is a very murky lite walnut.

Nose is expected spicy dark fruits with a pronounced applesauce aroma.. raisins and mild caramel trails off into the apple... some earthy woody notes as it hits room temperature..

Flavor is an interesting yet fairly uninspired mix of dark fruity malts with a significant pour of apple juice... sorta funky woody presence... just doesn't strike me as remotely interesting in the big picture... all the flavors are by themselves and are one dimensional at that... I think some age in the bottle may help it, but christ.. I don't want bottle bombs.

The body is about right for the style, but the carbonation is waay too much..

I don't think I got a bad bottle.. I am pretty sure of it.. I do however think this was bottled before it's time... descent and better than my above negatives describe, but I am still not digging it as I approach the bottom of the glass... I've always found quality control issues with this brewery.

3.5/3.5/4/3/3.5

 1,533 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. It pours a murky dark brown color with a light tan head. The aroma is very aromatic and complex. The aroma explodes with dark fruits, freshly baked bread, and yeast with a touch of spices. The taste is slightly fruits with bready malt with some spices and a boozy finish. Overall, this is a very nice brew that is definitely a "sipper" that would be perfect to warm up with on a cold night. Too bad we really don't get many snuggle up by the fire nights in Florida.

 516 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

50 degrees and rain outside, seems like a 12% oak aged quadrupel should be right on.

Appearance: Evenly hazed red/brown body, head is large at first (even with the abv). Good retention after it fades to small creamy layer.

Smell: Sweet and woody, raisins, brown sugar, a malt bomb, with alcohol not making all that much of an impresion.

Taste: Very woody and earthy, vegetable flavors are big. Not as sweet as the smell would indicate, but it grows on me the more i sip, a very unique flavor, but not as good as many of the other quads.

Drinkability: Not bad, and fairly interesting, more complete than BBBourgondier, but not one of my favorites in the style.

 671 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Shawan Liquors in Md. Decanted cool into a Goblet from a brown 11.2oz bottle.
A - The bottle released not even a whimper when uncapped, the vigorous pour resulted in approx 1/4 inch of delicate whispy tan head. The liquid is a murky bottle conditioned brown, like chocolate milk. The lace is transparent but evident like whisky.

S - A caramel and vinous scent w/ vanilla woodiness and full strenght esters of a boozy Belgian. Malty sugary w/ plum and fig in the nose.

M - Malty, sugary as the nose hints at w/ a warmth and viscous syrupy full feel. There is an oakiness with toasted qualities also.

T - Maple, boozy woody vanilla notes start off the taste. A hint of sherry and the depth of port are both apparent. Candy sugar and nutty praline like sweetness make sure you know you are sampling a 12% ale - it tastes like one. Boozy with spice and warming toffee w/ a taste of dry yeasty spice and barrel aged dense flavors.

D - A big, sweet complex ale w/ the strength of 3 beers and the smell and flavor are compliance w/ a high abv of the quad. A nightcap in the best sense it is better than average drinkability-wise, but more than one in a sitting is probably not happenin' for me. The flavor and strength relaxed me slowly, this is a beer made for sipping.

 1,287 characters

Photo of Crosling
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

Burgundy color, with a lasting film of large bubbles. Expressive apple brandy, soaked oak and brown sugar in the aroma, with hints of caramel and cider. Flavor is rich, supple and very well balanced. The attributes of the original beer integrate well with the barrel, giving hints of soft caramel, apple skins, toffee and vanilla. It’s delicious, no doubt, yet, unfortunately, the front palate to the mid-palate shows a completely flat body and it only improves a little and becomes very slightly chewy on the finish. Could easily be a 4.3+ if I didn’t score the mouthfeel a 1. Too bad.

 588 characters

Photo of cerevisiaephilus
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Zero carbonation. I don't think that's very cool, but oh well. The aroma is incredible!!

I get strong notes of port and brandy and all sorts of other dank dank liquors from this bad boy. Definately some warming alcohol in the nose and maybe even a touch of cramelized apple. Definately some caramel and cherries as well.

Taste is somewhat disapointing after all the hype the aroma was talkin'. Mostly a burnt caramel kind of flavor with a strong alcohol burn. Maybe just a touch of apples and cherries here...but not much. I'm getting some chocolate covered cherry flavors as well...the ones with the syrup in them?? Anyway...I'm warming up to this beer....its growing on me.

Mouthfeel is very light but not sprite. I'd either like a thicker beer or one about this consistency with a good dose of carbonation.

I'm not sure how drinkable this one is...I'm about to fall down and I'm only half way through the 10oz bottle.

 935 characters

Photo of bigkahunas4
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 350 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Body was a nice amber color, with some cranberry highlights. Visual esthetic's ended there, as the brew produced no head, and didn't have any lacing to speak of. Nose was quite strong, dark malty fruits and very apparent alcohol. There also was a bold honey scent, anticipated from the brewer's bee harvest.

Flavors were very similar to the nose, lots of bready fruits with a big alcohol bite to finish. The alcohol was quite tart, and for me, soured the taste. Honey notes were apparent, but not strong enough to counterbalance. Mouthfeel was rather blah - not much carb - mildly sticky.

Not a terrible brew, but certainly one you can't have many of. Probably won't seek this out again, unless it's handed to me.

 764 characters

Photo of jampics2
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled with the Grand Reserve, which I much preferred, though this wasn't bad.

Amber beer, looks very similar to the GR.

Smell is sweet malt, toffee, and the calvados wood.

Taste is a bit too hot for me, not as balanced as the GR. Brown sugar, malt, figs, toffee, Spices, and Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel was good, nice low carb.

Very drinkable but a touch too hot. OK beer.

 376 characters

Photo of drpimento
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I thought this was going to be better. Poured a small, light tan, fizzy head that quickly faded and no lace. Aroma was malt, toffee, ripe dark fruits, caramel, and wet cardboard. Color was a slightly hazy brown with amber highlights. Flavor was like aroma. Didn't really taste the alcohol as much as feel the effect. Finish is fairly short and like flavor. Wholesale price for this is way too high.

 398 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has been on my 'wants' for some time (I believe since it had been at a recent Portland Int'l Beerfest at $3, maybe even $4, for a 4 oz. taste); thanks to Metalmonk for saving one from a dusty NC shelf, then sending it clear across the country to be sampled by me this evening. No date on the 11.2 oz bottle, poured to a snifter.

A: Is there such a thing as a mediocre-looking quadrupel? 'Cuz this is... a ho-hum murky brown, very little head (a thin off-white ring and a few bubbles in the center). held to light, I see a few small bubbles rising around the edges, but mustly it looks like water out of a ditch.

S: Bits of caramel and toffee, some candied fruit and a trace of booze-soaked oakiness (the 6 mo.-aged Calvados casks). a little cleaning solvent/alcohol aroma...and, as it warms, some tart/yeast qualities come forward.

T: Alright, so there's still something left in the flavor: rum raisins and licorice, cloves and some herbal hops; plenty of sweet citrus, smacking lightly of pineapple and apple cider. Sort of buttery sweet - caramel popcorn?

M: Smooth, soft and rather sublime. There's not a great deal of complexity, but there is a pleasing warmth and coating richness. One of the thinner bodies I've had in an alcohol-laden quad, I must say...

D: It's a rather strange blend of sweetness, a little citrus and tartness. Wood is an aftertaste only; there's warmth and familiarity though it stays as a background accent. All those subtle, blended qualities make this surprisingly easy to sip...I'd like to try this again fresher, but I can't complain much about the nuances in this version, of yet-to-be-determined age. Thanks again to Jeff for sending...

 1,681 characters

Photo of zhooker
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was briefly on cask at The Ginger Man, NYC.

From a goblet. Per cask, little to no head. Brown with red and purple hues.

STRONG smell of raisins/prunes -- first and foremost. Then some orange peel, cherries, maybe some coriander? Funky, and I will say it again... strong.

The nose doesn't lie -- first sip almost feels like a spiced/mulled wine. And that is the overriding theme throughout the glass -- the Autumnal flavors of a warm spiced wine not-so-gently mixed with an average Belgian Dark or Stong Ale, something along the lines of Brooklyn Brewery's Local #2. Make no mistake though, it is the spiced raisin/prune flavor that dominates this drink, even to the detriment of its drinkability.

This was a fun glass, definitely one to pass around the table and watch reactions, gather taste interpretations, but I can't say I would order it again.

 853 characters

Photo of SacoDeToro
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a nice rich amber with a rocky off-white head.

The aroma smelled of sweet brown sugar and alcohol. Caramel and biscuit malts were in the background. There was a faint smell of apples and pears in the nose as well.

The flavor of the beer was intense and slightly sweet. It had a heavy flavors of dates and pears. There was a little bit of oak and apple in the finish, but not so much that I'd think this beer was barrel aged, let alone in calvados barrels. The alcohol was warm and a good amount of fusels were there. This was an interesting contrast to the serving temp of the beer (50 deg). Some floral hops were there, but were pretty subdued.

The mouthfeel was thick and syrupy although this beer was very drinkable for being 12%. The carbonation seemed good.

This was a decent quadrupel, but can't hold a candle to the likes of Rochefort 10. Reminded me a lot of Avery's The Reverend, which is a pretty bright Belgian quad.

 955 characters

Photo of Drew966
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

't Smisje Calva Reserva came in an 11.2 ounce brown bottle and pours a dark brown with orange highlights when held to the light. There is very little head, mostly just a ring around the outside of the glass. The aroma is intense, and I like it quite a bit. Dark fruits are most noticeable, but there is more than that going on, oak is hiding in the background, and there are other aromas that I can't quite put my finger on. Frankly it smells more like wine than beer. The flavor is not as complex as the aroma, but it is still quite tasty. Dark fruit and oak are noticeable, as is the alcohol which is quite pepper like in the finish. The mouthfeel is a bit thin. Drinkability is not particularly good, I had a hard time finishing the bottle, even though I enjoyed it.

 769 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jedwards for sharing. 2009 vintage served in my Allagash tulip. Poured a translucent copper, almost caramel in color, with a bubbly, quarter inch bright white head. Some lacing, but no legs. Nose is boozy - dark fruit (prunes) and vinous. Taste is boozy, sugary (brown sugar and/or molasses) with some dark fruit and grains of paradise. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and a little fizzy. A flavorful Belgian Strong Dark - a little hot, but didn't overly detract from the experience.

 488 characters

Photo of koopa
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 Bottle Sampled Tonight

Appearance: Murky brown with a caramel head that fades quicly. Little lacing to be found but as you drink you see foam on the opposite side of the glass with extremely small bubbles in it.

Smell: Vinous qualities mixed with leather, tobacco, and fig. I wish I had a fresh bottle to compare it to.

Taste: Considering that the brewer ages this extensively before bottling and it was bottled 3 years ago, this one has held up to be an interesting meld of daring notes. Leather, Wine, Tobacco, Fig, Blackberries, Raisins, etc. The alcohol is non-existent which is amazing considering this one is 12% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly, this 2005 bottle had a nice carbonation release when I opened the bottle. Medium to borderline thin mouthfeel but I'm sure the age of this bottle factored in to it. I really wish I had a newer bottle to compare it to. I only see the mouthfeel getting progressively worse in time.

Drinkability: This is a sipper all the way. The flavors aren't the most approachable for me so I'm not sure if I will come back to this in the future. But I'm still amazed that this brew is 12% ABV because its very soft and gentle.

 1,172 characters

Photo of JayQue
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an orangy/light brown opaque color from an 11.2 oz bottle into my Chimay goblet. Small white head, lots of bubbles. The head fades fast, no lacing. Aroma is dark fruit {plums and raisins) some oak and the brandy. Taste is more of the same with some sweet malt. Mouthfeel is rich with a lot of alcohol warming and some alcohol "bite" even though I have had the bottle for around 2 years. This is a tasty BSDA and a great slow sipper.

 444 characters

Photo of MDDMD
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown red color with a light tan head and minimal lacing

S-dark fruit, apple, caramel, brandy, hint of spice

T-caramel malt, dark fruit, apples, brandy, cinnamon, slightly boozy, flavor fades quickly with no significant aftertaste

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-a nice strong ale, but flavor seems to fade out. Would have merited a higher score if not for that.

 392 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From my cellar, same bottle as pictured. Honestly not sure how long I have held onto this one. It pours into my glass a murky, hazy cola brown with orange accents. A small head appears and fades to a ring of bubbles just as quickly. Aromas begin with sweet dark malts upfront with lots of fruit flavors. Apple brandy is quite evident with oak undertones. Raisins, brown sugar and marzipan with yeasty spiciness. Very mild oxidation. I like it.

First sip brings sweet malts racing across the palate with fruity flavors leading the way. Bread notes in the middle along with a touch of fig. Apple brandy moves in along with a woody twang. As the brew flows down hints of raisins and brown sugar meld into a yeasty spiciness with a touch of coriander. Rather sweet overall with a mild alcohol hotness on the finish. Complex.

Mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat chewy as well with solid maltiness, however it is thinner than most Quads. Carbonation is quite mellow here. Alcohol is evident but not overpowering. This is a nice sipper and has aged well. I'll need to get a couple fresh bottles and keep track of how long I age them better next time. Would make a good dessert beer.

 1,174 characters

Photo of albern
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The ABV on the bottle is 11% ABV and the label is noticeably different than the pic on BA. I'm assuming things are accurate. The beer pours a dark, murky brown with a slightly frothy brownish head that retains around the rim. I don't see any yeasty bits floating about. The smell is quite alcoholic, with lots of heavyish fruits such as raisin, fig, rind, with maybe a citric pineapple whiff in there too. There are some spices in here as well, coriander and clove for sure. The taste is quite full bodied, syrupy, strongly alcoholy, and sweet. There is a strong licorice flavor present as well. You'll get the candied sugar fermentation oh so typical of a Belgian. There are plenty of fruits, spices, and sweet malts here (heavy fruits, orange, coriander, clove). There is also definitely an oaky alcohol infused backbone to this beer that diminishes things a bit. There isn't the typical pepperish bite in the finish, which is probably a plus given the high ABV. As the beer warms, the warming alcohol notes do insinuate themselves and add to the pleasure of the experience. I like this beer, and I'm liking it more as it settles. The drinkability is a bit compomised because the strong ABV doesn't mask itself all that well. L'Chaim.

 1,236 characters

Photo of Kraken
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from odd sized11.2oz bottle into a standard pint glass . Minimal head that dissapates very quickly, beverage is a cloudy chesnut in color. Smell is amazing , rasins, malts, alcohol complex. . Taste very similar to smell, raisins , sour apple , fair malt backbone hints of vanilla. Finish was odd, sort of a sour rotten wood funk from barrel aging. Mouthfeel was suprisingly thin n for a quad. Drinkabiliity suffers at 12% . Devecnt beer worth a try unique.

 463 characters

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter; thanks to Keanlacrosse for the share

A hazy brown body with a thin light tan head. Not much staying power as it falls pretty quick. No discernable lacing.

Loads of fruit on the nose. Apples, bears, bananas, raisins/figs, and plums. Notes of caramel, oak, brandy, and sweet bready malt.

Caramel, plums, and apples slide onto the palate. Oak and a mild tartness through the middle with a finish of booze and fruit. There are layers of complexity here. Each sip brings something a little different.

Medium feel, soft carbonation. The finish has this lingering fruity tartness that mixes with a little booze and oak.

Solid complexity with some very good flavors. Worth a shot.

 716 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Intense beer that shows many signs of age; perhapse too many. Opens with a murky, orange rust color, a slight, fleeting foamstand and a lot of particulates floating around. Aromas of fruitcake abound with emphasis on cherries, apples, over-rippened oranges, grapes, nuts, berries... it's all in there, but muted and well rounded into the malt profile. Flavors are the same, but with a syrupy sweetness that hurts the drinkability. Musty, vineous, and rather earthy flavors come up in the aftertaste. Nearly flat texture, makes the beer feel heavy and oily to the mouth. Finishes with a mouth-coating film of grandma's fruitcake. Thanks Jeremy.

 643 characters

Photo of horndecker
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tiny little bottle, large brew inside.
No head. Absolutley no head, Wait, some perfuntory suds, then they're gone. It's mud. A cloudy murk, reddish brown, the color of iced tea. No lace, no late forming spritz at all.
But the smell is wonderful. Toffee and caramel up front, figs, cabbage and earth, and chocolate.
The first sip yields spicy sweet fruit, malt underneath, a lingering yeast flavor. An earthy bitterness follows, little or no trace of hops. There is an alcohol burn and an intense sweet chocolate liqueur feel, but it doesn't seem like 12%.
It has a syrupy mouthfeel, still no carbonation, spicy on the tongue. A bit cloying and very rich.
A nice quadrupel, with some different notes to it. Not my favorite, but I would drink it again.

 756 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 330ml bottle. Black label has red, orange and yellow artwork, lending a fiery appearance. Listed at 12% abv and described as being brewed with Barley malt, wheat malt, Vienna malt and caramel malt. Hallertauer and Kent Goldings hops are used together with dark & white candy sugars. Spiced with Coriander and Grain de Paradise. Aged in E. Dupont calvados casks for 6 months.

Appearance: Leaving the thick carpet of dark brown yeast behind in the bottle, a steady pour reveals a dark brown body that is pellucid. Held to the light a shimmering dark orange reflects the light. A small bubbling crusty tan colored head starts smooth but then collapses to leave a craggy looking pot-marked creviced head which soon disappears completely. Negligible carbonation.

Nose: Lots of dark fruits, dried orange zest, spices and black peppers mingle nicely in the dark malts and high end alcohols. Very strong aromas from this monster.

Taste: Rum like bourbon soak woods entrance this goliath. Dark rum soaked fruit cake sizzles throughout. Smooth flavors but the alcohol is detectable in the latter third. After the swallow the alcohol scorches with burnt sugar and spiky black peppers lingering on the tongue. As it warmed the dark fruits revealed a luscious rich feel.

Mouthfeel: Warming alcohol leaves a temperature trail; at the death it fires a little. Burnt sugar laces the finish. Despite the double-digit tag, it keeps you guessing because it felt like it lacked something somehow. Big but thin at times. The low carbonaion does not help either.

Drinkability: Difficult to finish towards the end but given the high alcohol content it was a pleasant enough brew.

Overall: I found this one to be a little too much in the end, it felt like it was too harsh in the finish, maybe a bit more time in the bottle would have remedied this, but it is still an expensive investment nonetheless. Share this one if you can.

 1,940 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A rich aged beer, reddish-brown, not much head, slightly detracted satisfying experience at the end, with many black grains of sediment. Alcohol warming began promptly. Brandy influence from barrel. Caramel. Fruity and honeyish, yet grainy not creamy mouthfeel.

 261 characters

't Smisje Calva Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
3.92 out of 5 based on 162 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

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

    Subscribe