't Smisje Calva Reserva | Brouwerij Smisje

BA SCORE
87
very good
162 Ratings
THE BROS
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'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
Ratings:
162
Reviews:
111
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
14.54%
 
 
Wants:
10
Gots:
9
For Trade:
0
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Ratings: 162 |  Reviews: 111
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

Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of GRG1313
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

how good is this?! man oh man, what a splendid beer from one of the most overlooked producers i can think of. this is a barleywine type strong malty ale, aged in calvados barrels, and its amazing! cant believe how affordable it is too! lighter brown in color with some deep mahogany notes to it, a short but persistent tan head rests lazily on top, this is definitely mature beer, been in the bottle awhile, and in a barrel for a long while before that. the apple brandy is immediately evident in the aroma, oaky and sweet, red apple skins, red grape, strong malt, molasses, fig, tobacco, this is highly nuanced and complex beer, and the flavor follows the nose pretty well. lots of the barrel character, oak and fruit, somewhat rotting, overripe apple, bruised but still edible, with a baked malt base, almost like a pie. honey and grain, granola sort of quality about the base beer, and some ancient high gravity ale yeast thats tired but still lingering. enormously impressive glass of beer here, amazing what this barrel treatment brings to it, and a lighter more mature base beer than anticipated. easily the best i have had from these guys. this is expert stuff, hoping to find more out there in the world one day...

 1,222 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is cloudy brown in color and poured with a two finger high off white head that has very good retention properties and took a long time to settle down.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of dark fruits in the nose—raisins seem to stand out in particular.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and also has some hints of wood in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a high amount of carbonation. Some warmth from the alcohol becomes noticeable as the beer warms up.
O: This is a very enjoyable that is pleasant to sip, although it seems to be a bit over-carbonated (you need to pour it carefully and let it settle down). It’s also not too difficult to drink because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

 761 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 oline73
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of brentk56
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy sienna body with a modest head that declines to a film but leave an abstract pattern of lacing across the chalice

Smell: Strong phenols with prominent apple and grape elements as well as some wood

Taste: Starts with a complex blend of burnt caramel, oak and fruit that is transformed, mid-palate by Candi Sugar, raisins and oaky tannins

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light bodied with very modest carbonation; lots of warming on the finish

Drinkability: Very interesting and unusual; a definite sipper

 532 characters

Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass a deep brown with ruby red tint when held up to the light a few chunkies and floaties swirling about,deep dark brown sugar notes along with some candied orange peel with an underlying oakiness as well.Starts out quite sweet I pick up some vanilla and caramel along with that candied orange peel like in the nose finishing slighty dry and woody.Full lush mouthfeel like dessert in a bottle almost,a nice night cap brew although not my favorite style its nice to indulge in things like this from time to time.

 533 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very carefully poured from a long-standing bottle with great care to leave the lees behind, it's a fairly clear orange-copper color. A half ounce of beer may be lost in the effort to leave the sediment behind, but it's well worth it as it leaves a cleaner flavor and lends a bit to its appearance as the lack of head can be somewhat detracting. The aroma, however, more than makes up for any faults in its appearance with it's rich caramel-drenched maltiness, dark sugars, sticky prunes and soft raisins, just-cut juicy apples, earthy wood, subtle vanilla, and delicate waft of alcohol. A Belgian barleywine? Interesting. It's body is full, and it's exceptionally smooth across the palate as there's no carbonation whatsoever; leaving it very much like a brandy in more ways than one. The flavor continues the onslaught of apple/caramel/prune that the aroma began with the addition of some spice and heat from the alcohol. As it warms (and you progress through the glass) the alcohol softens a bit, but still lingers at the back of the throat. Hmmm.... given that this is a rich and strong sipping beer, but not one that's overly complex (class it along with Samichlaus), I'd suggest that the intensity of the alcohol might be a bit much. A pleasant surprise that's certainly worth trying but Valhalla's a long way off.

 1,319 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -23.5%

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

Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky cherry caramel with abundant particles that I was unable to keep out of the snifter. They seem to have dissolved now, however. The pale beige crown was small thanks to a gentle pour and has turned from foamy to lightly creamy over time. The fact that almost no lace graces the glass doesn't detract from the appearance.

The nose is concentrated blackberry fruity and is also somewhat Cabernet Sauvignon-like. So far, I would never have guessed that this big ale was aged for 6 months in Calvados (French apple brandy) casks. There are also aromas of tobacco and leather, but it's more 'dark red' than 'brown' if I can describe the nose in terms of color.

't Smisje Calva Reserva isn't quite as deep and as complex as the nose suggested it would be. Having said that, it's still an enjoyable sipper with no real negative traits. It tastes like a well-aged quadrupel (2 years at least) that is remarkably gentle for such a high ABV.

On the palate, the beer is still incredibly bursting berry-like, with black cherries and raisins in addition to blackberries. It's also vinous in a way that suggests tawny port rather than Cabernet. The earthy flavors of tobacco and leather are still present, as is a background exotic spiciness (that I subsequently found out is due to coriander and grains of paradise).

The mouthfeel is much closer to medium than to full. This is probably where age has had the biggest impact. It's still more than acceptable, it's just that I tend to like mouthfeels that err on the side of big rather than not big.

Brouwerij Smisje has always struck me a brewery that produces solid, drinkable beer that doesn't make it all the way to spectacular. That is exactly where Calva Reserva settles out. I'll gladly spend $4.29 for another bottle if I happen to run across it again.

 1,805 characters

Photo of drewone
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

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 ZEB89
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of stakem
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Dinky 250cl bottle that ive had for a number of years (dating back to my infatuation with calvados BA beers) and by the looks of the sediment sticking to the glass, this is bare minimum 6, maybe 8 or so years old. It pours dark amber to brown with minimal head.

It smells of woody earthen calvados with some oxidation and chocolate/raison. Toffee and caramel is also present.

Tastes oxidized with paper/foliage chocolate and raison. Woody yet boozy. This has an earthiness about it that tastes similar to every "old school" calvados barrel aged beer ive tasted that was pushing several years old.

This is medium in body with light carbonation. Earthy and woodsy but showing its age. More enjoyable than the new rebrew that I hear is tart and has been infected.

 763 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of imperialking
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

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!

 698 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

05/04/08- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 8oz stubby bottle. Not sure of the bottling date, but I have had it since '05. Pretty sure it's an '02 or '03. Poured into my J.W. Lees glass.

Appearance- Brown-caramel colored pour. Solid 3/4 inch pocky head. Leaves light lace streaks behind.

Smell- Smells strong...liquor-like strong. Dark fruits, chocolate, tobacco, earth. Oh and alcohol.

Taste- Taste mirrors the nose, except the alcohol is a bit more relaxed. Lots of tobacco as well as a chocolate-dirt flavor if that makes sense. Prunes soaked in a brandy like flavor as well.

Mouthfeel- Too carbonated for a 5 or 6 year old beer of his style. Flavors were fine in the aftertaste, but didn't quite last long enough.

Drinkability- If this were a bit more cask-like, it would really make the beer. I picture myself sitting in a 8 bedroom mansion, sitting my cherry walled office while smoking my pipe and reading War and Peace. Or sitting on my Levitz couch while watching Sportscenter. Really good beer...could probably age for another 5-10 years and be just fine or better.

 1,108 characters

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