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't Smisje Calva Reserva | Brouwerij Smisje

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't Smisje Calva Reserva't Smisje Calva Reserva
Very Good
163 Ratings
'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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 163 |  Reviews: 111
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of mrunseen
5/5  rDev +28.5%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of claaark13
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
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 Spider889
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this bottle from Monk's Cafe.
The bartender was pretty knowledgeable when I inquired about the 't Smisje brewery. He explained that it was a little one-man operation and that the brewer was a little crazy. Sounded right up my alley!

The label art is different, not sure of the age though as everything I saw come up from their cellar had issues with labels marred/peeling off.

That said, I want to say this was a pretty old bottle. The label (and the Monk's bottle list) called the brewery by its old name: Deregenboog. The name wasn't changed until 2008, so this bottle has got to be at least an '07.

The label art was poorly printed, the text pixelated, and the background art of a cross-section of wood grain. Also listed as 11% on the label, with "coriander and grains of paradise" added. The bottle was a squat little Duvel style.

Poured into a Scaldis tulip. Produced a very tall fine head that threatened to spill over the sides of the glass. It quickly subsided, though a good half finger of head remained for the entire duration of my bottle. The color was a typical dark hazy BSDA/Quad orange brown with near purple twinges.

Smelled similar to unboiled wort, primarily wheat. Is this the grains of paradise? I am unfamiliar with them outside of a couple Samuel Adams offerings... Lots of sweetness in the nose. A ton of fig and toffee as well. Very inviting, though not terribly complex at first. By the end of the glass though, with some swirling, I was able to coax out some of the brandy aromas. Vanilla, hot but sweet liquor, and tobacco surface.

Boy was this beer a treat! Luckily it was my last beer, as it is both a desert beer and a sipper. Considering that this is often the purpose of brandy anyways, I'd say the beer hits its mark. The barreling is very strong in flavor, but not in alcohol heat. Maybe the age has mellowed this a bit.

Lots of aged oak notes - vanilla plays a big role in flavor. The apple brandy lends additional sweetness and a faint cidery flavor. The other huge flavor component was prune. It was very distinct but also worked very well. Mayhaps this is the product of a BSDA meeting calvados wood.

The alcohol is strong in this beer, though it never burns my throat or makes me feel tipsy. Again, I attribute the smoothness of character here to some age. The carbonation was very strong, but not detracting in the way some BSDA's can be.

Overall an excellent beer. My first experience with a calvados aged beer, but now I can see why they are so sought after!

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.61/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

God help me if I could remember when I got this beer. I think that it was in Colorado a couple years ago, but here is is with a $5.69 price tag on top, so someone was proud of it...and I obviously wanted to try it bad enough to shell out $6 for it, so let's give it a shot. With it being an aged beer already that was 12%, I am sure that the extra time hasn't hurt it.

Appearance: Has a little off-gas when opened, but pours a clear Reddish brown with no head at all. It looks a bit like a still Coke, but more Red.

Aroma: I initially got a healthy dose of sweet caramel malt mixed with a reserved sour note like you get with Vichtenaar. As the beer starts to warm, the alcohol is adding heat to the nose as well as some defined spice.

Taste: The flavor is quite thick at first giving you some syrupy sweetness to start out the flavor profile, but the alcohol quickly comes in to take care of that and thin out the beer on the palate a bit like how a solvent comes in and cleans things up. After the alcohol comes in, it adds spice and heat that takes you all the way to the finish. the wood is blatantly obvious in the flavor and is coming out more as it warms. I am not getting the sour notes in the flavor like I was in the aroma. There may be a little bit there, but it is reserved. the overall body is medium despite the perception of significant sweetness at the beginning of the sip. The carbonation is non-existent.

Opinion: Well, this is a pretty good beer. There is a lot of flavor, which I can certainly appreciate. That said, it is severely lacking carbonation compared to just about ANY other example of this style. I would go so far to say that perhaps if they got the carbonation up, that this may be a different beer. As it is, I will drink the whole thing and like it, but I wouldn't put it up there with Rochefort or anything where you savor every sip.

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Photo of tbrown4
4.57/5  rDev +17.5%
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 clickpush
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour: 11.2oz bottle to wide mouth glass. Cloudy dull brown body w/ absolutely no head. Bottle opened w/ a hiss but nothing like that in view in the glass.

Nose: Mulled apple cider. Sweet and fruity. Malty, caramel, honey.

Mouth: Somewhat fizzy, minty, malty, cider-y... a touch of roasty, brown malts. Warm alcohol heat. Enjoyable but perhaps a bit past its prime.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle served at about 50 degrees. No date but I would be interested to know.

Poured into a New Belgium etched-bottom goblet, Calva Reserva is a deep redish brown color with good clarity. The head is creamy smooth but settles pretty quickly. A quick swirl brings it back easily.

Aroma is sweet and a little boozy. There is some oak but the smell is really dominated by cherries and other sweet dark fruit.

Flavor is very intense and equally unusual. It has a richness that is almost port-like. Cherries, chocolate, and oaky vanilla all come through. It's definately a sweet beer but never cloying. Bitterness is minimal.

Velvety mouthfeel with full body and low carbonation. The alcohol is very well hidden.

This is a great slow sipper of a beer. The alcohol warms but otherwise you would never know it's 12%. I'd love to get another botttle for the colder winter nights ahead. Next time at cellar temperature.

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Photo of drpimento
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of zhooker
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yeah baby, out of a gravity feed cask at 72 hours of Belgium (at Max's today).

The beer pous a hazy tannish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is profoundly complex, with orange peel milk chocolate, brown sugar and honey. There's some underlying spice as well, but I can't begin to describe it. Flavors replicate the nose on this moderatly sweet beer, with the spice and light hoppiness giving the beer a somewhat dry, lightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, and drinkability is very good.

Nice beer and an absolute treat to sample on cask.

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Photo of jampics2
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of digr
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from Notes:

Highly Carbonated - Opening bottle gave a strong "woosh" despite just out of the cold fridge. The bottle continued to pour foam as soon as the bottle touched the glass (tilted). Filled to the top of the Belgian style Rapscallion goblet. Huge head - only able to pour small amounts before foam fills the glass. Beer literally "foams" out instead of pouring liquid.

Initial taste has a metallic taste... This might be from the bottle cap?

After mid pour - Beer is strong. Medium thick mouthfeel. Slightly sweet balanced with bitterness. No real "Funk", but not exactly "clean" either. Not a sippin' beer. More like take long mouthfuls and swishing it about to get the full effect of bubbles and taste. Can really taste the wood / Calvados aging - as an after taste (tannins).

Kinda like a Belgian Quad (Which I guess this is roughly), Brown - Cloudy, darkfruit. But no Bananas. Some Caramel.

11% alcohol is well hidden in the rest of the flavors.

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Photo of berkey
3.61/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first beer in about a week (on a diet to get ready for the warmer weather) so figured I'd make it a strong one. From last night's notes.

Poured into a Duvel Tulip. Forms a surprisingly large head when compared to other offerings from this brewer I've tried. Very large, loose, soapy bubbles. Retention was also very good but once it finally died down it was gone completely. Body is a very cloudy brown with hints of red. Very little in the way of lacing.

Aroma is very sweet and a little intense. Apples stand out much more than expected. The spicy aromas typical of a Belgian Winter Ale are very dominant as well, much more so than the Grande Reserva. Alcohol isn't difficult to pick out here along with the yeast.

Spices dominate even more on the palate. It's actually a little much for my tastes. Alcohol isn't hidden here either and Brandy notes (although I wouldn't necessarily say Calvados) are front and center on the aftertaste along with some leather and wood flavors. Apples and other fruit are here as well but not as much as in the aroma. If you're thinking the combination of an estery Belgian ale, Brandy, and tons of spice, is odd then you're right. It doesn't quite come together in my opinion.

Medium carbonation and silky texture create a good mouthfeel but the spice and booze hurt the drinkability in my opinion. I don't know exactly why the barrel aging didn't soften the edges and create more well rounded flavor like on the Grande Reserva but I enjoyed this one much less.

Overall not entirely unpleasant and I wouldn't turn down one if it were offered but not something I'll seek out again. I love most everything I've tried from Regenboog but this is my least favorite to date.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11ish ounce bottle into my dollar store snifter glass. Appears a clear deep ruby red/brown color with about a finger of light ecru foam. Smells and tastes of mildly spicy belgian yeast, hint of pepper, dark fruits such as plums, cherry skins, raisins, apples and pears. Medium in both body and carbonation, this quad left a bit to be desired when compared to what else is out there in this style.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
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.


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Photo of Yetiman420
4.29/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed fresh on site at The Fooder in Philadelphia.

Poured into a Stoudts pint glass. Hazy copper brown with exceptional appearance.

1/2 finger head with consistently small bubbles.

Nothing exceptional from what I expected to be a spicy Belgian aroma.

Full mouthfeel with a punchy Belgian flavor. Really hits you upfront and finishes strong and clean. Lots of flavor in this one.

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Photo of bigkahunas4
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of Tolnik
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this dark redish brown beer into a pint glass. Amazed that it produced very little head and no lacing. It seemed like it was flat to me. The aroma of fruitiness greats the nose. The taste of bing cherries, grapes, and berries greet the palate. The alcohol gives off a tart sour finish.

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Photo of corby112
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
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 orbitalr0x
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of koopa
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of Greggy
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a 1 finger head into a large snifter. After about a minute, the head drops down leaving some great sticky lacing. The body is ruby brown and hazy with light yeast sediment.

S- First off, I can smell the alcohol, but hey, it's 12%. I get a very dry fresh baking flour component as well as some dark fruit mainly being prunes and raisins. I catch a light whiff of coriander and also gather the apples from the calva (french apple brandy) casks. A nice vanilla buttery note is also there which I suspect being the oak.

T- Huge mouthfeel here as soon as it hits the palette. I gather notes of green apple, brandy almost red wine like notes, dark fruits, and then a nice dry pepper finish reminiscent of shiraz. Pretty unique. No alcohol heat detected in the finish so it's nicely hidden there.

M- Huge mouthfeel with only light carbonation. Nice dry finish.

D- This is a very nice quad that is very complex. I look forward to having it now and then. It's definitely a sipper, but could easily be drank to fast. Be careful..

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't Smisje Calva Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 163 ratings
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