't Smisje Grande Reserva | Brouwerij Smisje

't Smisje Grande Reserva't Smisje Grande Reserva
89 Ratings
't Smisje Grande Reserva't Smisje Grande Reserva

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Smisje

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
't Smisje Kerst matured in Michel Couvreur's whiskey barrels.

Added by emerge077 on 12-09-2007

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 89 |  Reviews: 52
Photo of TGS
4.75/5  rDev +28.4%

Photo of HerdNo1
4.62/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle into a tulip after letting it warm to 54 degrees. A small, off-white head faded to nothing fairly quickly. The beer itself is a hazy brown.

S: My immediate impression is an explosion of tart cherries; almost lambic in nature. Over a bit of time, I get almost a fruit salad of sensations. The barrel aging is barely detectable and you sort of have to know it's there to pick it up.

T: All kinds of things going on. Dark fruits and sweet malt dominate. The 11 % a.b.v isn't even noticeable. As on the nose, the whiskey barrel is there but you really have to look for it. Marvelous change of pace from too many barrel aged beers that let the barrel dominate. Any hops in this beer are bit players.

M: Creamy, creamy, creamy. This beer just melts in your mouth like chocolate. The finish is mostly sweet but not too much to let it hang around forever.

O: Terrific beer. As with all really good beers, it changes character with each sip and as it warms. It is sweet enough to be one hell of a beer with dessert or, better yet, served as dessert. The Belgians are masters of hiding the alcohol. Fortunately, I don't have to drive after this brew.

 1,168 characters

Photo of firkinhophead
4.52/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cleaar amber gold with some leggy foam.

Armoa is of cherry, alcohol, yeasty funk, vinegar sourness.

The smokiness hits you first, followed by malty brown sugar and caramel, some peat-like earthiness, cherry, plum, perfumy, soapy hops, oak, tobacco, blood orange. Boozier as it warms. Very complex, lots going on. Yummy!

Mouthfeel is full and oily. A pretty solid carbonation keeps it from being too cloying.

Drinkability is a bit off because of the intense flavors, alcohol, and lingering sourness. Overall a very enjoyable and intriquing beer. The wild mix of flavors kept my interest to the last drop. One of the best I have had in a while. It would go great with a cigar, even though I am not really a cigar guy. Defintely worth seeking out.

 755 characters

Photo of AdamPaul
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%

Photo of RickS95
4.41/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a stubby 11.2 ounce bottle

It looks the style. There's nothing really that separates it from other strong dark ales, but it's still an attractive beer. Medium to dark ruby brown. Particulates. Soft white head, a finger thick with moderate retention that never fully dissipates.

Dark, fruity nose. Figs or raisins. Maybe some red apple. Belgian sugar. Red grape. Hops are an afterthought.

Taste is same as the nose with the raisins, apples and grapes. Red delicious apple, not the tart kind. Candied sugar. Spices. Really nice.

Very sweet, but not too sweet. Fruity, acidic, but combined with the sweet for a nice balance. Some heat from the alcohol in the finish. Slight burn on the lips. Tangy and earthy. Acid in the swallow.

Overall, this is a hell of a beer. It's got strong characteristics, but they never cross the line. Easy to drink for such a strong beer, classic Belgian. Wish I had more.

 915 characters

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz into lost abbey tulip. Beer is a slow gush on opening but I have plenty of time to pour it. Whisky cask matured 't smisje kerst ale brewed with spices.

A- Creamy brown body and a lively head that leaves quite a little bit of sandy lacing on the glass. Very nice- Great pour.

S- A little tart, red delicious apples and raisins. A bit of burnt sugar.

T- The whisky comes out, mild grass and smoke and a lot of toffee. Beer is pretty mellow, though. Opens up after a bit- hint of tartness initially is wiped away by vibrant fruit.

M- Really smooth and delicious. Alcohol is very well integrated. Beer is light considering the style and ABV, and carbonation is spot-on.

O- I've never had the base beer but this barreled version is fantastic. Great lively fruit, no sign of the ABV, really enjoyable. 't Smisje makes some unusual, unique, and ultimately satisfying beers.

 883 characters

Photo of yemenmocha
4.37/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mine is the COGNAC aged bottle. I'm not sure why others mention whiskey barrels.

Pours murky brown with light tan head that is quite spongy at first and retains well.

Nose is amazing for this beer. Mixed jammy fruits and some candies in there also, also the cognac booziness is there also.

On the palate is many, many bubbles that give a velvety smooth body. Brown sugar & yeasty/bready notes lead into a pleasant candied boozey quality, and the finish is warm with dessert spices.

 484 characters

Photo of berkey
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From some other reviews there seems to be confusion about which bottle we are reviewing and which barrels were used. Mine is aged in Michel Couvreurs Scotch style Whisky barrels. Same as the one pictured.

Very hazy brown in apperance but shows some pale orange hues when put to light. Forms a very good head but it doesn't last long. Moderate filmy lacing.

Didn't have to wait long for the aroma to greet me. As soon as I dismissed the bottle cap I was hit with some fruity malt notes. After the pour I'm picking up pears, peaches, mild sweet cherry and some yeast. Also some interesting difficult to define earthy aroma here. Spice is present but not overly agressive.

Taste is much more woody and earthy than the aroma (peaty?) and not nearly as sweet. Pears and apples still present though along with some mild citrus and very faint smoke. Spice is detectable but fairly mellow, I've never had the regular T'smisje Kerst but I suspect the barrel aging softened it some. The flavors blend together a bit and the overall taste gets slightly muddy but I wasn't unprepared for this from other Regenboog bottles I've had and it doesn't detract from my enjoyment one bit. Alcohol is really hard to pick up here other than a slight warm tingle in the mouthfeel. This brewer hides their booze about as well as anyone.

Overall highly enjoyable. I'm glad I picked up several bottles as this one is very hard to track down. Surprised my fellow BA's don't seem to have enjoyed it as much as I did.

 1,493 characters

Photo of Raymond69
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whisky cask
Pours with a nice head , some lacing. Cloudy orange in color.

Aroma of dark fruit , slight whiskey scent.

The cask maturation is pretty subdued but works well high sugar and alcohol content. Spices are detectable but not distracting.

Mouthfeel is thick , good carbonation.

Overall a beer I really enjoyed, it's price is a little high for everyday drinking but thoroughly tasty.

 393 characters

Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm equally puzzled by those who refer to whiskey barrel aging. The label refers to this as Catherine the Great Stout aged in cognac barrels. In any event, this beer is delicious.

The beer pours a murky brown color with impressive head retention and lacing. In fact, if anything the beer was a little too active, as I had to wait 15 or 20 minutes for the head to die down. The nose is just wonderful in this beer, consisting of chocolate, butter (a lot of butter), vanilla and root beer. There is also a hint of brandy in the aroma, though it's hard to pick out from all the other wonderful smells in this beer. For the most part, the flavors on the palate replicates the nose, except there is more of a pronounced chocolate, cherry and vanilla flavor. There is also considerable spice in this beer, which inparts some additional coffee and orange citrus flavors. The beer has a moderately sweet flavor profile. Mouthfeel is sensational with this beer, as I get a long, soft creamy finish. This beer is absolutely delicious. The abv. is well disguised in this beer, which is a bit dangerous. I can easily see myself downing a couple of these bad boys at a sitting, which at 11%, would not be such a great idea.

Excellent beer. Would not hesitate to order this one again.

 1,273 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle that over-foamed pretty badly at first. Poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, 't Smisje Grande Reserva is a hazy dark auburn with a big, fluffy off-white head that is slow to recede, leaving rocky hunks of foamy lace.

Smell is super rich, nutty, toffee like malt, kind of English barleywine like.

Taste is strong and really complex, this is a barrel aged beer for sure, that has frankly run a little wild (as was obvious from the over-foaming). Surprisingly smokey, a little acrid funk, there's a rich caramel taste as well as a bit of nuttiness. I have to say I was expected sweet, rich boozy bomb, and am really enjoying the smokiness.

Mouthfeel is pretty carbonated, and on the lighter side, especially for the size.

Drinkability is pretty good, I'm really surprised. But you have to like smoky beers. The high ABV is very well hidden, the complexity is enjoyable, and overall, I really dug this incredibly unique grand cru.

 948 characters

Photo of pwoods
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz stubby Duvel style brown bottle. Purchased at Jungle Jim's, poured into a Leffe over sized wine glass. No dating.

A: Pours a glowing dark apricot amber. Maybe 1 finger worth of eggshell head forms and holds tight. Good lacing.

S: Rich barrel aged aromas of whiskey, oak, and just age. Nice rounded aged alcohol. Light cinnamon sugar notes, lightly sweet. Spices in the back, some of the coriander and grains of paradise.

T/M: Rich malts, whiskey soaked and aged nicely. Some light Old Ale style meaty notes with a pleasant melted brown sugar caramel support. A touch of tartness but I'm not sure where it's coming from. Alcohol is nice, whiskey, rummy, woody. Spices add depth from a supporting role. Body medium full with a smooth and creamy feel.

D: A complex sipper that's surprisingly quaffable even at 11%. I'm surprised this isn't rated higher.

 861 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4.26/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy brown with a finger of frothy off-white head. Fades fairly slowly.

S - Dark caramel malts, dark fruits, Bourbon, oak, vanilla, Belgian yeast, banana, clove, pepper, coriander, grains of paradise, other spices, candi sugar, cocoa, and some booze.

T - Dark caramel malts, raisins and other dark fruits, oak, vanilla, whiskey, Belgian yeast, clove, banana, pepper, coriander, grains of paradise, other spices, candi sugars, cocoa, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet, warming, and estery finish.

D - Great barrel aged BSDA. Great overall balance.

 601 characters

Photo of ajz132
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of corby112
4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color with dark ruby and chestnut brown hues when held to a light source with a huge frothy beige head that has excellent retention, lasting the whole way through and leaving nice chunks of lacing along it's way.

Peppery spice aroma with a nice citrus fruit presence along with an earthy oak, vanilla and whiskey notes.

Spicy flavor with a nice peppery presence and hints of citrus and dark fruit. Orange peel, lemon zest, orange peel, dark cherry, plum, raisin, fig are balanced out by a peasant earthy oak/vanilla flavor from the aging with a nice bit of whiskey and a slightly sour, dry finish.

 619 characters

Photo of jwinship83
4.19/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

330ml bottle with a maroon colored cap. bottle has no dating information. only that it is whisky cask aged kerst. drank from chimay goblet.

A- this one pours out a murky light brown, almost golden around the edges. a small skin of tan colored head forms on top and sticks to the side of my glass after every sip.

S- very sweet. lots of caramel and toffee like malts. lots of dark fruits. cherries, figs, plums, dates, and a little raisin. honey. a bit spicy/peppery. no trace of alcohol which is impressive. hints of vanilla and whiskey let me know its spent time in a barrel. very complex.

T- the taste is equally complex. very sweet and summery. apples, cherries, figs, plums, and honey. the barrel comes through a lot stronger in the taste than in the smell which is a good thing. vanilla, oak, and whiskey. light burn from the alcohol seems to add to this.

M- a little thinner than i would have expected. highly carbonated.

D- an easy sipper here. too strong to session, but interesting enough to keep me wanting more. check this one out if you get the chance.

 1,071 characters

Photo of DrBier
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of keithmurray
4.16/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - murky brown liquid with tan head, lots of sediment

Smell - prunes, figs, raisin,rum,

Taste - prune, raisin, figs, red grapes, molasses, hint of whisky barrel

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, lower medium carbonation, slight sweetness upfront from the dark fruits, flavors of those dark fruits as well as a hint of the barrel present in the aftertaste

Overall - nice beverage here, the barrel characteristics from the whiskey barrel are well integrated along with the rest of the flavor profile. Recommended for fans of Belgian ales.

Price Point - $5.49/11.2 oz bottle

 580 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at Max's during 72 Hours of Belgium. This is, based on distributed notes, the first time it has been served on draught in the U.S.

A: The ale is a cloudy creek water brown, showing off some red tones. Not much head sits atop the ale.

S: The nose is a peat wet dream, thick with smoky notes that are damn near chewable. This is no bourbon barrel wonder, Scotch creates an awesome smell.

T: Like the best rauchbiers, this beer is so meaty that you can chew it. The whisky barrels (note the spelling) add a delicious peat flavor that has some sea salt bite. The peat envelops the ale, permeating every aspect. There really isn't any indication that this is a Belgian ale, the barrel has so taken it over. But wow, what a way to go.

M: Like meat aging in a smokehouse, this beer is a meal. So chewy and thick, it's hard to but the glass down.

D: Damn! 11%? No wonder I was a little tipsy this morning (okay, a lot tipsy). Hopefully more places will see it on draught now that Max's has popped the cherry.

 1,012 characters

Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark copper with a one inch head of off-white. A chill haze in the body, and a moderate amount of torn lacework for the duration. A skimcoat on the surface testifies to a somewhat low level of carbonation.

Aromatics start off with sweet malt, ripe fruit, and boozy whiskey notes.
Tangerine, melon, bubblegum, grape jam, cherries, and toffee ride atop the earthy and booze-laden essense of the barrel.

On the thick side of medium bodied, a bit syrupy and quite sticky.

Juicy malt and fruit mixes with warming whiskey notes. Grape jam, raisins, hard candy, and orange peel follow through. Dusty boards follow along unexpectedly, as well as an oxidized earthy nod. Sherry plays with the whiskey, and the beer warms on the throat.

Finishes with light spice, wet and dusty boards, a blend of whiskey/sherry, and sweetish malt.

There's a decent amount of oxidation, apparently from the barrel-aging, but the dusty, almost sawdust-like character is detracting.
Otherwise a great beer.

 989 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a dense brown body with a reddish glow from the base of the glass. There is a thick sticky, spongy off-white head that sticks to the glass with each sip. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that trickle up the sides of the glass.

S- This beer has a creamy slightly sweet soft peat note with a hint of whiskey and caramel malt and a faint finish of brown sugar.

T- The taste of light smoky wet wood blends with a cream and caramel sweetness. There is a light spice hint to the finish with a slightly dry brown sugar taste.

M- This beer has a full mouthfeel with a creamy texture due to the thick head that last the full beer. There is no real alcohol heat until the beer warms quite a bit and even then it is pretty soft.

D- This beer has a nice smooth yet complex flavor that has many sugary characteristics without being overly sweet. The whiskey and wood flavors have a unique twist of peat but they all work together nicely. Nice winter sipper that is a bit mysterious.

 1,031 characters

Photo of Kraken
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2 fl oz bottle.

Had a nice color, dark brown. Very minimal head, fine champagne bubbles. Smells of apple cider/sour apples. Taste is exceptional, slight apple, wood, almost chewy. Wood becomes very prevalent a third of the way through. Slight alcohol burn. This is a real sipper, at 11%. Lovely, but I don't think that I could have more then 1.

 360 characters

Photo of jampics2
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled with the calva reserva. Preferred this one!

Pours an amber color. Nice looking beer. Small head.

Oxidized smell, but some sweet malt as well! Toffee malt notes.

Taste is nice - spiceyness from the bourbon and wood masks the additives in the beer. But I get a nice corriander in the background.

Nice low carb.

Overall, this was great and easy to drink. I liked it!

 376 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
't Smisje Grande Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 89 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.