't Smisje Grande Reserva | Brouwerij Smisje

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'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:
No notes at this time.

Added by emerge077 on 12-09-2007

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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 89
Photo of JBogan
2.88/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The glass is filled with a ruby color with a very small head which leaves an average amount of lacing.

The aroma is full of dark fruits, perhaps raisins along with a heavy dose of burnt wood.

There's a very boozy character to the taste, along with cherries and the previously mentioned dark fruits. It's a bit too sweet for my liking, and seems more like a barleywine.

The mouthfeel is very thin and quite flat, but does go down smoothly.

The sweetness of this beer made it hard for me to want to finish the glass. There are far better examples of this style available.

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Photo of flannelman808
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This beer pours with a semi opaque mahogany red color. The beer is topped with an off white thin but apparent silky head. smooth latte like froth on this stuff.

S: coriander and spice and wood jump out at me... dark toffee malts and a caramel like sweetness. maybe some dark fruit as well... smells good.

T: Rich and much more boozy than I would have guessed by the nose. Whisky barrel comes through for sure... wood is all over the place. Sweetness and vanilla are also present. over ripened sugary dates?

M: Rich and lingering

D: not too high given this beers sweet almost cloying profile.

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Photo of jampics2
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
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!

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Photo of jwinship83
4.19/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of ccrida
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of corby112
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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Photo of robbyc1
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Unique fluffy head with a hazy reddish cherry amber look. Lots of carbonation and great lace, the head looks like pillow fluff.

Malty nose, not big but figs, stone fruits dominate.

Leather and stone fruits hit up front, very unusual. Stored in whisky casks and with corrianger and grains of paradise, I think the spices are barried by the cask, subdued flavors , not a sign of the high abv, but a sipper nonetheless, after dinner for sure. with cigars and a shot as well.

Heavy and smooth, more like a port with some carbonation.

Not an easy drinker, but a different type of beer, even for a Belgian Dark, this one is interesting.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle picked up at State Line a while back.

A: In my Koningshoeven goblet, this beer pours a deep, reddish brown with a thick, creamy light brown head. Retention is good, and there's some nice lacework as the head slowly recedes

S: Very rich, this beer has a lot of depth. It opens up with a combination of fresh bread, spices (nutmeg and mace) and a rich and sweet booziness. Being aged in cognac barrels, there is a rich vinous character, with sweet brandy and cognac booze. As good as this is, I can't give it a 4.5

T: Opens with a mild brown sugar sweetness and a bite of alcohol before a melange of spices - herbal with a little mint, as well as nutmeg and a little mace - kicks in. Great barrel character with a big cognac presence with oaky tannins present. The finish is long, dry, and tannic with some alcohol. As it warms up, the complexity of the base beer becomes more apparent, with the rich malty base with brown sugar, burnt sugar, cocoa and a little coffee grinds coming through.

M: This beer is pretty great. Medium in body with moderate carbonation and a great finish

D: As excellent as this beer is, I'm having a hard drinking this. It's too rich for its own good, and a perfect beer to share.

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Photo of berkey
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bonfire orange with tangerine dipped in honey borders. No yeasties so far, but only the top two-thirds of the bottle exited on the initial pour. The great looking crown is midway between cream and beige. It has a milkshake-like creaminess and enough stickiness to paint the glass with a fair amount of sea foam lace.

The label indicates that Grande Reserva is Kerst that has been 'whisky cask matured'. By the smell of things, the brewery used Islay Scotch casks. There's a phenolic, smoky peat-like aroma that doesn't come from any other type of whiskey. The coriander and grains of paradise have been steamrolled into oblivion. If you don't care for Islay Scotch, knock off a half-point.

Unlike some barrel-aged beer, this ale picked up a significant amount of character from the wood and the whiskey. Perhaps too much. The complexity present in a great many BSDAs simply isn't present. That doesn't mean the beer isn't good, however.

The final pour adds a deep, rich, coppery color and a significant amount of yeast. It also intensifies an already aggressive flavor profile. Scotch is one of the world's finest libations, but it doesn't always complement beer as well as bourbon does. The flavors here do tend to clash a bit. Can you feel the ambivalence?

Warming helps bring out the spiciness. That said, there's no way I could have identified the spices by name given the cask aging. The beer is also fairly sweet, which works well in the grand scheme of things. A little warmth from the alcohol isn't surprising given the ABV.

The mouthfeel is on the full side of medium-full and delivers a moderate stickiness after the swallow. There isn't as much velvety volume as there could be, but the viscosity makes up for it. Lots of candi sugar, no doubt.

It's hard to say whether 'whisky' cask aging did Kerst any favors. I like the original beer and I like this version just as well. However, neither one even sniffs greatness. The fact that it's unique makes 't Smisje Grande Reserva worth a purchase. That said, I have very little desire to drink it again.

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Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of Raymond69
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.37/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

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Photo of pwoods
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

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Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brewery has been barrel-ageing up a storm and this is no exception. The whiskey is prominent. It is good looking and most drinkable, despite the booziness which is apparent. Average mouthfeel. I would have liked a little less sweetness, brought on by the corriander.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of firkinhophead
4.52/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

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Photo of weeare138
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears a semi-transparent, crimsoned toned amber with a small white head that slowly fades into a heavy collar. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, light smoke, and toffee.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with meaty, smoked jerky jumping across the tongue.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a grainy, astringent, heat that is mildly tough to swallow.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, amber body with a small, fizzy white head.

Smell: Heady aroma of smoke, juniper berries, fruit, and a dizzingly array of strong spice notes.

Taste: Honeyed sweetness, a tart fruitiness, wood, spices, and lots meaty smokiness, like biting into a pulled pork sandwich. All of the flavors push and shoove the palate around, all vieing for your undivided attention.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Quite warming. Sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Plenty of intense, otherworldly flavors jumbled up in here, and, while it's interesting, I don't think I'll be reaching for another bottle anytime soon.

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Photo of Kraken
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous, hazy crimson look, nice, creamy head.

Lovely aromatics, deep, malty, rich, & inviting. Cherries, blackberries, other dark fruits, spices. Gettin' the whiskey, too.

Big splash onto the palate, fat and tasty, but a bit brash. Brandy-like, richness, ...ah, reading the label closely, I see it's the Kerst, which I recently had matured in the whiskey casks.
A little nutty, ...altogether odd, to be accurate. Doesn't press all the right buttons with me, and I can't say why exactly...but, that's cool.

Nice stuff, even if doesn't set my world on fire. And I can hardly notice the 11% abv. Wait...there it is!

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Photo of malcontent
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy, bubbly brown-ish body with a scattershot head. Looks like something I've brewed...

Big, yeasty nose with a sweet apricot hint before a subdued hop background makes itself known.

Candy sweetness takes the lead with only a hint of coriander in tow before a full-on rush of Spanish peanuts (skin included) takes charge. A minor hop kick chimes in on the finish creating a complex, unusual and, frankly, delightful experience.

Body shies away from heaviness considering the hefty ABV. Still, the sweetness trends toward slightly cloying after a bit. A great little gem nonetheless.

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Photo of ggaughan
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I shared this bottle with my wife at the Brugs Beertje in Brugge. The beer poured a brown body with a thick, foamy off white/tan head. The aroma of the beer had some solid oak quality and spice as well. The taste was smooth although there were definite notes of the high abv. There were some pleasing spice notes to this beer. The label said that it was brewed with corriander and grains of paradise. Overall the beer was malty and was good sipped due to the high abv but the beer was pretty easy to drink and left a very pleasing taste in the mouth.

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Photo of GbVDave
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into two small white wine glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Slides out of the bottle a hazy, golden, caramel-brown. Very creamy khaki-colored, 1/2 finger head. Lazy streams of bubbles.

S: Pear, honey, and whiskey are the dominant features here. Also noted were sweet caramel malt, bread, and spices.

T: Whiskey, sweet fruits (pears/apples) honey, spicy hops, oak, spiced caramel, and sweet and smoky malt. Earthy and sweet.

M: Slick and coating, not at all syrupy. This beer coats everything in your mouth! Alcohol content seems virtually non-existant.

D: Goes down so easy, a pleasure to drink!

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't Smisje Grande Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
3.72 out of 5 based on 89 ratings.
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