't Smisje Grande Reserva | Brouwerij Smisje

BA SCORE
84
good
89 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
't Smisje Grande Reserva't Smisje Grande Reserva
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Smisje
Belgium
smisje.be

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
89
Reviews:
52
Avg:
3.72
pDev:
19.35%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
6
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 89 |  Reviews: 52
Photo of ShogoKawada
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
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 MufflnMan
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a snifter glass. Incredibly overactive off white head. Had to pour this one extra slow. Head was present for the entire drink, beautiful lacing sticking to the sides with each sip. Color was a dark brown.

I smell some apple, raisin, toffee and a spice I can't seem to put my finger on... maybe coriander as written on the label. Taste was much the same, and quickly got a bit too boozy for me. Subtle wood flavor in the background. Mouthfeel was thin and... well, boozy. This beer seemed nice and complex at first but quickly fell flat and one-noted after a few sips. Not sure what happened. Was an interesting drink, but not a repeat.

 670 characters

Photo of wschmit
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle into a Perfect Pint.

A: This foamed up on me when I opened it, so the head is probably not representative, due to a hasty pour. A thin ring of tan head remains around the top of a hazy, burnt amber body with apparent carbonation.

S: Grape fruit snacks and whisky up front. Cherry cola thereafter, with some herbal flourishes. Very enchanting, unique nose. A bit of musty malt rounds it out. No hops.

T: A bit tart initially, it quickly develops into a heavy scotch flavor, and is noticeably smoky. Definitely scotch, not American/Irish whisky. Finish is dry, woody, and a bit too astringent. Perhaps some oxidation, too. Overall, not as good as the nose, to me.

M: Good mouthfeel: medium carbonation lightens the fairly heavy body, and barely a trace of alcohol from this potent pour.

D: If it tasted as good as it smelled, this would be one hell of a beer. As it is, it's interesting, and goes down very easily given the ABV. At 6 bucks for the bottle, it was a fair price, but certainly not a backyard grilling quaff. Still, I enjoyed it.

 1,062 characters

Photo of clickpush
3.94/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: 330ml bottle to open mouth glass. Murky brown body w/ a touch of a halo and a couple lazy bubbles coming up from the bottom.

Nose: Sour cherry, boozy, oaky. Spicy, cinnamon... a touch of red wine vinegar.

Mouth: Slightly sour, oaky, a tad bitter (from oak?). Also some sweeter baking spices, cinnamon & clove. Something vegetal that I'm not in love with. But still complex, almost like a Flemish brown ale, sweet/sour. Enjoying it. Mouthfeel is plenty carbonated, nice.

 478 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a copperish-brown body w/ large sticky head that takes forever to die. Sweet aroma, like candied-sugar, and the whiskey and oak aging are noticeable as there is a strong, woody/burnt malt aroma as well. I'm wondering if also picking up some of the alcohol in aroma although won't say it's a boozy/medicinal smell. Hints of light aromas of raisins and figs and the typical Belgian yeast strain comes out (although no orange). Unfortunately it goes off the rails a little bit. While there are some sweet notes and fruit notes i.e. caramel and something akin to chocolate/toffee as well as raisins and candied fruit and some orange/citric hops, plus a spicy corriander edge, the beer is overcarbonated in my opinion so instead of passing over smooth it is a little prickly and unbecoming. Also, there is also a little bit of a husky sour edge of apple and pear that isn't that greatly balanced, almost a sour vinous taste, and the dry woody/toasted malt presence is on backend as well as booze but not complementary; stands out in sharp contrast. This beer has the stuff to possibly be great but I find that it really just misses on trying to balance all these ingredients and w/ the high ABV it is a stong and long sipper.

 1,226 characters

Photo of speter
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a cloudy deep brown with a high head that slowly fades, leaving impressive lacing.

S: Roasty malts with an overlay of alcohol aged in French oak. Hints of brown sugar, caramel and raisins.

T: This is one of those beers best sampled in small quantities. Even though the stubby is 11.2 oz, it's still worthy of being split. The initial tastes strike me as very nice. Warming and strong, but after numerous sips, the ethanol turns on you and begins to be a bit too fusely.

M: I'm giving this a high mark, because even at 11%, it is fairly watery and not too much like drinking syrup. The carbonation is impressively high, given the ABV, which makes the overall experience pretty good.

D: Alas, the fusel alcohol is a bit too much for this to be a drinkable beer.

 774 characters

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

I'm re-reviewing this beer since my last tasting wasn't so favorable.

A: nice copper color - thin lacing on sides and in middle of glass
S: oaky, cloying, some oxidation but nothing offensive - almost barleywine like (especially with the amount of EtOH - there's something very intriguing about the nose - sherry undertones
T: not bad - I see that the reviews are all over the map - my sample isn't bad at all (and I've been drinking Belgian beers for nearly 25 years) - malty, alcohol, some oakiness - definitely doesn't taste like its 11% ABV -
M: not thick and cloying like I expected - warming and smooth
D: very drinkable for the amount of alcohol - this bottle wasn't something incredibly amazing in taste but not bad

 725 characters

Photo of drabmuh
1.42/5  rDev -61.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer was so bad it was offensive. I am HUGELY unimpressed with this entire brewery. It baffles me that this beer has a positive review. This was close to the worse BEVERAGE I've ever had. If I were still in Arizona, I wouldn't have poured this down the drain, I would have taken the bottle out to the mesa and shot it with an assault rifle. Unfortunately, this was not an option. Beer poured into a tiny snifter. I only drank 1.5 ounces before choking back my gag reflex.

Beer is kind of brown / amber but its so settled that there appears to be a gradient of crap in the glass. Its darker at the bottom than the top and I don't know what to think about that. No head, no lacing, no nothing.

Aroma is harsh, mildly smoky, a little sweet. Probably the best thing about this beer.

Light in body, dry in finish, peaty smoke in the palate, gross midpalate flavors. I hoped that the smoke would cover up the rotten wood flavors and skunk and nastiness but it somehow amplified them. I would never buy or drink this beer. It was horrid.

 1,038 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
1.41/5  rDev -62.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bottle shared by bmanning.

Pours a murky light brown with quite a bit of haze and sediment. Small, tight head. No lacing. Nose is something else, with a weird nutty character permeating everything else. Hints of toffee and dark fruits in the back. Taste is dark fruits, toffee, caramel, and a strong nutty presence. A bit of something else is off, though it is hard to place. Feel is creamy and nutty with almost no carbonation. Really bad. Overall, just not a good beer with some seriously strange flavors.

 509 characters

Photo of jjayjaye
2.32/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Whoa. Totally unlike any BSD's that I've ever considered before. Really trying to stick it out but I'm not a big fan. Unique is one thing, drinkability another. The nose and the flavors mirror up pretty well, but wow, not sure where it's coming from. First off on the sweet side with some nice figgy character that is mixed with a floral something mixed in with a soapy Sen Sen licorice and some nasty leathery horse blanket thing that lingers well past it's welcome. The mouth feel is light bodied, tingly tangy and fairly dry. Cleans up pretty quickly aside from that unnamed goose bump making thing that's going more towards a tartness as it warms up. I'd love to wave you off of this one, but I think that it's so unique that you ought to give it a ride. Definitely not what I consider inside the classic style. I'm not getting the 11% ABV in any shape or form. I'm going to finish this one but I'm not going back. Really interesting...FYI, I just drain poured the Fiori.

 975 characters

Photo of drpimento
3.05/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ok beer. When first opened, picked up a whif of burnt matches. Poured with a smallish light tan head and some lace. Color is an oragne dark amber. Aroma is malt caramel, yeast and a hint of bandaids. Flavor is the same as aroma. Body is good and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor, medium in length and a bit boozy.

 321 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Somewhat murky mahogany hue, with an off-white smallish head.

S - The smell is strong of whisky barrels, with some dark fruits, cherries and some oxidation.

T - The taste is so different than the smell, it is more of a Belgian-Scotch Ale than I expected. It is semi-sweet, with a peaty smokiness and a big nutty malt flavor. I don't get so much Whisky but there is some eclectic spicing, as advertised. It is pretty good, but not excellent by any means.

M - It has the feel of a cask ale, smooth but under-carbonated.

D - I am not sure whether I am let down or just surprised by this one. t' Smisje makes some very good stuff, so I had fairly high expectations here.

 674 characters

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.

 573 characters

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.

 598 characters

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!

 376 characters

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.

 1,071 characters

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.

 948 characters

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.

 619 characters

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.

 634 characters

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.

 1,227 characters

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.

 1,493 characters

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.

 2,066 characters

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.

 1,012 characters

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.

 1,273 characters

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.

 393 characters

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