Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
Ranked #14
Ranked #3,362
4.11 | pDev: 11.68%
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Notes: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, re-fermented with Bordeaux wine yeast
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Reviews: 1,100 | Ratings: 2,625 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3.08/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: An 11.2 fluid ounce (330ml) “Duvelian-like” stubby. This is the stronger of the two versions of Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge. There is a 9% version that has a plain label and a 10.5% version with the fancy picture. The former 9% version also goes by the name ‘Augustijn Grand Cru’ & ‘Bornem Tripel’, whilst the latter 10.5% version is sometimes also known as Amber Tripel IPA. All this “cloak and dagger” multiple identity stuff and Sunday names can sometimes make you want to call Interpol, or avidly check your beer note book, or beer list, before trying any of Brouwerij Van Steenberge’s beers in case you may well have had it before under a different name; this is the perpetual bane of many a Belgium beer geeks existence. Oh well, its all fun I suppose.

Appearance: A hazy golden honey color, it is scorched with a festered gold character that never really seems to shine but is almost dull in character. Not much of a head on this one, some lacing and a scum like covering.

Nose: Alcohol – yes, it either fails to mask the pungent ethanolic aromas, or it wants you to know that it may kick your ass later in the night. A nice dry hop aroma in the back end is somewhat spoiled by the vitriolic alcohol at times.

Taste: A very strong tasting beer, the alcohol is dominant, and way too demanding of the senses. A very harsh tasting beer that only Belgium-beero-philes may take to immediately. Not that impressed to be honest. It gets stickier as it warms, not good. Nice biting hop finish and a warming gullet feel. Raw at times though and uncultured.

Mouthfeel: Not that bad actually, one of the better parts of the beer, but its overall mouthfeel is spoilt by the raw rasp alcoholic feel in the back end.

Drinkability: Pretty average, the alcohol becomes a dominant factor after only half a glass, and can make this hard to finish. Don’t get me wrong I love Strong Belgium Pale Ales; I just feel that this concentrates way too much on the alcohol. Difficult to muster the next mouthful at times.

Overall: OK, so it’s called Piraat, I get that – nice one advertising execs., very original – yawn – and it even has a picture of a rather dashing Pirate looking dude in the bottom left, but wait - no body piercings, no tattoos, no eye-patches or even large gold ear-rings, in fact he could almost be a British Naval Captain. Oh yeah, and it also has a picture of a, erm well a Viking Longboat with backward facing sails, whilst it’s going forward. WTF?!?!?!? Yeah I’m anal when to comes to stuff like that. Hmmmm, I think the pony-tailed advertising execs. at the marketing company that B.v. Steenberge used for this label overdid the lines of Coke in the creative room a tad too much when they came up with this label. Burnt septum anyone?

I think this SOO wants to be a Kasteel Blonde – but it fails miserably, it lacks complexity, smoothness and a hop-balance. It can’t quite hide the alcohol as well as the Kasteel does. Not at all bad, but just above average overall. Slightly better on draft than the bottle, the draft seems to loose the harsh alcohol aspect.

Oh and sort the fucking backward sails out on the Viking Longboat label chaps, it’s really annoying me. Either that, or put a proper picture of a Pirate Ship on – just ask (Captain) Russell Crowe, he’ll help you out with pictures. LOL.

Dec 27, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of Capn_Offal

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This feisty Belgian is akin to going to a lavish ball attended by nobility such as Lord Draak of Tilden and the Ladies Chimay, and then meeting a rollicking, burping, more "punk" party crasher taking way too many turns at the punch bowl. This is Piraat. A fantastic time that makes you feel young despite its own age. As a lover of strong beers AND Belgian brews, I was ecstatic to find another powerful contender for top spot in my bar. While it lacks the sublime harmony that a Draak brings to the table, it is by no means lacking in any way. I would recommend this as a great starting point for anyone ready to walk the plank into darker Belgian territories. Happy drinking all!

Nov 25, 2015
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

3.47/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy beige with a large head. The aroma is fairly muted, presenting date, banana, pecan, and grape juice. The flavor is heavily tilted towards date, as well as banana bred, and that British soda vimto. Overall I find it quite sweet. The mouthfeel is very rich, with lots of velvety small bubble carbonation. Overall I was a bit disappointed here - not that this is not a good beer, but I find it a bit one dimensional, and too sweet, even for the style.

Jan 17, 2016
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Safa1 from California

5/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If Jesus were to drink real beer he would drink this. Otherwise he'd keep drinks by coronas. This beer is one of the greatest.

Jun 13, 2015
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LXIXME from New Mexico

4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big light tan head slowly settles into a nice bisquity lacing above a clear copper honey colored beer.

Aroma is very laden with fruits both dark and citrus and light pepper like spices.

Spices, light and of a darker cooking variety, mixed with dark fruit aspects like apricots on a light grain malt taste. The taste also brings with it an aspect of light alcohol.

A dry aftertaste that has with it some of the darker fruits on this medium well bodied beer.

This is a very good example of how to make a beer with a lot of different tastes but none of them really sticking out and smothering the other tastes with the beer.

Oct 11, 2012
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 750 ml bottle in a snifter glass. This fine BSA pours a nice clear
amber color with a nice head of white dissipating foam that settles to a thick
ring, thin layer, and light lacing. Nose of green apples, candy sugar, subtle
yeasty esters, pears, and bubblegum. Flavors follow but exceed by volume with
pear and apple notes on the sides and front being seared into place by strong
alcohol and candy sugars. Honey and bubblegum follow on the middle and fade in the rear
with a nice bitter herbal hop note that that lingers with warming booze. Excellent mouth feel;
prickly and lively carbonation that gives a medium full mouth feel and a lingering sweet yet spicy
finish with a touch of white pepper and hop notes. Excellence from Belgium. Period.


Aug 13, 2016
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jenbys2001 from Japan

4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I absolutely love this beer, it's one of the most unique and complex beers I've had the pleasure of trying. It pours golden and creamy with a gorgeous head. The taste is nearly indescribable and packs a serious punch. It has a strong yeasty flavor with earthy, spicy notes as well as creamy fruit tones. It has a strong phenol character, which normally I don't care for, but it lends a bold sharpness to this beer which I found very alluring. This beer has a lot of warmth to it which I'm sure is related to the high ABV. While drinking too many glasses could be dangerous, I really enjoyed this flavorful beer.

Apr 01, 2008
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CMG-PSU from Pennsylvania

3.01/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Wow... this sucker is strong. Overwhelming taste of bourbon.

Jul 03, 2015
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Homers_Beer_Odyssey from New York

4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE - Pours coppery red, with a huge, five-finger beige head that lasts a long time. It leaves a floaty yeast lump up till the last sip.

SMELL/AROMA - Herbaceous, sweet, a little piney.

TASTE - Sweet, herbaceous, piney. Definitely not bitter as advertised. ABV only a bit hidden.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE - Lots of carbonation, light, not syrupy.

OVERALL - A bit boozy, but a nice beer, sippable, not quaffable. Advertised as bitter, but it's not at all bitter IMHO.

Jul 21, 2014
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Rukeli76 from Canada (ON)

4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a chalice from a 355ml bottle. Served just slightly chilled. I'm not sure of the age but I do know it came from a Christmas variety pack, which means it's been sitting in my cupboard for either six or eighteen months.

Deep amber colour. Big foamy three-inch head. Lots of lacing.

Smells of sweet brown bread and dried fruit -- particularly apricot.

Quite bitter for a Belgian ale with beautifully complex, shifting notes of ripe peach, apricot, and candied citrus peel. The amber colour made me worry it might be too sweet, but that's not a problem (at least with this aged bottle).

Prickly carbonation. Lots of warm booziness too.

This is a top-notch Belgian strong pale ale with a unique character. It's got much more bitterness and complex fruity esters you get in the standards like Duvel or La Chouffe.

May 12, 2016
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MrIncognito from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Amazing. Hazy golden body with a thick, lasting white head. Smell of lemon peel, a little herbal hop, candy sugar, and yeast. Fantastic taste that is smooth and sweet with just enough bitterness to prevent any sticky, cloying sweetness. There is a nice malt backbone to this with a smooth honey and candy sugar sweetness.

Aug 18, 2014
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HuskerTornado from Arkansas

4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into tulip glass. Pours a copper color with a mountainous cream colored head that very slowly dissipates to over a quarter inch thick with some spots much thicker that remain and leaves behind thick lacing.

Smell is of sweet honey and malt, floral hoppiness, and the Belgian yeast always brings a fruitiness to the table. A lot going on here.

Taste impressively complex. Big floral hop presence combined with honey sweetness right off the bat. Lots of hops here, but the bitterness is not overly intense. In the middle comes a mixture of lighter fruits like pears and dark fruits like plums. In the finish, the 10.5% alcohol makes it's presence felt and there is a grassy finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Overall, a great Belgian strong pale ale. I've had this bottle a while, and poured darker than usual, but the flavor profile seemed to be about the same.

Aug 04, 2014
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wandered as I wondered in one of my local bottle shops, Oooh, what's in those clearance boxes of beers? A treasure trove, matey! "6 Exclusive Belgian Ales" apparently, working out to $4.00 USD/BT. Whoo! Aged, on the shelf in cool conditions in a box?!? Sign me up!

How have I not set sail on the Piraat ship before now?!? I am a retired US Navy sailor who started out in Deck Department & worked my way to Supply before retiring as a qualified Shellback; Bluenose; Plankowner & Order of the Ditch (Suez). I've been blewed, screwed & tattooed, all at the same time, several times over. I shook hands with Davy Jones, helped him open his Locker when it got stuck; married a mermaid (briefly) until we just couldn't make it work & had our marriage annulled; retrieved 200' of sound-powered phone line; gotten an HT punch; issued Fallopian tubes; broken cherries only to repair them with a welding rod, just like the crack of dawn, the crack of one's a** & the crack of the Liberty Bell (until I was ordered to stop) and so many other seaworthy tales that I shudder to tell ye landlubbers.

A Pop! of the cap and we were underway! The head rose up like an angry sea, washing along the sides of the glass as though the gunwales were that low. I directed the crew to secure everything & watch for heavy rolls. I then had the local crane hoist us out of the water for a look at the hull's underside. I started to yell, "All clear!" until I noticed a light haze in the Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper colored liquid (SRM = > 13, < 17) and had her set back down. I put my nose into the hold, expecting the worst, but instead, I got old newspapers, dried hay or grass & caramel. Say, are we transporting livestock? My crew is NOT to be trusted! Arrgh! I weighed anchor and lifted the goblet to my lips for a sip. Arrgh! It seems as though someone snuck some dried fruit aboard. This be my weakness! I love me some cherries, lemons, limes & plums. This be mighty tasty! Arrgh! Some fella named Jefferson paid me to lay in a barrel of his whiskey to slosh on our journey. I be tempted to hit that next. Oooh, the sea spray be opening me sinuses so that now, I also get melon! Where they be hidin' all of that fruit?!? I not be seein' it. Finish was semi-dry, not really dry, per se, but definitely yeasty/musty with a lot of fruity flavors. I may need to hit the rack or lay in me hammock after this little adventure!

Jan 02, 2016
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rangerred from Tennessee

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

330ml bottle into a goblet.

Pours a clear dark copper with just the smallest bit of sediment from the bottle sneaking into the glass. Huge solid two finger white billowy head that hangs on the entire time the beer is in the glass.

Aroma is quite spicy with hints of coriander and peach along with a whiff of alcohol. Not incredibly deep but it is true to style.

The flavor continues with the spiciness with coriander but the peach is a bit more subtle. A touch of dark fruit and caramel underneath along with a touch of caramel. The alcohol definitely makes its presence known but it never becomes overwhelming. Very dry mouthfeel with just a light touch of sweetness in the end.

Overall, this is a very good beer. It is not top of the line but it isn't very far off. Love that it packs a decent punch and is not overly sweet.

Aug 22, 2014
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Trombone69 from New Jersey

3.34/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I felt like I could taste every bit of the 10.5% alcohol. Maybe a little too extreme for me. I have had strong beers that I liked more, but in general, I prefer to stay under 8%. I guess there just aren't enough good flavors to mask the high ABV.

Jul 06, 2015
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MAB from Canada (AB)

4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite a nice change from the regular Belgian ales. This one looks lovely- copper/ orange with a thin white head.
It smells really nice- there is a hop presence but not a really bitter nose.
It tastes very smooth. Most Belgians, in my opinion, are rather sharp. My wife commented, and I could see where she was coming from, that this one was "soapy". That has more to do with the mouthfeel, but it was also a product of the minerals in the water, I think.

Very unique, and very drinkable.

Jan 02, 2009
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Pounddog from New York

3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From a 750mL bottle and served in a snifter. Poured with a thick and frothy head. The thick head died down very quickly to a thin white foam head that stayed for the entire glass. The color is an opaque honey. The smell was peppery and very alcoholic. The taste is peppery as well, with a note of pineapple. The aftertaste was decently hoppy, but not overly bitter or dry. I was surprised that the taste wasn't very alcoholic considering the 10.5% abv and the smell. Has a nice frothy mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation. Its very drinkable, but maybe not more than one in a row. It sits pretty heavy in the stomach due to the carbonation. Overall, a very tasty beer. I would definitely buy it again. Wondering where to find it in smaller bottles cause the 750mL seems a lot for one sitting. Plus, its got a pirate on the bottle. Pirates are totally better than ninjas!

Sep 23, 2006
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beermebeerman from Oregon

4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Wow. This was awesome! Shiver me timbers and whatnot!

Poured a light golden pilsner-y color into a 40 cl tulip glass. Meringue-like head that stood proud for a long while. Lacing left at every sip.

Smell is somewhat fruity, as all belgians seem to be. Very phenolic, almost a bit too much which comes across as mediciny, but overall a warm and inviting aroma.

Taste: cloves, banana, peaches, licorice, and alcohol. My bottle says 10.5%, and I can taste it, allthough it is at least a little subdued.

Mouthfeel is what you would expect from a highly carbonated belgian golden ale. There is a lot to this beer and you can almost feel it running up and down your tongue.

I am about 80% done drinking this 330ml bottle and I can FEEL it. Not a beer that you will drink too much of, especially for the 4$ price but it is worth every penny. IMO nearly as good or possibly better than Duvel.

May 27, 2008
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HeyItsChili from South Carolina

4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured from a bottle into a Delirium Tremens glass. Pours a crystal clear, bubbly blond with a white, foamy head.

S - The aroma is sugary, white bready, wheaty. Good.

T - Sweet, much like the aroma it is bready, little bit of pineapple and subdued spices.

M - Bubbly, frothy, medium bodied, good carbonation bobbing around the tongue.

Notes - I can't tell you how presently surprised I am at this beer, I would put it right up there with Tremens.

Jan 21, 2009
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yeahnatenelson from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours translucent, ruddy orange with billowing head. Don't typically describe lacing as 'mountainous,' but it's accurate in this case.

Smell -- clove oil, bready malt, honey, grassy hops, grapeskin, funky yeastiness, white pepper, booze.

Taste -- Honey, biscuit, and tropical fruit sweetness, then a hit of sharp spiciness and hop bittering. Finish is a little malty, VERY spicy.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied, medium carbonation, quite boozy.

Drinkability -- A lot of great malty flavors with enough hoppiness and spice to keep it balanced and drinkable. The booze bites on this one, which I don't typically like, but it really compliments the spiciness - or is it the other way around?

May 13, 2010
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Fitwitchik from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a tulip from a bottle purchased with love.

Absolutely a beautiful brew.
Gorgeous brickel golden amber colour, slightly cloudy, nice head of less than an inch with suds that drape the glass. Only complaint is that a bit more bite would make it perfect! Slight bitterness after a second glass tells my palate I need a tiny bit more...

Jun 20, 2011
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VeganUndead from Virginia

3/5  rDev -27%

Apr 05, 2014
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Maillard from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Feb 27, 2013
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paulish from New York

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Oct 14, 2014
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bjd88 from England

4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

May 03, 2015
Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 2625 ratings