Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,042 Reviews

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian Strong Pale Ale, re-fermented with Bordeaux wine yeast

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2001

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Reviews: 1,042 | Ratings: 2,437
Photo of SamuraiJack
3/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

I truly love Belgian Tripels. They are incredible beers. I love the style, I love the uniqueness, I love everything about them (except, perhaps, the price). I though I'd never find a Tripel I didn't like. Well... I stand corrected.

First pour shows a gorgeous beer in the classic Tripel style. Fabulous golden honey body with amber and orange highlights, noticable floaters and a thick and rocky head.

Then... the aroma. What can I say - the first thing I thought was "dirty socks." The second was "funky over-ripe cheese." The smell is just - wrong to me. And damn is that smell strong. Yeah, I know it's the yeast, I know it's the style - just like I know that gorgonzola is supposed to smell like sweat socks aged in cheese. None the less... I don't find it appetizing to say the least.

First taste, well... to be honest on my first taste I simply couldn't get past the smell. So I then tried to taste it while holding my nose. When I did this - I found an interesting Tripel with a slightly thick and oily mouthfeel, solid fruits riding a good foundation of grains and an undercurrent of funky yeast - and culminating with strong vaporous alcohols. Tasting it while not holding my nose brought out the funky yeast flavors and made it nearly impossible to taste anything else other than the finishing alcohol heat.

Coulda been a contenda.

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Photo of OatherS
3/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Short stuby bottle with pirate on front.

Smell: Strong, interesting, difficult to pin point and describe.

Appearance: Pours golden translucent. Short lived head..

Taste: Strong alcoholy flavor. No decernable aftertaste. Does not really have a distinct flavor. Somewhat sweet.

I personally am not bowled over by the beer.

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Photo of Naerhu
3/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

How is this an amber triple ipa?
Ingredients on label read: malt, hops, sugar, and orange peel.

Appearance: Pure while sticky head. Semi-hazy yellow body with carbonation apparent.
Aroma: Huge yeasty aroma fills the room (very small room) upon opening. An abundance of soft malt on the nose.
Taste: An explosion of weird flavors. Sweet and bitter. Yeasty and malty. Floral hops and huge alcohol.
Mouthfeel: Syrupy alcoholy mouthfeel.
Drinkability: Far to sweet to be an IPA and far too weird to be pleasant.

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Photo of pwoods
3.03/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz. stubby 'Duvel' style brown bottle. Purchased at Party Source, poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a nice glowing blood orange color with plenty of haze. Maybe 1 finger of white head forms and falls to a thick skim within a minute or 2. Some decent lacing.

S: Smells like a Barleywine and Old Ale combo. Strong, prefumy hops with a heavy alcohol line. Rich, thick malts. Super sweet and rummy. Dark fruits.

T/M: A good dose of bitterness with plenty of yeasty esters mixed in and lingering carbonation on the tongue. Just a touch of citrus in the form of lime. Alcohol seems just a bit out of control. Thick, syrupy malts, dark fruits, very Old Ale malt side.

D: Not terrible but it took me a bit to finish it. Alcohol holds this back quite a bit.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.03/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 11.2oz stubby into my Chimay chalice. This beer pours a golden straw with a 2inch white head that leaves lacing that reminds me of Lorianne Swiss cheese. Odd mental picture but that's the one drawn for me. The aroma reminds me of most BSPA's. Sweet pears and apples, a bit of hops and a bit of Belgian candy sugar. I really wish the hops were a little more prevalent in the nose but they really play second fiddle to the malt that's used to push the alcohol up to 10.5%. The flavor is almost exactly the same. Orchard fruits, big malty sweetness, with just a bit of hops at the tail. I think that if this beer wasnt so sweet, the booze would be almost untouchable. It still shows it head but its mostly covered by the big malt body to this beer. The mouthfeel is rather syrupy. The carbonation is light leading to the syrupy body. All and All, I'm not really impressed with this beer. i wonder if maybe this is an older bottle. I'll definitely be trying to get a fresher bottle and will re review.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a cloudy golden color with a huge head – and nice lacing. The smell is sweet and hoppy with a touch of sourness. The taste is fruity and spicy mixed with hops and sourness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied. While drinking at a warmer temperature helps, the flavors do not seem to blend well and therefore, does not make this a highly drinkable beer.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a massive head; lots of splashy lace

Smell: Yeasty and hoppy aromas, with chalk, lemon pith and herbacious, floral bitterness; some alcohol on the nose

Taste: Yeasty, with tropical fruit undertones for just a split second, but the herbal bitterness, the pith and the alcohol overwhelm the palate from then on, leaving a very harsh aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderately high carbonation; rather boozy and warm after the swallow

Drinkability: More like a hoppy BSPA than a Belgian IPA, but I would not argue with the classification - this beer was just not to my liking as I didn't care for the boozy bitterness

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Photo of bobhits
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

An intensely sweet mix of bananas, cloves, and sweet sugary elements. The beer really takes one Hef like elements though the weight and power are clearly something else.

Intensely sweet, sugary, and full of cloves and bananas…oh and alcohol. Very flavorful and intense, but hardly the complexity I would expect. This is NOT an IPA or Belgian IPA by any stretch!

Wow this is harsh. A lot of alcohol and rather hard to drink. Still the carbonation and mouth feel seems impressive given the style and abv.

This would be a lot better with less alcohol. Still pretty good flavors and decent carbonation to make it work.

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Photo of fisherman34
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light bronze in colour with strong carbonation. Aromas are of light caramel malts, banana, corn sugar, and alcohol. Warming and boozy, with flavors of tropical fruits, herbal hops, gala apple, and a bit more banana. The carbonation and high attenuation keeps this beer from getting too cloying, but it lacks a certain amount of complexity to make it anything more than an average strong Belgian ale.

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Photo of bort11
3.1/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I have to admit, I got this one purely on the name and the label art. ARRGH!

11.2 oz bottle poured into a goblet. Very little head and only a thin white ring around the edge. Color is a hazy orange-y peach. Just a bit of carbonation activity.
Smell is pretty sweet, candy sugars and a fruity apricot aroma. Taste is still on the sweet side but the Belgian yeast balances it out and keeps it from being too sweet. That balance also does a good job of masking an alcohol flavor. There are additional husky grain flavors in the background.
Mouthfeel is thin and a bit fizzy. I would have given a higher drinkability, but I woke up the next day with a killer headache. I walked the plank on this one.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.11/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I grabbed a single at State Line this past weekend.

A clear bronzed color, there's a dense, off-white head with exceptional retention and gorgeous lace. A particularly impressive beer, this. The nose is pretty massively phenolic with some white pepper, honey, moderate floral hops and some tropical fruit. The fruit isn't from hops, it very clearly is from the rather aggressive yeast strain that was used, with an almost jackfruit character. There's a little mustiness present as well.

The palate is rather intensely phenolic, almost too much so. The spice and fruit character are particularly high too, and coupled with the moderate sweetness, this is rather unappealing to my palate. Honey, alcohol and a candi sweetness are present mid-palate. Drying on the finish thanks to the high alcohol, there is still a moderate sweetness present with floral honey. The hops aren't really noticeable, this is more of a BSPA than a BIPA. While a little grassiniess is present on the nose, it doesn't translate to the palate. Medium in body with crisp but gentle carbonation, this beer is decent. The logical interpretation of what a pale Gulden Draak should be, but it just isn't appealing to me. The high alcohol and sweetness just don't work together with a pale base beer.

**Edit 11 Jan 2012**
I'm revisiting by accident, as I'd forgotten that I'd had this beer. This is clearly a fresher sample as the nose is hoppier with a nice dusty Styrian Golding hop character that rides over the citrus and the spice. Some bubblegum is present too. However, as it warms up, the sweetness and honey and booze take over. The palate is spicy and phenolic, fairly sharp, with a grassy snap to go with the extremely expressive yeast. Way over-carbonated, this beer is fairly drying on the finish. While well crafted, this beer isn't realyl for my palate, and so, I'm letting my scores stand.

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Photo of Shiloh
3.12/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was not overly impressed by this triple IPA. I found the alcohol taste to be overpowering of the finer points of this beer.
This brew arrived a deep orange colour and murky in substance.
Also, a very short crown which quickly left leaving a very small glass ring and minimal island lace.
Carbonation consisted of a host of well spaced large bubbles.
The body was a medium/light.
The nose was reminicent of a freshly cut hayfield.
Taste initially of lemon, but soon the alcohol began to overpower this citrus like offering.

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Photo of Boozie132
3.14/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance looks great the head is thick and looms for a little while.
Smell is alright not that great. a little citrus flavor, also smell the malt with the strong alcohol.
Taste you definately get the alcohol taste on this one
Mouthfeel is alright
Drinkability ABV does hit you and its not suttle

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Photo of OskarL
3.14/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - A hazy/cloudy amber beer with a big head that stiicks for a while and leaves a lot of lacing.

Smell - Yeast, bread and fruitiness. Also a smell of alcohol and a note of some thing that's not very pleasant, kinda like iron/chlorine.

Taste - Yeast, bread, fruity with some phenols and esters. Also a lot of bitterness in the finish and alcohol which is warming.

Mouthfeel - A medium body with average carbonation.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.14/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Broken from the Van Steenberge beer pack I purchased last December. Consumed on "08/04/13." Review is from my notes. I've had this substantially fresher before, and feel bad reviewing a Belgian IPA that is 8 months old, but it should hold up alright. Poured into a tulip glass.

Pours an extremely thick deep amber reddish color (one that you see often in barleywines) with a frothy head about 4 fingers high in the glass. It settles to about a finger, but doesn't seem to ever let go, which is impressive given the high alcohol, but expected given the strong yeasty qualities of the beer at hand. Not much lacing. Extremely viscous, with huge alcohol legs. Hoping it isn't a boozy trainwreck.

The aroma immediately confirms my fears. It has been over a year since I had this beer, but it really seems that I either my tastes have changed or this isn't meant to be consumed this old. Super boozy, with brandy raisin notes that seem to pierce the nostrils with sugary boozy malty notes. Maybe some stone-fruit, maybe some citrus lingers about, but it's pretty much nothing but banana smelling yeastiness topped with malty booze. To make matters worse, it's metallic as well - iron seeps in to very confusing results. At this point, there's barely enough of a dry hoppy profile to speak of. Super oppressive.

The flavor is considerably less alcoholic, but is still considerably sweet and layered as well. Notes of green apple (perhaps acetaldehyde?), raisins, stone-fruit, and some light orange peel come at the front, which isn't too bad. Then, I find myself kicked in the face with the extra booze and hearty malts to the point that three sips in I was already feeling tons of heat and tipsiness. Contains the properties of barleywines, but has some off aromas and too much booze that isn't canceled out by the residual sugars. Not difficult to drink, as it is thick and robust, but way too intimidating in the same manner that many of these super boozy, sugary Belgian offerings I used to love have grown to become a chore to drink.

I am sad to have to have finished halfway through this without going on any further, as I remember I used to love this one a lot. I hold the belief that this brewery makes great offerings (Gulden Draak), but I'm going to start opening all these remaining bottles from the gift pack that I negligently stored away. However, I feel that overall this isn't much better fresh - it simply lacks the subtlety of dried hops I enjoy in the style, and seems to be way too over-boozed for its own good.

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Photo of karst
3.15/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared a 75 cl bottle with Shultzerdugen and cja711.

Pours orange with half a glass white head. Aroma of alcohol and sweet spices. Flavor is fusel 10.5% abv of boozy alcohol moderating a little with breathing and warming. But I never recovered much flavor except a sugary sweet thin drink that was a little too cloying and fusel.

Arrrrhhh!! keep the Piraat, I will take Duval.

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Photo of Regenpak
3.16/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Many years ago, when I was meddling with illegal pirate radio transmitters, this was my beer of choice. And I loved it! At the time ABV was a whopping 11.5%, which was unusual as it was very drinkable with the heavy alcohol way in the background, almost not present at all. Then ABV was brought down to 10.5%. This did not change the character of Piraat much. It was still a very enjoyable, nice sweetly tripel. Maybe this was the best version they made, and which I enjoyed on a brewery trip about ten years ago. Currently ABV is only a paltry 9.0%, a reduction that the beer did not survive. While still not a bad tripel it is now average, the taste having acquired a watery blandness that was not present with the previous versions. I now only purchase it if nothing else is available.

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Photo of jlapennas
3.17/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma: Caramel and toasted malt have kind of an oktoberfesty quality blended with some apple/pear fruitiness. Some clean alcohol in the background. Seems sweet and malt forward. No real hop character detected.

Appearance: Deep golden color, very good clarity, moderate head with poor retention.

Flavor: SmartiesTM, fruity and slightly tart. Sweet, caramel, candy-like malt character. Maybe there is a bit of sherry character. Lingering clean firm bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, medium body with a creamy slick character. A bit cloying.

Overall: The sweetness and candy character take away from the drinkability. I've had this beer a few times before and this bottle doesn't resonate with my memories. Could be this bottle was oxidized or old. If it always tasted like this, I wouldn't buy it again.

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Photo of Atch
3.17/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: slightly cloudy, golden. little carbonation and minimal head.

Smell: Sweet and spicey, little citrusy.

Taste: For me, it tastes very sweet, I would like it more dry.

Mouthfeel: Feels very chewey and a little rough.

Drinkability: Not my favorite Belgian. But it was alright.

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Photo of Dentist666
3.17/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into tulip.
Pours murky copper-amber beer with rocky beige head, utterly long retention. Smell - booze, banana, some yeasts, some sourish ham. Taste - hellish load of alcohol under thick layer of sweaty malts, too boozy, too meaningless. Good candidate for drain pour.

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Photo of revdrjbob
3.18/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled this second beer from the Piraat range with Tease typing and not in the bath!!

Poured into Leffe goblets a clear golden straw colour with a 1 cm white foam head, that dropped back to a thin white layer of foam. Pleanty of carbonation, with many tiny bubbles working their way upwards.

Huge arromas of alcohol first hit the nose, with wiffs of yeast and a sweet spiceness. More aromas of candied fruits and honey and marmalade.

The taste of Piraat is sadly a let down, compaired to the aroma. The first thing I get is hot alcohol over the tongue quickly followed by a sweet malty wash. After this a slightly tart yeast flavour similar to Duvel but lacking in the complexity.
Teaser reckons that it gets yucky as it heats up, and I agree that the alcohol becomes a little too much. Sadly not a beer as good as its cousin the Boucanier but still ok.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.21/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a large, fading white head.
Nose shows light malt, spicy hops and lots of booze. Also some spicy phenols. Somewhat faint though.
Better flavours. Sweet clean malt, soft booze, spicy notes and herbal hops.
Way too much carbonation.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.21/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Surly Girl in a Piraat Tulip

A- Pours a golden amber color with a solid off-white head that leaves some nice lacing behind.

S- Grassy, grainy, malty and with a nice bit of spice and alcohol.

T- Light honey sweetness. medium to low bitterness. A bit of clove, alcohol, and a bready malt.

M- Medium in body and a good amount of carbonation.

D- Not too bad but not what I was looking for or expecting when I read Triple IPA.

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Photo of dgallina
3.23/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 fluid ounce stubby brown bottle without freshness dating.

Pours into the tulip extremely clear golden yellow, with 2 inches of foamy thin head and fine lace. Smells of strong spicy alcohol, yeast, sweet malts, black pepper, tropical fruits (banana, pineapple). Tastes of somewhat sour medicinal alcohol at the front, becomes gently rounded with pineapple fruit in the center and finish. Medium body with fairly big carbonation. A mediocre strong ale in my opinion.

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Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.04 out of 5 based on 2,437 ratings.
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