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Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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1,028 Reviews

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

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: 1,028 | Ratings: 2,394
Photo of vainosuomi
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Burnt gold/amber color, thick, creamy head
Smell: Lots of Belgian yeast (apple, apricot), spice, slight caramel malt
Taste: Like smell, comes off with a lot of sweet fruity yeast and malts. Malts add a brown sugar/sweet bread character as well. Subdued spicy/floral hops offer some bitterness. Somewhat boozy. Clean, bittersweet finish.
Feel: Creamy medium body, fairly carbonated, warm from the alcohol

Overall a great Belgian pale. Certainly has a more pronounced hop profile than other similar beers I've had.

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Photo of DanielCseklye
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass from 335ml bottle.

L: A.mber hue with 2 fingers white head.

S: Honey, candy, esther and big yeast character

T: In the first seconds the big malt charachter overwhelmed me, then apricot notes accompanied by alcohol warmth

M: Dry finish, medium to bold body. Prickly carbonation. Alcohol warmth reminds me Belgian Single Malt stlye whiskey character

O: A very nice Belgian Strong Ale, amazing choice during cold nights

Food pairing: roasted chicken with spring onion curry cream

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
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.


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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle, it pours amber with a small off-white head, slowly reducing to a thin layer. Lots of everything in the nose. The mouth is struck by it all, although unlike others, I note a touch of alcohol in the bite. Wow!

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Photo of threeviews
4.61/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle with a BOD of: 07IO. Translated, that is September(letter 'I') 7th(number "Zero+7"), 2015 (Letter 'O') into an oversized, Brasserie D'Achouffe branded Belgian tulip glass (similar to Duvel, but without the nucleation). With a published shelf life of 24 months, this bottle is well within the wheelhouse of freshness...as a matter of fact, this is the most fresh I have ever encountered Piraat.

A - Using the same method as pouring a Duvel, Piraat pours with similar vigor. The beer presents itself with a deep orange hue sporting a full, 4 finger (2") rocky, white head.

S - Absolutely brilliant, resplendent with sweet stone fruits (peach, apricot, green apple), flowers, honey and cotton candy/bubblegum. Very reminiscent of La Fin Du Monde and Don De Dieu (Unibroue)...two of my all-time favorites. Alcohol is completely masked.

T - Much like the aroma, Piraat's flavor blooms with flavors of stone fruit, ripe citrus and bubblegum sweetness. Alcohol...what alcohol? This drinks half of its labeled ABV (of which I can only assume is correct).

M - Medium mouthfeel, but with its persistent and prickly carbonation, it seems the body is much lighter. It finishes amazingly dry, like that of an American IPA/DIPA...even at today's standards!

O - Piraat is juicy and finishes dry. At 10.5%ABV (and like Duvel who is 1-2points less in ABV), this is one dangerously drinkable brew...perhaps a nod to Pirates who stormed the waters. Although the price for a 4-Pack will cause you to second guess a purchase (~$16), this is a spectacular Belgian Golden Strong Pale Ale and if obtained fresh (i.e. within 6-24 months...or earlier) will provide an exceptional experience.

Postscript: Although this is my inaugural review, I have had this before (old label with an actual caricature of a pirate on the label. However, I feel that the bottles I had (with the old label) were well past its prime which resulted in a cloying, sugar-cookie aroma and flavor. I am absolutely floored by the impression left by this bottle which I used to compose this review and assume it to be to be ~9 months fresh. That said, I am beginning to appreciate "living beer" more and more...Like those who brew with whole-leaf hops, Piraat is one more offering that confirms my theory of extended freshness due to bottle conditioning.

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Photo of martinpfal
4.79/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

For almost 6.00 a bottle it's not one to get regularly, but one I truly enjoy.
Look of dark hazy Amber. Smell was complex....yeast and bread-y sweetness. Taste is just as complex and smooth. Carbonation effervescence mouthfeel with slight sweet malt. Not boozy and very much what a Belgian should be...sipped and enjoyed. One to recommend all the way!

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Photo of JakeScully
4.36/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Belgian Strong Pale Ale are my favorite style so I might be biased here. In my opinion this is just as good as Duvel, slightly stronger. Something to be sipped after a hard days work. Cheers!

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into a Tulip.

Hazy dark amber hue with majestic, rocky and billowy off-white head that everlastingly withstands with excellent retention, it is just slowly recedes while also yields magnificent lacing here and there, small effervescence floating actively by the push of carbonation.

Phenol, spice, yeasty, acidic, clove, banana, bubblegum, candy sugar, big malty, aroma seems to shuffle in every single sniff. Some part of its yeasty character reminds me of German Hefe.

It starts with ester with a sharp fruity sweetness then a touch of warm alcohol in the middle together with some spiciness, herbal and grassy notes that mingle together. Malt is also there as a significant backbone. Hop bitterness reveals at the end which gradually develops from sip to sip. The palate also senses the aftertaste with some semi-sweetness and dryness.

The palate contacts with smoothness through the medium to bold body. Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy and chewy with right amount of carbonation, very dry in the finish that makes you want to continue sipping more and more.

Complex, rich, and elegant brew, alcohol is a punch to your face but who cares? This beer is big in all aspects. Truly incredible and enjoyable.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.77/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Plenty of yellow color, not the most clarity by any stretch of the imagination. Small 1/4" white head. Aroma was massively big on the alcohol. WTF? Why do people dig this? A little bit of fruity yeast ester, but damn if that isn't extremely hidden because of the alcohol.

No hops, some bitterness from the alcohol heat, not much in the way of malt to cover up this beast. So hot. Vodka boilermaker up in this. Mouthfeel just totally enveloped by the heat of alcohol. Tastes like it is 30% abv.

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Photo of Rukeli76
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of Ant777uk
4.66/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Nice deep reddish copper colour, bubbly foam.

Deep, intense aroma. Peach and apricots coming through.

An abundance of flavors happening. Intense hoppy bitterness. It's a really great beer. I prefer this to Tremens and Tripel Karmeliet. This is more daring, it packs a punch. It's intense bitterness shines through, supporting the other flavours. The taste sensation lasts for 30 seconds, slowly changing with time. Citrus and orange peel notes, with some peach and apricottyness, play on the tongue with some banana peel, lime, and hints of liquorice.

Every taste is different, there are so many flavors.

This is great. The alcohol level is complemented by the big, bold bitterness and overall taste.

Mouth feel is creamy, tingly and pretty much perfect.

Piraat rules

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Photo of sjccmd
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh, floral, fruity aroma. Perfume like. Hard candies, gum drops, juicy fruit, graham cracker. Spicy clove and pepper. As complex as it is, it doesn't seem to be overpowering.

Pours clear burnt orange/amber. Large off-white almost tan head. Good lacing and retention.

The flavor is much more bready than the aroma. Toast, slightly nutty malts, apricots, cinnamon. Firm bitterness. Hops are spicy and herbal. Sweet warming alcohols linger on the palate. Cooked apples and caramel. Finish is somehow fairly dry.

Medium light body, high carbonation. Spicy alcohols round off the finish.

Lots of fruit in the nose, surprisingly bready in the flavor, and firmly bitter for the style. I wouldn't say it hides the alcohol as there's a lot of warmth on the palate, but the bitter bite and dry finish keep it relatively light on the palate.

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Photo of Spikester
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy golden amber with a good four fingers of foamy white head. The head lasts a long time! Good amount of lace as well.
Smell is white pepper spice bread and faint banana.
Taste is white pepper spice sweet malt banana and some herbal hops.
Mouthfeel is medium to full with plenty of carbonation. Finish is dry and very lightly bitter.
Overall a big beer and a little boozy.
No idea how old this might be. The bottle code reads: 26EO 16:58.
Would I buy this again? Maybe but it will be awhile.

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Photo of mpyle
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sampling it a little too cold, so take with a grain of salt:

Slightly cloudy dark gold/pale amber color. Darker than expected. Pours a beautiful creamy head, great head retention for a strong beer.

A gentle citrus fruit aroma, almost like a fruity seltzer. Hints of alcohol, but not much at cold temperature.

Gentle fruitiness up front, but tempered by the drying of the carbonation and alcohol. Definitely doesn't come across as sweet - very well attenuated.

MF - high carbonation jumped out at me before any flavor attributes. Fairly light body for the strength, alcohol somewhat prominent in the finish.

A little too boozy for me. Might just be that I prefer tripels to big golden strongs. No doubt is a good example of the style, just not a style that I like.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Piraat is on the "1001" list and deserves it.
It is very difficult to remember how many times I've had this beer. To make a valiant effort, let's say: "over a dozen." (I fall for Global Beer's sampler pack as often as I can, which usually has one Piraat.)
I suppose that makes me a Follower, if not a Fan.
Classic head from this strong pale. (Not blonde.) Full of life and never goes away.
Smell is not unlike an alluring perfume... sweet, but no warning of possible danger.
The taste is the same... particularly with a sweet red sauce... on the pasta.
The aftertaste? The sweetness goes away, and becomes dry.

Whomever said that "ale is like life", at least, got this one right.

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Photo of CHickman
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very well aged bottle (at least 1.5 years), it pours cloudy copper color with bubbles racing up actively to a small off white head that faded on the quick side, leaving good spotty lacing. I expected a big head that would stick around, but this head was not really impressive at all.

Smells of booze soaked malt, toasted grains, tart green apple, rotting fruit, medicinal or light rubbing alcohol, caramel, Belgian yeast, cider, mild floral hops and light barnyard funk. The fruity notes are the strongest with the malt bill adding some complexities to keep the alcohol in check. It smells strong and shows it's age nicely.

Tastes like it smells with with more fruit up front which is a mix of dark rotting fruit like cherry, pear, apple, raisin, tart green apple and then more noticeable booze. Like the nose the sweet malt, toasted grains, Belgian yeast and cider come through along with herbs, light floral hops, caramel, honey and medicinal or light rubbing alcohol. The light barnyard funk is also there, but it fades and is replaced by a spicy mix of pepper, brown sugar, and coriander. More balanced than the aroma, the funk, slight bitterness and rotten fruit create a nice flavorful blend that tames the 10.5% ABV and makes it relatively smooth for a strong ale.

Mouthfeel is smooth, thick and chewy with a dense body that has texture and slides down easier than expected with it's high ABV, funk and bitterness. It gets better as it warms and opens up, but this is a slow sipper and a one per night type of brew. Looking forward to having it again.

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Photo of Czequershuus
3.47/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.19/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From bottle, Pours a hazey murky golden with a big fluffy white head. Aroma of spices, citrus, and yeast. Taste some spice, Apple, Lemmon, cherry and caramel. Very nice.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
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!

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: slight haze; bronze in color; 2 finger off white head that receded slowly to a very thin cap; very nice lacing;

S: lemon, apple, black pepper, yeast;

T: pear and apple; a little sweet through the middle; a little lemon creeps in at the finish; mildly bitter at the end;

M: medium bodied; highly carbonated - effervescent; lightly dry finish; ABV is well hidden - a little warming;

O: complex aroma and flavor; very good;

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another beautiful looking Belgian, this pours an orange-gold with lasting, clingy, lacing, finger of dense white froth. Aroma is yeasty, full of esters and slight sweetness. Flavor is different with some spice and bitter from the hops finishing this clean and dry.

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Photo of fx20736
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a single bottle from AJ's Beer warehouse, Dec 2015. Served chilled in a Duvel tulip

Look: Opaque dark peach, white head, decent lacing

Smell: Noble hops, Belgian yeast

Taste: Orchard fruit, touch of cloves

Feel: solid

Overall: very well made beer

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Photo of Capn_Offal
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
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!

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Photo of leadpaint76
4.44/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice thick white head. Mild on the aroma. The flavor is nice and a little sweet not over bearing at all. Piraat retains a nice head until you finish beer with a mild pour. This would be a great beer to get a friend into the style but at 10.5 ABV it is a beer to slowly enjoy. Cheers all.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a chalice.
The appearance was a burnt orange color with a slim cap of a white foamy head. It dissipates nice and slow leaving some thick stringy lacing clinging to the glass.
The smell started off with crisp sweet apples, light pear, some Belgian sugars, Belgian spices and then had some light sweet orange to blend nicely.
The taste was fixated on the sweetness in the Belgian sugars, apples and pears. The spices seem to maintain an integral part in the background.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with some sticky sweetness sitting on my tongue. Spices do hit my tongue but in a nice way.
Overall, what a really nice Belgian Strong Pale Ale, definitely would have again.

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Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.04 out of 5 based on 2,394 ratings.
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