Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,042 Reviews
PiraatPiraat
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium
vansteenberge.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,042
Ratings:
2,437
Avg:
4.04
pDev:
12.13%
 
 
Wants:
127
Gots:
366
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 1,042 | Ratings: 2,437
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An attractive color and tasty beer. Alcohol is high but not overpowering. Masked by fruit but then you can drink too much.
Can sub for champagne or popular preference for bubby whites at dinner party. Would have again anytime. You can smell and taste the malt and yeast.

 271 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Single finger thick head with a little lace and excellent retention on a hazy golden amber head. Nice candy, spice and fig aroma which isn't as strong as some others in the genre but still nice. Flavor is strong with a sour dark fruit, mostly cherry note dominating with a nice yeasty and spicey note as well. Very high carbonation a n medium bodied. This is a decent tripel. Not the best I have had. The carbonation was way too much for me.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, honey, and some herbal hop aromas. Taste is of malt, grain, fruit, honey, and citrus zest. There is an alcohol kick and a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a very crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but pretty damn strong.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

great Belgian strong here, but a shade below the hype. its blonder than expected, with a robust inch of thick white foam. lemon lime color, simple, but elegant. the nose is bitter indeed, but not fully from hops, some funny malting strategy here perhaps is to blame, or maybe it is hops, hard to tell from smell alone. I don't get the other hop essentials, so im confused. rich flavor, creamy feel, vanilla before the bitter taste comes in. rich grain bill, oats maybe here, like a tripel, but not sweet at all, minus the candy sugar. interesting, but the alcohol is strong. its almost too strong. the taste finishes with a burn, and its moderately unflattering, but still unique to this brew alone with all that strange bitter. well carbonated and smooth, aside from the booze burn. less drinkable than many, but a complex and well refined glass of ale. ill be back.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours out as a nice hazy golden yellow color. The head is bit a fluffy. The lacing it leaves behind isn't too bad. The smell of the beer has a good amount of hoppy aromas coming off of it. The other aromas are a little spicy and has some floral qualities. The taste of the beer brings all those qualities together in a very spicy flavored IPA. The aftertaste has some nice bread flavors also. The mouthfeel is a sharp and tingly. Overall it's a pretty good Belgian IPA. I still prefer the Valier Extra over this but this is still a worthy try.

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Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a slightly hazy golden amber color into a snifter glass with a thick, white head that slowly dissipated into lacy patterns. The level of carbonation is moderate.
S: The aroma smells like apple cider, hops, and malt.
T: Hops are noticeable but do not dominate the overall flavor, which is well-balanced with tastes of tropical fruits such as pineapple, citrus and banana. There are also notes of spices in the finish, which is slightly on the sweet side.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate, and the aftertaste is a little dry.
D: It's relatively easy to drink and the taste of alcohol is well-hidden, but I can't see having more than one of these in a sitting given its high alcohol content.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After resisting for quite some time because I thought the bottle version was way too alcoholic, hot, and spicy, I decided to order the tap version. Though very similar to the bottled version with it's fruity, spicy, and Belgian-y characters, the fruits seem riper and fresher in flavor. The alcohols seem to hide behind better creaminess, fuller body, and a rounder malt flavor. Don't get me wrong, the beer is very hot and spicy, but alcohols are not all I taste when on tap. A good alternative to Duvel and Tremens.

 517 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle. First Belgian IPA, yeah! I mean, très bien!

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium copper amber hue, with a tower of puffy, densely foamy dirty white head, which leaves some nice chunky, fuzzy honeycombed lace around the glass as it lazily recedes. Looks like a big IPA, that's for sure.

It smells rather lightly of grainy pale malt, and soft spices - coriander, cloves, a hint of white pepper - a bit of earthy yeastiness, musty orchard fruit, and a very subtle metallic alcohol edge. The taste is much more fruity than the nose let on (it doesn't always know, apparently), with strong apple, white raisin, and peach liqueur notes, a part of the mildly caramelized malt very much in the forefront, muted citrus rind, edgy honey, and some tame candi sugar notes. The big alcohol is very withdrawn, imparting only a sparing dry metallic edge over the whole.

The carbonation is mild, but still duly supportive, the body a decently solid medium weight, and smooth, in that 'did I just do a vodka shot' sort of way. It finishes fairly dry, the caramel and alcohol maybe making a weak case for their side, but the hops, yeast, and flipside to the booze saying otherwise, and thus taking this round.

This does indeed taste like a so-so Yankee IPA merged with a big Belgian pale ale or Tripel, and further with some rather unassuming malt liquor. The Belgian side does seem to win out, given the fruity, yeasty (and alcoholic) notes herein. Any American-style IPA hopping is barely perceptible here, which is fine, but the denomination leaves something to be desired, and is a bit misleading, but that aside, this is a very well made, more hoppy than usual, strong Belgian pale ale.

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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 kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the brewery behind Gulden Draak comes this take on a tragically underrepresented style.

BOTTLE: Purchased in Denver, CO, for something like $18 a 4 pack. 330ml snub format. Brown glass. Iconic label design has a red and white motif but depicts a golden pirate ship. Branded white and gold pry-off crown cap.

10.50% ABV. "Belgian ale."

HEAD: A nice delicate coating of lacing sticks to the sides of my tulip as it recedes, which in spite of its robust ABV takes over 10 minutes to fully occur. Fluffy, airy, and soft in appearance with a nice billowing consistency and bright complexion.

BODY: Pale amber of terrific vibrance. Clean and filtered-looking, yet nevertheless lively, with a gorgeous glow.

A true to form appearance for the style. I'm eager to try it.

AROMA: Spicy, floral, peppery, and above all yeasty, with Belgian yeast-derived intricate subtle spice delicately playing with the drinker, promising a prickly delicate brew. Hints at indistinct tropical fruit. In spite of its monstrous ABV, there's not a hint of alcohol. Belgian pale and pilsner malts; possibly wheat? A blip of clove honey. Hints of bready malts.

Aromatic intensity is low. Promises a Belgian brew with an emphasis on delicate subtle flavours that doesn't shy away from a tropical fruit character that would be right at home in a loud American IPA but is more expertly reigned in here.

TASTE: Fruity, spicy, phenolic, estery, and warm, with a mildly sweet bready malt backbone evened out by pale and pils malts (and possibly wheat or oats?). No candi sugar here, but the sweetness is already there.

Warm but not boozy or hot, which is something at 10.50% ABV. These high ABV Belgian ales always drink easier than the loud American stouts and barleywines that seem to be branded as sippers these days.

Has a tropical fruit bend but it doesn't come from hops (which are primarily floral, and a little fruity but not tropically so). It's all yeasty esters. Make no mistake, Belgian yeast rules the roost in this delicately built brew.

Honey sweetness. Subtle bready malt tones. Crystal malts. Amber malts.

I can't say the balance is perfect seeing as its alcohol warmth will be off-putting to those drinkers unaccustomed to the strength of traditional Belgian ales. It's not the booziness of a tripel, but this isn't as approachable as most Belgian golden ales, nor is it as hoppy as most Belgian IPAs - in spite of being more hoppy than most more traditional Belgian ales.

MOUTHFEEL: Creamy, soft, prickly, and perfectly carbonated, with a slightly filling bread-like feel. There's a nice push-pull between coarseness and smoothness, dryness and wetness, but it errs on the more drinkable side. Has an alcohol warmth.

The prickly texture helps the yeasty spice sing, lending this delicate yet strong Belgian ale a nice harmony of texture and taste.

OVERALL: A bit warm even for a Belgian ale, though not as boozy as you'd expect a strong pale ale to be at 10.50% ABV. The contradictory dominance yet subtlety of the yeast alone is enough to make this brew worth trying, and it's a worthwhile entry in Van Steenverge's lineup - which is comparatively experimental in terms of Belgian brewing traditions.

Indeed, judging this by strict style conventions is a recipe for failure - and for missing the strengths of this somewhat unique brew. Closest to a tripel with a more aggressive hop bill - though it's anything but aggressive in comparison to contemporary American IPAs. If anything, drinking this ale in 2016 may make the discerning drinker reflect on whether hops have been pushed to too far an extreme; if Piraat can accomplish this level of depth, subtlety, and fruity character of flavour with a far more restrained and careful hop utilization, why waste so many hops on dry hopping the Ruinations and Palate Wreckers of the world?

Bold yet quiet, complex yet subtle, Piraat is a drinkable enjoyable treat of a brew that I'll be revisiting many times over the years (moreso in Belgium, where it's shockingly affordable).

B / GOOD

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.31/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep yellow color ale with a huge poured white foamy head with good retention. Aroma of alcohol is a bit too intense for my liking with some good malt backbone and lots of sugar. Taste is very sweet with a subtle burning sensation from the alcohol. Body is slightly below average with too much filtration and alcohol is too intense. Yeast is quite discreet and sweet too present. This one is definitely not to my liking.

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Photo of oline73
3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at the Frisco Grille poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a light amber color with less than a finger of white head.

Smell: There is a lot of banana in the smell of this one. I'm also picking up sweet malt and some very mild hops.

Taste: Initially I pick up a sweet Belgian spice and a lot of banana. In the background I'm tasting brown sugar and alcohol in the finish. The hops are there, but the sweetness seemed to dominate.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very fine champagne like carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: I think this one is a bit too sweet for the style but good. I don't know if I'll look for more.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, straw-yellow color with a light, fluffy, bubbly, off-white head. It left some nice lace.

S - It smelled of citrus, yeast, lemon and some caramel malt. Some floral notes and hints of grasses.

T - It tasted very grassy and citrus. Light touches of pine, too. It had a nice sweet caramel flavor providing a strong backbone. Also, some hints of alcohol flavor.

M - It was sharp, crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good Belgian IPA. Nicely balanced and surprisingly easy-drinking despite the high ABV.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Bright white head sits atop a hazy dark gold brew.

S: Lots of funk here. Also, plenty of hops and Belgian yeast. Fantastic.

T: Lots going on here. Good funk from the yeast, and plenty of hops to go along. Hints of different fruits as well.

M: Good taste throughout, sits in the mouth well. Medium body.

D: A little overpowering to go through more than one of, but this is a very fine brew.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 6/20/2012. Cork blew off into the cage as soon as I removed it. Pours fairly hazy golden orange color with a 2 finger fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of pear, apple, grape, lemon, pepper, clove, honey, candi sugar, floral, and light earthy yeast spiciness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast esters with malt sweetness. Taste of pear, apple, grape, lemon, pepper, clove, honey, candi sugar, floral, and earthy yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of light fruits, citrus, pepper, clove, floral, honey, candi sugar, and earthy spiciness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast esters with malt balance; and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a slick, prickly, and moderately crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Belgian strong pale ale. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast esters and malt sweetness; and very smooth to sip on for 10.5%. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - The head is a towering, two and a half fingers of bone white foam. The body is deep golden colored and perfectly clear. The carbonation supports the head well, but it eventually settles down and leaves thick lace on the glass.

S - Spicy hops with pine and citrus notes, backed by peppery yeast and rich malt.

T - Some citrus hop notes up front that are quickly overwhelmed by phenolic yeast. Pepper, cloves, anise, and a hint of vanilla. Sweet malt comes out briefly in the finish and is more than balanced by smooth hop bitterness. Lingering flavors of tropical fruit.

M - Medium body, very high carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - A strong golden belgian with a distinctly spicy yeast profile. Pretty drinkable for what it is, and it hides its high alcohol content well. There is a nice hop character, but the yeast dominates, and I wouldn't put it in the same category as other Belgian IPAs that I have had.

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Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had heard many things about this beer mainly good so had to try it on tap last night.Pours a gold/orange color with a big fluffy head,the aroma has big hop presence very herbal and grassy.Taste is very citriusy and tart with some late hop coming thru,very grassy and herbal aftertaste.A pretty nice beer but not a top notch Belgian in my opinion.

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Photo of chinchill
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml unusually heavy brown bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear orange-amber with a 2 finger, creamy, off-white head that has good retention and leaves thick lacing. A large amount of exceptionally fine carbonation can be seen rising in the glass.

Aroma: sweet and sour fruits, yeast, light malt, hops, and surprisingly subtle hints of the high ABV.

T - The flavor, like the aroma, is most notably fruity, but both malt and hops are evident. No hiding all 10.5% ABV, but the alcohol-related flavors are partially hidden and integrate well with the fruity flavor. Some hints of banana, of course, but hints of pineapple, apricots, pear, apple cider and dark fruits (including dates) in here too. Flavor starts sweet and changes to a mild bitter finish, with some tartness throughout.

M - bonus points for the creamy smooth feel, but a not unexpected deduction for the mild alcohol burn.

O - a fine, powerful, bold, complex fruity Belgian ale.

{revisited in Nov. 2013}

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When I first had this beer compared with Duvel, Lucifer and a few of the other more balanced strong golden Belgian's, I found it to be aggressive and rough - with a bold sweetness, an apparent alcohol, and a rough edge of bitterness and acidity. I've since changed my opinion on that in so far as those qualities give it a bold, unique, character. There are times when you want something that will reach out and grab you! This is it! Beautiful deep gold with a bright white rocky head that holds. Nice, creamy mouthfeel that caresses and tingles. The aroma is huge, complex, fruity, spicy and sweetly malty. The flavor starts with a bright sweet malt, revealing some spice (coriander?) and light acidity, followed by a brash bitterness. Plenty of alcohol here. A very strong, highly flavored ale that tours your mouth and takes no prisoners.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 7/17/08 at Pitcher's Pub, in Cumberland, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, hops and some citrus.

T: The taste is well-balanced with strong flavors of Belgian yeast and floral hops. There's a pretty significant alcohol sting and a heart malt character. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a nice high-octane beer to drink for a long time or at least until the ABV catches up with you.

 727 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy honey brown with a two finger light tan head. The head diminishes quickly leaving a thin layer of bubbles, mostly around the edges of the glass.

S: Aromas of yeast, sweetness, hops, and some citrus.

T: Flavors are very sweet - caramel + toffee malts, banana/clove, candied orange peel, and a little bit of honey.. The taste of the 10.5 ABV is extremely well hidden.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a little bit of stickiness on the palate with this beer.

O: Drank this in my favorite Piraat snifter, had to enjoy the beer the glass was went to hold. A little too strong to be sessionable but the flavors and smell were very enjoyable - if I had a couple of these I would be in a bit of trouble due to the high ABV.

 779 characters

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

I've had this many times over the years, but I'm finally just getting around to reviewing it. Pours a slightly hazy bronze color with a firm white head, varying in size, but usually displaying decent retention and lacing. Aroma is grainy, with notes of Belgian sugar and yeast, moderately hoppy. Biscuity malts in the taste, yeasty, candi sugar and light spice, with an indistinct dark fruit sensation, and a lingering herbal bitterness. Medium mouthfeel, and quite drinkable for the style. Good beer overall.

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Photo of mactrail
4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Enthusiastic head with streaming bubbles in the Saint-Martin goblet. Clear darkish amber color. This is both sweet and yeasty with the dry finish. Tingly and highly carbonated.

This seems like the textbook example of a strong Belgian ale. Flavors of sweet malt and grain. Bread and cookie dough, and is that a vanilla taste? Deeply fruity with lemon competing with the apricot and pear. Some tannic and woody taste. All of this seems to intensify as you sip and the hot alcohol tackles the tongue.

This is a big and bruising beer, but it is a cornucopia of flavors and sensation. From the beautiful printed on glass 750 ml bottle purchased in San Diego.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.61/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, bronze-hued body with a large, last, white head. Gobs of splotchy lacing on the way down.

Smell: Sugary, spicy, delicately grainy malts served up alongside a tray of juicy, fresh-cut fruits and a single shot of clean alcohol.

Taste: Initially, you're greeted with a sugar sweetened, clove-spiced doughy malt character. Next up is a blitz of fruit flavors: peach, pineapple, and banana. Additional taste of bitter orange zest with a medium-low bitterness. Peppery alcohol character remains for the warming, dwindlingly fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-high, finely-textured carbonation.

Drinkability: Paired well with "Lazy Confessions" by the Moldy Peaches. Though the alcohol is noticeable it's not glaring or, as a wise man once said, "It drink pretty good, don't it?" However, when the plummeting US economy drives me to a pirate-based livelihood, I'll probably stick to dark rum instead of Piraat. That's just me though!

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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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