Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
2,460 Ratings
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
Ratings:
2,460
Reviews:
1,048
Avg:
4.04
pDev:
12.13%
 
 
Wants:
130
Gots:
378
For Trade:
1
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Ratings: 2,460 |  Reviews: 1,048
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 acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

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.

 441 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

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

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 spycow
4/5  rDev -1%

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.

 867 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

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.

 553 characters

Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

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.

 716 characters

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.

 1,695 characters

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

 4,040 characters

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.

 646 characters

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

 669 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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.

 437 characters

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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Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.04 out of 5 based on 2,460 ratings.
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