Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,035 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: 1,035 | Ratings: 2,423
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Tangerine peel with buttered rum edges and a moderate dusting of small particulates. The pale gold-tinted ivory crown is four fingers to start and is exceptionally tight-bubbled and firm. It also looks to be fairly sticky, as evidenced by its semi-rocky upper surface and the respectable amount of lace that has appeared on the glass in a 'painting spatters' pattern.

There's no mistaking the nose as belonging to a BSPA. Piraat fits within the style boundaries with ease, although I wish it was more powerful and more distinctive. On second thought, it's distinctive, but not necessarily in a good way. The beer smells like sour apples dipped in butter and sprinkled sparingly with ground clove. The sourness and phenols bring it down a notch in my eyes.

The flavor is a carbon copy of the aroma. I experience a brief burst of optimism each time beer enters mouth, but the initial flavors don't really expand and intensify, they just soak the taste buds and then begin to slowly fade away. That isn't to say this is bad beer, just that it's far from special when judged against the world's best.

Piraat is big and golden malty with a fair amount of underlying sweetness. Hops answer the bell and match every sweet malty jab with a bitter-hoppy right cross. I'm not sure what hop variety/varieties are in use, but I'm not that impressed with their flavor delivery, either in terms of amount or character. This is one case where malt and hops seem to cancel one another out rather than build on one another in a constructive manner.

Alcohol is noticeable, but is easily handled. The 10.5% ABV tastes and drinks not one whit higher than 8.0%. The mouthfeel is closer to full than to medium and is, unquestionably, the highlight of this experience. Rich and silky smooth, it's a finely-tuned sports car in dire need of an accomplished driver. The word 'luxurious' comes to mind.

Piraat is better than the average BSPA, but has a long, long way to go to be mentioned in the same breath with the greats of the style. It lacks that *certain something* that puts a twinkle in my eye and a spring in my step, but I still had a good time with the bottle. Watch out for that ABV. It'll plunder your booty if you aren't careful.

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Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this as part a mixed Belgian sixer

Pours gold with 3+ fingers of parfait-like cream colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Lemons, apples, pears& honey as this warms

T: Lemony & grapefruitty hops, pears & apple- tinged booze up front. Apples, grapefruitty hops, & a touch of honey as this warms. Finishes with breadfruit, other tastes of the tropics & grainyness

MF: Syruppy, but some carbonation bites at the edges

Drinks pretty, good this is more of a nightcap or dessert type offering

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Photo of Slatetank
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I picked this up at Brass Rail deli, poured chilled in a tulip

The color is hazed amber with thick three finger head with off white shade and fine bead. The lace clings in a film. The smell is both floral and phenolic with light spice and an herbal hop odor with slight malt and alcohol adding to the aroma with slight fruity ester from the yeast. The feel is great, feels full with moderately high carbonation giving a prickly tip of the tongue sensation with some light sweetness and mild bitterness with dry and alcohol influenced finish.

The taste is very good -lots of yeast providing a sort of fruity tangy element which leads to a more hop driven spice and herbal mix. The taste of candy sugar is there but it is not obtrusive, more complimentary to the yeast and supplements the bitterness of the hops in a tasty way. There is a good amount alcohol to bolster the hops in the flavor- more of a strong pale than Belgian IPA to my taste, but who knows what this is like fresh in Belgium?-Not me. I like this but it seems stronger than most of its strength. I like the taste and would definitely buy this again considering its complexity.

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Photo of smcolw
3.57/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Extremely cloudy, straw blonde in color. Relatively thin head with only a touch of slippery lace.

Creamy alcohol aromas similar to an apertif--fairly sweet. Very low hop aroma.

Very high alcohol warmth...to the point of distraction. The swallow burns from the alcohol. The malt flavors are rich with just a touch of hops to provide some balance.

Really, this is too much of a good thing. The powerful punch of alcohol is not really balanced by strong flavors or smells. This is like a beer flavored after dinner drink. One 11.2 oz bottle is enough for me--tasty in an expiremental way.

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Photo of Jason
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 330ml odd sized fatty brown bottle with a picture of a pirate and a Viking ship!?

Appearance: A powdery, white, creamy head that does not want to go away covers a lightly hazy-amber liquid. Decent lacing effect.

Smell: Horsey, grassy, peppery and funky. You have to love Belgian yeast as this one is quite lively.

Taste: Explosive in its profile! A smooth, crisp, honey-like malt flavour turns grassy, peppery with strong alcohol lining and intermingled hop bitterness. A tad thick in the medicinal phenol department. Juicy fruit in the middle with hints of ripe papaya and pineapple. The aftertaste holds more grass flavours that settle into an almost minty note.

Notes: This is a wonderful Belgian Strong Pale Ale, goat cheese and roasted red pepper on slices of a toasted baguette is a quick and perfect pairing.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

Still rackin' my brain tryin' to figure out what this beer's name means... Stupid foreign names! Anyway, it pours a clear golden amber topped by a stoic bit of white froth that eventually succumbs to the deleterious effects of gravity, leaving only bubbly rubble in its once proud place. The nose comprises hoppy florals, orange peel, and a touch o' that lovely Belgian spicy quality. The taste ups the spice ante a bit, focusing on pepper and cardamom, while still maintaining a firm presence of hoppy citrus bitters and a Belgian farmhouse-like yeastiness. The body is a very light medium, with a light-active carbonation and a finish that really wants to be crisp and dry-ish. Overall, a steady, solid Belgian offering. 'Nuff said.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
2.6/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Expected it to be similar to Duvel. Could not finish the bottle. Very sweet and boozy. There are a lot of better options for a Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

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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 stakem
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear golden orange color with a faintly yellowish stained creamy head. It doesn't retain it's fluffy finger plus head appearance long but quickly fades back to just a thin film across the top of the beer with a monsterous amount of lace all over the glass. Nose is slightly spicy from the hops and filled with a mixture of cloves and a bit of malt sweetness. Taste is a little bitter and has clove character in the front but it blends out to a complex mixture of grain, yeast, malt and alcohol. Slightly bitter dry finish with a lingering taste of hops left on the palate. Finish is also a bit warming which is the only indicator of the higher than usual alcohol. Light feel and carb. 10.5 alcohol makes this beer dangerous because of how easily drinkable and enjoyable it is. I will certainly be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden slightly hazed nice creamy vibrant white head lacing Belgian webbing fine lacing. Aroma: Aroma is rich sharp sweetness clean candy-like tone blended with alcohol just the way I like it, the hops actually exist in this sweet rich alcoholic beverage. Taste: Syrupy layers of malt profile nice bitterness Euopean hoppin going on, hey I'm a fan of this one flavorful as all hell, with zesty citric tones thrown in there and a warming tone of the alcohol of this 10.5% wow. Mouthfeel: Relatively light bodied syrupy texture makes it rich and warming, the secret of the Belgian strong ale make it lighter bodied and excessively good so everybody will always have a buzz even if they don't want to. Drinkability: Way to easy to sip and consume chalice after chalice, Piraat can serve up one hell of an unwarranted buzz quicker than you would expect.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from the Lazy Dog Pours a hazy medium golden color with a huge bubbly white head that takes forever to subside, in fact this bottle tried to pour itself. Aromas of honey and pilsner malt with hints of sweet fruit, a bit of peppery spice, clove, and a touch of alcohol. The flavor is honey like malty sweetness with a solid shot of warming alcohol. Bits of light sweet fruit like apple, pear, and raisin offset with a spicy earthy yeasty flavor. Medium to thick body with a spirited level of carbonation but a thick sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. Nice sipping beer, flavorful and tasty, I’m glad I threw this one in the mixed six the other day!

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours gold with just a touch of cloud to it. Slight sweet hop on the nose. Flavor is smooth with a touch of sweet and a citrus tone. Alcohol is slightly noticeable, but definitely nowhere near overpowering. Carbonation is high with a lot of bubble on the mouth. Very drinkable, but not an overly unique brew. Smooth and steady. Probably one of the best of the many (7 so far) I have tried from Steenberge.

Pour the sediment in and you get a darker, cloudier brew that is slightly sweeter.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Big rock hard white head of four fingers and extremely tight and foamy. Body is a somewhat cloudy kind of hazy actually, with a golden burnt orange color and some carbonation from the bottom of tiny bubbles. Big retention head of bubble bath kind is real good looking, never leaves.

Bouquet is an airy dry must. Floral notes that are subtle, like a lilly. Clean and some faint sugar and yeast notes with spices. Smells actually real good. Perhaps some hop.

Taste is a hop bitter with some sour orange and yeast. Boozy warm and highly alcohol feeling. Somewhat syrupy in the mouth but a nice lingering tongue sensation, and a faint grass note on the swallow. Slight tingles for carbonation as well, a little gassy.

Drinkability is just good I would have this over a few other Belgians but I know I've had better. Could drink again no problem, but the high abv is real noticeable and does not make for easy drinkability.

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Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass:

Pours golden amber with a thin, slowly disappearing head.

The smell is grassy/grainy with candy sweetness. Slight herbal/peppery notes follow through.

The taste is grassy/grainy with balancing candy sweetness. Some citric fruitiness in the back. Plenty of warming alcohol gives it a touch of pepper (and a kick). Spiced sweet, long finish. Well-balanced.

The body is light to medium with lingering spiciness, though smooth.

A nice, well-balanced, spicy sweet, tasty Belgian IPA here. Quite drinkable for abv level, though glad I shared it with someone.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let's try this one again...

11.2 oz bottle, buccaneer on the label, poured into an authentic Piraat tulip glass.

Bright golden hue, highly hazed, under neath a large, booming, puffy white head.

Aroma: citrus and sour greets the nose first. Funky and fierce. Wowzers. Straw, lemon, honey, and pepper. Spicy.

A blast in the mouth, flush with fruit and dazzling spice. Big, juicy sweetness. Getting bigger, sweeter and hotter as we go in. Bodies a bit too thin to support all this, though...I could really go for some malt.

Looking at my 4 1/2 year old review, I have to wonder what was up with that bottle...or me...
This is nice stuff, but a bit out of wack. And it gets warmer and warmer, the flavor calming down, honey and lemon meets big, fat booze andbitter hops . Wish I could taste a few more things here, though...like malt and yeast.

Drink up, ye mateys! Arrr! Shiver me timbers! Avast! hoist the mizzen mast!


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Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh from its delivery to American beer in Brooklyn, I picked up this 11.2 oz. stubby bottle.
Pours orangy golden with a tiny bubble puffy head, dissolving to a sheen and of course leaves some nice lacing. Nose is strong medicinal, phenolic, alcohol, yeah baby, I love this style! first taste is pure bliss. Strong alcohol, melon, lots of pepper, more medicinal notes. As it warms, malty flavors and character come foward, This is 10%, but all the flavors and body conceal the alcohol well. Complex, tasty, strong, full of character and interest. Glad I went for this one, seek it out and enjoy. Sante...

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap and served in a tulip, the beer is a dark, vibrant, honey-copper coloring with a foamy, frothy, small bubbled white head that has a great cling along the glass. Nose is subtle, with some light spicing atop the boozey and rich, malty backbone. Smells solid and strong. Flavors are more heavily spiced, with a strong clove and grains of paradise character along the rich fruit and boozey backbone. Fruits range from pineapple to pear, and grapefruit to apple. Slightly cloying, resiny sweet aftertaste with a mild hopping. The finish is rich and slick, with an oily mid-linger. Great lacing left behind as you drink, and the spices leave a pleasant, cleansed feeling on the palate. The increased ABV is blended well into the beer, making it very easy to drink. Solid brew.

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

03/04/06- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz stubby bottle. Poured into my Duvel tulip. No freshness info to be found.

Appearance- Golden-orange coloration. Full inch + head at pour. Light rim sticks throughout. Light lacing along the edges.

Smell- Sweetness for sure. Brown sugar and candy-like scents. Maybe some cotton candy. Slight fusel alcohol smell as well. Maybe cutting through the sweetness you can find a bit of bitter hop smell.

Taste- Sugary, which turns to a quick flash of tartness which turns to a nice light bitter hop profile. Some peppery aspects as well as maybe a touch of corriander also.

Mouthfeel- Slightly drying effect in the aftertaste as well as a mild bitter aftertaste. Moderate to higher carbonation.

Drinkability- One of the sweeter beers I have had from this style. Very warming as it should be at almost 11%. Tangy and tasty. A sipper and not one to be slammed down. Allow this one to warm and take your time. Goes well with Inidan food....chicken korma in particular.

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Photo of Tone
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, golden/copper color. 1/2 inch head of a white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of hops, slight sweet malt, alcohol, nuttiness, caramel, and slight citrus. Fits the style of a Belgian IPA. Mouth feel is smooth and clean with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops, sweet malt, alcohol, citrus, and slight brown sugar. Overall, a great blend, body, aroma, and drinnkability.

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

Served out of a bottle into a goblet. Golden in color, relatively clear, moderate head. Smell was lighter than expected, but still present and pleasant. Mouth feel was full bodied and easy to drink. I haven't had this beer in a while, and it was my fourth of the night. It was as good as I remembered and I am thrilled to recommend this beer to those Belgian fans out there, of which there are millions.

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Photo of stevoj
4.73/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sour citrusy with strong alcohol presence. Poured into tulip with rich, fluffy head. Fine carbonation keeps the head lofty. Copper colored with musty aroma of wood, wine and licorice. Taste of apples, prunes, figs, raisins. This is a keeper!

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Photo of Gavage
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy burnt orange color with a low head with large bubbles. Chunks of sediment were floating in the drink. Decent carbonation. The aroma was a combination of alcohol, yeast, hay, grass, and sweet malt.

The flavor was full of sweet malts and yeast. Serious bitterness arrived on the tongue as soon as you swallowed. Some fruitiness and sourness were other sensations detected. The aftertaste lasted for quite a while.

Drinkability is scored as average as the heavy body and very noticeable alcohol makes this as a one or two beer session.

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Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Eulogy in Philly.

I don't know about the IPA part, but it was still a good strong pale Belgian. There was a rich, bread dough and fruit malt flavor, similar to a paler barleywine or DIPA. he malt was followed up by some yeasty sweetness and funky yet tropical? hops. It's tasty and different - gotta love that.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium orange amber with a one finger medium white head with moderate retention and nice lacing Aroma of light fruit, Belgian spices and a bit of caramel malt. Flavor follows with complex mixture of light fruit, caramel malt, coriander and clove, fairly sweet; spicing is reminiscent of a tripel. Finish is robust light fruit with a neutral, somewhat citrus hop kick. Medium to full creamy bodied with nice carbonation. Great mouthfeel. Very nicely done; complex with a nice progression of flavors. Sorry I waited so long to try this, the label looks like a lot of other middle-of-the road Belgians, but this is quite fine.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice pour in a proper glass at Cheeky Monk--Westminster.
Apricot golden pour, nice half-soapy, half-sticky 2 finger head

So a Belgian IPA I'm not quite getting. The aroma is spicy and sharp with an underlying malty sweetness. Less bready than expected.

Flavors pop forward on first sip. flowery spice, faint clove, lemon/orange zest, light honeysuck and unripe red plum. Hops don't add much, that I can detect, to the flavors, but they do deliver a dryness. Moreso, though, the hops just extend and highlight the alcohol. Flavors fade toward the finish and don't leave me saying, "damn, I need another sip".
Still, a solid beer that I will have again.

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Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.04 out of 5 based on 2,423 ratings.
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