Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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2,511 Ratings

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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Ratings: 2,511 |  Reviews: 1,059
Photo of chinchill
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
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 Vixie
3.41/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper color with a bit of red thrown in. Forms about a half inch white foamy head. Quite a bit of bubbles as well.

Not a lot going on in the smell to me. It is a bit sour, but also does remind me a bit of apple cider.

Spicy is the first word that comes to mind. It reminds me a bit of a spiced cider, there is pepper, cinnamon, cloves. I can also detect a bit of a Belgian candy sugar underneath the spice. Finishes dry with a bit of an alcohol warming, and a touch of hop bitterness.

Pretty good feel, its nice and solid.

I liked this better than I expected, as I am not a fan of anything with IPA as a style. Not near as hopped up as the American IPAs I have tried, has more spice than bitterness. Not my favorite Belgian, but still not bad. The strength would keep me from drinking a lot of this, but glad I tried it.

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Photo of TheHammer
3.44/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Boasts a deep but not too deep orange color, as I'm able to see ample carbonation. The finger and a half of head retained exceptionally well and produced some lacing. A bit more lacing and it would pull the five.

Smell: Oddly absent, I'm getting a little bit of yeast and some grapefruit, which I'm not sure if the yeast or the hops are causing it. All in all, what's there is nice but it's just not strong enough, even with warming.

Taste: The kind of nice and fruity that I would expect from a high alcohol Belgian beer. That also being said there is room for improvement. Starts with mild grain caramel malt that explodes into kick of mix peach, orange, spice, and honey that ends with a kick of grapefruit that is underscored by a casuistic alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel: It comes across and unbalanced to me, as the start is so mild and the end is so strong. The alcohol taste near the end leaves a boozy aftertaste that I would typically reserve for whiskey. That being said, the carbonation is exceptionally well done and it does build up to a crescendo nicely. I just wish it didn't have to wait through so much silence.

Drinkability: Too much of an alcohol hamstrings it as a casual drinker and it's not quite up there to be a high class Belgian in my eyes. It went down nicely enough and I wouldn't say I was disappointed. It just doesn't quite do it for me.

Final Thoughts: Obviously warming is a must on this one, but this beer wearies me on Belgian beer, specifically high alcohol Belgian beer. I really wish this was a 7-8% beer, because it's the wine like level of alcohol that is ruining this one, and many other Belgian's for me. It's just strikes me as one of those things that great when you do it right, but has just a small margin of error that many come in as just above average in my eyes. Oh well, give it a shot, you could certainly do worse.

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Photo of Bucknutty24
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Has a real nice deep orange color with a thick white head

S: hops, citrus, and alcohol

T: This did have a little bit of fruity flavor but real big alcohol taste over all with the 10%.

M: good medium body

O: It was definatley something different. Not my usual style but well worth the try.

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Photo of BeerDocT
4.92/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured the beer from a bottle into a wide-mouthed glass that I chilled by first pouring ice water into it (obviously poured it out before sampling the beer!). Label calls it a "tripel IPA."

-Appearance 4.5: Beautiful deep amber color. No head whatsoever, just a few wisps of bubbles on top. No visible carbonation bubbles on the side. Some unfiltered material floating around.

-Smell 5.0: Wow. This is one of those beers that, when you sniff it after pouring it into a glass, makes you think, "THIS is a beer." Big, sweet, grain smell with a touch of citrus and a sweet caramel hint. Is that a raisin smell in there, too?

-Taste 5.0: Very smooth, slightly sweet with a smooth taste of hops. I can't explain it; some beers use a lot of hops and the brew is sharp tasting or metallic as a result. Not this baby. Lots of hints of caramel balanced by a slightly sour taste, probably the result of its nature as a tripel. Lingering tastes of alkaline hops and barley after swallowing. Delicious. Just amazing.

-Mouthfeel 4.5: Slight hint of carbonation, but it is definitely there; obviously bottle conditioned. The ale actually feels thick in the mouth, almost syrupy. Very smooth, but you know you are drinking a tripel when you get a gulp of this. Awesome.

-Overall 5.0: One of the best beers you will ever drink. Complex, compelling and delicious. There is a lot of history in the beer and every drop is telling you a story. Worth the hefty price tag ($12.99 for four). The jewel in the crown of the Steenberge brewery.

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Photo of IronLover
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a bottle with no freshness date. Soft copper orange in color with a yellowish hue. Poured with a brief, dense white head that reduced to a wispy cap. A plethora of aromas: banana, dark fruit, dark sugar, dark citrus. Different aromas seemed to pop up every time I lifted the glass. On the lighter side of medium bodied with a slightly resinous feel. Citrus hop flavors, banana and belgian spice compete for flavor dominance. A solid sugary, fruit-like sweetness provides a solid back bone from beginning to end. Alcoholic heat shows through in the middle and intensifies toward the finish. Finishes with sweet but pine bitter hoppiness that doesn't linger for very long. Lots of aromas and flavors make this very enjoyable.

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

on tap at sunset grill and tap, allston, MA. served in a tulip.
(review from notes)

pours a golden-light amber tone while yielding about a finger of frothy off-white head. decent retention and lacing.

nose offers some belgian yeast, spice, and fruit (apple, some citric characters). secondary notes of earthy/floral hops. nice aroma, though falls short of spectacular.

flavor mostly follows the nose with big fruity/spice notes up front, fairly sweet, then joined by a more subtle presence of hops. alcohol is a player but it's not overwhelming by any means. medium-bodied mouthfeel with adequate carbonation.

overall i enjoyed this one. very tasty and flavorful, though nothing transcendent. will buy again.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a massive light custard yellow head which lasted longest I think I've ever seen (almost a merengue). Slightly hazy golden yellow body. Smells of malt. Taste is fairly sweet and fruity with a richness. Fairly long finish. This is from the same maker of Gulden Draak and in some ways this beer strikes me as a less concentrated version of that beer though they're probably unrelated in technique. Anyway, thoroughly enjoyable and in fact a better beer than I expected from the squat little bottle mine came in and the simple pirate reference of the label.

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Photo of wl0307
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Coming in a 330ml brown short bottle, BB 21/06/2013, served lightly-chilled in Gulden Draak’s tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: pours an amber-ish golden hue, with very good clarity, mild and constant carbonation, plus a thick and frothy off-white head to last.
S: salty-sweet orangey+banana+green-mango-ish estery fruit perfume comes with amber malts’ aroma and caramely hints, underlined by a soft layer of spiciness, candy sugar, sultanas, with alcoholic warmth scattered around in the background. Intense, aromatically fruity, yet still approachable.
T: rather potent/intense in flavour and alc. does lend a vivid impact from very early on, the flavour is spicy and dry-ish fruity at the same time, featuring orangey-citrusness, apples, overripe tropical fruits (or -flavoured bubble gum!), peppery esters, and dried Chinese hawthorn fruits, while hop bitterness catches up almost spontaneously with the alcoholic kickback… allowing a flow of white prune-ish spicy-sweetness to linger in the very end.
M&D: rather moderate on carbonation, this full-bodied amber strong ale is very well hopped and features a delicious fruity malt theme as well. In fact, despite the unmistakable presence of alc., somehow my palate finds the nectar surprisingly easy to quaff, partially thanks to the rather low profile of candy-sugary elements. All in all, I think this is a well-balanced hoppy brew that definitely stands out as one of Van Steenberge’s premium ales.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.62/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a wonderfully complex nose, smelling simultaneously of Belgian fruits and spices (orange and coriander, along with banana), champagne, lightly toasted grains, and brown sugar.

On the tongue the brew is no less complex, hitting first with a deceptively plain Belgian-ness, then ramping up quickly into a whirlwind storm of flavors, including some sour apple cider notes, oaky champagnes, caramelized brown sugars, spicy fruit esters, and even a hint or two of cognac on the edges. The aftertaste is no less complex, bearing sweet fruity sugars and lightly toasted grains that take up to a half minute to truly fade away. And even though all of this comes with an impressively high alcohol content (10.5% ABV, though a 9% ABV is also available), there's very little alcohol whang--and what is there blends in and hides with the hops.

Overall, this is a first-class beer, and it's not hard to see why it's regularly rated among the top Trippels in the world.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured at about 45 degrees into a Duvel tulip. Had a very healthy, foamy white head over a deep golden body with tons of carbonation.

Strong aromas - spicy Belgian yeast, lots of thick citrus, pineapple, and even some banana. You can tell it's rich. Nice barnyard funky quality and some alcohol comes through as it warms.

This is one of those "wow" beers - even if you've had plenty of Belgian IPAs before. Flavors replicate the aromas with lots of rich citrus tree fruits - pineapple, mango, apple, and maybe even some lime quality, too. Great thickness in the body is balanced perfectly with the high carbonation.

Overall, just a really terrific, and well-balanced Belgian IPA. Highly recommended for anyone just getting into the style.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Small bottle poured into a plastic cup. (WTF?! lol)

Appearance - Hazy apple cider body. Offwhite head.

Smell - Alcohol. Rubbing alcohol? Slight apple. Fruity and citrusy notes.

Taste - Very alcoholic. Hoppiness is strong but hidden under the alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Very astringent. Has a nice kick to it. Frothy carbonation.

Overall Drinkability - Nice strong beer for when you're in the mood for a kick. The sum of this beer is better than the parts.

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Photo of benfons
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: amber to orange colour, nice thick but not very dense head

S: orange, malts, coriander and hops

T: sweet at the start, with some apple and rock candy, too sweet for my taste, and a bitter hoppy finish with malts coming through

M: ok thickness, right abv, ok carbonation

O: A bit too sweet for me, but not bad overall, could use some complexity

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Photo of jwinship83
3.46/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked and caged bottle drank from my duvel tulip glass.

A- the beer pours out a somewhat hazy dark orange colored body under a finger and a half of bright white head. the head has moderate retention, and leaves behind small rings of lacing.

S- the beer appears to be pretty hoppy. herbal, floral, lemony, and grassy hops. after that pick up on some belgian yeast and a little bit of candi sugar. moderate to strong warming from the booze.

T- the taste starts out similar to how it smells. lots of pale malts followed by belgian candi sugar and belgian yeast. some fruit flavors filter in after that. decently hoppy at the end, but nothing like i was expecting from the nose. lemon, grass, floral, and herbal notes. alcohol was picked up throughout.

M- the body is a solid medium. the carbonation is a little higher than medium. moderate warming from the alcohol.

O- a little too much booze in here for my tastes. there are better options for this style readily available year round. its still one to check out if you havnt yet.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy amber, with minor bubbles and no lace.

Lovely fruity aroma. Yeast in there, too.

Taste is more fruit esters, followed by an alcohol burn (it is a strong 10.5%, after all). I get orange, spice, sour lemon, clove, candied apricot...sensational flavors, and about as complex as I've had in some time.

Rich and heavy-bodied, this is a superlative Belgian ale.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a Delirium Tremens snifter.

A: Cloudy, deep golden coppery/orange color; 2-finger width head that settles as a thin foam on top; sticky lacing.

S: The aroma explodes with Belgian yeast up front, notes of tropical fruit, some spice, a little malt, and a good dollop of sugary sweetness.

T: Lots of sweetness, with a strong yeasty flavor up front; the tropical fruits and spices sort of evaporate and dance around your tongue; slight malty hints in the middle; finishes with a peppery bitterness that lingers on the back of the tongue.

M: Medium-light body, lightly carbonated; very dry finish, but very smooth; only a faint hint of booziness.

O: This is delicious! It's the second time I've had this beer and I will definitely be going back to buy some more. If you enjoy Belgian styles then you owe it to yourself to pick up a bottle of this deliciously sweet brew.

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Photo of jmvecchio1
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out golden yellow in color with a sticky head which later gives way to some nice light lacing. The color is light but appetizing and it cleverly hides the high ABV. The aroma is what truly showcases the Belgian roots of the ale. You get wine-like fruity esters which are ever so slightly sour. The taste is yeasty, light hints of tropical fruits and cider, with a slightly hopped finish. This is an extremely drinkable beer and could really start one hell of a raucous night with its high ABV.

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Photo of chocosushi
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz -> My Unibroue-lip

A ~ Really gorgeous bronze color with some really flawless carbonation, and a head that looks like a wheel of baby swiss. Theres a glitter like shimmer in it as well. Dang!

S ~ Spices galore with a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Some sugarcane hidden under the plethora of spices. Nice nose.

T ~ Lemon follows in lesser extent, peppered throughout. Some spiced-apple, hefty earth/wood, sliced pear, & citrus peel as well. Biscuit dough malt qualities & Hops that remind me of mowed grass, but not in a Resinous way with intention of standing out, but more In the fashion of melding with the many flavors in the ale.
Rum like flavors on the finish.

M ~ Refreshing and spirited mouthfeel. Truly exceptional. The perfect medium bold/fruity and dry. Not much burn but there is detection of alcohol

D ~ Pleasing amount of hops for the style with a complex palette of spicy fruit makes this a really great beer. Seek out in single format, as it is a "big" beer.

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Photo of Dieseljaxx
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After reading all the reviews I expected a little more out of this ale...for me it was a little to sweet and it was tough to pick up the delicious bitterness of the hops. The color was little lighter than I like and the head broke apart quickly. It was very drinkable for a high alcohol ale but seemed a little too unbalanced towards the malt taste for my liking. Its a decent beer and I would drink it again...but only if someone else is buying.

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Photo of BricksandPorter
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up a variety six pack of Van Steenberge from Wegmans six pack shop the other day. This one was probably my favorite out of the lot. A really great offering.

Pour - medium quick pour with a good two finger head. Body is caramel brown, cloudy and appears to be very thick - almost syrupy. The haze gives it the look of pre-set orange jello.

Nose - Smell is very distinct. A good malt and hop combination (both of which are distinguishable) and a waft of bourbon or rum - something sweet and high alcohol.

Taste - straightforward pale malts, wheat and dried, earthy hops. Notes of banana, cinnamon and marshmallow and a finish of pure, sweet alcohol. Alcohol flavor grows as it warms and give a great after thought to the prominence of the malts and hops. A complex but palatable beer. Very nice!

Mouthfeel - a bit too light for my liking. This is the weakest facet of this beer. Character is light and the body is deceiving, especially considering how syrupy it looks in a room temperature glass. The gravity does not compliment the flavors very much.

Drinkability - Mouth aside, I could definitely drink a few of these over dinner and desert. I would recommend this offering.


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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a chimay goblet.

Pours a light bronze or amber colour, with a creamy head settling down to leave a thin lace floating over the whole thing.

Smells peppery and lemon with a slight yeast zing.

Tastes citrusy at first, deepening to a peppery hop taste, which seems quite balanced and not too overpowering, ending with a bitterness and overall a very refreshing taste.

Overall a very nice IPA, great summer beer, refreshing and a cleverly disguised strongly alcoholic beer. I would get this again.

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

I first had this beer on tap. It was actually at the first fine dining restaurant I ever served at. They had it, I liked the tap, so I decided to pour myself a pint. And man, what a great beer. My first memory of the beer was how fruity it not only smelt, but tasted. I remember a certain hint of banana… perhaps some lemon. I wonder if this beer is served with a lemon on the side of the glass in nicer restaurants. (We didn’t serve it that way, I remember that.)

The beer doesn’t smell like beer at all. It has a wide range across the nose, and smells like a bowl of fruit before a glass of beer. Then the flavor, when you finally raise the glass, is HUGE on the front of the palate as it crawls down the back of the throat. It has a hint of carbonation at first, then it smooths itself out leaving a nice layer of hop across your tongue.

The aftertaste is weak, but always present. It’s not spicy, really… I can’t really place what I am tasting here. Also, a beer with this much alcohol should taste like it… this one doesn’t. That means it’s VERY drinkable. It’s not cheap, by the way, and is served in very small bottles. Of course, you can get a big bottle… but you are going to pay for it.

This is one of my favorite beers, and until this project I had no idea it was considered an IPA. I would call this a fruit beer… but of course, I am just saying that based on what I smell and taste in the glass. I love this brew, and can’t wait for our next bottle!

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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 Fitwitchik
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a tulip from a bottle purchased with love.

Absolutely a beautiful brew.
Gorgeous brickel golden amber colour, slightly cloudy, nice head of less than an inch with suds that drape the glass. Only complaint is that a bit more bite would make it perfect! Slight bitterness after a second glass tells my palate I need a tiny bit more...

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Photo of matt20102
3.62/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in goblet glass at refrigerator temperature. Pours with slight head which dissipates into a thin lacing within a minute or so. The aroma is slight- heavily of sweet, somewhat spicy malt (not terribly cloying, though). The flavor is of a heavy malt which is just barely balanced by a subtly spicy hop flavor. The hop presence works but, for the pure flavor (rather than the style), I would have preferred a bit more bitterness to balance the big malt. (A judicious and slight addition of cascade would be sublime.) There's generally said to be a orange flavor but, if it's there, it's hidden by the malt. Given the double-digit alcohol count, it is surprising how little (if any) alcohol flavor is present. Would pair well with really spicy food.

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Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 2,511 ratings