Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Liked This Beer
4.07 w/ 2,471 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: 2,471 |  Reviews: 1,051
Photo of TriGuy20
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into tulip glass.

A: Bright golden color with massive amount of white fluffy head and a delicious lace that sticks to the side of the glass. Great looking beer!

S: The alcohol of this beer really dominates the nose. Alcohol/ Pineapple/ wildflower honey/ toast/ orange peel/ yeast

T: On the palate there is a lot of malt to this beer with the pineapple coming through upfront and the orange peel finishing you off. The alcohol is present on the palate throughout and cuts the finish a little short.

MF: The malt profile gives this beer a nice mouth feel, however, the alcohol gives it a slight harsh edge.

D: With the noticeable alcohol edge this beer is one and done for me.

A really solid brew. I just wish the alcohol were a little more balanced.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Nice looking, slightly cloudy and tan with a great, long lasting, silky head and gobs of great lacing. The head just doesn't want to go away. The lacing is sick! Bumped rating a hallf point to perfect, cuz this is a great looking beer all the way to the end.

Definitely a yeasty, fruity smell, with a bit of dry sawdust (a good thing), and a spicy alcohol background.

Tastes very, very nice. Easy drinking sweet and fruity flavors dominate, along with a great spiciness and grainy flavor with alcohol tang. Almost like drinking a spicy candied apple.

Exceptional mouthfeel. Thick and rich, smooth and silky, this beer rocks!

Drinkability is good. This one would be a welcome addition to almost any time you've got a free hand and could use a beer in it.

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

Cork and caged 0.75cl bottle, posh golden sailing boat on the new front label.

This beer was opened during a raclette evening and it went well with all the food on offer.

Alcohol content is prominent, but not overpowering. Evident in the aroma and taste, it however sits well within the hop and malt balance and adds that extra dimension, raising the beer from an also ran to a top runner.

An easy to drink strong ale, lovely.

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

On tap at Iron Horse in DC, but usually pours out from bottle to a dimple glass or snifter glass. Pours rich, golden yellow, and cheddary, with a nice head and beautiful lattice work. Aroma is a hint of sweet sage, followed by bread and citrus. Flavor is a sweet grapefruit a touch of bubblegum and perhaps bread. Palate is thick and chewy. Great Belgian that I order often at bars when available.

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Photo of beerprovedwright
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, whopping head, I was fast enough to not let any get away. Lace is plentiful and was not going anywhere. Color is a 8 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is a cornucopia of berries and fruits, and malt. Taste is so complex, each sip brings something new. Cranberries, blueberry, raspberry, apple, orange, honey, spices. This is a kick your butt IPA, you are focusing on the flavor and all of a sudden the 10.5 ABV hits you, another Wow. Lots of body and creaminess in the mouth. A little too sweet and complex to drink several in succession, but one good beer.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Golden orange, yellowish brown, no head, little lacing.

Smell - Very floral, alcohol, hops, some sugar and spices, unique smell.

Taste - Very strong hop and floral yeast kick. Alcohol is very present but the sugar and spices add some sweetness to help balance this monster out some. Malts are also present and add some thick bold flavor.

Mouthfeel - Your mouth gets worked over pretty good. Tounge gets some sweet bite from the sugars and malts, palette gets whooped from the hops and alcohol. Better eat aftet this beer if you plan on drinking something different.

Drinkbilty - At 10.5% its not something you can drink 3-4 beers of. Im a sucker for strong beers and this did the trick. Really loved the flavor and kick it had. Not for the weak, this baby kicks.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark golden color, hazy with a large and dense white head. Very nice lacing and retention.

S: The smell has hops up front, with a candied sugar backbone. It smells very much like a Tripel.

T: The taste is very balanced between the Belgian tripel and the IPA. Lots of Belgian yeast and candied sugar, what I would expect from the style, and the hops only rear their heads up front. A bit bitter, but overall very sweet.

MF: Very light and bubbly, very refreshing.

D: Overall, one of the better Belgian IPAs I've had. The hops don't overpower the flavor, and the drink overall is pretty sweet and refreshing.

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Photo of atis
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky amber with large and soft dense head that leaves generous and patchy lacing. Aroma is lively yeast, sweet malt and fruity esters.

Taste is bittery alcohol first, followed by smooth and warming citrusy yeast, as well as malty sweetness. Nice mix of flavours with dry finish and long lasting warming feel.

Overall, I think this is one of the best beers of Van Steenberge brewery, rich and tasty.

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Photo of chicagoabbot
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz into a snifter. It pours a rich dark golden color, fairly translucent, with a generous white fluffy head. Nose is hoppier than most big Belgians I've had...I guess why they call it a Belgian IPA. It's worth noting that the hop bitterness is nowhere near a big American IPA. The hops do not overpower the yeast or malt and it's well balanced. Great funkiness in the nose too, I really like their yeast strain. Taste is rich and deep, with a different gist at both the beginning and the end. In other words, fairly complex. Hard to believe this brewery has put out some other beers that I really didn't think were very good. This one is a winner and I'll drink it again.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a slightly murky golden color with a thick foam head that leaves great lacing.

S- A bit of tart fruit and Belgian spice in the nose. Some esters and floral hops as well. Smells a bit more like a triple than a Belgian IPA.

T- Plenty of bitterness upfront with some sweetness in the finish. The alcohol is stronger than I would have anticipated. Lots of fruit with some lemon grass and orange peel shining through.

M- Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Bitter and boozy, right up my ally.

D- From the nose I wouldn't have expected this to be as bitter as it is but it packs a wallop. One I will buy again no doubt.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A semi-straight pour into a tulip. The color is a cloudy, pale amber. Two fingers of light, white foam developed and dissipated slowly to leave a bubbly lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: Mmm...yeast. Leans toward hefeweizen: Belgian yeast, almost-ripe banana esters, and a little clove spice. There is also a presence of bitter orange peel, citrus zest, and apple cider.

Taste: The first couple sips are bitter and packed with an alcoholic punch that overpowers the flavor complexity. However, the initial jab mellows with each sip to reveal a smooth and well-crafted brew. The taste mostly mirrors the smell: Belgian yeast, orange peel, citrus zest, apple cider, clove spice, and almost-ripe banana (when the skin is still a little green and very tough to peel).

Drinkability: Very nice brew. I am eager to crack open and savor another bottle.

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Photo of gopens44
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear, coppery amber in color with a quickly dissipating fizzy head.

S - Pretty much just a yeast smell in the nose, not much else.

T - Very nice bitter presence while being a touch sweet as well. Not overly boozy despite the ABV. Pretty well hidden in fact

M - Medium in terms of carbonation with a dry finish. Bitingly warm on the tongue.

Not a bad beverage by any means. Good representation of the style. It's pretty easy to find in my parts, so I'll certainly have to pick this one up a bit more often.

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Photo of nickhiller
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: hazy, peach colored, very bubbly, brief one finger head leaves behind little to no trace.

S: sour Belgian yeast esthers reminiscent of champagne.

T: sweet, a little tang from some citrus zest in there, maybe some grapefruit and orange in there. Extremely malty, reminds me of a Marzen or Doppelbock.

M: strong carbonation in the beginning that quickly dies off, medium bodied, a little bit of a cough syrupy finish.

D: basically your classic Belgian ale. I'm not sure if I would classify it as an IPA as it's not all that hoppy, but it's perfectly fine. Gotta to love the 10.5% though. I definitely think I would buy this again.

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Photo of zoso493
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into its natural habitat, a Piraat tulip.

Appearance: Piraat pours a surprisingly pale apricot color that contains only hints of deeper amber. Atop the beer is a monstrously foamy four-finger head that implodes upon itself slowly, leaving lines of lacing on the glass as it goes. Despite being so light in color, the beer is somewhat cloudy.

Smell: I haven't had a real Belgian in awhile, so my sense of smell might be slightly unaccustomed to detecting their nuances, but I cannot discern any real hop scents in the nose - a bad start for a beer alleging to be an IPA. This smells like your run of the mill BSPA, with some slighly funky barnyard yeast scents and big notes of banana and clove. This beer has both strong sweet and sour smells, so let's see if the taste can bitter it up a bit.

Taste: The taste is definitely more bitter than the smell, but I feel the hops have only been used to act as a finishing bitterness, rather than playing a central role in the beer. Even if just judged as a BSPA (hops aside) the flavor is a little lacking. All the ingredients are definitely there for a good beer - there is a good taste of yeast, banana, clove and other spices - but the don't really distinguish themselves. This is still a good beer, but I think it could be better, especially if it wants to call itself an IPA.

Mouthfeel: Piraat's strong point, in my opinion, is the mouthfeel. It is definitely full-to-medium-bodies beer, but still maintains a high amount of carbonation - an impressive brewing feat. This is a nice, creamy Belgian that is still crisp and refreshing, and for that I enjoy it.

Drinkability: I wouldn't have guessed this beer was pushing 11% ABV after taking a couple of sips, but once it warms the alcohol becomes much more prevalent in both the smell and the taste. That said, this is an enjoyable beer, but not one you could drink quickly or have very many of.

Overall, Piraat is a nice beer, with a few caveats. If its brewers were trying to create an IPA, however, they really missed the mark, as the only hops to be found in this brew are of the finishing variety and do not play a big role in the taste. Regardless, this is a good BSPA and I've certainly enjoyed this bottle.

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Photo of wmtxbb
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into chalice.

A: Soft white finger-sized head. Very hazy gold color.

S: Alcohol and fruit-esters. Lighter than I expected.

T: Initial taste is showered in alcohol. The alcohol presence is so overpowering that it seems to cover some of the other flavors. After two or three sips aggressive fruit-esters and pepper flavor present themselves. By the end of the tasting the alcohol flavor becomes less present and a pepper/banana flavor mixed with sweet malt dominates. Finishes dry throughout the tasting.

D: This is an interesting beer. It even changes throughout the tasting. This is probably because of the strong alcohol content. After drinking most of the brew, the alcohol becomes less present and other flavors dominate the palate. The initial flavor is a major turnoff, tons of alcohol and some strange off flavors (muffins and spaghetti). This is not a brew I'm going to search for in the future.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.11/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I grabbed a single at State Line this past weekend.

A clear bronzed color, there's a dense, off-white head with exceptional retention and gorgeous lace. A particularly impressive beer, this. The nose is pretty massively phenolic with some white pepper, honey, moderate floral hops and some tropical fruit. The fruit isn't from hops, it very clearly is from the rather aggressive yeast strain that was used, with an almost jackfruit character. There's a little mustiness present as well.

The palate is rather intensely phenolic, almost too much so. The spice and fruit character are particularly high too, and coupled with the moderate sweetness, this is rather unappealing to my palate. Honey, alcohol and a candi sweetness are present mid-palate. Drying on the finish thanks to the high alcohol, there is still a moderate sweetness present with floral honey. The hops aren't really noticeable, this is more of a BSPA than a BIPA. While a little grassiniess is present on the nose, it doesn't translate to the palate. Medium in body with crisp but gentle carbonation, this beer is decent. The logical interpretation of what a pale Gulden Draak should be, but it just isn't appealing to me. The high alcohol and sweetness just don't work together with a pale base beer.

**Edit 11 Jan 2012**
I'm revisiting by accident, as I'd forgotten that I'd had this beer. This is clearly a fresher sample as the nose is hoppier with a nice dusty Styrian Golding hop character that rides over the citrus and the spice. Some bubblegum is present too. However, as it warms up, the sweetness and honey and booze take over. The palate is spicy and phenolic, fairly sharp, with a grassy snap to go with the extremely expressive yeast. Way over-carbonated, this beer is fairly drying on the finish. While well crafted, this beer isn't realyl for my palate, and so, I'm letting my scores stand.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark yellow color with a fluffy white head. Sticky lacing on the glass.

Strong aroma of fruity esters, yeasty, bready, notes, and a notice of alcohol.

Tasty sweet yeasty flavor. Bananas, spices, and little bit of citrus. Nice complex flavor. Got to love Belgian yeast and the earthy funk it produces.

High level of carbonation. A hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. Superb offering.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Light honey, dark urine, murky, stark white .5 inch head. Not much but some lace.

S - Juicy fruit, banana, sweet, bilish, raisins.

T - Lush, deep, fruity, yeasty, yum....

M - Not overpowering, great balance and carbonation.

D - I know it's high ABV. I just can't help it. Easy speasy.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance; Deep yellow with an amazing, stiff and rocky head. Raises 2 in. above the glass rim without spilling over.

smell & taste; Upfront banana yeastyness, caramel sugar sweetness and plum sweetness with the alcohol. Then some mild hoppy bitterness, perfect balance. Extreem metallic hop bitterness in the foam. Citrusy flavors throughout the drink.

mouthfeel; Thick but with a light finish, smooth as it goes down. Nice carbonation with well hidden alcohol.

drinkability; very drinkable, just the high abv. lets its effects be known.

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Photo of OnThenIn
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is crystal clear with the most beautiful golden copper color. The head is crazy thick and a finger high with a slightly off white color. One of the most beautiful beers I have ever poured. Man this head lasts forever and COATS the glass.

S: A nice aroma. A bit of spicy and apple and grape aromas. Definitely some grassy hop aroma.

T: The balance of the alcohol and its smoothness within the beer really remind me of a nice dry Riesling. Definitely some fruit, but less like a citrusy ipa or dark fruits of a dubbel and more like ones you would find in an orchard. Similar to the nose. A bit of bitterness from the hops along with some grassy notes. A notable amount of spice is present.

M: Very carbonated which works very well for the beer. Medium body.

D: The mouthfeel makes this beer crazy drinkable. Certain wine like characteristics in the flavor and the mouthfeel really make this a dangerous beer.

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Photo of hmf05
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - A light copper color with a nice two finger fluffy white head.

S - Peppery Belgian yeast, hops, banana, orange, pineapple.

T - Identical to the aroma. A lot of pineapple, peach, banana, pepper and a muted, yet notable hop presence

M - Lot's of carbonation and almost creamy

D - Pretty good for being 10.5%

Overall a pretty good Belgian ale. The booze is more prevalent as the beer warms, but it's still a great beer

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Photo of bylerteck
3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Copper. 2 finger fluffy white head with tons of carbonation. Bright.

S - Yeast, hops, banana, orange, metallic.

T - Same as aroma with yeast and hops, with fruits and metallic notes but more of the orange and a little booze. Definately not enough hop presence. Nice as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and I like it but it doesn't live up to the label.

M - Good. Lot's of carbonation and smooth. Lingering mild hops and booze.

D - Good. However, for a Belgian IPA this lacks many components I would have expected.

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Photo of fourplayed
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Golden hony color with 3 finger foamy head that leaves nice lacing.

Nice smells of orchard fruits, mild sweet esters, yeasts and spices, some citrus and alcohol.

Taste is pleasing, fruits, apples, pears, peach with yeasts, citrus, hops and spices. A nice mild sweetness. Some alcohol which is well hidden.

Very zesty carbonation, medium body, more than medium alcohol warmth, decent hop bite and dry finish.

Very glad to have tried this Ale. Felt more like a tripel in many respects. An excellent Ale choice that I will revisit again & again!

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle, pours a crystal clear burnished orange which flickers in between apple juice ruby and sunset brilliance, three fingers of foam pile on top and simmer down to a thin layer that leaves gobs of lacing down the glass. Lazy spirals of bubbles surface to maintain a solid layer of fine bubbles. Spectacular looking.

Nose is ripe with fruity esters, loads of apples, strawberries, a hint of spice. Alcohol comes out initially and gives it a boozy feel but easily dies down as it warms to give the smell a warm fullness.

First sip you're struck by the thick boozy esters but after an acclimatization and a warming minute or two, the full glory of this beer comes out. Appley esters, full graininess, light cloves almost peppery spiciness, grassy and lemony bitter finish, a thin candy sweetness winds its way. The best thing about this beer is the mouthfeel. Thick without being syrupy, beautiful carbonation - it just rolls around your mouth.

Perhaps not a Belgian IPA and perhaps a little on the boozy side, especially initially, but at 10.5% we can be a little forgiving. This is a finely crafted beer that, despite my overall hesitancy with tripels, I would enjoy having regular access to.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.37/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of a mixed 6 pack from the brewery. 10.5% ABV Triple. Pours out to a hazy burnt orange, forming a large rocky light yellow head with very good retention and solid sheets of lace. Moderate carbonation. The aroma opens with oxidation, like wet cardboard, some tropical fruits, honey, spicy phenols, and alcohol. The mouthfeel is spritzy with a medium dense body. Taste opens with pineapple, green banana, mango and is followed by off flavors of metals, oxidation, and chemical bitterness. The bitterness is light, but because it's chemical nature, it stands out more than it should compared to the sweet malts. After the off flavors, there is a pleasant lingering light candi sugar sweetness. There are some higher fusels which tend to give me a headache, but they aren't overwhelming.

This isn't horrible, but the off-flavors take what could have been a good beer and kinda kill it. I wouldn't toss it away, but I'm not inclined to purchase it again either.

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Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 84.9% out of 100 with 2,471 ratings
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