Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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2,508 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: 2,508 |  Reviews: 1,058
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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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into glass tulip.

$3.49 / ea.

A: Bright copper body topped with a big loose head that quickly dissipates leaving light lacing and a thin bubbly cover.

S: Pineapple, grapes, apples, and pears. Very fruity aroma overall with very light hop character. Potent throughout.

T: Flavor has the same fruity character as the nose, but tends more towards fig and raisin. Very light hop flavor that tends towards cut grass. Alcohol is very well hidden and only shows at the very end, well after the swallow.

M: Medium body and moderate carbonation. Sugar smoothness and just a hint of bitter prickle on the tongue.

D: Nice flavor profile, and something that would go great with a meal, but not a selection I would choose to rest on for an evening. Flavors could be challenging for drinkers that are not accustom to Belgian styles or craft beer in general.

O: Good, but not great. Gulden Draak remains my favorite from this brewery.

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

750ml poured into a Duvel tulip.

A- Deep golden color.

S- Wonderful, apples, pineapple, white grapes, sugar, alcohol.

T- Wow.. Tasted almost like a big bodied, citrusy, sweet, sparkling white wine. More white grapes, a little bit of apple and some alcohol.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation.

D- Its taste makes you want to drink gallons of it, but the abv is high. I was happy after two 750mls.

To this day, this is the best beer I've ever had. And I got it at $9.49 + tax-deposit, a steal for quality stuff like this.

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Photo of MattyV
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden-copper colour with a big fluffy white head that laces wonderfully as it slowly recedes to a thin cap.

The aroma is fruity, with hints of yeast, spice, and grassy hops. Taste is very similar to the nose. Fruit (apple, pear) up front with some spice and yeasty notes, some grassy-citrus flavours are apparent, a honey-like sweetness shows up near the end but then fades into a slightly dry finish.

Nice and creamy mouthfeel. It is slightly warming on the finish, but still hides its ABV pretty well. The hops provide a pleasant change to the expected belgian ale flavours, I just wish they provided a bit more bitterness as well. This has been one of my favourites out of the mixed sixer so far; the grassy/citrus hop flavours work well with the other characteristics of the beer.

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Photo of BBP
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Hazy orange, closer to brown than most IPA's. Great carbonation and creamy head.

S- Grassy hops. A bit of yeast.

T- Grassy hops and citrus. A good amount of yeast and spice as well. Slightly fruity malt. A bit of faded apple taste. Notes of honey. Not much in regards to bitterness. I would be tempted to say that this is a BSPA.

M- Smooth and creamy. Fairly full bodied, and the carbonation seems to keep it lighter, but makes it feel fuller at the same time. Somewhat dry finish.

D- Very drinkable. The 10.5% is hard to notice at all. Very little alcohol heat. This beer would be one of the easiest I've seen to lose track of and get messed up. Goes down nice and easy, a bit more than it should for the alcohol. It's a good beer and I'd recommend anybody trying it.

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Photo of StephenRich
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Piraat is brewed by the famous Belgium brewery Van Steenberge; they are the masterminds behind the Augustijn and the Gulden Draak - two of my favorite Belgian brands. The Piraat is not normally made available to us, however it comes in a Belgian Ales Gift Pack that arrived at the LCBO for the Holiday season. This gift pack actually gets you 6 different Van Steenberge beers, and is definitely a worthwhile pick up.

This Piraat that I would be enjoying is actually 1 year aged. Each year when this pack comes out I buy 2 or more, and cellar at least one of them, and then enjoy those beers the following year. I quite enjoy cellaring beers, and it has become a small obsession of mine. But I have seen time and time again how a touch of patience can really pay off in a well matured beer that has reached peaks far above its abilities when fresh. You need not take my word for it though - test it out yourself. Grab 2 of the same beer that you can always get your hands on (only go for real beers that are above 7% and are bottle conditioned) and put them in the back of your closet for a year and forget about them. 1 year later come back and enjoy one of the old ones next to a fresh one - you will see a difference.

The Piraat is a Belgian Pale Ale, maybe closely considered a Belgian IPA. It is pretty big at 10.5% abv, and comes in a stubby 330ml bottle. It is hard to perfectly place this beer. It could be a Belgian Strong Golden Ale, but it is dry enough to be a Belgian Pale Ale. It also has a sweet hop presence, which would lead me to Belgian IPA. In any case the classification of its style is not so important. Lets open 'er up!

I opened the Piraat up cold around 7C (45F) and poured it into a large wine glass. I know that may seen a bit to cold, but I really believe that this style of beer shines well in the cold to cool range. It's high alcohol may warrant warmer temperatures, but it's crisp and lively carbonation and racy hop freshness works best here. The pour was big and excited building a rich foam the instant the beer hit the glass. A pale golden beer was formed that glowed in bright orange, amber and bronze streaks. A fluffy and very airy white head was created but seemed to fade quickly into the strength of this beer.

The nose was richly aromatic with sweet and spicy Belgian flavors. It comes at you in pieces; malt, yeast, then hops. Sweet and earthy malts fade in first showing honey, bright fruits, apricot, apples, citrus, and pale malt sweetness. Fading in behind that are richly complex layers of yeast spice, earth and sugar. A big Belgian yeast is at work here bringing a wide rush of esters and wild tartness. Fresh hop bitterness fades in with added hints of sweet earth and light white pepper.

My first few sips of the Piraat all brought different ranges of flavor. The first was wildly complex, spicy and slightly tart. The next had greater sweetness and showed significantly more smooth malt character. Eventually the Piraat warms up to your palate and brings its complex palate to you in a more relaxed manner. Now smooth malt flavors blend with yeast spice to show fresh green apples and hints of clove balancing with hayfields, sweet earth, apricots and a warming and floral alcohol.

Spice is hugely apparent everywhere in this beer bringing a smooth but crackling array of white pepper, and sweet citrus zest. The beer has a robust carbonation to it which adds to the snappy spice, and also bring forward a bittersweet tartness that itself has a yeasty and citrus character. Here too, hops come though and help round off all these layers of flavor. They show a gentle herbal character, but are neatly spicy and sweet. It ties this beer together quite well, and actually brings everything down a bit. Although my palate is quite seasoned, I don't think that this beer shows 10.5% strength.

The Piraat finishes clean and quickly with lightly sweet malts and a touch of tart and bitter hops. The yeast especially finishes this beer fast. I would pair the Piraat with anything roasted or off the grill, especially big red meats.

Pics at: http://definitionale.com/2010/11/09/tasting-the-piraat/

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a golden amber with a small white head that melts into a thick center ring and creates a thin collar.

S - Herbal/grassy hops, Belgian yeast, lemon, alcohol vapors.

T - Herbal bitterness and sweet honey malt up front. Spicy yeast takes over with white grapes, sweet pears, and lemon. Stingy towards the finish.

M - Moderate carbonation, full bodied, syrupy.

A bold Belgian IPA that starves for attention. This is a stand out beer for sure. Now matter how many times you drink it, you can't help yourself from saying, "Arrrgghh!" after the first sip. I wouldn't recommend taking big gulps of this bad boy.

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

A: Pours a light orange, dark yellow color with a thick one finger head that dissipates quickly to a thin layer sitting patiently on top of the beer.

S: There is a distinct "Belgian" aroma to this brew. Belgian yeasts, some light banana and light amount of spices make up the rest of the nose.

T: A very unique flavor, I've never had a beer with a similar flavor before. Banana notes and light citrus a present right away. Followed by some herbal hops and a light bit of malts.

M: Very nice feel. Sits lightly on the tongue, a medium body with a light amount of carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, and I'm quite certain that I will be adding this to my "to buy again" list.

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Photo of kwjd
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased as part of a brewery 6 bottle pack from the Control Board in Ontario. Pours a bright orange colour with thick white head. Really nice head retention with lots of lacing. Smells of alcohol, Belgian yeast, banana and hop oil. Flavour has a nice bitterness, with some dry sweetness. Taste does have a definite alcohol kick to it. Good carbonation level. Maybe not my favourite Belgian IPA, but it is up there. Really nice beer.

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Photo of tvail4
3.36/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Honey-amber color, with a three-finger head. Active carbonation and thick, even, slightly cloudy consistency. Thick lacing and long retention.

Smell: Earthy aroma with a sweet caramel and alchohol bouquet

Taste: Bitter, dry, herbal hop flavor and earthy, alchohol aftertaste. A well-built beer, with a complex character leaning toward earthy hops, as the brewer intended. Representative of the style.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, thick and creamy on the palate. The right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: A pronounced style, suitable for sipping. My wife calls it a 'lounge beer.' Complex, but with a little too much alchohol burn and heavy, earthy dryness. I would have another, although probably not in one sitting.

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Photo of scott451
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Carefully poured into an oversize tulip. A slightly hazy reddish gold with a thin off white head which soon diminished to a ring. No lacing to speak of.

Nice light malt smells with some resiny notes. A big burst of flavour with the first sips. Nice smooth malts up front. Some caramel in the middle. Very mild malts with a smooth hop finish.

Medium body and light carbonation. The high ABV precludes this as a session beer, although the alcohol is fairly well hidden. It doesn't seem much like an IPA, more like a hopped triple or strong pale ale. Well balanced and interesting.

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

750ml poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: ruby orange with minimal head and non-existent lacing.

Aroma: apples, citrus fruits, honey, cloves and Belgian spices.

Flavor: strong, alcoholic, bitter citrus and acidic with tart and dry finish.

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall impression: a mix of hops, citrus and Belgian spices, this is a good beer. not a session beer by any means.

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Photo of megahurts4
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. Piraat
on tap at The Avenue Pub, New Orleans, LA

Appearance: Orange, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: Yeast, malts, slight wheat, and slight banana.

Taste: Banana, malts, and subtle wheat.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Balanced, smooth, and nicely flavored. You can't go wrong.

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Photo of MeMyselfNAles7
4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew was my firts belgian IPA and how I love it. Its a solid brew from beggining to end. Highly recommended.

Pours a golden amber brew with its medium creamy crown. Thick foggy body, good carbonation. Very pleasant on the nose with some wheat malts, hops, fruits and floral hints. The palate its dominated by the hops amd the sweet malts ending in a sweet bitter, dryish and sour aftertaste that lingers on for a while. No alcohol taste which is very well hidden and that comes out full force as the brew warms up. Very refreshing with nice drinkability despite its respectable 10.50%abv.

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Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 2,508 ratings