Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,039 Reviews

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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Reviews: 1,039 | Ratings: 2,430
Photo of PaulietheBrit
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Lovely hazy amber pour with an aggressive but loose head. Settles quickly with good lacing.
The booze hits you first, with a fruity, toffee undertone.
Flavor is alcohol upfront with a smooth malty hoppiness, dry and bitter with fruit finish.
Feels good in the back of my mouth, a little warm from the alcohol. Mmmmmm.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear copper with foam that built with medium retention. The smell is candy sugar and honey. The taste starts off light and grainy but explodes into a bouquet of sugary wheat breads, honey, yeasty bread and tart prickly carbonation. The finish is long and sweet, yet tart still feeling light and refreshing. It works great for me.

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Photo of rangerred
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

330ml bottle into a goblet.

Pours a clear dark copper with just the smallest bit of sediment from the bottle sneaking into the glass. Huge solid two finger white billowy head that hangs on the entire time the beer is in the glass.

Aroma is quite spicy with hints of coriander and peach along with a whiff of alcohol. Not incredibly deep but it is true to style.

The flavor continues with the spiciness with coriander but the peach is a bit more subtle. A touch of dark fruit and caramel underneath along with a touch of caramel. The alcohol definitely makes its presence known but it never becomes overwhelming. Very dry mouthfeel with just a light touch of sweetness in the end.

Overall, this is a very good beer. It is not top of the line but it isn't very far off. Love that it packs a decent punch and is not overly sweet.

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Photo of MrIncognito
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Amazing. Hazy golden body with a thick, lasting white head. Smell of lemon peel, a little herbal hop, candy sugar, and yeast. Fantastic taste that is smooth and sweet with just enough bitterness to prevent any sticky, cloying sweetness. There is a nice malt backbone to this with a smooth honey and candy sugar sweetness.

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Photo of mblk6062
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

This is one of the best Belgian ales of all time. I rate it slightly above Maredsous. One of those "if I was stranded on a desert island, and had only one beer...." kind of beers!

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Photo of MonkeyBread
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft, this is a lovely orange Amber beer with a decent sized white fluffy head. Smells is big on phenols and esthers. Very fruity with Asian pear, coriander, sweet booze soaked oranges shining through. Taste is similar to nose, boozy sweet fruits like apples covered in dried white sugar and candied pears. Great use of the yeast to get very pronounced characters. Phenols are highly prevalent, spicy coriander, pepper, bit of smokiness. The only detraction is a slightly too hoppy, bitter finish. I think with an aged bottle to mellow that out this would be even better. Great stuff.

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Photo of HuskerTornado
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into tulip glass. Pours a copper color with a mountainous cream colored head that very slowly dissipates to over a quarter inch thick with some spots much thicker that remain and leaves behind thick lacing.

Smell is of sweet honey and malt, floral hoppiness, and the Belgian yeast always brings a fruitiness to the table. A lot going on here.

Taste impressively complex. Big floral hop presence combined with honey sweetness right off the bat. Lots of hops here, but the bitterness is not overly intense. In the middle comes a mixture of lighter fruits like pears and dark fruits like plums. In the finish, the 10.5% alcohol makes it's presence felt and there is a grassy finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Overall, a great Belgian strong pale ale. I've had this bottle a while, and poured darker than usual, but the flavor profile seemed to be about the same.

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Photo of barczar
3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant light golden with a lingering frothy ivory head. Aroma is floral, with green apple sharpness and notes of perfumey hops. Flavor reveals more sweetness, with cherry cough drop coming to mind. Finish is alcoholic. The phenols are overpowering.

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Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE - Pours coppery red, with a huge, five-finger beige head that lasts a long time. It leaves a floaty yeast lump up till the last sip.

SMELL/AROMA - Herbaceous, sweet, a little piney.

TASTE - Sweet, herbaceous, piney. Definitely not bitter as advertised. ABV only a bit hidden.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE - Lots of carbonation, light, not syrupy.

OVERALL - A bit boozy, but a nice beer, sippable, not quaffable. Advertised as bitter, but it's not at all bitter IMHO.

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Photo of Roguer
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Huge fluffy white head with great retention and chunky lacing. Brew is a thick, translucent, mango-orange gold.

Sharp, pepper and yeast aroma with hay and wheat.

Banana notes, sweet malt and yeast, clove, earthy. Tiny bit of alcohol. Nice earthy bitterness.

Thick and smooth mouthfeel. Chewy with sting.

Good, balanced strong ale; not oversweet, nor too bitter.

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Photo of FLima
3.84/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Amber color with a three finger thick off-white head with good retention and leaving lots of laces.
Sweet aroma of Cointreau liquor, herbal hops, Belgian yeast and mild white pepper. Hints of pears and peaches after warming up.
Similarly, flavor of Cointreau liquor with lots of perfumy and herbal hops, light white pepper, green pears, champagne and pineapples juice foam. Aftertaste takes a while to become dry and bitter.
Medium body with effervescent carbonation. Alcohol of 10.5% abv is noticeable but is harmonic with the overall beer.
Good beer, though I was expecting a bit more complexity, but on the other hand, it was surprisingly hoppy for the style and interesting that borders other styles besides Strong Golden Ale such as Belgian IPA and Tripel.

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Photo of stephens101
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A robust tan head throws a thick blanket over this orange brew. Smells of mostly light fruits (pear, green apple, peach), Belgian yeast and very faint hops, if any. Big fruits and subtle hops mix quickly on the tongue and play together nicely, forming a pleasant, creamy, medium body. Alcohol heat flickers across the back of the throat. Flavorful and consistent all the way through.

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

Pours out to a generous buff head and orange-amber color. Aroma is clove, fruit, spice, bubblegum, aged hops and sugary sweet grains. Flavor is complex, strong on alcohol and esters and finishes boozy yet balanced. Mouthfeel is effervescent and medium. Overall a very good belgian ale. I don't think "IPA" fits here.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Next brew on my history lesson trot is Piraat, Arrrgh! [couldn't resist throwing in good "arrrgh"]. Everyone knows what a pirate is so I'll be brief: the Spanish got to Latin America first, plundered the shit out of it, the rest of Europe was like "Hell no!" and the monarchies at war with Spain gave "letters of marque" to bad ass dudes with ships which was essentially a licence to attack Spain and take as much booty (note: 'booty' meant treasure back then not a 'fine ass') as they could. They were otherwise known as "privateers" from which we get the word pirate. Eventually the Spanish began sending out pirate hunters, also bad ass dudes with ships, and began to protect their galleons with more ships/guns, and thus the golden age of piracy ended.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Cloudy amber bodied with a light slightly off-white lacing for a head, generally most brews over 10% ABV have a very minimal head and this one is no different.

S: This Belgian IPA has quite a boozy brandy-like aroma that assails the nostrils at first whiff. A second more deliberate inhalation reveals pear and apple esters along with pepper and grape bubblegum fragrance. There are some nice yeast notes at play as well giving this ale a touch of bread and clove as well.

T: Glad I let this warm to 8 degrees as the label recommends, what a symphony of flavours at play here: grape bubblegum, pear and apple esters, pepper, warming alcohol (more Rum than Brandy) and clove wrapped up in a medicinal hop finish. The thing about this bold Belgian ale is how it slaps you in the face like a glove in the hand of a pirate challenging you to death by cutlass. That Rum hint only adds to the sensible and righteous naming of this fine brew.

M: Medium bodied with some dense/harsh carbonation. A touch on the gassy side.

D: One glass of this brew makes one want to sail the Spanish main in search of plunder and fine Caribbean booty, booty in the modern sense, preferably from a tavern wench. In all my years drinking I have never tasted any beer that fits its name as well [slight exaggeration for effect there]. Really this is a fantastic ale. Minor cons - the carbonation isn't as smooth as expected from a Belgian ale, and the alcohol really lets you know that this is 10.5% ABV. Otherwise a solid effort from Brouwerij Van Steenberge *cough*notasgoodasGuldenDraak*cough*.

Food match: Tavern wenches... but seriously this bold ale would have to be paired with a bold meal - char-grilled meats, bold cheeses, large Cuban cigars and gunpowder, yes gunpowder... (these food match things I write are getting rather silly now aren't they?).

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Belgian IPA? Really? I’m not sure it’s regarded as such in Belgium.

A: Poured into my Duvel glass I get an interesting dull, darkish amber body with a huge foamy off-white head. Strings of fine bubbles shoot vigorously up the centre.

S: Dull malt and bread. Metallic. Esters of sorts, liquorice. It’s probably a bit too cold.

T: Solvent-like with dank, herbal, and fruity hops and a prickly malt backbone eased by just enough sweetness. In fact I get a nose full of fruity sweetness every time I gulp. Also some shower gel like quality which at first I thought were my hands. In the aftertaste I get dank, herbal hops.

O: It’s in the same vein as Duvel and I'm guessing the hops are Saaz? Just as I was getting bored of Belgian beer. Very nice.

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Photo of Maxwell
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a rich, golden amber and sits in the glass as a dark orange. A head of off-white bubbles forms above the beer but quickly whittles to a scrim. In body the beer is dark and opaque, with hints of cloudiness swirling before the eyes. When washed against the sides of the glass, it leaves a nice set of legs. On the nose, the beer smells of musty grains, honey, fusel alcohol, and cidery fruit notes. Hints of herbal and minty hops work their way into the scent as the glass is agitated, as well as subtle sherry. The smell is not particularly strong for a 10.5% ABV beer, but is instead richly subtle and restrained. On the tongue, the beer tastes smoothly sweet with a warming, grainy, alcohol heat that builds to just before the finish. The finish splashes slight herbal hops and just a whisper of acidity and salinity, rounding the beer into a subtly complex giant. In flavor, the beer tastes of sweet cereal grains, which move into rich, silky clover honey before introducing sweet, grainy alcohol. The alcoholic heat builds into the finish of the beer, briefly skirting on cloying and then on to fusel notes, before it mellows into a minerally-sweet finish that blends the honey malts with herbal, minty hops, booze, very faint lemongrass, and a touch of salty bread. The aftertaste is of lingering honey and herbal, bitter hops that linger in the mouth for quite some time. In the mouth, the beer feels on the plus side of medium in body with a crisp, sharp, yet smooth mouthfeel, and silky carbonation. The mouth is left tingling from the alcoholic heat when the beer leaves, but is then doused in a torrent of spittle that pours from the sides of the tongue. Overall, this is a beautifully restrained Belgian Strong Golden Ale. The yeast character is soft, though subtle phenols and esters do start to sprout as the beer warms. This is a beautiful sipper, and a wonderful example of how to brew with a restrained hand (quite the opposite of most American brewers these days…). The more I drink this beer, the more flavors I unravel, which is excellent.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

(wasn't poured by myself - coworker did it, abandoning drinking it for themself and passing it off to me... ok then... used to drink this often enough many years ago when I first started trying Belgian beers)

A: amber color, cloudy (hops? lees?)... compact, spongy, white foam... killer cap retention, scant lace

S: lightly gingerbready... hops that remind me of Styrian Goldings (or something noble)... mellow medicinal phenolics, chlorophyll tones from the hops... all in all, very polished, subtle aromas from the plants, foundation of clovey yeast character

T: mild banana, candied orange?... spicy booze... aggressively bitter, lightly-floral, noble-like hops... late, lasting clove-y aftertaste... tastes more like an extra-hopped tripel... hop bitterness is pretty prominent in the aftertaste

M: smoothish, frothy wash... phantom medium fullness... mellow, muffled, yet persistent phenolic warmth... dry as hell

O: suppose I'll have to try this again, poured more carefully... won't go out of my way though... it's ok, just artfully refined and somewhat boring, a vehicle for booze

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.69/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle marked 14HM 13:31 at 45 degrees into goblet and allowed to warm
Aroma of coriander, yeast, and alcohol
Head average (3.5 cm), off white, creamy, fairly rapidly diminishing to a 1 cm thick floating island
Lacing good, forming thick rings of mostly very small bubbles
Body medium orange – first pour clear. The second (final) pour stirred up very fine yeast sediment which made it cloudy.
Flavor begins with a pronounced alcohol hit that overpowers any subtle flavors. This subsides to an alcohol stomach burn which quickly fades. There is no aftertaste.
Palate is medium, oily, with lively carbonation.

A nice looking first pour and good lacing make this an attractive beer. It has good mouthfeel. The only detraction is the heavy appearance of alcohol in both the nose and taste. A shame; otherwise this beer would be excellent.

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Photo of KajII
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

[Suggested Glassware: Trappist Glass]

The pour was a hazy burnt orange with a small (less than 1 finger) white creamy head that was mostly lasting, reducing to a medium film and collar with very good spotty lacing.

The aroma was lightly sweet with a light bread malt, floral hops and a sweet Belgian yeast with notes of citrus (orange), a strong fruity ester (apple, pear and pineapple), a hint of spice and a decent alcohol tinge.

The taste was malty sweet with just a touch of a citrusy sweetness early on, becoming quite yeasty and just a tad bitter with a sweet fruity alcohol finish. The flavor hung around for a good long time proceeding the swallow, with a bitter fruity alcohol warming fading slowly, leaving behind a slightly spicy bite that hit you right in the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel was just beyond light in body with a lightly syrupy texture and a ticklish carbonation.

Overall I found this to be a fantastic brew with tons of flavor. It had it all, the perfect balance of a fruity citrusy sweetness, a bold yeastiness and a moderate hop bitterness. This allowed the mellowing of the high ABV, thus creating a most wonderful drinking experience...


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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampling right now on 3/30/14. Bought this about a week ago as a 'make your own 6' for $8.99, as it was the only bottle of this. Comes in a neat 11.2 ounce (330ml) with a cool label also (NOT LIKE THE PIC ON HERE> Has a pirate and a old sailing ship on the open seas. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a flute glass.

Pours a pretty cloudy dark-orange in color with a half finger off-white heat that stays around for a long time. There is a bunch of sediment in the bottom of the bottle after the pour. Lots of sticky lacing is seen with each sip as well. There is a bunch going on with the aroma as there is caramel malts, lemon grass, dark fruits and honey. The taste has a lot going on as well with sweet malts right up front, followed by plums and some sweet bourbon-like flavor for the finish. I am surprised it is a I.P.A. style brew as there is no bitter/hoppy aftertaste at all. You don't taste the high alcohol content either. Goes down easy and after one of these, on a empty stomach, you will feel it. Over a great brew!

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served in a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Pours a cloudy dark orange color with a lot of tiny particles floating inside. Forms a big thin bubbled and creamy light yellow head which is aloso soapy and molasses. Huge retention (never disappears completely) leaving tons of soapy lingering lacings in the glass

S: Strong sweet caramel malts in the nose. Candi sugar, dark dry fruits and caramel. Strong lemony and grassy hops profile. Very bready and earthy Belgian style yeasts. Alcohol notes in the end

T: Sweet malty upfront. Strong notes of caramel malts, candi sugar and toffee. Notes of dry raisins and plums. A bit of bubblegum sensation. Grassy and lemony hops bitterness. Consistent bitterness. Good bitterness balance. Belgian style bready yeasts

M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. High density beer. Bready, fruity and bitter aftertaste

O: Good drinkablility despite of the ABV. Pleasant and well done Belgian Strong Ale. Classic

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review taken many times over the last 5 years.

11.2oz(33cl/330ml) brown bottle. Awesome Van Steenberge bottle shape with plastic pirate inspired label covering entire bottle. I love the shapes of these bottles. Poured into a fat stemmed Belgian tulip.

A - hazy yellow golden in color. Thick, creamy and massive are words that best describe this lovely head leaving a very sticky ring of lace.

S - for starters this has a top shelf Belgian yeast aroma paired with banana, orange, bubblegum, and a faint whiff of sour apples. Belgian spices and a toasted bread like malt balance the aroma. Maybe a hint of creamy vanilla as it warms.

T - this is a classic yet original flavor. Light fruitiness of ripe banana and orange with the perfect pairings of Belgian spices. Malts have a toasted bread character same as the nose and add an authentic Belgian yeast and its citrus notes just pop.

M - medium to full body and especially smooth feel. Texture and thickness play a key role in Piraat's ability to be a real winner. It almost comes off as too easy to drink but overall its just a great feel and brew in general.

O - piraat ale is a classic for me. One of the first true Belgian ales that got me hooked to the world of craft beer and Belgium in general. A true genius recipe that still plays a major role in my craft beer life. It's always there and will never let you down. This is something people will be drinking til the end of time

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into tulip. Whether on draft or in bottle, this beer never fails to impress. Not a great aroma, but the taste is very enjoyable and satisfying, with hints of spiciness and moderate floral notes. While a huge Belgian fan, this style has never been one of my favorites. I'm not sure why. But Piraat has always been a favorite of mine in this style, with easy drinkability, very moderate hops, and an almost undetectable alcohol presence for its high abv. And I love the bottle. I'll always have a place in my heart for this beer.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer pours a reddish amber color with a thick just off white head of two finger height. The head sticks around with it seemingly never going to fade. Eventually the head does begin fading however, leaving a nice level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is big and bready with lots of yeasty and spice smells. The spice are the classic Belgian spices with coriander and clove as well as a little bit of pepper. Along with these aromas are some fruit smells of orange and pear as well as a grassy and hay-like hop aroma.

Taste – The taste of the beer begins big sweet and bready flavor with some light hop right from the start. The sweetness comes from a nice blend of citrus flavors and some caramel. The hops that begins the flavor are almost entirely of a grapefruit nature with flavors of a grassy hop and a bit of dank earthy hops joining the flavor as the taste advances. Along with these flavors there is an ever present and rather strong yeasty taste. While the yeast is constant throughout the taste, the spice and sweet flavors that accompany the yeast are not. At first a banana taste is present upfront with it fading and giving way to spice flavors of clove and coriander as the taste advances to the end. Some toasted malt flavors and some grain, along with a bit of a warming boozy taste come to the tongue during the flavor profile as well and with all the flavor transitions that occur throughout the taste, one is left with a nice bready, moderately fruity, sweet, and lightly hopped flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The body of the beer is on the average to slightly thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is composed of tons of tiny little champagne like bubbles. Both are fantastic for the style and the big flavors of the brew and make for a good sipping beer.

Overall – A very pleasant and tasty Belgian strong. It’s a classic for a reason as it has a nice blend of Belgian strong with just enough hop to keep it lively.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: A dark orange/amber color with a somewhat creamy white head.

S: Citrus, especially orange in the nose, typical of a Belgian IPA, which is to say it smells delicious.

T: Akin to the smell, and again typical of a Belgian IPA, which is to say, again, delicious. Fruity Belgian yeast esters, orange, a general flavor of citrus, very tasty. Pleasantly bitter.

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

O: A good, obtainable Belgian style IPA. Perhaps not the best, but a great example of the style, very drinkable, and quite tasty.

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Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.04 out of 5 based on 2,430 ratings.
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