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Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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2,483 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: 2,483 |  Reviews: 1,054
Photo of mdecross
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the brewery behind Gulden Draak comes this take on a tragically underrepresented style.

BOTTLE: Purchased in Denver, CO, for something like $18 a 4 pack. 330ml snub format. Brown glass. Iconic label design has a red and white motif but depicts a golden pirate ship. Branded white and gold pry-off crown cap.

10.50% ABV. "Belgian ale."

HEAD: A nice delicate coating of lacing sticks to the sides of my tulip as it recedes, which in spite of its robust ABV takes over 10 minutes to fully occur. Fluffy, airy, and soft in appearance with a nice billowing consistency and bright complexion.

BODY: Pale amber of terrific vibrance. Clean and filtered-looking, yet nevertheless lively, with a gorgeous glow.

A true to form appearance for the style. I'm eager to try it.

AROMA: Spicy, floral, peppery, and above all yeasty, with Belgian yeast-derived intricate subtle spice delicately playing with the drinker, promising a prickly delicate brew. Hints at indistinct tropical fruit. In spite of its monstrous ABV, there's not a hint of alcohol. Belgian pale and pilsner malts; possibly wheat? A blip of clove honey. Hints of bready malts.

Aromatic intensity is low. Promises a Belgian brew with an emphasis on delicate subtle flavours that doesn't shy away from a tropical fruit character that would be right at home in a loud American IPA but is more expertly reigned in here.

TASTE: Fruity, spicy, phenolic, estery, and warm, with a mildly sweet bready malt backbone evened out by pale and pils malts (and possibly wheat or oats?). No candi sugar here, but the sweetness is already there.

Warm but not boozy or hot, which is something at 10.50% ABV. These high ABV Belgian ales always drink easier than the loud American stouts and barleywines that seem to be branded as sippers these days.

Has a tropical fruit bend but it doesn't come from hops (which are primarily floral, and a little fruity but not tropically so). It's all yeasty esters. Make no mistake, Belgian yeast rules the roost in this delicately built brew.

Honey sweetness. Subtle bready malt tones. Crystal malts. Amber malts.

I can't say the balance is perfect seeing as its alcohol warmth will be off-putting to those drinkers unaccustomed to the strength of traditional Belgian ales. It's not the booziness of a tripel, but this isn't as approachable as most Belgian golden ales, nor is it as hoppy as most Belgian IPAs - in spite of being more hoppy than most more traditional Belgian ales.

MOUTHFEEL: Creamy, soft, prickly, and perfectly carbonated, with a slightly filling bread-like feel. There's a nice push-pull between coarseness and smoothness, dryness and wetness, but it errs on the more drinkable side. Has an alcohol warmth.

The prickly texture helps the yeasty spice sing, lending this delicate yet strong Belgian ale a nice harmony of texture and taste.

OVERALL: A bit warm even for a Belgian ale, though not as boozy as you'd expect a strong pale ale to be at 10.50% ABV. The contradictory dominance yet subtlety of the yeast alone is enough to make this brew worth trying, and it's a worthwhile entry in Van Steenverge's lineup - which is comparatively experimental in terms of Belgian brewing traditions.

Indeed, judging this by strict style conventions is a recipe for failure - and for missing the strengths of this somewhat unique brew. Closest to a tripel with a more aggressive hop bill - though it's anything but aggressive in comparison to contemporary American IPAs. If anything, drinking this ale in 2016 may make the discerning drinker reflect on whether hops have been pushed to too far an extreme; if Piraat can accomplish this level of depth, subtlety, and fruity character of flavour with a far more restrained and careful hop utilization, why waste so many hops on dry hopping the Ruinations and Palate Wreckers of the world?

Bold yet quiet, complex yet subtle, Piraat is a drinkable enjoyable treat of a brew that I'll be revisiting many times over the years (moreso in Belgium, where it's shockingly affordable).


 4,040 characters

Photo of Taybeh
4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of Benjolovesbeer
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
4.89/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Perhaps because it has been a long week of work, or maybe this ale is REALLY that good, but I was really extra fond of this ale when I started sipping on Friday night. What an explosion of malty goodness (with a hint of bitterness). The caramel maltiness is really the star here--with banana accents, nuttiness, spiciness and some yeasty loveliness....The head is gorgeous and the ale its self is a wonderful dark golden color. The mouth feel sizzles enough and finishes with a wonderful creaminess. Wow!

 504 characters

Photo of Nunya
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JTuomi
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Commandophile
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of andyjeigh
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Macamah
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Galijun
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of jamesroses
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle

Appearance: hazy orange, lots of streaming carbonation, 3 finger white head, great retention and lacing.

Aroma: this one smelled like a very strong fruity hefeweize: banana, a bit spicy, some citrus, big alcohol presence and some tropical fruit like peaches.

Taste: very much like the aroma, with the addition of bitter hops and a somewhat tutti frutti aftertaste. The alcohol is in there too, obviously, but not in your face as one would expect for a 10,5% brew.

Mouthfeel: I'd say medium to full bodied, Sticky at first and ends dry. The carbonation is really strong and there's a bit of an alcohol burn on the throat. Anyway, is really good.

Overall: a very nice and "exotic" tasting belgian beer.

 718 characters

Photo of 911CROFT
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into the appropriate Piraat-branded oversized tulip. Paid £3.60 for a single.

Pours a dark, shiny, amber coloured body with a modest amount of fine visible streaming carbonation. A bubbly, two-finger in height, white head slowly condenses to a thick cap, leaving behind small amounts of sticky, soapy lace.

The modest nose is led by a combination of sweet malts and grains, traces of caramel and soft fruity esters in the form of banana, tart apple and light citrus. Towards the finish, plenty of alcohol becomes perceptible, along with some peppery spice and faintly floral hops. Taste roughly follows suit, leading upfront with caramelised toasty malts, banana and orchard fruits. Mid palate, taste transitions towards citrusy marmalade-like profiles. Notes of bitter orange, candied fruit and peel, brown sugar, vague dark fruits, spicy phenols and faintly medicinal alcohol all become apparent. Towards the back end, hints of floral and grassy hop profiles are detectable, but the flavour and finish are predominantly dominated by assertive generic bitterness and undisguised alcohol. In the mouth, an abundance of sparkling carbonation manages to lift the medium body, but the feel boarders initially towards unpleasantly prickly. The latter half of the glass improves to become somewhat smoother and creamier, but only after a little of the effervesce has been shed. After the swallow, peppery spices and lightly grassy hops linger momentarily, finishing quick and crisp as lively carbonation and warming alcohol work together to scrub the palate clean.

Overall this is a decent beer. It is rich, warming and reasonably complex, but a little too rough around the edges. Aggressive carbonation detracts from drinkability, while excessively bitter hop profiles and obvious alcohol overshadow the subtle complexities and balance I look for in the style. Ultimately I can't see myself picking up another bottle anytime soon.

 1,943 characters

Photo of cbcrunch
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of vainosuomi
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Burnt gold/amber color, thick, creamy head
Smell: Lots of Belgian yeast (apple, apricot), spice, slight caramel malt
Taste: Like smell, comes off with a lot of sweet fruity yeast and malts. Malts add a brown sugar/sweet bread character as well. Subdued spicy/floral hops offer some bitterness. Somewhat boozy. Clean, bittersweet finish.
Feel: Creamy medium body, fairly carbonated, warm from the alcohol

Overall a great Belgian pale. Certainly has a more pronounced hop profile than other similar beers I've had.

 519 characters

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

Photo of DanielCseklye
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass from 335ml bottle.

L: A.mber hue with 2 fingers white head.

S: Honey, candy, esther and big yeast character

T: In the first seconds the big malt charachter overwhelmed me, then apricot notes accompanied by alcohol warmth

M: Dry finish, medium to bold body. Prickly carbonation. Alcohol warmth reminds me Belgian Single Malt stlye whiskey character

O: A very nice Belgian Strong Ale, amazing choice during cold nights

Food pairing: roasted chicken with spring onion curry cream

 510 characters

Photo of Jame515
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BlueSpader
3.67/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of Treycotton
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Mnteti
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JayBogus
4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 2,483 ratings
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