Piraat | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,042 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: 1,042 | Ratings: 2,437
Photo of Globetrotter
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this in a 33cl brown stubbie with a silver and red label featuring a sailing ship above the name. Ingredients conform to the purity law. Best before 10/14/05, I opened it on 3/7/04.

Mmmmm... Pours a slightly cloudy pale amber hue under a thick white 2 finger head that lasts and lasts and last, leaving some uneven spots of lace down the glass. The nose is lovely - fruit, spice, malt and hop all mixed together. The mouth is very prickly and heavy with sweetness and alcohol, but it doesn't stick at all - crisp and fresh. The taste is a cornucopia of sensations, from candy to mint to malt to just a hint of hops. The finish has a touch of champagne to it - dry yet sweet. The dry bitterness lingers in the aftertaste, accompanied by a touch of fruit sweetness. Very good brew!

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Photo of Popsinc
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A lovely amber pour with a lively white head. The nose is big on candycane sweetness and malt. Very ripe and sweet fruitiness in the nose highlighted by apricot and mango. The taste is simply sweet and fruity throughout almost hiding the hopiness. The sweetness is heavy on brown sugar, honey and lolipop candy. I can't help but be reminded of Halloween. The fruits seemed toned down...or, overpowered by the bold sweetness. The finish lingers nicely and what else...sweetly. The mouthfeel was good with a decent balance between lively carbonation and a smooth, creaminess.

Somewhat too sweet for my liking but still a after dinner/sipping beer.

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Photo of gnaussea
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful honey amber, with a billowy off-white head that is slow to settle. Smell: Fruity notes and alcohol over belgian hops. Some sour, acidic qualities. Flavor is a bit stronger on the alcohol, but is still not overpowering for 10.5%. A very nice brewThe acidity lasts throughout and the fruity, almost berry notes mixed with the alcohol are very pleasant. Very worthwhile.

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Photo of belgianbeerlover
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, stamp on cap was illegible

Poured a rich golden/amber color. 2 fingers of head that looked light, but hung around until the end of each glass.

Yeasty, complex aroma of citrus fruits with a subtle background of malt and alcohol.

The first taste was sharp and fruity, but balanced with mild hops. I find this gives the beer a certain refreshing quality. As this flavor dissipates there's a lingering maltiness, with a slight burn on your tongue to remind you just how strong this beer is.

Comments: I don't think I could say this beer is easy to drink; it certainly demands respect, for both its strength and it's complexity. However, I certainly had no problem easing my way through an entire 750ml bottle, but the sheer power of this beer prevents it from being anything you would likely drink all night long, as sooner or later you'll fall off your chair.

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Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had heard many things about this beer mainly good so had to try it on tap last night.Pours a gold/orange color with a big fluffy head,the aroma has big hop presence very herbal and grassy.Taste is very citriusy and tart with some late hop coming thru,very grassy and herbal aftertaste.A pretty nice beer but not a top notch Belgian in my opinion.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.48/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer is clear golden. Streams of CO2 surface at a nice clip. The head is fluffy and airy and eggshell colored. Retention is very good. Aroma is of must, lime peel, dough and yeast. Mouthfeel is too gaseous. Makes me burp too much. And it's hard to swallow. The flavors really do not do much for me. Harsh citric tones of lime and lemon. Very little yeast or dough contributions. And there's a husky astringency to it as well. Not a beer I'd buy again.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.26/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fluffy, thick, white, three-fingered head, fades very slowly and leaves gobs of lace. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Color is a light golden. Nose is malty and has raisin overtones. Starts and finishes fruity with some sweetness and just a hint of bitterness. Pricey, $3.79 for a 330ml bottle.

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Photo of bditty187
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, peachy honey-yellow hue, it was served with a very small white head, about half a finger in height. The bartender filled my glass to the maximum with this nectar; I guess I can’t fault him for that. The head that was presented did last for the entire consumption. As I quaffed a good amount of lace was produced. This is a fine looking beverage. The nose is plenty pleasant with fresh cut grass, hay, spicy alcohol and yeast, peppery, and fruity, it is a well-rounded nose, albeit typical for the style. The palate is wonderfully complex, grass, marijuana, pears, grapes, pepper, spice, and notes of wheat, apples, and hot candy yet sweet. This is an absolutely lovely drink; I can’t help but sip and savor. The alcohol heat becomes great as it warms, oh it hurts so good! The hops bitterness is very noticeable on the back of the tongue, especially at the finish. Medium-full mouthfeel, this was surprising at how filling it was, modest and natural carbonation, what a very enjoyable quaff. I don’t think this is comparable to Duvel or Orval; it is damn good and unique. Recommended.

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Photo of Zorro
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mildly cloudy gold color.

Smells fruity and tart with a bit of spice. Reminds me of the hard apple cider I brewed up in High school.

Tastes sweet and fruity with spice. Lots of alcohol, very warming slightly tart. Reminds me a lot of mulled apple cider, with a slight bitter bite. Also has a slight prune flavor.

Honey smell and flavor real comes out after this warms up a bit.

Mouthfeel is OK.

More of a specialty beer than a drinking beer. Bet this would be great hot with a cinnamon stick. It tastes a LOT like spiced mead!

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Photo of AudioGilz
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330ml bottle pours out a hazy golden orange colored beer. The head forms to a moderate depth and thickness, and has wonderful staying power. A strong aroma here....and odd in a great way....it's a bit musty, also pungent citrus and penetrating alcohol. Alcohol dominates the flavors of this beer. Also well noticeable is a dark spicyness and dark fruityness. The mouthfeel is fizzy while being a bit syrupy. I can't really say I would want another one after having just one small bottle of it. It's very strong with alcohol flavor, and warms my stomach up enough to be pleased with just one. But everything else about it is great.

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Photo of Crosling
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been thirstin for an ale all day and at last I get to have on

Bright golden hue with a nice two finger white head that is lacing quite well. Head retention became and issue towards the end of the beer.

Very aromatic nose with light peppers and citrus fruits especially lemons.

Yummy! The nice bitter hop finish on the palate pleases me. I couldn't find a chilled IPA and that is what I wanted but this satisfied my need for a hop monster for now anyway. I think this is a very well done, solid and fantastic tasting ale. The alcohol is very well hidden but still is quite warming in the mouth on the finish. Lots of tropical fruits, but still somewhat bready and yeasty with an interesting malt flavor.

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Photo of TerryW
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy golden orange with a moderately sized, long lived head and good lace. Good looking beer, tempting.

Lots of stuff happening in the aroma. Fruit and yeast, honey and grass, pepper and more. One of those beers you spend as much time sniffing at as you do drinking.

But you gotta drink it of course and it's just as interesting in the mouth as on the nose. Honey sweet malt, fruit and pepper, with a nice touch of hops to finish. Great alcohol warming.

Super beer to linger over for all kinds of reasons. Enjoy!

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Photo of Jason
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 330ml odd sized fatty brown bottle with a picture of a pirate and a Viking ship!?

Appearance: A powdery, white, creamy head that does not want to go away covers a lightly hazy-amber liquid. Decent lacing effect.

Smell: Horsey, grassy, peppery and funky. You have to love Belgian yeast as this one is quite lively.

Taste: Explosive in its profile! A smooth, crisp, honey-like malt flavour turns grassy, peppery with strong alcohol lining and intermingled hop bitterness. A tad thick in the medicinal phenol department. Juicy fruit in the middle with hints of ripe papaya and pineapple. The aftertaste holds more grass flavours that settle into an almost minty note.

Notes: This is a wonderful Belgian Strong Pale Ale, goat cheese and roasted red pepper on slices of a toasted baguette is a quick and perfect pairing.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 ml bottle with a wacky-looking pirate on the label...also says 10.5%ABV. The beer poured a hazy golden color with a nice whitish head forming, which quickly resided leaving a blotchy lace pattern. The smell had a sweet honey and fresh lawn grass quality,with pleasant hop aromatics, subtle coriander, yeast, and a strong alcoholic component. I was very pleased with the taste and mouthfeel. The beer pulls in somewhat thin, but immediatly becomes silky and full, triumphantly carrying a parade of flavor onto the palate...a semi-sweet honey and candy-sugar backbone with notes of grass and pepper, finishing with a well-done cap of bitterness, which lingers on with the honey. I found it to be quite drinkable, as the alcohol and sweetness were not overdone, and the flavor was so delicious. ARRGG!

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am love the way that this beer poured out. The color was a burnt orange and the head was light and creamy. The lacing was massive and there was a substantial amount of carbonation coming from the bottom of the glass. There was a wonderful wheaty, honey, sweet start to this beer and the finish was crisp. For being 10.5%, I cannot pick up any alcohol taste whatsoever. I really enjoyed this, but it is a distant second from something like Don de Dieu. Overall, another winner from the makers of Gulden Draak.

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Photo of Sixpack595
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear amber with full white head that leaves solid sheets of lace even after receding to a film of bubbles on the surface. Very little aroma, but what there was was fruity and sweet. Crisp carbonation and strong hopping keep it from feeling syrupy. Candy sweetness, pepper, and alcohol fill out the taste. Very nice for such an agressive beer.

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

Hazy orange-gold with a 2 finger frothy head. The marshmallowy head floated down with the level of beer in my glass, it never went away. Deceptively light colored for over 10% ABV.
Apricot aroma, honey, pepper, field full of hay all hit the nose.
Clove, apricot, pepper (alcohol), fruity, and an out of place toffee note. Medium-full body, a little cloying.
Drinkability is limited by the ABV, but this was a good beer.

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Photo of thefireman
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in 11.2 oz bottle. Dark amber with a nice, ample, white head. First impression is malt, and alcohol-lots of it. Lots and lots of yeast in this one. Sweet and spicy with a hop hint at the end. Caramel color and taste. One of my favorites. Mouthfeel is great, with a lingering taste of candy. If it didn't have so much alcohol I would drink lots of this at any sitting.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: An 11.2 fluid ounce (330ml) “Duvelian-like” stubby. This is the stronger of the two versions of Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge. There is a 9% version that has a plain label and a 10.5% version with the fancy picture. The former 9% version also goes by the name ‘Augustijn Grand Cru’ & ‘Bornem Tripel’, whilst the latter 10.5% version is sometimes also known as Amber Tripel IPA. All this “cloak and dagger” multiple identity stuff and Sunday names can sometimes make you want to call Interpol, or avidly check your beer note book, or beer list, before trying any of Brouwerij Van Steenberge’s beers in case you may well have had it before under a different name; this is the perpetual bane of many a Belgium beer geeks existence. Oh well, its all fun I suppose.

Appearance: A hazy golden honey color, it is scorched with a festered gold character that never really seems to shine but is almost dull in character. Not much of a head on this one, some lacing and a scum like covering.

Nose: Alcohol – yes, it either fails to mask the pungent ethanolic aromas, or it wants you to know that it may kick your ass later in the night. A nice dry hop aroma in the back end is somewhat spoiled by the vitriolic alcohol at times.

Taste: A very strong tasting beer, the alcohol is dominant, and way too demanding of the senses. A very harsh tasting beer that only Belgium-beero-philes may take to immediately. Not that impressed to be honest. It gets stickier as it warms, not good. Nice biting hop finish and a warming gullet feel. Raw at times though and uncultured.

Mouthfeel: Not that bad actually, one of the better parts of the beer, but its overall mouthfeel is spoilt by the raw rasp alcoholic feel in the back end.

Drinkability: Pretty average, the alcohol becomes a dominant factor after only half a glass, and can make this hard to finish. Don’t get me wrong I love Strong Belgium Pale Ales; I just feel that this concentrates way too much on the alcohol. Difficult to muster the next mouthful at times.

Overall: OK, so it’s called Piraat, I get that – nice one advertising execs., very original – yawn – and it even has a picture of a rather dashing Pirate looking dude in the bottom left, but wait - no body piercings, no tattoos, no eye-patches or even large gold ear-rings, in fact he could almost be a British Naval Captain. Oh yeah, and it also has a picture of a, erm well a Viking Longboat with backward facing sails, whilst it’s going forward. WTF?!?!?!? Yeah I’m anal when to comes to stuff like that. Hmmmm, I think the pony-tailed advertising execs. at the marketing company that B.v. Steenberge used for this label overdid the lines of Coke in the creative room a tad too much when they came up with this label. Burnt septum anyone?

I think this SOO wants to be a Kasteel Blonde – but it fails miserably, it lacks complexity, smoothness and a hop-balance. It can’t quite hide the alcohol as well as the Kasteel does. Not at all bad, but just above average overall. Slightly better on draft than the bottle, the draft seems to loose the harsh alcohol aspect.

Oh and sort the fucking backward sails out on the Viking Longboat label chaps, it’s really annoying me. Either that, or put a proper picture of a Pirate Ship on – just ask (Captain) Russell Crowe, he’ll help you out with pictures. LOL.

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

I've had this on-tap many times over the years at my local pub, the Cock & Bull, but I finally got around to reviewing it now.

Piraat's appearance is quite pale with a nice white head that vanishes after a few minutes. No matter, it's still a good beer. It smells of malt, spice and alcohol, which isn't surprising considering its 10.5 percent ABV.

The taste is pure Belgian. Clean. Strong. Complex. If only I were more experienced, I could begin to describe this beer! When it comes to Belgian ales, I feel limited in my ability to accurately write what it's like to drink them. Just take my word for it: If you find Piraat, try it. Just enjoy it in moderation, it's quite the heavy-hitter.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy golden orange colored with a thick beige head. Interesting aromas. Smells like there's more hops than your average Belgian. Vinous, yeasty, and malty aromas as well as a big alcohol nose that is almost organic and musty. Sweet candi sugar hits the palate first then the 10.5% ABV kicks in finishing of a bit dry and a bit sweet. Alcohol lingers, begging for another sip. This beer has quite the fan base at my work. One's enough for me.

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Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An attractive color and tasty beer. Alcohol is high but not overpowering. Masked by fruit but then you can drink too much.
Can sub for champagne or popular preference for bubby whites at dinner party. Would have again anytime. You can smell and taste the malt and yeast.

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Photo of SheepNutz
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a light yellow-orange color with three fingers of head. There is a good amount of lacing left. The smell is fairly sweet with white grapes, orange, and candy sugar. There is a hint of alcohol on the smell as well. The taste is a little tart at first, not expected. Overripe grapes dominate, and bits of sweetness are present. An overload of alcohol on the finish, no hiding it in this one. Also a little bit of peppery spices linger on the tongue. The mouthfeel is fairly strong and heavy. The drinkability lacks a little due to the high alcohol taste. Not a bad Belgian.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Cloudy orange in color with a decent head.

Smell – Strong orange in the nose with classic Belgian yeast. There’s also a bit of spicing in there. I can pick up coriander and white pepper for sure.

Taste – The spices say BSPA. They step up big time in the taste. The yeast is present as well, but the huge story here is the gigantic, damn near overpowering, orange liquor and syrup flavor. This is like drinking Grand Marnier mixed with peppered vodka.

Mouthfeel – Medium-bodied with little to no carbonation and a respectable alcohol sting.

Drinkability – This one was creamy smooth and went down nicely.

Comments – Probably too strong and alcoholic for most. Don’t make this your first of the night, and don’t make it your last.

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Photo of nomad
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In a snazzy Allagash glass this looked like a soft yellow hay color, with a super soft head, bubbly but soft and miniscule. It glowed like a permanent soft crown, showing great lacing from it, of course.

Smelled of soft malt, sweetly, and with a soft texture bordering on oats and wheat notes. Strong presence of floral scents, and an edible yeasty presence, too.

This beer had a sweet triple body of soft and juicy malt with a smooth presence of nice yeast. But unlike others, its taste had spicy flavors perking up and spreading through out it, and strengthening as it spread. For me, I could taste the alcohol on the way down.

An aggressive triple? This is less complex and refined than some triples, namely the more trappist-styled, but not a loss because of it. A good turn on a classic style, hoppier and thinner in taste than most, but easy enough to drink.

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Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.04 out of 5 based on 2,437 ratings.
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