Bière Du Boucanier Dark | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

very good
112 Reviews
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Bière Du Boucanier DarkBière Du Boucanier Dark

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by maxpower on 08-17-2004

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Reviews: 112 | Ratings: 165
Photo of OldBrewer
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 330 ml bottle.

L - dark, copper brown, a little hazy. Poured one finger of foam which dissipated rapidly. Some lacing but didn't last.

S - mild, plum, raisin, cherries.

T - Heavy on the candi-sugar - dark fruits, cherries, plum, raisin, figs. Sweet with some bitterness.

F - low carbonation, lots of body.

O - heavy on the Candi-sugar, not too impressive.

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Photo of JaimeLondon
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Unfortunately, I lost a lot of the beer and specially the carbonation when I opened the bottle.
Nevertheless, it was a nice beer, of a beautiful red color and a nice beige foam (I wonder how it seems in full carbonation). Taste and smell are full of caramel notes and specially red fruit notes (blackberries, cherries and cranberries in this one) - a bit alcoholic in the taste but in a pleasant way.
Body and carbonation were at average level, but I guess I cannot rate the feel of this beer, since I lost a lot in the opening.

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Photo of ssmack
3.64/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Murky toffee brown with half inch of ligh beige head. Nice carbonation. Good lacing for awhile but no retention.

Tangy sweet smell. Figs marinated in cognac. Under this is the smell of cooked vegetables - corn.

Less sweet figs in the taste ... more cooked vegetables - beans and corn. Mild flavours for a Belgian dark ale.

Medium feel with nice carbonation bite.

I enjoyed this but there are much better Belgian dark ales.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.17/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

330 ml beer, served fairly cold into a Sam Smith's pint glass. Purchased for about $2.25 CDN.

Appearance - A bit hazy brown color, with the most wild carbonation I have ever seen. Poured about two and a bit fingers of head, however due to the carbonation, this rose to at least four fingers and was literally spilling out of the glass. Strange. Crazy rings of lacing left behind.

Smell - Boozy and a faint stale yeast smell, before a second whiff reminded me of cherries and Christmas baked goods. Repeated whiffs give just the cherries and baked goods. Also strange.

Taste - After the head finally receded to manageable levels, some sugar and a faint cherry flavor. Mild bitterness throughout and a big boozy dose on the finish.

Mouthfeel - After the crazy fizzling carbonation at the start, once in the mouth, the beer actually feels flat and limp.

Overall - Not sure what was going on with this bottle, but as far as Belgian dark ales go this was decidedly mediocre. I do have another bottle which might in fact be better, but I was let down by this greatly.This may be the case of aging it for a few more months may improve things.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the LCBO as part of a mixed 6pk for around $13.00 or so. Great deal. Served at 4deg C in a tulip

A- Pretty good. No head though.

S- A bit light. Lots of malt

T- Young and sweet. Not ready yet

M- WAY too much carbonation. Super sickly sweet tongue. Not ready yet

O- Not a bad beer but way too young to drink. Not the best yet

Food Pairing

This wildly young beer went well with.... French fries with shredded cheese with hot peppers.


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Photo of smudgewhat
4.78/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This one took me by surprise. At $4/bottle at the local beer mart I was expecting far less complexity, depth, and concealment of the alcohol content. It knocked my socks off and I may eventually consider it equal or nearly equal to what I consider the best beers in existence: Chimay Blue, Rochefort 10, and St. Bernardus ABT.

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Photo of rangerred
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

330ml bottle into a goblet.

Pours a hazy dark brown with a half finger off-white head. Very poor head retention and little to no lacing. Not too impressive for a Belgian.

Aroma is on the fruity side with a lot in the way of cherries and plums with some caramel and molasses. There is somewhat of a metallic note that is a bit off-putting but it remains restrained. Some spicy yeast is underneath.

The flavor closely follows the aroma with dark fruit and cherries but the molasses is quite a bit more prominent. A touch of clove and banana from the yeast but the flavors are somewhat muted. Sticky, sweet mouthfeel lingering long after the finish.

Overall, this seems like a less refined version of a Belgian Strong Ale. Too many off-notes and muddled flavors. I also feel like there is too much residual sugar. I probably won't come back to this one.

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Photo of metter98
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy brownish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high frothy off white head that died down and consistently left a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark fruits and sweet malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has bits of sweetness with some faint hints of alcohol.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has somewhat muted flavors compared to other beers in the style but hides its alcohol rather well.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle from the Boucanier mixed pack, served at slightly cooler than room temperature.

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Dark hazy Chestnut ruby, decent cap of typical Belgian spotted foam. Some lacing.

Nose is mild plum, raisins, typical Belgian phenols and yeast. Not exactly impressive, but decent.

Decent tasting dark ale, with some nice plum and spice notes. I can't say I was blown away by this brew, however, as the flavor lacked any real depth. Finishes dry, a bit of phenol/medicinal flavours.

Carbonation is somewhat higher than usual, but decent feel.

Not bad, might benefit from some aging. Not as enjoyable as the Red, but enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of SebD
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice dark copper/amber color to it. It has a nice thick beige head that dies down moderately slow and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of dark fruit (raisins, cherries), sweet malts, Belgian yeast and some breadiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some sweet dark fruit, sweet malts, a touch of yeast, some breadiness and a slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a med/high carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a cloudy dark orange amber with a fine very light tan head with good retention and massive lacing. Aroma of dark sweet malt, molasses, dark dried fruit, Belgian spicing. Flavor starts with dark fruit, brown sugar, Belgian yeast and sweet malt, developing more estery fruit flavors then finishing slightly dryer with lightly sour fruit flavors. Very nice flavor progression and modestly complex. Body is light to medium, but pleasant carbonation keeps it interesting. Quite sweet, like a lot of van Steenberge beers, but has plenty of flavor to keep the balance. I really enjoyed this.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a Trappe Door tulip. Poured a deep ruby red brown with a two finger off-white head that subsided to a half finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, banana, spices, dark fruit, and bread. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark fruit, banana, fruit, bread, and alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly good brew. There were a lot of things going on in this one that I enjoy about this style. This made it easy to drink despite the kick of alcohol going on. This was very welcoming as if the alcohol on this one would not have had a balance I could have found it to be a complete flop. I just wish that the aroma would have been a little more robust upon inspection. Worth trying if you see it on tap in your area.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwin’s Trappiste Pub & Cafe in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, dark fruit, brown sugar, and spices. Taste is much the same with a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a solid set of aromas and flavors that make it tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Biere du Boucanier Dark

Appearance : Poured from a cool looking white stubby bottle with a label depicting a pirate at night . The beer pours a dark brown with no sediment and with decent clarity. Off white head forms, lasting the duration.

Smell: The nose suggests figs and brandy, heavily malty, sweet smelling and inviting all in all. As it warms, caramels and floral notes come out.

Taste: Strong presence of estery Belgian yeast with dark fruit notes of plum, date and raisin. There are some leafy, herbal noble hop notes with a balancing bitterness. Really highlights the yeast with the sugary over ripe dark fruit notes. The finish is malty sweet with alcohol making a small presence.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, rich and flavorful. Carbonation is spot on at a medium high level and the finish is strong and quite drying. Every sip beckons for another.

Overall: Another fine offering from one of the world's greatest breweries. Great flavor, feel and overall drinking experience. Finding a few of these in the fridge would be like discovering buried treasure. Would pair excellent with mild fruited cheeses.

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Photo of BeerDocT
4.65/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chilled tulip glass. The last of my Du Boucaniers. Tot kijk, maties.

-Appearance 4.5: Poured out a bea-u-tiful opaque mahogany. Creamy head frothed up to a half-inch and stayed there the entire session. Striking looking beer.

-Smell 4.5: Oh, yeah. More of that lovely spicy Belgian yeast, but this brew also has a refined wood resin bouquet. I'm also smelling deep, dark caramel sugars and lightly toasted grains.

-Taste 5.0: Front is an amazing hit of many different flavors: caramel, grains, light maple syrup. Middle is slightly sour and lightly sweet. Finish is a swirl of the darkest sugar, spicy yeast, toasted grains and more of that pleasant tartness. Finish is short and the pleasant sourness returns, with a taste reminiscent of the finest champagne. Everything is light, balanced and perfectly executed. Excellent.

-Mouthfeel 4.0: Well above average. I was afraid that the carbonation in this beer would detract from my enjoyment, but that was not the case. Excellent balance.

-Overall 4.5: Excellent dark Belgian ale, and the best of the Boucanier bunch. This beer claims to be 9% ABV, but this is completely undetectable. I would recommend this beer to anyone wanting to get into Belgian ales as a "Gateway Beer." Just fantastic and highly recommended.

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Photo of Paincane
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Mahogany and opaque with yeast sediment in the body when poured into tulip glass. It has a persistent thick khaki creamy head that lingers forever and leaves moderate lace.
S: Dark fruits, figs, caramel, bread, and sweet malt aromas all strike the nose with equal intensity.
T: Flavors are a wonderful blend of the aromas along with a yeasty presence and slight booziness that intensifies as it warms.
M: Medium body with excellent carbonation.
O: Most enjoyable dark ale that is worth having again. Ahoy!

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Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Sessions in Greensboro.Poured into a goblet a hazed russett color with a blooming off white head atop.Aromas of spiced cake and brown sugar stand out most with underlying funk wich doesn't play a big role but is there.Somewhat boozy and sweet on the palate with Belgian yeasty spiciness,again it has that spiced cake element to it,not overly complex.I have had worse of the style but this isnt one of the top end of the style for me either.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To my great pleasure the LCBO has been bringing in Biere Du Boucanier gift packs for the past few years which include two of each the Golden, Dark and Red Ale. Each of these beers are classic Belgian Style ales that are brewed using candi sugar and are bottle conditioned. By total fluke one year at a friends house we discovered a lost bottle of the Red Ale hiding in his apartment from the previous year’s gift pack. That beer, then 1 year aged had matured into a sensational beer beyond my expectations. It has since convinced me to cellar these gift packs for one year from then on. So each year I buy 1 pack, put it away, and pull out the pack from the previous year.

When the Biere Du Boucanier gift pack was available again at the LCBO this year I knew exactly what to do, and recently I enjoyed the first fruit of that labor – the 2010 Biere Du Boucanier Dark Ale. This is a 9% abv Belgian Dark Strong Ale that fits directly in the range of some of my favorite characteristics in beer. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to try this 1 year old gem.

I pulled the Dark Ale from my fridge and let it warm to near cellar temperature around 12C (54F). When the beer met the ideal temperature range I gently let it slide into a snifter glass. A stream of golden brown and mahogany red beer crashed into the glass with fury of excitement immediately constructing a big and dense foam. After a focused and gentle pour I was left with a dark ruby brown beer that glowed red in the light with faint hints of dark gold and bronze. A richly dense and sticky tan foam built up a good 3 inches above the beer and stuck around as long as I would let it.

The aroma is big. Its packed instantly with dark fruits and sticky demerara sugar. Bruised apples and a yeasty spice lean in to the front of my senses after a second, but make way for cherries, prunes, raisins and dates. There are aromas too of roasted malt and caramel that linger in the back along with maybe a touch of cinnamon. A warm alcoholic sensation is present and predicts an alluring beer that I can no longer wait to try.

That first sip was smooth with a light touch of effervescence to lighten an otherwise sticky body. It was deep and fruity from the center outwards brimming with the warm date and fig character that I love in these types of beers. Baked apples, cherries, caramel and butterscotch too are all present in the roundess of this beer. Brown sugar meets toasted malt and hints of syrup, tobacco, and soft cocoa. Wow, big complexity in here that really pronounces itself at this warmer temperature.

It finishes with a sweet and tingling blast of yeasty spice and hints of cinnamon. Overall it shows a lot of sweet fruity character but is balanced… well, not so much balanced, but aided by a wide complexity of flavors. But definitely is a malty sweet beer with deep caramel flavors and Belgian characteristics. This beer beckons at me on cold winter nights. Its just perfect. The hint too of alcoholic warmth really pulls it all together beautifully.

Enjoy the Biere Du Boucanier Dark Ale on its own in a snifter glass, or with soft cheeses, chocolate desserts, cheesecake, fruit pies, or warm bread pudding.

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Photo of Stocean1
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one poured a two finger off white head upon a dark chestnut colored body. Patchy lacing with little retention.

The aroma is a muted dark fruit, malt, light yeast, cinnamon.

The taste follows the nose with some vanilla and metallic (iron) notes (got the same from the strong pale ale from this brewery). Not as flavorful as other top brews in this category but it is very drinkable and the abv is well masked unlike this brewer's strong pale ale. Definitely improved as it warmed with the raisin and grape notes coming strognly through.

This is a light medium bodied ale with little carbonation. Pretty smooth and very drinkable. Little bitterness.

An enjoyable brew that is very sessionable for the style.

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Photo of chrisrose30
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The head is creamy on pour and comes out a deep nut-brown color. The smell and taste are surprisingly light for such a 9% belgian - it doesn't quite reach that rich, chocolately taste found in other belgians, but it isn't bad, either. The mouthfeel is also surprisingly light and a bit fizzy - a little too transparent for me.

For a 9% ABV beer, this belgian ale doesn't quite take the cake, although it is pleasant to drink.

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Photo of RDHerm
3.49/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, hazy chocolate brown with almost no light transmittance. Has the slightest dark amber highlights and a thick, cream colored head that thins up a bit over time and has good lacing.

A surprisingly faint aroma. Notes of roasted malts, dark fruits, and bread, with a hint of spice.

Strong flavors of bread and malts. Notes of yeast and dark fruits with a touch of spice and a little bit of alcohol bite. Taste leaves the palate almost immediately.

Medium/heavy in body, light/medium in carbonation. Good carbonation level that makes for a very smooth, almost creamy feel.

Not a bad brew by any stretch, and certainly worth a try, but there are better examples of this style that are more readily available.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy mahogany hue with cream-colored frothy head.

S - Notes of spicy maltiness, dark honey, cinnamon and raisin are suggested by the aroma. There is a hint of oxidation, but it integrates well with the dark fruity esters.

T - The flavor is essentially the same as the nose, with additional notes of dark bread, leather and spicy booze perceived.

M - Authenically Belgian in feel, creamy and expansive, though thinner than I'd like.

O - Very nice beer here. On the malty-sweet side of things, but I like that.

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Photo of Gmann
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with ruby hightlights. The head is a khaki color, rather small but dense, settles into a sparse cap.

The aroma is of red grape juice; quite sweet and very fruity. There are some prune notes and a slight scent of carob. Very one dimensional.

The flavor is a bit more balanced. Grape juice and prunes lead the charge but there is a musty malt flavor that brings a much needed balance. It is kind of like a light ash but it brings little bitterness. This would be really good if the malt brought more flavor with it.

The feel is on the thin side and has fizzy carbonation so it drinks easy. Its probably a bit too light for the style. It is sweet on the palate but balanced; finishes fairly clean.

Very solid BSDA. It is quite fruity and could use some more malt flavor but it does have nice balance so its easy to drink.

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Photo of peensteen
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mahogany colour with dark ruby red tints in the light, 1 finger of fluffy white head, decent lace. Smells of yeast, raisin, dark fruit, malty, fig, caramel and toffee. Taste is of bready malt, yeast, dark fruit, raisin, toffee and a slight sweetness is present. Medium mouthfeel, slightly creamy, good carbonation, full weight. Drinks very well, almost dangerous considering the ABV, alcohol is not at all noticeable, good stuff here.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheeky as hell, it's easy to dismiss the lable and thus the beer. But inside, the very strong Belgian Ale carries some great authentic Belgian flavors.

The beer pours a dark amber, light burnish-brownish color with good initial clarity, but the second pour releases the yeasty haze. Vivid carbonation fuels an earyly froathy, nearly rocky head but the sugary and alcoholic weight brings the head down in short fashion. A nice looking beer but I wanted more retention and structure to the head character.

Fruity, spicy, and alcoholic; this beer has a medium maltiness of biscuit or cookie dough, but then the cotton candy confectionate sweetness kicks in for a perfumy scent.

Flavors of malty/sugary sweetness is amplified by early alcohol sweetness and spice. Rounded with esters of ripe berries, apples, appricots, pears, and cherries, the beer's fruitiness takes on cough-syrup flavors. Spicy with black pepper phenols and bitter alcohol, the beer balances out rather remarkably in the finish.

The sugary start brings about an oily feel that impeeds the effervescent carbonation for a decidedly sweet mouthfeel through mid palate. Finishing warm/hot with the alcohol and spice, the beer retains its sweetness deep into the finish and aftertaste, void of the signature malty-dry finish of Chimay Blue or Rochefort beers.

Where the beer isn't an all-together train wreck, there are a lot of components about this beer that keep it from rounding out and comming together. It makes me wonder how age would treat this beer.

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Bière Du Boucanier Dark from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.8 out of 5 based on 165 ratings.
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