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 TheLongBeachBum
2.49/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Presentation: 11.2 fl.oz (330ml) ‘Duvelian’ style white painted brown glass stubby with a themed label that reflects the brews name. An eye-patch wearing Pirate with his toothless smile dominates the front label whilst in the background wooden barrels and a Buccaneer ship complete the display. A small blue colored neck label has the words ‘Superior Class, From Belgium, East Flanders’; all this is finished with an appropriately color coordinated crown cap. The main label has a generic design and the words ‘Bière du Boucanier’ which appear on all three BdB variants. Only the small text words “Dark Ale” below the larger word Boucanier and “alc. 9% by Vol” differentiate this from the other two “Golden Ale” and ”Red Ale” versions.

Appearance: Ruddy dark brown settles with a nice looking tan colored head which struts its longevity for some time. Gorgeous lacing once the head rests and lays low with a ¼” cloth carpet head. Finely dissolved conditioning.

Nose: Basic odors. Nothing outstanding here. Dark malts, burnt sugars, caramel and molasses, normally these ingredients would be able to muster some decent aromas, but here they are an unorganized mish-mash here.

Taste: Starts with a sickly sticky maltose run which rises into a burnt sugar centre piece and a molasses laden malt finish. Just awful. Far too unbalanced and disjointed. Shocking finish reminded me of Bonfire toffee mixed with caramelized sugars. Very poor structure.

Mouthfeel: The sugary high alcohol is raw and unpleasant. Like a rough Rum mixed with molasses and brown sugar with some cheap Vodka mixed in for bad measure.

Drinkability: A real struggle. I liked the fresh boldness of the 11% BdB Golden Ale (Hit!) and the thrusting spicy-hop character of the 7% BdB Red Ale (Hit!)…..but the middle of the road 9% BdB Dark Ale (MISS!!!) is a big let down and fails to complete the Ménage- a-Trois. After the two earlier BdB versions I expected much more complexity from this one.

Misses by a Mile! Far too sickly and unbalanced, sweet and cloying with a high alcohol rum burn that ultimately detracts. The hard looking Pirate on the label may portray a positive image but what’s in the bottle does not - maybe Queer Eye for the Straight Guy could help out here. This needs more work, a *lot* more work, and I don’t recommend this until it gets a make-over.

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Photo of Blakaeris
2.59/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours deep red-brown with a huge solid head. Nice lacing.

Smell is caramel malt and mild dark fruit. Understated yeasty spices and strong alcohol.

Taste is sweet with overly harsh alcohol. I normally like to taste a little warming alcohol, but this is a distraction. Syrupy sweet. The yeasty spices are there along with a nice bit of chocolate but you have to look for it. Subdued dark fruit. Maybe I got a bad bottle?

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

This beer is far too sweet, and the alcohol stands out too much. Where is the wonderful complexity of a BSD? I would avoid this one.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
2.71/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Squat white 330 ml bottle picked up at Tres Bonne Cuisine over the weekend... I think I paid $4.50... but the memory bank are fading.... Poured into my Delirium goblet.

2 finger lite tan head sticks around for quite a bit with descent lace, but nothing special.. the brew is a slightly hazy dark dark chestnut.

Nose is very fruity.. overripe apricots and thick prune... smells too sugary... not enough malt depth.

Ehhhh.... I thought the Red was too sweet, this is just cloying... the "Belgian" qualities are there, but the sugars overpower most everything and comes across a sickly sweet alcoholic lightly spiced applesauce... need some more bitterness to balance the sugars... big body and uneven carbonation adds to a growing unpleasant experience.... add on a slight metallic note, and I'm thinking this may end up being my first drainpour in a long while.

Once I find it, I'll buy the Golden just to try it, but I will certainly never buy the Red or the Dark ever again.... Waaaay better BSDA's out there for the money.

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Photo of PBoegel
2.76/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a duvel tulip.

Appearance was inviting, dark brown with some deep red and slight black, with a very dense and bubbly head.

Aroma's were very average and less complex than I would expect from a good Belgian Dark ale. Sugary sweet, some esters very little dry fruit complexity or maltiness.

Flavor was much the same but heavy on tangy fruity esters and banana profile with some light sugary sweetness. Again very little complexity thin maltiness for the dark appearance.

This beer was thinner than most excellent Triples and Strong Golden ales for which I expect a less rigorous body.

Not something I would go back to.

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Photo of neonbrown82
2.99/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I've been sitting on this bottle for quite a while, after having drank it's comrade in a mixed Biere du Boucanier 6 pack (2 each of the Golden, Red, and Dark). Ever since this guy's five crewmen were downed, I've been more or less sick of belgians in favor of hoppier and/or stout beers. I just can't seem to enjoy my old favorites as much anymore, and I think it may have something to do with overkill from these intensely flavored and funky brews.

The beer has an awesome color, I'll give it that. It looks almost like that color changing pearlescent paint on one of those fancy cars... like a shift between ruby red, brown, and gray. The head forms to a decent height of off-white fine champagne-like bubbles, quickly receding to the edges where the carbonation shimmers up to the surface.

The smell a mixture of intense belgian candi sugar sweetness and equally intensely tartness from dark berries and fruits. Has a very medicinal phenolic smell to it as well.

The beer tastes exactly like it smells, but much more intense. Overwhelms the palate with a zing of flavor. Raisins, plums, dark currant. The finish has a bready and yeasty, earthy feel to it. Very funky. It's quite tough to drink. Not quite as delectable as his fellow seamen, the Golden and the Red.

I can finally forget about this beer and hopefully re-acquire my taste for my old favorite belgians, which have been spoiled by one too many mediocre to damn near undrinkable attempts at brewing belgian style 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 rastaman
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In comparison to the Maredsous 8 Bruin, which is a fairly similiar beer, this falls short, this is probably a little yeastier, but also a a little thinner and less interesting. Caramel/toffee, some citrus rind (orange). Alright in the end, but not fave. Slightly spicey aswell, but a bit sticky and short.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours hazy, medium brown body with a full, foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Sourish, fruity aroma smelling of a blend of cherries and raisins, brown sugar, booze, and dusty, dry cocoa powder.

Taste: Sugary sweet raisins and cherries with occasional pops of sourness. Slight dry, nutty malts. Tiny hint of unsweetened cocoa powder. Fairly low bitterness. Peppery alcohol character. Drying, semi-sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Fine and drinkable, sure, but I just couldn't get too into it. I guess a pirate's life is NOT for me.

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Photo of SleepyMonk
3.24/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Deep dark chocolate brown color with a thick collar of head that raises up fast and rests back with a fair amount of lacing.

The aromatic character is dominated by malt and softly blended with dark fruits.

Taste... damn this thing is sweet and unfortunately thats not a good thong for this reviewer, its almost sickly sweet. There is a deent amount of malt amongst this sweetness however it is very stronlgly masked.

I've left the score on this review at average though. I have had this one a few times and had not noticed this problem with sweetness previously. The bottle was bought already chilled and I was delayed getting home by reasons outside of my control.

As hinted at above the mouthfeel is dominated by sweetness and dries of with dry alcohol.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.26/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dirty burgandy tone. Decent sized light tan head which has good staying power. Lacine is more than adequate. Nose is thick with phenols, cough syrup, sweet dripping candy resin, booze and rum punch. The combination doesn't do too much for me. The taste is quite boozy. Spicy remnants of alcohol linger long after the swallow. Lots of tropical fruits to go around as well. This is a replicate of that heavily spiked punch you sometimes find at the trendy "Mid Winter Luau." It's a little much for me. The mouthfeel is just a tad syrupy. Body is pretty full. More subtlety could do this beer a lot of good.

Thanks for the rum punch cokes.

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Photo of MattyV
3.32/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown, slightly hazy, decent billowy white head.
Aroma is of dark fruit, mostly raisins, caramel, and nuts -- quite nice.
Taste is a let down after the pleasant nose. Thin and weak, the expected dark fruits, sweetness, and yeasty notes, finishing with a bit of a burn from the alcohol.
Decent medium body, lively, maybe a bit overcarbed but not too bad.
An ok BSDA, but wouldn't seek it out again on its own. It delivered all of the generally-expected flavours, but for some reason they didn't mesh together all that well and I just felt underwhelmed. Was expected something more flavourful given the ABV.

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Photo of impending
3.34/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

33cl into a tulip. Pours an excellent deep dark rich garnet, highlights and bright back lights reveal a gorgeous red. Inch of clumpy froth, decent retention & decent lacing.

Aroma of what seems to be a mild strong dark, no notes particularly exceptional.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and prickly. Hi-C grape delightfully sits submerged here. The finish begins dry then flattens quickly to an unexceptional aftertaste.

while in the category of "so what" the label is lame
but what is truly exception

is they took a brown bottle and covered it - superb uv resistance - bravo !

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Photo of mulder1010
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a 330 bottle with a Boucanier glass.
A- a dark drown, with the head lasting for a good 5 minutes. looks great in the glass.
s- spicy, hoppy, and sweet
t- the ABV got me right off the bat. burnt going down.
m-- very heavy.
d- only one. too sweet for me and the abv lasted a long time. I liked it but a good night cap beer and go to bed beer. Would rather have an imperial stout as a night cap.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - pours a muddy garnet color, a thin light tan head doesn't hang around but leaves impressive lace behind. Maintains a very thin cover.

Aroma - slight roasted grain, a touch damp/earthy, with some initial fruitiness that overrides the dampness as the beer settles.

Taste - non-descript sweetness up front, pronounced licorice about mid-palate to back. Between the active bubbles and the alcohol, nothing subtle is going to make it to the profile on this. The licorice fades to a hint of chocolate on the swallow. Turns a bit bitter well after the swallow, I'm not sure if that's hops or just the flavor mix. I was expecting a warm finish in the mouth and throat but the alcohol stays raw and brash on the way down, warming only the bottom of the belly a minute later. The finish becomes a bit unwound with flavors separating rather than melding. Oh well, just drink it, don't concentrate on it I guess.

Mouthfeel - very busy on the carbonation, probably does more to magnify the booze than integrate it. The body is about average.

Drinkability - interesting but a bit ramped up on the abv, I don't think it pays off for the beer in the grand scheme of things. Maybe on sale I'd pick these up again, but probably would seek out something new otherwise.

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Photo of biegaman
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer seems reluctant to bare any colour at all apart from that dreary, dark russet that looks as though it were on lend from the funeral home. Only against very bright light will it relent even a shaving of ruby and even then, although you know it has the clarity it in, transparency is too much to ask for. Meanwhile, it is overly generous with the head (providing more than the glass could handle the carpet becomes a lucky beneficiary).

Boucanier Dark also plays its cards close to the chest with regards to aroma. It is typical for a beer of this style to be overwrought and stimulated with yeasty phenolics and esters and alcohols, but this one remains tight lipped even after we've had some time to warm up to one another. A musty variation on the dark fruity smell of prune juice seems to be all it cares to share. Surely there must be more to it than that?

Some progress is finally made in the taste. The flavour of leathery, dried red grape skins comes to the fore while watered down port, molasses and a pinch of clove-like spice also register. Still, the beer hardly capitalizes on the dynamics of Belgian yeast and uses only a fraction of its phenolic, enterprising potential - it's like owning a Porsche and never taking it on the highway. On the whole, I find the beer detrimentally reserved.

One of the problems I remember having with these 'Boucanier' beers was how candid they all were with regards to their alcohol strength so finally something good comes of all this bashfulness - the beer let's on hardly an ounce. Still, I'd gladly welcome more booze to the palate if it meant also trading up for some additional flavour. Sure, this is easily swallowed but what's the point of drinking a beer if it doesn't engage and entice you?

What Brouwerij Van Steenberge have at their disposal is basically an easy short-cut to a sure-fire, automatically dynamic and characterful beer - and somehow they managed to pick out the one sheepish, timid strain of yeast in the whole of Belgium! First impressions aren't everything and to be sure I've given this beer a second, third and fourth chance to come around; we haven't really hit it off yet so I assume we never will.

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Photo of adamette
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Cool dark brown 11.2 oz. bottle painted white (presumably to keep light out) poured into my clean, clear Brewery Ommegang goblet. Label announces "From Belgium East Flanders Superior Class." Bought the 6 pack of all three Biere du Boucanier beers (2 of all 3) for $17.99 at Lena's in Painesville, Ohio.

A Wonderful, bountiful light brown head with good lacing over a dark brown amber body. No observed sediment, very consistent appearance.

S Malts, alcohol with some hops. Dominated by sweet malts.

T Malty, grainy but actually some unwelcome bitterness. I am not sure if it is from hops or what but I am not liking this bitterness.

M Full for sure. The high ABV along with that bitterness make it full.

D Not good. High ABV and a Belgian Dark with bitterness is not my idea of a drinkable beer. I can only have one of these.

Notes: I was not expecting much from this beer but I thought that I might give it a whirl. I will not likely seek this out again. This is so far my least favorite Belgian Strong Dark Ale, my current favorite style.

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Photo of TerryW
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark copper red with a solid, long-lived monster big head. Leaves behind gobbets of foam as you go. Lots of fun to watch action as you pour, so overall a rather good looking beer.

Nose is heavy and sweet, lots of fruit and malt, bread and a whiff of alcohol. A little on the cloying side for me.

Quite warming to drink. Sweet and sticky, with a noticeable to strong alcohol finish. Not as interesting as some of the other Boucaniers, a little too one dimensional.

Mouthfeel is sweet and dominated by a warm alcohol finish. Decent enough to try.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.42/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Transparent dark brown to red colour. Loose tan head with huge bubbles that goes fast.

S - Weak aroma for a Belgian ale. Faint dark fruit and yeast. Some sweetness too.

T - Weak again unfortunately. Same sort of taste as aroma. Dark fruits dominate now with slight yeast and dryness.

M - Minimal carbonation and medium mouthfeel.

D - There are far superior Belgian Strong Darks out there but this was ok. I could have another but wouldn't seek another out.

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Photo of sstackho
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from LCBO 2007 gift pack. Pours a deep, dark brown with a decent head and good lacing. Aroma isn't too strong and is a bit difficult to place. The flavour is somewhat smoky upfront with a strong malt aftertaste. Unfortunately for this review, that's not really my thing. No yeastiness in this one.

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Photo of DrJay
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear ruby brown with a fluffy, light tan head. Lots of clumpy lace gets left behind as the foam subsides. Vinous alcohol aroma, sweet dried fruit, hint of tobacco. A bit earthy too. Sweet, raisin fruitiness, not very complex. Lingering alcohol warmth with a bit of solventy character. Creamier texture than the red, carbonation on the high side, full body. Fair attenuation leaves it on the dry side at the finish.

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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 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 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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Photo of giblet
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured very nice with two inches of head that lasted through the whole experience. smells of roasted fruity malt. taste was full rich and sweet. a bit too sweet for my taste. excellent lacing down the glass.

this is a strong beer but too sweet. i fear that if i had three of four of these it would be a rough morning!

suckem up and movem out!


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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

little stumpy 11.2 ceramic bottle with blue cap. love the wacky steenberge pirate drawings, would die for a poster of one of these mongoloids for my wall.

this beers aroma is very light with hints of wood and starchy fruits. a stunningly underwhelming odor for a 9% beer. it pours dark, with a slight reddish tinge in the light. thick bubbly head with sticky lacing. still can't believe a beer this hearty has such a miniscule scent!

tastes sweet and smoky. another complex brew (i am getting lucky this week) with significant licorice and some alcohol in the aftertaste. a mystery berry flavor is evident in some sips.. or maybe im just nuts.

paired nicely with swiss milk chocolate squares.

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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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