Witches' Brew
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Witches' BrewWitches' Brew
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Style:
Belgian Tripel
Ranked #102
ABV:
9.3%
Score:
87
Ranked #14,691
Avg:
3.89 | pDev: 11.05%
Reviews:
122
Ratings:
232
From:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
 
Belgium
Avail:
Fall
Wants
  13
Gots
  27
SCORE
87
Very Good
Witches' BrewWitches' Brew
Notes:
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Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 232
Reviews by biegaman:
Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Though I'd love nothing more than to make some kind of spooky reference, Witches Brew legitimately looks like it belongs around the neck of an Olympian. Polished and golden, the beer sports perfect clarity and athletic bubbles. Tripels characteristically look light compared to the huge strain put on them by a heavily weighted head, but this offering is modestly carbonated.

The aroma has the prescribed amounts of sweet cereal grain, fruity esters, and floral phenols, but while it meets quotas, it far from exceeds them. Tripels are notoriously perfumed, so while this has a relatively heightened level of aromatics, it's actually fairly underwhelming given the style. That said there is a faint note of vanilla cupcake that persuaded me to up the score.

The mouthfeel showcases a much more pronounced mineral presence than is typical for tripels (or Belgian ales on the whole for that matter). It's like calcium or magnesium or who knows what mineral gives an almost 'salty' and definitively chlorine-like tinge. It is awfully bare too and drinks with a coarse graininess and occasional hiccups of unchecked alcohol. Should be less 'raw' and offer more complexity.

Despite cereal notes of wheat and oat, the flavour procures a subtle banana cream-like taste and vague traces of vanilla. There is a slight grassiness and iron salts (or whatever mineral) that really impress on the palate as well. Also, an old book-like mustiness. This has nowhere near the ageworthy structure of the highest-rated brands nor does it pack the high-flying dynamics, but it's certainly very palatable.

Brouwerij Van Steenberge has a long history of underwhelming me and, indeed, Witches Brew is far from bewitching (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun). While it makes a perfectly serviceable strong golden ale, it doesn't touch Belgium's best tripels. The fact that similar, better beers can be more easily found at similar price points makes this hard to recommend, though fans of the style should be able to justify the pickup.

 2,019 characters

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A-Hazy gold color with an off white head
S-clove, spicy, some citrus in there also
T-Clove, spice, slight malt that leads to a spicy warming aftertaste, with some hop bitterness in that leads to a spice finish
M-high carbonation and creaminess with a medium body
O-was a great beer that I paid $4.99 for a 750ml bottle, and I knew I should have bought more

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Witches' Brew from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 232 ratings