St. Stefanus | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
87
very good
298 Ratings
THE BROS
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St. StefanusSt. Stefanus
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium
vansteenberge.com

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Fux on 03-08-2012

BEER STATS
Ratings:
298
Reviews:
80
Avg:
3.87
pDev:
10.85%
 
 
Wants:
12
Gots:
67
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 298 |  Reviews: 80
Photo of chogm54
3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottled Nov 2013, I have cellared this for a year in an average 10 degrees C. Xmas eve 2014 - time to enjoy! There is a BB date of May 2015 on the bottle.

750bottle poured into a sherry glass.

L - burnt orange, clear, pours a 1cm thick creamy slightly lumpy head. Moderate head retention

S - bread malts and orange, all wrapped up in husky, earthy yeast odour, and spicy esters

T -- toffee malt tastes upfront, medium sweetness for style with some pepper and vanilla notes half way through. The end tapers off with increased acidity and sweetness wrapped up in apple and butterscotch.

F - feels a lot more watery than I expected, with a light body for style. Alcohol is more than the 7% suggests (maybe due to the cellaring).

O -Nice beer would a try - interesting flavours. But the watery texture is not well received.

 835 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

April 26, 2017 update - This bottle is dated 4-2012, so here it is five years in the 750 ml bottle purchased at Elizabeth Station. Poured into the tall Timmermans goblet it's clear yellow with the creamiest foam ever. Sudsy in the mouth with clouds of bubbles tingling on the tongue. Then I"m surprised how good the taste is. It has the Cream of Wheat Saison flavor and is so mellow with even a hint of sweetness. The yeast seems to have calmed down and leaves a delicious delicate malty tang with those mysterious Belgian estery aromatics. Hardly a touch of bitterness but the dry finish is as God intended. Amazing beer that redeems a whole lot of unpleasant imports.
- - - - - - - -
Color is an attractive light amber with a sturdy foam. This one pours in a well-behaved manner and forms a tapestry of lacing in the deep-dish Orval chalice. Very prickly and frothy in the mouth.

This is so remarkably dry, it seems to be a showcase for Belgian yeast as it swims upstream to spawn. The fruit that must have been here two years ago has left hardly a trace. The grainy straw is the main flavor, with the bitterish almost perfumey yeast taking over. Hints of oregano. Nothing like alcohol taste.

Now I'm curious to try a fresh bottle. I don't think this argues so well for aging. From the 750 ml corked, caged bottle dated 7-2012 and purchased at Grapevine Liquor in Denver.

 1,377 characters

Photo of Zazzi82
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Cellar Release" 750ml bottle dated April 2012. I'm operating under the assumption that this is a bottling date and not a BB date.

Pours out a very transparent golden straw color with a flash head and only minimal lacing. It could have used a lot more retention time to stack up to the other greats already on the market, to be honest. Lighter side of medium body and carbonation levels.

Smells of cereal grains and a grand medley of stone fruit esters (plums, pears, some light cherries, etc.) blended with a medium strength white grape juice and belgian bubblegum yeast character, with a tinge of alcohol heat and candi sugar in the background. The flavor follows suit but with less complexity to the spectrum of fruity esters on the tongue than in the nose. It also gains a touch of honeyed breadiness in the midsip as the glass warms up, and doesn't quite get as dry as I normally prefer my BSPAs. It's not big enough an issue to call a flaw, it's more like a higher-than-typical sweetness variation. I'd recommend trying this one if you prefer sweeter-balanced BSPAS with boldly fruity noses.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.
7% ABV, Cellar Release: 1-2012, 8°C, "maturation calendar" on side, Best Before: 03/11/13 on back label.

A - A steady stream of strong carbonation billows from the glass' etching, through the vibrantly clear golden yellow beer, to the effervescent and pillowy egg shell-colored head. Gobs of lace decorate the glass in a whole-y Swiss cheese pattern.

S - Giant fruit esters erupt from this fresh Belgian yeast-laden beer! Sweet orange peel citrus masks, ever-so-slightly, a dribble of white grape juice while earthy clay and white pepper spice follow through. Pilsner malt adds plenty of sweetness to the aroma as alcohol finishes out gently. Abounding aromatics make this one hell of a great smelling beer!

T - Sweet pilsner malt is traded for an unpleasant grainy pale malt as the explosive yeast esters fade to the background. Apricot hints come out and white pepper is still pretty strong, but the finish is very dry and almost metallic tasting.

M - Strong carbonation should come as no surprise, making this a perfect beer to pair with some cheese as it'll scrub your tongue nicely. Medium-bodied and leaning towards the sweet size, hops never enter the picture; instead, the beer is balanced by an overwhelming dryness along the finish that lingers for quite a bit.

O - This beer loses track somewhere between the aroma and flavor, changing drastically. The first sip was quite distasteful as it finished out with a metallic-like dryness, but after a few further sips, it became more drinkable. It's aggressive and inviting aroma is near perfection, it's just the flavor that doesn't quite follow in the footsteps. I'd imagine that this beer with it's fruity, earthy, and spice characteristics would be a good beer to pair with a handful of different cheeses and explore their interactions.

 1,844 characters

Photo of Uniobrew31
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

3 of the 8 bottles I bought exploded as soon as I opened them, cold. The others were so over carbonated that they needed to be set aside for 15 minutes before I could drink them. Once it was at a drinkable level though they were good.

 236 characters

Photo of TimWakimika
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of chinchill
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 ml caged and corked bottle of this "blonde ale" served in a Porter Bar goblet. Bottling date of 7-2012.

Clear copper-amber body with a fizzy head that has limited retention and leaves very little lacing.

The aroma (approaches 4) is notably malt dominant for style, but with fruit and spice notes.

The flavor is yeasty and fruity, like most blondes, and seems to be just marginally more malty/bready than average. It is also a bit less spicy than the average blonde.

Lively carbonation in a near medium body.

 523 characters

Photo of DerekCarruth
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of knightgb
3.64/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of andyasp
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of impending
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

B

750ml into a tulip. Pours a slightly hazed mid toned golden orange, dense cream colored head retains fed by exuberant carbonation, nice lacing.

Aroma is spices and clean fruits, no low notes. Yeasty. Unripened apricots, dry sweet grass, orange rind and a dab of camphor.

Fairly sweet, particularly in the finish when it sits besides a tiny bitter. Again some apricot but now with a touch of mango. The phenolic taste echo lingers subtly for a while. Doesn't have the complexity of the scent. Grainy medium to full bodied lively mouthfeel.
cheers
jd

 553 characters

Photo of hreb
3.66/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750mL cork-topped bottle of St. Stefanus Blonde, cellar release 8-2012. served in Chimay chalice glass. beer pours golden yellow with a medium white head, just shy of crystal clear, and big bubbles rising towards the surface. Aroma is bright and sweet, and very much like cider. Taste is mild and brings traditional Beligan Blonde flavors, but doesn't wow me. Hoppy bitterness complements yeasty earthiness. Pretty dry though, I don't get caramel flavors as much of a highly attenuated / low final gravity ale. In the back there are subtler flavors of clove and grass.

overall: Enjoyable, but there is nothing to keep me coming back to this particular BPA.

 657 characters

Photo of EmperorBevis
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled
Slightly hazy copper pour with one finger creamy white head. Good retention, nice lacing. Nose is mostly yeasty with some grainy notes to it. Subtle hops. Thin to medium body with average texture.

 205 characters

Photo of Skaterdude97
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Bshaw22
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer is done pretty well for the style it's just hard for me to really like it because I'm not a big fan of the style. Esthery, yeasty...etc

146 characters

Photo of dgilks
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear golden colour with a small fluffy white head. Good head retention.

Slightly aromatic. Clove and touches of coriander. Mild citrus and banana. Malt is evident but not overpowering.

Interesting balance of yeast character and bitterness. Good banana and clove notes. Coriander. The bitterness finishes well.

Medium body with moderately-high carbonation. Okay.

A solid beer but it does not live up to my expectations. Good flavour but it doesn't shine in any particular way.

 480 characters

Photo of memphischas
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of doktorhops
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

St. Stefanus Blonde, from the same brewery (Brouwerij Van Steenberge) that brought us the mighty Gulden Draak and Piraat, this is going to be a good drop have no doubt. Also a steal from DM’s at $50 for 6 x 750ml corked’n caged bottles, which works out to be 8.3333333333... (ad infinitum) dollars. When you’re getting a $12 750ml bottle of 3 Monts and thinking that is cheap $8.33 is a real find, besides I do love a Belgian Strong Pale Ale (just look at my Beeradvocate.com top 10) so I was eager to wrap my gob around this one.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy amber body with a billowy 3 cm off-white head that soon disintegrates leaving a thin lace covering. I have a bias towards cloudy beers which plays somewhat into my score, take a couple points off if you like a clear beer. 8/10.

S: Pear and apple esters upfront and all over your face, bam! Bready overtones balance this out with hints of cracked pepper and clove adding a touch of spice as well. Overall St. Stefanus has a pleasant aroma leaning more towards sweeter characters, looking forward to the next category. 8/10.

T: Fruity with pear and scrumpy red apple cider notes which lead into the aforementioned bread yeast and a cracked pepper/clove flourish towards the end, which is an even crisp and dry, almost vinous (white wine) tannin-like finish. As it warms some metallic notes become ever-present and distract a little from this delightful brew, too bad St. Stefanus. 7/10.

M: Mid to light, could benefit from more heft, with a tack sharp carbonation. 6/10.

D: If you’re going to compare this to the awe-inspiring Duvel or La Chouffe it will (of course) fall short of greatness. Nonetheless this is a great buy at the price, I would easily spend $10 a 750ml bottle on a brew of this calibre, so don’t mistake St. Stefanus for an average Belgian Strong Pale Ale because it is a decent brew, unfortunately it resides in the style pantheon of the greatest brews. Interestingly I noticed “rice” listed as an ingredient in this beer, anno 1295, European brew? Something is amiss here - I don’t recall hearing about European beers having rice in them back in 1295... or hops even... or anything other than Gruit* in those days. 8/10.

Food match: Cheese platter, obviously, and that old catch-all: Brasserie food.

*Google is your friend.

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Photo of Synapstic
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Fux
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear golden color with a 2 fingers fizzy head that turns quickly into a thin film

S: Smell is fruity esters, yellow fruits (peach, banana), citruses, yeasts.

T: Sweet caramel malts make a good balance to the hoppy character of this beer. Quite big alcohol presence and lots of residual sugar. Dry aftertaste.

M: Light bodied with a huge carbonation. Easy to drink despite the alcohol presence.

O: The brewer advises to compare the evolutions of this beer from 3 to 18 months of maturation. This one has been drunk young (3 months) and is pleasantly hoppy and fruity. Should age well given the sweetness and yeastiness.

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Photo of katan
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark golden color. Fairly opaque, thick looking. Strong pearly white head but it is breaking down quickly.

S - A mostly yeasty nose, lots of esters and a bit of white pepper background. Pulls the Belgian card, no doubt.

T - Starts off smooth and sweet, just a little pilsner sweetness. Turns to esters quickly, breaking in with frutiness. Finishes clean and smooth with just a little of the citrus flavors hanging on. Turns very dry in the finish.

M - Moderate body and a strong carbonation. Very champaign like. A little sweetness, but not much alcohol warmth.

O/D - A nice nd easy drinking belgian.. Alcohol is up there but managable. Heavy from all the carbonation. Fits the summer beer to a tee.

 717 characters

Photo of dooger
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great feel, nice taste. Good drink. The aroma does not do the taste justice. Good deep flavor but not overwhelming. Very good looking blonde beer, keeps head, and does not flat when sitting. Cant beat the lasting taste. Drink it cold. Better bite up front, then smooth at the end.

 280 characters

Photo of jroof1
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Strix
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark-yellow with lots of tiny bubbles, huge lingering head.

Aroma of light fruit, mild bready yeast

Sweet grains punctuated by green apple, coriander, black pepper. Crisp, but not flavorful.

Delightful bubbly mouthfeel.

Certainly pleasant, but seemed to lose flavor the longer it sat. Didn't quite live up to my expectations.

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St. Stefanus from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.87 out of 5 based on 298 ratings.
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