De Ranke XX Bitter
Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke

De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter
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IPA - Belgian
Ranked #7
Ranked #3,970
4.1 | pDev: 11.22%
Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke
De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter
Notes: XX Bitter or Extra Extra Bitter is a blond, bitter ale containing 6% vol. Alc. It's famous for its very bitter and strong flavour. XX is made with pale pilsner malt and loads of Brewers Gold and Hallertau hop flowers. A perfect combination that has been nationally and internationally praised. This ale has been a real trendsetter for the current comeback of bitter ales in Belgium.
Only whole leaf hops are used.
Reviews: 542 | Ratings: 1,018 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by biboergosum:
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, wrapped in an extra tissue-paper label, which pretty much throws down a challenge with its "Bitter" struck across two big 'X's, with hop cone unlike those nice Belgian people...they of the peeing boy statue.

This beer pours a cloudy, pale golden apricot colour - very much like fermenting white wine must - with a foaming tower of loosely soapy off-white head, which leaves a bit of sparsely strewn patchy, sudsy lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells chiefly of bitter citrus fruit - lemon, grapefruit, and orange, sort of lacking their constituent sweetness - some earthy floral essence, gritty pale malt, and musty, spicy yeast. The taste is bitter pine needle, citrus rind, and musty floral hop esters, a bit of semi-sweet biscuity pale malt, and an underlying dusty barnyard essence yeastiness - the booze, as usual, is well integrated.

The carbonation is quite active in its effervescent frothiness, the body on the light side of medium weight, a bit prickly, yet with some airy and fruity creaminess. It finishes quite dry, the bitterness of the big hop bill not about to allow for failure.

This is the closest thing to an acrid west coast American IPA that I have experienced of the Belgian variety. Of course, in this case, the hop flavour profile differs, as it should, but the bitterness remains, along with yer typical pervasive yeastiness. I'm used to malt-heavy Belgian offerings - nice to see one more given to the hoppy side of the coin.

Nov 14, 2010
More User Reviews:
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metter98 from New York

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellow in color and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation and a small amount of visible particles floating in suspension. It poured with a three finger high bright white head that has excellent retention properties and consistently left a finger high head covering the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of yeast in the nose along with some notes of floral hops and spices. The spiciness particularly stands out in the finish.
T: Like the smell, flavors of peppery spices and yeast stand out in the overall taste, which has a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels light- to medium bodied, clean and very dry on the palate with a high amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink for the style and the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

Jul 30, 2011
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moulefrite from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted this after warming up with a Wittekerke, and damned if this was not nearly the same color-hazy golden orange. The head was serious though, and puffed up nicely and showed a good solid stick. Aromatics hint of sweet malt and pungent herb. The mouthfeel is medium, with good crispness. Flavors are bold and assertive with lemon zest and pink grapefruit sandwiched between green bud-very bittter-in a damn fine way I might add! The bitter is finely balanced by just enough malt to keep you coming back for more. The taste is again quite herbal with an almost menthol quality-very green tasting. The bitter flavor hammers away at the palate yet in an elegant fashion. I'll take this over many a domestic "sticky" hedonistic IPA any day!

Nov 01, 2003
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wrapped, corked and capped 750 ml bottle. The 'best by' date along the bottom of the label isn't notched. Although it goes all the way to 2017, I've decided to drink it sooner rather than later to get the maximum impact from the hops. One final note: I just noticed 11.2 fl.oz on the label, but this is clearly the big dog. Thanks in advance to OtisCampbell for the bottle.

Gorgeously gauzy goldenrod with a smattering of the superfine particles. A generous amount of carbonation hurries upward to add size to the already large head. Shockingly bright white, it was a top half of the glass filler immediately after the pour and is still a beautiful, rugged, rocky presence. Thick, arching strands of lace are arrayed every which way and should be present until the party's over. Subsequent pours add more haze to the glass, improving what is already an outstanding appearance.

The aroma is a gentle caresser rather than an aggressive pummeler. That's not to say that it isn't wonderful. There's an impressive combination of hop character: citric, floral and spicy at once. I don't appreciate much malt, but that's isn't what this beer is about. I do believe this is the best noble hop dominant nose I've ever experienced. The word 'refined' keeps coming to mind.

Upon tasting, I'm not immediately bowled over. Those looking for an 'aggressive pummeler' of a hoppy beer, along the lines of a supercharged IPA, will be disappointed. Now that I've reset my expectations regarding bitterness, I can assess the beer with a newly opened mind. Pale malt isn't noted on the palate in terms of flavor, but it's obviously working furiously behind the scenes to provide an underlying sweetness and to sand the edges off the hop buzzsaw.

As the ounces disappear, the hop flavor becomes more and more pungent (and more and more delicious). Whether that's due to warming or to the addition of the beer at mid-bottle, I couldn't say. What I do know is that this is a beer for lovers of noble hops. Lemon zest and lemongrass are especially prominent. The flavors usually attributable to Belgian yeast are nowhere to be found. I spoke too soon! My next mouthful delivered hints of yeastiness that will, hopefully, become definitive statements before long. I love how XX Bitter is continuing to change as I get deeper and deeper into the bottle.

Appearance update: we're now at 'considerably cloudy' and the gluesticky head continues to impress. Like the flavor, the appearance is improving with each addition to the glass. Where will it end? The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium and is on the undercarbonated side for a Belgian beer. I like it just fine, but it isn't quite a match for the rest of this remarkable ale.

It took a great deal of effort to remove the cork from this bottle of De Ranke XX Bitter, but it was worth every grunt and heave. I don't believe I've ever had a Belgian pale ale that can compare to this one. Although it isn't the bitter bomb that I was expecting, it is the hoppiest non-U.S. beer I've ever had. All things considered, it's probably a better beer than the one that lived in my hop-fevered imagination. Refined. World-Class. Highly recommended.

Oct 10, 2005
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Jason from Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is like Orval on crack. A very heady and carbonated brew. Bit of resiny hop bitterness on the tongue as well as some in the aroma. This is doubled with the effects of medicinal phenols as well as the yeast flavors. Lots of bitterness and phenolic activity with hints of lemon, horse blanket and mineral. Touch of fruitiness gets lost as well as the malt as it attempts to add some sweetness to the brew. In the end it is quite dry.

May 01, 2004
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brewerburgundy from Virginia

4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

25.4oz bottle, highball glass, expires 6/5/21 according to the cap.

Bitter is shades of light gold, hazed, and possesses a towering buff head. The texture of the accumulated bubbles is fantastically rocky and meringue-like.

I see why they wrap the green bottle in paper, as there was a strong initial whiff of skunk. That dissipated leaving light biscuit, noble hops, grass clippings, and hints of banana and fruity Belgian yeast.

Pale malt flavors of biscuit and water crackers team with noble grassy and spiciness. It’s really quite bitter, which manifests with lingering metallic and bitter greens, which makes a statement that this is a real pale ale. Some of the skunk and yeast reappears and lingers with the bitter finish.

Quite a full body that in the end is balanced by bulky bubbles. It’s a satisfying texture.

First, excellent Belgian beers can be had cheap at the seven day stores of bases in Korea. Second, this is one of those Belgians that I probably wouldn’t have tried without aforementioned cheapness. I highly recommend De Ranke Bitter for a Belgian take on the pale ale/IPA.

Mar 14, 2018
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marc77 from California

4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lightly hazy golden hue, topped by a porcelian white, fluffy, cappuchino like head. Belgian lace is left. Pungently spicy and grassy dry hopped Saaz hop nose dominates the aroma. Overshadowed hints of light caramel and yeast must. Assertive, sharp, chlorophyll laced hop bitterness hits the palate in an IPA like fashion, albeit w/ continental hops. This slowly fades sufficiently to allow light white bread like sweetness and subdued pear like esters to eek into the flavor profile. Pervasive grassy hop flavor. Lightly bodied, but smoothly dextrinous and crisp in mouthfeel, not unlike a good pilsner. Finishes slightly musty, but otherwise dry, well attenuated and with lingering hop bitterness. De Ranke XX is unique, delicious and versatile. If you can't choose between assertively hopped pilsner and a Belgian pale, you can have your cake and eat it too with this brew. Delectably bitter, and not one dimensionally so.

Dec 24, 2002
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John from New York

4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Slight ambient light illuminates the hazy blond color. Marvelous aroma that starts out fruity pineapple and peppery hops, then shifts gears to a pear-like fruitiness. Unique and complex hop profile is unlike any other beer. Quite resiny...concentrated, then prickly and peppery. Yeast imparts a sour-doughy breadiness. Mouthfeel is light, carbonation steady. Finishes with a dry but welcome bitterness. I WILL look for this again in the near future.

Dec 17, 2002
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Sampled during the BA Social held at Lucky Baldwin’s in Pasadena on Saturday 12th October, 2003. Having tried this superb beer in Belgium several times, but never seen it Stateside, I spied this baby on the LB menu. Score! So I decided that as it was a 750ml, it was time to share this ‘hoppy’ Belgium Pale with a few friends who had yet to try it, & be surprised by it !

It arrives in unlabelled green glass bottle, the 750ml curved sided affair with the dimpled bottom, so typically used by Cantillon, Fantôme, etc. The whole bottle is wrapped in an inviting paper wrap. The De Ranke XX Bitter wrapper is white with a very large XX overwritten with the word Biter in dark green writing. Corked. Unfiltered & Unpasteurized.

Appearance: Clear golden with streamers when carefully poured at first. The sediment can lend a hazy fused golden color towards the end. Massive frothy head, cloud-like it sits atop the XX throughout the drink. Looks marvelous & ever so slightly ‘Duvelian’, when served in a Goblet.

Nose: Beautifully spicy hop character fused into a floral nose, fresh & inviting, yet spritzy. Citric hints at times but always massively hoppy.

Taste: Excellent. A very distinctive Belgium Pale Ale that is entirely focused around bitterness. It starts with a welcoming floral hoppiness that soon, helped by a citric sharpness, turns into a channeled hop bitterness, quite biting at times, but never harsh. The transformation from lemon-bitterness to hop-bitterness is quite amazing. The malts are always the support act here. The yeasty dregs of the bottle can help to take the edge off of this beer.

Mouthfeel: Solid and wholesome, it belies it 6.2% ABV I find, & can easily pass for an 8%’er. Sharp, lemon-bitterness lingers in your mouth with the spicy hops. Your Mouth will never forget this distinctive Belgium Beer!

Drinkability: Exceptional, the bitterness is quite something. I could have easily drunk this for the rest of the night; but just as we got to the bottom of this, the owner of Lucky Baldwin’s mentioned that he had 2 more offerings from De Ranke worth trying. It’s a tough life.

Overall: There aren’t many Belgium beers that can be comfortably labeled as ‘hoppy’, but this is one of them. In fact the only other example that immediately springs to mind is Poperings Hommelbier (Van Ecke). This is not an IPA though; it is an intensely bitter Pale Ale, which has a really nice astringent hop-kick at the end. Extremely Well Made.
A Firm Favorite (i.e. I'm biased).

Oct 12, 2003
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irishmoss from Ohio

4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

33cl bottle best before January 2011... poured into my Magic d'Achouffe tulip.
This poured a golden straw color that's very clear, many columns of tiny bubbles rising to a 1 ½ finger white head. The aroma is light fruitiness, floral, and slight spicy noble hop, Saaz like presence. The taste seems to have the same citrus, floral, and spice hop flavors melded with a nice pale Belgian malt profile. The malt adds nice sweetness that tries to balance out the hops, but it fails to do this, perfectly. There's isn't a overpowering "Belgian yeast" flavor, and that's good. Light bubbly carbonation in the mouth, and it finishes nice and dry. This is low in alcohol, great tasting, and has a crisp refreshing quality to it. Well done.

Dec 14, 2006
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jophish17 from Georgia

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Dec 24, 2011
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Premo88 from Texas

4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

25.4 oz. bottle poured into tulip
("10/1/20 expiration printed on top of bottle cap)

L: pale gold, almost 100% clear, just a little cloudiness; huge head of white/off-white foam, over 2 inches and super fluffy, like cotton balls; also super sticky and not dissipating quickly; keeps an amazing skin, almost 1/4 inch at all times ... and you see why inside the glass -- a veritable bubble factory is churning in there, hundreds and hundreds of bubbles flying up the middle of the column; lacing, sticking, the skin, the thick collar ... it's a foam machine

S: sweet, hoppy, floral, grassy and very tart, lemons, limes; as it warms, the sweetness subsides and you get a very farmhouse-ale like aroma ... musty barn, some tartness but very tame, kumquats

T: huge bitter hop bite, mostly floral/perfume-like but with some grass and a lot of sweetness pushing into the bitterness; the hops are for real, but they mix with the malt to form a classic Belgian fruity juiciness, strawberries, cherries, maybe some orange ... cantalope

F: lovely ... big carbonation but with enough liquid weight to form a classic medium-crisp ale feel

O: it's bitter, but it's so much more ... tart Belgian pale notes, almost but never really sour; a fruit basket of flavors that aren't typical of the American citrusy/mangoey IPA; some good grassy flavors .... it's like a hopped-up Orval and the closest thing I've had to it is Prairie Hop or Buffalo Bayou's Abrikoos -- but this has some farmhouse ale earthy/hay notes that really nail home its Belgian authenticity. fantastic beer!

Aug 30, 2015
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hansavijaticar from Croatia (Hrvatska)

4.56/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dec 08, 2015
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Gavage from Nevada

4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's in Philly.

Appearance: hazy pale golden yellow color with a one finger head. Nice lacing develops during the session.

Smell: floral hops and loads of sharp citrus tones are easily detectable by the nose.

Taste: lighter malt profile with a bold hop bitterness that works well. Grapefruits, spice, and a hint of yeast keep this in balance.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp from start to finish. Short bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability: wonderful belgian pale ale that can almost be considered a session beer. Easy to drink and very enjoyable on the tastebuds.

Nov 14, 2006
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LostHighway from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Nov 30, 2011
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danieelol from Australia

3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice yeasty yellow. Good head/lacing.

Smell is big on grassy, earthy, plant-like hops. Sharp, with yeast in the background.

Taste has a lot of yeastiness and of course bitterness.

Mouthfeel is decent with yeast and hops.

Overall an enjoyable beer.

Oct 29, 2012
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EBeckett3 from New Jersey

5/5  rDev +22%

Aug 16, 2013
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clvand0 from Kentucky

4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

25.4oz bottle. Pours a yellow color with a huge head that sticks around nad leaves lots of lacing on the glass. The aroma is mostly European hops - nice and subtle - with some spicy malt for the backing. The flavor is very smooth. The hops give a great bitter character that isn't over the top. The malts back it up nicely and it has a slightly spiciness that makes it very nice.

Jan 04, 2005
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illidurit from California

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Very pale peach-flesh color with a dense white head. Completely opaque with yeast and maybe some chill haze. Lots of filmy lacing. Aroma is gentle and subtle, with no real outstanding feature. Nice noble hop nose with spicy and mildly citric notes. Flavor is toasty and yeasty up front with some nice lemony hops and a medium bitterness at the back of the palate. Carbonation is very high, to the point where I think I'd enjoy it more after a few minutes of letting the Duvel etching force some of the CO2 out of solution. Lovely dry finish and good drinkability.

Nov 24, 2008
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druptight from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Apr 24, 2012
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RobertRedmoon from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Aug 01, 2013
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n2pux from Texas

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%

Oct 13, 2014
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FLBeerGuy from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Feb 06, 2013
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megahurts4 from Louisiana

4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

De Ranke XX Bitter

Appearance: Golden yellow with a small head.

Smell: Floral hops and granny smith apples.

Taste: Floral hops, fruits, and malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Bottom line:
XX Bitter leaves a slight lingering bitterness that makes you want more. The hops are slightly more prevalent than the fruits and flavorings, but give a good bouquet.

Oct 08, 2010
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CalgaryFMC from Canada (AB)

3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed a pint on tap at Beer Revolution in Calgary. A Belgian IPA actually from Belgium, this brew presents a slightly cloudy golden yellow with just under an inch of white foam on top, looks much like Duvel or another "strong golden" ale. Aroma presages the tart, dry bitterness to come, tons of Styrian-type hops and an astringent green apple, pear, and orange fruitiness counterbalanced by a doughy yeast sweetness. Although a subtle candi sugar sweet note is detectable, on my palate this brew registers largely as tart, dry, bitter, and rather woody, medicinal hops leading the way and closing out the show with a tannic, dry gooseberry and grape finale. Once the palate acclimatizes to said bitterness, you will notice the fruit elements from the nose (pear, apple, orange) and a classic Belgian yeast character, but this requires some perseverance if you are unfamiliar with this style. Did I mention that this beer is dry? Well-attenuated body and rather heavy carbonation. Truth be told, I prefer many North American takes on this style, where the fruit is more ripe and prominent on the palate, but this obviously has its merits and is a good benchmark for a classic, genuinely Belgian hoppy ale.

Jul 20, 2014
De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 1018 ratings