De Ranke XX Bitter | Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke

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De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter
988 Ratings
De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
XX Bitter or Extra Extra Bitter is a blond, bitter ale containing 6.2% vol. Alc. It’s famous for it’s very bitter and strong flavour. XX is being 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 988 |  Reviews: 526
Reviews by danadeny:
Photo of danadeny
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Excellent murky golden color and frothy head, one of the best. Smells like a nice pilsner with a hint of lemon. Tastes exactly like a pilsner with a hint of lemon. Crisp, clean mouth feel, with a watery finish. And an average drink ability because pilsners are just not for me. Although I would say that this is the best pilsner I have had (technically it's not a pils, but it pretty much is).

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More User Reviews:
Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of Jason
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of marc77
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of moulefrite
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
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).

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Photo of John
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

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Photo of oberon
3.41/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hoppiest beer in Belgium?Pours a nice hazy orage/golden color with a huge blooming head that globs up on the side of the glass,citruisy aroma with some deep honey estures pretty appetizing.Taste starts ut dry and leafy definent hop profile but not a big fan of the heavy medicinal flavor in the finish and aftertaste all good up till then.A well made Belgian Pale but a little to medicinal for me.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - This is a gorgeous, light orange in color with a glowing character and an explosive head that left some nice lacing.

Smell - The light aroma of Belgian yeast and orangey hops is well-refined. There are some stiff Belgian spices in there too. The coriander particularly is high-end and quite enticing.

Taste - The smells from the nose come out exactly in the taste. The delicate yeast, modest orange and herbal hops, and the elaborate spicing, again with coriander leading the way, all work very well together.

Mouthfeel - This was the best part of the beer for me. The body is shy of medium and the carbonation is as good as I've ever had. Yes the bitterness is there, but the ingredients of this BPA are of such high quality and the brewing process obviously so effective that there are no sharp corners to the texture.

Drinkability - The flavors of this BPA make it drinkable enough, but coupled with its exceptional mouthfeel I can't think of a more sessionable Belgian Ale.

Comments - This is such a terrific beer. I don't know why it didn't work well for me on-tap. My overall on-tap rating didn't even break 4.0. Maybe it was just a bad keg or an off night, because this is an exceptional ale.

Update - I had a chance to pop another bottle in early 2011. It really is an incredible beer full of life with a unique hop flavor, for firm for the style, and a terrific drinker.

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Photo of aszatk01
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

By blending the complex yeasty fruit character of a Belgian ale and the bone dry body of a good IPA, this superb hybrid truly delivers. Served on tap in a large Unibroue tulip at Brasserie V in Madison, WI. Appearance is a bit disappointing on tap as there is no head. This is partially the result of an overly generous and poorly executed pour but still, I would like to see a touch of lace at least. I don’t recall having this problem when I’ve consumed it out of the bottle. Body is light orange and clear. Aroma is clean and spicy with hints of citrus and floral hops and touches of fruity yeast. Taste contains a pale malt backbone but that is just an afterthought. Hops dominate this beer. Sharp citric flavors and feel hit the front of the palate while dry spicy notes pound the back. All the while a generic fruity (think cotton candy) yeast flavor balances and rounds everything out. The superb mouthfeel makes this beer fun to drink and the peppery dry finish makes it easy. A great beer.

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Photo of JonnoWillsteed
3.36/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

L- Poured carefully after a few days chilling in the fridge it's a slightly hazy mid-amber in colour. 2-finger white head holds well.
S- Nice and hoppy and with a notable grassiness.
T- Immediately hoppy sharp on the front end, very clean, and some zing from a lingering peppery edge into the end.
M- Strikingly bitter, though my palate is starting to adjust/tolerate it more. The 6% ABV might partially mitigate it but not by much.
O- I can't say the lable didn't fore-warn me, but this is too bitter for me to want to buy again. Interesting to try but a bit OTT for me vs less challenging beers. There's no doubt though that if you're a mega hop-head, this is perhaps something you'd love!

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Photo of Tiernan
4.39/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of FadetoBock
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of warnerry
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best by April 2014, so bottled April 2009

Pours a hazy straw color with one finger of off-white head. Head has good retention but doesn't leave much lacing behind.

Smells slightly funky to begin with, followed by a lot of florals and a subtle citrus. Also a bit of spiciness, earthy and bready aromas.

Taste is a nice combination of earthy hops, actually quite bitter upfront, followed by nice backbone of biscuit malts, belgian yeast. Also a bit of pepper and other spices, with a very dry finish.

Light, crisp mouthfeel with a sharp drying feeling on the finish.

One of the better Belgian IPAs I've had.

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Photo of Fcip78
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Nitranim
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of kaiyote
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle served into a tulip glass. Whoa! Lots of foam here, and a messy pour. Slightly hazed golden yellow body underneath an enormous, pitted, head. Hard to believe so much foam came out of such a small bottle, with a delicate pour. Lots of patchy lacing is no surprise, after the head settles down a bit. Aroma has some citrusy lemon, spicy coriander, Saaz hops, and dank yeastiness. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, with that Belgian effervesence. Dryness is immediately apparent. Light medium body. Unusual taste for a Belgian ale(label proclaims this "the hoppiest beer of Belgium"), with leafy, dry hops. Some white grape fruitiness lurks underneath and is the saving grace of this ale. Otherwise, a bit chalky and dry, with a dank yeast note and some coriander spiciness. Not as hoppy as an APA or IPA, but certainly more hoppy than other Belgians I've sampled. A nice session ale at 6% abv, and a most interesting take on a Belgian Golden Ale.

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Photo of Billolick
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at the Moan and Dove. Golden, hazy, white head, strikingly good looking lace. hop/yeast nose, yum yum, this is gonna be good my senses tell me. Medium bodied brew. Gobs of Belgian yeast notes, fruity, spicy, earthy, phenolic. Crushing and crisp hops very evident, spice in the back ground, a bunch of yeast gremlins dancing around in the rear. Complex, sophisticated and mostly just fine and tasty. Seek and enjoy.

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Photo of tigg924
3.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle says best by January 2015.

Appearance: 1 inch head, clear, bright yellow in color, high carbonation

Smell: smells like hoppy sparkling wine

Taste: mineral is the predominant taste I get, light dry hops as well--light citrus

Mouthfeel: only slightly bitter but a nice dry taste towards the end, light bodied with high carbonation

Overall: A solid Belgian IPA that had more of a Belgian feel than a hoppy one that I get with American versions of this style. The beer has a super dry finish. Left me wanting to have another one, yet there are others in the style I would go to first.

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Photo of GreenMountainBoy
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%

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De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 988 ratings