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De Ranke XX Bitter | Brouwerij De Ranke

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503 Reviews
De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter

Brewed by:
Brouwerij 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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-28-2002

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Reviews: 503 | Ratings: 927
Photo of TXHops
4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mmm--hops from Belgium. Such on oxymoron. I've been waiting years for this combo and De Ranke finally took a cue from their American craft brethren and threw some hops into that kettle!

If not for the standard Belgian yeast snap in the nose, I'd think this smelled like an APA (with Euro hops). The two conflicting aromas come together to create something like earthy oranges. The murky, hazed, light honey body is not terribly appealing, but the white head adds a nice offset, even if doesn't really want to linger. Still, in a beer like this, the appearance matters very little to my overall opinion.

The first sips reveal that the strange melding of hops and Belgian yeast is going to create tension through the entire bottle. I like this kind of tension… The earthy, herbal, slightly citric hops play against the fresh, sweet, funky yeastiness. At first, I was caught off guard by the touch of funk and though my taste buds were playing a trick of some sort. This beer didn’t have the outright oddity of a lambic (no barnyard), but it had an earthy, stone-like character, vaguely reminiscent of the character the Yorkshire squares impart to Samuel Smith beers, but without any diacetyl. I racked my brain hard until I found this on the Shelton Brothers web site: “Yeast obtained from the nearby Rodenbach brewery lends that Orval-like “Bret” character to the beers.” AHA! I knew something was up. Again—this conflict is rewarding in the resulting complexity, not just strange and disappointing (like Avery using Hallertaues in The Czar).

XX Bitter is smooth, but not as smooth as most other Belgians, and nowhere near as fluffy. An undercurrent of changing flavors rides beneath the dominant hoppy-brettiness. I tasted banana, lemon-lime, something vaguely nutty and a standard pale malt solidity.

Personally, I could do without the Rodenbach yeast, but it’s hard to argue with the complexity and of the results. I like a beer that’s a little challenging, in concept and in flavor and this one achieves both. Of all the Belgians I've had, this is one I'd actively search out to buy again.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've recently been trying the higher-end Belgians (Fantome, De Ranke) and I can't quite say I've been blown out of the water as the hype or the reviews here seem to suggest one might be. Good beer for sure though, I'm just not sure I'm used to this style. Anyway, this one looks simply amazing. Biggest head I've ever seen on a beer, snow white, and laces all the way down. I wouldn't even say laces, it coats it; the actual foam is still sticking to the sides of the glass, creating a cave. Smell bitter of course, but not a hop bitter in the American sense. Spicy, yeasty, dirty, but withdrawn. This is no west coast IPA in terms of hops, but it is "the hoppiest beer in Belgium." The hop boquet is a more mellow floral hop profile here than is found in the American brews. The bitterness kills the palate at first, and is super dry. However, the further down the glass I get I become used to the bitterness and can taste the other fruity estery flavors. This beer is growing on me I'd say. Smooth light mouthfeel, very dry. I'll have to drink more of this style to become accostomed to it however, not as much in your face flavor to me.

Edit: I think I was in an IPA phase when I first tried this beer. I guess I was dissapointed that it wasn't as hoppy as I thought it might be due to it proclaiming itself "the hoppiest beer in Belgium." But on a second sampling this beer is just so good. I've come to appreciate the more subtle hop flavors and bitterness. This stuff is so good. Yum. Yum.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Serve from a 750 ml bottle. As soon as it was opened it started frothing like crazy and even after I poured 2 glasses it was still frothing to the top of the bottle. It reminded me of the crazy carbonation in the Mo Betta Bretta from Pizza Port. The beer is a cloudy orange color that glows very nicely in the light. It has a white thin head that doesn't last too long on top (go figure after it was jumping our of the bottle).

Smell: The aroma is tangy with pineapple and sweet natural sugar scent and a bit of black pepper.

Taste: Very clean malt flavor with notes of licorice and dill. Its a bit watery and lacking any pepper flavor was in the nose. The ending is sweet like cane suggar and a nice vaulting rose floral flavor.

Mouthfeel: It tickles the tongue in a very good way. Medium to light body with abundant carbonation to give it a nice texture.

Drinkability: This is a good Belgian Pale Ale worth trying, but it is not a blockbuster. I would certianly drink it again given the chance, but I wouldn't go looking for it myself.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grapefuit juice hazy yellow-orange color with a creamh white head. Lacing is just clinging all the way down the glass. The aroma is very citrusy, lemon zesty, slightly phenolic and yeasty as well. Whoa, this is one bitter Belgian bitch. Not at all what I was expecting. The flavor is slightly fruity and citrusy, which flows to a earthy, spicy bitterness, with a light touch of malt in the back. This brew is bitter all the way through. It is as bitter as some IPAs I've had, if not more. It has a light mouthfeel and is easy going down. A really interesting Belgian. This one is going to make me hungry.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another fantastic offering on-tap at Anam Cara. Go to Anam Cara. Go now.

It all comes back to me...the boisterous head atop the cloudy yellow beer. Lacing everywhere. Aromas are a mix of orange rind, peppery spices, and fresh grassy hops. Flavor is a Belgian crossed with a big-time IPA. Loads of complexity roll across the palate. Dark fruits, hops....ending with a dryness infused with lemon rind. Great body and extremely drinkable. Awesome.

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Photo of mschofield
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy lemon-peach topped with a two finger stark white foamy head, leaves a temporary sheet of lacing.
Leafy aroma, spice note with fruit. I think this is what we'd have if Belgium instead of England expanded into India.
Fruit, leaves, light malt taste, lots of lemon
Medium bodied

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Photo of tavernjef
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden straw color with lighter edges and a thin puffy white head, keeps a solid skim and puffy edged ring around the top. Lacing keeps close to the top of the liquid with a nice white wall of sheeting.

Aroma is pleasantly strong with a hoppy play between a nice dry and pale floral peak capped with a slight spice and citric edge. Dry bready yeast tones intertwine within as it warms; very nice aroma with this one.

Flavors don't elude to the namesake "XX Bitter" as much as I was hoping but it does carry a wonderful display of hop senses that are completely carried over from the aroma. Front is quick with a slight sweet malt and breadyness, which quickly turns dry in the bread tone, slight earthy, spicy, drying slips right in over the palate with a very nice hop profile which includes the floralness with a pale dried hop cone sense and light nuances of citric leftovers and one pale effect of bitterness thats quite clean and lingers some into the finish where more bready dryness sticks around.

Feel is quick and clean with an overall clean and favorable dry medium body thats got a nice fluffy carbonation thats fulfillingly smooth and bready. Quite drinkable in that regards. Slides right down with ease and carries a nice finish of hop character and flavors the whole ride through without alot of hankering bitterness. Which I wouldn't mind having show up more in this one, but as is this is one fine dandy, drinkable, dry hopped ale. I think I'll have another thank you. And a thanks to truthbrew for the many bottles.

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Photo of danadeny
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
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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Photo of marburg
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy maize with a big, billowing white head and solid lacing. Pronounced hop aroma with mild citrus and sponge cake. There's an amazing amount of hop bitterness to this beer, but unlike most English/American takes, the initial flavors one encounters in this beer are well spiced and completely unique. Banana, lemon, and even some phenolic, plastic clove flavor comes through. Mineral water and a raw, oily feel lend a certain dull weight to this beer. Heavy, despite it's "fluffy" appearance. A true Belgian pale ale with a heavy dosage of hops. This is something yeasty, complex, wild, and uniquely Belgian with an intense bitterness around the edges. Even better fresh and on draft.

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Photo of rkhaze
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy golden peach color with a big, rocky white head.
Smells of sweet pale malt, tropical fruit, tangy yeast and a zingy hop aroma. There was a smidge of funk as well.
The malt and citrus fruits were there but the hops really exploded onto the scene and left a long, lingering bitterness. Overpowered the malt and seemed to unbalance the whole. There were also some funky and spicy flavors and some sweetness in the finish. It claims to be Belgiums' most bitter beer and it's certainly lives up to that claim, at least next to the Belgian beers I've tried.
Superb mouthfeel. Light to medium bodied with a velvety smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Excellent amount of carbonation.
Light, crisp and flavorful. Great drinkability.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

75 cl corked and capped bottle dated best before 12-2008. Pours a hazy, golden peach color with a huge light cream colored head that's lasting and leaving lace as it slowly subsides. Big fresh, floral hop aroma (I'm picking up on some Saaz and Hallertau), somewhat spicy in character. Decent malt backbone evident, but the beer's yeastiness seems to shine brighter than the malt, but the winner is the hops. Very dry on the palate, spicy and white peppery, with a hint of citrus, but it gets lost in the mix. Silky mouthfeel with excellent carbonation keeps the drinker sipping. Highly enjoyable, refreshing and jaw-droppingly delicious.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It pours a muddy golden with an honest off-white head from which only a film will last. Let’s take note that this bottle is a year and a few months past 1 yr old, so the bitterness level must not be what it used to be. First sniff indicated very yeasty aspects that remind me of a cement-floored basement with a bit too high of a humidity level, a fair bit too many cobwebs hanging on the ceiling and just too much dust on the books that decorate the walls. Nevertheless, the hops are strong although not as agressive as I thought, reading the labels, I see they’ve used hallertau which I love. It’s very floral, lemony, slightly resiny, lightly orangey. In mouth, the musty yeast and noble hops work very well together. It’s extremely refreshing, salty with a moderate bitter attack that finishes spicy. Silky medium body. Excellent, I guess the age made it wonders for me, not being a fan of very citrusy and sour american IPAs.

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Photo of beerinator
3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden copper leaning towards down right yellow. Slight bit cloudy (may have been the pour). Lots of good retention.

Aroma: Sweet, citrusy and sour, in that order. The aroma is interesting and inviting.

Taste: Nice thick mouthfeel. Citrusy sweet at the beginning. Smooth sweet beginning leading to a lingering bitterness.

Notes: Very drinkable.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this beauty at Beermania in Brussels as well .. this is the hop monster of belgium. Pale golden color with a wonderful white lasting head in the goblet. Big wonderful hop field (sweet flower grassy) nose. Gentle coating mouth lovingly surrounds the tongue. Lingering flowery taste calls you to drink more.. An awesome hoppy pale ale. Good until 2008. I love this beer.. very very drinkable.

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Photo of necoadam
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Oh those wacky Belgian beers. This one is pretty weird I have to admit. Poured out a light orange color with a massive head that took a few minutes to settle down. Smell consisted of lots of yeast and hops. Taste was bitter alright. Lemon, hops, herbs, and spiciness all come through and blend together. It finish quite dry which I didn't like about this brew. I would of preferred if it had a wet aftertaste. Even though the taste was nice, I wouldn't want more than a glass. But it's an interesting brew and look for this one in stores.

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Photo of ColForbin
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

De Ranke XX Bitter is billed as Belgium's Hoppiest Beer and comes in a paper-wrapped 750ml bottle with a wine-style cork and beer style cap. The label says 11.2 oz, but the bottle is obviously a 750ml. I poured my into a Duvel tulip glass; it formed a thick creamy white head atop a slightly cloudy golden ale. Aroma is full of piney, spicy hops. Taste is bitter, with some yeasty flavor and some slight Belgian barnyard flavors and some floral notes as well. A delicious beer that belies the notion that Belgians only use stale hops. One of my favorite beers right now - wonderful on tap as well.

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Photo of tjd25
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful persistent creamy head. Pale golden color, very slightly opaque. The smell is hoppy, herbal, grassy, slightly citric. The hops overwhelm most of the taste. The only other thing that’s noticeable is some sweet citrus, I’d say grapefruit. Hops are herbal, fruity and mostly powerful. They remain forever in the aftertaste. A nice hoppy beer.

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Photo of Jason
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
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 ark57
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a cloudy, golden color with plenty of creamy white head. It leaves some good lace behind as well. There is some brett in the aroma with some vanilla and a lot of floral hops. The body is resreved with some soft barnyard flavors and plenty of floral and herbal bitterness. It finshes quite dry. This is a great beer for hopheads and belgian lovers alike.

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Photo of taez555
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a cloudy yellowish/tan body with a huge foamy white head.

The nose is a great mix of phenols, earthy hops, soft farmhouse notes, yeast, and malt.

Smooth with a light graininess. Light to medium body. Firm bitterness that slightly overpowers the malt, but is at no time distracting. Yeast, phenols, earthy hops, wheat, malt with just a beautiful farmhouse, manure sort of taste as well.

Really a very cool and unique beer. It’s like an old fashioned Belgian monk got together with an American hophead brewer and they only have German hops. Farmhouse meets hophouse. Simply a great beer.

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Photo of drewbage
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Maproom in Chicago on draft

Bolleke glass.. Hazy cloudy gold with a low white head.

Deep banana cream pie with a final finish of cinnamon in the nose. Dried coconut and a start of an herbal hop character finish the beer's aroma

Flavor starts with a viscous pineapple body, quickly defeated by a small touch of metal and a long intense spicey yeast phenol and spicy hop burn that holds on long on the tongue.

Easily one of the hoppiest beers I've ever tasted from Belgium. Not quite my favorite BPA (that belongs to Poperings Hommelbier)

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Photo of zerk
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy light copper with a 2 finger head that leaves sheets of lace. Aroma is a mixture of musty yeast, some toasted malt, and a boatload of spicy and earthy hops. Flavor begins with some biscuity malt that is then completely assaulted by spicy hop bitterness... a touch of grapefruit works it's way in as well. The flavor is heavily tilted to the bitter side, but it is a great beer if you're a hophead (which I am.) Mouthfeel is oily and acidic, with a light to medium body and low carbonation. All in all, a most unusual and enjoyable beer!

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Photo of oberon
3.41/5  rDev -16.4%
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 konabrewer
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tall wine-style glass at Anam Cara Publick House.

Simply stated my favorite beer right now.

Beautifully golden with a sharp floral hop aroma right away. The slightly sweet malt and yeast character balance perfectly as I quaff.

I will sit back with this one many times again and will update accordingly.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: had a slightly opaque straw color with a big ol' white head on top. Head stuck around quite a while and left lots of lace behind.
Nose: hayfield malts, lemon rinds, hints of honey and mild fruitiness all briefly surfaced before another aroma pushed through. Had a nice citrusy hops aroma.
Taste: crackery dry malt flavor up front. Big-time bitterness - grapefruit and lemon rinds and a sharp, sour crabapple-inspired bitterness that built to a nearly intolerable level by the finish.
Feel: medium leaning toward light, crisp, and dry.
Overall: I'm what I'd consider to be a fan of beers packing some bitterness. I like a good kick in the butt from a solid IPA. This brew, however, offered up bitterness on a entirely different level that was unappealing. The aroma and feel were good but the bitterness just was a turn-off for me.

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De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
4.08 out of 5 based on 927 ratings.
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