De Ranke XX Bitter | Brouwerij De Ranke

506 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: 506 | Ratings: 939
Photo of Immortale25
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a Dogfish Spiegelau glass. Paper says Best Before End of: 11 2016

A- Pours a medium amber color with a full inch of off-white head that retains good and long before eventually settling at a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a full sheet of surface foam. Non-resilient lacing slides down the glass.

S- Bright and bubbly with the usual fruit aromas associated with pale Belgians plus a healthy dose of yeastiness but hardly any hops are detected. Hint of wet cardboard.

T- Damn. I was hoping I wouldn't be detecting this much oxidation but the wet cardboard flavor is just reigning over this beer. Whatever hoppiness was in there before is no longer apart of the overall profile except for a tad in the aftertaste. Still, there's a decent amount of malt still providing some good taste. But, altogether, this beer's well past its prime in the flavor department.

M- Nice and spritzy with a bit of dryness. Medium-high carbonation and a lightish body.

O- Everything about this beer is OK except for the flavor. Yes, it does say that the bottling date is five years prior to the Best Before date so that means it's over a year and a half old, but it also says that it will be good up until 2016 which I disagree with. They should just put a bottled-on date.

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Photo of dar482
4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer gently poured out of the bottle right after popping the cap. It has date of expiration at 3/17/2017, which seems way too long for a hoppy beer. Pouring into the glass in a hazy deep golden yellow color with tons of tiny carbonation. The head is literally huge of huge huge bubbles and takes forever to dissipate. What a beautiful deep hazy gold color with the yeast in there.

The aroma is very refreshing. Tons of fruity esters from Belgian yeast, grassy spicy lemony citrus hops, floral, but then there’s tons of that tartness and funk. It’s extremely deep in the funk. It’s woody, it’s tons of Brett, it’s rich.

The flavor follows with tons of that funk. I don’t know if I’ve had a beer with so much funk and barn yardy grassiness to it. The front hits you with some citrus and lemon. The beer later finishes with a beautiful, but extremely strong drying grapefruit character. It's a tannin drying.

This beer is so darn complex and refreshing, but interesting at 6.2% ABV. I’m maybe influenced with my rating based on how much American IPAs I’ve had. I love how Belgian and funky this beer is. This truly is one of my favorite beers having had it again.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

33cl bottle into a tulip. best by 31/10/17

pours a pale, hazy yellow with an inch thick lasting white head. Smell is big right out of the bottle - tart white grape aroma fills your senses. Taste is super intriguing and not at all expected. Almost..bland actually. Nothing at all how it initially smelled coming out of the bottle. there's a strong bitterness on the backend for sure, hence the name of course, but other than that there really isnt much to speak of. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Drinkability is low because of the bitterness and nothing else. Dry.

Overall extremely dissappointing. Not sure what i was expecting, but it wasnt this. Do not recommend.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.61/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dusty orange colour; decent cloud, bit of bead feeding a thin white crown of tight-bubbled head. Lace clings nicely. Maybe more head would be nice, but otherwise looks great.

Smells rank from the pour. Nice, wild organic notes with a touch of lucerne, some raw bread dough and a whisper of vinegar at the back. Maybe a touch yeasty, but the tang of the hops is pleasantly refreshing.

Taste is very grainy indeed. Lots of cereal notes, honeyed oat and puffed rice on the front with a touch of caramel. Hops come through midway, with some grassy and slightly herbal notes. Decent earthy bitterness, fairly mild which is nice but a bit too mild so the sweetness is not totally balanced out and cleansed. I like it well enough, but it just seems a little drab.

Not bad, really. Lots of texture, quite bitty with a bit of fizz.

To be honest I'm not seeing what the big deal with this beer is. Implications seemed to be that this would change my mind about Belgian IPAs. It's a little different maybe and perhaps a bit more cohesive but it still strikes me as quite a middle-of-the-road drop.

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

Crystal clear golden color with off-white head. Quite clean aroma, similar to a lager, just some slight yeast esters and grassy hops. Taste starts slightly sweet with some Belgian yeast notes and gets aggressively bitter in the finish and lingers in the aftertaste. If you like really bitter beer, this is one for you.

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Photo of tigg924
3.74/5  rDev -8.3%
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 magictacosinus
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Suddenly I'm seeing bottles of this everywhere at my favorite stores. Poured into a chalice out of a 11.2oz bottle. Freshness date is imprinted on the cap as "25/08/17." Pretty impressive for a beer edging 6% ABV!

Pours a very cloudy, hazed yellowish-amber color, complete with a little bit of foamy white head that slowly vanishes to about a half finger in size. Definitely the carbonation sticks around for a while, to the point where lots of spotted circles remain at the top in a scattered way. Alcohol legs are modest here, with slight lacing at the beginning. Definitely well carbonated at first, with layers of bubbles sticking to the sides of the glass within the liquid. There's a yeasty haze permeating this thing, but otherwise it's pretty and modest in presentation.

The aroma is a dried hop explosion of lemon and grass combined with crisp grains and lots of candy sugar. Reminds me right off the bat of most great Belgian tripels, except something's clearly different here. For one, the hop profile is undeniably more prominent, to the point of ridiculousness. The bitterness rises exponentially with each whiff, but definitely the yeasty phenols resembling apricots, apples, and sour nectarines are all there. Really fantastically refreshing take on the style.

The flavor does definitely continue the dry hopped bitterness in the aroma, but does so in a far more astringent way. Big citrus aromas meld and then seemingly melt with peaches, oranges, and slight tropical flavors. The carbonation, yeastiness, and thickened malt profile provides a bready, hearty experience without feeling too overwhelming. Gets progressively sour as it warms up, though. A bit of graininess at the finish adds some balance, but the focus is truly on the bittered dry hops and candied sugar here. Not exactly balanced, but still zesty and tasty unlike any Belgian beer I've had to date... Definitely a sipping treat here, and not to be toyed with.

I really do love this beer, despite its bittered excessiveness. There's a lot of wonderful fruity esters and a dried citrus finish that makes it really unique and sublime. This pairs with spicy food like a charm, as well as fried fish with lemons and pesto pasta - which is what I had this with. Fans of tripels and colorful bitter beers must try this for sure.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky light orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, yeast, and some peppery aromas. Taste is much the same with a grain flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the flavors don't match up to the smells I am getting on this one.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Hazy straw yellow with a white cap. Trails of lace all over the glass as I drank this down. Spices and earthy, grassy hops come through the nose as a touch of light pale malt and honey wafts through as well. Very light citrus tone too. The flavor is of crackers, earth, nutty yeast, pears and other lighter fruits, golden raisins, spice. A medium body with a fair amount of carbonation. Very nice.

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Photo of Radome
3.49/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served from a 33 cl bottle bought in Brussels.

A - Beer is a light straw color and slightly hazy. The head is bright white and made of tiny bubbles. It stacks high on the pour and sustains throughout.

S - Aroma is a mix of fresh, green, noble hops and a bit of funky, aged aroma. The malt barely comes through as a mild bready smell and maybe a faint sweetness.

T - There is a moderate to high hops bitterness that ends in a sharp astringency. No malt to balance the strong hops flavor. Nothing to add depth or complexity. Maybe a tiny hint of lemon and horseblanket in the final edge of the palate to show that Brett. character that was in the aroma.

M - Body is thin. No alcohol burn. Carbonation is fluffy and mouth-filling. Dry and astringent finish.

O - I find this beer disappointingly one-dimensional. There is a bit of Brettanomyces character in the end of a swallow, but there is a lack of malt to round out and balance the strong hops. I'm not a hophead, so I find this one disappointing.

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Photo of catadoraccidental
2.77/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

APPEARANCE: Many white foam mostly inconsistent. There remains a layer thickness of a finger for several minutes passes before stabilizing at a thickness of half finger. Many brands irregular foam from the maximum height reached to serve. Hazy blond color. MSE gaseous seen intense activity coming from the background, as if boiling. The "boil" is very curious. AROMA: In the first instant, herbal flavor that gives way after a bitter notes. That smell becomes final. I like. TASTE: No shades or is especially attractive. I expected a very intense bitterness, but is moderate. Very ordinary except for the bitterness that, again, is present, and is intensifying, but without being excessive. Easily drinkable and refreshing, but nothing more. Okay to accompany nibbles like some fries or a rough, and in that sense is a good alternative to the plague of European lager, but nothing more. Overall rating: Not rated I think it's okay to consider it more like an Orval, for example. For me there is more than a good quality lager. I said. If your budget allows, alternative to a common European lager. € 2.20

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Photo of schnarr84
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage .. insane carbonation. smells like a lambic?? great sour taste up front, almost pours like a champagne. must have taken 5 minutes for the head to settle. nothing like ive ever seen before! definitely an interesting brew from de ranke and worth a second glance, even at 11.49/26oz

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.64/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When this beer is fresh, it's quite excellent.

Crystal-clear and bright, glowing gold and topped with a ridiculous cottony-looking white head, sticking all over the glass. Lovely contrast and truly awesome.

When fresh, the grassy-herby hops really bust out on the nose, though it can take on more band-aid-y phenolic notes while the malt seems neutral and bland.

Peppery, zippy bitterness is a force on the palate from the start and it does linger long through the finish - earthy, grassy, and slightly spicy, but never harsh or biting. Thankfully, it drinks well with a light-medium smooth roll. The phenolic flavor melds together well with the malt, but snuffs out its cereal quality a good bit. Perfumy in the aftertaste.

Again, when it's fresh, this is quite enjoyable for what it is. When the hops begin to or have all but faded (in flavor), it's not so superb, yet it's still surely drinkable. Still, a must have for any (burgeoning) Belgian beer enthusiast.

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Photo of dsprainman
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Appearance is outstanding! Poured into a Chimay chalice it has a golden body with a light fluffy head that remains at 1 finger for the entirety of the drink. Unfortunately some chunks of red yeast flooded the glass.
S- Smell is amazing as well. Hints of Belgian yeast give off phenols almost like a hard pear cider. The hops are recognizable as well, but far from dominant.
T- Taste is very dry and bitter. At first it's a little off-putting and I thought that I had ruined the year with too much yeast in the pour. It's certainly breaking the norm.
M- Extremely lively! This one comes off really dry and crisp like an Orval.
O- This beer is growing on me. Certainly worth trying for a change amongst Belgian beers. I'd compare to Orval Trappist beer and Russian River's Damnation. TIP!

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Photo of dv8sean
4.87/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Full disclosure: I am an unabashed hop head pre-disposed to favor Belgian beer. Now, I can say, this is one of the greatest beers I've had.

750ml bottle with "Best By Feb 2017" on label, thereby deducing bottled in Feb 2012. Served in tulip glass and enjoyed before, during, and after dinner.

A: Pale golden straw colour, rather cloudy and hazy. Hyper-carbonated when pouring (even with extreme care), but settles nicely while retaining nice Champange-like bubbles. Dense egg white head with tenacious lace.

S: Tropical, grapefruit and lemon zest that reminds me of the best New Zealand hops (Nelson Sauvin?) and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. All that fresh fresh fragrance with undertones of clove and cut grass...heavenly!

T: Taste follows smell, like a good bridge partner follows suit. Plays with the palate, but finishes delightfully dry and crisp. Never cloying and doesn't linger too long. Leaves me eager to take another sip.

M: Tiny, dense bubbles contribute to pleasant mouthfeel. Beer is a bit too fleeting, ephemeral to score a perfect 5.0. Just a little more staying power, please.

O: Truly outstanding. A beer that I have, do, will continue to aspire to brew as a homebrewer.

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Photo of allouez86
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into my New Belgium globe.

As soon as we popped the cap the bubbles began to rise just slightly over the top of the bottle. With a very gentle pour I'm getting 20% beer and 80% foam. Very excited for this one. Is a golden straw color with a very nice white head.

The smell is definitely full of lemon zest with a bit of horse blanket and funk. The hops aren't as strong in the aroma as I'd thought they'd be. The smell isn't that far of from that of Saison Dupont.

The taste doesn't have the tart bite that the smell would have lead me to believe. The hops are more apparent in the taste, a bit resiny. Has a slight yeasty/biscuity flavor along with a mellowed out citrusyness. Also has a pleasant green grass taste to it. To me it's like a blend of Saison Dupont and Orval, then jacked up on hops.

Has a medium to thick mouthfeel for the style. As mentioned above, it is very carbonated and has a slight bight to it.

Overall I am pleased. I'm always excited to try something from De Ranke as it's fairly difficult to come by in my neck of the woods. This beer did not dissapoint and for the price would happily buy it again.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Fully hazy golden, carbonated to the point of annoyance (so much that i'm docking half a point), head comprised 75% of the first 2 pours and would not relent
S - Tart sour lime, spicy yeast, grains, and light mustiness
T - Funky yeast flavour with lime citrus, light perfume hops, pale grain, and a spicy finish
M - Light body with crazy carbonation, gets very dry and grainy
O - Has grainy and big belgian character, definity interesting and well worth a purchase, just make sure you have some time to sit and let the head settle!

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Photo of ZethOfTheNorth
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big bottle poured into a wine glass. I believe it was $13.99.

A: A lovely opaque orange and a huge, billowy head. Hard to top in this department.

S: Musty, haylike. A little peppery. Nothing sweet or synthetic-smelling whatsoever. Not hugely inviting, but impressively natural and funky.

T: Extremely unique. Peppery. Grasslike. Very bitter on the back end, although it's a totally different sensation than hop-forward American beers. It actually leaves your mouth dry. I got absolutely none of the citric tastes other reviewers have experienced.

M: Only moderate carbonation on my bottle. Again, the primary feature here is the crazy dryness.

O: Definitely for "advanced" beerheads. This being my first, a big part of the enjoyment was the novelty. This is a very original beer that -- like a lot of Belgians -- doesn't neatly fit into any style.

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Photo of danieelol
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy yellow straw color, with some fine sediment visible. Notably carbonated. This is fine, of course, since it is an unfiltered beer. A frothy, sort of soapy-looking head with a nice inch thickness sits on top. It does go down a bit, but it does in fact provide some great lacing on the side of the glass as it clings to the side.

Smell: Wow! This is immensely complex... I can detect the pineapple-like hops, but I am also getting yeast, farmhouse funk, strong pepper, a certain tartness, and malt sugars. I like complex. This is going to be good!

Taste: Very bitter initially, which I like... Resinous hops, very tart fruit, and white pepper notes are picked up. But there is also a sweeter, phenol fruit character that is a bit more subtle. There is this nice duality to it until the two forces converge into a strong bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: This beer is surprisingly soft and medium bodied. The finish is terrifically dry, as previously mentioned, slightly herbal, and pleasantly numbing. Definitely leaves one to want some more. Being only slightly warming on the way down, you cannot detect the alcohol presence here.

Overall: XX Bitter has some of my absolute favorite beer characteristics in it. What at first seemed like a niche selection to me, I now realize is something closer to a crowd pleaser, if one is already inclined towards Belgians and craft beer, that is.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle was poured into a tulip.

Appearance: I poured the beer, but I swear the one inch head puffed up more and more over the rim every time I looked at it. It a golden yellow with some clarity and visions of carbonation coming up through the glass.

Smell: bready malts, yeasty esters, citrus, earthy notes, lemon, pineapple, and tangerine.

Taste: The citrus is more up front on the taste. Some lasting bitterness too. Beer seems a little tart from the lemon taste produced from the hops.

Mouthfeel: smooth, a little chewy, medium carbonation, medium bodied,

Overall: A very tasty BIPA. I will add this one to the list. Very enjoyable and easy to drink too.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, best before 11/2016(11/2011 bottling). Pours lightly cloudy golden amber color with a nice 2-3 finger fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big lemon, pepper, clove, pineapple, herbal, floral, grass, earth, and yeast spices. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of lemon, pepper, clove, herbal, pineapple, floral, grass, earth, and yeast spices. Fair amount of spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, pepper, clove, herbal, floral, pineapple, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Great flavor balance and complexity; no cloying flavors at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly crisp and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian IPA. Great flavor balance and complexity; and extremely smooth to drink. Highly enjoyed this one.

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Photo of dbell23
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. Nice head with large bubbles. Except for the haziness it looks almost like champagne. The head disappears with little lacing.

The smell is very nice. Grassy,hoppy, that's different from other Belgian ipa's.

The taste is very hoppy. Hoppier than other Belgian ipa's but not like a domestic. Bitter and very clean. This would be a great food beer with something spicy and flavorful. I like the taste but I prefer a little more malt/yeast/fruitiness in a Belgian ipa.

The mouthfeel is crisp and carbonated.

Overall a very good beer. At $13 a bottle I expect a little more. Because of the price I'll probably stick to the le chouffee ipa, which I prefer. This beer doesn't hold a candle to duvel triple hop.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz tulip

Appearance – Served a lightly hazed yellow color straw color with a one finger white head. The head faded rather fast to give a nice level of lacing.

Smell – A grassy and herbal hop aroma are the most potent. Mixed with these however is a nice sweet fruit aroma of some tropical fruit and some aromas of a spicy and yeasty nature.

Taste – The flavor begins of a hoppy and malty flavor. The hop flavor is largely grassy and lemon hop. The maltiness remains constant throughout with the hop changing its profile some. While initially almost entirely of grassy and lemon flavors, soon some pine and grapefruit come to the tongue. At the end a light yeasty and somewhat spiced sweetness come to meet the hoppy flavors, rounding out the taste nicely.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the average side with a carbonation level that is just slightly above average. The higher carbonation is quite fitting and suits the blend of hop and Belgian flavors well.

Overall – A tasty and easy drinking Belgian IPA. Nice hop flavor profile and a nice aroma; give it a go.

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Photo of yonnie
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured into chalice. Straw gold in color with 2 fingers of bright white head.

S - Sweet, grassy, pilsner, light hops and malt.

T - Much more complex than the aroma... starts off with a crisp refreshing pilsner-like flavor that develops into bitter hops, grassy, floral, some earthy and yeasty spiciness but subdued.

M - Light to moderate and easy to drink.

O - Very interesting take on the Belgian IPA, although it seems to be more of an experimental brew. Very good.

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De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
4.08 out of 5 based on 939 ratings.
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