De Ranke XX Bitter | Brouwerij De Ranke

957 Ratings
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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Ratings: 957 |  Reviews: 510
Photo of cpetrone84
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a slightly hazed piss colored yellow with a faint thin white head.

S-the nose is quite pleasant with just a hint of the belgian yeast up front as the hop showcase shines through with citrusy and floral hops behind the lightly spiced yeast.

T-the flavors are subtle and quite enjoyable. a nice yeasty presence with a fair bit of white peppery spice, the hops transition smooth and easily, rather floral hop presence with some nice citrus undertones.

M-it has a medium to light body with a certain smoothness to it yet lively on the the back of the throat from a lively carbonation with a semi dry finish.

D-nicely balnaced and very easy and tasty to drink. mild yet pleasant flavors, nice belgian yeast presence and a well integrated hop profile.

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Photo of Kendo
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle split 2 ways. Thanks to MRMOJORISIN for sharing.

A: Poured - relatively gently - into a Piraat tulip-type glass. Body is a slightly hazy light-golden in color with a 1/2-finger whitish head. Leaves behind good lacing.

S: First impression: slightly skunky. Florally, earthy hops over light-struck hops.

T: This one lives up to its name - it is definitely bitter - in the American way, not in the way that an English ESB is "bitter." Light biscuity malt up front but it's overwhelmed by bitterness from grassy, florally hops. Finishes with lingering dry, lemony, mouth-puckering bitterness.

M: Medium in heft; slightly gritty feel which, along with that lingering hop bitterness, makes me think of resiny, fresh hops.

D: Good, if you like a bitter beer. Otherwise, that bitterness will slow you down.

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Photo of WhyBeNormal
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly aggressive & pungent hoppiness on par with a well-hopped American IPA. Hoppiest non-US brew I've ever had & the focus on European hops is a really nice change of pace. The earthy, herbaceous hops are held up by sweet malts with lots of light fruit esters. It's sort of a cross between an amped-up English IPA and a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Reminds me of Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel, except this one is a hell of a lot better. Very good beer.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden, clear, with small carbonatin rising. 2-finger fluffy white head. Very nice to look at. Bottom is opaque with yeast.

Aroma is sweet, spicy and citrus.

Taste has light hops, spices, citrus, light malts. Very nuanced.

Mouthfeel is quite light and cleansing.

Overall, a very nice, very drinkable beer. Will definitely try this one again.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz slender euro bottle. January 2015 best by date.

Appearance: Hazed straw in appearance. Tightly beaded head forms and retention is good. A proper pour into a tulip snifter forms excellent froth. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Belgian ale yeast, earthy hops also very present. Perfume like and noble in nature. Consistant with other examples of this style.

Taste: True to its name, Deranke XX bitter dials in some earthy hop flavor and bitterness. Spicy hop sizzles on the palate, mild herbal tea flavor on the back end. Biscuity malt, Belgian yeast, euro hops. Plain and simple.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, semi drying, chalky yeast lingers after the mild hop tea flavors.

Drinkability: Rates fairly high. Spot on for style, easy to drink. Just wish it was more readily available and the price was cheaper.

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Photo of clickpush
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one from the archives - 5 years old.

Pour: 750ml to tulip. Great pop from cork and 2.5 fingers of white, sticky head over a hazy, orange-golden body. Tons of carbonation throughout body. Head reduces with pock-marked precision, holding to the glass as it's center collapses below it. A nice halo & thin coat of lace remain behind.

Nose: Oily, hoppy resins. Grapefruit pith. Perhaps a touch of oxidation.

Mouth: Dry, hoppy notes. Very dry, somewhat bitter. Again, a touch of oxidation, but it's not unpleasant. Mouthfeel is explosive, a bit over carbonated. That could benefit from some chill, but I was too eager to drink it. Linger hoppy finish, more grapefruit pith... yet gentle, subtle.

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Photo of theopholis
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Slightly hazy, apricot colored body. Nice, white, rocky head with good lacing. Not great head retention, but it's not awful.

Smell- Nice, citrus bang in the nose. Not much in the way of hops, but what there is is floral, slightly grassy. Very crisp and fresh smelling. A lot of the bitterness comes through the nose as well.

Taste- Nice, light bitterness up front, with light citrus and hops notes. A hint of pepper. Finishes dry. Has some pleasant funkiness in the middle.

Mouthfeel- Unusually creamy for a Belgian style. Medium body with a nice carbonation. Doesn't dance over your toungue, but the carbonation present does push the spicyness up front.

Drinkability- Quite Belgian. If you like Belgian beers, you'll like this.

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Photo of aasher
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was dated April 2009, so it's a year and half past its best by date. It poured a dirty burnt orange with a lot of sediment and a one finger, off white head. It smells great for it's age. It is very heavy on the orange, very heavy. There is some malty sweetness but the defined hops have faded. The flavor is very interesting. It's a sweet orange flavor with little hops or malt. It has slight yeastiness. It drinks light to medium bodied and is pretty tasty. I'd love to see what it's like fresh if it was this good six years old.

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Photo of MmmBob
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This pours a gorgeous golden color of the top of the bottle with a decent head that seems to be holding its own for a little while. Nose off the pour is more floral or citrus than hop heavy. Upon a closer investigation a bit of the hop comes out, but still catch more aromatic sense of the Belgian character over the hops.

Crisp and pleasant on the palate, citrus on the front with well balanced hops lingering to the back. If you are a hop head looking for a kick in the pants, this is not going to compare with many of the stronger American IPA's or especially an Imperial IPA's.

Finishing off the pour, gives a completely different experience as we see the sediment and yeast that has not been process out create a completely different color and opacity. Instead of a clear golden, we have a murky amber.

Mmmm, a little heartier body and complex profile with the treasures from the bottom of the bottle.

All around enjoyable.

Unless it is so well balanced that I am undercutting the hoppiness, I would rate it about 55 - 65 IBU's, but I'm believing that it is the well rounded profile causing me to shoot in that range. Still, as they claim, hoppy for a Belgian.

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Photo of codewarrior
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330mL singleton poured into a chalice.

Another beer that's been on my radar for a while, but I just got around to picking up. Grabbed this bad-boy at Davidson's Liquors, has a best by date of September, 2011.

L: The bottle reads Unfiltered, Unpasturized, and by the look in the bottle this is definitely the case, as there is a yeast cake building on the bottom. For the record on this review, I swirled the yeast into the glass, as I nearly always do. Pour is hazy, cloudy golden elixer. Towering frothy white-soap head. Snowflake lacing clings to the glass as the head dissipates, leaving a beautiful series of patterns.

S: Crisp biter-sweet. Starts thin crisp maltiness, and then is cut short by a goodly amount of crisp bitterness. By Belgian standards it smells quite bitter, by American standards ... not so much.

T: Crisp and sweet up front, and fading into a funky de ranke middle (every beer of theirs has this distinct funk, I believe it is their particular blend of yeasts) cut short by a bitter finish. Pretty good, but not mind-bogglingly so.

F: Crisp and smooth.

D: Pretty good, as far as these things go. A bitter belgian, with the trademark de ranke funk.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Date notched July 2013.

11.2 oz. bottle served cool into a goblet.

XX Biter is a golden yellow color with good clarity. A little sediment is left in the bottle after the pour. The head is thick and slow to settle. As it does, the lacing left behind is considerable.

Aroma is like a hopped up tripel or Belgian strong pale ale. There is a little funky yeast but the hops are what stands out. Spicy Saaz or something similar would be my guess.

Flavor is exceptionally bitter, as the name would imply. It has a slight sweetness up front that leads into a strong hoppy bitter middle. It finishes very dry with lingering flavors of mint and lemon.

Mouthfeel is light in body with the usual effervescent carbonation.

Overall a very enjoyable beer and probably one of the best Belgian IPAs out there.

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Photo of crnipeter
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Update 01-11-2011

330 ml, BB date says October 2015, into tulip. Pours pale golden slightly hazy body topped by medium-sized white head that persists. Aroma is clean sweet malt with grassy hops suggesting dry-hopping and fruitiness that might originate from yeast-derived esters or hops. The simplistic flavor is predominantly resinous & piney with high bitterness that lingers into the aftertaste. Light-medium bodied with moderately high carbonation creating peppery-prickly sensation and palate-cleansing dry finish enhanced by intense bitterness. Good for what it is and justifying its name, the xx bitter.

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Photo of despainmakesbeer
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bright hazy yellowish orange color. Thick, bright white 1" head at pour. head retention is very good, leaves pretty good white lace rings around glass. A faint hint of a musty spiciness. Smells light, and dry. May just be my bottle, but picking up a slightly skunky smell, can't remember the scientific chemical name right off hand but I assume that it is intentional. High carbonation. The spice and cloviness smelled in the aroma is barely present in the taste. Some bready notes. Dry hop finnish, dryness later joined by citris aftertaste. Very light and refreshing. Not quite as bitter as I was expecting to have it so advertised on the bottle, but still good.

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Photo of Deuane
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Hazy, bright golden yellow with a thin off-white head that held on fairly well and left spotty lace.

S-Sharp, spicy citrus rind with a light, sweet biscuit malt in support. Becomes quite peppery with warming.

T-Spicy citrus, light sweetness with a dry, peppery finsih. Light touches of fresh cut honeydew melon and mandarin oranges in the background.

M-Medium-light bodied with an incredible sharpness and biting crispness. Ends quite dry with a long lingering spicy bitterness.

D-Certainly nice stuff and while the hop profile isn't quite my cup of tea for the style I cannot deny it's goodness. A very well done beer for sure.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
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 Evil_Pidde
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours golden, a bit hazy. A large compact sparkeling white head. Slow dissipation leaves rich lacings.

S: Some yeast, possibly some Brett. Fruity, green apples and citrus. Spicey. Dry.

T: Very bitter. Surprisingly bitter for being a Belgian IPA. Green apples, citric notes - grapefruit. Sweetness from the malt.

M: Aftertaste is very long and bitter. Moderate carbonation and a medium body.

D: A very nice Belgian IPA, if you never had one before - try this one.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another beer I enojoyed alot while in Belgium but never reviewed. I was lucky enough to pick this up in a trade so here she goes!

A - Pours a nice golden colour with carbonation streaming up the sides. Yeasty streaks all over make this really cool to look at. Yeast sediment came out last leaving nice brown swirls on the white head which has mostly gone away. Crazy foamy lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Wow. Really nice grassy Euro style hops combine with some nice estery Belgian yeast to create a great aroma. Really complex just as I like it. Fruity, zesty, grassy, slightly spicy. Just exquisite.

T - Really fruity and grassy. Bitterness in the finish and sort of tingly. The combination of Belgian yeasts and good hopping still boggles my tastebuds in such a great way. There is just a slight skunkiness in the taste too. Sourness is present in a way. Earthiness is present. It's nice.

M - Nicely carbonated but not too much as to take away from the flavour that wants to coat your tongue. Very nice.

D - With a tame ABV like this and a complexity that deserves a devotion of time this could definately be a session beer if you could both afford it and find it.

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Photo of BucBasil
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 33cL bottle into a chalice at Delirium Cafe in Brussels.

A: Slightly cloudy orange color, not quite unlike an American IPA. Head was 1.5 fingers with ok retention.

S: Piney hops dominating anf bits of grapefruit coming through as well. The balance is way out of whack - hops are definitely front and center here.

T: Much more balanced than in the nose. In fact, very nice. Of course the hops are the focus - piney, slightly floral. But there is a light sweetness and a bready malt character there to balance also. Paired with a uniquely Belgian yeast character, this beer is really unmissable.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've never had this beer, and I've never had a De I'm a little pumped to have a 750ml bottle in front of me.

Poured into a Duvel tulip, a fine-looking Belgian blonde it is - head retains forever, hazy gold, sticky lacing.

Big lemon zest aroma, almost to the detriment of complexity. It smells like a really hoppy pilsner, lemon and flowers right in your face.

This is a crisp, cracklin' dry beer. And yes, as the name indicates, this beer is definitely quite bitter. Not American IPA bitterness, but rather Euro-flowery-hop bitterness. That it's so dry only serves to accentuate the noble hop stuff going on in here. Puff of peppery, musty yeast character on the back end. Pursuant to what you expect from this style, this touches all the bases.

Rich, full mouthfeel, feels like a bigger beer than it is.

I was expecting 5.0 drinkability, but I have to knock it a couple notches. I find that the flowery bitterness almost becomes tiresome as I progress through the bottle. Still, this is a very solid extra-hopped Belgian blonde. Would have gladly have another, but next time I'm splitting it with someone. So this is the beer that spawned all the Belgian IPAs? Cheers - it would seem to me that every BA should drink at least one bottle of this.

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

A: Clear yellow-blonde, white head, some retention, good lace.

S: Orange-rind, candied pineapple, grassy hops, with a light yeastie spice.

T: Orange-rind, candied pineapple, great bitterness, biscuity, earthy mineral.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body is smooth with a light acidity.

D: A good drinker.

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Photo of megahurts4
4.12/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of rarbring
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The brew is hazy dark straw colored, a white stable head with lots of lacing.

Smelling of citric fruits, lime, grape, oranges and some alka-seltzer.

The taste has a small sweet start, bread notes and then the bitter, oh so bitter hops. Extremely potent.

Medium carbonation, a bit coarse, very dry finish.

If you're looking for hops, this is the right direction!

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Photo of SleepyMonk
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle poured into a chalice glass.

Dullish straw colored body with a light element of haze. Thick collar of white foam head with sticky lace movement down the glass.

Floral Belgian hops feature strongly in the aromatic profile. A lively yeast smell blends well with a cut wet grass like earth note. Citrus juice also present.

Aroma is definitely an accurate precursor to the notes that move across the tongue and define the taste. Lively yeast translates into a chewy yeast and sticky hops.

Citrus flavors are well matched with the dry and bitter finish. Well carbonated and very champagne smooth in the mouth.

I can see the Orval comparison many other writers are commenting on. Will definitely aim to have both in a session sometime soon to compare the two.

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Photo of Jef59
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a really great Belgium ipa. Nice floral nose with notes of yeast and wheat. Extremely balanced, almost makes me crave the unbalance of a DIPA. Nice notes of wheat hit the palate with a phenolic finish. A very drinkable and surprisingly refreshing beer.

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.57/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The original Belgian IPA, in my mind. Pours a very hazy, almost dirty gold with a big foamy white head like many Belgian golden ales. Aroma is sweet and fruity, a lot like a saison, lots of passion fruits and also a grass-like aroma at the end. Taste starts off like a saison, light fruits followed by a BPA dryness before a strong hop bitterness takes over. Very dry and bitter finish, not floral or citrusy, just a straight bitterness.

Ah, a great brew here. I prefer the American hops in most of the newer Belgian IPAs, but this brew is a classic.

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De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
4.08 out of 5 based on 957 ratings.
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