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 BDTyre
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice Belgian spin on an IPA.

Cloudy orange with a very thick head and brown floaty bits of yeast.

Reasonably balanced scent of hops and malts, with slight emphasis on the hops. Similar to a standard American IPA, but a little bit closer to a Belgian ale.

Fairly tame hop flavour, and the malts are also somewhat subdued. Citrus notes, and a bit of brown sugar in there too.

Decent carbonation, but not quite a session ale. A nice sipper though.

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Photo of Casey10
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at Whole Foods today. I was happy to find this in the singles section.

A - Beatiful light golden amber.

S - Fruity light appricots.

T - Biscuity, foamy, delicious.

M - Warm, fizzy earthy.

D - Could drink a bunch based on ABV. This is a nice brew that should not be passed by

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pale golden yellow with a delicate creamy, foamy head that leaves trails of patchy lacing.

S - Fruity and slightly citrus hops, spicy yeasty notes and a little musty earthiness.

T - A touch of sweet pale malts, fruity and grassy hops, earthy and maybe even a bit funky with spicy, yeasty flavors. Good amount of bitterness but the hop flavors don't come through as much as the bitterness.

M - Light and crisp, well carbonated with a lingering very dry finish.

D - Very nice.

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Photo of Cs1987
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Note: The review scores were given by Cs1987, but the review comments were made by an anonymous Queenslander. The views of the anonymous Queenslander are in no way shared by Cs1987.


I went to my local bottlo today to grab a carton of my favourite lager XXXX Gold, but I stumbled upon this XX Bitter stuff. I couldn't believe anyone would make such an obvious ripoff of XXXX. I thought it must be one of those crappy Western Australian breweries. I read the bottle and saw most of the writing was in a foreign language. Yep, definitely a WA brewery. With a name like XX Bitter I thought it must taste like Victoria Bitter, but half as good as XXXX, which at least makes it better than VB. It was bloody expensive, but I bought one bottle anyway, along with my carton o' XXXX.

Appearance - When I opened the bottle, the head started pouring slowly out the top. Ewww! Anyway, how the hell am I supposed to know what the beer looks like when it comes in a brown bottle? Unless I poured it into a glass, which would be stupid.

Smell - Ewwww again! Very funky smelling, sniffing this feels kind of like having a grapefruit shoved up your nose. Beers shouldn't have any smell if you ask me.

Taste - WTF is this? This is so bloody strong, yet it tastes nothing like XXXX, or any other lager I've tried. It even tastes like grapefruit, and it's kind of spicy, sort of like nutmeg. Beer ain't supposed to taste like that! Plus, it's ridiculously bitter, no wonder they call it XX Bitter. I dunno what they add to beers to make them this bitter, but whatever it is, it should be illegal.

Mouthfeel - So bloody thick, no where near as fizzy as XXXX, and a bloody awful aftertaste.

Drinkability - Undrinkable. Poured most of it down the sink.

Overall - I can't believe those WA breweries would make such an obvious ripoff of XXXX, and make it so obviously worse. XX Bitter is the most pathetic excuse for a beer ever.

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Photo of MitchW
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Golden honey colour with head somewhere between foamy and fluffy. While not transparent, the haziness isn't from discernible particles. This really does just look like hazy golden honey with a fluffy head.

S - Very clean aroma with a hint of citrus. Timidly inviting, bordering on delicate.

T - Just a wonderfully complex flavor. Just about a perfect balance between bittering and aromatic hops. The body of the beer definitely fits a golden ale profile. Overall very medium-light, unoffensive flavor with a hints of malt and a well balanced hop profile.

M - Not too thin, not too thick. Washes over the mouth, hitting all the right places without lingering past its welcome. Finishes clean.

D - Definitely not a session style, but not nearly as trying to drink as other beers of this caliber. I could definitely see going for another, but obviously not too many after that.

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

Appearance - 4.5
I made the mistake of an overexcited pour, resulting in a massive meringue-like white head that I had to fight my way through to get to the rest of the beer. The body is gold and slightly hazy. Lots of sticky lace.

Smell - 4.5
Very complex aromatics, soft fruity yeast, pear, funky and musty.

Taste - 4.0
Much like Orval, even the 6.2% ABV is identical. Yeast plays a big part in the flavour - not something I usually like in a beer. Quite musty and funky, complex and slightly fruity (pear). Bitterness is high for a Belgian, the hops giving earthy and grassy tastes, finishes very dry.

Mouthfeel - 4.5
Typical Belgian carbonation - fine and lively.

Drinkability - 4.0
Not as moreish as some, but one I will no doubt come back to.

OVERALL - 4.25
A very good beer, but better when fresh in Belgium. The bottle I had at the cafe across the road from the Mannequin Pis was to die for.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet.

My first for a Belgian IPA.

A - Pours a nice light but kind of bright straw yellow with a white head that slowly turns into a mat. Good retention. Sticky foam.

S - Some sweet banana smells and some faint clove hints. Some hop hints are present that offer a citrusy tinge. Phenols are also present.

T - Wow!! Very surprised and pleased. Initially there are some sweet malt notes but immediately the hops take over not necessarily in taste but in bitterness. The brew is pretty dry as well. There are some earthy tones mixed in there but the sweetness you would expect from most other Belgium styles. The bitterness is sharp and there isn't as much hop taste like some American IPA's.

M - Crisp and well balanced. The dryness is someone that I might need to get used to.

D - Very refreshing. Good balance. Great Taste.

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

750ml bottle poured into a goblet. Best before end 1/2013.

A: Hazy light orange. Huge head that takes over the glass and never goes away, leaving a ton of lacing.

S: Noble hops, barnyard funk, a touch of citrus.

T: Pleasantly bitter with a hint of fruitiness lurking underneath. Funkiness shows up mainly in the aftertaste. Finishes bone dry.

M: Light and fluffy.

D: This really is Orval turned up to 11. I just wish it wasn't so expensive.

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Photo of EatsTacos
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally got to try a Belgian IPA. Had this in Brussels at Poechenellekelder and it made my day

Pours a beautiful slightly hazed and cloudy copper yellow with a clumpy head and great lacing

Aroma is piney and citrusy and very similar to a west coast IPA with a ton of grapefruit

Taste: Grapefruit through and through. This beer is a real showcase of hops, and I'd be very pleased to know what varieties are used. Very floral and aromatic. Bitter finish and dry.

Mouthfeel: A little thin for an IPA of this strength with a sharp carbonation

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This review is for a lost friend, Craig Goulet. He suggested this beer and it's one of the last two that I ever received from him before his untimely death. I shared with it another friend who knew Craig as well. Craig, you are not forgotten.

First off this is a beautiful looking beer. A foamy/creamy delicate white head rises above the beer. The beer is a crystal clear (if decanted) bright golden color. Later in the pour some sediment begins to cloud the glass. Nice traces of lacing left everywhere.

Aroma was also great. Fresh, bright, fruity, sweet and of some hops. The yeast definitely added to the aroma with some classic spices and a mild "yeasty" tone.

Nice flavor as well. This is just a very good beer. White grapes, green apple, other fruits. Almost a green grass tone. Bright hop bitterness. Plenty of spices to think about. White pepper. The hop bitterness is there and it's very nice.

Fresh, light mouth feel. Sparkling, but not champagne like. Also a crisp clean sense to it.

Lovely beer and I shall drink another.

Well done.

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

pour is golden with a beautiful head. tight, white, and with time contracted head. smell is a minty pine, and lavender. palate so crisp its soapy. quite clear and very bright. strong floral that clears the tongue dry. mint, lavender, a light bitter, and thyme. definitely wonderful hop quality.

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Photo of mltobin
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle imported by the Shelton Brothers.

Upon pouring it into a tulip glass, it appears to be a nice golden tone with a one and a half finger head.
The smell is very nice, some sugar, yeast, small amount of hops.
While the taste is similar to a slice of grapefruit with sugar on top... just the way grandma used to serve it !
Mouthfeel is tingly, but light, pops on the tastebuds.
Drinkability is very much here, and with an abv at 6%, you could certainly indulge in more than one of these, delicious !

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Photo of brendan13
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a tulip glass a hazy golden colour with a couple of centimetres of fluffy white head that slowly disipates. A bit of lacing left down the glass.
S - Smell is herbal & floral with some fruity esters. With a bit of a swirl some slighty sweet pale malt notes & spicy phenols are picked up.
T - Not unlike the smell. Initially herbal & floral hoppiness followed by quite a strong spicy phenolic character. A bit of bready, sweetish malt comes through to balance it out.
M - Medium bodied, Low to medium carbonation. Finishes quite dry & bitter with a sticky, resinous feeling on the tongue.
D - This was a top beer, I've actually had this sitting around for a few months and it probably wasn't at it's freshest to begin with. I'd LOVE to try this fresh. It was still very good and I'm so tempted to go put the 2nd bottle in the fridge now...

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Why has it taken me so long to get to this one?

11.2 oz bottle. Into a Maredsous tulip glass.

Cloudy, pale amber color, huge head, bone white and pillowy, lace leaving.

Gorgeous aroma, smacking of spice and citrus, some clove and cardamom, white pepper...bright, bitter lemon and orange. Floral and fruity, and lovely.

Zest continues once it jumps on the tongue. Big spice and citric twang on board the palate, a pleasantly bitter smack to the senses. Fades slowly, gently, goes to the back, while lingering long.

Medium body, long finish, plump with character.The hops and the zestiness never really quit. Hangs on all over the mouth. Really rewarding, and quite refreshing.

Nothing quite like this one. Except for all the others that have come along since.
But this here's the original.

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Photo of JoshuaCain
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

first pour is a vibrant golden yellow with a big foamy head, good retention. aroma is pretty good, the belgian-y yeast smell is up front with a real nice floral note coming up from the hops, a little sweet malt adds some earthiness in the back.
this is definitely the hoppiest beer from Belgium, at least that I have tried. the hop flavor is very grassy and floral, lending a nice dimension to the spiciness and yeast of it. medicinal quality comes out alot in a second pour that contains the sediment.
mouthfeel is a little oily, but with an active carbonation.
drinkability is good, except for the price, I payed 5.49 for the 11.2oz bottle.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 1/16/2008 (bottle):

Pouring in the sediment, it pours an extremecy cloudy brown-yellow colored body, with a very big head, creamy, but not very lasting. Very hoppy aroma, alcoholy, dark fruit. Dark sugary. Bitter dry taste, full body, not watery. Kind of dirly tasting. Some maltiness. Dry & somewhat acidic. Kind of like a sweet pale ale.

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Photo of Cresant
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 11.2 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Adams glass. Label seems to be notched: J 12. (January 2012?) The body was a pale and hazy golden/greenish yellow. A weird kind of hops glow! Three or more fingers of bright white head settled very puffy. leaving nice lacing.

Smell had a soapy/detergent character. Lemon blossoms.

Taste was grassy hops. The pilsener malts struggle to make their appearance. Oily hops leave a dry fisnish that keeps you going back for more. The label proclaims, "Hoppiest Beer of Belgium". I can't dispute that. Few other flavors can compete with the assertive hops.

Mouthfeel was medium in body with prickly carbonation. I could drink this one often.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, corked and capped...after taking the cap off I noticed the corked seemed to be leaking slightly...since there was a cap on it, it didn't really bother by date Dec 2013

pours a hazy straw color with a huge white foamy head that sticks around

some belgian sweetness, malt, a touch of funk, fruit, and grassy hops

surprisingly hoppy as compared to the smell, but it mellows out as it warms, citrus flavors with a light malt backbone, finish is dry with a nice hop tinge

perhaps it could be more carbonated, but I like the smoothness with a little bite from the carbonation

this is pretty enjoyable to drink, it has a nice balance of belgian sweetness and hops, i don't think the price is quite justified (12.99, if I remember correctly, Houblon Chouffe is cheaper and better, and Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor is nearly as good and is $9 at most)....still a very good beer though

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Photo of DoctorDog
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 11.2 oz. bottle into a goblet. Notched with a "best before" of January 2012. Extremely minor note, but ABV on bottle is listed @ 6%, as opposed to the 6.2% listed here.

A- Pours a hazy golden, with 2+ fingers of white head. Head fades gradually into a thin cap, leaving ample of lacing.

S- Mild bready yeastiness, and some slightly metallic notes.

T- Crisp lemon/honey zestiness on the front. Finishes with a somewhat biting mineral/metallic bitterness. This sensation decreases throughout consumption, and takes on a more herbal feel. Malt/sweetness is minimal. Overall impression of taste profile definitely improved by the end of this bottle.

M- Fairly crisp with medium carbonation. Not quite as slick as I'd hoped, but decent.

D- OK. Probably not something I'd want more than one of.

Future outlook: Not a bad beer, but not exactly my cup of meat, and not something I'm likely to revisit anytime soon.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with a best by date of January 2012 so I guess this is about two years old. Nice hazy yellow, billowy head. Smells like earthy hops and tastes like a nice belgian pale. Very easy to drink but when I think of hoppy I think of copious amounts of American hops. Overall, I liked this but I still would not call it hoppy by any stretch of the imagination.

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Photo of TheDoorman
3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pale, semi-cloudy, lemony color, thin white had, persistent stream of carbonation evident in the body. Funky belgian yeast dominates the nose, earthy, grassy tones, perhaps a hint of manuer(?), citrusy hops and a touch of malt. Very earthy, very funky. Taste is a very earthy yeast, balanced perfectly with nice citrusy in the hops. Complex, refreshing. Somewhat bitter in the finish, though not overwhelminly in any sense, not like a west coast IPA. Light on the palate, dry and crisp.

This is a nice well balanced beer. A pleasure to drink. Certainly unique. Seems the Belgian IPA style is very diverse. The funkyness is the one potential drawback of this beer. I found it probably too earthy, as it had a distinct manuery smell. I love earthy, but I think this went a bit far.

I'd have this again, for sure, as its a very balanced beer, and very tastey. But at 4.99 for a 11.2 oz, I'm not sure I will be back for another.

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Photo of gameface23
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy straw color with a thick, fluffy white head. The smell was of honeyed grain, lemon and very floral hops. The taste was very tart during the middle of the sip, but finished pretty dry. I probably drank this during the wrong time of the year, because this beer would be great during a hot summer day. Drinkability was good. I will definitely try this again in the summer.

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Photo of tpd975
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to fishingnet for sharing this one.

A: Pours a nice light golden hue with a wonderful tall foamy head. Great retention and wonderful lace noted.

S: Nice light malt with hints of bread, apples, pears and a touch of light grasssy hops.

T: Yeasty flavors with a touch of fresh apple. Light spices come in next, with a slightly hoppy grassy, lemony finish.

M: Light in body, with awesome carbonation.

D: Very drinkable.

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

a: Cloudy yellow body with a wispy white head the leaves behind a web of lace.

s: Musky hops dominate the aroma.

t: Honey and lemon notes earthy, spicy, slightly astringent hop bitterness in the finish. A balanced, refined flavor that is not too bitter.

m: Slick feel with a noticeable hop oils. Very smooth.

d: Brewed to be a more extreme version of Orval, XX Bitter helps set the bar for Belgian IPAs. I would rather have Orval, but this is still an excellent beer. I could drink this all day.

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

Reviewed on 7/17/08. 2006 Bottle. Pours a cloudy light orange with a thick white head that persists. Aroma of spices, light fruits (raspberry), yeast. Very delicious. Flavor initially of light spices, sweet flowery hops, lemon with a bitter hops finish. Some sourness but I didn't get much funk. The bitterness persists even with age. A very interesting beer, sort of like a bitter JP Bam Biere, and quite tasty. I'd like to try this again fresh to compare.
9/4/8/4/15 (4.0/5)

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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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