De Ranke XXX Bitter | Brouwerij De Ranke

very good
19 Reviews
no score
Send samples
De Ranke XXX BitterDe Ranke XXX Bitter

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Ranke

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BEERchitect on 07-25-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 97
Photo of Immortale25
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Cap says 11DEC14 EXP: 06/12/19.

A- Pours a slightly hazy medium amber color with a full inch of white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Estery belgian yeast with some herbal hop fume and a slight skunkiness.

T- Oxidative quality at the start, then there's some fruity hop character that's still there and a bitter afterbite. The bitterness is the main player here and it's actually quite nice. Drinkable but with an intense bite that keeps you interested and coming back for more. The oxidation actually kind of complements the bitterness and together make for a pretty enjoyable drink.

M- Sharp and spritzy from the hops and medium-high carbonation. Lightish body.

O- Had the XX at nearly two years old and it was skunky and oxidized beyond enjoyment. Recently had a friend bring home a bottle and I'm not sure how old it was but it was much more enjoyable than the bottle I'd previously had which led me to go ahead and buy this. This bottle is a year and a half old and though it's not as enjoyable as the XX I recently had, it has it's good points: intense bitterness that mingles well with the yeast and somehow works with the oxidative properties it's developed. I would say it needs more malt balance though as it gets to be a bit of a chore to get through since it's only riding on two dimensions - hops and yeast - while it should be riding on three. Decent but this will probably be my last time buying their bitter beers.

 1,609 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For the third time in the world and for the second time in Sweden this beer is released to the public.

Released at Systembolaget in October 2015. Only about 700 75cl bottles found it's way to Sweden this time.
I've saved this for a rainy day and that's today! (January 29 - 2016)

The beer pours hazy, light yellow with a huge, three finger high, white head that leaves lacing on the glass.

The beer is full of very small bubbles racing to the top of the beer. It reminds me of a glass of champagne.

Nose: Funky Belgian yeast, floral hops, malt (pilsner malt?), grass and some earthy notes. I love the smell!
Taste: Wow! This is good! A lot of bitterness. Pale malt, citrus, grapefruit, bread, coriande and floral hops.
Mouthfeel: Medium body. Great texture. Medium carbonation. High bitterness and dry ending. The bitterness really plays a big part in this beer!

What can I say? I love bitter beer and this is bitter! The beer takes a grip of your tongue and twist it... Nice!

I'm so glad I got hold of a few bottles.

 1,036 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes on 9/15/15. I actually liked the XX more. Yes, this beer is more bitter, but I’m not getting the sweetness that I got from XX, which I liked. Still, pretty tasty.

 175 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL poured into an oversized tulip.

Beautiful appearance. Majestic foamy plateau, glowing golden body, streaming carbonation. Marvelous to look at. Truly gorgeous. 5

Funky and skunky aroma, but it's seductive. Smells like it's got some pilsner or helles type of malt (or maybe it's some lager yeast I'm smelling) and a corresponding light sweetness and floral, grassy and earthy quality. Then this blends with a tad tart and crisp saison aroma. Very interesting. I'm intrigued. It seems familiar and new all the same. 4.25

Starts with gentle sweetness and graininess, then floral notes and skunkiness emerge together then giving way to a honey-like finish. Light pepperiness lingers on my tongue for ages. Though the skunkiness is probably not for all, I find something irresistible about it. 4

I won't be redundant as much of the taste captures the feel, but to add to the above, this has a yeasty floral feel towards the finish and a dry, yeasty, bitter lingering sensation. 4

This beer is lovely. Truly enjoyable. It's got some odd flavor and feel, but that sets it apart from others.

 1,096 characters

Photo of StJamesGate
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Moeder Lambik, Brussels.
Crusty white over cloudy sunshine. 4
Big lemony sherbet and oily herb. 4
Sweet crackery grain, a pile of lemon, some pear, a bit of yeasty bite, and more herbs. 4
Lemon chiffon end and harsh chalky linger.
Super dry, almost thin, crisp. 4

Not balanced on purpose - starts out as one beer, then the hops come crashing in. Low on lemon - far more IBUs than aroma. Builds on XX - lives up to the name. 4

 438 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

De Ranke XXX Bitter has ultra-responsive carbonation and a sunny golden-orange colour that gradually gets murkier and murkier as the bottle empties. Unlike so many Belgian ales, however, it never looks completely sullied and maintains a pretty healthy glow, even after clouding over. To no surprise the head also upholds throughout. Curiously, however, it never manages to tack onto the glass.

I'm not sure what distinguishes XXX Bitter (three 'X's) from the usual XX Bitter (two 'X's). Ironically it's actually lower in alcohol (6% as opposed to 6.2%). Apparently it was brewed solely for a Shelton Brothers festival in Portland, Maine in 2013. If in fact this bottle is two years old that would explain why it doesn't strike me as being as hoppy and lively as the standard offering.

Mind you, that's not to suggest it isn't hoppy; both the flavour and aroma are underlined with a distinctive earthiness that is unmistakably that of whole cone hops. It makes for notes of herb buds and blossoming flower petals. The combination of Brewers Gold and Hallertau is an especially pungent, spicy, grassy one that leaves an interesting aftertaste of lemon peel and ground black pepper.

Of course, don't forget, Belgian IPAs are typically very different in character from their American counterparts. Those expecting pine resins and citrus rinds are in the wrong part of the world. This beer doesn't have an aggressive, obnoxious bone in its body. And there's certainly nothing tropical happening. No, this beer has the style and poise of a bonafide European.

I have fond memories of De Ranke XX Bitter which, if memory serves correct, was among the first hoppy Belgian-style IPAs (and still one of the best). This limited edition XXX Bitter didn't quite live up to my nostalgia and, in my opinion, isn't quite different or good enough to warrant a special release. Still, it speaks to the brewery's high standards and made for a more than enjoyable (rare) tipple.

 1,975 characters

Photo of goochpunch
4.62/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pale, clear straw body with a thin head. Big citrus nose with Belgian yeast and crackery malts. Tastes of citrus, floral, and perfumey hops, crisp malt, and a lingering aspirine-like bitterness. Dry finish. Yeast brings notes of apricots and a hint of spice. Light body with bubbly and spritzy carbonation. Awesome hoppy Belgian.

 335 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.93/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Truncated review below; I'm at a tasting and don't want to be impolite giving a full review.

HEAD: 1 finger wide of white colour. Creamy, smooth, and even. Light even lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Clear yellow-copper of average vibrance.

AROMA: Lemon zest, pale malts, wildflowers, floral hop character. Aromatic intensity is average.

TASTE: Pale malts, lemon zest, wildflowers, wildflower honey, pollen, and floral hop character. Balanced and enjoyable. Not the most intricate brew. Hints of graininess in the background.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, slightly sticky, medium-bodied, and fairly heavy on the palate - certainly overly so for the not-too-deep flavours. Lacks substance.

OVERALL: Drinkable but forgettable. Oddly bitter for a Belgian IPA. I'll pick it up again for a full review, but it's not stellar.


 855 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%

Excellent series of lace rings after each sip. Small head. Gold color with a mild haze.

Initial smell is of fresh tilled earth. A bit of Belgian yeast as well.

Rather thin with a high level of carbonation. The flavor is a bit harsh and biting. There's a sour start to the taste, but it morphs into singularly bitter white pepper flavor that continues through the aftertaste.

 379 characters

Photo of metter98
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Th beer is hazy yellow in color and poured with a finger and a half high frothy bright white head that has very good retention properties and hardly died down.
S: Light to moderaate aromas of floral and herbal hops are present in the nose along with slight bits of funk.
T: The bitterness really stands out in the taste of this beer, which is similar to to the smell, and the bitterness lingers through the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems to be very bitter for a Belgian IPA.

 559 characters

Photo of dv8sean
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle just like in the picture poured into a genre-appropriate Sante Adairius Rustic Ales tulip glass.

It's a pretty beer! Pours all effervescent and golden with that signature Beligian tight white head. Color is lighter than most IPAs--more straw yellow than amber honey gold.

Smells like the cellar at grandpa's house: a bit funky, but conjured nothing but good feelings.

Tastes bitter, as an ipa should, followed by all manner of herbal, medicinal, and full-on funk. All in a good way, though. Not spoiled or contaminated. Just natural, organic, exotic.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Malts are restrained. Carbonation levels are high...Champagne like.

Overall, as with everything I've had from this brewer, it kicks ass. Kinda takes some of my favorite aspects of a beer like Fantome Saison and packages them for a hop head. Most highly recommended.

 864 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a yellow gold body that is slightly see thru with two finger head and lace patches everywhere. Citric and earthy hops galore in the nose along with touches of Belgian yeasty and gets a little dirty at times and has touches of sweet malts. Well-carbonated so it is crisp and there is a smoothness to it only found in Belgian beers. Earthy, citric, even a little peppery spice it seems with bold, assertive hops and a dry finish. There not only seems to be a little hop bitterness to this beer but it seems there is a touch of sour fruit and funk as well as some moderate sweetness.

 587 characters

Photo of draheim
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750mL (lot B24T10; best by 02/05/18) into a tulip. Pours a pale yellow w/ a 1-finger white head.

Aroma is pale malt, floral hops, and slightly funky Belgian yeast.

Taste follows nose, kind of. Light, delicate pale malt, almost biscuity; Pilsner? Floral/herbal hops bring an almost tea-like quality, closing out with a decisive bitterness. Belgian yeast keeps things fruity and light.

Mouthfeel is balanced and crisp, medium bodied.

Overall a pretty good Belgian pale, hoppier and sharper than most. I'd give it a 3.875 overall if I could.

 542 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Chuckanut pint glass. Pours a light golden amber with a massive three finger head that kept growing for five minutes after pouring, making a pyramid over the glass. Great retention and tons of pillowy lacing. Big aroma of citrus, graperfrut, citrus and grassy hops, light sweet malt, and sad to say a hint of skunkiness that was very distinct on opening, but present, but not as evident in the aroma. After smelling it I looked at the bottle, yes, it is green glass. Brouwerij De Ranke, no you! Flavor seems quite light at first, refreshing light grapefruit and lemon with herbal citrusy hops; the flavor continues to build with more fresh lemon, sweet bready malt, and Belgian yeast developing, finally finishing with a very long, lingering lemon citrus and herbal hop bitterness. Medium bodied with hints of creaminess and peppery carbonation. A wonderful rollercoaster of flavor that is both refreshing and rewarding. A wonderful IPA with Belgian yeast integrated perfectly. Fortunately the skunkiness was not noticeable in the flavor, probably due to the strength and herbal nature of the hops, but why take a chance? Seek this one out, it's worth the trouble.

 1,178 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- Pint glass pours to six people from a 750ml people. Clear, light golden body pours with a foamy, puffy white head. Decent retention after it rose to about two fingers. Lace is thick but somewhat spotty and decent pillows.

S- Big grassy and herbal hops off the top. Some light caramel malts and cracked grains below that lending a nice balance. Yeast is spicy and Belgian.

T- Super grassy, herbal, pine, grapefruit and spicy hops fill the palate upon first sip. Light caramel and nice fresh cracked grains. Spicy Belgian yeast with notes of pepper, spices and wheat bread.

MF- Foamy light-moderate body with high-end super bubbly carbonation. Ends with a nice spicy bitterness.

Big spicy and herbal Euro hops over a nice Belgian spicy yeast. Hopped up Spicy Golden Strong Ale to me but not as good as XX in many ways.

 824 characters

Photo of beerdrifter
4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up at a great little beer store in Arlon, Belgium, Miorge Mihoublon. Cloudy golden-yellow pour with a two finger foamy white head with decent retention and lacing. The nose is herbal and grassy with hints of lemon, grapefruit, subtle yeast, and straw. The taste can be summed up with one word...BITTER! But oh what a nice bitter with tons of grassy notes along with hints of lemon, grapefruit, straw, subtle caramel sweetness, fresh picked hops, white pepper, and a touch of barnyard. The mouthfeel is sharp and tangy with incredible bitterness from start to finish. Light body with fizzy carbonation and an awesome crisp, dry finish. Overall, this is one of the most bitter beers I've tasted. Yeah, it's kind of one dimensional, but it's so bold and refreshing and really quaffable for something so bitter. Highly recommended!

 839 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, split

Enjoyed a bottle of this in Brugge last month and didn't realize it was an entirely new creation. It was nice to try it again state-side in a more controlled drinking environment. Nice cloudy straw colored body - sticky foamy retention. Nicely hopped, though not as tropical as some other "belgian ipa's" coming out of the motherland. Bready, musty, moderately bitter. Nice, but there are better options in my opinion.

 439 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A new beer from De Ranke? Get the fuck out!

The first pour is a clear yellow with a dense white head with excellent retention and gorgeous lacing. This really puts even some of the recent American IPAs to shame. And the nose! What a gorgeous hop bouquet! Dank, dusty, herbal, spicy, lemony,skunky, even. Delicate cotton candy malt nose with a little dough and light honey. Superb.

The palate opens with a big, herbal bitterness, one that has a blend of mint, twigs, earth, lemon, all hallmarks of De Ranke's exquisite hopping technique. In addition to the bitterness, the hop flavor is fantastic as well. Layered oily lemons, mint, a little mineral all add to the gorgeous palate. Crisp with a blend of dough, honey and less cotton candy than the nose would have you believe. Despite being highly carbonated, this never feels fizzy or overcarbonated. Lending a mild complementary acidity to the hop bitterness, this beer finishes bitter and hoppy with a great blend of lemon and mint . A touch dusty as well. Exceptional.

 1,025 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Its not everyday that we see a new offering from these regal brewers like De Ranke. So when they do, they make waves! If you thought that their "XX Bitter" set a tone for hop lovers, then you can only imagine what "XXX Bitter" delivers!

With a bright goldenrod appearance, the hazy ale releases a frothy cotton-white head to cap the beer with a billowing frothy, near-rocky proportioned head. As the froth settles onto the ale, it retains with a clumpy sheet and laces remarkably with intricate patterns.

Strong citrus and herb aromatics leap into the nose! Grapefruit peels, orange pith, and a strong grassy aroma latch onto the nose with the most terse of bready-yeast backdrop. With little of the more supple ester fruits or phenol spice, the aroma is all about the fruit.

Similarly, the taste of dry cracker and bread is cut short by the onslaught of white grapefruit and grass. Those flavors create a strong arm that wards off anything malt-focused except or grain or hay. Instead, the taste finishes with the peels and piths of citrus fruits and a light spicy taste of peppercorn.

LIght and creamy in body, the ale carries a champagne-like texture that springs the ale from the tongue and ushers in a quick dryness that allows for high rate of drinkability and refreshment without becoming harsh or bitey.

Yea, if the "XX Bitter" was the IPA equivelent of what this Belgian brewery projects, then there's no question about this elevated hop-focused Belgian Pale Ale!

 1,487 characters

De Ranke XXX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
4 out of 5 based on 97 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.