Witches Brew – Brouwerij Van Steenberge (Belgium)

Witches Brew (Belgian Tripel) – Brouwerij Van Steenberge, 9.3% ABV – 750 ml., (Ertvelde, Belgium)

(from the brewers of the iconic Gulden Draak and Piraat)


on the back label:

Enjoy this bottle conditioned blond triple living ale. Its pleasant hoppyness is masterly balanced with a soft round and joyous sweetness, enveloped in a radiating glow.

It will put a spell on you!”

(back)



Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Twisty steel cap with composite cork. Pours translucent dirty copper orange with a large 1 inch frothy head, sticky lacing, a fine layer of micro retention, clusters of micro steady streams. Suspended bits of sediment along with some black bits, likely from the cork.

Nose: honey-chamomile sweet malt, hints of apple (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp-tingly-full

Mid-palate: alcoholic heavy, sticky (lvl-7-sweetness), honey barley malt, chamomile, background subtle tangy

Finish: apple-honey exhale, residual weighty alcohol

Summary: A decent, heavy-hitting tripel, but after one glass the alcohol becomes too overbearing and the sugars overpowering the palate. Can’t say I loved it, but I can sense the quality of craftsmanship.

Piraat 10.5% – Van Steenberge (Ertvelde, Belgium)

wpid-20141028_004613.jpg

Piraat 10.5% – Van Steenberge, 10.5% ABV, 33cl., (Ertvelde, Belgium)

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • Taste: Alcoholic full-bodied heavy spiced tropical fruity honeyed malt
  • Where I got it : Firefly Liquor Store (Van)
  • How much: $4 (after 10% off) – 33cl., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yep

Visual: This is the heavier 10.5% ABV bigger brother version. Pours golden-orange with a massive long-lasting super creamy beautiful large head, clusters of steady streams.

Nose: orange citrus, orange blossom, sweet honeyed malts (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: incoming heaviness

Mid-palate: warm alcohol detection, palate heavy, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) thick honeyed malts, biscuit, rum spices, tropical fruit (pineapple-guava)

Finish: mild alcohol bitterness, residual warmth, spiced honey exhale, super soft hopped boozy finish.

Summary: So Strong!!! Fuller and more flavourful than the 9.5% I reviewed earlier. Get this one instead, if you can handle heavy beers.

Piraat 9% – Van Steenberge (Belgium)

wpid-20141008_010314.jpg

Piraat 9% – Van Steenberge, 9% ABV, 33cl., (Ertvelde, Belgium)

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • Taste: Honeyed barley citrus malt alcoholic palate-heavy
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3.50 – 33cl., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: decent but not wicked

Visual: The 9% ABV (as opposed to 10.5%) little brother version. Pours almost clear marmalade orange with a large lasting super foamy head, thick lacing & retention, lots and lots of clustered streams.

Nose: sweet barley malt mixed with bright honeyed citrus, hints of florals. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: subdued alcohol + incoming honey sweetness

Mid-palate: weightiness, fizzy-tingly mouthfeel, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) barley malts, honey, citrus

Finish: light alcoholic warmth + mild alcohol bitterness, subtle bitter hopped, lingering barley malty sweet finish.

Summary: Shockingly easy to drink at first but becomes palate-tiring halfway through. Full-bodied with medium complexity. Not too exciting but solid.