Brouwerij Van Steenberge - Piraat Special Reserve
- Alcohol by Volume: 10.5%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 48–55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice, Goblet or Pinot Glass
What type of barrel do you age a classic Belgian strong golden ale named Piraat in? Well, you should definitely start with a rum barrel. That sweet and floral underlying character from the rum barrel is a great match to the peppery, honeyed core of Piraat, and together these things do magical stuff. This pours a deep, mostly clear golden-orange color that’s topped by bright white foam, its resilient lacing left behind as one’s glass gets tilted. The aroma’s a compelling blast of fresh-cut flowers, honeyed Belgian sugars and toasty barrel character. White grapes.
We’ve long been fans of the original Piraat, and our favorite core elements are still expressed precisely here, but that rum-barrel aging brings a totally unique experience from this beer. As noted, there’s an engaging grape-like character present, alongside well-blended brown sugars and rum and toasty barrel. A deep, dense honeyed core supported by peppery phenols and a vibrant texture. This was endlessly smooth, especially drinkable for the ABV, and filled with countless additional facets, including cotton candy, caramel, apple, pear and a touch of mint.
The 10.5% ABV and modest hop reliance suggest this should fare well in the cellar. But do keep an eye on the level of oxidation in the form of additional caramel and sherry notes. As for pairing: working within its rum + apple + pepper triad seems the most promising route: smooth, vanilla- or cream-focused fare; lightly spiced roasted pork tenderloin.
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