Brewery: Brouwerij Van Steenberge
Abv: 10.5%

Avast, me hearties!

What better way to end this year's Twelve Beers Of Christmas, than with a pirate beer?! This comes from Brouwerij Van Steenberge, which is apparently "the only operational brewery left in the Meetjesland" – the northwest corner of the province of East Flanders.

Piraat is the biggest beer of the Twelve, a heavyweight at 10.5% ABV.

It's a beautiful golden amber colour with a huge, billowing off-white head that, as you can see, makes it something of a challenge to pour.

The nose is fairly standard Belgian fare; warm alcohol, biscuity malt and slightly sweet, sharp overripe pears. More candy sugar sweetness comes through the longer it sits in the glass.

In the mouth, it's initially sugar sweet which is almost immediately washed away by a huge alcoholic punch. Sticky caramel and sharp alcohol battle it out as red berry fruit sneaks in underneath, bringing with it a refreshing, bitter finish. It's powerful and delicious, but just a touch too aggressive.

It tastes significantly stronger than bigger beers I've had – closer to rum than beer, which seems entirely appropriate for a Piraat to be drinking. Not an every day tipple, but it's not one you'll forget in a hurry – 4 stars.

Many thanks to Belgian Beerz for providing this year’s Twelve Beers Of Christmas!

This review was originally published 5th January, 2014. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.