I’m drinking like a pirate, and a Belgian pirate at that! I never knew that those crazy Belgians were into privateering, but whatever. As long as they keep on brewing excellent beers, they can do whatever they like.
Piraat is a Belgian tripel, and has an impressive 10.5% ABV. You’d never know it though by tasting it. It has a fruitiness and sweetness that covers up the alcohol. This is how the BJCP describes the style:
Complex with moderate to significant spiciness, moderate fruity esters and low alcohol and hop aromas. Generous spicy, peppery, sometimes clove-like phenols. Esters are often reminiscent of citrus fruits such as oranges, but may sometimes have a slight banana character. A low yet distinctive spicy, floral, sometimes perfumy hop character is usually found. Alcohols are soft, spicy and low in intensity. No hot alcohol or solventy aromas. The malt character is light. No diacetyl.
Deep yellow to deep gold in color. Good clarity. Effervescent. Long-lasting, creamy, rocky, white head resulting in characteristic “Belgian lace” on the glass as it fades.
Marriage of spicy, fruity and alcohol flavors supported by a soft malt character. Low to moderate phenols are peppery in character. Esters are reminiscent of citrus fruit such as orange or sometimes lemon. A low to moderate spicy hop character is usually found. Alcohols are soft, spicy, often a bit sweet and low in intensity. Bitterness is typically medium to high from a combination of hop bitterness and yeast-produced phenolics. Substantial carbonation and bitterness lends a dry finish with a moderately bitter aftertaste. No diacetyl.
Medium-light to medium body, although lighter than the substantial gravity would suggest (thanks to candi sugar and high carbonation). High alcohol content adds a pleasant creaminess but little to no obvious warming sensation. No hot alcohol or solventy character. Always effervescent. Never astringent.
High in alcohol but does not taste strongly of alcohol. The best examples are sneaky, not obvious. High carbonation helps to bring out the many flavors and to increase the perception of a dry finish.
I just know that Piraat is true to style and delicious, and I hope the MLCC keeps carrying this brand. According to the label, it has been brewed since 1784, which is the same year that New Brunswick was founded, which must be why I love this beer so much. Other comparable beers would be Leffe, La Fin du Monde, and Affligem Tripel.