Piraat is one of those beers, something of a classic for the Belgian beer lover. Heavily influenced by the US beer scene, Belgian breweries have been featuring hops more prominently in their beers. Or as in this case, making a variant of a classic to feature the hops (a la Duvel Tripel Hop).
But don’t expect a US-style hop bomb here. It is still very much a Belgian style beer, with very reserved hopping. There is a noticeable difference between this beer and the original, but it is more a more heavily-hopped Belgian strong ale than a Belgian IPA.
The normal Piraat is the base for this beer, with four different hops used at three separate times – hence the Tripel Hop. Saaz, Tetra and Aurora are used in the boil, with Cascade used for dry-hopping.
The result is a beer which smells of sweet grassy hops combined with Belgian yeast esters. It has a fairly thick malty body, lots of fruity sweetness with caramel malt and Belgian candi sugar. This is broken up by the earthy hops that provide a lift and a lingering bitterness to balance the sweetness before it becomes cloying. And it doesn’t shy away from the booziness either, but it is 10.5%!