Dec 21, 2011

St. Sebastiaan Grand Reserve

Grand Reserve photo

Here’s even more evidence (in a long line of well documented cases) where packaging was just too much for me to ignore. I love flip-top bottles. Not so much with regard to enjoying half a beer and saving the rest for later. I don’t have the will power for that. Any bottle with the additional feature of a flip-top just begs for holding onto long after the beer is gone.

I mean, imagine all the cool stuff you could store in that bottle! Sure, it may take up valuable space in an otherwise crowded shelf, sitting empty, flip-top open and collecting dust, but just imagine! Plus, this one is ceramic!

At any rate, it’s a good thing that this Belgian Strong Pale Ale (weighing in at 10% ABV) from Brouwerij Sterkens N.V. turned out to be a tasty brew. Otherwise that bottle would just be sitting there doing absolutely nothing for no good reason. As it turns out though, Grand Reserve was one of the better Belgian ales (from Belgium no less) I’ve had this year. It’s got a great depth of flavor and, despite its potency, drinks fairly smoothly. Now, if I could only justify the need for more ceramic, flip-top bottles, I’d enjoy a couple more helpings of this brew.


Golden amber in color with a large white cap, this beer certainly looks the part.


I get a healthy dose of Belgian yeast, a light touch of booze, apples, pepper and honey on the nose. It smells darn good.


A light, bready malt backbone arrives first as subtle fruits, a touch of candi sweetness and peppery yeast take over before fading to a finish that leaves a glowing warmth in the chest. The mouthfeel has a moderate level of carbonation, but still feels slightly syrupy. The beer tastes more like a tripel, as a result.


All in all, the Grand Reserve is a tasty brew with good flavors and balance. The higher alcohol content does make its presence known through out the drinking experience, but never overwhelms the palate at any time. Plus, it’s contained in a ceramic, flip-top bottle. How cool is that!?