Pirate Life ‘Grand Reserve’ Belgian Strong Ale


“No. 6 in our “Artist Series” features an epic one-off piece by UK based artist Mr. Christa. And on the inside of the tin? A Belgian Dark Ale inspired by one of Adelaide’s finest homebrewers, Luke Beard. It’s brewed with Pale, Crystal and Biscuit Malts (plus a lick of chocolate rye) and hopped with Fuggles and Perle. Dark Candi Sugar and Molasses lend depth in the kettle, while Belgian Ale Yeast serves up an array of archetypal esters. Y’all know the ones…”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dark brown with crimson highlights. It forms a short khaki head which maintains rather well leaving a nice cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Kind of a mish mash of aromas and unfortunately none of them are at all cohesive. We pick up the dark Candi sugars then the slightly syrupy malts, spice, earthy hops and slightly astringent booze. Once we scrape past the unpleasant surface the yeasty esters, caramel/toffee and mild roast is uncovered but again it just seems disjointed and acrid. Sheesh, not a good start at all.

Flavour: We were bracing ourselves for a sink pour but much to our surprise it wasn’t as bad as we were anticipating. Thankfully, everything is working together a bit better as opposed to the nose. Upfront it’s all malt driven with the Belgian yeast and the candi sugars putting their sweet, spicy and sugary stamp on it all. Fruitcake, prunes/raisin and molasses then deliver a rich and decadently sweet finish with good length.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, gelatinous, a little syrupy. Medium-full body, mild-moderate Co2. The 10% ABV is a little too perceptible at times.

Overall: From memory we’ve only had a couple of cracks at PL since they sold out and unfortunately both were horrendous. The upside, I guess, is that this one isn’t that bad. We think we’d be fair in saying this is average at best. Even with that in mind we’re officially done with PL. What a fall from grace.