Duvel is not simply a classic example of the style; it’s the beer that has inspired brewers the world over to brew Belgian strong ales, and frankly, it’s perfect. Clear, pale gold liquid wears a princely white crown that stands proudly above the glass’s lip. A magnificent aroma consumes the nose: pear, orange, floral hops, and Belgian yeast’s peppery spice flow harmoniously in the bouquet. The tongue melts under a graceful interplay of fruits and spice, beginning with ripe pear before gently moving to pepper and swan-diving into beautiful honey sweetness balanced by hop-spice sprinkles. The word “grace” can’t be overused with this beer; its smooth character, lively body and crisp, dry finish are simply enchanting.
100 points, Draft Magazine
A perfect amount of foamy head from a trained pour into the appropriate Duvel glass, the lace clings to the glass in patchy clumps. The clarity is great as the pouring went well and the yeast stayed in the glass. Very pale in colour, some would confuse this with a lager as far as the light golden hue. Hints of apple skin (juicy fruit), clean alcohol and a slight yeast bite in the aroma. Clean pale malt flavour throughout. Three big flashes of yeast, hop bitterness and alcohol hit the palate. Big cleansing crispness makes you want an other sip. A tad juicy in the middle, with a big warming alcohol landing middle to end. Mild medicinal phenols peak in the middle and nearly vanish as the alcohol takes over. A top shelf brew, this one does it for me and then some. Pretty much sex in a bottle and the devil told me to drink it. Duvel is close to dry champagne but so much more. Between the bitterness and the sheer crispness, this beer is what I expect from the Belgian strong pale ale style.
100 points, BeerAdvocate (Dec 2003)