|Highest Rated||Goudenband (88 / 100)
||Average score||69 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Oud Bruin (31 / 100)
82 / 100
Pint can, purchased from Davidsons Liquor in Denver. Shared with Sam back in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant red-tinged mahogany brown, with a fine crest of off white, that dissipates into a filmy ring. Minimal lacing. Body is actually quite firm, telling of the 7% ABV more than the acidity, which I'd expect it to thin it out a bit. Looks good.
Nose is really quite pleasant. There's a very prominent toasted character, which is somewhat unexpected, but it works nicely with the touch of metallic acidity. It gives notes of cherry and dried fruits, with a boozy undertone as well. I like it a lot.
Taste is also really nice. There is some acidity, but it's really underplayed. Mostly, it accentuates the dark, dried fruit and spice characters. It's bookended both at the start and finish by some pleasant sweet toasted malt, and a lightness of the palate. It almost has a dry character on the back like sparkling shiraz. I really like it.
Feel is light and dry, but with fluffy, powdery carbonation.
Overall, I'm a big fan. This is a really nicely put together beer—judiciously soured, but with lots of complexity apart from that, which must be hard to do. I'm really impressed.
60 / 100
Pours a dark amber colour with mild haze. Head is off-white; nice and foamy but sinks to a thin film with some nice foam lace on the outside. Nice reverse cascade under the head, does well. Looks decent, could use a bit more head retention.
Smells malty, slightly medicinal. Some caramel and some cherry ester; chocolate and maybe mild coffee. Yeah, beery with some very mild roasty sweetness. Not bad.
Tastes a bit weird. Roasty and sweet and a little dry-chocolatey upfront and back. In the middle there's a big sour swell of fresh cherry and maybe some berry character that actually tastes a bit infected. Kinda gets a weird minty character late-mid as it moves from sour to roasty part II. It's got a weird tannic character on the finish as well like a really robust but young shiraz, like just a bit too much, too.
M foamy, little but of sizzle to it. Otherwise decently rounded.
Drinks weird, but not too bad. Just has a weird interplay between chocolate roasty malt and tart, vinous characters that don't mesh. Not that they can't mesh, but they don't mesh here.
Unrelated note: I somehow managed to misspell/mistype the word 'mesh' three different ways through that last paragraph in my first draft on my mobile.
69 / 100
330ml squat Belgian bottle purchased as part of a bulk order with some workmates.
Pours a pleasant drip-coffee brown colour, with some slickness to the body which, combined with the colour, gives it an oily kind of look. Head only really subsists as a slight ring of off-white, although it's fed by fairly persistent carbonation. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is tart, and slightly vinous, especially the oak characters which come through quite strongly. But there's underlying characters from the malt giving a deep semi-savoury character like toasted rye bread. A hint of pepper comes through too, but this has mostly dissolved in the tartness once it warms up.
Taste is definitely tart, with a pronounced acetic character bringing comparisons to sharp balsamic vinegar. Lots of really biting acid, riproaringly sour, in fact, almost like chewing on aggressive citric acid candy. There's oak here too though, and while it doesn't soften the cutting quality of the acidity, it does broaden and deepen it to encompass more complexities. Towards the end, the acid almost takes on a peppery quality—a tingle of spice from the intensity.
It's definitely powerful, I'll give it that. In fact, I think this is one of the more strongly tart beers I've had—it has an aggression behind it that demands some respect. For me, that means it's a sipper, to be consumed only in moderation.
69 / 100
Day 3 of my #fletchmas 2017 Advent Calendar.
Pours a dusky evening red colour, nice and vivid with some pleasing off-white head that sinks to a thin bubbly crown. Decent lacing. Quite cloudy and I suspect there's more sediment when I get to the bottom of the bottle, but decanted out of this initial taste. Looks nice.
Smells fruity and sour. Huge cherry, raspberry and strawberry meatiness, with some plum jammy sweetness around the edge. Maybe a slight oaky vinous note underlying it; it's coconutty with the tanginess. And thank god it's there too, because without it it would smell like fruit juice. With it it's really rather pleasant.
Tastes yeah, very similar really. Oaky from the get-go, with coconut, a slight vinous boozey character and some woody notes as well. Develops that big cherry tang midway, with a hint of strawberry as well, maybe some lychee as it goes down. Finishes quite sweet; it's most definitely a sour but the fruit character is so strong that it turns it into a sweet tanginess rather than a proper cleansing tart finish, and no real phenolic hang or anything. It's enjoyable but maybe a touch on the too-accessible, fruit juice (possibly past shelf life) side.
Mouthfeel is a little more puckering than the palate gives credit for. It's full, and quite strong with a pull from whatever gives this its sour character. Really quite a fun texture.
Drinks well, and by pure coincidence Jez had given me an adroit beer for my current circumstance. I just left a party, finishing with a very pleasant and smooth IPA from Switchback brewery in Vermont, and another IPA here may have been savaged by contrast. So this is a great finisher and cleanser for the evening as it happens.
Bottle gifted to me by Jez for Christmas, shared with Andrew.
Pours an ominously red-tinged brown colour with nice tightly packed head, beige with tiny bubbles around the edge. Lacing is decent, with kinda small bubbles left around the glass. Decent retention; looks decent.
Smells tart, and pleasant. Big vinous notes with a rich sweetness reminiscent of balsamic. Slight herbal note of undergrowth with some slight oaky character as well. Mild choc malt character underlying; pretty nice bruin character.
Taste is maybe a little bland. Has a nice vinous note over it all, but the front is kind of caramel malty, with a touch of fruit, with plum and maybe some raspberry character. Gets a slight oaky cabernet note midway but it doesn't really develop, it kind of spikes gently but then flattens out on the back. Quite palatable as a result but somewhat less impressive and slightly simple, for the style.
Fluid, bit of pull to it and then dry and somewhat spicy on the back. Not bad, goes well with the flavour.
Tasty drop, but definitely tastes like a young brewing culture imitating centuries old techniques, it's got notes of that flavour but without any of the complexities. One of the better ones, still: it shows respect to the old traditions but it's just not part of it.
69 / 100
They describe this 'best' as a 'Flanders Black Ale' which doesn't exist, so I guess it goes under Oud Bruin best. Or maybe Flanders Red, but I've made my choice. Bottle given to me by Jez; shared with Andrew.
Dark brown with beige head, creamy texture with some sticky lace behind. Lovely density, would love more of it. Looks great though.
Smells very tart. Big balsamic tartness with touch of strawberry, cherry and wild, untamed barnyard as well. Fresh hay lingering at the back. Smells fecund. Just full of life potential ready to burst forth and disseminate its goodness everywhere and impregnate the universe.
Taste is a touch strawberry-balsamic. Sweet fruit with a touch of tartness upfront. Bit of cherry, then gets quite a bitter organic note mid-to-late. Quite earthy, somewhat astringent. Touch of acid on the back, kind of balsamic as well in the sense of being a touch astringent. Yeah the hang is a bit unfortunate, kind of off and bitter. Quite nice flavours but just leans too heavily into spontaneous organics, unfortunately, without freshening up in the back.
Bit of pull but fairly foamy and good body.
I like it, but I could have loved it. Just don't think the wild yeasts and bugs have been fully reined in so they've just overtaken the remainder of the palate, and turned it a bit off.
75 / 100
Bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor.
Pours a dark red brownish colour, clear with vibrant colour at the edge. Head is off-white, quite dense but not a lot of it. Nice lacing trails around the glass. Looks quite nice, standard though.
Smell is funky, Belgian and good. Sweet toffee underlying, with a good barnyard funk swimming on top and a big vinegar acidity to it as well. Brown sugar, balsamic and strawberries. Very appealing indeed.
Taste is quite tart upfront but mellows out quickly. Touch of balsamic that then gets quite smooth, even dry, towards the back. Fair sultana whack and some more brown sugar, then finishes a little spicy, phenolic with a dry champagne character and a touch of vegetative pepper, maybe capsicum. Was expecting more tartness but it still stays true to Belgian roots, with a goodly phenolic spice and a smooth drinkability I certainly wasn't expecting either.
Body is a little light, but there's plenty of presence as it goes down. Not bad.
The fact that it has unexpected flavours is both a blessing and a curse. It's surprisingly smooth and drinkable but at the same time the nose had me hoping for more beguiling tartness, and that's actually a shortcoming.
74 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery as part of the Bridge Road Beerdvent beer advent calendar.
Pours a very nice deep brown, with the gloss of red all over it. Head is a fine and persistent crest of off-white, that settles out to some pocked round bubbles and very fine, very intricate lace. Looks good. Carbonation is also very fine, especially when tilted.
Nose is great. Really, stacks of character, with tart barrel characters, almost tending towards kriek cherries, vinous notes, and an underlying oddly meaty sweetness. Other characters of copper and even a little charcoal come through. It's complex and really very interesting.
Taste, sadly, is a bit of a let down. It really needs a very sharp, crisp acidity through the centre, and it's just missing entirely here, leaving the middle of the palate feeling empty and almost watery. There is still some semblance of it around the edges though, with that coppery metallic note and a bit of roast which harks back to the almost mineral charcoal quality. Back has a hint of medicine and tannic red wine. It's still good, but the nose promised so much more.
Feel is actually quite sticky, despite having a rather pleasant leanness to it.
Overall, though, this is a really interesting beer. If I sound a little disappointed, it's only because up until taking my first sip this really looked as though it was going to be a match for a proper Belgian Oud Bruin. As it is, it didn't quite cut it, but it's still an extremely interesting brew.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a deep amber golden colour, very hazy in the glass though with some solidity to its weight. Head is yellow-white and forms a firm but minimal ring. Decent persistence to its lacing as well. Looks pretty good.
Nose is quite nice. Pleasant sourness, but lifted by a fragrant limey sweetness as well. There's plenty to enjoy in that.
Lime cordial comes though on the palate, but a little dry and empty on the front. This develops into a slightly smoother flavour in the middle, with a slight funk and a mild metallic astringency through the centre. Back is a bit pithy, but decent, and there's some lingering sweetness in the aftertaste to keep it supple after each sip.
Feel is light but smooth. Works well.
Yep, overall I'm pretty happy with that. It's very decent stuff. Solid and pretty tasty. I liked it just fine.
So this is called a Brettanomyces-infused Belgian sour beer... so I'm putting it down as an Oud Bruin based on the colour and the fact that there isn't really a catch-all for Belgian sours like American Wild Ale.
Pours an amber colour, very cloudy, sedimenty even. White foamy head, retaining nicely enough. Not bad.
Smells of wood-ageing. Sour with some dry champagne character and a fair and nice whack of oak. Nice complexity.
Vanilla oaking on the palate. Again with that champagne dryness midway and plenty of wood character. Sweetness is rampant on the front but finishes with some pacifying sour notes. Really quite pleasant.
Mouthfeel is OK with a bit of tingling carbonation, tiniest bit rough, but not bad.
Not bad: has some oak-ageing notes and some sweetness that doesn't quite mesh with the sour notes, but there's still enough character to like in here.
79 / 100
Tried from cask at Jester King Brewery in the Hill Country outside Austin.
Pours a firm, maroon-brown colour that looks quite dark, but which might just be haze. Head is beige-tan in colour, and forms a solid, fine, frothy ring. Lace forms in pleasant long streaks. Carbonation is fine and powdery. All up, it looks really good.
Nose is immediately firmly funky and vinous, with a good dose of barrel to the aroma. This is balanced by some fruit: perhaps some peach or nectarine, apricot pip and a hint of gooseberry, which helps it attach more to those vinous qualities. It's a nice aroma: reminds me of Belgium.
Light, acidic entry to the palate. Definitely peaches here witha hint of smooth oak. A pleasingly crafted tartness develops towards the middle, leaving it long and mildly astringent, again gripped by some light woody characters. Finish has some grapeskin notes, more fruit and a linger and bite of tartness in the aftertaste.
Feel it tight and sharp, which works well for the style.
The acid is high in this beer—higher than even is usual for a Jester King beer. But it's purposeful, and it's used to great stylistic effect here. This perhaps is the most well-rounded, most clearly crafted and defined brew I've had from JK.
75 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. 2009 vintage.
Pours a dusty brown colour, lighter than expected in hue early on, but forming a rich ruby tone in the centre of the glass with some opacity from hazing. Head forms a very mild ring of yellowish beige that stays quite fine and persistent, but leaves little lace. Carbonation is swift but very fine, forming a powdery mass of excited bubbles when tilted. Looks pretty good.
Nose certainly lacks tartness, but makes up for this in pure unadulterated vanilla-tinged oxidation. OK, the vanilla tinge is an adulteration. Indeed, it's odd for this—the oak gives it the aroma of an BA Imperial Stout, but there's this persistent twang to it from the oxidation that leaves it feeling very thin. Some mild suggestion of tartness does come through as it warms (and perhaps only after I've tasted it), leaving a mild balsamic reduction quality to it, with hints of pepper and ink. To be honest, I was unimpressed when I first took a whiff, but the longer it goes on and the more it warms, the more complex it seems. By the end, I'm suitably impressed.
The taste certainly lets the Oud Bruin characters come out, with a restrained acidity causing some rather vinous qualities for the palate. Indeed, there's a thin bite to it that seems certainly more wine-like than beer-like, even accounting for the acidity. The oak accentuates this as well, coming through on the back with a rather woody finish. Finish is rather tannic, with a bit of darkness permeating the oak, and leaving the afterpalate very dry. Some raisin or currant sweetness tries to balance things in the latter half, but it's fighting a losing battle.
Feel is loose and thin—not bad for a sour, but it does accentuate the fact that it's very sharp. I can't help but feel that a slightly thicker feel may aid the beer, not the least because a bit of additional body and sweetness would probably promote more complexities in the flavour.
Overall, it's pretty interesting stuff. 2009 is maybe getting on a little, despite the fact that a beer like this should cellar well for many years. The oxidation does come up, and the beer is feeling a little stretched. Still, it's certainly one I'm very pleased to have sampled.
77 / 100
25cl brown bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill.
Pours a clear and light-bodied red-brown, with a filmy head that persists as a ring of fine beige foam. Lacing is excellent. Carbonation is very minimal, almost non-existent: were it not for the presence of the head it almost looks completely uncarbonated. Overall, though, it looks pretty good.
Nose is very pleasant. Dark fruits, oak, barrel, funk, vinous acidity with overtones of metal, gravel and spice. It's very full and forward as well, meaning it exposes you to everything in one huge hit. Lovely stuff.
Taste is also good, although the weight of the body harms it a bit here. There's a solid front-palate of dark soaked fruits, followed by a pronounced vinous tartness through the middle. Towards the back though, there's a phantom border of carbonation that separates this rich, tart front from the back, which is rather dry and empty. It finishes pleasantly clean, with a little linger of orange peel and oak, but there's perhaps something missing. It's still excellent, however.
Overall, really it's very good indeed. There's so much complexity, especially on the nose and on the front of the palate, and the lightness on the back really aids the drinkability. For a 5% beer, it's impressive the amount of flavour that's packed in: it's a lesson to anyone who thinks that *only* is bigger better. I liked it a lot.
78 / 100
Tried from a bottle at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst. And as a little piece of trivia: at the time of writing, this is my 2,500th review on BeerAdvocate.
Pours a deep brownish red in colour, very clear and with a solid weight that makes it feel like an uncut ruby. Head is white with a depth to the colour, head is firm and a little filmy. Lace forms in big rings around the edge of the glass. Carbonation is very solid making the beer look alive. Looks good.
Nose is great. Solid tartness and plenty of barrel characters giving oak and a slight vinous note. There's rounded malt underneath it giving it some heft. Characters of anise, muscatels, cherry stem and earth come through as well. It doesn't punch with intensity, but the complexity is great.
Taste is light on entry with a bright, clean crispness and some basso malt presence. Solid cherry characters come through the centre, but still rather sweet. At the back there's more barrel notes—a touch of oxidation and a clean, light tartness. Some sweetness sticks around towards the finish. Feel is light but smooth with some acid providing a bite.
Overall, this is tasty stuff. It's perhaps a little bit sweet, but it's well crafted with plenty of classic characters. Very tasty stuff.
59 / 100
Pours a dark cherry colour, clear. Head is light beige, bubbly and foamy. Quite pleasant, but more lace/head would be nice.
Smell is very pungent and funky, almost to the point of offence. Sulfurous and solventy, slight salty sweaty note, oxidised red wine and masses of pepper. Fascinating, but I find it slightly unpleasant.
Taste is funky, peppery, dark and mysterious. Loads of tart, vinegary acidity from the get-go, with big dollops of merlot, black pepper, currants and burnt toffee/molasses. I like the acidity and the complexity, but I really couldn't drink too much of this.
Sharp pull as expected on the mouthfeel, finishes surprisingly thick and pleasant.
Can't say I'm fully reconciled with this style. I can see this particular example being well loved, but it doesn't quite sit right with me. Good luck to it.
61 / 100
Pours a murky dark, but clear, red colour. Sudsy white head, not much to it at all. Not much lace. Nice colour but otherwise pretty meh.
Chocolatey and Belgian on the nose. Lots of dark fruit and pie/cake spice. Sultanas, dates, figs and nutmeg, cloves. Slight tart note, but all part and parcel of the fruity edge. Intriguing.
Sour, and burnt at times on the palate. Largely a wild yeast note, with characters of currants, black pepper, brown sugar and molasses as well. Clove is big, some carbon and mediciney notes. Weird, a little off-putting at times but there's enough there to like.
Fluid mouthfeel, but a bit thin and a little bite at the end. Don't love it.
Not for everyday drinking; has some nice elements but it doesn't quite have as much balance as others of the style I've had.
70 / 100
Pours a murky red colour, with thin whispy beige head, forming a ring of large bubbles with minimal lace. Looks OK, but nothing too special. Yes, a beer can look too special.
Smells very odd, with a big smokey, boozey funkiness. There's a petroleum level of strength to this, with a hint of salt, pepper and some underlying prune-raising dark fruitiness. Definitely intriguing, also quite likeable, but yeah, flavour will have to rein itself in a bit if I'm going to enjoy this, I fear.
Taste starts out with massive smoke, plus oak. Tartness is there from the get-go as well, with big jammy, plummy fruit and a tart edge. Spicy peppery notes towards the back, with a large tobacco herbal character coming through as well as mint and galangal. Intense, pretty polarising and wild even in and of itself. Maybe not such a firm hand on the flavour rudder here, but there's lots to grab onto and enjoy.
Fluid body; texture comes through late. Touch of sharp booze on the back. Not bad.
A little too much, maybe. Lots of spice/booze and maybe could have used a bit more fruit to complement the slight acidity. Nice, but just a little overcooked for me.
Bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a murky brown hue, with a filmy, acidic-looking head of mild white. Pretty thick body, especially for the style, and the carbonation almost remains static when tilted. Very fine, spotty lacing. Looks flat, thick and a little ominous.
Nose is oddly savoury. Speckled salt and pepper sit above a round balsamic acidity the tends towards sweetness. The sweeter body gives hints of cherries and geranium. Very odd, and a little bit unpleasant.
Taste is maybe a little better. Here there's a woody note, much like an aged balsamic vinegar, but without the biting, cutting tartness that follows. There's a hint of dark grains giving a touch of biscuity sweetness, and a true slightly lactic acidity on the back the sharpen it up. It's pretty odd, again, but it works slightly better here.
Overall, it doesn't really work. It has such weirdnesses to it that aren't integrated or explained with the other characters or as a whole. Probably one of my least favourite sours.
79 / 100
On-tap at the barrel room in Portland.
Pours, indeed, bruin, with a touch of red and some haze in the firm, but fluid body. Head forms a solid ring of yellow-white. Not much visible carbonation. Overall, a very solid and very appealing looking beer.
Nose is fabulous. Spicy and acidic but very complex. Some earthy pepper, with oak lending a smoothness but also a contrasting woody sharpness that mingles with a minerally edge and a brusque sweetness like smoky caramel. Impressive stuff.
Light clean entry moves into a crisp, vegetative flavour that leaves some pithy cherry. Back is where the business is though, where a mellow and surprisingly smooth vanilla note comes up to give a velvety tone to the omnipresent acid. Feel is super smooth, with the sense that there's prickles under the smooth veneer.
Very impressed with this one. It's pretty light overall, and the acid is pronounced, but for some reason you just don't notice it when you're drinking it. Great stuff.
59 / 100
Pours a deep brown hue, slightly hazed and relatively opaque, with flashed of ruby at the deep parts when held to the light. Head is fine but insubstantial, forming a slick film across the top of the glass, and leaving some patchy, slightly scummy lacing. Body is fine but slick, and the carbonation is tiny and intricate. Looks good.
Nose is slightly tart and dark, with some pleasantly sweet roasted characters bouncing of the acidityâit gives it the sumptuous feel of chocolate dipped cherries. Hints of oak come through as well, although these are veiled by the light tartness. Slight peppery characters come through as well. Overall, it's a really nice and clear Oud Bruin.
Taste is certainly flatter, and to be honest, a little disappointing after the tantalising hints on the nose. Acidity is really pared back, leaving just a twinkle of funk through the centre of the palate, and a subtle twist to the sweeter, fruitier notes. Feel is very light, and there's almost no residual on the back, meaning that the sweetness tends to be the last thing you remember. It's not a great finish.
Feel is quite thinâit would really be aided by a touch of acidity on the finish to crispen and revitalise the palate.
Overall, I'm a little disappointed. I was ready for a really good Oud Bruin after the nose, and it pretty much fell flat on its face.
74 / 100
Lovely unassuming bottle picked up from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a light but unassuming brown-red colour, with what seems to be a filmy, unadventurous head, that rapidly settles out into a fine crest of beige foam. Extremely powdery carbonation forms when tilted, leaving a slick film of lace wherever it goes. Although after a while the head dissipates, it's a very fine looking beer.
Nose is wondrously full of rich oak barrels, mingled with subtle vinous acidity. The body and depth lends some deep grain notes, hinting at chocolate and resiny bark. The acidity is never overdone, but it performs a duty in lightening the rest of the nose. Really lovely.
Taste is smooth and light, and very nicely balanced between the grain/malt sweetness that lends the hint of cocoa and chocolate, and the acidity, which leavens and crisps up the palate. Unfortunately, the acidity also flattens any potential complexity: leaving the beer smooth and consistent, but filtering out any oddities. Acidity ends up being rather acute, being strikingly dominant on the back.
Feel is very light, leaving a sharpness, but no real impression on the mouth.
Overall, I was a little disappointed with this brew. It had so much potential, but really slammed it hard with the acidity, steamrolling any true complexity or subtlety that might be there. While the elements themselves might be very pleasant, it fails somewhat as an overall package.
84 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a deep dark mahogany colour, heavy in the body, with a decent heft to it. Flashes of ruby come out when held to the light, rather pleasantly. Head is lacklustre, as you often get with wild ales. This one forms a layer of large quarter-centimetre bubbles across the top that sit looking dormant and oily. There's some very fine carbonation visible at the corners. Overall, a good looking, if slightly mysterious brew.
Nose is sharp and old, giving slightly astringent acetone characters, along with dry flaky chocolate and ancient woody depth. Everything about it suggests that it's old and aged, giving a weird but compelling complexity.
Taste is gorgeous, and in some senses makes sense of the mystery on the nose and in the appearance. Here, a tight acidity strikes through the centre, lending an odd counterpoint against some of the sweet dark characters and the almost spiritous oak notes. Characters of dark cherries, carob, tannic wine and white pepper come through, along with a lengthy exhalation of booze. It's complex and challenging, but oddly moreish as well, setting your palate up for the next sip.
Wonderful brew from Haand. This is a complex, delightful and exciting beer, that gives something unique to the drinker.
62 / 100
Pours a dark, dark red colour. Looks swampy brown but flashes crimson up to the light. Head is beige, lovely and dense but sinks steadily. Lace could be stickier.
Smell is malty, largely, with big, dark, Belgian-style complex sugars; sultana, brown sugar and molasses, just lifted at the back by a slight funky tartness. Hint of cranberry and some organic funk. Not bad, tartness could be more emphatic though.
Taste is a bit of a mish-mash. starts out with mild fresh tartness, giving plummy vinous notes that then gets a rich, mulchy sweetness midway, with dried fruit and some almost stouty roasted espresso notes, before the characteristic Flanders sourness returns on the back - balsamic vinegary edge and tempered by the wood-aging and some dried bark notes late. Again tartness could be more emphatic to freshen this up, but it's not bad.
Bit of a drag from the mild yeast, dries up a bit too much on the back, and otherwise a touch thin. OK for style but nothing special.
Not a bad brew, but some more sourness could make this a real winner; just seems overly malty at times.
86 / 100
Tried the 2009 and the 2002 side-by-side at Kulminator. I didn't realise at the time that there were separate entries for each vintage here, so only took detailed notes on the 2009, with a few comparisons thrown in.
Pours a light, hazed reddish-brown. Head is frothy and consistent, off-white in colour that sustains rather well. Certainly looks better than the 2002, which was rather flat, understandably. Lacing is patterned but cagey, holding itself ok. Good body. Looks decent.
Nose is crisp with light acidity, giving a sharpness, but blunted by the rounded, sweeter characters. Smooth vanilla makes a dent in the balsamic sweer-sour character. Slight hint of oak-age on the nose, but pale in comparison to the 2002. Slight hint of pepper, which was totally absent in the 7 year-old variety. Lovely.
Taste is smooth but consistent. Peppery spicy with a good leavened and stretchy acidity and a touch of oak. Wood, spice, acidityâit's a nice combination. It smooth enough that although the acidity has the edge of astringency, it never gets there. Feel is light but dry, the smooth carbonation adds a creaminess, you feel, but the carbonation itself is almost unnoticeable.
Awesome beer. It's very interesting to see a 7 year vertical difference. This one was certainly better younger, in my opinion.
88 / 100
Bottle at De Dulle Griet in Gent, Belgium.
Pours a dark red-brown, ruby bright when held to the light. Head is full and thick and speckled with some large-bubbled carbonation, and pleasantly beige. Lovely looking brew all up.
Nose is pleasantly tart and savoury, giving characters of salt-and-vinegar chips and rye toast. Some yeasty, savoury vegemite tones, and a hint of whole grains. It's deep and lovely, and the acidity is tempered and refined. Awesome.
Taste is also similar, with those savoury and acidic notes giving a moreish palate. Hints of salt, sweet balsamic vinegar, a touch of cherry and oak. It's so full-flavoured, but complex and just plain delicious. Feel is light and refreshingâit gives enough basis to the flavours, but accentuates their light pleasantness.
Awesome beer. A lovely tart but rich and full, complex brown ale. One of my favourites from Belgium.
73 / 100
Pours a mahogany hue with thin, flat head that disappears quickly, just a volatile ring of beige lace left behind. Looks flat and uninteresting. Disappointing after the pop of the cork.
Smell is rich and complex. Nice and tart with balsamic vinegar notes, a vinous touch, some fig characters and washed-rind cheese providing pong at the back. Nice complex tartness with a pleasant fruity sweetness underlying. Very fine.
Taste is pretty tart from the get-go. Lots of citric notes - fruit with cranberry, guava, fig and a balsamic vinegar edge to it. Never sharp or puckeringly tart though, just sour with rich fruity backbone. Nice and plummy midway, touch of rich stone-fruit flavour, and then a sweet, figgy character towards the back. Touch of brown sugar and golden syrup as well, with the slightest hint of rubbery funk on the back. Very smooth but tart palate; refreshing and fruity.
A bit flat on the feel; slick and smooth but lacking texture. Luckily this means no sharpness which has been the biggest letdown on some of the more sour styles.
A tasty beer, very skilfully constructed. I fear this one has been the victim of some poor storage choices but it's still held up very nicely.
Pours a dark cola colour with pale beige head. Whispy bubbles around the top but no substance to it, leaves a fairly nice trail of off-white lace around. Looks quite good.
Smells basically like fruit cake and spice cookies. Sweet ginger snap with banana, nutmeg and lots of raisiny goodness. Yeah, lightly sweet with decent spice. I might enjoy this kind of smell from a Belgian dark ale but this is meant to be an Oud Bruin so it's not stylistically apt and it's far too sweet.
Taste is insanely sweet and insanely insane. Syrupy with lots of dark fruit, massive raisins and molasses. Yeah, dark with practically nothing but sweetness. It's syrupy, with some nice peaks, but there isn't nearly enough complexity, just a big splash of golden syrupy stickiness. Touch of that spice cookie taste, some nutmeg, ginger and a touch of banana coming through but it's a big meh for me. Way syrupy, not at all bruiny. Disappointing.
Thick and rich mouthfeel as expected. Bit flat, could use more texture. Not bad under the circumstances but not to style, again.
Interesting that so far only myself and dgilks - a fellow Aussie - have reviewed this beer and I'm curious as to whether we're dealing with a genuinely bad, stylistically inapt beer or a case of import spoilage since this has travelled halfway around the world. Bearing that in mind, what's currently in my glass is neither an Oud Bruin or pleasant to drink.
81 / 100
Purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill, after mistakenly purchasing the apparently inferior Oud Bruin on my last jaunt.
Pours quite a pale golden colour, but with some depth to it. Body is heavy, and forms a tight if filmy head of white. Lacing is sudsy and sporadic. Carbonation is quite consistent. Looks decent enough.
Nose is redolent with oak and Belgian wildness. Big acidic characters and rank organic funk, give it a vinous complexity along with an unsophisticated, unapologetic rawness. The balance is wonderfully done, giving meaty, organic barnyard characters to a refined and delicate note. Phew, what a nose!
Taste is lighter, but also nicely done. The funk disappears here, leaving the vinous acidity as the only sign of the wildness. But even this is very delicately handled. We don't get the long drawn out splice of sourness throughout, merely a dollop on the front, which is cleansed and leavened by a dry and clean finish. When the acidity drops, we get some more complex esters of green hay, light and slightly smooth sulphur characters and a peppery Belgian spice.
Feel is very light, aided by the acidity, and helps to tame what is genuinely a big beer.
Amazingly drinkable for its size and heft, and really nicely balanced. This showcases some of the magnificent things that the Belgians do, and that the rest of the world only dabbles with.
Pours a genuinely pleasant red-brown colour, quite clear, but lusciously coloured. Head is consistent and frothy, a very light-brown tinged with pink. Lacing is thick-bubbled and sudsy. Carbonation is very fine and very languid. Overall, it looks damn good.
Nose is sweet, with vanilla custard dominant, although there's a slight oak and acidity coming through as well. Some vinous characters, and some earthy wood. The sweetness is surprisingly strong, however, and it mellows the other characters very nicely.
Taste, is really, extremely disappointing. There's almost no hint of oak or acidity, and the sweetness only exists as a phantasm on the palate, leaving the main event to an empty watery character, and a slightly metallic copper bitterness. Very faint bite on the back, but not even a round Belgian character to finish it up, just that metallic note. It's not unpleasant, but it's very tame and very disappointing.
Feel is also very flat, despite the nice-looking carbonation and the hint of depth to the body.
Extremely disappointed in this one. I hear the Aged Pale is better, but it would have to be. This doesn't even exhibit the classical Belgian characteristics which would give it an edge, and for an Oud Bruin, I expected a lot more.
Certainly not a bad beer, and certainly one I'd drink happily if it were available, but also as certainly not something extravagant and special.
75 / 100
Pours a clear gold colour, flat really with no bead. Modest crown of white head with nice chunks of sticky lace. Would like more head, but otherwise, is nice.
Smell is oaky to the X-Treme, and that gives me a vinous sense. Quite sour and woody with berry and currant notes, lots of white grape skin as well. Very appealing, just a tad simple though with the wood perhaps being too dominant.
Taste is quite funky, with lots of wood. Citric notes, young and underripe grape with white wine vinegar edge. Oak comes through strong on the finish, but then peters out with a dry and slightly spicy finish. Robust belgian yeast barges in to save the day and finishes off with a slight mild malt underlying to the back. Very nice beer, with great sour notes, good complexity. Just a bit underwhelming at times, where I want more malt or even more wood, but otherwize very good.
Quite a sizzly texture, champagney edge to it but a nice viscosity to the body.
Well aged, infected and brewed. The balance is struck well to make a tasty funky beer.