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Brother David's Belgian-style Double Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brother David's Belgian-style Double AleBrother David's Belgian-style Double Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

394 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 394
Reviews: 258
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%
Wants: 8
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-11-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 394 | Reviews: 258 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of abcsofbeer
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle. The liquid is a cloudy, orange brown color with a thin head resulting from a slow pour. The head sticks around quite nicely to the bottom of the glass, leaving sticky, thick sheets of lace.

The aroma is a fruity caramel malt smell that is not very well presented. The flavor is a heavy malt taste with some sweet grape on top. I detect very little hop flavor. The mouthfeel is chewy and very tangy and has some nice touches of warming alcohol. The carbonation is fizzy and everlasting. Overall, I thought this was a fine example of the style.

abcsofbeer, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of Domingo
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saw this brew in a magazine and figured it was worth a shot.
Pours a cloudy brown color. Pretty typical of a Dubbel or some of the heartier belgian style ales. Head forms quickly and just as quickly dissipates, though.
Smells boozy, yesty, and a combination of dried fruit and unsweetended chocolate.
Flavor starts off like it's going to be sweet and candy-like...but the sweetness dies and you're left with an authentic dubbel flavor at first. As you swallow, it's almost like the depth and sweetness go away. Pretty interesting as I seemed to pick up different flavors as it warmed. The thing is, if this beer's even slightly chilled, I found most of the flavor to be kind of average.
Kind of thin. I wish the carbonation had staying power.
Boozyness really only seems to be in effect while the brew is cool. Once it warms up, the other flavors and smells come out. At the same time, it shouldn't exactly be served totally warm either. I think the flavor's just a little subdued. Of note it's more drinkable than many of it's Belgian inspirations.
Pretty authentic for an American take on an abbey brew. I think the problem is that is lacks consistency. One sips great, while another is average.

Domingo, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of johnbonham1980
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I really enjoy this beer, although the first time I had it was a different experience than the second. I think A.V. may have a bit of an inconsistency issue w/ this one, as I picked up some undesirable metallic tastes that weren't apparent with my first bottle. It's not an incredibly distracting flavor component and probably entirely natural but still detracted from the overall enjoyment.

Poured a very deep reddish brown with basically zero head and lacing into a wine goblet, appearance is reminiscient of a port wine.

Carbonation is light and mouthfeel is smooth and thick.

Flavors and aromas are layered and rich. Banana and cherry fruit, bready malts, baking spices, raisin, port wine, with a definite caramel component and some light chocolate accents. I also found a very nice baked apple component to it I hadn't noticed the first time.

This beer's an incredible buy at its abv % of 9, and I love the fact that Anderson Valley has delved into Belgian-style beers because they're doing a pretty good job of it. Superior to the Triple in my opinion but I'm not a huge fan of Triples anyway...

Definitely worth a buy. Not as huge a fan of this beer as I was initially but still would pick it up again.

johnbonham1980, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of jeffjfindley
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep mahogany, classic dubbel color. The head retention on mine was great.

Smell: Dark fruits and bananas.

Taste: Very rich and fruity, but has a very slightly unpleasant acidic thing on the aftertaste. Almost no trace of alcohol whatsoever.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy & nice, could have used more carbonation. Definitely goes down a little sticky, but good.

Drinkability: I had this on tap at the Yard House in Long Beach last weekend and loved it. I'll review it on tap next time to compare, because this doesn't seem like the same beer at all. Based upon that, as well as wild fluctuation in the other reviews of this beer I'm led to believe there are some issues with consistency. Regardless, it's very good, and living in a mighty shadow. It costs half of what a real Trappist does, and tastes about half as good. Out of the bottle at least.

jeffjfindley, Oct 17, 2006
Photo of 3Vandoo
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark burgundy, no head retention at all. Shy golden hues dances in the beer.

Smell of berries, yeast and spices.

Taste is alcoholic, followed by a yeasty flavours that comes and take the "bouquet" of the beer, nothing much

not bad but not great,

3Vandoo, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

As I pour this the beer shows a brilliantly clear brown color, but it sits in my glass a completely opaque dark brown color. The beer has an initially two-finger thick, brownish tinged tan head. As I pour this a fruity note similar to rum wafts from my tulip glass. Concentrated sweet malt notes are found initially in the nose. The nose is a melange of caramelized malts, brown sugar, toasted glazed bread and an underlying fruitiness reminiscent of raisins and prunes. The aroma is definitely missing the spicy notes that are in a good Belgian Dubbel.

Thick and sweet up front, almost a shock to the palate. One expects a double to be rich yes, but with a certain lightness and quaffability that this brew doesn't even remotely have. Sweet with sticky caramelized malt notes, raisin like fruitiness and a touch of toasted grain character. The toasted grain notes help to add a touch of balance to the otherwise dominant sweet character.

This is not a bad beer, there are certainly no flavor flaws, but one expects an entirely different beer from a Belgian styled Dubbel; adding some spiciness and substantially drying this beer out would certainly be a good place to start. As is it might pair well with a chocolate dessert.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Gueuzedude, Sep 24, 2006
Photo of clickpush
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour: 22oz bomber to tulip glass. Comes out very dark but transparent, extremely bubbly both within the glass and in the head. The tan head is small and thin, going down quickly to an ample halo and some small lacings.

Nose: Extremely strong aroma with noticeable alcohol content. Chocolate, caramel, wine, mint, plums. Very strong malts.

Mouth: Chocolate and bananas! Mmm. Some warmth in the exhale that leaves a lasting tart cherry flavor behind. Finishes with a bubble gum taste. Carbonation is nice and fizzy all the way through.

clickpush, Sep 06, 2006
Photo of jmz62565
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a deep dark mahogny with a smallish white. The smell is weak with only a hint of alcohol and malt. The taste is all alcohol, sweet malt, brown sugar, and dark fruit. Not bad, but I expected more. The m/f is light and the flavors mix pretty well,not great. This is an OK beer, average Double, I really expected more from a brewery like Anderson Valley.

jmz62565, Sep 06, 2006
Photo of nicefix
2.42/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sealed with some sort of black plastic that looks like wax, but underneath it's just a typical cap on a bomber. After a hard pour I got a small off white head with various sized bubbles which quickly diminished and there was some decent lacing. The color was a cloudy dark brown. Smelled of alcohol and maybe sour apple. Taste of sour apples up front with a good amount of carbonation and a pretty heavy alcohol and medium bitter finish. Medium body.

I really didn't like this one too much. I've had a few Belgian Dubbels and have enjoyed them all immensely. So even though this one is not actually brewed in Belgium, I expected to get something similar...nope, this one pretty much sucked.

nicefix, Aug 31, 2006
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up along with the a four pack and a 750 of Thelonius Monk's ale for only 15 bucks can't beat that, once again people go buy beer at the Six Pack Store in Moon if your in the Pittsburgh area. Not the most in depth selection but deals are everywhere. Bottle is rubber sealed with black wax looking polymer and it pours a deep caramel ruby tone with a lucious tan head leaves fine streaks of lacing. Aroma contains hints of coffee and anise notes with an overall vinous appeal, touch of powdered cocoa and some caramel toffee malt tones as well. Taste has a great mix of tart apple raisin going on with soft chocolate and toffee sweetness herbal hop bitterness is mild and blended well bready tone not the best overall American brewed dubbel I've had but it does the trick tasty 22oz portion. Mouthfeel is creamy carbonation is smooth but by no means effervescent smooth going down even coats the palate definitely classified as medium bodied. Drinkability is solid not something I would go for over a true Belgian but definitely something that I enjoyed.

WVbeergeek, Aug 29, 2006
Photo of freed
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another gift from a friend. Pours a dullish slurry brown. Moderately opaque and brief fuzz of carbonation.

Aroma is modest but will admit to some estery and fruity tendancies.

Taste is on the simple side, but carmel, yeast and fruit creates a nice, drinkable and enjoyable beverage. Raisin-like sweetness is pleasant without fatiguing the pallete. Body could be bigger, and some extra complexity would make for a delicious beer.

freed, Aug 13, 2006
Photo of yemenmocha
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours chestnut brown with no head.

On the nose is an old attic wood chest smell, shelac maybe, with mold and cheap caramel candy aromas.

On the palate is an off-toffy taste with a caramel chew flavor. Some unpleasant alcohol is present, and this finish is on the weak side for an Abbey. Easy to drink but not very appetizing. Worth trying if presented before you but not worth seeking out, especially at the premium price for the large waxed bottle. Disappointing.

yemenmocha, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anderson Valley-
Brother David's Belgium Style Double Ale

Apearance- dark ruby reddish brown with a thick tan head. Slight lacing and the head holds up well.
Smell- Chocolate mixed with Fleishman's yeast. The yeast aroma is nasty!! The chocolate smell and a light dried fruit (prune) note cover up the yeast!
Taste- Chocolate mixed with a prune/ raisin flavor. Slight oak taste slips in.
Mouthfeel- smooth and warm up front with a slight alcohol aftertaste. Coats the tongue.

Overall- A decent Double that wasn't too adverturious. I nice dinner/ sipping beer.

NJpadreFan, Jul 29, 2006
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - a ruby, purplish pour. A thin light tan head hangs around for a minute or two before settling to an uneven cover.

Aroma - a sugar-infused lump of dough, alcohol vapors coming in after the head settles, turning it slightly sweet like raisins. Doesn't really develop much beyond that, a little disappointing actually, but it's not bad.

Taste - interesting. Malty, slightly sweet start, nicely roasted robust grain. Turns very chocolaty on the swallow, with some caramel and raisiny sweetness checking in. A side taste of sourness just on the edge there, the 'little wild' mentioned on the label. That fades, leaving an aftertaste of warm chocolate and alcohol. The abv is ever-present but well-complementary and not intimidating.

Mouthfeel - strongly carbonated, you'll be burping quite a bit during this. On the lighter side as body goes, but it doesn't lessen the enjoyment.

Drinkability - it's a good $5 dubbel and a fine example from Boonville.

brewdlyhooked13, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of mjc410
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Opaque brown. Short, rapidly shrinking tan head. Leaves nice lacing on the side of the Duvel glass, though. Sediment, and various yeasties floating about, are conspicuously absent.

S: Restrained dark fruits, sweet dark malt. Smells wonderful, but I wish it were stronger.

T: Mildly alcoholic up front, spicy dark fruit, leaves a spicy alcoholic aftertaste.

M: Smooth, medium thick, low carbonation. Feels nice.

D: High - I'd almost call this a "dubbel light." If it had the yeast sediment, it would have a lot more character, but as it is, it pairs quite nicely with some bbq chicken. Very approachable.

mjc410, Jul 25, 2006
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought based on bottle appearance, 1pt 6oz with black wax poured over the cap and neck. Poured into a Watou chalice.

Appearance is dark brownish black with a tannish thin head. The smell is pretty much on target for a dubbel, dark fruity aromas like plums, raisins, and figs. A little sweetness in the smell and also a hint of burning alcohol.

The flavor is a little too alcoholic for me, but it includes the fruity esters which is nice. Not unlike Trois Pistoles but not as flavorful in my opinion.

I think it was worth the try, not bad and I finished the bottle but I don't think I'll buy it again.

TurdFurgison, Jul 23, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After this won best in show at the California Stat Fair a week or so ago, I decided to break a bottle out of my cellar.

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights. Low carbonation. Light lacing.

N: Brown sugar, nuts, roasted barley, chocolate malts.

T: Tastes authentic but not great. Sweet dark malts, a bowl of nuts, tons of brown sugar, Belgian yeast, biscuits, toffee, dried spice.

MF: Sweet, nearly full body, soda like.

D: Good but not great. Easy to drink despite the sweetness but not terribly interesting.

DaPeculierDane, Jul 10, 2006
Photo of AaronHomoya
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz brown bottle with waxed seal top.

Poured into my chalice glass, this beer was a very dark brown with some slight hints of red. Minimal head faded quickly. Almost no visible carbonation.

Smell was sweet of malt, with some alcohol, a bit of roastiness and some dark fruit aromas as well.

The taste was a great mix of malt sweetness, some roasted malt and dark fruit and a touch of hops at the finish. Some alcohol flavor in there too, as well as caramel. A tasty beer that's heavy on malt flavor but has just enough hops to balance.

Mouthfeel was medium-light and had very little carbonation. Clean feeling, though.

Drinkability was very good for 8.50% ABV and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole bottle. A nice break from the super-hopped beers I usually go for.

AaronHomoya, Jul 10, 2006
Photo of TheBungyo
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Clickpush for including this in our trade.
Poured black in the center, brown at the edges. Scant head. No lacing. In spite of that, the body looked pretty good. Nose is slightly peppery, winelike, sealike, mingled with dried dark berries. Unique.
The taste brings to mind those same dark berries, a dash of wine, nuttiness, a bit of coffee like bitterness, followed by a slight sourness. I'd like to add that in many cases, when American breweries try and brew a Belgian style it seems to be a clone of another beer ... in this case this beer is VERY unique and I applaude that. The taste is good, not great ... but I score extra just for the boldness in trying to give us BA's something new. I wouldn't mind aging one of these and seeing what unfolds taste wise.

TheBungyo, Jun 18, 2006
Photo of Skidz
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out bright amber-brown and sits deep brown in the glass with a small, tan head, fading quickly to a glassy surface, no real lacings to speak of.

Smells of sweet, sugary candies, toffee, caramel, dates and prunes. Hints of bubblegum and a mild woodiness are also present.

Tastes mildly sweet up front with lots of caramel and toffee flavors. Moderate alcoholic spiciness and grassy bitterness. Dark fruits run all along: raisins, dates and prunes. Finishes moderately bitter with plenty of deep, toasted malt flavors.

Crisp and clean in the mouth with a fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation and a medium body.

Strangely sugary to the nose and fairly lopsided in flavor. It has its perks, but lacks a desireable amount of mysterious complexities.

Skidz, Jun 10, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dusky crimson with ripe orange edges. Backlighting brings out the bold richness of those colors and allows one to appreciate a fine sprinking of particulates and a restrained carbonation. The head is a thick slice of semi-stiff creaminess that is a cross between pale orange and lightest caramel. A fine looking dubbel.

Fruitiness dominates the nose. Let's go with brown mushy apples and pears, maybe even figs. It's slightly more sour than sweet. I'm fairly certain, however, that the candi sugar (listed in the ingredients as demerara sugar) will make a good showing on the palate. There's some amount of phenolic yeastiness, although not as much as in most Belgian dubbels.

I'm happy to report that this beer tastes authentic. I'm not sure why an American brewer would brew a Belgian-style ale and use anything other than true Trappist yeast. Anderson Valley has done themselves (and us) a service by using the real deal. That would not have been sufficient, though. The rest of the beer has to hold up its end of the dubbel bargain. Thankfully it does.

I'm not saying that Brother David's is a dead ringer for a world-class Belgian, because it isn't. Its biggest sin is that it lacks the truly extraordinary depth and complexity that is contained in every last drop of those amazing Old World versions. It does hit the major style benchmarks, however, and is, therefore, good beer.

Fruity still runs the show. The flavor profile consists of fermented, bruised apples; fresh figs; and lightly caramelized sugar. It leans toward darker flavors of cocoa and molasses without quite getting there. Sour leads by a nose over sweet, which leads by a nose over bitter. As the middle of the bottle approaches, the beer does gain some complexity.

Excellent job of alcohol masking; I would never have guessed 8.5% (my bottle says 9.0%). That's getting into tripel territory and the fact that this is still such a friendly, easy drinking beer is nothing short of amazing. The mouthfeel is just fine. I'm always up for a little more viscosity, but have no quarrel with a lighter than average, slightly less bubbled dubbel.

Brother David's is a more than respectable attempt at a true Belgian dubbel. In fact, I don't remember too many other American versions that I've thought as highly of. Anderson Valley has a winner here.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 03, 2006
Photo of Kendo
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown with ruby hints when held up to the light. A one-and-a-half finger ivory head fizzed up and quickly disappeared with absolutely no lacing. . . . Scent: "oaky" came to mind at first, but as I continued to sniff, I sensed burnt sugar and malt. . . . As for taste -- sweetness predominated, reminding me of burnt sugar, molasses and raisins, though the alcohol was also up front and there was a slight hop tang on the back of the tongue after swallowing. The more I drank, the more I noticed that alcohol warmth. . . As for the mouthfeel, I thought it felt a little bit slick, with below average carbonation. . . . I didn't find it to be tremendously drinkable; it took me awhile to finish half the bottle (I split it with a friend). . . . I'm glad to have tried it, but probably wouldn't buy it again.

Kendo, May 06, 2006
Photo of Crosling
2.78/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Blackened ruby with a large, fizzy, off-white head. Malt-accented aromatics, with hints of molasses, chocolate, coffee, roast and charcoal, along with a light hint of prunes, cassis and brown sugar. Medium bodied with a creamy and alcoholic texture. Flavor is malt accented, with little yeast presence, along with light chocolate, roast and nut flavors. Hints of raisins and prunes as well, but light. Laughable compared to true Belgians. Too roasty, more like a stout.

Crosling, Apr 11, 2006
Photo of scooter231
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, reddish color with barely any head at all. Smell is pure chocolate- so chocolatey- nothing but chocolate- a hint of maltyness, maybe, but ohhhh the chocolate goes on and on and on.

Taste is dark chocolate- it's surprisingly not overly sweet as one might expect, as one finds with, say, Brooklyn's chocolate stout- it's very deep. Mouthfeel is flattish and thin, doesn't really compliment the chocolateyness. Drinkability-wise, this is a very tasty and easy to drink brew. Alcohol is way sneaky, and it's just so tasty. A wonderful dessert beer.

scooter231, Apr 03, 2006
Photo of ommegangpbr
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle says this is 9%... perhaps a newer formula?
A decently rich and tasty dubbel. I think I enjoy this more than I enjoyed their tripel.
Chocolate, dark dark sweet cherries. Smells very malty. Tastes pretty malty on top of the other flavors.
The aforementioned 9% is not detectable in the flavor at all.
Better than I was expecting given many other reviews.
Pretty sweet, kinda thick... drinks a little like a doppelbock at times.
Stabs of red wine moments... might turn pretty winey when too old...
A pretty good job!

ommegangpbr, Mar 30, 2006
Brother David's Belgian-style Double Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 394 ratings.