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De Dolle Oerbier - Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers

Not Rated.
De Dolle OerbierDe Dolle Oerbier

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

791 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 791
Reviews: 447
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 64
Gots: 69 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-23-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 791 | Reviews: 447 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CWiggins
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now, the thing with De Dolle is that you don't know what style you're getting from the bottle. I first encountered this brewer's offerings at the Hi5 in Raleigh, when the waitress suggested the Dulle Teve. It was glorious, and since then I've had a couple more of those plus the Stille Nacht, which I also adore. The others I've had to research first on Beer Advocate, just to obtain some sense as to what I'll getting myself into. Oerbier is the first of my ventures into this strange land.

I poured this libation into a snifter, and immediately was struck by two things: the dark color (almost stout-like) and the nice, foamy head that formed on the surface. It was at least 1/4-inch thick and spaced evenly across the horizon. The color, head, and effervescence reminded me of Coca-Cola!

I took an interested sniff deep into the glass and noticed complex aromas of sweet fruits, malts, and a profound nuttiness. It smelled very clean and fresh.

The head had begun to dissipate by the time I took my first sip. I admit to being a bit overwhelmed by the bright cherry-like flavors that first attacked my tongue! This wasn't at all what I was expecting. It almost tastes as much like wine or soda as beer! The alcohol is hidden well in this strong flavor; you know it's there but there's too much going on to care. It has a lean texture and finishes with a bit of bitterness, malts, and warming alcohol. Very unusual.

I don't think I enjoy this particular flavor profile as much as the other De Dolle products I've tried, but that shouldn't stop me from developing a taste for it.

CWiggins, Dec 16, 2006
Photo of Minkybut
3.65/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer fell into my 16 oz glass with a very pretty foamy head. Everything about this beer was wild to me. I would like to try some of their other beers. I think it is a quality product and that the company will do well. I think beer advocates will like it. The smell and taste was very complexe and hard to explain. Yeasty and fruity to me. Right stiff % wise I would say. I would drink one again if offered but most likely will not purchase one again.

Minkybut, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of wedge
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, impenetrable brown with a huge foamy tan head that filled up every bit of my tulip glass. Through all the foam, the smell seems timid at first, fruity and spicy. As the head slips down to a beautiful, silky topping, the aromas open up to reveal powdered chocolate and toffee, berries, cherries, and other softly sweetened fruits. Tart with a very wine like center finishing with a noteable chocolate profile. The taste rushes over the tongue, coating it in complex flavors, including candied cherries. Big sour mouthfeel bristles with some carbonation and dries the sides of the tongue.

The taste is far more tart and vinous than the nose would suggest. Big flavors...I just wish it was a little less sour. Oh well. Good, powerful beer all around, suitable for an after dinner treat.

wedge, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of Shovelbum
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a voluminous brown head of fine bubbles. The foam continues to rise, Mt. Vesuvius style. Nice mahogany colored body underneath there though. Spits out aromas of dark cherries, alcohol and diaceytl straight out of the bottle. Hard to get much more of a whiff through all of this foam, but a touch of yeast is also detectable. Flavor is crisp malt, dark fruit and a healthy dose of caramel. A touch of peaty earth too. A nice supporting hop spiciness and bitterness. Plenty of sweetness, but a moderate well-attenuated body overall.

Tasty and well balanced—once you get through all of the foam that is. The head rates as as a sculptural masterpiece. A nice complexity of flavors, but nothing dominates or seems out of place. Oh, and check out that ABV-- you'd never know by taste alone.

Shovelbum, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of dgallina
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml slim brown bottle with no freshness date.

Pours cloudy brown with a small creamy white head, lots of lacing. Smells quite fresh. Citrus, plums, and candy sugar on a spicy vinous alcohol base. Explosive and ever-changing flavor is quite a surprise. Begins with a sweet-and-sour kick that alternates between sugary dark fruit malts and acidic wine notes. Brings toasted bread notes and significant spicy medicinal alcohol warmth in the center. Finishes with prickly spice-tinged alcohol. Medium body with excellent blend of carbonation and creaminess. A real winner all around!

dgallina, Nov 07, 2006
Photo of Rudgers73
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


I got a bottle that wasn't so old and it was great. It had everything the last bottle had without the stringent alcohol burn. This is a complex, real beer. Strong, bold, and tough. Everything I like in a beer.

I gotta get to this brewery some day...

Rudgers73, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of HardTarget
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle in Kansas City, MO.

Aroma: Leathery funk with some sour cherry and dark fruit

Appearance: Murky brown, big tan fluffy head that lasts long and laces hard.

Flavor: Soft leather that I think is a yeast characteristic, muted sour, hints of plum and other dark rum soaked fruits

Mouthfeel: Soft, fluffy, creamy, carbonation took a while to settle down.

Overall Impression: Package works well together, very Belgian, good craftsmanship, but it just didn’t inspire me.

HardTarget, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of dogfooddog
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

SPECL BREW2 on the bottle cap.

Pours dark with very heavy head filling half the glass. Smells of winey-acidic odors, almost a little sour.

Taste is almost like a barley-wine, very winey and a bit sweet, dark and mildly acidic. The sweetness carries into the finish. I could swear i taste woody-notes though I am fairly sure this beer does not touch wood. Enough weight in the taste that the alcohol is invisible.

Interesting offering from this brewery; well-crafted and complex.

dogfooddog, Aug 11, 2006
Photo of dherling
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A murky chestnut brown beer with a tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Th enose smells of champagne and yeast, wine like flavors. Heavy raisin, prune, and malty swetness await the drinker. A truly different beer, but not something I want to drink mre than one of.

dherling, Aug 06, 2006
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

as is every beer i've had from De Dolle
served in a De dolle glass at RichO's in New Albany

amazing spiced and sweet aromas
a nice head with great lacing patterns around the rim

exceptional spicy sweet flavors mask the alcohol well and allow you to savor the depth and character

WHOLEBEER, Aug 03, 2006
Photo of nickss
3.65/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chalice.

Mahogany with red highlights and a monstrous 2" light brown fluffy head. Quite active... I tried to keep the head down to a little lower level, but to no avail.

Surprisingly light and crisp aroma. Big pear notes, along with some darker fig and yeast. Nice.

Black cherry notes dominate this brew, alongside a strong caramel backbone. There are some crisp notes in the flavour as well. There is a certain coppery/metallic taste that does not agree with my palate.

Entirely too much carbonation. Not only does it crush the taste, it makes drinking the beer difficult.

As I mentioned, drinkability is greatly impaired by the carbonation, however, that being said, the abv is hardly noticeable. All in all, a very mediocre beer in my opinion, and one I doubt I will partake in again any time soon.

nickss, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of mynie
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark treesap brown. Light bubbles at the bottom but there's only a very small head and very light bubbles.

The smell is light but very sweet. Caramel, maple syrup, alcohol, and spicy yeast.

The light carbonation lends a wonderful smoothness that helps to mellow the very intense flavors. Starts with a remarkably smooth tartness that zaps into rich maple syrup mixed with red, juicy apples. Caramel comes in, out of nowhere, and the whole things ends with a big Peng! of yeast. Syrup stays on the back of my mouth. Yummy.

Unique, that's for damn sure. Not quite the world-shattering experience I hoped it would be, but well worth the trip nonetheless.

mynie, Jul 22, 2006
Photo of cbl2
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Spec. Brew 2005 marked on cap. 11.2 oz bottle.


Upon uncapping, beer spouts from the bottle unprovoked. Poured into the glass it yields a dark opaque brown adorned by 2 inches of tightly packed tan foam.


Rich ripe dark fruit soaked in alcohol with a bready yeast quality to it as well.


Somewhat course on the tongue with a hot alcohol aspect carrying with it hints of sherry and overripe cherries. A muted nuttiness accompanies it all. Finish is tinged by alcohol and tart.

cbl2, Jun 25, 2006
Photo of haz77
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown with a foaming tan head, which falls to a finger thick layer. Looks to have medium carbonation.

S - Yeast, dark fruits, some background alcohol spice.

T - Initial burst of carbonation collapses into sweet dark fruits. Some spice and alcohol warmth come through at the end into a dry aftertaste.

M - Light-to-medium body and smooth, with moderate carbonation.

D - A couple of these would be fine. I think this brewery is great, but this isn't my favourite of their beers and I'd look towards others within the style.

haz77, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of weeare138
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Monk's Cafe...
Appears a dark brown with a light red hue. A creamy tan head floats on top and slowly fades. Lots of streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of rich malt with syrup, raisins, and Belgian yeast that evolves and comes through as it warms.
Taste is of sweet, sugary, molasses, and malt with a medium sugar dosage, and a light alcohol burn.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with the molasses like sweetness that quickly turns into a mild sourness that is enjoyable and fits into what they were trying to do.

weeare138, Jun 05, 2006
Photo of Lnedrive14
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Capital Ale House Innsbrooke...

Pours a dark red - so dark that the red fades to black (i apologize for the Stones cliche). Huge vanilla mousse head. Really a beautiful brew in the chalice. I would separate the brew's taste into two distinct stages. Stage 1 - a nice dark, belgian brew with raisins, plums, caramel, and even some coffee/stout type characteristics. Stage 2 - a flemish red, sour cherry ale.

A very unique brew. Highly drinkable and very interesting.

Lnedrive14, May 29, 2006
Photo of brewandbbq
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3 vintages of Oerbier, side by each.
Each vintage was enjoyed by the glass individually, and a small portion of each reserved for a final comparison.

Vintage 1997
Imported by World Wide

Pours lively and clear, light mahogany with reddish hues.
A slanted decant allowed a generous head of off-white to build, with retention short-lived.
Large to fine bubbles remain clinging to the edges with scattered whisps on the surface.
Some humble, scattered dots of lacework stay the course on the inside of the goblet.
An immediate musty and cherry note exudes from the glass as soon as poured, somewhat pungent at an arm's length.
Closer to the source, aromatics are screaming with the old Rodenbach influence.
A tart, dry, fruity complexity is the trademark of Oerbier- the old.
Nose lactic and fruity enough to ponder visions of Oud Beersel Kriek, with malt balancing.
Aromatics finish out with a lingering sour note and wet, old, attic boards.
Thinnish body, crisp and drying, with mild carbonation and juicy residuals.
Pallet is refreshing and appetizing. Ripe cherries with a mild yogurt-like twang.
Bittering is minimal, with the sour note keeping what little sweetness there is- in check.
Alcohol is a mere afterthought, as the hugely unique flavor profiles take main stage. Lightly warming at best.
With each sip, the beer promises a lingering finish, but fades quicker than expected, with musty dried cherries and a woody dryness.
Lastly, the lactic and fruity tinge bids farewell from the back of the throat.

Vintage 2005? (Maroon cap, dark red label,and recently purchased).

Pours darker the the '97, almost brown, with a much more substantial, stable head.
Body is clear, and the dense head is beige.
Retention is superior, with the surface fully covered and edging up the glass like frosting.
Miniscule bubbles ascend relentlessly.
Aromatics are much more subdued as you actually have to put your nose in the glass.
Vanilla-laced chocolate and nougat, with an underlying fruit note.
Three Musketeers laced with rum.
Nose finishes a bit sweet with hints of Kahlua.
Medium, effervescent body. Creamy, lively and smooth, with a lactic smack.
Pallet is surprisingly tart, with mild caramel notes and hard candies.
Somewhere between the lollipop and the tootsie-roll center.
Bitterness is more pronounced, and the lacticity is a bit harsh.
Finishes puckeringly, with a lingering, malty sour note.
A very different interpretation from the original.

Vintage 2005 SpeclBrew02, white cap

Pours nearly identical to the previous, perhaps slightly lighter, and head quite similar.
Aromatics have a more "refined" lactic quality, with the large chocolate/ caramel/ nougat character a bit restrained.
Leaning back to the original Oerbier, with it's wine-like vineousity and complexity.
Quite floral and gummy, with grape candies and rum-soaked yeast.
Nose finishes mildly warming with sticky residuals.
Body is mediumish, a bit thinner than the previous, yet fuller than the '97. A bit sticky but crispish.
Pallet is complex and drying. Dark fruits and hints of cherries. Maltiness is in check, a mere support role to the Oerbier profile.
Tartness is smoother than the previous, more subtle and appetizing.
Finishes lightly sweet, with warmth in the back of the throat, and dried cherries.

While it's hard to say how close the Oerbier of "Special brew #02" is to the original Oerbier (when fresh), it's easy to see which of the vintages "does not belong".
As the 1997 was incredible for an 9 or 10 year old brew, does the new Special Brew have the same potential?
Time will tell...

brewandbbq, May 24, 2006
Photo of Absumaster
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark ruby red, almost black color, with a stable mousse head.
Smell was burned and strong with some sour cherry notes.
Taste was slightly acidic with cherries which reminds me of a robust red wine, meaning heavy and complex. Does the acidic taste come from Brettanomyces? There is some stickiness on my lipps. In the end there is some melon and raisins. Mouthfeel is medium which make the beer very drinkable, if not for the "heaviness" of the beer.

Absumaster, May 20, 2006
Photo of amicar
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish color with substantial off- white head. The smell is massive- I can rate the smell across the room; Tart candy smell with apples and melons. Taste is nice and rich; very comple with some smoky tart flavors in effect. Taste goes on forever, with candied fruits, rasins, figs, and old sherry. Smooth and full in the mouth. This is a nice treat. Not for daily or multiple consumption, but very good.

amicar, May 15, 2006
Photo of Boto
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle: Mine poured out a hazy mahogany color, with about no head at all. Pretty strong and nice aroma. Definite raisins, yeast and breadiness. Lesser notes of apple and caramel. really no alcohol other than a faint bit in the background. The texture is lightly syrupy. The taste is somewhat sweet, with caramel and toffe the first you get. some of the fruits come through in the aftertaste. A good sipper, but I don’t think I could drink more than 1.

Boto, May 13, 2006
Photo of Naerhu
2.88/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks for RobBeer bringing this all the way out to Japan.

A - Tight cream colored head on a muddy brown body.
S - Carob and molasses aroma
T - Chocolate (or rather unsweetened cocoa), lots of candied dark fruit, slightly vinous and sour, rather dry and lacking sweetness.
M - Active micro-carbonation on a medium body.
D - This was a weird beer.

Naerhu, Apr 20, 2006
Photo of cro250klr
3/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a coppery brown with an initial thick tan head. The foamy head fizzled out rather quickly leaving an eight inch creamy head that laced nicely till the end. The smell has a bit of vanilla, banana, and other? fruits. The 9.5 abv stands out in this one. The initial sip starts as it smells, with a candi sugar note added. The sweetness dwindles and the taste ends on the dry and tart side.
For a Belgian, I'm not entirely impressed. My first Oerbier was had about a year ago. I don't know what I had prior to that, however, I recall it being a bit sweeter and smoother. On that recollection, I went out and bought a case. This review is based on the first bottle out of that case. Here in, lies the problem with the 'case only law' in Pa. There were a lot of other beers that I would have chosen over this one had I had the opportunity to buy just one bottle to jog my memory. While I'd never pour this beer down the drain, I can name at least twenty other Belgians that I would take over this one.

cro250klr, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.1/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

My latest De Dolle beer, ordered at the Sharp Edge in Pittsburgh. It was a murky copper color, I swear you couldn't see 1/8 inch into the liquid despite it's light hue.

The taste was really sweet, too sweet to make it very drinkable for me. I can't think of any other beer it reminds me of, it's pretty unique.

I tried it once, probably won't get it again.

TurdFurgison, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of geexploitation
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, pruney-brown color, with a head that is pretty big at first but then fades to a dusting. The nose is prototypical sweet Belgian -- loads of candi sugar and molasses, some dried fruits, that kind of thing. The taste is pretty straightforward for a De Dolle offering. As hinted at in the nose, there's tons of candi sugar, but that only comes out just after some fruitiness emerges on the front of the tongue. After the candi sugar comes through, the tongue tingles for a while with sweetness (which is almost a cloying sweetness). The mouthfeel is full with residual sugars, but not terribly interesting.

Overall, this is not the most interesting Belgian. Very sweet and powerful, but it's a one-trick (or, at best, a two-trick) pony. Still a good beer, but compared with the lofty achievements of other De Dolle beers, the Oerbier is a bit of a letdown.

geexploitation, Apr 07, 2006
Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.7/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted this bottle in De Zolder Café, Brugge on March 31 06. Served in it's correct glass, it made a picture with a ruby red to dark brown-coloured hazy body topped by a decent foam (off-white) head.
Smell: some fruits (can't read my other scribbled notes!).
Tasted malty with a nice tartness to it. Chocolate touch to the back of the throat. The brew had a nice smooth mouthfeel to it.
A very good strong dark ale.

JohnfromDublin, Apr 05, 2006
De Dolle Oerbier from Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 791 ratings.