Brigand - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
BrigandBrigand

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BA SCORE
86
very good

195 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 195
Reviews: 118
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 10
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-12-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (33) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 195 | Reviews: 118
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Jason
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz green mini magnum bottle with a shiny teal foil top, corked and caged. Freshness date on the back label.

Appearance: Very hazed orange beige colour with a very well sustaining off white lace.

Smell: Fragrant with a mildly pungent barnyard tartness in the nose. Fresh sliced lemons and hay come to mind also.

Taste: Moderate body with a crisp and effervescent carbonation, obvious malt presence though the byproducts run rampant over your taste buds. Mild tangerine and grapefruit flavours, some phenolic medicinal tastes and a liberal hand of hops give an herbal minty twang that lingers for ever. Fruity and estery with a warming alcohol to boot. Earthy and barn yard characters a soft, raw honey like sweetness is the result of the residual sweetness though the nutty yeast and a grainy palate towards the end dries thing up in the finish.

Notes: Misleadingly strong and crammed complexity drives the taste buds wild … a bit overwhelming in a good way. Certainly a beer to think about and ponder "how does such great beer exist on Earth." Baked Brie would be a great pairing for this brew.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
2.8/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance – The body is a weak-colored orange and the head went down quickly. Not impressed.

Smell – This one smells really flat and uneventful. Whenever you pop a corked bottle you always have to wonder, “Did I just get a bad one?”

Taste – This is dead as a doornail. The Belgian malt base and big spices are there, but nothing else.

Mouthfeel – Flat and disappointing. This is an 8.5 ABV?

Drinkability – Drink this one with your pizza roles or spicy enchiladas.

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.16/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tapered pint at Tyler's Taproom in Apex, NC

Orange gold and clear in the glass with an incredibly fluffy white head of about 2-3 fingers. Nice white lacing to the finish.

Aromas are interesting as a lighter malty sweetness combines with something more herbal, perhaps even grassy or lightly citric - but everything presents in balance. There really isn't one aroma that jumps out at you.

Light malt sweetness is noticeable up front but other flavors quickly come to the fore with a slight tart fruit flavor. Everything stays nice and tight on the tongue with good solid flavors that want to tend toward the sweet, but not by much. Alcohol is quite noticeable in the finish with a bit of warming on the way down. The final linger dries out just a bit.

I very much enjoyed this one and wonder why I waited so long to try it! If you like the style, or Belgians in general you have to give this one a shot.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 33cl bottle, with the date 070327 stamped on the label, poured into a snifter. A clear golden color with a thick white head. Interesting aroma, kind of earthy/wet, with a little spice added in. Unfortunately, the aroma didn't translate into the taste. Rather bland, tepid spice and malt. Decent, but not that exciting.

Photo of merlin48
3.36/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Corked and caged, bottle twists open easily, without so much as a "poof". Pours a cloudy, muddy, amber, with lots of sediment particles in suspension, in spite of a careful pour. No head, no lacing. Ugly start.
I like the aroma, but the yeast is on the heavy side. Dank, musty, and New Jersey, garbage dump.., but the tart fruitiness saves some respectability.
Tart fruit, wild grapes, emerge in the taste, followed by unexpected, oak woody notes. The yeast recuperates midway, to add an earthy dominance that overwhelms all else, and leaves a garbage dump aftertaste. Flat and dank, overall, but this one does have enough good moments to merit a tasting.
Maybe, a bad cork spoiled this one, somewhat. I poured about an inch of bottom sediment out. Still, very drinkable, with appropiate care.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, corked and caged, Bottled in 3-99, best before dating (?) of 05-02 on label. Wasnt sure what to expect, cork popped with a medium release, this beauty poured murky,cloudy light brown. No yeast or sediment to be found, interesting. Large bubbles morphed to small, forming a small bubble, tan head which exhibited world class retention. lovely irregular lacing left on my chalice. Nose is barnyard/horse blanket, musty,earthy, spicy with some phelonic flourishes. Taste is of anise, gin, juniper. Spicy/minty/yeasty/thoroughly Belgian. 9% very well stored in the background. Yummy, interesting, complex stuff. I'm suprised by the low and mixed reviews for this stunning (IMHO) Belgian. Maybe it ages real well and I'm the beneficiary of dumb luck to have bought this yeasterday, after the store aged it for me for a few years. I'm going back to try to get some more!

Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Boozy but still classy belgian pale ale.
Jeast, bread and fresh hops. Lots of better belgian pales than this.

Photo of pat61
4.69/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bread, yeast and spice on the nose. It pours lively orange gold under a 2” persistent foam cap that leaves thick lace. It enters creamy with fruit and biscuit and a mild hop accent on the finish. While yeast driven, the hops, malt and alcohol are well balanced. Medium to a little above on the body and just above medium on the carbonation.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A 330ml bottle with a BB of June 2013, so it's a bit out of date. I've had this for ages - I seem to recall buying it in a Belgian supermarket as long ago as 2010. Stored in my garage since then. I'm hoping the ABV will have helped to preserve it from excessive degradation.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A rich golden-amber hue with good carbonation. Produces a huge head of creamy white foam with good retention; this slowly subsides to a thick surface layer. Aroma of fruity yeast esters with hints of raisins, mild banana, subtle apricot/peach, faint dried fruit, spice, a twinge of marzipan, earthiness and sugar. Slightly sweet and acidic, with a serious whiff of booze in the background.

Tastes of fruity yeast and mild caramel malt, with a bone-dry finish. Notes of raisins, apricots, mild banana, dried fruit, a hint of marzipan, pepper, spice, sugar, earthy yeast and faint stewed leaves. Hints of cardboard, sourness and alcohol in the background. Highly attenuated, followed by a lingering yeastiness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and very dry, with well-judged carbonation and decent body. Could be a tad thicker for the strength. Pretty astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of fruity yeast, earthiness and booze.

A strong Belgian ale that packs a punch. Looks lovely, while the aroma and flavour are replete with spicy, fruity yeast esters. The booze also makes itself known. Body is OK but could be creamier. This bottle seems to have stood the test of time, but I wonder what a fresher example would be like. I might grab one sometime and find out. Anyway, a decent brew with a classic Belgian quality to it. Worth a punt if you stumble across it.

Photo of rastaman
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Strong spicy aroma and malty aroma,i agree that it was a bit too overpowering at times, and the alcohol was ever so slightly evident, quite a big yeast character aswell i thought.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 070418
Cork says 06-2007
(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a hazy butterscotch color with a loud fizzy beige head that turns rocky after a bit. There is a good carbonation of bubbles gliding to the finish.

S- The clean aroma has a club soda and yeasty ester notes with a soft green wood hint in the finish. There are some paper and cider notes that grow as it warms.

T- The soft slightly dry candy flavor has hints of slightly fruity yeast esters and a cider taste that grows in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizz that hits the back of the throat. No alcohol heat noticed.

O- This beer has a soft mellow flavor and I didn’t realize how old it was till I pulled the cork. I think the cider flavors are from age and it would be interesting to taste a fresh sample, but it seemed to hold up ok for so long.

Photo of cokes
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL. Cork dated 1999. Actually, the bottle was dated 9-02 which I belived was the vintage, but appearently was the "best before" date. Awfully conservative, and entirely unaccurate.

Gloomy mustard biege under an impressive and enduring rise of vanilla cream.
It hits the nose with apricot, grilled pineapple, black pepper, big bluestem, light rum, and stone quarries.
Onto the tongue, it's plump with sourbread dough and a wheaty, lemonpeel notion, as it migrates towards tropical fruit. These were clearer and cleaner on the nose, but shrouds of pineapple, peach, and mango are still evident, along with red apple. Turns funky in the middle, with an overriding sandstone dustiness, cracked peppercorns, aniseed, and impressions of suede (Brett?). Next, comes a brilliant white rum flash, with a good deal of associated heat. It ends with drought prairies, waving with bluegrass and fescue.
Medium in the mouth with a defined creaminess lightened with a perky and steady carbonation.
Despite from the sometimes ham-fisted alcohol, this is detailed and nuanced, and complete. In fact, this may need even more time in the bottle. Fresh, I'd guess this would be heated beyond my liking.

Photo of Sammy
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Decent yeasty taste up front, followed by medium mouthfeel, so-so taste and finishing hoppy and sourish. An average Belgian with golden colour and a little head that lasts and lace, and some yeasty aroma. At Smokeless Joe's. Ok for not having a Belgian in several weeks.Fizzier carbonation.

Photo of Bierschenker
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours out a golden-amber bear with a reasonable white creamy head that stays quite long. The beer has a strong citric smell with some malt traces.
The taste is very complex, all sorts of tastes jump around in your mouth. A very strong malt and bitter taste takes the lead followed by a citric taste and a lot of fresh spices.
The aftertaste gives those citric flavours again and something like peanuts.
A nice beer with a deacent alcohol percentage.

Ut Vivat, Crescat, Floreat.

Photo of bashiba
2.32/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a cloudy orangish brown with no head at all.

Smell was mostly clove and sour mixing in with strong hints of alcohol.

Taste was a very unusual mix of sour and clove flavors, hints of citrus, pepper, and alcohol come through as well.

Mouthfeel was flat and oily.

Drinkability is poor, not at all what I had imagined, I am hopping this was just an off bottle.

Photo of hotstuff
3.39/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Cork dated 03-97. When poured, it had a small sized off-white head with fine-small sized bubbles that quickly dissipated. The body was carbonated and cloudy with an orange hue. The nose was sweet and fruity and the flavor was acidic, sour and alcohol. It had a very tingly mouthfeel and a burning sensation as it was swallowed and it was medium bodied. A very strong alcohol flavor at 8.5% ABV.

Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stubby 11.2 oz. bottle, date stamped 07 03 27
New archer photo label, with transparent decal backing.

Pours neatly into a Caracole tulip, bright orange, with a slight haze to it. Lots of tiny streamers of champagne bubbles. Patchy, sudsy lacing. Not much visible bottle sediment (there was in the aged bottle I reviewed last year). The foam crackles audibly and ends up sticking around the whole time.

Earthy and herbal aroma, maybe a floral hint, with a touch of sweetness in there. A deeper inhale picks up on mild phenols, hinting at the higher abv. Luckily it's hidden in the taste.

Lightly fruity, peppery and dry in the aftertaste, with a mild hop bitterness. Slight phenolic upturn at the end, but not overpowering. Stronger than Duvel, but attempting a similar character. Medium bodied with considerable dryness.
Easy to finish a small bottle, it's pretty potent even in this quantity.

Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.06/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Possibly the cheesiest label I've ever seen, but it is original. Best by August 2012.
Pours a light golden color...lots of beads of carbonation rising throughout. At first glance I thought there might be mild haze, but it's totally clear now. Thick, white creamy head, good retention.

S-Granny smith, a bit of malt and light Belgian yeast, alcohol, minerals. As it warms I also pick up slight phenols of spice and plastic.

T-Sweet malt, very boozy on the palate, hints of granny smith and unripe pear, bits of herb, white pepper on a dry finish.

M-Well-carbonated. On the dry side w/considerable booze presence.

D-This brew has a lot going for it, but it is definitely a sipper, and some sips are better than others.

Photo of smakawhat
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 1 PT. 9.4 fl. oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Bottled on 070418, cork says 06-2007.

Body color is very opaque and dull looking. A mix of yellow murky brown, and faint hints of yellow like orange on the edges. Carbonation though is white pinhead and very lively, huge streams continue throughout. Head is a little bit of retention, makes large about two fingers easily, settles to a nice fluffy cap. Some good qualities and not so appealing.

Nose is very impressive. A distinct yeast profile on this that is hard to pin down it seems. A mellow sweetness with a clove and spicy cardomom or some very nutty bark sense. Really good sense of hop tea like English bitterness, mixing with sweet Belgian malts and sucrose. Liking this.

Hits the palate in the right spot. Everything plays out on first sip. Playful carbonation, hints at bubbly champagne but dialed back with a good effervescence and malt depth. Sweetness brings honey and clove, and Belgian candy, but a good hop angle. Honey coats all around with nutmeg and brown dark toasted sensing spices. Warm feeling aftertaste without a big alcohol burn. Hints at depth with crispness.

Overall this is just wonderful I really do enjoy this.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 squat bottle picked up at thte Coop today for $3 (the Coop has a Bargain Bin... Woo Hoo!!). Label is different from the BA pic... shows a crusader archer who looks ready for business.

Poured into my Delirum tulip.. 3 finger head drops leaving little lacing over a clear dark straw/honey colored brew.

Fruity and mildly spicy .. all the traditional aromas fall into place but there are still pieces missing. Pale malts with whiffs of white pepper... sorta grassy hops emerge as it warms.

Flavor is big phenols .. Much better than the aroma .. spicy apricot and sweet tangerine juice. Traditional body and prickly carbonation. Leaves me wanting more.. but still is no slouch.

Cool to try for sure .. but sorta seems like a training wheel BSPA .. Not alot going on even as it hits room temp. I would be happy if I could brew it .. I wouldn't want to try and sell it.

Photo of ZorPrime
3.59/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a huge beer.

A true sipper...

Golden color. Nice white foamy head that resemble a cloud. Quite effervescent on the looks.

Fruity. Strong. High alcohol in the nose. The aroma is intense. This is a huge beer, heavy.

In the mouth, the beer is fruity but dominated by alcohol. Strong again. This is a big beer. Heavy. Could replace a meal... It's that heavy. I don't see myself drinking this and eating, this is a beer to finish you off and then you go sleep! :)

Extra strong beer which should be sipped slowly... I like it.

Photo of peabody
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a slightly hazy yellow to amber color with one finger of white suds.
This bottle was bottled on 070327. I guess that's march 27th of 07?
Smell is alcohol and sugary spices. Allspice and mint clove with a very belgian yeast that burns the nose.
Taste is belgian all the way. Sweet and spicey with pepper notes and then the alcohol burn afterward.
Mouthfeel is a bit sticky but I really like sticky.
With a 9%er drinkability can't be good but I would try to drink a bunch of these cause they taste so good.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a slightly hazy peachy amber with a fine two finger slightly off-white head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of stone fruit and apple juice, caramel malt and Belgian yeast, slightly sour at first. Flavor follows with sweet caramel malt, light stone fruit, apple juice, slight fruit rind and Belgian yeast. Finishes somewhat drier with mild sharpness from bittering hops and Belgian spicing. Medium bodied with good mouth feel from active carbonation. A nice, reasonably complex Belgian strong pale ale. This recently purchased bottle had a "bottled on:" code of 071024; could this really be a 5 year old bottle? I'd like to know because my last Brigand (drunk many years ago) was sour and astringent, which I attributed to being an old bottle. If this one is 5 years old, it has held up quite nicely with minimal oxidation.

Photo of RuudJH
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brigand strong ale. 33 cl bottle.
Beer named after a flemish peasant warrior some centuries ago.
The label indicates as such.

Orange brown ale, soapy head, good carbonation.

Smell is sweetness from syrup. Slight fruityness and malts, with modest hoppyness.
Equal taste: sweetness in very dominant, some soft fruits notes: peach, apricots.

Easy drinkable, due to the smooth mouthfeel.
It could be more complex though.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.65/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Brigand Belgian Ale has a thin, almost nonexistent, grayish-white head, and a dank, opaque, peach-colored appearance, with essentially no lacing and some gray-brown chunks sinking down, once the caked sediment at the bottle’s bottom is swished and poured in. The aroma is super rich- apricot, dark, slightly turned fruit, some citrus, candy sugar, and lighter fruit cake, with maybe some strawberry shortcake and cream cheese. Taste is also extraordinarily rich- dark, slightly turned fruit, apricot, citrus rind, lighter fruit cake, cream cheese, peanut butter, sweet bread, white bread, lemon, and even milk, of all things. Mouthfeel is light to medium and extremely prickly, and Brigand Belgian Ale finishes not so dry, cloying, rich, sweet, and wonderful. This is not for beginners. What a substantial beer! Outstanding!

RJT

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Brigand from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.