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Brigand - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

187 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 187
Reviews: 115
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 13.84%
Wants: 9
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V. visit their website

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 187 | Reviews: 115 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Halcyondays
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ, in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a cloudy yellow-orange, with a full cap of tan foam, fair lacing.

S: Very fragrant, estery, yeasty, with cider apples, pear, and malt.

T: This beer has a very raw and rustic yeast character to it. Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples carry the show, with some acidity, a little bit of pear esters, reminds me a lot of Bink Blond. This is not a Duvel clone, the flavour profile is markedly different, very intriguing.

M: Smooth, full carbonation, medium-bodied, a nice BSPA.

D: A very tasty, full and rich beer on-tap, very drinkable for 9%, the alcohol is very well hidden. Very enjoyable.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure when it happened, but the label on my bottle is much different than the one pictured. I have a picture of a guy pulling an arrow on a bow and looking like he is about to release it at my bookcase.

Pours a slightly foggy gold. White head forms and then drops leaving no lacing. Nose is the traditional yeasty, sugary funk. Flavor is smooth and what you would expect for the style. Nothing unusual, but nothing bland at the same time. Feel is good. Overall this is a good brew. Nothing crazy, but just a smooth and even BSPA that isn't terribly exciting.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
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 kundabuffer
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm surprised this beer currently has an overall score of 83. After having a Chimay beige label, I'm finding this much more interesting and complex. Citrus, plum, and honey dominate the nose; after a bubbly start hops make a brief appearance before giving way to an interesting "opening" in the finish, which is mellow and a little sweet, with some noticeable alcohol (not unpleasant). Very good!

Photo of thierrynantes
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer bottle (33 cl), tasted in 2001 (top-fermented)
Appearance: amber orange colour, foam snow, well saturated
Taste and mouthfeel: Power alcoholic in the mouth, malty taste
Drinkability: beer close to the correct style barley wine

Review added 11-21-2007, translated from french 1-27-2008.

Photo of dedrinker
4.24/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rusty gold with a cheap keg beer foamy head. First smell was sweet phenolics and pilsner malts, evolving into suede, wet leaves and the most ambiguous hint of candy corn. Sounds weird, I know. Something about the flavor and aroma that also say to me, "autumn air" and then I realize I'm about to get weirder by saying it tastes and smells like standing outside a candy shop on a rainy day. Not much complexity or depth by way of malts/ hops, but the aroma keeps coming in on the finish as I exhale to remind me of cotton candy and deep fried PB&J on a Jersey Shore boardwalk. The aroma really dominates all here.

Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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 John_M
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saw this on tap for the first time at Max's last night.

The beer pours a solid gold color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose one gets sweet honey, butter and cherry, and the beer comes across as pretty sweet smelling. To some extent the flavors on the palate replicate the nose, but the beer is far more complex then that. The sweet flavors of cherry, honey and apple are superimposed upon a backbone of sour, with some very nice light bitterness in the finish. This beer is pretty light on its feet, and I would never guess the 9% abv. However, there is a noticeable warming sensation, which is a clue that the abv. is up there a bit. The beer has a very smooth, easy going finish.

... but for the 9% (and rather hefty price tag for a glass), I could see having several of these over the course of an evening. Very nice beer.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown 33cl dumpy bottle, best before 10/2009, drank in March 2007.

Poured into a Straffe Hendrik bowl glass. Slightly hazey orange, tangarine colour, the white head stayed for a short while, carbonation continueing throughout trying to replenish the ever shrinking head and failing.

Yeast and more yeast, overpowers all other aroma's.

Heavy alcohol taste, a type of good quality Dortmunder with attitude and more. Mixed cereals (wheat, rye, barley, etc) appear within the alcoholic haze of this strong beer.

A slightly fizzy, carbonated feel to it, alcohol stays in the back of your mouth also.

I was going to give more scores of 4, but there is something wrong/false about this beer I can't put my tongue too. The alcohol is hiding the true flavours. I had a Brigand Christmas on tap in the Kulminator (Antwerp) last Friday, it was wonderful, this normal Brigand doesn't quiet pull the same way.

Photo of Gavage
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear orange in color with some yellow highlights. The head was 1/2" high and fell quickly to a surface foam. A spot or two of lacing developed. Only a few carbonation bubbles slowly rose to the surface.

Smell: brown sugar, honey, lemon zest, orange citrus, yeast, pepper, and alcohol make up a somewhat sweet but mildly spicy beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Smooth throughout. Long aftertaste as sweetness, pepper, yeast, and alcohol stick to the tongue for a while.

Drinkability: not a session beer at all, but one or two can be enjoyed during a session. Good beer but not one to rave about either.

Photo of Globetrotter
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at L'Imaige de Nostre Dame in Brussels, it came out a cloudy copper-gold under a 1.5 finger white head that was thick and creamy, fading slowly but leaving lots of lace behind. The nose was basically non-existent, probably because it came out too cold. Some cassis emerges as it warms. The mouth is light and moderately carbonated. The taste is malt and spice, with a good helping of crisp bitter hops. The bitter lasts the longest, but the spice is not far behind. Quite enjoyable.

Photo of Sammy
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
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 therica
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in Leuven Belgium in January 2006, consumed 5 November 2006 in the USA. Bottle expiration dated 9/2008.

Poured a lighter lemon-yellow with a minimal and quickly fading head, lots of carbonation rising from the bottom at first but slowing to a modest yet continual flow of tiny carbonation bubbles rising for quite some time.

Smell-- the typical Belgian-beer hops-lavender scent with some astringency and florals mixed with some smoky scent.

Taste-- much like the smell, with a light flat-floral hops taste, some light honey and a bit of a slight peppery aftertaste. Not much in the bitters category except later in the bottle's aftertaste. Also a touch of banana-taste after setting for a little while.

Mouthfeel-- nothing unpleasant. Mild watery flat-floral hops with some slight bitterness.

Drinkability-- probably not my first choice but it would serve well for an evening if it was the featured beer. However-- I must say that at 9%ABV it doesn't seem like it, and there's no hint of liquor-taste or smell, so if you want to session on a higher ABV without the alcohol-taste, then you really might prefer this beer.

Photo of Absumaster
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a classic, although it used to be better. I had one years ago, then the yeast was more acidic and the beer had a sort of wine-like taste.

Appearance is a golden, yellow/orange color with a small head.

Smell is fruity and light caramellic, some solvent and spicy with a slight vegetable smell.

Taste is slightly caramellic, generated by the light caramalts, reminds me of peaches and others light colored sweet fruit. The spicy character of the beer gives the beer extra depth and adds to the complexity. This is probably induced by the yeast. Sweet and sticky. The bitterness really adds to the balance the sweetness and stickiness in the beer.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass clear pale golden with an amber hue and a head which lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was strongly fruity with a spicy phenolic and a peppery character. The beer had an apricot presnce with alcohol in the nose that was high enough to tickle the nasal passages.

The flavor began slightly sweet but quickly turned to warming alcohol and spicy peppery flavors. The flavor was also fruity which was a nice characteristic.

The finish was dry with lasting fruitiness and pepper long into the aftertaste. The body was not quite medium with a high carbonation and strong carbonic bite. The alcohol warming after consumption was strong and notable and at the edge of being excessive. A nice, very warming, tripel.

33 cl bottle, purchased at the Belgium equivalent of a Food Lion and consumed in the Hotel Albert in Brussels (9/9/06).

Photo of SwillBilly
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Brickskeller. According to the tap menu, Brigand is supposedley hard to find on tap.

Appearance: Poured into a small goblet, Brigand poured a hazy, golden hue. Head and lacing were minimal to almost non-existant.

Smell: Fruity with hints of green apple and apricots and yeast, with a small dose of biscuity like malt.

Taste: Fairly crisp in the beginning with a fruity sweetness reminiscent of apples and the aforementioned apricots. Spicy with hints of pepper. The middle transitions nicely to a fruity, slightly hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with ample carbonation and crisp.

Drinkability: Brigand is a nice Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Fruity and crisp with apples and apricots as well as spiciness that keeps it interesting making it very easy to drink. Alcohol was well hidden but will creep up on you after a few. A strong pale ale that I would definitely try again. Not as good as Duvel or La Fin Du Monde but still a nice version that is worth seeking out.

Photo of Tbone
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Currently on tap at the Map Room in Chicago.
This is a complex bright golden colored beer with three or four layers on the first taste. Sweet banana citrus, pepper in the middle. maybe a little bit of peaches. Pours with a slight white head. Light sweet aroma. Spice profile makes it more like triple than a golden (like Duvel). Very light bodied.

Less than typical carbonation for a Belgian (but that's good IMHO)

Photo of Cwrw
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dedicated to the Flemish peasants who ousted the French out of Ingelmunster. Nice.

I bought this in Brussels and it has been in my cellar for nearly two years. 750ml corked bottle with blue foil around the neck; the label is blue and simple, showing a "Brigand" on alert. A presentation that works nicely. Attractive bottle.

Tasted at cellar temperature in a chalice. Popping the cork releases a very fruity and winey aroma from the neck immediately. Brigand is a slightly hazy nectarine colour; orange-caramel when held to light. The head is bone-white and very consistent--like table cream or ice-cream when viewed from the top. Superior walls of full lacing, intricate with tiny bubbles. A glorious head, really: velvety and and long-lived. The aroma is one of those aromas only possessed by a solid Belgian pale ale--this is delectable. I cannot say, but the beer smells AGED, and I daresay the two years in my cellar has allowed this beer's smell to mature and develop. Dusty fruits, a salty/sugary resin, with plenty of well-balanced caramel malt. Definite candy sugar a la Duvel. Full on the hopping once you get past the sugar...bitter and metallic. Lots of spices here too, most noticeably some vanilla and anise, also some cloves and coriander. Some honey and plenty of good malting. AS good as Duvel's aroma for me personally. The whole thing just works somehow. An excellent aged, full vinous character for the nose. The tasting reveals a little less body than I would expect from the aroma, but here again Brigand is fairly spotless. Lots of apple and tangerine up front, plenty of sugar. In the middle is more sugar but with some solid malting a little on the salty side. The finish is nice with green apple and light citrus with earthy hop dryness. Vinous red grape notes as the tasting continues...Lots of fruits and sugars..not super-complex but tasty nonetheless. Very aged taste. The mouthfeel is full and very fine, bordering on creamy velvet. mmm. Alcohol is there, not hidden but not allowed to be in your face either. I could not venture to guess since I never tasted the beer young, but as a 2004 vintage I would recommend this beer exceedingly. Solid, without fault.

Photo of Crosling
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light gold with orange accents. Extreamly phenolic in both aroma and flavor. The nose, which is malt accented, puts forth hints of clove, banana, medicines and a touch of spicy hops. Very mellow and again, very phenolic. Notes of soft ripe fruits are present along with herbs, mint and spice. Not sensational but still quite good.

Photo of Scheity
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked it up at a Belgian grocery store because of the cool name. And, like the name implies, the beer's confused, lost, without direction, etc. other things said by 1950s parents.

But it's worth a try, I think. It tries to do a little much with what it's got, which is an ale without a great deal of hops, at least by American standards. It's got the thickness and color of Bass, but not the reserve or self-consciousness. That means that the beer is at once sweet and a dark bitter, with some dark fruit and lemons and oranges. I think.

Interesting, though, and brewed with care, so that's worth a try.

Photo of Blakaeris
2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours cloudy apricot color, head is rather thin and dissipates to nothing.
I'm not normally shy about sediment but in this brew it appears as large solid chunks on the bottom.

Smell is sour with a touch of lemony citrus. Cloves make a very strong statement. Alcohol is unmistakable and strong.

Taste is similiar to the nose with the addition of sweet fruit, possibly apricot. Cloves and pepper dominate the taste. This flavor is quite unusual. The finish has a flavor that seems off.

Mouthfeel is very soft. Carbonation is almost non existent.

The unusual flavor detracts from the drinkability of this brew.

Photo of bashiba
2.32/5  rDev -39.4%
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 cokes
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
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 Bierschenker
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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 Paddez
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, golden brew with a decent head that dissapears into a foamy layer after a short while.
Smoky and spicy aroma's dominate in the nose along with some stable-like notes and roasted malts.
The taste is woody with dusty malts. Some faint hints of alcohol are tracable but they're defnitely not actively on the scene. Finishes dry & acidic.
Mouthfeel is good. This beer is remarkably light for 9% brew but it's too dusty for a session brew.

A good abbey brew but not great by any means. It's decent enough to enjoy but seeing as there are other beers avaiblable in the style that are a lot better, I'm not going to buy this again. It was still worth the try though.

Brigand from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 187 ratings.