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Vondel - Brouwerij Riva S.A.

Not Rated.
VondelVondel

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

55 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 55
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 14
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Riva S.A.
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 51 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by beergurujr:
Photo of beergurujr
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml cork-finished brown bottle. cork states "2001".

sort of a murky dark copper colour; this is a bottle-conditioned brew.

aroma of dark fruit, semisweet chocolate and lightly roasted malt. there is a certain buttery component here, perhaps due to the age of the sample. it, however, is not distracting.

flavour is bready, sweet malt, a bit of dark and dry demarera sugar. i cannot detect hops (which is just what i expected).

finish is of dry malt and semibitter chocolate. the alcohol is not detectable in the flavour, but it certainly is in your head! overall an interesting beer, which has (apparently) aged well.

beergurujr, Oct 28, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with some nice reddish tints with a great fluffy,sticky head that leaves some real nice lacing,I wasnt to fond of the musty aroma but after awhile a nice fruitiness came thru.Taste is creamy and almondy with a spiciness that lingers.Really easy to drink for the style not to filling thats a big plus in my book,a good beer in my book.

oberon, Mar 29, 2004
Photo of Popsinc
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with a tan head. The nose was slightly spicey with hints of dark fruits.

The mouthfeel was very smooth. Dark malts gave this beer a good body backing up the lighter tastes of plum and very mild chocolate. There was also an earthiness to the beer and good spice. light hoppiness.

I found this beer to have decent complexity and very good balance. This was an enjoyable drinking experience. I would say this would make a nice after dinner drink for me.

Popsinc, Jun 12, 2003
Photo of Todd
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 fl oz thick brown bottle (thicker glass to handle the secondary fermentation in the bottle).

Appearance: Dark brown with a tan, creamy lace. There was a hell of a lot of sediment in the bottle. Pouring chunks of yeast in the glass was unavoidable.

Smell: Caramel malt aromas. Mild esters.

Taste: Full bodied, rich malt profile. Lovely, dark malt sweetness. Big caramel, toffee and mild chocolate flavours. Mouthfeel is relatively smooth, slick. Slight touch of diacetyl. Carbonation is pretty lively from the secondary fermentation. A spiciness follows that is prickly on the palate with alcohol notes. No real hop bitterness, but there is a very thin tartness that is pushed back by the malt flavours. Finishes a tad spicy with dextrin-like sweetness.

Notes: An excellent example of a Flemish Brown Ale. Extremely enjoyable. So enjoyable you forget that it's 8.5% abv.

Todd, Nov 25, 2000
Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 slender brown bottle with no freshness date and lots of loose sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

Appearance: I was very careful to not let the funky looking sediment in to the glass, it yielded a deep reddish brown brick hue with a lean ring of lace.

Smell: Light sour candy aroma with hints of malt and yeast and well as a tart nose.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Slick and crisp moderate body. Malty and lightly tart within, bitter dark malts and yeast keep a balance as the hops seem extremely light. Light chocolate cream? Bold yet a modest fruitiness hits a juicy note in the middle, yeasty semi-dry finish. Alcohol starts to warm in the back.

Notes: A decent Flemish brown, the alcohol sneaks up on you as the beer is slowly sipped away. A sharp cheddar is a must to pair with this beer.

Jason, Mar 29, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Green bottle definitely left me worried about reviewing this one, but there was no need a well taken care of sample from Sharp Edge Creekhouse. Pours a deep amber mahogany with a beige toned nicely developed head leaving a thin collar of lacing around my snifter. Aroma has a wine like vinous character to it mixed with an underlying spiced up sweet aroma. Taste is sweet and tangy shimmering malt and fruit tones along with a very nice dry finish completing this beer. Mouthfeel has a healthy amount of carbonation with a light medium bodied beer nice full body from the darker roasts this beer works very well for my tastes and dances along my palate. Drinkability is definitely good especially for a flemish brown ale, just the high abv holds it back from becoming a true session beer in my eyes.

WVbeergeek, Jun 28, 2003
Photo of rastaman
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown appearance, strong malty yeasty nose. Very malty, nice acidic bitterness/ hint of sourness. I'm not sure i could have enjoyed it to its full potential because it was a really hot day and i think it was a bit to strong and not so refreshing.

rastaman, Aug 04, 2002
Photo of cokes
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beautiful burnt bronze under a stack of buttery yellow foam.
Maple aromatics with a vinous undercurrent. Blackberry brandy and raisin. Topped off with some yeasty dough, pepper and mustiness.
Had the aroma only held through to the flavor, I would have had no complaints. Claims to be a Flemish brown. While correct in color and geography, it certainly falls short in product. This is all brown sugar all the time. Well, maybe not all the time. There is some maple here too and some grapey alcohol. But mostly, its brown sugar. I would have appreciated a bit of tartness here. Yeast pour makes things doughier and (maybe) brings a peppercorn note. Some hidden chocolate appears as this warms. No significant hopping is noticed. The end result is an overly sweet, off-balanced, cloying brew.
Medium-light bodied with dampened carbonation following the pour. A bit thin and sticky.
Uninspiring.

cokes, Oct 25, 2003
Photo of bditty187
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy but surprisingly clear (that makes sense, right?), ruby-brown in hue with a slight coppery highlight when held to the light. A flimsy, foamy off-beige head topped the beer, it reached a modest finger in height before quickly fading to a loose cap of bubbles. There was not subsequent lacing, disappointing. However, the appearance is still intriguing. The nose is malty; there is no mistaking that. However the funky, sour notes like cherry candy can’t be ignored either. It is true that the nose isn’t very loud and this is disappointing. The malt contributes aromas of distant mocha coffee and some hints of toffee covered currants. There is also a faint suggestion of medical aromas at the finish, like ban-aids. The bouquet is neither complex nor compelling, disappointedly ordinary and hardly inviting. The palate is livelier than the nose indicated but most of this extra excitement seems to come from the rather bold alcohol. At 8.5% abv it is little surprise. The heat of the alcohol seems to toy with candied berry flavors of currants and blends very well with the medical flavors too. The palate is pleasantly herbal as well with hints of grass and oak. The cocoa flavors are bland, like really old semi-sweet baker’s chocolate but they mix fairly well. By the finish hints of caramel come into play. Even though a lack of malt deep and complexity is painfully obvious this is still a tasty beer. This is something I could go back to. The aftertaste is long and hot with sweetness like alcoholic candy. Yummy. Medium in body, I feel it really needs more bulk on the tongue, it isn’t painfully lacking in body but it is too noticeably thin IMO. The carbonation is moderate but natural. The mouthfeel is very pleasant but maybe a tickle slick. While not a great beer it is drinkable and good enough that I would buy it again. Luckily (surprisingly) I bought this in Nebraska. In Lincoln to be exact for $7.00 a 750ml. Worth another go-around for me, not worth seeking out if you haven’t had it.

2001 Vintage.

bditty187, Jun 29, 2004
Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 750mL from the cellar. Figured 10 years was long enough, it's going to be dead or...just alright.

Cork pops, and it pours very clean with a small cap of tan foam. A nest of larger bubbles is dotted throughout. Aroma is musty leather, sweet pipe tobacco, raisins, and candi sugar.

Oatmeal raisin cookies dipped in chocolate milk. This beer is like a childhood confectionary dream. Very smooth and rich feel, lower carbonation. Huge prune/raisin note that lasts into the finish. Some nuttiness from the malt. Oxidation is present, but it seems to complement, producing no off flavors. Very dessert like, toffee sweetness, dark fruits, light berry tartness that's a 1/10 on the tart scale. No substantial tartness to qualify this as a Flanders Oud Bruin, save that it was produced in Flanders. Somewhat dry in the finish now after a few sips. A touch of musty oak dryness, that may be from the oxidation, it's hard to tell at this point.

Overall this aged bottle is much better that what I remember in the past, not sure if it was a good batch, or storage issues affected the other samples I had. Too bad it's no longer imported.

04-17-2007
B- / 3.5
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | drink: 3

11.2oz. capped bottle, separate review for a better preserved sample.

Really there's no way to tell the age on this one, but it seems that this bottle has much better carbonation than the corked 750 I had awhile back.

Pours a deep brown with some clarity, decanted carefully. Fizzy tan foam.

Aroma of figs and prune, some mustiness. Cocoa sweetness, like Nestlé Quik. Slight medicinal phenols as it warms.

Cola in the taste, alongside the dark fruit, more sweet than anything. Grape, slight sweet wine character, not tart or bitter. Oxidation is pretty apparent, the cap seems to have retained carbonation, but not "freshness".

Still not the most traditional Oud Bruin, it's more of a BSDA. Alcohol is not apparent. Sweetness verges on a tolerable degree...

emerge077, Sep 16, 2009
Photo of tendermorsel
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My buddy brought this one back with him from England. I had this on tap quite a while back and loved it. Poured into a DT tulip glass.

Great dark brown color. Tremendous foamy frothy head. I had to let it sit for 5-10 minutes to dissipate.

Great sweet caramel flavors upfront and a bit sour on the back end. Extremely well balanced. Very drinkable for a 8% beer. Very smooth.

I don't see this as an Old Bruin. Not anywhere near as sour as some of the others I have had. It is an exceptionally smooth and balanced beer.

tendermorsel, May 27, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a very rich and dark ale and not a flander red per say in my opinion. Large head when pourred into glass but it did disapear a little bit too quickly. Has a very nice roasty butterscotch and molasse finish. Another nice and diffrent product from Riva

Phyl21ca, Jul 17, 2003
Photo of matjack85
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

matjack85, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of Brent
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tightest cork I've run across, and the first where I had to use a corkscrew. Poured a ruddy amber-walnut with a quick, fizzy head. Well carbonated. Some mildly sweet caramel apple flavor up front on the first sip, with alcohol rising sharply. After a few sips, however, caramel and alcohol both receded. Aged orchard fruit and some hints of oak tannin. Not as tart or acidic as other oud bruins I've had. For the high abv and the initial alcohol pungency, the alcohol did mute and this was surprisingly drinkable.

Brent, Aug 15, 2005
Photo of Gusler
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enormous frothy light chocolate head on top the deep and very nebulous reddish-brown body, the lace in sheets, with oodles of dross, just floating around. The aroma of peat or smoke quite pronounced sweet and also nice hints of malted grain, a treat for the nose. Front is sweet, the top is middling in feel. Finish is bittersweet, pungently acidic, hops are pleasant in their spiciness, quite dry and somewhat alcohol bitter aftertaste. A bit of a "Tummy Warmer at 8.5%”, and a pleasure to quaff at any rate.

Gusler, Jan 02, 2003
Photo of dansteino
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Found this at Dorignac's. Cork says 1998 vintage -- obviously not a quick seller --- hope it is still good.

Appearance: Muddy brown. Small off-white head with some staying power.

Smell: Really nice. Chocolate, Cherries, raisins, yeast. Almost a Xmas bread effect -- with less spice.

Taste. Wow! It's still good -- really good. Tons of fruit. Some chocolate. Port-like.

Mouthfeel: Could be more crisp. Carbonation kind of disappears.

Drinkability: This was 8.5%? I could drink this all night

What a great beer! What a pleasant surprise!

dansteino, Mar 10, 2004
Photo of BlackHaddock
2.6/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Fancy labelled 330ml Bottle, poured into a Forbidden Fruit challice glass. Now owned/brewed by Liefmans.

Deep Ruby Red with a huge biege head sat on top, looked great.

Rich molasses and malty aroma, very sickly sweet smell really.

Too sweet, the strong alcohol feel is all wrong too. Fizzy and malty, but an unsuspecting tourist beer to me (check out the front label).

Just not 'my cup of tea', it is just a sweet brew, well packaged and playing on the Belgian beer scene like more and more beers seem too.

BlackHaddock, Apr 19, 2008
Photo of Rastacouere
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brown beer with a generous head in terms of space, but not in terms of time. Sweet nose of chocolate and liquorice. RIch sweet taste, fruity, caramel with late tart notes. Riva at its best. Big props to the cheaper state than most too, around here anyway

Rastacouere, Feb 07, 2004
Photo of papat444
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was brewed by Liefman's.

Poured from a 330ml. bottle, best before 12/2011.

Appearance: Active foam fills 3/4 of the glass with a dusty tan color. Body is semi-opaque and the color of cherry wood. Each additional pour yields more foam.

Smell: A bit of yeast, some mild tartness and an aroma of an old cellar. Pleasant enough.

Taste: Some wood, cherries and berries, not much lactic action and some traces of whiskey?

Mouthfeel: Very low carbonation with a smooth body.

Overall: Held up rather well. Good but not great.

papat444, Dec 06, 2011
Photo of Pegasus
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep brown in color, verging on black, with moderate clarity, and a small tan head.

Aroma: Coffee and chocolate, with some toasted malt, and a slight dark fruit presence.

Taste: Opens with an earthy chocolate note, this carries throughout the taste, with hints of dark fruit along the way. The finish is slightly sour.

Mouth feel: Soft, reasonably full, with a slight note of carbonation, and a mildly chalky feel.

Drinkability/notes: A most interesting beer and a most interesting style. Try this or any Oud Bruin if you can.

Thanks to my friend and fellow BA HardTarget for sharing this rare example.

Pegasus, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of marc77
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Lightly turbid deep crimson hue. Frothy, pitted beige head leaves rough lace. Mellow balsamic tartness and leather upfront in aroma. Sweet cocoa, carob and black licorice hints are secondary. Well rounded aromawise. In flavor, incipient is a gentle combination of notes of black currant and lactic, fermented plum. Soft dark toffee tones ensue and provide lightly sweet contrast. Herbal phenols surface as the beer warms and meld well with the persistent woody, oak presence. Stately baker's chocolate hints and slightly roasty, dark kilned malt notions arise as well. Static, mildly musty yeast undertone. Initially spritzy and carbonic, eventually settling into a lightly viscous, well attenuated mouthfeel. A touch on the thin side. Finishes with hints of sherry and diluted chocolate buttermilk. A well crafted Old Brown that exhibits fine balance of acidity and its chocolate themed malt backbone. Quite tasty, indeed. Ethanol content is discernible only due to benign throat coating warmth. Definitely recommended.

marc77, Jun 18, 2004
Photo of JohnK17
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

JohnK17, Nov 13, 2012
Photo of granger10
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very good beer to say the least. The spices were noticed when I smelled the beer. The taste came forward with some malt and fruit tones followed by a sour note and a little hop precence and abruptly ended with a dry, yeast but somewhat sweet tasting finish that left me wanting more. One of the most balanced beer I have tasted to date and something I would definitely buy again.

granger10, Jul 04, 2003
Photo of jdhilt
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a three-finger, bubbly light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a good lace. Cloudy amber color. Good carbonation. Nose is sweet malt/alcohol. Starts and finishes smooth and sweet NOT a session beer . . . savor this beer - a very good brown. Medium bodied. $7.50 for a 750ml bottle.

jdhilt, Apr 18, 2004
Photo of Derek
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark reddish-brown, plenty of off-white head, good retention & lace.

S: Sherry/alcohol, fruity (raisin & banana), spicey (clove?), brown sugar (different than most old browns).

T: Dark fruit (raisin), spicy, brown sugar, floral (slightly soapy) hops, touch of dark caramel. Light bitterness, only a hint of tartness, dry, hints of warming alcohol (though you'd never know it was this strong).

M: Moderate body is relatively dry (very well-attenuated), carbonation is higher than moderate. A second sampling had a little more residual sugar.

D: Good drinkability.

Thanks Mike (MDS)!

Derek, Oct 08, 2006
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Vondel from Brouwerij Riva S.A.
87 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.