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Vondel - Brouwerij Riva S.A.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

52 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 52
Hads: 56
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 10.43%
Wants: 13
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Riva S.A.

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Vondel Alström Bros
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 52 | Hads: 56
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of JOaikido
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

33o ml bottle. Best before date of October 2010 stamped on cap.

A- Overwhelming frothy beige head. Dark red3brown colour. Head long lasting. Never completely died as I drank this over more than an hour. Nice bubbliness. Little flecks of yeast sediment.

S- Smoky, caramel. Slight roasted odour and some overipe plum.

T- Smoky. Caramel Touch of alcohol. Yeast refermented flavour. Much as expected from smell. Whole balanced with a slight bitter aftertaste that is not overdone.

MF- Smooth and soft. Carbonation just right for this beer.

D- Flavour good, but I couldn't take too much at a time. Decent as a sipping beer.

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Photo of yelterdow
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2001 vintage served in a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature... muchas gracias to akeeper for surprising me with this five-year old example of a corked and caged 750ml bottle of goodness.

Appearance- Pours a clear sunset red with a light, orange-beige head... one finger thick, no lacing. The center island of foam is all that's left after about two minutes. Great muddy sediment is swirled in towards the end of this tasting.

Smell- Wood, sour cherries, strawberries, must.

Taste- A fruity, mildly alcoholic palate becomes more assertive as the beer comes to temperature... nuances that lie within may have mellowed and dispersed over the five years in the bottle. A nice dry hop bite after the swallow offers great closure. Still sweetish and malty, I enjoy this Oud Bruin with a strong blue cheese.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The crisp effervescence gently swells and grows confidently and elegantly in the mouth... meanwhile the belly warmth creeps in just in time to pour the final dregs in. I enjoyed sampling this one, Amy, thanks again for the thoughtful gift.

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Photo of dbek
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a ruby-red/dark brown beer. Its aroma is misleading: It prepares you for something else, but the real taste is exceptional. I especially like the strong aftertaste. Its is a strong beer, both in taste and in alcohol, so I wouldn't drink many of these in one session. It's more like a delicacy rather than a beer. I would suggest you have this one with food. It will go well with red meat and chocolate.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.89/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of cbl2
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Opaque brown with 1/2" head that settles rapidly. Extremely evervescent.


Very sweet with malts bursting forth, almost a burnt caramel.


Smooth and silky with malts upfront followed by a tinge of alcohol and hints of sherry.

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Photo of Jason
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of granger10
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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...

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Photo of josanguapo
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted long time at Cervecería Internacional, as a recommendation of the owner when I told him I didn't like dark beers. It was the first dark beer that I, indeed, liked.

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Photo of AlexF
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review in french. Please bear with us :)

Bouteille de 33 cl.

Robe brune orangée bien opaque. Mousse très abondante et persistante, l'une des plus persistante que j'ai vu. Le tout semble bien intéressant.

Des arômes de caramel et de biscuit agrémentent le tout.

Première impression quant au goût : le liquide est vineux, et on ressent un quelconque arrière-goût boisé qu'on associe généralement aussi au vin. En bouche, après quelques gorgées, un goût de tire brulée (tire éponge brûlée...) fait son apparition. Sucré et riche.

Excellent bière qui, malgré un sucré très proéminent, sait demeurer agréable du début à la fin sans jamais écoeurer.

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Photo of oberon
4.01/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of Derek
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
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)!

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Photo of Gusler
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of marc77
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into a Brouwerij IJ tulip

Pours with a deep ruby body, thick oxblood highlights and a few hints of brown in there too. Large patchy bubbly head with fair retention although the head isn't particularly dense

Smell, alcoholic prunes and figs, scents of little beers bars like cafe gollem in amsterdam, that scent of old wood and belgian beer. Whiffs of potent esters, slight acidity but very slight, some grain and almonds on the finish

Taste, brandy soaked dried fruit, bready alcohol and a malty backbone, a reasonably short mouthfeel which is also quite thin. Estery alcoholic fresh fruit on the finish

An interesting flanders brown, not the typical full bodied tartness you'd expect, this is closer to a belgian dark ale. Still, tasty and worth a try

I paired this with a very mature chedder and cornish brie. It worked very well with the cheddar but totally overpowered the brie with its alcohol

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 1999 vintage from a 750ml corked bottle. Definately a great beer, maybe because of the vintage, I don't know. First off, I was under the impression that a Flemish Brown was supposed to be sour, i.e. with some bacteria...maybe that's oud bruin. Anyway, the beer looks so pretty, especially when swirled about in a tulip glass. It swirls around and around with the head forming and mixing with the uppermost layer of reddish brown beer....oh its pretty! The nose is nice, very caramel/toffee, maybe some raisons with definately some alcohol there. The taste is very rich. very nice soft fruit flavors, mostly raison with some caramel and the alcohol is quite prominent which is the only reason I didn't give this beer a 4.5 in the taste category.

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Photo of jahred
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My last beer at the Feb. Goose Island "Beer Academy."

Pours a medium brown color with a huge white head and lots of carbonation. Even on my not-so-huge cup/glass, there's a ton of lace action going on. Quite pretty.

The malty, lemony and sour scent is intriguing. I can't wait to taste this beer. And the taste? Sweet-and-sour is what comes to mind. Malty, creamy, lemony, yeasty, complex - and delicious. Mmmm. I can think of countless foods for which this would be a fantastic pairing!

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Photo of Tim2000
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341 mL brown bottle, no freshness date.

Deep mahogany brew with a centimeter of creamy tan foam.

Complex, spicy, fruity aroma.

Flavor starts off sweet, with heavy notes of dried fruit, raisins and figs. Spices abound, mostly cloves and a bit of pepper and there is a rich, caramel malt taste that holds out until almost the end. Some alcohol comes through as well as a moderate phenolic character. Finishes dry with a very subtle hop bitterness. Full bodied with a healthy carbonation.
Highly drinkable considering its alcohol content.

Very balanced and complex, though lacking the sourness/barnyard flavors I would expect from an oud bruin. Regardless, an excellent beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of dansteino
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
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!

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Photo of tendermorsel
4.4/5  rDev +12%
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.

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Photo of Todd
4.44/5  rDev +13%
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.

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Photo of putnam
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect, satin-draped, mocha head over dark brown, woody liquid. Aromas of burnt maple sugar (eerily reminiscent of Ommegang) (!?) lead into a palate which displays lots of maple and caramel while remaining perfectly dry and yielding on the palate. Subtle notes of baked eggplant, smoke, pflaumkuchen and licorice trickle past, fondling each other. Hmmm, English "fondle" sounds like Nederland "vondel." And who is that jaunty looking fellow on the label?
Well it's a terrific beer, that's for sure. A clinic in balance. Complex, not syrupy.

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Photo of JulieRFoster
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thick and bilious bread-crust colored head falls to a stead-fast 1 cm afghan of small, yet varying-sized bubbles. The color of an antique cherry-wood cheste
The nose has a sweet deep and profound odeur (yes, the French spelling is absolutely warranted here) that is immediately creamy and chocolaty with hazelnut and pralines. This is what I want to smell before I die. The smell has a deep brandy-wine complexity that is lightened by a playful sweetness of red fruits upfront. There is a tart scent of apples, which are slightly sour as well (which I take to be the interplay of tart hops with sour malts).
The taste is a delightfully sweet and sour harmony; malty flavor of fruits and oak wedded to the smoothness of cocoa and cream. Alcohol is certainly present, but not as much as one would except with the ABV. Some definite saison qualities in the malty aroma and flavor that recalls the barnyard.
The mouthfeel is a little lighter than expected, with solid carbonation. While that detracts from the beer overall, it does add to its drinkability. However, the solidified sediments at the bottom of this 33cl bottle did NOT add to its drinkability. WTF is that stuff? The first time I had this beer it was a taste (which turned into ‘tasting’ half the glass) a friend’s in Belgium. This was later on in an evening at Deliruim, where I had clearly tasted many many beers. I love the bottle I brought back to France as much as my first sip that I had that night, but man, those chunks of sediment are funkey. Ignorance in some instance is bliss.
Finishes with a crème delicat. Beautifully drinkable for the heaviness of the style: an excellent choice (esp. if you share a 75 cl. Bottle and pour your friend’s glass after yours).

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Vondel from Brouwerij Riva S.A.
87 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.