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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
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Reviews: 52 | Hads: 56
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
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

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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 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 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 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 BlackHaddock
2.62/5  rDev -33.3%
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.

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Photo of biegaman
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favourite styles of beer, this one has some tough competition. I drink this with other great examples in mind, the bar is certainly set high.
Very assuring pour. Nice head which would desist into a fine lacing as it warmed. Cloudy brown. Aroma pairs up pretty well with the style, but not as 'authentic' I didn't think. Stronger as it warmed, that's a good thing. Took a little longer to get a feel for, not as distinct or confident as others in this unique style. Mouthfeel is a little too carbonated for a Flemish sour. Nowhere near as complex or wine-like as others. No alcohol , flavours not as pronouced. Flavours disapear quickly, don't stick around. They don't seem to stand out as they should with what this style permits. I liked this beer, but there is so much more to this style

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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 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 bark
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The colour is dark brown; the liquid is somewhat cloudy. The finger thick beige-brown foam forms a sinking head.

The smell is filled with chocolate and cocoa, some sour notes, brown sugar and some banana sweets.

A taste of sweet chocolate dominates the taste. There are also notes of light syrup; some simple bitterness, brown sugar, cherry stones, strawberry jam and some matured wood cask flavours.

The carbonation is potent and fresh with small bubbles.

As this is my first Oud Bruin beer, I am not sure if this is a good interpretation of the style, but I liked it anyway.

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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 francisweizen
3.14/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap in Quebec city. rusty, muddy brown with a small, almost non-existant head. The aromas are of sweet malts, sugar, and a bit of oud bruin lactic funk. The taste is way too sweet up front, and not funky enough for an oud bruin. Their are also some slight fruit flavors in this brew making it seem like an oud bruin flemish red hybrid. The mouthfeel was sugary and sticky, and the drinkability was blah. Why even try this if you can have Goudenband?

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Photo of cokes
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

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Photo of papat444
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

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Photo of Brent
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the chalice a clear deep amber brown with a tan long lasting head that rose tall and then fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was caramel and chocolate with a nutty component. Also present were dark fruits, raisins, and a slight spice. Another fruit present in the complex aroma was pineapple.

The flavor was caramel and chocolate and a just noticeable sourness, very understated for an Oud Bruin. The fruits were still present, but understated and missing complexity. What was present was a harsh alcohol burn.

The finish was dry with lasting chocolate and caramel. The body was medium light to light.

750 ml bottle, 2001 on cork. A decent beer, but the flavor was missing complexity.

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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 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 bditty187
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sorry but this following comment is in french :

Appearance : brune avec d'invitants reflets rouges.
Smell : dans les effuves d'alcool, le malt se mele agréablement au chocolat.
Taste and mouthfeel : Ronde, doucatre, veloutée : elle ne s'exprime que par les sucres sur un fond d'alcool qui prolonge le goût.
Drinkability : bonne bière brune (style flemish brown)

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Photo of rastaman
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Inspection: Ok, this one was interesting. It was labeled as their wit beer http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/217/1600 but when I poured it: it was black! So; obviously it’s not the wit. After tasting, we had to assume this was the Oud Bruin, so I’m posting here.

Aroma: Chocolate malt is the main character with some mild dark fruit if you reach for it.

Appearance: Quickly dying head left the beer with a calm surface. The glass was deep brown and slightly hazy.

Flavor: Again, chocolate malt starts things off, but it fades into some nice dark fruit and a firm sour note in the long lasting finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin body, low carbonation

Overall Impression: Different. VERY different from the wit I expected given the label. I don’t have a lot of Oud Bruins to compare this too, it struck me as mild, not quite “funky” enough.

Hand carried back from Montreal

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Photo of JISurfer
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This stuff was awesome! I gotta give much thanks to my bro Spyridon for hookin' me up at the Super Bowl party. It came in a huge bottle, so we could both enjoy our equal share of the bounty. It was a cloudy brownish/amber color, with a creamy tan head. The head stayed around for a while. The smell had many different angles to it. At first smell, it was a sweet, brown sugary smell, but then gave way to a semi-strong grapeish smell. The fruity smell carried over to the taste, but also had the token belgian taste to it, ie the malty body w/ a tinge of alcohol and dark fruits. The alcohol was hardly present and made it even more enjoyable. I really do think that I could drink this stuff all night/day. Ofcourse, my liver wouldn't thank me for that, so it would be impossible.

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Photo of joe1510
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. Bottle
Sam's Downers Grove

On a careful pour this is still a tremendously chunky beer. Poured garnet that's almost opaque from the chunkiness (proteins I'm guessing with some yeast in there).A half finger white head formed on the pour that faded rather quickly to a ring around the glass. Looks like a coke after the head settles. Wiley carbonation rises throughout the glass moving the proteins as it does. The chunkiness detracts from the appearence in this case.

The smell is really nice. I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this being my first Flanders brown but the smell is similiar to many other dark Belgians. The exception is a touch of tartness. The tartness is very mild and in the form of sour milk. There's a big doughy malt backbone along with some dark fruits such as fig and prune. Old leather aroma as well as tobacco leaf.

Flavor is the same as aroma. Doughy malts start things off and the dark fruits flash in here and there. I even seem to get some bing cherries every now and then. The earthy leather and tobacco leaf show up mildly and soothing on the finish. Noticeable bitterness.

I really like the mouthfeel on this beer. Prickly carbonation and a light body make this beer refreshing and keep it moving. The drawback is the chunks. I find myself trying to sip slowly to keep them in the glass. If not for the chunkiness I would give this a 4.5.

Again, except for the chewiness of this beer it is extremely drinkable and refreshing.

Good beer and something new. I thought the sourness would be more apparent but it's hardly noticeable. I enjoy this beer and am looking forward to trying more.

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