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Vondel - Brouwerij Riva S.A.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

51 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 51
Hads: 55
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 14
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
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Reviews: 51 | Hads: 55
Photo of francisweizen
3.14/5  rDev -19.9%
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 crookedhalo
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

75 cl bottle with a cork dating of 3/2001. Pours a cloudy reddish chestnut with a big, fluffy beige head that lasts for a good while and laces decently. Yeasty, cinammony, cocoa, obviously malty, red appley and earthy aromas. Slight suggestion of red wine in the aroma, too. Faint, chalk-like mouthfeel, indicating a modest body. Malty and sweet, but overly so. The maltiness comes across sometimes as being cardboardy. It's not as sour as I seem to remember, or maybe the aging subdued those qualities that I seem to foggily remember. There is a slight woody-like shallow tartness. The taste is pretty bland when compared to other beers of the style. I like it, but I'm not really enthralled with the beer's lack of character. It's just lacking some gusto as well as some tartness. If a malty brown is what you're looking for, go for it. If you want a world class oud bruin, I could make better suggestions.

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Photo of dave750
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy brown color with a light brown, medium height, but thick head that stays for only a short time leaving a halo around the edge of the beer and glass. The aroma is of bananas and chocolate chip cookie dough at first. The chocolate deepens while mint and an alcohol presence arrive at mid-glass.
The taste begins with a bold roasted malt and pleasingly sour orange flavor. Caramel, toffee and spicy hops emerge at mid taste. Chocolate, oak and a peppery alcohol bite join in as flavor fades. The body is medium-thick with excellent carbonation and balance.
Overall flavor is very complex and well-rounded. No one aspect of the flavor dominates the others. A smooth and easy drinking beer.

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Photo of cbl2
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
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 bditty187
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
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 marc77
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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 jdhilt
4.35/5  rDev +11%
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 oberon
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
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 dansteino
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
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 jahred
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
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 Rastacouere
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
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

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Photo of JISurfer
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
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 cerevisiaephilus
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
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 beergurujr
3.41/5  rDev -13%
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.

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Photo of cokes
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
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 SeanChouffe
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A deep red color with a rocky head and copious effervescence. The head diminishes to a respectable thin layer and the lace is somewhat sticky. The aroma is like a wine with an earthy freshness, a strong presence of caramel, and spicy (anise?) undertones. The flavor is sweet at the start with a spicy dry finish and a resilient bitterness. The feel is smooth and creamy ? well balanced with carbonation.
IMHO: Vondel looks good, smells good, and feels good, but the taste was one that I was not looking forward to even after the first few sips. The dryness and lasting bitterness overshadows the other, more subtle, characteristics.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
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 granger10
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
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 WVbeergeek
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
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 Popsinc
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Photo of Jason
3.92/5  rDev 0%
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 Admiraldinty
3.07/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I really didn't enjoy this beer too much. Poured a brown with a huge amount of chunky sediment. So much, it was actually a little disgusting. Nose was yeasty (obviously), alchol, and some brown sugar. Taste was somewhat malty, with some hops, and definite brown sugar, also nutty. Medium carbonation. Very warming. This beer definitely has few redeeming qualities, and I don't plan on having it again anytime soon.

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Photo of Gusler
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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 putnam
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
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 rastaman
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
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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Vondel from Brouwerij Riva S.A.
87 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.