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Goudenband - Brouwerij Liefmans

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1,189 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,189
Reviews: 552
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 125
Gots: 139 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Liefmans visit their website

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 02-24-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,189 | Reviews: 552 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RiekerStarBrew
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured from the bottle to my belgian glass, it had a clear, dark brown color. The aroma was tart with hints of alcohol. The flavor was very complex. It had that classic rotten fruit flavor resembling peach. It was sour, yet, sweet at the same time. It had good mouthfeel and carbonation with minimal hop character. This was my first "Old Bruin" and I really enjoyed it.

Photo of seanyfo
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml paper wrapped bottle poured into chimay chalice.

A - Aggressive poured produces a 3 finger creamy tan head sitting on top of a murky tan amber body. Lacing is good with lively beading.

S - Lots of dark sweet fruits, fresh malty goodness with a bitter afterthought on which i cant put my finge on, almost a sweet vinegar!

T - Lots of sweet caramel and dark fruits which quickly turns to a sharp sourness in the end, however this is balanced with a nice sweet bready malt in the aftertaste. Transition from sweet to sour is quick indeed, but not offputting and enjoyable.

M - Light body,dry. High carbonation. Spritzy

D - Yes this was lovely. A nice sweet sour balance gives this a lot of flavour to explore with a light refreshing body. Would gladly drink again

Photo of smcolw
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark ruby color with a low head and near no lace. Lots of clumped yeast floating around.

The smell of raisins is the first identifiable aroma I have.

Sweetish cherries with a sour background. Very rich beer, with an almost port-like flavoring without the alcoholic warmth. Slightly sour aftertaste. Very pleasant mouthfeel and taste.

This is a superb dessert beer. I envision it with strong cheese. This would be an excellent choice for a fine dinner finish.

Photo of nickfl
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - 1.5 fingers of caramel tinged, off white foam settles quickly on top of a dark and hazy reddish-brown body.

S - Sour caramel (?? I think I just invented a new dessert), rasisn/plums/figs, and subtle yeast funk.

T - Sweet-sour with dark fruit. Malty, caramel, with slight roast. Earthy yeast notes are more pronounced than in the nose. The finish is more of the sweet/sour interaction with a bit of grassy hop flavor and steady earthy funk with a lingering alcohol warmth.

M - Light body and very dry. High carbonation.

D - This is a beautiful beer. The overall impression is almost of that of an English old ale with sour funk substituted for hops. I can't imagine slugging these down, but I can tell you that I am enjoying sipping the one in front of me immensely.

Photo of MSchae1017
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours into my tulip glass with brown body and hints of amber. There is a slightly off white head that holds a nice ring and wisps of film that leave bits of lace down the glass. The smell gives of the tartness from the wild yeasts with hints of undefined maltiness. The taste is up front with the tartness and followed quickly with malts that exhibit hints of roasty and caramel characteristics. The mouthfeel is light-meduim bodied. It is certainly far more attenuated that I would have expected for a 8% beer. Overall, it is quite drinkable but lacks the depth provided by the oak aged Flemmish Red Ales.

Photo of klewis
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

375 ml
bottled in 2006

A: Pours a dark mahogany with a small bubbly head and a modest amount of sediment. Lots of lacing.

S: Multi-dimensional smell with a slightly funky aromas of red wine, tropical fruits, and vinegar.

T: There is some kind of fruity taste, but it's hard to describe due to intense sweet and sour characters that overwhelm that palate. Acidic.

M: Medium-bodied with plenty of carbonation, yet amazingly silky and smooth. I want to make this beer into pajamas. A lingering sweet/sour taste.

D: Definitely an interesting beer - whatever that means. I don't find myself loving this, but it's worth a try.

Photo of thierrynantes
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer bottle (37,5cl), tasted in 2004.

Appearance: clear brown-deep mahogany, beige foam head, little tight but persistent.
Smell : winy, licorice aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel: first Taste pungent, turning to acidity and soft woods. Great finest body, good overall balance, light post-bitterness.
Drinkability: A real "grand cru", in the style Flanders oud bruin

Review translated from french 5-16-2008.

Photo of HoustonTX
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5


A - Rustic brown, with a white fluffy head.

S - Complex dark malt with a mildly alcoholic roastedness.

T - Medium-bodied with a solid carbonated base. Sweet ripe fruit upfront blend with a sickly infused caramel malt. Oily malts balance midway, soon giving way to fresh squeezed raspberries and mangoes. With notes of lemon and lime, with a controlled spiciness. Finishes clean with lingering fruit notes and ample carbonated, and stays just as magnificent from beginning to end.

A wonderful, one of a kind Brown Ale. Definitely recommended.

Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Paper-wrapped, cage-corked bottle:

Pours hazy brown with a thin tan head.

The smell is sour at first, but it quickly subsides to allow a caramel malty sweetness through, along with a berry-like fruitiness. Slightly nutty/earthy with intermingle with soft woodiness and a spicy sharpness. Very complex aroma.

The taste is sour/tart fruitiness with balancing caramel-candy sweetness. Woody/earthy notes come through more as it warms/progresses. Finishes sweet and sour.

Softly carbonated in a medium body, it leaves an iron/metallic feel on the palate that interferes with the mouthfeel, and drinkability. Still this is an aromatic, complex one - a classic certainly worth checking out.

Photo of Crosling
2.13/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

375 mL, with too many floaties. I love yeast at the bottom, but not so much that I can only decant half the beer. Muddy brown with a full Belgian foam. Aromatically mediocre. It’s very applely, with a blend of granny smith and red apples. Also hints of banana bread. Definately more sweet than sour, and a beer that’s rumored to have gone through numerous changes the past decade. Maybe this was once a classic, but that was before my time. Now it’s just a sweet, drinkable, approachable brown ale. It has a unique taste, but is just too sweet and one dimensional.

Photo of goochpunch
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2006.

Pours out a rusty brown with a thin head that fizzles to a partial covering of thin bubbles atop the beer. Leaves some sheets of nearly solid lace. Smells of dried, chewy fruit, pomegranate, toasty malts, lactic acid, grapes, cherries, and a subtle woodiness. Sourness comes out more in the flavor, as well as wood characteristics, and it's all for the better. There is also a malty sweetness that anchors the sourness down so as not to run wild. Darker malts come forth in the middle amidst cherry flavors and, towards the end, a roast quality comes forth. Finishes with a sharp dryness contrasting to the sweeter middle. Woody tannins round this out in the finish as well. Mouthfeel is moderate to full with jumpy carbonation. Fantastic beer and well worth the money. I could see the overall sweetness of the beer MAYBE becoming a bit much in a "session," but I doubt it.

Photo of eepopporkahah
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - The cork exploded out of the bottle, startling the entire bar. (sorry.) It poured with a thick head which thinned out somewhat to one finger's width. Very ruddy garnet color, pretty dark with a few trails of bubbles rushing up from the bottom.
Smell - Some black pipe tobacco, a lot of vanilla and sweet dark cherries. Heavy stuff.
Taste - Crazy. The first flavors are all blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, and 'grade b' maple syrup. Then comes a somewhat large helping of tannin. The finish is all molasses and milk chocolate
Mouthfeel - Mildly effervescent, more than I was expecting, to be sure, but nothing out of control. The boy of the beer was on the syrupy side but still quite well balanced.
Drinkability - Due to its high rating on the weirdness scale, I wouldn't want to drink it all the time, but it is something to be experienced.

This beer would be great with some cherry cheesecake of maybe some fruitcake (for those of you who are into fruitcake...I certainly am!).

Photo of roblowther
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Who doesn't love the paper-wrapped bottle? I have to go up a half point on appearance just for that. Its a murky reddish brown, very cloudy, with no real head. The smell is sour cherries with a sharp, acidic note to it. There is a malt in there as well as the aroma of fresh grape juice. The taste is sweet malt, cherries, and pipe smoke. Yes pipe smoke. I have no idea what that is I'm trying to describe but that's as close as I come. It finishes dry, though, which is a much-needed and delightful balance. Nice, nice, nice. The mouthfeel is syrupy almost too much so but again, the finish saves the day. Light carbonation provides balance and saves the beer from veering into cough syrup territory. It is lightly but nicely carbonated. The drinkability is good, with the balances making the experience. This is a very complex beer with many sides to its personality. Definitely worth a trot around the track. or two.

Photo of crwills
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

330 mL unlabeled, corked green bottle, wrapped in blue and white paper. Date on the cork says this one expires in 2016! And here I was, thinking that, after having it for over a year, I should get to drinking it. That said, no regrets!

Poured a deep reddish brown with a bubbly, fluffy head. I had to slow down the pour to make sure it didn't go over. I used a Sinha glass and it looked great!

Aroma is sour and leathery, with that "horse blanket" aroma that's hard to place. Also some figs and prunes and a little bit of chocolate, maybe.

Flavour is fantastic (hence the "5"). Sour, but not overpoweringly so, with complex notes of damp earth, "farm", grass, dark fruits, peaches, and cherries. Sourness lingers in the finish but, again, it's pleasant and refreshing rather than tart. Difficult to describe everything that's going on here, but in terms of straight-up flavour this has to be one of my favourites.

I'm almost sure I remember buying this at the LCBO. If so, I hope it comes back in the Fall again -- would be great to get (a lot) more.

Photo of beertastegood
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 on cork.

Pours a slightly cloudy brown with massive head that fades quickly leaving a moderate amount of lace on the chalice.

Smell: sweet caramel, brown sugar, slight molasses/raisins/plums, with a definite tangy, earthy aroma.

Taste: sweet maltiness up front followed by a wonderfully balanced tang, fading into cherry-like sweetness with a bit of saison-like earth flavors. Finishes sweet & sour and slightly toffee-like.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation, medium body. Prickly acidity on the tongue.

Drinkability: This not being an overly sour beer, it is quite drinkable and surprisingly thirst quenching.

An outstanding Oud Bruin. It is a shame that we can't get more down here in TX.

Photo of vtfan77
3.65/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle is from 2003; kind of old, but these beers can supposedly hold up for a very long time.

A- I saw lots of chunky sediment in the bottom of the 375 ml bottle, so I poured very carefully. Perhaps as a result of this there was pretty much no head on the beer. It poured a dark cola brown with hints of red when held up to the light. No head, just a ring of bubbles around the glass.

S- Fruit in the form of sweet grape or cherry, and vinegar. Not a very strong smell.

T- Very pleasant and subtle taste. The flavors are similar to the smell with a grape-like sweetness and vinegary sourness. The sourness isn't very intense, though; it's really just a pleasant tartness. Nothing extreme here, but nice nonetheless.

M- Kind of thin and lacking in carbonation.

D- Good drinkability. There's no hint of the 8% alcohol and the flavor is nice and mild. I could see myself drinking another.

Kind of strange overall. I'm afraid that age may have taken its toll on this beer, although other reviews have reported "best-by" dates of 10 years later (my bottle had no "best-by" date). It certainly wasn't bad, though. I'm just afraid it may have lost some complexities. Anyway, I'd still certainly recommend it, and maybe a more experienced palate would appreciate it more.

Photo of udubdawg
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 bottle
Pours a nice dark amber/brown color, with a thin tan head. Retention is brief, and despite my efforts I ended up with quite a bit of sediment, most of which quickly settles out. Looks like others have had a better-looking pour, so I'll give this one another chance later.

Nose is nice. Musty, earthy, a mixture of some sourness and a sort of apple/berry fruitiness. An undefined spiciness, and some alcohol is evident here upon warming...very well done.

A fruity/acidic/sour/sweet masterpiece of flavors combine here. Just a little bit of a metallic flavor shows itself occasionally, or I might give this a 5. Most evident are a rich carmelized brown sugar, cherry, apple, and some sour citrus. Alcohol is even less noticeable than in the aroma, and now that I'm halfway through with it I wonder why I didn't notice the wood earlier.

I don't know what this is like fresh, but this combination of flavors has melded in an awesome fashion after 1.5 years. I think it can go a lot longer, and the 2015 drink-by date agrees with me. Awesome drying finish leaves me licking my slightly puckered lips. Expressive carbonation dies quickly on the tongue letting my enjoy the flavors. Crazily drinkable complex beer with the perfect amount of refreshing sourness that you never tire of.

Photo of techdiver
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cork 2.006, cage 10-2016

Pours a cloudy reddish brown with a modest tan head.

Sour cherry nose.

Taste echoes the nose, with malt and a bit more complexity.

Great carbonation, feels relatively light.

Eminently drinkable, very enjoyable. Not TOO anything. Just a great tasting and easy drinking brew.

Photo of Hautacam
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy dark brown with a small tan head.
Funky and yeasty aroma along with some dough.
It is sweet/malty and acidic/sour at the same time. There is a lot of complexity here....bretty funk, earthy,cidery and winey, some sweet carmel, dried fruits and vanilla. Some woodiness and hints of alcohol. Sour aftertaste.
Mouthfeel was the light side of medium...carbonation medium.
A very impressive brew.

Photo of Vancer
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My first Oud Bruin, so I read the guide to see what I was in for – a brown lambic per say. Freakin's sheet lacing was so thick, ya couldn't see thru it.

Powerful pop of the cork almost took my eye out, and then the pour showed off that hazy brown and a dense tan head that had some real stay power.

Yup, musty ol’ horse blanket with a sniff, yum, yum. But the quaff turns a new leaf - silky smooth cherry mash bourbon. Subtle sour twinges. Just a surprising and tasty treat.

Never would have tried this if not for this site and its eye opening view into beers. Nice.

Photo of cbl2
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

4/7/2007 $9.99 750 mL 8.00% Vintage 2006. Best by 10-2016 printed on cage.


Pours a deep dark brown with touches of crimson highlights topped by a thin film of tannish-white head that settles leaving a nice lace.


Nice sour cherry with some notes of caramel and an acidic barnyard funk.


Mmmm…silky smooth mouthfeel that glides across tongue imparting subtle oak/vanilla flavors that are coupled with loads of sour cherry. A sublime drinking experience in what is quickly becoming my favorite style of beer. All the flavors are nicely balanced, and even the high ABV is hidden away. I could drink this every day and not get bored. Each sip is a new experience, with the creamy sometimes sweet, sometimes sharp/acidic libation tickling the taste buds. Seek this out, buy a case (it's good through 2016!?!). Enjoy.

Photo of emerge077
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle review 2006: Vintage reviews follow below.

Served in a Liefmans .3L wide fluted glass. Pours a ruddy brown with garnet highlights. Ample foam and lacing around the rim.

Smells of oak, cherry, and dark malt. Sort of cidery.

Taste is pretty unique, tartness comes out at first, followed by a sweeter balsamic note. Earthy yeast is in there, which makes a brief cameo. Sweet cherry or grape note. Have to take it down .5 here, since this tastes like sugar was added, compared to an older bottle from 2001 (see later review). Slightly dry, tart finish persuades another sip. One 750, or 2 drafts would probably be equivalent for a session. Get it while you can!

>>>2001 vintage...and the love affair with Goudenband continues.

Pours pretty nasty, deep mahogany brown with suspended yeast chunks. Every vintage bottle of this I try turns out different. 2001 was a good year apparently.The fat, spongy cork may have something to do with its sustained freshness. A brief sizzle of carbonation happens once poured, but settles to nothing soon enough.

Aroma of horse stalls, vinegar, and sweet mustard. The yeast fans out in all manner of funky directions. Sweet and sour like a Gueuze, but walking the line on the dark side. It has a mustiness that feels ancient, like it had been stored since the Middle Ages.

Sour upfront, finally. This is the Goudenband i've heard about. Forget the 2000 batch and some prior, the corks don't seem to age as well to this present date. This is conclusive evidence after sampling several flat '00 vintage bottles and a 750mL from the early '90's. Look for a larger cork and you'll do well.

Residual lemon citrus sourness, and a mellow blanket of oaky woodiness. Balanced and mellow with age. Mild cherry skin here, but more akin to a Gueuze.

Perfect Oud Bruin. Liefmans, what happened to the recipe?

>>>3rd review: early 1990's vintage

Brown Liefmans logo pattern on outer paper wrapper. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours a dark reddish-chestnut brown, with alot of clarity. Large bubbles result from a "higher-altitude" pour, but don't stick around. The ale soon looks like flat cola in the glass.

Smell is strong, a touch phenolic and berry-like. Musty basement notes lurk at the edges, but don't overpower it.

Taste still packs a punch. Almond nuttiness in the malt moves to a dark berry/plum with muted spice and a cola finish. Aftertaste is almost like fruit juice, too sweet to be wine, but not really dry at all. Nearly none of the signature tartness of a fresh bottle.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin without the usual carbonation, and the ABV becomes somewhat more apparent, which hinders the drinkability.

Notes: I was eager to try this vintage bottle, since the recipe reportedly changed post 2002. Age has mellowed it quite a bit, there was minimal to no carbonation, but still a very unique ale. Although the current version is a touch sweeter, I prefer it to an older vintage. The 10 yr. shelf-life is probably a good guideline to follow when cellaring, drink it before it gets too old...

Thanks BeerBeing!

EDIT: Recently tried a 2001 vintage, WOW. Perfectly aged, dusty, fruity, sourness. Still showed good carbonation and funky aroma. Amazing how the variability ranges in a 10+ yr. bottle, and a 6 yr. bottle. Will factor this sample in this score, for an overall vintage rating. See above review.

Photo of orfeu
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

355 ml bottle. Cork is dated 2005, with the cage reading "SEP2015" -- a "best before' date, I presume. Served slightly chilled in a New Belgium globe. Dusky mahogany, with bronze-red highlights and a thin but fine and dense sand-colored head. A few floating yeast chunklets made their way into the glass despite my best efforts at making a "careful pour." Sharp cidery notes in the aroma, along with a tannic green grape skin zest and a hint of barnyard funk. I also pick up a slight presence of candy-sweet caramel in the back. Definitely caramelly in the taste, which couples with a tart apple puckeriness to instantly get me thinking about Halloween during my childhood. Some funky wild microbes are also present to lend a nearly lambic edge. A bit of montmorency or some other sort of sour cherry flavor emerges as the beer warms. Light-ish on the palate, but the complexity of the sour-sweet flavor profile lends a certain heft to the mouthfeel. Lightly carbonated with an off-dry finish. A masterful creation, no doubt. 8% alcohol by volume is largely imperceptible. If not for its strength, this would make an amazing session beer. Highly recommended.

Photo of allengarvin
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served into a chalice, this pours a very dark brown color, cloudy, with an off-white head around a quarter-inch tall. Very nice aroma, with more malt than is often apparent in sour beers, a ripe fruitiness, and a metallic-tinged oakiness. First taste is tart but not overpoweringly so. Dark cherry fruitiness with light malt flavor follow, with a subtle spicy character. Finishes with a peppery alcoholic acidity that lingers.

Lovely. The restrained but noticible sourness makes this quite a refreshing drink despite the strength, with interesting and complex flavors.

Photo of ultralarry2006
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves less than a one finger tan colored head that has some retention, and some spotty lacing. Body is a hazy garnet.

Smell - horseblanket is the strongest aroma, everything that follows is merely hinted at : figs, dates, plums, sour cherries, medicinal alcohol. Horseblanket is what stands out, the other aromas are sort of weak.

Taste - much like the nose promises. Horseblanket dominates, with faint tastes of figs, dates, plums, sour cherries, and medicine. The alcohol is rather well hidden. Atfertaste of dark fruit and sour cherries. Other than the horseblanket, all other flavors are muted and weak, just as the aromas are in the nose.

Mouthfeel - thin bodied, smooth, quite fizzy.

Drinkability - this is good ale, but not great. This would be better enjoyed just before or after a meal, if not with one, and not at all in a session. Also, the high abv holds down sessionability.

Goudenband from Brouwerij Liefmans
93 out of 100 based on 1,189 ratings.