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Goudenband - Brouwerij Liefmans

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1,218 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,218
Reviews: 554
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.5%
Wants: 131
Gots: 148 | 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: 1,218 | Reviews: 554
Photo of emerge077
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
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
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of geexploitation
4.66/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark, dark brown, almost black, with very little head. What head there is kicks up midway through the pour and then fades in a flash to virtually nothing. Complex nose, with hints of oak (but not American oak -- just a more subdued woodiness), must, sour cherries and funk. Really interesting. On the palate, tingly acidity and smooth malts pop up first, with some funk from the wood aging easily distinguishable, especially at lower temperatures. For fruit there's cherries, the sweeter side holds chocolate creme, and there are some nice earthy herbal notes in there too. The finish is a tad sweet and certainly tangy. Mouthfeel is silky in the malt component, but there's an acidic edge that evens things out and adds complexity. This is a wonderful beer. Everything is perfectly balanced, the flavors are nuanced and enjoyable, each part on its own merits and as a whole.

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

Thank you *very* much again to BeerBeing for bringing this beer. It is another one my wife said she liked from the evening. Alex was kind enough to introduce her to beer she liked two weeks ago and her horizons have been expanding tremendously ever since.

750ml corked and caged. Vintage 2002.

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany brown, completely opaque with a small head and little lace.

Smell: Smooth caramel malts, light sour apples and pie spices. A hint of sour cherries and spiced rum settle into the sweetness. The sour ale element is present but reserved.

Taste: Very approachable. My wife liked it (and up until two weeks ago she said "I don't like beer.") Tart cherry, lots of oak green apples and caramel sweetness a bit of lactic sour comes out more as it warms. Overall a very approachable sour not as intense as some others but a nice balance.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally smooth. Very full in the mouth with a dry finish.

Drinkability: I could drink this day and night. I think I want to move to Aalstrstraat Oudenaarde, Belgium. =)

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of phisig137
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Paper wrapped, 355 mL bottle has a cork dated 2005. Pours a slightly hazy deep brown with brilliant red highlights. Two finger head falls quickly, leaving behind only a thin blanket of foam over top of the glass.

Aroma is mildly tart and acidic, with some complex sugar aromas, along with deep dark fruits, and a slight hint of alcohol.

Flavor is incredibly complex and well balanced. Up front, the acid takers over, being very tart, and overwhelming all other flavors as soon as you taste it. The acidic quality quickly washes away into an ocean of complex malts and sugars. Dark fruits are prevalent on the long finish, that lingers with a slightly tart presence, that begs for another sip. Mouthfeel is light and creamy, and drinkability is excellent.

Without a doubt, one of the most drinkable sour beers that I've had. Fantastic flavors, incredibly complex, and far beyond what I have the ability to describe. Delicious all around, and one beer that I could drink all the time, if it were a bit more affordable. The paper wrapper tells me that Michael Jackson calls this "Surely the world's finest brown ale"... he's not far off on this one. Not tart and not sweet either, well balanced and complex, this is a definite winner. Great "transitional" beer for those just getting into the realm of sour beers. Highly recommended, and worth seeking out. I really enjoyed this one...

Photo of lackenhauser
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Murky color-like a muddy reddish brown. High level of carbonation. Lactic, fruity and spicy aroma but on a small scale. Big lactic and sweet, malty flavor. Has a fantastic, mild sourness. Nice, almost cherry flavor to it. Mildy woody. Perfect mouthfeel-has a crispness to it. Fairly effervescent oetongue. An incredible beer. I had this years ago when I was just getting into Belgians. Couldn't appreciate it then. The whole thing is great. Wish I had a case on hand.

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

This beer was sent my way from Viggo as part of BC-2. The beer was served in a flute glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a luscious ruby coloration. The head was half a finger high with a off biege coloration. Whisp of lacing remain on my glass.

Smell: The beer has a very delicious smelling combination of cherries, raisins and sour apple cider. Spices of cloves and other unidentifiable floral herbal make for a pleasant medicinal smell.

Taste: The beer has a very nice cherry, apple and raisin sweet and sour cidery taste. The cloves and other spices balance out the sweetness and the sour flavors.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a light body and is well carbonated. The beer even seems to have a slight butteryness to the beer. The sweetness and the sourness is well balanced. This is a definate beer treat. I will have this one again should I get the chance.

Photo of EPICAC
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had a bottle at Trollekelder in Ghent.

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby with a brown head that thins quickly.

Smell: Very malty: raisins, caramel and toffee, as well as a bit of a medicinal character.

Taste: Sweet with some cherry tartness, some toffee and some raisins.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and a little syrupy with low carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty good, sweet with a little bit of sourness.

Photo of TerryW
3.7/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice chesnut colour with a thin short head. Looks spritzy with lots of carbonation.

Nose is spicy and tart, distinct cider-like character.

Taste is tart up front as well, also very cider-like, but with lots of other spice, fruit and wood happening. An interesting mix of falvours means you have to take your time with it to work it out. Perhaps a little too tart but that mellows out as it warms up.

Photo of Tim2000
4.92/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

375 mL green bottle, wrapped in paper. 2 years until best before date.

Clear mahogany bown brew that shines red when held to the light. Thick and rocky tan head clings to the glass.

Aroma is full of spices, cloves and cinnamon come to mind. Some cider vinegar and fruit notes as well.

This is a complex brew. Tart cherries blend with cloves and nutmeg. Sugary malt notes come in as well. I'm getting sour green apple and some faint medicinal phenols near the finish. Alcohol has a subtle warming effect and some woody tannins give the beer a slight astringency. Hops are nowhere to be found, but are definitely not missed. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, with moderate carbonation

Sweet and sour balance perfectly in this beer and it has exceptional character. Goudenband tastes like a wild, traditional, farmhouse ale without the excessive barnyard flavours that many other sour beers I have tried have. It doesn't get much better than this.

Photo of russpowell
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 & a 26 on the cork of the 355 ml bottle

Pours ruby red/chestnit with efferevesence & a 3 finger sandy colored fluffy head, really nice looking beer! Pretty good stick lacing & very goo head retention, holds a nice healthy film across the surface

S: Huge sour notes & then cherry.

T: Sour, then dry wood (oak) notes & then some cherry notes. As it warms you hints of medicinal & woodruff (the green syrup used in berliner weiss) notes wash over a long with a sweet yet sour cherry vibe with a little bit of lactic taste. Some apple skin notes as well. Finishes dry, with hints of dates & cherry

MF: Slighty syruppy & dry like you'd expect

A little too complex & dry to session on, but certainally good for 2. Would never guess this was 8% abv. I've had better flemish browns, but this is pretty good & represents the style well!

Photo of delicious
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy, dark chestnut body and the thinnest head.
There's a small amount of vinegar in the nose, but it's moderated by a damp woody smell and a stingy zest.
It's a little sweet tasting, with some grape and turned cider. The wood comes through like chewing on a popsicle stick.
The final pour empties clots of brown yeast into the bottom of the glass.
There are just so many very different flavors moving around, all the while complementing each other. There's just enough sourness that it's fascinating, and the wood mellows the sour shock at the end while the fruity sweetness offers a pleasant beginning.

Photo of onsite416
3.51/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a= Mahogany color at the pour. Seemed to turn to dark brown after it settled lots of floaties 1/2 inch head did not last.

s= Lemony, zest of lemon.

t= Lemony, alcohol pretty well hidden.

m= Smooth yogurty. The carbonation hung around till the finish

d= more than one would be a sin. Session? Forget it. Way too sweet.

Photo of vancurly
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The cork says 2.004, and the label best before end of 2014.
Pours brown, but shines a beautiful claret / garnet colour. The head is offwhite and leaves a lovely lace, even just swirling it in the glass.
Nose of preserved cherries, sour candies, some pine wood or "forest floor".
Marvelous zing of fruity sourness. Hints of old oak rooms with dusty leather chairs. Good mouthfeel, light acid at first, which fills out with malty body, and the acid lingers at the back, no bitterness. Very reminiscent of sour fruit lollies, only with some earthy complexity that makes it intriguing.
I have had this beer cellared for two years. It is fresh, lively, and very enjoyable.

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

Refrigerated 375ml bottle, caged and wrapped.
Tore open the wrapper to view the bottle.
I liked the purple label. Turned the botle to the backside...wow the sediment is there just resting...with some chunks nearly 1/4''.
Slowly pulled the cork off which displayed a 2.003 marking.
I didn't see a "best by date" anywhere on the cork, label or wrapper.

Note - Drinking this before dinner time and very hungry.

Appearance: Poured into a 16oz Duchesse De Bourgogne chalice that Steve's on Mineral Point gave me for the asking. Thanks.
A dark rich woody colored (mahoganyish) liquid sat before me with barely any foam to speak of. The look of the sediment inside made me kinda hungry and actually made my mouth water.

Slight fruit nose - made me think it was more akin to a wine. Had some orange and maybe some cherry tones as well.
After tasting half, dipped me nose in the galss and the aroma was still very light. Nothing really punches me at all as all the scents are all lingering together nicely.
A little more than subtle

Sweet (again , it reminds me of a sweetish wine), very wet and slick going down with very little carbonation.

Slick, oily going down, but left my palate a little tart. Hmmm.

Very. This ale would go well with dinner and maybe replace a red in a pinch...should have waited I guess.
I wanted to try this one at room temperature as well, but it was so good. I will definitely try this one again and allow it to rest.

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a paper-wrapped 355ml bottle at Steve's on University here in Madison. Upon opening, the cork read "2.003". Oud bruin indeed. Shared with expatsteve over a mini Belgian brown/dark session.

Pour: murky burgundy (brilliant ruby when held to the light) under a pinky of khaki foam that fizzles to a skim.

Nose: first whiff is tart vinegar, but subsides into kriek lambic, brandy soaked raisins and port wine.

Taste: a dry, oaky tartness quickly fades into fresh aple cider and cherry skins with an ephemeral booze finish.

Feel: champagne-like dry body and bubbly finish.

Drinkability/Overall: a very nice dry, mild oud bruin, not nearly as sweet as the other rendition I've encountered (New Glarus' Sour Brown) and as a result is quite drinkable. This style is not nearly as scary as I once thought.

Photo of expatsteve
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Golden2wenty1 for sharing this - a nice bottle from 2003.

Appearance: Mahogany and ruby color, with low visibility. Pours without a head, and just a few suds that sit right in the middle of the beer. Low/medium viscosity.

Aroma: Sour cherries and hard apple cider - tart, but easy on the nose. Some apple skin bitterness and a little molasses flourish, though this occurs in the aroma only - definitely no sweetness.

Taste: Immediate dry finish that is reminiscent of prosecco. Raisins, apricots, splashes of sour cherry. Green apples and a hint of golden syrup on the middle palate, and just a few molasses wisps in the finish. Yeast in the finish balances the flavor, which is tart but exceptionally mellow.

Mouthfeel: Light, almost thin, with a good crisp finish. Low carbonation. Nice pleasant fruitiness really fleshes out the body.

Drinkabilty: Great - tart, fruity, exceptionally pleasant. The overall impression is a little like a dry pear champagne, with more hard cider notes. Understated, despite a nice complex flavor. This has definitely sold me on the oud bruins.

Photo of k75
4.88/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz - cork, cage, paper wrap

pours clear medium bright red / heads fades moderately.

aromes are of faint sweet balsamic and some biscuit.

flavors are a complex blend of sweet malt, tart vinegar and medium dark fruit. sourness is present but subdued - not as up front as a Rodenbach.
A fully developed beer as complex as a $30 california cabernet.

finish is medium length and refreshing

drinkability is amazing. (be sure to allow this to warm up to about 50 degrees as it gets better)

my current favorite beer. period

Photo of funkengruven
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting, bottle with a caged cork wrapped in paper, best before: Jan 2016, cork had 2005 printed on it so I am assuming last years vintage, anyways, here we go.

This poured an attractive dark brown leaving a 2mm head that when disturbed glistens down the side of the glass. Smell is interesting, it has strong characteristics of wine. Taste is definitely interesting, it tastes a bit like Wine, a bit like Cider, with malty undertones. This can be a bit tart on the first sip but eventually gets a lot smoother, and easy to drink.

This is quite nice.

Photo of Prufrock
3.15/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

on tap into a pint glass.

swampy, muddy brown with a touch of clarity around the edges. a touch of white head.

aroma is very sweet. overripe apples, a light sugariness, and a touch of root beer candy. a bit of sour, but overpowered by a cidery, plummy, spicy sweetness.

light, crisp, and refreshing, with the barest hints of carbonation. feels like an iced tea. sweet and candy-like, which wears out its welcome near the end. interesting, but not enough to want to try this one again.

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

333ml green champagne bottle. Cork dated 2005.

Pours a beautiful dark and clear ruby-brown. An inch of chunky brown head slowly subsides to a thick blanket of foam and lace. Strong green apple fruity tartness plus lactic oak notes in the nose, with a stinging alcohol background. Flavors mirror the aroma; a balanced sweet and sour apple and oak tartness with a medium, rounded lactic finish. Headiness and alcohol warming overtakes you after a few sips. Medium thick body with a nice mix of creaminess and slow carbonation.

Photo of gbontrag
4.73/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma is of brown bread, fruitcake with rum.

Tastes of crushed bing cherries, aged apple cider, fruitcake with citron and honey. It's simply unfair that something with such an effervescent mouthfeel also packs so much fruity flavor without being intensely sweet, or sour. The sourness that is present is the same kind you get from fruit juice, it makes you crave the next sip. Cherry nougat.

The color is dulled walnut. The big froth melts into bits of lace.
so delicious.

Photo of DogFood11
3.26/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

big 750 green bottle coverd with a white paper cover. Easily managed. Bigtime lacing, almost nitro like.

Caramel is the predomimant odor. solid. It has a huge sour twinge, and a large carbonation profile. It has that typical belgian pale McGillicut but end up sliceing into the lambic deal.

Notes: I would definitely buy this again, it comes across like a lambic without the stong fruit profile. I'm in....

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Goudenband from Brouwerij Liefmans
93 out of 100 based on 1,218 ratings.