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Ultra Brune - Brasserie D'Ecaussinnes

Not Rated.
Ultra BruneUltra Brune

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

60 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 60
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie D'Ecaussinnes visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 05-21-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 60 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wl0307
2.7/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is the second time for me to try this ale, a good 5.5 years since my first encounter in Brussels! The beer label has changed since, BB 06/05/10, served only lightly-chilled in Westmalle's broad-rimmmed chalice.

A: pours a dirty-cloudy dark brown hue, coming with rather light but constant streams of carbonation and a dark beige fluffy head settling fast to a rim.
S: the aroma is rather mixed - musty, sour prunes, herbal candy, assertive notes of candy sugar, plus a higher-than-normal level of saltiness from the yeasts. Unbalanced, but not cloying, either.
T: gosh... I'm sure this beer is off-ish or infected, as the astringent sour-saltiness comes at the expense of almost everything else; the taste is metallic, very prune-ish (in an "off-ish" way), salty-sour, with plenty of oxidised-pineapple hints only attributable to unstable yeast sediments in the bottle. At times, the palate can pick up random notes of caramelised sugar, weak maltiness and faint hop elements, but nothing is here to compete with the dominating, pungent yeasty-mess... Fortunately, the finish is quite neutrally-flavoured and, well, tannic and dry, more like the undertones of mixed Chinese dried herbs plus spiced prunes in a sense.
M&D: the palate is loose and not as firm as a 10%abv. beer requires, but at least the carbonation is not too disappointing but light. The messy flavour profile is certainly rendered by a disturbed state of yeastiness in the bottle, and my fond memory of this ale 5.5 years ago could only point in the same direction. Maybe I've had a bad hair day, or this bottle has had a bloody moody year or two!

wl0307, Jun 29, 2009
Photo of desint
3/5  rDev -22.1%

desint, Aug 14, 2013
Photo of stcules
3.03/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark brown color, light brown foam, quite fluffy.
At the smell malt, candy sugar, white grapes.
At the taste, and also inthe smell, it is not heavy, despite the 10% ABV.
Malty taste, again candy sugar.
Average body, a lot of caramel in the aftertaste, and a light fruitiness.

stcules, Sep 21, 2008
Photo of cswhitehorse
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Ultra Brune poured a real dark brown with 1 finger of foam head. The lacing was there but not overwhelming.

The aroma was spicy with a dark brown sugar coming through. The taste had the similar characteristics but the alcohol was too in the way. I couldn't get past it. It must not of aged very well. It was pretty one dimensional with the ABV taking the show. It was pretty light for the mouth feel and overall wasn't really impressed.

cswhitehorse, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of snaotheus
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle poured into two giant snifters

Pours dark brown with what looks like suspended bubbles -- very thick looking, medium head on the pour which faded quickly and a few thin tendrils of lacing. Smells almost sickly sweet -- molasses and cherry.

Taste is too sweet (for me) with some sourness that helps balance it a little. Some overripe fruit notes, and quite noticeable alcohol in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy, sticky. Not a very good hot weather beer (if you ask me), but maybe better during the winter months.

snaotheus, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of jim102864
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this, a sample of my favorite Belgian style in a bottle at Hop Devil, New York. I finished this feeling wholey dissapointed. Perhaps it was too young and with a little aging, would've offered a better experience. The appearance was chocolate brown with little carbonation. The nose offered hints of walnuts and chestnuts but was very subtle. The Taste was somewhat nutty, but again, little carbonation and little else. This has got to be a beer that is simply not yet ready for prime time. The mouthfeel was equally as thin. Sure it's a drinkable brew but uninspired. Still, because of the style, I'll seek it out again and give it another shot.

jim102864, Jul 12, 2007
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A careful pour yields a three-finger thick, lightly dirty-tan colored head. The beer is a very dark brown color, but shows a clear, deep red color when held up to the light, you almost can't see through it though because if is so excessively carbonated. The aroma is quite fruit-like; aromas of cherries, prunes, raisins and rich fig note are tempered just a bit by a touch of spice and a meaty maltiness. Dark, candy like malt character, a touch of toasty grain, toffee, musty earth, , some notes of clove, perhaps a touch of ginger, over-ripened fruit (plums) and some metallic oxidized malt character. This has a very rich nose, it just smells thick and sticky. Not bad, but certainly not very dry.

Not nearly as sweet as the aroma might have suggested, nor is it as thick as the aroma made it out to be. The beer is sweet, but not overly so and the body is actually fairly light for a beer of this strength. Fruit flavors of ripe, slightly concentrated plums and raisins are noticeable up front, a bit of oxidized malt character then becomes noticeable in the middle (hint of wet cardboard) as does some richly caramelized malt notes, a touch of toffee, ample flavors of browned bread crust, touches of chalky toasted grain. Spice flavors reminiscent of clove and cardamom combine to give this a flavor somewhat akin to Dr. Pepper. Subtle flavors of young ginger, white pepper and even a touch of mint add to the spice notes. The flavors are very much focused on the rich fruit notes with the malt, and to a lesser extent the spice notes playing a supporting role. While not overly heavy, this beer does have some heft and fullness to it, though it is fairly light for a beer of its strength.

An interesting beer, but not nearly as good as I was hoping. A bit too sweet & fruit focused, without a depth and complexity to provide enough balance.

Gueuzedude, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of atr2605
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a very dark brown with a tan head with about average retention that clings to the glass. Lots of floating debris hanging in suspension
S-Sweet malt, plums, figs, raisins, low hop aroma
T- More of the same in the flavor, with the plum flavor being dominate, leading into a bit of a molasses taste and ends with the hop bitterness and a sweet dark cherry flavor in the finish. Alcohol is fairly well hidden
M-medium bodied
O-Not bad, not great. there are better examples of the style but still a nice beer.

atr2605, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brasserie d’Ecaussinnes: Ultra-Brune.
Strength: 10.0% ABV.
Style: Artisanal Strong Dark Ale / Strong Brown.

Served on Draft; One of 5 x 25cl Glass Samplers (€5 Total).

Tasted at the Farmhouse Café (Sampling Room), during a Brewery Visit to the Brasserie d’Ecaussinnes, on 18th April 2003.

Appearance: A deep, slightly turbid brown color that has some clarity when examined closely. The head is a lovely dark tan color. I remembered saying to my friends that it reminded me of a "stronger" dark Trappist beer with its appearance. Then I was politely reminded that this baby is actually 10%ABV!!

Smell: A strong toffee crisp nose that has pungent caramel sweet malt. A smell of burnt car tires pervades in the end that is somewhat off-putting at first, but like glue, can become addictive if inhaled too often.

Taste: A dark brooding beer. The burnt malts dominate this beer in the beginning, which surprised me, after the nose I was expecting a sweet start. The beer progresses, a caramel middle eventually dumbs down the burnt malts. Some bitterness breaks through at the end. But, it is all to no avail. Akin to having your tongue scalded by a hot-cheese toastie - the “burnt-ness” returns after the beer is swallowed and seems to linger on the palate forever.

Mouthfeel: It is not shy in the mouthfeel department and wrestles with the cheeks. It lets you know that this could replace a meal if you were hungry.

Drinkability: Surprisingly, the 10%ABV in the beer presents no problems whatsoever. The alcohol is not too cleverly disguised by the ever present “burnt” aspect of the beer. Definitely not a session beer.

Overall: A nice attempt at a rarely seen style; a ‘strong’ brown ale. A wholesome offering that is not shy in the taste department. I love leaving my bread in the toaster much longer than I should – it's not proper toast until its black for me. So I like this beer, but others may find the burnt aspect just too much in the end.

TheLongBeachBum, May 21, 2003
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany-hued bdoy with a small, off-white head.

Smell: Spiced aroma with notes of dusty caramel, dried fruits, candi sugar, and, just to make sure everyone's clear on this, spice.

Taste: Caramel malts with a dusting of sweet candi sugar. Sourish, raisiny flavor alongside a hit of acidity. Very faint floral hop character, but no real bitterness. Good amount of spice. No more than a hint of that 10%. Warming, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A decent lil' not-so-little Belgian Strong.

ChainGangGuy, Apr 19, 2008
Photo of mattfancett
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

mattfancett, Sep 03, 2014
Photo of dcellis
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

dcellis, Feb 02, 2012
Photo of Bobzilla
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


C: Chocolate brown, light tan head with a small amount of lacing throughout the glass.

S: A cocoa, caramel, light buttery smell. A hint of some fruitiness after further warming. Raisiny esters are peeking through.

T: Sweet, bitter, with a bite at the finish. There is a bit different taste than the smell implies. The caramel and buttery sweetness isn't very present. There is a bit of a pretzel biscuit flavor hiding beneath the surface. (Maybe bad storage conditions for the bottle?) The ester quality is in the taste, but I can't quite discern what specific fruit is peeking through. The Raisin character, fig, date, dark fruity mix is present mostly at the front of the taste. It finishes with a more bitter character.

M: Very smooth with a tingly finish. (Yes...tingly.) The carbonation seems to be a bit heavier than I'd like on this one, but its not horrible. It seems to diminish the richness of the beer a bit.

D: A bit too heavy for multiples. A nice flavor, but with so much sugar in the beer, it can get a bit heavy by the end of the bottle.

Bobzilla, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a huge foamy head with some good retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet malt and light candi sugar is interesting. Taste is dominated by some sweet Belgian malt with some candi sugar. A bit one-dimensional I thought with no spices or yeast overly present. Body was about full with some good carbonation and no alcohol was discernable.

Phyl21ca, Jul 20, 2007
Photo of guzzle211
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle poured into a tremens glass. cap reads 'best before 6/10/09.' quite a shelf-life!

a: deep brown with copper and amber highlights. half-finger tan head disappears quickly, leaving a thin bubble-blanket over the entire exposed top. very light touch of lace that doesnt last longer than two sips.

s: bread. and bread. oh, and bread. very strong malt aroma, very little attempt to hide abv.

t: very complex through the temperature range. sweet when cold turning to a prune-juice-like bready liquid. my description sounds worse than it really is, there's just a lot going on here.

m/d: light and very smooth, a great sipper like a strong red wine. this is a 10% offering after all. reminds me of stepan razin 'porter.' however, compared to some of its style-mates, not nearly as 'drinkable' (based on the common misconception that drinkability means repeatability.) i dont know if i would buy a case of it, but i will definitely be buying another single sometime in the near future.

guzzle211, Sep 29, 2006
Photo of skandha
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: prettily dark with a distracting amount of floating detritus; settled in the glass it looked like a heavy fountain root beer with a handful of kitty litter dropped in.

Smell: overripe fig fruits, and a pungent, grainy scent that reminded me of horse oats left to sit in the hot sun.

Taste: very raisiny and forwardly sweet. Finish is smooth and a little port-wine syrupy. 10.0% ABV is hidden with stealth..

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, and the deliberate sweetness is not too evidently thick on the tongue.

Overall: pleasant dessert-type beer, but I certainly wouldn't want to drink more than one. Lacks any counter-structural depth or bitterness to make it more than just a sweet digestif.

skandha, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of psinderson
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle poured into goblet-type glassware.

Appearance: Quite dark with a cream-colored head that reduced to a hearty thin layer of foam. Very attractive in the glass.

Smell: Malts up front, bready. Some rasted notes beneath the malts. Little indication of alcohol in the nose despite the high ABV.

Taste: The alcohol content appears a bit up front. Very sweet from beginning to end with a brief flavor of chocolate somewhere along the way. Very complex tastes here. There's a strange mild sour metallic aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Feels and tastes a bit like honey.

Drinkability: This is a very sweet and heavy beer that you wouldn't expect to be very drinkable. The sweetness really overwhelms.

I am always amazed at the complexity of Belgian ales. This one seems too far on the sweet side of things, but I'm still glad I tried it.

psinderson, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of CloudStrife
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a chalice.

A: Pours a deep ruby color with a 1 finger off white head. Perhaps I poured too much as there is a lot of sediment floating in the body.

S: Very sweet smell of raisin and other dark fruits. Alcohol and almost bourbony like qualities. Roasty sweet malts as well. Molasses, carmel, toffee are all present.

T: Sweet roasted malts up front with a yeasty after taste. Carmely sweet. Reminds me of a dopplebock on steroids. Slightly too sweet and one-dimensional for me.

M: Fairly easy to put back, booze is well hidden. Warming. A little syrupy.

Overall an interesting beer that is a little too sweet for me. This was on sale so I figure it might be fairly old.

CloudStrife, Jun 03, 2012
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Ultra Bruin pours a murky brown with some chunks of yeast hanging in suspension. Short livid head and no lacing.

Smell: Bready malts, soft fruit, alittle bit musty.

Taste: Raisin and fig notes, just a bit of green apple too. Yeasty, tangy, hop profile is on the minimal side, only there to provide traces of bitterness to round out the beer. Malty, fruity, definitely strong too but the alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a good level of carbonation and a chalky finish.

Drinkability: A good night cap beer, strong enough to provide a buzz, complex enough to make it worth drinking. I thought this beer was pretty decent, but wonder what it would be like fresh.

Stinkypuss, May 11, 2010
Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More attitude than the blonde, there is a lot of head on a deep brown body. Medium plus mouthfeel, with a tad of bittersweet cocoa and lots of chocolate malt. Bit of sour finish and strong carbonation. Alcohol catches up to you. Overall satisfying.Thanks Phyl21ca/boutip for the hitchikers.

Sammy, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of number1bum
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a semi-dark brown, darker in the glass than when being poured, with three fingers of tan head. Head is pretty creamy and keeps pretty well; almost has a slightly reddish tinge to it as well. Lots of floaties settle to the bottom.

Smell is very sweet with big doses of dark candi sugar and raisins. Has some dark caramel as well. Also figs and prunes, very fruity. It's somewhat one-dimensional but smells pretty good.

Taste, luckily, is not as sweet as the nose was. I was worried this was going to be a syrupy mess. It's still sweet but the fruit flavors are more pronounced - figs, dates, prunes, raisins. Still a lot of sugars going on here, caramel and dark candi sugar. There is a subtle woodiness in the finish that gives just a touch of contrasting flavor. I'd even call it a smokiness. Good flavor, and reasonably well balanced.

Mouthfeel is on the plus side of medium bodied but is not as full as you'd expect at 10%. Not super creamy either, with above average carbonation. Overall I'd say the body is off and this is a touch over carbonated.

This is pretty good, nothing spectacular but a nice drinker. It's relatively simple, fruity and sweet. No alcohol is really present. Not too shabby.

number1bum, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of morebeergood
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a corked bottle at Bauer to share with friends on a Saturday evening. Poured into Chimay goblets. There was a two inch head that slowly faded into the light brown colored beer. I am not sure where the "dark ale" description comes from, for I found it to be lighter than most dubbels. Smell was nothing too magnificent, just a hint of spice. Taste was very good, lots of cherry, orange, and cinnamon flavors. For a high abv beer, I didn't notice that one bit, it went down very smooth. Only drawback was that it was a bit thin in the body. Paired with a smoked goat cheese and black pepper salami, it was a nice appetizer before heading out to dinner.

morebeergood, Apr 01, 2008
Photo of lightindarkness
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle into a large Brother Thelonious chalice. Cork had a best-by date of "7-12-20_0" - likely not july of 2020, but rather the cage rubbed off the marking, so I'm not sure what to make of it.

Very little action with the cork, and only some light carbonation shows initially in the pour. More builds eventually and leaves a fine film of dens tiny bubbled foam, which makes for some attractive but sparse lace. Beer is dark murky brown, as expected, lightly dusty in appearance with some clarity.

Nose presents very nice dense aromas of lightly boozy fig and raisin with some fresh baked heavy whole grain bread.

Taste really reflects the nose quite well, grainy dough giving way to dark smooth fruits capped with just a hint of syrupy sweetness and faint influence of alcohol. Flavor decays for a nice prolonged period, with some deep overripe fruit sweetness and lingering doughiness. Heavy and a bit sweet, but not bad.

Feel is fairly standard, though seems to lack the active carbonation that lightens up others of the same style. Present carbonation is faint and tight with finely formed bubbles, making it soft, but only mildly so. Comes across as dense and on the fuller side, though still medium bodied.

Overall this is quite tasty. Heavy and well laden with all the dark fruit and dough one might expect. Seems full in sweetness, not overly so, but perhaps not as dry with grain balance as some. I could easily go to this beer to satisfy a craving for a big dark belgian ale, but in drinking much of it, abv and richness become an inhibitor.

lightindarkness, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of Bix
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Bix, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of brentk56
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a melted chocolate color with a thick beige head; drapes the sides of the chalice with lace

Smell: Toffee and chocolate malt, with a plummy character as well

Taste: Opens with the plum flavors which are joined by the toffee, malted milk chocolate and a plastic phenolic element by mid-palate; after the swallow, the sweeter flavors predominate, with a honeyed aspect as well, but by the finish, the phenols are joined by an orange peel and burnt wood character

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; feels a bit more like a stout than a Belgian

Drinkability: A unique style, no doubt, but I can't say that it all comes together for me

brentk56, Nov 21, 2008
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Ultra Brune from Brasserie D'Ecaussinnes
86 out of 100 based on 60 ratings.