Grimbergen Optimo Bruno - Brouwerij Alken-Maes

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Grimbergen Optimo BrunoGrimbergen Optimo Bruno

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43 Reviews
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Reviews: 43
Hads: 105
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 7.86%
Wants: 11
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Alken-Maes visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2003

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 43 | Hads: 105
Photo of Vancer
4.48/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Best by: 19-10-07, nice. Inviting looking pour of a clear whiskey brown, topped by a ivory head that the 10% quickly killed off.

First brew I’ve had with this much spices in the aroma, even black pepper sneaks in there. Backbone a solid malt bomb.

Quaff was that unique blend of winter spices and some faint smoke, along for the ride with Mr Belgium yeast and Ms. Sugar Cane. Very sharp and dry, even with all the malts in it. It took ½ bottle to adjust to the new flavor, then it turned into an excellent by the fireplace sipper.

A freebie for me, thanks to my great son, “studying” overseas in Amsterdam - I was sent this for the unique chance to enjoy. (668 characters)

Photo of Bierschenker
4.36/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favourite beer brands.
This bottle poured out a dark amber-red beer which (like all Grimbergens) wasn’t very keen on giving a head. The head had a light brown colour and was quite creamy.
It had a hard sour acidic and malty sent with some chocolate and sweets in it too. It wasn’t a very nice smell, but most strong dark beers tend to have a ‘heavy’ odour.
The taste was very strong and also very rich. Some strong bitter chocolate sneers and dark German bread with a strong malt taste and citric tones. As the beer got warmer the flavour was enriched with the taste of dried prunes.
The aftertaste was a dry and warm malt and chocolate and traces of dried prunes and raisins.
A beer with a good alcohol percentage and a high drinkability. Surely one of my favourite beers.

Ut Vivat, Crescat, Floreat (830 characters)

Photo of jeranbrews
4.29/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - creamy swathy yeast beige head. Dark leathery brown color.

S - sweet complex dark stone fruits. Cinnamon apple fig. With a bit of pimento. Mild oaky hickory hop smells.

T - sweet malty. Although not as complex as the smells it is yummy. Spicy but no fusil. Aftertaste is tomato toast

M - you feel the 10% in your eyes and heart but not on your tounge. It's surprisingly smooth.

D - about 1 € in Belgium. What a wonderful bargain. Great for so many reasons. (468 characters)

Photo of RodneyFarva
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into a snifter

pours a two finger white head, slowly dissipates with considerable lacing. beer pours a deep copper/amber color

aroma of cherries, prunes, dates, as well as some malts and spices

taste of same dark fruits of aroma, but heavier malt presence, as well as a good amount of sweetness at the end. alcohol is noticeable but not overpowering. a nice chewy texture

overall, very enjoyable, the aroma and taste of dark fruits i really enjoyed, although a little sweet for my taste (510 characters)

Photo of jhtipton
4.23/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this at the local Carrefour in Puerto. Was definitely worth a try and I liked it better than some of the pricier ones available (Chimay Blue). Grimbergen does a good job with their portfolio of strong ales and this one did not disappoint; pours a dark rich lacing head that takes a while to settle down. Smells like a fruit basket and is sweet with malt, belgian yeast, and beet sugar. I could drink at least two of these in a session and will definitely go back for more. At about $2.00 each, why not?! (509 characters)

Photo of adamette
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 33cl brown bottle with a label a bit different from the one pictured. Has a "date stamp" of sorts on the side of the label which "11" and "09" are chosen. I am not sure what that means. Purchased through by mail order.

A 2 inch light brown head over a nice dark ruby brown body which is translucent and has pleasing little streams of bubbles rising up from the bottom.

S Sweet malt but a suprising hint of bitterness to the nose as well. I certainly smell the belgian yeast and alcohol too.

T Sweet caramel malt with distant hops. Nice rounded malt sweetness very appropriate to the style. I can taste that familiar Belgian yeast as well.

M Not overly thick, thin to moderate to the feel which was a bit suprising for the style. I did not detect too much of a syrupy aftertaste which I had anticipated.

D Really good. I wish that this was easier to find because it really is quite drinkable. Also, I cannot taste the alcohol too much at all.

Notes: A real treat to try this beer which was listed on the site as being somewhat rare. (1,071 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great colour! Red and brown and orange and yellow, a melange of strokes. Iced over cloudy appearence. Not much head but some, pockets. Bubbles stick and a different shade from the top to the bottom. Neat! Great explosive aroma, quit a mess to figure out. Spices are plentifull, as well as pepper, dried fruit, nuts, lots of everything! Bold and plentifull. Not 'hot' in the mouthfeel, but still explosive as well. Coarse and minerally. Alcohol noticeable but not overpowering or distracting. Nice flavour. Tons of back thought. Gritty but satisfying. Balance between carbonation and the texture seems off, but all in all this was more than impressive. (651 characters)

Photo of drpimento
4.13/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

*sigh* here in Brussels, it's just great beer after good beer after great beer after.... I'm learning to deal with it. This very good beer pours with a very nice foamy frothy textured head similar to an ice cream soda, that lasts a long time and lots of lace. The beautiful clear color is mmm, a dark amber. The aroma is a simple caramel, toffee, malt. The flavor gets more complex with adding dark ripe fruits and an ever so slight hint of banana. Body is fairly smooth and carbonation is good. Finish is good but you know you're drinking strong beer. Very good overall; but not a session. (590 characters)

Photo of cypressbob
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle

Pours with a dark brown body, tan head with good retention, some nice thick lacing on the glass on the way down

Smell, thick estery dried fruit, plums, raisins, dates, prunes. Some burnt brown sugar and molasses, little bit of malt in the background

Taste, thick heavy spiced malt, sweet and bitter dried fruit soaked in rum or some other heavy liquor. Slight sweetness, bready malt, little hop bitterness, slight warming alcohol but only slight

A tasty belgian ale, the 10% is very well hidden (519 characters)

Photo of benmiliron
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Paid 2.09 euro for a bottle.

This is a surprisingly good beer to be found in S. Italy. Color is a gorgeous ruby red brown. Head stays on with nice thick foamy lacing. Smells of belgian candy, licorice, burnt sugar, spice. Lovely. Taste is almost as good - heavy dark malt, high gravity, sticky but not overdone. I almost want to say there is a candy cane in there, but that's not it. Cinnamon? Mouthfeel is just about perfect to compliment the above. Soft bubble, sticky & nice (very nice) roll around the mouth.

There's only one weird thing about this brew: no yeast at the bottom of the bottle. I think maybe it's pasteurized? (634 characters)

Photo of davidchollar
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a pretty clear red-brown. interesting color for a belgian dark, it could be mistaken for tea, until you notice the thick frothy beige head. or until you smell that big malty, sweet belgian beer smell. familiar roasty, bready smells, with just a faint hint of something i can't quite place. big and buttery, it reminds me of full-bodied red wine (perhaps it's the 10% abv?). smells strong.

wow, this does not taste like 10% abv. maybe a little too sweet for me, but certainly not bad. finish is pleasantly bitter. medium carbonation and body with an incredibly smooth and light feel. overall good purchase, great beer, i will get it again. (649 characters)

Photo of RobeyStreet
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong, sweet, and nutty. I had this on tap at a bar in Brussels. It's definitely a heavy beer so it's NOT one to pound and ask for another. :)

I had this as an after-dinner beverage and quite enjoyed it. Although it is strong, it is still smooth and very drinkable. Just... slowly! If you like dark ales, I highly recommend this one. (335 characters)

Photo of rvdoorn
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from a Belgian supermarket.
Look: Poured ruby-brown color with a nice head.
Smell: Malts, yeast, candy sugar, dark fruits (raisin, plum) and some light tart cherries.
Taste: Raisins, caramel, sour cherries, brown sugar, and sweet malty character.
Mouthfeel: Mild carbonation, sticky body.Alcohol is very well hidden.
Overall: Nice beer, bit too sweet for my pellt, but still my favorite Grimbergen. (407 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 330ml bottle with a BB of April 2011. Picked up cheap from my local beer specialist.

Poured into a Stella chalice. A dark reddish-brown hue with good carbonation. Forms a huge head of tan-coloured foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a surface layer. Rich fruity aroma with notes of bananas, yeast esters and dried fruits - accompanied by a considerable whiff of alcohol.

The taste has a heavy, fruity sweetness with notes of banana, yeast, bread and dried fruit. Has a slightly sour hint to it. Alcohol lends a warming finish to round it off. Rich and complex. Mouthfeel is smooth and leaves the palate slightly dry. Mild aftertaste of dried fruit with an acidic note.

Very nice, with a rich sweet character reminiscent of wee heavy. Probably best limited to one in a session, as it's quite cloying. A good beer to finish with, and worth sampling if you have the opportunity. (897 characters)

Photo of ZorPrime
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is amber in color, clear too. Nice head that sticks well to the glass. Yeast in the aroma, some bananas and spices. Nice. Light notes of sugar. Taste is well balanced. Caramel Malts and sugary. Warmth feeling, nice. Alcohol is present in the mouth. The finish is slightly dry. This is the more complex beer from this brewery... I'm happy, because I wasn't impress so far. Complex but not difficult to approach. This could be a good starting point for somebody wanting to try some Belgium dark beers. When the beer warms up a bit, it shows some chocolate. Nice! I love it! Cheers. (588 characters)

Photo of mdagnew
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle bought from GapWines, Belfast...

Poured a deep rusty brown... creamy tan head poured thick, foamy and meringue like then faded slowly to light layer. No carbonation... light sticky lacing...

Aroma - Tart dark fruits (raisins, prunes, dates), toasted bready malts, some vinegary traces (hints of like Flemish sour ale), treacle, burnt sugar sweetness, peppery / spicy hops, nutty...

Taste – Sweet, lightly roasted maltiness, some sourness, winey notes, tart red fruits (red grapes, prunes, plums), brown sugar / molasses sweetness, spicy, bready / yeasty notes, some warming alcohol comes through, peppery hops...

Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy... medium bodied... maybe a little too sickly sweet to drink too many of these...

Overall - A pretty good dark ale... maybe a little unbalanced but well worth a try... (841 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this as part of a gift pack at Bert's Bierhuis in Utrecht.

From a bottle into a Grimbergen chalice.

APPEARANCE: Pours a small medium-thick off-white head. Colour is a burnt umber brown with ruby hints and is very clear for the style. Some carbonation evident. Head quickly fades to a thin film, which is nicely decorated by the carbonation from the middle of the glass. A thin film remains until the end but leaves no lacing.

SMELL: A nice bold nose of caramel malt and toffee. Dark fruits show up, raisins, grapes and dates mostly. Not as much spice in the nose, but a nice bed of Belgian yeast under the fruits. Pretty nice.

TASTE: Definitely caramel malt and toffee again. More dark fruits, raisins and grapes predominantly, which give it a wine-like flavour. A good kick of spicy Belgian yeast and some spicy alcohol at the finish, with some faint touches of bitter chocolate as well. A bitter-sweet and spicy mild aftertaste is certainly pleasant, and the alcohol, though well-balanced, is pretty persistent. Pretty solid here.

PALATE: Medium body with higher end carbonation. Not quite as creamy as it could be, but goes down smooth with a little scratch at the end, reminding you it's a "strong" ale. Finishes relatively dry on the palate.

OVERALL: A good beer. The average look and feel certainly kept it back, but the smell and taste were right up there with the best. A drinkable and enjoyable brew. Another solid offering from Grimbergen worth picking up again. (1,488 characters)

Photo of Gusler
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have been a fan of Grimbergen since I sampled my first double so many years ago, and I still seek them out when possible. A pretty cherry red to almost copper as it sets in the glass, the head modest in size, frothy in its consistency, and the color off white, but it does evanesce quite quickly leaving a very thin veil of lace. Nose is a bit vinous, tart and crisp; the malts play a big role. Start is quite tart, lots of malt, the top is middling in feel, with the finish bitingly acidic, and the hops are perky in their spicy bite. Dry long lasting aftertaste and a decent beer, not a great beer, but well worth the sample and the 10% ABV does warm the “tummy” if not the cockles of your heart. (702 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Sampled at ‘t Kroegske in Ostende with my good friends “Posh” Nik and “Red Shed” Steve Wiltshire on the finish of a heady days drinking. The last night of my annual Easter trip to Belgium, and my tired palate, called for some serious strength brews to celebrate the end of yet another great trip to this most wonderful of beer nations which never fails to impress me.

After trying the Keyte on draft, as opposed to the bottle which I had tried earlier in the week in ‘t Kroegske, the owner who recognized us from our earlier libationary visit, pulled out some chilled Grimbergen Optimo Bruno bottles. Now we’re talking!!! Brewed at Brasserie de l’Union, although this Ale Brewery is now owned by S&N / Alken-Maes, I have always found the Grimbergen brews to be passable and continued to drink them at times of limited choice. Yet checking my notes I had never tried the Grimbergen Optimo Bruno it seems, so this was a new one for me.

Appearance: Ruddy amber with light ruby red-copper hints, not exactly “brown”. Thick clotted cream head that filled the Grimbergen glass with a light tan brown expansive froth. Certainly looks good in the goblet and presents a very “high-powered” presentation. Finely attenuated carbonation, miniscule bubbles form the “under the head” world of milky conditioning when this one is angled and righted.

Nose: Deep malts, Brune like odors despite the less than Brune like appearance. Sharp acidic sour character to the Malts with some dark fruits in the background to balance this out. Spicy hop finish with some sharp edges. Nicely put together, rather one-dimensional, but nevertheless bold in strength.

Taste: Much better than it smells, solid dark malts, a lightly toasted feel with raisins, prunes and dark chocolate middle. Light oatmeal and baked bread feel in the finish. Dry ending with some nice spicy bitterness to balance the dark chocolate malts.

Mouthfeel: Pretty bold for a Brune, but given that it is 10% it isn’t shy or backwards in coming forwards. Thick Malts and the soft warmth that it imparts in the upper chest after the swallow lend it a big feel.

Drinkability: Oh man, the 10% is stealthy, it creeps up on you, I had two of these and they both hit me on the way home, a double mugging. Way too easy to sink.

Overall: Clocks in at 10%, yet it does seem to be a rather simple Strong Dark Ale in presentation, yet given time and a little warmth it is not that bad at all. Not great but a solid performer. However, it most certainly hit the spot after a long days drinking and I would go for this one again no worries…..but later in the night! LOL. (2,653 characters)

Photo of jonb5
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into Kasteel Chalice.

A: Dark mahogany, thick looking, one finger head, decent retention, lots of lacing.

S: Lots of cranberry, molasses.

T: Cranberry, brown sugar, hints of cocoa like bitterness towards the end.

M: Surprisingly light, smooth, moderate carbonation.

O: Gets points for the crisp body and well hidden booze, but lacked depth of other Quads. (386 characters)

Photo of Nesued
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Dadz Bar and Grill, Lumberton NJ. Served in a chalice.

Appearance - Dark brown, tan creamy head that was a two-finger depth when it arrived at the table.

Smell - Malt, malt and oh, by the way, a bit more malt. This is a malt lovers dream. I did sense some sugars but only faintly.

Taste - Depth of character. Very complex with more than just "malt" once you take a hit. Some sweetness and a "bready" and spicy flavoring to round out the description. It took me at least three of these to figure out that much, I'm sure I missed more than I found.

Mouthfeel - mmm, nice and meaty. The carbonation adds to the ability to "feel" this beer more than I expected.

Drinkability - Here's where I have a problem. To say this is representative of the style is a no-brainer, but the company it keeps in Strong Belgians is a weightly lot! This was a special occasion when I tasted this offering so I'm not sure of the availabilty. To be in the company as a Gulden Draak, Delerium Noel/Tremens is saying something. To stand with them is saying something else. I would put the Bruno almost on par with these, not far behind. (1,136 characters)

Photo of therica
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out as a nice dark amber-caramel color with a fair head that doesn't stand or stay long.

There's not much of a nose to the beer, at least what I can smell. The taste is very interesting and has tastes of buttery burnt caramel, possibly anise as a light undertone, and an interesting assortment of other subtle flavorings.

Alcohol is (someone's going to retrieve the bottle)... 10 percent. Yep. Maybe why I just started having difficulties typing this review. Heh.. we thought the date on the rear was the brewed-date-- it's not for another 8 months... "best by" ie consumed by date. Funny what alcohol can do when it sneaks up and bites you on the a88. So much for writing any more, I was doing fine trying various Belgian's that I brought back on the flight, before this beer, but obviously this one has just toasted me... (835 characters)

3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle. Grimbergen Chalice glass. Copper brown color, veiled appearance. Close crown, light beige in color, shows fairly good retention & leaves a lasting thin layer on top. Aroma profile includes caramel malts & berries, herbal & citric notes, hints of chocolate & sugar alcohol. Toasted malty & sugary upfront with light tartiness. Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Silky palate. Hints of sirup, candies & fruits - strawberries & currants-. Tartar touch & warming alcohol & spices linger into a long sweet finish. Slight fruity aftertaste. (548 characters)

Photo of berley31
3.66/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with hardly any head at all, and what was there was nothing but a ring after a few minutes. Body is a dark ruby color, mostly clear with just a touch of haziness.

S: Very sweet smell, with some alcohol present. To be honest it smelled a lot like cheap church wine to me.

T: Very sweet as well... the dark fruit is there, and it's coming across as mostly cherry-tasting to me. Finish is slightly bitter and dry, but the 10% ABV really is barely noticeable, surprisingly.

M: Medium-bodied, creamy, with soft-to-average carbonation.

D: A good Belgian Strong Dark Ale, which luckily rises above its average aroma. (623 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear chestnut with rocky taupe foam that instantly rims and leaves intricate trailers. So toasted malts and cranberry sauce but also lots of phenols and a whiff of booze - not the best nose.
Juicy red berries, some clove and woody spice, Balsamic oakiness, gingerbread, prunes and raisin toast plus just a hint of herbal hops.
Big sour cherry finish and root beer linger. Medium, some chew, but crisp and hot.

Serve chilled, says the label to my surprise.

The "other" site has this as a Quad, so not sure what to make of it. Fruit and clove, almost like a Christmas fruit cake, and lots going on but complex without being deep, if you know what I meant - flavors hit one at a time. Overall, too sweet, thin and boozy. (722 characters)

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Grimbergen Optimo Bruno from Brouwerij Alken-Maes
83 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.