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Grimbergen Optimo Bruno - Brouwerij Alken-Maes

Grimbergen Optimo BrunoGrimbergen Optimo Bruno

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

79 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 79
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 18.92%

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Alken-Maes visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2003)
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Ratings: 79 | Reviews: 41 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of stcules


2.17/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Beautiful color, between cherrywood and brown. Beautiful foam, beige, compact, even if not very longstanding. Not bad.
In the smell malt, light caramel, ligh red fruit (tropical?).
The taste is by far more unbalanced, with a lot of alcohol. Red fruit again, but anyway, far worse than the smell. Malt, again, and a lot of caramel. No. No way.
I remember it (some years ago) much, much better.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2006 19:40:10 | More by stcules
Photo of Paddez


2.95/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours an extemely clear, amber-coloured brew (rather than brown, wich the name suggests) that produced a small but dense head after a rather hard pour. It dissapeared rather quickly too.
The smell is malty with some fruity notes and some alcohol near the end of the sniff.
the taste starts of spicy and malty but it soon overtaken by a strong acidic taste of alcohol.
The alcohol has a warming effect, wich is nice but the overall mouthfeel is quite poor:
Same goes for the drinkabillity. Although this brew argueably hits less hard than the Grimbergen Triple it's still incredibly heady.

Quite an alcholic brew. It was okay for once but I won't be buying it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2004 19:05:27 | More by Paddez
Photo of thierrynantes


3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 2001.

Appearance: amber color, with a tan foam head.
Smell: massive fruit aromas and alcohol
Taste and mouthfeel: alcohol dominates all too
Drinkability: an average abbey beer (too strong) in the style Belgian dark ale.

Review translated from french 5-24-2008.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2007 22:40:56 | More by thierrynantes
Photo of AlexLMS


3.05/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: deep brown with ruby highlights when put against the light. Good clarity. The head is off-white, moderate in size, creamy with good retention and beautiful lacing.
Aroma: interesting aroma. Combination of sweet malts, chocolate, a hint of toffee and alcohol.
Taste: sweet but not cloying. Alcohol presence, caramel, dark malts. Weak in the hop side.
Mouthfeel: silky and creamy, good carbonation, strong but not overwhelming alcoholic presence (10%) and a firm body.
Finish: sweet alcohol aftertaste.

Overall: A slightly above average abbey beer. Not the best Grimbergen, but very appealing nevertheless.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2007 15:56:58 | More by AlexLMS
Photo of Radome


3.08/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served from a 33 cl bottle bought in Spain.

A - Perfectly clear. Deep amber/medium brown but with red highlights and lets lots of light through. Off-white head started out about 1 cm thick, then faded to a thin layer with thick ring at the edge and lots of lacing. Very pretty beer.

S - Aromas are very muted and hard to pick out. Just a little wet malt, a little brown sugar, a faint grassy note that could be hops, and a hint of vinegar that always jumps out at me in Oud Bruin ales. That vinegar note seems to indicate some aging, maybe in wood. Nothing smells bad or off, it just doesn't have enough good aroma to be rated higher.

T - Again I get some hints of an Oud Bruin, but without any depth or complexity. There is very little malt. No hops flavor. There is a lot of caramel/brown sugar flavor, followed by a slight vinegar tang. A hint of alcohol in the moderately sweet finish. No overt oak or wood flavor to go with the "aged" impression.

M - Medium mouthfeel--seems appropriate. Some hops bitterness and a bit of alcohol burn. Light carbonation.

O - A beautiful looking beer that disappoints on the nose and tongue. Some nice flavor hints, but lacking in malt background and depth.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 21:57:08 | More by Radome
Photo of CrazyDavros


3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber/ruby with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows chocolate, port-like notes, sultanas and brown sugar, along with a healthy dose of candi sugar.
Similarly sweet flavours, although it quickly dries out. There's lots more candi sugar and golden syrup along with more sultanas/dried fruit. A bit over the top. The alcohol is pretty noticeable too, almost harsh.
Carbonation is way over the top, but at the same time it's needed to cut through the sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2011 08:19:37 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of distantmantra


3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a chalice. A La Mort Subite. Brussels, Belgium. Notes from April 2011.

A: Dark brown ruby red color. Poured with little to no head.

S: Extremely sweet smell with a hint of alcohol.

T: Notes of dark fruit, mainly cherry. Bitter finish with barely any sign of the alcohol.

M: Medium body with average carbonation.

D: Not a bad Belgian strong ale, but there better ones easily available.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2011 05:15:33 | More by distantmantra
Photo of Absumaster


3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The heaviest beer of Grimbergen. It pours a burgundy red, brownish color with a small head that fades into a small layer of white foam.

The smell is of dark candisugar, malty and has some light tart notes, together with a typical Belgian, fruity yeast smell.

Taste is sweet and leans strongly on the malt. The candisugar adds a sweet and full taste. It has notes of candisugar, caramalts and dark fruits. There is a certain tartness in the beer that can't be called sour. It's more like the subtle tartness often found in Old Ales. The yeast adds a fruity, but subtle fruit note. The 10% alcohol is well hidden by the big body of the beer.
Mouthfeel is sticky which makes the drinkability lower. All together too sweet and sticky for my liking, although I can imagine that this beer is great at the fireplace.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2010 16:12:46 | More by Absumaster
Photo of janubio


3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Red brown colour, with a good head that doesn't hold too long. Aroma is sweet, alcoholic, toffee, cherries, dates.
Sweet flavor with a bit of sourness. Mouth of cherries, dates, sherry wine, with some hints of chocolate.Medium to light body. I'm not exactly a fan of Grimbergen but this is one is good enough.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2007 20:00:15 | More by janubio
Photo of harsley


3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dark amber/brownish hue with a nice tan creamy head with decent retention.

S - of malts and sugar. There are some spicy smells that are either from the yeast or spices.

T - Lots of flavors going on, fairly complex. The backbone was fairly malty/sugary with a sweet/tartness coming through a bit more than I'd like in the style.

M - Good body, not quite as thin as I'd like for a Belgian like this.

D - Very drinkable, even though a bit sweet.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2007 19:29:04 | More by harsley
Photo of batty


3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Crystal clear very dark brown-marroon color with nice dense head, drops to a centimeter layer which stays, nice lacing.

smell is pretty simple but nice, plum, grape, and dark fruit with a bit of toasty malt.

i'm catching a lot of grape in the taste, alcohol very well hidden for 10%, but warms as it goes down. just enough bitter to almost balance, but still too sticky-sweet for my taste.

as I've found with the other grimbergens, mouthfeel is full and beautiful.

drinkability is less than desired, very sticky and lingering fruity-bitter.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2008 12:10:33 | More by batty
Photo of hawksfan82


3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a la trappe chalice.

Pours an extremely dark brown brown. If you hold it up to the light you can get tiny hints of violet in it...but this guy is mostly big and brown. A good finger head with a fairly aggressive pour, dissipates quickly but a nice foam remains throughout the entire session. Not a lot of lacing, but it's very sticky....which shows the sweet nature of this beer.

Smell isn't too strong, it's a good indicator of the taste though. Usual belgian malty notes, but also a hint of the dark fruity sweetness that lies in this beer.

At first the taste is just a big malty belgian brown. After about half the beer, when it starts to warm up, you really pick up a bunch of sweet (not quite sour, but almost) fruits...I'm noticing a lot of cherry. The alcohol doesn't really come in til the finish. Even then it doesn't feel like a 10% brew.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for a beer that you think would be a bit "bigger". I expected a big chewy malty belgian, but this guy is a lot thinner and sweeter than I expected.

Drinkability is good, especially for a 10% beer. Like I said above it doesn't feel or sit like a 10% beer. Although I'm not sure being able to drink a 10% beer faster than normal is a good thing.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2008 00:20:28 | More by hawksfan82
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear rub yhued dark brown with a decent creme head. Flavor is a bit apple-ly sweet (are we running a theme here on my last 4 beers?), but brings some nice sweet and a touch hearty character. Feel has a pretty full carbonation. Liquid is about standard. Easy to drink. An okay beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 03:11:23 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Sunnanek


3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The color is deep amber while the tan tall head is very uneven, almost sizzeling. Some lacings.

S: Sweet, sweet malt; molasses and dark dried fruits. Yeast and spices. The sweetness is almost candy-like.

T: Dark dried fruits up front, not that sweet. Then the malt sweetness evolves. Spices and yeast.

M: Long aftertaste that is both sweet and bitter. Body is full and carbontation mild.

O: Not as complex as I expect a beer in this style to be. Nice, but not great.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 19:15:16 | More by Sunnanek
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear, but solid red-brown colour, with a fine but insubstantial head of white. Some patchy lacing, forming from the very fine bubbling in the head and in the carbonation. Body is light, but solid. Looks decent enough.

Nose is mild and smooth, but undertoned by Belgian characters of slight acidity and a prickle of spice. Something slightly savoury to it as well, like baked italian bread. Quite pleasant.

Taste is much lighter, and the bread character comes through as a yeasty harshness. Slight acidity to it throughout, giving it a prickle as it passes over the palate, but also lightening the palate, giving a slight olive oil character on the finish. Feel is very light, which is unsurprising for the style, but the beer doesn't quite have enough complexity to make it stand out in other ways.

It's not bad, but it's a beer not at the peak of its genre or country. What we end up with is a rather insubstantial Belgian brew that doesn't do much one way or the other.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2011 08:56:29 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark deep brown with retaining white head, a tad of the same lace. Malty yeasty aroma. A real foamer on opening. Above average mouthfeel. Mostly sweet malt taste,some raisin anda bit lactose-like, and yeast thickening it up. Drinkable, sweet though not cloying.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2009 23:24:42 | More by Sammy
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2012 22:44:16 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of berley31

New Brunswick (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev 0%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2010 19:15:23 | More by berley31
Photo of Nesued

South Carolina

3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-25-2007 01:06:13 | More by Nesued


3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 07:24:49 | More by GONZALOYANNA
Photo of therica


3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
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...

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 05:12:35 | More by therica
Photo of jonb5

United Kingdom (England)

3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2013 14:28:59 | More by jonb5
Photo of Gusler


3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2003 16:29:11 | More by Gusler
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2005 00:56:58 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
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...

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2007 14:45:55 | More by mdagnew
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Grimbergen Optimo Bruno from Brouwerij Alken-Maes
84 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.