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Grimbergen Optimo Bruno - Brouwerij Alken-Maes

Not Rated.
Grimbergen Optimo BrunoGrimbergen Optimo Bruno

Educational use only; do not reuse.

44 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 44
Hads: 106
Avg: 3.71
pDev: 27.49%
Wants: 12
Gots: 15 | 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.
View: Beers (30) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 44 | Hads: 106
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.52/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

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Photo of Gusler
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of drpimento
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

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Photo of stcules
2.23/5  rDev -39.9%
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.

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Photo of FLima
3.49/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Clear light brown color with a thick beige head with eternal retention and leaving strong laces.
Mild aroma with predominant notes of prunes, Belgian yeast, some coconut and caramel.
Malty flavor with notes of prunes, grains, cinnamon, noticeable booze, Belgian yeast, herbal hops, toffee, cranberry, wood and some toasted malts. Dry and alcoholic aftertaste.
Medium bordering full body with lively carbonation with tiny bubbles giving a smooth feeling. Alcohol of 10% abv is heavier than average for style.
Perfect day for a Quad, just not top notch. This missed nose intensity, some flavor complexity and alcohol could be better hidden. Still it did the trick and it grew over time. It also has a good depth with red fruits and a better hop balance for style.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.64/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of Vancer
4.48/5  rDev +20.8%
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.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.84/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
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...

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.03/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of adamette
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
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 BelgianBeerShop.com 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.

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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.

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Photo of harsley
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of Radome
3.08/5  rDev -17%
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.

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Photo of therica
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
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...

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Photo of ZorPrime
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
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

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Grimbergen Optimo Bruno from Brouwerij Alken-Maes
84 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.