Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap) - De Brabandere

Not Rated.
Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap)Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

47 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 47
Hads: 62
Avg: 3.59
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 3
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
De Brabandere visit their website

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-18-2004

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (33) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 47 | Hads: 62
Photo of jdhilt
4.32/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Explodes out of bottle, took 5 minutes to pour, fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Murky amber color, ton of yeast in bottom of bottle. Strong carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Raisin nose. Flavor is sweet and sour raisins, smooth easy to drink, this small bottle is not enough. $3.19 for a 330ml bottle from John's Market Place Tigard, Or.

 356 characters

Photo of BrewMaster
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Ruby red and semi cloudy with a fluffy tan head with excellent retention.

Smell: Light aroma that is slightly fruity with cherry notes. There is sweet malty base to the nose as well.

Taste: Light dusting of caramel flavor with a fruit flavor coming from the malt. Some candy sugar and a tart, sandy ending. A hint of sweet corn sweetness is also in there. Not very lively but well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Coats mouth well without being sticky or overbearing.

Drinkability: Very drinkable and it paired well with pizza at Lucky Baldwin's.

 558 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled @ Palm Tavern in Milwaukee.

Two bottles were tasted, and both had excessive carbonation. The first bottle cascaded foam from the bottle for a good minute or two. The second was opened very slowly, and was poured immediately over the glass.

The color was a deep crimson brown, creamy foam formed an irregular surface. Smell was dark malt, slightly musty/sweet.

Taste was creamy, malty and balanced. Some pepper, caramel, dark fruit and earthy flavors. Not especially sour or even tart. Very smooth going down, quite drinkable.

This was a nice overall Belgian Brune, with more Dubbel characterisics than Oud Bruin.

 635 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

07/24/05- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a code on the back label (dating?)
Attempted to pour in my Delirium Tremens tulip, but ended up in my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Kind of between a dark red and light brown pour. A murky looking color. How about the color of very polluted water. At first pour into my Delirium glass I knew I was going to have to switch. About 2oz came out of the bottle to form about 10 oz of head. So, I poured that into my Duvel glass and continued on. Took me a good few minutes to pour the entire brew into my Duvel.
The lacing was very nice as well.

Smell- Smells kind of like a tripel, smells kinda like a oud bruin. Has the sweetness and dark fruit scent, but then has a roasted and tart scent as well.

Taste- Hmmm, tastes like a tripel, tastes like and oud bruin. Odd little beer. Starts with a moderate sweetness and light raisin flavor, then gets a wee bit tart and the roasted malt comes into play. Tastes just like it smells.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation, a bit crisp on swallow.

Drinkaibilty- Wow, I dig both beers from this brewery. This one is very refeshing. You can't even notice the abv as well. It's over 80 degrees outside and this one hit the spot. Very drinkable brew even though it really doesn't fall into an Oud Bruin or Tripel category. Not sweet enough or strong enough for a tripel and doesn't have that tart puckering kick for an oud bruin. Still a very good brew.

 1,484 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.04/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Red cap 11.2oz bottle of Pilaarbijter with a picture of a crazy guy biting a pole on the label, to which I'm not even going to comment. Pours into my tulip glass a murky dark brown with some red streaks. A big arid bubbly light tan head shoots up and then leaves as quickly as it came. Aromas begin with dark, sour fruits right off the bat along with a brown sugar, caramel sweetness. A bit of mustiness is there with a hint of oxidation. Big yeast tones and a touch of dark cherry. Quite a nice aroma.

First sip brings a sweet caramel covered bready maltiness with warm brown sugar and some raisins. Dark fruits weave into the brew with a hit of sourness midway through. Musty, earthy yeast with a touch of woody oak in there as well. Finishes with a nice lingering sweetness on the end. Pretty tasty brew overall.

Mouthfeel is a touch on the lighter side with explosive carbonation that rushes all over the palate with each sip. Overall drinkability is pretty good...I would mind putting back another and the abv is low enough to where that wouldn't be a problem. Bought this on a whim awhile back in Kentucky and I'm glad I did...hopefully I'll run across this one or the gold cap again sometime.

 1,205 characters

Photo of Brabander
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good and honest brown old Flanders. I bought this one in Gent a few weeks ago. This is an old style beer and i loved it.

Poured in my Struise glass the beer itself is darkred to brown. Big big broken white head with some carbonation.

Good and sweet smell. Tasted some sugar, burned malt and very faint the yeast.

A very nice and drinkable beer!

 349 characters

Photo of damndirtyape
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at La Trappe, San Francisco. Served in a 25 cl Tulip Glass.

Appearance: Ruby-red to brown clear beer, with a light tan 1/4" dense head. Lots of persistent lacing all over the glass.

Smell: Slightly musty, oak, some vanilla.

Taste: Roasted malt mixed in with some woody/oak flavors, sweet malt (again a hint of vanilla) and some sourness at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth at first, but lingers a bit sticky on the teeth. Nice thickness and light carbonation.

Overall / Drinkability: Nice looking beer, but with my first few sips I wasn't sure. However, as I drank more of it, it grew on me and I ended up having another glass. While I ended up sipping on it over the dinner, I found by the end of the first glass I could have easily downed it and definitely wanted another glass to savor a bit more. So drinkable in regards to the fact that you want to enjoy it, slowly, over a longer period than a 25 cl glass can provide.

 936 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aaaarg! Beer all over the countertop! ...anytime you open a bottle and the beer errupts from the bottle in a wall of foam, and you waste 3/4 of your beer to over gushing, it doesn't leave a good impression. Ok, now that things have settled down, The beer smells quite wonderful. Solid belgian matured malts, spicy, and sweet; only with a woodsy, musky aroma that sets it apart. Looks ... well flat now. But it has a nice murky brown / rust color with a fine lacing. Tastes sweet with malts and fruitiness, but rounded by spiciness, bold and robust woody, nutty characters. Fruits remind me of over-ripe peaches, pears, kiwis, and dates. The beer is smooth, but flat on the palate. It weakens into the finish. Finishes sweet, spicy, and lightly sugary. A good beer, but I'd like to try one without the volcano impression.

 820 characters

Photo of drewbage
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33cl brown bottle with no date marking. Poured into my brand spanking new Pilaarbijter glass.

Beer pours with an impressive white head that holds big and foamy until the mustache puts it work to it.

Deep dark red beer with a light haze and a good fine bubble that flows through the brew.

Aroma is dried fruits and cinnamon with just a touch of mustiness, but the aroma is just a preview of the flavor.

The flavor.. dried cherries and apricots with a blend of cinnamon and ginger with a soft sourness that leads into a dry nutty earthiness and a final bite that opens the palate for next sip.

Not the most complex beer (not surprising given it's origins from Bavik, but its an admirable effort.

 722 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew spewed beer all over my counter when I opened it. Pours a light brown color with foam all over the place and decent retention and lacing. The aroma is backed by a caramel character with some acidic sourness along with some sour apples. The flavor follows suit very well. Quite tart at first, but also complex once my palate gets used to the sourness. There's a strong backing of toasted malts in this one as well. The body is ok, but it seems to be way overcarbonated and the drinkability is pretty good.

 514 characters

Photo of Umbra
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Didn't have the pouring issues with this one that I've seen in other reviews. This was the other half of a free four pack of the pilar biters. Cloudy light brown with thick tan head. Great retention and lacing. Acidic caramel aroma that comes back in the flavor. Sweet sour mix was nice, though I would've liked it to swing one way or the other a bit more. Nice caramel apple feeling afterwards, so I think that I'll save the other bottle for later in the fall. Tart and hearty, it came off as medium bodied and finished clean. Drinkability was up there a bit.

 560 characters

Photo of Graham5161986
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a cloudy, very dark reddish brown with a 3 finger, rocky off-white head that has great staying power. Leaves a patchy lace.

S: tart fruitiness, ripe cherries and a touch of brown sugar malt. A bit of cotton candy as well.

T: nice ripened, tart fruit flavour with a warming alcohol sensation, slight floral hoppiness with a sweet touch of yeast on the finish.

M:light and very crisp, well-carbonated and a smooth, dry, tart finish.

D: This is a nice and interesting beer. The colour is fantastic and tartness of the fruit really makes it an enjoyable beer to sip. The alcohol is well hidden and provides for the slightest of warming sensations as the beer slides down your throat. I would buy this beer again - I would also like to try their blonde.

 761 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.76/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot of lace, with a big soapy head on cloudy brown. Served in the matching glass by the brewery, at Smokeless Joe's. A sharp aroma, something in the sour Flemish that stings the nose bit it's not very high ABV. chocolate malts, it's malty with a carmel and citrus Coco-Cola aftertaste, but with added spice, and then..a flemish sour finish. Or, like a Belgian yeasty dunkel.

 374 characters

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this baby into a goblet and it came out highly carbonated (as expected) sporting a nice white head. The nose was very wine like with apples, honey, and berries.

The taste is quite malty and fruity sweet up front (apples and dark cherries), then becomes dry juniper on the finish. The taste of this beer is quite good, but the finish is a little drab.

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, but one can easily find beers of this style with quite a bit more substance. There's certainly nothing wrong with it, but I don't think I'd seek it out. There are better ales of this style that are more plentiful in this neck of the woods.

 632 characters

Photo of drpimento
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a big, big frothy, foamy tan head. Didn't decant and it had lots of yeastoids. Color is a dark hazy brown. Aroma was light, malty, yeasty, and a bit fruity. Flavor was similar but with lots of caramel and toffee. Champagnesque carbonation. Yeasty, taffy, bittersweet finish. Not bad. Could easily drink more.

 320 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear bronze color with a thick 2" head. Carbonation levels seemed higher than average. The aroma was of cherries and muskiness. Flavor was of caramel, sour cherry, and pepper along with some mild bitterness. Overall this brew was mildly sour compared to others in the category.

Mouthfeel was crisp at the start and finish. Sour cherries softly lingers into aftertaste. Medium / heavy in body. Decent drinkability since flavors are mellower than expected.

 467 characters

Photo of mickeymac
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From an 11.2 oz bottle, it's reddish brown with a fairly active head that leaves a lot of little bubbles even after the head dies down a bit. As with the blond version, both the smell and taste are decidedly subdued. This is a decent brew that's quite drinkable, with nothing off-putting in the smell or taste. Too many great Belgians are out there to go looking for this one again.

 382 characters

Photo of DogFood11
3.66/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had no idea what to expect from this brew as this is the first Oud Bruin style that I've had that I know of. Pours a dark brown with a nice cloud like head that settles down to a solid finger and partial lacing. If you just touch your lips to the brew it comes across sour but with a full gulp it becomes balanced. Sour up front then builds into a medium to full bodied caramel/fruity middle. Fascinating on the palate. bubbly carbonation but without the sting. rolling soft texture on the tongue. The sourness lingers in the aftertaste.

I enjoyed this beer although it takes some getting used to.

 602 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I opened this puppy on my balcony 16 hours after purchase. Boy was I glad I was outside- I lost almost 1/3 of the bottle to overblown root-beer like foam that just kept going and going and going. It would have been an incredible mess in the house. What was left poured a medium brown, translucent (root beer is not a bad description of the color) that (obviously) had a monstrous off-white head. Aroma is soft and bready with moderate sweetness, and a very slight hop note. Flavor is of honey and sweetbreads with that same slight hop bite at the end. A nice brew- not great, but very drinkable. I tried this and the Pilaarbijter Blond in sequence, and this is the better of the two.

 683 characters

Photo of rallison
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a mini Chimay goblet at Lucky Baldwin's.

Smell has some of the funky sourness - nice little hint as to what you're in for. Taste definitely has tartness, but is more subtle than a Duchesse, for example. Has certain oakey quality. Earthy flavors, with some caramel malts to balance it. Mouthfeel is pretty well carbonated, although not entirely satisfying - could use a little more body or something. Drinkability is good.

This is a nice, but not exceptional, example of the style. I'd take another glass of it if offered, but might not buy it again. Still, I can recommend this.

 595 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This bottle of Pilaarbijter has been standing quiet and still in my beer fridge for several months now, but that didn't stop the instantaneous creation of a foam fountain all over my desktop despite my best efforts to control it. Even now, a growing thumb of brown foam is oozing out of the top of the bottle, even though the bottle is less than half full.

Warm, glowing red-orange-bronze topped by a now barely evident, unsticky cap of golden tan foam. Carefully pouring a few more fingers of beer into the glass results in three times as much froth as beer. The liquid from the bottom half of the bottle murks things up nicely so that it's now close to opaque. Despite the mess, this is a pretty good looking ale.

Pilaarbijter smells like what it is. Allow me to clarify: it smells like a Flanders Oud Bruin. Why the label says Tripel Ale is beyond me. Sour fruit is the obvious olfactory focal point. Spiced, tart apples and pears comes closest if specifics are needed. There's also a certain musty, phenolic, could-only-be-Belgian quality that gives it authenticity.

The beer isn't so wonderful on the palate, although it's still a decent example of the style. At least there's plenty of brown/bruin flavor, for whatever that's worth. It's heavily toasted malty with a pleasing earthiness and unsubtle tea-like notes. While there isn't as much sour fruitiness as anticipated, clove-spiced apples still come to mind. The yeasty spiciness becomes more noticeable with warming, and sweet and bitter fight to a virtual draw.

The biggest problem is the mouthfeel. It's too insubstantial and way too fizzy (like I couldn't have predicted that). What those qualities lead to is an instant tongue annoyance as soon as beer enters mouth. Once the bubbles exhaust themselves, a few seconds at most, the flavor structure collapses and the finish is at hand. That isn't exactly a recipe for enjoyment of what seems like a respectably deep flavor profile.

Pilaarbijter looks like it translates to 'pillar biter'. That can't be right, I thought, until I spotted the obviously anguished character munching on a pillar right there on the label. Those wacky Belgians. This is an okay version a Flanders Oud Bruin (and not an entirely accurate one in the end), but that's where it begins and ends. Here's hoping the brass-capped version is more to my liking. And less explosive.

 2,379 characters

Photo of DJLehnherr
3.59/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The Pilaarbijter brown poured out of the bottle with a big and tall foamy head. A lot of carbonation here. A light and translucent (almost clear) brown color, a shade over to the red side. At first, all I could smell was the malty yeast scents coming from this long-lasting head: an overpowering yeastiness. After the foam settled (after quite some time), perhaps a little cherry sweetness mixed in with the malty scents.

It tasted fairly sweet — a bit sweeter than I expected — mixed with that roasted chestnut flavor that I really like in browns. Very typical of browns here. Maybe again also hints of cherries, and then with a little bitterness — but not too much — on the finish. The carbonation was lost on the head, however, as this beer went flat very quickly.

After several sips, my main impression was that this 6.5% ABV beer is very easy to drink: Maybe too easy to drink. The flavors are there, but they’re less bold than in other browns. This is a mild brown, a bit thin -- it even seemed “watered-down” to me. This is a beer that would pair easily as an accompagnement to a meal, but is perhaps less impressive as a standalone beer. Quite drinkable, however, and surely a pleasure for those who like sweet brown ales!

(NOTE: Though the page here says 7% ABV, my bottle marketed for northern Europe is clearly marked 6.5%.)

 1,355 characters

Photo of scottoale
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this for $1.79 at a local liquor store, no freshness date except the 5 digit code on the back label. From the 330ml. brown bottle pours a mahogany-brown with a three-finger tan head. I trickled ( rather than pour) into a tulip glass and the carbonation was off the chart. There was a thick yeast sediment glued to the bottle bottom.

The nose is malty with a spicy, musty, sourness throughout. As it warmed some alcohol comes through with an orange-peel citrus aroma of sweetness.

Sweet, spicy malt followed by a tangy tartness and a yeasty finish. This stuff is mouth puckering with some sizzle on the tongue that comes to a creamy ending.

The body is full, the carbonation is out of control and the flavor is sour (tart) overall. An interesting Belgian that's worth tasting.

 790 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.56/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 330ml/11.2 fl.oz tall thin brown glass bottle. The main label (as others have correctly pointed out) is somewhat confusing, as it appears to be the exact same one that is generic to both the Blond and Bruin. Labeled as a “Tripel ale, refermented in the bottle” – both the Pilaarbijter Blond and Bruin have the same description on the label –WTF?! The only difference is that the Bruin has a much darker brown background to the picture of a rather inebriated looking dude clinging and actually biting a stone Pillar (a play on words for the beers name “Pillar Biter”). The Bruin also has a Red colored crown cap, whereas the Blond has a run of the mill brass colored one.

Appearance: After cracking the red crown cap, a fantastic whisp of gray gun smoke twisted and swirled out of the bottle mouth. Poured into a large flute, the immense carbonation, as with the earlier Blond, produced a massive densely packed tan colored head. It soon settled down from the initial 4” or 5” to a much more manageable 2” thick covering that left little lacing. Actually the lacing and head soon settled down a lovely smooth 1” blanket covering that looks great. Foam builds in the bottle between pours, this is very highly carbonated Bruin. The body has a slight haze and reddish-brown body that has some orange-rustic hints. A body of streamers is detectable throughout the experience.

Nose: Again, like the previous Pilaarbijter Blond, rather subdued in strength. On popping the cap, I did get an immediate Flemish Bruin feel that lingered along with gun-smoke from the bottle. Sweetish malts, some toffee and the familiar yet very feint farmyard earthy smell that was also present in the Blond. Nice enough, I certainly have no complaints, but it’s just too damn weak.

Taste: A mellow Bruin. Inoffensive, which sometimes is a detraction for this style. Again, as with the Blond, the best part of the experience is concentrated in the back end. Clean malts, light toffee, some caramel, and a very slight sour tinge that helps to mix with the smooth carbonation and lend a mild acidic feel. A tad too restrained for my liking, but I am sure that this would make an excellent entry level Bruin for those wishing to try the style for the first time.

Mouthfeel: Sits extremely well in the mouth. The feel is bolstered to champagne levels with the extra smooth carbonation. The finish has some spicy earthy feel on the cheeks. Lively but never prickly, it is incredibly smooth with a nice velvet blanket feel on the tongue. As the Blond did, this really benefits from a spicy earth hop finish.

Drinkability: Hides the 7.0% quite well, and this is easy enough to drink, little in the way of barriers to deter even the fussiest non-Belgium lover. Yet some how for those of us that love our Bruins to have a little more in the testicle department – it lacks balls long term.

Overall: Definitely (!!) a big disappointment if you are expecting a full blown Abbey Tripel. LOL. This is most certainly “mis-labeled”, someone at Bavik screwed up big time. Much more of a Bruin with Flemish influences here and there. For the same price as the Blond, $2.99 for the 33cl bottle (Hi-Times, Costa Mesa), I think I would opt to pick up the Blond in preference to the Bruin, and stick with the Duchesse when I need a Flemish Brune. Still this is well worth a try if you are looking for an entry level Bruin!

 3,419 characters

Photo of kimcgolf
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours to a hazy reddish brown color that with a light tan head that explodes out of the glass, but then quickly settles down to a skim through mid-glass.

Aroma is a tad muted, but is mostly a mix of hoppy citrus fruits and malty sour dark fruits. Mouthfeel is tangy-sweet, alomost like a dumbed down Flemish Sour. Flavor follows the fuit theme, and the finish is a fairloy confusing mix of smooth dark ale and the wackiness of a Flemish Sour.

An interesting beer.

 466 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap) from De Brabandere
82 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.