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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.
BA SCORE
82
good

61 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 61
Reviews: 47
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 3
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
De Brabandere visit their website
Belgium

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 61 | Reviews: 47 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DogFood11
3.66/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.6/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of rallison
3.6/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of DJLehnherr
3.59/5  rDev -0.3%
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%.)

Photo of scottoale
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
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!

Photo of kimcgolf
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of Crosling
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled at the Ostend Beer Festival 2004 in Oostende, Belgium.

Copper.

Flat and distant nose, mainly fruit with ripe cherries and grapes but also a distant peppery spicyness.

Nicely layered. Front is dark malts (caramel and chocolate) with nuts. Towards the end the fruit notes come out, espeically cherries and grapes.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear but very dark brown. The head was tan and well lasting to lace the glass.

The aroma was malty with dark fruits, namely raisins. Some slight Belgian yeast spiciness emerged as the head fell and the beer warmed.

The flavor was malty but grainy. The hop flavor and bittering were decidedly earthy and the Belgian yeast spiciness was present but only at a very low and muted level. No appreciable alcohol presence was noted in the flavor.

The finish was dry with lasting caramel and fruitiness and the grainy character carried through to the aftertaste. Also the earthy bittering carried through and lasted. The body was medium to medium light and worked well. This beer was not complex at all, lots of muted flavors, but none working especially well together. No alcohol presence either, even warming after consumption was limited at best.

11.2 ounce bottle. Dark with a red cap. Purchased at Green's in Atlanta for $3.50. I doubt this is an Oud Bruin, more of a one off style closer to a Belgian Dark or a Dubbel. Nothing bad at all, but nothing I would seek out again.

Photo of mattfancett
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of mc4z
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of arkanu
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of canucklehead
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opaque brown with a big head this beer smells a bit like a dunkel. The taste is moderate with a semi sweet mid changing to a drier finish. A nice brown that is easy drinking but really very complex. I like it but it is not beer to stick in the memory.

Photo of mrfrancis
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of smcolw
3.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gold and hazy. Starts with a great head and it continually leaves good lace on the glass.

The smell is distracting as I can detect a slight plastic smell.

The flavor is an improvement--no plastic here. There are notes of sweet orange with a light bitterness. The body is spot on. A nice Belgian Brown.

Photo of mzwolinski
3.41/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a devil of a time figuring this one out, until I read EyechartBrew's review. My bottle, too, was misleadingly labeled as a "triple," which led to a bit of confusion on my part as the beer poured out an almost opaque brown. Nice looking head on the thing -- thick, long-lasting, even if lacking lace. But it sure as heck didn't look like a triple.

Nor did it smell or taste like one. Didn't smell like much at all, actually. A bit of tart yeast, but very mild. The flavor is fairly malty, with some hints of dark fruit, and finishes with just the slightest hint of sour flavor -- quite dry.

A decent enough flavor, and with a nice mouthfeel. But not much depth at all, and not at all what I would expect for the style. Pretty boring.

Photo of Gusler
3.32/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a slightly hazy mahogany color with a smallish off white head that is frothy in texture; the lace is adequate to cover the glass. Nose has a sweet and sour aroma, hint of yeast, crisp and clean to the senses, start is tart and the top thin in its feel. Finish is acerbic, fair hop profile, sour and very dry aftertaste, can’t really say it was bad, but really not a good representative to the style in my humble opinion.

Photo of Paddez
3.31/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very foamy stuff this, and quite hard to pour properly.
The beer - once poured into a goblet - is cloudy and maple brown topped by a huge off-white head.

Smell: The smell is malty and mildly tart with some aromas of dark fruits, raisins and spices.

Taste:The taste is a bit weak. Malty with some roastiness and some raisins. Some faint spices in the back. Finishes slightly tart, leaving some roasty raisin notes to linger in your mouth.

Mouthfeel & Drinkabillity: Medium bodied and appropriately carbonated, but somewhat flat and without any warming effect of the alcohol.

Conclusion: A fair beer in a style that's not my favourite.

Photo of janubio
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one pours an enormous head that last for a big while.
Dark cloudy brown colour
Smell of dark fruits, raisins, cherries, chocolate and some wet earth. Rough earthy flavour, taste of fruits, specially cherries, with caramel notes and spices. Interesting, but there's something that it lacks that I can really define. Have to try another one.

Photo of Jredner
3.29/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The aroma holds sweet candy sugar and fruit notes with a rich sweet maltiness and mild dirt/dust notes. The body is a cloudy and ruddy brown and holds a massive three finger thick tan head that is both bubbly and diminishing. Low intensity flavor on the initial sip. There are some muted apple notes and mild fruit peel tinged sweetness. It feels spent like it once had flavor and couldn’t hold onto it. The carbonation is tongue tingling, but not out of control and the lacing is non existent with foam left from sips quickly sliding down the inside of the glass. Ho-hum.

Photo of RoyalT
3.27/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – This one had what I call a “kitchen head”, because as soon as I popped the cap it blew all over my kitchen. It eventually settled into a nice, pond brown color in the glass.

Smell – The malts here stand out from the other competitors. They are toasty dark with some mild cherry sweetness and a bit of modest sourness.

Taste – The toasty malts hold their own here at the taste. They are dark and yeasty and hide what little fruit there is. The sourness is very understated and defers to the heavy malt base.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied ale is overcarbonated even for this traditionally effervescent style. Not only did the head blow all over my kitchen floor but even in the mouth it is overdone and cheap.

Drinkability – This wasn’t all that bad. It completely missed the essence of the style though and felt clumsy on the palate.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.26/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl brown bottle with red cap, best before 06/2009, drank 12/2006.

Maybe I should have left this for a year or two, because it wasn't as good as I was expecting.

Poured into my 'Straffe Hendrik' bowl glass, its Redwood brown colour sparkled in the light, the half inch thick off white head slowly fell away even though the bubbles kept on coming.

Sour, vinagerous, acidic aroma, not the normal beer smell what-so-ever. As the beer warmed a little, a sweeter scent came forth, cooking apples.

The taste brings you back to what you wanted, a good Belgian Brown. Tart and strong, with a bite to the throat, made me burp, which makes me think I should have drank it at a later date (like 2008).

Even though I enjoyed this beer, I think an older one would be a whole lot better.

Photo of Zorro
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a murky reddish brown brew with one of the most violent carbonation levels that I have ever seen in a beer.

Smell is mild and fruity with a lightly tart scent not unlike Alka-Seltzer.

Taste is not nearly as sour as most Flanders red beers. the tang of lactic acid is tame. The rest of the flavor is fruity and dry with a bit of bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Drinkable? Not really. Not something I will buy again.

Photo of leitmotif
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap) from De Brabandere
82 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.