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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.

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
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Reviews: 47 | Hads: 62
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.

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Photo of dgallina
3.02/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 fluid ounce brown bottle without freshness dating. Labeled as a tripel, but that's doubtful given the color and flavor. Clearly a Flemish brown ale.

Pours hazy dark copper / brown with prodigious tan cream head, very good lace. Doesn't smell of much of anything. Some fleeting sweet malts and perhaps a touch of sour oak. Tastes quite muted. Chewy toasted malt in the center with a lightly tannic wood and iron finish. Medium body, very big carbonation.

A really uneven beer. Looks great but the smell and taste are forgettable. Bavik know how to make decent beer (see the Petrus line for some good examples). They should drop this redundant brand IMHO.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Paddez
3.31/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.27/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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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.

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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.

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

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


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Photo of Zorro
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.41/5  rDev -5%
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.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.06/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best by date: Oct. 2, 2006...

Appearance: reddish brown color, good clarity, light terracotta-colored foam (weird!), huge spongey pillow of head, good retention, lacey

Aroma: malty sweetness, earthy hops, spicey, slight sourness

Flavor: musty malt backbone with a slight tangy twinge, yeasty, molasses, finishes pretty dry with a can sugar aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, blooming carbonation, alcohol warmth

Overall Impression: The mouth of the bottle and the cap were rimmed with dried sediment. Bottle must have been stored upside down for a long time. An OK beer. A bit different than the usual bruine, but not spectacular.

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Photo of Gusler
3.32/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

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Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap) from De Brabandere
82 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.