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Val-Dieu Brune - Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu

Not Rated.
Val-Dieu BruneVal-Dieu Brune

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230 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 230
Reviews: 166
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 10
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu visit their website

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-20-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 230 | Reviews: 166 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of expatsteve
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Mahogany, with lights suds but no head. No visibility, and low viscosity.

Aroma: Not particularly aromatic, though raisins and green apple malt suggestions are detectable.

Taste: Solid beer, with raisins, almonds, apricots and coffee notes. Middle palate toffee notes, and stronger apricots in the finish. Malty, bready finish warms and refreshes. Alcohol is perfectly balanced, and hard to detect.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation and smooth finish; no astringency adds to unexpected velvet/cream finish.

Drinkability: Very drinkable beer, though not as complex and full-flavored as some other belgians I've drunk recently. Slightly lighter flavor might make this good summer drinking or alternately commend this to those people who like craft brews but not big beers.

Photo of Budlum
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from an 11.2 oz. bottle in to a Val Dieu chalice. Pours energetically with 0.75 inches of foamy, off-white head which tapers off to a thin layer lasting for the entire drink. Not surprisingly, the body is a rich brown color.

Initial smells are sweet and earthy. It took a few moments to put my finger on it but, the smell is exactly that of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on freshly baked wheat bread. This sandwich would consist of Welch's grape jelly and Smucker's all natural peanut butter. Who says you can be too old? This sounds outlandish and I smelled many times to ensure I'm not a complete loon. But, the smell of this beer and that exact sandwich are one in the same. That said, the aroma is very nutty and filled with an appropriate amount of yeast. Alochol is noticeable after a few minutes.

The most noticeable flavors are roasted nuts and a lightly roasted malt. The finish gives way to tastes of raisins and dates. The alochol taste is very subdued given the moderately high ABV. I wish I had more of this to try as there is a myriad of flavors that I cannot put my finger on.

This is enjoyable to drink with a slick and creamy mouthfeel not typically characteristic to this style. A unique Belgian brown second only to Leffe Brune in my opinion. Certainly worth buying / trying a few given the opportunity.

Photo of k75
4.83/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

medium brown draught, smallish head

medium - light body

complex palate of a little smoke, cigar wrapper and subtle cabernet

truly enjoyable finish with flavors lingeringly sweet and sticky

very highly drinkable, better as it warms to 50 degrees

a subtle masterwork

Photo of Suds
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a small stub bottle, this beer has a massive quilt-like head. Thick and off-white, the head leaves an enchanting lace. The color of the liquid is a deep mahogany. Small bits of yeast float happily in the brew, but there really isn’t any ‘cloudiness’. The aroma is intense and multi-dimensional: lots of fruit and yeast, spicy phenols and a little sugar, caramel and fresh dark bread. The smell has a bit of alcohol in the mix as well. The taste is malty and sweet, with a thick, doughy quality. Nice bitterness to balance, with lots of carbonation. The beer is just a little slick on the tongue. Medium-full body, soft, and with fair complexity, this is a satisfying beer.

Photo of VoodooBrew
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl stubby bottle. Best before 24/02/07.

Pours a hazy orange-brown with moderate off-white head; good lacings. The nose is slightly tart, vinous, with a little spice. The palate opens fruity, again vinous, then a good dose of spice drops mid-palate, fading seamlessly into a sturdy alcohol presence. A tartness (re)emerges in the finish, mingling with dark fruit, more spice, and alcohol as the palate dries out rather rapidly -- ensuring that each sip is followed not too long after by another.

Yet another complex, rewarding beer brewed in the great Belgian style. Methinks they're on to something...

** Some info on Val-Dieu for those interested (from Stan Hieronymus' "Brew Like a Monk"):

"Brewing returned to the abbey grounds in 1996... making this the only non-Trappist monastery in Belgium where beer is produced. However, no monks brew; in fact none live at Val-Dieu. Christian families, who offer the grounds as a place for retreat, manage the complex."

Photo of Pegasus
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear deep amber in color with a small scattering of white foam on the surface, a modest ring of foam at the glass walls, and thick, glass-coating lace. The carbonation is slight.

Aroma: Sweet molasses-like notes dominate, with a distinctly spicy, earthy character, toasted grains, bread notes, and sweet alcohol.

Taste: Opens with an earthy, spicy note, which defines the taste from start to finish. Intermingled are notes of dark bread, nuts, phenolic alcohol, and subtle bitter chocolate notes. Finishes dry with a lingering mild herbal bitterness.

Mouth feel: Full, smooth, very soft, with slight carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: A very competent example of the style, well made, quite drinkable, and a good value.

Presentation: Packaged in a 22 ounce brown glass bomber with a cork and cage closure, served in a Belgian chalice.

Photo of EvilKeith
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy, hazy rich amber color with suspended fine particles. The head is tan in color and has the consistency of meringue. The lace was simply amazing. It was almost as if the sides of the glass had a head of their own, wow!

The smell is a sweet mix of caramel and rum with earthy nutty notes and the faintest trace of spicy hops.

Taste was more reserved than I expected for a Dubbel. It did have a walnut-like twang at the back of the tongue and a spicy dry finish.

Medium-light body. Moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel was a bit thin to me.

Photo of RedHaze
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark mohagony with ruby highlights. There's a one inch head that fades slowly to a thin cap, which never disappears, leaving behind a thick webbing of lace.

Smell; this smells very strongly of plums and caramel malts. There's a bit of a vinous quality, with some grapes and a bit of alcohol. As this warms some breadiness, and spices start to come out.

Taste; starts off with dark roasted malts, choclate and caramel, and just a bit on the sugary side. The dark fruits come out nicely, but melds well with the little bit of alcohol that comes through. There's a bit of spices, with some corriander and maybe some cloves, with a little hop bitterness thrown into the mix. Mouthfeel is medum bodied.. Even with the sweetness the drinkablitly is pretty high on this one.

Photo of goochpunch
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The cork says "Val-Dieu 05/05." Almost a year old.

Pours out looking like suede leather with a miniscule, but very frothy, white head. Some pleasant lace is found. Very low carbonation. Aromas are spicy and smell richly of fruits: banana, grapes, pears. Theres a soft sweetness in the nose that reminds me of fruit-filled pastries. Slight alcohol plays well with all that I'm smelling. I don't get nearly as much yeasty spice from the taste as I did with the aromas, which is good. I'm not too fond of overly phenolic dubbels. Tastes very much like that pastry scent I got earlier. Like fruit-filled sweetbread. Also tastes strongly of grapes; not so much vinous as of the unfermented juice. The alcohol is present enough to offer some sort of balance to the sweet, as I really don't pick up anything in the way of hops. The mouthfeel, as the visual lack of carbonation would suggest, is very mellow but seems kind of light. This abbey goes down quick, but sits a bit heavy on the stomach, although this is working as a nice digestif.

Photo of TheBungyo
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If I was forced to use one word to sum up this beer I'd use adequate. Not average as that implies toeing the minimalist line. This is good, though nothing to remember. Pour is nice, murky brown with a minor white head. nose is floral, with white grapes and sugar. Nothing to do a double take over. Taste is pretty good ... brown sugar, caramel, rose petals, and sugar mixed with spices. Good but not one you'll search for when looking for a good belgian. Mouthfeel is again, servicable. I could have another but wouldn't be sad if the answer was "none left". Decent brew that makes little impression.

Photo of GClarkage
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/14/06- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz stubby bottle. Best by date notched on the side of the label. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep brown in color, maybe even getting into the black territory. Large 2 inch head. Rose to about the top of my glass, which is quite a feat with a Duvel glass. Thick and pock market white head. Close to a whipped cream texture. 1/2 inch remains throughout. Thick chunk lacing left on the inside of my glass. Textbook!

Smell- Deep dark roasted malt, touch of dark chocolate. Cloves and other spices combine with a winelike scent.

Taste- Light alcohol in the taste. Vinous in taste and feel. Grapes and plums mostly. Cloves and maybe a light touch or corriander. Cola like as well. Quite delicious.

Mouthfeel- Thick and a touch sugary. Well, ok, more than just a touch sugary. Middle of the road carbonation.

Drinkability- If easier found this would be one of my go to Dubbels. Worth the $4 I paid for it.

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep slightly hazy amber with a few small floaties swirling around with a big fluffy white head that leaves sheets of lace behind as it settles into a creamy froth.Aromas are spiced like that of cinnamon and phenolic clove a touch of sweet cookie dough as well.A smooth creamy-like mouthfeel lends well to the rich flavors of this beer somewhat clovey and light sweet a touch of semisweet chocolate but not overbearing finishing with a slight dryness.Not a bad dubbel I dont drink many of this style,this one I enjoyed.

Photo of WetCoaster
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A lovely glowing deep amber/oxblood with a slighty off-white, fizzy dense head. Great lacing.

Smell: Very powerful aroma of dark malt, sugar, cola, caramel, apple cider, muscat/port grapiness, yeast spice, and a bit of damp moss. Good stuff.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Oh, this is a nice one. Sweet, chewy and tangy up front with sticky caramel malt and a tart, vinous fruitiness. Dries with a slightly hoppy bite and a sugar sourness. The mouthfeel is great; it has weight, but it's pleasantly crisp and lively.

Drinkability: Quite good. A bit sweet (but what dubbel isn't?) but very robust, balanced and controlled. A solid offering from this somewhat obscure brewer.

Photo of AlexJ
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another nice surprise from Val-Dieu, this dubbel pours out deep russett brown with an attractive crimson cast when held aloft. Vigorous carbonation produces a frothy 2 fingers of near-white merangue that behaves well and leaves delicate patches of lace.

Aroma is somewhat subdued, with a caramelized toffee and powdery cocoa note leading to musty grape, cherry, and over-ripe orchard fruits.

Flavor is better than the nose would lead you to believe. Semisweet roasted malts and fruit nuances of red grape and rotting cherry are balanced by musty concrete and mineral notes with a well hopped finish that is nearly dry. Not as complex as i hoped for but supremely drinkable.

Body hovers just below medium, with a sticky mouthfeel and expansive, bubbly texture. No trace of the 8% abv, rather high for this style. Again, very easy to put down a 750 meself. Would pair nicely with a burger or game.

Photo of asabreed
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl. bottle into the Val-Dieu oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Beautiful dark amber color, with lots of bubbles that show through if you glance hard. It's so dark red it almost looks like blood, and it's very attractive. Head curls up nicely around the edges of the glass. Lacing's good but not too clumpy, which makes it fade upon swirls to kick the recharge into action.

Smell: A crazy mesh between dark fruit and semi-sweet chocolate. Not burnt or toasted, it lets the essence of the chocolate aromas come out, and the mix with the dark fruit is pretty wonderful. Also some mild phenols, some slight hop bitterness, and a bit of vanilla. Great stuff.

Taste: Comes through well from the aromas, first into dark fruit, then the chocolate lingering before the finish, which is the meld of both, then a tingue of quelled hops to mellow out all the flavors lingering on the palate. A long finish, quality balance, and stellar flavors make this near perfect in my book.

Mouthfeel: Creamy as all hell without feeling cloying or thick, even though the body is pretty moderate. Carbonation comes through in the end to boost the creaminess a bit more.

Drinkability: Hell yes I can have another, and maybe another. The alcohol presence is hardly felt, and when it is it works well and is never even close to overdone. One of my favorite Dubbel's now. No punches are pulled with having everything over the top, but it's extremely well balanced and dangerously drinkable.

Photo of scooter231
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, dark color with veeery frothy off-white head that sticks around for quite a while. Foofy looking. Fluffy. Smell is loaded with coffee, a bitterness to it, with a red-wine alcoholic twinge in the background accompanied by subtle notes of vanilla.

Taste is like wine-laced coffee, a roasted coffee. Alcohol isn't too overwhelming, but definitely present. Mouthfeel is slick and a bit tooo oily for me. Overall tasty, but far too sweet near the finish and alcoholic to drink a lot of. A bit out of balance, this one.

Photo of andjusticeforale
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured from a 750ml bottle smooth and greasy into a chalice, with a medium rust color and white yeasty head which slowly dissipated.

The immediate smell that hits you is a lemony-citrus nose, mixed with a sharp yeast and must smell.

Upon first taste, the mouth feel is medium and excellent. There is a slick-greasiness and the liquid breaks up quickly and slides down easily as you drink. The initial taste is a twangy banana clove with a polished feeling to it. A citrusy -must envelopes the whole taste and the finish is a pleasantly malty sweetness, and a bready dryness.

As I sat back and drank this, I got a feel that this was the table beer for a belgian monastery; not a grande reserve complex celebratory brew or seasonal feast beer. But this was an ale that was to eat supper with; to drink for sustenance and every-day fulfillment. That being said; this was absolutely superb; fantastically drinkable. The only detractor at all was some of the citrus or funky yeast twang; but as the glass warms and oxygenates, that, as well, is forgiven.

Photo of Derek
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belgian stubbie with a cap, best before August 06.

I think the style is closer to a Flanders Oud Bruin! (The bergundies of Belgium).

A: Ruby brown, off-white head, leaves some nice lace... as a Belgian should!

S: Woody, lactic-sour, wine-like smell. A little fruity (grape, cherry?).

T: Still some residual malt sweetness (bready, with a little caramel), balanced by a faint lactic sourness. Not nearly as sour or dry as most. A little raisin, prune, fig... typical flavour. A little mocha flavour, but not really any perceptable bitterness.

M: Light to moderate body, slightly acidic mouthfeel. Moderate to high carbonation.

D: Very drinkable.

Photo of DogFood11
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

stubby 11.2

Appearance: near perfection. Brown with huge mountainous head that laces all the way down and leaves chunky goodness.

chocolate, sweet, some bread and even a slight toasted smell.

Taste: Smooth and what you would expect from a dubbel. This one had a fairly bitter and crispness that I enjoyed with a mild carbonation made for a nice mix.

In the end I thought this was an average to slightly above average Dubbel. I enjoyed the smoothness of the mouthfeel. Alcohol was subtle. Well put together brew. The best part was that the label said brown and it tasted brown, if that makes any kind of sense.

Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy ice tea brown body with a decent creamy head that never quits and leaves lots of lacing

Smell: Yeasty, brown bready, with a dash of unsweetened chocolate

Taste: Starts out with a slightly sweet bready profile and some nicely balanced bitterness joins at mid-palate; finishes consistent with the balanced flavors and some alcoholic warmth

Mouthfeel: A touch light for a dubbel with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: Decent, but I feel it is lacking a bit of sweetness and complexity to be among the very best dubbels

Photo of Paddez
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought at the cultuur & folklore festival in Wijnandsrade

This beer poured a cloudy dark brew with a nice big head that lasts quite a while. Excellent lacing.
Aroma is malty, fruity and caramelly with some faint yeasty/barnyard aroma's. Taste has yet again some woody flavours. Other than that there are lots of fruity and roasty flavours going around. Slightly sweet, but not unpleasantly so . Excellent mouthfeel.

A good dubbel. And although there are better beers available in this style, this one is still well-worth a try.

Photo of TPSReports
3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown color out of the large corked and caged bottle at 48 degrees.

A slight white head forms with lasting lacing. There are a few yeasties for the eyes.

Smells of freshly cut hay with a hint of fruit.
A moderate carbonation tingles in the mouth.

The beer doesn't seem very complex -- there is a slight alcohol warmth in the finish. Little Hops. Little Malt. Not all that much here. Easy to drink though.


Photo of stcules
3.08/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber red color, quite dark, and quite hazy too, with some particles wandering in the beer. Beige foam, average compactness, not too much, not very persistent.
The smell is malty, biscuit, and maybe a very light smoked note? Yeast, blueberry, plums. Dark fruit, with a background floreal.
In the taste, on a good malt carpet, there is a fresh fruitiness, with berry fruit, and notes of tropical fruits. A slight spicy. Camomile flowers?
Medium body, fruity aftertaste, of dark fruit.

Photo of Andreji
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

one recent purchase @ kase and keg in FL.

the pour is quite a contrast. on the one hand, a clearly dark and opaque brown body. no brightness, just deep brown. on the other hand, quite a bright white head, medium retention that seems a bit like a whipped cream on top of chocolate.

The smell i didn't quite define, but i liked it. mostly sweet, fruity and alcoholey.

the taste was a bit bland at first but there was plenty of red fruits in there. the alcohol also strikes, the hoppyness being rather scarce at the end, but balances the softness of the beer. a slight, candy-like aftertaste was perhaps the most interesting part.

Thick bodied. the alcohol is very noticeable but never overwhelming, fitting properly with what isn't too strong of a beer either. Quite pleasant either way.

Photo of Mitchster
2.25/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Stubby 11.2 oz bottle. 8% ABV. Pours out to a clear dark burgandy, forming a very creamy light tan, pillowy white head with superior retention and lacing. The head on this bugger is just amazing, like a nitro tap. The aroma is first of caramelized sugar which if off-putting..like an English brown. There is a distant toasted grassiness and minimal cloves. There is no phenolic esters that I would expect for a Belgian Brown Abbey Ale. Mouthfeel is lightly syrupy and ruddy in the middle to end. Medium-dense body. The taste is rather indistinct...there is way too much caramelized sugar...simple sugar. Bananas are minimal...there is only mild clove esters towards the finish. The aftertaste is of ruddy oxidized cardboard and dirty pennies.

This is a really bad dubble...actually one of the worst I've had. Boo. Pass on this one.

Val-Dieu Brune from Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu
90 out of 100 based on 230 ratings.