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Sour - Flanders Oud Bruin
Ranked #9
Ranked #2,030
4.19 | pDev: 9.79%
Notes: This is a recreation of a Norwegian style naturally soured ale, aged in oak wine barrels for 18 months for the authentic sour flavour. The first wild yeast-fermented beer brewed in Norway for over 100 years.

15 IBU
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Reviews: 238 | Ratings: 496 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by mynie:
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mynie from Maryland

4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Feb 11 2011.

Pours a thick, murky red that drops like lead into the bottom of my chalice. A nice, rocky brown head settles on top.

Smells more traditionally malty than what I expect from an Oud Bruin, but that is by no means a bad thing. The rounded, biscuity nodes are complicated nicely by a harsh zip of red berries and applesauce. The oakiness cast a recognizable shadow upon the roasty barley, but the lactic zipiness is as sharp as can be.

Tastes fantastic! A wonderful, two-stage sock to the face that is equally complex and variegated on each end. Up front, roasted, oak-aged barley that's nutty and biscuity, like a traditional English brown. In the back, intensely sweet and tart lactic acid cherries and apples. The stages are remarkably distinct, which mandates slow sipping, and the overall effect is one of the most interesting and well balanced beers I've had in ages.

Mar 20, 2012
More User Reviews:
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womencantsail from California

4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with the year 2008 on the label.

A: The pour is an interesting dark red/mahogany color with a mild off-white head.

S: A lot of sour cherries with a mild acetic note to the beer. The oak comes through nicely along with a bit of sweet malts in the background.

T: The tartness is pleasant and sharp, both acetic and lactic, but leaning slightly more toward acetic. There is a nice sour cherry fruitiness along with some dry oaky character.

M: A medium bodied beer with a very lively carbonation, sometimes a bit too much so.

D: A really nice oud bruin that balances the vinegar component well. I would definitely pick up another one of these.

Jun 06, 2010
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hagbergl from Maryland

4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of Haandbryggeriet Haandbakk, the Norwegian brewery's Flanders Oud Bruin-style ale, at the Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA on the recommendation of one of the store owners. A little expensive, but worth it. Nice pick. It was enjoyed in my Dogfish Head snifter.

Appearance (4/5): Haandbakk pours a beautiful deep ruby a few shades lighter than black and is topped by the thinnest bit of taupe head that quickly dissipates to a disk of light foam that follows that beer on its way down the glass. Despite the beer's mysterious look, it also appears a little still, making me fear undercarbonation.

Smell (4.5/5): The nose, to any lover of sour ales, is bliss: it is highly acidic and exhibits nice red wine-like and woody tones, no doubt from the barrel-aging this beer has undergone. Tart berry aromas–blackberry, cranberry–also mix with the vinegar-like acidic notes. I know it sounds kind of strange, but it smells good.

Taste (4.5/5): Predictably, Haandbakk begins sharply acidic, featuring prominent red wine-like and blackberry/cranberry flavors up front. The initial big hit of tartness (surprisingly) does not linger long into the finish, which is actually fairly smooth. No alcohol presence to be found, despite this beer's assertive strength. Woody tones start to dominate in the back. As the acidity abates, fruity flavors stick around to impart a decidedly unique flavor to the finish that definitely tastes "aged"–again, in a good way. This beer is very good.

Mouthfeel (4/5): Haandbakk possesses a medium body and low carbonation. I would have liked to see a little more carbonation in this one, but it's still a damn fine beer. It is quite smooth for a tart beer. It manages to pull off the tartness without being very puckering–it's more mellow than I expected it to be. I am left with a light sourness on the sides and roof of my mouth.

Overall (4/5): Haandbakk is a very interesting, tasty brew. It is a rarity in that it is a strong sour ale. Impressively, the alcohol is very well hidden, allowing Haandbakk's outstanding tart, sour, winey flavors and mellow woody tones stand out unimpeded. This ale is unique among sours I have had, though I would not say it's anywhere near the top of that heap. Very good nonetheless.

Dec 21, 2012
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 49. Brewed 10.10.06. Best before: 10 days from today. The foam gushing on crown cracking was slow enough to allow the muddy coffee bean colored liquid to be corraled into the snifter with no overflow. A surprisingly stubborn beige cap has appeared, though little lace ends up on the glass.

The aroma is a nostril-pleasing fusillade of fruit vinegar, musty oak, and an earthiness that adds even more depth. It doesn't smell like this offering will be sweet in the least. And it may be a puckerbomb of the highest order.

Wow! Wow! And Wow again! This might be the most potent Flanders oud bruin in the history of the style. This stuff is not for the faint of palate, that's for damn sure. Each mouthful is a barely controlled megaton blast of sour acidity... that, thankfully, has a wonderfully well-crafted beer interdigitated with it.

Flavors include sour cherry vinegar, hints of slightly darker fruit macerated in caramel, and a oakiness that is prominent, but far from over-the-top. The amount of acidity is almost overwhelming at times. Look out tooth enamel and stomach lining. Funky bugs (Norwegian wild yeast and lactobacillus) add yet another layer of complexity.

The mouthfeel is perfectly appropriate for the style. It doesn't seem very big in the first half of each mouthful, but hangs on admirably and becomes lightly oily and sticky on the finish. Lightly tingly bubbles are easily managed and add even more mouth interest.

If there's any beer that should hold up well after almost five years it's an oak barrel-aged 8.5% Flanders oud bruin and wild ale hybrid. This quite the experience, but it's almost too intense for all 500 ml to be enjoyable. My advice: find someone with an adventurous palate to share it with.

Apr 20, 2011
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rusty brown color with garnet highlights; the modest head fades to a film with bubbles around the circumference and leaves dots of lace behind

Smell: Oaky tartness dominates, with cherry, tarmarind and currant elements

Taste: Fruit forward, with the sour cherry, currant and tamarind adding both sweet and tart aspects; by mid-palate, the acetic sourness builds, with the oak becoming dominant and remaining so, into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; prickly on the tongue from the acetic quality

Overall: A really fine beer that is a great example of the brewer's skill

Thanks, mrmiles, for the opportunity

Jul 13, 2012
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nickfl from Florida

4.74/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - One and a half fingers of light brown head on a opaque, dark brown body. The head doesn't stick around too long, and the lace is minimal.

S - Sweet and sour, pungent and spicy. Acetic acid, black cherries, and subtle woodiness.

T - Puckering sourness, quickly tempered by fruity malt. A strong toasted oak note appears in the middle along with mild roasted malt flavors. The oak lingers into the finish and remains even as the sourness fades away.

M - High carbonation, medium-thick body, and a very dry finish.

D - Spectacularly drinkable. I am quite partial to flemmish sour beers and this is one of the best that I have ever had. The sour, spicy aroma is spot on and the flavor is complex and satisfying in a way that makes me truly sorry I did not get another bottle of this when I had the chance.

Jan 02, 2009
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked this one up on my trip to florida as I had heard very good things about it. Cracked it the other night as I was in the mood for a nice sour. Served chilled in a tulip this one was consumed on 03/05/2009. The pour was very nice with a rich medium brown color and a nice light tan head on top. Nearly opaque with some light reddish touches to the sides and bottom. Deep horse funk on the nose with apple vinegar and ripe sour apples dominating the aroma with some light oak notes as it warmed. The flavor was crisp tart and very full. Ripe apples and sour fruits just ripping through the mouth. Puckeringly good here with a great carbonation level and really solid body all around. Some nice notes of oak as it warms and a rich sour ale really comes to life. Overall a fantastic beer I will gladly buy again.

Mar 08, 2009
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larbush from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jan 15, 2015
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cvm4 from Mississippi

3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2009 Vintage

A - Pours a deep plum, almost deep brown with little to no head.

S - Ripe cherries, not bright or overtly sour. Acidic with woodyness.

T - Metallic to start off. Really off putting. Develops into a white grape with an earthy and oaky flavor.

M - The body was a little fuller than I was expecting. Not a lot of carbonation.

O - I'm used to sours from RR. This is different, not that that's a bad thing.

May 24, 2013
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tykechandler from Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Feb 22, 2015
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derkfromwi from Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -4.5%

Mar 03, 2013
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hooliganlife from Missouri

4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

vintage 2008

pours a deep brown with ever slight amber. creamy head. great retention.

the alcohol is well apparent. light sour grapes with a hint of lemon. light sour cherry.

nice light sourness up front. light cherry with a deep oak and mustiness. bit of sweetness at the end. very earthy through out. finish has a bit of a roasted flavor, which adds some dryness.

creamy up front and dry in the back. lots of carbonation.

very good, a very nice approach to this

Dec 22, 2010
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Immortale25 from North Carolina

3.69/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. Label says Batch 343.

A- Pour barely yields a head as the 1/8 inch surface foam quickly flitters away to a thin ring around the edge of the glass leaving tiny wisps of surface foam. Nearly no lacing.

S- Pungent sour cherry smell with the wine barrel presence really coming through. Has a very sweet, fruity smell kind of like Manischewitz or grape-flavored hard candy

T- Mildly sour cherry flavor and then WHAM! a smack down of oak barrel. It brings with it drying tannins and a somewhat band-aid-like astringency. The fruitiness tries to fight through but it's pretty tough with all the wine-like characteristics just rushing in after the usual Flanders-style flavors. I feel like the aging and the alcohol really turn this one into a sipper.

M- Dry almost to the point of sandpaper tongue with a moderate amount of pucker and burn. Low carbonation and a fullish body.

O- I'd like to enjoy this beer and it has a unique aroma but the wine barrel presence just reminds me of why I don't drink wine. It's an interesting combination but not something I'd seek out again.

May 14, 2013
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gory4d from Texas

4/5  rDev -4.5%

Jan 22, 2013
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polishkaz from Connecticut

4/5  rDev -4.5%

Mar 30, 2012
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mdm46410 from Indiana

4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle (Batch 49, Brewed 10.10.06) and served in a tulip. This beer poured a dark mahogany hue with a two-finger thick head of tan foam that lingered for a bit. Some slippery lacing was left behind. The aroma of the beer included cherry pits, wet oak, fermented fruits, cider vinegar, and also a touch of alcohol. The flavor consisted of caramel, rasins, sour cherries, and oak. While moderately sweet, there is a nice sourness that helps even things out. Slightly puckering. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied and had light carbonation. This is some fantastic stuff!

Dec 16, 2008
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stortore from Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into a flute glass. Batch 687, brewed 11/20/13, bottled 6/15/15, had 12/8/16.

Pours a dark garnet, like cherry juice, mostly opaque with not much of a head, no real lacing. Smells of cherries, malt, some toffee, a little red wine, light oak, light vinegar on opening. A little tart and sour. The taste follows the nose with the cherries and malt, some tartness, a low level of sourness at first- more as it warms, red wine, some oak, a little lemon. Smooth, appropriately carbonated, seems a little lighter bodied for the style, but it's adequate.

Really good flavor, has it's own twist on the style. Very enjoyable. but a little high on the price point.

May 02, 2017
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augustgarage from California

4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"Brewed May 08, Bottled Mar 08" - I'm going to guess they got that reversed ;-) The 2008 vintage comes in at 8%.

Poured from a 500mL bottle into my White Birch tulip.

Rosewood body with rust highlights and a creamy desert sand head - which is small but lasting. Lacing adheres well and cascades down in slow waves until it resembles a mackeral sky against a glassy backdrop.

Black cherry, faint sherry, dark malt, and faint cocoa aromatics. Lush and inviting.

Rich deeply aged vinegar notes - like a mix of sherry, balsamic, and red wine varieties leads into a bloom of malt and fruit mid-palate. Currants, cherry, and wild honey dipped wheat bread. The wood comes out in the finish to add a slight dryness with a phantom of smoke which perfectly rounds out the sweetness and acidity.

Creamy, lightly effervescent, medium bodied, and faintly tannic without being astringent.

One of the best examples of the style I've tried, very flavorful without being harsh or aggressive. As drinkable as La Folie (a slightly different style I realize) but with a more pronounced sense of terroir.

Pairs very well with food (this style generally does better as part of a meal in my experience) - in this case some goat gouda and a fresh baguette...

Feb 21, 2010
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d4radio from Colorado

4/5  rDev -4.5%

Dec 20, 2011
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Durge from Connecticut

4/5  rDev -4.5%

Nov 28, 2014
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jlordi12 from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -4.5%

Nov 30, 2011
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czfreeman from California

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Feb 09, 2012
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MattSweatshirt from Texas

3.49/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 10

Pours dark and with almost no head. A thin ring around the glass and a thin film around the middle that dissipates quickly. When held to the light there are lots of deep reds and browns.

The smell is interesting. It hits hard with vinegar making me think this is going to be one sour mamajama. Vinous red wine notes and barrel character also abound. Brown sugar and some cherry fruitiness.

The nose on this wasn’t lying. It is fairly tart and sour. Big notes of vinegar and tartness hit and then settle into red wine, oak, cherry and rhubarb. There is also this stout like quality about it.

The body is thin-medium and almost void of carbonation. It’s almost like drinking water.

Kind of disapointed in this.

Jul 24, 2012
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halo913 from Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Mar 17, 2014
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magictacosinus from California

3.27/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Consumed at the sour tasting that I organized with friends. Split with many people. Poured into a tulip glass from a 500ml bottle.

Pours a brown-tinged, yet slightly plum opaque color with a modest amount of froth. Retention is very low, and the head fizzles out early on during consumption - however, the beer's viscosity and syrupy appearance does put it in line as a liqueur-like offering, which I find appealing. Leaves behind some slight grime and residue on the glass with each sip. Tons of floaties in this one, too - big chunks of sediment accumulate to the bottom of the glass in a very rustic manner. It's not the showiest Oude Bruin on the block, but it definitely has its place here in the category.

Smells quite rustic as well - however, with 2 years of age on this, I'm disappointed not only with the lack of oaky characteristics, but also any notable sour flavors as opposed to other offerings we had that night. Notes of raisins, plums, and cassis come in, only followed by tobacco, leather, and slight vinegar-y phenols. The oak they used must be really, really old or used up, because there's barely any other barrel spices to be found here - maybe a hint of nuttiness, maybe some baking soda and clove, but otherwise morbidly subdued. The vinegar flavor does become more intense as this warms up, but so does the booziness, which sadly detracts from the gentle nuances.

The flavor is actually pretty mild compared to the aroma - and strangely on par with the basic bottle of Rodenbach that we had immediately prior to this one. Notes of raisins and dried plums came to my palate, only to be followed by notes of cherry-infused tobacco, slight earth, and a bit of vinegar and sourness from the oak's baking spices. The finish is not very complex, especially considering what this amounted to. Earthy and husky at the finish, with a slightly acrid toasted caramel grainy sensation. The booze is well hidden, but it quickly catches up with a slight acetone note at the back. There's an off diacetyl note that becomes present with each sip, and makes this physically demanding to drink. One of the tasters started saying, "This is too much!" Luckily our portions were done before it got any worse.

I suppose we all have to start somewhere, and if this is indeed Norway's first spontaneously barrel fermented beer in over 100 years (!), there's definitely room for the industry to improve. The rustic flavors are great, as well as the dark, dried fruit notes, but the oak, or at least the blending process within, needs to improve. Not terrible, but definitely one of the least memorable of the night.

Oct 11, 2013
Haandbakk from HaandBryggeriet
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 496 ratings