Brother David's Belgian-style Double Ale | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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Brother David's Belgian-style Double AleBrother David's Belgian-style Double Ale

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Inspired by the classic Dubbels of Belgium, our Brother David’s Double has a dark brown body and aromas of warm cocoa, banana, and cloves. Specialty malts impart a toasted, nutty character and flavors of chocolate-covered cherries and candied fruits, while the subdued hop profile and Abbey yeast create spicy, herbal notes to compliment the warm, slightly sweet finish. Winner of a Gold Medal in the 2011 Great American Beer Festival™, Brother David’s Double is a truly complex and potent ale meant to be savored or shared with friends.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-11-2003

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Reviews: 264 | Ratings: 435
Photo of goodbyeohio
1.65/5  rDev -54.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

put this on the list of beers that trouble goodbyeohio. don't ask him if he wants any of this in trade. why? read on. maybe the weirdest reason yet.

appearance: dark red and brownish. it sure looks abbey!

aroma: wheaty and yeasty. musty notes and lack of a defined spice. a weird chemical smell. what the hell is that smell?

** after examination, i realize the 'wax top' is actually plastic. it smells like burnt chemical sludge and this smell has penetrated the beer **

flavor: bitter, yet very buttery. smooth. weird plastic flavor that tastes like the fake wax smells. combined with the beer, creates a salt water taste. alcohol is present but not overwhelming. mouthfeel is good but cannot make up for the devastating tragedy that is the smell and taste of this liquid that anderson valley calls 'beer'.

(barfing in corner)

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.05/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Auburn to red with medium carbonation. A large tan head with a lot of thick blotchy lacing. A nice look.

S - Extremely faint copper, some medicinal alcohol and a hint of dark fruits.

T - A bitter maltiness and a hint of cherries with a strong grassiness and mustiness. Some metals, iron and copper, are present. The aftertaste has a a lot of medicinal and a tiny bit of grassy bitterness - maybe a touch of lingering cherries. Not a lot of good in the flavor department.

M - Smooth, medium to thin, a bit refreshing.

D - Meh. High octane double with a flavor that is mediocre at best. The smell is virtually nonexist. It does look nice though. It is easy enough to drink in spite of negatives. I don't think I will have this one again.

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Photo of BigSTing
2.12/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Nice dark amber with minimal head. no lacing.

S: from the smell, you would never be able to guess this was a belgian dubbel. Alcohol is the prominent note.

T: Boozy and sweet. Lacks complexity

M: Moderate carbonation with a medium body

O: I'd opt for a real belgian. For what I paid for the 22oz, I could have had a real Belgian dubbel. I like AVB, but this is the worst beer Ive had from them. I'll probably steer clear of their "belgianesque" offerings from now on.

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Photo of audiojon
2.25/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I saw this on the shelf at my local store and grabbed it as I had never seen it before. I was hoping to have found a deal on a Belgian style brew for a fraction of the cost, but alas was disappointed. I had trouble finishing the bottle, as this was far too unbalanced for my palate. Very sweet, but with zero complexity to balance it out. Very little carbonation, this was very close to drinking soda fountain syrup. Can't recommend this at all.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.36/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: Funky 22 ounce Bomber. Not the usual Anderson Valley presentation, the crown cap is covered in a black plastic wax affair that takes some getting off. The usual colorful label has been replaced with a two-tone cream and sepia affair. Labeled as ‘Brother David’s Double Abbey Style Ale’ and listed at 9.0% Alc./Vol. Described as brewed from ‘malted barley, hops, water, demerara sugar and special Trappist yeast’. The label also states that this is ‘Never Heat Pasteurized nor Sterile Filtered’, recommended to be served at between 40°F to 45°F, that’s 4.44°C - 7.22°C in real money.

Appearance: Very dark brown body that had some very dark ruby hints when I held this to the light. Light brown head disappears before your very eyes as the beer is poured. Carbonation is low.

Nose: Smells like a sweet sugary Soda drink. Uurgh!! Sickly and a tad underwhelming.

Taste: Darkish sweet and sour malts, soggy bread, sweet yeast lots of brown sugar and erm….lots of brown sugar. About as complex as something that is very simple. A let down and seriously boring.

Mouthfeel: Average feel, probably the best and most bearable part of this drink, but this is only average though.

Drinkability: Halfway through I started to have burps that reminded of the ones you have when you drunk too much Coke, fizzy and sweet. The last quarter went down the sink.

Overall: What the Hell was I thinking?? I had already tried the rather crappy Triple when I spied this at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa, I picked it up to fondle whilst reading the label [as I do with all beers when I’m on a beertrip] but for some stupid reason I must have put this in my basket instead of back on the Shelf, I must be loosing it or the beer somehow brainwashed me, I didn’t even realize I had this until I got the Checkout. What a mistake.

It’s interesting that the label spells the word ‘Double’, a departure from the more traditional 'Dubbel', just like the beer itself!! Incredibly disappointing and just “so wrong”. Anderson Valley needs to excommunicate Brother David for this crap. Save your hard earned money!

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Photo of Sixpoint
2.38/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle looked good. Beer looked good. My face after I sampled this beer? Not good.

Promising burgundy expression and hue follows (a rather weak) representation of a Belgian Dubbel head. Thin and whispy, but what can you expect from force carbonation and filtering?

Slight brown sugar and spicy taste dominated in medium mouthfeel. Strange off-flavor persisting throughout.

Tastes more like a brown ale that was juiced up on steroids. Who is Brother David?

It's a shame. I like Barney Flats a lot; it's a classic American Oatmeal Stout. Belgian beers are not this brewery's specialty.

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Photo of ppoitras
2.46/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

22oz bottle purchased at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Heavy black was-coated cap. Nice and tough to open, had to slit wax around cap with a razor blade and then uncap.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" tan head over the clear reddish mahogany brew. Head lasts pretty well, with nice foamy lacing. Aroma is dominated by dark fruits and alcohol, leaving little room for the malts I would desire to see at least a bit of. The taste has the quickest of malt at the front, changing to somewhat bitter dark fruits, with a slight warming at the outset. Has a heavy, unpleasantly bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both not so good, due largely to that killer aftertaste, which ruined the whole experience for me.

<Ended up being a drain pour, and upon reflection the aftertaste reminded me of vulcanized rubber, like a tire or something. Seemed similiar to the smell from the torn "wax" cap coating. Guess there must have been some sort of contamination there from their packaging.>

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Photo of nicefix
2.46/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sealed with some sort of black plastic that looks like wax, but underneath it's just a typical cap on a bomber. After a hard pour I got a small off white head with various sized bubbles which quickly diminished and there was some decent lacing. The color was a cloudy dark brown. Smelled of alcohol and maybe sour apple. Taste of sour apples up front with a good amount of carbonation and a pretty heavy alcohol and medium bitter finish. Medium body.

I really didn't like this one too much. I've had a few Belgian Dubbels and have enjoyed them all immensely. So even though this one is not actually brewed in Belgium, I expected to get something similar...nope, this one pretty much sucked.

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Photo of semihobo
2.53/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I like the bottle, true to AVBC with a bit of satirical Abbey Monkness. The waxy plastic was annoying, though.

Even with a vigorous pour, there's not really any head, just a ring around the rim. Color is a rich dirty brown.

Smells of spicy cloves, vanilla, brown sugar, apples, and kind of like a Charleston Chew. Alcohol tingles the nose. Powered by a typical but pleasant banana yeastiness.

Taste isn't as nice. Kind of metallic and smoky, sweet and clovey but dominated by alcohol. I guess when you shoot for 9% alcohol in a dubbel you'll get that, but it's not pleasant. Nice malts and some complexities but overshadowed by industrial negative tastes.

Mouthfeel isn't quite as creamy and delicious as Abbey dubbels, but isn't too bad.

This isn't awful, but it's not good for the style. The off-tastes and alcohol dominate. Still a good beer, but not what I was hoping for in a quality style from a quality brewery. Maybe the Triple will be better?

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.58/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Red, brown, auburn colors in the our, almost no head comes off of it, 1/8" maybe. Aroma was boozy alcohol, a little bit of brown malt and sugar.

A very boozy taste experience, thats the first thing to hit the tongue. Ample bitterness despite a lack of hop presence. Lots of spice cabinet, harshly done. Dark fruit, toffee, caramel. Alcohol wafts the entire time. Its the dominant aspect of the beer. Just way too hot, not pleasant.

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.6/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark, translucent ruby brown color. Nice off-white lacing.

Smell: Nice subtle aroma of sugared plums, rasins, and dark cherries. Very light phenol smells.

Taste: Initial taste is of the figs and other dark fruit. Then a bit of alcohol flavors come in, and it finishes with a rather weird taste (I don't know if it was spices or what).

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Has a disruptive prickly feel -- not sure if this is from the alcohol or carbonation (as it feels like carbonation, but I can see very little of it).

Drinkability: The aftertaste and the prickly feel make this not so easy to drink.

Just like the saying goes, "you get what you pay for" -- though quite affordable for a dubbel, it's really not worth it. Looks and smells nice, but something is just wrong with the finish and the mouthfeel.

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Photo of drpimento
2.6/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Well this one is better than the tripel version just because it ain't so dang sweet. Still, not a lot to it other than- well: With an aggresive pour got a little light tan to cream colored head and a little lace. Color is a clear mahoganey. Aroma is vanilla malt fruit. Flavor is the same and not awfully complex. Body is ok and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor. I wont' finish the bottle. (Only a few sips actually.) Be good for cooking not drinking. Meh.

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Photo of EPICAC
2.63/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a lightly, hazy brown with a beige head that thins to a ring.

Smell: Light maltiness, candi sugar, dark fruit, alcoholic spice.

Taste: Sweet, caramel malts, candi sugar. Incredibly spicy alcohol in the finish with a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Way too spicy.

Overall: I was not a fan, the flavors were average and the spiciness was overwhelming.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.7/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a medium foamy head with average retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of lightly sweet caramel malt with some residual candi sugar. Taste is not overly complex with some bland caramel malts with some easily noticeable candi sugar. Body is a bit thin for style with OK carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Lacking some complexity and character with too much sugar.

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Photo of meadowstream
2.7/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This came from a bottle from a local packie in Waltham. It was prominently displayed and was pretty fresh. I was pumped to try this because it was trucked all the way from California so it must be good, right?

Well, it wasn't horrible. The mouthfeel was what you would expect - not too thin, and maybe even a little heavy. The dark syrup flavor is there, and the yeast flavor is OK, too.

It is a bit hoppier than I expect a typical dubbel to be....bitter and not merely a more intense bitter than what you expect from a Chimay or is a more typical IPA kind of bitter, in my opinion.

The taste was barely pleasant. It was definitely drinkable, but not $9/bottle drinkable. It was $3/bottle drinkable. It was probably the thickness of the syrupy flavor that put me off - the smokiness of the brew.

I think if the brewers eased up on the syrup (or dark malt?) a bit then this would be far better ale.

Edit: when I first submitted this the numbers came out to D+...and I guess I think it is not a good beer but it probably isn't a D+ on the scale beers are measured on here at I am going to adjust the numbers up!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.75/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Kind of a mahogany pour, almost no white head to speak of. Aroma was brown sugar and alcohol, maybe some plums and raisins behind the brown sugar.

Taste, whoa, bitter and lots of alcohol with tons of yeast esters and phenols. Arrgh, sorry this isn't my thing. A beer has to be more enjoyable than it is challenging, and this beer falls squarely into the latter category. Decent amount of caramel gets pretty much lost in the more dominant flavors (off?). Toffee and beyond its prime dark fruit continue.

This beer needs to be dried out, tamed down in some areas, ramped up in others. It started out ok, but devolved into a mess frankly. As the beer went on and on, I wondered if I was just noticing the alcohol more, or if I wasn't paying close enough attention to notice the approach of a fusel alcohol remnant aroma wise.

I dunno, love the American style Anderson Valley, so maybe I'm not the best source for a review of this beer, but I'll be avoiding this one for the near future.

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Photo of impending
2.75/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

22oz into a tulip. Pours a crystal clear deep garnet, georgeous when back lit. Minor head subsided quickly, minor lacing.

Aroma is sweet, alcohol forward and backed with the scent of a scotch ale.

Taste begins proper than veers off course into mediocrity. Lacks complexity. Aftertaste which begins with a phenolic, alcoholic kick, is not a strength. Doesn't warm well, off flavors appear. Viscous mouthfeel.

no cheers

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Photo of magictrokini
2.76/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Dark brown pour with no head. Aroma of prunes, yeast, and raisins. The taste is really strong and the alcohol is not masked at all. Prunes and malt dominate the beer. The heavy mouthfeel makes it even less drinkable. The spice was nice, but everything else is a bit overwhelming. And lose the fake wax, it makes the bottle really hard to open.

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Photo of Crosling
2.8/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Blackened ruby with a large, fizzy, off-white head. Malt-accented aromatics, with hints of molasses, chocolate, coffee, roast and charcoal, along with a light hint of prunes, cassis and brown sugar. Medium bodied with a creamy and alcoholic texture. Flavor is malt accented, with little yeast presence, along with light chocolate, roast and nut flavors. Hints of raisins and prunes as well, but light. Laughable compared to true Belgians. Too roasty, more like a stout.

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Photo of studentofbeer
2.88/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

--edit-- had this on tap and it had none of the issues, so it likely was a bad bottle...

Anderson Valley's Brother David's Double Abbey Style Ale. Comes in a 22oz. bomber with a wax seal over the cap.

Poured a tobacco brown into my ommegang goblet and shows red highlights in the glass. short light khaki head that went away pretty fast.

smell: bread and sugar, like toast and tea or something. pleasant and a bit winey.

taste: hrmm, this is a bit disappointing. There's an unremitting sourness that takes over the malt. There isn't the luxurious softness and malty depth I expect in a dubbel. A bit too much alcohol and a little metalic tasting. The sugaryness isn't even that striking. Bummer. could be a bad bottle I guess, but I dont think so.

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Photo of beerbellydaddy
2.91/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It pours sort of dark bronze with a foamy root beer head; it leaves only trace lacing.

Weakly scented sweet caramel.

It tastes of citrus and oak, and leaves a bit of alcohol sting.

It’s kind of fizzy, but not annoyingly so; it is also rather thin and dry.

This isn’t great, but is enjoyable enough, if one doesn’t mind its boozy bite.

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Photo of mjohn27603
2.93/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown mahogony out of a 1 pt. 6 oz bottle. Little head. Taste is of raisins, bread and a burning alcohol sensation. Very sweet and sugary. Almost reminicient of a Paulner Salvator or Celebrator. Brown sugar. Alcohol taste is very prominent making this very difficult to drink a lot of it. Alcohol makes this a sipping beer. Mouthfeel is a little watery for this heavy taste. I wouldn't go out of my way to have this one again.

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Photo of yemenmocha
2.95/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours chestnut brown with no head.

On the nose is an old attic wood chest smell, shelac maybe, with mold and cheap caramel candy aromas.

On the palate is an off-toffy taste with a caramel chew flavor. Some unpleasant alcohol is present, and this finish is on the weak side for an Abbey. Easy to drink but not very appetizing. Worth trying if presented before you but not worth seeking out, especially at the premium price for the large waxed bottle. Disappointing.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.97/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

It took me a while, but I finally pulled the trigger on this one. It pours a clear ruby-brown topped by a finger of wan khaki foam. The nose comprises brown sugar, dried maple sugar, light cardboard, a hint of dark fruits, and a twinge of banana peel. The taste brings in more of the same, with a stronger contingent of dark fruit and banana and a pervasive feeling of cardboard and old nuts. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda slick feel. Overall, this dubbel just didn't do it for me. I'm hoping it's past its prime, considering the strange and unappealing flavors, but I have my doubts.

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Photo of codyw
2.99/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with ruby hues when put to light. Head dissapates quickly in my chimay chalice.

S: Not much smell. Some smell of dark fruit and alcohol.

T: I wish the flavor jumped out more. I taste slight dark fruits such as plum, but otherwise it is just the slight alcoholic burn. You can tell that the alcohol is there, but it doesnt burn too badly considering there is not much flavor to cover up the alcohol. I find the drink sort of muddy tasting, without any flavors clearly coming out.

M: Leaves a weird finish that feels dry, yet it really lingers; and not in a good way.

D: This has a high ABV and the alcohol doesnt stick out like a sore thumb, so you could drink a few of these and not notice. In terms of taste though, I would buy something different.

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Brother David's Belgian-style Double Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 435 ratings.
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