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: 434
Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely Smooth, dark and good lace. Yeasty,lots of chocolate malt, and carmel and toffee, not too sweet.Apple, cocoa, and moderate use of spice. Suitable carbonation. An ale that could convert one's mates to craft beer. Very quaffable. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at BJ's in Sacramento, CA.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, dark fruit, and slight spice aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, dark fruit, and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast and spice bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice balance between the toast, fruit, and spice qualities.

Serving type: on tap.

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Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer poured cloudy brown in color with a thin off white head that quickly disappeared. A light amount of carbonation is visible, which leaves a few bubbles floating on the surface.
S: There are aromas of dark fruits and malty sweetness in the nose.
T: The taste has a moderate amount of sweetness and is very similar to the smell with flavors of dark fruits (raisins stand out in particular) and notes of caramel malts. There are also some hints of alcohol, yeast and a slight amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and rather smooth on the palate. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is rather drinkable considering its level of alcohol content, although this is one that is better sipped.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

After drinking the David Tripple a few weeks ago, this one is a bit lesser in profile. It looks similarly, maybe a little darker brown with some burgundy highlights. Light tan head rises up above active carbonation. Smells malty, lightly toasty, raison-ey, and prune-ey. Tastes similarly, but add in dates, figs, hazel nut, cloves, cinnemon and other sweet spices. Low hop flavor, but moderate esters from fermentation is my guess. Tingly to the palate because of carbonation and warming/phenolic alcohol. Sweet and dry to the finish. Nice beer overall, but try this one before the Tripple.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle. No discernible Bootling language lessons here. As for the Jesus allegories - that's another story...

This beer pours a clear, dark bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of tightly foamy, bubbly beige head, which leaves a solid painted wall of barely broken lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of bready caramel malt, cinnamon and cloves, and herbal leafy hops. The taste is more lightly toasted biscuity caramel malt, a sugary toffee essence, some banana and plum esters, much attenuated Christmas spices, a slightly acrid yeastiness, and earthy, leafy hops. Very little in the way of booze warming lies evident this stage.

The bubbles are average, and generally supportive, the body a stolid medium weight, and mostly smooth, as a slowly rising heat provides a slightly unwelcome distraction. It finishes on the sweet side, but moderated well enough, the muted spice, neutered yeast, and stout earthy hops aiding and abetting.

A decent enough dubbel - the fruit and fervent malt, in accordance with some real deal Belgian yeast, render a pleasant warming tipple, especially as the 18-proof booze remains very well obfuscated (in the unusually positive sense of the word). Another bahl hornin' offering from this NoCal institution.

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Photo of brentk56
3.27/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cola brown color with a modest head forced by a hard pour; retention is fair, as is the lacing (not at all what you would expect from a dubbel)

Smell: A vareity of tones jump out, ranging from good (dark fruits and candi sugar) to bad (a musty, slightly fusel aroma - I hesitate to call it acetone because I don't think that's it but its as close as I can get)

Taste: The front end is fine, with sweet candi sugar infused fig and banana pudding flavors; mid-palate, some sharper fruit flavors such as pear and green apple emerge; after the swallow, the flavors fade and lack the depth and complexity from a classic Belgian dubbel

Mouthfeel: Slightly watery and lacing carbonation

Drinkability: There are some pros and cons to this beer, and that is disappointing from a brewery as good as Anderson Valley; if they can't pull off a top caliber Belgian, they should stick with what they do best

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Photo of kojevergas
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1pt 9.6 flz oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap poured into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a three finger head of full thickness, good cream, and pretty decent retention. Colour is dark caramel brown. Generally appealing.

Sm: Yeast, caramel, some musty esters, heavy wood, and malt. Strange but not off-putting. Moderate in strength.

T: Hmm. Some chocolate and caramel are very nice on the climax, with a sort of christmas ale finish right after that - maybe the wood notes? Yeah: wood and light nut (hazel?) comprise the finish. It's also got a certain estery quality to the foundation. It sort of resembles a winter warmer, but with definite dubbel influences. It's got depth and complexity. It does manage to balance its wealth of flavours, but at the same time it's not particularly bold or unique. The alcohol comes through in the stomach, not the taste. I like it, strange though the build may be.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but rather thick. Suits the flavours.

Dr: The thickness and fullness of body slow down one's drinking pace, but the tradeoff is flavour. It's a flavourful luscious beer that I'm glad to have tried. The price could be better even here in California. I'd recommend this to any fan of the style (or to fans of Winter Warmers), but it's not exemplary.

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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 zeff80
3.71/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, dark brown color with a foamy, thick, tan, three-finger head. It left sticky trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of fruits, mostly cherry. It also had a nice sweet caramel malt aroma. There was a touch of boozy, alcohol smell, too.

T - It tasted of tart fruits (dried apple and cherry) with a sweet, biscuity malt flavor.

M - It was soft and a little sticky/bready. A light to medium-bodied ale.

D - This is a nice dubbel. Looks great and is very drinkable.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Anderson Valley in August 2009. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a burnt red bordering on brown with an off white head and a good amount of sticking lacing. Smell is cherries, chocolate, caramel, and nuts. A bit of spice. Taste brings forward some dark fruits as well as dark cherries and a bit of caramel and toffee. Mouthfeel is nice and coats the palate. Drinks quite well and is certainly one of the better American versions of this style that I have had.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into chalice, no bottle dating. Pours fairly crystal clear deep ruby brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of raisin, plum, fig, pear, apple, light banana, caramel, toast, candi sugar, brown bread, light chocolate, clove, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/earthy yeast and balanced dark/bready malt sweetness; with solid strength. Taste of raisin, plum, fig, pear, apple, light banana, caramel, toast, biscuit, candi sugar, brown bread, light chocolate, clove, pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Moderate amount of earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, pear, apple, light banana, caramel, toast, biscuit, light chocolate, candi sugar, clove, pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt and fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors; with a nice malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth and moderately slick/crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice dubbel. Good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; and smooth to sip on for the ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This medium-dry and fruity Belgian-style double pours a surprisingly clear (it's filtered - not bottle conditioned), almost-black ruby-mahogany body beneath a short lid of creamy ivory froth. Surprisingly, the head retention is somewhat limited and it leaves little lacing about the glass. The nose is ripe with vinous, juicy, dark fruit and soft yeast notes (it's clearly not the Chimay strain; but possible La Chouffe...) over a delicate, biscuity maltiness. It's gently effervescent on the tongue with a fine-bubbled, median carbonation; and its medium-light body flows almost silk-like across the palate once it warms. The flavor is almost exactly as the nose indicates it may be. It starts with a combination of dark fruit and malt; warms a little to reveal some sweeter character as well as some balancing alcohol and leafy hops; and finishes with a slap of alcohol, some drying bitterbess, and more leafy hops.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz rubber-wax-sealed bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits, Belgian yeast, some spice and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is pretty decently balanced with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate and some dark fruits up front. There's a decent background of Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Flavorful, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, although there are others that I would pick first, this is a decent Belgian-style beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dusky crimson with ripe orange edges. Backlighting brings out the bold richness of those colors and allows one to appreciate a fine sprinking of particulates and a restrained carbonation. The head is a thick slice of semi-stiff creaminess that is a cross between pale orange and lightest caramel. A fine looking dubbel.

Fruitiness dominates the nose. Let's go with brown mushy apples and pears, maybe even figs. It's slightly more sour than sweet. I'm fairly certain, however, that the candi sugar (listed in the ingredients as demerara sugar) will make a good showing on the palate. There's some amount of phenolic yeastiness, although not as much as in most Belgian dubbels.

I'm happy to report that this beer tastes authentic. I'm not sure why an American brewer would brew a Belgian-style ale and use anything other than true Trappist yeast. Anderson Valley has done themselves (and us) a service by using the real deal. That would not have been sufficient, though. The rest of the beer has to hold up its end of the dubbel bargain. Thankfully it does.

I'm not saying that Brother David's is a dead ringer for a world-class Belgian, because it isn't. Its biggest sin is that it lacks the truly extraordinary depth and complexity that is contained in every last drop of those amazing Old World versions. It does hit the major style benchmarks, however, and is, therefore, good beer.

Fruity still runs the show. The flavor profile consists of fermented, bruised apples; fresh figs; and lightly caramelized sugar. It leans toward darker flavors of cocoa and molasses without quite getting there. Sour leads by a nose over sweet, which leads by a nose over bitter. As the middle of the bottle approaches, the beer does gain some complexity.

Excellent job of alcohol masking; I would never have guessed 8.5% (my bottle says 9.0%). That's getting into tripel territory and the fact that this is still such a friendly, easy drinking beer is nothing short of amazing. The mouthfeel is just fine. I'm always up for a little more viscosity, but have no quarrel with a lighter than average, slightly less bubbled dubbel.

Brother David's is a more than respectable attempt at a true Belgian dubbel. In fact, I don't remember too many other American versions that I've thought as highly of. Anderson Valley has a winner here.

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Photo of russpowell
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours garnet red/chestnut with 1/2" of sand colored head. Healthy film goes all the way down & a bit of lacing

S: Choclate & a hint of fruittyness& a little booze once warmed up

T: Chocolate, dryness & breadyness up front. Oaky dryness & caramel latter. A hint of toffee & toasted grains as this warms. A little banana peel starts sneaking 2/3rds thrrough the bottle ( took a while). Finishes warming, dry with chocolate & caramel

MF: Low carbonation & medium bodied, with plenty of warmth (not heat)

Drinks easy enough, an allright dubbel, not much complexity or funkyness

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Photo of smcolw
3.46/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Solid head with staying power. Curiously, it does not recede in rocky fashion. Dark amber/light brown (with orange touches) color. Cloudy.

Relatively minor malty aromas, not as robust as other Dubbels. Some yeast, light caramel.

More sweet than I expected--closer to a barley wine in terms of taste. There's the lightest of prickly hop in the background--not really balancing. Rich body with a decent level of carbonation. The aftertaste is sweet and short. Warming alcohol in the swallow but not noteworthy in the taste.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.26/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber in color with a khaki colored head. Nose is really quite boozy. Some dark fruits, brown sugar, toffee, and mild spice. A little bit of banana and bubblegum, too. The flavor isn’t bad as far as the sugar and sweetness goes, good date, fig, and raisin fruit notes, mild banana, and a hint of spice. But the beer is just far too boozy to really be all that enjoyable.

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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 WVbeergeek
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up along with the a four pack and a 750 of Thelonius Monk's ale for only 15 bucks can't beat that, once again people go buy beer at the Six Pack Store in Moon if your in the Pittsburgh area. Not the most in depth selection but deals are everywhere. Bottle is rubber sealed with black wax looking polymer and it pours a deep caramel ruby tone with a lucious tan head leaves fine streaks of lacing. Aroma contains hints of coffee and anise notes with an overall vinous appeal, touch of powdered cocoa and some caramel toffee malt tones as well. Taste has a great mix of tart apple raisin going on with soft chocolate and toffee sweetness herbal hop bitterness is mild and blended well bready tone not the best overall American brewed dubbel I've had but it does the trick tasty 22oz portion. Mouthfeel is creamy carbonation is smooth but by no means effervescent smooth going down even coats the palate definitely classified as medium bodied. Drinkability is solid not something I would go for over a true Belgian but definitely something that I enjoyed.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber bottle, with freshness dating, Great rubbery seal poured over the cap and dripping down the top of the bottle. Pours dark with amber hues. Minimal head and no lacing left behind. Rum, raisin and alcohol nose and up front on the palate. Also dark bread note picked up.. Big, bold and tasty brew. Complex and flavorful. This is a worthwhile American made double, not easy to find this one in my neck of the woods

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Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wasatch for including this in a trade.

22 oz. wax-top bottle, poured into a glass chalice:

Pours black (or pretty close) with a thin head that immediately becomes a thin, lasting, swirling patch.

The smell is of anise, prunes, fruity (in a "general" way, candy sugar, toffee and some grassy notes way in the back.

The tase is of dark fruits, candy sugar, roasted caramel/toffee, earthy. Sour, semi-rotten green apple pulls through as it warms, and approaches the end, causing me to re-consider lowering the score a bit, but...decided not to, as it was that much of a detracter. Alcohol well-covered. Fruity, sweetish finish.

The feel approaches airy, but with some heft to it.

This broadly fits into the style. A bit different (fruitier for one thing), and not quite up to par as a classic Dubbel, but a nice beer on its own, IMO.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass, the beer pours a dark, crystal clear, ruby-brown color with a thin, densely bubbled, tan-colored head. Aromas of dark fruits, including prunes and dates, as well as spices and sweet malts. The flavors are very smooth and creamy, and a well balanced molasses taste comes over the tongue. Spices are present once again in the background, and it tastes a bit like cinnamon. The flavors are unbelievably smooth and creamy, and the aftertaste is just that hint of spicing again. The finish is smooth and light, despite the rich and creamy tastes. Very tasty Dubbel.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 5/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark russet brown, almost a sherry color. Small, short lived light tan head with little lacing. Light aroma of sweet malt and dark fruit. Dark fruits and malt up front with a sherry like middle and dry malt finish. Finish is somewhat lacking. Not quite balanced. A pleasant dark Belgian ale, but not outstanding.

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Photo of stevoj
3.71/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Well done dubbel. Nice aroma of molasses and dried fruit. Pours dark brown with oily head. Taste is spot on dubbel, woody, fruity, sweet. Maybe I won’t miss Belgium so much after all.

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Photo of Gavage
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apeparance: pours a brown color with a 1" head that breaks apart quickly to some thick surface foam.

Smell: malt sweetness and brown sugar are up front. Yeast and alcohol are softer.

Taste: big malt profile with brown sugar, yeast, raisins, black plums, and a decent bitterness. There is some softer spiciness and earthiness to this one. Alcohol is mildly noticable.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp to start and finish. Medium bodied. Aftertaste is long with the malt and sugar sweetness lingering a while on the tongue.

Drinkability: decent beer and a slow sipper. One bomber is enough for one session.

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Brother David's Belgian-style Double Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 434 ratings.
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