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

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 436 |  Reviews: 265
Photo of dsa7783
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for $3.99 with an annoying black-wax sealed cap...
Pours a ruby-red, dark-brown, mahogany appearance with a decent-sized frothy and foamy head...
Smell was on-point for a Dubbel, with the typical sytle characteristics of Belgian sugars, caramel, vanilla, figs, and prunes...
Very sweet, sugar-laden taste filled with roasted malts, caramel, vanilla, dates, and dehydrated fruits...
Decent mouthfeel with an equally good level of drinkability despite the hefty 9% ABV... Not bad from Anderson Valley, although I've certainly tasted better both in the style and from the brewery...

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark brown, with a smallish white head, average retention, no real lacing.

S: Heavy brown sugar and malt.

T: Big notes of molasses and brown sugar bombard the taste buds from the get-go, light medicinal character there as well. However, none of the real yeast complexities you get with the finer Belgian examples.

M: Smooth and rather dry on the back end, slightly phenolic, crisp and medium-bodied, a solid feeling dubbel.

D: Not a bad dubbel, but there are plenty of others I'd rather have for the price.

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.6/5  rDev -28.6%
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 cswhitehorse
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The Valley of Anderson's Dubbel was a nice looking beer with a dark brownish color with quickly dissipating forma head with some sudsy lacing.

The aroma was sugary caramel and nutmeg.

The taste was really spicy. I could grab a orange flavor in the front with a maltiness throughout. In the mouth is gave off an odd flavor on the finish which was not that pleasing. It was an okay brew.

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Photo of EPICAC
2.63/5  rDev -27.7%
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 iasanlee
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark ruby red. Very clear with one finger of creamy white colored head

S- Figs and fruit, Very sweet. Toasted malt.

T- Very malty. Toasted biscuits. More figs, and medicinal syrup. Very slight hop bitterness. Huge sweet malty finish.

M- Thick and syrupy. Coats the mouth with moderate carbonation.

D- Absolutely delicious. Alcohol is subtle for the ABV. Better than some Belgian dubbels I have had. Loads of flavor, so would be hard to drink more than one in a sitting. This was a great Christmas present, thanks Rob.

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Photo of blakesell
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Belgian style wine glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a reddish brown with a finger high head of tan foam that quickly dissapates to a ring with lacing round the glass.

Smell- Rich dark fruits and roasty malts, dried cherries, fig and yeasty phenols. A rich perfuminess that I relate to dark candy sugars comes thru.

Mouthfeel- Sticky and lingering with a heavy warming mouthfeel.

Drinkability- I would call the drinkability OK. This bomber is drinkable but I don't see myself drinking a lot more of these.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz from the Coop for about $5.50.. shared with Brenda.. mine from a Tulip.

Big chunky white head and tight lacing.. Chesnut brew with dark red hightlites.. crystal clear.. pretty.

Aroma is suprisingly strong "Belgian" esters and a deep dark dried fruit concentrate... Dried sweet cherries and medium caramel with near endless Belgian notes... great as it warms up.

Dried fruit and figs.. sweet apple cider and nutmeg overtones.. some cloves and banana .. big flavor held to standard by a lite bitter backbone.. yummy and even I can pick out the interesting flavors. Medium palate and adequate small bubble carbonation... Alcohol does raise its head as it warms.

Really for a beer this good, $5/22oz is a steal... I need to get more of these just to have around the house.

I've had Brother David's Dubbel a bunch of times over the years, and it always strikes me as a "this could have been brewed in Belgium" brew... suprising complexity for an American take on such a tough style to pin down.

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Photo of weeare138
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first time I had this, I decided not to rate it b/c it seemed "off". I sat on this particular bottle for over a year and a half.
Appears a mahogany toned amber with a lush, off-white head that slowly fades into a mild cap. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of brown sugar, raisins, perhaps a touch of munich malt with some pruney goodness.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a hint of cocoa and toffee.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, dry, slightly sweet and tart, and drinkable with nary a touch of detectable abv.

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Photo of oelergud
4.14/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown 1 PT 6 oz glass bottle with the traditional Anderson Valley scenery this time in brown and tan colors.
Opaque maple brown body that lets abit of brown and ruby light through at the edges. Light tan head that falls very quickly and leaves very little lace.
Sweet almond, brown sugar, caramel and prune scent with some alcohol and toasted hops.
Warm caramel sweetness and spiced hops, raisens, prunes, brown sugar and a hint of alcohol and metal. Aftertaste is well balanced and delicious.
Medium body with some coating and lots of residual sugars.
Delicious and very drinkable.


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Photo of NEhophead
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 fl oz brown bottle wrapped in black wax.
Served in a chalice.

Pours a muddy maple with burgundy hues. A delicate creamy off-white head with average retention. A few traces of spotted lacing.

Semi-sweet milk chocolate and rich toffee aromas. Rich fig and raisin. Full molasses with deep brown sugar and a soft, rounded alcohol presence.

Sweet molasses with brown sugar and nutmeg spices. Deep cherry, fig, and raisin marinated in a dark rum-like alcohol presence. Warm alcohol, milk chocolate, caramel, and dried nuts in the aftertaste.

Almost full in body; rich and creamy with a vinous quality. Mellow and smooth in texture.

A malty, vinously fruity Dubbel. Mellow and rounded for 9% abv. Reserved and enjoyable compared to its bulkier, high octane older brother, Brother David's Tripel.

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Photo of thejewthatbrews
3.51/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured from a bottle into half liter glass. Deep brown color, poured very gently, resulting in a small head, with a light cream color. Very little head retention, hoewever, this could have resulted from the gentle pour, maybe not enough CO2 released to realize full head potential.

S: Not much smell, really. A little sweet smelling, but not exactly malty-sweet. Some might call it fruity.

T: Sweet and a little malty. As the label says, "tangy". Very little, if any, hop flavor. A little alcoholic taste to it. Hold it in your mouth and it seems to "fume" a bit, like a much lesser version of a hard alcohol.

M: Med-heavy mouthfeel, but not overwhelming. Despite the med-heavy "weight", has a short (non-lingering) aftertaste.

D: Definately a beer for sipping, or gulping in intervals. Not recommended for mass consumption, but who would want to anyway with a price tag of $5 ?

Not a bad beer, but I will definately try other dubbel(or double) styles before I decide if this is "good" or not, seeing as it's my first of this category. Worth a try, for sure.

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Photo of geexploitation
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear and dark brown, with toffee colored highlights and a thin, husk-colored head that forms a collar on the beer. Aromas are not terribly interesting -- some vanilla and coconut, alcohol fumes and rich malts with a demerera edge. It's pretty, but not too evocative. On the palate, though, it's more interesting, as things start with some tangy fruits before moving to some phenolic notes and then some sweet, smooth and nutty malts. Very smooth and well integrated. Mouthfeel is excellent for the style, with carbonation that effectively lightens things but otherwise doesn't assert itself. Overall, I'm impressed. This is not the most flavorful or world-beating example of the dubbel style, but it is drinkable, rich without being heavy, and delectable, which strikes me as a pretty good description of what you'd want a dubbel to be.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.05/5  rDev -43.7%
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 shaebs99
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark brown with small tan head that leaves little lacing

Aroma is of dark candied fruits (raisin) with some biscuity and caramel malt.

Taste follows the nose. Candied fruits that move to some sweetness and a hint of alcohol.

There is a hint of alcohol, but this is quite drinkable for 9%. The score for this may have suffered due to tasting this during the same night as two other dubbels
Ovefall a nice dubbel you can find better, butgive it a try.

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Photo of Vancer
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A nice beer sent via a trade, but I lost my notes – I think Wasatch sent it, gracias.

Poured a rich, dark mahogany brown, marshmallow tan top. Aroma was of a RIS – malty thick caramel chocolate. Quaff was missing the classic Belgium yeast taste, and it was replaced with a semi-sour dark fruit bite. Mellows as she warms in my Corsendonk tulip.

It misses the true Dubbel aspects but was still a decent shot and sipped nicely this Saturday afternoon while watching college football.

I wouldn’t pay over $7 for the bomber (don’t know the price), but if in the $5-6 range, grab one for a try. With the wax top, methinks its a pricey beer.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Into a Duvel tulip glass, pours a deep, dark mahogany, a creamy off-white to light tan head forming atop, a bit bubbly, some nice fine effervescence just below the head when disturbed, some splotty lacing near the head on the way down.

The aroma is rich with dark fruits, raisins and figs, over-ripened pears and apples, and some obvious candied sugars lend a nice touch. The taste goes much the same way, as it leads with a dry leafy hop and candi base, progressing through the darker fruits to the pear and apple, again well ripened, and ends drying, warming, wanting. The mouth is also quite excellent, with a solid body, nice warming, and that fine carbonation. Its pretty darn good.

Yet, maybe its because I know what I'm drinking, but in going after a distinctly European style, it fails as many other things American do: it lacks the depth of character, the slight nuance that the old school, tried and true Dubbels have. But, in going after that mystique, its a noble failure, if ever so slightly. In the end, its still a lovely beer, and aside from Unibroue or Ommegang, who specialize in these styles, I can't think of another American make Dubbel (or, Double?) that almost pulls it off as well.

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Photo of dnichols
3.12/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured a 22 ounce bottle into a cooled challis.

A: It poured a dark coco brown with a nearly extinct head. With back lighting there is a hint of burnt orange tint. What was there consisted of a few tanned bubbles that vanished leaving a very sparce lacing.

S: I was nearly overwhelmed by the rich sweet malts that assaulted my nose and warned me that this beer might be more candy than cream.

T: Lots of brown sugar, molasses, and rich dark chocolate. There is a slight smoky or burnt chocolate taste that lingers on the tongue after I swallow. The malts so dominate that I find it hard to pick up any fruits or hop aromas. In some ways this reminds me of a chocolate flavored cola without the carbonation. Its richly sweet but flat and syrupy.

M: Medium bodied with very little carbonation. Some of the malts linger in the mouth leaving a sweet coating over my tongue.

D: This might be best as an after dinner beer…like a too rich port it may appeal to some but I find it far too sweet.

Comment: This is my second disappointing beer from Anderson Valley. I will be highly unlikely to grab another.

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Photo of Floydster
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber from Cooke's in el Segundo shared with my dad

Poured into a cold pint glass with a light brown color and a 1/2 inch white head

Smell was full of plums and raisins

Taste was very sweet, mainly because of the vanilla malt and sugar I believe

Highly drinkable for something that has enough sugar in it to be candy

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Photo of Stoneman78
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown/amber hue that is surprisingly clear with a small, creamy off-white head that is mostly diminishing, minimal lacing
S- Nose is of dark fruit (plum, raisins), caramel malts, and sugary sweetness, soft alcohol tones and slight tones of toast/bread
T- Initial taste is of complex, malty caramel sweetness, some bitterness in the middle that quickly dissipates, finish is dry with Belgian sugar throughout
M- Smooth, full-bodied ale, overly carbonated and watery for this genre
D- An easy-drinking Dubbel that is impressive for an American brewery, not particularly complex but solid enough, however I don't think I would go out of my way to pick up another bottle given other options in this category

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another brew that I got in trade with Wasatch. Thanks, John!

Pours from waxed 22oz bottle a clear deep amber with a good head of foam that shrinks to a fine layer and it has some good lacing.

The smell has strong notes of caramel malt along with some dark fruit and alcohol.

The taste has the caramel malt in big abundance ie it's up in your face. After another sip or 2, the fruit gets more assertive with plum and fig and I get some chocolate as well.(not what I would expect from an Abbey Dubbel) Swishing the brew in my mouth, there's also a touch of sourness and I'd have to say, it's a pretty good tasting interpretation of a Belgian Dubbel at this point, but it *could* use a bit of tweaking. A few more sips in and the alcohol becomes more noticeable but it's not intusive, just warms my tummy a bit. It finishes on the semi sweet side and the aftertaste is on the short lived side. Not a bad brew but when I think of other Dubbels that I've tried and enjoyed, this one misses the mark for the style by a fair bit. I think it's the lack of spiciness.

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Photo of crwills
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I actually thought this was quite a decent dubbel, despite its mediocre reviews here.

Poured a cloudy reddish-brown with a good sized beige head. Lots of lacing all the way through (I used a large wine glass for this one). Aroma is strongly of dark fruits and estery (banana?) yeast; lots of prune and raisin notes with this one, as well as some pumpernickel bread.

Flavour was well-balanced and restrained on the fruit, with toasty/smoky malt flavours playing a large role. Very pleasant mouthfeel. Some strawberry or ripe cherry in there as well, with a roasted finish.

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Photo of BigJTrucker
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased this 22oz bomber a local State Liquor Store.

Pours a deep mahogany color with a brown, somewhat cola colored head which settles very quickly. Has a faint sour citrusy aroma, with hints of coffee and or toffee, maybe even some molasses. Taste is a bit harder for me. I'm detecting possibly some licorice, maybe rye malt?, a bit of coffee.... Mouthfeel is right where i'd expect it to be. Just the right amount of aftertaste, a bit sticky perhaps.... A really nice, mellow, not too sour dubbel. A bomber is probably the most i'd like to drink in a sitting, but yeah, it's good. Give it a try.

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Photo of Shiredave
3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a tall, foamy tan head over a deep burgandy brown liquid clear enough to see some steady carb rising. The head receeds quickly but reforms with a swirl leaving spatters of lace.

Aromas of cherries and raisins with strong coco and coffe notes. Alcohol(s) and some serious phenolic esters are very evident but adds to the " authenticity"(?)of this west coast made belgian style dubbel. Nice but a little weird and wet doggish.*
Flavors are a medium bodied mirror of the aromas with great chocolate character and deep fruity flavors of melon and stewed cherries. Body seems a bit thin even as it came up to temp with the up front blast of flavor being washed away, too quickly replaced by a firm and warm bitterness. All great flavors and sensations but the segway was less than seemless.
Aftertaste is a mellow mix of fruit, dark chocolate and hoppy alcohol. A really fine US made example of a Abbey Dubbel.

* This is a relatively fresh bottle - ie < 1 year so 2-3 years may add some depth *
* Bottle #2 a few months later - revision to aroma, which got a little funkier but otherwise the review stands.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - A muddy ruby color. Thin tan head that only lingers for a minute.

Smell - Plums, raisins, bread, sugar, and caramel malt.

Taste - Sweet caramel malt. Mostly plums and raisins. The bread amd yeast flavor is present. Some slight chocolate in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Light for the style and highly carbonated.

Drinkability - It's a good deal at the price point.

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Brother David's Belgian-style Double Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 436 ratings
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