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

Brother David's Belgian-style Double AleBrother David's Belgian-style Double Ale
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Belgian Dubbel
Ranked #201
Ranked #37,920
3.67 | pDev: 12.53%
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States
Brother David's Belgian-style Double AleBrother David's Belgian-style Double Ale
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 266 | Ratings: 444
Photo of Rayek
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brother David's hits my goblet with a deep garnet color. The head has an interesting tint to it that I'll describe as pale mahogany. It quickly falls to a light film and leaves just a little lace.

Super boozy for the style. The alcohol is quite present and adds a ton of warmth. Once past the alcohol, the beer brings forth lots of dark fruit in the form of black cherries, prunes and currants. Bitterness is quite mild and peppery. The balance is heavily boosted by the alcohol. The body is fairly thick for the style.

To me this beer is more of a Quad than a Dubbel. The intense heat is not in keeping with a style that is known for masking its strength.

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Photo of rKunda
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker brown color, but very clear ale. I sloppily poured this into a glass, yet there is not much head that forms on this. The head that does form is pretty fizzy and poofs rapidly.

It's strong, 9.0% and it's somewhat noticeable in flavor and in smell, but it's not overpowering. The is quite strong is the flavor of this ale. It's almost fruity in a figgy kind of way and has a pleasant sweetness.

It drinks very smooth. It's got a little thickness going on and seems lighter on the carbonation (I usually like this in darker ales) and is overall a good beer.

I'd consider buying this in a bottle again. And I would order it if I saw it on tap in a heartbeat.

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Photo of eclaycamp
4.29/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer comes out a ruddy and rugged brown. I went with a vigorous pour for this but still ended up with very little in terms of head. Cloudy with some light carbonation. Pulling the beer right out of the fridge, the aroma is very muted, with hints of raisin. As the beer warms I get more hints of dark fruit, with figs and plums to go along with the raisin. There's some nice brown sugar sweetness in the background, almost like molasses. Very enjoyable, just from smell alone. Taste is very fruity, with that sweetness from the nose helping to balance things out in the end. The alcohol in this beer certainly comes out, especially in the finish, but isn't obnoxious like others can be. This beer is very well rounded and smooth, from beginning to end. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
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 Glibber
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear dark amber color, decent head upon pour, but dissipates down quickly. Smell alcohol, plum, some sweetness. Lightly carbinated, drinks smooth. Yeast, malt. I had the Rochefort 10 last night and this is not nearly as complex. This is a very good American beer, but not great.

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Photo of meadowstream
2.7/5  rDev -26.4%
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 Dalem
3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A slight bit darker than some Tripel Abbey ales I've seen and drank in the past. It's almost brown in it's shade even when held up to the light. The head was modest and faded out fairly quickly but a good bit of lacing all the way down. Notes of caramel apples along with a big blast of alcohol show up in the scent. There are the banana, spices and hint of honey thing in the flavor that are common for the style but they seem to get bossed around by too much of a grainy malt. As it warms the malts do step away somewhat but what seems to be left is something slightly lacking as far as a complexity as well as a little thin as far as the body is concerned too. One thing I did find interesting is that though the alcohol comes on quite strong in the scent it is hidden very well in the taste til you get almost to the very end. "Almost" because there is a hotness that comes out right at the tail that will bite you if you're not ready for it.

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Photo of amandebates
3.57/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: High clarity, deep reddish brown with a light foamy head that dissipated quickly.

Smell: Yeasty, malty sweet with banana fruity esters.

Taste: Slightly bitter, roasted malt rounded out by yeast and toffee sweetness. Also, slight bite of alcohol. Lacks some of the complexity that I've found with Belgian dubbels.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, balanced carbonation.

Drinkability: I think I could drink a few in one sitting, which is great considering the 9% abv. I love this style of beer, and this has to be one of the better Belgian style dubbels that I've found made by American brewers.

(Review based on notes from a tasting on Jan 26, 2011)

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Photo of glid02
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased from the Liquor Loft in Tallahassee, FL.

Pours a hazy dark amber color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of sweet medium malts with thin dark fruits - raisins with hints of green apples. Also present are hints of brown sugar and allspice.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Moderately sweet medium malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by hints of breadiness. Midway through the sip large amounts of fruit flavors - green apples, raisins, and hints of pear - work their way into things. The flavor profile dries out near the end of the sip with the addition of leafy hops, carrying through to a mildly sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass however I'm not sure about another.

Overall I wasn't a huge fan of this beer - the flavor profile seemed almost artificial as though the yeast didn't add enough character initially. Not a beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark red-brown. Slight head that forms to the side of the glass but is weak in the center. Very dark.

Smell: Balmy smell. Very alcoholic. A little bit of a banana smell. Lots of malt breadiness. Hints of spice.

Taste: Pretty much the same as the smell. Not super distinctive. Heavy breadiness. This is malty. I admit I an amateur at tasting belgian style. I'm probably not as good at picking at the flavors as others. I have had other Belgians that I prefer to this one in taste, Golden Draak comes to mind. This isn't a great beer, but it is well constructed.

Mouthfeel: Good mouthfeel. Thick. It swishes around a lot. it doesn't burn the sides of my mouth.

Drinkability: Even though this is made by one of my favorite breweries, I won't buy it again. I'd rather try other Belgian Ales. I will give boonville credit for the low price of 6:99 for a 22 oz. Bottle.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, Boulevard tulip.

The hue is deep, ever so slightly bronzed red. On top is a scant number of light tan bubbles.

Right out of the fridge the aroma is sweet bready malt and fruity, bubblegum yeast. It needs to warm. Brandy, raisins, and Portuguese sweet bread. Pleasant fruity sweet alcohol that's especially welcome during this frigid weather.

Sweet bready malt, sponge cake, dates, plums, bread crust, raisins, suggestions of brandy and rum. Solvent alcohol is prevalent and not as well integrated as in the aroma. Low, low levels of fruity yeast and few esters here and there.

Mouthfeel is moderately carbonated, quite lively, with a body that's almost too thin. You can tell the alcohol is high, it's slippery.

This is very easy to drink in the sense that it is not challenging, there is very little yeast character or anything other than malt. For a big malty one-sided monster it drinks well and isn't necessarily boring for all that. On a night as cold as this it's welcome.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a tulip

A-- Poured a dark brown but settled a light cola color. Very short lived head that went to film quickly. Some head retention but not a lot. ABV streaks on the sides of the glass.

S-- Grape, raisin, some dark fruits, and a touch of bubble gum. Smells a lot like Chouffe Nice. A little bit of an alcohol smell but not real big. Mostly grape and raisin.

T-- Raisin, red grapes, a little bit of sour cherry, and prune. Still a bit of bubble gum taste to this.

M-- At times a over carbonated and at times almost perfect. Front reminds me of Chouffe Nice a lot and the back is closer to a dubble, with the bread and cherry. To me a little bit of a cross between a Strong Dark Ale and a Dubble. Not bad but not great.

D-- ABV is almost spot on for 9%. Pretty well hidden through 3/4ths of the bottle then it hits you. Problem is cost. $20 for a bomber is a lot when I get get Belgians for much cheaper here. Still would get again when and up with cash and want to try our (American attempts) at Belgian styles.

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Photo of mexikrainian
3.69/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz poured into a chalice.

Appearance: dark hazelnut with short-lived off-white head and patchy lacing.

Aroma: raisins, prunes, honey and molasses.

Flavor: high alcohol, molasses, brown sugar and Belgian yeasts.

Mouthfeel: smooth medium body with light carbonation.

Overall impression: excellent flavor for a Belgian, but lacking the body and mouthfeel. worth a try...or two.

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Photo of fourplayed
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark reddish-brown amber with thin lite brown head.

Smells are dark fruits, prunes, raising, brown sugar, yeasts.

Tastes of mildly sweet brown sugar, plums, golden raisins, bready yeasts, malt hints and hops.

Solid medium body, carbonation is lite & zesty, medium alcohol warmth, good hop bite and dry finish.

Very good brew - nice complexity, alcohol well hidden, fruits are up front with nice balance of yeasts and hops. Would not turn one down!

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Photo of chaz410
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a honey hued amber that's very clean and clear. Nice froathy white head. Looks more like a triple than double.
Smells of honey, dates, cherries and sweet caramel.
Tastes similar to smell with obvious dark fruits, estery belgian character on the finish. Lots of sweet caramel and near butterscotch sweetness.
Very smooth and buttery mouthfeel.
Surprisingly easy to drink for the abv

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Photo of bamadog
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been passing this one by for quite some time... Anderson Valley has been kind of hit or miss with me. But alas, while nothing new has really been popping up on the shelves and being in the mood for something new, I went for it. Not awful, but not necessarily worth seeking out either. Review is from notes taken on 10/19/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a dark caramel brown with some nice ruby highlights; starts with a 1/2 finger creamy tan head that fades to a full, uneven cap; body is dark, but still shows good clarity and a fair amount of tiny bubbles floating up throughout; oily spots of lacing are left behind, but eventually slip back into the drink.

Smell: A lot of sweet caramel malts and a mulchy graininess to it; very little spiciness from this one like I would expect, and there's a bit of a cloying, medicinal sweetness.

Taste: Solid enough -- lots of sweet caramel malts and a bit of the Belgian candi sugars to it; mild Belgian spiciness and some tall dark, wheaty graininess to it; definite presence of alcohol, and the sweetness becomes a bit medicinal and cloying after a while. Like I said earlier, not awful, and certainly good enough for the relatively cheap price point, but there are definitely better examples out there that are fairly reasonable in price too (a la Brother Thelonious).

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight; a thick sticky coating is left all over the roof of the mouth soft carbonation lends itself nicely to the smooth body; comes across just a bit oily and slick; belly is left warm and the gums are left tingly.

Drinkability: Not bad for a cheaper Dubbel; nice smells and decent flavors; however, it does become a bit sickeningly sweet and the ABV would be a tad high for too much.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
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 Haybeerman
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, bright ruby color. No head. No lacing.

S: Sweet and malty; dark fruits. Hint of earth and alcohol.

T: Brown sugar along with dark fruit; prune, raisin. Some cherries and caramel. Alcohol not too prominent given the abv.

M: Light body. Low carbonation. Smooth and slightly warm.

D: Good with smell and taste; just not much to look at. Carbonation and body both seemed a little low. Disguised the abv pretty well.

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Photo of elricorico
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes I've been sitting on since the spring:

Slowly poured, medium brown and quite clear for the first pour. One finger tan head which doesn't hold for too long. Second pour much more forceful, fizzes and falls flat.

Smells nutty and sweet. Cherries and toffee. Some chocolate. Strong raisin notes.

Flavour is a well made mix of malty goodness. Raisins and cherries with just a hint of sugary sweetness. Finish has a faint tartness. Alcohol is basically invisible.

Medium bodied and slick with a healthy dose of carbonation. Good.

Goes down very easily. A pleasant sipper.

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Photo of claybeer
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A rich brown chocolate color with a thin taupe head that poured less than on finger thick. Disappointing! A lot of malt. I love the hints of leather and tobacco. The first sip brings out some fruit (apricots and black cherries) and a bready feel. It's almost like drinking a liquid Fig Newton. There is a lot of alcohol and a burnt finish that shows up after the heat disappears. This beer is almost to complex. It would probably do well in a cellar for a little while (1 year max). It is similar to a Belgian but defiantly Americanized with the overwhelming flavors and high alcohol.

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Photo of berkey
3.22/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip from notes 08/16/10.

Forms a nice tan colored head but retention isn't great relative to the style. Body is a reddish brown color.

Aroma is very strong and includes almonds and figs along with some brown sugar and spice. Not bad at all.

Flavor is very sweet and pushes the boundaries of being cloying. Loads of figs, over-ripe red apples and even straight up sugar. I don't necessarily mind a fruity Dubbel but with this one pushes it in my opinion and it kills the drinkability to a certain degree.

Funny how many of the elements seem to be in place for this to be good but somehow it doesn't quite work as well as it should. Not a bad beer but certainly not one of Anderson Valley's better offerings and nowhere near the best in the style.

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Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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 irishking1977
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Ruby red/brown hue with virtually no head but some lacing. Could be mistaken for wine.

S: Sweet and malty, some hint of alcohol.

T: Brown sugar, caramel, malt, hint of cherries. Alcohol in in the background, but hidden fairly well.

M: A bit thin in comparison to other dubbels; missing something based on style. Carbonation is decent, but again not up to par with some of the better dubblels.

D: I'm glad I tried this. It follows the basics of a dubbel pretty well, just needs to be refined. Fuller mouthfeel and a slightly higher carbonation would do wonders with this beer. Relatively high ABV hinders drinkability, but it's still pretty tasty nonetheless. Nothing outstanding, but fairly drinkable and tasty.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber served cool into a globe glass. Brother David's pours a deep brown color with very good clarity and thin head. The head is very short lived and settles with no lace.

Aroma is about right for a dubbel but not as exceptional as the authentic examples. Sugary caramel, brown bread, toasted malts, dark fruits.

The flavor is much the same. Sweet and caramelly up front leading to chocolate covered cherries and other dark fruits, raisins, nutty, and just a little sour.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Alcohol is just shy of being 'hot.'

It's not a bad dubbel but it seems like they made the most common American craft brewer mistake: amping it up and losing the point of the style. A dubbel is a relatively strong beer but 9% seems a bit steep. Plus the flavors should be more rounded and complimentary. Instead, this beer almost seems to fight with itself.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slight maple aroma. Dark mahogany clear brew with light tan head.

Flavor does seem true to style. Reminds me of Chimay Blue, but not quite as complex. Some notes of wine, maple syrup (this aspect reminds me of Paulaner salvator), very malt heavy. Some cloves. Lots of alcoholic warmth. Too much carbonation. Needs to be smoother to be on the same level as Chimay.

Good effort. Definitely worth trying.

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Brother David's Belgian-style Double Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 444 ratings