Oerbier Special Reserva 2002 (Bottled 2003)
Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers

Oerbier Special Reserva 2002 (Bottled 2003)Oerbier Special Reserva 2002 (Bottled 2003)
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
4.23 | pDev: 12.77%
Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
Retired (no longer brewed)
Oerbier Special Reserva 2002 (Bottled 2003)Oerbier Special Reserva 2002 (Bottled 2003)
Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 64 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of amano_h
4.82/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

33cl bottle at Café Kulminator (Antwerpen, Belgium)

Aggressive aged Bourgogne wine on the nose. Holy crap the oak hits you really, really hard. Lots of malt, cherry, and faint hints of citrus and stone fruits.

Sour cherries. I can taste a little oxidation at first but it goes away after letting it sit for a few minutes. Wine-like acetic characteristics take over by the end, with the malt rearing its mild head around the same time.

Surprisingly light-bodied but still with a discernible amount of carbonation. It does finish a little boozy near the end, but it's by no means unpleasant.

Overall extremely complex, unlike anything I've ever tasted before. I wish my palate was better equipped to fully express all the nuances in this amazing beer.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.66/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Been eying this one in the cellar for a while. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Pours a deep amber. Almost burgundy. Slight bubbles, but it's damn close to flat.

Smell - Astringent and vinous notes. Deep malt. Buttery. Some acidity coming off of this one.

Taste - Incredibly astringent. Getting sour with some oxidation. Still malty and vinous. Red wine notes. Tannic.

Mouthfeel - Dry and not boozy at all. Vinous and have I said astringent? Still a sipper.

Overall - It's interesting, but probably way too old. No way to tell if the age made it interesting or the original beer was interesting.

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Photo of Crittervision
4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Kulminator on 12 August 2011. €12. Consumed after Vin de Céréale. 

Brown body with a touch of amber. Thinnest off-white cap that turns into a web and a surrounding ring. 

Smells like old orange, sweet cherry, some wood, perfume, vanilla and oak, very soft and sweet with a bit of Belgian yeast. 

In the taste is a bit of acetone, but nothing like the previous beer. Apple skin on the front that moves to unripe peaches plus grappa. The alcohol is very evident. 

Mouthfeel is tart, full, [great? — I can't read that word], and carbonation is on point. 

Quite complex. A pleasure to drink. 

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Photo of orangesol
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to FooFaa for opening this one up at the Mad-Murren event at Al's of Hampden. Poured into a tasting glass.

A - Pours dark amber with a light film of white head leaving no lacing down the glass at all. A bit under-welming to say the least.

S - Tart cherries dominate from first sip to the last. As it begins to warm, more and more caramel malts come thru. Quite a bit of tartness but it still maintains a very nice balance.

T - Lots of tart cherries up front carry thru the entire glass. They blend very nicely with the rich caramel malt sweetness. Finish is a delicious balance of tart cherries and sweetness. A nearly flawless balance of sweet and sour. One of the best dark ale's I have ever had.

M - Medium-Heavy body and flavor with moderately low carbonation. Quite the tart cherrie feel with plenty of lingering tart/malt flavors in the finish.

D - Fairly high. I am not the biggest fan of this style but I still really liked the flavors in this one. I just can't see myself drinking more than one of these at a time as the flavors dominate

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Photo of rtepiak
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

as a fan of prize old ale this i figure is a must. A belgian character to an old ale that runs hot down the throat because of abv and black pepper. A mahogany cherry mild cloudy with a smaller head but it did fizz up a bit when cracked. It also gave off the swell of its nose. A distinct cherry pie and wood followed by a pollen honey sweet nose. This is soon after bombarded with booze. That lingers for a few minutes. But the beer does mild. Palate is a liquid apple with a woody bitterness that is hammered into one dimensional finish of heat and bitter cognac. The beer is a tad burnt clove sweet and mineral based. This is the perfect while spiced, and mildly spicey seitan or particularly pulled pork. The heat sits on the tongue with the wood bitter cognac. The cherry is meaty and the sour apple accentuated by the smoke and aby but still not heavy handed.

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Photo of jedwards
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of mine shared with friends over the holidays.

Pours very dark reddish brown with a thin but pillowy light tan head -- looks quite a bit like fresh Oerbier Reserva. Smells woody, tart, lots of stone fruit/raisin, slight citrus. Taste is phenomenal, vinous and astringent with a perfect candy/fruit sweetness and a creamy, effervescent body.

I've put a hold on drinking any fresh Oerbier Reserva from now on. I wish I had another bottle of this to check in a few years time.

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Photo of rye726
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to rhinos00 for the tip on this one.

Pours a woody brown with a silky tan head. Light lacing as well.

Nose has caramel, ripe cherries, plums, leather, oak, vanilla, tart citrus, musty funk, manure and red wine.

Taste is equally complex. Sour cherries, wild figs, sweet caramel malts, wine, subtle whiskey, funky yeast, mold ridden wood and horse blanket.

Big, fruity body has a subtle, yet crisp and refreshing carbonation.

One of the best beers I have ever had. Huge thanks to the guys at Bull and Bush for making this available.

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Photo of rhinos00
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Part 3 of rhinos00 vintage beer night. Poured from a 33 cl bottle into a snifter.

A- One of the best looking beers I have seen in a while. Pours a semi-clear amber/cider. Strings of CO2 bubbles rose up on all sides of the glass. Produced two fingers width of vanilla colored head. Amazing head retention and some lacing as the beer was consumed.

S- Hot damn! Reminded me of childhood sipping on a cup of apple juice. Caramelized apples, little bit of citrus, lots of sweet malts. Imagine apple juice with a tinge of sourness. Very solid indeed.

T- Flanders on steroids. What I mean by that is that it was not as sweet as a traditional flanders, but more restrained with a wild side that produced a sour profile. Vinegar with sour apples and cherries upfront. Some fruit in between with a strong sour finish. What I loved is that everything was so balanced, yet different. This tasted like a flanders, but didn't have a huge vinegar flavor and wasn't as sweet. The finish was that of a big sour, yet wasn't so sour that it caused your mouth to pucker. This beer blew my mind!

M- After 6 years this beer had tremendous carbonation. Very full, but medium bodied mouthfeel. The carbonated bubbles just seemed to explode on the palate, but not take away from the flavor.

D- Simple, yet perfect in every aspect. I could drink this one all day.

This was one of the best beers I have ever had. To tell you the truth, the only thing keeping this beer from being a perfect 5 was the lack of complexity in the taste. If you have this beer, drink it now.

EDIT: I had to go back for another one. I take back everything I said about the lack of complexity. This is one of those special beers that just tastes better and better as it warms. The flavors and mouthfeel were just ridiculous. This will be my first 5. Honestly, if you have one, drink it.

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Photo of Douglas88
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2002 edition drank October 2008 with a big thanks to hopdog. I really loved the regular so I was anticipating the reserva for sure. My 800th rating. Pours a a large and thick beige head on top of a reddish-brown body. The aroma was instantly noticed as more sour than the regular version; lots of sour cherries and tons of woody notes. Some light candies and chocolates too. The taste was great; a initial smooth and mellow sour woody and tart cherry flavors. The sweet candy and ripe fruits come out later, especially as it warms. The six years in bottle plus the barrel aging has mellowed this considerably, and the alcohol is only hinted at in a pervasive warmth. A real treat for sure.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was completely unlike any Belgian Strong Dark I have ever had, but it was very, very good. It poured a cloudy, murky, reddish brown with huge pieces of sediment and two finger thick foamy head that remained for about 90 seconds. The chunks of debris were very appealing to me. Smell was very bizarre for the style, but I enjoyed it immensely. Very vinous and definite presence of alcohol with a touch of chocolate it you're really searching for it. This was like sniffing a glass of pinot noir and a chocolate bar at the same time. Many other subtle aromas presant here such as dark fruits and rich candy. Taste is sour like one of those Flemish sour red ales, but the sourness subsides to sweetness rather quickly and takes on a more familiar form more akin to what this style should be. I suspect the age of this beer coupled with the possiblity that its previous owner may not have stored it properly are what's responsible for these aromas and flavours. I cannot imagine, however, that a 12% Belgian would be ruined after only 4 or 5 years. Enough heat or light exposure, though, and I guess it's possible.
Anyhow, the mouthfeel on this is very smooth with a nice level of CO2. This drinks well, dangerously well, below 12%abv. A nice beer that I am very glad I had the chance to review!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last enjoyed April, 2012 (Zythos weekend):

Oerbier Special Reserve unrelentingly borrows a lot of qualities of both beer and wine. The 10 year cellared version carries a sharp sherry wine flavor that's layered upon a serious pale malt base with spices and fruits of good red grape must. Rusty garnet with solid burgudy saturation, the lightly creamy foam stance evades the sparkling character of younger versions and favors a delicate creme that reduces to a trace around the rim. The scent emits tart notes of sour cherries, berries, and acidic fruit aromas--somewhat pungent to taste and lightly astringent to texture. Faded hop character lends muted spice and bitterness but better yet evolves into the taste of we tobacco. Soft spices of integrates cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin weave into the fruity-malty complex just as a more savory briny soy-sauce note weaves in. The body is medium to robust as the dissipated carbonation lays flatly on the tongue and coats it evenly with the malty weight for maximum flavor. Lightly powdery late, the finish reminds me of sandalwood, red wine, and sherry.

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Photo of Wildman
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark amber color and formed a light tan bubbly head that left circular lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An heavy aroma of plum, candy and cookie dough with some malt elements present. The flavor was of malt, plum, a touch of chocolate and a hint of coffee. It had a medium body with a very sprite, yet sweet finish. A very good beer once again from this brewer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clear crimson and orange accented chestnut body rests seemingly timid beneath a full head of light tan foam that holds well and leaves some short walls and wide splashes of lace about the glass. Streams of tiny bubbles can clearly be seen rising steadily to support its thin cap of foam. The nose is vinous (think Bordeaux), hoppy, spicy (think alcohol, spice, herbs and red pepper seeds), and malty (think cookie dough or chalky hard candy, but the resulting flavor is not sweet....?). It's delicately effervescent on the tongue like a fine Champagne ( - not like sparkling wine), and it's otherwise light bodied and smooth. The flavor mirrors the aroma with a touch more tartness to it, and perhaps some more dark grape skins. It has a similar acidity and astringency to a dark, tannic wine, and it lingers in the mouth in the same way except for the addition of some dull, leafy hop notes. The dry, low-key, mineral-like bitterness is similar to that of a Bordeaux as well. Wow! The vinous character is astounding! This is a beer unlike any other beer! And it should probably be sought out and sampled for that reason alone, although you might learn to love it along the way.

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Photo of granger10
3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer certainly is a kick in the pants. Pours a burnt bronze color with honey on the sides. Large sticky foamy white head. Good amount of lacing. Aroma is of a cherry liquer, yeasty dryness, and I seriously am getting a woody flavor in the finish. Taste brings lots of complexity and unusual flavors. Starts out apple cider sweet but a big kick of red wine tannins ensues. Lots of sourness and tarty flavors in the middle. Is this brett or lactobasilius? Sharp, intense, pungent flavors. Finish is dry and lingers. Very dry in the finish actually. This is pushing the borders between beer and wine. Alcohol fusels are strong throughout, this almost tastes stronger than 12%. Very unique offering and tasty but I think I could have been done after about halfway through.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mostly clear, rich amber in color with a nicely-sized off-white head that eventually settles down to a creamy, persistent top. The aroma is slightly sharp -- a bit vinous, but mellowed by a graceful oaky character.

Strikingly tart on the first sip. Second sip reveals more depth to the flavor, as the tartness develops flavors of maraschino cherry and grape. Malt character emerges stronger as the beer warms, giving the beer a nicer balance. Alcohol lends a discernable spiciness to the finish, but is not at all obtrusive. Woodiness kicks in on the back end and lingers pleasantly. Altogether more vinous than a typical Belgian strong dark ale, more like a oud bruin IMHO, but good, whatever the label.

Moderate and somewhat creamy in mouthfeel due to even carbonation and persistent head. Quite dry in the finish, and warming in the belly. This is a really good beer, and very drinkable for its strength.

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Photo of nomad
3.18/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wooo - where's the beer? This blood-brown liquid comes out tart like a young Bordeaux and biting with vegetal-leaning hops that inspire a fully floral finish. The alcohol slaps around naked as the day it first fermented, bruising any fruity sense with two-by-fours of oak and acidity. Is this carbonated wine? Almost cedar-like with spice and texture.

Smells a little funky and tart, almost infected in a sense of brettanomyces but is probably just the acidity from the bordeaux casks it cellared in. Opens to burnt sugar notes as the tartness dulls to a soft roar. Feels and tastes highly attenuated, sliding about as brash as it can with hot alcohol.

This beer, like many a Belgian and many a De Dolle brew, is experimentable and I think I may have gotten a less balanced bottle. Went better once I whipped out some cheese and crackers.

Cool experience and really doesn't knock my positive feelings on De Dolle. Still crazy as always.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with a pretty respectable rocky head for 12%. Aroma is not quite intense, rather mild actually, far from expectations (I know it's a bad thing to do, but having read some of the reviews here, when I saw reviews with mentions like imperial flemish sour ales, I anticipated this to be in my top 10). Anyway, aroma is light woody cherry, raspberry, automnal (leaves) with slight tart notes. Taste of bilberries, branches, leaves, sour grapes, light apples, oak and coke. Alcohol remarkably hidden. Creamy texture. Very good, but still disappointing unlike hopsrus its provider!

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fills the tulip glass crowned with an inch of fine, pinkish-brown bubbles that seem to last forever, but cling only moderately. Forceful streams of carbonation pack bubbles into each other at base of head. Murky liquid is the darkest stain of rosewood in color, with almost purplish depths and softly glowing chestnut highlights. Sharp, lactic tartness in aroma becomes extremely vinous with an almost cidery, sour apple finish. With warmth, develops tones of rotting sour fruit, tree bark, piles of leaves in the rain, and wet clay. Piercing, yet non-medicinal nosefeel ends exquisitely dry. Staggering complexity of tastes literally changes sip by sip: tart Macintosh apples, cider, tannins, pomegranate, pinot noir, sour green cherries, sweet black cherries, cinnamon, potpourri, menthol, metallic sourness... morphing without repetition until the last drop. Body is light and highly carbonated with a slight alcoholic numbness, cool and dry upon inhaling. Not a touch of astringency despite the hugely pungent flavors. Sip slowly and the complexity will afford its own form of drinkability. Throw stylistic expectations out the window--this is easily one of the most dynamic beers I have ever tasted. Challenging? No doubt. But drinkers willing to devote their complete attention will discover, within this brew, tiny worlds of perception whose evolution parallels that of a greater reality.

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Photo of Crosling
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark Red.

Captivating aroma of red apples, sweet malts, slight tartness, wood, red wine, pears and cherries.

Complex, cidery, slightly sour flavor with notes of dark fruits, pears, apples, wood and raisins. Dry and lingering finish. I wish there were ore "double" flemish sours out there!

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Photo of Mitchster
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out to a murky brown, forming a small beige head with minimal retention and absent lacing. Looks like raw dark apple cider. Carbonation is moderate...less so than previous versions I've had with explosive carbonation. Aroma is intense with apple cider, yeast, and a touch of alcohol. Smells exactly like hard cider. No hops. As it warms, cloves emerge. Mouthfeel is still spritzy with a warming sensation down the gullet. Medium bodied but packing a punch. Starts out nicely sour and tart, balanced by apple cider sweetness, phenolic esters, followed by a peppery warm wave of alcohol, fennel and anise. LOTS of oak in the tart and vinously dry finish. Bitterness is ruddy and very mild, giving a faint suggestion of burning rubber. Grape-skin astrigency.

An excellent brew, but I was wishing for a little more malt sweetness. The oak aging really makes this beer quite dry compared to the standard version. I love the kick-in-the-pants tartness. This is an very good brew, but hardly worth the $4.99 I paid for the 330ml bottle. Give it a try!

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer poured clear deep auburn amber with a almost tan/yellow head that rose slowly and fell the same way to lace the glass. Not a large head, very compact and small bubbles.

The aroma was deeply complex with some slight sour notes, oak, caramel, and a winelike character of deep red wine.

The flavor was vinous with a slight sourness and complexity of shiraz or syrah and beer mixed. (I assume this is aged in wine casks).

The finish was dry with a lingering deep fruit flavor from the wine. The body was medium and the carbonation was just right. Exceptionally easy to drink and not a hint of the 12%ABV.

11.2 ounce bottle. Not as much of a favorite as normal Oerbier, but deep and complex and would please most any wine gourmet.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Plummy brown haze in color, more glowing towards the bottom than at the top, medium sized frothy whipped creamy dark beige head, settles slowly if at all to a creamy thick skim; lacing in the stringy thick variety.

Aroma is soft of peppermint-like spicy alcoholic heat mixed with a strange, unidentifable dark citrus melange, graham cracker crust, and a bit of a merlot type of touch with dark red grapes and some ripe plum. Its a very soft nose, even the heat seems soft; nothing overly exciting or strong but it definately has a great subtlety and complexing waft about it.

Taste is a whole nother conceivability in its character from what the aroma leads you to believe. But those little hints of wine-like character do surge forward now. Upon first touching the lips its a delightfully smooth ride, but thats literally swiped away quickly, so quickly in fact its hard to get an overall of what the bier is doing. Why, cuz it gets all crazy with a semi-tart and souring little wine-like character that completely takes over the character. Grapey and plummy with touched with citrus tang of oranges. This settled down in a hurry though as it warmed; and thank goodness for that, when first outta the fridge this was frightening with a souring, off flavor of red grapes and tart lemon/orange. But it resides in its strength as it warms and becomes much more drinkable and enjoyable with more plum aspects floating in and some very light drying off in the finish of vinous qualities mixed with a bit of spicy candied alcohol.

Feel is spicy and boardering a sweet tartness thats bearable and vinous to the point of acceptance and tone for a bier of this nature, which may throw some folks for a loop when first taking a sip. The alcoholic heat and spice is quite warming late, way beyond having a any and all sips. Incredible in that respect. Has about a medium body and has a slight throaty burn that keeps popping through very, very late. Medicinal in a way but not overly so. Lots of yeasty alcoholic action in this stuff the whole trip through.

The first sip was antagonizing, but the last was a wish for more. This reminded me more of some of the English style Old Ales that are tangy and souring sweet. This stuff is all about that, but with more control over the effects of the malt side then those with more of yeasty spiced alcohol and vinous softness around its character that was fun to behold and take in for a night ending sipper.
Thanks to Jason who threw this in a while back in a trade!

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Photo of meathookjones
2.56/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours out a murky dark brown with a reddish tint and a few inches of beige head. The head has good retention and leaves lacing coating most of the glass. Aroma is spicy, lots of fruity apple notes and plenty of vinous characteristics. Taste starts off with a sharp sweetness and fruitiness of apples and cherries before going overboard with an almost unpalatable sour tartness that is unpleasant. The taste is complex with those flavors as well as plenty of vinous notes and alcohol taste that only adds to the mayhem. Mouthfeel is good and full with a coated feel, which in this case only spreads the unpleasant taste. I would say this is fairly undrinkable in my opinion. I will definitely pick up another bottle in the future to give it a second chance but for now I will stay away.

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Photo of putnam
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I know that smell. It's the smell of soggy old Rioja Gran Reserva - oxidized, spicy, leathery fruits, vanilla, and cellar dust. So if this smells like a wine that might cost, say, $25 a bottle, is that good for a beer?
Also included on the nose is a certain caramel-clad stone note that adds to its arcane charm.
Perky, broth-flavored textures deliver a muscular acidity I did not expect. Broiled, brown sourdough kissed with fig jam lurk behind a woody, austere core of minerals and depleted spices.
This is certainly an interesting beer. Not a party favorite for sure. But worth graduate-level BA study.

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Photo of Gusler
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer after its resurrection from the 33cl brown bottle pours a totally clouded brown to plum color, the head portly in size, the texture creamy and the color a beauteous light tan with the resultant lace a fine sheet to drape the glass. Nose has a distinct aroma of fusel alcohol along with the over ripe plum scent, sweet malt underneath, slight hint of yeast me thinks, with the start lightly sweet, with a rather light top. Finish is ferine in its tartness, quite dry, past vinous, with a hint of hops and the sweet and sour carries to the tummy warming finish, a unique beer, and quite a “Hoot” .

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Oerbier Special Reserva 2002 (Bottled 2003) from Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 64 ratings