Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers

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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #10
Ranked #1,524
4.21 | pDev: 10.21%
Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
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Reviews: 493 | Ratings: 1,046
Photo of floyd_pugman
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Found on a shelf in San Diego; June 2016 cap date. Pours a medium roast coffee color with a humungous head that sticks around. The nose is initially one of major hops (what you smell when you walk into the local brewery when an IPA is being brewed), which after a minute or two yields to candied brown sugar and funky yeast. The palate is wonderfully complex: brown sugar, fig, tobacco, plum, clove, funky fruit. I had mostly lost interest in non-lambic Belgian styles, but this has me interested again.

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Photo of b11
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Right, this is nice. Had this in Bethesda MD (Owens Ordinary). Very yeasty, on the brink of _fungal_, or cheesy. Very slightly tart, and not particularly carbonated, little foam in my glass. The mouth feel is light, not syrupy. Also light on the spices, nothing pronounced there. Little alcohol taste. Slight sweetness, plus the rich malt, a slight bitterness, just a very balanced and pleasing strong ale.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle dated Bottled June 2013 - so 6 years old

I found this dusty bottle on a store shelf a few months ago, so not exactly properly cellared. When I popped the cap the bottle gushed quite a bit. I was worried it may have been infected, but it tastes great. clear, dark brown in color, the foamy over carbonation at the pour quickly subsides to a still looking glass. lots of raisin and fig in the aroma - which a touch of leather a pipe tobacco. similar flavors in the taste, moderately sweet. medium bodied, lower carbonation as most of it escaped.

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Photo of npolachek
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a white head. Dry feel with some hints of raising and cherries. Tastes of booziness. Weakness is very minimal smell to this beer.

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Photo of Brew_42
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with a medium off-white head that doesn’t leave much lacing at all.

Aroma is dark fruits with spicy notes.

Taste follows the nose. Dark fruits and clove giving way to a slightly tart, wine-like flavor.

Feel is dry and boozy with some warmth.

Overall a really solid Belgian dark ale. Not remotely surprising given the brewery. Great beer for a cold night.

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Photo of Buck89
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled June, 2016. Amber-brown color on the pour resulting in a hazy copper-brown color in the glass. A normal pour produced a substantial rocky light-tan head with good staying power. The aroma brought sweet grape juice, raisins, and faint chocolate. The taste was less sweet, thankfully, with a more typical Belgian ester profile. Some clove and some fruity esters, joined with red grape juice on the finish. Caramel and tobacco were also mixed in, especially as it warmed. A dry finish and with lively carbonation. Overall a fantastic beer.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Quintessential dark unfiltered cherry juice color bordering dried blood. The memory foam pillow on top even resembles the same khaki coloring. It looks so plush and soft I actually thought about laying my head on it. I didn't.

Ahhhh, that aroma. Such a wonderful change of pace. Dark fruits galore with fig and prune, even a little splash of Welch's Grape. Classic clove and spices are dialed back from your more familiar Belgian Darks. A touch of caramel and a helping of Earth.

Some of those aromas come through in the flavor, but surprisingly muted, or transformed to say the least. Stone fruit hard candies, red grape, and toffee like sugary goodness pave the path for an herbal, dusty, and boozy finish.

That soft pillow transcends into the feel, with tiny foamy bursts everywhere. Not as sweet as the aroma would imply as a bitter bite quickly takes over. The alcohol is very warming, and it finishes parching dry.

A delicious Belgian Dark ale, and just the right size. Unless you were to share of course, but I'd rather not with this here beer.

Cheers, and thanks again Tim!

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Photo of belgianhead
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Often over carbonated, like my recent example which started foaming out as soon as I popped the cap. It was held at 45 degrees. Before I could even get it to the tulip glass I had lost an ounce or so. After gently pouring the glass was 80% filled with foam, as was the bottle.

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Photo of puck1225
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Dark brown color with a beautiful frothy head that leaves great lacing. Sweet fruity smell and taste. Taste of dark raisins and sweet prunes. Earthy warm spiciness that get better as it warms. Very enjoyable beer!

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Photo of Bierman9
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had a 0.33l bottle of this at DeRat in Utrecht, on 19SEP18, during an enjoyable visit with daughter Caitlin. Cost was €7.50.

Poured a dark, opaque, muted amber/russet. Had a frothy, rocky beige head, which ebbed back slowly leaving great lace in its wake. Had an aroma of dark fruit, vinous and dry, with some cocoa thrown in. Had a medium body, and was fairly smooth.

Taste had lots of dark fruit, with some light grapey, vinous action. Was slightly tart, with notes of raisins, dates, black cherries, and dry cocoa powder. It was a bit earthy, and better as it warmed. Solid!!

4.17/5 rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


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Photo of stevoj
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Hops & Bottles. Active bottle yields a huge rocky head, dark brown pour. Aroma is yeast, raisins, plums, smoky. Taste brings in more of the Belgian yeast, dark stone fruit. Mild sweetness. Really nice

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Photo of JamFuel
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with high, thick head.

Smell is musty and a bit sweet. Notes of raisins, plums, brown sugar and spices.

Taste is rich and sweet, with a nice bitter edge. Plenty of spices, some star anise, brown sugar and raisins along with some booze come next, and the finish is long and sultry.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, rich and velvety with sparkly carbonation.

Overall, a terrific, world class Belgian, this is how it's done.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Deep plum, thick foamy head that persists. Aroma is very sweet, lots of fruity phenol & classic belgian dark smells (fig, raisin, treacle, cola syrup). Taste keeps those notes but there is an earthy depth too it reminiscent of birch root and a kiss of hop bitterness. Adds a nice twist to the style.

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Photo of flyingpig
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

330ml Bottle from Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (£4.20):
An outstanding offering from De Dolle, this one is easily the best of the three beers that I've tried from the brewery so far & one that was a complex but balanced tasting beer, opening with a lot of dark fruits & sweetness but never overpowering. It was easy to drink despite the strong alcohol content & there was some nice caramel malts further on that alongside the lighter fruits kept things interesting from the start. A great beer that I'll definitely be on the look out for again.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from fridge temp and allowed to warm over an hour. Pours a deep mahogany with LOTS of head. Took 10 min for the head to clear. Nose is full of dark fruit - cherry, blackberry, fig. Malts, caramel, wood, and earthy notes are prominent. Taste is fantastic. Nuts, cherries, raspberries, toffe, brown sugar, maple, and licorice. Mouthfeel is full bodied with a nice coating of the palate. Aftertaste is sweet. Overall, a fantastic beer!

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Photo of Voss
4.64/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A terrific brew with a touch of insanity.
This comes right from the De Dolle brewery, exp. date "MA2018".
Every De Dolle beer is a different experience, everyone is a piece of craftsmanship.
This one is so scented and tasteful that I would like to have another despite its 9% alcohol.
Absolutely a must have.

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Photo of justme
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Excellent beer. Full flavored. Pours dark almost opaque brown. Rich thick and creamy beige head. Lots of laceing around the glass through out the long slow sipping of this delicious beer.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - deep mahogany nice white head

S - caramel au beurre salé, apple, candied orange, rye bread, spices as cinnamon, vanilla. It's loaded but balanced. Nice

T - follow the smell plus some sweetness. A lot on the orange. Cabdy sugar. This is definitely a dessert beer. Little tartness, small citrusy hop bitterness. Grape skin, apple, pepper, cocoa

M - low carbonation, velvety texture

O - A very nice beer but some aging might do some good. It lacks a bit of roundness

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Photo of threeviews
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from an 11.2oz (330ml) bottle (Bottled May 2015) into a Charente stemmed beer glass.

A - Leaving the yeast behind, it pours a clear and very dark plum skin color. However, when held up to the light, the beer is closer to ruby red. Knowing how De Dolle beers behave, an extremely slow pour still elicits a large and rocky, 3-finger head of khaki color. (4.75)

S - Signature De Dolle yeast esters of apple and pear along with other juicy fruits including plums, plump raisins and sweet cherries all wrapped up in a healthy dose of caramel. The nose is devoid of either alcohol or traces of tart (i.e. lactic acid). Traces of milk chocolate also fade in and out as it is consumed. (5.0)

T - The vinous qualities of juicy plums and plump cherries first pop on the palate followed by noticeable caramel. The sweet cherries then follow and burst onto the palate. The flavors are strong and distinctive but transition quickly and do not linger. (4.75)

M - Much lighter body than expected (Medium to Medium-Minus) for a 9% ABV Dark Strong. Coupled with lively carbonation and a dry finish the palate is never taxed and wiped clean after each sip. (4.75)

O - Delightful in every way, it is easy to understand how this is De Dolle's flagship offering. It works with on every level: by itself as an aperitif or digestif or with an array of foods from savory meats to pasta. It as has depth of flavor that will lend itself to the cooler months and enough brightness to slake one's thirst during the warmer ones. Unfortunately, its limited availability and cost (~$6/bottle) here in The States relegates it to a "Special Occasion" offering. (5.0)

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Photo of JackRWatkins
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours with a head so frothy that trying to use fingers to describe it doesn't really work, and I didn't pour it with force. what body i was able to immediately see, hiding under the massive head was a pleasant cola brown, not gonna fault the beer for this, since it was my first time pouring it, I likely did so quite incorrectly
S: smells of banana, dark fruit and nutmeg among other spices, very pleasant, heavy malt body comes through as well, there is a beautiful yeastiness in the nose
T: immediate dark chocolate/bitter cacao, some raisin and dark fruit here as well, very rich with a pleasant booziness coming through, (I feel as though this beer and gulden draak are kindred spirits), there is a pleasant bready character here as well like a holiday break, there is also a nice astringency here, there is also the presence of cherry (but not to an overwhelming degree), a richness of coffee comes out as well as the beer sits (with an understated nutty/roasty quality as well)
M: dry
O: Damn, I wish I had tried this beer sooner, if you like belgian strong dark ales you will not be disappointed, this is an incredible ale

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Photo of janubio
4.84/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark brown colour, with a hugeoff white head that lasts all the time. Great lace. Aroma of dark fruits, plums, raisins. chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, rum. Medium to full body, creamy, dense palate. Great carbonation. Taste of chocolate, dried fruits, plums, raisins, vanilla, apples, liquor (rum). And here's another great one from the brothers. I have to find yet one that is not exceptional.

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Photo of Yoann
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle to a snifter
A - Reddish brown, no foam
S - Sweet and caramel malts with herbal and spicy hops
T - Still that balance and that richness, you don't feel the high alcohol level
M - Not very carbonated
O - There is a lot going on but you can perfectly taste everything in there, the balance is perfect and there is no aggressiveness whatsoever, one of my new favorite Belgian ales!

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Photo of brureview
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a light brown Carmel color with a 3F head in a Orval Trappist glass.

Very sweet candied sugar, raisin.

Very malt forward, smooth.

Candy sugar, raisin taste.

Great tripel. A different approach than the Teve- much sweeter, more malty and smooth, and less bitter. Both are great beers. World class Tripels.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap:
(On revisit, on tap June, 2017: more earthy/root spice notes than tart. Had alongside a 2013 version which did show more tang to tartness and more carbonation. Wonder if the original review was an aged keg)

Dark bar, but there's a reddish hue to this dark beer. The creamy reddish-tan head stares at me forever.

Nose is dark, but tart fruit - like prune and dark cherry.

Taste follows, with a smooth, leaning full bit not heavy, lightly carbonated body. Front of the tongue gets the lightest of candi sugar, a veil of an almost birch beer taste. It's almost too hidden. Mid taste brings some of those fruity notes, but tends a bit more acidic than I'd expect. It's not tart but I keep thinking it's heading there. End is a little cherry cola (like an all natural, lightly sweetened one).

I think I might like the nuances more at a different time, they're just not hitting me right at the moment. I'll give my teetering on taste the high road, and drop my overall given the conflict.

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Photo of Marius
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle. Dark caramel pour with a tall and lively tan head with good retention. Notes of coffee, chocolate, raisins, figs, spices - rosemary, coriander - cola and Belgian yeast. Medium body, high carbonation and a bitter-sweet finish.

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Oerbier from Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 1046 ratings