Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers

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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #10
Ranked #1,535
4.21 | pDev: 10.21%
Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
Reviews: 494 | Ratings: 1,046
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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Photo of pants678
3.36/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Brown sugar brown, off white head.

Tart, malty.

Starts as a tart and sugary Quad but fig and cherry are piercing as I get through it. Roasted malt's there, yeasty Trappist character of toffee and spice are there. Still, only made it through 3/4ths.

Dry, medium body, maybe a touch more would help.

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

The aroma leads with rich dark fruits. Figs and raisins. This is followed with damp earth and a subtle, somewhat cheesy funk. Chocolate covered cherries, nutmeg, cinnamon. Dried fruits and graham cracker.

Pours slightly murky chestnut brown with a light tan head. Good retention and decent lacing.

The flavor follows the palate but blooms with much more depth than expected adding fresh baked cookies, vanilla, and a touch of roast. Fig jam, rum, and french toast. Wet wood and musty basement creep up in the surprisingly dry finish.

Full body with medium high carbonation. Silky, and almost chewy without seeming too thick or cloying. Spices and figs linger on the palate.

More rustic and layered than many of the same style. Though it's based on zero facts, I can pretend this is the way a lot of these beers tasted in the past.

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Photo of Radome
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 33 cl bottle.

L - Medium brown in color; opaquely cloudy. Strong, head made of large bubbles that fades to rocky islands on the surface and a ring around the glass. Cloudiness clears up as the beer warms.

S - Aromas of graham cracker, plum, prune. Distinct spicy note comes in late.

T - Flavors of graham cracker malt, prunes, plums, raisins. In the background and rising in dominance in the finish are a spicy hops note and a crisp graininess.

F - Medium body with moderate to high, prickly carbonation. Medium hops bitterness. Moderate alcohol presence.

O - A big beer; enjoyable, but somewhat unfocused to me. It seems to emphasize malt, spicy hops and graininess at different points in the palate, bt never feels totally balanced and "pulled together" to me.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap. Served in a tulip glass. Pours a darker caramel-brown body, half finger white head, short retention, not much lacing. As expected for a big Belgian beer such as this. Smells of plum, overripe dark fruit, caramel, light wheat, mild booziness, toffee. It's a sweet smelling beer, certainly. Flavour follows the sweetness down the hatch, caramel, dark fruits, plum, fig, a bit of molasses. It's like a winter warmer, to be honest. Nothing all that complicated; would benefit from a bit of bitterness to balance things out. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, substantial, good carbonation, slightly sticky with a light caramel sweetness on the finish. It's a solid dessert beer, but nothing that really made me want to order another pour.

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Photo of Jmamay22
3.99/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a murky cola colored brown. Tan head holds up well and clings to my glass. Nice fruity scent of cherry, banana, and plum. Taste is more of the same fruity flavors with a touch of toffee, molasses and allspice. Really well integrated flavor profile. Medium to light body. Carbonation is fairly high. Mild alcohol warmth and sweetness. Enjoyable beer.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours brown with a large creamy khaki head that stays and leaves a coating. Nose is a bit boozy with some fruity esters and darker malt fruits...also a hint of tartness. Taste is loaded with creamy caramel...almost like a high ABV winter warmer. Dark fruit, some residual sugars, and booze. Mouthfeel was a touch rough with high carbonation, which seems to be characteristic of all this brewery's beers. Overall, excellent, and my favorite of the De Dolls lineup.

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

Dark, ruddy brown beer with a tan head. This beer smells like prunes, raisins, earth, minerals, burnt sugar, apples and sweet plums. The taste is prune juice, apples and raisins with a burnt sugar sweetness and bitterness. The beer continues to stream carbonation from the nucleation site throughout the drink, I am a bit biased toward Belgian beers but this one is quite good. I would drink this again.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've Had all 7 of DeDolle's beers that make it to Chicago; but am finally reviewing their most famous after several tastings.
This one I aged in my cellar for over a year and I have to believe it is best aged. Either I am maturing and appreciate the gentle sour more, or aging this beer is the only way I can fully enjoy this masterpiece.

Reviewed by MJ in his "Great Beers of Belgium", he defends the brewers as not mad at all; but he does put De Dolle in the chapter entitled "Passionate Pints." Oerbier is reviewed first and he says it "reminded me of a Scottish wee heavy. It had a remarkable smooth, creamy texture; and a sweetish palate with fruity and winey undertones. Over the years, the winey character has come to the fore. Today, it is somewhere between an English Old Ale and a west Flanders sour."
Personally, I get that. Much preferring Old Ales as a style, Oerbier is how I like my Flanders sours. Subtle.
Oerbier is also reviewed in the "1001" and deserves to be on the list. Consider that its debut in 1980 could mark a new era.

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Photo of ljdrinksbeer
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L - Foamy, Billowy, Light tan head, little splashes of foam on the glass. Dark brown with very red tint.
S - Candi sugar, roasted notes
T - Hard to nail down, tastes like eating dessert before dinner, rich, fruitiness, sweet then tart, some booze.
F - Lighter body but good feel
O - third or fourth time trying this and I am not close to getting bored with it.

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Photo of amano_h
4.96/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

35cl draft pour at De Dolle Brouwers (Esen, Belgium)

Characteristic BSDA aromas are in play here as a robust combination of spicy clove esters, bready yeast, dark fruits, plums, and toasty malt comprise the first impression. There is a faint banana-like character to it near the tail end along with some hints of molasses and brown sugar that surface as the beer warms up.

A maelstrom of sweet figs, caramelized sugar and subtle hints of dark fruit (these descriptions sound familiar yet?) upfront, trailed by an obscure combination of clove, toffee, and here's the twist -- a decent amount of tartness, and this time I'm pretty damn sure my tongue's not gone haywire.

Lets off a considerable amount of carbonation for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, which complements its medium body amicably. Clean finish, accentuated by the aforementioned sour notes with sprinkles of sweetness popping out.

Overall an amazingly balanced beer with an incredible amount of depth and complexity going on, despite its higher range ABV. I would actually take this over a St. Bernardus Abt or a Westvleteren XII on most days when I can actually be bothered to argue that Quadrupels and BSDAs essentially belong to the same brewing category...

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Photo of drmeto
3.4/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 3.5

-pours a cloudy ruby-brown with a big,foamy,beige head
-medium to high carbonation visible
-sour cherries,strawberries,woody,caramel,chocolate,herbal
-caramel,toffee,sour cherries,chocolate,cognac
-slight sourness
-slight bitterniss
-high,offensive carbonation
-light to medium body
Taste is pretty good,but the ridiculous amount of carbonation makes this undrinkable.
Not gonna repeat

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Photo of Saviour
4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L - dark ruby but almost black with a massive head which stays for long;
S - bananas, spicy raisins;
T - great taste, the same as smell but with some roasty aftertaste. Something in the middle between Bernardus and Westvleteren 12.
F - awesome aftertaste, ful-bodied and light-carbonized beer.
O - absolutely an outstanding one. But rare, unfortunately. Should you have a chance to try - worth it, without a doubt.

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Photo of aleigator
3.56/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Oerbier '13 vintage, consumed 151228

Pours a dark brown color with ember hints in it, revealing a giant, spongy head.

Smells of spicy wheat, wood bark and rock sugar. Although it inherits a gentle sweetness, the beer got an earthy, almost oaken balance to it, featuring ripe red grapes and tart dextrose.

Has a higher, lively carbonation to it, wrapping up the sweetness with a bubbly, metallic carbonation.

Tastes of older, caramel soaked malts, topped off by fermented grapes, a decent sourness and rock sugar on top. Toffee turns more profound among the bubbly carbonation, coming up after the swallow, thinning the profound earthiness a bit, while maintaining its balance. Finishes clean, with a sour note among rock sugar and caramel, while the carbonation dies down to a likeable minimum.

While it certainly features a well pronounced maltiness, the beers sweetness defines the overall taste of this beer. It doesn't turn cloyingly sweet, due to the beers convincing balance, while it certainly lacks an appealipng depth of flavors to me, prevented by the omnipresent sweetness.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled in May 2015

Appearance - chestnut brown color with tan head

Smell - caramel, nutmeg, allspice, cloves

Taste - caramel, fig, nutmeg, raisin, clove, allspice, carmelized brown sugar, cocoa

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, higher level of carbonation, sweet and spicy upfront, complex flavors really pop out on this one

Overall - this is a great BSDA, towards the head of the class. Flavors are really bold, complex and balanced. Highly recommended

Price Point - $6.99/11.2 oz bottle

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Photo of dar482
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The banana, dark fruits, plums, and spicy clove esters. The flavor is surrounded with caramel and dark candy sugar sweetness. Lively carbonation onto a dry finish. The mouthfeel is medium plus.

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

Pours a murky date-coloured brown, with a light tan-coloured, massive two finger-thick head. Plenty of delicate carbonation.

Aroma is very malty, and slightly sourish -- nice molasses/brown sugar character, with a little faint banana/fruity quality to it.

Complex flavour -- sweet figs, caramelized dark sugar, slight dark cherry undertones -- with noticeable but pleasant sour notes and a crisp noble hop bitterness underneath. Mouthfeel is great, full-bodied, a little sticky. Tastes strong, but not 9% ABV strong.

One of my all-time personal favourites, not easy to find where I live, but well worth seeking out if you enjoy dark Belgian beers or sour ales.

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Photo of DJ-Hophead
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle Belgium Beer Factory - Pours dark brown with a huge foamy tan head. High carbonation ( use a chalice). Nice lacing. Smell - dark fruits, plum and raisins, toasted malt, slightly yeasty. Taste - Sweet with a nice light malty finish. Lovely easy drinking strong ale.

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Photo of josanguapo
3.28/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From zombier. In La Trappe glass. Another good brew from de dolle. However, I prefer their blonde ones. Avg 4.06

De Zombier. En copa Grimbergen. Viendo Los 100 3x07-08. Excesiva carbonatacion, con minigushing, peleona y con ligera acidez un poco fuera de lugar que da la sensacion de estropear lo que podria haber sido birrote

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/2014. 9% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, brown sugar, dark fruit, earth, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly tart toast, dark fruit, grape juice, earth, and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has a bit of a tart fruit quality in the taste that I wasn't expecting.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of farrago
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a healthy two finger head, dark tan in hue, the large percentage of bigger bubbles creates a mottled surface, thick globs of lacing left behind. Deep brown colored liquid, cleaner than expected but too dark for transparency, basically wall-to-wall active bubbles too thick to form single beads. The nose definitely betrays a sour, grapey side, clears a path for the thicker, sweeter milk chocolate, scone, molasses and plum, cherry to raisin, prune fruit scents, there is a palpable “sour bois” funk to it, bark, leaves and black tea leaves as well as a modicum of grapefruit pith, truly needs to get close to room temperature to really open up and shine. Full-bodied, needs all that carbonation to prevent it from congealing although, truthfully, it is more pinpoint prickles than foaminess. Minerals, damp earth and sour grapefruit have the speed to get in there before the chocolate, sweet baking spices, yeast and baking dough, root beer and cola bean notes. As a result, the moments of sweetness are deep but not long lived. Same blend of cherry, raisin, date fruit, more concentrated than sweet. Finishes on a metallic note. Sometimes it is annoying when a beer zigs and zags on you, here it just makes you like it more.

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Photo of Budinetz
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a goblet. No date available on the bottle.

Pours a deep rusted ruby color with a nice off white head that dissipates slowly. Visible lacing around the glass, as well as somewhat decent head retention.

Smells of bready malts, beautiful belgian yeast, and stale dry hops. Really nice nose on this beer.

Tastes amazing! Great malt flavor with a well balanced hop profile to round out the sweetness. Sweet enough to be characteristic of the style but to too overwhelming.

Feels prickly on the palate that rounds out and finishes smooth. Super drinkable for a 9% abv beer. Can definitely sneak up on you.

Overall one of the best belgian Strong ales I have ever had. Picked up 4 bottles of this and will age the other three to drink over the next few years.


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Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sort of muddy orange and a thick voluminous off-white head.

Vinous, raisins, berries, plums, and brown sugar and a touch of wood. Well nuanced beer.

Warm and full of dark fruit flavors like that is expressed in the aroma, bready and spicy. Medium bodied.

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Photo of coriswrasse
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two snifters 1 small btl. Beautiful full head and great carbonation.
Deep amber rose color. Smell is amazing hints of sweet and funk. Taste is cherry earth and oaky funk. Some nice hints of sweet fruit. Bitter and dry mouth feel. Finish is more earth and dryness. A wonderful sour. Highly recommend.

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

11.6 ounce bottle poured into a Trappist Achel glass.

Despite a slow pour there was a huge head of thick and creamy khaki head. Hazy ruby brown body with thick sudsy lacing.
Aroma of tart cherries, spices, brown sugar and a bright grassiness. Like some kind of Christmas season bread.
Tart cherry juice, brown sugar, spicy cinnamon, dates, rose wine, bubblegum, old school cherry candies and a long malty finish. Outstanding.
While this is a hefty beer there's a great airy feel to it. Soft and gentle carbonation.
Overall a fun and amazing example of the BSDA style. Great looking with a spicy and sweet taste with an amazing carbonation. Highly recommended to all fans of the style and unique Belgian ales. This is the business.

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