Brigand | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

very good
120 Reviews

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-12-2002

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Reviews: 120 | Ratings: 211
Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the bottle, it pours a darker golden color with a nice head, replenished by large bubbles coming up from the bottom. Nose is caressed bread and yeast. Mouth gets a bit of cider, some malt and some alcohol. Easy to drink, beware!

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Photo of TheVillageIdiot
4.71/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

WOW! OK, I've stated before, I'm NOT a beer snob, I'm not a connoisseur of beer. Big Daddy either likes it, or he don't like. Big Daddy likes this one. If it we consistently available this would easily become one of my first "Go-To" biers. I've bought one .75 liter bottle just to try it and all I can say it that I find this vary agreeable over all. I'll be going back for more. Thanks Buddies. Did I ever tell all you guys how much I love you? Did I ever tell you how much I love spell check once I've started drinking and begin writing bier reviews? Peace Out, xx, me

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Photo of stevoj
2.75/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

MEH! Not much going on here, all of the elements of a Belgian ale, but nothing stands out. Decent, but not outstanding. The label lured me in, and then stole my money.

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Photo of NilocRellim
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a rich gold colour. Smells light and fruity, slightly sweet and malty. Tastes like it smells. Very drinkable for 9%. Tastes like an old recipe beer.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.04/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Head strong, but quickly falls but remains to the end. White color.
The aroma is honey, plum and slightly sour.
This Brigand'a taste fried plums, honey, but with less intensity than in the aroma, slightly noticeable alcohol. Gently bitter, sour but not acidity. After heating strongly perceptible alcohol, flavor and fragrances are stronger and deeper.
Alcohol is warming nicely. Brigand is definitely worth your attention.

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Photo of pat61
4.69/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bread, yeast and spice on the nose. It pours lively orange gold under a 2” persistent foam cap that leaves thick lace. It enters creamy with fruit and biscuit and a mild hop accent on the finish. While yeast driven, the hops, malt and alcohol are well balanced. Medium to a little above on the body and just above medium on the carbonation.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A 330ml bottle with a BB of June 2013, so it's a bit out of date. I've had this for ages - I seem to recall buying it in a Belgian supermarket as long ago as 2010. Stored in my garage since then. I'm hoping the ABV will have helped to preserve it from excessive degradation.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A rich golden-amber hue with good carbonation. Produces a huge head of creamy white foam with good retention; this slowly subsides to a thick surface layer. Aroma of fruity yeast esters with hints of raisins, mild banana, subtle apricot/peach, faint dried fruit, spice, a twinge of marzipan, earthiness and sugar. Slightly sweet and acidic, with a serious whiff of booze in the background.

Tastes of fruity yeast and mild caramel malt, with a bone-dry finish. Notes of raisins, apricots, mild banana, dried fruit, a hint of marzipan, pepper, spice, sugar, earthy yeast and faint stewed leaves. Hints of cardboard, sourness and alcohol in the background. Highly attenuated, followed by a lingering yeastiness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and very dry, with well-judged carbonation and decent body. Could be a tad thicker for the strength. Pretty astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of fruity yeast, earthiness and booze.

A strong Belgian ale that packs a punch. Looks lovely, while the aroma and flavour are replete with spicy, fruity yeast esters. The booze also makes itself known. Body is OK but could be creamier. This bottle seems to have stood the test of time, but I wonder what a fresher example would be like. I might grab one sometime and find out. Anyway, a decent brew with a classic Belgian quality to it. Worth a punt if you stumble across it.

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Photo of FLima
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber copper color with a thick abundant head with good retention.
Initial sour aroma, followed by notes of honey, oxidized apples, cloves and orange peel.
Strong fruity and peppery yeast flavor with oranges and white grapes notes with an elegant mild sourness. Hints of molasses and cider. Dry aftertaste with a light bitterness.
Medium body with good carbonation, 9% ABV fits perfectly here (and it feels much less than expected).
Very good beer, perfect for sipping on a cold day. Really liked the tartness elegant twist.

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Photo of ZorPrime
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a huge beer.

A true sipper...

Golden color. Nice white foamy head that resemble a cloud. Quite effervescent on the looks.

Fruity. Strong. High alcohol in the nose. The aroma is intense. This is a huge beer, heavy.

In the mouth, the beer is fruity but dominated by alcohol. Strong again. This is a big beer. Heavy. Could replace a meal... It's that heavy. I don't see myself drinking this and eating, this is a beer to finish you off and then you go sleep! :)

Extra strong beer which should be sipped slowly... I like it.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a slightly hazy peachy amber with a fine two finger slightly off-white head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of stone fruit and apple juice, caramel malt and Belgian yeast, slightly sour at first. Flavor follows with sweet caramel malt, light stone fruit, apple juice, slight fruit rind and Belgian yeast. Finishes somewhat drier with mild sharpness from bittering hops and Belgian spicing. Medium bodied with good mouth feel from active carbonation. A nice, reasonably complex Belgian strong pale ale. This recently purchased bottle had a "bottled on:" code of 071024; could this really be a 5 year old bottle? I'd like to know because my last Brigand (drunk many years ago) was sour and astringent, which I attributed to being an old bottle. If this one is 5 years old, it has held up quite nicely with minimal oxidation.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours all crystal white head, with a strong sizzeling sound. As the light head settles the clear golden liquid rises. Somewhat decent lacings.

S: Lots of spices, herbs and yeast. Doughy malt and rich citric notes makes this quite complex. Semi-sweet.

T: Dry sour bitterness at first. Lots of yeast and lots of spices. Citric notes. Nice bready malt. Sweet, honey-like.

M: Sour, rather long aftertaste. Body is full, with some warmth from the alcohol. Carbonation is moderate.

O: NIce, but the high ABV is too obvious in taste and mouthfeel for my flavour.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.65/5  rDev +23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Brigand Belgian Ale has a thin, almost nonexistent, grayish-white head, and a dank, opaque, peach-colored appearance, with essentially no lacing and some gray-brown chunks sinking down, once the caked sediment at the bottle’s bottom is swished and poured in. The aroma is super rich- apricot, dark, slightly turned fruit, some citrus, candy sugar, and lighter fruit cake, with maybe some strawberry shortcake and cream cheese. Taste is also extraordinarily rich- dark, slightly turned fruit, apricot, citrus rind, lighter fruit cake, cream cheese, peanut butter, sweet bread, white bread, lemon, and even milk, of all things. Mouthfeel is light to medium and extremely prickly, and Brigand Belgian Ale finishes not so dry, cloying, rich, sweet, and wonderful. This is not for beginners. What a substantial beer! Outstanding!


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Photo of smakawhat
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 1 PT. 9.4 fl. oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Bottled on 070418, cork says 06-2007.

Body color is very opaque and dull looking. A mix of yellow murky brown, and faint hints of yellow like orange on the edges. Carbonation though is white pinhead and very lively, huge streams continue throughout. Head is a little bit of retention, makes large about two fingers easily, settles to a nice fluffy cap. Some good qualities and not so appealing.

Nose is very impressive. A distinct yeast profile on this that is hard to pin down it seems. A mellow sweetness with a clove and spicy cardomom or some very nutty bark sense. Really good sense of hop tea like English bitterness, mixing with sweet Belgian malts and sucrose. Liking this.

Hits the palate in the right spot. Everything plays out on first sip. Playful carbonation, hints at bubbly champagne but dialed back with a good effervescence and malt depth. Sweetness brings honey and clove, and Belgian candy, but a good hop angle. Honey coats all around with nutmeg and brown dark toasted sensing spices. Warm feeling aftertaste without a big alcohol burn. Hints at depth with crispness.

Overall this is just wonderful I really do enjoy this.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 070418
Cork says 06-2007
(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a hazy butterscotch color with a loud fizzy beige head that turns rocky after a bit. There is a good carbonation of bubbles gliding to the finish.

S- The clean aroma has a club soda and yeasty ester notes with a soft green wood hint in the finish. There are some paper and cider notes that grow as it warms.

T- The soft slightly dry candy flavor has hints of slightly fruity yeast esters and a cider taste that grows in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizz that hits the back of the throat. No alcohol heat noticed.

O- This beer has a soft mellow flavor and I didn’t realize how old it was till I pulled the cork. I think the cider flavors are from age and it would be interesting to taste a fresh sample, but it seemed to hold up ok for so long.

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Photo of Douberd
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle, poured into its original glass. Deep golden colour. A little hazy on the second pour. Huge head, going down slowly untill it becomes a thin layer on the surface. Leaves some light lacing around the glass.
Aroma is fruity , with obvious banana notes. Dark fruits too, plum and dates.
Taste is sweet, with the dark fruits very obviously there. The high ABV gives a warming feeling and although is very nicely concealed, you will feel it.
Thick body and quite carbonated .
Overall another specimen of great Belgian beer.

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Photo of avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a brownish color and a dirty, murky texture. There was an inch of foamy head that lasted a fair amount of time. Not much lacing.

S: A super-sweet aroma here (like toffee), with some malt and fruit as well.

T: The flavor on this beer was dominated by butterscotch (or toffee). It's sweet and strong and inviting. Also had some mild yeast, malt, and fruit (apples, making the beer almost taste like a candied apple). A very enjoyable flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a crisp, lively finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Probably not your typical BSPA flavor, but definitely well made and super tasty. Drinkable.

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Photo of Everydayoff
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a tulip by freshness date.

Slight hazy yellow honey hue with a hint of light coppery tinge, the pour yields thick fluffy white head with good retention. High active carbonation generates plenty of bubbles running from bottom to top. No real lace from head’s dissipation but there is some when swirl.

Barley malt that is slight bready, citrus, lemon rind, mint, slight medicinal and herbal hop along with hint of honey and candy sugar. What the complex yet fragrant aroma.

Sweet components are from malt, honey and burnt sugar. Alcohol ester adds a warming and sweet touch. Fruity ester in the middle with hint of citrus and lemon, yeast generates some medicinal mingling with moderate bitterness from hop that also produces a note of herbal.

The body is medium to bold, smooth with fine crispness and lively carbonation, dry finish.

Rather complex brew, the quality itself is more than worthy.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.13/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

11.2 ounce bottle - $3.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a hazed, dirty gold body with a smallish, tight, white head.

Smell: Damp hay and straw, some cutting fusel alcohol tones, decaying, moldy peaches, and with a faint but noticed funky, butyric note to it. Just not at all appealing.

Taste: A sweetness of crushed sugar cookies given an extra generous sprinkling of table sugar. Straw-like lightly malted barley. Hint of white peaches, cheap cider. Still quite sweet, then, some hot, astringent alcohol, that underlying unclean funkiness from the nose carrying over. Dirtied, hot finish with a lingering throat burn.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus, fizzly carbonation.

Overall: Brigand is like a Belgian malt liquor.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A – Cloudy yellow-orange with a thin fizzy head of less than a finger’s width that seems to fizz away almost instantly. Small amounts of clumpy lacing. Not much to look at. By the mid point of the glass there was actually ZERO head and lacing left. Unusual.

S – Whoa. Strong, complex aroma of caramel, citrus fruit, Belgian yeasts, and butterscotch. Definitely inviting.

T – Hot damn. Huge, rich butterscotch character with additional esters of apricot, nectarine, caramel, raisin, date, vanilla, banana, and prune. Fruit flavors are lush and non-acidic. Malty toffee like underbody. Earthy hops help bring some balancing bitterness to the finish as the sweet fruit esters fade. Outstanding! 9% abv almost completely undetectable until it warms a bit. Honestly if it was possible to rate a beer as a six in taste, this would earn one.

M – Prickly carbonation bordering on fizzy, but for this style it works. Thin bodied without degenerating into wateriness.

O – Holy crap, this is good. All the taste elements come together to form a rich blend. Enough complexity to keep the tongue continuously engaged. I could see some people not liking this as it’s a little…strange, but I found it to be ambrosia, and I will definitely be buying this again (when I can find it, as only one specialty store carries it in Tempe AZ)

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.05/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a clean deep yellow color with a small white head. In the aroma, a small fruitiness and a small candy sugar presence. In the taste, a small fruitiness and then nothing. A small bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a dry small fruitiness in the aftertaste. No taste, and what little taste it has, it is a bit too fruity.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.07/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Pours a cloudy straw yellow with a white fluffy foam that retains and laces very well. Aroma of Belgian yeast, subtle fruityness and a good helping of earthy, stewed hops. In the taste, mild tartness, green apple, yeasty and bready. Little alcohol taste, small wheat, and semi dry on the finish. Lighter bodied. Overall, a pretty average Belgian, but worth trying.

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Photo of cwguy5
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in my hotel in Amsterdam, 10.20.10. Poured into tulip from bottle. Reviewed from notes.

A - thick, bubbly off-white head; honey colored with slight cloudiness
S - sweet smell of banana and toffee
T - more dry than the smell would suggest; banana, dark fruit, Belgian yeast, bread
M - medium amount of big bubbled carbonation; dry, bittersweet finish
D - balanced and drinkable; not as smooth as could be; doesn't stand out really from others of this style

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Photo of kojevergas
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on draught into 33cl stemware in Rome, Italy. Reviewed from notes.

A: Two finger head of nice soft cream, decent thickness, and average retention. Colour is a clear yellow.

Sm: Souring hops, cream, and light non-citrus esters. Aroma is moderate in strength.

T: Slight souring hops, refreshing light cream, and restrained barley. Bold but simple. Built well and nicely balanced.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but not overly so. Complements the flavours of the body.

Dr: A bit pricey in Italy, but pleasant and inspired. Very drinkable, with a nicely subtle smoothness.

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Photo of BeerDocT
4.52/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a (unchilled) wide-mouthed glass.

-Appearance 4.0: Slightly murky deep golden color. Nice sized head after pouring, less than one inch. Head dissolved to a small, attractive ring of bubbles that remained during the entire time I drank the beer. Very small carbonation bubbles are visible rising all over the beer.

-Smell 4.5: Very pleasant smell of barley and straw and caramelized sugar. Wonderful!

-Taste 4.5: Slightly sour at first with a big hop bite. This fades into a wonderfully warming sweetness that delivers a burnt sugar flavor along with a slight citrus taste. After swallowing, there is a sudden dryness and crispness followed by a delicious malty and hoppy taste that stays in the mouth for many minutes. No discernable taste of alcohol despite its 9% ABV. Just delicious.

-Mouthfeel 4.0: This is a bottle-conditioned beer, but has what I would consider to be a "normal" amount of carbonation. The carbonation is pleasant and not overpowering and enhances the beer drinking experience.

-Overall 5.0: Exceptional beer, nearly perfect. Very refreshing, but with a cloying thickness that separates it from lagers or lighter ales. This is a wonderful beer that should be sampled by any beer aficionado.

Since so many others have done so, I will do so as well: the label states that this beer was brewed 7/17/07. Brewed by Castle Brewery van Honsebrouck. $11.99 for four at Total Wine in Atlanta. Worth every penny.

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Photo of gdrydenc
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 750ml bottle bottled on 070418, which I assume is April 18th, 2007. Paid $3 for the bottle.

A - Pours a medium straw, slightly orange color with quite a bit of large carbonation. With even a slow, steady pour it comes out at 1.5 fingers.

S - Quite a bit of sweet malts in the nose. Also a little bit of farmhouse funk to it. Very Belgian, and has quite a bit of fruit.

T - Much like the smell, but there's an odd sharpness (I can't think of a better word for it) to the taste. I'm afraid this beer may be past its prime, moving into a bad state.

M - The mouthfeel is still quite bubbly, even for its age. The flavor may not have stood the test of time very well, but the carbonation sure did.

Overall, this was worth the money, but I don't see myself buying it again. A bit of nasty taste to it that I think can be attributed to its age.

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Brigand from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
3.78 out of 5 based on 211 ratings.
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