Brigand | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

very good
119 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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 210
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 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 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 ikenney87
4.6/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got a good deal on a single of this beer. Bottle says 'bottled on 070717'

Appearance: semi clear, honey-colored beer. I see a little bit of yeast in my glass, and virtually no yeast cake in the bottom of the empty bottle. Little head when poured, but picks up a bit when agitated. Little to no lacing.

Smell: Very fruity. Apple-juice. Honey. a little spicy. Not smelling any heat.

Taste: Sweet malt. caramel/light toffee. Belgian yeast of course. Nice little bitterness as well. Very well rounded beer. A little warming in the throat. Spicy finish, like white pepper.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light. Works well with the flavors.

Drinkability: If it weren't for the alcohol, I'd call this one refreshing. I really enjoyed this beer.

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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 kundabuffer
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm surprised this beer currently has an overall score of 83. After having a Chimay beige label, I'm finding this much more interesting and complex. Citrus, plum, and honey dominate the nose; after a bubbly start hops make a brief appearance before giving way to an interesting "opening" in the finish, which is mellow and a little sweet, with some noticeable alcohol (not unpleasant). Very good!

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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 BarryNL
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Found this one on tap in a local restaurant that always seems to have one or two interesting beers on. It was actually advertised as an IPA rather than a Belgian Pale Ale, and I think it was more akin to the English style.

A: Very clear - I think it must have been filtered - a very nice copper colour with a fluffy white head.

S: Incredibly hoppy - not quite sure what sort of hop - could be either an English or German noble hop.

T: Again, all about the hops. Well balanced with a nice bitterness in the finish. Some crystal malt flavour adds complexity to the hops.

M: Pretty good - a nice rich mouthfeel. A bit overcarbonated if it's an IPA but fine for a Belgian.

D: The hops do become a bit overpowering after the second. Still, this is an intense hoppy Pale Ale to be enjoyed occasionally but not in excess.

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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 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 Jason
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz green mini magnum bottle with a shiny teal foil top, corked and caged. Freshness date on the back label.

Appearance: Very hazed orange beige colour with a very well sustaining off white lace.

Smell: Fragrant with a mildly pungent barnyard tartness in the nose. Fresh sliced lemons and hay come to mind also.

Taste: Moderate body with a crisp and effervescent carbonation, obvious malt presence though the byproducts run rampant over your taste buds. Mild tangerine and grapefruit flavours, some phenolic medicinal tastes and a liberal hand of hops give an herbal minty twang that lingers for ever. Fruity and estery with a warming alcohol to boot. Earthy and barn yard characters a soft, raw honey like sweetness is the result of the residual sweetness though the nutty yeast and a grainy palate towards the end dries thing up in the finish.

Notes: Misleadingly strong and crammed complexity drives the taste buds wild … a bit overwhelming in a good way. Certainly a beer to think about and ponder "how does such great beer exist on Earth." Baked Brie would be a great pairing for this brew.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ, in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a cloudy yellow-orange, with a full cap of tan foam, fair lacing.

S: Very fragrant, estery, yeasty, with cider apples, pear, and malt.

T: This beer has a very raw and rustic yeast character to it. Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples carry the show, with some acidity, a little bit of pear esters, reminds me a lot of Bink Blond. This is not a Duvel clone, the flavour profile is markedly different, very intriguing.

M: Smooth, full carbonation, medium-bodied, a nice BSPA.

D: A very tasty, full and rich beer on-tap, very drinkable for 9%, the alcohol is very well hidden. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of dstc
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy, burnt, amber color with a full, airy, light tan head. Head falls slow to a minimal one. Nice lace.

Nose is of malts with a pleasant earthy quality. Touch of alcohol.

Awesome taste. Big, sweet malt backbone. Lots of spice and a bit medicinal. Slight tartness and mild hops.

Medium bodied mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation.

Good stuff, I really like it. Give it a try.

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Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saw this on tap for the first time at Max's last night.

The beer pours a solid gold color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose one gets sweet honey, butter and cherry, and the beer comes across as pretty sweet smelling. To some extent the flavors on the palate replicate the nose, but the beer is far more complex then that. The sweet flavors of cherry, honey and apple are superimposed upon a backbone of sour, with some very nice light bitterness in the finish. This beer is pretty light on its feet, and I would never guess the 9% abv. However, there is a noticeable warming sensation, which is a clue that the abv. is up there a bit. The beer has a very smooth, easy going finish.

... but for the 9% (and rather hefty price tag for a glass), I could see having several of these over the course of an evening. Very nice beer.

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Photo of clvand0
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle. This beer pours a cloudy yellow-orange color with a nice white head that has good retention and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is mild, but there is a hint of citrus and spice in there. The flavor is much better than I expected. There is a peppery spice like paradise grains that blends well and there is also a slightly tart character that lends itself to citrus. Very tasty beverage. Somewhat yeasty. The body is medium and the drinkability is dangerously good for 9%.

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Photo of tmitch75
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright golden color with thick pillowy white head and decent lace.

Sweet and spicy aroma with apples and pears. Distinctive Belgian yeast smell.

Pretty standard pale ale taste with the pleasant addition of honey, apples, and some spice. Can't even taste the alcohol. Very tasty.

Smooth mouthfeel with good carbonation level.

Excellent beer. Smooth and drinkable. A spicy pale ale with a bit of a kick.

Tasted on 2/18/08.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.26/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting new label from what's on the site. It's a medieval dud getting ready to fire an arrow from a bow. It's actually a real picture, not a drawing of any sort.

I fired this baby into a Duvel tulip, which was a great idea. There is a massive amount of clumpy white head, which retains quite well. The body is slightly hazy and is a great gold color.

Aromas are of sweet over ripe orange, coriander, and powdered sugar.

The taste is fruity as well with the over ripe orange and a little white grape is there too.

This beer feels prickly and crisp, finishing with a slight warming alcohol.

Overall this is a very well balanced and refreshing strong beer. Goes great with any weather!

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Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle into the appropriate glass at Aufsturz in Berlin. Go there. You won't be sad. Service can be spotty, but the long list is worth it.

Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow (approaching copper) with an inch of dense white foam. Lots and lots of lacing.

Very hoppy smell - which surprised me. But, still has the nice Belgian malt giving the slightly sweet smell with cloves and a dash of pepper.

Nice rich beer. Starts with a clean and sweet beginning with the malts, then moves to a touch of honey sweet that turns into cloves and the pepper. A clean hop finish, but doesn't slap your mouth shut.

Effervescent in the mouth, a moderately dry offering, but good flavor.

Try it.

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Photo of dedrinker
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rusty gold with a cheap keg beer foamy head. First smell was sweet phenolics and pilsner malts, evolving into suede, wet leaves and the most ambiguous hint of candy corn. Sounds weird, I know. Something about the flavor and aroma that also say to me, "autumn air" and then I realize I'm about to get weirder by saying it tastes and smells like standing outside a candy shop on a rainy day. Not much complexity or depth by way of malts/ hops, but the aroma keeps coming in on the finish as I exhale to remind me of cotton candy and deep fried PB&J on a Jersey Shore boardwalk. The aroma really dominates all here.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Snubby bottle into a tulip on a Sunday night, my 1st time with this beer. I gotta admit, Brigand has the worst label I have ever seen.

Brigand casts a darker than usual look for a Belgian Pale. Expecting a color similar to Duvel I see a darker shade of gold, a hint of amber and some bronze highlights. This makes for a odd color combo. The head is a off white vanilla color that reaches a good height but does not have the legs as other true Belgian foam bombs. It dies quick leaving a nice cap throughout but no lace.

First sniffs out of the tulip, I swore some hard alcohol or Jim bean was within cause I smelled it. I was turned off. I came back to it about 10 minutes later and things fared better. I get a lot of ripe fruit in a basket up front which usually takes a backseat within the style. Apples, pears and plums. Under that caramel malt. Under that some faint yeast and baked bread. A bolder nose for a pale, I dig it.

Tastes much fuller and fruitier than expected. Im not getting alot of wheat and yeast up front, in fact it's almost a moot point next to all the malt and fruit in this. The fruit basket stated above comes through center stage, it's bold leaving somewhat of a apple juice aftertaste. With the malt some caramel sweetness and just a bit of butterscotch. The hops are not making a hit on my taste buds but they are keeping this from being a sweet cloying fruity mess. They are used well.

The feel is smooth and not a rocky ride. at 9 percent, it really does not come up at all. Rich and fruity with mild carbonation. This is not fizzy at all on the tounge, no intrusions. This reminds me of a very light BSDA rather than what is listed here. I would drink this again and I would do a bomber some justice. This is easy drinking as far as i'm concerned.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, corked and caged, Bottled in 3-99, best before dating (?) of 05-02 on label. Wasnt sure what to expect, cork popped with a medium release, this beauty poured murky,cloudy light brown. No yeast or sediment to be found, interesting. Large bubbles morphed to small, forming a small bubble, tan head which exhibited world class retention. lovely irregular lacing left on my chalice. Nose is barnyard/horse blanket, musty,earthy, spicy with some phelonic flourishes. Taste is of anise, gin, juniper. Spicy/minty/yeasty/thoroughly Belgian. 9% very well stored in the background. Yummy, interesting, complex stuff. I'm suprised by the low and mixed reviews for this stunning (IMHO) Belgian. Maybe it ages real well and I'm the beneficiary of dumb luck to have bought this yeasterday, after the store aged it for me for a few years. I'm going back to try to get some more!

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Photo of cokes
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL. Cork dated 1999. Actually, the bottle was dated 9-02 which I belived was the vintage, but appearently was the "best before" date. Awfully conservative, and entirely unaccurate.

Gloomy mustard biege under an impressive and enduring rise of vanilla cream.
It hits the nose with apricot, grilled pineapple, black pepper, big bluestem, light rum, and stone quarries.
Onto the tongue, it's plump with sourbread dough and a wheaty, lemonpeel notion, as it migrates towards tropical fruit. These were clearer and cleaner on the nose, but shrouds of pineapple, peach, and mango are still evident, along with red apple. Turns funky in the middle, with an overriding sandstone dustiness, cracked peppercorns, aniseed, and impressions of suede (Brett?). Next, comes a brilliant white rum flash, with a good deal of associated heat. It ends with drought prairies, waving with bluegrass and fescue.
Medium in the mouth with a defined creaminess lightened with a perky and steady carbonation.
Despite from the sometimes ham-fisted alcohol, this is detailed and nuanced, and complete. In fact, this may need even more time in the bottle. Fresh, I'd guess this would be heated beyond my liking.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark honey color; poured with a nice rocky head (quick pour from bottle) that was well-retained.

S- I'm getting some light sweet aromas from the nose, along with some other delicate notes of pears, corriander, and Belgian yeast.

T- A wonderful malty surprise! While this is unbalanced to the malty side of things, I find this beer to be wonderful (as I am a malt guy myself!)

I am getting everything I expected off the nose, but in greater intensity- sweet pale malt, tropical fruit, corriander and yeast. In addition, I get some lemon zest up front and some hoppy dryness towards the end.

M- It's hard to describe the mouthfeel here. It seems firmer and creamier because of the retained head that creeps into each sip. I would imagine this beer to exhibit less body if it weren't for this head. Good carbonation.

D- Very drinkable. I can't say I've had a Belgian Ale quite like this... and I wouldn't mind having several more!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 070327. Hmm, I will take that as 3/27/07 which makes this beer over 4 years old. Let's see how well it has held up.

Pours a semi-clear light yellow color with a 2 inch white head that fades to a small cap. Random pieces of lace slide back down into the remaining beer on the drink down with only a little bit of lacing sticking around. Smells of sweet malt, apple skins, grape juice, some yeast, and slight alcohol. Taste is of grape juice, apple rinds, sweet malt, and some spices/yeast. A very nice balance of fruitiness and malt. A subtle alcohol presence is felt after each sip. Good level of carbonation makes for a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good BSPA with some very nice fruity elements. I think that this one has held up very well and is drinking very nice.

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Photo of Cwrw
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dedicated to the Flemish peasants who ousted the French out of Ingelmunster. Nice.

I bought this in Brussels and it has been in my cellar for nearly two years. 750ml corked bottle with blue foil around the neck; the label is blue and simple, showing a "Brigand" on alert. A presentation that works nicely. Attractive bottle.

Tasted at cellar temperature in a chalice. Popping the cork releases a very fruity and winey aroma from the neck immediately. Brigand is a slightly hazy nectarine colour; orange-caramel when held to light. The head is bone-white and very consistent--like table cream or ice-cream when viewed from the top. Superior walls of full lacing, intricate with tiny bubbles. A glorious head, really: velvety and and long-lived. The aroma is one of those aromas only possessed by a solid Belgian pale ale--this is delectable. I cannot say, but the beer smells AGED, and I daresay the two years in my cellar has allowed this beer's smell to mature and develop. Dusty fruits, a salty/sugary resin, with plenty of well-balanced caramel malt. Definite candy sugar a la Duvel. Full on the hopping once you get past the sugar...bitter and metallic. Lots of spices here too, most noticeably some vanilla and anise, also some cloves and coriander. Some honey and plenty of good malting. AS good as Duvel's aroma for me personally. The whole thing just works somehow. An excellent aged, full vinous character for the nose. The tasting reveals a little less body than I would expect from the aroma, but here again Brigand is fairly spotless. Lots of apple and tangerine up front, plenty of sugar. In the middle is more sugar but with some solid malting a little on the salty side. The finish is nice with green apple and light citrus with earthy hop dryness. Vinous red grape notes as the tasting continues...Lots of fruits and sugars..not super-complex but tasty nonetheless. Very aged taste. The mouthfeel is full and very fine, bordering on creamy velvet. mmm. Alcohol is there, not hidden but not allowed to be in your face either. I could not venture to guess since I never tasted the beer young, but as a 2004 vintage I would recommend this beer exceedingly. Solid, without fault.

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Brigand from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
3.78 out of 5 based on 210 ratings.
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