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 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 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 bashiba
2.32/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a cloudy orangish brown with no head at all.

Smell was mostly clove and sour mixing in with strong hints of alcohol.

Taste was a very unusual mix of sour and clove flavors, hints of citrus, pepper, and alcohol come through as well.

Mouthfeel was flat and oily.

Drinkability is poor, not at all what I had imagined, I am hopping this was just an off bottle.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
2.55/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Notes of pear, spice, and paper...this example may have been a bit oxidized, but came on-tap from a reputable source. Net of my experience with this beer is that it is a below average Belgian strong ale...I'd have been a lot happier with a Duvel.

It was served in a Brigand-branded flute, with a cheesy-looking guy stringing a bow in a logo on the side. Color was a dark straw and head was minimal. Aroma was fairly faint, and was sweet with some cloviness. Flavor was more cloviness, and with some pronounced fruit notes, but I also got a papery taste and mouthfeel that made me think this beer was either sub-par or past its prime.

I would not really recommend this beer - there are too many other great choices in the world, and indeed from Belgium, and yes from Belgium in this same style.

I had this on-tap at Rustico in Alexandria, Virginia.

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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 RoyalT
2.8/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance – The body is a weak-colored orange and the head went down quickly. Not impressed.

Smell – This one smells really flat and uneventful. Whenever you pop a corked bottle you always have to wonder, “Did I just get a bad one?”

Taste – This is dead as a doornail. The Belgian malt base and big spices are there, but nothing else.

Mouthfeel – Flat and disappointing. This is an 8.5 ABV?

Drinkability – Drink this one with your pizza roles or spicy enchiladas.

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Photo of Blakaeris
2.8/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours cloudy apricot color, head is rather thin and dissipates to nothing.
I'm not normally shy about sediment but in this brew it appears as large solid chunks on the bottom.

Smell is sour with a touch of lemony citrus. Cloves make a very strong statement. Alcohol is unmistakable and strong.

Taste is similiar to the nose with the addition of sweet fruit, possibly apricot. Cloves and pepper dominate the taste. This flavor is quite unusual. The finish has a flavor that seems off.

Mouthfeel is very soft. Carbonation is almost non existent.

The unusual flavor detracts from the drinkability of this brew.

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Photo of GClarkage
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

04/20/08- Had on tap at the Toronado during Belgian Beer Month.

Presentation- Via the tap into a tulip-wine style glass.

Appearance- Fairly clear blonde hued. 1/4 inch white head with very light lace remaining.

Smell- Sweet malty nose which is mildly fruited. Alcholic nose as well.

Taste- At first the sweet and malty flavor is refreshing until the alcohol hits. Very boozy in character. Totally overwhelms the fruit notes and the malty goodness.

Mouthfeel- Really quite watery after the malt aftertaste fades....alcohol dries the tongue.

Drinkability- I'll pass on this one if I see it again. Reminds me of Westmalle Triple, but much less complex.

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Photo of KroMagnon
2.94/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Beer poured out with a big-bubble head that dissipated very very fast. Color is an orange-gold; very clear. The aroma is enticing, kind of musty, slightly floral (like roses), and hints of honey and lemon. The flavor is not as complex as expected - you kind of get a hint of malt then it follows with a full alcohol / almost whiskey note, and at the end you get a faint tartness. Mouthfeel is thin; the beer actually seems a tad flat. Overall this is an interesting beer but it lacks the complexity and solidity of the better Belgian Strong Pale Ales and most of the Trappist beers.

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Photo of OskarL
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - A wonderfull head that settles and leaves some lacing. Hazy copper color.

Smell - Apples, citrus, yeast and alcohol.

Taste - Fruity, sweet (some kind of sugar) and a bit dry with sour alcohol. Phenolic taste that makes me think of childhood memories involving band aids... This is to present for me to really enjoy it.

Mouthfeel - A full body whit lots of carbonation.

Drinkability - Quite drinkable considering the abv.

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.02/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A lovely 2 fingers of strong cotton-gauze head eggshell white. Lots of carbonation like a malt liquor beer. A bit of lacing. Slightly cloudy lemon honey color. And what is easily the most awesome LARPS character on the bottle ever. That was the main reason I tried this to be honest.

S - Yeast waves from the bottle, some alcohol aromas. A mild malt smell but mostly bland. Not a bad smell, but not enough character. Very little complexity for a Belgian. Not the enticing medley I was hoping for. Disappointment sets in.

T - Initial flavors not bad. Alcohol, sweet potatoes and yams. Fructose. Some crystal malts or maybe just a handful of hard rock sugar. Mild but crisp. A few masked grassy hop flavors. Aftertaste was just brown sugar. Way too simple. Looking for much more.

M - A bit of alcohol fusil burn, but goes down great. All silk and velvet. Great body.

D - Not bad, but not award winning. Smooth and so easy to drink. It masks the high alcohol skillfully! The bottle is fun to talk about. Buy this one and let is sit in a dark cold closet for a while. Needs a while to really mature and bring out all the complexity and potential it has.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer bottle (33 cl), tasted in 2001 (top-fermented)
Appearance: amber orange colour, foam snow, well saturated
Taste and mouthfeel: Power alcoholic in the mouth, malty taste
Drinkability: beer close to the correct style barley wine

Review added 11-21-2007, translated from french 1-27-2008.

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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 BoitSansSoif
3.06/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Possibly the cheesiest label I've ever seen, but it is original. Best by August 2012.
Pours a light golden color...lots of beads of carbonation rising throughout. At first glance I thought there might be mild haze, but it's totally clear now. Thick, white creamy head, good retention.

S-Granny smith, a bit of malt and light Belgian yeast, alcohol, minerals. As it warms I also pick up slight phenols of spice and plastic.

T-Sweet malt, very boozy on the palate, hints of granny smith and unripe pear, bits of herb, white pepper on a dry finish.

M-Well-carbonated. On the dry side w/considerable booze presence.

D-This brew has a lot going for it, but it is definitely a sipper, and some sips are better than others.

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Photo of beertunes
3.06/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on code on this 750 reads 070418. Poured into 10oz glass and shared with a couple of friends. Poured a clean golden yellow yellow with a tall, fluffy white head that had very good retention but surprisingly low lacing.

The first aroma was a somewhat atypical skunk note (perhaps a result of the green bottle). The expected spice and yeast notes are supported by a nice grain foundation. I also picked up a trace of apple. On the tongue most of those features were also noticeable. The skunk didn't show up and the apple became more pronounced. But mostly this was an average tasting example of one of my favorite styles.

The body was typical for the style, lots of carbonation, slightly sweet, a little sticky and with a dry finish. Drinkability was very good, as I find this style to generally be.

Overall, not a bad beer, but also not an outstanding example of the style. Worth trying if you see it.

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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 corby112
3.1/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: 750 ml bottle.

Pours a dark amber color with a thin foamy white head. Aroma is spicy with noticeable alcohol presence and light fruit notes. Spicy alcohol flavor that is a little overbearing, overtaking the slight touches of citrus and berry.

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Photo of Brent
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Caged and corked bottle, over three years old. Poured a hazy gold, with a few tan bits of sediment escaping despite a careful pour. Fruity aroma of banana and some other tropical fruit. Banana jumps out at the front, and then a bit of rather old malt flavor washes through. Finishes with a sweet, sharp bitterness. Not bad, but seemed past its prime.

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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 dqrull
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A grand frothy and creamy head that last forever rests atop a clear amberlike yellow-coloured liquid.

Smells of phenols and a bland light, slightly sickish maltiness, some yeast and small fruity notes. The fruitiness gets alot more prominent as the temperature increases, and it get's a tart plastic-like sidenote of synthetic fruit-flavour, like in some candy, not unpleasant.

The taste has alot less phenols, and some more fruits come through, starts off with slightly bitter, unripe berry flavours, maybe blackberries och rasberries, keeps it up with a slightly tart fruitness and finishes with some really nice bitter green apples and a quite strong yeast-appearance..

Slightly over-carbonated for me, grows a bit too much in the mouth after some tongue-swirls, not optimal, light to medium body.

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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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Photo of merlin48
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Corked and caged, bottle twists open easily, without so much as a "poof". Pours a cloudy, muddy, amber, with lots of sediment particles in suspension, in spite of a careful pour. No head, no lacing. Ugly start.
I like the aroma, but the yeast is on the heavy side. Dank, musty, and New Jersey, garbage dump.., but the tart fruitiness saves some respectability.
Tart fruit, wild grapes, emerge in the taste, followed by unexpected, oak woody notes. The yeast recuperates midway, to add an earthy dominance that overwhelms all else, and leaves a garbage dump aftertaste. Flat and dank, overall, but this one does have enough good moments to merit a tasting.
Maybe, a bad cork spoiled this one, somewhat. I poured about an inch of bottom sediment out. Still, very drinkable, with appropiate care.

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Photo of hotstuff
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Cork dated 03-97. When poured, it had a small sized off-white head with fine-small sized bubbles that quickly dissipated. The body was carbonated and cloudy with an orange hue. The nose was sweet and fruity and the flavor was acidic, sour and alcohol. It had a very tingly mouthfeel and a burning sensation as it was swallowed and it was medium bodied. A very strong alcohol flavor at 8.5% ABV.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown 33cl dumpy bottle, best before 10/2009, drank in March 2007.

Poured into a Straffe Hendrik bowl glass. Slightly hazey orange, tangarine colour, the white head stayed for a short while, carbonation continueing throughout trying to replenish the ever shrinking head and failing.

Yeast and more yeast, overpowers all other aroma's.

Heavy alcohol taste, a type of good quality Dortmunder with attitude and more. Mixed cereals (wheat, rye, barley, etc) appear within the alcoholic haze of this strong beer.

A slightly fizzy, carbonated feel to it, alcohol stays in the back of your mouth also.

I was going to give more scores of 4, but there is something wrong/false about this beer I can't put my tongue too. The alcohol is hiding the true flavours. I had a Brigand Christmas on tap in the Kulminator (Antwerp) last Friday, it was wonderful, this normal Brigand doesn't quiet pull the same way.

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Photo of Zorro
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber colored beer with a massive white head, no need to encourage the head on this one.

Smell is sweet and yeasty with a strong candy apple aroma. Mildly spicy with a slight cinnamon aroma. The usual coriander is completely absent here.

The taste starts out sweet and slightly tart with a noticeable alcohol burn and flavor. Mildly fruity with and apples and roses flavor.

Mouthfeel is good.

Not that bad of a beer but it isn't as good as the reference beer for the style namely Duvel. Worth a try and after that go back to the Duvel.

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