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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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 210
Photo of megahurts4
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Castle Brigand

Appearance: honey, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: apples and raisins.

Taste: dry bitter barley and light fruit.

Mouthfeel: medium and bitter.

This isn't bad. The aroma indicates a sweetness, but it is not present in this brew.

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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 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 tchenery
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great light orange/light amber color with a frothy head on top. Body shows a slight amount of cloudiness, probably from the yeast.

Smells very Belgianesque and very fruity. It smells like apples and grapes.

The taste is very fruity and almost sour, but not exactly sour. It's a tarty taste that is followed by a soft raisin-bread flavor. It's good but it doesn't have that Belgian 'snap' that you really look for in a Belgian pale.

Mouthfeel is pretty creamy. Very drinkable.

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

Bottled on 10/24/2007

A: pours a clear gold color with a white head that comes thin, about 1 finger thick at most

S: aroma of malts and vanilla with some sweetness of the familiar candied sugar

T: flavors of malts with smooth carbonation and with some vanilla and spices from hops; the candied sugar is also there, as is a nice touch of booze

M: dry but a bit creamy ending, with a sweet and bitter feel

D: a great beer to sip; not wanting to session this one, though; perfect for the style

A fine beer

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Photo of ronniebruner
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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 and malty with a hint of caramel/light toffee. 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.Flavor slightly strong and slightly bitter, but not overwhelming.

Drinkability: If it weren't for the alcohol, I'd call this one refreshing. I really enjoyed this beer. The alcohol content is pretty high for me, but this is a great beer. I would love to drink more than just one bottle.

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Photo of Pencible
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a clear gold with fluffy white head.
S: It smelled like candi sugar and cane sugar, with raisins and light fruits and some wild yeast.
T: It tasted like raisin and candi sugar and cane sugar, with some wild yeast and bready biscuit malt. It had a sweet and pretty clean aftertaste.
M: It was watery with lots of natural carbonation. Pretty nice body.
D: This was a nice light Belgian ale that was very sweet (although not very complex). The body was good, and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was fairly easy to drink. Very nice beer, but sweetness could eventually become tiresome.

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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 Gueuzedude
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap, April 2010 @ Brasserie Beck, Washington DC
This arrives from the tap with a light copper color that smells hoppier than the Lucifer I just had; though I would not say that this is expressively hoppy. There is a musty, somewhat oxidized, and sherry like aroma here that is a bit surprising for a beer coming from the tap. This is sweet and malty compared to the Lucifer I just had with a more caramelized character. I really wonder the age of this keg as it seems like this has some age on it; all the bottles I have had tasted similar to this and I suppose this oxidized character might actually be what the brewer is going for.

Hoppy flavors lean towards citrus when accentuated by the fermentation character. Musty malt flavors make this definitely taste aged some how, though it doesn't taste truly oxidized with cardboard notes or anything like that. The hoppy / herbal character is a nice touch here and in the end this is interesting, but certainly not exquisite.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours an amber/copper color with a light, foamy off-white head.

Smell: Has a slightly tart aroma with a hint of apple-cider vinegar. There's some other fruit in there, and a bit of spice.

Taste: Mellow yet flavorful; there's a good amount of orange flavor in here. There's a bit of spice, and then towards the finish some more hops and hints of bitterness and yeast. Light aftertaste of yeast, hops, and orange. No alcohol taste present.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied though a bit more viscous than I would have anticipated. Mild carbonation and quite smooth.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for this style and ABV.

A light, yet fairly tasty, Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Nothing fabulous, but a lot better than many other beers of the same style that I've had.

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Photo of argock
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a Kasteel clear goblet at Michael's Bistro (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Honey-gold with solid-tight, small-bubbled sheeting head leaving craggy lace.

S: Very sweet nose with pale grainy lightly toasted malt character met with a moderate herbal, floral hops

T: Full-flavored but quite sweet. Malts definitely win the battle with a toasted malt-honey sweetness that blends well with nutty yeast and herbal, floral hoppiness.

M: Deceptively easy to drink with a fine carboantion that lends a distinct creaminess. Aftertaste is mostly sweet malt but moderately dry.

D: An unassuming Belgian Pale Ale/Belgian IPA that lets its light malt do the talking. THe floral hoppiness is nice but provides a minor counterpoint to the sweet, honey malt.

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Photo of RuudJH
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brigand strong ale. 33 cl bottle.
Beer named after a flemish peasant warrior some centuries ago.
The label indicates as such.

Orange brown ale, soapy head, good carbonation.

Smell is sweetness from syrup. Slight fruityness and malts, with modest hoppyness.
Equal taste: sweetness in very dominant, some soft fruits notes: peach, apricots.

Easy drinkable, due to the smooth mouthfeel.
It could be more complex though.

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Photo of BucBasil
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I found this at the Carrefour in Varna, Bulgaria. I have never seen a Belgian beer of any sort in Bulgaria before so I grabbed the opportunity to have something outside of the usual Euro Pales this country offers.

Poured from the 750mL corked and caged bottle into a snifter. Some other reviews have ridiculed the label, and it is indeed pretty ridiculous having this archer staring down your glass the whole time you're drinking it...

A: The beer is deep golden, almost orange color that is somewhat cloudy. Off-white/cream colored head was typically large at about 3 and a half fingers, but dies down relatively quickly.

S: A lot of light fruit and citrus here. It's a bit hard for me to pick out specifically what those fruity notes are though. Almost like sticking your nose into a basket of mixed fruit. There is a big boozy aroma underneath all the fruit and a light yeasty note that pulls it back into focus.

T: Nice fruity character up front - apples and pears and a hint of citrus. Creamy caramel shows up for a second and fresh bread. A soury character in the mix as well. The midpalate shows off some of the alcohol, if only for a fleeting moment. Finishes oh so smooth with yeast, honey and spices like clove then leaves a alcohol dryness.

M: This is so smooth. Velvety feeling in the mouth with subdued carbonation.

D: I'm glad I found this here, but it could also be dangerous for my wallet haha. I could see myself picking this up a few more times, especially considering the other options usually available in my area.

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Photo of cdizinno
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very hazy golden orange color with a nice white head and moderate lacing.

S: Orange and lemon citrus is up front with a mild tartness.

T&M: Medium bodied with a crisp feel and fine effervescent carbonation. Heavy malt presence with mild tangerine and grapefruit flavors. Some fruity tartness and mild alcohol flavors too. Balanced sweetness with a semi dry finish.

Very good belgian style from a lesser known brewer here in SC.

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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 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 ThaCreep
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Getting mouth a little sweet for a beer soon became strong enough. One feels the presence of spices, including coriander and cloves, and bitter oranges. The finish is pretty beefy with an explosion alcoholic. Indeed, alcohol is quickly noticeable, especially if the beer is left hanging in the glass. A full-bodied beer, especially heady like medieval beers, but with quality to taste interesting nonetheless.

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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 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 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 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 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 BeardedBoffin
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A magnum of Brigand, a Belgian ale boasting 9% ABV. It pours an orange-tinged gold with a big pillowy head that dissipated quickly. A citrus aroma with peppery hops and yeast. Orange mixed with sweet booze contributes to the aroma as well. Light to medium bodied on the palate. A sour slightly funky taste across the palate finishes with sweet booze. The palate is left dry and the chest warm.

This is not a bad ale. Nice flavor combinations create a pleasant brew. I do wish the booziness was more subdued, but that is a minor point.

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Photo of janubio
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml. bottle, with a champagne like cork. It pours a cloudy golden-orange colour, with a lot of floaties, and a head that fades quickly but leaves a good lace.
Smell of rip fruits, orange, spices, coriander, cloves. Kind of apricot texture, silky flavor. Taste I'd say is apricots, spices just like the smell, very good orange in tongue after a while. Complex. Really a hell of a good beer. Only bad thing I can say is a bit metallic both in nose and tongue, but I'm rating high because I think that is due to... by mistake I've kept it stored eight months after the expiring date. And still it's great! I may rate it higher if I put my mouth on another one.

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Photo of Rayek
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Tulip.

A: Hazy apricot, with active carbonation. A Pillow like eggshell cap has great retention, but leaves little in the way of lace.

S: Before it warmed up, this beer had a distinct EPL character with its musty hops and straw like malts. As it warmed up; however, green grape and alcohol crept in and gave the beer a nice white wine quality.

T: As the beer warms, the complexity improves. Sweet flavors or grape and pear start things out. Balance is provided by a coriander and clove spiciness, plus an alcohol bite. Finishes warm, with a slightly metallic spiciness.

M: The light and slightly grainy body has a high level of tongue tingling carbonation. The beer's lightness makes it not feel as strong as it is.

D: A combination of a light body and fairly well masked alcohol make this beer go down quicker than the strength would recommend. A nice accompaniment to a cool November evening.

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