Brouwerij Riva S.A.

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Sour - Flanders Oud Bruin
3.9 | pDev: 10.26%
Brouwerij Riva S.A.
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 56 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of josanguapo
josanguapo from Spain

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted long time at Cervecería Internacional, as a recommendation of the owner when I told him I didn't like dark beers. It was the first dark beer that I, indeed, liked.

Oct 15, 2015
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papat444 from Canada

3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was brewed by Liefman's.

Poured from a 330ml. bottle, best before 12/2011.

Appearance: Active foam fills 3/4 of the glass with a dusty tan color. Body is semi-opaque and the color of cherry wood. Each additional pour yields more foam.

Smell: A bit of yeast, some mild tartness and an aroma of an old cellar. Pleasant enough.

Taste: Some wood, cherries and berries, not much lactic action and some traces of whiskey?

Mouthfeel: Very low carbonation with a smooth body.

Overall: Held up rather well. Good but not great.

Dec 06, 2011
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emerge077 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 750mL from the cellar. Figured 10 years was long enough, it's going to be dead or...just alright.

Cork pops, and it pours very clean with a small cap of tan foam. A nest of larger bubbles is dotted throughout. Aroma is musty leather, sweet pipe tobacco, raisins, and candi sugar.

Oatmeal raisin cookies dipped in chocolate milk. This beer is like a childhood confectionary dream. Very smooth and rich feel, lower carbonation. Huge prune/raisin note that lasts into the finish. Some nuttiness from the malt. Oxidation is present, but it seems to complement, producing no off flavors. Very dessert like, toffee sweetness, dark fruits, light berry tartness that's a 1/10 on the tart scale. No substantial tartness to qualify this as a Flanders Oud Bruin, save that it was produced in Flanders. Somewhat dry in the finish now after a few sips. A touch of musty oak dryness, that may be from the oxidation, it's hard to tell at this point.

Overall this aged bottle is much better that what I remember in the past, not sure if it was a good batch, or storage issues affected the other samples I had. Too bad it's no longer imported.

B- / 3.5
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | drink: 3

11.2oz. capped bottle, separate review for a better preserved sample.

Really there's no way to tell the age on this one, but it seems that this bottle has much better carbonation than the corked 750 I had awhile back.

Pours a deep brown with some clarity, decanted carefully. Fizzy tan foam.

Aroma of figs and prune, some mustiness. Cocoa sweetness, like Nestlé Quik. Slight medicinal phenols as it warms.

Cola in the taste, alongside the dark fruit, more sweet than anything. Grape, slight sweet wine character, not tart or bitter. Oxidation is pretty apparent, the cap seems to have retained carbonation, but not "freshness".

Still not the most traditional Oud Bruin, it's more of a BSDA. Alcohol is not apparent. Sweetness verges on a tolerable degree...

Sep 16, 2009
Photo of dbek
dbek from Greece

3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a ruby-red/dark brown beer. Its aroma is misleading: It prepares you for something else, but the real taste is exceptional. I especially like the strong aftertaste. Its is a strong beer, both in taste and in alcohol, so I wouldn't drink many of these in one session. It's more like a delicacy rather than a beer. I would suggest you have this one with food. It will go well with red meat and chocolate.

Oct 04, 2008
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tendermorsel from Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My buddy brought this one back with him from England. I had this on tap quite a while back and loved it. Poured into a DT tulip glass.

Great dark brown color. Tremendous foamy frothy head. I had to let it sit for 5-10 minutes to dissipate.

Great sweet caramel flavors upfront and a bit sour on the back end. Extremely well balanced. Very drinkable for a 8% beer. Very smooth.

I don't see this as an Old Bruin. Not anywhere near as sour as some of the others I have had. It is an exceptionally smooth and balanced beer.

May 27, 2008
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BlackHaddock from England

2.62/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Fancy labelled 330ml Bottle, poured into a Forbidden Fruit challice glass. Now owned/brewed by Liefmans.

Deep Ruby Red with a huge biege head sat on top, looked great.

Rich molasses and malty aroma, very sickly sweet smell really.

Too sweet, the strong alcohol feel is all wrong too. Fizzy and malty, but an unsuspecting tourist beer to me (check out the front label).

Just not 'my cup of tea', it is just a sweet brew, well packaged and playing on the Belgian beer scene like more and more beers seem too.

Apr 19, 2008
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AlexF from Canada

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review in french. Please bear with us :)

Bouteille de 33 cl.

Robe brune orangée bien opaque. Mousse très abondante et persistante, l'une des plus persistante que j'ai vu. Le tout semble bien intéressant.

Des arômes de caramel et de biscuit agrémentent le tout.

Première impression quant au goût : le liquide est vineux, et on ressent un quelconque arrière-goût boisé qu'on associe généralement aussi au vin. En bouche, après quelques gorgées, un goût de tire brulée (tire éponge brûlée...) fait son apparition. Sucré et riche.

Excellent bière qui, malgré un sucré très proéminent, sait demeurer agréable du début à la fin sans jamais écoeurer.

Jan 18, 2008
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thierrynantes from France

3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sorry but this following comment is in french :

Appearance : brune avec d'invitants reflets rouges.
Smell : dans les effuves d'alcool, le malt se mele agréablement au chocolat.
Taste and mouthfeel : Ronde, doucatre, veloutée : elle ne s'exprime que par les sucres sur un fond d'alcool qui prolonge le goût.
Drinkability : bonne bière brune (style flemish brown)

Oct 29, 2007
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joe1510 from Illinois

3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. Bottle
Sam's Downers Grove

On a careful pour this is still a tremendously chunky beer. Poured garnet that's almost opaque from the chunkiness (proteins I'm guessing with some yeast in there).A half finger white head formed on the pour that faded rather quickly to a ring around the glass. Looks like a coke after the head settles. Wiley carbonation rises throughout the glass moving the proteins as it does. The chunkiness detracts from the appearence in this case.

The smell is really nice. I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this being my first Flanders brown but the smell is similiar to many other dark Belgians. The exception is a touch of tartness. The tartness is very mild and in the form of sour milk. There's a big doughy malt backbone along with some dark fruits such as fig and prune. Old leather aroma as well as tobacco leaf.

Flavor is the same as aroma. Doughy malts start things off and the dark fruits flash in here and there. I even seem to get some bing cherries every now and then. The earthy leather and tobacco leaf show up mildly and soothing on the finish. Noticeable bitterness.

I really like the mouthfeel on this beer. Prickly carbonation and a light body make this beer refreshing and keep it moving. The drawback is the chunks. I find myself trying to sip slowly to keep them in the glass. If not for the chunkiness I would give this a 4.5.

Again, except for the chewiness of this beer it is extremely drinkable and refreshing.

Good beer and something new. I thought the sourness would be more apparent but it's hardly noticeable. I enjoy this beer and am looking forward to trying more.

Mar 23, 2007
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cypressbob from Northern Ireland

4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into a Brouwerij IJ tulip

Pours with a deep ruby body, thick oxblood highlights and a few hints of brown in there too. Large patchy bubbly head with fair retention although the head isn't particularly dense

Smell, alcoholic prunes and figs, scents of little beers bars like cafe gollem in amsterdam, that scent of old wood and belgian beer. Whiffs of potent esters, slight acidity but very slight, some grain and almonds on the finish

Taste, brandy soaked dried fruit, bready alcohol and a malty backbone, a reasonably short mouthfeel which is also quite thin. Estery alcoholic fresh fruit on the finish

An interesting flanders brown, not the typical full bodied tartness you'd expect, this is closer to a belgian dark ale. Still, tasty and worth a try

I paired this with a very mature chedder and cornish brie. It worked very well with the cheddar but totally overpowered the brie with its alcohol

Jan 03, 2007
Photo of Pegasus
Pegasus from Texas

3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep brown in color, verging on black, with moderate clarity, and a small tan head.

Aroma: Coffee and chocolate, with some toasted malt, and a slight dark fruit presence.

Taste: Opens with an earthy chocolate note, this carries throughout the taste, with hints of dark fruit along the way. The finish is slightly sour.

Mouth feel: Soft, reasonably full, with a slight note of carbonation, and a mildly chalky feel.

Drinkability/notes: A most interesting beer and a most interesting style. Try this or any Oud Bruin if you can.

Thanks to my friend and fellow BA HardTarget for sharing this rare example.

Nov 25, 2006
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yelterdow from New Jersey

3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2001 vintage served in a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature... muchas gracias to akeeper for surprising me with this five-year old example of a corked and caged 750ml bottle of goodness.

Appearance- Pours a clear sunset red with a light, orange-beige head... one finger thick, no lacing. The center island of foam is all that's left after about two minutes. Great muddy sediment is swirled in towards the end of this tasting.

Smell- Wood, sour cherries, strawberries, must.

Taste- A fruity, mildly alcoholic palate becomes more assertive as the beer comes to temperature... nuances that lie within may have mellowed and dispersed over the five years in the bottle. A nice dry hop bite after the swallow offers great closure. Still sweetish and malty, I enjoy this Oud Bruin with a strong blue cheese.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The crisp effervescence gently swells and grows confidently and elegantly in the mouth... meanwhile the belly warmth creeps in just in time to pour the final dregs in. I enjoyed sampling this one, Amy, thanks again for the thoughtful gift.

Oct 24, 2006
Photo of Derek
Derek from Canada

4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark reddish-brown, plenty of off-white head, good retention & lace.

S: Sherry/alcohol, fruity (raisin & banana), spicey (clove?), brown sugar (different than most old browns).

T: Dark fruit (raisin), spicy, brown sugar, floral (slightly soapy) hops, touch of dark caramel. Light bitterness, only a hint of tartness, dry, hints of warming alcohol (though you'd never know it was this strong).

M: Moderate body is relatively dry (very well-attenuated), carbonation is higher than moderate. A second sampling had a little more residual sugar.

D: Good drinkability.

Thanks Mike (MDS)!

Oct 08, 2006
Photo of JOaikido
JOaikido from Canada

3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

33o ml bottle. Best before date of October 2010 stamped on cap.

A- Overwhelming frothy beige head. Dark red3brown colour. Head long lasting. Never completely died as I drank this over more than an hour. Nice bubbliness. Little flecks of yeast sediment.

S- Smoky, caramel. Slight roasted odour and some overipe plum.

T- Smoky. Caramel Touch of alcohol. Yeast refermented flavour. Much as expected from smell. Whole balanced with a slight bitter aftertaste that is not overdone.

MF- Smooth and soft. Carbonation just right for this beer.

D- Flavour good, but I couldn't take too much at a time. Decent as a sipping beer.

Sep 27, 2006
Photo of HardTarget
HardTarget from Texas

3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Inspection: Ok, this one was interesting. It was labeled as their wit beer http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/217/1600 but when I poured it: it was black! So; obviously it’s not the wit. After tasting, we had to assume this was the Oud Bruin, so I’m posting here.

Aroma: Chocolate malt is the main character with some mild dark fruit if you reach for it.

Appearance: Quickly dying head left the beer with a calm surface. The glass was deep brown and slightly hazy.

Flavor: Again, chocolate malt starts things off, but it fades into some nice dark fruit and a firm sour note in the long lasting finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin body, low carbonation

Overall Impression: Different. VERY different from the wit I expected given the label. I don’t have a lot of Oud Bruins to compare this too, it struck me as mild, not quite “funky” enough.

Hand carried back from Montreal

Jun 05, 2006
Photo of JulieRFoster
JulieRFoster from Pennsylvania

4.54/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thick and bilious bread-crust colored head falls to a stead-fast 1 cm afghan of small, yet varying-sized bubbles. The color of an antique cherry-wood cheste
The nose has a sweet deep and profound odeur (yes, the French spelling is absolutely warranted here) that is immediately creamy and chocolaty with hazelnut and pralines. This is what I want to smell before I die. The smell has a deep brandy-wine complexity that is lightened by a playful sweetness of red fruits upfront. There is a tart scent of apples, which are slightly sour as well (which I take to be the interplay of tart hops with sour malts).
The taste is a delightfully sweet and sour harmony; malty flavor of fruits and oak wedded to the smoothness of cocoa and cream. Alcohol is certainly present, but not as much as one would except with the ABV. Some definite saison qualities in the malty aroma and flavor that recalls the barnyard.
The mouthfeel is a little lighter than expected, with solid carbonation. While that detracts from the beer overall, it does add to its drinkability. However, the solidified sediments at the bottom of this 33cl bottle did NOT add to its drinkability. WTF is that stuff? The first time I had this beer it was a taste (which turned into ‘tasting’ half the glass) a friend’s in Belgium. This was later on in an evening at Deliruim, where I had clearly tasted many many beers. I love the bottle I brought back to France as much as my first sip that I had that night, but man, those chunks of sediment are funkey. Ignorance in some instance is bliss.
Finishes with a crème delicat. Beautifully drinkable for the heaviness of the style: an excellent choice (esp. if you share a 75 cl. Bottle and pour your friend’s glass after yours).

Apr 30, 2006
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biegaman from Canada

3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favourite styles of beer, this one has some tough competition. I drink this with other great examples in mind, the bar is certainly set high.
Very assuring pour. Nice head which would desist into a fine lacing as it warmed. Cloudy brown. Aroma pairs up pretty well with the style, but not as 'authentic' I didn't think. Stronger as it warmed, that's a good thing. Took a little longer to get a feel for, not as distinct or confident as others in this unique style. Mouthfeel is a little too carbonated for a Flemish sour. Nowhere near as complex or wine-like as others. No alcohol , flavours not as pronouced. Flavours disapear quickly, don't stick around. They don't seem to stand out as they should with what this style permits. I liked this beer, but there is so much more to this style

Apr 01, 2006
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bark from Sweden

3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The colour is dark brown; the liquid is somewhat cloudy. The finger thick beige-brown foam forms a sinking head.

The smell is filled with chocolate and cocoa, some sour notes, brown sugar and some banana sweets.

A taste of sweet chocolate dominates the taste. There are also notes of light syrup; some simple bitterness, brown sugar, cherry stones, strawberry jam and some matured wood cask flavours.

The carbonation is potent and fresh with small bubbles.

As this is my first Oud Bruin beer, I am not sure if this is a good interpretation of the style, but I liked it anyway.

Sep 07, 2005
Photo of Brent
Brent from Kentucky

3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tightest cork I've run across, and the first where I had to use a corkscrew. Poured a ruddy amber-walnut with a quick, fizzy head. Well carbonated. Some mildly sweet caramel apple flavor up front on the first sip, with alcohol rising sharply. After a few sips, however, caramel and alcohol both receded. Aged orchard fruit and some hints of oak tannin. Not as tart or acidic as other oud bruins I've had. For the high abv and the initial alcohol pungency, the alcohol did mute and this was surprisingly drinkable.

Aug 15, 2005
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Cwrw from Canada

3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The cork popped violently from the black 750ml Vondel bottle, and the ruby brown beer poured with crisp carbonation into my chalice. The cork has the year "2003" printed on it. The head was extremely frothy initially, and then it calmed and formed a steady light brown covering, with a mix of some big and small bubbles. The lacing was a little fizzy, but then turned creamy and moved slowly down the glass. The beer possesses deep reds and rich dark browns; rosewood or even cherry. Aroma is of the dusty yeast, raisins, faint, old maltiness with only a small hint of sourness in the background. The malt shares the spotlight with astringent alcohol. Leather and strong licorice in the smell too, giving some barley-wine aromas. Other notes of brown sugar, horehound, and blackberry. I expected some tartness to the aroma, this being a Flemish brown ale. To me the smell is more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale; not to say at all that the aroma is bad. Despite the violence with which this ale poured, the taste is actually quite low in carbonation: almost milky and even a little flat. Again I get licorice up front in the mouth, strong dusty malt, and very little alcohol in the taste, though Vondel sends some pleasant coatings of warmth to the stomach rather quickly and deceptively. The taste is well enough, albeit slight on complexity, and the beer is in desparate need of carbonation(though I am not sure if this was a result of storage--this bottle is over 2 years old). There is some lactaid sourness, but nothing very tart or fruity about this beer at all. Now this is odd: the second glass poured from the bottle is actually very carbonated. Indeed, as for carbonation, the first and second pours from this bottle could be two different beers. The finish is mostly malt with some dryness left in the corners of the mouth. The taste also gives some plum or prunes, mixed with the dominant yeast flavour of the beer. Mouthfeel is fickle, as I mentioned, but the beer is definitely full-bodied. Little phenolic presence makes it easy to drink as well. I was expecting more complexity, but taken by itself, this is still a very good beer.

Jun 08, 2005
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pootz from Canada

3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle: the pour put a ruby high lighted cloudy chestnut ale in my tulip..1 finger rocky tan cap does not last long goes to a surface lace that stays. Aroma is nice like a sour cider with cocoa undertones. Peppery mouth feel from carbonation but once this breaks away you get a rush of flavors..pear cider with chocolate some treacle and toast...marvelous drawn finish that turns syrupy with a rush of sweet licorice and then some warming. Nice brown...a pleasant surprise

Apr 09, 2005
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Tim2000 from Canada

4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341 mL brown bottle, no freshness date.

Deep mahogany brew with a centimeter of creamy tan foam.

Complex, spicy, fruity aroma.

Flavor starts off sweet, with heavy notes of dried fruit, raisins and figs. Spices abound, mostly cloves and a bit of pepper and there is a rich, caramel malt taste that holds out until almost the end. Some alcohol comes through as well as a moderate phenolic character. Finishes dry with a very subtle hop bitterness. Full bodied with a healthy carbonation.
Highly drinkable considering its alcohol content.

Very balanced and complex, though lacking the sourness/barnyard flavors I would expect from an oud bruin. Regardless, an excellent beer.

Mar 16, 2005
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ALESwhatCURESya from Wisconsin

3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$2.50 /11.2oz bottle

I was very excited to try a flanders oud bruin and this was the only one I could find in my area. I think the store was clearing them out. I have seem quite a bit of this in the area and it doesn't seem to be moving too quick. The head on this was massive in my duvel glass without any aggression in the pour. The color of the body was a raison brown. The head was very fluffy and light and eventually settled down to a thin film that concentrated itself to the middle of the glass. The aroma was filled with raison, malt, and small amounts of alcohol esters. There was also a cocoa and cherry backbone. The taste was sweet and tart at the beggining and finished a little dry and malty. The alcohol was very well hidden in the taste, but it hit me hard midway through the bottle. This is a very nice beer that would be enjoyable for a late night drink.

Dec 22, 2004
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bnuttz from Wisconsin

3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a nice copper color, accompanied with a large frothy carbonation. The smell is different kind of tart, definitely sweet. Taste is definitely malty sweet. Chocolate, caramel, plums, and yet a tartness sneaks through from the bacteria. Definitely sweet, a little more tartness would have been appreciated, but overall not a bad brew, would drink it again.

Oct 28, 2004
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GCBrewingCo from North Carolina

3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the chalice a clear deep amber brown with a tan long lasting head that rose tall and then fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was caramel and chocolate with a nutty component. Also present were dark fruits, raisins, and a slight spice. Another fruit present in the complex aroma was pineapple.

The flavor was caramel and chocolate and a just noticeable sourness, very understated for an Oud Bruin. The fruits were still present, but understated and missing complexity. What was present was a harsh alcohol burn.

The finish was dry with lasting chocolate and caramel. The body was medium light to light.

750 ml bottle, 2001 on cork. A decent beer, but the flavor was missing complexity.

Oct 16, 2004
Vondel from Brouwerij Riva S.A.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 56 ratings