Vondel | Brouwerij Riva S.A.

very good
56 Ratings

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Riva S.A.

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000

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Ratings: 56 |  Reviews: 52
Photo of rastaman
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown appearance, strong malty yeasty nose. Very malty, nice acidic bitterness/ hint of sourness. I'm not sure i could have enjoyed it to its full potential because it was a really hot day and i think it was a bit to strong and not so refreshing.

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Photo of joe1510
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This stuff was awesome! I gotta give much thanks to my bro Spyridon for hookin' me up at the Super Bowl party. It came in a huge bottle, so we could both enjoy our equal share of the bounty. It was a cloudy brownish/amber color, with a creamy tan head. The head stayed around for a while. The smell had many different angles to it. At first smell, it was a sweet, brown sugary smell, but then gave way to a semi-strong grapeish smell. The fruity smell carried over to the taste, but also had the token belgian taste to it, ie the malty body w/ a tinge of alcohol and dark fruits. The alcohol was hardly present and made it even more enjoyable. I really do think that I could drink this stuff all night/day. Ofcourse, my liver wouldn't thank me for that, so it would be impossible.

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Photo of pootz
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
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

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Photo of marc77
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Lightly turbid deep crimson hue. Frothy, pitted beige head leaves rough lace. Mellow balsamic tartness and leather upfront in aroma. Sweet cocoa, carob and black licorice hints are secondary. Well rounded aromawise. In flavor, incipient is a gentle combination of notes of black currant and lactic, fermented plum. Soft dark toffee tones ensue and provide lightly sweet contrast. Herbal phenols surface as the beer warms and meld well with the persistent woody, oak presence. Stately baker's chocolate hints and slightly roasty, dark kilned malt notions arise as well. Static, mildly musty yeast undertone. Initially spritzy and carbonic, eventually settling into a lightly viscous, well attenuated mouthfeel. A touch on the thin side. Finishes with hints of sherry and diluted chocolate buttermilk. A well crafted Old Brown that exhibits fine balance of acidity and its chocolate themed malt backbone. Quite tasty, indeed. Ethanol content is discernible only due to benign throat coating warmth. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of CelticAleMan
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of granger10
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very good beer to say the least. The spices were noticed when I smelled the beer. The taste came forward with some malt and fruit tones followed by a sour note and a little hop precence and abruptly ended with a dry, yeast but somewhat sweet tasting finish that left me wanting more. One of the most balanced beer I have tasted to date and something I would definitely buy again.

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Photo of putnam
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect, satin-draped, mocha head over dark brown, woody liquid. Aromas of burnt maple sugar (eerily reminiscent of Ommegang) (!?) lead into a palate which displays lots of maple and caramel while remaining perfectly dry and yielding on the palate. Subtle notes of baked eggplant, smoke, pflaumkuchen and licorice trickle past, fondling each other. Hmmm, English "fondle" sounds like Nederland "vondel." And who is that jaunty looking fellow on the label?
Well it's a terrific beer, that's for sure. A clinic in balance. Complex, not syrupy.

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Photo of cbl2
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Opaque brown with 1/2" head that settles rapidly. Extremely evervescent.


Very sweet with malts bursting forth, almost a burnt caramel.


Smooth and silky with malts upfront followed by a tinge of alcohol and hints of sherry.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brown beer with a generous head in terms of space, but not in terms of time. Sweet nose of chocolate and liquorice. RIch sweet taste, fruity, caramel with late tart notes. Riva at its best. Big props to the cheaper state than most too, around here anyway

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Photo of crookedhalo
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

75 cl bottle with a cork dating of 3/2001. Pours a cloudy reddish chestnut with a big, fluffy beige head that lasts for a good while and laces decently. Yeasty, cinammony, cocoa, obviously malty, red appley and earthy aromas. Slight suggestion of red wine in the aroma, too. Faint, chalk-like mouthfeel, indicating a modest body. Malty and sweet, but overly so. The maltiness comes across sometimes as being cardboardy. It's not as sour as I seem to remember, or maybe the aging subdued those qualities that I seem to foggily remember. There is a slight woody-like shallow tartness. The taste is pretty bland when compared to other beers of the style. I like it, but I'm not really enthralled with the beer's lack of character. It's just lacking some gusto as well as some tartness. If a malty brown is what you're looking for, go for it. If you want a world class oud bruin, I could make better suggestions.

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Photo of yelterdow
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
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

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of rousee
3.47/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours the color of a strong concentrated brown tea. Forms a quick 1/2 figer head and disappears quickly into a wisp on top.

Smell is slightly leathery-vinegar with malt coming through pretty strong also.

Taste is musty and malty. It has some of that characteristic Belgian complexity, but the smell is more complex than the taste.
Mouthfeel is really nothing special-a little chalky and dry.
Drinkability is average too.
This beer was disappointing. A great bottle design and expensive too- not a good value for the $$$. Just nothing special.

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Photo of Popsinc
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with a tan head. The nose was slightly spicey with hints of dark fruits.

The mouthfeel was very smooth. Dark malts gave this beer a good body backing up the lighter tastes of plum and very mild chocolate. There was also an earthiness to the beer and good spice. light hoppiness.

I found this beer to have decent complexity and very good balance. This was an enjoyable drinking experience. I would say this would make a nice after dinner drink for me.

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Photo of Cwrw
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of JOaikido
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of Admiraldinty
3.07/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I really didn't enjoy this beer too much. Poured a brown with a huge amount of chunky sediment. So much, it was actually a little disgusting. Nose was yeasty (obviously), alchol, and some brown sugar. Taste was somewhat malty, with some hops, and definite brown sugar, also nutty. Medium carbonation. Very warming. This beer definitely has few redeeming qualities, and I don't plan on having it again anytime soon.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A deep red color with a rocky head and copious effervescence. The head diminishes to a respectable thin layer and the lace is somewhat sticky. The aroma is like a wine with an earthy freshness, a strong presence of caramel, and spicy (anise?) undertones. The flavor is sweet at the start with a spicy dry finish and a resilient bitterness. The feel is smooth and creamy ? well balanced with carbonation.
IMHO: Vondel looks good, smells good, and feels good, but the taste was one that I was not looking forward to even after the first few sips. The dryness and lasting bitterness overshadows the other, more subtle, characteristics.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 1999 vintage from a 750ml corked bottle. Definately a great beer, maybe because of the vintage, I don't know. First off, I was under the impression that a Flemish Brown was supposed to be sour, i.e. with some bacteria...maybe that's oud bruin. Anyway, the beer looks so pretty, especially when swirled about in a tulip glass. It swirls around and around with the head forming and mixing with the uppermost layer of reddish brown beer....oh its pretty! The nose is nice, very caramel/toffee, maybe some raisons with definately some alcohol there. The taste is very rich. very nice soft fruit flavors, mostly raison with some caramel and the alcohol is quite prominent which is the only reason I didn't give this beer a 4.5 in the taste category.

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Photo of Tim2000
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of jahred
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My last beer at the Feb. Goose Island "Beer Academy."

Pours a medium brown color with a huge white head and lots of carbonation. Even on my not-so-huge cup/glass, there's a ton of lace action going on. Quite pretty.

The malty, lemony and sour scent is intriguing. I can't wait to taste this beer. And the taste? Sweet-and-sour is what comes to mind. Malty, creamy, lemony, yeasty, complex - and delicious. Mmmm. I can think of countless foods for which this would be a fantastic pairing!

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Photo of tendermorsel
4.4/5  rDev +12%
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.

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Photo of bnuttz
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Vondel from Brouwerij Riva S.A.
3.93 out of 5 based on 56 ratings.
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