Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal

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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
Ranked #1,699
Ranked #35,222
3.74 | pDev: 12.83%
Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal
Very Good
Notes: Amber top-fermented beer, brewed with respect for our farmhouse traditions with carefully selected homegrown grain and hops.
Reviews: 44 | Ratings: 73 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by SummitVA:
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SummitVA from Maryland

2.67/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - The half bottle that wound up on my kitchen counter after the cork popped from merely removing the cage was a nice ruby auburn; the half bottle that wound up in my glass was a brilliant muddy brown with about 4" of head. Overcarbed to say the least.

S - Nice phenolic spiciness. Sweet malt and dark fruits. Some mustiness.

T - Saison yeast characteristics foremost with huge clove flavor. Grainy sweetness finishing with a metallic flavor that I can only attribute to the disturbed yeast pulled up from the initial explosive opening. A bit of the mustiness in the nose is here. Much spicier than I had anticipated.

M - Medium. A decent "amber" saison.

D - Just not that pleasant in its current state, which I admit is entirely a function of the pour. Fortunately there isn't that much to drink.

Overall - Would love to try a bottle with carb levels in line, but as this brewery has nearly killed me and a friend (who almost put an eye out opening a blond), I think I'm done.

Nov 12, 2010
More User Reviews:
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steverx8 from England

3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

May 27, 2019
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.29/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #44 (Sep 2010):

Heavy sea-foam head, turbid amber color. Spicy nose, a bit creamy with vague caramel or confection, lemon-ish herbal and obvious yeast flavors. Big burst of crispness from a lighter, dryer body. Bready, buttery, earthy. Dried fruit of apple, pineapple and kiwi. Yeasty with dried grain throughout; phenols are present, but are on the light side. Wet and alcoholic as the warmth creeps farther down the throat. An interesting beer to try, no doubt, but it just seems scattered and almost a chore to drink.

Jan 11, 2011
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a super hazy dark beige color ale with a super huge off-white foamy head with perfect retention and excellent lacing. Aroma of rustic Belgian malt notes with light barnyard notes and funky ester. Taste is a very nice mix between some rustic Belgian malt notes with funky yeast ester and light barnyard notes. Body is extremely full with limited filtration and great carbonation. Very complex beer with nice artisanal touch and rough edge not removed.

Apr 23, 2011
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WynnO from Florida

3/5  rDev -19.8%

Sep 08, 2012
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: A big explosion as the cork is eased out, but the beer is not a gusher and pours out with a mountain of foam on top of the hazy amber liquid; the retention and lacing were less than initially expected, however

Smell: Buttery toast topped with brown sugar with apples, minerals and herbs adding a subtle counterpoint underneath

Taste: Diacetyl-laden, up front, with buttery toast and caramel; the minerals, herbs and apples appear in the middle; yeasty and sweeter, after the swallow, but chalky on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: A beer that is all over the map and not in a particularly good way

Sep 22, 2012
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a tulip)
Best Before C,E,2,12
A- This beer pours a deep garnet body with microtrails of carbonation racing to a thick boiling head that soon fades to a thick ring.

S- The clean aroma has earthy flinty yeast hints that grow into a cider aroma with some woody toffee hints in the finish.

T- The clean taste has a touch of tartness with a dry woody cider flavor that grows and grows. There is a soft dry toffee note with a hint of alcohol taste in the finish.

M- The scrubbing fizz as a spicy texture to the medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat really noticed till it is pretty warm.

O- The dry cider characteristic is the strongest flavor with other much softer hints in the background. Not much yeast character and not much malt either.

May 02, 2013
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boston2bburg from Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Feb 16, 2012
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tempest from New York

4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 375ml bottle at Abe's Cold Beer for $4. The cork popped right off after I uncaged it and it took a good 5 minutes for the head to die down, leaving a hazy, dark amber body.

Like the Blond, this beer is dominated by a big spicy Belgian yeast character. It's full of cracked pepper, coriander, and clove with a mild floral undertone. There's a bitter, herbal hop finish and then a hint of bready malt.

This beer isn't super smooth like so many great Belgians, instead it has a rich bitter feel like a great IPA. I suppose I'd describe it as a dark Saison Dupont. Find this beer, it's delicious.

Jun 26, 2010
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12.7 ounce corked and caged bottle, best by 4/12. Served in a tulip glass, the beer pours a cloudy orange/amber color with a couple inch off-white head. Lots of carbonation in this one, I could only pour about 2/3rds of the bottle (if even that much) into the glass before I had to let the head settle down some. The head stays around for a while, but there isn't much lacing. Aroma is mostly fruity, it smells like apples, tropical fruit, bready malt, pears, hay and lemon peel. It tastes like caramel malt, apples, bready malt, yeast and a little bit of peppery spice. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's somewhat slick and has very high (but soft) carbonation. I think it's a decent brew, but I'm not sure if I'd buy this again for $5.99 a bottle.

Aug 13, 2011
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Not over-carbonated like some of the others. Cloudy amber color with a one-finger, off-white head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled fruity and yeasty.

T - Caramel with a fruity and yeasty kick. Nice and balanced.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice saison. I think it has aged some.

Feb 01, 2013
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nickfl from Florida

4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with an over the top, five finger head of off white foam. It takes a few minutes for the head to settle enough for me to fill the glass, and as the foam recedes, it leaves thick lace on the glass. The body is a clear, golden amber color.

S - Bready malt with a hint of caramel and some spicy hops in the background.

T - Rich, bready malt up front with some spicy yeast notes and a bit of toffee. Clove and peppery yeast notes in the middle with some musty hops. The beer finishes with more intense, caramel and toffee malt as well as spicy yeast notes of clove and a hint of smoke.

M - Medium-thick body, high carbonation, and a very dry finish.

D - A very nice, amber saison. The yeast character is musty and spicy with some of the "cellar" character that I normally associate with a biere de garde. The spicy, must, almost British hop profile melds nicely with the bready malt and spicy yeast, while the profound dryness makes for a very drinkable beer.

Nov 13, 2011
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Budlum from Maryland

3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Jul 03, 2015
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ccrida from Oregon

4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Carefully leaked the gas out while holding in the cork, once I removed it, it took awhile for it to slowly over-foam, but even a gentle pour into my large Gulden Draak tulip resulted into almost all foam. It settled pretty quickly, leaving chunks of big bubbled foam over a hazy, dark amber beer on subsequent pours.

Whoa, the first whiff I took to deep, was so spritzy it stung my nasal passages, and then quickly unfolded the sweet esters and malt, lychee and pith. I really like the intensity, even after the gas blows off and it stops burning, very nice.

Taste pretty good, complex but fairly well integrated. The fruitiness is present but tempered by a firm bitterness on the finish, but is still pretty robust. A little earthiness, fresh clean soil.

Mouthfeel is pretty dry, but there's some maltiness for sure, medium bodied, perhaps even a bit more so for the style.

Drinkability is pretty good, this is as advertised, a classic, rustic saison. I prefer the fruity esters vs the more spicy esters that farmhouses can exhibit, this reminds me of the fruity blaugies yeast, which I really love, and actually homebrew with a ton myself.

May 22, 2011
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trappistlover from Arizona

3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(375ml bottle from Total Wine Desert Ridge). Pours hazy orange color with nice fluffy off-white head. Moderate carbonation. Aroma of dried pit fruit, lemon, spice, and hay. Taste is sweet with some light bitterness. Fruits come through as well. Medium bodied with a slick texture. A bit fizzy. Finish is slightly bitter. A decent beer, but not sure I’d actively search it out again because of cost/other great beers out there.

Jul 04, 2011
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metter98 from New York

3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: There was so much carbonation in the bottle that the cork exploded out as soon as the wire cage was twisted off. The beer is hazy brownish amber in color and poured into a snifter glass with a three finger high foamy off white head that has good retention properties. It took a long amount of waiting and several pours to finally get all of the contents out of the bottle.
S: The nose has lots of yeasty aromas and is quite spicy. There are also some hints of fruits.
T: The overall taste is filled with flavors of grainy malts and spicy hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and dry on the palate with a very high amount of carbonation.
D: Drinking this beer takes a lot of patience because you can't pour out everything out all at once due to the overcarbonation.

Feb 19, 2011
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(poured into a St. Bernardus stemmed wine glass)

A: clear, coppery amber... bottle-conditioned foam that fades

S: vinous, bread crust, grassy

T: faintly musty-funky, mildly sweaty finish... essence of old caramel apple in the aftertaste... mellow bitterness of dying grass... doughy malt later comes to the front

M: roundish, clean... impression of approaching medium body... faint chewiness

O: kind of crosses into the Biere de Garde territory with its malt flavors - mild-moderate aged tone

May 19, 2014
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mrquartetman from Illinois

4/5  rDev +7%

Apr 01, 2014
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augustgarage from California

4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 2012. Poured from a 375mL caged-and-corked bottle into my Troubadour tulip.

Utilize caution, as the cork emerges with dramatic violence!

Cloudy golden brown/rust body with burnt orange and amber highlights. A voluminous angry outburst of papaya whip foam fills the glass, receding slowly to a lasting half-finger, leaving behind messy lacing and an adherent cakey collar in its wake. Glossy clear legs.

Candy sugar, spicy (noble?) hops, fermenting oranges, earth and vague spice in the nose.

Muscular yeast and barley on the palate. Faint caramel-like flavors emerge but are tamed by the phenols and some "barnyard" elements as well (though this funk remains earthy rather than sweaty or tart). Moderately bitter, grassy, and with a bright dry finish. Great evocation of terroir (as to be expected when the ingredients were all sourced from the farm it was produced by).

Effervescent, well carbonated, medium-bodied, and slightly slick.

A touch rustic, but still reeking of small-batch, high-craft authenticity. Definitely seek this out if you are a fan of traditional farmhouse ale.

Aug 30, 2010
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timtim from District of Columbia

4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

others have noted this, but a word of caution seems necessary... once the cage is removed, the cork flies out with some serious velocity. a lot of pressure in this little bottle.

pours a dark brownish-orange with pillowy, cream colored head that holds and leaves lace. nose is sweet malt that is cut and harmonized well by peppery spice, earth, fresh air/soil, and dark fruit. a nice lemony hop character really comes in to the mix as it warms. taste is well balanced and pretty well integrated mix of the above with a nice, long finish that I could swear has some rye notes to it. reminds me of a blend between Rochefort 6 and a Saison, or maybe like an old-school super-rustic saison. terroir all over the place, and this is really it's stand-out character. minerally (not the salty kind) as hell. fresh air/countryside character galore. yum. mouthfeel is creamy, yet light and fluffy at the same time. long finish with a clean aftertaste. another fantastic beer from 12percent. real terroir in beer. thank you!

Oct 02, 2011
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rtepiak from Poland

4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

the darker of the two in the series. Really into the self sustaining brewery and this one has a good sense of character. Just as much a ridiculously voluminous head as the blonde. I warn. Both bottles i had as soon as the cage was removed the cork went. You have about a half a second to start pouring. Pour is a lot of aggressive head which is a precursor to the body. One was a head and nothing but in a pint glass and the rest enjoyed in a tulip. The other had a nice head of three finger that grew as the intense carbonation rose. But it subsides. And at first that beer abv is separated in feel when the carbonation is that potent. Color of cloudy amber. Nose of orange and licorice. Palate is malty but of toasted and burnt toffee. Some clove, licorice and the and interesting bitter but sweet grassy of a candied bitter orange peel. Meaty mineral finish. Not better but better as it milds in carbonation.

Oct 20, 2010
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sk8man121 from Maine

3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12.7 ml bottle poured into Allagash chalice.

A: Upon untwisting the cage, I fell into a delirious spell as the cork wooshed by my nose at breakneck yet slow-motion speeds a la the matrix. I'm lucky to still have my sight.

After the gushing subsides, this pours a mostly opaque, muddy copper. 4-finger (yup) head dies down to 1, leaving lacing on the glass. As this almost killed me, I must dock it 1 whole extra point.

S: Farmhouse yeast and apples up front. There's a nice spiciness here. Smells like Saison Dupont.

T: Caramel-apple up front. Fresh bread and spices from the yeast in the center. The hops lend a very unique hint of tobacco to backbone. Finishes semi-dry and somewhat muddy.

M: This is undoubtedly over-carbonated, which gets in the way at first. While creamy to start, this finishes fairly thin.

O: Despite almost losing an eye, this was an interesting beer and was worth trying; I especially enjoyed the tobacco qualities. Won't be purchasing again, however.

Worth trying, but ultimately nothing to write home about.

Apr 25, 2011
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avalon07 from South Carolina

4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brown-orange color and a thick, cloudy consistency. There was a huge, long-lasting, foamy/rocky head. Below average lacing.

S: A sweet aroma of hops, fruit, malt, and sugar.

T: Tasted of sugar, malt and light fruit up front, with a slightly hoppy finish. Generally, a well-balanced flavor.

M: Like Hof Ten Dormaal's Blond, this beer has an absurd amount of carbonation with a fairly dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: While I didn't like it quite as much as the Blond, the Amber is a highly drinkable beer.

Sep 08, 2010
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JAHMUR from Connecticut

4/5  rDev +7%

Nov 20, 2011
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Brenden from Ohio

3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The pour brings up a big, dense, fluffy pillow of pure white head that settles to a solid finger in height and comes to rest on top of a thickly opaque color I'd call amber regardless of the name. It leaves deposits of lacing in thick patches almost as fluffy as the head itself.
A touch of funk on the nose brings up some earth, and it consists mostly of spiciness and a sort of nondescript sweetness with an evident yeastiness.
Green apple flesh, earth and butter (?) with yeasty overtones comes out with grains underneath and more fruit flesh. Interesting. Spiciness sticks around, as does a certain tanginess. Butter goes away, and more of a woody dryness helps in that regard.
Heavily carbonated, this beer displays a medium body with a sharply crisp tang before a yeasty dryness takes over.

Jun 01, 2013
Amber from Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 73 ratings