Brewery Vivant

Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Brown Ale - Belgian Dark
Ranked #80
Ranked #43,876
3.62 | pDev: 17.68%
Brewery Vivant
Michigan, United States
Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 248 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.39/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Well right away, I don't know that this is a brown ale. Did brown ale subsume the belgian strong dark ale category? In turd resting. Anyways, lets do this Taker v. Mankind hell in a cell match already.

Pours black, not brown. If there was brown, it would be the 3/5" head. The nose was mostly yeast: spice rack, smoke, brown malt, dark fruit and a little bit of alcohol burn/bitterness.

The taste was manageable. I thought I was not gonna be about it, only got the can for the Undertaker reference, thought it was gonna tombstone me but it just gave me one of those soft chokeslams. Dark toffee and prune note. I thought the malt quotient was more in the vein of earthy dark moreso than roasted dark.

As it warmed, there was more nuttiness, and the bitterness became more tempered. These never will be my jam, but I can drink a few ounces of this no problem. All 16 ounces might be a chore solo.

Jun 30, 2020
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage; drank 9/1/14 @ the Yarchives.

Black hue.

Dark tan head; minimal lace.

Fresh earth, chalk & candied sugar nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Coffee, fresh earth & mild black licorice flavors; sessionable AND flavorful.


Nov 15, 2019
Photo of snaotheus
snaotheus from Washington

3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can served in a snifter. I think given to me by @mr-jj. Don't see a date.

Pours dark brown with a smallish fairly pale head and a lot of carbonation. Smell is Belgian. Spices, anise and toffee, dates.

Taste is surprisingly on the toffee side with hints of anise.

Mouthfeel is very light, thin. Overall, not bad.

Dec 21, 2017
Photo of Beejay
Beejay from Virginia

3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark black in color with a Mahogany color when held to the light, and a large soft white tan head.

S: Roasted aroma with coffee, and a sharp scent in the finish.

T: Roasty and sharp up front with coffee notes. Finish is where the Belgian character comes through, with clove and spice.

M: Medium light in feel, with fairly high carbonation, and a semi-dry finish.

O: For me this one is a little off the mark, the roasted stout character and the Belgian flavors don't seem to meld together. Although it did seem to start to come together when it warmed up.

Aug 12, 2017
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

3.81/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A chocolate brown color with a heavy froth of a head, 1/2 finger stable.

Aromas of figs, nutty brown aromas, secondary-fermented cocoa nibs, and the peppery dark spice of Belgian yeast. Some weird stuff going on here but nothing too off the mark.

Flavor is kind of figgy and sappy, kind of like a maple syrup-infused prune juice. More of those nutty chocolate notes start to seep through as well, with slight veggie and spice coming in. The more I drink it though, the more those rich nutty chocolate flavors come in. I'd say it's like a peppery yeasty porter. Very unique - I like it. Oh, and slight coffee acidity as well. Quite a pandora's box here.

Feel is very carbonated, with a spiciness to it, and a slightly drying finish. I always hate this category, it's hard to describe.

Overall, I can understand why many people DON'T like it, but I totally see this being a hit if they marketed it as a spicy, Belgian porter. It's got a pretty nice warming holiday thing going for it, with the chocolate and nuts, and the peppery yeast reminds me of peppermint a bit. I'd ...probably... have it again.

May 20, 2017
Photo of natgrimmer
natgrimmer from Michigan

2.99/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Not my favorite beer. However, I'm pretty biased to coffee-esque, dark beers because I don't enjoy coffee normally. That being said, it wasn't an awful beer.

May 03, 2017
Photo of slerche
slerche from Michigan

3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The name is perfect. It is a strong, dark, heavy beer bursting with coffee and chocolate aromas. The taste profile has notes of malt and caramel sweetness. The beer is very smooth but definitely created for someone who enjoys DARK beers.

May 03, 2017
Photo of Austin_Madagame
Austin_Madagame from Michigan

3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Don't drink a lot of dark beers personally but I did enjoy this one. Some coffee and chocolate notes to it. Would recommend to anyone who likes dark beers.

May 03, 2017
Photo of harleyfriesen
harleyfriesen from District of Columbia

2.87/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Immediate smell of coffee and chocolate with this beer. Beer was very dark and had interesting aromas. Other than coffee and chocolate, smells of light smoke and licorice came into play. The taste of the beer overall was dark and sour with coffee notes to it. Not the beer for me but it was very unique.

May 02, 2017
Photo of Zhenghao
Zhenghao from Michigan

3.27/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

It has dull dark color. You can smell coffee aroma right after you open the bottle. It tastes like dark coffee and cigar, very smooth, and highly carbonated. Overall, it's a okay beer, don't quite enjoy the cigar taste.

Apr 30, 2017
Photo of jbmarie
jbmarie from Wisconsin

4.63/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Both the color and smell are that of rich coffee, very dark with some maltiness. Taste went down very smoothly with a slight and pleasant smokiness. Rather enjoyed this beer.

Apr 02, 2017
Photo of DrainBamage
DrainBamage from Michigan

2.31/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a really dark amber color, almost black, and is highly carbonated. The head disappears almost instantly. Smell is floral and malty. Goes down very dry and tastes like malted coffee and cigarettes. Overall I'm really disappointed. Worst beer I've had from Brewery Vivant.

Mar 04, 2017
Photo of barczar
barczar from Kentucky

3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Floral, spicy clove, pear, and bruised apple esters form the aroma. Complex, with a hint of roast malt.

Flavor is more pear and apple dominant throughout, with a touch of caramel sweetness initially that fades to roast and char at the finish.

Oct 14, 2016
Photo of Franziskaner
Franziskaner from Missouri

3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black in color with no light penetration. A half inch of creamy brown foam sits on top. I smell dark Belgian candy sugar and black licorice. I taste dark malt, raisins, bunrt dark Belgian candy sugar. The mouth is thick, dry, and moderately carbonated.

Aug 15, 2016
Photo of stinewils24
stinewils24 from Michigan

3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer looks like Coca-Cola. It's smell is sweet and smoky like burned wood. The taste resembles charcoal and coffee. The texture was rather dull and slightly hoppy. I was not a huge fan of the smoky flavor.

May 04, 2016
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.69/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I had purchased this CAN with a number of other Brewery Vivant CANs that I had CANquired in my travels. If you are ever in the Chicagoland and CAN get to one of their locations, Binney's Liquors remains a CANQuest (TM) source nonpareil! This was a score from my most recent visit. It has been in my backlog/queue/rotation since, but today is the day!

From the CAN: "Freshly Brewed in Michi[CAN -] Special Limited Release"; "Tier 3 Single Batch Release"; "BELGIAN INSPIRED DARK FARMHOUSE ALE This hearty dark ale is fermented with our rustic Belgian yeast strain which gives the beer a farmhouse tartness followed by big dark chocolate notes, and hints of black cherries. Fermentation temperatures often climb past 90 [degrees] F which builds the distinctive flavors. No adjuncts are added to this beer - these robust layers of flavor are yeast driven. Listen to that lunatic in your head, dust off that vinyl, pour the beer into a glass and sip your way into a happy, chilled out groove."; "GLASSWARE & PAIRING

The Crack! was like music to my ears & the CANticipation was akin to that of Cookie Monster & his baking cookies. Siri, please check the timer! Ohhhh. My gentle Glug raised two fizzy, foamy fingers of deep-tan/light-brown head with moderate retention. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose was hot, in that it filled my sinuses with a shimmering alcohol heat. Whoo! ReCANvering from the shock, I got a dark chocolatiness along with scents of dried, dark fruits and more of that alcohol, which was unabating. Whew! Mouthfeel was somewhat thin, not exactly watery, but close. The taste was more muted than on the nose. Here, I got a much more pronounced smokiness, initially. This was followed by a light chocolatiness & dark fruitiness. Finish was semi-dry, but seemingly muted. It was not bad, per se, but if I were faced with a choice between this or Tart Side of the Moon, I would go with the latter. This just lacked overall Ooomph! to make it worthwhile.

May 01, 2016
Photo of Edith0703
Edith0703 from Michigan

3.14/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Deep dark brown with huge tan head. The aroma is mocha, lactose, bread dough and fig, with minor smoke flavor. In addition it has chocolate powder and coffee flavor.

Apr 27, 2016
Photo of HensonJ3
HensonJ3 from Michigan

3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown color. Malted flavors hinting at a chocolate or coffee flavor. Banana flavor mixed in and a little sweet. Ok beer but not my favorite. Wouldn't order again.

Apr 27, 2016
Photo of eckk_rachel
eckk_rachel from Michigan

4.06/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance : Dark Brown, Almost like Pepsi/Coke, Caramel Colored Head

Smell : Chocolate, Malt, Banana, Smoke

Taste : Malty with Chocolate Notes, A tad overpowering for my taste, Very Sweet, Banana, Smokiness

Apr 27, 2016
Photo of defilli2
defilli2 from Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

When poured, this beer has a very dark color, almost like a pepsi or cola. There were also a lot of small bubbles, you could tell it was highly carbonated. The smell was very malty with strong chocolate notes. I sensed it was going to be a thick, full flavored beer. Surprisingly, it was not too heavy of a beer. It was more sweet than imagined, very carbonated, not too thick. I also tasted a lot of cocoa. Very good, would try again.

Apr 27, 2016
Photo of e_creed
e_creed from Michigan

3.22/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Look: very dark; caramel colored head
Smell: chocolate, coffee, hints of tobacco
Taste: coffee, notes of banana and aftertaste of smokiness
Feel: dry finish

Apr 27, 2016
Photo of Dactrius
Dactrius from Wisconsin

3.54/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nothing that wrong with this beer but nothing to take it above a decent Belgian ale either. Minimal head, relatively light feel, decent nose, fine enough taste. Vivant usually does better.

Apr 27, 2016
Photo of tomakara
tomakara from Michigan

3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This beer appeared very dark when first poured, so I knew it was going to resemble a more coffee / toffee taste. It was malty and did have a lingering coffee aftertaste.

Apr 25, 2016
Photo of Kristie_Duve
Kristie_Duve from Michigan

3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This beer is extremely dark, thick and heavy in appearance. It tasted extremely malty with chocolate and coffee flavors. Still wood and smokey hints, but more rich on the coffee side.

Apr 25, 2016
Photo of Beginner2
Beginner2 from Illinois

3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting, this Brewery Vivant.
Their first offering, the Saison, was OK... but much better ones exist.
The second offering I had was one of their many Belgian IPA experiments... and we didn't get along.
Never one to give up on brewers trying really hard, I gave a third try... this time to Undertaker.
Vivant did not strike out.

In fact, it is a very enjoyable dark Belgian that kept giving me different flavors, mostly likened to dark fruits... very reminiscent of a Dubbel, but without the carbonation typical of that Trappist-inspired style. Undertaker has a slightly funny after-taste that interferes with my good feelings about this ale... besides the poor choice of a name for this ale.

While I am a sucker for all the progressive, sustainability stuff that Vivant has as its philosophy, you don't have to be that way to enjoy their ales. Although Vivant might try a new name other than Undertaker, I recommend this to any Dubbels fan.

Apr 10, 2016
Undertaker from Brewery Vivant
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 248 ratings