Brouwerij Liefmans

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Sour - Flanders Oud Bruin
Ranked #5
Ranked #1,752
4.21 | pDev: 10.21%
Brouwerij Liefmans
Notes: Liefmans Goudenband is one of the most distinctive dark beers in the world. Originally called IJzerenband (Iron Band) – a reference to the iron bands around the beer barrels – the bottle gained its champagne cork when it was renamed Liefmans Goudenband (Gold Band). Made in open vats with beer of mixed fermentation, it is left to mature for four to 12 months in the cellar. Mature beer is then fortified with younger beer, so the fermentation process starts up again.

Liefmans Goudenband is a beer for storing, and just keeps improving over the years like a fine wine. Even after ten years, this dark red beer tastes as fresh as ever. You’ll immediately pick up on the wonderful aromas of caramel, apple, rhubarb, cherries and malt. On the taste buds you will find hints of apple and cherries, combined with woody notes, while the aftertaste hints at nuts and dried raisins. The mildly acidic taste make this beer a perfect match for blue cheese.
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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle. Paper wrapped bottle. Caged and corked bottle. Label says blended in 2016; cap has imprinted date of '09 2026'.
Ruby brown colored body, with reddish backlit highlights. Thin light tan head, which sticks around. Lacing sticks on all non-drinking sides.
Aroma of red wine with earthy, dark fruit.
Taste is woody, but also sweet from the fruit - apple, cherry, and raspberry. Has the caramel also. Aftertaste trails off quickly.
Medium mouth feel, and slightly smooth and syrupy. Carbonation is not a big deal here.
Tastes like a cross between a merlot and cherry cola. This aroma and taste expression is not often found. Slightly different flavor nuances are discovered with each sip. Really a treat. Very good paired with blue cheese.

Jun 29, 2021
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GreesyFizeek from New York

3.31/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY.

This one pours a dark-ish murky brown color, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells like damp wood, cherry juice, green apple, pear, and red wine vinegar.

This is simultaneously too sweet and too vinegary for me - it's kind of a cloying medicinal sweetness for me, and when mixed with the old stale vinegar aspects, it definitely clashes. There's some nice woodiness and cherry skin, but it just doesn't work out for me. I know it's a classic beer, and maybe I'm missing out on something here, but it's just a contradictory set of flavors for me.

This is medium bodied, with a lower level of carbonation, and a soft finish. It's not particularly sour, by any means.

I wanted to like this one a lot more, but maybe it's just not for me.

Jun 28, 2021
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andypeters1971 from Georgia

3.77/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hard to tell exactly what it is trying to be although it grows on you. I was hoping for more funk and candi sugar but it wasn't there. Probably would like it more after more tries

Apr 08, 2021
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Sigmund from Norway

3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330 ml bottle, from the Norwegian importer (I could swear I had rated this beer before, but apparently not). Dark reddish brown colour, large beige head. The aroma has first a whiff of smoke, then notes of red wine, red wine vinegar, oak and horse stable. Pleasant flavour, malty, fruity and only moderately sour, again notes of red wine, red wine vinegar and oak, hardly any noticeable hops. Still easy drinking, due to the fruitiness. The alcohol is well hidden. Nice one.

Mar 20, 2021
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I will be doing this review in the form of a side-by-side comparing the 2011 to the 2019 vintage. The score can be applied to both, as I found them equally enjoyable despite their subtle differences, although I would probably subtract some points in regards to mouthfeel for the 2011 vintage.

Upon pouring, the color is an identical reddish mahogany coloration, with the 2019 managing a much more impressive, medium and fluffy, somewhat lasting, head while the 2011 pours with no head at all and the difference in carbonation is already noticeable here.

The nose is not quite as different as expected, with both vintages having a similar aroma of caramel malt, toffee, dark fruit and red berries, as well as some oak and tannic accents to them. The 2019 feels a bit brighter in the nose though, with the red berries, cherry, raspberry and cranberry in particular, standing out the most here, with lighter plum as well, while the 2011 has a deeper aroma to it, with the dark fruits taking over the red berries a little with additional notes of raisin and fig, although the red berries are still present.

The taste very much follows the nose, with a very similar overall flavor profile that varies a little in accentuation. The 2019 feels a bit more acidic, fresh and vibrant, with the tart red berry notes of cherry, raspberry and cranberry standing out the most, while the 2011 is a bit rounder and more mellow, with not quite as vibrant, but deeper and a bit more complex dark fruit and red berry notes of raisin, fig, plum, cherry and elderberry, while it also has a richer caramel malt presence, making this one a little sweeter, with a more distinct toffee presence. Also, the 2011 feels perhaps just a little bit more tannic, with just a hint of balsamic vinegar creeping in, although there's a very similar amount of musty oak to both of them.

I think that the biggest difference between these vintages probably lies in the body and mouthfeel, with the 2011 having quite noticeably less carbonation to it, feeling just a little flat, although it's really not too bad.

Overall, I was quite surprised by how similar these tasted at 8 years apart, with the 2011 being almost 10 years old, but then again I guess it really makes sense when you consider that this is not a hoppy beer to begin, which is quite focussed on the malt and bacteria in the first place. I honestly didn't believe the label at first, which states that "even after 10 years this tastes as fresh as ever", but this really is mostly true, with very little oxidation and signs of that typical sherry character showing through here.

Of course it's not quite as fresh, but the flavor profile really is very similar, with the 2019 feeling a bit more tart and vibrant and the 2011 a bit more sweet and mellow, but I did like them both equally for their different accentuations, with the 2019 being more fresh and expressive and the 2011 more complex and well-rounded overall. Although, once again, the difference really is quite subtle here, which I think is amazing considering that these are 8 years apart. I really do think that carbonation is the most noticeable difference here, which is why I probably prefered the 2019 just a little bit, but they both make for a very enjoyable drinking experience that is quite vibrant, rich and well-balanced, just with the focus shifting a little.

Feb 13, 2021
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puck1225 from Texas

4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is truly an excellent beer! Bought from an evidently discerning gastropub/bottle shop.

Pours a beautiful clear dark brown color into a tulip glass, great beige head and beautiful curtain lacing. Funky smell and taste, dark fruity smell. Taste of sweet and slightly tart dark cherries. This is a 2016 vintage and the flavors are well blended and subtle.

One of those beers that makes you think you should always go Belgian!

Aug 11, 2020
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mothman from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 bottle

Khaki head. Lace. Dark brown color. Cherries, but not sour or dominant. Caramel and oak. Toffee. Faint sweetness. Kind of dry. Dark red grapes. Very complex.

Jul 24, 2020
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officerbill from New York

4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: A Deep ruby/garnet cherry coke red. The thick dark tan head has a faint pink tint and quickly dissolves into a film.

S: Not much of a scent, just a light aroma of cherries and hay

T: Tart pie cherries, hay, grass, wheat, ripe yeast, maybe some dry apple cider and oak

F: Full bodied with mild carbonation, tart at the front crisp and smooth at the back

O: This is good, damned good. The tart fruit flavors are perfectly balanced with the malt and hay.
The feel and finish is rich and smooth without the sharp acidity that oftens turns people away from this style.
I normally save this sort of beer for cool nights, but slightly chilled, it also makes for a nice summer beer.
The cap says to drink by 2025, I now have seven bottles in my basement and I'll have to make a conscious effort to keep one until then.

Jul 19, 2020
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micada from New York

4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Without consciously trying, new beer: 2016 Liefman’s Goudenband. I was deliberating and didn’t want to tap anything from the usual stuff. I have two of these, so time for a try. Looks like a doppelbock in the glass, but drinks all sour...traditional sour, not Mas Agave sour. No head at all. On the tongue you get a quick sour bite that leads you to think it’ll be too much, but it backs off to a pleasant tart fruit flavor, IDK, like raspberry with granny apple. Good malt finish. It doesn’t show a lot of carbonation, but it feels lively in the mouth despite looking dead still. Alcohol is in the imperial range, low enough to keep you from getting hit too hard too fast. Surprised a little. Very nice beverage.

Jun 01, 2020
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flipper2gv from Canada (QC)

4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a murky brown with soapy tan colored head. Retention is ok and there is little lacing.

S: Smell is pretty low intensity. You get some balsamic vinegar, tart cherries, oak notes, rye bread and green apples.

T: Much less vinegary than expected. You get some balsamic vinegar, tart cherries, green apples for the tartness. But, you also get some malt notes with brown sugar, rye bread. Vanilla and oak tannins from the barrels. Very cider-y honestly. Some stone fruits with plums, prunes and some raisins. Quite complex.

M: The star of the show. It's broad, soft, round with a very fluffy carbonation. One of the best mouthfeels in a while for me.

O: This is a very good beer (especially for the money). It's very complex, not too vinegary with a great mouthfeel. Really enjoyed my time with this one.

Mar 24, 2020
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TheBierdimpfe from Canada (QC)

4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Medium: Capped + tulip glass.
Opacity: Deeply veiled with low activity.
Color: Dark brown with a shiny copper hue.
Head: Slightly creamy brown half a finger.
Legs: Poor but good lacing and decent swirl reaction.
Smell: Balsamic vinegar/Cherries/Toffee.
Taste: Red grapes/Cider/Wild yeast/Floral.
Feel: Red wine/Sour/Yeasty/Woody.
Body: Medium oily and kinda fluffy, still smooth and well rounded.
Carbonation: Good sharp crisp of great balance.
Overall: Impressive unique flavors. Exquisite quality, one of the finest example of a Flanders Oud Bruin having a strange fresh feel behind that sourness. Also quite warming and makes a perfect appetizer while still easily drinkable for the whole bottle.

Visual 8/10 - Flavors 9/10 - Sensations 10/10 - Balance 9/10 -
Freshness 5/10 - Intensity 8/10 - Complexity 10/10 - Appreciation 9.5/10

Dec 17, 2019
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed as part of BJCP training, 23C Oud Bruin

Pours a tan richer creamy small m head, fair retention decent lacing, dark but clear mahogany brown

Nose big fruity esters, deep plum, fig, black cherries, but sour and some acidity but not acetic or vinegary, under that rich sweet malts, toasted with caramel, toffee, little biscuity, candy malt, mild vinous age, touch of alcohol

Taste malty, more sweet candy and syrupy malts, caramel and toffee like later, quite fruity more plum, black cherry, prunes, more sherry vinous aged character, as well as low sourness and tart with light acidity, no acetic or vinegar, sweet sticky sour finish, mild alcohol

Mouth is fuller bod, medium to lower carb, mild acidity harness and little alcohol warmth

Overall what I was expecting, quite complex between malts, fruity esters, sourness, alcohol, etc

Feb 22, 2019
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BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the 330ml bottle, blended in 2017, it pours a solid brown with a modest head, quickly diminishing to a thin ring. Definite scent of apricots, cherries and malt in the nose. The mouth gets a well made sour with cherry undertones and a solid malt backbone. Yum!

Oct 01, 2018
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FLima from Brazil

3.81/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I have been guarding this for six years. It poured a dark reddish-brown color with no head whatsoever. Cork did not produce any stomp.
Mild but nice malty aroma with notes of prunes, oak, a bit of cocoa, fig jam, toffee, caramel, lots of grapes, gooseberry and black cherry.
Flavor starts sweet and ends somewhat tart with notes of oak, grape juice, gooseberry, mild vinegar, some lactic acid, green apples, orange drops, sour cherry, distant mint, caramels and magnesium. Dry aftertaste with restrained sourness.
Medium towards full body with almost flat carbonation. Alcohol of 8% is well disguised
Oud Bruin with great malt and dark fruit complexity that is a reference for the style. This resembles a lot red wine, but malty. Sourness is restrained, in line with the style. A bit higher carbonation would have enhanced the experience; sure it should be considered this was cellared for a long time.

Sep 20, 2018
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flyingpig from Scotland

3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330ml bottle (2016 blend) from Moules Poules in Bruges, Belgium (€5.50):
This one was quite a good blend with some nice sweetness & more so some sour flavours that were complimented by the tart & background fruits, most notably the cherries but also some apple as well. There was a lively but balanced feel to the beer with most of the alcohol content hidden & it proved quite an enjoyable & interesting beer without it exciting too much or being one I'd rush back too; it's definitely well worth trying though & is one I'd happily have again.

Jun 26, 2018
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Delekhan from Oregon

3.89/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Drank it draft at The Bier Stein in a snifter glass.

L: A thick monotone dark color not much to look at with no head.
S: Smelled of fresh berries absolutely delightful.
T: A much more subdued version of the nose. Berry taste upfront with a malt aftertaste and then a finish of berries. Pretty refreshing.
F: Was about as flat as it looked. Not bad not amazing.
O: A good refreshing beer. Not the best I have tasted but it was still pretty good.

Dec 13, 2017
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VABA from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very vivid dark color with a slight head and lacing. It smells very nice with hints of berries and sour apple. The taste follows the smell with generous hints of berries and a slim sour apple tartness. Very complex character with a pleasant balance. A well balanced and complex beer that has the right balance.

Dec 10, 2017
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emincems from Turkey

4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

It pours dark brown color with small beige head. Foam retention isn't strong, but it leaves some laces. Very attractive smell reveals complexity. Plum, sour cherry, wood and slightly barnyard aromatics are on the nose. What a great taste! It tastes caramalty sweet at first, but sour cherry and plum are evident at finish and they are balanced with softly woody tones. Short finish, unhidden Abv and softly oxidized tones effect negatively mouth-sense, but I love Belgian complex sours and this is one of them. Superbly delicious.

Oct 25, 2017
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Fourlives from Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I wish I had the patience to cellar some of the better beers I get, but since I don't I feel compelled to comment on this well blended sour. I've been relatively spoiled by the beautiful sours of Reaver Beach in Virginia Beach, VA., so tasting a Belgian sour was a nice treat.
Poured into a Baladin Bier Teku tasting glass, at around 55 degrees, Goudenband poured a beautiful dark mahogany with a 2" inch head that reduces nicely to a foamy cap throughout the glass, with nice lacing dripping down the side of the glass.
It tastes more to me on the first of fresh cherries on the top and black berries on the bottom with a beautifully executed second of malty goodness that follows with yet another layer of fresh bluberries, although minute.

Just a really a nicely rounded beer.

Sep 20, 2017
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled in February 2016; Opened July 2017

A: Pours a deep mahogany color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a nice cap

S: Tart acetic notes up front along with some fruitiness and funk. Nice and complex

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with some lightly tart acetic notes quickly followed by dark fruit and a caramel/toffee sweetness. Acetic notes linger as an undertone. Some leather and oak in there as well. Finishes with lingering acetic acid, dark fruit, and light sweetness

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Palate cleansing

O: A great oud bruin that is well blended and integrated well. A bit on the fuller side, but that isn't too big of a deal. Great to sip on given the abv and complexity of the blend. Definitely worth checking out

Jul 26, 2017
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Shimmering brown opaque pour with a tan head. Sour cherry and oak waltz through the nose, striking up flower, apple, toffee, apple cider vinegar, raisin, and prune. Taste is simpler and more mellow than expected: cherry and the malts lead, oak backs but not powerfully, dark fruits are faint in the background. Feel has good balance of tartness, vinegar snap, oak, and malt. Good FOB

Jun 22, 2017
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DaverCS from Arizona

4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage

Pours a light brown color with violet undertones. A tiny bit of head arises, but it dissipates rather quickly

Aroma is dark fruit forward. Notes of sweet Cherry, plum, and raisin. Some vanilla undertones. I almost get a bit of chocolate or perhaps coffee.

Taste has a low amount of sourness. The beer is on the sweeter side. Again, more dark fruits: more raisins and prunes.The beer is moderately carbonated. There is a slightly strange bitterness that finishes the sip. I don't necessarily think it from hops, as it has more of a medicinal taste. Perhaps like a cherry flavored cough syrup.

Overall this is not my favorite beer to represent the style. It is just all right. It's definitely not offensive, but it doesn't stand out. I probably will not buy again. I see this pairing well with stronger blue cheeses and wash rind cheeses. It gets a 86/100.

Jun 05, 2017
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mynie from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Basically I'm a sucker for both oud bruins and paper-wrapped bottles, so buying this was a no-braner.

Pours thick, a very deep and dark mahogany. Thead head is small and wispy, and while the bottle steamed when opened the beer itself appears relatively still.

Smells sweet and pretty tame for the style. Light cherries--faint, but what's there is fairly tart. Some generic fruit and toffee, as well.

Tastes much more assertive and complicated. Starts fizzy and acidic with large nodes of cherries and raspberries. The middle is a bit maltier, more traditionally sweet, and the back end is wonderfully thick, smooth, and sweet, nearly like a cherry frosting. The aftertaste is tart and acidic and lingers for a nice while.

This is quite the bottle of beer. For 13 bucks per 750 ml, it was an absolute steal: lesser American versions might go for twice as much.

Mar 12, 2017
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doktorhops from Australia

4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a new one: Liefmans Goudenband. I like to think of myself as a Belgian beer connoisseur, but really when I find a new Belgian beer to review; like this Liefmans, I begin to wonder if I’ve barely scratched the surface. In any case I’m glad I happened upon this as I have fast become a fan of Flanders beer styles - first through Rodenbach and then Petrus - they’re certainly styles I can get down with: Their vinous grape notes, the light tartness mingling with a hint of balsamic and just enough sugar to balance it all out… I’m going to enjoy this! [you can imagine me saying that in a Freddy Quimby voice if it helps].

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Rich/deep seal brown-coloured body, probably cloudy but it’s hard to tell with a body this opaque. Mocha head quickly dissipates leaving a thin lace ring and a few surface splotches. Moreish as many other Belgian brews, I really just want to tuck in straight away - can you blame me? 9/10.

S: Tart black cherries, note of oak, vinous grape tones and even a hint of peppermint round out this brooding and complex aroma… “pretty wow this” says the sommelier in me. The beermelier in me says “yeah, it’s a decent Flanders Oud Bruin”. Moral to this (albeit brief) tale: If you appreciate wine but you think beer is crap, boy is there a world out there for you to discover - I suggest starting with Belgium. 8/10.

T: Not as sour as the other Flanders Oud Bruins I’ve had, there’s definitely a bit more sweetness out-wrestling the tartness, with overall notes of: Black cherry, oak, vinous grape, burnt caramel with a dry finish. Aftertaste oddly brings in a (perhaps unwanted?) grainy note along with green apple character. This is an interesting take on the style, and one that I will definitely explore again in future. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with a light but dense carbonation. 8/10.

D: This is quite the enigma of a brew, a mystery wrapped in a paper label that says “Liefmans Goudenband” on it. I’m certainly engaging with this style more than others these days - that hit mixture of sweet and sour does a tap dance on my palate every time, and you think I would go for the more sour driven styles like full-on Lambics and the like, but oh no those styles sacrifice sweetness at the altar of sour (just check out my review of Lindemans Oude Kriek Cuvée René on BeerAdvocate, username: doktorhops). This Flanders Oud Bruin sits in the sweet spot for me [pun as always: intended]. Cheers! 9/10.

Food match: Cheese platter all the way with this baby!

Jan 09, 2017
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heygeebee from Australia

3.79/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark hazy brown and nice film. Surprise!
All sweet n sour on nose and palate, with some sour apples in the mix. Does finish tart tho.
Nicely carbonated for ABV.
Solid beer if not exceptional

Dec 24, 2016
Goudenband from Brouwerij Liefmans
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 1440 ratings