Goudenband | Brouwerij Liefmans

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
1,405 Ratings

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Liefmans

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Mitchster on 02-24-2001

Bros Score:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,405 |  Reviews: 578
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Liefman's Goudenband from the historic waterside town of Oudenaarde is one of the few remaining classics of the oud bruin style. It's brewed with 4 different hop varieties; a 100-year old yeast strain; a 12-hour boil; 6 to 8 months maturation before blending; and then 3 months of additional aging once it's primed and dosed with a shot of secondary yeast... and it shows!

Carefully poured from a long-standing bottle it's a surprisingly clear ruby-tinted mahogany that displays orange-ish highlights at the base of the goblet. A large head of exceptionally creamy off-white foam holds exceptionally well, maintaining itself throughout the glass and leaving some noteable lace. The nose is quite complex with a variety of aromas that include oakish, vanilla-laced wood; honeyish caramelized sugars; dark fruits (plum, red grape, cherry); a mild touch of Brettanomyces; and a subtle hint of sweat-sock/old cheese hops. The light body is gently crisp and smooth in the mouth; but almost takes a backseat its the puckering, tart acidity. It starts tart and then fruity, but softens to reveal some sherry-like, earthy, lightly toasted and woody malt before ending in a dry finish. Quite exceptional! It offers most of the tartness of an authentic straight-forward lambic; but with a cleaner profile and more fruitiness! Tart, fruity, refreshing!

 1,345 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Imagine my surprise when I see a 75cl bottle of Liefmans Goudenband that does not have the usual paper covering, but a smart looking dark blue and gold label. A greater surprise to see it for $6.99, & then I can see from the caged cork, it is dated 11-2001. So I purchased it immediately. Wow, am I glad I did.

Appearance: Served into my tall thin curved goblet that I “borrowed” from the LopLop Café in Brussels. It pours with an audible fizz from the high dissolved carbonation, which also aids the formation of a 1” thick decent looking tan-brown head. This soon dissolves though, right down into the fantastic looking hazy brown chestnut body. Held to the light the murky body casts a dark red auburn shadow on the wall opposite. Excellent!

Nose: Intensely sour, so incredibly lambic like at times. Acidic tart sourness that pulls at the gut and drives me crazy, I had to taste this beer immediately before completing my “Nose” notes. After a quick sample – I returned to the beer, I get a hint of fruit, dark sour cherries and sharp lemons even.

Tastes: Sour, with an acidic, dry tart spritzy entrance. The vibrant inherent carbonation lends a purpose to the mouthfeel that gives this beer a massive 3-D presence. Initial tastes are “bloody hell I forgot how good this tasted!” The sourness subsides to make way for dark fruits and yeast infected wood – but the sharp Tartness retains its authority throughout. Quite Superb!

Mouthfeel: Above average, greatly aided by the lively inherent carbonation that dances on the tongue when released.

Drinkability: I just love this beer style so much, but regardless, this is a highly drinkable beer in its own right. Totally perfect in every sense. Sour, yet so refreshing. Fantastic!

Overall: I close my eyes – and it takes me right back to the first time I drank the fabulous Rodenbach Grand Cru in Ostende. I have long been a fan of this style of Sour Ale, but many of the classic versions of this fine style appear to have been dumbed down in the last few years (including Rodenbach), & I feared that this had too. Whilst the last time I tasted a ‘fresh’ Goudenband, it was not as sour as I remembered it, I have to confess that this “aged” 11/2001 sample reminds me of how it once was - Very Impressed!

I am going to buy the rest of the Stores stash tomorrow.

 2,347 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.42/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appears a hazy murky brown with a tan thin head sitting on top with virtually no lace in my official Liefman's goblet. Aroma has some rich carmalized brown sugar smothered by a wine like finish buried in layers of alchol and ripened fruit tones. Taste is primarily a heavy rush of sourness from this flemish brown with a vinous wine like tone to it and somewhat dry finish, and I must say this one is a palate killer just not much you can follow with it. Mouthfeel is low in carbonation with a light bodied mouthfeel rather thin, much fuller on tap in my opinion. Drinkability is one at a time due to the fact that this sour Flemish brown is just so overbearingly sour much more balanced and smoother in the bottle.

 715 characters

Photo of BeerResearcher
3.09/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Old dark leather in color with a rapidly dissipating head and virtually no lace. A damp malty and spoiled vinegar cider aroma melds with an alcoholic fume. The medium malt body emits a fairly sour cider flavor. Lightly sweet with lemon and spicy hop bitterness. Whole bits of yeast are floating in suspended animation for your viewing pleasure. The sour and raspy vinegar mouthfeel is not at all pleasant. Maybe I got a bad bottle? And the fact I detest the taste of vinegar cider are the reasons that I feel this stuff is absolutely horrible! Although, I suppose I can't rate the taste as it is what it is.

 607 characters

Photo of stcules
3.52/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not much foam, and not persistent. Dark colour, with reflexes of ruby. Smell of fruits (blueberry, strawberry). After a little rest, the smell becomes more alcoolic. Taste sweet and fruity, with blueberry, red-currant, strawberry, raspberry and blackberry. Quite sour, with thin body. Aftertaste with medium persistance.

 320 characters

Photo of AudioGilz
4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage 1999, 12 ounce corked and caged bottle. No pop from the cork at all.
It's murky brown in color with absolutely no head to speak of. There are so many huge sediment chunks that it looks like a meteor shower or something. It's kind of freaky to observe the pile at the bottom of the glass, but that's just my imagination. Very tart and musty aroma, sour fruits come to mind. Sweet and sour tug of war for sure here....sweet malts, sour fruit...yummy yummy. It's very lambic-like in it's tartness, with cherries coming to mind just because of my relation to that. There is no sign at all of 8% ABV. This is one heluva unique brew here and is most definitely worth seeking out and spending an evening with.

 711 characters

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Unique is the word of the day! I've never had anything like this beer...that doesn't make it my favorite or anything, but its damn good and there isn't much else out there thats easy to find like it. After getting the paper wrapping off the bottle (one of my friends said it reminded her of a bottle of A-1 or something haha), I poured out this uncarbonated murky reddish brown beer. I've also never seen so much sediment floating, then sitting in the bottom of my glass. It was thick down there.

Aromas of sour fruits are prevalent, and the flavors and complexity are off the charts. This is the sweet 'n' sour sauce of beers...somewhere between a lambic and a dark Belgian ale. Begins with flavors of tart fruits, cherries, and dry citrus fruits. This is followed by a well balanced dark malt flavor intermingling with caramel and a spicy but mild hop finish. Quite interesting because very different flavors that are not usually found in the same glass of beer appear almost simultaneously in this one. Definitely glad I came across this beer. Try it if you find it!

 1,073 characters

Photo of DarrellK
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with little head or lasting carbonation, but a nice dark amber color. Body is a somewhat thinner than I tough it would be but not too thin. Finish is large with a sweet and sour taste that brings a plum wine to mind. There is clearly a feel of of the 8% ABV but not overwhelming. This is one of the best Belgian Ales that deserves to be shared with special friends that can appreciate the style. LOng neck drinkers will be really lost with this one

 454 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.04/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with no head, I was shocked and thought there was something wrong but that's how it is. No carbonation, murky amber color with a lot of chucky bits floating and settling. Thin body but an unusual taste sweet/sour cherries and raisins. Hard to really classify. Finish is sour. Good summer ale.

 298 characters

Photo of Mitchster
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah, one of my favorite beers of all time (if not my favorite beer of all time). This one pours out to a beautiful, lightly cloudy chestnut color with auburn highlights. There is no yeast particles, and there is no yeast in the bottom of the bottle (corked, wrapped in tissue paper, plain green bottle) The head is gorgeous...light tan, creamy in appearance with immaculate retention and some of the best lacing I've ever seen. The head sits atop small to medium-sized bubbles and seems to last forever. The aroma? Oh bliss, bliss and heaven. Gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh...sweet and sour, rotting cherries and oranges, natural apple cider gone bad, deep amber malts, a distant hint of clove, dirty socks, and a faint whiff of alcohol. This gets the parotids kicking into gear. Carbonation is mild, especially when compared to most other Belgian Ales. Mouthfeel is very mild, smooth, creamy, slightly cloying...the body is suprisingly moderately light. Taste begins with some musty puckering sourness, brown sugar, firm amber malts, and a brief note of alcohol. There is a metallic note, which is something I hadn't noted on my last tasting which was all of 10 years ago (Goudenband is hard to find in Michigan..I brought this bottle back home with me from Amsterdam for 2 Euro). The finish is sustained, earthy and (despite it's sourness) is only slightly dry with notes of dates, rotting fruits, and sweet dark molasses cookies. As it warms, this beauty breathes and the flavors evolve, making it exceptionally drinkable. One bottle leaves me with a warm pleasant buzz, but this is something I could drink all night...and all day, and all next week. Ahhh...Goudenband. Truly an exceptional beer, an absolute joy and a must to behold. I am left stunned with a shit-eating grin on my face...seek it out.

 1,813 characters

Photo of jeffboo
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A classic sour brown that takes me back to the Hopduvel beer cafe in Ghent where,in their beautiful central garden patio, I chose this beer while studying the 6 page beer list, a very fond memory at that. This 2000 vintage didn't disappoint.

A deep orange-brown color with little head, the strong sour aroma may be a shock to some but here it mixes with smells of raisins,very ripe oranges,and smoke. The perfect sweet and sour balance is struck here, the body is medium to full, strong enough to hold the ying and yang of flavors inside. Brown sugar fights with a lemony tartness. Ripe cherries beats off sweet malt. The battle rages on in a long finish,only to bring a smile to my face. The texture is creamy and buttery, making the tastebuds tickle. This is a world classic. Yum!

 785 characters

Photo of marburg
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For years, I've had a sadistic obsession with consuming things that pucker my face up into a big dimple. This is one of the great beers that really accomplishes this with a bang. I really believe sour beers like this one are a great balance of flavors -- sweet and sour rather than sweet and bitter. I welcome this change from the "norm," and I relish in its complex and powerful flavor.

A deep, cloudy, chocolate brown color with a white, thin, big bubbly head -- soapy waste water. A great deal of chunky sediment floats around for a bit and settles on the bottom of the glass. It looks a bit like you're drinking sewage, but it gives it such a natural appearance.

The acetic acid of over-ripened sour apples mixes with hints of plum, alcohol, and sour citrus peel in the nose. Starts sweet with an almost cherry-like flavor up front which quickly dissipates as the beer is swallowed, leaving an almost-unfortunate acid reflux sensation at the back of your throat with a wonderful tartness on the tongue. Mild hints of cobwebs and earth throughout. Lively at first, this beer feels a little less carbonated at the end, but it hardly takes away from the quality of the beer. And perhaps one of the most impressive things about this beer is its amazing drinkability; this does not taste like an 8% abv beer. Perhaps masked by the tartness, this beer is exceptionally easy to consume. It's almost perverse to enjoy a beer this RAW, but I absolutely love it.

 1,462 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.71/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Notes: 1992 Vintage(!!!), OLD corked and caged 12+oz bottle with no freshness date. It cost me $6.99. 1992 is printed on the cork, telling us what vintage this brew is. 1992!, you could have fooled me. This 11 year old beer poured a dark brown colour which was cloudy and hazy from some Sediment. It had some fine bubbles in it and quite a bit of carbonation but no real head. It smelled of apple cider, vinegar, various fruits, malts, alcohol, and candi sugar. It tasted like a melange of the above, very cidery, complex, vinous, fruity(without the fruit), lamibc and gueze-like. I would of never believed that beer this old, could still be soooo damn tasty! I mean, I have had a 94 Thomas Hardy's recently but that is a beer which is meant to be aged. This bottle has been sitting on a store shelf for 11 years and it is still an amazing elixer. The mouthfeel was very crisp, oily, dry and astringent all at once. There was a good dose of carbonation in this beer which made the drinkability factor go up to a very high level. If 11 year old Goudenaband is this good, how good is fresh goudenband???even better? or worse? I will soon get some fresh samples of this beer and make my own comparisons. But until than...what a find this was!!!

 1,255 characters

Photo of Naerhu
4.04/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle wrapped in paper.
Appearance – Dark brownish red. A small darkish head that quickly disappeared. Finished with an amazing amount of sediment in the bottle.
Aroma – super complex aroma, apple vinegar mixed with apple cider, grapey in there somewhere.
Taste – Tastes m ore like an Italian white wine or like apple cider than beer. Still grapey and vinegary, but not in a bad way.
Mouth – a beer with high acidity, really juicey. Tiny bubbles like a moscato d’asti.
Drink – It took me a long time to get through my glass, though I enjoyed every bit of it.

 580 characters

Photo of mjohn27603
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looked almost like soda coming out of the bottle - brownish in appearance but with some sediment and haze in the glass. Left a thin head on the top that dissipated fairly quickly. Smell is hard to describe because their is a lot going on. My first impression of the aroma was cider like. Ther first taste reveals a very tart flavor - sweet tarts come to mind. Some elements of vinegarr. The taste lingers long on the tongue and keeps you thinking about the flavor profile. Not meant to down quickly. Some musty flavors like it has been aged in a dark place for a while. It seems like there is some acidity as well. I would buy another.

 635 characters

Photo of MJR
4.76/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.
Cork dated 2001.

Appearance: Pours a reddish-brown color. This one has very little clarity, even with a careful pour that left the yeast at the bottom of the bottle. My measured pour gave way to a light tan head that started out around half an inch, then quickly shrunk down to a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Complex as all hell... The strongest component of the aroma is the sourness, which comes across as both musty and vinous. Underneath the barnyard smell is a sturdy malt backbone. There's a solid fruitiness as well, which is unusual considering there's no actual fruit used in this brew.

Taste: The first sip is nearly puckering in it's sourness and tartness. I get the impression of fruits soaked in vinegar. There's the undercurrent of malt again, just like in the aroma, but it's merely the understudy of this show. Despite not being employing in the creation of this beer, tart cherries make themselves known. Of course, they come and go...as the entire flavor profile bounces back and forth between sweet and sour. As it warms, more and more layers unfold and add to the experience...

Mouthfeel: The dryness of this beer sucks all the moisture out of your mouth, and when you go to take another sip to replace it...it doesn't happen. Oh...the vicious, yet wonderful, cycle... Painfully dry with a fairly thin mouthfeel.

Drinkability: For those who dig the style, the drinkability is tip-top. This is a great slow sipper, though it seems like it would also match up great with food. I'd like to pair this one with a few of my favorite dishes.

A 'thank you' goes out to 'Realale' for introducing me to this style. I'd been looking forward to trying a Oud Bruin, and it's now a favorite!

 1,754 characters

Photo of Realale
4.87/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From a 750ml corked bottle.

Pours a rich, clear brown with some slight reddish highlights. Initial foamy head settles quickly to a thin incomplete cap of fine bubbles.

Nose is mouth-wateringly sour fruit - cherries, a hint of orange. Amazing fruitiness, given that its not a fruit beer. Nice barnyard notes add complexity without over-whelming. Well balanced.

Palate was initially a bit hollow and shrill, but filled in quite nicely with a little air time to be a seamless integration of sour fruit, rich round malt, and barnyard. Incredible length from the acidity.

Loses a bit on mouthfeel, as it comes across a little thin. But its incredibly drinkable, and a great beer to match with a host of foods - especially rich meats, as the acidity cuts right through. Definitely one of my favorite beers in the World!

 825 characters

Photo of yen157
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy brown with a little white head, how cute! Some chunks of very flocculated yeast got past my pour and into the glass. Great sweet ‘n sour malt aroma and flavor, with some dark, ripe fruit thrown into the mix. More complex and dynamic than the other two bruins I tried at this sitting, Duchesse de Burgogne and La Binchoise. This was my first time trying Liefmans bruin, though I have had their kriek and frambozen before. Now I can see why this makes such a good base for their fruit beers.

 495 characters

Photo of marc77
4.74/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 11/2001. Murky dark garnet hue. Creamy, light beige spotty head settles slowly into a thin, largely bubbled layer. Isolated rounded wisps of lace. Mellow vanilla-like oak, hint of carob, unripe plums and darkly caramelized sugar in aroma. Mild notes of wet horse Brettanomyces w/ trace cheesy hops become easily discernible as the brew breathes. Deceptively restrained aromawise. Assertive, nearly pucker inducing lactic tartness hits and envelopes the palate at first. Tartness then mellows slightly to allow earthy, mildly toasted oak notes to emerge concomitantly with a sweet & sour melange of kumquats and unripe cherry. Earth tinged wild yeast must emerges late along with an overshadowed, yet complementing hint of buttery, deeply caramelized malt. Smooth and softly dextrinous with an agreeably fluid, light viscosity. Both creamy, yet crisp in mouthfeel. Finishes with a abrupt snap of brown sugar sweetness, but otherwise well attenuated and cleanly tart with a continuation of overripe red currant tartness. Goudenband is a complex and delicious brew that morphs continually as it breathes. There's a tremendous depth of tartness overall slightly offset with a balmy caramelized malt presence. Superbly refreshing, yet satiating in nature. A true favorite of mine.

 1,283 characters

Photo of pbrian
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

1999 bottling. Pours dark amberish red, impossible not to get some good chunks of yeast floating around. Minimal wisp of head around the edges. Aroma of cherries, raisons, a little musty and oaky. Ahh, the flavor. Usually a beer will start this way and finish that way. Everything happens at once with this one. So in no particular order of appearance- rich sweet malts, prunes, sweet and sour sensations, astringent, oak barrels, tart and citric. Oh so deep for a medium to light bodied beer. Drinkability? Let's just say that its cost per minute of enjoyment was very high.

 575 characters

Photo of Reverand
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First impression was the wrapping.The bottle being wrapped in a white paper with liefmans goudenband written on it along with a a quote from MJ saying this is the best provision brown ale. My expectations soared and were not let down. Being the best is only a matter of opinion. This beer might not be my favorite but certainly one of the best.
The beer poured to dark brown color with a nice head. On closer examination I saw thousands of chunks floating thru the beer. Aroma was very medicinal with a variety of spices. A very tart taste the finished off very dry. Definitely worth a try.

 592 characters

Photo of ADR
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2001 bottling...wow, almost as dark as a stout -- dark hazy brown, decent head that laces beautifully. If you don't like yeasties, decant this sucker -- the particles are stuck in a tighter suspended animation than Walt Disney. Deep raisin aroma, even a little gasoline. I forgot how astringent Flanders Reds were supposed to be, but there's a cool sense of fresh peaches and tart apples along with acidic grape. Malt turns a little prune-like mid mouth and the beer finishes with a dry pucker and a little cayenne. A little too sour for my everyday tastes (but there is a nice complexity), but there's a good variety of flavors in here, and it gets better as it warms. Unique...

Ain't beer great?

 700 characters

Photo of HopheadEd
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Everyone has a beer they love, and there's a beer for every taste. Well, I found mine. The more tart the better. Pours a murky brown with a thin head that fades quickly. Leaves a small lace. The aroma is of sour apples, sour something... The taste is of, bear with me now, sweet tarts. Yeah, like the ones when you were a kid. Tart, sour, bittersweet, dry, all the elements I love. Just a little lacking on the finish, but all in all, one of my favorite styles. Also not a bad ale.

 481 characters

Photo of putnam
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cloudy brown. The smell recalls the delicious horror of the Cuvee Rene 1998 that so recently rearranged my face. It promises sour, vengeful fruit and earth and yet it is balanced by a generous, sweet mocha-cream nuance that seems inviting. Terrible, thunderous, giant cherry flavors push flavors of bacon, nuts, spice and pan drippings on the palate. The finish is long and tart. A froth in the shape of a Yin Yang settles on the surface. Serve with bacon-stuffed eel, nettle-stuffed pigeon or onion pie.

That was my first taste. I've been drinking this beer like water over the last month, and I felt it was time to elaborate on its performance. My rating scores do not change.
Possibly perfect beer. While there is definitely some bottle variation (some flatter, some creamier, some spicier, some more alcoholic) it is always a pleasure. I've tasted cinnamon and horse blanket. I've tasted apples and botrytis Riesling. It is always fascinating and pure. Drinking it at the Maple Creek Farm harvest pot luck, under the giant fruit tree with friends, cooks and eaters... it was easy to approve of. If Cuvee Rene is a perfect food beer, this is perfect specifically with furious autumn montages of ripe vegetable parcels. Low maintenance, it doesn't need but the barest chill, and that just to get it started. Believe me, I've drunk Goudenband eagerly at 90 degrees F.
Amazement followed by recognition. I've seen it on many faces first tasting this product.

 1,469 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark cloudy brown, the head is minimal with the lace quite tenuous. Nose is vinous, fusel alcohol, over ripe fruit. Front is sweet, the top light, the finish is sharp, tangy, astringent, lightly hopped, just the way a "Flanders Red Ale" should be, a fair to middling drinking beer..

 299 characters

Goudenband from Brouwerij Liefmans
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 1,405 ratings