Goudenband | Brouwerij Liefmans

571 Reviews

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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 571 | Ratings: 1,369
Photo of RoyalT
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – The body is a beautiful, shiny brown with shades of orange and full of sediment. As interesting as the liquid is, the head is equally as boring. It came up very little and went down quickly. I didn’t get the impression by popping the cork that this ale was flat or bad. It just doesn’t seem to have a lot of head.

Smell – The malty sourness has a lambic way about it. This is no cheap sourness like many examples of the style. This is like sour green apples dunked in cider.

Taste – This will suck in your cheeks. Some cheap Flanders hurt my teeth, but this is the good stuff. The dextrose-flavored finish is a bit worn down by the big green apple sourness, but it’s there enough to be noticed. Again, I like the lambic characteristics that I’m finding here.

Mouthfeel – If you’re looking for that “just sucked a lemon” feeling then this will do the trick. It goes about it pleasantly, though. There’s nothing harsh in this one.

Drinkability – This is an easy drinker. It has all the facets of a good Sour Ale but is not too harsh or over-the-top. There’s also a very mature, almost oaky nature to this one that seems to put it above most of the pretenders. I found this to be a very solid, drinkable ale.

Comments – This is a 2001 so has been sitting for three years and is no worse the wear.

 1,336 characters

Photo of inebrius
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2001. Poured lazily into a Holiday Inn cocktail tumbler.

A stroll through the late-Autumn orchard. Curled browns and ambers clutch the crooked limbs of fruit trees refusing fate for awhile. Tired soil is covered with the sweet scents of packed dead wet leaves and rotting fruits. The earth greets your every sense with primeval longing you don't quite understand.

I crave this type of visceral experience everytime I carry my lips to a glass filled with fermented liquid. Only few can bring it, and even fewer with the symmetry of Goudenband.

Bark and sour orange and nut bread wash across your buds and down and the heady vapors left behind affirm your instinct time and again. I feel I should list everything I'm feeling as I drink this but that might cheapen it. If your ever going to shell out five bones for a little bottle of beer, make it this one.

There should be a tree on the label.

 904 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brown bronze color with a spotty head and plenty of sediment. No lacing develops. The aroma is nice as sour cherries, raisins and some yeast is easily detectable. The flavor is of strong sour cherries, fruits, malt and yeast. The tastebuds pucker quite a bit on this one. Medium bodied brew.

The mouthfeel is crisp on the start and finish. The sour cherries last long on the tongue after swallowing. This is a slow sippin' brew to enjoy after dinner, but one is all you need.

 486 characters

Photo of drewbage
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from the 2002 vintage.

Beer pours into the glass with a low white head with very tiny bubbles slowly escaping the brew.

aroma is leather dark cherries wit hbrown sugar and touch of the aged fruited wine.

flavor is at first prickly with the sourness, but a rising brown sugary sweetness holds it at bay as those dark pudding fruits return for a dance on the palate before a long lasting sourness busts through to sweep it all aside.

 448 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2002 vintage. Surprisingly delicious as tart rather than expected very sour. Beautiful red apple colour with moderate creamy head. Rum spice aroma. Refreshingly and long finish. Nice restrained hops, cherry fruit. A mature taste but liked by younger drinking buddy.
Had a fresh one about two years later and moderate tartness, with wine-like taste and sight.

 359 characters

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This ale was a lovely brown color, which was slightly cloudy and had particulate matter. There was no head to speak of.

The aroma was intense... sweet complex malts and a hinting of the alcohol contained therein.

The taste was likewise of complex malts... sweet and sour at the same time, with a tang that bit at the tongue. The alcohol was present but as a backdrop to the other flavors.

An unusual beer... worth trying, an excellent example of the style.

 465 characters

Photo of HopDevil
4.87/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

poured from the bottle the color of rubbed walnut. The brownish red liquid barely produced a head, but oh that aroma.

Acidic, sour, oaky earthy, musty woody with an underlayment of caramel malt.

The flavor impact is a rush for the tongue. The character noted in the aroma is in the taste in spades. Zingy, tangy, jolly rancher, granny smith apple, sour cherry tart with a charming fruitcake maltiness that keeps the raucous sour acid musty woodsy flavors gently reigned in . The hop is imperectible.

Metalic and sharp mouth watering pucker in the finish, unbelievably refreshing for such a hugely complex beer. My unschooled macro drinking friends HATE this beer- lmao. More for me

I can't get enough of the sweet n tart flavor characteristic of Flanders Reds of which this is my favorite example.

 809 characters

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

355 mL corked,caged, and wrapped bottle with "1998" printed on the cork.

Rich and yeasty, with crisp, tart, almost but not quite Rodenbach-like finish, with strong, deep malt character. Virtually no head and chestnut in color when poured into wine glasses.

When I want something dark and Belgian, I may very well head this direction--though why I'd limit myself to one such brew I have no idea. Very good.

 411 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my re-review (original review included below). This stuff is incredible. The previous review was an off-bottle. Pours a medium brown with a small tan head and lots of carbonation. Slight ruby port-like characteristics highlight the brown color. Lots of yeast- I would lose half the bottle if I didn't pour it into the glass (and I can't wait to decant it!) Arome is wonderful- bready, rich, dark sweetness of fruit (plums and dates). Flavor is rich and warm and creamy (ok, ok, that's mouthfeel, I know) with breadiness and frutiness (plums and grapes) and nuttiness. There is an obvious backdrop of sourness, but it is a very nice compliment to the beer, rather than the dominant characteristic. This is a class beer.

Original review (3/1/2004): I have had this amazing beer several times before I decided to review it- this is one of my "wow" beers. Funny, though, that I opened this bottle specifically to rate it, and it is different than the 5 or 6 of these I've had before (including once on tap at Lucky Baldwin's). What I remember from the others is an amazing balance of fruit, slight sweetness oak aged feel like a complex wine, balanced by a marvelous tart/sourness. This bottle had all the things I describe in the aroma, but the flavor was dominated by tart/sour/bitter much more so than in previous bottles. I don't know if this is because its a different vintage/age, if it has turned a bit, or if it was my palate. But this one seems to have some variability. The beer is a beautiful brown that hides ruby, port, and golden-reds in its complexity, much like the slight sweet fruity aroma hides plums, sour grapes, apples, and who knows what else. There is no head on this beer. The flavor is sour like a geueze/lambic with lots of other things going on that I can't put my finger on. The alcohol is no where to be seen except as a warming sensation. I'm not sure if this particular bottle was off or not, my scores are based on several tries. Maybe I'll have to try it a few dozen times more to see what it is really like!!!

 2,051 characters

Photo of garthwaite
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a bubbly head. The nose is a flowery barnyard caramel with a little cherry. Flavor is very pleasant - a little spice, some woodiness. Smooth, but somewhat thin bodied. Lots of sour cherry, grapes, and high acidity. Finish is bitter, peppery, and dry. Overall, this is a pleasant & easy-drinking treat.

 333 characters

Photo of nomad
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 vintage

Unadorned, this beer pours a clear but brawny mahogany with a thin fluffy head. Each tip shows a soft and decaying sea of truly lacy lace.

Smell is rich, beginning with lactic, iron, and malty notes. Opens to caramelized brown sugar over a body of cherry and raspberry scents. Toasty edges with specks of cinnamon spice. Well balanced and refined some by three years of aging.

Explodes with flavors of cherry skins and stems enlivened by true lemon juice. A tone of iron infuses these though recedes over the session, most noticeable only in the finish. Just enough tartness perks up the classic Flanders body while toasty bread notes softly edge it. Overall, slightly rounded, still spritely, and altogether tasty.

Compared to the fresh draught version I quaffed at Monk's, this beer is not as bright much more complex, and subtly so. The smooth moderate mouthfeel is also similar, but lacks most of the nice carbonation I found from a keg. Regardless, a refined and true classic in the world of beer. Always a good 750 ml. choice for the cellar.

 1,073 characters

Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A shiny, beautiful red/brown color that is deceptively dark. Smell is a combination of alcohol, white fruits, and flowery herbs. The taste is very refreshing - reminiscent of a meade. There is a lot of apple in the flavor with some festive herbs (rosemary?) and alcohol presense is strong. The body is thick and dense...thick pixels of sweet and sour mixing throughout producing a sparky texture on the tongue.

This beer was the highlight of my adventure to Louisville in April. It is best saved for a special occasion.

 523 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
1.57/5  rDev -62.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Appearance - 12 ounce bottle corked and caged. Cork date is Nov, 2001. Slight pop on opening. Center poured into a Belgian glass with virtually no bubble action. And yet, after settling, there appears this curious current of carbonation in the middle, churning from below and bringing up quite a bit of sediment. Mostly brown in color with hints or red and very bespeckled with large flakes of yeast. It's fun to watch, kinda like a lava lamp.

Aroma - definitely a musty, earthy, sour, vinous, somewhat medicinal smell. Reminds me of horses and their general smell. Very different, not something I'm used to, and I can't say I'm overly thrilled. As an aside, the cork itself smells like honeysuckle and fragrant wildflowers with allspice. Very nice, if there was a 'cork aroma' category, I'd give it a 5.

Taste - very sharp and sour flavor. A dry, acidic red wine taste with extreme lemon juice tartness. Very unusual, but an improvement from the aroma. The greenest, tartest apples ever, or like taking those Warheads candies and just licking off that outer sour layer. The sourness and horsiness render useless any thought of detecting malt or hops. I don't think I've had as funky a beer as this except for Orval, I really didn't like it much either. Finishes dry and puckering. I can adjust to it somewhat but generally think (at this point) that this style isn't for me and isn't worth the effort.

Mouthfeel - very dry and bubbly like a good dry champagne. As much as I don't care for the taste, the puckering bubbliness is quite enjoyable.

Drinkability - I will try others of this style in the future, but for now this is at the bottom of my repeat list.

 1,672 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cork says 2000.

Murky looking deep auburn appearance. Virtually no head. Very nice aroma. Hot spiced apple cider, brown sugar, candied raspberries. Mouthfeel is light and on the low side of the spectrum for carbonation. The flavor has a little sweet and sour thing going on. Just a little bit of a stinging acetic acid presence. But also some sugar coated raspberries. Other fruit sensations surface as well. Such as green apple, pear and blackberry. This one has a nice mellowness to it. Could be from the aging. Pretty good stuff.

 535 characters

Photo of GreenCard
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 2002...

Appearance: reddish brown (almost chestnut), a bit hazy, thinnish layer of tan head that slowly compacts to a thin cap

Aroma: lactic and corky/musty, a hint of wood, vinous, a dash of soy sauce and nail-polish

Flavor: mild malt base with an initial tanginess and an overlying corkiness, the tan increases towards the end of the palette, finish is semi-dry with caramel malt and vinegar in the aftertaste, also a bit of wood-tannin bitterness

Mouthfeel: medium body, gentle carbonation, some warmth

Overall Impression: Finally tried this old classic. Definitely a fan of their kriekenbier (both the sweetened and the natural one), so it was nice to taste the base beer. Swirling up and adding the bottle-sediment really kicks up the complexity. Since Rodenbach has "gone commercial", this may be it's rustic replacement.

 853 characters

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2002 vintage, according to the cork in the 750ml bottle. My brother picked this up for Easter dinner, took a sniff and a taste, and said no thanks to any more. Great, more for me!
This brew had a fine russet brown color and a short-lived vanilla colored head that settled down to a thin cap and broken ring. The nose had a sweet/sour aroma of candy sugar, caramel, yeast and that wonderfully sour mustiness I'm really coming to enjoy.
The taste had the tartly sweet flavor of green apple drizzled in caramel. Then came a sour cherry flavor laced with a barnyard-inspired funk indicative of a wild yeast influence. Real tasty with a drily sour finish. The feel was medium-bodied, puckering and dry.
Overall, this was a superbly drinkable brew. The taste was not as sour as the nose lead me to expect. Hats off to my brother Carlsbadbeer for picking this one out of the mix.

 875 characters

Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.64/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sent mkobes on a quest for Allagash 4 and she came back with this beauty! 750 ml wrapped green bottle with a cork that says 2001. Dark brownish red, with floaties and a nice big tan head. Musty soured aroma that is to die for. Indescribable. Soured jolly rancher-like flavor of apple cider and apple skins. Full bodied and smooth. Delicious. This beer rocks!!!!

 361 characters

Photo of oberon
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its great to have a chance to try world classics like this you really need to savor beer like this,pours a great brown color with very nice red tints showing thru everywhere in the glass not as much head as expected but the color was awesome.A very complex aroma consisting of some mustiness when first opening andsour cheery with a nice spicey element allspice maybe?Taste is oaky and sour but not nearly as sour as I thought it would be wich is a good thing for me I pick up a light spice not as well with a vinegar and light salty note in the finish.Wow a great extremely complex beer one to savor for sure.

 610 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.82/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cork Date 2001, Sampled March 2004
Pours a hazy deep red color with no head at all. Only lightly carbonated. A sharp acetic aroma emanates from my glass, as well as notes of musty cork, alcohol, aged malt, and a bunch of other things that I can't quite pick out. The taste is not nearly as sour as the aroma would suggest. An astringent tannic finish that coats the mouth is preceeded by a light sweetness that counter balances the sourness. Definitely a woody finish to this beer, a bit oaky. Notes of raisin, red wine, musky mustiness.

This beer is good but it seems to be missing a bit of balance. Perhaps I am comparing it a bit too much to Rodenbach Grand Cru, but the balance is so much more complete in the Grand Cru.

 728 characters

Photo of Chsyhkr
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite beer of all time? Perhaps, even though I do not drink but once a year.

Deep mahogany with low carbonation. About 8% abv but you would never know it. Complex malts and sourness create a delicate balancing act, keeping both in check.

Sour, but not too much, how do they do it. Oak, almonds, currants carry through the flavor into the finish.

Don't think of beer when you drink this, but a fine aged wine...

Enjoy and be surprised!

 452 characters

Photo of bditty187
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Intimidating bloody-purple hue, rather dense, the carbonation was obviously small, the corked didn’t “pop” off and no head was formed as I poured this, only a small ring of white foamy that shortly left. There was massive amount of yeast sediment that found their way into my glass. It is an impressive beverage visually. The nose is potent, mouthwateringly tart, traces of oak, almonds, aged red wine, fresh grapes, with a mild trace of Brettanomyces at the end. The palate is sour, why minces words? The secondary flavors mingle well with the tartness, hints of oak, almonds, vanilla, young cherries, crab apples, old hops that impart a light cheesiness, fleeting hints of sugar, candy, and cider. It is not as sweet as I thought it would be nor is it as sour. The taste is beautiful, it is impressively light but so well constructed you fail to fully recognize where one flavor starts and the other one ends. The body is thin, medium-light; the sensation of carbonation was completely absent. There is not a note of 8% abv in the taste, might as well be alcohol free. It is supremely drinkable largely because of the refreshing yet puckering sourness that is followed by an acidic bite. This is an impressive beverage.

2001 Vintage. Purchased in the 12-ounce bottle in Lincoln. I will get more.

 1,304 characters

Photo of ManekiNeko
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1.5 L bottle with text stating that this is the "Perfect provision beer for 2000." Presumably this was bottle in 1999, then, in anticipation of Y2K hijinks. The bottle was left out on the porch of a rural Ontario cabin and opened near midnight on New Years Eve, then served in a wine glass.

Appearance: Murky medium brown topped by a modest offwhite head that is quite short lived. Wee bits and blobs are left on the glass as this is consumed.

Smell: Sour malt and oaky wood goodness with faint tart cherries. Vinous, overall.

Taste: Tart, tart, tart. Wow, a whole dang brothel of tarts. Sour cherry and tannic woods with hints of toasted malts.

Mouthfeel: The high acidity makes from some snappy crispness. Still, it's quite medium bodied. Excellent palate cleanser. I could see this going quite well with a salad that has some bleu or feta cheese on it.

Drinkability: You really have to love the acidic beers to like this one. I'll say it again: very tart. Approached an old cider at some points.

 1,013 characters

Photo of waughbrew
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chunkiest beer I have ever drank, seen, or heard about. Even without the last 1/2 inch of the bottle poured, there was an ungodly amount of brown sludgy chunks in my glass. Very unappetizing. Other than that it looks good. Light brown in color with a beautiful head with good retention. Smells great - nice malt character that is hard to place, no hop aroma to mention, but an earthy kick that promises an intriguing flavor. First thing I notice when drinking it is the fabulous mouthfeel - so soft and creamy yet a rather thin body. Taste has that lightly roasted malt with the undercurrent of yeast. A wonderful balance of flavors - nothing sticks out. I expected, and would slightly prefer, a bit more tartness/sourness. But the subtlety of the beer is its beauty. A great one if you can get past the sludge.

 811 characters

Photo of crookedhalo
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle cork dated 11-2001. No head other than soapy bubbles from the pour upon a crimson brown liquid. Flaky particle suspension. Rich wine-like aromas; sour and berry. Wild and tangy to the tongue; sweet yet vinegary. Rather acidic and palate cleansing. First time I tried this beer was unexpected. Now, I couldn't get enough of it. Sipping it causes salivation glands to go crazy, begging for another sip to neutralize the astringency.

Sampled a bottle vintage 1987 by the date in the cork. Popped like a fresh bottle, except the cork was nice and soaked; wet. Muted Goudenband in the nose. Blackberry and maybe some grape. Excellent prune skin-like malty sweetness followed with the usual Goudenband tartness, yet softer. Wonderfully mellow. Dark streaks of sediment left on inside of bottle inticating that it had been kept on its side most of its life. Good experience; hadn't upped any marks, but a good experience nonetheless..

 944 characters

Photo of mschofield
4.57/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

1998 bottling
Dark red, with no head whatsoever. Slightly hazy, with clumps at the bottom.
Alcohol and dark fruit aroma, woody.
Strong dark fruit flavor, cherry and raisin, but mostly cherry, wonderfully sour, smooth and tart. Almost like sherry about halfway through.
Medium bodied. Very drinkable, I have to buy more, my first try of a Flanders Red, and I can't wait to try another.

 388 characters

Goudenband from Brouwerij Liefmans
4.17 out of 5 based on 1,369 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.