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Bottleworks Van Den Vern Grand Cru | De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)

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Bottleworks Van Den Vern Grand CruBottleworks Van Den Vern Grand Cru
Very Good
43 Ratings
Bottleworks Van Den Vern Grand CruBottleworks Van Den Vern Grand Cru

Brewed by:
De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jreitman on 02-09-2003

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 43 |  Reviews: 40
Photo of warnerry
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of bsuedekum
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of ElGordo
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a bottle last summer at Bottleworks in Seattle (surprise, surprise). Poured from the 330ml bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a bright amber color topped by one finger of thick, creamy, off-white head. Aroma of sweet dark fruit, a touch of candi sugar, and some musty, funky yeast lingering in the background. Palate is sweet up front - prune and dark cherry, along with some candi sugar and pale malt. A sourness akin to fruit vinegar comes through before the swallow, leading to a nice, dry finish.
Body is rich and a bit creamy until the swallow, after which it dries out nicely, leaving a lasting residual sourness. While not particularly sweet or sour, but a very tasty beer nonetheless.

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Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice find by FooFaa at Vintage Wine, Boardman, OH..he found the last bottle. Thanks for sharing!

Bottled 2004

A-Hazy, reddish-brown tinged copper with a thin light tan head that retained well and left decent lace.

S-Initial smack of prunes and brown sugar. With a bit of warming subtle notes of toffee, sour cherries and candi sugar comes out.

T-Luscious dark fruit with prune being dominate. A bit of yeast spiciness and a nice underlying light sour/tartness of cherry. This is in no way a mouth puckering brew, but more lightly tart.

M-Medium bodied, tart with a bit of smoothing, sugary sweetness. Goes down easy.

D-Too bad this was only a 12 oz bottle.This one became more and more interesting as it warmed. A really nice, lightly tart and flavourful offering. I would love to revisit this one but doubt I ever will.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

taste- bitter tart, hints of apple and spice

color- dirty copper

clarity- cloudy

smell- estery

body- light-medium

appearance- off-white frothy head

overall impression- enjoyable

notes and comments- dry oil, light spice, light tang, light caramel-flavored finish

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Photo of noeldundas
2.63/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

light head, soft, beautiful reddish copper brown. great malty aroma, hits with raisin bake bread an sugar. slight alcohol, but hardly noticeable. some espresso, raisin again, and many malty cereal flavours.
It does not have the body or substance to make it drinkable. Perhaps too much carbonation? not what I was expecting. The flavour really drops off quickly and there is little in the finish other than malt.

after the nose, disappointing. It didn't go where I thought.

perhaps it was over aged. 5 years is a long time.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown in color with just the slightest of foam on top.
Smell is dark fruits, mostly plums and some sweetness. Taste is even more fruit than is in the nose. Pretty carbonated and bubbly on the mouthfeel. Just a subtle amount of sourness. Very enjoyable and good flavored. Needs less carbonation for my liking. It's solid overall and I would drink it again.

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Photo of hopdog
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle labeled bottled in 2004.

Poured a medium to darker brownish color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of dark cherries, brown sugary, caramel, and light alcohol. Tastes of cherries, caramel, and other dark fruits. On the sweeter and a little syrupy.

Notes from: 2/3/06

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruddy brown/ amber/ orange-ish color, with a tan head. In the aroma, roasty caramel, licorice, and a small tartness. In the taste, caramel, licorice, white grape dry to sweet, and just a small note of alcohol. A small bite and medium to big mouthfeel, with a dry licorice aftertaste. Big licorice, and was expecting more sourness, a good sipper though.

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Photo of TheEremite
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I remember this beer being much more sour, but it really highlights the malt and belgian yeast character. It tastes of plum, caramel and apricot. There's a very slight funk/sour prick in the way background, but it's subtle. It's a fairly complex beer without being overdone. It's a nice surprising choice, despite the horrendous label. Be careful of the sediment though.

 370 characters

Photo of yinzer
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle, fresh

appearance: Amber color with soft off-white head

smell: seems like a Quad, fruity esters, spice with hints of cherry.

taste: complex with sweet malts ending with sour cherries and some alcohol but not overly hot.

mouthfeel: full bodied and nicely balanced

drinkability: one was nice, I'd say a must try. Will buy a few more. Slightly disappointing in the finish.

Overall nice beer.

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Photo of Derek
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2004.

A: Hazy reddish-brown, light tan head, good retention, great lace.

S: Initial cheesy aroma subsides soon after openning, grape, dark fruit, brown sugar, minerals, cotton candy, toffee.

T: Dark fruit, brown sugar, phenolic spicyness, tropical fruit.

M: Moderate body & carbonation, smooth, some residual sugar.

D: Very drinkable, a few years in the bottle has been kind.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.51/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark cloudy reddish brown. Slight head that diappears quickly. Smells first of cherries, malts, raisins.
Taste is mostly cherries, spice, raisins, caramel with a slight cotton candy note.
Moderate mouthfeel, well carbonated.
Nice brew, easy to drink.
Thanks to TheBungyo for the extra in a trade.

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Photo of spdrz
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just finished a tulip of this Belgian ale. Happy to try it on draught at Brouwer's cafe here in Seattle.

Came to the table with about a half inch head that had already dissipated but stuck around and laced the glass up proper-like. Cloudy red-brown, clearly unfiltered, it evoked cherry caramels.

Black-cherry candy, honey-malt, alcohol, and a tinge of toasty vanilla biscuits. also the phenol-fruity belgian yeast.

Taste: Kirsch, caramel, fruity yeast and biscuit malt. Slight vinous character though not front and center. Good balance some spice and dried fruit in the finish.

Nice medium-full mouthfeel that does not cloy to the palate. No alcohol burn.

No stand out component of this ale, but definitely high drinkability. Good balance and straightaway solid. Give me one or two, then I'll move on to something else. Probably just one though.

No big detractors, but no superstar depth of character or shining quality. Good+ ale.

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Photo of surlysober
3.08/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

FIRST TRIAL: Bottle from the Palm Tavern. Although it was hard to tell the exact color in the low light, the beer appeared to be a deep brown with a nice white head. It has an unusual aroma and flavor though. It almost reminded me of imitation grape flavoring (the kind that they make grape candy with that doesn’t taste anything like actual grapes). I mentioned this to a friend of mine who also tasted it and he agreed. The mouthfeel was fine, and the finish was slightly sour and maybe oaky. This beer was quite interesting, but it was a little tough getting over the fact that I tasted so much artificial-grape-like flavor, so I would be tentative to recommend it to others.

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Photo of ojiikun
3.64/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750ml champagne bottle into a tulip chalice. Bottle marked as 2002 vintage. Clear signs of aging on it's side, good hard yeast residue on one side.

Virtually flat - appears as if I got a bottle that wasn't properly sugared? The last glass had a hint of head around the edge of the glass, but this one never tasted at all carbonated. This was possibly the primary reason I didn't rate higher on many accounts.

Color is a beautiful dark reddish-brown, properly opaque with suspended yeast as you'd expect from a craftbrewed belgian.

Smell is of rich red apple, sweet yeast, white wine grapes, mild honey when warm.

Taste switches to green apples thanks to a light but fruity hopping. Middle is of metallic minerals followed by slight caramel, warm leather, and a powdery finish.

Alcohol is clearly there, but in lesser quantity than the label claims. The flatness of this bottle took away from drinkability, exacerbated by the very dry character of the brew in general.

The best thing about this brew is that it's so Belgian in character - it smells like my favourite Belgian pub in every way.

 1,123 characters

Photo of pmcadamis
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Generic "Bottleworks" lable. Blah. They really need to kick the marketing up a notch....what's inside is far more important than the exterior but, when shopping in a beer store, cool lables and bottles catch my eye and make me go "ooohhhh....what the heck is that? Gotta buy it!"

Anyhow, once poured, this dark-gold / bronze brew is rootbeer brown with a big milkshake head that starts out as three fingers and recedes to a 1/2 finger creamy foam that leaves a nice lace on the side of the pint glass.

The nose is sweet, malty, and buttery. Very candy-like. No scent of hops...which I was expecting due to the "pale ale" style

At first sip, this is a very sweet caramel-candy desert brew. I taste powdered sugar, some syrupy confectionery candy, lots of vanilla, and some caramel. As the beer sits and warms the sugary syrup character really becomes apparent, and a certain amout of spice shows up. I could see myself having one of these for desert after a nice dinner with the woman.

Mouthfeel is bubbly and a bit syrupy, and the alcohol content makes it self known only at the finish. This warming sensation would be great in the winter time!

Drinkablilty (for me) is the lowest score only due to the candied sweetness that would inhibit me from drinking two in a row. Otherwise, this is exquisite.

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Photo of GClarkage
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

07/10/06- Purchased at Hi Times Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle. Caged and corked. Bottled in 2002. Poured into my La Chouffe tulip.

Appearance- Murky auburn-brown in color. Foams up to about a 1/2 inch and then evaporates quickly. Tiny spots of lace if at all.

Smell- Paint thinner, turpentine alcohol scent overtakes most all. A bit vinous in the nose. A touch sweet as well. Maybe some plum and grape-like scents underneath.

Taste- Very raw. This has been bottles for almost 4 years? Raw harsh alcohol taste. Almost like ascetane (spelling). Says it's a Flemish Ale on the bottle. I can see some Oud Bruin traits underneath the garbage. A bit sour at times. Tart blackberry or olalaberry flavoring in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation level. The 10% or so is definitely there. Creeps up on you rather fast as well.

Drinkability- To harsh to like this one. Don't think it's going to get any better if it's already been 4 years. Pass on this one if you see it.

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Photo of IntriqKen
2.06/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a dark pale amber...a little too dark for a Belgium Pale... it took an agressive pour to produce a head that melted to fine lacing.
Aroma is first a sweet alcohol...almost like a turpentine and spice mixture.
Taste is more of the sweet spicy, pine turpentine alcohol flavoring.
Mouthfeel is thin and alcohol presence is too heavy for me to enjoy.
Duvel this is not....not even close.
(my favorite of this stype is La Fin du Monde)

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.39/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Unlike other reviewers, I greatly enjoyed this beer. Bottle in 2002. I think I grabbed one of the last ones on the shelf. Glad I got one before they're all gone. Poured a body that looked like diluted cola. Had was comprised of large bubbles ... made me think of a honey comb. Lacing is patchy but still pretty. Nose is buttery and red wine-like. I also get sweet caramel that seems to have been mingled with some type of spice. Inviting.
Taste is a brush with diacetyl, caramel, brown sugar, orange ... I like it a lot. The carbonation seems to strike all at once and then vanish. Drinkability would be high. I really enjoyed this brew.

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Photo of bodybyadam
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this one in a 6oz pilsner sampler. This poured a light brown with little to no head.
The nose was an amazing array. I sensed the awesome caramel, and malt.
Taste just as sharp as the aroma, which has the sweet caramel, malty dates, and a wonderful flowery hop finish to give it that mild bitterness.
Mouthfeel is a bit thick but good.
Drinkability is right up there, but you should enjoy this with a subtle desert pairing.

Elbows Up,

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Photo of Vancer
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark ruddy brown, hazy and mysterious – a nice start to a Belgium treat. Tons of malt and sugar cane candy in the aroma, underneath that tanish head.

Very sweet in the taste, again loads of sugar cane and fruits swirl about and tempt you to try another taste. Does have quite an alcohol kick, a rather boozy lil’ brew. But, for the price of only $1.29 for a 11.2 ozer (mistake?) several would do superbly on the deck during a cool spring evening.

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Photo of maxpower
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz 2004 bottle pours a cloudy reddish brown color with a creamy light brown head that leaves a sticky lacing in my glass. Fruity raisin and maple aromas, caramel, plum, nutmeg and brown sugar flavors. Full bodied with a soft and full mouthfeel, finishes sweet.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled - 2002

Presentation: 750ml, sealed with a plain unmarked thumbed cork (that was an utter bitch to get out) wire cage and black steel cap. Underside of the clean cork was soiled with a soy sauce stain. Brewed for Bottleworks of Seattle, WA as part of their ~ Verbeeldingsreeks ~ Imagination Series ~. Purple edged monochromatic label with a backdrop of Belgian architecture. Listed as ‘Van den Vern Grand Cru Flemish Ale’. Side writing indicates that this is a whopping 9.8% Alc. Vol. and ‘Bottled in 2002’.

Appearance: Medium brown body with a nice mixture of dark oranges and some flashes of ruby depending on the angle of incandescent light. But blink and you’ll miss the light tan that fizzles from the deep forms a thin ¼” uniform cap before it *rapidly* disappears. Relaxed format in the Goblet, juice like flatness is a little disappointing but the carbonation resides deep and is low on vitality.

Nose: Gelatinous prunes, soiled figs and toffee caramel. Soft peppery spices but a simpleton profile that has a flaccid texture on the nose. Light and airy but nothing spectacular, especially for a Grand Cru

Taste: Reminiscent of the nose, sweet caramel, prunes and freshly chewed Devon toffee lingers in this finish. Delicately spiced yeasty malts and a hint of bitterness in the latter third do little to inject any interest into this weak Grand Cru.

Mouthfeel: The very low conditioning lends a harsh feel to the spiced malts, caramel and toffee traits, it all adds up to a sharp sickly feel. Finish is spiced with a weak feel to it. Is this really 9.8%? I do wonder.

Drinkability: If I was nice I would say that this is just OK. But honestly, with a few Belgian Grand Cru’s under my belt, this one is uneventful, simple and rather boring. It desperately lacks complexity, depth of character and that soft velvet Mouthfeel so expected of a great Grand Cru, aged or otherwise.

Overall: On Sale at Hi-Times for a $5.99, I picked this one up along with some other Bottleworks offerings. Nice enough, but this is fading fast, it is tired and a little limp, a yawning Grand Cru. The 2002 (750) bottle on my desk right now is struggling to survive; it feels like it is fighting for its life. This could well be on the way to being prune juice very quickly; it’ll keep you regular at least.

Of the three Bottleworks commissioned Proef brews that I just tried recently; the Bangelijk Blonde was great and by far the best, the Tripel Krullekop was good, but the Van den Vern Grand Cru is a disappointment - don’t even think about keeping this one any longer, unless you’re constipated.

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Bottleworks Van Den Vern Grand Cru from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 43 ratings
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