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Grimbergen Optimo Bruno | Brouwerij Alken-Maes

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Grimbergen Optimo BrunoGrimbergen Optimo Bruno

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Alken-Maes

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2003

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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 115
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark deep brown with retaining white head, a tad of the same lace. Malty yeasty aroma. A real foamer on opening. Above average mouthfeel. Mostly sweet malt taste,some raisin anda bit lactose-like, and yeast thickening it up. Drinkable, sweet though not cloying.

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Photo of hawksfan82
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a la trappe chalice.

Pours an extremely dark brown brown. If you hold it up to the light you can get tiny hints of violet in it...but this guy is mostly big and brown. A good finger head with a fairly aggressive pour, dissipates quickly but a nice foam remains throughout the entire session. Not a lot of lacing, but it's very sticky....which shows the sweet nature of this beer.

Smell isn't too strong, it's a good indicator of the taste though. Usual belgian malty notes, but also a hint of the dark fruity sweetness that lies in this beer.

At first the taste is just a big malty belgian brown. After about half the beer, when it starts to warm up, you really pick up a bunch of sweet (not quite sour, but almost) fruits...I'm noticing a lot of cherry. The alcohol doesn't really come in til the finish. Even then it doesn't feel like a 10% brew.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for a beer that you think would be a bit "bigger". I expected a big chewy malty belgian, but this guy is a lot thinner and sweeter than I expected.

Drinkability is good, especially for a 10% beer. Like I said above it doesn't feel or sit like a 10% beer. Although I'm not sure being able to drink a 10% beer faster than normal is a good thing.

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Photo of batty
3.46/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Crystal clear very dark brown-marroon color with nice dense head, drops to a centimeter layer which stays, nice lacing.

smell is pretty simple but nice, plum, grape, and dark fruit with a bit of toasty malt.

i'm catching a lot of grape in the taste, alcohol very well hidden for 10%, but warms as it goes down. just enough bitter to almost balance, but still too sticky-sweet for my taste.

as I've found with the other grimbergens, mouthfeel is full and beautiful.

drinkability is less than desired, very sticky and lingering fruity-bitter.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 2001.

Appearance: amber color, with a tan foam head.
Smell: massive fruit aromas and alcohol
Taste and mouthfeel: alcohol dominates all too
Drinkability: an average abbey beer (too strong) in the style Belgian dark ale.

Review translated from french 5-24-2008.

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Photo of AlexLMS
3.06/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: deep brown with ruby highlights when put against the light. Good clarity. The head is off-white, moderate in size, creamy with good retention and beautiful lacing.
Aroma: interesting aroma. Combination of sweet malts, chocolate, a hint of toffee and alcohol.
Taste: sweet but not cloying. Alcohol presence, caramel, dark malts. Weak in the hop side.
Mouthfeel: silky and creamy, good carbonation, strong but not overwhelming alcoholic presence (10%) and a firm body.
Finish: sweet alcohol aftertaste.

Overall: A slightly above average abbey beer. Not the best Grimbergen, but very appealing nevertheless.

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Photo of janubio
3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Red brown colour, with a good head that doesn't hold too long. Aroma is sweet, alcoholic, toffee, cherries, dates.
Sweet flavor with a bit of sourness. Mouth of cherries, dates, sherry wine, with some hints of chocolate.Medium to light body. I'm not exactly a fan of Grimbergen but this is one is good enough.

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Photo of Nesued
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Dadz Bar and Grill, Lumberton NJ. Served in a chalice.

Appearance - Dark brown, tan creamy head that was a two-finger depth when it arrived at the table.

Smell - Malt, malt and oh, by the way, a bit more malt. This is a malt lovers dream. I did sense some sugars but only faintly.

Taste - Depth of character. Very complex with more than just "malt" once you take a hit. Some sweetness and a "bready" and spicy flavoring to round out the description. It took me at least three of these to figure out that much, I'm sure I missed more than I found.

Mouthfeel - mmm, nice and meaty. The carbonation adds to the ability to "feel" this beer more than I expected.

Drinkability - Here's where I have a problem. To say this is representative of the style is a no-brainer, but the company it keeps in Strong Belgians is a weightly lot! This was a special occasion when I tasted this offering so I'm not sure of the availabilty. To be in the company as a Gulden Draak, Delerium Noel/Tremens is saying something. To stand with them is saying something else. I would put the Bruno almost on par with these, not far behind.

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Photo of harsley
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dark amber/brownish hue with a nice tan creamy head with decent retention.

S - of malts and sugar. There are some spicy smells that are either from the yeast or spices.

T - Lots of flavors going on, fairly complex. The backbone was fairly malty/sugary with a sweet/tartness coming through a bit more than I'd like in the style.

M - Good body, not quite as thin as I'd like for a Belgian like this.

D - Very drinkable, even though a bit sweet.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle bought from GapWines, Belfast...

Poured a deep rusty brown... creamy tan head poured thick, foamy and meringue like then faded slowly to light layer. No carbonation... light sticky lacing...

Aroma - Tart dark fruits (raisins, prunes, dates), toasted bready malts, some vinegary traces (hints of like Flemish sour ale), treacle, burnt sugar sweetness, peppery / spicy hops, nutty...

Taste – Sweet, lightly roasted maltiness, some sourness, winey notes, tart red fruits (red grapes, prunes, plums), brown sugar / molasses sweetness, spicy, bready / yeasty notes, some warming alcohol comes through, peppery hops...

Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy... medium bodied... maybe a little too sickly sweet to drink too many of these...

Overall - A pretty good dark ale... maybe a little unbalanced but well worth a try...

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Photo of Vancer
4.48/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Best by: 19-10-07, nice. Inviting looking pour of a clear whiskey brown, topped by a ivory head that the 10% quickly killed off.

First brew I’ve had with this much spices in the aroma, even black pepper sneaks in there. Backbone a solid malt bomb.

Quaff was that unique blend of winter spices and some faint smoke, along for the ride with Mr Belgium yeast and Ms. Sugar Cane. Very sharp and dry, even with all the malts in it. It took ½ bottle to adjust to the new flavor, then it turned into an excellent by the fireplace sipper.

A freebie for me, thanks to my great son, “studying” overseas in Amsterdam - I was sent this for the unique chance to enjoy.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle

Pours with a dark brown body, tan head with good retention, some nice thick lacing on the glass on the way down

Smell, thick estery dried fruit, plums, raisins, dates, prunes. Some burnt brown sugar and molasses, little bit of malt in the background

Taste, thick heavy spiced malt, sweet and bitter dried fruit soaked in rum or some other heavy liquor. Slight sweetness, bready malt, little hop bitterness, slight warming alcohol but only slight

A tasty belgian ale, the 10% is very well hidden

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Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great colour! Red and brown and orange and yellow, a melange of strokes. Iced over cloudy appearence. Not much head but some, pockets. Bubbles stick and a different shade from the top to the bottom. Neat! Great explosive aroma, quit a mess to figure out. Spices are plentifull, as well as pepper, dried fruit, nuts, lots of everything! Bold and plentifull. Not 'hot' in the mouthfeel, but still explosive as well. Coarse and minerally. Alcohol noticeable but not overpowering or distracting. Nice flavour. Tons of back thought. Gritty but satisfying. Balance between carbonation and the texture seems off, but all in all this was more than impressive.

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Photo of benmiliron
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Paid 2.09 euro for a bottle.

This is a surprisingly good beer to be found in S. Italy. Color is a gorgeous ruby red brown. Head stays on with nice thick foamy lacing. Smells of belgian candy, licorice, burnt sugar, spice. Lovely. Taste is almost as good - heavy dark malt, high gravity, sticky but not overdone. I almost want to say there is a candy cane in there, but that's not it. Cinnamon? Mouthfeel is just about perfect to compliment the above. Soft bubble, sticky & nice (very nice) roll around the mouth.

There's only one weird thing about this brew: no yeast at the bottom of the bottle. I think maybe it's pasteurized?

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Photo of therica
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out as a nice dark amber-caramel color with a fair head that doesn't stand or stay long.

There's not much of a nose to the beer, at least what I can smell. The taste is very interesting and has tastes of buttery burnt caramel, possibly anise as a light undertone, and an interesting assortment of other subtle flavorings.

Alcohol is (someone's going to retrieve the bottle)... 10 percent. Yep. Maybe why I just started having difficulties typing this review. Heh.. we thought the date on the rear was the brewed-date-- it's not for another 8 months... "best by" ie consumed by date. Funny what alcohol can do when it sneaks up and bites you on the a88. So much for writing any more, I was doing fine trying various Belgian's that I brought back on the flight, before this beer, but obviously this one has just toasted me...

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Photo of davidchollar
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a pretty clear red-brown. interesting color for a belgian dark, it could be mistaken for tea, until you notice the thick frothy beige head. or until you smell that big malty, sweet belgian beer smell. familiar roasty, bready smells, with just a faint hint of something i can't quite place. big and buttery, it reminds me of full-bodied red wine (perhaps it's the 10% abv?). smells strong.

wow, this does not taste like 10% abv. maybe a little too sweet for me, but certainly not bad. finish is pleasantly bitter. medium carbonation and body with an incredibly smooth and light feel. overall good purchase, great beer, i will get it again.

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Photo of stcules
2.23/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Beautiful color, between cherrywood and brown. Beautiful foam, beige, compact, even if not very longstanding. Not bad.
In the smell malt, light caramel, ligh red fruit (tropical?).
The taste is by far more unbalanced, with a lot of alcohol. Red fruit again, but anyway, far worse than the smell. Malt, again, and a lot of caramel. No. No way.
I remember it (some years ago) much, much better.

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Photo of Bierschenker
4.36/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favourite beer brands.
This bottle poured out a dark amber-red beer which (like all Grimbergens) wasn’t very keen on giving a head. The head had a light brown colour and was quite creamy.
It had a hard sour acidic and malty sent with some chocolate and sweets in it too. It wasn’t a very nice smell, but most strong dark beers tend to have a ‘heavy’ odour.
The taste was very strong and also very rich. Some strong bitter chocolate sneers and dark German bread with a strong malt taste and citric tones. As the beer got warmer the flavour was enriched with the taste of dried prunes.
The aftertaste was a dry and warm malt and chocolate and traces of dried prunes and raisins.
A beer with a good alcohol percentage and a high drinkability. Surely one of my favourite beers.

Ut Vivat, Crescat, Floreat

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Sampled at ‘t Kroegske in Ostende with my good friends “Posh” Nik and “Red Shed” Steve Wiltshire on the finish of a heady days drinking. The last night of my annual Easter trip to Belgium, and my tired palate, called for some serious strength brews to celebrate the end of yet another great trip to this most wonderful of beer nations which never fails to impress me.

After trying the Keyte on draft, as opposed to the bottle which I had tried earlier in the week in ‘t Kroegske, the owner who recognized us from our earlier libationary visit, pulled out some chilled Grimbergen Optimo Bruno bottles. Now we’re talking!!! Brewed at Brasserie de l’Union, although this Ale Brewery is now owned by S&N / Alken-Maes, I have always found the Grimbergen brews to be passable and continued to drink them at times of limited choice. Yet checking my notes I had never tried the Grimbergen Optimo Bruno it seems, so this was a new one for me.

Appearance: Ruddy amber with light ruby red-copper hints, not exactly “brown”. Thick clotted cream head that filled the Grimbergen glass with a light tan brown expansive froth. Certainly looks good in the goblet and presents a very “high-powered” presentation. Finely attenuated carbonation, miniscule bubbles form the “under the head” world of milky conditioning when this one is angled and righted.

Nose: Deep malts, Brune like odors despite the less than Brune like appearance. Sharp acidic sour character to the Malts with some dark fruits in the background to balance this out. Spicy hop finish with some sharp edges. Nicely put together, rather one-dimensional, but nevertheless bold in strength.

Taste: Much better than it smells, solid dark malts, a lightly toasted feel with raisins, prunes and dark chocolate middle. Light oatmeal and baked bread feel in the finish. Dry ending with some nice spicy bitterness to balance the dark chocolate malts.

Mouthfeel: Pretty bold for a Brune, but given that it is 10% it isn’t shy or backwards in coming forwards. Thick Malts and the soft warmth that it imparts in the upper chest after the swallow lend it a big feel.

Drinkability: Oh man, the 10% is stealthy, it creeps up on you, I had two of these and they both hit me on the way home, a double mugging. Way too easy to sink.

Overall: Clocks in at 10%, yet it does seem to be a rather simple Strong Dark Ale in presentation, yet given time and a little warmth it is not that bad at all. Not great but a solid performer. However, it most certainly hit the spot after a long days drinking and I would go for this one again no worries…..but later in the night! LOL.

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Photo of Paddez
2.99/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours an extemely clear, amber-coloured brew (rather than brown, wich the name suggests) that produced a small but dense head after a rather hard pour. It dissapeared rather quickly too.
The smell is malty with some fruity notes and some alcohol near the end of the sniff.
the taste starts of spicy and malty but it soon overtaken by a strong acidic taste of alcohol.
The alcohol has a warming effect, wich is nice but the overall mouthfeel is quite poor:
Same goes for the drinkabillity. Although this brew argueably hits less hard than the Grimbergen Triple it's still incredibly heady.

Quite an alcholic brew. It was okay for once but I won't be buying it again.

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Photo of Gusler
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have been a fan of Grimbergen since I sampled my first double so many years ago, and I still seek them out when possible. A pretty cherry red to almost copper as it sets in the glass, the head modest in size, frothy in its consistency, and the color off white, but it does evanesce quite quickly leaving a very thin veil of lace. Nose is a bit vinous, tart and crisp; the malts play a big role. Start is quite tart, lots of malt, the top is middling in feel, with the finish bitingly acidic, and the hops are perky in their spicy bite. Dry long lasting aftertaste and a decent beer, not a great beer, but well worth the sample and the 10% ABV does warm the “tummy” if not the cockles of your heart.

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Grimbergen Optimo Bruno from Brouwerij Alken-Maes
3.7 out of 5 based on 115 ratings.
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