Loterbol Bruin | Café-Brouwerij Loterbol

Loterbol BruinLoterbol Bruin
78 Ratings
Loterbol BruinLoterbol Bruin

Brewed by:
Café-Brouwerij Loterbol

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 12-24-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 78 |  Reviews: 67
Photo of K7M
4.87/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer that I would love to be able to have on a regular basis, unfortunately from what I understand less than 60 cases per year enter the USA. Too bad for those of us who have experienced it.

Pours with a great head and fragrance. Superb color and flavor, lots of sediment which is not detrimental in this case. Complex flavor, sorry I cannot describe in great detail, I simply am not a wordsmith. I know when I enjoy the Beer I am drinking and I know when I don't, doesn't mean it is bad or great Beer, simply that it tastes great to me. I tend to like dark beers, especially Bocks and I also like heavy wheat Beers. This Beer will be enjoyable to those who appreciate Bocks and Weizens.

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Photo of Brandt
4.82/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer poured out an opaque dark brown color with a one finger head that was light tan in color.

the smell was rich caramelized sugars and a rasin and toffee sweetness. there was some fruity esters in there and an aroma that reminds of almost creme brule with a touch of musty yeast character that is reminescent of a wet log in a dank forest.

the taste is stong rich caramels and toffees with some dark dried fruits including plum but not really fig. this is just plain wonderful and has a light hip bitterness that follows the beer out.

this beer finished out semi dry and a medium to full bodied brown with a nuttiness that lingers on the palate reminding me of walnut as well as a warm boozeyness. this was a wonderful beer to be able to get since its not all too common and i would not hesitate to get another, absolutely devine!

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.79/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big nose of mlats and candi sugar. Lots of yeasty character too, some fruit (dried apricots or plums maybe), a little chocolatey, some honey-like qualities. Pretty rich aromas all around.

Deep brown colored, just barely opaque. Does not appear cloudy but it's dark enough that I can't really tell. Head pours big, but fades to a nice tan foam leaving behind a good amount of lace.

First hit is pretty sweet, then bittering hops kick in and it washes away very rich and malty. Bittering from hops lingers a bit in the aftertaste. (really cool in that it goes sweet, bitter, then sweet again, then slightly bitter across the palate. There's still quite a bit of fruity esters from the yeast and I still get a little chocolate in the flavor. But the malt quality is pretty stellar.

Body is medium big. Carbonation level is appropriate. Not obviously alcoholic in flavor or warmth but the richness suggests the strength.

Wow, really nice rich brown ale. Probably stands up to the classic dubble pretty well. Might have to blind taste this against some of the abbey beers. Thick and filling.

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Photo of Morningstorm
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Near-black pour with a gargantuan head. Mellow sweet dark chocolate smell, with a bit of licorice. Crazy caramel, hop, raisin, prune, soda flavors. It's almost as if the brewer took the best characteristics of a home-brewed Cola and somehow added hops and transformed it into a beer. Creamy and smooth finish, ultra drinkable, to hell with the ABV. I love this beer - if only I could afford to keep this stuff around the house.

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Photo of bskrtz
4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 ounce bottle, to open challice. Served cold -- 39 degrees

A) Deep dark brown. Held to the light, I can't see the bulb. Swampy & thick

S) Bitter herbs, fresh flowers, root beer, sweet pastry

T) This is good beer. Not as sweet as many Belgian dark ales, but complex with bitter, unique yeasts and hops. I smell root beer and ginger bread as I sip.

M) Belgians seem to have a consistent effervescent quality, with fine, tight carbonation. This may be due to bottle conditioning.

D) A very drinkable beer. It's strong but I barely taste the alcohol. A real treat -- I think I'll have another.

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Photo of silenius
4.48/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a HUGE head that overflowed my glass, twice!

The lace on the glass is the best I've ever seen. 3D lace with the foam sticking out from the side of the glass.

The beer is a murky brown with a bunch of yeasty bits.

Smell is sweet light raisin note with alcohol and dark sweet fruits. Figs and a bright note of lemon candy.

Taste is the lemon candy coated with figs and raisins. Not a lemony beer, but I get that as a core with substantial dark fruits surrounding it. The lemon character comes out as the beer warms. Long bitter finish. Very interesting beer.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with a dry aftertaste.

This is a big boozy beer, so I'd reach for something else next, but will be buying this again. Purchased from Moulefrite at the Wine Discount Center in Chicago.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This is a thick, dungy brown in color with some big carbonation. The head came up nicely on an easy pour, showed retention, and left some good lacing on the inside of my Chimay glass.

Smell – This has a very unique nose. I first get a subtle wisp of hops. Just a bit. Then the real aroma comes on.

Oh, is this complex. There’s a light nut of some kind then some dark spicing. I get a whiff of licorice, some alcohol, then the big malts, which make up the bulk of the nose and are what I call roasty/toasty. The main ride seems to be this very complex malt, which I can’t begin to pick apart, light alcohol, and light nuts. It’s almost like a liqueur kind of scent, like Amaretto or Crème de Noyaux.

Taste – This one comes together beautifully. The malts really pick things up. I was worried that the complex nature of this beer would lack for leadership, but this clearly is a BSDA. The light nuts and dark fruits come out as well. There’s a small balancing hop bitterness – it’s just at the very end – and a perfect warming sensation of alcohol.

Mouthfeel – This is between medium and full in the body. The many different flavors keep the salivary glands active and the richness of the ingredients gives this one an incredibly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability – This is on a whole nother level. It’s an amazing divergence from the norm while still staying true to the style. Drinkability? If this one doesn’t tickle your palate you’re dead.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is quite old; it says it is best by 2005, which likely means it was bottled in 2003 or earlier.

A - It pours an unremarkable chestnut-brown hue with a small cap of foam. Surprised that it even looks this good.

S - It smells vaguely malty with some chocolate sweetness and a little strange citric nuance. It belies a very strange, full and complex palette.

T - This beer tastes much more intense than it smells, and as such is delicious. It tastes like chocolate soda, with a large amount of toffeeish malt and a lemon-lime finish. These strange flavors are very well-balanced and are complemented by a slight assertion of booziness. There is much in common here with soda, but its just bursting with character. This is one of the best old beers I've had; time was a friend to this one.

M - Fairly medium-bodied, perhaps lighter than medium. Still retains effervescence.

D - Awesome. I'd like to compare it with a non-ancient example, because I have no idea what this beer tasted like when it was fresh.

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Photo of wyllder
4.46/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at The Moan and Dove in Amherst, MA.


This pours a deep ruby brown with a massive 1-1/2 inch, pocked fizzey beige head that isn't going anywhere until you make it. Carbonation is evident as little bubbles make their way up through the glass.

The nose is a tantalizingly interesting combination of caramel, and--if memory serves--chocolate pop rocks or tootsie roll with a slightly fruity edge. I've never smelled anything like this in a beer before, but it smells absolutely delicious.

Taste doesn't disappoint either. First you have all the head to deal with. It almost tingles in your mouth as it hits you with that effervescent tootsie roll flavor. You don't want to scrape the head off of this, as it's a treat in and of itself. From there the same flavors follow though on the palate with hints of mitigating bitterness interwoven perfectly.

Mouthfeel is good and drinkability is very good for a beer that's 8% abv.

This one came out of nowhere to instantly become one of my favorites, and I love it when that happens.


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Photo of augustgarage
4.44/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Immense thanks to ShogoKawada for this one. Best before March, 2010 supposedly.

Poured from a 330mL bottle, yeast and all, into my Bruery tulip.

Opaque bole body with a rocky wheat colored head that settles rapidly to a half-finger of light cream. Rich albeit thin lacing.

Melanoidin in droves in the nose - pastry crusts, demerara sugar, rich lightly roasted malt - along with a touch of winter spice (nutmeg? clove?) and loam.

The palate entry is impressive as it is only lightly sweet, the focus instead is more on the depth of malt accompanied by a mild wheat-like bitterness from hops and some further spice and complexity contributed by the yeast. Cinnamon, toffee, faint cloves, a little banana - this is so delicious and well balanced that I've almost drained the glass before I can analyze the profile any further. Lightly peppery, dry, and bready finish. Fantastic.

Nice middle-weight mouthfeel, although the carbonation is maybe a little low.

Lacks a little complexity compared to the pinnacles of the style - and some may find it a little too malt-forward perhaps, but such nit-picking is really out of place for such an enjoyable brew. A shame this isn't more widely available.

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Photo of PEBKAC
4.44/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Post-It edition.

BB: December 08
Too long? I hope not.

Once I take a hearty sip, the fatty wine glass quickly gets replaced by my everyday pint. It just drinks better.

Inches of stiff cream-colored craters that take their time settling out. A sort of mahogany color. Cloudy, but so far pretty decently decanted. I can't hold off the sediment for long though.

Macerated raisins, maple syrup, concord grape juice, & light resiny/herbal hops.

Maple syrup, prune juice, cola, & smoke. Some muted earthy & rindy hops that linger. Hint of clove. A twinge of newspaper that is totally my fault for sitting on this. Full gulps of dark cherry. Barely a touch tart. A satisfied smile.

Surprisingly less thick then I assumed it would be. Frothy, with moderate carbonation. Disturbed yeast makes it just a bit dirty. Alcohol is intertwined & never gets hot or isolated.

This empty glass is just as heavy as some still full in my fridge. A very nice brew. :)

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The owner of my favorite beer store touted this as the "best dubbel" he'd ever had. I can't argue. I'd have to compare head to head with the Westy and Westmalle, but I loved this one. Dark, fruity, and extremely flavorful. Big, foamy head - lots of retention. If you like the Westy, Westmalle, and Rochefort, seek this out. It blew away the (Brasseraie) Abbaye de Rocs Gran Cru I followed it with.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a deep dark glowing copper with a thin, creamy off-white. Semi-hazy with some yeast sediment.

Smell: The smell is super sweet and strong, hug spice and alcohol notes, with some fruit aromas thrown in there for fun.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Smooth and complex, with a huge phenolic alcohol presence. Warms the whole way down. After the first few sips you start to notice the other flavors coming out. Fruits, caramel, candi sugar, and more. Each sip brings about new flavors and nuances, while still maintaining balance. The mouthfeel is sticky and chewy.

Drinkability and Overall: A very interesting Belgian beer, that's truly unique to itself. I really enjoyed this one, and while I couldn't drink it all day everyday, I really wish I had another to drink. Recommended!!

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Photo of wl0307
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coming in a 330ml slim brown bottle, BB 04/2009, served lightly-chilled in Westmalle's broad-rimmed chalice.

A: deep dark copper hue with slight murkiness, topped with a very well-lasting 0.5cm thick dark beige cappuccino froth
S: sweet black-tea aroma comes with refreshing chocolate malts, licorice and understated sour-sweet prunes. A swirl gives rise to an extra touch of esters like sweetened kidney-bean paste that is not as assertive as many other Belgian dark ales, but all's approachable and integrated on the nose.
T: aromatically dark malty and yeasty upfront, but soon backed by a deepening hop-bitter backbone that shows a marvellous herbal+savoury+spicy mixture featuring licorice powder, pepper cone, spiced dried olives, black-grass jelly, a bitter edge of burned sugar and dry-ish burned malts. Very chewy, dry and unusually bitter in the finish, witnessing really good interaction b/w yeasts and hops, where a "dry-ish sweet" herbal edge as of licorice and aniseed seems to outlast everything else.
M&D: the carbonation is well in control, refreshing but only microscopic fizz is felt on the palate, complementing the evolving structure and deliciously bitter theme just nicely. Overall, this Strong Dark Ale shows less influence of the dark candy sugar than of the copious amount of hops, as the bitterness overall really elevates this estery dark ale to the next, "quaffable", level~~

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Loterbol Bruin delivers a huge head of rocky tan foam that holds exceptionally well and leaves impressive lacing throughout the entire goblet. Carefully poured (and it almost needs to be to keep the head from rising out of the glass), its deep mahogany body is quite clear and reveals reddish-chestnut glints at the base and sides of the glass. The nose is somewhat restrained as the massive head holds in the aromas; but it does reveal some softly sweet, cocoa-ish and toffee-like malt; some grassy and floral hops; and a light touch of spiciness that leaves it quite inviting. The body is medium; and it's very fine-bubbled, natural carbonation initially bristles on the tongue. The same sweetish, caramel and cocoa-like malt that's found in the nose is present right up-front in the flavor. It becomes more chocolatey as it crosses the palate and then some bright fruit appears just before the swallow. Bold bitterness and leafy, grassy, and floral hop flavors rise up mightily in the swallow, giving some indication of how much malt is really in there that it needs to be so solidly balanced. Dry and lingering with hops, a swirl of spiciness, and a cusp of roastiness; you're left craving another sip of the entirely opposite, rich and sweet nectar that just slipped away from your tastebuds so readily. Impressive! Its alcohol may cut down on the number of servings that you can actually have in a row, but the desire to have more than a few remains. A very well done beer that teeters on going overboard in some ways but always remains solidly in check. The alcohol never becomes more than just noticeable; and it remains balanced to the end. Certainly worth trying for those who like a little bit of hops in their Belgian specialties.

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Photo of billyshears
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge pillow-y tan head, dark brown (close to seal brown). Hops and nuttyness take charge along with some dark fruits and yeast. Malt is nice but not really upfront. Good smooth mouthfeel with passable carbonation.
It's a bit different take on the BDSA; not as sweet but makes up for it with a great hop profile. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Picked this up cause I liked the label and was not let down.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cherry caramel with bright orange and amber edges, murky russet after the final pour. The Belgianesque cap (which translates as 'amazing') is golden ecru in color and is as whipped creamy as any I've seen. It's also incredibly sticky, as evidenced by the thick bridges of foam that connect cap and glass, leaving a great array of lace when they eventually break. This is a fantastic looking beer.

The nose is merely good. It's brown malty and somewhat dark fruity, with less spiciness than I'm used to in a beer of this style. I love what I smell, it's just that more power would probably have provided the complexity that I'm looking for.

My first mouthful was interesting to say the least. The first few seconds were enjoyable, if simple and unexiciting. As my taste buds got used to what they were being bathed in, the darker flavors came on with a rush. Black malt, anise, blackstrap molasses and raisin puree... these are a few of my favorite things.

Unlike the nose, the flavor is incredibly spicy. Along with the usual clove is something that I don't taste very often: black pepper. I can tell that very little candi sugar was used because there's much more bitterness than sweetness. I like sweet BSDAs, I like tangy BSDAs, and I like this bitter BSDA. Simply put, I like BSDAs in all shapes and sizes. I have little doubt that this bottle of Loterbol Bruin would have lasted well beyond the 'best by' date of January '08.

The mouthfeel is a fraction too light and a fraction too undercarbonated to be considered special. It gains some amount of girth with time and warming, but it also begins to lose what little carbonation it had to begin with. How was that beautiful, massive head created, I wonder?

Loterbol Bruin is an intense, black-hearted, black peppery humdinger of a BSDA. If you like Belgian beer and if you like sensory overload, then by all means, give this one a whirl. It isn't that easy to find, but it's definitely worth the effort.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.31/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ML green, Belgian bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for $10.99...
The appearance was truly exceptional - even a slow, steady pour resulted in a massive, huge foamy head that slowly receded and left an incredible amount of lacing around the edge of the glass... Deep purple, crimson, ruby-red hue...
Sweet, malty aroma rendolent of dehydrated fruits, figs, and prunes...
Sweet, caramel and vanilla taste accompanied by notes of dates, dark fruits, chewy malts, and a slight tinge of vanilla...
A very authentic, high-quality, substantial beer bursting with character, taste, and flavor...
Good, creamy, rich, thick mouthfeel and an equally good level of drinkability make this a pleasure to enjoy...
Good stuff...

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Photo of aleyeast
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a goblet, shoulod have been a tulip, but I was lazy.

says best before 11/05, not sure if that is bottle on?

Brownish Red in color, nice deep color with a thin head that disappates to cover

Brown sugar caramel fruit on the nose, with a little alcohol burn.

No burn on the taste, similiar flavors of caramel, nutty and fruity on the flavors, but malt is dominant. warms nicely and the brown sugar comes out.

Fairly easy drinking at 8%

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Photo of pat61
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Some mild tart on the also some fruit – tending towards raisin. It pours opaque chestnut brown with an off-white ½” foam cap. Dark dried fruit on the palate - primarily some raisins with a balance of sweetness and light tartness in the background. Not much in the way of bitterness. Some alcohol, some caramel a hint of chocolate and a suspicion of sherry or port. Medium to a little less than medium for carbonation. Body medium to full.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ABV listed as 8% on this 33 cl bottle dated best before 5/2005. Pours a chestnutty brown with a pillowy light tan head that retains excellently. Chunky particles left in suspension after entire contents of bottle were emptied. Chocolatey and hop aromas paired up with some wet wood and wild, fruity and yeasty smells. Semi-sweet bakers' chocolate and earthy bark purvey the malt and an astringent hop bite and delicate yeast round out a flavor that is one of the dryest browns I've experienced. I'd tried this a few times before and slightly underestimated this beer compared to the blond. I thought the blond was outstanding and the bruin was good, but not as good. I was wrong, the bruin is that good. Leafy and malty and beautiful. One of the better Belgian browns I've had recently.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice a clear deep dark amber brown with a tan head which rose slighly and fell to lace the glass.

The aroma was strong, strong malt and dark caramel when first opened. As the head made it's final retreat the aroma became dark caramel with a phenolic Belgian yeast spice. The alcohol in the aroma on this one was strong and prevalent. Some dark fruit presence of raisins and prunes was notable.

The flavor was nicely malty with a dark caramel and muted Belgian yeast spice that was quite peppery. The dark fruits, again raisins and prunes, were notable but muted and added complexity to the flavor rather than being presented as a strong characteristic. Some alcohol was present in the flavor and set off the phenolic and peppery spice of the yeast.

The finish was dry with a bit of lasting chocolate (very dry) and pepper spice into the aftertaste. The body was medium full with a moderate carbonation level. The alcohol warming after consumption was fairly high. A pretty darn good Belgian Strong Dark, the flavors were complex and interesting rather than being prominent and overpowering.

11.2 ounce very full bottle.

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Photo of Rayek
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Tulip.

A: Murky chestnut brown, with a fair amount of yeast despite a gentle pour. A huge cream cap slowly, but surely settles to a patchwork quilt of foam. Leaves intermittent chunks of lace.

S: Vinous and slightly spicy. Dark fruits in the form of raspberry, raisin, prune and a lot of strawberry are out first. Some pepper and clove sit behind. Alcohol brings a light tingle to the nostrils.

T: The dark fruits from the nose sweep quickly into the initial flavor. A pepper and clove spiciness comes on quickly and provides a greater bite than the nose would indicate. Alcohol adds a light warmth going down. A mild sourness hits at the very end.

M: The medium body is slightly doughy and has soft, yet vigorous carbonation.

D: This is a nice Belgian Strong Dark that drinks lighter than it is. I was through my bottle quite quickly for a beer this strong. An excellent overall pickup. Definitely a beer to serve on the warm side, as mine got better and better as it lost its cool.

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Photo of Absumaster
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 750 mL bottle, just for my self.. This bottle pours a brown, red hued beer with a big head that falls apart into soapy bubbles.

Smell is perfumy with hints of all kinds of fruits, sweet cherries, strawberries, figs, dates and tobacco, maybe a hint of bees wax. Through this a little sulfur shines through. A wonderful sniffer beer.

Taste is soft. There are tastes of caramel malt, cacao, chocolate, a whiff of alcohol and maybe a little solvent. The yeast adds a lot of flavors, which are very interesting. The moutfeel is smooth, but after swallowing the beer leaves a nice warming feeling. Just a little prickly from the carbonation and alcohol.

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Loterbol Bruin from Café-Brouwerij Loterbol
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 78 ratings
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