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Loterbol Bruin | Café-Brouwerij Loterbol

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Loterbol BruinLoterbol Bruin
Very Good
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 Sammy
2.88/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Looked like a barleywine with yeast, lace. A huge initial head. Expirey the next month. Aroma of alcohol, with malt and yeast. Taste: burnt through and through. Burnt yeast, burnt barley, some chocolate malt, yeast, sediminent of burnt particles. Doesn't work for me.

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Photo of emerge077
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BBD: Jan. '08

Pours into a BFM chalice a ruddy brown with a finger of tan foam. Toffee and yeast esters in the nose. Full, unfiltered body, super malty and drying in the finish. Toffee, cocoa powder, mild spice, with a residual herbal and roasty taste. This ale was described as being dry-hopped. Overall, fairly rich with some depth, well balanced, but not mindblowing. ABV was well hidden, but finishing one was enough for me.

Paid way too much for this ($12) at the Bluebird, a pricey new spot in Chicago.

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy cola brown color with a typically frothy Belgian head that leaves plenty of lacing behind

Smell: Surprising bouquet of tobacco and mocha; biscuity with a touch of licorice

Taste: Starts out with mocha and unsweetened chocolate flavors that are joined, mid-palate, by a bitter herbal flavor that reminds me of Chinotto; a touch of residual sweetness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with lots of carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting flavors and I particularly like the bitter herbal element

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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 XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a haze, dark mahogany-hued body with a large, foam-riddled, beige head.

Smell: Scents of the brown malt variety, including notable notes of caramel, light roast, and, upon slight warmth, cocoa. Child-sized handful of dehydrated fruits and licorice-flavored jellybeans splashed with alcohol and dried herbs.

Taste: Hearty brown malts that begins sweet, but this is knocked out by some spicy licorice and tobacco tones and peppery alcohol hints. Fruity tastes of dried cherries and raisins. Late-arriving hint of cocoa powder. Slight hop bitterness mingled amidst the spiciness. Spicy, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly good bruin here, it presents a decent mixture of flavors and goes down with relative ease.

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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 Slatetank
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%

I enjoyed this at Delices et Caprices in Brussels - poured chilled from the bottle in a glass.

The color is hazed dark amber with thick foam of white with sporadic lace stickage and good retention with fine bead. The smell has a hint of floral with nutty and lightly yeasty esters with wheat malt aroma w/ subtle alcohol and mild earthiness in the yeast which dominates. The feel is pretty light in body wiht mild sweetness and gentle toasted texture with medium high carbonation with slight alcohol impact with earthy dry finish.

The taste has a moderately earthy grainy flavor with toasted husky and mild biscuit-like taste with medium high alcohol in the taste and gentle herbal accent with mild grainy flavor continuing and hint of honey-like sweetness from the malt and light yeast spice with subtle alcohol until the finish which is mostly dry. This is a very good belgian but probably my least favorite of the evening -pretty strong yet worth a try.

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Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle, best before May 2010. Poured into a goblet, this brew appears a murky brown color with 2 fingers of creamy khaki head. The cap holds with solid retention that slowly fades leaving patches of lacework on the glass.

The smell of this brew includes sweet Belgian candy sugar, brown sugar, raisins, plums, chocolate, light spiced aspect, citrus and tangy alcohol. Faint herbal hops keep the sweet smelling aspect of this brew in check.

The taste is sweet Belgian candy sugar initially mixed with some toffee and caramel malt. A solid presence of 8% alcohol is felt with herbal hops to balance. Faint chocolate malt with a light musty aspect. Spicy Belgian yeast throughout yet dry on the finish with a crisp light candy flavoring. Nice balance of candy sweetness to herbal hop bitterness.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Big alcohol warmth yet balanced very well. A fine example of the style. The best before date seemingly means nothing here, it could have been aged for several more years I feel without I'll effect.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: deep, ruby red that's edging into a woody brown, with just a small head, only a brownish ring around the edges.
Aroma: BAM! OOF! WOW! Licorice, man, like sticking your face into a bag of Twizzlers! Never encountered an aroma like this before, incredibly unique, and there's nothing, honestly, not one thing else I encounter in this olfactory aura, and that's fine.
Taste: mmmm, mellow, nice, that same aniseed taste returns, but in a minor vein, dark and tasty, and utterly unlike any other beer I've ever had. It's got something of a brown ale character, but the flavor profile is dominated by this licorice taste. Medium to full body, nice, medium finish, really tasty, in a most unusual fashion.
Gotta give it props, this is a heckuva unique little beer!

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +0.8%

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

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich dark brown hue with a ruby tinge when held up to the light. Head is three thick fingers of frothy light-tan foam. Very nice.

Smell: sweet and fruity aroma. I'm getting pears, plums and something akin to a tart strawberry. Very interesting; I like it.

Taste: rich malt flavor with a lot of depth. Sweet malt base malt starts it off and finishes with a very smooth chocolate character; the fruitiness remains throughout much like in the aroma. There is a little bit of tartness and perhaps some over-attenuation, but basically it's a very, very tasty beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a huge carbonation and concomitant creaminess. The effect is magnificent.

Overall: this is a highly satisfying dark Belgian ale. I would love to be able to quaff this right from the source.

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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 jdhilt
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a five-fingered light brown frothy head that fades slowly and leaves a ton of lace. High carbonation. Cloudy amber color but the yeast stayed in the bottle. Nose is malty with a hint of raisins Starts malty and smooth; finishes on the sweet side with a hint of hops. Medium bodied. $4.10 for a 330ml bottle. The ABV is 8%.

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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 ppoitras
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle obtained via trade with LuckySevens82. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed 1 1/2" of thick tan head over the deeply burgundy brew. Head doesn't lose much height over time, and lacing is delicate and prevalent. Aroma is sweet, lightly spiced, with fruitiness as well. Taste starts with the sweetness the nose portended, but quickly the spicing and a roasty malt flavor gain prominence, closing with a bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good. Nice bruin here.

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Photo of Suds
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a dark brown color. The head is thick and foamy, nice lace, and the liquid has notable small bits of yeast in suspension. The smell is pretty nice…Belgian malts, sugar, a little phenolic spiciness, some horseblanket quality, and a little earthy yeast. I love those smells in combination, it’s something that you never get tired of smelling. The taste has similar qualities, with a notable caramized sugar flavor in the front. There’s a little bitterness for balance. Fairly full and satisfying mouthfeel. On the downside, there’s not as much of the ripe fruit and warming qualities that I appreciate in most Belgian dark ales. They’re present, just a little more restrained than necessary. This is a well made but modest brew.

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Photo of mrfrancis
2.68/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a dark brownish amber with a thick khaki head. It looks appealing, especially when held up to the light.

S: The expected aromas of dark candy sugar, toffee, dark chocolate, coffee, and heavy cream are present. Notes of resinous hops peek through
upon further investigation.

T: Starts off sweet and rich with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, toffee, vanilla bean, candy sugar, and heavy cream. The taste becomes noticeably more bitter just before the fade with spicy, resinous hops, warming alcohol, and an odd, unwelcome burnt flavor creating a distracting and discordant contrast with the earlier sweet sensations.

M: Medium-to-full bodied with a thick, somewhat sticky feel to it. Definitely not a mouthfeel to write home about in my opinion.

O: This beer starts off strong, but falls apart on the finish. It's simply too heavy-handed and overbearing, and the way in which it flits between sweet and bitter is distracting. Perhaps I got a bad bottle...

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Photo of papat444
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Flashback #254

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Photo of bsuedekum
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Gmann
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown ruby color with a decent light brown head, left some lacing as it dissipated. The smell is of sweet figs, caramel malt. The taste is initially of figs, slightly spicy, finishes with a coffee/chocolate flavor. Moderate mouthfeel, creamy, well carbonated. Reminds me more of a Dubbel than a Belgian SDA. I could drink a few of these.

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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 Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into my Delerium Tremens chalice, a Belgian Beer Fest leftover, imported by the Shelton Bros. Fresh stuff? BBF was Oct '06, and the label says best-before end of Apr '05. Nice.... Other label oddities, besides the 2 jolly gents who look dressed for some sort of Carnivale, are the descriptions of this Belgian Strong Dark in other languages... In German it says "Helles Starkbier". Helles? Ya, right!! And in Italian "Doppio Malto". Double malt? I've seen that description on Doppelbock labels... Anyhow...

Poured a deep, dark chestnut-brown hue. Was clear, for now, as I left a substantial amount of sediment in the flasche (swirled in near the end). Head was a frothy, creamy, tan mass, steady at 1" for a bit, then receding slowly and leaving a lace trail behind. Looking good! Loter has a lovely nose, with a nice, DBock-like sweetness and some dark fruit notes. The body is a solid medium, with decent smoothness on the tongue from start to end.

Flavor has a brown sugary semi-sweetness, though not quite as sweet as the aroma suggests. Yummy dark fruit flavors abound, with some raisin and prune coming through. There is also present a slightly burnt, bitter edge to it, though it doesn't detract too much from the overall flavor. Finish is a tad dry, yet the dark fruit lingers a bit. No noticeable after-effects of the 8% abv. Rather liked it, and wished it was a 750ml bottle and not 330ml...


overall: 4.1
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of garymuchow
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Given to me as a gift (thanks Todd). Best by date of 4/05, so let's see if age has been hard on this. With 8% abv it should hold up for a little.
Real malty aroma with slight spicy and some sourness, possible a staleness (slightly cardboard - but not overpowering). Reasonable complex and consistently prominent.
Nice steady firm dark head. Really a dark beer with reddish brown in light, but rather dense in appearance. Heck of a yeast sample at bottom of bottle.
Well blended flavors dominated by malt, mostly rich and dark without passing to roast. Minimal sweetness and unfortunately holding enough staleness to distract some. Lacking dark fruit and not holding much yeasty spiciness. Mild alcohol with some slight heat. Very extended taste laying on the tongue that seems to still possess a mild hop bitterness. Nice little flavors show up now and then (such as the chocolate taste I just got), but overall they are few and far between.
Nice rich and full body with carbonation present and enhancing very nicely.
A little unfair for drinkability since this bottle is past prime. Some nice aspects peak my interest. I need to try a fresher bottle.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a burnt garnet color with a creamy head and leaves good lace. Smell is sweet, malty, fruit (cherry), peat caramel. Taste is nicely balanced with a sweet maltiness, cherries, caramel, peat and some alcohol. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth, light effervescence, medium/full body. Drinkability is pretty good but not great. A middle of the road Belgian brown ale.

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