Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap)
De Brabandere

Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap)Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap)
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Style:
Sour - Flanders Oud Bruin
Ranked #75
ABV:
7%
Score:
85
Ranked #42,326
Avg:
3.6 | pDev: 12.5%
Reviews:
49
Ratings:
69
From:
De Brabandere
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  3
Gots
  2
SCORE
85
Very Good
Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap)Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap)
Notes:
View: Beers
Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 69 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

4.15/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

As noted by a reviewer below in 2014, for the European market this beer is 6.5% rather than the 7% listed in the Description^. Also of note... the bottle had rested for weeks, been chilled and handled/opened most carefully yet unexpectedly some foam spumed out on de-capping it. Sometimes that happens, I'd suggest not opening whilst sat in on a nice white sofa or in a wedding dress hehe just in case...
L- A deep chestnut red, surprisingly clear given how it put on a such a show on opening. Pours with 5mm super fine bubble tan head that's holding really well (and continues to 10mins later).
S- Deep, complex dark yet bright fruit-cake notes.
T- Follows closely with the smell. Dark rich heavily loaded fruit cake, dark raisons, a touch of molasses, even a hint of cherry. I see sour appears in it's Style^ but I don't get that at all, and good job as I tend not to like it. Surprisingly for 6.5% blind-tasted I'd suggest I'm getting a higher-ABV% flavour/feel note....
F- ... Seems unlikely at 6.5%, more likely it's the richness on the tongue plus hoppy zing. I've had some Belgian Bruins where they have been over-rich to the point of being sweet - This is deffo not like that.
O- What a lovely beer, my rating should land this in the top-5% of my 1000+ ratings to date. I can imagine drinking this with a meal in place of wine, or as a slow-sipping after-dinner tipple in front of a fire-place in winter. I'd happily drink this again.
330ml bottle BB: 28/11/2020. Bought from BeersOfEurope/UK for home delivery.
p.s. Interesting name for a beer eh, 'Pillar biter'? The fragment of a painting used on the lable is by the Flemish artist Breughel the Elder from back in the 1500s. He painted 'village scenes', often busy, with much to catch the eye. This is from a famous painting called 'Flemish Proverbs', with characters shown, or group of them, illustrating many different historic proverbs. This one, a 'Pillar biter' referred to someone who made such a big public show of his religious piety that he's in church not just bodily wrapped around a pillar, he almost devours it in a show of prostration to God. Some things never change, call it virtue-signalling just 500 years ago before social media... And this is why Breughels works can be so engaging, not many vices, weaknesses or hypocracies have changed, even 5 centuries later...

Jul 25, 2020
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Beersnake1 from California

3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from just under fridge temp. Pours a fairly clear, but dark, red. Head is a light brown and sticks around for a while. Nose is interesting. A touch of sour cherries, but a lot of leather and earthy notes. Some honey, plums, and maybe a touch of cough syrup. Taste is nice - a touch of toffee, raisin, plum, leather, malts, and bitter smoked wood. Mouthfeel is fairly light. Overall, I would not consider this the best of the style, but it's drinkable.

Aug 28, 2019
Photo of DJLehnherr
DJLehnherr from France

3.59/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The Pilaarbijter brown poured out of the bottle with a big and tall foamy head. A lot of carbonation here. A light and translucent (almost clear) brown color, a shade over to the red side. At first, all I could smell was the malty yeast scents coming from this long-lasting head: an overpowering yeastiness. After the foam settled (after quite some time), perhaps a little cherry sweetness mixed in with the malty scents.

It tasted fairly sweet — a bit sweeter than I expected — mixed with that roasted chestnut flavor that I really like in browns. Very typical of browns here. Maybe again also hints of cherries, and then with a little bitterness — but not too much — on the finish. The carbonation was lost on the head, however, as this beer went flat very quickly.

After several sips, my main impression was that this 6.5% ABV beer is very easy to drink: Maybe too easy to drink. The flavors are there, but they’re less bold than in other browns. This is a mild brown, a bit thin -- it even seemed “watered-down” to me. This is a beer that would pair easily as an accompagnement to a meal, but is perhaps less impressive as a standalone beer. Quite drinkable, however, and surely a pleasure for those who like sweet brown ales!

(NOTE: Though the page here says 7% ABV, my bottle marketed for northern Europe is clearly marked 6.5%.)

Feb 23, 2014
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damndirtyape from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at La Trappe, San Francisco. Served in a 25 cl Tulip Glass.

Appearance: Ruby-red to brown clear beer, with a light tan 1/4" dense head. Lots of persistent lacing all over the glass.

Smell: Slightly musty, oak, some vanilla.

Taste: Roasted malt mixed in with some woody/oak flavors, sweet malt (again a hint of vanilla) and some sourness at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth at first, but lingers a bit sticky on the teeth. Nice thickness and light carbonation.

Overall / Drinkability: Nice looking beer, but with my first few sips I wasn't sure. However, as I drank more of it, it grew on me and I ended up having another glass. While I ended up sipping on it over the dinner, I found by the end of the first glass I could have easily downed it and definitely wanted another glass to savor a bit more. So drinkable in regards to the fact that you want to enjoy it, slowly, over a longer period than a 25 cl glass can provide.

Jan 31, 2013
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TheBeerWatcher from Belgium

3.12/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pilaarbijter Bruin has a hazy, orange brown color with lots of floaties. The creamy head is beige and abundant. It slowly leaves a nice lacing on the elegant Pilaarbijter glass.

The aroma is dominated by roasted malts with a touch of tart and spicyness (cloves). Not really complex but not bad.

Tasting the beer is not surprising at all: more roasted malts, sweetness upfront and some bitterness in the rather long aftertaste. The syruppy mouthfeel and roasted taste make me think of a stout, certainly considering the very low level of carbonation.

Nov 29, 2011
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

2.68/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Cafe Samson in Nijmegen, Holland into a Bier van het moment tulip. Reviewed live.

A: Two finger slight tan head of nice cream, fair thickness, and average (~2.5 minute) retention. Colour is a semitransparent dark amber. Not at all brown in colour.

Sm: Amber malts is all me broken nose can pick up per the light strength of the aroma. All apologies, lads.

T: Amber malts, caramelized malt, and a bit of cream. Some bittering hops on the climax. Very simple. Not really bold and certainly not complex. A bit disappointing. Badly built and poorly balanced.

Mf: Too coarse. Wet. Very generic and not tailored to the flavours of the body.

Dr: Hides its relatively high ABV well, but is lacking in quality and even drinkability on account of the unwarranted coarseness. The price isn't bad in Holland, but it's still a beer I wouldn't havve again. It's very generic, but I wouldn't call it bad. Maybe fans of the style would appreciate it.

Jul 06, 2011
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deadonhisfeet from Kentucky

3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this baby into a goblet and it came out highly carbonated (as expected) sporting a nice white head. The nose was very wine like with apples, honey, and berries.

The taste is quite malty and fruity sweet up front (apples and dark cherries), then becomes dry juniper on the finish. The taste of this beer is quite good, but the finish is a little drab.

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, but one can easily find beers of this style with quite a bit more substance. There's certainly nothing wrong with it, but I don't think I'd seek it out. There are better ales of this style that are more plentiful in this neck of the woods.

May 04, 2011
Photo of Brabander
Brabander from Netherlands

4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good and honest brown old Flanders. I bought this one in Gent a few weeks ago. This is an old style beer and i loved it.

Poured in my Struise glass the beer itself is darkred to brown. Big big broken white head with some carbonation.

Good and sweet smell. Tasted some sugar, burned malt and very faint the yeast.

A very nice and drinkable beer!

Oct 31, 2010
Photo of smcolw
smcolw from Massachusetts

3.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gold and hazy. Starts with a great head and it continually leaves good lace on the glass.

The smell is distracting as I can detect a slight plastic smell.

The flavor is an improvement--no plastic here. There are notes of sweet orange with a light bitterness. The body is spot on. A nice Belgian Brown.

Sep 07, 2009
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ChainGangGuy from Georgia

3.11/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours out a lightly hazed, brown body with a tall, foamy, off-white head. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the Bavik Blonde, so I'm having trouble mustering up much enthusiasm for the Bruin iteration.

Smell: The base of malts presents gives off wafts of toast and brown sugar, which is fine and all, but it just doesn't grab me. Secondary notes of overripe fruit and alcohol mist.

Taste: Simple, humble brown malts with some tastes of toasted grains, nuts, and brown sugar. Dark, lightly sour fruitiness present. Earthy, spicy hops with no more than a light bitterness. Mild trace of alcohol. Plain, tempered flavors of sugar, spice, booze, and fruit until you hit the altogether crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: A step up from it's blonde brother, but that's not saying too terribly much. Some might say you can't even begin to spell bruin without "ruin".

Aug 01, 2009
Photo of katan
katan from Colorado

3.21/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz into a bottle

A - Pours a dark brown, to almost a red amber color. Extremely hazy. Head formation extremely strong, leaves behind a 1/2" head. Dirty white in color.

S - An orangish, sour, and almost acidic note on the nose. Very potent belgian notes here, with some yeasty backdrop.

T - Starts with that orange almost oxidized note - sour, acidic like orange juice. Mid-stream starts to show some sweetness and lots of buttery esters. No hops to be found. Some bready yeast bite starts to show in the aftertaste. Seems to have the hint of champagne instead of beer.

M - Moderate beer body, but certainly a potent carbonation profile. Little retained sensation on the tongue.

D - Moderate to low drinkability - highly filling with all the carbonation. ABV is OK, but a hair difficult. Lastly, the flavors just do get a bit old.

Jul 17, 2009
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twiggamortis420 from Texas

3.23/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sandwiched this one in between a dubbel and a quad thinking it was a triple...silly me, trusting the label. Pours a reddish-brown hue with a thick, pillowy light tan head. Fairly line-bubbled foam fades a bit fast to a nice sheen and leaves a wall of lace on the glass. Unusually dark for a triple, but now that I see it classified as a Oud Bruin here, many more things about this one make a bit more sense.

On the nose I get green olives, sugary alcohol, strawberry/cherry bubblegum and some black pepper. A pretty complex and unique smelling beer.

Kinda thin feeling and pretty fruity in the mouth. Surprisingly malty and bready. Taste is not as complex as the smell and I wish the yeast gave the brew a bit more character. Overall I was a bit disappointed with this one, but then again, I was expecting a tripel.

May 23, 2009
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janubio from Spain

3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one pours an enormous head that last for a big while.
Dark cloudy brown colour
Smell of dark fruits, raisins, cherries, chocolate and some wet earth. Rough earthy flavour, taste of fruits, specially cherries, with caramel notes and spices. Interesting, but there's something that it lacks that I can really define. Have to try another one.

Jan 08, 2009
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drpimento from Wisconsin

3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a big, big frothy, foamy tan head. Didn't decant and it had lots of yeastoids. Color is a dark hazy brown. Aroma was light, malty, yeasty, and a bit fruity. Flavor was similar but with lots of caramel and toffee. Champagnesque carbonation. Yeasty, taffy, bittersweet finish. Not bad. Could easily drink more.

Dec 11, 2008
Photo of JBogan
JBogan from California

2.97/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a cloudy dark amber with a large tan head. Lots of carbonation here.

Smell of raisin, perhaps a little coffee as well. Alcohol was present but mild.

Tasted the alcohol more than I was expecting, along with dark fruits and a bit of what seemed like tobacco.

Mouthfeel was somewhat thick, maybe overly so for my taste.

Not the most drinkable beer. I was a little disappointed with this, hoping for maybe a bit more balanced flavor.

Apr 14, 2008
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Graham5161986 from Canada (BC)

3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a cloudy, very dark reddish brown with a 3 finger, rocky off-white head that has great staying power. Leaves a patchy lace.

S: tart fruitiness, ripe cherries and a touch of brown sugar malt. A bit of cotton candy as well.

T: nice ripened, tart fruit flavour with a warming alcohol sensation, slight floral hoppiness with a sweet touch of yeast on the finish.

M:light and very crisp, well-carbonated and a smooth, dry, tart finish.

D: This is a nice and interesting beer. The colour is fantastic and tartness of the fruit really makes it an enjoyable beer to sip. The alcohol is well hidden and provides for the slightest of warming sensations as the beer slides down your throat. I would buy this beer again - I would also like to try their blonde.

Mar 06, 2008
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kimcgolf from Georgia

3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours to a hazy reddish brown color that with a light tan head that explodes out of the glass, but then quickly settles down to a skim through mid-glass.

Aroma is a tad muted, but is mostly a mix of hoppy citrus fruits and malty sour dark fruits. Mouthfeel is tangy-sweet, alomost like a dumbed down Flemish Sour. Flavor follows the fuit theme, and the finish is a fairloy confusing mix of smooth dark ale and the wackiness of a Flemish Sour.

An interesting beer.

Dec 21, 2007
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thierrynantes from France

3.03/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sorry but this following comment is in french :

Appearance : bière brune de fermentation haute, robe brun-rouge, la mousse s'éfface vite, effervescence moyenne
Smell : arômes de café et de caramel
Taste and mouthfeel : mince en bouche, légérement piquante
Drinkability : une bière d'abbaye correcte dans le style Belgian dubbel

Nov 24, 2007
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canucklehead from Canada (BC)

3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opaque brown with a big head this beer smells a bit like a dunkel. The taste is moderate with a semi sweet mid changing to a drier finish. A nice brown that is easy drinking but really very complex. I like it but it is not beer to stick in the memory.

Jun 28, 2007
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Derek from Canada (BC)

3.22/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in the brewery glass at Smokeless Joe's.

A: Deep amber-brown; off-white head, no retention or lace.

S: Dark fruit and spice, with slight hints of funk from the yeast.

T: Raisins, spice, brown sugar, caramel, cider, hints of phenols; modest bitterness. The slight sourness makes it seem like its more 'off' than an actual Flanders oud bruin.

M: Moderate body has some residual sugar, but the finish is still slightly dry.

D: Approachable, but not engaging.

May 25, 2007
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emerge077 from Illinois

4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled @ Palm Tavern in Milwaukee.

Two bottles were tasted, and both had excessive carbonation. The first bottle cascaded foam from the bottle for a good minute or two. The second was opened very slowly, and was poured immediately over the glass.

The color was a deep crimson brown, creamy foam formed an irregular surface. Smell was dark malt, slightly musty/sweet.

Taste was creamy, malty and balanced. Some pepper, caramel, dark fruit and earthy flavors. Not especially sour or even tart. Very smooth going down, quite drinkable.

This was a nice overall Belgian Brune, with more Dubbel characterisics than Oud Bruin.

Apr 08, 2007
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot of lace, with a big soapy head on cloudy brown. Served in the matching glass by the brewery, at Smokeless Joe's. A sharp aroma, something in the sour Flemish that stings the nose bit it's not very high ABV. chocolate malts, it's malty with a carmel and citrus Coco-Cola aftertaste, but with added spice, and then..a flemish sour finish. Or, like a Belgian yeasty dunkel.

Mar 06, 2007
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rallison from California

3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a mini Chimay goblet at Lucky Baldwin's.

Smell has some of the funky sourness - nice little hint as to what you're in for. Taste definitely has tartness, but is more subtle than a Duchesse, for example. Has certain oakey quality. Earthy flavors, with some caramel malts to balance it. Mouthfeel is pretty well carbonated, although not entirely satisfying - could use a little more body or something. Drinkability is good.

This is a nice, but not exceptional, example of the style. I'd take another glass of it if offered, but might not buy it again. Still, I can recommend this.

Feb 12, 2007
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

4.32/5  rDev +20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Explodes out of bottle, took 5 minutes to pour, fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Murky amber color, ton of yeast in bottom of bottle. Strong carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Raisin nose. Flavor is sweet and sour raisins, smooth easy to drink, this small bottle is not enough. $3.19 for a 330ml bottle from John's Market Place Tigard, Or.

Feb 11, 2007
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BlackHaddock from England

3.26/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl brown bottle with red cap, best before 06/2009, drank 12/2006.

Maybe I should have left this for a year or two, because it wasn't as good as I was expecting.

Poured into my 'Straffe Hendrik' bowl glass, its Redwood brown colour sparkled in the light, the half inch thick off white head slowly fell away even though the bubbles kept on coming.

Sour, vinagerous, acidic aroma, not the normal beer smell what-so-ever. As the beer warmed a little, a sweeter scent came forth, cooking apples.

The taste brings you back to what you wanted, a good Belgian Brown. Tart and strong, with a bite to the throat, made me burp, which makes me think I should have drank it at a later date (like 2008).

Even though I enjoyed this beer, I think an older one would be a whole lot better.

Dec 27, 2006
Pilaarbijter (Tripel Ale) Bruin (Red Cap) from De Brabandere
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 69 ratings