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Beer Review: Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V., Brigand

Sep 11, 2011

Ding Points: 43.00

Pour: 50.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 40.00, Global: 40.00

Tasting Notes:

Stubby, 11.2 fl oz bottle with an attractive sky blue colored cap. Label says ‘Bottled on 070717’ which seems a little strange; maybe a ‘best before’ date instead? Not sure why the St. George’s Cross appears on the label but simply some artistic license I expect.

The beer pours as a quite a dull, uninteresting orangey brown. Head is fierce at the start, but drops off rapidly. Very little retention but a small film on the surface of the dull colored body. Pour gives a lively carbonation that is frankly quite prickly and annoying.

Nose has some yeasty cardboard and a touch of alcohol.



There is some fruit in the initial tastes but the overwhelming early feeling is that the beer feels ‘old’. It actually has a musty note about it and feels quite thin. There’s a light, mustard element that is not very attractive and a bothersome aftertaste that seems a bit plastic-like to me. Carbonation is bothersome throughout the beer as well and it feels ‘dirty’ to me. There is a bit of pineapple here, and even perhaps some metallic bitterness, but for me the classic Belgian candy notes, white pepper and alcohol that should be a quintessential part of the style are all missing depth. I get some more cardboard and a combination of vegetal rotting and sweetish fruit. Not good.

It lacks something quite profound and this is not a good sample of the style at ALL. BSPA is one of my favorite styles and in that light I want to like this more. My bet is that the next time I drink this it will be fresher and perhaps induce a completely different experience, but for now, it is what it is.

I picked this up at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, GA and my suspicion is that this is an old bottle. Not the kind of thing that sells well in those parts, and it tastes a little stale to me. My very strong feeling is that this beer is much better than this particular sample would suggest.

Other: 9.0% ABV. Belgian Strong Pale. $3.99.


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