Thursday, 26 January 2012

REVIEW #9: Petrus Oud Bruin (Brouwerij Bavik)

This is the second review in a series exploring Belgium's more unusual and exceptional beers. Here I'm reviewing an Old Bruin (or Flander's Brown Ale). I will compare this to the Flanders Red of my previous review (Duchesse de Bourgogne). The next review will be the first of several lambics, showcasing a plain along with a faro and a geuze.

Petrus Old Bruin pours a dark rusty red, a dab darker than Duchesse. The off-white head forms a collar which persists longer than that of Duchesse. A Parma violet, peachy, sour aroma hits the nose. First sip reveals a surprisingly malty depth of flavour with the sweet caramel and sour notes of the aroma indistinct and muted in the taste. The finish is tart and yeasty; far less tart yet more yeasty than Duchesse. Hop aroma is negligible although a very slight bitterness can be detected, perhaps a product of other factors than the aged hops. Carbonation is low. Again a very thirst quenching style of beer. Both this and the Flanders Red can be aptly described as vinous in character.

Bavik Brewery own several brands of beer, however the Petrus range can be thought of as its most artisanal. As with its relation, the Flanders Red, Oud Bruin is twice-fermented and aged in barrels, not necessarily oak. This affords the yeast and bacteria (which contain lactic- and acetic-acid producing species) time to flavour and sour the beer. Petrus Old Bruin is a blend of two ales, the older of which is brewed from pale malt and aged for a full two years in enormous 25,000 litre oak barrels. The younger is a brown ale.

Note that old bruins of the Netherlands can be considered a completely different style of beer again (a distinction stressed by Michael Jackson, no less). Having tried Brand's Old Bruin in Amsterdam, it is remarkably sweeter (!), possessing a bottled-green-tea-with-added-sugar type of sweetness, which at the time I felt really overwhelmed many of the aspects of the flavour. However I should probably give it a reappraisal and review it properly on this blog when I get my hands on a bottle here in England.
  • IBU: LOW <10
  • ABV: 5.5%

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