Wednesday, 22 February 2012

REVIEW #46: Gouden Band (Brouwerij Liefmans)

Pours murky brown but shines with a red glint when held to the light. It produces a huge tan head which subsides to a collar with lacing. Sweetish cherry and leathery aroma. You can almost smell the dank cellars which housed the beer during maturation. Sweet and fruity (sherry like) up front in the taste, gradually developing characteristic sourness along with caramel & raisin notes from the sturdy dark malts. Medium bodied and well carbonated; its a complex but refreshing beer. A totally different beast to Brouwerij Bavik's Petrus Oud Bruin. Gouden Band and has more in common with Verhaeghe's excellent Flemish Red, Duchesse de Bourgogne.

Brouwerij Liefmans - which was founded in 1679 - went bankrupt in 2008 and was taken over by world player Duvel Moortgat (they own, among others, Ommegang Brewing Co. in the US). Despite the switch of hands, most of Liefmans beers have survived the transition  and well. Gouden Band is one of them. It is a classic Flemish oud bruin ("old brown"); a type of 'provision beer' first brewed in the 1600s with a high ABV in order to survive often long transportations by ship. Flemish red ale is a related type of 'provision beer'. Gouden Band has one of the highest alcohol contents of the style (8% ABV), hence is a realistic reflection of an oud bruin of yore; most modern versions are between 4-5% ABV. The beer, a blend of old and young brown ales, is matured in the brewery for several months to evolve after primary (open) fermentation and can be further matured at home; it undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle. See my review of Petrus old bruin for comparison here.
  • IBU: LOW <10
  • ABV: 8%

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