Oud Bruin (Old Brown), also known as Flanders Brown, is a traditional style of beer originating from the Flemish region of Belgium. The beers are light to medium-bodied and deep copper to brown in colour. Typically they are a blend of old and new brown ales and are characterized by a slight vinegar or lactic sourness, spice and are smooth and sweet with little or no hop flavour.
Van der Ghinste Oud Bruiun started life in 1892 as Oud Tripel from the newly established brewery in Bellagem in West Flanders. The brewery, Omer Vander Ghinste, is still in family ownership and is a member of the Belgian Family Brewers association.
The original beer has found a new impetus under the name, Vander Ghinste oud bruin. The base is a top fermented brew with malted barley, wheat, hops, water, and caramelized malts. The unique character comes from the blending with lambic beer aged in oak for 18 months.
In the glass the beer has red brown colour with a tan head that recedes to about 3mm. The aroma is a vague perfume which slowly shows signs of sweetness and malt and a touch of pepper. The taste is immediately tart (lemon juice/granny smith) followed by caramel and a hint of white wine vinegar, which give way enough for the malt to come through.
The finish is tart then candy sweet, then dry malt, but not necessarily in that order. The interesting thing about this beer is the way the three elements intermingle with nothing taking over. A beer to savour and with 5.5% alc. Vol. a second ( or third; the bottles are 25cl.) can easily be accomodated.
If you’re a dedicated Oud Gueuze drinker then perhaps you’ll find the sweet interplay a bit distracting, otherwise keep an open mind and I promise you’ll enjoy this beer.