Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior - Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

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Abbaye De Floreffe Prima MeliorAbbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior

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BA SCORE
84
good

177 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 177
Reviews: 110
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 10
Gots: 20 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brasserie Lefèbvre SA visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: LarryKemp on 02-05-2003

A Special Reserve Ale exclusively for the use of the Abbot and his guests. A rich brown beer seasoned with Anise & Coriander, secondary fermentation in the bottle, based on the brewing tradition of Floreffe Abbey, founded in 1121.

Ale brewed with spices (star anise, orange peel).
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Ratings: 177 | Reviews: 110
Photo of BeerBeing
4.6/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 0.75 liter brown glass semi-custom bottle with cork/cage, mostly blue label

Appearance: very dark brown, light brown head, good lacing

Smell: excellent, raisins, plums, coffee, herbs, sweet malt

Taste: excellent, full body, great mouthfeel, sweet malt, a lot of it, fruity at the same time (black grape), you can feel alcohol also

Notes: VERY TASTY, good stuff

Photo of AlexF
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Petite bouteille de 33 cl.

La Prima Melior est d'une couleur brune foncée et opaque. Une mousse foncée, abondante et persistante décore le verre. De belles bulles s'échappent du fond du verre. La grande classe.

Au nez, la Prima Melior offre des touches de raisins madérisés, de chocolat et une touche metallique. Les arômes sont très agréables et laissent présager un goût exceptionnel.

En bouche, le côté ferreux metallique est très présent, conjointement à un gout de pain d'épices, de brownies.

Bien qu'excellente, la Prima Melior, en tenant compte de son style, n'offre selon moi pas une texture assez moelleuse. Cet aspect est toutefois mineur. L'alcool est très bien caché.

Haut de gamme !

Photo of Globetrotter
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found in a Moscow supermarket, this brew comes in a 750ml brown bottle with cork and cage. The label is white, gold and blue, with a nice drawing of an abbey. Ingredients include cane sugar and spices. Best before 6/18/06, I couldn't wait longer than 12/19/04.

Pours an opaque deep burgundy hue under a 1.5 finger tan head that lacks body but makes up for it with staying power. A couple of wisps of lace cling to the glass, but most of the head just sinks down the glass as the liquid is consumed. Sweet fruit and spice nose, with grape prominent but a touch of perhaps coriander lurking in the background. Well carbonated and slightly sticky mouth coats the tongue nicely. Nice smooth taste, opening with more grape to go with the chewy malt. A raft of spices floats along the surface, tough to pinpoint but adding luxury to the experience. There is also that signature Francophone sweetness in the hops, which leave no bitter impression at all but announce an unmissable presence in the finish. The aftertaste is a refreshing combination of grape and bread. This is good stuff.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.43/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ML cage w/ cork > mini snifter

This one is a deep, dark brown with purple highlights and ruby hues. Very vibrant look and an amazing soft, creamy head, wicked sticky lacing, superb retention.

The aroma is an abundance of dark-sweet fruits and herbs, sweet raisin, prunes and spice underneath.

Wow, this one is verging on *gulp* red wine. But with even more charecter! Very jammy, grape jam, blackberry, very dank fruity flavors and white pepper. The hop gives a nice balance of earthy, bitter hop. A slight black licorice current from the star anise. Tangy and sour yeast with a dry, light but smooth feel. Very complex.

Sip this puppy S L O W.

Photo of doktordebris
4.37/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a 11.2 from the Foodery(?) in Northern Liberties, Philly. It was the next drink I had after a glass of the great Geants' Goliath an hour earlier at The Belgian Cafe, where it was so loud that I kind of damaged my throat just trying to converse with my friends. So, I know you're not supposed to review a beer with handicaps like this, but the Prima Melior still treated me with a more than substantial, even inspiring after-dinner drinking experience.

A: Poured into some funky shaped goblet/cocktail glass thingy(closest to a proper glass my friend had available). Foamed up pretty nicely, left the lees for later. A thick beige head topped a dark warm brown, leaving just a bit of lacing.

S: No hoppy smell, just rich dark malt, with a deep sweetness that made me think of fruitcake. Followed by some citrusy highlighting.

T: Ahh.. Perfect for the holidays. Big and chocolatey rich, yet graceful down the hatch, warming at the finish. The most surprising element I noticed was the orangepeel, good to see it used in something other than a Wit for once. Poured in the leftover lees, which put an exclamation point on the citrus, with a little breadiness to compliment. The combination reminds me of how I've always enjoyed chocolate and oranges together, and this time especially following the Goliath and mussels I had for dinner earlier.

Mf: Carbonation was perfect for a belgian. Thick, but more accessible for those usually scared off by belgian darks.

D: I thought this was very drinkable, didn't get too sweet as time went on. Not too over the top, even with it's concentration on maltiness, yet plenty complex for any beersnob.

Photo of brewbucker
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Shigadeyo for trading this to me.

This pours a very deep murky brown with a medium head. The fade fades some but leaves a thin pillowy layer. The aroma is fantastic. Rich fermented fruits, candied malts, spices and touches of booziness (is that even a word)? Flavor is sweet and candied. Lots of rich boozy fruits, spice and malts. There is also a slight tartness that is quite nice. This one turned out to be a nice surprise. I thought it would be good but it turned out to be great.

Photo of ntillemans
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Several fingers of head that died down into a nice lacey film in short order. Reddish, brown color.

S - Malty, fruity with a hint of licorice

T - Strong maltiness with alcohol warmth peeking through and the bitterness of orange peel swiftly sweeping in to offset the sweetness.

M - Some carbonation...but the sugars import a slight syrupiness.

D - I liked this one a lot. I could have had more, though it was very filling.

Photo of ccrida
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 750ml bottle, with a best before date of 12/18/2008, it's a youngin'. The front label says brewed with spices (star anise, orange peel), while the back cites anise and corriader, so maybe all three? We'll see...

Poured into my old Abbaye d'Aulne goblet, Prima Melior is a dark, hazy garnet with a thin but long lasting bone colored heard that leaves moderate foamy lace.

The smell is nice and rich malt, more on the cured side of the dark fruits, with some definite citrus, which I find unusual for a BSDA, but works well here, especially with the anise, which is fainter.

The taste is semi-sweet, a nice citrus tartness behind the aforementioned cured fruits, a la raisin and fig, with a hint of anise. Very smooth and balanced, with quite a lot of depth. A touch roasty, but no astringency to speak of, and a slight flash of booze on the finish.

The mouthfeel is very carbonated, as this is a pretty young brew, with a medium body.

A very enjoyable BSDA that went down way to easily. It's interesting, that I bought both this and the Abbaye De Floreffe Triple at a tasting, where I definitely preferred the triple. But now that I've have a bottle of each, it's clearly the other way around. And while this surely cellars well, it's remarkably smooth at this young age.

Photo of GilGarp
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this 750ml bottle up on sale for $4.99. Seemed like a deal and I love this style so what the hell.

Pops with authority (just how I like it) and pours into my globe glass with a perfect inch of head. The color is a nice deep dark brown with red highlights. Pretty good clarity from what I can tell.

Aroma is nice and malty with some sweet cherry-like characteristics. Nice Belgian yeast on the nose as well.

This beer is full of flavor but nice and subtle at the same time. Not overpowering like some of this style, it has the softer taste of a dubbel. Very impressive fruit flavors of cherry, plum, and raisin. Nice subtle spiciness and the Belgian yeast is great.

Mouthfeel is typical for the style with full body and a little extra carbonation.

Drinkability is very good for the style given that it's not too strong in flavor or alcohol.

Overall, a surprising find and one that I may want to pick a few more up of given the price.

Photo of crossovert
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle "best before" 2009 04 04.

Pours like motor oil and when it is in the tulip it is a dark brown/ pretty much black with a thick large tan head that rises to the top of the glass, leaving some lacing as it recedes slowly.

The scent is pleasant and rich but not overly rich. There is definitely a lot of orange in the scent along with some anise, no coincidence. There's not much else going on besides the yeasty dark fruit scents that are usually found in this style.

The first thing I notice is the smooth, rich, not hugely carbonated mouthfeel. It works perfectly with the flavors of this beer. There is some residual orange form the smell that transfers to the taste but there isn't a huge anise kick in the flavor, it is more vanilla and coriander with a hint of cocoa. It has that spice tinged flair but it is very fruity. It is super complex.

Overall this one surprised me big time. It is one of the smoother, not as sweet BSDAs out there.

Photo of jrallen34
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I drank this from the bottle into a tulip.

This beer pours a dark brown with a big light tan with great retention and lacing. The head stayed for about 5 minutes.

The aroma was awesome, with light hops and lots of spice, light orange.

The taste was like the aroma but stronger. Its very spicey you can almost chew this beer and you get lots of allspice. Its almost like a stout but it isn't. Tons of flavor in each sip always changing. Very drinkable.

Photo of garcia2a
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Floris in Brussels. They would only serve it in an earthen mug, so I had to use a triple karmeliet glass for the color and clarity.

These beer poured a deep mahogany, nice and cloudy with a fair amount of carbonation. I estimate about a 1 inch head.

The bouquet has light and airy malt tendencies, some yeast and a hint of caramel and cocoa on the backend. This gives little indication of the pending gustatory experiences to come.

The taste is big, bold and heavy on the malt. Finished with a pleasing caramel flavor. The body was big and although the beer started off with decent mouthfeel, as the cloying began the taste became a bit tart. Overall the beer has roasty and warmong tendency that can only be rivaled by sweaty eddie himself!

This is a nice beer overall, a good session beer or just a "sippin' in the Poconos" tasty.

Photo of rastaman
4.26/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, use by date September 2001, so its an old bottle, the girl at Bottles in London gave it too me for £2, down from the normal £5, because it was past its use by date. Beautifull dark brown, slightly hazy appearance, with a beautiful white head, with fantastic lace. The aroma is of chocolate, vanilla, some roastiness, herbs, raisins and port wine.
Wonderfully smooth, mouth covering stuff, lots of choc and vanilla, and that roasty and herbal notes i picked up in the aroma, are there to finish off, very long finish, with some lovely port wine qualities, nice aged character.

Photo of altheimera
4.26/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich dark chocolaty taste. Spicy. Sweet caramel finish. Very dark appearance. Very drinkable.

very strong odor was noticeable immediately upon opening the bottle , though it dissipated quickly.

I enjoyed this beer, would definitely drink it again, though it was hard to finish the whole bottle (bit too sweet by the end)

Photo of Billolick
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, caged and corked, with best before dating on the rear label. Pours very dark brown, minimal light shining thru, even on the edges. This one, just like the triple, lifts a huge long lasting frothy head, here its dark tan and leaves classic looking Belgian lace. Fine bubbles continue to rise. On the nose, notes of raisins and sugary spice come forth. Allowed to warm, a picture of a big, flavorful BSDA emerges. Notes of plenty of raisins, cocoa, rum, dark grains and Belgian goodness. Alcohol and candi sugar notes are quite moderate and well inserted into the mix. Impressive creation, in the same league as the heavy hitters of the style. This is a lesser know brewery that is turning out some fine creations. Well worth a try IMHO...go get some...and enjoy.

Photo of basica
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark amber brown color with a pretty well retaining thick, rocky, foamy head. (4)

S - Light nose of Dark fruits and perhaps some malts. (3.5)

T - Strong upfront sweetness and floral tastes fill the palate together with an attack of dark fruity goodness which gradually fades into a mild bitterness in the finish. The after taste was slightly raisiny but not too pronounced. Deliciously crafted. (4.5)

M - Medium-bodied mouth-feel with just the right amount of carbonation tinge and a nice foamy smoothness and mild dryness; well-balanced. (4.5)

D - Very drinkable due to the well-crafted taste package and the presence of a "correct" mouthfeel, by my definition, for this style. very sessionable though probably just a tad sweet. (4.5)

I have to admit that the Floreffe Prima Melior has exceeded my expectations.

Photo of ojiikun
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found as a 750mL bottle with cork, cage, and an expiry date in April of '09, presumably indicating a very recent bottling. Poured with great bursts of head thanks to a fairly warm serving temperature that were fairly controllable. Body is dark, dark brown and ruby red when held to the light. Expected something a bit lighter for something with the spice profile of a wit, but hey, surprises are good! Head is loose, long-lasting, and the colour of a nice, strong cafe latte. Body looks crystal-clear, as best as can be told thru the dark hue.

Smell is lightly sweet and of that odd combination of old-world belgian yeast combined with darker malts that is only describable as bubble gum. Fruit from the orange is obvious forward, though it actually presents as something more like strawberry than citrus. Hopping is like soggy pine, not very citric. Musky.

Taste is much sweeter and a bit more spiced. Yeast is like that of a light dubbel, but malts are all caramel and brown sugar. Spiced much like a chai with hints of vanilla. Nothing all that distinguished, but a nice reminder of what Belgian ales are all about.

Feels light on the tongue, even quite warm. Finish is a tiny bit dry-tacky, but only just. Carbonation is endless and is well balanced with the profile. No booze to be found.

This was a great surprise. This brew manages the wildness of a dark quad like the golden dragon, but without as much booze and a lots less bitters. Not the most sophisticated beer, but with heaps of flavour. Highly recommended for the belgian ale fan who remembers back when all strong ales came therefrom.

Photo of shroompod
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle. Best before 10:06. $4.99 a 4 pack.

Pours with a rocky head , lacing throughout.

Getting hints of the star anise and orange peel in aroma.

Dark sugar notes on tasting. Molasses and caramel malts are tempered with whats left of the spices.

Mouthfeel is medium , carbonation is good.

Overall a pretty good beer, found on sale , and pre-aged.

Photo of Rastacouere
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown, but I'll gladly admit the unclear Floreffe glass doesn't easy the task of evaluating its appearance. Head is just fine, off-white, medium-lasting, well-laced. The aroma is great. Very yeasty and heavily malty sweet with notes of chocolate, coffee, caramel. Also considerable fruitiness among which stood out plums and apples. The taste displays a medium complexity with plenty of fruits like peaches, pears, apples, orange. Well spiced too with its restrained hints at cloves, cinammon and vanilla. Light to medium bodied though, rather carbonated. On the sweet end of belgian ales, but very balanced (despite alcohol being well noticeable) and pleasant to drink. Most definitely my favorite Floreffe.

Photo of Cwrw
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought Prima Melior back from Belgium in 2004. This corked 750ml bottle has been aged upright in my cellar for 1 year and 9 months. Not sure if I should have aged it for that long...but let's taste and see.

The Floreffe beers are genuine Belgian Abbey Beers brewed FOR the monks at Floreffe Abbey BY Brewery Lefebvre. The website had this to say about the Prima Melior: "Prima Melior was the Special Reserve Ale exclusively for the use of the Abbot and his guests." Cool.

The labelling is a rich dark blue showing a picture of the Abbey. Neck label shows the same. Served at cellar temperature in a chalice. The beer is a lovely deep chestnut hue, opaque and very full. Hints of ruby red and even dark orange around the edges at times. The head is thin and light brown, with excellent small bublles and good consistency despite being cellared for nearly two years. Solid lacing too. A great looking Belgian brown. The aroma is big on the yeast and spices, but the malting is there too and it really shows off big notes of flax seed, mulitgrain bread and dusty barley. The anise and coriander add a medicinal aroma that smells like a herbalists shop, or even some cough medicine, but it's never off-putting. I think the yeastiness may be a little over-pronounced from my aging the beer though. The aroma is actually quite the fickle fish though--this is a really unique smelling brew, for as it warms the medicinal herbaceous characteristics increase and mix with the alcohol to create a wonderfully complex set of aromas: I get quite pronounced hits of wild mint at times, horehound, peppermint, tree sap, light black licorice, fresh cut green grass, all sorts of indescribable flowery notes, and brown sugar. Plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg to be had too. The hops are undetectable but the malting is grainy and vinous. Wonderfully complex, the aroma kept me coming back for more. The first tastes are very yeasty, and dusty. The alcohol is there, almost sparkling wine-like. Grainy malts dominate, and the taste is sweet, with very little bitterness. Not quite as complex as the aroma. The spices are also in the mouth, mainly at the front. Black licorice, brown sugar, and woody tastes. Crisp carbonation and a medium-full body. This goes down extremely easy, as the alcohol is extremely well hidden. I paired this with single cream Canadian brie, havarti, and blue cheese. The brie was good but was overpowered, the havarti too, but the salty tang of the blue cheese was complemented exceptionally by the beer's sweet taste. Try it. A lovely quirky brown Belgian. I cannot say if the aging helped or hindered, because I only had one bottle and didn't try the beer un-aged. Still, it aged exceptionally quality-wise. I would definitely recommend this. Glad I carted it back from Brussels.

Photo of mwilbur
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a dense ruddy brown (minimal light comes through with backlighting) with a nice 1-2 inch light tan head. Good retention and lacing. Looks like cola when being poured from the bottle.
S: A balanced mix of spice, caramel malt, phenols, and funky yeast. Chocolate and earthy hops reside in the background. Very nice.
T: Under ripe dark fruit--plums, dates--and black licorice. Spice, caramel malt, phenols, and musty yeast. Hint of wood and mint in the aftertaste.
M: Medium body. Slight effervesence at first which gives way to a phenolic bite. Soft and slightly astringent. Lingers decently on the palate.
D: A very pleasant and well balanced brew. Good complexity and easy drinking (ABV extremely well hidden). A pleasant surprise.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Revisiting this guy, complete with review, after remembering enjoying it about a year ago. I let it warm up a bit from the fridge (just FYI). It pours a dark-ish ruby-brown topped by a finger of slightly-off cream foam. The nose comprises rye bread, Belgian yeast, nutmeg, figs, brown sugar-cinnamon, pecans, and oak. The taste brings in all of these for a reunion, along with some red apple skin, black grapes, black pepper, and a touch of cocoa and vanilla. The body is a medium that yearns to lean to the lighter side, with a very light moderate carbonation and a lightly grainy feel. Overall, a very nice BSDA, one that affirmed my memory (always a plus) and seemed to please the lady (always a plus). Good times here all around.

Photo of Yetiman420
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed at Au Trappiste in Paris. 33 CL bottle and presented in Floreffe glass.

Dark brown with 1/2 finger foamy tan head. Fig, prune, and raisin in aroma. Man, this smells good after mostly wine the past week.

Dark brown - flavor reflects aroma. Too cold at first and drinks better as it warms. Creamy head stickes around.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Bruery tulip.

Pours deep, deep brown, not quite black but it's in the ballpark.Two-finger khaki head, creamy, settling into a dense one-finger cap. Excellent retention, very nice lacing. Oddly, lots of effervescence showing up around the edge of the glass leads to the creamy head on top showing as much bigger-bubbled and cola-like on the bottom.

Nose is intense, fairly sharp; big dose of spices lend an almost metallic edge to an underlying chocolate presence. Dark fruits take on a bit of tartness - currants, under-ripe pit fruits. Surprisingly bright.as it warms, red grapes come through more clearly. Unexpected, but certainly not unpleasant.

Taste is interesting. Follows the nose in its bright character - loads of unripe pit fruits up front, lightly tart, currants and berries, lingonberries come to mind, with just a bit of lemony brightness on top. Light cocoa and brown sugar come through also, with notes of clove and big time spicy phenols from the yeast. Finishes sweeter than expected, fruity, with a light richness complemented by a light bitterness from the spices. It's almost like someone took a spiced BSDA, spiked it with a tart cassis-based beer, and then fermented the whole thing with a very phenolic Belgian yeast, or even a hefe yeast. Very interesting beer. Not as deeply satisfying as, say, a masterfully done straight-up quad, but certainly more intriguing.

Mouthfeel is lighter than expected, medium-light bodied, with a zingy carbonation that turns fluffy at points almost magically. Body feels cut by the light acidity. Drinkability is fairly high, all things considered. It sort of evolves in your mouth, unexpectedly, so you don't want to stop drinking it. Very interesting beer.

Photo of ATPete
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle

Pours a dark brown color with a thick tan marshmallow head, lots of sticking throughout the glass. Soft Belgian yeast qualities in the nose, floral/earthy esters as well, licorice, molasses, cinnamon spice, creamy chocolatey malt and wonderful ripe fruit notes. Coating in the mouth and quaff-able. Medium bodied, good amount of carbonation, high drinkability, i really enjoyed this beer.

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Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior from Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
84 out of 100 based on 177 ratings.