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Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior - Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

Not Rated.
Abbaye De Floreffe Prima MeliorAbbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior

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BA SCORE
84
good

109 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 109
Hads: 179
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.94%
Wants: 11
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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Reviews: 109 | Hads: 179
Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Papsoe. Alcohol in nose along with spice, a bit of yeast. Dark brown with white head that dissipitates. Spicey taste with aggressive carbonation, despite expirey in February 2007. Chocolate in finish, overall medium plus mouthfeel. Satisfying, another good one from this brewery, (291 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.81/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber in color and poured with a finger high beige head. A thin layer of bubbles consistently covered the surface.
S: There are aromas of candi sugar and dark fruits in the nose along with some hints of spices.
T: The beer has a slight amount of sweetness and some flavors of dark fruits but this is contrasted by lots of flavors of spices in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and smooth on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is definitely one that needs to be sipped given all of the spices in the taste. (582 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.66/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy color ale with a super huge off-white foamy head with perfect retention. Aroma of sweet malt with some light spices (which may include some pepper and some anis). Taste is quite sweet probably from the candi sugar with some spices. Hops are clearly quite subtle and even the yeast is subdued (I would have preferred if it could have brought more character to this beer. Body is above average but could be a bit more full. Alcohol is well hidden. Overall, a very good Belgian ale and probably one of the finest product from this brewer. (566 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle - the last of the '1/2 Meter of Beer' mix-pack from this brewery, and now finally something of the darker and heavier Belgian persuasion.

This beer pours a mostly clear, very dark cherry cola tinted brown colour, with a teeming tower (aaaah, refermentation in the bottle) of puffy, thinly frothy, and fairly fizzy beige head, which leaves some decent sudsy limestone arch lace around the glass as it quickly subsides.

It smells of semi-sweet black fruit - raisins, dates, prunes, and dried cherries - somewhat sugary bready caramel malt, black licorice, muddled savoury spice (maybe it's coriander, maybe it's not), and a bit of earthy, musty yeast. The taste is grainy, kind of doughy caramel malt, tight, but not quite tart dark fruit (generally the same cats from the nose), a stronger sweet and tangy anise character, more hard to delineate earthy spice - ok, I'll just say coriander, and leave it at that - and a dry earthiness that is more hoppy than yeasty in provenance.

The carbonation is still quite frizzante all over my numerous palates after that initial outburst, the body medium-light in weight, especially for the style, and more or less smooth, neither yeast or alcohol caring to interfere here. It finishes just a tad off-dry, the caramel malt and candy-like licorice carrying the day against the countermeasures of the ethereal yeast and stealthy, encroaching booze.

Not a bad BSDA by any stretch of the imagination, but by the same token, a bit of a boy among men, when comparing it to the better-known abbey and laic versions readily available, like yer Gouden Carolus and even various Unibroue offerings. Nice to try, and duly warming after a spell, but I'm afraid my memory banks just don't have room for this one. (1,754 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark walnut with orange highlights, that becomes dark russet when afternoon sunshine is allowed entry. The cork colored cap was four fingers to start and is both pillowy and rocky. Unfortunately, it isn't very sticky. What lace appears is sudsy and transient. Subsequent pours do a better job of adding more and stickier residue.

The aroma is classic for the style, although it lacks sufficient oomph and smells a little metallic. Given the added ingredients, I expected something a little out of the ordinary. There aren't too many Belgian dark ales that use star anise, orange peel and coriander. Only the first of those is appreciated.

Floreffe Ale (Prima Melior) does just enough to be considered good. It helps that BSDA is one of my favorite Belgian styles. The beer couldn't help but be somewhat complex given the ingredients listed above; not to mention what is probably a fairly estery yeast strain. Another positive is that alcohol is virtually absent on the palate.

Dark fruit is the star of the show. In no particular order, the flavor profile consists of dark caramel, dark chocolate, ripe figs, dates, coriander and a wee bit of anise. Orange peel is still a no-show. Interestingly, the front of the label lists star anise and orange peel, while only anise and coriander are listed on the back. Warming changes... nothing.

The mouthfeel lacks a little oomph as well. It's a bit light, but doesn't wander away too quickly on the finish. The bubbles could stand to work a little harder when it comes to volumization.

Floreffe Prima Melior is better beer than the final score would indicate. Even though it can't hold a candle to the best BSDAs, and I probably won't lay out the cash for another bottle, I'm enjoying each and every mouthful. In the end, that's all that really matters. (1,801 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
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. (765 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.09/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Huge foam-up that dissipates to some streamers of froth.

Distinctive flavor of nuts, spice, pumpkin pie, licorice-- the whole candy store. Besides "canesugar" the label lists spices, so maybe the wise ones will know if this is spiced up like Anchor Christmas ale, which is exactly what this tastes like-- only sweeter. Clean flavors, no hint of oxidation or other odd flavors, but it's just very plain, just lots of cinnamon, allspice and such.

For the ridiculous foam and the excess of additives, and the lack of Belgian flavors, I don't rate this very high. However, I suppose you could call this a Winter Warmer and enjoy it with a slice of fruitcake. From the 33 cl botle bought at Beer And Gin House in Gent. (716 characters)

Photo of WesWes
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a towering offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a light malty scent that boasts of crystal malts and star anise. It has a nice fruity yeast aroma. The taste is decent as well. It has a fruity yeast flavor with a hint of orange peel and anise in the finish. It goes down easy and finishes earthy with a bit of warmth. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an above average brew, but nothing to get excited about. (541 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.23/5  rDev +14%
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. (775 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
3.76/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330 ml bottle served at Het Waterhuis in Ghent and served in its branded goblet. On to the beer:

Who likes a fluffy head which retains well? I do. I also like the dark brown color with reddish hues of this beer. The nose of toasted malt, kiss of chocolate, and a dose of cherry make a pleasant aroma. A good flavor continues the momentum, which starts with dark chocolate and toast. A kiss of tartness adds a little something different. Brown sugar notes too. Its aftertaste withers into a semi-sweet flavor. Regarding its feel, the beer is medium full with pleasing carbonation and somewhat acidic sensation.

Agreeable strong dark ale, and one that doesn't weigh you down too much. (685 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hmmm. anise and orange peel. Thinking it might pour a bit light and...whoa! Nope, this sucker is dark. Black or a very deep rich ruby color. Nice head, would give it a 4.5 if it laced up better.
Caramel and dark prune aroma. Slight anise, but only if you think about it. Rich. Some whaffs of unripe orange.
Taste is caramel and light chocolate. Raisin and slght anise. Orange makes more of an appearance toward the end. Like an orange chocolate piece. Alcohol is nice. Drinks easily. (485 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark black-brown, just flashing lighter at the edges, with a huge and frothy head of mild beige foam. Very rocky, and the boisterous foaminess of the head collapses after a while leaving a few globs of sticky lacing. Looks nice.

Big oaky characters on the nose, almost overpowering, with great medicinal phenols of rosewater and hot rain. A little roasted darkness flittering around the back as well, but the oak is the dominant force here. Quite intense and insane. Big. I like that.

Taste is also good, but very different from the nose. Slight roasted characters, and big, almost wheaty sweetness to it, with esters of banana and vanilla. Very smooth and very sweet, even though it feels a bit thin in the mouth, and there's just the hint of something slightly unpleasant - a bread yeast twang - on the very back.

It's a drinkable beer, no doubt, and very smooth. It confused me a bit with the disjunction between nose and mouth, but it's a tasty brew, and very smooth for its 8%. (998 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark, ruby color with a rocky tan head that was moderately lasting leaving a thin streaky lacing.

S: raisins, coffee, roasted malt and chocolate.

T: The initial flavor was creamy chocolate, dark roasted malt, cocoa and coffee. There was a nice breadiness with ripe fruit (raisins) and a good maltiness with some spicy black licorice notes. There was some sweet, toffee and caramel with a good yeasty character that plays through well. Finishes dry with some raisins, plums and coffee.

M: light, dry with moderate carbonation.

D: Overall was fairly average and one of the few things that hindered this beer. A good drink overall and moderately satisfying. (674 characters)

Photo of dgilks
3.01/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Interesting aroma with some alcohol, good sweetness and lots of esters. I get a combinations of dark fruit, grapes and even a touch of tropical fruit. A bare hint of anise like spice is good. I like this slightly different twist on aroma.

Brown with red tinges. The head is creamy, tan and lacks length. A bit hazy.

The flavours here just aren't right. I get a combination of liquorice, alcohol, liquorice, liquorice and liquorice. A hint of spice is present too but this isn't what I expect (nor does the BJCP) in a BSDA or Quad. I also get a hint of out of place roast in the forepalate. On the whole, drinkable but way off base for the style.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation. The mouthfeel isn't as smooth and creamy as it should be.

While I don't mind the flavour the 'in your face' liquorice flavour makes drinking the whole 750ml bottle difficult. (876 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy brown colour with a massive size frothy and fizzy light brown coloured head. I can't tell how much carbonation there is because of the murkiness of the beer and there is some very nice lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - malts, raisins, pears, cask wood, cloves

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a slightly below average amount of carbonation and it has a full bodied taste. There are lots of malts mixed with dark fruits (raisins?) and a touch of pear sweetness. There are also notes of cloves and cask wood and the beer also has a slightly metallic taste. It finishes with a malty dark fruit aftertaste.

Drink - The alcohol was well hidden and it had a pretty decent taste. It didn't blow my mind but I still enjoyed it. There are other beers in this style that are better options though. (882 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
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. (456 characters)

Photo of ccrida
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
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. (1,291 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darkish brown, almost black, body with one-finger head that died quickly. Spices are evident in smell along wwith a sharp, sour citric smell and some orange peel. The beer is good but a tad off as it seems there are heavy fruit flavors like orange and hark fruit fruits like black cherries and some malt presence (chocolate, roasted, vanilla). Finishes a little dry thanks to roasted malts and sour hop bitterness. Typical Belgian yeastiness and slight stickiness there as well. A good Belgian but not the best; still didn't mind sipping on this one. (558 characters)

Photo of stcules
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The colour is a full black, with abeautiful stout-like foam.
Smell of anise, plum, cane sugar. Maybe a little too alcoholic. Some velvet sweetness in the background, like vanilla or creme-caramel, but also some burned-toasted hints.
At the taste is malt, toffe, and toasted. And then again anise, plum, and black grape.
Medium body.
In the aftertaste, dark malt, plum and grape. At the end, it is cleraly perceptible the alcoholic again. (441 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Kind of an interesting brew. Had it at about 60 - 65 degrees F. Poured with a medium fine foamy light tan head and good lace. Color is a dark hazy brown. Aroma is malty, yeasty, a little funk, and licorice. Flavor is at first quite sweet, then a little tartness then back and forth to fade. Good body and carbonation. Finish is like flavor but more sweet. Not bad, not that great. (380 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks SeaBass

A: Pours a nice dark brown hue with a solid two or three finger head. Great retention and some lace noted.

S: Aroma of caramel malt, brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits, and mixed berries.

T: The taste is very much dark fruit up front with notes of blackberries, raisins, and brown sugar. It is rounded out with caramel malt, toffee, spices, and some funky yeasty notes as it warms.

M: Light to medium bodied with soft carbonation. Slightly sweet initially, dry finish

D: Good and pretty darn drinkable. (521 characters)

Photo of Daniellobo
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nicely brewed Belgian dark ale. Malty and sweet balance with a compact feel. (Question mark on these notes since bottle showed off-freshness date.)

Presentation: 750 ml corked bottle. Old fashion cartoonist design with a drawing of the abbey. Succinct description on the front with longer paragraph on the back noting craft and history behind the brew. Notes freshness as "Best Before" (L20090403 so it might be a bit off). Displays Alc. by Vol. (8%) Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Very dark brown with ruby touches around the edges. Extraordinary foamy head, which holds fantastically and leaves heavy touches of lacing and a lumpy surface as it goes down.

S - Sweet malty scent with few apparent complexities and a very distant anise.

T - Caramel malt, a bit of chocolate, and a second row of fruity sweetness.

M - Smooth and somewhat light body, deceptively light. Gentle carbonation that takes enough to carry the brew but sits back too.

D -A nice brew to drink, and share in these large bottles. Feels a bit filling towards the second take but carries one there.

Notes: It is a good and reliable brew for the style. Not outstanding but with the price-quality ratio that I´m seeing around DC with this import it´s an attractive offering if it were not that they it seems to be past their preferred date of consumption... But it seems to have taking the longer date in a decent manner. Will revisit with a fresh bottle when I have a chance in the future. (1,470 characters)

Photo of Vancer
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let's start the 2009 football season on the right foot:

Ol' 750 cork and caged bottled pours a cola brown liquid gold brew into the Corsendonk tulip, tan head pops up and dies quickly. A firmer pour generates better head and lacing.

Malty sweet aroma with root beer and a pop of orange. Spicy taste of the malt with a sturdy dose of Belgian yeast for a tangy finish. Sharp cutting cut of the star anise closely reminds me of the black licorice feel of a RIS.

Fairly tasty brew, the alcohol (8%) is in the background, but is warming the cheeks this cool late summer day. (572 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.72/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this at Bert's Bierhuis in Utrecht.

From a bottle into a chalice.

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger medium-thin off-white / tan head. Color is a deep seal brown with some carbonation decorating the top. Head quickly fades to a thin film and leaves some immediate lacing. Thin film stays and leaves some lacing. Color is quite nice.

SMELL: Caramel malt and dark fruits, prunes and raisins. Some spicy qualities as well, coriander and cloves, and some spicy Belgian yeast. A cool fruity and spiciness to this one, like a pumped up dubbel. Decent strength on this one.

TASTE: Lots of caramel malt and dark fruits, mostly prunes and raisins like the nose. Yeasty spices, coriander and cloves again, with some kind of salty black licorice touch too. A good dose of bitterness at the finish. A mild aftertaste is spicy and bitter-sweet, with a touch of alcohol at the end.

PALATE: Lighter body and higher end carbonation. A little airy on the palate, goes down fine but give you the burps, unfortunately. Finishes with a bit of stickiness. Too light and airy.

OVERALL: A good effort by Lefebvre. Not a big fan of the Floreffe line, but the Prima Melior is probably the best of the line and is worth a shot in its own right. One I'd have again. (1,250 characters)

Photo of allengarvin
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, with a best-before date of April 2004, a year ago. I've had it in my fridge for a couple years.

Appearance: Dark ruby-brown, with a quarter-inch of off-white foam atop the beer.

Aroma: Highly fruity (plums, raisins, with a little vanilla).

Taste: Sweet, fairly malty, with an odd licorice flavor. Some pleasant spicy & peppery notes in the middle. Quite a bit of yeasty fruitiness as well.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body, a little watery.

A decent dark Belgian, but not a lot stands out here. I know I've had this before because the label is in my Belgian label photo album, but I don't remember what it was like then. (641 characters)

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Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior from Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
84 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.