1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior - Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

159 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 159
Reviews: 109
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.87%
Wants: 9
Gots: 8 | 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:
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).

(Beer added by: rastaman on 09-09-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 109 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerBelcher
BeerBelcher

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +4.6%

I was expecting and hoping for an Oude Brune sour brown ale when I ordered this from the very long bottle list at the Palm Tavern in Milwaukee. While this beer wasn't the sourness I was really hoping for, I still can't really fault it - it was pleasantly malty and fruity in almost a quad type of flavor profile. I thought it to be pretty good.

It poured a brilliant brown color, which was not quite transparent. Aroma was raisins, some cherriness, and some citrus. Flavor wasn't sour, but offered lots of dried fruit, some citrus, and a lot of evidence of darker roasted malts. Mouthfeel was dry and crisp. This wasn't what I was expecting, but it was good enough to make me try some other Lefebvre beers.

I would recommend this beer.

I had this from a bottle at the Palm Tavern in Bayview, WI.

08-01-2008 19:50:40 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of LarryV
LarryV

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +7.2%

Pours with a finely textured fluffy tan head about an inch in height. Aroma of dark fruit, malt. Rich and full bodied with subtle flavors from the spices. The spices don't overpower this beer but add subtle nuances instead. Slight citric bitterness and date like flavor. Nicely balanced and the sweetness is kept nicely in check avoiding the cloying taste that a lot of Belgians seem to have. Quite a good brew and one that I would purchase again.

06-13-2008 10:12:08 | More by LarryV
Photo of garcia2a
garcia2a

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +14.7%

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.

05-19-2008 20:21:12 | More by garcia2a
Photo of ojiikun
ojiikun

Washington

4.2/5  rDev +12.6%

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.

03-12-2008 04:24:59 | More by ojiikun
Photo of hopsleeroy
hopsleeroy

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev +1.9%

Poured dark brown from a 11.2 oz bottle. Big fluffy dirty white head on top-2 inches high. Looks pretty nice. Smell is some sweet fruit, some spice and maybe a little alcohol but overall pretty light in aroma(maybe a little cold at first). Good malty taste of toffee/vanilla mixed with a little tart fruit that had a citrus heel to it. There is a little spiciness on this beer but it's very subdued. Foaming fizziness on the first half of the bottle which downgraded the mouthfeel, but it smoothed out some. I could put away a couple of these as the alcohol didn't seem too powerful. Enjoyable brew.

03-07-2008 22:31:29 | More by hopsleeroy
Photo of SLeffler27
SLeffler27

New York

3.65/5  rDev -2.1%

A huge sea foam head fills the Floreffe Snifter glass, and hangs around like out of town family on the deck, finally leaving lace all over the glass. Here is an example of proper glassware making a difference. The head was so massive; the remaining 2 oz went into on a pint, which produced no head to mention. The DARK brown, almost black color is impressive.

Cloves and dried orange zest fill out a fruity bouquet, but less strong than anticipated.

A sharply acidic and earth character dances across the tongue and dramatically changes to hops in the finish.

This one has a strong alcohol, without a punch in the face, as scrubbing bubbles linger all the way down the throat.

Prima Melior is an interesting drink, worth of a second try, but probably best with a good food pairing.

03-02-2008 21:30:36 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of ShareANevada
ShareANevada

Ohio

3.48/5  rDev -6.7%

Scored this 11.2 at Beers of the World, Rochester.

Ale brewed with spices(star anise and orange peel)

Huge pop, lovely thick head and lacing, chunky creamy thickness hangs out several minutes.

Pours pretty dark, kind of surprised me. Slight ruby when held up to the light.

Pleasant, easy going aroma. Mild and balanced, bready, blackberries, yeast, citrus.

Smooth mouthfeel with just a hint of prickliness. Surprising for the pop this one made.

Mild, balanced, yeasty flavor.

Seems to be a well put together beer, however nothing striking about this one.

Would not be inclined to cellar this. Certainly smooth young, but I think any striking flavor would be reduced to nil over time. Glad this stuck out to me on a snowy night before holding any longer.

Good to try, probably will not seek out again.

02-22-2008 03:00:37 | More by ShareANevada
Photo of BeerTaster
BeerTaster

New York

3.48/5  rDev -6.7%

Dark brown almost black in color tan head dissapeared a little quick for my taste. Smell dark fruit sweet. Taste same as the smell but mabye a hint of cola? sounds crazy I know must be the spices they use I am also getting hints of rum. Mouthfeel heavy body high carbonation. Drinkability not bad I won't seek it out but I won't pass it up either.

02-16-2008 02:21:37 | More by BeerTaster
Photo of wheelinshirt
wheelinshirt

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

750 mL bottle, corked and caged, purchased from Abe's in Bethlehem, poured into two tulips and shared with a friend.

Looks very dark, almost black in the glass, somewhat largish tan head that recedes pretty quickly and doesn't really leave much lacing.

Smell is some sugar, fruit from the yeast and a little something else. I think it was the star anise, my friend described it as 'kind of oaky' but i didn't really get that.

Taste was similar to the smell, but i wasn't really that impressed with it. It had the requisite yeast fruitiness and some sweetness, a little bit of extra character from the spices but nothing to out there or exciting. Mouthfeel was somewhat thinner than i expected, drinkability is okay I would just not be drawn to buy another. I am begining to think that dark belgians just aren't for me. I love the pales and triples, but the dubbels and BSDA just don't seem to do much for me. Oh well. A good beer for a good price, but I would pass and get something else next time.

02-06-2008 00:45:35 | More by wheelinshirt
Photo of AlexF
AlexF

Quebec (Canada)

4.45/5  rDev +19.3%

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 !

01-31-2008 23:53:30 | More by AlexF
Photo of ntillemans
ntillemans

Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +16.6%

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.

01-18-2008 04:25:11 | More by ntillemans
Photo of doktordebris
doktordebris

California

4.38/5  rDev +17.4%

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.

12-30-2007 21:37:54 | More by doktordebris
Photo of supercolter
supercolter

Wisconsin

3.65/5  rDev -2.1%

This beers started out with a massive creamy colored head, I had to stop pouring it into my 28 oz. glass and let it settle for a while. Very nice looking beer, decent lacing.
Smell and taste are pretty good, the roasted malt really steps forward followed by alcohol, and a slight touch of candy.
Mouthfeel is well above average, kind of floats on the palate.
Drinkability is only inhibited by the slightly disparate taste of alcohol.

12-25-2007 18:00:03 | More by supercolter
Photo of thierrynantes
thierrynantes

France

3.83/5  rDev +2.7%

Beer bottle 33cl, tasted in 2000.

Appearance : Mahogany dark, clear, well saturated. Foam creamy beige fairly stable.
Smell : spicy liqueur aroma, rich and deep, spicy and sweet.
Taste and mouthfeel : picy, smooth covering acridity, mouth and structured very aromatic. Post-bitter taste and rear full. Heady.
Drinkability : The floreffe "meilleure" is a good beer in the style of massive ale

Reviewed 11-10-2007, translated in english 1-5-2008.

11-10-2007 18:26:17 | More by thierrynantes
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

4.38/5  rDev +17.4%

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.

08-11-2007 23:25:08 | More by ccrida
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

3.48/5  rDev -6.7%

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.

05-19-2007 00:00:54 | More by WesWes
Photo of geexploitation
geexploitation

Indiana

3.65/5  rDev -2.1%

Pours very dark, with a huge, sticky, long-lasting taupe head. Aromas of coriander, anise, sweet dark fruits, and dark sugar crystals. Not a very deep or developed aroma. On the palate, big, almost funky, very earthy coriander flavor matched with very forward sweetness. Hot alcohol and fruity, almost tangy, sweetness. Mouthfeel is light in body and big on carbonation -- the overall impression is rather heavy somehow. Overall, this is a decent Belgian strong dark ale, but the strong coriander note detracts in my opinion, and there's not another "hook" in this beer aside from those added spices. Of course, that's not terrible -- there's nothing wrong with being decent.

04-20-2007 05:21:18 | More by geexploitation
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

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.

04-10-2007 20:22:19 | More by Billolick
Photo of BeerZack
BeerZack

North Carolina

3.35/5  rDev -10.2%

This review is for the 11.2oz capped bottle, not the cork-finished 750ml.

Really dark brown, almost black with lots of foam on top.

Sugar, dark fruit and alcohol on the nose.

A good dry bite of dark chocolate balanced by raisiny sweetness. Somewhat of a roasted flavor lingering.

Really aggressive carbonation thats not too pleasant.

Good flavor but not great and feels too fizzy in the mouth, but its definately okay.

04-10-2007 05:07:10 | More by BeerZack
Photo of MYJELLOMISFIT
MYJELLOMISFIT

Colorado

3.38/5  rDev -9.4%

Poured into a nice Burgundy glass it was hard to contain the head. Thick and pale colored foam with a body of dark brown with ruby-rose highlights stood strong in the glass. Just spotted small chunks of yeast still floating around in there as well.

The smell was soft and airy ... much different from the appearance. Floral notes, malt, wet pollen, blueberry, and a sweet yeast smell carried throughout.

Thick but light mouthfeel. Liquid titanium?? Doesn't flow through your mouth and down the throat very well. It gets caught up on the tongue. Really carbonated which results in a foaming sensation.

Strong, up front, style. All the flavors are up front and forward with little flow or flex. Sweet (almost like an asian sauce), spices, small bitterness, and a roasty-ness from somewhere make it a good sipper with an alcohol bite. Bottle says 8% ABV and you know it's in there.

03-17-2007 02:52:47 | More by MYJELLOMISFIT
Photo of Absumaster
Absumaster

Netherlands

3.78/5  rDev +1.3%

This beer is a very dark beer with ruby red hues and a creamy, glass sticking head.

Smell of raisins and slightly burned chocolate, which comes across as being a tad sharp.

Taste is full of pure, dark chocolate and roasted notes. There are some cherry and dark honey whiffs and a slight alcohol warming sensation, which make the beer a bit boozy. The chocolate is a bit too sharp for me and this beer will probably improve with aging. Mouthfeel is a little sweet and spot on for this beer. Body is medium.

02-24-2007 09:05:18 | More by Absumaster
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +3.2%

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,

01-11-2007 01:12:32 | More by Sammy
Photo of EPICAC
EPICAC

Massachusetts

3.33/5  rDev -10.7%

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with ruby tints. A thin brown head fades quickly leaving no lace.

Smell: Sweet raisins and little else.

Taste: Sugary raisins upfront and through to the finish. The finish has light pepper and a bit of roasted bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, medium-bodied and lightly dry.

Drinkability: The dry finish bumped this up a notch.

12-13-2006 05:14:05 | More by EPICAC
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -2.7%

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.

06-16-2006 16:04:33 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Cwrw
Cwrw

Alberta (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +10.7%

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.

06-07-2006 11:04:52 | More by Cwrw
Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior from Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
84 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.