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Grottenbier - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

268 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 268
Reviews: 202
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13%
Wants: 22
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Dark Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 09-19-2003

From Pierre Celis, brewed at Brouwerij St. Bernardus.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 268 | Reviews: 202 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Label Lingo and bottle babble: Golden caged & corked 03:52 L3405 on the cork cap top. This cork slipped right out of the bottle with a pull and without a pout.

Foggy brownish orange pour into a tulip with rising tiny microscopic bubbles rising up to a khaki, sticky, inch high, cratered surface of the moon, spumescent foam cap, which remains well retained.

Spicy malt nose of red apples and cinnamon notes with sugary, bunt cake aromas.

First Swigs: Deep apple cider malts. Drying hop finish. Sweet caramely cocoa aftertaste. Rootbeer anise hints. Astringent walnut shell and nutmeg dry aftertaste which lingers in a massive bittering flavors.

Quite a frothy sipping lil’ number. Medium bodied, but leaves a tongue lashing coating behind.

Last Swigs: Walnut shell and cake malts. Somewhat one dimensional in the flavor department. Just to be honest, what the heck does a cave have to do with this?

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Photo of maltydog
3.76/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft - 10 oz. fluted goblet. burnt amber with ruby highlights. Nose was extremely, but pleasantly, herbal (maybe some anise). Head is opaque and healthy, belgian lace is evident. The herbal nose is very evident in the taste. Pleasntly bitter and complented the rabbit terrine that I was enjoying perfectly. Herbal quality mellows as beer warms and the malt becomes more evident. Definitely a good food beer, particularly terrines, pates and foie gras. The finish is very dry and, again, herbal. I think this beer is definitely better when paired with food than on its own. It seems that with all of the herbal qualities that this offering could be considered a gruit. All in all, a nice effort from Pierre Celis and definitely a beer worth trying!

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.27/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have real mixed feelings about this beer. I have tried it in the US and in Belgium, I have tried it and enjoyed it, and tried it and shrugged in complete lack of excitement. Not sure why, to be honest. It's a decent brew, just doesn't grab me.

Pours a medium murky brown with a medium off-white head that quickly dies off. Aroma is the best part of this beer. Semi sweet, with an interesting spiciness (clove?) that isn't your average Belgian Brown Ale.

But it's the taste where I lose interest. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, but it's just not interesting, and not nearly as exciting as the anticipation brought about by the aroma.

Oh, well.

Photo of gentlebubbles
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cola-colored brew with red highlights under a looseknit off-white head that shortly falls.

Sweet malty scent with overtones of prunes and port.

The aggressive fizziness and thin body make it hard for me to taste much aside from raisins. It's okay, but I have to say I'm not getting much from this.

Photo of Sammy
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Foamy tan head, fragrant natural fruity yeast, lace bubbles. Chocolate malts, vanilla (aaah yum). A bit bitterness and sourness on the finish balanced with malts. Light mouthfeel and smooth and drinkable.

Had on-tap nine months later and noticed nice brown colour, yeasty aroma, licorice. Smooth.

Photo of paterlodie
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

productiocode 1279 best before end 2005. Pours in mighty fine and forms a thick a stable head. Has the same nice yeastsmell as the other ones from the Watou brewery. Further a nice caremelmalt arome together with roast and these fruits& spice from the yeast make it a complex smell. Taste is full malty, dry, spicy with a roast and hoppy finish. Good beer to enjoy on a long dark and cold night, feels like a lot more then the 6.7% alcohol it says it has.

Photo of Citadel82
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle with cork and cage. Wide mouthed Grottenbier goblet.

Pours a hazy brown with a short lived one finger head that becomes a thin creamy layer atop the beer.

Smells of yeast and fresh fruit. Melon???

Taste is slightly sweet though not malty - drying to a grapefruit-like sharpness with some detectable alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with some carbonation.

Drinkable yes, but not so spectacular that I will seek this one out any time soon.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured clear amber brown with a tan head that was large and in charge. (The beer opened with a huge carbonation burst.)

The aroma was earthy with a slight farmhouse character. Also present was a slight citrus aroma.

The flavor was crisp and tart with an earthy hop bittering and flavor and a light citrus note. The bittering was substantial and well done to keep the flavor in check. Also a slight oak character existed in the background.

The finish was dry with a lingering citrus and earthy bittering long into the aftertaste. The body was medium but seemed lighter due to carbonation.

750 ml bottle. The beer was nice, nothing to write home about, but well bittered and with a decent drinkability. The citrus note makes me wonder if orange peel was involved.

Photo of oracle
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

10 oz draft pour in a tulip chalice.

Beer was quite dark brown with about 2 inches of foam, basically from the narrow point of the glass up. Large amounts of lacing left behind.

What little smell I could detect was very nice. Pleasantly sweet malt with floral tones.

Taste was quite mild and very good. Mildly malty and a little dry, quite smooth and delicious.

Very good

Photo of clvand0
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at Rich O's Public House. Poured into a Liefmann's wide brim 33cl glass. Pours a ruby brown color with a small head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma was almost nil. Nothing there. Flavor was malty and sweet with a strange tartness on the finish. Somewhat thin bodied, but very well done. Not as malty as I expected, but slighly spicy. Easy to drink. I'd have this one again.

Photo of BrewMaster
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a dark clear color and and a clean tan head. The nose is very sweet with notes of plum, caramel, and sweet malt scents. The flavor is full with dark caramel malts, raisin, and a bit of hop bitterness up front. There's a nice balance of tartness and sweetness to balance the light bitterness of the beer.

Photo of Padron4KM
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, poured into a Grottenbier challice.

Pours a murky brown, with a creamy beige head.
Head subsides to a uniform 1/4 in cap. A thin sheet of lace coats the glass.
Aroma is malty, plummy, winey with a slight sour note .
Flavor is malty, yeasty, hints of dark fruits, a bit of funky mustyness, a little clove spice. Slight hoppiness on the finish.

Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells like a waterfall and sugar-free root beer (I don't know how else to describe it,) a musty and malty dark brown with a foamy head and good lacing. The taste was yeasty, with sweet but tart fruit flavors, a slightly thick creamy mouthfeel and a milky finish. Good and complex but didn't bowl me over for some reason, maybe this yeast strain just doesn't agree with me.

Photo of Truh
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Left a trail of bread crumbs while clutching the evil idol with this one on 10/13/2004. ?-oz. pour at ACPH in a tall, bulbous, stemmed, and utterly wonderful glass.

Huge billow of head to start that laces and clings on its way down. Deep, dark brown hue to the point of mud, with just a touch of blood red where bulb meets stem. Nose held a kind of sweet malt and frankly somewhat chummy fruit flavor, but that was just a side note to the overall malt profile that dominated. Very fast on the tongue and quietly dissipating mouthfeel; able-bodied malt structure with just a hint of sweetness that again evaporates like a heat mirage on a hot pavement. This is one that I could drink until told I must stop.

Photo of ppoitras
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle obtained via trade with LuckySevens82. Thanks for the opportunity...

Once uncaged, the cork came loose with a tug and a satisfying pop. Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed 2" of dense, creamy, tan/light brown head over the cloudy, reddish-brown brew. Head shows great staying power, and lacing is chunky and bountiful. Aroma is Belgianish spicy, with sweet malt and a slight effervescence present. Taste is initially lightly of dark fruits, with a rounding out of Belgian malt and yeast flavors. Mouthfeel and drinkabilty are both very good. An enjoyable brew, worth both trying and revisiting.

Photo of crookedhalo
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

75 cl cork and caged bottle. Pours a hazed copper to brown color with a pillowy, thick beige head that subsided into a thick collar and some nice lacing. Malty, doughy, and yeasty nose with a slight presence of citrus zest, barley husk and maybe apple skin. This beer has a really nice, dry finish. Quite atypical of a finish for a brown. Lots of earthy, husky malt notes amidst a solid yeast character, an air of fruitiness and, again the wonderfully dry finish. Faint spicing is suggested. Sweetness is present in the beer, just kept to a minimum. Carbonation is rather high, but the carbonic acid complements the dryness in the finish. Good to the very end. A fantastically well-rounded beer that's not too cloying or overbearing, as some brown ales from Belgium can be. Cave aging plays an integral part in this ale's softness and complexity.

Photo of frank4sail
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown look in the goblet with a pleasent lasting beige 1/4 inch head. Detergent like clean nose. Rich sweetish hazel nut tinted taste to the brew. Slight touch metalic touch on the tongue. Nice malty smooth finish. Smooth comforting mouth. Soild and quite nice. A decent drinkable brown that goes well with football in the fall.

Photo of beerceller99
3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

75 cl. bottle pours a massive head if yer not careful. Dark, ruby- brown color. Has a subtle bread and butter smell. Very nice smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Pretty mild flavor of nine grain bread with a mild, citrusy hop bite to finish. A well balanced brew, but too mild in the flavor department.

Photo of granger10
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I would go so far as to call this an extreme beer. The dryness displayed by this beer was amazing. No sweetness to speak of which is quite amazing considering the alcohol strength and malt flavors. Loads of complexity here. Main flavor is bitter orange peel but there's more tarty citric flavors. The bitterness and tartness are really soft. A peppery spice is there as well as more spices that were unique to me. Strong hits of yeast midway through and then in the finish. A solid beer but almost too much to me. I have to give respect to the brewers here, but it's just not my cup of tea.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very very nice deep ruby color with a head that goes on forever-it took 3 pours to get the whole thing out of the bottle.Great earthy aroma-very yeasty-hints of oak and somewhat breadlike.Nice big malty flavor upfront.Somewhat sweet,a tad of lingering bitterness.Wonderful silky smooth mouthfeel-the huge malt profile is very smooth-almost syrupy.A very quaffable brew-I could see enjoying this one all night.It was really quite nice as it warmed in the bottle.Damn sure worth checking out.

Photo of allengarvin
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, bought online from beergeek.biz. Cork popped out easily. Poured it into a Duvel goblet.

Appearance: big creamy head at first, which settles down and leaves about a fingers-width on top of the beer. Dark dark color, which shows a ruby tint when held up to the light, but otherwise opaque.

Aroma: Spicy, estery aroma.

Tasty: Good malt, a little toasty, with a good mouthfeel. Hints of breadiness, along with caramel notes present, and a good spiciness from the yeast. Long aftertaste at the back of the tongue. Slightly acidic, and actually quite refreshing for the strength of the beer.

This isn't as complex as many of Belgian's dark beers that one finds in the state, but it's interesting, and highly drinkable. I hope it'll become available in Texas; it's good to have Pierre Celis' brewing skill back.

Photo of Mitchster
4.48/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pierre Celis Signature Selection. Matured in the Kanne and Valkenburg Caverns. Considered "The Beer of the Year" by Michael Jackson. 750ml corked and caged silk-screened bottle. 6.7% ABV.

Cork pops off with a brish "Whissh". Pours out to a brilliantly clear dark brown with beautiful ruby accents, forming a tall and dense rocky beige head with excellent retention and beautiful lacing. The head peaks out of the glass, supported by brisk carbonation. Great looking brew. arpma of Belgian sour funk, musty basement, dry husky malts, mild penols, distant earthy hops, mild phenols. Very nice. Mouthfeel is spritzy with an airy, medium body. Taste begins with initial sweet and sour, followed by belgian phenols intermixed with metals, earthy and dirty amber malts with a faint suggestions of figs and cinnamon, the suggestion of dark candi/brown sugar arrives towards the finish, which is bone-dry and has an earthy bitterness of moderate intensity, accentuated by the unfortunate metals. As it warms, distinct flavors of cotton candy, pineapple, and grapefruit become apparent, a touch of orange peel appears, the carbonation and alcohol mellow, the sweetness softens, and ultimately it becomes a much better beer. At room temp, it's all about the toast.

This is a complex, yet odd beer. It held alot of promise with the nice aroma and the initial sour zip, but I kept wanting more tartness. This beer is schizophrenic...the 1st half is a completely different beast than the 2nd half. There is little continuity until it warms. As it warms, it really unfolds and nearly meets my lofty expectations. Reminds me of Goudenband mixed 30/70 with a decent abbey single poured over a fresh tropical fruit cocktail. Unique and very good. Worth the $10 I paid for it? Almost.

Photo of Crosling
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled at Beer Mania in Brussels, Belgium.

Dark Orange.

The aroma was fairly subtle, roses being the most enjoyable but dark fruits, cinnamon and pepper.

Dry and medicinal throughout with notes of dark fruits, nuts and cinnamon and a suggestion of cellar mustiness as well.

Photo of Guinness4me
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It seems a shame to be drinking this beer in Florida in the middle of summer! I feel I should have it while I sit on a bear-skin run in a ski lodge! Bold, spicy and easy to drink.

It pours an impressive creamy, plentiful head which dissipated quickly. To me, the aroma is a true beer smell, but tastes nothing like it smells. I think the flavor reminds me of a black and tan! It has a smooth mouthfeel and I barely tasted the alcohol in it. I could drink quite a few of these. I'd love to try it on tap.

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

On draft at Fathead's along with St. Bernie Abt 12. Appearance: Pours a mahogany brown hue thin tan hed leaves thin lacing down my chalice not a bad look to it at all. Aroma: Finding it hard to get anything out very light somewaht airy herbal hop mix with spice and fruit accents in the background of mild chocolate notes and darker toasted soft roasts.
Taste: Herbal hops flood the palste with a woody oak barrel aged rawness to it, very mild sweetness dry quality in the finish. Spicy edge to it with a slight citrusy note picked up seems that the sample is aged a bit not gone south just not fresh. Mouthfeel: Medium body steady carbonation, nothing that thrilling here. Drinkability: A decent unique Belgian bier but I can't give it the highest marks it just seems pretty good to me.

Grottenbier from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
85 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.