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Grottenbier - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

255 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 255
Reviews: 202
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.23%
Wants: 21
Gots: 6 | 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:
From Pierre Celis, brewed at Brouwerij St. Bernardus.

(Beer added by: Todd on 09-19-2003)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 255 | Reviews: 202 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hays99


4/5  rDev +5.8%

03-08-2012 16:16:09 | More by hays99
Photo of whartontallboy

New York

3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

01-15-2012 04:10:21 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of ygtbsm94


3/5  rDev -20.6%

01-12-2012 06:30:48 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of RedFox


3/5  rDev -20.6%

01-01-2012 17:05:31 | More by RedFox
Photo of GreenMountainBoy


4/5  rDev +5.8%

12-15-2011 00:24:50 | More by GreenMountainBoy
Photo of jophish17


3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

12-06-2011 17:47:49 | More by jophish17
Photo of azorie


4/5  rDev +5.8%

12-03-2011 16:09:20 | More by azorie
Photo of rekel


5/5  rDev +32.3%

12-01-2011 23:27:14 | More by rekel
Photo of Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +5.8%

11-25-2011 13:41:34 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of LittleCreature


3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.5
Pours a finger of loose beige head that quickly recedes to a thin layer and leaves no lacing. Body is a deep, clear reddish brown.

Smell - 4.0
Attractive aroma of caramel, ginger, cherry syrup and mixed spices.

Taste - 3.5
Obviously spiced, but done so with a degree of restraint that keeps it drinkable. Starts sweetish, little malt or hop character (or bitterness), it is the yeast and spices that lead the way. Cherry syrup, clove, ginger, allspice, burnt sugar and warming alcohol in the dry finish.

Mouthfeel - 4.0
Highly carbonated, as is the Belgian norm. Light bodied, somewhat asprin-like, yet almost creamy at the same time.

Overall - 4.0
I'd suggest serving this beer in a tulip glass, rather than the wide goblet I chose, where it seemed to get a little lost. One of the late, great Michael Jackson's favourite beers before he died. I have to wonder whether the recipe has changed, as while this certainly qualifies as a good beer, to me, it falls well short of greatness.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2011 06:16:09 | More by LittleCreature
Photo of p1lsen


4/5  rDev +5.8%

11-15-2011 06:46:55 | More by p1lsen
Photo of dansmcd


3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Ruby/burgundy hue beneath one finger of fizzy head.

S - Bread, yeasty, Granny Smith apples.

T - Fresh brown bread, white wine and spices. Tart green apples.

M - Smooth moderate body, moderate carbonation.

O - A good belgian style dark ale. Not a life-changer but I could certainly go for another.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 14:21:17 | More by dansmcd
Photo of Squelch

United Kingdom (England)

3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown. Off white head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Sweetness dominates the aroma.

Taste: Slightly sour. Sweetness still dominates. Bitterness non existent. Slight roasty flavors.

Mouthfeel: Finishes dry. Light bodied.

Overall: A drinkable beer. Needs more hops to balance it out.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2011 19:10:11 | More by Squelch
Photo of Evil_Pidde


4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer is hazy brown with lots of red hues. A pale brown head slowly sets into nice lacings.

S: Sweet malt, some caramell. Yeast, very Belgian, a bit sour. Flowers and spices. Some fresh fruits, manily green apples.

T: Sweet at first, then dry. There's spices and yeast. Some dark dried fruits, but also fresh green apples. Sour.

M: Dry and bitter long aftertaste. Body is medium to full while the carbonation is light to medium.

O: Nice and well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2011 17:20:10 | More by Evil_Pidde
Photo of Crittervision

North Carolina

3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Split a 750ml from 1992 a few ways on 12 August 2011 at Kulminator. 

Watery brown body with a thin, quickly disappearing head that matche...d the natural paper color on the label. 

Smell is quite nice. Heavy on the cocoa, some peppercorn, and a lot of tobacco sweetness. 

Taste is syrupy sweet, but also green vegetables. Caramel. Mild alcohol. 

Mouthfeel is light and thin. 

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2011 19:09:54 | More by Crittervision
Photo of rvdoorn


4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: The beer pours reddish amber color, with a light brown head, which leaves a nice lacing.
Smell: Malts, flowers, caramel, spicy clove, cinnamon, pepper, nuts and fresh apple
Taste: Malts, clove and yeast. Some light caramel and pepper. Sour apples and nutty. This beer overall is very dry, with a bitter crispy pepper alcohol in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: medium body,high carbonation
Overall: Quite complex brew, very sharp and spicy. I like it, but not too often

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 14:37:37 | More by rvdoorn
Photo of czfreeman


4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought at De Honte, Cadznd.
Pours a highly carbonated murky dark brown color. Foamy tanhead settles slowly. Great for BDA apperance.
Smells of cherry, musty yeast,oak, wet leaves, cloves, nutmeg, dried fig, apple, yeast, and a nice finish of sour fruit make the nose much more complex and interesting than anticipated
Flavors of sour apple,cherry, yeast, lambic-like bacteria sour notes, pepper, nutmeg, sour wood, oak, spicy overall, nice touch of yeast marries perfect with the light creaminess form the yest.
The body is highly carbonated, well balanced and very drinkable. Beautifully balanced, one of the best BDA's I've ever enjoyed

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2011 19:37:07 | More by czfreeman
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Cafe Belgique in Amsterdam. From notes.

A - Poured a cloudy/hazy dark brown. Beautiful two finger head that leaves thick rings of lacing caked on the glass. Head retention in the form of a thin film.

S - A little sour cherry. Fairly mild. Woodiness obvious. Started weak but improved and became stronger.

T - Yeasty. Plum with some sour notes and oakiness. Obvious candi sugar sweetness. Quaite oaky or woody.

M - Medium body with nice light carbonation. Slightly sour finish.

O/D - Probably a good intro to more sour beers. Not the best example of something venturing in these waters but a decent beer and worth a try if you want something with a slight sour note that is quite refreshing.

Serving type: on-tap

05-09-2011 21:38:37 | More by tbeckett
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours amber brown with piles of rocky off white foam that rings nicely. Bright mint-kola nose with some soil and wax - but pretty shallow. Big over ripe banana in the lead then clove, a phenol hit and spicy hops. Med-thin, fizzy, no heat.

Entry-level Belg brown. Too lively to quaff, and no complexity, but easy enough otherwise.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 18:49:23 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of atis


4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle

Pours dark brown with off-white large rocky head that slowly dissipates, leaving some foamy patches on the surface. Aroma is spicy yeast, some sweet malt.

Taste is an exciting combination of spicy Belgian yeast, bready malt with hints of dark fruit, herbal bitterness with citrus in the finish and slowly increasing sweet aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light medium.

Certainly an interesting beer. Very unusual and memorable taste, but I am not sure if I would like to drink it very often.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2011 07:01:15 | More by atis
Photo of eric5bellies


4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - This beer pour a very dark ruby colour with an off white head that reduces to a film.

S - Slghtly sour aromas from the pour, a little stewed dark fruit as well.

T - Quite a bit of sweetnes up fron with some boiled sweets flavours in the middle that are mostly dark fruit. Finishes with a sour bitterness that is balanced.

M - Medium to light body with fullish carbonation.

D - This is a beer that has a bit of everything and yet retains balance.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2010 14:35:15 | More by eric5bellies
Photo of ThaCreep


3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A smell of spring in the cellar first nosing. The yeast is very aromatic and through the scents of musty old and very valuable, one can sense a nose finely alcohol. The mouth does not really follow the same logic as it has an ease to drink very impressive. With hints of sherry Oloroso. Obviously, like any beer Pierre Celis, we find a whole bunch of spices, exotic enough, a mixture which is a little like the Fruit Défendu. Fairly long finish, slightly medicinal. A little lack of surprise over a method that is meant extremely original.

Serving type: nitro-tap

11-14-2010 20:01:44 | More by ThaCreep
Photo of Brabander


3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I bought this beer at the brewery when i was there in july this year. Drank it yesterday together with Mrs. Brabander.

We both find this beer not spectacular. Poured in our Chalices the beer has a dark red/brown fluid and a normal head.

This dark ale has a very dry taste. Good if you like dry beers but not for us.

Caramel and herbs are hidden in the beer. There are better dark ales and there are better Bernardus beers than this one (but you all know that!)

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2010 11:24:40 | More by Brabander
Photo of beerpirates


3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33 cl bottel poured into my cantillon glass

A- This beer has a dark brown body with a huge thick creamy light tan head. The head last and last and pulls away from the glass changing into a cloud floating on the beer.

S- The smell of dark candy sugar with notes of toasted sweet malt has a perfume note to it but it doesn't smell overly sweet.

T- The toasted malt has a smooth candy flavor to it with faint hints of prunes and the finish is a nice soft bitter hops. This beer had some good depth to the malt and it wasn't overly sweet but very smooth to drink.

M- This beer is very dry , mouthfeel with no alcohol warmth. There was a light fizz in the finish that made it feel lighter in the mouthfeel.

D- abv is very wel hidden , but i'm not à big fan

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2010 18:47:56 | More by beerpirates
Photo of Thehuntmaster

South Africa

4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle 6,5% ABV

Appearance: The beer pours a murky, chestnut brown and is capped by a massive (typically Belgian), cream coloured head. The head dissipates reasonably fast, leaving good lace and a 1/2 inch cap that lasts most of the way down.

Smell: Even as I pour I can smell the spiciness of the nose. On closer inspection cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon are all present. Toasted bread, golden raisins and figs round off the nose, giving Grottenbier a wonderfully powerful and complex nose.

Taste: After such a powerful nose, the flavour seems a little light on the first sip; however it does improve with subsequent sips and warming. Toasted whole-wheat bread and spice (cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper) dominate the flavour. Some earthy hops make a welcome appearance in the slightly bitter finish. This flavour could potentially be world class, if only it was a little deeper and complex.

Mouthfeel: Medium/light bodied with a high level of carbonation.

Drinkability: I am really regretting not buying a 750ml. I will most certainly have this one again.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2010 13:15:00 | More by Thehuntmaster
Grottenbier from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
85 out of 100 based on 255 ratings.