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!

Grotten Flemish Ale - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Grotten Flemish AleGrotten Flemish Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

72 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 72
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 12
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  7.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
A "Blond" from Pierre Celis, brewed at Brouwerij St. Bernardus.

(Beer added by: Todd on 05-08-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 72 | Reviews: 62 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Psilo707
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A very pear, opaque color when poured into a mug. A frothy head forms and the lacing slowly dissipates along the sides in a uniform fashion. The smell is one of a strong beer in general - actually probably the lowest point of the brew, but still fairly decent. The taste is very herbally strong, and the alcohol is slightly present. Some fruits and nuts in there but exact tastes are not discernable. Mouthfeel is really solid, and it tends to lay heavily on the tongue with a nice feel. Drinkability is decent although I think the overly abundant alcohol aftertaste might get in the way a bit.

Overall, a very good Belgian Ale, and I would generally recommend this to most drinkers.

Psilo707, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.05/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 4/22/2007 (25.4oz bottle,BB18/09/09):

Pours a cloudy golden yellow color. Very fizzy, with a smallish foamy head, good lacing, lasting. Good sweet strong sugary aroma. A lot like Belgian Ales, but more sweet smelling. Sourish taste, a little more mellow on the tongue on the aftertaste. A lot like the Belgian but only the bitter part. Flowery. Interesting, but not as good as a regular Belgian ale. More mellow.

jujubeast6000, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of lhaqq
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a semi-opaque particley brown body with a light tan, slightly orange head with great retention. Stays at about 3mm throughout.
S: Belgian yeast and some spices, tomato juice. Non-sweet milk chocolate, and a bit of licorice.
T: Again, fairly heavy on the Belgian yeast. The dulled milk chocolate also comes through. Some figs, without out the sour twang, that turn into a slightly sour cherry flavor.
M: Creamy and decently thick but still more watery than was expecting. I think this might be more flavor than mouthfeel though.
D: Not too high an abv to be masking. Can get through a 750 fine.

lhaqq, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of hiikeeba
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours up a cloudy golden amber with a huge creamy head.

S - Malty with a slightly sour aroma. Definite honey notes. And a bit of pear aroma.

T - Bready/biscuity malt flavor with a slight tang. Subtle hop flavor with come citrus and herbal notes. Tart finish.

M - Full mouthfeel with good carbonation.

D - Not sure how much I like this. I can't find any faults, but I find it hard to finish the glass. It's almost unpleasant.

hiikeeba, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"What a man says drunk he has thought sober."

--Flemish proverb

Sparkling lemon with pretty close to Champagne-like carbonation that has rapidly created and is sustaining a beautiful, Belgianesque head. The soft, fluffy, sticky foam is alabaster in color and is in the process of icing the glass with extensive sheets of sudsy lace. Liquid lemon meringue pie.

At the risk of overusing the word 'lemon', the aroma is bright and lemony. That's only the third most prominent fruit, however, since fresh pears and apples are first in line. I'm fine with the fact that yeasty spiciness is in the background. There's a bit of a summery saison vibe to this BSPA so far.

Simply put, Brouwerij St. Bernardus is incapable of brewing less than outstanding beer. Grotten Flemish Ale may not get the attention that some of their other offerings do, but it's a delicious creation in its own right. Even though that saison-like character is present on the palate as well, it still tastes more like a straightforward Belgian pale ale.

Specific flavors include yeasty French bread, pear nectar, freshly zested lemons and an intriguing herbal spiciness that is more than clove-like. Let's go with cardamom and maybe a pinch of nutmeg. This highly drinkable ale has hidden charms that are being revealed as I continue to sip and savor into the middle portion of the '750'.

An ABV of 7.7% is low enough that alcohol plays no part in terms of flavor. It also allows one to drain the entire bottle without worrying about becoming falling-down drunk. This brew would be an ideal accompaniment to a ploughman's lunch under a big ol' shade tree on a lazy summer day.

Although the mouthfeel falls short of spectacular, it still easily qualifies as good. It's light-medium and lacks the creamy voluminousness that the best versions bring to the table. A little tweaking here and legendary status just might be conferred.

Grotten Flemish Ale is exceptionally well-crafted beer that I could drink on a regular basis if I was lucky enough to have easy access. Anyone who enjoys BSPAs in particular and Belgian beer in general should find a lot to love. Highly recommended.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of brdc
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Large corked bottle poured into a goblet.

Bright orange, murky, it produces a good white head that holds reasonably well, leaving some lacing behind.
Aroma is yeasty, spicy and earthy. Medium bodied, crisp mouthfeel, taste is mostly bitter, earthy and spiced.
Nicely done, certainly worthwhile.

brdc, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of Onslow
2.95/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

had in celebration for Manchester United's glorious VICTORY!! ...is quite spritzy, seems aged- not really in a good way ... musty, dust, honey aroma's ... "the firetrucks will have to wait their turn" .. light hazy yellow-orange .. the mouthfeel makes it quite drinkable, but most will find it thin... not worth the jackson...

Onslow, Jun 19, 2008
Photo of msgraves
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grotten Flemish Ale appeared an unfiltered, golden-orange color with a dense, long-lasting and creamy head.

This beer smelled heavily spiced. Lots of coriander, citrus, and graininess.

Tasted of clove, coriander, and ginger over some banana fruitiness with wheat grain and lime/citrus notes.

Medium bodied with moderate wheat character in the finish, a decent brew.

msgraves, Jun 19, 2008
Photo of Beerzebub
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, served in a big wine glass at 57 F/ 14 C.

Bright crystal clear gold, big eggshell head, solid lace. Later glasses pick up some haze.

Smells like lime, peach, white pepper, dough, earth, coriander. Quite aromatic, very nice.

Tastes like lime, banana, peach, a bit of orange, plenty of peppery spice, sweet doughy malt, some earthy cheesy yeastiness, and mild coriander. Not much hop character or bitterness, but the spice and earthiness help balance the sweetness.

A bit too fizzy, even with plenty of swirling. Reasonably drinkable.

Not a bad beer at all, but not really my cup of tea. Reminds me a bit of La Chouffe, if I recall, minus some coriander.

Beerzebub, Jun 06, 2008
Photo of largadeer
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy yellow with a tight cap of white foam.

Smell: A pleasant fruit medley of banana, peach and apricot. Grain and faint hops underneath.

Taste & mouthfeel: Wheat and spice, a touch of banana, slight fruity sweetness. Husky grain and bitter herbal hops follow in the intensely dry finish, with a slight sourness residing beneath. Body is medium/light, crisp on the tongue. Very drinkable.

largadeer, May 08, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased this one a while ago and literally just never got around to trying it. Last night I figured it would go good with dinner, and in my never-ending effort to clean out the fridge, I plunked this one down and checked it out. Very nice looking bottle with a good cork and cage. Some sediment laying on the bottom. Served the 750ml into a Chimay Goblet at a slightly chilled temperature.

Appearance - It poured out a bright golden yellow, with a deep haze and cloudiness to it. Lots of suspended particles were floating around throughout( I took a previous reviewers advice and made sure I blended in the sedimentation). A nice three inch white frothy head of foam then rose up over the top of it, and then started to slightly crater and become a tad rocky before finally settling down to jus a thin film across the top that lasted throughout the rest of the session. A nice amount of side glass lace then came down through it. Lots of carbonation was visible throughout the session and it had a very nice, lively overall look.

Smell - The aroma was light, a bit too light at first. A nice touch of banana and lighter fruits permeating though at the beginning, really setting the table so to speak. I let it warm up a touch and the aroma did get a little bit stronger, with some light smells of hay, and grass coming through fairly well now. Still though a banana and apricot like smell was the dominating force here.

Taste - The flavor followed suit as well, really just being dominated by light grains and banana like flavor. Light hints of apricot and a slightly sour back taste were all easily discernable. Not a touch of alcohol in the flavor which was nice, as at over 7% it is usually a little it detected, especially on the lighter profiles. Finish was light and quick, refreshing without much of a long lingering flavor though. To be honest a little bland, but good for a blond.

Mouthfeel - This was highly carbonated, though not explosively so, just a nice bit of rushing bubbles throughout. Played very well on the tongue letting the flavors dive in and out quite well. Decent feel and very light body.

Drinkability - it was a good session ale, as the alcohol was nowhere to be found and the smooth refreshing taste was very nice as well. The flavor was a bit too light, but I could easily have thrown down another, just not sure if it is really my thing.

Overall this was pretty good for a Blonde ale, one of my least favorite styles. I imagined it could have been worse. Not terrible by any means though. I could drink it again though I do not think I would pay for this one again.

mikesgroove, May 04, 2008
Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large typical Belgian bottle, caged and corked and no freshness/brewing date/best before dating :-(, anyway, this one pours chill hazed cloudy, light apricot, bubbles rising under and loooong lasting nice, tiny bubble eggshell head, plenty of sheeting and sticky lace. I allowed this one to warm up outside of my house, (its about 50 degrees outside) Nose is of plentiful fruit and a hint of gentle spice in the rear. Complex and flavorful, plenty of ripe tropical fruit, bananas, melon, tangerine, some "soapy" notes and then a dose of coriander and pepper, nice. Pleasant offering, would work great with a summer lunch of salads, cheese etc or likely would cut through and compliment Thai or BBQ dishes. Well worth a try.

Billolick, Apr 27, 2008
Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my Maudite tulip. Poured a hazy honey gold with a one inch fluffy white head that settled into thin skim of foam and ringlets after about a minute. Concentrated ring of foam coalesced around the perimeter of the glass with generous sheets of lacing during the tasting. Scent of fruit and yeast, but difficult to tease out the specific smells (possibly banana, maybe bubblegum). Flavors of banana, candy sugar, pepper and some citrus astringency. Lively, effervescent mouthfeel with some tingle in the mouth and a slightly sour finish. Very enjoyable with lots of complexity.

Jwale73, Apr 19, 2008
Photo of scootny
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into my Chimay chalice. My first pour is gentle and yields a straw colored brew with a light one and a half finger head. It gently fades leaving some streaks of lace and a thin foam on top of my glass. The covering remains as I consume the contents. The second pour introduces the yeast to my vessel and while it is clumpy cloudy and indelicate its presence is a welcome addition to the taste and overall character of this ale.

The smell is of gentle fruit esters, ( apple/banana, pear, and grape ) mild alcohol and candy sugar. A faint floral hoppiness plays peek-a-boo as I take deep sniffs.

My first taste is pleasing. Mirroring the nose with a greater sweet malt presence. The candy is there as well. Yeasty fruitiness is in abundance and the finish is gently hoppy. There is however a sourness that while not overbearing is a little out of harmony with the rest of the taste experience. Then I pour in the yeast. PERFECT. All components are in harmony and the carbonation is put into proper place. The sourness becomes a counterpoint to the fruitiness from the yeast, its subtle nuttiness adding another layer of complexity and delight.

Mouthfeel is a solid medium but a touch too bubbly at first blush. Second pour it becomes just short of sublime. I could keep this stuff on my tongue for decades and never complain.

Drinkability is just short of sessionable. The alcohol is always in the background until it hits you. Still I could easily go through a couple of bottles if I am not driving. It's that good.

Pierre you've done it again! An excellent ale that I will be stockpiling in my cellar. As with the Grotten Brown the secret is to drink it cloudy with yeast. Delicious.

scootny, Apr 16, 2008
Photo of WesWes
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent along with a spicey/earthy Belgian yeast aroma. The taste is good. It has a crisp and refreshing pale malt flavor that is only slightly tart. It's more earthy with a peppery spice in the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is not at all what I expected. It's not a super tart beer. It more of a Belgian Strong instead with just a hint of sourness.

WesWes, Mar 25, 2008
Photo of frazbri
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grotten Flemish Ale poured slightly cloudy straw yellow topped by a bright white head. A good deal of lacing was left behind on the glass. Aroma had notes of banana, orange peel, pepper and lemon. Flavor consisted of a slight citrus taste, malty sweetness, a touch of bitterness and a little spice. Medium-light in body and highly carbonated.

Solid and balanced beer.

frazbri, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of dsa7783
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 Pint, 9.4 Fl Oz bottle copped caged and corked from Wine and Beverage Depot in Totowa for $8.99... "Pierre Celis Signature Selection" on the front logo - an individual, whom I understand, had a lot to do with the creation of the world-renowned Hoegaarden beer... His depiction of this Belgian Strong Pale Ale is on-point, bursting with character, flavor, and style... Pours a golden color with a subtle frothy head that soon receded and obvious carbonation visible... smell and taste alike were both very fruity, and the nose especially was replete with fresh apples, pears, and slight grapefruit... taste was very sublime and complex, slightly sweet without being cloying or overbearing... powerful honey, melon, and canteloupe tastes burst through on this one, leaving a pleasant lingering smooth finish with subtle notes of bananas, peaches, and cream without the slightest hint of alcohol manifested in the 7.7% ABV... Good, rich, creamy mouthfeel and ultra-easy drinkability... Really good stuff... Definitely recommended...

dsa7783, Feb 20, 2008
Photo of wheelinshirt
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Abe's in Bethlehem for under ten dollars, thought i was getting a flemish red or something else like that, turns out it is a belgian blond which happens to be one of my favorites, so a little bit of a surprise, but not a disappointment. Poured into two tulips and a chimay chalice.

Nice golden color with a little bit of orange, big fluffy eggshell head that sports okay retention and okay lacing. Would have like to see a huge, lacing head on this one.

Smells yeasty, a little funky, not very sweet (good), i think there is some wheat in there, I am digging this one. It tastes dry, yeasty, a litttle funky, no significant hop profile. Mouthfeel is medium with a healthy dose of carbonation that keeps this one very light and drinkable. Very nice indeed. I would like to have this one back to back with duvel and don de dieu and see how they stack up against each other.

wheelinshirt, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a chalice)

A- On the first pour, although gentle, the glass filled with nothing but head. As the mosey eggshell colored head began to melt back into a lightly hazy golden yellow body with a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The soft smell of yeasty perfume had a dry quality to it with a faint hint of green herbal notes in the background.

T- The light smooth taste of pale wheat has some light fruity qualities and a soft yeast flavor to it. There was a slight cola note to the malt with a hint of dried apricots coming through as the beer warms. The soft green note at the finish doesn't have any distinct hop qualities to it.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a tight fizz finish that cleans it up.

D- This beer is very filling and could be a meal with a smooth creamy taste but not a lot of depth or interest in the smell or taste.

rhoadsrage, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of watchnerd
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The name, and the categorization, is a bit misleading. If you're expecting a Flemish red, this isn't going to be one. If you're expecting some like the Demonfish Flemish Primitive, well, this isn't like that. And if you're expecting something similar to the Celis Grotten Brown (a better, more distinctive beer, IMHO), with its near champagne-like level of carbonation, well you won't find that here, either. What you do get is a well made, but not especially unique, representation of the Belgian blond style. Enjoyable, but if you're in North America, other options like the Unibroue Don de Dieu represent equivalent, or better, quality and certainly better value for money. But *do* check out the Grotten Brown, a truly unique and special beast.

watchnerd, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of Mitchster
4.95/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

$8.99 for a 750ml bottled, corked and caged. 7.7% ABV. Pours to a deeply hazy, near milky pale burnt golden orange, forming a small white head with average retention and lacing. Very minimal carbonation which is odd because the cork was very difficult to remove. The aroma is intense with fruit unlike that I've ever smelled in a beer before...it literally smells like a freshly cut fruit salad of peaches, pears, pineapple, mango and white pepper. The mouthfeel is unlike anything I've tried with this snappy upfront bite, then a crisp bite in the finish which is partly composed of bitterness but also with a watery smoothness which belies it's strength. Dangerously drinkable! The taste is just exceptional...fresh fruit salad sprinkled with lemon pepper and a touch of bitter salad greens. A touch of barnyard, stables and dusty cellar are thrown in for good measure. The belches are delicious, kinda like I just ate a bag of Jolly Ranchers. Bitterness is perfectly balanced..not too strong, not too weak..it just sits right there and is perfect. A testament to the brewing art.

Wow! Just an amazingly well-crafted beer. I rarely score a beer so highly, but this is just mind-blowingly delicious! The 750ml goes down way too easy and I want more! Currently recieving an average rating of 4.1, I think this brew is a sleeper. Not to sound stodgy, but if you have a refined palette, try this one out! It's subtleties may be lost on those unfamiliar with the style. EXCEPTIONALLY FAN-FUCKIN-TASTIC!

Mitchster, Jan 15, 2008
Photo of n0315
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown almost like apple cider, with a head that dissolves quickly. Smell is of yeast, like an old must. Taste is nothing like it, with tartness and sweetness. Mouthfeel is very soft and almost like a hefewessie, just not as soft. Taste gets more complex as it warms, and I would say gets better. A good beer, but not a session beer. I'll drink it again.

n0315, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle from Hi Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, Ca. in September 2007, tasted in November of the same year. Price not recorded.

I was uncertain about this one- I had tried the Grotten Brown a couple of times (in the US and in Belgium), and to be honest, didn't really enjoy it all that much. But I have such a fondness for Flemish Ales, I just couldn't resist.

Pours a pretty golden color with a beautifully proportioned off-white head that has great retention. So far, so wonderful.

The first whiff yells out the sourness of a Flemish Ale- yep, there's some good stuff afoot. Then, when tasted, the sour I love was very muted- definitely there, but not the obvious tartness of the great Flemish ales. More spicy than sour. A bit of citrus fruit, but quite muted. Much lighter malt profile, but what a great yeasty twist!

So what do I think? Actually, I like it- this has a bit of tang that makes it very interesting, but it's not overpowering or challenging to drink. I'll take it!

Dukeofearl, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Hazy orange color with a thick, sticky, white head. Sweet, somewhat malty aroma. Not much there. Nice taste. Yeasty and malty, some pepper in the aftertaste. Bread-like. The carbonation was quite pleasant in the mouth. An enjoyable beer.

lordofthewiens, Oct 10, 2007
Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend was kind enough to share this with me. It had a cloudy yellow color that looked murky and the head was a white sticky pillow. The smell was musty and earthy to me. The flavors tastes yeasty, Belgian, and not much fruit. For some reason I think this would be perfect with some mussels and pomme frites.

ArrogantB, Sep 12, 2007
Grotten Flemish Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
89 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.