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Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature) - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature)Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature)

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

78 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 78
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 2
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerBeing on 12-30-2006)
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Ratings: 78 | Reviews: 70 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NorCalYeti


2/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

taste- apple, wood

color- amber

clarity- clear, dense

smell- bread, apples, spice, wood, cinnamon

body- hoppy bite, no mid-palete or finish, light-weight, thinned-out

appearance- nice color, small off-white head

overall impression- good beer, i cellared it too long

notes- lost some of its fruit, would have cellared about a year from release. matured in the kanne and valkenburg caverns. this review is for a 2005 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: tulip

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2009 22:40:28 | More by NorCalYeti
Photo of roblowther


2.45/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

An extremely impressive-looking 750ml bottle, and with Pierre Celis' signature on it, I'm eager to give it a whirl. Very carbonated, with a fairly dense, rocky head forming over the ruddy brown beer. Tiny bubbles form & cling to the sides of the goblet. Smells of cinnamon. Not much else in the smell, but I probably have the bottle a bit too cold at the moment. The taste starts off promising, that cinnamon leading off, promising more to follow. Then....nothing. Immediately turns very dry and almost seems to evaporate off the tongue without leaving any flavor except a vague cinnamon aftertaste that comes on later. Mouthfeel is similar, starting full but that dryness just takes it all away and it finishes thin. Really surprising for a beer of this color & pedigree. Not terribly drinkable as it just leaves me wanting to have a beer. Very one dimensional beer overall. Not terrible but just not impressive.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2007 01:03:47 | More by roblowther
Photo of Kahlerbock


2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

01-17-2012 15:01:30 | More by Kahlerbock
Photo of DaveFL1976


3.03/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is one fine looking brew. It poured into my Westy goblet with a fluffy white head that stuck around for a while and left plenty remnents on the side of the glass. The body itself is a wonderful golden brown, the color of toast that's been in the toaster 30 seconds too long.
The smell is not quite as good, though. A bit sweet, but fruity and estery. It's got that twang to it that I just haven't grown to appreciate yet.
Said twang isn't as noticable in the taste. It's a decent blend of smooth, sweet malt and a bit of back-of-the-mouth sharpness. No alcohol.
This is way, way too carbonated. As soon as it touches your lips the bubbles explode to the point of diminishing the drinking experience. I'm not a big fan of this brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2007 00:44:50 | More by DaveFL1976
Photo of BeerZack

North Carolina

3.05/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I wasn't expecting too much from this beer for some reason despite its impressive packaging and (as one reviewer noted) its pedigree. So I can say that this beer was not disappointing due to that mediocre expectation.
Smells yeasty and sugary
Taste is quite yeasty and hmmm, what is that- phenol, burnt sugar, yep.
Now here's where it gets tricky/interesting- the mouthfeel, which is agressively vigorous in its carbonation is something to remark, but in this particular brew it takes away from the body of the beer which is already lacking in itself. Really nice bubbles though.
Can't say that I would buy this beer again, but I might actually give the other one a try just to get me some more bubbles, man.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2007 06:57:01 | More by BeerZack
Photo of Fugazme


3.23/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

At first glance, this beer looks like a glass of tea... soapy cap, murky brown... a little thing... nice lacing.

Aroma is average. Malty... very malty... a little sweet maple and some hints of brown sugar with floral overtones.... bready and yeasty.

A touch weak on the palate. Watery on some swallows, but overall not too bad.

Doughy on the tongue... quite a yeasty character. There is a hint of dried fruit and even some sweet licorice, but overall malt and yeast dominate. A little dry/bitterness left over after the swallow.

I'd call this an average beer. My expectations were high, however, as I've been eyeing this bottle at Beertopia in Omaha since November. I would try it again.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2007 03:40:14 | More by Fugazme
Photo of Tawnos


3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy reddish brown, two fingers of head, pillow-foam that leaves sugar lacing on the glass.

Smell is subdued, dry, roasted sugar and caramel.

Taste is decent, nothing spectacular, but a very clean mix of flavors. Probably will get a bit more flavorful as this one warms.

Mouthfeel is a bit crisp, high fizz that dries out the palate. Not as thick as I'd expect from the pour.

Overall, an average beer. I remember trying it before and thinking it was better.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2008 05:48:37 | More by Tawnos
Photo of Osiris9588


3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 bottle caged and corked, no date. Pours a slightly murky amber color, with mahogany overtones. The beige head grows to four fingers high, the foamy dome extending above the lip of a tulip glass. It shows decent retention and leaves ample dots of small-bubble lacing.

The aroma is dominated by caramel malt and yeast, along with a little musty cardboard. The flavor follows, along with a dose of cherry cough syrup, a dash of spice.

It's medium bodied with good carbonation. The mouth seems a little dull, and the alcohol is rather forward for the ABV. Not terrible, but there are many other Dark Belgians I'd grab first.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2007 20:49:42 | More by Osiris9588
Photo of jmhart


3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL poured into a goblet.

A- Pours deep brown, almost mahogany, but clear. Thick bubbly head, tan in color, one finger thick with moderate pour. Leaves a nice lace. The head is fizzy, large air bubbles. Almost more like soda than beer.

S- Roasted almond, hits of brown fruits but not as many as you would expect. Overall, not nearly as aromatic as I would have liked. Alcohol is present in the smell with a small bite.

T- Initially the taste is hard to describe. No flavors stand out, but there's a nice mix. Malt, sugar, nuts, brown fruits all pretty evenly balanced. The flavor is good, but not exceptional.

M- Medium bodied...lighter than expected. Big bite, either from alcohol or carbonation, but more than likely both. It really dances on your tongue.

D- I really enjoyed the beer. It was easy drinking, with a good flavor. Nothing really stood out, but that was nice because there was nothing to get tired of.

Overall, while a fairly average beer for the style, I really enjoyed it, would recommend it, and would buy it again. It was tasty, easy drinking. This beer is good and would be good for your average day. Hard to describe my sentiment here, but hopefully it's come through.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2010 00:40:56 | More by jmhart
Photo of brdc


3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i think this one has not "matured" yet.
It is a beautiful reddish-brown, with a plentiful whitish head, but has little aroma, with some hoppiness, bread and malts.
Medium to full body, its taste is a little bit too bitter and hoppy for the style, with a somewhat subdued malt that, if you believe the text on the bottle, is not fully developed yet.
Somewhat disappointing as it is, I will still try to find another bottle and lay it down for two years.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2007 23:45:22 | More by brdc
Photo of Westsidethreat


3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Muddy toffee color with antique white head. The bubbles are very large, yet can stand firm for quite some time.

S: Fresh yeast, jasmine, brown sugar and mineral characters.

T: Starts out yeasty with jasmine & brown sugar, with minor peach and apricot. Then comes a simple syrup, sugar cube with a earthy bitterness at the end of the sip. Finishes somewhat dry and dirty.

D: Ok beer, not that complex. Would be interesting to try it aged.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2007 22:51:16 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of jujubeast6000


3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 2/2/2007 (25.4oz bottle):

Pours a huge head, light brownish. Active & bubbly. Lasting head, good lacing. Brownish coppery color. Enticing. Sweet aroma, some kind of sweet fruit, ripe green grapes or something light, flowery...can't name it. Intriguing. Good Belgian taste. Flowery taste. Light tasting, refreshing. Not as complex, but tasty.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2009 13:51:24 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of CoolJosh


3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at Zenos per Dave's recommendation.

Very nice appearance, incredibly gorgeous creamy light brown head which pours 2.5 fingers high. The body is an incredibly hazy dark ruddy brown with red tones.

The smell is a little funky, and the only scents that really rise up are lemon, brett, and airy belgian yeast. While light and refreshing, I was hoping for more complexity.

Raisins and brown sugar are at the forefront. Very watery taste with some refreshing lemon accents. Not funky like an american wild ale by any means, more like a lemon tasting grand cru. Light cinnamon and coriander linger in the background. Very rugged texture, but it goes down fairly easy. It filled my sour fix.. for the night at least but it didn't quite live up to expectations.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2009 04:23:12 | More by CoolJosh
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a muddy brown color ale with a medium head with pretty good retention. Aroma of caramel malt and slightly funky Belgian yeast is quite evident. Caramel malt with some spices dominated the taste at first and then the yeast signature shows up with a slightly funky feel. Body is quite full but could have been fuller and carbonation is perfect. IMHO, a bit more alcohol and body would do wonder for this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2008 17:52:42 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of vickersspitfire


3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of the bottle with a nice thick and fluffy off-white head that sticks around for a while with some mild lacing; the body is a bit hazy with lots of carbonation and is a nice amber reddish/brownish color almost like an amaretto. Its aroma has a mildly sweet fruity base. It has a really crisp clean feel to it with a medium body (more on the light side though) but very smooth over all. It's mildly sweet with some hops flavors and it has a very slight alcohol touch to it, not bad over all.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2008 00:23:20 | More by vickersspitfire
Photo of connecticutpoet


3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a nice, clear amber brew with a four finger head in my pint glass. The head was composed of large bubbles... one, by the side of the glass, grew to a half inch in diameter before it burst. It was quite rocky. WHen I poured out the rest of the bottle, however, it was hazy.

Aroma was hoppy, with medium-bodied malts underneath. It was quite crisp. There was almost a hint of red wine.

The taste was nutty, yeasty, and bready, with a bit of hoppiness overlaying the whole experience. A little bit of earthiness. Pretty good, and much lighter than a usual strong dark ale.

Mouthfeel was all right, not too chewy, not too watery.

This is an easy drinking beer, even with the higher ABV. It went down really nicely.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2007 01:44:33 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of thirdeye11


3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at the Arlington Bottle Shop. I see that it's retired, but I found it and there was more where that came from. I bought it because I'd never seen it before.

Presentation: Poured from 750ml bottle into my Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a huge 2 finger tan colored head that crowns the beer nicely. The beer is a pretty plain brown color, but the beer has nice lacing.

S: Smells of dried figs, but not a lot else. Not very complex, but enjoyable. There was another smell here too that I could not identify.

T: This beer doesn't remind me of any other Belgian Strong Dark that I can recall which is good and bad. Good because it's unique, but bad because it seems out of the style. It is refreshing though. The bottle recommends to never serve this beer cold, and I agree. Cold it is not very good and doesn't have a lot of flavor. It's actually not so enjoyable. As it warms I am enjoying some nice dark fruity flavors that aren't identifiable, but good nonetheless. There is a nice bitterness too which is definitely from hops, and this leaves a very good aftertaste. My only real complaint is a lack of complexity or depth in this one. Pretty straightforward.

M: St. Bernardus makes some of the best in this category and this beer is no exception. Creamy, well carbonated, and coats my mouth really nicely. Stays there too which is good because the beer tasted nice.

D: I'm not sure I would want more than the 1/2 a bomber I had last night. Shared the other half with zdk9 and we both enjoyed it as it warmed up.

I don't think I would buy this again only because there are so many other good Belgians out there which are superior in my mind, but I recommend anyone who likes Belgians and trying different beers that this one is very worthy. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2009 14:55:33 | More by thirdeye11
Photo of Jmamay22

New York

3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one was a gusher, but I saved the majority of it. Pours out a light orange amber with a frothy white cap for a head. Retains a hazy look and the head reduces to a thin white layer. Some spotted lacing about halfway down the glass.

Smells of fruity yeast with a slight funk. Orange peel bitterness and spices such as clove and cardamom rounds out the nose.

Tastes more spicy than in the nose. Finishes with the orange peel bitterness and a slight sour funkiness. Spices really take away from some of the subtle beauty found in the nose.

Mouthfeel is full of tight carbonation. A little too much as evident from the gushing. Fairly easy drinker, but the spices do subtract a bit. Overall enjoyable although not the best from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2007 20:59:34 | More by Jmamay22
Photo of corby112


3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark cherry chocolate brown color with a 2.5 finger foamy tan head with good retention that slowly fades into a lasting cap. Spotty chunks of soapy lacing.

Spicy peppery aroma with hints of roasted chocolate malt and dark fruit. Raisin, plum and fig stand out. Slight alcohol presence.

Spicy and hoppy up front with a lot of zesty peppery notes which are quickly countered by silky chocolate maltiness with hints of licorice and slightly tart dark fruit(mostly plum, raisin, grape and fig). Slightly creamy body with sweet estery notes balancing out the smooth maltiness. Slightly dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2009 06:52:16 | More by corby112
Photo of Shaw


3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep brown in color with a very large, frothy head.

It has a nice earthy aroma, like it's been underground for some time. I also smell some nutty aromas, a bit of solvent alcohol and some complex fruit flavors like raisins and cherries.

This beer tastes like it has been aging for a while. Earthy and funky flavors (perhaps from wild yeasts?) mix with dry notes and hints of bread. I'm a bit surprised at this beer. It's not nearly as heavy and sweet as others in its style. This is quite subtle in comparison.

The body is also light and crisp from a substantial carbonation.

Overall, this is an interesting take on the style. It's more of a thinking-man's Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2008 02:28:09 | More by Shaw
Photo of Lexluthor33

New York

3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours amber brown with red tints and has a nice sized head that settles to a nice foamy lace. The aroma is of fruits,raisins and yeast. the taste is of raisins,grapes and malts with sweetness and some alcohol. There are some caramel tones. The feel is light bitterness and a well balanced,well carbonated yet smooth finish.

notes: I tried this because I wanted to try something that was retired and I found it available. I felt it was a good brew and I appreciated the good balance, but it was just a good brew. Not the best for the style,just good and worth my money. I did feel it was better as it warmed and cold it was not as good. Try it if you can find it.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2008 04:55:41 | More by Lexluthor33
Photo of iasanlee


3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a clear dark reddish brown with a big tan head. Loads of carbonation. Very little lacing.

S- Sweet malts and yeast dominate, hints of caramel and hops.

T- The very first thing I noticed was the carbonation, lots. Then came the sweet malt and a distinct pear flavor. A touch of hops. Seemed like a mellowed down dubbel.

M- Medium to light in body, and loads of fizz.

D- Not a top favorite, but I could probably drink this all day.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 17:50:28 | More by iasanlee
Photo of Bierman9

New Hampshire

3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16NOV03 - This is a new offering I found today at The Wine Society in Tyngsboro MA. Label says "Pierre Celis Signature Selection" as well as "Michael Jackson's Beer of the Year" (which year?).

It poured into my goblet a nice chestnut color, with tinges of ruby to boot! The head was beige and frothy, lasting at about 1/2" for quite some time. It also had really good sticking power on the insides of the glass. The nose is a bit sweet and malty, with candi-sugar and fruit attributes being on display prominently. Body was reaching for the medium range. As far as feel on the tongue, a more than ample amount of carbonation gives this Bier a very bubbly, airy sensation in the mouth (perhaps a bit too much). The lead-off flavor is a combo of lightly sweet malt and a touch of tropical fruit. Soon thereafter arrives a dry, bitterness which tends to take over and detract somewhat from the initial, pleasurable flavors. As the Bier warms the fruitiness actually tries to re-assert itself, but only partially succeeds. I seem to detect a smidge of both cinnamon and pepperiness, too. This isn't too bad a Bier, yet it lacks the depth and complexity that the label suggests. Prosit!!

overall: 3.8
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5


beer review id: 104954 / 11-16-2003 01:02:39

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2007 16:39:06 | More by Bierman9
Photo of AKBelgianBeast


3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grotten brown, IMO, is better in a bottle than on tap. (strange). Pours a dark brown with wonderfull fluffy head and great lace. Nose is kind of coppery with raisin and plum. The taste is of dark fruits with a coppery, raisiny pennyish finish. The mouthfeel is quite thin. Maybe because of less yeast from the taps or something, but it feels to thin to me. Drinkability is good just like most belgians but i wish it was thicker, with a little more yeasty nutty flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2007 07:01:15 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Photo of GbVDave


3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice at Map Room 11/27/07. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist. Listed on their beer menu and website as being the version rated at 6.7% abv...

A: Served a dark, plummy brown with a nice creamy, pillowy head.

S: Aromas of sweet malt, candi sugar, grapes, and sweet dark fruit.

T: See above. Interesting hint of grape.

M: Quite smooth with a tangy fruity finish.

D: Good. This one is interesting enough to bear further examination...

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2007 01:53:08 | More by GbVDave
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Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature) from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
86 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.