Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior
Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

Abbaye De Floreffe Prima MeliorAbbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior
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Style:
Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
Ranked #278
ABV:
8%
Score:
86
Ranked #26,750
Avg:
3.8 | pDev: 13.68%
Reviews:
119
Ratings:
199
From:
Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  12
Gots
  23
SCORE
86
Very Good
Abbaye De Floreffe Prima MeliorAbbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior
Notes: 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).
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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 199 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Mike_Aguirre:
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Mike_Aguirre from Mexico

4.71/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours deep brown, almost black with a very wide capuccino color foam head. Smell is sweet of malts, lots of anise and citric. Taste is not sweet at all, extremely well atenuated, strong and complex. Chocolate, citrics, anise, very nice beer overall.

Sep 09, 2015
More User Reviews:
Photo of sjjn
sjjn from California

4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

May 09, 2019
Photo of LarryV
LarryV from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Jun 13, 2008
Photo of rastaman
rastaman from England

4.26/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, use by date September 2001, so its an old bottle, the girl at Bottles in London gave it too me for £2, down from the normal £5, because it was past its use by date. Beautifull dark brown, slightly hazy appearance, with a beautiful white head, with fantastic lace. The aroma is of chocolate, vanilla, some roastiness, herbs, raisins and port wine.
Wonderfully smooth, mouth covering stuff, lots of choc and vanilla, and that roasty and herbal notes i picked up in the aroma, are there to finish off, very long finish, with some lovely port wine qualities, nice aged character.

Sep 09, 2003
Photo of Pegasus
Pegasus from Texas

3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep mahogany body, surmounted by a large, dense tan head, which retains well. Superb, fine unbroken lacing adorns the glass walls.

Aroma: Brown sugar, dark fruit, anise, orange rind, and sweet vinous alcohol comprise the complex and beguiling aroma.

Taste: Opens with very bread-like dark malt, similar to a European dark bread. Later in the taste, dark fruits (figs, plums), and some lightly charred malts appear. Coriander and anise soon appear, but in restrained quantities. From the inception of the taste to its close, there is a sweet undercurrent of vinous alcohol. Late in the taste, there is a quite restrained flourish of herbal hops.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A solid, drinkable example, while not extraordinary, s in a little more over-the-top, its not bad at all. Would prove itself elegant at a holiday dinner.

Presentation: Packaged in a One pint, 9.4 fluid ounce Belgian-style brown glass bomber with a cork and cage, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Sep 01, 2013
Photo of stcules
stcules from Italy

3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The colour is a full black, with abeautiful stout-like foam.
Smell of anise, plum, cane sugar. Maybe a little too alcoholic. Some velvet sweetness in the background, like vanilla or creme-caramel, but also some burned-toasted hints.
At the taste is malt, toffe, and toasted. And then again anise, plum, and black grape.
Medium body.
In the aftertaste, dark malt, plum and grape. At the end, it is cleraly perceptible the alcoholic again.

May 11, 2004
Photo of paulish
paulish from New York

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sep 05, 2019
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LarryKemp from Texas

2.77/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was very dark and had a creamy head that lasted a long time.

Even though it was in a snifter, I got very little aroma. This beer was served way too cold so that might have impacted both the smell and the taste. I was expecting a complex beer and was sorely disappointed. The aroma was subpar. I got very little malt and none of the rich fruitiness I expected. The taste likewise was very average. It was very slightly sweet and had no complexity.

The mouthfeel was light and I could not get any warming from the alcohol.

This was the first beer of the evening and I was surprised that it did not show its stuff. Again maybe the beer was served real cold and it killed its personalilty, but I am not inclined to give it a second chance.

Feb 05, 2003
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RBorsato from Virginia

4/5  rDev +5.3%

Oct 22, 2013
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Popsinc from Canada

3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A dark brown pour with a very lively, medium head. The nose was subtle but was highlighted by bubblegum and dark raisin. The taste was also subtle in that the sweetness was not overpowering but more toned down and pleasant. Bubblegum sweetness and a light raisin/grape quality. The finish was semi-dry but only lingered a short while. The mouthfeel was very lively and and full....but not heavy. Plenty of active carbonation. A decent winter warmer.

Jan 17, 2004
Photo of mikeg67
mikeg67 from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. Pours brown with tall, long-lasting, foamy off-white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of plums, cherries, caramel, spices and brown sugar. Body is full and smooth. Spicy yeast, caramel malt, toffee, plums, raisins, brown sugar and herbal hops fill the mouth. Finish is long and spicy. Very nice brew.

Jul 22, 2019
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Globetrotter from Virginia

4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found in a Moscow supermarket, this brew comes in a 750ml brown bottle with cork and cage. The label is white, gold and blue, with a nice drawing of an abbey. Ingredients include cane sugar and spices. Best before 6/18/06, I couldn't wait longer than 12/19/04.

Pours an opaque deep burgundy hue under a 1.5 finger tan head that lacks body but makes up for it with staying power. A couple of wisps of lace cling to the glass, but most of the head just sinks down the glass as the liquid is consumed. Sweet fruit and spice nose, with grape prominent but a touch of perhaps coriander lurking in the background. Well carbonated and slightly sticky mouth coats the tongue nicely. Nice smooth taste, opening with more grape to go with the chewy malt. A raft of spices floats along the surface, tough to pinpoint but adding luxury to the experience. There is also that signature Francophone sweetness in the hops, which leave no bitter impression at all but announce an unmissable presence in the finish. The aftertaste is a refreshing combination of grape and bread. This is good stuff.

Dec 19, 2004
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WesWes from New York

3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

May 19, 2007
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Phyl21ca from Canada

3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Jun 16, 2006
Photo of BeerBelcher
BeerBelcher from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Aug 01, 2008
Photo of EPICAC
EPICAC from Massachusetts

3.26/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Dec 13, 2006
Photo of BeerBeing
BeerBeing from Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 0.75 liter brown glass semi-custom bottle with cork/cage, mostly blue label

Appearance: very dark brown, light brown head, good lacing

Smell: excellent, raisins, plums, coffee, herbs, sweet malt

Taste: excellent, full body, great mouthfeel, sweet malt, a lot of it, fruity at the same time (black grape), you can feel alcohol also

Notes: VERY TASTY, good stuff

Aug 27, 2005
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Rastacouere from Canada

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown, but I'll gladly admit the unclear Floreffe glass doesn't easy the task of evaluating its appearance. Head is just fine, off-white, medium-lasting, well-laced. The aroma is great. Very yeasty and heavily malty sweet with notes of chocolate, coffee, caramel. Also considerable fruitiness among which stood out plums and apples. The taste displays a medium complexity with plenty of fruits like peaches, pears, apples, orange. Well spiced too with its restrained hints at cloves, cinammon and vanilla. Light to medium bodied though, rather carbonated. On the sweet end of belgian ales, but very balanced (despite alcohol being well noticeable) and pleasant to drink. Most definitely my favorite Floreffe.

Feb 07, 2004
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Cwrw from Canada

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Jun 07, 2006
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark walnut with orange highlights, that becomes dark russet when afternoon sunshine is allowed entry. The cork colored cap was four fingers to start and is both pillowy and rocky. Unfortunately, it isn't very sticky. What lace appears is sudsy and transient. Subsequent pours do a better job of adding more and stickier residue.

The aroma is classic for the style, although it lacks sufficient oomph and smells a little metallic. Given the added ingredients, I expected something a little out of the ordinary. There aren't too many Belgian dark ales that use star anise, orange peel and coriander. Only the first of those is appreciated.

Floreffe Ale (Prima Melior) does just enough to be considered good. It helps that BSDA is one of my favorite Belgian styles. The beer couldn't help but be somewhat complex given the ingredients listed above; not to mention what is probably a fairly estery yeast strain. Another positive is that alcohol is virtually absent on the palate.

Dark fruit is the star of the show. In no particular order, the flavor profile consists of dark caramel, dark chocolate, ripe figs, dates, coriander and a wee bit of anise. Orange peel is still a no-show. Interestingly, the front of the label lists star anise and orange peel, while only anise and coriander are listed on the back. Warming changes... nothing.

The mouthfeel lacks a little oomph as well. It's a bit light, but doesn't wander away too quickly on the finish. The bubbles could stand to work a little harder when it comes to volumization.

Floreffe Prima Melior is better beer than the final score would indicate. Even though it can't hold a candle to the best BSDAs, and I probably won't lay out the cash for another bottle, I'm enjoying each and every mouthful. In the end, that's all that really matters.

Feb 15, 2009
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Sammy from Canada

3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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,

Jan 11, 2007
Photo of Billolick
Billolick from New York

4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Apr 10, 2007
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lacqueredmouse from Australia

3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark black-brown, just flashing lighter at the edges, with a huge and frothy head of mild beige foam. Very rocky, and the boisterous foaminess of the head collapses after a while leaving a few globs of sticky lacing. Looks nice.

Big oaky characters on the nose, almost overpowering, with great medicinal phenols of rosewater and hot rain. A little roasted darkness flittering around the back as well, but the oak is the dominant force here. Quite intense and insane. Big. I like that.

Taste is also good, but very different from the nose. Slight roasted characters, and big, almost wheaty sweetness to it, with esters of banana and vanilla. Very smooth and very sweet, even though it feels a bit thin in the mouth, and there's just the hint of something slightly unpleasant - a bread yeast twang - on the very back.

It's a drinkable beer, no doubt, and very smooth. It confused me a bit with the disjunction between nose and mouth, but it's a tasty brew, and very smooth for its 8%.

Apr 18, 2010
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mobyfann from Ohio

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $4.99 for a 4-pack at Jungle Jim's...

This ale pours a dark brown colored base with a large white head, excellent head retention and some lacing on the glass. The aroma is deep in malts, a little sweet like oranges with no sign of alcohol.

The taste resembles a hybrid of the proclaimed style (Belgian Strong Dark Ale) and the German Doppelbock. Flavorful in malt, creamy smooth, moderate bodied, sweet/caramel aftertaste. Fairly smooth in the mouth when it settles and at 8.0% abv, it's a good all-around session beer for its style.

Final Thought: A very good buy if/when on special, but if it costs more than the Ommegang brews, it's a pass.

Feb 16, 2009
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drpimento from Wisconsin

3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Kind of an interesting brew. Had it at about 60 - 65 degrees F. Poured with a medium fine foamy light tan head and good lace. Color is a dark hazy brown. Aroma is malty, yeasty, a little funk, and licorice. Flavor is at first quite sweet, then a little tartness then back and forth to fade. Good body and carbonation. Finish is like flavor but more sweet. Not bad, not that great.

Feb 23, 2010
Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior from Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 199 ratings