Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior | Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

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Abbaye De Floreffe Prima MeliorAbbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior
192 Ratings
Abbaye De Floreffe Prima MeliorAbbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior

Brewed by:
Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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).

Added by LarryKemp on 02-05-2003

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Ratings: 192 |  Reviews: 116
Photo of kegger22
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior poured a dark brown with a giant tan head that showed respectable retention. The aroma reminded me of sherry, a lot of dark fruits. The taste was malt sweet and dark fruits with a hint of chocolate. The mouth feel was medium bodied, oily and well carbonated. Drinkability was good.

Everything combined to make Prima Melior a good beer, but not a great beer. It started out similar to Gulden Draak, one of my favorite BSDA's, but the taste couldn't hold up it's end.

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Photo of drpimento
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

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Photo of dgilks
3.01/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Interesting aroma with some alcohol, good sweetness and lots of esters. I get a combinations of dark fruit, grapes and even a touch of tropical fruit. A bare hint of anise like spice is good. I like this slightly different twist on aroma.

Brown with red tinges. The head is creamy, tan and lacks length. A bit hazy.

The flavours here just aren't right. I get a combination of liquorice, alcohol, liquorice, liquorice and liquorice. A hint of spice is present too but this isn't what I expect (nor does the BJCP) in a BSDA or Quad. I also get a hint of out of place roast in the forepalate. On the whole, drinkable but way off base for the style.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation. The mouthfeel isn't as smooth and creamy as it should be.

While I don't mind the flavour the 'in your face' liquorice flavour makes drinking the whole 750ml bottle difficult.

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Photo of vancurly
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 corked & wire-capped. BB 30/06/2011.

Poured into large wine goblet. Generating a rocky/fluffy beige head, sinking slowly and leaving a lace. Deep, dark brown, with a bright light casting some a ruby hue. Seems to be haze-free, but hard to tell with such depth of colour.

Interesting complex of aromas. Licorice, even a slight formic acid note (crushed ants). Galliano spice and dry malt extract. Citric tinge as it warms. I like it.

Big licorice hit on the palate, some orange chocolate too. Maybe some lemon sherbet as it warms. Veritable lolly shop. And sweet..

Sticky sweet up front, but not too hot. Even with the up front sweetness, the finish is drier.

My brother found this a challenging drink, finding the alcohol more profound than I did. And others reviewing have indicated a variety of characters that to me indicate a lot of bottle variation.

I find this an interesting ale.... the aroma profile is clean, varied, and appealing, while the palate backs it up, bit lays the sweetness on a bit too much. Winter sipper only...

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Photo of Bisho
3.07/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Unibroue tulip glass

Real gusher this one. A lot like pouring a glass of champagne. Deep brown stout like colour with a big tan head. Takes a while to settle but when it does, leaves almost no lacing at all.

Smell is good. Lots of dates in this one with hints of chocolate.

Lots of spice and dates yet again in the taste but from here the beer goes all pear shaped. Don't get me wrong, the flavour is good but the sickly sweet prune tartness on the back of the palate is actually quite off-putting. To make things worse, this taste actually lingers for quite some time.

Feels quite carbonated in the mouth and the alcohol is noticable but not overbearing. Unfortunately the sweetness kills it yet again.

I will probably never buy this again. I even tried to get my wife to have a glass just so I didn't waste it. She gave me a ghastly look upon tasting which was enough to confirm that I was not wrong.

A good Belgian Strong Dark Ale this is not. Dark yes, but very very sweet.

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Photo of Dster
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Dark Brown with a tint of ruby. Head light tan/ white with small bubbles. Head and carbonation champagne like.

Smell- Great. Hint of Alcohol. Citrus. Can't pull spice smells apart. just makes it smell a bit exotic.

Taste- A bit of brown ale feel... lighter carbonation, with orange peel, all spice.

Mouthfeel- Creamy. Heavy feel.

Drinkability- Good. can't really taste high level of alcohol, but unique taste would be off putting with a lot of least food I like to eat. Would be great with cheese.

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Photo of SleepyMonk
3.02/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Moderately chilled 75cl bottle poured into a standard tulip glass.

Pours with a thick, tightly compressed and well carbonated tan colored head. The body of the beer is a dark coffee and when held to the light there is reddish cola like hues.

The nose carries roasted dark fruits and fresh cherry with some sweet malts. These aromas are put a little off-balance by a slight medicinal kick which leans more towards being a negative feature.

The aromas carefully predict the taste palate. Caramelized malt makes for a dense, chewy taste and spicy bitterness provides nice balance. Once again the medicinal features are ever present and this is a little off putting to those who do not favor such tastes.

In the mouth this is smooth with medium bodied density and soft carbonation with a dry finish.

The taste and structure of this ale improved after being allowed to reach room temperature.

Not the best but drinkable none the less. Somewhat similar to Gulden Draak but the medicinal notes and rich cherry flavors cause it to deviate from that comparison.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I drank this from the bottle into a tulip.

This beer pours a dark brown with a big light tan with great retention and lacing. The head stayed for about 5 minutes.

The aroma was awesome, with light hops and lots of spice, light orange.

The taste was like the aroma but stronger. Its very spicey you can almost chew this beer and you get lots of allspice. Its almost like a stout but it isn't. Tons of flavor in each sip always changing. Very drinkable.

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Photo of dstc
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with a big foamy white head. Nice retention and great lace.

Sweet malty aroma with slight spice.

Full malt taste. Hints of star anise come through. Very slight bitter bite. Sweet finish then a bitter burnt lingering taste.

Full to medium bodied in the mouth.

Not bad. Typical Belgian taste with a very slight somewhat off-putting finish.

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Photo of TLove
2.07/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

750 ml bottle to glass tumbler.

Got this one cheap for a 750 ml bottle ($3.99 at Rodman's in DC) at 8% ABV. But honestly, it was not very good at all to my taste. Color, creamy off-tan head and mild to moderate retention. Overwhelmingly sour and unabashedly fruity (strong cherry, slight smokey taste). Little to no yeast structure, thin hop structure, and limited application to its proclaimed category. Very dry. Not well-balanced and the finish was muddled and sought after a complexity it had the ability to achieve, but dropped the ball by spilling a half ton of cherry juice into an otherwise soft and subtle brew.

Probably good with fruit crepes on a cool morning in Quebec City, but doesn't suit the Belgian Strong Dark Ale category well. Perhaps should be coupled with Rodenbach's Grand Cru as the undercarbonated version of its overly sour Flemish disaster of an unbalanced beer.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed at Au Trappiste in Paris. 33 CL bottle and presented in Floreffe glass.

Dark brown with 1/2 finger foamy tan head. Fig, prune, and raisin in aroma. Man, this smells good after mostly wine the past week.

Dark brown - flavor reflects aroma. Too cold at first and drinks better as it warms. Creamy head stickes around.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nicely brewed Belgian dark ale. Malty and sweet balance with a compact feel. (Question mark on these notes since bottle showed off-freshness date.)

Presentation: 750 ml corked bottle. Old fashion cartoonist design with a drawing of the abbey. Succinct description on the front with longer paragraph on the back noting craft and history behind the brew. Notes freshness as "Best Before" (L20090403 so it might be a bit off). Displays Alc. by Vol. (8%) Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Very dark brown with ruby touches around the edges. Extraordinary foamy head, which holds fantastically and leaves heavy touches of lacing and a lumpy surface as it goes down.

S - Sweet malty scent with few apparent complexities and a very distant anise.

T - Caramel malt, a bit of chocolate, and a second row of fruity sweetness.

M - Smooth and somewhat light body, deceptively light. Gentle carbonation that takes enough to carry the brew but sits back too.

D -A nice brew to drink, and share in these large bottles. Feels a bit filling towards the second take but carries one there.

Notes: It is a good and reliable brew for the style. Not outstanding but with the price-quality ratio that I´m seeing around DC with this import it´s an attractive offering if it were not that they it seems to be past their preferred date of consumption... But it seems to have taking the longer date in a decent manner. Will revisit with a fresh bottle when I have a chance in the future.

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Photo of Vancer
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let's start the 2009 football season on the right foot:

Ol' 750 cork and caged bottled pours a cola brown liquid gold brew into the Corsendonk tulip, tan head pops up and dies quickly. A firmer pour generates better head and lacing.

Malty sweet aroma with root beer and a pop of orange. Spicy taste of the malt with a sturdy dose of Belgian yeast for a tangy finish. Sharp cutting cut of the star anise closely reminds me of the black licorice feel of a RIS.

Fairly tasty brew, the alcohol (8%) is in the background, but is warming the cheeks this cool late summer day.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this at Bert's Bierhuis in Utrecht.

From a bottle into a chalice.

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger medium-thin off-white / tan head. Color is a deep seal brown with some carbonation decorating the top. Head quickly fades to a thin film and leaves some immediate lacing. Thin film stays and leaves some lacing. Color is quite nice.

SMELL: Caramel malt and dark fruits, prunes and raisins. Some spicy qualities as well, coriander and cloves, and some spicy Belgian yeast. A cool fruity and spiciness to this one, like a pumped up dubbel. Decent strength on this one.

TASTE: Lots of caramel malt and dark fruits, mostly prunes and raisins like the nose. Yeasty spices, coriander and cloves again, with some kind of salty black licorice touch too. A good dose of bitterness at the finish. A mild aftertaste is spicy and bitter-sweet, with a touch of alcohol at the end.

PALATE: Lighter body and higher end carbonation. A little airy on the palate, goes down fine but give you the burps, unfortunately. Finishes with a bit of stickiness. Too light and airy.

OVERALL: A good effort by Lefebvre. Not a big fan of the Floreffe line, but the Prima Melior is probably the best of the line and is worth a shot in its own right. One I'd have again.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hmmm. anise and orange peel. Thinking it might pour a bit light and...whoa! Nope, this sucker is dark. Black or a very deep rich ruby color. Nice head, would give it a 4.5 if it laced up better.
Caramel and dark prune aroma. Slight anise, but only if you think about it. Rich. Some whaffs of unripe orange.
Taste is caramel and light chocolate. Raisin and slght anise. Orange makes more of an appearance toward the end. Like an orange chocolate piece. Alcohol is nice. Drinks easily.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darkish brown, almost black, body with one-finger head that died quickly. Spices are evident in smell along wwith a sharp, sour citric smell and some orange peel. The beer is good but a tad off as it seems there are heavy fruit flavors like orange and hark fruit fruits like black cherries and some malt presence (chocolate, roasted, vanilla). Finishes a little dry thanks to roasted malts and sour hop bitterness. Typical Belgian yeastiness and slight stickiness there as well. A good Belgian but not the best; still didn't mind sipping on this one.

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Photo of brendanos
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with deep mahogony hues, hazy, with a short lived tan head. Aromas of candy sugars, sweet sherry, ripe berries, ocean breeze, raisins, and port wine. Smooth, full mouthfeel with moderate sweetness and flavours of preserved stonefruit, raisins, and floral candy. Quite sweet, but very smooth and drinkable. Would probably be much nicer in a better condition (suspected slightly heat affected).

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Photo of mobyfann
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A very deep ruby red. If I didn't hold this to a light, I would have thought it was black. A very creamy off white head with excellent retention and lacing.

S- Anise, caramel, some spiciness. Smells somewhat medicinal, but it isn't too bad overall.

T- Same as the aroma, but very solid. Still slightly medicinal with some noticeable alcohol, but it is still pretty nice. It hits in the right places.

M- A nice carbonation level. Very creamy. I dig it.

D- The 8% ABV is hidden pretty well, but this is still kind of a sipper. Doesn't taste as heavy as the appearance would lead you to believe. A pretty solid strong dark ale. I enjoyed it, but this didn't blow me away.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of thekanna
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this at Brasserie Beck in Washington, D.C.

A: Poured into a Floreffe goblet. Black like pitch with 1 finger of cappuccino head.

S: I don't know how else to describe it other than pickled dates. It had the characteristic date sweetness, but also a sourness that was reminiscent of pickle juice.

T: Somewhat watery, chocolate-y malt gives way to a sharp spike of alcohol heavily glazed with cinnamon and cloves. Ends on a dark chocolate note reminiscent of Mayan hot chocolate with chilies. Repeated sipping of this almost belies a soy sauce-like quality.

M: Effervescent inception gives way to slick, smooth brew.

D: Definitely a sipper. But makes you want to sip more to discover its deep, underlying complexities. Just as long as you don't smell it for too long.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ML cage w/ cork > mini snifter

This one is a deep, dark brown with purple highlights and ruby hues. Very vibrant look and an amazing soft, creamy head, wicked sticky lacing, superb retention.

The aroma is an abundance of dark-sweet fruits and herbs, sweet raisin, prunes and spice underneath.

Wow, this one is verging on *gulp* red wine. But with even more charecter! Very jammy, grape jam, blackberry, very dank fruity flavors and white pepper. The hop gives a nice balance of earthy, bitter hop. A slight black licorice current from the star anise. Tangy and sour yeast with a dry, light but smooth feel. Very complex.

Sip this puppy S L O W.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark, ruby color with a rocky tan head that was moderately lasting leaving a thin streaky lacing.

S: raisins, coffee, roasted malt and chocolate.

T: The initial flavor was creamy chocolate, dark roasted malt, cocoa and coffee. There was a nice breadiness with ripe fruit (raisins) and a good maltiness with some spicy black licorice notes. There was some sweet, toffee and caramel with a good yeasty character that plays through well. Finishes dry with some raisins, plums and coffee.

M: light, dry with moderate carbonation.

D: Overall was fairly average and one of the few things that hindered this beer. A good drink overall and moderately satisfying.

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Photo of brewbucker
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Shigadeyo for trading this to me.

This pours a very deep murky brown with a medium head. The fade fades some but leaves a thin pillowy layer. The aroma is fantastic. Rich fermented fruits, candied malts, spices and touches of booziness (is that even a word)? Flavor is sweet and candied. Lots of rich boozy fruits, spice and malts. There is also a slight tartness that is quite nice. This one turned out to be a nice surprise. I thought it would be good but it turned out to be great.

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Photo of Rudgers73
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a deep dark brown with red highlights. Poured into a tulip glass there was a decent amount of head, but it faded quickly. Similar in look and smell to Trios Pistoles so far. The smell is quite potent with a rich, biscuity malt base and tart fruits. Apple, black cherry, anise, and cloves. The taste is really heavy in the malt department. The maltyness quickly dissolves into a sour/tart fruit undertone. I taste banana bread, raisins, and spicy/bitter light hops at the end. Earthy and slightly acidic. The flavor profile doesn't really flow as nicely as I would have liked. There are several interesting flavors, but they don't transition in a smooth way. The mouthfeel is relatively thin considering its thick flavor. It also leaves a residual sweetness in the mouth as the drink progresses. Overall it was a decent ale. A lot like a belgian christmas ale IMO with the anise, spices, and deep rich flavor. Much like a blend between Corsendonk X-mas and Trios Pistoles, just not as well done as either.

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Abbaye De Floreffe Prima Melior from Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 192 ratings