Grottenbier | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Liked This Beer
3.77 w/ 276 Ratings

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
From Pierre Celis, brewed at Brouwerij St. Bernardus.

No longer available in the US.

Added by stcules on 01-29-2003

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Ratings: 276 |  Reviews: 202
Photo of budsboy
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked, caged bottle. Uncorks with considerable force. Pours clear, brilliant amber with a big, creamy, billowing head.

Smells of spicy malt, almost syrupy. Hints of fruit. Less pungent than other St. Bernardus products, a little disappointing.

Rich malty mouthfuls of beer goodness, wow. Bread and dark fruit flavor, warming, with a bitter-sweet finish. Very pleasing and a bit surprising.

Full-bodied, meal like, with a bit of zip from the carbonation.

Well, I've finished this bottle already, far too fast. That, I would judge, is a drinkable beer. Try some.

 575 characters

Photo of OatherS
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is amazing.

Appearance: Nice head. Slight amber/brown color.

Smell: Caramel/chocolaty hints. Similar to a dubbel.

Taste: This beer is very good. Nice dubble type taste. Caramel and chocolate type tastes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth.

Drinkability: I could drink this all night long!!!

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Photo of TheJudge
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beautiful bottle pours a nice deep caramel color, just off brown, with a light brown head that holds well, and laces beautifully. Smells real good, sweet on top, but you can feel the malt. No real hop to speak of, but I wasn't expecting any. The malt smell follows throught in the taste, front to back. The sweetness of the aroma is not there in the taste. Bitter, in fact. It goes down very well, not too bubbly, not too heavily malty. This is indeed a beer that you can drink all night.

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Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark Brown incolor clarity fair, head retention high. Some raison break thru, with malt being dominant, phenols present spices fairly prevelant, hops flavoring moderate, slight sweetness. with a medium to high body, warming prevalent. Dark color rich malt flavor some accentual flavors prevalent. Warmong and sweetness, medium to high body. A drinkable beer with the 6.7% alcohol.

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Photo of dgallina
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a slightly-cloudy copper with a significant creamy white head and good lacing. Smells spicy and fruity (cinnamon, floral notes, perhaps nutmeg), quite effervescent. Flavor is surprisingly weak and thin, however. A *very* brief burst of spice and fruit followed by a big dry finish that doesn't stop. Unnaturally thin and highly-carbonated body for the style.

Easy to drink, sure, but an overly light and flavor-thin beer.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

March 2005- On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- Poured from the tap into a tulip style glass.

Appearance- Dark red, maybe scarlet coloring with a nice tight dirty white head and very nice lacing.

Smell- A very sweet and fruity scent along with a few spices and maybe some cloves in the mix.

Taste- Adequate amount of fruit flavors, sweet malt mixture, but far to dry and a bit unbalanced for me. My buddy loved it though.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation and lip smacking dryness.

Drinkability- Interesting at that, but the dryness and it's unbalanced nature doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a dark mahogany color with a thick beige head that never goes away. Thin, sticky lacing. The aroma consists of yeast, spices and some banana. Medium-bodied with flavors of fruit (cherry mostly), yeast, spices and a bit of alcohol. The flavor falls off a bit and it would have been a lot better with more malt flavor. The finish is vinous and somewhat bitter. All in all a pretty good Dubbel.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25.4oz brown bottle. Pierre Celis Signature Selection. Cave Aged Brown.
It poured a chestnut/teak color with a solid beige head and some sticky and sliding lacing.
Smells like a farm on a rainy day. A dry malty smell mingles with a bit of cloves and citrus.
A sufficient and deep malty flavor is balanced nicely with resinous hop bitterness. An upfront earthy & oaky taste gives way to a taste sour dough bread, bananas, cloves and peppers. This brew is crisp, lightly sweet and finishes dry.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Label Lingo and bottle babble: Golden caged & corked 03:52 L3405 on the cork cap top. This cork slipped right out of the bottle with a pull and without a pout.

Foggy brownish orange pour into a tulip with rising tiny microscopic bubbles rising up to a khaki, sticky, inch high, cratered surface of the moon, spumescent foam cap, which remains well retained.

Spicy malt nose of red apples and cinnamon notes with sugary, bunt cake aromas.

First Swigs: Deep apple cider malts. Drying hop finish. Sweet caramely cocoa aftertaste. Rootbeer anise hints. Astringent walnut shell and nutmeg dry aftertaste which lingers in a massive bittering flavors.

Quite a frothy sipping lilÂ’ number. Medium bodied, but leaves a tongue lashing coating behind.

Last Swigs: Walnut shell and cake malts. Somewhat one dimensional in the flavor department. Just to be honest, what the heck does a cave have to do with this?

Beer is good. Happy beering.

 950 characters

Photo of maltydog
3.76/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft - 10 oz. fluted goblet. burnt amber with ruby highlights. Nose was extremely, but pleasantly, herbal (maybe some anise). Head is opaque and healthy, belgian lace is evident. The herbal nose is very evident in the taste. Pleasntly bitter and complented the rabbit terrine that I was enjoying perfectly. Herbal quality mellows as beer warms and the malt becomes more evident. Definitely a good food beer, particularly terrines, pates and foie gras. The finish is very dry and, again, herbal. I think this beer is definitely better when paired with food than on its own. It seems that with all of the herbal qualities that this offering could be considered a gruit. All in all, a nice effort from Pierre Celis and definitely a beer worth trying!

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.27/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have real mixed feelings about this beer. I have tried it in the US and in Belgium, I have tried it and enjoyed it, and tried it and shrugged in complete lack of excitement. Not sure why, to be honest. It's a decent brew, just doesn't grab me.

Pours a medium murky brown with a medium off-white head that quickly dies off. Aroma is the best part of this beer. Semi sweet, with an interesting spiciness (clove?) that isn't your average Belgian Brown Ale.

But it's the taste where I lose interest. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, but it's just not interesting, and not nearly as exciting as the anticipation brought about by the aroma.

Oh, well.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cola-colored brew with red highlights under a looseknit off-white head that shortly falls.

Sweet malty scent with overtones of prunes and port.

The aggressive fizziness and thin body make it hard for me to taste much aside from raisins. It's okay, but I have to say I'm not getting much from this.

 303 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Foamy tan head, fragrant natural fruity yeast, lace bubbles. Chocolate malts, vanilla (aaah yum). A bit bitterness and sourness on the finish balanced with malts. Light mouthfeel and smooth and drinkable.

Had on-tap nine months later and noticed nice brown colour, yeasty aroma, licorice. Smooth.

 299 characters

Photo of paterlodie
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

productiocode 1279 best before end 2005. Pours in mighty fine and forms a thick a stable head. Has the same nice yeastsmell as the other ones from the Watou brewery. Further a nice caremelmalt arome together with roast and these fruits& spice from the yeast make it a complex smell. Taste is full malty, dry, spicy with a roast and hoppy finish. Good beer to enjoy on a long dark and cold night, feels like a lot more then the 6.7% alcohol it says it has.

 455 characters

Photo of Citadel82
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle with cork and cage. Wide mouthed Grottenbier goblet.

Pours a hazy brown with a short lived one finger head that becomes a thin creamy layer atop the beer.

Smells of yeast and fresh fruit. Melon???

Taste is slightly sweet though not malty - drying to a grapefruit-like sharpness with some detectable alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with some carbonation.

Drinkable yes, but not so spectacular that I will seek this one out any time soon.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured clear amber brown with a tan head that was large and in charge. (The beer opened with a huge carbonation burst.)

The aroma was earthy with a slight farmhouse character. Also present was a slight citrus aroma.

The flavor was crisp and tart with an earthy hop bittering and flavor and a light citrus note. The bittering was substantial and well done to keep the flavor in check. Also a slight oak character existed in the background.

The finish was dry with a lingering citrus and earthy bittering long into the aftertaste. The body was medium but seemed lighter due to carbonation.

750 ml bottle. The beer was nice, nothing to write home about, but well bittered and with a decent drinkability. The citrus note makes me wonder if orange peel was involved.

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Photo of oracle
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

10 oz draft pour in a tulip chalice.

Beer was quite dark brown with about 2 inches of foam, basically from the narrow point of the glass up. Large amounts of lacing left behind.

What little smell I could detect was very nice. Pleasantly sweet malt with floral tones.

Taste was quite mild and very good. Mildly malty and a little dry, quite smooth and delicious.

Very good

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Photo of clvand0
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at Rich O's Public House. Poured into a Liefmann's wide brim 33cl glass. Pours a ruby brown color with a small head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma was almost nil. Nothing there. Flavor was malty and sweet with a strange tartness on the finish. Somewhat thin bodied, but very well done. Not as malty as I expected, but slighly spicy. Easy to drink. I'd have this one again.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a dark clear color and and a clean tan head. The nose is very sweet with notes of plum, caramel, and sweet malt scents. The flavor is full with dark caramel malts, raisin, and a bit of hop bitterness up front. There's a nice balance of tartness and sweetness to balance the light bitterness of the beer.

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, poured into a Grottenbier challice.

Pours a murky brown, with a creamy beige head.
Head subsides to a uniform 1/4 in cap. A thin sheet of lace coats the glass.
Aroma is malty, plummy, winey with a slight sour note .
Flavor is malty, yeasty, hints of dark fruits, a bit of funky mustyness, a little clove spice. Slight hoppiness on the finish.

 363 characters

Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells like a waterfall and sugar-free root beer (I don't know how else to describe it,) a musty and malty dark brown with a foamy head and good lacing. The taste was yeasty, with sweet but tart fruit flavors, a slightly thick creamy mouthfeel and a milky finish. Good and complex but didn't bowl me over for some reason, maybe this yeast strain just doesn't agree with me.

 373 characters

Photo of Truh
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Left a trail of bread crumbs while clutching the evil idol with this one on 10/13/2004. ?-oz. pour at ACPH in a tall, bulbous, stemmed, and utterly wonderful glass.

Huge billow of head to start that laces and clings on its way down. Deep, dark brown hue to the point of mud, with just a touch of blood red where bulb meets stem. Nose held a kind of sweet malt and frankly somewhat chummy fruit flavor, but that was just a side note to the overall malt profile that dominated. Very fast on the tongue and quietly dissipating mouthfeel; able-bodied malt structure with just a hint of sweetness that again evaporates like a heat mirage on a hot pavement. This is one that I could drink until told I must stop.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle obtained via trade with LuckySevens82. Thanks for the opportunity...

Once uncaged, the cork came loose with a tug and a satisfying pop. Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed 2" of dense, creamy, tan/light brown head over the cloudy, reddish-brown brew. Head shows great staying power, and lacing is chunky and bountiful. Aroma is Belgianish spicy, with sweet malt and a slight effervescence present. Taste is initially lightly of dark fruits, with a rounding out of Belgian malt and yeast flavors. Mouthfeel and drinkabilty are both very good. An enjoyable brew, worth both trying and revisiting.

 631 characters

Photo of crookedhalo
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

75 cl cork and caged bottle. Pours a hazed copper to brown color with a pillowy, thick beige head that subsided into a thick collar and some nice lacing. Malty, doughy, and yeasty nose with a slight presence of citrus zest, barley husk and maybe apple skin. This beer has a really nice, dry finish. Quite atypical of a finish for a brown. Lots of earthy, husky malt notes amidst a solid yeast character, an air of fruitiness and, again the wonderfully dry finish. Faint spicing is suggested. Sweetness is present in the beer, just kept to a minimum. Carbonation is rather high, but the carbonic acid complements the dryness in the finish. Good to the very end. A fantastically well-rounded beer that's not too cloying or overbearing, as some brown ales from Belgium can be. Cave aging plays an integral part in this ale's softness and complexity.

 846 characters

Photo of frank4sail
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown look in the goblet with a pleasent lasting beige 1/4 inch head. Detergent like clean nose. Rich sweetish hazel nut tinted taste to the brew. Slight touch metalic touch on the tongue. Nice malty smooth finish. Smooth comforting mouth. Soild and quite nice. A decent drinkable brown that goes well with football in the fall.

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Grottenbier from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 60.1% out of 100 with 276 ratings
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