Grotten Flemish Ale
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Grotten Flemish AleGrotten Flemish Ale
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Belgian Strong Pale Ale
4.02 | pDev: 10.45%
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Grotten Flemish AleGrotten Flemish Ale
Notes: A "Blond" from Pierre Celis, brewed at Brouwerij St. Bernardus.

No longer available in the US.
Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 73 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Jacobier10
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle with no date. Purchased circa 2008/2009 by Ethan and cellared since then.

Bottle opens with a loud "POP!" and the first pour is clear, amber in color with a thick, creamy, white head that shows good retention. Fruity, earthy, and herbal aroma. A noticeable amount of cardboard and sherry, most likely the result of oxidation. These carry over to the flavor as well, but I am not going to dock it in the ratings for being 7+ years old. There is enough of a fruity presence to keep it drinkable. The finish is dry and a little spicy. Medium bodied and slightly warming. Carbonation was great, even after all these years.

Grotten Flemish Ale withstood the test of time fairly well. The bottle was probably past its prime at this point, but the quality in the brewing is still evident.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass; 11/23/2009 dating on the bottom of the bottle(best before date?). Pours lightly hazy and cloudy golden orange color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of pear, apple, grape, floral, pepper, clove, herbal, caramel, honey, biscuit, and herbal earthiness. Very nice aromas with good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy/floral notes with malt sweetness; and good strength. Taste of pear, apple, grape, floral, pepper, clove, herbal, caramel, honey, biscuit, and herbal earthiness. Lingering notes of light fruits, floral, pepper, herbal, light clove, caramel, honey, bread, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of malt and fruity/spicy esters; with a good malt/spiciness balance and no cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a slick and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian strong pale. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/spicy flavors with malt sweetness; and very smooth to sip on. This was probably quite old given the caramelized maltiness from age, but it held up very well. A very enjoyable offering.

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

Held for about 3-4 years, opened and reviewed to honor the passing of this giant, R.I.P. Pierre.

Appearance: Golden glass holds a tight white head that clings to the side in clumpy tidemarks.

Smell: Mild Belgian yeast, earthy grain and a rosy floral smell. Slight wet cork note that doesn't spoil the party at all.

Taste: Some tropical fruit, a bit of banana, mango, and lemon peel. Very soft flavor profile, easy drinking but plenty of things going on.

Mouthfeel: Almost creamy feel in a light body, tough trick to pull off. A bit of prickle from the carbonation and a lingering coat in the mouth.

Overall: Lots of bias here, but this is a great beer to spend the afternoon with. Light enough not to fill you up, flavorful enough to keep you interested. A finely crafted beer from one of the best minds in brewing. We'll miss you and your beers Pierre.

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Photo of Shakujin
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had @Delirium Cafe Reserve Tokyo in 750ml bottle

Appearance: cloudy, glowing yellow. pours with fluffy almost whip cream like head

Smell: yeasty, bready, with strong herbal notes

Taste: similar to smell, the herbal taste really stands out. sort of like almond, black liquorish, and sweet grapes combined. Very unique flavor. Carbonation and bitterness are there but non obtrusive

Mouthfeel: med light.

Drinkability/ Overall: interesting beer with a great story behind it and a quite unique taste. A great beer to try and have a chat over, but not a go to beer

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle tried 12 Sep 2007.

Large white/yellow head. Well carbonated. Slightly cloudy golden yellow color. Smells sweet, yeasty, wheaty, with a touch of bubblegum. Starts with some caramel and apricot fruitiness. Fairly sweet and yeasty throughout. Finish is sweet sour. Medium body.

A says 'tastes like a Belgian beer' (guess that is good)...

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle without a discernable freshness date, I picked this up last year so it is most likely a 2009 vintage, maybe 2008. Pours a very clear (initially) golden color with a large, fluffy white foam that collapses slowly and leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

Nose is actually quite similar to a Duvel, chalky Smatees candy, lightly fruity Belgian yeast and a smattering of grassy hops. Has a bit more bready yeast character and a bigger malt presence.

Taste is quite unique however, as the yeast and alcohol smack you around a bit up front. Crackery malt comes on in the middle with some definite sweetness, cheap halloween candy and honey. Bittering finish hints at a fair amount of hopping and is accentuated a bit by an alcohol drying effect. I was afraid I hadn't "grotten" around to this beer fast enough as it sat in my DBF for about 6 months. Still seems to taste great though, and is a worthwhile and unique Belgian beer experience.

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Photo of corby112
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a somewhat cloudy golden yellow color with some ripe banana hues and a two finger foamy white head that lingers for a while before settling into a lasting ring that leaves spotty lacing. Visible carbonation bubbling up.

Estery crisp golden fruit aroma with hints of apple and pear as well as some bready yeast, spicy zesty pepper, and citrus lemon peel.

Pretty carbonated up front with a clean bready yeasty medium body. Estery fruit notes, mostly apple and pear, along with some ripe banana notes, creaminess, alcohol warmth and a dry finish.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle w cork and cage. no date found. tasted in early/mid may 2009.

deep golden straw, almost gem clear, but some flakes of yeast, esp in later pours. massive head of large-bubbled foam, fades very slowly to constant thin layer. great lacing.

aroma: white grape and pear, hint of white bread, herbal hops and spicy phenols. trace of yeasty belgian character, not quite "funk".

taste: again, light white grape and pear, more white bread, but a bit watery. similar grassy and herbal hops (mild to moderate bitterness) with spice and phenols in back. peach notes? however, there is this strong metallic and mineral undertone, especially coming out in the finish and aftertaste. actually a bit distracting...

feel: a bit thin and watery, though smooth. all this is overshadowed again by that weird metallic character. tingly, moderate carbonation can give a hint of body.

very weird...

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Photo of Gavage
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a clear light orange color with a 1" head.

Smell: yeast, light pepper spice, and some grassiness are easily detectable by the nose.

Taste: slightly grainy malt base with some heavy yeast flavors. Pepper spice, honey, and slightly sour green grapes round it out. Bitterness is up front and balancing for the sweetness here. Alcohol is slightly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, smoother and dry at the finish. Aftertaste is long as the yeast spiciness lingers in the mouth a while.

Drinkability: slow sipping and somewhat refreshing beer on a hot day. Easy to drink this one buit more than two or three glasses may be enough in a session.

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Photo of HalfFull
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Belgian snifter of sorts. Pours a clear golden in color with a white sticky head. Good retention and just a bit of haze.

Smell is light and clean. Apple and pear on the nose and with a champagne like feel.

Taste follows suit. Very light and a touch of fruit. Quite perky and bubbly, reminiscent of a Flanders brew. Not sour at all however. Closer to an Affligem Blonde than a Duvel. Not a lot of sweetness and with a light Belgian yeast nose. Alcohol is well hidden and adds another stake to Duvel's coffin.

A nice brew. Belgian Blonde would be a more apt description.

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Photo of atsprings
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

5oz pour at the Flying Saucer Tri-Beer Belgian tasting served in a tulip glass a hazy bubbly straw yellow with a decent off-white head. Aroma is loads of sweet fruits. The taste is a decent amount of very tart sweet fruits with hints of citrus hops. The body is slightly heavy with loads of sweetness. This is a very enjoyable brew to say the least.

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Photo of Nickls
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured with frothy, foamy white head with good retention. Lightly hazy orangey-yellow color that's vibrant

S - Yeasty; orange and citrus aromas; some grassiness as well

T - A bit flowery; yeastiness comes in mildly; citrus fruit. Pretty nice

M - A bit chalky for me; very vibrant carbonation. Thinner body overall, though

D - Really drinkable, with some nice layers of complexity, but refreshing and at a very reasonable abv

Overall, certainly worth a look and I found it pretty darn good.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grotten Flemish Ale is the product of Brouwerij St. Bernard so expectations are high, and, in the end, met. This glossy brew pours a hazy golden color, tinged with orange. A nice lively cap of foam announces the carbonation therein.

Very nimble on the palate, as it flows across the contours. Lightly toasted malt with an orchard fruitiness greets the taste buds. A subtle sourness mixes in. Toward the end, a clove spiciness balances the initial sweetness, bringing everything together. An earthy character pervades it all.

This is a quality beer, a "Unique Belgian Ale" indeed.

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Photo of Richardberg
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured from a bomber into a Bavarian style beer mug. Big cream head atop a pale golden liquid.

S: pale malts, floral hoppy aroma, banana esters

T: crisp malty taste, hides the nearly 8% ABV very well

M: slightly above average ale fizz. Not as interesting as Duvel or Delirium.

D: nice beer, great example of the style, but not world class like many are rating

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Photo of JBogan
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful bright golden color with a large and creamy white head which left excellent lacing. Very inviting looking beer.

Smelled of banana and spices, almost like a Wit with a little something extra.

Tasted very similar to the aroma. Excellent balance but perhaps just a step below the best of it's style.

Mouthfeel was superb. Very smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of carbonation. Really nice in the mouth.

I'd happily drink this one again. It is very refreshing, well balanced, and goes well with almost anything or just by itself.

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Photo of dfillius
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought due to my admiration for Celis' beer savvy.
Enjoyed in a wine glass
A: Hearty 'POP' when corked. Moderate pour yields 1.5 finger pillowy white head with stellar retention (3/4 finger 2 minutes later). Cloudy luminous golden color.
S: Banana, clove, tropical fruit. Smells creamy even
T: Pleasant hop to this one. Almost hoppy enough to be a BIPA. Fruity, well balanced, tangy, delicious.
M: Bright, creamy and smooth.
D: Very tasty. Very pleasant. No bad flavor, refreshing!

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Photo of Psilo707
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
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.

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Photo of lhaqq
3.52/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of hiikeeba
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +10%
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.

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Photo of brdc
4.22/5  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.

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Photo of Onslow
2.94/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

had in celebration for Manchester United's glorious VICTORY!! 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...

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Photo of msgraves
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of Beerzebub
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Grotten Flemish Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 73 ratings