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
Reviews by OldSock:
Photo of OldSock
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – 750 ml bottle poured into a pint glass. The glass is filled half way with the stark-white head that lasts and lasts (even leaving some foam behind at the bottom of the glass after all the liquid is drank). The beer itself is golden yellow with a slight haze, getting hazier with each pour.

Smell – Delightful spicy and floral aroma, coriander, orange peel, lavender and chamomile. Banana yeast character is also present along with just a hint of funkiness. The whole thing is layered on top of a soft malt background.

Taste – Strong bitterness with a dry maltiness. The spiciness from the nose is lower in the flavor, but still present. It’s a good flavor, and the more I drink the better I like it, but it never lives up to the complexity of the aroma.

Mouthfeel – Classic dry Belgian body with stiff carbonation.

Drinkability/Notes – Damn fine Belgian beer, particularly in the nose, somewhere between Orval, Duvel and Fantome Saison. I wish the bitterness was a bit lower, but other than that no complaints here. I wonder how this will age?

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More User Reviews:
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.56/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a light orange-gold with a tall and stark white head. Aroma is light yeast and a touch of lemon. (I would have liked a little more to the nose to match what the palate found.)

Taste is a light, toasty pale malt with a hint of honey and citrus. Dries out through the glass with more elements of yeast, coriander, cloves and white pepper emerging. Once it warms just a little bit, a wonderful bitter orange rind flavor blooms, revealing a little floral complexity beneath the malts, maybe even a trace of sweet peppermint.

Mouthfeel is soft and light, effervescent and crisp with carbonation. I'm not sure how to read the style of grottenbier but it impresses me as a spicy, low-alcohol tripel, or maybe a Belgian pale/witbier hybrid. Whatever it decides to be, it's a marvelously complex and enjoyable style.

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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 TexIndy
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle with a really cool painted label but no freshness or bottling date. Poured a pale golden with a lot of bits of yeast floating around. Had a huge head to start with that slowly dissipated. Had a nice tart fruity smell that was reminiscent of a wit. The mouthfeel was good and you could feel the carbonation. The taste was excellent. Started nice and fruity with just a hop kick and ended slightly dry but not to dry like a saison. It has an ABV of 7.7% that isn't overwhelming or alcoholish while you drink but you get that nice warm feeling when you are done. Overall a very pleasing beer that I would highly recommend. It would get a regular rotation spot except that the price at just under $10 is a little high. So far, I've only see it at one place in town and I usually only get there every 3-4 months so that sound about right for timing. (4.5, RR/RB, T,Y)

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Photo of Mitchster
4.94/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

$8.99 for a 750ml bottled, corked and caged. 7.7% ABV. Pours to a deeply hazy, near milky pale burnt golden orange, forming a small white head with average retention and lacing. Very minimal carbonation which is odd because the cork was very difficult to remove. The aroma is intense with fruit unlike that I've ever smelled in a beer literally smells like a freshly cut fruit salad of peaches, pears, pineapple, mango and white pepper. The mouthfeel is unlike anything I've tried with this snappy upfront bite, then a crisp bite in the finish which is partly composed of bitterness but also with a watery smoothness which belies it's strength. Dangerously drinkable! The taste is just exceptional...fresh fruit salad sprinkled with lemon pepper and a touch of bitter salad greens. A touch of barnyard, stables and dusty cellar are thrown in for good measure. The belches are delicious, kinda like I just ate a bag of Jolly Ranchers. Bitterness is perfectly balanced..not too strong, not too just sits right there and is perfect. A testament to the brewing art.

Wow! Just an amazingly well-crafted beer. I rarely score a beer so highly, but this is just mind-blowingly delicious! The 750ml goes down way too easy and I want more! Currently recieving an average rating of 4.1, I think this brew is a sleeper. Not to sound stodgy, but if you have a refined palette, try this one out! It's subtleties may be lost on those unfamiliar with the style. EXCEPTIONALLY FAN-FUCKIN-TASTIC!

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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 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 clvand0
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a cloudy yellow color with a tall head that had nice retention and left nice lacing on the glass. The aroma was very similar to a witbier with plenty of wheat, spices, and some light hopping. The flavor had some very tasty and well balanced spices with an overall citrus feel. The hops were there, but they melded into the overall flavor. Very fruity - wit/weizen type fruits. The finish was fairly dry and the spices stuck around on the palate. The drinkability is very nice and the body is medium.

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Photo of whynot44
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy apricot color with a tremendous off-white head that retains well and leaves an incredible amount of sticky lacing. The aroma is yeasty, somewhat earthy, with some banana and citrus notes, though very mild, and hints of coriander. The taste is sweet and bready at first, then spicy with coriander, cloves, citrus zest and pepper. The finish is somewhat peppery with a trace of citric hops and just a touch of alcohol warmth. The aftertaste lingers with something like allspice. Light/medium bodied and smooth textured and creamy. The flavors definitely come out more as it warms up from refrigerator temperatures so take your time and enjoy it. Nicely drinkable and well worth a try.

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

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent along with a spicey/earthy Belgian yeast aroma. The taste is good. It has a crisp and refreshing pale malt flavor that is only slightly tart. It's more earthy with a peppery spice in the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is not at all what I expected. It's not a super tart beer. It more of a Belgian Strong instead with just a hint of sourness.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.16/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Bu11zeye: Poured a deep orangey color ale with a nice big foamy head with good retention and some great lacing. Aroma of sweet malt is dominating with a light yeasty note. Taste is also dominated by some quiet sweet malt with light yeasty dry finish. Body is a bit oily and cloying with light alcohol being perceptible and some great carbonation. Definitely lacking complexity and a bit too sweet for my palate but then again I had high expectation from that brewer.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Never seen this before – nice to be able to pick it up at a beer drive-thru!

A wild billowing head exists atop a dull golden body. Ridiculous cling.

Nose is phenolic, cracked pepper, clove, and general yeastiness. Falls in line with much of the Bernardus line. Attractive.

Taste is saison-y minus the funk: wisps and threads of alternating minerals, dryness, earth. Rather a stock Bernardus, really supertasty, still, too pricey for all-the-time consumption. Seems to lack some distinction.

MF: One of the slinkier Belgians on the tongue. Drinkability suffers just from the sense that I’d be more inclined to sack another single from the Bernardus line.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice clear golden with a white and frothy head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was earthy with a farmhouse character and a light nose of mint. Some nice spice was present along with a low candylike sweetness. No real alcohol was notable in the aroma, but it was lightly fruity and had a lasting earthy presence which had a bit of grassiness.

The flavor was spicy and lightly grassy with a complex character which contained a dirty earthiness and a subtle sweetness and tons of complexity. The flavor was nicely fruity and had a bit of alcohol flavor which accentuated the spice. There were many spice flavors present, mint, sage, light coriander, and a host of others.

The finish was dry with a lasting spicy character that lasted long and pleasantly into the aftertaste and beyond. The body was medium with a creamy mouthfeel and a nice carbonation level. The beer was extremely complex with a wonderful myriad of flavors and textures. A truly excellent brew.

750 ml corked and bailed bottle. The back of the bottle says:
"Grotten Flemish Ale is a unique ale produced by one of the great Flanders breweries. Pale golden in color with a white, dense foam and a flavor that is soft, creamy and slightly herbal. Aging will reveal new layers of flavor, but Grotten Flemish Ale is eminently drinkable anytime."

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Photo of WynnO
3/5  rDev -25.4%

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

Grotten Flemish Ale poured slightly cloudy straw yellow topped by a bright white head. A good deal of lacing was left behind on the glass. Aroma had notes of banana, orange peel, pepper and lemon. Flavor consisted of a slight citrus taste, malty sweetness, a touch of bitterness and a little spice. Medium-light in body and highly carbonated.

Solid and balanced beer.

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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 Sammy
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a word, herbal with citrus astringency that softens as you drink it. A good drinking Belgian, though not complex and possibly below average for this brewery. Big head and perfumey.Lemon and pumpkin spices. This may improve with age but I wouldn't particularly seek it out.

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

Large typical Belgian bottle, caged and corked and no freshness/brewing date/best before dating :-(, anyway, this one pours chill hazed cloudy, light apricot, bubbles rising under and loooong lasting nice, tiny bubble eggshell head, plenty of sheeting and sticky lace. I allowed this one to warm up outside of my house, (its about 50 degrees outside) Nose is of plentiful fruit and a hint of gentle spice in the rear. Complex and flavorful, plenty of ripe tropical fruit, bananas, melon, tangerine, some "soapy" notes and then a dose of coriander and pepper, nice. Pleasant offering, would work great with a summer lunch of salads, cheese etc or likely would cut through and compliment Thai or BBQ dishes. Well worth a try.

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

750 ml bottle from Hi Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, Ca. in September 2007, tasted in November of the same year. Price not recorded.

I was uncertain about this one- I had tried the Grotten Brown a couple of times (in the US and in Belgium), and to be honest, didn't really enjoy it all that much. But I have such a fondness for Flemish Ales, I just couldn't resist.

Pours a pretty golden color with a beautifully proportioned off-white head that has great retention. So far, so wonderful.

The first whiff yells out the sourness of a Flemish Ale- yep, there's some good stuff afoot. Then, when tasted, the sour I love was very muted- definitely there, but not the obvious tartness of the great Flemish ales. More spicy than sour. A bit of citrus fruit, but quite muted. Much lighter malt profile, but what a great yeasty twist!

So what do I think? Actually, I like it- this has a bit of tang that makes it very interesting, but it's not overpowering or challenging to drink. I'll take it!

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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 rhoadsrage
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a chalice)

A- On the first pour, although gentle, the glass filled with nothing but head. As the mosey eggshell colored head began to melt back into a lightly hazy golden yellow body with a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The soft smell of yeasty perfume had a dry quality to it with a faint hint of green herbal notes in the background.

T- The light smooth taste of pale wheat has some light fruity qualities and a soft yeast flavor to it. There was a slight cola note to the malt with a hint of dried apricots coming through as the beer warms. The soft green note at the finish doesn't have any distinct hop qualities to it.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a tight fizz finish that cleans it up.

D- This beer is very filling and could be a meal with a smooth creamy taste but not a lot of depth or interest in the smell or taste.

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Photo of bruachan
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

super heady (i'd stored it a little warm) and a clear golden underneath

from the fuzz erupts spicy goldenness and noble hops. sweet n' spicy

hoppy flavoring. not bitterness, but the middle and late additions are substantial. malt flavors are subdued but detectable: light, clear pils malts hide under the hoppi-spiciness. the finish is actually unremarkable, and the mouthfeel a little flimsy (though somehow coating)

you know, in's not all that spicy. i guess i just expected it to be. spicy, yes, but it's no chouffe

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Photo of allengarvin
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, served into a St Bernardus wide-mouthed chalice. Pours a cloudy amber-orange color with a small frothy head. Nose is rather fruity, with notes of pear, tart apple, lemon, with an herbal-spicy hop aroma (a little cinnamony). Flavor gives an initial taste of soft honey and pear, followed by a spicy bite of hoppy bitterness and an earthy Orval-like funk in the background. The bitterness lingers for a while after the dry, nuanced finish. It sits soft in the mouth, with a light but carbonated body.

Exceptional! Even better than the Brown.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged 750 that has no dates but does come in a nicely painted bottle. Purchased at Merchant's in Dearborn and poured into a Duvel tulip.

Slightly hazed brass under a huge head of white that shows good retention and plenty of sheeted lace.

The nose is dry, chalky, and carries a lot of farmhouse funk. Grapes and pears are there as well. I really like the way this one smells. I wish I could describe it better.

Fruity for a brief moment upfront. Then it quickly turns dry with spices, earthy chalk, and a drying bitterness that has a slight citrus characteristic. The finish is very dry. I like the transition and complexity of flavors.

The mouth is dry and spritzy. A complex and tasty beer without too much alcohol such as this can only be very drinkable.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dispensed from a corked and caged 25.4oz bottle into a large snifter. Appearance is a slightly hazy straw color with a huge head. The head and the beer are about the same size as the first pour comes to an end. Not a whole lot of lacing but the rocky, fairly dense head stays around for quite awhile before shrinking to a fish eye film on the beer.

Aroma is yeasty and full of Belgian candi sugars. Also some pale malts and maybe even some wheat in there as well. Slight hop aroma is earthy and slightly spicy. Maybe there is some corriander in there as well. Smells awful wheaty.

Flavor is light and refreshing and quite fruity. No bitterness at all. Quite smooth but a bit sticky on the tongue as it slinks down the back of the throat. More spiciness and a slight alcohol taste. Not overwhelming but noticeable.

Overall this is a nice beer. Alcohol seems about right for a 7.7% and this beer went well with the warming temps outside today. I would recommend this. It was a little cheaper than other Belgians too!!!

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