Grotten Flemish Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Grotten Flemish AleGrotten Flemish Ale
Very Good
73 Ratings
Grotten Flemish AleGrotten Flemish Ale

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A "Blond" from Pierre Celis, brewed at Brouwerij St. Bernardus.

No longer available in the US.

Added by Todd on 05-08-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 73 |  Reviews: 63
Reviews by n0315:
Photo of n0315
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown almost like apple cider, with a head that dissolves quickly. Smell is of yeast, like an old must. Taste is nothing like it, with tartness and sweetness. Mouthfeel is very soft and almost like a hefewessie, just not as soft. Taste gets more complex as it warms, and I would say gets better. A good beer, but not a session beer. I'll drink it again.

 366 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.56/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

 819 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Hazy orange color with a thick, sticky, white head. Sweet, somewhat malty aroma. Not much there. Nice taste. Yeasty and malty, some pepper in the aftertaste. Bread-like. The carbonation was quite pleasant in the mouth. An enjoyable beer.

 277 characters

Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

 723 characters

Photo of GreenMountainBoy
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.83/5  rDev -4%
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.

 871 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a soft orange-ish golden yellow that's a little cloudy.
Head of a half finger of tiny white bubbles that slowly melts to cover the entire top with a thick film of white.
Aromas are earthy, French barnyard, and a ton of soft gentle spices blended wonderfully.
Taste is an amazing cacophony of flavors and sensations. Belgium yeasts, coriander, oranges, allspice...everything soft and perfectly blended.
Mouthfeel is creamy due to the massive sensation of tiny carbonation.
Aftertaste is slightly Belgium yeast and the blending of spices. Nice and clean and dry on the end.
Amazing brew.

 597 characters

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

 275 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle pours straw/honey colored with 2 fingers of rocky eggsell colored head. Insane lacing & head retention

S: Spice, esthery notes, lemons & coriander

T: Tart malt, lemons, coriander, breadyness & phenolics up front. Then grapefruit & lemon hops. Finishes with phenolics & lemon hops

MF: Low carbonation, medium bodied & pretty smooth

Drinks slow; too phenolic for this reporters taste

 407 characters

Photo of msgraves
3.83/5  rDev -4%
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.

 369 characters

Photo of HalfFull
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

 607 characters

Photo of scootny
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into my Chimay chalice. My first pour is gentle and yields a straw colored brew with a light one and a half finger head. It gently fades leaving some streaks of lace and a thin foam on top of my glass. The covering remains as I consume the contents. The second pour introduces the yeast to my vessel and while it is clumpy cloudy and indelicate its presence is a welcome addition to the taste and overall character of this ale.

The smell is of gentle fruit esters, ( apple/banana, pear, and grape ) mild alcohol and candy sugar. A faint floral hoppiness plays peek-a-boo as I take deep sniffs.

My first taste is pleasing. Mirroring the nose with a greater sweet malt presence. The candy is there as well. Yeasty fruitiness is in abundance and the finish is gently hoppy. There is however a sourness that while not overbearing is a little out of harmony with the rest of the taste experience. Then I pour in the yeast. PERFECT. All components are in harmony and the carbonation is put into proper place. The sourness becomes a counterpoint to the fruitiness from the yeast, its subtle nuttiness adding another layer of complexity and delight.

Mouthfeel is a solid medium but a touch too bubbly at first blush. Second pour it becomes just short of sublime. I could keep this stuff on my tongue for decades and never complain.

Drinkability is just short of sessionable. The alcohol is always in the background until it hits you. Still I could easily go through a couple of bottles if I am not driving. It's that good.

Pierre you've done it again! An excellent ale that I will be stockpiling in my cellar. As with the Grotten Brown the secret is to drink it cloudy with yeast. Delicious.

 1,704 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In the looks and aroma dept., this ain't so great.

Pours a clear orange into an Oerbier tulip glass. Some initial white foam, aromas of candi sugar and coriander. Stale grainy aroma, despite a recent arrival to US shores.

Taste is nice, big compared to some lackluster Belgian Pales. Apricot, banana, and cereal grain. Mouthfeel is bubbly and full, comparable to Celis grand cru from MI. A bit bigger than it's US counterparts, but not that different.

One 750 is something of a chore after trying a couple different beers. Not much here to indicate it's Flemish provenance...

 587 characters

Photo of theminutemen
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

 485 characters

Photo of TexIndy
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
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)

 889 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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!

 993 characters

Photo of desint
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased this one a while ago and literally just never got around to trying it. Last night I figured it would go good with dinner, and in my never-ending effort to clean out the fridge, I plunked this one down and checked it out. Very nice looking bottle with a good cork and cage. Some sediment laying on the bottom. Served the 750ml into a Chimay Goblet at a slightly chilled temperature.

Appearance - It poured out a bright golden yellow, with a deep haze and cloudiness to it. Lots of suspended particles were floating around throughout( I took a previous reviewers advice and made sure I blended in the sedimentation). A nice three inch white frothy head of foam then rose up over the top of it, and then started to slightly crater and become a tad rocky before finally settling down to jus a thin film across the top that lasted throughout the rest of the session. A nice amount of side glass lace then came down through it. Lots of carbonation was visible throughout the session and it had a very nice, lively overall look.

Smell - The aroma was light, a bit too light at first. A nice touch of banana and lighter fruits permeating though at the beginning, really setting the table so to speak. I let it warm up a touch and the aroma did get a little bit stronger, with some light smells of hay, and grass coming through fairly well now. Still though a banana and apricot like smell was the dominating force here.

Taste - The flavor followed suit as well, really just being dominated by light grains and banana like flavor. Light hints of apricot and a slightly sour back taste were all easily discernable. Not a touch of alcohol in the flavor which was nice, as at over 7% it is usually a little it detected, especially on the lighter profiles. Finish was light and quick, refreshing without much of a long lingering flavor though. To be honest a little bland, but good for a blond.

Mouthfeel - This was highly carbonated, though not explosively so, just a nice bit of rushing bubbles throughout. Played very well on the tongue letting the flavors dive in and out quite well. Decent feel and very light body.

Drinkability - it was a good session ale, as the alcohol was nowhere to be found and the smooth refreshing taste was very nice as well. The flavor was a bit too light, but I could easily have thrown down another, just not sure if it is really my thing.

Overall this was pretty good for a Blonde ale, one of my least favorite styles. I imagined it could have been worse. Not terrible by any means though. I could drink it again though I do not think I would pay for this one again.

 2,606 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy yellow with a tight cap of white foam.

Smell: A pleasant fruit medley of banana, peach and apricot. Grain and faint hops underneath.

Taste & mouthfeel: Wheat and spice, a touch of banana, slight fruity sweetness. Husky grain and bitter herbal hops follow in the intensely dry finish, with a slight sourness residing beneath. Body is medium/light, crisp on the tongue. Very drinkable.

 402 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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.

 953 characters

Photo of hiikeeba
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

 432 characters

Photo of dsa7783
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 Pint, 9.4 Fl Oz bottle copped caged and corked from Wine and Beverage Depot in Totowa for $8.99... "Pierre Celis Signature Selection" on the front logo - an individual, whom I understand, had a lot to do with the creation of the world-renowned Hoegaarden beer... His depiction of this Belgian Strong Pale Ale is on-point, bursting with character, flavor, and style... Pours a golden color with a subtle frothy head that soon receded and obvious carbonation visible... smell and taste alike were both very fruity, and the nose especially was replete with fresh apples, pears, and slight grapefruit... taste was very sublime and complex, slightly sweet without being cloying or overbearing... powerful honey, melon, and canteloupe tastes burst through on this one, leaving a pleasant lingering smooth finish with subtle notes of bananas, peaches, and cream without the slightest hint of alcohol manifested in the 7.7% ABV... Good, rich, creamy mouthfeel and ultra-easy drinkability... Really good stuff... Definitely recommended...

 1,031 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
3.83/5  rDev -4%
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.

 671 characters

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev +0.3%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Grotten Flemish Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 73 ratings