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Grotten Flemish Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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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

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Ratings: 73 |  Reviews: 63
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of Mitchster
4.94/5  rDev +23.8%
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 before...it 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 weak..it 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 clvand0
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
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 TurdFurgison
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Awesome, a new beer from St Bernardus made it to my local shelves. Grotten Flemish comes in big (1pt 9.4oz) bottles for $8.99 locally. I bought it tonight and it immediately moved to number one on deck.

The beer was beautiful, mostly clear and pale yellow except for the yeasties floating around, massively thick head which formed beautiful solid-looking lace on the glass. The aroma was floral and yeastie, kind of like St Bernardus Tripel but a little less agressive.

The flavor was malty and bready with a slightly bitter after-taste. Thicker mouthfeel than expected from the light color too.

Awesome awesome Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

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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.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.55/5  rDev +14%
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 dfillius
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
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 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.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.47/5  rDev +12%
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 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.

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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)

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Photo of ypsifly
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
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 BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
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 OldSock
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
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?

 1,075 characters

Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
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 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...

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one just came into town and so I am sippin' a bottle at the Flying Saucer here in Houston...using their Wi-Fi connect. Isn't life grand?

The beer poured initially very aggressive with lots of bubbles rising. The head stayed for every bit of a couple minutes to end up as a persistent layer. The beer settles into a very clear effervescent golden yellow.

The aroma is floral and sweet with a noticeable spiciness that comes across to me as deliberate additions...perhaps a touch of coriander and or lavender?

The flavor is clean and light on the tongue with a noticeable touch of fruitiness from light citrus. The balance is toward the sweet the entire time, but there is a dry attenuation to the beer that makes it keep from going down syrupy. There is a faint warming on the back of the throat after drinking indicting that there is some alcohol to it.

I am really happy with this beer...even at the $16 a bottle price I am paying here. If I wanted to give it something negative, I would say that it lingers on the palate for some time and almost asks for a drink of water afterward to cleanse the palate before the next sip. I would definitely drink this beer again.

 1,185 characters

Photo of JBogan
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
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 PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of brdc
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
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 wheelinshirt
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Abe's in Bethlehem for under ten dollars, thought i was getting a flemish red or something else like that, turns out it is a belgian blond which happens to be one of my favorites, so a little bit of a surprise, but not a disappointment. Poured into two tulips and a chimay chalice.

Nice golden color with a little bit of orange, big fluffy eggshell head that sports okay retention and okay lacing. Would have like to see a huge, lacing head on this one.

Smells yeasty, a little funky, not very sweet (good), i think there is some wheat in there, I am digging this one. It tastes dry, yeasty, a litttle funky, no significant hop profile. Mouthfeel is medium with a healthy dose of carbonation that keeps this one very light and drinkable. Very nice indeed. I would like to have this one back to back with duvel and don de dieu and see how they stack up against each other.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
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 whynot44
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

 687 characters

Photo of corby112
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 551 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.

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Grotten Flemish Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 73 ratings
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