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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 73 |  Reviews: 63
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.

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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...

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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 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.

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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.

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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

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev +0.3%

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 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 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.

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Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Gavage
4.07/5  rDev +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 Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of WesWes
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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.

 539 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 PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

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.

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my Maudite tulip. Poured a hazy honey gold with a one inch fluffy white head that settled into thin skim of foam and ringlets after about a minute. Concentrated ring of foam coalesced around the perimeter of the glass with generous sheets of lacing during the tasting. Scent of fruit and yeast, but difficult to tease out the specific smells (possibly banana, maybe bubblegum). Flavors of banana, candy sugar, pepper and some citrus astringency. Lively, effervescent mouthfeel with some tingle in the mouth and a slightly sour finish. Very enjoyable with lots of complexity.

 584 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 ArrogantB
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend was kind enough to share this with me. It had a cloudy yellow color that looked murky and the head was a white sticky pillow. The smell was musty and earthy to me. The flavors tastes yeasty, Belgian, and not much fruit. For some reason I think this would be perfect with some mussels and pomme frites.

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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.

 647 characters

Photo of desint
3/5  rDev -24.8%

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.

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Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -24.8%

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