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 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 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.

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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.

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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 bruachan
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
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 SaCkErZ9
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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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Photo of kajerm
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark gold with a decent white head and good lacing; surprisingly clear for the yeasty, estery smell.

The aroma is yeasty as hell, with strong banana character and a background of light malts. My notes have me smelling something vaguely Bretty, but I'm not sure this is actually a farmhouse beer.

Tastes exaclty like it smells, almost completely dominated by yeast and esters, with a surprising dry finish. This is probably the first time I've noticed tannins in beer-- pretty interesting.

The mouthfeel is light, maybe a little too light.

A solid beer, but the dryness and over-the-top esters hurt drinkability a little.

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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 BretSikkink
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden, gets really hazy with the sediment addition late in the game. Active carbonation, great head architecture, quickly diminishes. Like the Grotten brown, takes on a whole new level of complexity as the beer warms up: tasty and refreshing chilled, much like a German hefeweiss, and uniquely Belgian in complexity as it nears room temperature. The nose wafts up the bubble gum-clove scent particular to wheat beers, some spicing. The taste is full-bodied, a little like a good thick witbier, citric and herbal. Intensely quaffable, what a beverage. Another success from Pierre Celis; if not St. Bernardus' most complex, definitely unique.

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Photo of briman
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours a slightly hazy light yellow color. Tons of bubbles rising into a huge, fluffy white head. Superb retention, and tons of lace.

Aroma has some yeast, with fruits (maybe some lemon, and banana) and spices.

Flavor is toasted malts upfront, with some sweetness and a touch of fruit going right into a bold, lingering spicey finish with cloves and pepper coming through. Some slight hop bitterness comes through into the aftertaste, but the spices dominate.

Medium body, with brisk but not overbearing carbonation. Everything seems to be balanced just about perfectly. Alcohol seems expertly hidden, as I don't get any traces of it anywhere.
Overall very drinkable, and I certainly would seek it out again.

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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 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 roblowther
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, just as impressive looking as its cousin. Let's hope I like this one better. Pours a very pale, cloudy yellow with a dense, smooth head that leaves nice lacing. Smells of lemons and bananas and a note of peppermint. Taste little resembles the smell, which is a neat trick. Rich malt and candi sugar are followed by a note of pepper, with a crisp finish and a slightly sour aftertaste, reminding me of lemongrass. A pleasant beer, not as complex as I would expect. Mouthfeel is silky and well-carbonated, just the way I like it. Drinkable? Yes, I'd say. The sour finish is a bit off-putting but all in all, one I would drink again. Its a bit overpriced for what you get, though.

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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 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 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?

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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 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.

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