Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature) | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature)Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature)
Very Good
79 Ratings
Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature)Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerBeing on 12-30-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 79 |  Reviews: 70
Reviews by TheManiacalOne:
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a very large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of a lot spices along with caramelized malts, Belgian yeast and a decent amount of hops.

T: The taste is complex and very well-balanced with flavors of caramel and spices up front. There's a hearty malt character that establishes good substance. The hops presence is pretty decent for the style. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is an excellent session beer if you want something in the Belgian style that is just a little bit stronger than most typical session beers. The complexity just adds to the intrigue and makes it that much better.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Osiris9588
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 bottle caged and corked, no date. Pours a slightly murky amber color, with mahogany overtones. The beige head grows to four fingers high, the foamy dome extending above the lip of a tulip glass. It shows decent retention and leaves ample dots of small-bubble lacing.

The aroma is dominated by caramel malt and yeast, along with a little musty cardboard. The flavor follows, along with a dose of cherry cough syrup, a dash of spice.

It's medium bodied with good carbonation. The mouth seems a little dull, and the alcohol is rather forward for the ABV. Not terrible, but there are many other Dark Belgians I'd grab first.

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Photo of AlphaFireX5
4.36/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a 750mL bottle into a goblet glass. A healthy pop from the cork indicates that there has been no loss in carbonation. Been aged for some time now.

Appearance: Pours a deep golden hazy brown, with bubbles lining the entire bottom of the glass. A thick light tan head sits initially, but dissipates to a smaller, more manageable head leaving lots of sticky lacing. The bubbles continue to rise. This is a damn pretty beer. Tons of sticky lacing as the beer is drained from the glass.

Smell: Complex, with scents of caramel, bready malts, plenty of spices, and a lingering almost fruity sweetness.

Taste: Just like the smell, starts off with caramel and toasted malt flavors, with a touch of citrus twang in the middle, followed by a light, crisp finish, followed by a slightly bitter aftertaste. It's not hoppy bitter, but it isn't dark roasted malts bitter, but rather leaves you wanting another taste. Smooths as it warms, bringing about a better balance of all the flavors.

Mouthfeel: Oh the carbonation! The bubbles never stop, it's quite impressive. Mouthfeel is medium to medium-light, not overly heavy, not overly light. While it feels heavier than many Belgian brown ales, it is lighter than most of the Belgian strong ales I have tried as well.

Drinkability: Easily drinkable, even with the heavy carbonation. Finding yourself emptying a bottle before realizing it is not out of the question.

Notes: Unfortunately, this beer has been out of production for some time and is becoming increasingly difficult to find. I have two more bottles, the last in Austin as far as I know, which I am saving for enjoyment later.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grotten brown, IMO, is better in a bottle than on tap. (strange). Pours a dark brown with wonderfull fluffy head and great lace. Nose is kind of coppery with raisin and plum. The taste is of dark fruits with a coppery, raisiny pennyish finish. The mouthfeel is quite thin. Maybe because of less yeast from the taps or something, but it feels to thin to me. Drinkability is good just like most belgians but i wish it was thicker, with a little more yeasty nutty flavors.

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Photo of jmhart
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL poured into a goblet.

A- Pours deep brown, almost mahogany, but clear. Thick bubbly head, tan in color, one finger thick with moderate pour. Leaves a nice lace. The head is fizzy, large air bubbles. Almost more like soda than beer.

S- Roasted almond, hits of brown fruits but not as many as you would expect. Overall, not nearly as aromatic as I would have liked. Alcohol is present in the smell with a small bite.

T- Initially the taste is hard to describe. No flavors stand out, but there's a nice mix. Malt, sugar, nuts, brown fruits all pretty evenly balanced. The flavor is good, but not exceptional.

M- Medium bodied...lighter than expected. Big bite, either from alcohol or carbonation, but more than likely both. It really dances on your tongue.

D- I really enjoyed the beer. It was easy drinking, with a good flavor. Nothing really stood out, but that was nice because there was nothing to get tired of.

Overall, while a fairly average beer for the style, I really enjoyed it, would recommend it, and would buy it again. It was tasty, easy drinking. This beer is good and would be good for your average day. Hard to describe my sentiment here, but hopefully it's come through.

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Photo of BeerZack
3.04/5  rDev -20%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I wasn't expecting too much from this beer for some reason despite its impressive packaging and (as one reviewer noted) its pedigree. So I can say that this beer was not disappointing due to that mediocre expectation.
Smells yeasty and sugary
Taste is quite yeasty and hmmm, what is that- phenol, burnt sugar, yep.
Now here's where it gets tricky/interesting- the mouthfeel, which is agressively vigorous in its carbonation is something to remark, but in this particular brew it takes away from the body of the beer which is already lacking in itself. Really nice bubbles though.
Can't say that I would buy this beer again, but I might actually give the other one a try just to get me some more bubbles, man.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle into a large red wine glass. Shows a hazy brown in color with an inch of off white foam with good retention. A bit light on the nose initially, though served somewhat cold. Improves notable as the beer warms and opens up. Light fig/date and a bit of caramel in the background. Good dose of yeast notes with a hint of green apple.

Taste is slightly sweet and offers notes of dried fruit and yeast with a slight bitterness. Carbonation is a bit firm at first but settles down to offer a steady moderate carbonation that never goes flat. Somewhat light in body for the style but appropriate given the moderate ABV of the beer and allowing for a strong drinkability.

Overall a well constructed and somewhat delicate beer for the style.

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Photo of andrewm190
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a huge and distinguished head, side retention and clings mightily to the side of the glass. The smell is fair, nothing overwhelming, perhaps some hops? Perhaps a bit too much alcohol. Good mouth feel, a complex flavor, I can't pick everything out even if I know its there--although hops are most prominent.
It is clean and crisp, some malts, perhaps some spices. You can taste there is quality here. Dark amber in color.
The overriding aspect of this beer is that it is pricey. I had high hopes given the ridiculous sum I paid for it. Ultimately it falls far short of my expectations. Perhaps they were too high to begin with. But I have certainly had better beers for less. If your undaunted by the price, go for it, but it probably won't be the best beer you drink.

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Photo of scootny
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750 ml bottle with a full description of the ale, how to drink it, and what to expect from aging it.

A soapy one and a half finger head that slowly thins to a wispy covering of my Chimay Chalice. Some spotty lacing. Quite a bit of carbonation is evident. I initially had the bottle too cold and as the chemists among us will note this affects the amount of gas in solution. This beer as it states on the label is temperature sensitive. A pretty enough orangey brown. My first pour was gentle, keeping out the yeast. Subsequent ones I swirled the bottle, greatly improving the beer as the yeast is a necessary component to this brew.

Dark fruit like figs and raisins. Sweet malt and a mild hoppy astringency. As it warms mild banana esters and alcohol along with dainty spice notes. Adding the yeast increases the complexity of the nose

This beer comes with instructions for a reason. It really comes into its own at true cellar temperature. Matter of fact IMO it is a waste to drink it below 50 degrees and 53 is the beginning of the sweet spot. It also needs the yeast to to be complete for me. That was not on the bottle. It's clumpy and lumpy and not much to look at but it does beautiful things to this ale. When too cold the balance is off and it is just an average Belgian brown. With the yeast and at the proper temp you get a malty front accompanied by banana and tart pear. A nuttiness rounds out the profile. Cleansing hop bitterness that is too present without the yeast is just right and kicks off the long dry finish. The astringency in the nose shows up here and I can see age really smoothing out the final note of this beer

Mouthfeel is too light and somewhat overly carbonated without the yeast and too cold. Once yeasted and cellar temp it is not perfect but certainly a good and pleasing experience.

Certainly drinkable but this beer is better suited for great food and well planned meals. It went well with Asian ginger shrimp and noodles, Kielbasa, even peanut butter pretzels.

I am cellaring several bottles as I believe this has the potential to become something special. Either way, fresh or cellared worth the effort to try this one

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Photo of elricorico
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From notes dating way back to my May Vegas trip:

Medium to light brown, slightly hazed. Big beige head on fairly quick pour, falls steadily but leaves sticky lacing. With each subsequent pour the head lasts longer.

Aroma is immediately tart and slightly sour. There is a cherry richness and something that brings red apples to mind. Funkiness develops as it warms.

Somewhat sharp tartness on the tip of the tongue. Some cherry flavours follow, filled out with a mix of apple, melon and candy sugar. Some yeast mustiness. A little herbal/medicinal hop flavour if you look for it.

Aside from some carbonation bite on the tip of the tongue, the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Quite nice.

The complexity and balance mike this a winner. I can barely put down the glass long enough to scribble these notes.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark, near opaque ruby red with a 2 finger, soft creamy light tan head that retained nicely.

S: On the nose was a light soft caramel nuttiness and bread. There was some spiciness and fruitiness (cherries) and raisins.

T: The initial flavor yielded a light smoky caramel nuttiness with a light earthy bitterness. There was some light dried fruit (cherries, raisins) as well. A musky yeastiness is detected but the sweet caramel finish covers this up nicely.

M: silky smooth, lightly carbonated and very light on the tongue.

D: A very drinkable Belgian brown, simple, yet solid all around.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml caged and corked bottle. I'd guess this bottle is 2-3 years old, maybe older. There wasn't any date information on the bottle so I can't say for sure how old it is. Served in a St. Bernardus chalice, the beer pours a reddish/brown color with about a half inch creamy tan head. Head retention is excellent, and there's a good amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is dark fruit (cherries, figs), caramel, green apples, and peppery spice. The brew tastes like dark fruit (raisins, cherries), peppery spice, candi sugar, grain, and a little bit of tart green apple. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and has good carbonation. Overall I think it's a good brew, I didn't have any problems finishing the bottle. If I ever came across this beer again I'd probably buy it.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a muddy brown color ale with a medium head with pretty good retention. Aroma of caramel malt and slightly funky Belgian yeast is quite evident. Caramel malt with some spices dominated the taste at first and then the yeast signature shows up with a slightly funky feel. Body is quite full but could have been fuller and carbonation is perfect. IMHO, a bit more alcohol and body would do wonder for this beer.

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Photo of cabsandking
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark amber with a solid 4 fingers of off-white head. Big zesty fruit aromas, some tropicals, florals, a bit of prune, and a nice belgian yeast character. A sharp contrast between aroma and flavor is noticed first with minty, and piney hop character but then jumps quickly to a dry, yeasty funk and dark, tart fruits. Citrus lime, plums, raisons, berries, tart fruits that avoid being overly sweet and toasted grains. The yeast character isn't as strong it could be but does nice job holding the other flavors together. Mouthfeel is superb with lots of carbonation and an underlying silkiness. A nice complex belgian again from St. B.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of the bottle with a nice thick and fluffy off-white head that sticks around for a while with some mild lacing; the body is a bit hazy with lots of carbonation and is a nice amber reddish/brownish color almost like an amaretto. Its aroma has a mildly sweet fruity base. It has a really crisp clean feel to it with a medium body (more on the light side though) but very smooth over all. It's mildly sweet with some hops flavors and it has a very slight alcohol touch to it, not bad over all.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of thekanna
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a crystal goblet. Dark amber with ruddy hues when held to light. Gorgeous tan head with huge retention that only settles after a long while and leaves patchy lacing down the glass.

S: Strong apple cider aroma; some peppercorns mixed with herbal medicine and nutmeg. Some faint raisin-like fruitiness is also present.

T: Nice tantalizing taste of apple cider with the sugar removed. Slightly spicy with a strong earthy tone and an herbal backing. The unmistakable taste of prunes in the aftertaste; some phenols linger on the tongue.

M: Medium body with fairly strong carbonation which complements the brew well.

D: Nice yet subtle complexities in this beer. Too bad it's retired... I would've loved to be able to find another bottle and analyzer the complexities a little more.

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Photo of pknyc
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of atigerlife
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel brown with a 2-finger light brown head that was slightly chunky. Good lacing. Very nice to look at.

Aroma was rather musty with some dark fruits.

Taste had dark fruits [dates, plums, raisins], sweetness, malts throughout, alcohol and some wine type hints.

Mouthfeel was medium+ bodied, cleansing and dry at the end.

Overall, a very nice brew. Quite complex, warming and inviting. Good to sit around and relax with.

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Photo of Raymond69
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown , rich head , some lacing.

Yeasty , sharp brett nose.

Barnyard tang , some residual malt sweetness. Not detecting any hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium , good carbonation.

Easy drinking with the low ABV, I may need to pick up a few more of these.

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Photo of GbVDave
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice at Map Room 11/27/07. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist. Listed on their beer menu and website as being the version rated at 6.7% abv...

A: Served a dark, plummy brown with a nice creamy, pillowy head.

S: Aromas of sweet malt, candi sugar, grapes, and sweet dark fruit.

T: See above. Interesting hint of grape.

M: Quite smooth with a tangy fruity finish.

D: Good. This one is interesting enough to bear further examination...

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Photo of DaveFL1976
3.04/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is one fine looking brew. It poured into my Westy goblet with a fluffy white head that stuck around for a while and left plenty remnents on the side of the glass. The body itself is a wonderful golden brown, the color of toast that's been in the toaster 30 seconds too long.
The smell is not quite as good, though. A bit sweet, but fruity and estery. It's got that twang to it that I just haven't grown to appreciate yet.
Said twang isn't as noticable in the taste. It's a decent blend of smooth, sweet malt and a bit of back-of-the-mouth sharpness. No alcohol.
This is way, way too carbonated. As soon as it touches your lips the bubbles explode to the point of diminishing the drinking experience. I'm not a big fan of this brew.

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Photo of xzqrut
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured out very nicely, a nice thick head, with excellent lacing all the way down. Beer also had very lively carbonation, and a medium copper color. The smell gave a nice floral scent, with roasted malt. Taste to me seemed lacking, almost flat compared to the appearance and smell. Some hoppy bitterness, dark fruit and nuts, but nothing powerful. Beer was lively in the mouth, but the taste just left me wanting more.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ML bottle copped for $7.99 from Wine and Beverage Depot in Totowa...
Pours a mahogany brown, dark, ruby-red colored appearance with an initial huge frothy head that soon receded leaving a copious amount of lacing...
Outstanding smell bursting with caramel, toffee, and roasted malts...
Taste strongly mirrored the aroma, with a noticeable licorice aroma replete with caramel, Belgian candied sugars, vanilla, honey, and esters...
A good, sweet, filling mouthfeel...
Pretty easily drinkable due to the not-over-the-top ABV of 6.7% and the clean, crisp, clear, smooth and tasty flavor...
Not the best depiction of the style, but still a solid representation nonetheless... I liked this one... Recommended...

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Photo of jwc215
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass chalice.

Pours ruby brown with a thin white head that eventually becomes a lasting swirling patch that nearly covers the top. Some dots of lacing remain on glass.

The smell is of bubblegum with hints of spicy clove and coriander. Some banana. Very aromatic.

The taste is of spiced dough upfront. Sweet caramelish/sugar-candy maltiness soon takes over. Tropical fruitiness - banana, orange and lemon - lie supportively in the background. Finishes with a balanced caramel sweetness.

At first, it almost thins too much, but it holds together in a light body. As it warms to room temperature, the body thickens a bit more. It is very smooth - alcohol almost completely unnoticeable. It is coating.

A very enjoyable Belgian treat. I would like to buy another to cellar - according to the label it is even more complex with aging. Smooth and very easy to drink.

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Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature) from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 79 ratings