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

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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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Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 79
Photo of Halcyondays
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle, original review 11/28/08,

A: Pours brown with a light off-white head, good retention and lacing.

S: Caramel, maple syrup, light but some nice scents here.

T: Caramel and brown malt, almost an English taste, but then the Belgian yeast hits and you no where it is from. One of the maltiest Belgians out there, nice mix of dark fruit and brown sugar.

M: Medium-bodied, yeasty, smooth and relaxing, good for a Belgian dark.

D: A nice beer to go with Thanksgiving dinner, I really liked this one and would buy again. Recommended.

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Photo of zeff80
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a copper color with flecks of ruby. It had a foamy, tan, one-finger head that left faint trails of lace.

S - It smelled fruits (cherry mostly) and caramel maltiness. A slight floral aroma.

T - It tasted nutty and of sour cherry flavors. It had nice caramel malt and Belgian yeast.

M - It was soft, smooth and creamy. A medium to full bodied beer.

D - This is a very tasty Belgian brown. It's too bad that this is retired, I'd like to try more.

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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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Photo of Floydster
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

8 ounce glass at Naja's Place for $7.50, consumed 8/20/08, reviewed from notes, surprised to see this one on draft

A-Medium brown with a lot of red in it, 3/4 inch creamy and bubbly off white head, stuck around for about five minutes, decent retention, not much lacing
S-Bready malt aromas, caramel brown sugar, various dark fruits, mangos, bananas, a bit of funk, some spices, and sweetness
T-Taste started off with lots of caramel, citrusy fruits in the middle, some dark fruits in the finish with some dryness coming from somewhere, gets a little hotter as it warms, gets less chewy as time goes by too, nicely balanced, slightly funky at times which made things more interesting
M-Medium bodied, needs much more carbonation and that was probably the biggest flaw of the beer, sweet, sugary, and chewy mouthfeel, taste lingers moderately
D-Could drink a couple glasses of this stuff, ABV is not high right below seven percent, smooth and inviting, not heavy on the stomach

Never bought a bottle of this because it was pretty expensive, wish I would have now, this seemed to popular at the bar the other night too, probably will have some one when I go back later in the week, recommended

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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 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 Beerenauslese
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark amber brown with an ample head that quickly dissipates, leaving a very fine layer of foam and lacing on the glass. Smells inviting, with sweet, tropical fruit tones. Tastes a bit of sour fruit at first, but then raisins, cloves, cinnamon, brown sugar, and coffee. Highly spiced, must be the Pierre Celis influence. A lingering metalic sensation follows (sort of that coca-cola taste). Moutfeel is like a blond ale, lacking the usual body of a brown or Trappist ale. Light in body with fine carbonation, it drinks very smooth. At 6.7% ABV, this is outstanding as a summer session beer with a Belgian brown ale panache.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours amber brown with red tints and has a nice sized head that settles to a nice foamy lace. The aroma is of fruits,raisins and yeast. the taste is of raisins,grapes and malts with sweetness and some alcohol. There are some caramel tones. The feel is light bitterness and a well balanced,well carbonated yet smooth finish.

notes: I tried this because I wanted to try something that was retired and I found it available. I felt it was a good brew and I appreciated the good balance, but it was just a good brew. Not the best for the style,just good and worth my money. I did feel it was better as it warmed and cold it was not as good. Try it if you can find it.

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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 Overlord
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown. Gigantic foamy white pillar. Lots of lacing on the glass.

Not much of an aroma, really. Some raisiny/dark fruit aromas, but no real malt, hops, etc.

Taste is much more robust, with a raisin/fig background, candi and malt, and a nice rich "sweetness" about it. I keep coming back to how sweet this beer is. It really doesn't seem like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale ... I'm not sure what category to put it in, but that's not it.

A good beer. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Derek
4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've cellared this one for almost 2 years.

It's really more of a Belgian Dark (at 6.7% it isn't really strong).

A: Reddish-brown with an off-white head; not much retention or lacing (could be the age).

S: Earthy-yeastie aroma with bready malts, dark fruits & a hint of banana & spice. Great aroma.

T: Tropical fruit (banana & mango), caramel, some dark fruitiness, bready, balanced bitterness, modest alcohol.

M: Moderate body is well-attenuated; carbonation is a little low for a Belgian (though it's corked & has been cellared).

D: Quite drinkable.

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Photo of Tawnos
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy reddish brown, two fingers of head, pillow-foam that leaves sugar lacing on the glass.

Smell is subdued, dry, roasted sugar and caramel.

Taste is decent, nothing spectacular, but a very clean mix of flavors. Probably will get a bit more flavorful as this one warms.

Mouthfeel is a bit crisp, high fizz that dries out the palate. Not as thick as I'd expect from the pour.

Overall, an average beer. I remember trying it before and thinking it was better.

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

Bottle aged about a year (early 2007), poured from the 750ml caged and corked bottle into a Belgian pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours overly carbonated into the glass. Less than half the beer is able to make it in the glass due to the head rising. Head is persistent and takes quite a while for it to die down into its sponge cake/iceberg pillow head it had going on. Lacing clings to the sides to the glass. Beer itself is a cloudy brown with lots of little yeasties sinking to the bottom of the glass.

Smell- Not a lot going on in the smell when rating it as a Belgian strong dark. A bit of raisin, and fig. Malty but even the smell comes up a bit short as if there wasn't near as much malt as would be expected. A hint of a rose floral thing going on.

Taste- Grapes, raisins (I guess that could go in with the grapes), spices, dates, and figs. Once again the malts expected in the mouth are a bit thin. Soft water on the tongue. I wouldn't particularly call this beer complex. The thin mouthfeel really takes away from the beer.

Mouthfeel- Highly carbonated and as I said before, very thin on the mouthfeel. Smooth, and medium light bodied. A little creamy, maybe even some lactose would benefit this beer a bit.

Drinkability- Smooth and easy to drink, I may even come back to it one day, but I'm in no hurry with the way Belgians are making more and more beers for me to try by the week. I would rather have a Trappist ale any day.

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Photo of Big78CJ
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this beer from Brawley's in Charlotte, NC a few months back. It has been resting peacefully in my cellar until now (I published my MS thesis today). The review...

A: Medium brown body with a bit of reddish orange highlights. A thin head sits on top but shows little signs of receding.

S: Nice ale yeast signature with a definite sweet fruit aroma, characteristic of a abbey brune. A bit of raisins and candied granny smith apples round out the nose.

T: Somewhat highly carbonated at first with a slight yeasty flavor cruising on top of subtle sweet fruits. It is too cold right now.

After allowing the beer to warm some...

T2: The flavor is similar to the way it was before it warmed some. I do notice that the carbonation has dropped down to a reasonable level, which is allowing the sweet ale flavor to emerge and unfortunately the yeast too. The sweetness is very good but the bitterness is somewhat too much, taking away somewhat from the overall flavor. According to the back, Pierre Celis recommends aging the beer longer than I ended up aging it. Perhaps that is why the yeast flavor is a bit strong.

M: Much better now that it has warmed but the bitter flavor (not like any skunking or oxidation I have ever tasted) was still a bit drying on the mouth. In that sense, you needed more to wet your whistle.

D: I enjoyed this beer at a basic level but I would like to get another and put it away for a couple of years and see what happens.

Serving Type: 750ml in Achel chalice.

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

Pours a nice deep brown in color with a very large, frothy head.

It has a nice earthy aroma, like it's been underground for some time. I also smell some nutty aromas, a bit of solvent alcohol and some complex fruit flavors like raisins and cherries.

This beer tastes like it has been aging for a while. Earthy and funky flavors (perhaps from wild yeasts?) mix with dry notes and hints of bread. I'm a bit surprised at this beer. It's not nearly as heavy and sweet as others in its style. This is quite subtle in comparison.

The body is also light and crisp from a substantial carbonation.

Overall, this is an interesting take on the style. It's more of a thinking-man's Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

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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 iasanlee
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a clear dark reddish brown with a big tan head. Loads of carbonation. Very little lacing.

S- Sweet malts and yeast dominate, hints of caramel and hops.

T- The very first thing I noticed was the carbonation, lots. Then came the sweet malt and a distinct pear flavor. A touch of hops. Seemed like a mellowed down dubbel.

M- Medium to light in body, and loads of fizz.

D- Not a top favorite, but I could probably drink this all day.

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Photo of watchnerd
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Carbonated like pop rocks, fizzing and crackling if I inhale through an open mouth with a quaff still on my tongue. Didn’t taste really any sourness at all, the taste being dominated by caramel and yeast. Despite that, it doesn’t feel heavy in the mouth and the xXxtreme carbonation makes me want to chug it like root beer. Head was good, lace florid and better than average, but who cares about such slow sipping pleasures when you’re drinking the ale version of soda pop or sparkling cider? Must buy more.

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

I poured a 750 ml capped and corked bottle into a chilled chalice.

A: It poured a cloudy amber body with a thick sticky tan head consisting of large dense bubbles. The head lingered long into the drink and supported a dense even lacing.

S-: It was yeasty and rich in sweet roasted malts that gave off a thin chocolate and spicy citrusy aromas.

T: It began with sweet nutty roasted malts accented by dark spices (black pepper) and hints of thin citrus flavors.

M- Medium body with moderate carbonation and a clean finish.

D: It was a joy to drink. Even balanced flavors with a medium body and moderate carbonation. It could have used a bit higher ABV but otherwise it was a joy that I intent to repeat.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16NOV03 - This is a new offering I found today at The Wine Society in Tyngsboro MA. Label says "Pierre Celis Signature Selection" as well as "Michael Jackson's Beer of the Year" (which year?).

It poured into my goblet a nice chestnut color, with tinges of ruby to boot! The head was beige and frothy, lasting at about 1/2" for quite some time. It also had really good sticking power on the insides of the glass. The nose is a bit sweet and malty, with candi-sugar and fruit attributes being on display prominently. Body was reaching for the medium range. As far as feel on the tongue, a more than ample amount of carbonation gives this Bier a very bubbly, airy sensation in the mouth (perhaps a bit too much). The lead-off flavor is a combo of lightly sweet malt and a touch of tropical fruit. Soon thereafter arrives a dry, bitterness which tends to take over and detract somewhat from the initial, pleasurable flavors. As the Bier warms the fruitiness actually tries to re-assert itself, but only partially succeeds. I seem to detect a smidge of both cinnamon and pepperiness, too. This isn't too bad a Bier, yet it lacks the depth and complexity that the label suggests. Prosit!!

overall: 3.8
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5


beer review id: 104954 / 11-16-2003 01:02:39

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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 Jmamay22
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one was a gusher, but I saved the majority of it. Pours out a light orange amber with a frothy white cap for a head. Retains a hazy look and the head reduces to a thin white layer. Some spotted lacing about halfway down the glass.

Smells of fruity yeast with a slight funk. Orange peel bitterness and spices such as clove and cardamom rounds out the nose.

Tastes more spicy than in the nose. Finishes with the orange peel bitterness and a slight sour funkiness. Spices really take away from some of the subtle beauty found in the nose.

Mouthfeel is full of tight carbonation. A little too much as evident from the gushing. Fairly easy drinker, but the spices do subtract a bit. Overall enjoyable although not the best from this brewery.

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Grotten Brown (Pierre Celis Signature) from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
3.8 out of 5 based on 79 ratings.
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