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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 79 |  Reviews: 70
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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Photo of ralree
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep red with a beautiful reddish-white head. 2-fingers of glory. Great retention and prefect lacing.

S: Smells like it should - fruity but not overpowering. Dark fruits and some lighter fruits are present.

T: Dark sweet fruits are good to the tongue. Roasted taste is the first flavor, followed by a smoky sweet alcoholic fruitiness. Caramel malt gives it a nice non-fruit basis, along with some decent hops.

M: Medium-bodied, pretty overcarbonated, non-astringent, clean and dry. Overall not bad.

D: Drinks pretty well. I will probably buy it again when I want a good fruity Belgian ale.

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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 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 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 BEERchitect
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Geez, what a fantastic beer--the brewery simply can do no wrong. The beer decants with a delicate amber / brown color with a rocky head formation that released a lot of sweet-tartness, cotton candy, and ripe fruits. The taste is even better--a hearty, juicy flavor of sweet malted candy, cookie dough, peaches, pears, apricots, plumbs, dates, berries, and just vineous enough to balance out the richness and add character to the taste. The body is a bit heavy despite the high carbonation and alcohol thinning. A mild hop bittering intensifies in the finish, but remains firm, spicy, and sweet throughout. Not as dark or deeply flavored as most Belgian Darks, but certainly no lack of character or quality. Simply a supurb beer! Thanks bmock.

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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 Brianmerrilyn
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured the largest head I've ever seen, with slow angled careful care. Remains entire quafing providing additional aromoma. Crimson or burgany red, which ever adjective you prefer. Interestingly continued bubbles even with dark hue.

S: Dates and plum smell immediately.

T: Rich texture,

M: Smooth and slicker in aftertaste

D: Easy if you like heavy earthy beers.

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

Sampled on tap at the First Annual Stone Sour Fest, July 2007
This is topped by a creamy, persistent, though small, light colored head that sits on top of a hazy, gold colored beer. This beer has a very grainy aroma to it; this is made up of notes of fresh crushed grain and a sort of malt room aromatic quality. This has a very subtle sour character to it; it is almost note even there. Hints of orange zest are also noticeable in the aroma.

The taste has notes of lemon zest and a very subtle sourness. The malt is still pronounced, even in the flavor, though it is not quite as much as it is in the aroma. Notes of toasty grain, a distinct biscuit-like note, touches of soda crackers and a light, sweet, maltiness. The beer has a nice, light, creamy mouthfeel to it. The clean malt character is quite interesting (especially in this flight of sour beers), but this only has a hint of funkiness a perhaps a drop of acidity. I'll definitely have to try this again, as it almost seemed out of place at a sour beer festival.

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Photo of oelergud
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 1pt 9.4oz bottle.
Beautiful dark mahogany clear body with light carbonation. Huge light tan, creamy head with large bubbles here and there. Good rentention and lace.
Fresh scent of slightly sour fruit, apricot, brown sugar and dark roasted malts.
Malty and spiced flavor still with a touch of fruit. Prune and abit of pear and cherries. Aftertaste of spiced malts with some mildly pine-like hops.
Medium to full body, some good coating and a slight dry finish.
Good drinkability. Nice to have a big bottle without the monster abv being involved. Though not quite worth the 10 bucks.


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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Muddy toffee color with antique white head. The bubbles are very large, yet can stand firm for quite some time.

S: Fresh yeast, jasmine, brown sugar and mineral characters.

T: Starts out yeasty with jasmine & brown sugar, with minor peach and apricot. Then comes a simple syrup, sugar cube with a earthy bitterness at the end of the sip. Finishes somewhat dry and dirty.

D: Ok beer, not that complex. Would be interesting to try it aged.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep copper-brown, caramel like soda, off-white head. The head gives off a slightly spicy, cinnamon-like aroma. Subdued nose - not unpleasant, just not assertive.

After the first goblet-full, I had nothing good to say. The bottle had not been refridgerated, but it's winter here in Iowa, so "room temperature" was fairly chilly. There was almost no flavor whatsoever. Extremely dry, it was like the aging had taken all the roasted characteristics out of the malt while the yeast had given up; hops are minimal anyways. The only taste of any kind was spicing.

The other glass was excellent. Without hyperbole, it was reminiscent of St. Bernardus' Prior 8 (I did not realize it was made at the Brouwerij) - the warming phenols and caramely, full flavors. I think this beer needs to sit out and warm up for a while, as cooler temperatures just kill the flavor. Still dry, the beer is much more balanced as you can taste alcohol and malt in addition to the spicing. The suggested serving temperature should be followed only for those who don't like tasting their beer - let it warm, and don't be afraid to wet your whistle with a glass of water if the oxidized alcohol aftertaste gets annoying.

Note: I had posted this under the other Grotten brown originally. Reposted for the proper beer. Whoops.

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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 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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Photo of BlindPig
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Thick tan head on a cloudy amber brown body.
S- Light citrus European hops, light nut, some yeast, sweeter malts, and some spices.
T- Some hops make their way through. A light citrus, and spice. Some nut malt in back ground along with light pepper, hint of yeast, medium malt character, and some other stuff I can't pin point.
M- Thin to medium body with some higher carbonation.
D- I really like this. A little to thin and high carbonation but other than that it is really nice.

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Photo of Fugazme
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

At first glance, this beer looks like a glass of tea... soapy cap, murky brown... a little thing... nice lacing.

Aroma is average. Malty... very malty... a little sweet maple and some hints of brown sugar with floral overtones.... bready and yeasty.

A touch weak on the palate. Watery on some swallows, but overall not too bad.

Doughy on the tongue... quite a yeasty character. There is a hint of dried fruit and even some sweet licorice, but overall malt and yeast dominate. A little dry/bitterness left over after the swallow.

I'd call this an average beer. My expectations were high, however, as I've been eyeing this bottle at Beertopia in Omaha since November. I would try it again.

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