1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Abbaye Des Rocs [Brasserie Des Rocs Brune] - Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.

Not Rated.
Abbaye Des Rocs [Brasserie Des Rocs Brune]Abbaye Des Rocs [Brasserie Des Rocs Brune]

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

405 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 405
Reviews: 303
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 56
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 405 | Reviews: 303 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of glid02
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy chestnut brown color with loads of floaties and a half-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of brown sugar, caramel malts, and hints of raisins. As it warms the brown sugar aromas strengthen and slightly bready malt aromas make an appearance.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet brown sugar and caramel flavors up front with dark fruits lurking in the background. As it warms the flavors become a bit more fleshed out and the sweetness subsides. The ending is definitely on the sweet side.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with soft and grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing the bottle and could have another glass.

Overall I ended up buying a second bottle of this after being accosted by yeast in the first bottle however the second bottle was more of the same. I would think it would be better without all of the yeast but even as it is it's worth a shot.

glid02, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of Derek
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%

"Best Before End 2006", whatever that means?

A: Coppery brown, fairly opaque. Not a lot of off-white head, but it's fairly well retained, and leaves some lace. Lots of yeast sediment in the bottle (even for a Belgian). Careful decanting, mine was a little mirky.

S: Raisins and prunes are VERY strong, with a little spicy fruit-bread and sweet caramel maltyness. Very strong nose, very Belgian aroma. Exceptional.

T: Raisins and prunes with a tannic, wine-like flavour. VERY Belgian. No hop flavour, a little bitterness comes in at the finish.. Some dark, slightly spicy, fruit bread-like flavour. It has a really nice sweet, slighty tart and slightly alcoholic (more-so with temperature) balance. Very well rounded, but with plenty of depth. Truly exceptional.

M: Moderate body is very well attenuated for an all-malt brew, but still has a bit of a syrupy feel. It's highly carbonated.

D: Very drinkable, expecially considering the strength.

Derek, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of Gusler
5/5  rDev +18.2%

WOW!, If there is a better sniffing beer than this, please let me know. Pours a deep opaque brown, mountainous frothy beige head and tonnes of lace. Nose is a ripe banana, sweet cherries, with a touch of grainy malt. Start is sweet, top skimpy, the finish is benignly acidic, and a magnificent hop presence, dry and a somewhat bitter aftertaste "MAGNIFICENT BEER", one well worth the cost of sampling, and a must for us "Belgiephiles".

Gusler, Oct 29, 2002
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle, $3.99 at Whole Foods in Columbus. The beer is murky reddish brown, no floaters but still a little hazy with a thin wisp of a head. The smell is easy to peg as a product of this brewery, with the classic mix of sweet maltiness, yeasty esters, and a little bit of cough syrup. Actually I don't really appreciate the cough syrup, but it's there in the Abbaye des Rocs beers I've tried, and several other breweries too (Gouden Carolus, even very aged St Sixtus ABT 12). The taste is as good or a little better than the aroma, less cough syrup and more dark fruity esters. Very nice aftertaste that lingers. Solidly above average, more than worth a try.

TurdFurgison, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of drummermattie02
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

drummermattie02, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of scruffwhor
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%

Poured from a 750ml corked and bottled capped bottle that said Belgian Burgundy Ale under the breweries logo.

Appearance- Pours a swampy bron with a few fints of garnet and red grape skin. Only a little head makes an appearance in this beer. Some slight lacing visible when held to the light.

Smell- A mix of leather, slightly musky flowers and some fruit cake.

Taste- Starts out with a good does of browned sugared malts mixed well with some old fashioned oatmeal. A little toasty hint of white bread to mix with a few dark fruit notes.

Mouthfeel- Although the carbonation was a little tricky to see, it made it's presence known on the center of the tongue.

scruffwhor, Mar 24, 2006
Photo of Evil_Pidde
4/5  rDev -5.4%

A: Pour is murky brown with a large tan compact head that sets into decent lacings.

S: Rich dark dried fruits gives it a very sweet smell. Kind of sherry-like. Syrupy. Yeasty, and some spices.

T: Tart, syrupy sweet. Lots of dark dried fruits. Spices and yeast. Very Belgian, and very nice.

M: Long sweet aftertaste. Body is syrupy full, almost like molasses. Carbonation is well hidden. A bit alcoholic, but not very obvious.

O: Sweet in more than one sence. Nice!

Evil_Pidde, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of Dogbrick
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Acquired via trade (available locally though). Dark chestnut color with a thick beige head that lasts a long time, and sheets of lacing. Toasty aroma of malt and spice with some cherry. Rich body and very drinkable with sweet sugary malt flavors, as well as caramel, dried fruit and a bit of yeast. The finish is very sweet and lingering, yet has a nice hops element. The alcohol level complements the beer perfectly too. Thoroughly enjoyable brew.

Dogbrick, Nov 01, 2005
Photo of tavernjef
4.68/5  rDev +10.6%

Chill hazen rubyish brown, tall, lusciously thick and frothy ivory top adorns the top portion of the glass with a solid girth. Resides softly down to a hefty, always present skim, lacing in delicate whispy sheets.

Aroma is of crispy pine notes, lemon rinds, tropical fruitiness, pale earthy wood and dirt, candyish melons and more fresh fruits. Quite an inticing nose, albiet, its soft, hardly overpowering in any sense, very subtle and pleasantly so.

Taste is a wonderful array of tropical fruits, well rounded, lush, and full of candy-like fruitiness thats quite ripe, not sour, nice juices interminging across the palate. Banana, mango, dark orange, pineapple, grapes, and perhaps more to this fruit salad. It works its fruity magic for a good bit before the finish sneaks up bringing light wood pulp, hoppy herbal spice, and a super fine easy dryness. As well as some residual sugars and fruits lay way in the back late in the finish.

Very fine mouthfeel, full, smooth, well rounded, with a fluffy carbonation thats biting and warm in just the right amount nearer the end, never uneven, and seems to almost thicken up as it goes, like a really nice chocolate.

The drinkability is exceptionally enjoyable. A fruit laden wonderment with a complexing palate to say the least. Delicate yet brazen. Beholdingly gratifying...um...great stuff!

tavernjef, Jun 06, 2004
Photo of claspada
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%

Aromas of caramel, toffee, nuttiness, a little oak, and some dark fruits as it warms (mainly raisins).

The tastes begin with nuttiness, milk chocolate, biscuity/sugar cookie. As it warms you get more of the dark fruit and oak you detected from the nose.

The mouthfeel is a tad thin for the style in my opinion, not a deal breaker, I just prefer more; carbonation is fine for the style. Overall this is a good beer, top of the style, no, but still good. Not bad for the price and availability. Recommended but don't break your back to find it.

claspada, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of WOLFGANG
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

WOLFGANG, Jul 04, 2013
Photo of dgilks
3.7/5  rDev -12.5%

Big, sweet, malt aroma with notes of clove and orange. Slight anise note. Slightly bready in the way that Munich malt is bready.

Somewhat hazy, deep brown with copper highlights. Small, light tan head with moderate retention.

Again, big, almost sickly malt sweetness. Light spiciness and lots of bread. Little to no bitterness.

Medium-full mouthfeel with moderately-low carbonation. Decent.

Something here doesn't quite click. The sweetness is over the top with no real complexity. Decent but not great.

dgilks, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of ZAP
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Pours a dark copper with a nice fizzy off-white head....nose is musty...enticingly yeasty too....full bodied...charged up...very sweet flavor....with some nice spicy sub-notes...also some musty notes....this is a great sipping beer....I love the sweet maltness and the way the spicy notes compliment it...

A top notch Belgian...thanks to Big Huge Person for sharing this...

ZAP, Mar 14, 2004
Photo of spinrsx
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%

330ml Bottle

Appearance – Hazy brown colour with a massive size fizzy beige/light brown coloured head. It's too hazy/dark to see the carbonation level and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, molasses, dark fruits, smoke, chocolate, wood

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a high amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, molasses, dark fruits and what I thought to be soya sauce.. I couldn't quite put my finger on what the taste was. Anyways, there was also some smoke and a woody flavour and towards the end I could also taste chocolate. The beer finishes with a smokey and malty sweet aftertaste.

Overall – A complex beer that has a whole bunch of flavours going on. It's not something I'd want to drink every day, but I'm going to keep a few on hand for sure. The alcohol was really well hidden and it's a must try beer in my opinion.

spinrsx, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of RoyalT
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%

Appearance – Deep, orangish-brown body with a few shades of red. There’s lots of carbonation going on in there along with monster sediment. I controlled the tight, foamy head at the pour, keeping it at about an inch or two, but it took quite some time to dissipate.

Smell – I could review the aroma from across the room (although I’m not). Alcoholic fruit leapt from the glass. I can pick up some orange and banana along with cherry/cranberry juice. There’s a little bit of spiciness as well. The base of the nose comes after, a complex mix of malts and some light yeast.

Taste – The malt flavors come out a little bit more on the tongue, but at first it’s the fruits that run away with the show. The sediment and orange, along with the alcohol notes, give the feeling of drinking a high class screwdriver (pulp orange juice, dry champagne, and a shot of Grand Mariner). Add to that some smooth banana liquor, sweetened cranberry juice, and a cherry garnish. Plop a dribble of the juice from the cherry jar and there you have it.

Then comes the malt. Nice, ever-so-lightly toasted, sweetened with loads of caramel then balanced with a drop or two of anise. Overall, a very complex mix of flavors working exceptionally well together.

As this warms, the sugars come out in force. Rich, dark drippings of melted toffee, brown and powdered sugar, and overly ripe pears and apricots. It finishes with a strong punch of freshly pressed cinnimmon-laced apple cider.

Mouthfeel – Healthy carbonation and a full body keeps the drinking moving at the right pace with this 9.0 ABV juggernaut. This is chewy and sugaring and sticks in between your teeth. Your dentist will hate it.

Drinkability – Nothing says, “special occasion,” like an Abbay des Rocs bottle. This was a real treat.

Comments – This was a very sweet BSDA, sweeter than most of the other ones that I have tried. This was really in the same ballpark as their Grand Cru. I thought it could have used a little more malt backbone, but the beauty of beer tasting is in recognizing the habits and characteristics of individual brewers. This is an absolute classic.

Update – The 2004 vintage has a few bad bottles going around. I actually think that it’s an off batch. The ale wasn’t flat like it hadn’t been bottled properly; it just had an off flavor that I thought made it an overall sub-4.0 offering.

I got a hold of a good ’04 bottle and included it as part of a tasting. It really is head and shoulders above all other Belgians that I’ve had. This one wasn’t quite as heavy on the sweets like the ’03 that I reviewed and it was more heavily carbonated, which led me to believe it may have been a bit fresher. Either way you cut it, this is a tremendous brewery and the Brune is one of their better offerings.

Update – I popped a vintage ’02 for the same taste test that we did the ’04. The two years really blended the flavors together more and gave it a huge sweetness that was incredibly smooth. The Grand Cru was in the test also and it was difficult to tell the difference between the ’02 Brune and the ’04 Grand Cru.

RoyalT, Sep 16, 2003
Photo of champ103
2.78/5  rDev -34.3%

A: Pours a murky reddish/brown color. At first a one finger tan head forms and recedes to a rim quickly. Light patchy lace.
S: Moldy, dry wood with some dark fruity esters and yeast. Lots of alcohol from the start.
T: Again, very dry wood, and charcoal. Sweet caramel malt that is almost cloying. Some dark fruit flavors. Alcohol again. One of the driest and sweetest beers I have had in a long time.
M/D: A medium body but way over carbonated. The heavy prickly carbonation, mixed with the alcohol and dryness really makes for a hard beer to drink.

I can see how this would appeal to some people. It is worth a try. I don't think this is for me though. I do enjoy beers on the drier side, but this seems like liquid wood to me.

champ103, Jul 05, 2009
Photo of gford217
4.4/5  rDev +4%

750mL bottle poured into a snifter, after getting this gusher under control.

Pours a slightly murky reddish brown that shows amber when held up to the light. There are plenty of floaties in there and the head is large and lingers for quite a while, leaving a little bit of lacing.

The aroma is big with tons of sweet dark malts and lots of dark fruits, especially raisins and figs. There seems to be a molasses sweetness as well. There is a bit of an alcohol burn in the nose as well.

The taste was great, much like the aroma. Tastes like raisins soaked in a highly sugary alcohol. The malt base is still dominant throughout and though I mention the sweetness, it's definitely not overpowering as in some versions of the style.

The mouthfeel is velvety smooth with plenty of carbonation.

This is a nice example of a Belgian brown, one of the better I've had recently. I definitely feel lucky to be able to walk into my local shop and pick this up whenever I want. Good stuff.

gford217, Mar 29, 2009
Photo of tbeckett
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%

Bottle from ABS Drinks. From notes.

A - Huge gusher to start. Head fades really fast. Muddy, streaky, dark brown colour. Head leaves a leaves a thin ring.

S - Rum, butter, yeast, breadiness, sugar, and some booze.

T - Rum and butter candy. Sweet with some yeast and dark fruit. Quite complex. Lot's of dark fruit comes out later.

M - Mild carbonation and a medium body. Sweet, dry finish. Seems like more body is in order.

O/D - Nice beer. Could use a bit more body and dark fruit character but the complexity is there for sure. A tasty and interesting beer.

tbeckett, May 24, 2011
Photo of francisweizen
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%

Sampled at the Kulminator in Antwerp, BE. This was a 1999 (?) vintage. The aromas are that of spices, alcohol, red wine (port?), yeast, candy sugar, and more. The taste is very boozy, malty, sweet, spicy, and wine-like in nature. The mouthfeel is thick and great. The drinkability is excellent and intriguingly good!

francisweizen, Nov 05, 2003
Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev -5.4%

mrfrancis, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of Jwale73
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%

Served in my DFH snifter. Bottle was a gusher. Poured a murky mahogany with a 1.5 inch off-white head the quickly dissolved into a skim with a heavy band around the shoulders; no lacing present during the tasting. Nose was dark fruit (grape skin and plum), caramel and yeast. Taste consistent with nose, but caramel sweetness is much more in the forefront, with the dark fruit in the back; sugary sweet with a little tartness. Also picked up a hint of chocolate somewhere in the mix. Medium-bodied mouthfeel with a tickle of effervescence. Nice belgian strong dark; a very pleasant sipper.

Jwale73, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of cokes
5/5  rDev +18.2%

A Look to the Sky:
A stormy, ethereal, swampwater, golden-amber, with a cumulonimbus pale tan head. Warns of the approaching frontal system.

The Sky Darkens:
The sirens go off, as the howling West wind blows forth grapes, tart apples, muskmelon, mangos, honey, freshly fertilized pasture, and caramel.

Rain Begins to Fall:
The mouth is saturated with caramel coated apples, tart grapes, balsamic vinegar, and farmhouse mustiness. Thin and sparse at first.

Lightning Strikes:
As the beer temperature rises, the torrent increases. The senses are inundated with the tropical fruit monsoon. Hail pellets of peaches, pineapples and oranges are littered across the countryside. Trees, dripping with toffee and candy sugar, bow under the onslaught. The neighboring farm fields are stripped clean in the flood. Horse and barnyard flavors are streamed turbulently into the esophagus.

The Funnel Descends:
The brew increases in viscosity. Chocolate-coated grapes are sucked into the vacuum, along with sourdough bread. A debris cloud forms of puckering green apple tartness, with oak splinters.
Floral, yet grassy hops swirl about the palate, with understated, yet ferocious force. An unseen shaft of alcohol downs power lines inside the stomach, igniting a warming fire within.

Surveying the Destruction:
It was an incredible rotating vortex of sweet and sour.
Everything started benignly. Once it began to warm, nothing could be done. Simply leveling.

There may not be a better beer on the planet.
Find a white labeled bottle and prepare to wet yourself.

I am still spinning.

Bighuge....what can I say? Thank You!

Additional notes:
Old, white label. Not sure of the year, but guessing it carries some age. Just had one today (07/16/10), probably at least 10 yrs old, and I still maintain it's likely the best thing I've ever had.
Newer stuff is still excellent, but would get knocked down a peg or two due to the snow globe yeast clots, with their impact on appearance and especially mouthfeel.

cokes, Jan 09, 2003
Photo of mynie
4.93/5  rDev +16.5%

Big ol bottle wasn't exactly flyin off the shelf when I bought it, aged an additional year in my fine closet.

Wonderful Duvel glass pour! Two finger retentive sandyblonde head sits atop dark forest amber. Pretty.

There's a distinct smell two full feet from my nose. Intense zippy sweet Belgian fruit. This is my first from Abbaye Des Rocs, but I can say for certain that it smells and awful lot like a De Dolle beer. Much more fruit than spice, wonderful alcohol burning lightly, like a candle. Juicy fruit, too. Pears. And those candied orange slices that aren't real orange but they taste like Orange Crush.

Smooth start rushing quickly into wonderfully zippy fruit and alcohol. Jesus it's like a wonderful organic soda pop. Oranges, pears. Then it smoothes out a little bit, gets a little bready, and then it ends on a distinct node of citrus. Wonderful.

One of the ten best beers I've ever had.

mynie, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of jophish17
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

jophish17, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of KarlHungus
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%

This brew pours a cloudy brown color with amber hues around the edges. The head is billowy, rocky and off white in color. The aroma is massive. Dark fruits, butter, more dark fruits, caramel, and then some spices. The taste is of dark fruits and butter, cut with spices and alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lot of carbonation, perhaps a little too much as it masks the flavor a bit. Overall, this is a might fine brew. Very enjoyable.

KarlHungus, Jan 08, 2006
Abbaye Des Rocs [Brasserie Des Rocs Brune] from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 405 ratings.