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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown - Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.

Not Rated.
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special BrownAbbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

670 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 670
Reviews: 503
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 36
Gots: 31 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jdhilt on 10-08-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 670 | Reviews: 503 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Cramshawbar:
Photo of Cramshawbar
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great chance to have this on tap yoday at a Belgian beer dinner at the Spring House Drafting Room.Pours a rich brown color with a sticky head,aroma was rich and nutty with some nice warming alcohol with some fruity estures.This Belgian Dark has a real nice hop profile to go along with a rich nutty flavor and some spicey/yeasty notes.Glad to finally try this beer and it was on tap to boot.

Photo of RoyalT
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - This one sports a nice dark brown body with a huge, tan head. The head showed amazing retention for such a big ABV ale and left some clingy lacing on the inside of my glass.

Smell - The nose started off with big sherry notes. After wading through that I was rewarding by a grocery store full of fruits. Everything from the dark, heavy guys like prunes and raisins to the light, summary ones like melons and star fruit. The quality malt backbone held things together quite nicely.

Taste - The malts are a bit bigger at the taste. They are brownish and incredibly easy on the palate. The plethora of fruits from the nose make it all the way to the tongue. There's also some light yeasty notes that are just heavenly. We close with some powdery Belgian spicing. Talk about complex!

Mouthfeel - Lots going on in there. There's just enough carbonation to please the tongue, the alcohol stings just a bit, and the sweet cherry taste salivates the mouth. This one is almost chewy in between the cheeks and is definitely full-bodied.

Drinkability - This one went down way too smoothly. I had a Rochefort 10 the other day and the difference in the sense of ABV is amazing. When you can smoke a quality beer like the Rochefort 10 you know you're good.

Comments - I asked my hop head wife, who detests Belgian beers, to give this one a taste. She reiterated that it's not "her style" but then added, "I can still tell that this is a good one, though." You can't hide the quality of this offering.

Update - I did my initial review of this ale less then a month after joining the site so decided to (figuratively) revisit the Abbaye des Rocs for 2004. Having now officially tasted and reviewed over 100 Belgian ales I've really come to recognize how truly remarkable this bottle is.

Update - It's been awhile since I updated this wonderful ale so popped a 2007 in 2008 and decided to compare. It is as great as ever and that collection of fruit flavors is unbelievable.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Maduro in Madison, WI. Poured generously into an oversized St. Bernardus glass for only $3 per.

Appearance: Satanic velvet completely ensanguined within a rouge mantle. Head is tan and creamy, but thin (probably due to the glass). Lacing is above average, mostly clinging to the sides of the glass. Again, I feel that this glass is inappropriate for this beer. It doesn’t agitate enough. Still, the Grand Cru is a looker. The color is undoubtedly perfect and damned sexy. Carbonation is minuscule and compact.

Nose: Balanced and succinct within the aroma lay some very divergent notes ranging from lemon cookies to earth, cinnamon to plums, and sour orange to candied sugar. Everything fits together like a Lego set. Everything screams drinkable. Nothing even whispers “9.5%.”

Taste: Reminiscent of my first experiences with the St. Bernie 12, I have a hard time placing my palate on particular flavors. I am certain of dark and tropical fruits, candied sugar, cocoa, and plenty of spice but this beer is admonishing me not to get into specifics. Everything is so well blended and balanced it has become difficult to distinguish one flavor from another. Instead this masterpiece is all about feel and drinkability. Both it has in spades.

Mouthfeel: No hint at ABV. Full bodied but drinkable as if it were very light. Defining of the term luscious. Velvety. Rich and complex but not overwhelming. Lightly spicy finish.

Drinkability: One of the most drinkable beers I’ve ever had (top 5 of all time drinkable).

Photo of beerhunter13
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in oversized wine glass.

LOOK (4.5/5) This one pours a rich mahogany brown. Clarity is a bit poorer than I would have thought - it is between hazy and opaque. Head is a real treat! It comes up huge and billowing out of the bottle; it is light beige and mousy in texture. It took a while to fall to a cap, but lacing was a bit disappointing.

SMELL (4.5/5) The nose is rich and malty with a good helping of fruit and a touch of pepper. The malt is largely vienna/munich with it's characteristic melanoidin flavor (plums/prunes/dates) it has a hint of caramel, but no roasty/toasty notes. I get a hint of orange peel and other light fruits. The finish is sweet, but has a touch of pepper.

TASTE (4.5/5) The flavor is very similar to the nose, but the relative strengths differ a bit. The malt is still full of those mailard flavors (dark, dried fruits). I get the impression that the yeast adds a lot of lighter notes to the dark fruit flavors. A good helping of pepper and a surprisingly tart finish round it out. The balance was still malty.

FEEL (5/5) Moutfeel is ideal for the flavours going on here! Medium-full bosy adds some weight and depth to the flavor - the latter is a great transition to the finish and gets that fluffy feel I like.

DRINK (5/5) For a rich, complex brew drinkability is really good because of the lighter fruitiness and the drier finish. Great, refreshing, and complex. Very, very nice!

I'd have to have this with a desert with some nice sharper or more acidic fruits like oranges or berries.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been hanging onto this bottle for awhile and decided to pop the cork tonight. The Grand Cru pours from the 750ml bottle a murky reddish brown with a khaki head of big bubbles on top that falls to a coating. Some floaties are hanging out when held up to the light. Aromas of rum raisin upfront mixed with caramel, woody tannins, dark fruits and earthy yeast. Exquisite, exotic and unlike any other Belgian strong dark ale I've sampled. Cherry and molasses? Nice.

First sip brings a wave of caramelly cocoa rum raisin maltiness accentuated by dark fruits and candy sugar. Wood tones coat the mouth with hints of black cherry, dark molasses and subtle spice. Earthy yeastiness throughout with a lingering burnt sugars. Quite complex and undoubtedly tasty. Fruity, spicy, malty, wonderful. The alcohol is no where to be found until it begins to warm the belly.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a more mellow carbonation. Fills the mouth nicely and goes down easily. This is a treat to drink and another testament to the amazing brewers at Abbaye des Rocs. I'm having no problem indulging and hope to have the chance to visit the brewery in Belgium one of these days. A truly great brew that lives up to its name.

Photo of blitz134
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of carbonation when I opened the bottle. Had to do an early taste off the mouth of the bottle to keep the rising foam from spilling over the edge.

Upon pouring I was expecting a head explosion when it hit my goblet, but all was well. Pours a gorgeous dark ruby garnet color. Clear body that barely lets any light through. Head is off white, bordering on light tan, and a solid finger thick. It doesn't want to go away either. High marks for this.

Smells typical belgian dark ale. Ripe, tart, dark fruits coming through in the nose, liqour soaked bananas and clove. Candy sweet with a hint of sweet caramel malts. Very nice.

Taste is dark ripe fruits with a bit of sweet alcohol in the finish. A little tart apple rounds out the initial fruit flavors and then goes into a sweeter plum, raisin concoction. Finish is slightly dry. Up there with the best, but doesn't offer anything any other great belgian can't offer as well.

Mouthfeel is highly carbonated which added a crispness to this. I haven't noticed as much carbonation in other beers of the style. Mouthfeel is good but could be a bit fuller. Some of the body might be masked by the carbonation levels.

Drinkability is nice as well. The alcohol doesn't warm as much as some of the others of the style. That alone brings the drinkability up, although this is still a sipping beer.

Overall a good belgian dark. Its hard to stand out with so many good examples of the style, but this one does its part and hangs in with the best of them.

Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Popped the cap, and off to a bad start. About 2 ounces of this 11.2 ounce beer ended up on my desk top from the bottle overflowing. Once in the glass, the beer had a decent one inch head that settled down to a thin layer, and never disappeared. The beer itself is a very very dark opague brown.

Saison yeast in the nose. Cant pick up much else.

Taste is excellent. Very nutty with some fruity tones underneath. I taste raisins as well. A very satisfying, chewy mouthfeel. Nice and hearty. I cant believe this beer is 9.5%! Very deceptive.

Great stuff. If I ever see it again, I will have another.

Photo of Beaver13
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, corked and capped. I've had this in the fridge for a little under 2 years. It pours a reddish dark amber with lots of active carbonation. It has a huge and fluffy off white head that retains well and leaves a little lacing. The final pour is a bit on the chunky side.

The aroma is sweet vinous fruits (figs and grapes), wood, and some spicy peppery melon.

The flavor is more of the same (but slightly subdued) - sweet and slightly vinous fruits (pears) with a spicy peppery finish with some sweet candy-like alcohol showing its head. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall, an excellent Belgian ale! I was worried that this might be too old, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Photo of tjthresh
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Rich malts and sugars, Belgian yeast character, all very subdued. Ruby/garnet with a lasting dirty white head. Nice clarity. Very soft flavor. It will kick you in the ass if you are not carefull. Lots of bubbles as it folls over the tongue. I enjoy this a lot.

Photo of merlin48
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4 oz black foiled, capped, not corked, bottle purchased for $6.99 at the Kroger's that is walking distance of the Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, Va.
Appearance: Pours into my chalice a clear dark, burnt orange body that is alive with tiny bubbles of carbonation. Creamy tan head rises a couple of centimeters and stays right there. Divine sheets of creamy lace drape the chalice, eventually falling into an island chain pattern. Exceptional to behold!
Aroma: a cornicopia of fruit esters greets the nose. Yellow Delicious apples, overripe bananas, a hint of cherries, and multiple dark dried fruits such as figs, dates, and prunes suggest an assertive maltiness that is later borne out by the taste. An interesting note of orangepeel adds to the delight.
Mouthfeel: Effervescent carbonation and some warming alcohol are easily noted. Medium body becomes much more full as it warms to room temperature.
Taste: Lots of sweet, malty, dark fruits open the flavor profile. Fruity esters are all over the board here. Black bananas, prunes, dates, figs, and a hint of caramel apple support an assertive malty sweetness. A note of cocoa adds to the enjoyable complexity. Hints of licorice and some medicinal phenols add even more characteristics to ponder. Soft and smooth, with subtle alcohol warming and a subdued hops bitterness. Very malty for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.
Drinkability: This is a lovely creation, and the price is difficult to beat. Grows a bit heavy on the palate near the room temperature finish, but this is really created to style and very well constructed. Can't wait to try the Tripel later today. Highly recommended!

Photo of Billolick
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large bottle, with cap and cork, no freshness dating. Pours dark garnet,brown. Poured with a gassy release, lifted a large and rocky tan head, which slowly morphed to a blotchy film. Leaves some thick, stringy lacing. Yeasty chunks abound. Nose is rum raisins, murky funk and sweat malts. multilayered, complex flavors and sensations on the tongue. Obvious and unrelenting waves of interest and intrigue. World class sipper. Dangerously drinkable. Seek out this nectar and enjoy.

Photo of Mora2000
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a murky brown color with a cream-colored head. When poured, huge chunks of yeast come out of the bottle. The aroma is a mix of dark fruit, alcohol and candi-sugar. The flavor is a mix of caramel, yeast, brown sugar and alcohol. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of esanchlsu
5/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of jakester
4.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. I drank it in a goblet. Expiry date of 2008(!) stamped on the label. Label also tells me to drink it @52-56degrees, and to drink it in a tulip glass (which I don't have).

Pours a cloudy brownish red with big chunks of yeast floaters. Looks like the real McCoy! A huge four finger head of beige colored foam forms on top. The head eventually falls to a nice coating and a ring, with excellent lacing all the way down.

Aroma is a very complex combination of chocolate, coffee, molasses, burnt brown sugar, apples, cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, yeast, and Belgian funk all rolled into one. Can't wait to taste it! Yeasty/funkyness increases as it warms.

First flavor is (WOW) sweet, dark, burnt malt, then the dark fruits like cherries, plums and dates, followed by a slight phenolic, way in the back. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and allspice bring up the rear. Aftertaste is fruity, spicy, sweet, and a little warm. Fantastic! Flavors improve as it warms, even though I started to drink it @ 55 degrees.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, smooth and creamy, with a pretty good zing in your mouth from carbonation. Lips stick together from sweetness. Fantastic burps!. Finish is sweet, sticky, and warm.

I can't wait to get to UJ's for another one of these. This is a truly awesome beer, well worth the price of admission. I hope I can get it in a 750.

Photo of Marius
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of yankeeheel
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Half Time for carrying this beer. Pours a moderately clear brown with a super thick beige head. Retention and lacing are as good as it gets. Just a beautiful beer. Smells lightly orangey with a bit of ginger. Perhaps a bit of bread but not overly yeasty. Inviting. Mildly fruity in it's malt. Almost like a light bock, but different. Hints of milk chocolate pop in and out. Peppery, fuity, funky. Finishes mildly tart and a hint of yeast twang dryness. Everything about this is understated. It's sublime.

Photo of ADR
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark burgundy color, clear and transmitting attractive red light. Head is creamy and holds at just under 1/2 an inch. Intricate lacing, very nice-looking beer here. Aromatic, slightly yeasty and sugary at the same time, dark plummy elements with sassy nutmeg. Mouthfeel is lightish and carbonation is lively if a little too overdone and fussy. Flavor is as complex as the aroma, raucous mix of fruit, rum overtones, decided spices including fresh-ground black pepper. Finishes with a flourish, and just a slightly detectable alcohol note. An impressive brew, actually I prefer the regular Abbaye Des Rocs -- it seems to flow more evenly and its construction is more seemless and slightly better balanced.

Later note: Too much protein/yeast glop seems to plague a lot of bottles of this beer as of late.

Photo of OStrungT
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pouts a murkey brown color with a slight red tint. It has a thick, fluffy yellow coor head. The head fades very slowly, leaving many laces.

This beer has a spicy aroma. I detect some fruity notes. Both citrus, and some dark fruits also. It has a slight nutty aroma. This beer has an earthy aroma also.

Wow, this beer tastes incredible. It tastes spicy. It also has a malty sweet flavor. Some fitrus fruit flavor is present. It tastes nutty. Some dark fruit is present also. The alcohol content is very well hidden.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a nutty, spicy aftertaste. This is one of the most well balanced beers I think I have ever had.

I think this beer might be a good session beer. The problem is the alcohol might creep up on you. It is very easy to drink though.

Overall: Wow. This beer is great. It might be one of the best Belgians I have ever had.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The ale is a dark ruby red color that has yeast and sediment sprinkled through resulting in some cloudiness. The bottle almost exploded with carbonation. This resulted in a huge tan head with moderate lacing around the glass.

Smell: The nose is of caramel, a mix of spices (cinnamon in particular). There are also lots of fruits in here. You've got oranges, apricots, figs, and apples.

Taste: The beer really excites the palate when warmed adequately. A nice thick earthy malt. Then you have the sweet brown sugar taste with the seems in equal measure with the tart fruits and figs. The spices are around too adding to the nice balancing act.

Mouthfeel: Creamy centered medium bodied beer. The carbonation is lively to excite the palate without overpowering it.

Drinkability: I am glad I have some more bottles of this stashed away. I could drink a couple of these with a detriment to my sobriety.

Photo of jeonseh
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First, why are there two of these? A 750 ml big bottle and poured into a Leffe goblet.

I want to note before the review that this beer was a gusher and had a lot of protein coagulation going on so I ended up straining it. This had a best before 07 on it and drank it now.

A - One beautiful looking beer. When I first poured it, it had a nice pale brown two finger head that looked beautiful sitting on top of the glass. It did slowly fade down to a small thin head but it left a lot of lacing down the sides as the beer descended. The color is a golden brown. It is has amber and reddish hues. It is mildly opaque and I can see a few bits of yeast and protein floating around but no where near as bad as I did before straining.

S - Scents of honey, brown sugar, and caramel waft up. Also a slight hint of dark fruit esters. I also note a slight hint of orange cutting through the sweeter aspects.

T - The taste on this is one is very nice. At first there is a sweet malty, caramel toffee taste that comes through. As the beer progresses, I find hint of orange and pepper as well. It seems to have a nice port like finish to it as I noted a dark plum flavor and a slight dry finish. There is a slight taste of the alcohol as well that comes up when the dark fruit flavors occur and carry on towards the finish.

MF - The body is full and creamy. The creaminess really goes along well with the sweet flavors near the top. There is a slight carbonation as well but nothing too harsh.

D - Hmm overall this is the hardest aspect to judge. The beer itself is sweet, tasty and has a great mouthfeel. I want to keep drinking it but I don't know if I would buy another for the single aspect that this beer has a protein coagulation problem. Overall, though a very good beer and I hope to try others from this abbey.

Photo of rastaman
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle, thanks to mat. Just tasted like regular Abbaye des rcos, which is a good thing, great fruitcake, spice aroma, great hous yeast. Gotta love this stuff. Well, yes of course it seemed a little sweeter and fuller than the regular, but there isn't a huge difference.

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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 670 ratings.