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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

671 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 671
Reviews: 504
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
Belgium

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: 671 | Reviews: 504 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by jeff1973:
Photo of jeff1973
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a Moinette challis. Best before date of 10/16/2012.

A - Dark ruby red. Light tan heads leaves pretty good lacing. A lot of yeast "floaties" throughout beer, not just in the bottom of the bottle.

S - Dark ripe fruit (plums, cherries), touch of licorice.

T - Dark fruit explosion. Lots of cherry, very juicy. Taste then mellows out to acidic wine-like flavor with a touch of licorice before drying out nicely to cut the sweetness.

M - Medium carbonation. Medium mouthfeel. These contrast enough to make the beer refreshing and complex at the same time.

D - Medium high and dangerously so.

Great beer! Very complex taste and mouthfeel. Really coats the mouth with all the great flavors without being too heavy.

More User Reviews:
Photo of JulioH
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great foamy ale. Serving developed a large head, and it remained there for some time.
Scent was very sweet, with dried fruits, and molasses. Tasting revealed a very, very sweet beer. Mouth feel was a bit thin, I expected this beer to be syrupy since the nose was so sweet, but on the contrary it was well balanced. Could drink more than one pour.
When opening, this beer gushed out a bit. My hand was very sticky. Also, this beer had some sediment that looked like cinnamon or nutmeg.

Photo of Pegasus
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy deep mahogany brown, with a small tan head, which quickly fades away. Thin fine-beaded lacing coats the glass walls.

Aroma: Sweet vinous alcohol and dark fruit dominate the aroma. The aroma is profound and almost brandy-like.

Taste: Opens with toasted grains hebal hops, and moderate sweet alcohol. As the taste progresses, moderate herbal hops asset themselves. Later in the taste, dark fruits appear, in particular, figs. Late in the taste, there is also a faint wave of vanilla and wood. Finishes with a long, lingering, but mild hop presence, and sweet alcohol.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, full, and very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Very nice, a worthy effort.

Presentation: Packaged in an eleven point two ounce Euro-style brown glass long-neck bottle, served in a New Belgium chalice.

Photo of thehyperduck
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before December 13 2014. A random grab while I was shopping; I am always ready to try a new Belgian ale, especially if the price is right. Served slightly chilled, and poured into a tulip.

Pours a dark, opaque brown colour with beautiful ruby highlights under the light, and topped with about one centimeter of dense, creamy, beige-coloured head. It's not much to look at, but the head hangs in there for a good long while, thinning out only slightly over the next ten minutes. Rich, malty aroma; toasted, bready malts, cocoa and brown sugar are countered nicely with notes of raisins, dates, nutmeg, and plenty of Belgian yeast. Leans on the sweet side, but not to an overbearing extent.

Rather full-flavoured, and not nearly as sweet as the aroma seems to let on. While there is initially no shortage of malt sweetness - bready malts, caramel and milk chocolate come through strongly, as well as dates, raisins, prunes and banana - this is well balanced by the tail-end of the flavour profile. The finish becomes more yeasty, with a burnt molasses/roasted malt flavour coming through, and an earthy, roasty aftertaste that lingers on the palate, along with a hint of anise. Full-bodied, with a chewy, creamy mouthfeel assisted by the restrained-yet-lively bite from the carbonation. Soft in the mouth, leaving a somewhat sticky, vaguely hot feel behind from the ethanol. A great sipper; something I'd probably reach for again in January, though to be fair it's drinking nicely on a cool July evening.

Final Grade: 4.33, an outstanding A grade. Abbaye des Rocs' Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown Ale is an excellent strong dark ale, and in my opinion it's a total steal at its LCBO price point ($3.00/bottle). I don't profess to be an expert as far as BJCP style guidelines go, but from a personal subjective standpoint, I am looking for four things from these types of beers - bold, complex malty flavours; lots of fruity, Belgian yeast esters/spice character; a full body; and well-integrated alcohol. This isn't the most complex Belgian ale I've ever had, but it still tastes great and is balanced beautifully. Highly recommended to any fan of Belgian sippers.

Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%

Look: Dark brown body with red hues. Frothy white 4 finger head. Smell: Dried cherries, juicy red apples, black tea, classic spicy Belgian yeast, sugar, slight funk, malt, honey sweetness and alcohol. Taste: Cherries, nutty, caramel, roasted notes, sour apples, no alcohol taste just a warming finish. Feel: Medium body, soft carbonation.

Overall: This is recommended. The aroma to me is the showcase of the brew. The flavor is well balanced but not as interesting as the aroma. Will have this again further down the road.

Photo of TheDoctor
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A:
Pours a cloudy brownish red with a nice, creamy beige head that pours big and settles to a healthy cap. Great retention; some lacing.

S:
Lots of spicy yeast aromas. Rubber, leather, over-ripe bananas, baking spices, bubblegum, and some earthy floral notes.

T:
Soft, delicate, and sweet. Immediately sweet with dark fruits, syrup, and earth herbal aromas; slightly bready with the yeast making it really filling, spicy and full.

M:
Amazingly velvety and smooth. Medium to full bodied with good carbonation and a luscious feel. Slightly coating with a lingering pleasant aftertaste. Nearly perfect.

O:
Fabulous beer!
Really nice, 'together' flavor that I would expect from a random Belgian beer whose name I had heard of before. The beer pours lovely and has an incredible nose on it with tons of yeast character. The flavor is very whole and pleasant and the palate is to die for.
WILL have again; worth seeking out.

Photo of brewskifan55
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter

A: chestnut brown with an off-white half finger head that dissipates quickly. Light lacing. Lots of floating fermentation.

S: dark fruits, caramel, Belgian yeast.

T : Follows nose with plums and raisins. Bready malts, banana nut bread with hints of chocolate. Sweet,robust. A Belgian delight.

M: medium with heavy carbonation. Thick, frothy.

O: Worth the $5 price tag. Will definitely drink again. A great celebration sipper.

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%

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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 671 ratings.