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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

646 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 646
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 32
Gots: 24 | 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: jdhilt on 10-08-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 646 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Boonedoggle
Boonedoggle

Nebraska

5/5  rDev +18.8%

01-25-2013 02:03:50 | More by Boonedoggle
Photo of peteh2112
peteh2112

Colorado

5/5  rDev +18.8%

07-19-2014 02:18:14 | More by peteh2112
Photo of pipinmalikonj
pipinmalikonj

Croatia (Hrvatska)

5/5  rDev +18.8%

11-20-2013 21:41:56 | More by pipinmalikonj
Photo of 1up
1up

District of Columbia

5/5  rDev +18.8%

03-13-2013 01:59:26 | More by 1up
Photo of drewbage
drewbage

California

5/5  rDev +18.8%

Sampled at Lucky Baldwin's in a Moinette glass.

Here's the kicker.. the keg has been in storage since 1998. Woo Hoo!

Glass is filled with a deep brown liquid with light red highlights and almost no head.

Aroma is leather, sour cherries, brown sugar oxidation and tropical fruits with a sweet punch character at the finish.

Flavor is deeply spiced with a light malt and brown sugar and a long ground spice mixed with pineapples, mangos, guavas and oranges.

The finish finally comes with a light sourness to cleanse the palate for the next sip.

As David Farnsworth (owner of Lucky Baldwin's) put it, "This is liquid heaven, is there anything better?" My only response is "Yup.. to be having it in Belgium." Heigh thee forth to Lucky's and get a sip of this, but if you don't do it soon David will have drunk it all. Jeez.. my first 5.

12-12-2003 09:20:33 | More by drewbage
Photo of assurbanipaul
assurbanipaul

Texas

5/5  rDev +18.8%

Pours a dark amber brown with a mountainous head, more than 2/3rd of the glass. Nose is spicy, malty, elements of cinnamon and coriander with a slightly sweet fruity character. To call it a "nose" is disparaging -- this beer has a bouquet.

Initial taste has a bit of a tang to it, not quite sour but soon yielding to a soft malty sweetness. Flavors of candy sugar, some mild spices, some yeasty tangy elements again covered with caramel and tea flavors. Very, very light cinnamon and lemon rind, very light buttered toast. A symphony of flavors with a lingering spicy-sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is soft and fluffy, carbonation keeps a bite to it. Smooth and dangerously easy to drink, no hint of a suggestion of a trace of alcohol, regardless of its ABV. Outstanding, a beer without a flaw. There simply is no way I can score it any less.

Label says "Brasserie des Rocs," Belgian special brown ale, 9.5% ABV.

05-29-2005 02:12:07 | More by assurbanipaul
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +18.8%

POP!
The cork is off, there's no turning back, in we go...

A lovely, hazy tumult of deep auburn colored brew pours into my glass, joined by a Brobdignagian layer of fizzy, creamy, off-orange foam. Looks good so far, I'm tingling so far.

Aroma: lemon...biscuits...orange...must...sour...but sweet...cinnamon...a spiced lemon cookie, to wrap it succinctly. Nice. Lively, luscious, in an utterly other realm than any other beer I've ever sniffed.

Taste...Good Idea, let's!
Oh, it's happening again! A shockwave of pleasure engulfs and enwraps my body and all the senses. Certainly very winey in flavor, but uniquely beery, too! Softly peppery, deep in dark fruit (besides grape, we wander among fields of cherries, berries, melons), it's a grand melange, a masterful marriage of flavors. There's something uplifting here, something that sets my soul free, something that happens in few brews, and you know it when you feel it, and it's happening now! Something ancient exists in this, a collection of metaphysical passages through the centuries. It feels light at times, deep at others, citric for a stage, then a touch woody, even oaky, showing some malt, as if peeking through peepholes in a glimpse through time itself.

If my remarks seem grandiose, forgive this foolish ale imbiber, for there's simply no better way to transmit the feelings this glorious brew delivers than to let imagination soar, and transplant the sensations into corresponding comments that may seem at times beyond the ordinary. So be it, for this beer is...I'm still drinking, it's still changing, tasting sweeter now, with a sharp candyish feel, still an underlying layer of tart. The tongue dances and darts, utterly delighted by the play it encounters from this frisky brew.

Sweet, deep, dark, toffee-ish, completely original, a meal in a bottle, a dream trapped under a cork, ...

Oh, so very, very, very wonderful!
I wish it would never end.

12-07-2003 10:38:07 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of hyuga
hyuga

North Carolina

4.97/5  rDev +18.1%

For my 100th review, I chose something from my favorite style that has been highly recommended to me. Let's see... Pours a deep mahogany brew, which is slightly hazy. A thick cream-colored head forms on top. A beautiful beer. The head retains quite well. Well, this has to be one of the best beer aromas I've ever smelled! All kinds of complexities in here. Most obvious I'd say is a sweet raisin aroma. Many spices are present that I wouldn't expect out of a beer in this style, but that just makes it all the more unique and wonderful. Kind of hard to place, but I'd say cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg... things like that. It's also very fruity, like passion fruit or something tropical. There's a hint of sourness in there as well. Maybe some banana? It's just a pleasure to sit back and take in this aroma! Now for the flavor. A wave of caramel sweetness with the aforementioned spice twang riding in on top enters your mouth ever so smoothly. A bit of hop bitterness is detectable when it hits the middle. Cherry bourbonish flavor. Dark fruits are present throughout (raisin and plum). Some berries here and there. Slightly bready in the malt department besides the caramel. Wonderful mouthfeel. Smooth, thick, and rich. The finish is just as smooth as the rest. I want to say it's full-bodied, but it's so subtle. I'd say medium-full. I would never have guessed at the 10% abv if I hadn't looked at the bottle. A great beer to relax with, incredibly drinkable. Overall, this is one of the best beers I've ever tasted! An excellent pick for my 100th, I must say. I'm speechless!

01-22-2003 20:35:55 | More by hyuga
Photo of rosebud
rosebud

New Hampshire

4.97/5  rDev +18.1%

Pure enjoyment from the 1st sip. The aroma was that of fresh baked fruitcake. The taste was like chocolate covered cherries, with it starting off sweet and finishing dry. The creamy texture stays in your mouth and in your glass forever. I took a chance on this beer and it was a chance worth taking, truly an amazing tripel, and a must have no matter what time of year.

07-30-2002 18:34:34 | More by rosebud
Photo of RBorsato
RBorsato

Virginia

4.97/5  rDev +18.1%

Solid brown with a full creamy light brown head that lasts, lots of sediment, great carbonation, and sheets of lace (but unpredictable). Turns a good bit darker when sediment is poured. Aroma is lightly sweet with lots of other complexities: Dark fruits, spicy, raisins, etc... Big fruity flavors (and burps) and much like it smells. Medium bodied; creamy and airy at the same time if that's possible !!

A great Belgian -- very complex !! A must buy and must try !

Label states "Belgian Dark Ale"

Purchased: 11/16/02
Tasted: 02/11/04

($6.29 / 25.4 oz. Green Champagne style bottle - Corked and capped)

02-17-2004 20:07:42 | More by RBorsato
Photo of mzwolinski
mzwolinski

California

4.97/5  rDev +18.1%

Yippie! I’d been looking forward to this one for a while, but it takes a special occasion to break open a bottle this big of a brew this potent. On second thought, no it doesn’t. Being alive is occasion enough! Lovely garnet in color with some sediment floating about. Medium sized, light tan head fades to a moderate, creamy and persistent top. The aroma is simply to die for. Malty sweet, maybe a bit nutty, with a healthy dose of candi sugar and a deep fruitiness. God I love these Grand Cru’s. Taste starts off sweetly malty, perhaps just a bit toasty, then becomes fruity with an ever-so-slight hint of tartness. Lightly peppery toward the finish. Sheesh, is there alcohol in this beer at all? If there is, it’s damn hard to find amidst the big creamy and oh-so-smooth body. Delicious. Treat yourself to a bottle – if you haven’t done something to deserve it yet, this beer will certainly inspire you to do so!

04-18-2003 11:48:25 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of rkhaze
rkhaze

California

4.97/5  rDev +18.1%

Poured a slightly hazy red/amber. Medium sized dense and rocky tan head. Lots of suspended yeast and carbonation. Big aromas. Earthy sweet malt, sticky fruits (red and tropical) a port like woodiness and tart yeast.
Gutsy flavor bordering on musty before all the malt, ripe fruits and herbal notes kick in. Brown sugar sweetness and a fortified wine alcohol note. Hints of nuts, wood and yeast in the finish. Exceptional melange of flavors.
Medium bodied with a soft carbonation that makes this a very drinkable offering. The 10% alcohol is hidden well until it warms up the stomach. Very well done.

12-27-2003 02:51:41 | More by rkhaze
Photo of mickeymac
mickeymac

California

4.97/5  rDev +18.1%

Now this is what Belgian beer is all about. It pours a beautiful reddish brown with a smallish head that disappears rather quickly. The smell is absolutely remarkable, with floral, fruit, and pepper/spice aromas on top of a slightly musty smell. I was almost afraid to start drinking it out of fear that I'd be left without that wonderful smell. However, the taste makes the next step more than worth it. Cherries, flowers, caramel, pepper, and a host of other flavors swim around and work together perfectly in this spectacular beer. The alcohol is warming but certainly not overwhelming; it doesn't taste or smell like a 10% beer. If you see this don't leave without out it. I can't wait to try the other beers from Abbaye des Rocs.

01-19-2003 21:34:51 | More by mickeymac
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4.95/5  rDev +17.6%

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.

08-29-2003 02:26:16 | More by RoyalT
Photo of ManekiNeko
ManekiNeko

Virginia

4.95/5  rDev +17.6%

Capped and corked 750 mL bottle. Served chilled in a Raftsman tulip glass.

Appearance: Exploding and volcanic head! Over half of my glass was filled with bubbles! Reddish brown liquid topped with a tan head. Excellent retention and kickass lacing.

Smell: Very complex nose. Cherries, sweet candi sugars, cloves, pepper, and citrus aromas do the lambada in your nostrils (girlfriend's comment: Anything the does the lambada in any of my orifices sounds good to me). Man, my mouth was watering.

Taste: Belgian malty goodness balanced by cherry fruit flavors. Just a bit sweet, just a titch tart. No alcohol taste at all. Light herby/medicinal taste on the finish. Reminiscent of a lambic at some times, but not in a bad way (can there be a bad way?)

Mouthfeel: Great medium body, slightly thick. Slightly drying and palate cleansing. Very smooth, devilishly so.

Drinkability: Freeyow! I picked a good 'un for #50. I picked up an extra bottle of this for a trade just to make sure the supply wasn't skunked (green bottle, ya know). At $7 a pop, I'll definitely be picking up a few bottles of this for the cellar.

09-19-2003 02:45:22 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of maxpower
maxpower

Missouri

4.95/5  rDev +17.6%

750 ml bottle pours a cloudy bright reddish-brown with a lot of floating yeast particles that has a nice creamy light brown head that lasts and leaves sticky sheets of lacing in my glass. Spicy ginger and chocolate aromas, ginger, nutmeg, pear, caramel, chocolate and plum flavors. Full bodied with a perfect soft and creamy mouthfeel, lasting spicy finish.

08-20-2005 19:54:32 | More by maxpower
Photo of Skidz
Skidz

Wisconsin

4.95/5  rDev +17.6%

Pours out a nice orange-brown and sits a deep, burnt, reddish-brown in the glass with a massive light tan head. Fades slowly to a thick, creamy glob of head that doesn't budge on bit. Sticks to the side of the glass like paparazzi to the side of a limosine.

Smells enormously fruity, packed with rhubarb, apples, green grapes, oranges, mangoes, pineapple and passion fruit. Caramel drips from every corner and is dusted with cinnamon. Potently floral aroms brings daffodils, tulips and roses to the nose. Mild peppery spiciness as well. Sha-boom.

Tastes full and malty up front, boasting a dominate caramel presence with hints of toffee. Fruits are more subdued, golden raisins, dates, canned peaches and apples flow freely, but are well well mixed within the malts. A bright hop spiciness provides a nice grassy pepperiness to balacne everything off. Some wooden flavors reside, giving off a touch of maple and just a bit of nuttiness as well, mainly almonds and walnut. Finish is nicely bittered yet mild, with hints of tropical fruits poking out, but fading quickly.

Absolutely orgasmic in the mouth. Smooth, creamy....so soft. Carbonation rolls around like nerf balls. Nice, full body, putting out every ounce of flavora and aroma this beer has to offer.

I have been thoroughly impressed by this beer. Words would fail to express my love of this beer, so I will simply express it in an array of symbols that may or may not mean anything:  ₫   ◦ ▬  ▒ ≡  ☼

02-16-2005 22:31:16 | More by Skidz
Photo of dgallina
dgallina

Georgia

4.93/5  rDev +17.1%

Served on-tap in an Abbaye Des Rocs chalice.

Arrived a completely clouded and yeasty pale red-brown. Strong effervescence with a small film of foam and huge amounts of clingy lacing. Smells massively yeasty and fruity; peppery biscuits intermingled with dark cherries and caramel malts. Complex interplay of flavors; zesty spices blended with yeast and abundant sweet cherries dipped in caramel. Finishes with a mellowing grainy dryness. Light, tingly, refreshing in the mouth.

One of the best beers I've had and a pleasingly different experience in the bottle and on-draft. The bottles have more wine-like acidity and are dryer, more champagne-like. The draft is intensely yeasty, with superb cherry and caramel malt notes.

07-23-2005 22:04:36 | More by dgallina
Photo of Vipsanius
Vipsanius

Texas

4.93/5  rDev +17.1%

Pours a copper color with an inch and a half fluffy merainge-like cream head. The bubbles in the head and lacing are very, very small. I don't know if I'm picking up on it because geologist in me, but the diameters of the bubbles resemble an igneous rock that has been cooled extremely rapidly to where the crystals didn't have time to form. Very interesting. The only downside to the appearance is that most of the lacing will disappear over time but its still great to look at.

The smell is amazing. Very complex. Sweet, fruity - (figs, plums, raisins, oranges), bread, rum, nuts, spices, herbs, mint...everytime you bring it to your nose you get something new.

The taste is the same. Many of the same flavors of the aroma. Extremely well balanced while being very complex. A very versatile beer. You could pair this with many food items and have it complement them extremely well.

This beer hides the 10% ABV very well. Maybe a slight too carbonated but it feels great otherwise. Very drinkable. So much so that you need to be careful with it given the 10% ABV.

04-08-2005 00:02:16 | More by Vipsanius
Photo of OStrungT
OStrungT

California

4.9/5  rDev +16.4%

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.

08-23-2006 03:33:29 | More by OStrungT
Photo of rxharr6
rxharr6

Virginia

4.9/5  rDev +16.4%

I purchased several bottles of this beer as my favorite little beer store was going out of business. I have been very fond of the Brasserie Des Rocs Triple and was curious about their other fare.
As I begin to post reviews here it will become clear that I am very fond of beers designed to get the good brothers through long fasts and an otherwise stoic existence by providing mana in a bottle, or cask as the case may be.
Much has been made of the sediment found in this beer and it has been characterized as a negative. For my part, the crystal beer varieties are easily arrived at using filteration of what might otherwise be unpleasant lees and provide little poetry to the overall experience of consumption. Indeed, a fine, unfiltered Belgian such as this is eaten rather than simply drunk.
This ale opens to give forth a telling vapor of yeasty sour fragrance that would surely start the fasting friar salivating. When poured, truley there comes forth a cloudy liquid the goldenbrown color of alfalfa honey. Poured into a wide mouthed vessel the fragrance expands to a rich pantry of bakers delights. The local monastary specializes in Fruitcake here and while the frangrance is not quite so sweet as that it isevery bit as complex. I recall memories of making hot mash for frigid horse on a winters day or shoveling fermented corn silage in the early morning as the sweet sour steam roles off the receiving wagon.
Then the first sip. The beer is inded chunky on the teeth and tongue but it bursts forth with a satisfying sourdough, molasses bread coated with brown sugar and sauted pears to finish with a sharp crisp baked apple dumpling.
This beer isn't a drink, it is a meal. It should be nibbled in small, fully experienced sips on the back porch at sunset with a plate of stinky cheese and fruit. If you can be in the woods or a small village with cobble stone streets, all the better!

08-09-2008 23:19:25 | More by rxharr6
Photo of jeff1973
jeff1973

California

4.9/5  rDev +16.4%

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.

09-23-2011 03:25:22 | More by jeff1973
Photo of drperm
drperm

Virginia

4.9/5  rDev +16.4%

750 mL bottle.
I'm getting conflicting information on the retired status of this brew; I truly hope it is NOT retired -- it's too good to see it disappear!
One of the most well-crafted, well-rounded Belgian Strong Ales I've ever had. Full of complex fruit and honey notes, but enough balance to not be too sweet. Heavenly.

04-28-2008 17:17:37 | More by drperm
Photo of Flightoficarus
Flightoficarus

Washington

4.9/5  rDev +16.4%

Serving type - Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my Chimay Goblet.

Appearance - A smooth pour reveals a murky, brown ale, with visible yeast sediments floating around. Little foaming, which leaves a nice lacing.

Smell - I smell dark fruits, brown sugar, molasses, and I'm not quite sure what else, but the overall impression is a sweet, spicy, complex aroma.

Taste - Mmm! Now this is good! Taste is on the sweet side, with flavors the smell would initially suggest. I taste brown sugar, molasses, and a candy like flavor, with mild dark fruit and spicy overtones. Very enjoyable. The 9.5% ABV is well hidden too.

Mouthfeel - As the appearance initially suggested, there is a pretty yeasty feel to this beer in the mouth. Medium bodied, little carbonation, and a nice, creamy feel.

Drinkability - Like a good Belgian beer, decievingly delicious for it's ABV, and while not a session beer by any means, very, very easy to drink for a strong ale.

Overall - This one just became a new favorite of mine. I'll definitely be buying this one again!

10-13-2009 07:15:03 | More by Flightoficarus
Photo of alysmith4
alysmith4

District of Columbia

4.9/5  rDev +16.4%

This is truly an exceptional beer. Tried it at a new Belgian gastro-pub in DC called "Granville Moore's." It was recommended by the server after we tried a few other styles and described to her what we were looking for. She gave us this and it hit the mark.. and then some! Poured an amber body, with an off-white head. Smell was of cherry, caramel, and citrus - perhaps lime? The taste was incredible. Soft and chewy, with a fruity, yet creamy, mouthfeel. So well balanced, and so satisfying. I could have had 5 more. Definitely worth a try if you can get your hands on one.

12-14-2007 20:45:51 | More by alysmith4
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 646 ratings.