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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

509 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 509
Hads: 703
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 12.35%
Wants: 53
Gots: 41 | 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:
Beer added by: rosebud on 07-30-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (9) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 509 | Hads: 703
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.

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Photo of tomordonez
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It pours into a nice head. It comes with chunks of something other than yeast. Smells like raisins. Guess what, it has raisins. That tiny spec floating on top of the head is fermented raisin. Very nice smell. Medium carbonation with a heavy body. Very very rich. Too rich and too sweet. This could be a meal. I prefer the regular non grand cru.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.81/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

(best by date 08/11/2014 - bottle states 9.5% - served in an Orval goblet)

A: was told that the beer is difficult to pour without the sediment globbing into the glass - I don't know about that - I'm fine with the last 1-2 oz being left in the bottle... first thing to notice is the rather large, loogie-esque blobs of mummified yeast floating on the surface, killing any foam that formed - there is also a slight chill haze at first... later the reddish-brown liquid clears up with great clarity, revealing maybe a shot glass' worth of feathery nuggets of yeast and proteins... all-in-all, the pour was anything but pretty

S: due to the lack of head and straight-sided glassware, not all that potent of aromas... one gets a hint of dark, rich, mildly toasty caramel, however, without much potency, even after 10+ minutes

T: actually, quite lovely... the taste is dominated by a lusciously-rich, dynamic toasted caramel - some bold dark malt flavors, perhaps of the roasted barley or brown variety... little-to-no hop flavor or bitterness and very little presence of alcohol - despite that, the sweetness seems to be controlled... esters are present around the edges - mild, lightly floral, perhaps fruit cup like - nothing spicy or harsh though

M: on average, a thickish and fairly viscous without much presence of hard booze to cut through its chewy body... luscious is the best word

O: a very nice, big Belgian brown ale... I'd recommend it to malt lovers - just be careful pouring it

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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.

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

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.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark brown with an amber tinge, tons of beige floaties on the bottom of the glass, a finger of creamy cappuccino beige head, lots of fine bubbles.

S: Brown sugar, molasses, coffee, whipped cream, dates and figs, vanilla, smells like dessert!

T: Brown sugar, bourbon barrel oak qualities though I don’t know if this one has been in barrels, dark raw brown sugar, still moderately sweet, dates, figs. Really hides the alcohol!

M: Medium syrupy body, medium low foamy carbonation.

O: Bought this in Canada a year ago, been cellaring in China. Heard it was sweet, so wanted to let it mature a little.

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Photo of JulioH
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

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Photo of jpro
4.06/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle from JI Pig (50% off sale)...

A: Pours a light, tawny copper; a bit cloudy.

S: Light sweetness and bready.

T: Again, bready; a cornucopia of Belgian spice / yeast aromas accompany.

M: A little thinner than expected.

O: Not bad; quite drinkable.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: murky brown liquid with 1/4" cream colored head that left a nice lacing.

S: plums, grapes, raisins, pears and yeast.

T: Dark grapes, raisins, plums, pears, corn, apples.

M: creamy medium viscosity and a low level of carbonation. Very smooth.

O: extremely smooth and tasty grand cru. Recommended.

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Photo of Dope
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle states best before 06/08/2013. Whoops!

A: Gusher bottle, managed to save it. Pours a nice dark brown. Enormous fluffy light light brown head. Head takes forever to dissipate. Marginal lacing but great retention.

S: Big overripe dark fruits in the aroma. Sweetbread aroma too.

T: Hmph. Kinda funky overripe fruits from start to finish. There's raisin, dates, cherry, banana? A little brown sugar. Sweetbread malt, tastes like poundcake (had another beer that tasted the same just recently, funny). Kind of a sickly sweet aftertaste, like molasses maybe? No sign of alcohol at all.

M: Heavy and sticky.

O: Very interesting and unique BSDA. I honestly can't decide if it's good or bad. Lots of fruit and poundcake. Kinda odd flavors overall but at the same time I can't call it truly bad. Not sure if it's just old or if it just doesn't suit me. I gave it sorta middling scores, I didn't particularly enjoy it though I liked most aspects of it (none of that probably makes any sense). I tried to be nice due to the age (past the "best by"), this one clearly does not age well as I'm reading past aged reviews.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
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: 4.34, 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.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.86/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Brasserie Des Rocs Grand Cru has a thin, fizzy, root beer-like, beige head, a reddish-brown, appearance, with lots of big, solid, gray-brown chunks suspended throughout, and no lacing. Some of the smaller chunks are left behind, clinging to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of rich, sweet fruit (figs, dates, fruit cake), candy sugar, chocolate powder, cellar mold, bread crust, and moss. Taste is of sweet, rich fruit, lighter chocolate, bread, cotton candy, fruit cake, grape skin, brandy wine, nougat, nuts, slightly piney hop bitterness, and there is an underlying alcohol flavor. Mouthfeel is medium, and one can feel the big solid particles entering the mouth. There is a lot of carbonation prickle, and one will develop a heavy burp. Brasserie De Rocs Grand Cru finishes dry, ultra sweet, and bready. Overall, this is an epic beer, and one that an enthusiast must try!


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

Bottle in large wine.

Dark, dark brown with amber highlights. Poured half inch head that quickly dropped to a slick. Long streams of bubbles and floating yeast debris.

A very fruity aroma. Prunes and ripe peaches. Some yeasty, bready aromas too.

The same fruits in the taste along with cherry. Background taste of pound cake. There is bit of grassy bitterness in the back of the mouth.

A rich, chewy feel with a slight nip.

A great example of a Belgium dark ale with all the characteristics. A real treat!

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Photo of tbeckett
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by a friend. From notes.

A - Poured rusty dark brown with tons of yeast floating around. One finger thick light brown head. Good carbonation. No lace, island of retention.

S - Yeast, sugar, dark fruit, great depth on the nose.

T - Dark fruit, gentle sweet spice, sugar, tobacco, plum, yeast. Nice sweetness. No alcohol.

M - Smooth with strong carbonation, a full body, and a weet then dry finish.

O/D - A nice BSDA. Typical flavours, no alcohol, and great drinkability. Solid.

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Photo of Eldyr
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Nice aroma and coloring. Banana notes and estery aromas and flavors typical of the Belgian Dark style. To much alcohol on the middle and end and the flavors in-between are lost to the strong alcohol. Somewhat of an astringent bitterness also that, while not overpowering, is noted in the middle taste. Likely a better winter beer than summer. Might be slightly better oaked or fresh from the tap.

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Photo of TerryW
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer's so good even the wife likes it.

Average looking brew, slightly looking walnut colour. Pours a big head that immediately settles to a thin ring.

Sweet dark fruit on the nose, treacly malt. A whiff of alcohol but well reigned in for a 9% beer.
Dark fruit and brown sugar to taste, a hint of molasses and charcoal. Well balanced overall, all the elements compliment one another without any one thing having an overwhelming presence. Characteristically Belgian, but again, not overwhelming.

Simply pleasant to drink. Well done.

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Photo of JayQue
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy mahogany color into my Chimay goblet. Good size antique white head. Good enough retention for this alcohol level. Minimal lacing.

Aroma is dark fruit, plums, figs and raisins, fairly pronounced and pleasant.

Taste is more of the same, dark fruit, some sweetness (brown sugar) and Belgian yeast. The taste is strong and satisfying without being all that complex.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth. The alcohol is well hidden, just some warming effects. East to drinnk even at 9% abv.

Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.97/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a rocky tan cap that lasts a long time. plentiful lace trails coat a Westmalle chalice. The aroma is of Christmas cake, figs, roasted malts and dark chocolate. A massive wall of malts fills the first sip - huge doughy, grainy flavors mixed with fruit and cocoa. Some lemon and field berries notes linger in the back. The mouthfeel is very full and dextriny with lots of silky carbonation bubbles. The finish is long and malty with a soothing rummy booziness. Alcohol could be less prominent for 9%, but it's never a distraction.

This is a fantastic Belgian Dark Ale. Huge malt flavors with incredible complexity combined with the high ABV make this one to savour and contemplate. A must try for any beer nerd and RUN don't walk if you're a malthead.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: A shiny rusty brown, opaque with a bit of sediment from the bottom of the bottle. There was a light tan head bubbling up to 2 or 3 fingers that settled quickly to a nice ring and left a bit of lacing.

S: A very pronounced nose heavy on plums and other dried fruit (raisins) backed by a pleasant maltiness from the biscuit and special b malts. It has a nice breadiness component.

T: The beers starts sweet and floral coming from a heavy grain bill but is balanced with the perfect amount of bittering hops for a nice clean, dry finish. That great Belgian yeast profile shines through.

M: Smooth and velvety with a nice soft carbonation; it is very ‘bubbly’ on the tongue.

O: A tasty beer! It has pronounced nose and tastes of plums and raisins at the start balanced out by a sweet biscuit, bready malt profile which finishes dry and clean. This is a very smooth and drinkable beer.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to tulip. Best before 13/12/2014.

A - Deep brown; almost completely opaque. One finger of light brown head.

S - Yeast esters, spice, brown sugar, clove and raisin.

T - Dark fruit, raisin, dates, spice, brown sugar, Belgian yeast and a slight chocolate flavour. very complex.

M - Medium body; creamy. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of peensteen
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown colour, cap of eggshell white head with a bit of lace. Smell is of overripe dark fruits backed with spices and dark breads, rich malt bill and a bit of cocoa, lots of plum and raisin, mildly yeasty. Taste is initially rich and malty followed by dark fruits, pretty big spice profile as well, coriander and a bit on anise, some yeast, cocoa powder, plum and raisin bread aftertaste. Medium but soft feeling carbonation, chewy medium body. Quite a nice dark belgian beer, ABV goes largely unnoticed, would certainly entertain this again.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle reads best before: 13/12/2014.

(4.0) A: Ruby red with a fingers worth of micro-bubbly foam head. Commendable retention and patchy lacing.

(4.0) S: Raisins, figs, cherries, brown sugar, chocolate, spices (including nutmeg), and plums. Rich and hearty aroma that is spot-on for the style.

(4.25) T: Dark and dried fruits with a touch of sour citrus zest that compliments the taste nicely. Roasted malt in the form of dry cocoa coupled with bitter floral notes. Incredibly easy drinking with the alcohol well hidden.

(4.25) M: Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Quite light bodied considering the ABV with enough slickness. A slight gritty-chewy texture.

(4.0) D: This is kind of like a lighter bodied dubbel with a touch of sour, and I find it tasty and dangerously easy to drink.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle, presumably fairly fresh.

A: Clear, dark plum-brown body beneath two fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is decent but unremarkable, with light lace. Good, not great.

S: Bright, fresh, and complex. Candied dark fruits are dominant, with raisin and dried cherry standing out on top of specialty malt and some spiciness. Excellent.

T: Follows the nose precisely - complex interplay of malt and yeast, yielding smoothly sweet notes of dried fruit, glazed fruitcake, and faint chocolate. Some light, spicy alcohol on the alcohol is warming but not the least bit overbearing. Delicious.

M: Even after a bunch of swirling it's distinctly overcarbonated, but the bubbles are delicate enough to avoid being prickly. Ok, but not as smooth as I'd like.

O: This is my second beer from this brewery, and both have been incredibly flavorful but markedly too bubbly. I love the frothiness in a BSPA like Duvel, but in a BSDA I'd rather get to enjoy the substance of the rich malts. Minor carbonation nitpick aside, I love this beer.


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Photo of biegaman
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinking Brasserie des Rocs it's a good idea to be near a sink. Certainly away from electronics. This may be the first of the many bottles I've had from this brewery that didn't reenact a scene from Yellowtone National Park. Nonetheless, the coagulated yeast that has forever been an unsightly pimple on the face of ADR beers continues to plague them. The little sediment clumps provide a visual texture that makes the glass look as though it's fitted in brown leather.

The bouquet is sweet and spicy, with notes of brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and sticky dark fruits all enveloped by milk chocolate and marshmallow overtones. It's like some kind of gourmet Rocky-Road ice cream in beer form! There's also notes of molasses, licorice and sugar-plum that are boosted by a subtle but perceptible alcohol strength. Wonderful stuff!

The taste threw me for a bit of a loop. Gone are most of the many sweet, spicy flavours of the aroma. There's nowhere near the intricacy or variety that was anticipated. At first I thought it too cold - allowing it to breath and warm is certainly beneficial - but it seems to simply be lacking the flagship rich maltiness of this brewery's other offerings.

The flavour is brief, hurried and reserved, as if I were an old high-school mate it ran into on the street and didn't have the time nor desire to get reacquainted. Notes of dark toffee, dried fruits, rye bread and subtle baking spices fail to make much of a lasting impression. A tad chocolatey. I find it flat, figuratively speaking (literally, the carbonation should actually be toned down).

'Grand Cru' is a wine term borrowed in the beer community to refer generally to an offering the brewery feels is particularly great or special. Despite this offering sporting that moniker, I personally think the Brune, Triple Impériale, and La Montagnarde are all more deserving of special denotation than this. They're also, in my opinion, more deserving of my next ADR purchase.

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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 509 ratings.