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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.

639 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 639
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 30
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
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)
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Ratings: 639 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SethB2


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

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a chalice. Thanks to GClarkage for the sample.

Pourse a medium to dark brown, non transparent with a 1/2" head that disipates withing a minute or two. Smells of overripe fruit, beries and melons. Not a lot of spice on the nose in my opinion. Taste is great. The fruits that were picked up by the nose are accompanied by a nuttiness and clove. What was once hidden by the fruit becomes apparent after a few sips. Nice, complex ale. Mouthfeel is full and smooth. Just the right amount of carbonation. Drinkability is excellent as well. I would have no problem popping another one of these.

Very nice Belgian ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2006 02:42:25 | More by SethB2
Photo of artusory


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

Best Before 2008. Pours a ruby tinted brown with a big, creamy, off-white head. Mostly lasting, nice lacing. The aroma is ripe, sweet apples, raisins, cookie dough, corriander and lavender. The flavor is very fruity - apples, golden raisins, peaches, with lots of caramel and toffee. Delicate spicing with a touch of oakiness. Mouthfeel is very soft, smooth and creamy. Finish is long, with a touch of bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2006 04:33:24 | More by artusory
Photo of soulgrowl

United Kingdom (England)

3.38/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: An unstoppable spray of foam emerges from the bottle upon opening, spilling more than half the beer on the floor. Great. Freshness date indicates that this is not a bad bottle, and it was not shaken. Pours a reddish chestnut color with a mockingly pathetic head.

Smell: Sour yeast, citric and estery hops, nice nutty malts.

Taste: Earthy, tart, leafy, kind of fruity. Not as complex as I would have hoped, but not bad. Something about this makes me want to pair it with Indian food. Overall, sweet and sour dominate, but the finish is quite yeasty and dry.

Mouthfeel: Flat, thin, powdery from the yeast.

Drinkability: I'd like to try this again, because I have a feeling this bottle was something of an aberration in all departments. Still, it is not a bad beer, and it hides its alcohol well.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2006 08:36:48 | More by soulgrowl
Photo of carln26


3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extremely hazy brown with a chunky off-white head. Mild stream of champagne bubbles streams to the top. Spicy aroma. White pepper, coriander, light orange. There’s also a hint of toffee, and just a touch of bread dough. Spicy flavor too. More of the white pepper, and coriander. Lighter on the citrus than the nose led me to believe. The malt lends a fig character to the beer. Slick mouth feel with just a bit of alcohol warming on the finish. Very drinkable. Good beer, not a great one. I expected a little more complexity, and a little less heat.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2006 18:40:52 | More by carln26
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2006 05:34:07 | More by Beaver13
Photo of scruffwhor


4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle.

Appearance- Poured a nice one finger head swith steady retention and had a solid grip on the inside of the goblet with each sip. Even though this medium brown brew looks like brown shoe leather, you can still see the excellent and neverending lacing.

Smell- What a mix of peppery sweet malts and lilacs of all things. All wrapped around a sweet candied apple with a bubble gum accentuation.

Taste- Starts out with a gebneral apple and licorice sweetness. The lightly cooked malt then starts to make its presence known, but then turns into a sweet black cherry pie. The finish was a crushed black pepper.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth even though teh tongue got a litle grainyness from the yeast sediment.

I always have my doubts about my reaction to the best 100 beers of BA, but the flavor of this beer made things very clear. There is no doubt why this beer is one of the best beers on BA or in the world. This was a very rewarding beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2006 04:14:23 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of doubleipa


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

Had this on tap at Taco Mac. This is one of my favorite brews, but this is the first time I've been able to have it on tap. Served too cold. After I let it warm up, it was great. Could really smell the cherries and dried fruit. Nice creamy head with wonderful lacing. Seems quite different than Chimay Bleu, but outstanding in it's own way. Even though I've never rated the bottled version, I don't remember the bottled version having as strong a dried fruit aroma and taste. I'll have to break open one of the bottles that have been in the cellar for a while.

Serving type: on-tap

03-27-2006 16:33:45 | More by doubleipa
Photo of Prufrock


3.28/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

25.6 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

pours a nice mahogany with half an inch of white head. a touch of sediment.

earthy sweet aroma. caramel, yeast, some raisins and sugar.

malty, sweet and a touch alcoholic. thick and richly smooth. toffee, cherries, yeast, and a sweet alcoholic kick. sweetness and alcohol get to be a little overwhelming after a while.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2006 01:49:57 | More by Prufrock
Photo of phisig137


3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Large bottle date best before end of 2008. Pours a light hazy ruby brown. Much lighter than I expected. Massive head dies quickly into a blanket of bubbles on top of the glass.

Aroma is faint, coffee, chocolate, spicy yeast esters, and hops.

Flavor Is slightly sweet, but has a bitter finish. Bittersweet chocolate is prevalent, along with coffee, coriander, caramel, and a hoppy finish. Alcohol is warming after only a few sips. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, but does not linger on the palate for much time.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2006 00:43:38 | More by phisig137
Photo of ddarden


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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay glass at cellar temp. Nice off white head that settles to a thin layer fairly quickly. Plenty of chunks floating around....I don't remember that characteristic last time I had this beer. The color is a deep mohagany and clear, besides the "sea monkeys" floating around.

The smell is fruity malt, with candi sugar. The taste is very nice. Sweet malt, dried plum, candi sugar, with a slight hop bitterness at the very end. This is a nice complex beer. A little alcohol warming as well. The mouthfeel is medium. I would say this is one of my favorite belgian beers. It is well balanced and has some complexity. I highly recommend this beer and will continue to seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2006 03:34:03 | More by ddarden
Photo of ppoitras


4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle bought as part of a 4-pack while travelling in NoVA.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 3/4" beige head above the deeply reddish amber brew. Note that it's hard to call this brew clear, as even with a careful pour there is so much chunkage spinning around in the glass that it scares me. Effervescence allows the head to last and last, with tons of heavy sticky lacing. Aroma is a tantalizing combination of spicy yeast and malt sweetness. Taste is spicy malts, with notes of dark fruits, and slight alcohol warming on the close. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, excepting that pinch of whatever that keeps getting caught between my cheek and gum, and drinkability is nice as well. Still, the big bottle is the way to go here.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2006 01:38:08 | More by ppoitras
Photo of Higravity


4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2002 Vintage, the bottle was covered in a heavy amount of dust, tuck away in the back at Max's and for $30 it was sold. Poured hazy brown with a slight red tinge and a small bubble white head that receeded just to hang out. Smells of old red apples ready for juicing, strong malt with a nutty quality and a charged spice with the yeast. Taste is a melding of several flavor from the nose but it brings a sweetnes that is at first strong but the dryness helps settle it out. The mouthfeel was a little too slick but overall fine. Very drinkable, but this is a rather elusive find around here.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2006 19:55:41 | More by Higravity
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

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

Bottle (courtesy of Xproudfoot) : Poured a deep brown color ale with a huge foamy off-white head with perfect retention. Aroma of dry raisins, caramel malt and a touch of spice. Taste is also dominated by raisin-like sweetness with a very distinctive yeast signature. Body is full, alcohol well hidden and carbonation is almost off-the-wall. Nice strong Belgian ale the way I like them.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2006 16:07:36 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Litterbean

New York

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

Pours a golden brown with a chunky head. Nice to look at.

There's a plethora of aromas in this one. I detected much sweetness, along with nuttiness, maltiness, and several different fruits, such as prunes and raisins.

The taste is sweet. I detect what seem like cashews mixed in with the aforementioned prunes. The beginning is a little watery, but it has a creamy finish. As I said, this is a sweet beer, a little too sweet. It seems like this one is just packed with sugar, and I can feel it on my tongue and lips after each sip. Not that great, I'm sorry. Above average, but not good.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2006 20:54:57 | More by Litterbean
Photo of rodrot

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750ml bottle. This beer poured a hazy reddish brown color with a 1 inch light tan head. The beer left some nice lacing on the side of my Duvel glass. The aroma was sweet, candyish and spicy in the nose. Taste was wonderfully malty and fruity with notes of spices, honey and maple syrup. This brew was medium bodied and very easy to drink. The alcohol was just barely noticeable as the beer warmed. Another winner from Abbaye des Rocs and a bargain at 6.99 a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2006 12:29:10 | More by rodrot
Photo of yelterdow

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Rochefort chalice at cellar temperature. Paired with Chimay a la Biere cheese after dinner. Best by date reads April 2007.

Upon lifting the bottlecap, the beer hissed urgently upwards, creating a fizzy waterfall in my sink. Thankfully, no beer was lost... just a whole lot of carbonation. Due to the generous amount of yeast in the bottle, I'm sure there is nothing to worry about.

Appearance- The beer pours a hazy cognac/raisin with a nicely constructed head... tight, soapy, off-white bubbles... almost two fingers, with terrific lacing.

Smell- Huge malts and old, sweet, fermenting fruit... almost like a moist cake doused in a reduction of alcohol and old peaches. After the yeast is added, the aromas become more full and pronounced.

Taste- A gigantic malt presence drives the fruit and spiciness to the wall... hints of old floorboard and perfume come forward. Upon swirling the sediment and pouring it into the last several sips, a marked complexity takes hold. The maltiness and fruit character integrates with a very natural sweetness, but it isn't sugary. It's a richly flavor-infused intergration of the major components of the beer; malts, fruit, spice, and alcohol... which is nicely hidden.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Good for the style; consistently slick, with just the right amount of carbonation to lift the flavors up and off the tongue... and the drying finale works nicely too. Try it with some strong cheese, I know it worked well for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2006 04:07:42 | More by yelterdow
Photo of BillyB

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good example of the Belgian strong dark ale.

Pours a dark brown/burnt copper with a nice tan head.

Aromas are of citrusy/piney hops and hazelnut malty sweetness.

Taste is a good combination of bitter hoppiness that becomes sweet caramel/toffee-ish maltiness.

Strong alcohol warmth with a decent carbonic bite.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2006 21:38:05 | More by BillyB
Photo of dreadnatty08

District of Columbia

3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured over my sink due to extreme fizziness. Pours a dark amber, opaque, can't see a damn thing through it. Off white head dissapates to about nothing quickly. Aromas are very yeasty and barnyard like, some super funk going on. Flavors are a rush of craziness. Not altogether really sweet, a little bitterness and some sourness in the finish. A little too funky for me, rather go with a Rochefort 10 (dissimiliar style?). Mouthfeel is lighter than expected, not so heavy and syrupy as other strong Belgians. This beer is basically a loaf of bread in flavor, not sure if I enjoy that (I have excellent nearby local bread I'd rather eat). Alcohol isn't too discerning, but is warming. Still not quite sure if this "Special Brown" is in fact the same as the original, but still a good brew IMO.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2006 21:55:31 | More by dreadnatty08
Photo of mentor


3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 2007. Pours a swampy brown liquid with a light brown-caramel head of two fingers. Froth crowned out the bottle when opened. Smells funky phenol, belgian candi sugar, chocolate, yeast, pepsi, and clean fresh straw. Tastes mild phenolic edge. Chocolate malty sweet with some candi sugar. Yeasty. Raisins and caramel. Mild alcohol. Overall, a nice deep and wide dark character. Md body and moderate carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2006 02:18:49 | More by mentor
Photo of Tupperwolf


4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So, while I'm trying to get the oversize cap off of the bottle without bending it, bubbles spill down the neck - and continue fizzing out until I manage to pop the cap off and get the beer into a tulip glass. Seems to be a common experience with this beer!

Pours out a ruby-highlighted brown with an eggshell-white head that fills the narrow portion of the tulip for a few moments before falling back to a thin ring and leaves little lacing. Deep, mysterious, strong-looking.

The smell is of raisins, toasted wheat bread, almonds, brown sugar, charcoal, caramel, plums... Damn... What a complex scent... It's such a delight to just sit and sniff this beer. There's a hell of a lot going on inside.

The taste begins with malt, malt, and malt - a brassy, bold, sweet malt that kicks the front of your tongue and then tag-teams its friend sugar. What's amazing to me is that the brewers claim that no candi sugar has been added, because this has a HUGE pack of very sugary tastes - unbelievable from an all-malt Belgian. It has a sharp, fruity body with a spicy but delicate hop finish - slight notes of smoke... Absolutely amazing.

The mouthfeel builds on the tongue, from a creamy beginning to a slowly building frothiness of tiny, energetic bubbles. They recede as you swallow, leaving behind sugary tastes that linger for a while and then dissappear, leaving the mouth feeling clean.

Awesome! I was really looking forward to trying this beer, and have been storing it for a few weeks. A bit of a wild mood was enough to dare me into popping it open for a glass. Definitely deserves to be rated so highly.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2006 04:23:02 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of BEERchitect


4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's basically all in there. If it's every been in a beer, then you'll find it in this Grand Cru (except for, perhaps chili peppers and chicken wings...don't ask). Right from the pour, a muddy bronze, rust color emits aromas that are distinctly Belgian, but with even the kitchen sink. Aromas lead right into the flavors with: bready, malt, spicy, fruity, vineous, musky, grape, figs, dates, nuts, toast, candy sugar, yeasty, astringent, sherry, citrus, alcohol, peaches, woody, pears, mangos, fruitcake....the list goes on and on. All of the flavors meld together and are well aged into a delicate, yet bold prague for the beer lover (it's all in there). The feel to the mouth is everywhere from astringent to sweet to dry to full. The finish is lightly dry, tart, and sweet. One of the more complex beers out there, but difficult to put into perspective. Could be a bit cleaner.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2006 19:20:04 | More by BEERchitect
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 00:32:39 | More by chOAKbarrell
Photo of Franchise


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

This belgian pours a cloudy brown with lots of nice yeast floating around the body. It leaves a thick frothy tan lace that sticks to the glass and looks magnificent. The aroma is fruity peach, plum, raisin, dates, figs, honey, spicey vanilla the nose is so complex. The taste is so smooth, is this really 10% abv? cause it can't be found in this brew it is very well hidden and the fruit, and the slight hops in the beer just compliment each other so well. It finishes bitter sweet syrup thick and creamy. This is one of the best crafted brews I've had in awhile, fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2006 01:10:20 | More by Franchise
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a cloudy brownish copper color with a one finger head.

Smell: tons of yeast, with some spicy crushed pepper and some hop bitterness.

Taste: very complex and many flavors are present. Overall bready texture with some brown sugar, caramel, green apples, lighty toasted nuts, plums, yeast, pepper, and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start and finish. The pepper, plums, yeast, and alcohol linger long into the aftertaste. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: a real slow sippin' beer. The flavors are well balanced but the alcohol levels cut into the overall drinkability here. One bottle is sufficient in a session.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 20:30:09 | More by Gavage
Photo of pbr85

New York

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a chalis that was split with two friends.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown opaque with a nice, off white one inch head. Beer looks nice.
Smell: Lemon and orange scents dominate with slight hints of alcohol and white bread in the background.
Taste: The taste is much more subtle than I thought it was going to be. Wheaty malts with an ever so slight hint of bitterness at the end. Lemon grass flavor is mixed in with the malts and hops.
Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth going down, with decent carbonation. Its a little too light on the tongue for my preferences.
Drinkability: For 9.5% it is very drinkable, though I doubt I could have finished the whole 750 by myself. I would definetly try this again, or at least try the other Grand Cru that looks so similar...

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 02:03:18 | More by pbr85
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 639 ratings.