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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.

676 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 676
Reviews: 507
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.69%
Wants: 37
Gots: 31 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jdhilt on 10-08-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 676 | Reviews: 507 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheLiterati
3.97/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy, yeast infused ruby-brown. Strong aroma of malt and fruit, with a nice hoppy backbone.

The seven malts and three hop varieties blend richly, yielding a delicate but aggressive balance of sweet and sharp tastes. Fruit fills the mouth on first sip – the raisin, date and plum variety – and then settles to a pleasant but subtle smokiness.

Velvety mouthfeel, pleasant for sipping, and definitely drinkable.

Photo of cracgor
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I open this bottle which has been hanging around my place for a bit longer than I thought it would when I bought it a couple of months ago. A flood of foam comes out from under the bottle cap. Sucks to see it go down the drain, but most of it is still in the bottle. It pours a dark brown color with a short but thick ring of head. A lot less than I would expect after the erruption I went through. It has a nice smell. Grassy, earthy, a bit spicy. Also a bit fruity or citrusy. Just a pleasant smelling beer. Very delicious taste, it carries a lot of the earthy and citrusy flavors. Somehow it actually tastes like my favorite cologne smells and I enjoy it quite a bit. Not really as dry as I might like, but the alcohol is completely covered up until quite late after drinking when I feel some warmth crawl up my throat. It has the sort of mouthfeel of a witbier. An enjoyable beer that is worth being a beer advocate favorite.

Photo of jdoolin
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750 mL bottle, poured into tulip glasses.

Appearance: Absolutely gorgeous beer. A beautiful dark reddish brown with a spectacular tan head that dissipated very slowly. I got the floaties in later glasses.

Aroma: Mmmm... so fruity, lightly spicy.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Incredible fruity flavor. Cherry, plum, apple, figs... so interesting and tasty, just a bit sweet. A touch of raisins and molasses. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth with the first glass. But the floaties in later glasses brings a deduction to the mouthfeel.

Notes: Perhaps I'll try filterting this next time. Otherwise this is one of the finest beers I've ever had.

[Edit]: Such a shame that they retired this beer. I'm grabbing every bottle I can find.

Photo of Iguana
4.69/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well, this is an interesting drinking experience. Been wanting to try this for awhile and finally scored a bottle last week.

A: Looks good, but those chunks are a bit disconcerning. Golden brown with 1 inch head that becomes just a nice foamy layer.

S: Apples, dark fruits, hints of alcohol and sugar. Smells great.

T: Couldnt be better in my book, smooth, dark fruits, silky smooth aside from the chunks. Just amazing.

M: Smooth, clean, Couldnt be improved short of losing the chunks. And I wont mark off for those because they gave it something unique.

D: I could drink alot of this in a night, and I would be 1 buzzed happy BA then. Great beer all around and I want to try the rest from this brewery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of arizcards
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple of bottles at AJ's on Central for $3.99 each in late February. I am nearing the end of my birthday splurge.

Beer is very interesting to look at, poured a reddish-brown with a nice lasting head with lots of floating yeast. Nose is a combination of dark fruits, doughy bread, and sweet wine. Taste is a combination of fermented plums, sour apple, and bread. Mouthfeel has the classic Belgian feel, very nice to swirl across the palate. Drinkability is good. The alcohol was present with the first sip but it is very well disguised afterwards.

Photo of Derek
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Actually reviewed on 12-09-2005, but put under the wrong label (The old 10% Grand Cru).

This one's labelled Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru (Belgian special brown ale), 9.5%. Best before AP 18, 2007. I think it's really more of a Flanders Brown.

A: Redish brown, nice off-white head. Some retention, very nice lace.

S: Winey, raisins, prunes, bready malt.

T: Raisins, prunes (that Belgian Special B flavour), bready malt. No hop flavour. Nice sweet/tart balance. A little chocolate & cherry in the aftertaste. Alcohol is warming, but not abrasive. VERY well rounded.

M: Moderate body, slightly creamy, moderately high carbonation.

D: Awesome, but certainly not a serious session beer.

Photo of MiScusi
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena. Appearance was dark brown almost black with a thick off white head. Lots of earthiness and sour yeast in the aroma. Taste does not differ except some caramel present, hops add a small amount to the finish.. Very drinkable and a nice carbonation gives it a bite.

Photo of dblinkhorn
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a glass tulip goblet.

Appearance - If it weren't for the very high amount of "floaties" in my glass right now (and I only poured about 1/4 of the beer, and very gently), the appearance would be simply perfect. The head is a light tan color that is about 2.5 fingers thick at pour, and dissipates slowly to a half finger silky head with fine lacing lining the glass as it goes down. The color is perfect. It is a very deep and rich amber red; beautiful! If it weren't for the fact that my glass looks like a freshly fed fishbowl, it would have gotten a 5.0.

Smell - Slight alcohol burn on the nose followed by slightly sweet floral and fruity aromas, plum is especially evident. A bit of spice peeks its head at the end. Also the malt has a bready aroma, the hops are hard to pick out for me in this brew.

Taste - Cherry right from the start, followed by a powerful taste of bready malt in the middle. Spice, cherry, and plum (overall fruity and slightly floral) finish. You can taste a bit of crisp hops at the very finish. The taste is excellent. Complex, balanced, pronounced.

Mouthfeel - Wow! Velvet and silk in the mouth. The mouthfeel is perfect. The carbonation is right on, the liquid floats around your mouth gracefully, with no unpleasent sensation at all. Perfect!

Drinkability - Very good. Everything about this brew is pure quality.

This is probably one of the best Belgian ales I've had. Everything about it is quality. This is a must have!

Photo of acrawf6
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle
Best before 2007

Pours out a dark ruby and brown with a small frothy head. This bottle has a crap load of sediment. The floaties are all over. If not for so many, i would have given the appearance a better score cuz it does look good.

Smell. Initially sweet with a bit of raisons and molassis, then spices up, peppery with alcohol, and then tarts up like the aromas of a freshly cut green apple.

Taste. I find this bottle has a very mild flavor than other bottles i've had of this. Light and crisp fruitiness, lots of apples and some white grapes. As it warms in my mouth, a bit of the pepper comes out. There is a nice yeasty flavor that gives it a good natural flavor.
finishes a little bit warming from the alcohol. But for 10%, this beer hides it's alcohol incredibly.

Mouthfeel. Has a nice amount of carbonation biting at my toungue. The balance is nice, the mouthfeel is a little thinner than i remember; this beer is almost refreshing for a summer beer, rather than a sipper i would want on a cold winter night.

Overall. A very interesting beer. Quite light for a strong dark ale (in mouthfeel). But the flavors are solid. There is something about the beer i am drinking right now... I think this beer normally tastes different, but there is nothing with this beer in front of me, so i guess i'll just have to get another bottle and re-review.

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Just a touch carbonated, as I popped the top the beer was in an awful hurry to get out off the glass. Poured a friggin monumental oatmal colored head, sticky as all hell. The body is a filthy umber brown hue with no visibility to speak of.

S: Brown sugar, fresh bread dough, white wood resin, pepper and cardomon.

T: Begins lightly fruity mixed with some mellow toffee notes. From there the fruit flavors increase...a menagerie of apricots, white peaches, strawberries and figs. The caramel flavors kick in mixed with a pronounced woody tone mixed with almonds and honey. Finishes with so much white peach its ridiculous. Alcohol is well hidden except for the warming of the belly.

M: Medium to full body with a surprisingly smooth carbonation for the amount that was stored in the bottle

D: Great beer. Unique in the medley of peach, wood and almonds. Not sure what more I can say other than I recommend it.

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

Man, reading the reviews on this it seems not everyone has the same love for the flavor as I do. This has to be the best thing I have swilled around in my mouth ever. It has a slightly sweet flavor with a spicy aftertaste. I am new to the finer beers of the world, but am learning. The smells are fantastic but the taste has to be the best thing going for it. I could sit and drink two or three bottles of this. I guess it is back to the beer store for some more of this
great beer.

Photo of becktone
3.38/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This Belgian Strong Dark pours an opaque cloudy light brown color. The head- cascading during and for a short amount of time after pour- is an off white tea stained color. The size and retention of the head are alright, lacing however could be improved. Compared to the other Belgian Strong Darks that I've had this one doesn't look quite as good.

The beer smells of dark fruits-perhaps raisins-, caramel and there is a faint smell of alcohol. The nose is all around is fairly weak and I think it could be improved if it were a bit more pronounced. Smells good, but again I've smelled better.

On the tongue this beer is pretty good one of the first things I notice is that the taste doesn't linger very long. This beer is pretty short lived on the palate. Lots of sweetness in the flavor of this beer. Sweet caramel and candi flavors abound in this beer, but it isn't as complex or nearly as good as others I've had. Alcohol is also apparent in the flavor and adds a nice dimension. The dark fruit aroma is somewhat precievable in the flavor, but isn't noticed unless its looked for. Overall this is a good brew, but it fell short of what I expected. Flavor of this beer is perhaps it's most redeeming quality.

As mentioned above this beer is short lived on the palate. I don't like that quality about this beer. It makes it too easy to drink and too easy to forget what it tasted like. The mouthfeel was a little lighter than I expected, espicially for such a big beer. I would buy this beer again, however with so many Belgian Strong Dark Ales that I've not yet tried this is one that I prolly won't be coming back to any time soon. Its good but not good enough to get me hooked on this specific beer.

Note: reviewed as listed stylistically on this site, I realize that this is not A Strong Dark but is really Brown Ale, ohh my first one.

Photo of Fuller
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

slighty cloudy brown body with some reddish hues. Large tan head that disappeared quickly leaving medium lacing. More sediment floating around in this beer than just about any other I've tried. Nose is not what I expected and it is not nearly as strong as I expected. The yeast and roasted malts that I normally smell in Belgians is hardly noticeable in this one. The smell is mostly of fruit, but not just of the darker fruit, this has some citrus to it. Taste is very sweet and malty. The citrus in the smell is not near as evident in the taste. As it warms, spice and alcohol start to come through at the end. Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Very good beer but drinkability is hurt a little because of how sweet it is.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden brown with a dense creamy tan head. Lots of chunky yeast suspended in the beer. Perhaps I decanted too roughly. Smells of bright sweet fruit, almost citrusy. Aromas of sweet spice.

Taste is sweet and spicy. Clove and ginger. Caramle. Peppery spice int he finish. Alcohol is evident throughout but not overbearing at all, just warming. Mouth is mudium bodies, kepps the sweetness from being cloying. Nice bitter finish. I don't like the chunky yeast, kind of gross to feel in the mouth. Takes from the drinkability too. I'll try again and decant more carefully. Outside of the yeast, it's money.

Photo of Phatz
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

We drank this beer at room temperature. Thanks 'YBSober' for sharing! It maybe could have used a touch of chill on it but what a fantastic treat anyway.

Appearance: This beer pours chestnut brown with a nice tan head. At the instant I popped the cap it started flowing down the side of the glass.

Smell: Toasted malts and candied malts, caramel a butter brown sugar. Cookie dough and spices along with subtle whiff of fruits also fill the nose.

Taste: Sweet toasted malts and marvelous sugar character hide all evidence of the alcohol making this a sheer joy to drink.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is full and yet not heavy. A nice amount of carbonation keeps it very creamy and fluffy smooth in the mouth.

Drinkability: This beer went down so remarkably easily that I didn’t even realize my glass was empty.

Hope this is helpful.

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

At last this puppy rears its head here in San Fran. In 11.2s, no less. Let's see if the legend is just that.

Appearance: Dang! Very, very unsettled bottle, just about blew up when I opened it. Wonder why? Anyway, what beer made its way to the glass is a lovely, somewhat cloudy, glowing amber/orange. Loose, off-white head with good retention.

Smell: Interesting; almost a saison/BSDA blend. Sharp, bright green apple, grape and cherry, a bit bready and dry, but then also rich and deep with chocolate cake and toffee malt.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Very smooth and lightish feel. Taste is, IMHO, disappointingly simple. Caramel, toffee... that's it. Looking for more, especially the fruit from the aroma, but it just ain't happening.

Drinkability: Out of context, it's pleasant enough, but given all the hype surrounding this one, I was genuinely let down. I simply didn't find anything that made it stand out from any number of BSDAs or even a few winter warmers, for that matter. Didn't find this cru that grand.

Photo of RedHaze
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy dark brown with a frothy, dense two finger head that fades very slowly to a thick cap, leaving behind a sticky layer of lace on the glass. There's tons of little floaties, and I was pretty careful with the pour.

Smell; tons of dark fruits, with cherries, plums, dates, apples and bits of citrus. Brown sugar and cinnamon come through along with some spices I can't quite place. This one smells really damn good.

Taste: sweet toffee and brown sugar hit me up front, as well as cocoa and sugar cookies. The fruits filll out the middle with apples, plums, cherries and apricots. The finish is slightly nutty and yeasty, with a mild peppery spiciness, and just some hints of alcohol. The flavor is just what you would expect following the aroma, just wonderful. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and so drinkable that...damnit where'd my beer go?

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

Pour: .33L bottle to wide mouth glass. Pretty much exploded when I popped the top. Nice two finger tan head with a cloudy copper body. Lacings are thick and scattered.

Nose: Smells of sweet spices and citrus, mainly lemon and orange, with a significant hop presence.

Mouth: Sweet and creamy with flavors of peaches and oranges. Also has sweet/spicy flavors of laurel and cinnamon.

Photo of maniac
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance was hazy dark amber color with some sediment floating around with a medium creamy off-white head.
Had a sweet aroma of raisins and fruit, with some nutty hints.
Flavor was almonds, some fruit, and a touch of caramel.
Easy to drink, but the sediment was a little much by the end.

Photo of expatsteve
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Deep copper brown with slighty orange edges. Initially poured fairly cloudy with no visibility, but successive pours gradually darkened in color and lightened in visibility. No real head, but a residual film that clings to the beer and the sides of the glass. Light/medium viscosity that hangs brilliantly on the glass.

Aroma: Apples and apricots, with some raisin notes. Suggestions of brown sugar, with a sour malt finish.

Taste: Again, the front and middle palates of this beer changed the three or four times I had it. The first pour was thick and malty, with a front palate reminiscent of a rich sourdough bread. Apricot, plum, raisins, green apples notes. Later glasses had a hard cider finish that was refreshing, if a little suggestive at times of the alcohol content of the beer. Lighter middle palate with subtle almond notes. The sourdough finish relaxed as the beer warmed up, but continued to provide a foundation for the fruit flavor.

Mouthfeel: Crisp finish, low carbonation. Bready finish aded to mouthfeel, as it left the aftertaste earthy rather than bitter.

Drinkability: Light/medium body balances the booze and makes this an eminently drinkable beer. While I enjoyed my first two glass a little more than subsequent ones, it is nonetheless one of the most complex and yet most drinkable beers I've tried. Dangerous, but worth the risk.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
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 instrumentality
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I originally put this review in the wrong place, not realizing that there were two "Grand Crus." The bad news is that I picked the wrong beer. The good news is that this could mean that the arm and leg I paid to have more shipped from Belgium might actually be worth it if they turn out to be the other Grand Cru.

Moving on...

I swear I didn't shake it up before opening it, but as soon as the cap was off, a fountain of foam launched from the mouth of the bottle. Fortunately, I was able to save every drop and I just had to wait patiently for the enormous, bubbly, tan head to settle. The body was a cloudy amber.

The odor was primarily fruity and, oddly, slightly like cola with a hint of malt and red wine. It was very refreshing.

The taste was definitely unique...pretty smooth, a bit like plum but more tart, a bit like apple cider, and slightly carmelly in aftertaste.

Mouthfeel was characterized by a bit of carbonation, but it was very easy on the palate and left only the mildest tart fruity aftertaste.

It's easy to drink in that there are no really intense flavors, but I'd say it's more drinkable than it is good. There are a lot of interesting flavors, but they're all very subtle. It's almost like I'm drinking a really complex beer that's been watered down. I allowed it to warm a bit to see if anything new surfaced, and while it did improve a little, I still wasn't that impressed.

In the scheme of things, it's better than most beers, but it needs more kick. Hopefully one day I'll get my hands on the Grand Cru that actually gets some BA love and really learn what this brewery is capable of.

Photo of dogfooddog
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle, the 9.5% version of the grand cru, apparently the 10% is a thing of the past. The bottle immediately startes foaming when i pop the cap. Pours into a chalice with 25% head. best before date illeg.

Nose is dark candy sweetness, with a hint of bitterness along.

Bitter taste up front, typical de rocs notes of dark fruity sensations with powerful bittersweet undertone that carries and dominates the finish. The taste is not as nice as the nose in this bottle. Seems a bit drier than some of their other dark/amber beers.

It has been years since I had the 10% version and cannot offer comparison.

Excellent beer and one to try, though I prefer their triple imperial, amber/montagnarde, and noel beers better.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a Westveleteren chalice. Murky brown color with thick foamy tan head. The smell reminds me of Gouden Carolus Carolus D'Or a little. Also Nostrodamus.

The taste is syrupy sweet and a little cloying. I can't tell if any hops at all were used. The alcohol shows up in the after-taste but isn't too offensive.

Good stuff but not an everyday beer. Also 11.2oz is just enough. I bought this at Beverage Warehouse in LA for about $4. I wish the small bottles were available here in OH...

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 676 ratings.