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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

670 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 670
Reviews: 503
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 35
Gots: 31 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jdhilt on 10-08-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 670 | Reviews: 503 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zachtheporter
3/5  rDev -28.7%

Photo of jwinship83
3/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

750ml capped bottle that started to gush before the cap was even fully off. theres a best by date on that back of the bottle, but its too blurry to read. poured into my duvel tulip.

A- this one pours a murky brown with a long lasting and tall beige colored head that leaves a solid wall of lacing behind. more visible "floaters" than i have ever seen before.

S- this one smells lightly of vinegar and something funky. past its prime maybe? lots of summer fruits as well. apples, pears, and green grapes.

T- its starting to turn sour. pretty fruity with apples, pears, raisins, and green grapes. not at all what i was expecting but still nice.

M- vile. the "floaters" feel chunky on my tongue. this is the first time ive ever tried a beer with them and actually felt them. its hard to get past that. light to medium body with a high level of carbonation.

D- hard to finish. beer should not be chunky. strong candidate for my first drain pour. never again for this one.

Photo of jrallen34
3/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle poured into my Narke tulip...Shiney medium copper, much lighter on the sides. Lots of yeast floaties throughout. A tope head rises about two fingers, then falls quickly to a half finger full cap, decent lacing...The aroma is challenging to say the least, tea, yeast, alcohol, and vomit...The taste again is lots of yeast and iced tea, just not feeling this beer at all. Pass.

Photo of bskrtz
3.03/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured cold to tullip shaped beer challice.

A) Dark root beer brown liquid with yeast floaties a-plenty. Surprizingly clear but very dark

S) Sweet molasses. Banana nut bread. Cookie dough.

T) Alcohol is a bit harsh. Sweet fruits -- dates, raisons and figs. Gingerbread pastry

M) I find this a bit flat.

D) This is my second try from seperate purchases -- both were a bit flat.

Photo of philipquarles
3.1/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

33cL bottle with BBD of 2011. Pours a hazy red-brown with a creamy beige head and a good deal of sediment. Smells very fruity with a bit of caramel. Plenty of orange makes it reminiscent of Cointreau. Sweet malt and dough taste. Lots of dark fruit character and a bit boozy with an almost cloyingly sweet, warming finish. Moderately thick body with a lot of carbonation.

Photo of cdkrenz
3.13/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

I bought this brew from a liquor store in Milwaukee. I can't remember the name.

Appearance - Not the most attractive of beers. Redish brown with a lot of yeast residue. The head poured 2 inches + initially and faded to about an 1/8 of an inch which it held strong.

Smell - The scent is perfect. It has the sweet aroma of a strong Belgian brew with that hint of alcohol for a push.

Taste - Really not what I had expected. I can't get past the texture to enjoy the taste.

Mouthfeel - Like I said.

~ I really hope I got a bad batch/bottle because I've read great things about this brew. The other possibility is that I incorrectly poured the beer. If you read this and have some insight, please, drop me a message.

Photo of sabrills70
3.13/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle capped green bottle with a best before end of date of 2008. Upon opening foam rolled freely out the top of the bottle. Pours a medium dark mahogony with a big head, longevity OK and just OK lace. Fair amount of sediment in the bottle, but not chunky sediment as I found in the standard brown ale. Lots of old malt smells. Dried dark fruits, brown sugar, yeasty and earthy. Big malt flavors up front again with dried dark fruits. A bit of an "off" flavor but I am not quite sure what it is. It's kind of an weird tartness/sourness, similar to what I had in a batch of homebrew once. Still drinkable but just an off flavor. Alcohol lingers in the finish. Overall an average brew and nothing to write home about. IMHO the standard brown ale is better.

Photo of avalon07
3.18/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. Lots of floaties. There was a half inch of foamy head and virtually no lacing.

S: Not a whole lot of smell here. Some dark fruit and malt, but little else.

T: Tasted of malt, dark fruit (figs, etc.) and a little hops. Not nearly as bold, flavorful or complex as some of its Belgian brethren.

M: A very average amount of carbonation with a somewhat slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This one was not my favorite. Not the worst thing ever, but definitely not a winner.

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.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.3/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 7/26/08. 33 cl bottle, I think it said best by 2/5/2008 but it was quite hard to read...in any event, an aged bottle. Pours a dark brown with a huge tan head. No floaties! Aroma of sweet fruit. Flavor of yeast and fruit. It seems that the age dulled any specific fruit notes, as I mostly just got general sweetness from it. I'd like to try this again, fresh, in a 750 as I think it would be a lot better. As it was, just ok.
7/4/6/4/13 (3.4/5)

Photo of BeerRun13
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a super cloudy amber/ dark orange... quite dark orange. Too much carbonation, as I had to really let this one settle after a gentle pour. Nice eggshell head with some good lace after it calms down. Some floaties in there.
Sweet in the nose. A little banana/clovelike.
Good flavor, but nothing special. Actually quite 1 or 2 dimmensional. Sweet banana/clovelike with maybe a touch of candi.
Full bodied and highly carbonated. Dry enough but the sweetness is still there. Almost cloying.
Over rated in my opinion. At least I scored another 11.2 oz bottle for homebrew

Photo of AltBock
3.35/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml capped dark green bottle that has a plain and simple label of a stone walkway that is probably located in Abbaye des Rocs. In front of this stone walkway is their brewery crest. The back of the bottle has a small square label that contains the US Government warning, brewery address, US importer, refund value, proper glassware, proper serving temp, barcode, and a "best before end" year. Mine was best before the year 2009.

Appearance: When this beer was poured into a Corsendonk Christams Ale goblet, I found out that this "special brown ale" apeeared to be a dark cranberry amber, but as it turned out, it was actually a golden amber color. I couldn't but notice that all through out the appearance, there were at leat a million chunks of yeast floating around. These chunks of yeast made the beer look filthy. Anyway, it had a nice sized creamy head of white (almost tan) colored foam. This head of foam was self rising. Once you would pour the beer, the head of foam would self rise and overflow the glass. It didn't matter how much you poured, it always over flowed. Hell, the head of foam even did that from the bottle. Let's just say that it annoying real fast.

Smell: It wasn't the most complexed smelling Belgian beer out there, but it was still very good, but an average quality. In the beginning the aroma was fruity, almost grape like. That was it until it was swirled around. That is where the fruits completely left the aroma and a milk chocolate like aroma with a small spatter of fruity hops behind that emerges. Surprisingly, with all the yeast chunks floating around, there was no yeast in the aroma. There wasn't even a faint whiff of it.

Taste: For a beer that smells fruity as much as this beer, the taste wasn't fruity at all. Instead it was lightly malted with faint sweet tea leaves, milk chocolate, and a quick splash of roasted citrus hops at the finish. And just like the aroma, surprisingly there was also no yeast in here. I couldn't figure out why it didn't come through. There weren't that many flavors in the taste to cover it up. The taste was kind of a let down. I honestly though there was going to be more flavors in the taste.

Mouthfeel: This beer had a simply slick mouthfeel! Where was the 9.50% ABV? It wasn't in the taste and it certainly wasn't in the mouthfeel. That was great and all, but there wasn't much of an aftertaste here. The only aftertaste was that of lightly toasted malts, tea, and yeast. Oh, so this is where the yeast comes into play. It's about time. Talk about being late.

Drinkability: I really felt that this beer didn't have much to offer, except for the fact that it masked its alcohol content. There wasn't much of an aroma to it and there wasn't much of a taste to it either. I know I said it before, but it's true. This beer was a let down. I won't be forking over any more money for this Belgian beer.

Photo of scooter231
3.38/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer has me going back and forth- I think I like it, then I think I don't. It's very pretty, pours a dark coppery red with lots of a creamy colored tan head, very inviting looking. The smell is orangey, with hints of other citrus flavors, and I get some almond in there as well.

Taste was a little disappointing to me after the smell- it's quite different. Coffee, chocolate, toffee, and some dark juicy fruityness. Way sweeter than I'd have thought. Mouth feel is nice, a bit heavy though. Not too much carbonation, but there's a sliiiight sour aftertaste that's not so tasty to me.

Overall I'd say this is a good beer, but the drinkability factor, not so much. It's too heavy, and way too sweet after a while- and it's just so bumming when things don't taste the way they smell, especially when you think they smell soooo good.

Photo of tomordonez
3.38/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

Photo of BitterLover
3.38/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 1 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle. The "Best before end" year was 2008. I bought this bottle for my wife because she likes brown ales. But once she saw the floaters in it, she would have nothing to do with it. And this was even after the bottle had sat undisturbed in the back of my fridge for weeks.

A - Dark reddish mahogony color with a three fingers head (must have poured it too vigorously). The tan head died down pretty quickly tho, leaving just an 1/8" thick skin on the top of the beer that was speckled with darker flecks. Curious about these flecks, it was at this point that I noticed that the beer was chock full of some sort of sediment that looked like parsley flakes or something. It reminded me of the scene from "Strange Brew" where the boys poured the beer out of their dog's bowl into a glass for their Dad. :-)

S - Mostly smelled like brown, sticky stuff -- molassas, brown sugar, caramel and brandied fruit. Nice and malty.

T - Really sweet, with a faint sour note on the finish.

M - I'm trying to detect the copious flakes on my tongue, but I really can't. They must be very diaphanous and just melt. Very thick and heavy mouthfeel.

D - Too sweet for my taste, but I'm sure my wife would have liked it if it hadn't been for the detritus.

Photo of soulgrowl
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.

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

Picked up a bottle at Bauer on Newbury Street for this past Friday night. After popping the cap, I got some overflow, not quite an explosion, but enough to spill down the sides. After letting it settle down a bit, I poured myself some into a Belgian chalice. Wow, there were a lot of chunks of yeast. Too many, almost to the point of distraction. I let the glass sit for a bit, and upon first taste, I liked it. The taste was of caramel and fruit, with a smoothness that hid the alcohol level. But those chunks, they are hard to ignore. For the second glass, I poured extremely slow, and most of the yeast stayed in the bottle. This was an enjoyable beer now. But the third and final glass was 1/3 yeast chunks, so not so great. This is a great tasting beer, but I think I'd only get it on draft, and never in a bottle again.

Photo of trevorjn06
3.4/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is labeled as a "Belgian Special Brown Ale" and is 9.5% ABV. That's really all I know about this beer.

Pours a mahogany/dark copper with good clarity. A thick, tan head recedes quickly.

Aroma is dark fruits, raisins and figs with some caramels and very light toastiness. Fairly straight forward but pleasant.

Taste is a bit thin, it includes raisins, light fig and a bit of caramel. The finish is lacking of richness and leaves a thin, malty flavor with a slight phenolic edge. There are hints of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly syrupy on the finish.

Overall very underwhelming. Lacks complexity and is too sweet.

Photo of cjgiant
3.4/5  rDev -19.2%

Bottle best before January 2016 (old?), listed as 9.5%:
Beer poured a medium brown, and as I was mid pour, I started seeing chunks of sediment (presumably yeast) flying into my glass. The yeast was suspended in the beer, not settled to the bottom (I don't think I shook the bottles any more than usual). Anyhow, this made the beer very cloudy as the yeast remained in suspension. I got a bit of head on the beer with the initial pour before I slowed it with the sediment. The head did not sustain.

The nose is light caramel or toffee, date, maybe hints of cinnamon and raisin. The taste is similar, a bit more sweet, like sugar in the raw, and a bit more like raisin than date. The taste is smooth, but overall the feel is fairly disappointing. The beer feels mostly flat and is a bit watery light, with the flavors coming at the front, and fading fairly quickly.

Disappointing beer overall, and I can only hope this is not a representative bottle. I have a couple more, so I will update my review if the others change my mind.

Follow up beer: had the same ugly presentation:, and the nose was about the same. The feel definitely improved as this bottle had some decent carbonation. Upped review from 3.3 to 3.4, still think I got a less-than ideal 4-pack, though.

Photo of becktone
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
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 Halcyondays
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. bottle, review #1500, my 100th review was an Abbaye Des Rocs beer, so it seems appropriate for another milestone,

A: Pours a reddish copper brown with a very long lasting off-white head which was a real gusher upon opening.

S: Candi sugar, cake batter, molasses, reminiscent of Prior 8.

T: Definite dark fruit, raisins, cardamom, very yeasty. Too boozy for me on the back end, but classic Belgian flavours.

M: Medium-bodied, light ethanol burn going down, very soft carbonation.

D: A solid Belgian Dark, this needs some aging for sure to lessen the EtOH, not too drinkable at this point, but something to retry with a couple years on it.

Photo of jcalabre
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

orginally sampled on 25 March 2003. Huge white head w/ big bubbles & a slightly hazy golden brown color are the first things that catch your eye. It's very thick on the tongue, notes of honey & dried fruit abound. It has some complexity, but not on the order of some other well known beers. It's an elegant brew.

Photo of Sneers
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by April '12. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours an intense yet dark red-brown with orange highlights, capped with a thick, frothy ecru head. The matter suspended in the glass, however, is far less than appealing. Small globules of yeast/protein/whatever, are present en masse, and I've even had this carefully stored upright for months.

The first notes of the aroma are of slightly tart cherries and a bit of yeasty esters. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot more going on here.

The taste is bold and cidery, with said cherries. There's an ever so slight bitterness present, as is there alcohol. Sweetness is there to keep things in check and stays in the background; it reminds me of dark, caramelized sugars. The finish is quite dry. Overall, the taste gets better with warming, with the sweetness especially coming through.

The mouthfeel is pretty full and supplemented by a generous carbonation. The sediment globules aren't noticeable, which is appreciated.

This is really a pretty good beer. While it meets what I expect from the style, and the taste is great, it lacks the complete package of what I expect from BSDAs. If you're into the style, I recommend checking it out; if you're just dabbling with Belgian beer, your money might perhaps be better spent elsewhere.

Photo of keithmurray
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Duvel snifter

Appearance - Redish brown color, aggresive pour yielded no head. Lots of sediment floating around on this one

Smell - This smells sweet and rich, brown sugar, plums, raisins, red wine, grapes

Taste - Feels like I'm drinking red wine instead of a belgian brown. Red wine, grapes, booze is prominent

Mouthfeel - So much Sediment floating around in this one that the first couple of sips felt like a slushie, remove the sediment and the mouthfeel on this one is a bit thin for a Belgian ale, no carbonation to speak of here, which is puzzling me a bit

Drinkability - compared to other BSDA's I've had, this is far down the list in terms of beverage quality. I may have gotten a bottle that wasn't stored in optimal conditions, but with all the nice choices out there for BSDA's and factoring in the price (~$6 for 11.2 oz) I can't see myself re-visiting this one.

Photo of sammy806
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 670 ratings.