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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

670 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 670
Reviews: 503
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 36
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 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.

Photo of Phyl21ca
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.

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

Dark orange/weathered bronze with more than a dash of candy apple red when backlit. It took quick action on my part to pour the beer before foam exited the top of the bottle. As I type, multiple streams of bubbles are leaping off the bottom of the glass and are creating a softly rocky crown of pale caramel foam. Unfortunately, it isn't tacky enough to leave more than an afterthought of lace.

The nose is classic BSDA with an emphasis on sour dark fruit that I hope is countered by a sufficient amount of candi sugar on the palate. It's also brown malty with an earthy, musky hoppiness that adds some amount of complexity. It doesn't quite equal the best of the style though, despite the fact that I like it more each time I put my nose over the glass.

ADRGCBSB is very good beer and explodes on the palate with flavors that were only hinted at in the nose. The center is occupied by heavily toasted, brown bready malt and has all sorts of interesting things zinging around in its orbit. The beer is impressive dark fruity with dried figs and cidery, fermented apples contributing the most. It's also musky and yeasty and earthy and spicy and... well, it's just chock full of flavor.

I'm sure that other combinations would have been just as enjoyable, but it just so happens that sweet, bitter and tart are nearly equal in intensity. Each one of those flavor sensations are able to be appreciated in turn if one simply focuses the taste buds for a second or two. Warming brings about the expected increase in amount of and depth of flavor. This is not a subtle BSDA by any means (that's a good thing).

I felt pretty good about the mouthfeel early on, even with all the bubbles. As I enter the bottom third of the bottle though, I have a full appreciation for its wonderousness. It's medium-full, voluminous, creamy, lightly silky and lightly slick... all at the same time. I don't care what it took to get there, I just like where it ended up.

My first two bottles of Belgian Special Brown ('best by' dates of 2007) were drainpours due to an overwhelming amount of chunky, proteinaceous garbage. This bottle ('best by' date of 2008) is nothing but sweet, sweet beer. If you can find a fresh one, this is a BSDA to be reckoned with.

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

hazelnut brown color being presented in front of me. A smallish head, maybe an inch and a half came up over the top and settled down gently, forming a very nice pillow of tan across the top. Some nice carbonation could be seen streaming up as well.

The aroma was rich, lots of caramel and brown sugar mixed in with a fig and prune like fruit. Dark, with a touch of alcohol, though I have to admit, very well hidden indeed. The flavor was more of the same, rich and decadent with a large dose of sugar balancing it out quite well. All hotness had faded from this one now, as it was mellow and smooth as hell.

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

What a great chance to have this on tap yoday at a Belgian beer dinner at the Spring House Drafting Room.Pours a rich brown color with a sticky head,aroma was rich and nutty with some nice warming alcohol with some fruity estures.This Belgian Dark has a real nice hop profile to go along with a rich nutty flavor and some spicey/yeasty notes.Glad to finally try this beer and it was on tap to boot.

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

2010 vintage. pours a seductive amber dark maple syrup color with a hazy red glow, some yeasty floaters, and a receding off white head that falls back to a quarter inch. leaves not lacing but pancake batter like froth on the sides of my tulip glass. smells is crazy, funny fruit up front, almost like a white grape juice, mellowed out with a raisiny like sweetness, and a funky tart musk vibe from the yeast. flavor is extraordinarily complex. only noe does the brown ale part of this start to make sense, roasty sweet caramel malts dominate, with all kinds of subtle action, dried fruit again, almost winelike. huge belgian yeast profile too. mouthfeel is quite good, a little sweet, but thats just me. really a nice evolving aftertaste and good carbonation, alchohol kick as well. overall an excellent beer, ive got food pairings dancing in my brain

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Carefully poured from a long-standing bottle its body is a brilliant dark ruby/chestnut beneath a creamy cap of off-white (almost tan) foam. The head retention is quite good, and it leaves splashes of lace about the glass. The nose combines a sweetish, caramel-dripped and subtly buttery biscuit-like maltiness with some fairly bold fruitiness (flashes of orange, raspberries, cherry, and a waft of lime). It's airy in the mouth with a combination of dextrinous mouthfeel and CO2 breakout that billows up softly and then fades away with just a light zest on the palate. A richer maltiness and some exceptionally nice, delicately spicy alcohol appear in the flavor; as well as some floral hop notes and wider range of fruitiness (papaya, cocoanut and pineapple perhaps?, and some green apple). It's much more balanced (less sweet) than the standard Abbaye Des Rocs; and it offers exceptional drinkability with a certain level of richness and complexity that does not overwhelm the tastebuds but certainly keeps you coming back for more. It finishes dry with some lingering alcohol spice (although the alcohol never hinders!) and maltiness that reminds you of the beautiful flavors you've just savored. This is an exceptional beer that probably deserves more notoriety, and should not be missed. Brilliant!

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

We’ve got a gusher here.

Pours a very murky amber with some head. Nose is extremely sweet. Cherry seems to be on the nose. Flavor is strong with caramel, but doesn’t stay constant. It moves and shifts and takes you on a bit of a ride. Starts off extremely sweet and smooth and then gets calmer, though not for lack of character. Feel is nice. Smooth with a touch of bubble. For a 10% you don’t really feel it...extremely drinkable.

Photo of russpowell
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this bottle for a while, BBD of 2011, decanted into an Orval chalice

Pours chestnut with a finger of cream colored head. Good head retention & above average lacing

S: Oaky & sour notes, that fade a bit as this warms

T: Dark fruit, dryness, tartness & tannins up front. Leafy hops, a touch of figs, dryness, more oakyness. Finishes with dark fruiityness, some tartness, some leafy hops & a touch of sourness

MF: Soft carbonation, medium bodied, warming, wet, & very tart

Drinks a touch slow from the complexity, but the ABV is well hidden. Not the best Belgian Dark out there, but worthy of respect & adulation

Photo of MasterSki
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Missouri I think - there was a random shortage of Abbaye des Rocs in Chicago for a while. Best before 2009. Served in a Darkness snifter.

A - Pours with a half-finger of tan foam that quickly sizzles to a thin ring, partial cap, and minimal lace. Tons of bubbles adhere to the sides of the glass, and the body is a hazy raisin brown with lots of suspended sediment if you're not careful.

S - Caramel, fruity, estery Belgian yeast, toasted grains, milk chocolate, apples, grapes, brown sugar, and some hints of spice.

T - Taste has lots of rum-soaked fruits, caramel, some light papery oxidation, brown sugar, candi sugar, and a little bit of toastiness in the finish.

M - Slightly zesty carbonation, medium body, dry finish, but with some syrupy residuals. Only a small amount of alcohol warmth at this stage.

D - It's a pretty solid Belgian brown ale. I'd have it again, but there's nothing mind-blowing or totally unique here. I also don't see how this is different from the Brune (or if it is at all).

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of drabmuh
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Beer is brown and hazy and forms a tan dusty head of small bubbles that leaves a little lacing on the glass. Carbonation moderate.

Aroma is sweet and bready with notes of citrus in there. Smells really nice!

Beer is medium in body and heavily carbonated on the palate. Its bright up front with a mixture of citrus and sweetness, good malt backbone. The finish has a slight roast to it but overall its a really nice beer. Well balanced. I think the brightness of the citrus gives this one some character the others were lacking. It's a very good beer.

Photo of feloniousmonk
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The beer pours a translucent brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a fantastic balance of roasted and crystal malts along with a wonderful fruity yeast aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth, malty flavor that is sweet and fruity with esters in the finish. There is a subtle roasted character that balances out the sweet caramel malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an excellent beer. It's quite flavorful and a fine slow drinker that would compliment a good dinnner.

Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tulip glass:

After an explosion of foam, it pours dark bark with a thin, creamy head that leaves some trailing lace on glass. Would look a lot nicer if there weren't chunks of yeast on the bottom of the glass.

The smell is of brown sugar, caramel candy, a vague spiciness (probably from the alcohol) and a touch of vinegar.

The taste is of brown sugar and caramel candy. Peppery alcohol is warming. Sweetness is balanced, to a degree, by vinegary sourness. Finishes candy sweet.

Medium bodied and creamy.

Well - those chunks of floaties do detract. After awhile I strained it through a paper towel, and that helped. Floaties aside, it makes for a nice sipping treat.

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for sharing!

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of Mora2000
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a murky brown color with a cream-colored head. When poured, huge chunks of yeast come out of the bottle. The aroma is a mix of dark fruit, alcohol and candi-sugar. The flavor is a mix of caramel, yeast, brown sugar and alcohol. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a thick tannish head. A beautiful deep garnet color with a slight chill haze to it. This beer smells fruity (apricot being the most predominant aroma, followed by orange). There is a certain candy sweet aroma as well, maybe a hint of butterscotch. This beer has an outstanding aroma and I could just sniff it for ages. As I sniff it the head has barely lost its 2 inch thickness, it is well carbonated. There is a bit of maltiness in the aroma as well. It is definitely well carbonated tasting as well. It is lightly sweet, with a fruitiness that was promised in the nose. There is both a candied apricot and orange flavor here. There is also a slight sense of the alcohol in this one. The taste doesn't quite live up to the aroma but this beer still need to warm up a bit. I detect a hint of astringency in the finish, there seems to be some nice Belgian yeast fermentation byproducts here as well. The beer has some slight Belgian lacing in evidence as I slowly work my way to the bottom of the glass. As it warms up the beer becomes softer, though the alcohol is still evident. Becomes sweeter and maltier. the beer color clears up a bit as it warms too, it displays some nice orange hues as it is held up to the light.

Photo of GClarkage
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

03/22/07- Purchased at Draegers in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle. Code imprinted on the label. Poured into my St. Bernardus goblet.

Appearance- Cognac-like color in appearance. So, I guess that makes it a kind of a dark amber, mahagoney color. Huge and I mean frickin huge ass overflowing head (see notation in drinkability). Decent lace streaks and spots left behind.

Smell- Not a huge outgoing nose, but definitely could detect some caramel, a few dark fruits and a bit of fusel alcohol.

Taste- Emense caramel flavor...caramel, then caramel and oh, then some more caramel. Tasted like I shoved my piehole into a bowl of melted kraft caramels. Raisins and maybe some dates and possibly some figs round out the taste.

Mouthfeel- Cask-like smooth and creamy. Lovely coating on the mouth. Little if not any carbonation. I did, however, let this sit for about an hour after the pour to let the gigantonormous head die down.

Drinkability- This was my 3rd of 6 bottles purchased from this store. The reason I purchased so many without trying is because they were not marked and I got them for $1.50 a pop. Once they figured out their error, they were marked up to $14.99 for a 4pk. Anyway, each bottle I have has been infected. I'm assuming so since the huge foaming head occurs each time. The taste seems ok, but I'm not sure about the no carbonation mouthfeel. Something is fishy here. I will have to revisit this beer for sure to get an accurate reading. As is, it has good texture and pretty good flavor. I think the fresh unspolied version should be a bit better though.

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 Gavage
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.

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.