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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

657 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 657
Reviews: 502
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 35
Gots: 26 | 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: 657 | Reviews: 502 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Billolick
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large bottle, with cap and cork, no freshness dating. Pours dark garnet,brown. Poured with a gassy release, lifted a large and rocky tan head, which slowly morphed to a blotchy film. Leaves some thick, stringy lacing. Yeasty chunks abound. Nose is rum raisins, murky funk and sweat malts. multilayered, complex flavors and sensations on the tongue. Obvious and unrelenting waves of interest and intrigue. World class sipper. Dangerously drinkable. Seek out this nectar and enjoy.

Billolick, Nov 19, 2004
Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Abe's Cold Beer for $8.50. Like every Des Rocs beer I've had, no pour is complete without floaties. Otherwise, the appearance is a hazy ruby-brown with a short tan head. The aroma and flavor are heavy with sweet grape, maple syrup, and dates with mild dark chocolate in the background. The body is a touch thick, normal for the ABV, and dries out toward the finish, making it deliciously drinkable. Still, because of the sweet lean of this beer, I'd save it for an after-dinner beer. Definitely worth a try, especially if you like the dark Unibroues.

tempest, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of wl0307
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml green bottle, corked and capped, with no freshness info. printed on the bottle but the cork has a number for reference: 065/759976. Served lightly-chilled to cool in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

A: elegant dark copperish brown colour, coming with a 2cm creamy beige frothy head that sustains really well and leaves tight and even layers of lacing on the way; very gentle and tiny fizziness witnesses successful bottle conditioning.
S: how can I relate this beer to... a bowl of overly ripened stone-fruits on top of a bed of aromatic hops? The fruitiness and malts come in full force, showing ripe melons, preserved-plums, figs, dates... mashed and sweetened Chinese red beans and a flow of melted brown sugar with a slightly sharp and spicy edge of very ripe pineapple, pepper cone, and coconut. Hoppyness and yeasts play the second fiddle, yet just in place to keep a balance. Especially after a good swirl, the yeasty bouquet in the form of sweet wood and extra-creamy malts both emerge... Overall, thick and rich, very complex yet very settled.
T: wow... a mouthful of creamy and rounded malts upfront, without any bits of sharp carbonation at all... slowly bringing aboard abundant mouthfeel of dried stone-fruits and aromatic yeastiness like Chinese red bean paste, a touch sour-sweet with a healthy input of brown-sugary sweetness of malts, while constantly a kick of hops skirts the main theme just elegantly. Soothing, bitter-sweet chemistry b/w hops and malts lingers in the lo...ng finish, added with a mildly herbal bitter mouthfeel, a bit like licorice but not exactly that. Sublime...
M&D: absolutely great, creamy, silky smooth, and rounded on the mouthfeel, yet much lighter than its abv. tends to suggest!! It's so hard to believe this is a 10%abv. beer--it's rather like a medium-bodied malt soup with plenty of crushed fruits in it. A superb balance between yeasts, hops and malts realises in this sublime and super-approachable ale, that it's slightly too dangerously easy-drinking. Highly recommended!!!!

wl0307, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a 750 mL bottle of the Special Brown Ale version of Rocs Grand Cru. It is served in a Troegenator seidel and is chilled.

A: The ale is a dark ruby red color with a thick 2-finger head.

S: The nose is a mix of spices, primarily cinnamon and cardamom.

T: When colder, the taste is heavily spiced, too much so, and has a medicinal taste. The medicine taste finishes long. As the ale warms, the medicinal qualities lessen and spices become a little more palatable. There are also fruit flavors here, primarily raisin.

M: When cold, the mouthfeel is not so hot. As the ale warms, it improves immensely.

D: The drinkability is determined by the temperature. Avoid is beer when cold! The abv is a little tough but not a deal breaker.

akorsak, Sep 02, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

(Served in a stem less snifter)

A- This beer has a big tan head that sits on a small body of a dark reddish caramel hue. There is a violent swirling of carbonation in the body and it is pushing large bits of trub around the body. Even with the gentlest pour there is still lots of chunks in this beer.

S- The sweet malt smell is rich and has a nice wood and caramel note to it. It has note of dark dates and yeast as it warms.

T- The taste of dark sugar and toffee has a light pale malt flavor and a honey quality to it. There are more burnt sugar notes and a soft marshmallow fluff hint. This finish has a light bitter note to it that doesn’t have much hop flavors but is a nice finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with lots of chunks and a soft alcohol warmth as the beer warms up.

D- I ended up dumping the first glass because of all the chunks an after the beer was open for a bit the carbonation settled and I was able to decant off a few glasses of almost jetsam free beer. The flavor was nice and although not really complex did have some nice depth to it.

rhoadsrage, Aug 01, 2007
Photo of DoubleJ
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at Café Lucca in old town Orange. On to the beer:

Brownish amber color with flashes of orange, fizzy head on top. The aroma was pleasant. Dark fruit, raisin, dates....this seems to be the standard aroma of the style. In the mouth....boozy with a kick on the palate. Dark fruits, raisins, plums, and pear in the taste. So yes, the flavor is good, but it doesn't quite soak on the palate like others of the style do. That being said, I would still recommend this.

DoubleJ, Oct 30, 2008
Photo of superspak
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into chalice, best before 4/5/2013. Pours very cloudy deep ruby red color with a 1-2 finger foamy cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with plenty of carbonation streaming up retaining the head. Aromas of big raisin, fig, apple, pear, prune, fig, caramel, molasses, toast, toffee, dark bread, light chocolate, clove, pepper, and earthy yeast esters Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy esters and malty notes. Taste of raisin, apple, pear, prune, fig, caramel, toast, molasses, toffee, pepper, dark bread, light chocolate, clove, and earthy yeast esters. Lingering notes of light and dark fruits, caramel, pepper, molasses, toast, toffee, dark bread, floral, light chocolate, clove, and earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of fruity, peppery, and dark malt flavors; with zero cloying sweetness present on the finish. Medium-high carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy, fairly slick, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Very smooth to sip on for 9.5%. Overall this is an absolutely incredible Belgian strong dark ale! Big complexity and balance and fruity, malty, and spicy flavors; and extremely smooth to sip on the for the strength. An extremely delicious offering.

superspak, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of Zorro
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mildly cloudy brown brew.

Smell is of apple, with a laid back malt and spice scent with a touch of honey.

Taste is sweet and husky malt flavor with a woodiness to it. Lots of fruit and herb flavors to this one, the flavor shifts like a top notch Belgian should. There is a persistent bitter note to this that keeps it all balanced.

Mouthfeel is almost too much; you have to sip it.

Very drinkable brew, a sipper not a chug beer.

Zorro, Mar 23, 2004
Photo of jdhilt
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a five-fingered cream frothy head that fades slowly and leaves a little lace. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Cloudy brown color with a lot of chunky bits settling to bottom of glass. Nose is a sweet malt. Starts malty and smooth; finishes on the sweet side with a hint of alcohol. 750ml bottle from Vintage Cellar Blackburg, Va.
This is a Belgian Brown but that choice is not listed in styles.

jdhilt, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

afsdan, Aug 19, 2014
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A smooth brown/amber pour, big off white head. Not sure if I poured this wrong to get a big head or what. Big.
Head produces an aroma, strong in rich yeast, a citrus splash and sweet malt. A touch of toast and honey as well.
Taste isn't as rich as the aroma. Same flavors; yeast, citrus and honey, but not as rich. This helps the drinkability, though. It's a smooth beer, touch of sourness at the right moment to wake you up.

Mebuzzard, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of ppoitras
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

ppoitras, Mar 16, 2006
Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at Smoke & Barrel DC, for the DC bottle share. Thanks to 1up for bringing the bottle. From notes.

Pours a faint red amber, there's a little bit of floaties sometimes, but a good and creamy tan head forms and leaves a nice collar.

Classic Belgian yeast with just a nice amount of candi sugar. Very mild presence and hints of caramel like toffee mix nicely. Pretty solid.

Palate is straightforward from the nose, but has a simple caramel coating action that isn't overpowering with a little bit of brown spice kick. Malt backbone continues to let the palate explore the sweetness, with some degree of fruit. Good feel without getting out of control or overly sticky or sweet.

A solid straightforward Belgian Dark that I could get into which is a rarity for me.

smakawhat, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of brandoman63
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

brandoman63, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -5.2%

DrBier, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of John_M
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Mahaffey's the other night.

This beer pours a very lovely light orange brown color, with decent head and lacing. On the nose I got very little, just a trace of Belgium spice. On the palate this beer was just delicious. The beer was not heavy at all, and quite reminded me of a beer version of sweet milk chocolate, interlaced with Belgium funkiness and spice. Aboslutely delicious. Considering the abv., this beer is remarkably light and drinkable, probably dangerously so. I never would have guessed this was a 10% abv., at least until I walked out of Mahaffey's. (then I certainly noticed it). The beer finishes with a very good sweet finish.

Granted, this beer is a bit simple and a bit more complexity would be nice, but for all that it was a very nice beer to sip on.

John_M, Apr 19, 2007
Photo of biegaman
4.11/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

biegaman, Apr 05, 2013
Photo of rab53
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

rab53, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of beerthulhu
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a light cranberry red with a soft pillowy light beige head that was fully lasting. There were some large chunks of yeast floaties suspended in the body.

S: fruity, dried cherries with a soft roasted malting.

T: The initial flavor was malty with a very soft roasted chocolate notes along with a big fruitiness (fresh cherries, cranberries). The was a touch of sour maltiness in the finish, with the body being a little lighter then expected. The alcohol is extremely well hidden for its 9.5% abv and drinks like a dream.

M: light with some tart berries and maly lacing on the tongue.

D: Overall a soft roasted malt palate and fruitiness from the yeast makes for a standout beer by style.

beerthulhu, Jul 05, 2008
Photo of Viggo
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a chunky ruby red/brown, medium off white head, lots of sticky lace. Smell is sweet, molasses/caramel, orange, spice, alcohol, chocolate/coffee, yeast, and cherries. Taste is molasses/brown sugar, apple/pear, cherry, yeast, chocolate, caramel and orange. Mouthfeel is smooth, medium to high bodied, medium carbonation, lives up to reputation. Thanks DrJay!

Viggo, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of Bighuge
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Perfectly clear scarlet red hue. Nice sized dollop of beige foam on top. Retention is excellent as is the lacing.

Aroma: Mildly doughy, slightly pepper, estery from the yeast tones, sweet and candy-like, and a little musty.

Taste: Flavors speak of subtlety in a big way. Light doughy and bready malts. Sprinkles of brown sugar. Raisin and plums come to mind. Slight pepper. And a little EtOH.

Mouthfeel: Quite spritzy and carbonated. Not gassy though. Body is about light-medium.

Drinkability: For a beer this size, there's not much hint of alcohol. But the flavor doesn't just blow me away. It's solid, but nothing spectacular. Which means that this is a beer I'd return to, but not in a much anticipated, overly enthusiastic way.

Bighuge, Sep 01, 2004
Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

KAF, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of DrJay
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby/brown, fairly clear from the initial pour, but with lots of tiny, suspended yeast particles. Fine, light tan head with decent lacing and good retention. Mild aroma with some bread, apple, and chocolate. Malty, but subdued. Moderate malt character with chocolate and orange, and slight raisin. There's a nice breadiness and apple flavour that runs throughout, and it finishes with lingering fruit and mild chocolate. Fine carbonation and a silky texture. An excellent beer, complex without being overpowering, and the alcohol is completely hidden.

DrJay, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of liamt07
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

liamt07, Apr 01, 2013
Photo of Derek
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Derek, Aug 17, 2006
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 657 ratings.