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

692 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 692
Reviews: 510
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.69%
Wants: 48
Gots: 37 | 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:
Beer added by: rosebud on 07-30-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 692 | Reviews: 510
Photo of Zorro
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of wl0307
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
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!!!!

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.87/5  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.

Photo of John_M
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of jdhilt
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Photo of biegaman
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to tulip. Best before 13/12/2014.

A - Deep brown; almost completely opaque. One finger of light brown head.

S - Yeast esters, spice, brown sugar, clove and raisin.

T - Dark fruit, raisin, dates, spice, brown sugar, Belgian yeast and a slight chocolate flavour. very complex.

M - Medium body; creamy. Moderate carbonation.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of tobelerone
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More of a dark apricot/amber color than true brown; fluffy, fast-falling tan head; very little lace. Cloudy with a fair amount of floaties; disturbed a lot of yeasty chunks in the pour.

Sweet, fruity, yeasty aroma, very typically Belgian; nice spice; touch of sourness. Flavor follows the nose; very low bitterness; pleasant fruitiness with modest candy sugar sweetness. Well balanced with spices, dark fruits, faint booziness in the finish. Trace sourness and woody tannins. Quite tasty.

Solid carbonation; just a little sticky; lingering sweet and sour aftertaste. Slight alcohol warmth in the end. Very good BSDA.

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 flagmantho
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich, dark, cloudy brown with a finger of creamy tan head. Quite nice.

Smell: sweetish but subtle; there's a good chocolate aroma right at first, with a very light grainy element and some alcoholic fruitiness. There's a little dusty tobacco thrown in to boot; it's very nice indeed.

Taste: interestingly fruity; in addition to subtler dark fruits of date, fig and that ever-present tobacco, there's something oddly bananalike here too, although not in a hefeweizen kind of way. The sweetness and fruitiness are very good, but there's something here that just a little bit off to me.

Mouthfeel: medium-rich body with a silky smooth feel and a great creaminess. Wonderful.

Overall: I can't put my finger on why this beer is so weird to me. I like it a good deal, but I wouldn't say I love it. It's still a beer absolutely worth trying, however, perhaps especially for its weirdness.

Photo of DrJay
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours deep reddish hazy brown with an almost ridiculously large tan head. Dissipation sets into nice lacings, but rather quickly.

S: Sourness (in a very nice way) with loads of dark dried fruits. Sweetness. Green apples and lemon sezt. Smells almost like molds – like an Oud Bruin and a Strong Dark Ale had a love-child. Some oaky notes.

T: Again the cross between Oud Bruin and Belgian Strong Dark Ale – man this is something else. Sourness and dark dried fruity sweetness in a great combination. Vinous, like a well aged red wine.

M: Aftertaste is rather short and holds nice sour but also sweet notes. Body is medium to full while carbonation is moderate. Smooth and nice.

O: Like I wrote above – a fun mix between a Oud Bruin and this style. Fantastic.

Photo of Viggo
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
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!

Photo of Bighuge
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of cjgator3
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle

A- Poured into a chalice. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan colored head. After having a few other beers from this brewery in the past, I am not surprised to see a lot of yeast floaties in the glass. It takes some time getting used to the floaties, but their beer is so damn tasty it is easy to get used to.

S- The aroma litteraly made my mouth water in anticipation of tasting it. There is a ton of malt in the aroma, dark fruits, brown sugar, caramel and yeast.

T- The taste like the aroma is very malty with some caramel, brown sugar and a hint of alcohol in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This one is pretty damn drinkable for a beer pushing 10%. Overall, another solid beer from this wonderful brewery that is highly recommended.

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.

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...

Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle says best before end of 2008. Served in a chalice, the beer pours a brown/ruby red color with about a half inch tan head. It smells like dark fruit, pepper, raisins and caramel. It tastes just like it smells, and it has a nice spicy, peppery finish. Mouthfeel is medium, it's smooth and a bit creamy, and it has a lot of carbonation (but not too much). Drinkability is good, but this is definitely a sipping beer. Overall, I think this is a pretty decent beer.

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

The pour a clear deep garnet, the head pythonic in size, frothy, long lasting, the lace in lusty sheets that last till the last drop is wringed from the bottom of the glass. Nose has a nice sweet malt aroma along with hints of over ripe plums, earthy, exceptionally "Sniffable". Front is engagingly sweet, the top light, the finish is forcefully acidic, cleverly hopped, the aftertaste droughty. A great beer, that deserves a try, the high ABV, not really noticeable, but the 25.4 ounces in a setting can be a bit overwhelming!

Photo of spinrsx
3.99/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for 3.00$

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. It's too dark to make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, dark fruits, bananas, anise

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel/butterscotch and malts. There is also a light smokiness, some anise, and some dark fruit (dates/raisins) flavour. It ends with a malty dark fruit aftertaste.

Overall – Another winner from this brewer. A little bit more bitterness than I was expecting, but still a complex and interesting flavour. I picked up a dozen bottles to see is they change with some age. Worth picking up.

Photo of jrallen34
2.99/5  rDev -29%
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 avalon07
3.2/5  rDev -24%
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.

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 692 ratings.