1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

670 Ratings
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

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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 670 | Reviews: 503 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of humulusphile
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of rkhaze
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a slightly hazy red/amber. Medium sized dense and rocky tan head. Lots of suspended yeast and carbonation. Big aromas. Earthy sweet malt, sticky fruits (red and tropical) a port like woodiness and tart yeast.
Gutsy flavor bordering on musty before all the malt, ripe fruits and herbal notes kick in. Brown sugar sweetness and a fortified wine alcohol note. Hints of nuts, wood and yeast in the finish. Exceptional melange of flavors.
Medium bodied with a soft carbonation that makes this a very drinkable offering. The 10% alcohol is hidden well until it warms up the stomach. Very well done.

Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color matches my dark orange credit card almost perfectly. Half a finger of matching head drops of the chart without a lace

Some oranges and chewy Flintstones multi vitamins, sweet molasses and yeast banging off of my nostrils, quite the nose

Heavy wet bread, sourdough yeast. Some belgian candy and a hint of garden vegetable, with a little black pepper. Really thin though for what I was expecting

Medium to heavy bodied ale, some syrupy texture with a hint of warmth mentioning the alcohol within

Overall a solid beer. I highly recommend it. Not too expensive either at 11 bones.

Photo of Southernbrew
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Coca-cola brown with a BIG, soft, bubbly head.

Aroma is all fruit and a little alcohol. A strong cherry aroma really stands out, almost lambic-like.

Full bodied and quite smooth. A huge bouquet of flavors emerges. It starts off with fruit flavors including cherries, apricots and mybe a little apple. It then develops a sweet, brown sugar flavor on top of the fruitiness. A brief, weak alcohol flavor flashes through, but not especially noticable. It finishes with a rich, sweet fruit and alcohol flavor leaving the drinker in a mellow ecstasy.

This is the best Belgian I have yet to try. A sheer pleasure to drink. The only drawback is the large bottle and high alcohol content.

A big thank you to Rajendra82 for the trade!

Photo of dreadnatty08
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured over my sink due to extreme fizziness. Pours a dark amber, opaque, can't see a damn thing through it. Off white head dissapates to about nothing quickly. Aromas are very yeasty and barnyard like, some super funk going on. Flavors are a rush of craziness. Not altogether really sweet, a little bitterness and some sourness in the finish. A little too funky for me, rather go with a Rochefort 10 (dissimiliar style?). Mouthfeel is lighter than expected, not so heavy and syrupy as other strong Belgians. This beer is basically a loaf of bread in flavor, not sure if I enjoy that (I have excellent nearby local bread I'd rather eat). Alcohol isn't too discerning, but is warming. Still not quite sure if this "Special Brown" is in fact the same as the original, but still a good brew IMO.

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

Nice big gusher!

Settled down into a murky, brown color... giant head, but I had to pour fast. After a few minutes there was a nice fluffy head... excellent swirl and stick.

Complex nose with maple, fig, apricot, chocolate, yeast, spice, banana, orange... Huge and wonderful.

Pretty nice mouthfeel... silky upfront, full... a little alcohol bite on the back.

Bready smooth and yeasty flavor. Some good cola notes and a sweet finish.

Great beer.

Photo of 99bottles
4.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: On-tap at Monk's. This came in a small tulip and had a nice orange-brown body. The beer itself was quite cloudy, with tannish yellow yeast giving the body a lighter apperance. A fine head of tan lace soon faded to a thin veil.

Smell: This had a very rich nose of sugary fruit like plum, fig and cherry. Some candied sugars and a syrupy sweetness also hint the nose.

Taste: This is intracite. There are so many flavors going on in this beer, that it's difficult to single them out. More of the dark fruit, sweet and also slightly sour, with some help from the spiciness of phenols. A neat burst of tropical esters like pineapple and mango mix into the taste. There are even some faintly bitter hops in the finish. It's unmistakably Belgian with the taste of residual yeast, creamy and satisfying.

Mouthfeel: Good balance for a beer of this much flavor. Never cloying, not overly heavy. Nice amount of carbonation given the body.

Drinkability: Very nicely put together, this beer is satisfying and complex. It's certainly one worth seeking out.

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

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. I drank it in a goblet. Expiry date of 2008(!) stamped on the label. Label also tells me to drink it @52-56degrees, and to drink it in a tulip glass (which I don't have).

Pours a cloudy brownish red with big chunks of yeast floaters. Looks like the real McCoy! A huge four finger head of beige colored foam forms on top. The head eventually falls to a nice coating and a ring, with excellent lacing all the way down.

Aroma is a very complex combination of chocolate, coffee, molasses, burnt brown sugar, apples, cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, yeast, and Belgian funk all rolled into one. Can't wait to taste it! Yeasty/funkyness increases as it warms.

First flavor is (WOW) sweet, dark, burnt malt, then the dark fruits like cherries, plums and dates, followed by a slight phenolic, way in the back. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and allspice bring up the rear. Aftertaste is fruity, spicy, sweet, and a little warm. Fantastic! Flavors improve as it warms, even though I started to drink it @ 55 degrees.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, smooth and creamy, with a pretty good zing in your mouth from carbonation. Lips stick together from sweetness. Fantastic burps!. Finish is sweet, sticky, and warm.

I can't wait to get to UJ's for another one of these. This is a truly awesome beer, well worth the price of admission. I hope I can get it in a 750.

Photo of gmcfarre
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into St. Bernardus Chalice

A - Upon opening, the foam immediately started developing inside this beer. Not pouring out like a poorly handled Duvel, just developing. A careful pour revels a chestnut hued brown with a dense light tan head that is slow to fade. Lacing is surprisingly minimal.

S - Scent is strong on spicy and yeasty traditional Belgian flavors. Plum, raisin and maybe even date provide intense dark fruit aromas. A slight touch of molasses and alcohol add to the complexity. Not too sweet and nicely balanced. A pleasure to just sit and smell.

T - Starts with a mild dose of sweetness and the above mentioned dark fruit flavors. Transitions to a nice spicy flavor with strong yeast notes. Alcohol is slightly noticeable with a bite, but it works well with the other flavors. Maybe a little bit nutty. Well balanced and certainly enjoyable.

M - Medium bodied with a high and pleasant amount of carbonation. Smooth on the palate with a slight mouth coating feel. Finishes slightly dry with a bit of a steely aftertaste.

D - A thoroughly enjoyable Belgian strong dark ale. Normally I enjoy the strong pale ales better, but I could drink this one everyday. Alcohol is not a factor for such a high ABV beer. Pick one up if you can find it.

Photo of almychristopher
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this beer pours a reddish brown with an awful lot of floaties and a decent amount of off white head that fades slowly to a ring of lace. the aroma gives a lot of fruity esters with a distinct tart backing. the taste delivers a lot of earthy fruity roasted goodness. the dry finish and the low carbonation make this treat almost dessert like. it's pretty drinkable for a belgian, but not something I'd drink every day...

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

Appearance: Reddish amber, dark brown body. Very impressive thick and creamy tan head

Nose: Sweet malty nose. licorice. fruity phenols and some Christmas spice. Like a winter warmer with some kick.

Taste: Cherries, apples, prunes, toffee, and licorice. A very malty Belgian. Dry finish with a very nice pepper aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy mouthfeel. Slightly creamy. Medium carbonation.

A good Belgian strong dark ale that's on the malty side of things.

Photo of WeissBoy
4/5  rDev -5%

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

330 ml bottle, BB says 28. August 2012, into 180 ml Chimay chalice designed for tasting aged Chimay blue. Pours deep copper-brown body with coarse yeast particles, topped by thick beige airy head that dies out in a minute or so and exhibits even less duration with the later pours. Aroma is rich sherry-like malty sweetness with honeyish notes and unrefined sugar (although the beer is pure-malt one without sugar added), fruity esters of plum and raisin and peppery phenolics. Some barely noticeable spicy alcohol. Flavor is rich , almost Munich-type like malty sweetness with bready notes, dried dark fruits, peppery phenolics and light bitterness toward the finish which is surprisingly dry for a such sweet, malt inclined brew. Medium to full bodied, viscous and creamy with soft carbonation and alcohol warmth.
Abbaye des Rocs remains one of my favorite breweries although their dark strong ales are are somewhat alike and hardly distinguishable.

Photo of doppelmeup
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this from a small bottle with best before date of sometime in 2008.

This is one of the chunkiest beers I've seen. In spite of a careful pour into my tulip glass, this beer is chock full of chunks. Medium auburn colored, with a half inch head that dissipates to leave an eighth inch thich covering which remains throughout. The lacing tends to be chunky as well.

Not as yeasty as other Belgians I've had. Very fruity. Hints of clemintine oranges, cloves, honey, sugar cane, and yeast. Definitely on the sweet side. As it warms, the alcohol starts to come through.

Tasted delicious, and very similar to the aroma. Honey, oranges, yeast, some malt and a very slight alcoholicy bitterness to the finish.

You could feel the alcohol as you drank it, even though it was well hidden in the taste. Moderately thick and very warming.. Bitter, alcoholicy finish. My brain kept telling me I could feel the chunks, but I don't think I really could.

This was an excellent beer. I was a bit put off by the chunkiness at first, but then quickly got over it as I tasted this beer. The high ABV means drink with caution. Nice beer, especially for a treat as it is a bit on the expensive side compared to other beer.

Photo of tharper178
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of WetCoaster
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
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 phishgator
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a wide mouthed goblet. The color is brown; there are a great deal of perticles in the brew and it has a large gushing foamy head. The smell is of rasins, chocolate, and pumpernickel bread. The taste is sweet and slightly tart upfront. Then there is alcohol soaked dried fruits and it finishes with a crisp dry edge. The body is big and filling. There is a lot of belgian sugar in this and I can taste the hangover if I were to stick to only this all night.

I like their beers and this is one that everyone should try.

Photo of snpub540
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost jumped out of the bottle as I started to pour. Was a caramel brown with copper highlights. Eggshell colored head that was very active before settling to a ring of bubbles that left some delicate lacing on the glass. Sediment is also there.

Smell was of malts, caramel, and candy sugar. Not very strong, seemed sort of subdued.

Taste was great. Very vinous in character. Strong alcohol presence with a roasted quality. Also raisin in there as well.

Mouthfeel was almost velvety and went down amazingly smooth. For the amount of alcohol it was not at all harsh. Alcohol does creep but it is a very good beer.

Photo of techdiver
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy mahogany with a big bubbly head that dissipated rather quickly.

Molasses, plum and sour fruit to the nose.

Sweet malt taste with mild hops. Well balanced, not overly complex.

Medium bodied, great carbonation.

Very drinkable, but the Triple Imperiale is still the tops.

Photo of ryanonline
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark brown pour and and a very big spritzy head that doesnt stick around and leaves little on the glass.

raisins and figs on the nose, maybe some dark cherries. toffee? i can't tell its got a lot of carbonation.

taste is the same but more earthy and sweet(brown sugar).

slightly creamy but too foamy for my taste.

too foamy and a little heavy, but not bad.

mine had a lot of sediment, i don't know if thats normal....?

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

From a 750ml bottle. This beer poured a hazy reddish brown color with a 1 inch light tan head. The beer left some nice lacing on the side of my Duvel glass. The aroma was sweet, candyish and spicy in the nose. Taste was wonderfully malty and fruity with notes of spices, honey and maple syrup. This brew was medium bodied and very easy to drink. The alcohol was just barely noticeable as the beer warmed. Another winner from Abbaye des Rocs and a bargain at 6.99 a bottle.

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

Absolutely beautifull to look at. Deep, burgandy color , foamy light tan head receeds to a thin cap and clings in clumps on the glass. Aroma is fruity and floral, intensely sweet with hints of cooked macaroni and earthy damp moss notes. Lush and smooth, lightly scorched malt enveloping the tongue with rich fruity flavors of cherrys and grapes dipped in liquid sugar. Hopping is subtle but noticable near the end with a great blend of dryness and dark grain bite mixing with the delicious sweetness and a unique doughy character.
Full bodied with incredibly intense, complex flavors Ive found in no other beer. A truely remarkable and highly recomended Grand Cru, however, I drank a full bottle on my own ( it was just too good to stop!) and it put me on my butt. Enjoy with food and friends is my advice.

Photo of Myst
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of BigJTrucker
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured some of this 750 into a glass snifter, Lots of yeasty floaties, even with a careful pour.

Head settles surprisingly quickly.

Aroma is fairly fruity with bits of caramel & yeast.

Taste is very yeasty, fruity, and lots of malt.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly fizzy.

Not my favorite Belgian strong, but it's pretty good. At 9.5%, i doubt I could finish this whole 750 by myself tonight.

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.