1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

650 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 650
Reviews: 500
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 34
Gots: 25 | FT: 0
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 650 | Reviews: 500 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of waughbrew
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A glowing maple with a head that is sizzly at first with quick-rising bubbles keeping it afloat. It settles and fades a bit early, but leaves a little lace behind. The aroma is very strong. In fact, my friend walked into the room just after I popped the cork, and could smell it from five feet away. I really do not want to list all of the things I found to be in the aroma or flavor, because it would be long and do it little justice. Suffice it to say that there is a little bit of everything in this brew, and it is blended perfectly - the sweetness, the spiciness, the fruitiness, the alcohol, the body, the feel, and a very impressive drinkability for such a strong beer. Divine.

waughbrew, Apr 03, 2005
Photo of longarm
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dingy opaque orange occasionally clears enough to reveal thick chunks of yeast scattered throughout the glass. Thick carbonation and rocky foam settles into a noticeable head roughly 1/2" thick.

Aroma is sweet, a little musty and somewhat reminiscent of green apples. Alcohol takes-over the nose a little too much for me.

Flavor has strong elements of cider, layered over raisins and something that reminds me of carrot cake. This was extremely odd and needed several sips, but that's what I noticed. Somewhat tart at the finish. But wait, there's more....new flavors arrive on subsequent sips this time oranges, lemons and a grassy finish somewhat bitter from the hops. Occasionally it reminds me of dandelions. When the hops arrive they arrive by themselves, noble, subtle and distinct.

Full and fluffy, it coats extremely well. No complaints here.

This improved exponentially as it warmed to the recommended serving temp. It's my own fault for initially serving it 10 degrees cooler, but I guess I'll have to live and learn. It didn't affect the above review. At 52 degrees, it was wonderfully complex with wave after wave of different flavors surprising me at each sip. A first class beer and well worth the price. Like many Belgian ales, flavors become even more complex and interesting if paired with the right food.

longarm, Apr 02, 2005
Photo of twilight
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yum Yum YUM!

The beer is a deep dark candy apple red with hints of brown and a large head upon pouring. Of course, the head dissipates, but leaves a layer of foam resting above the glass.

The nose... Plums, raisins, sugar, a faint hint of orange, wrapped up in a fresh field.

The taste is a slight grassiness with fruits in the background an a lingering fermented sweetness that is kind of like wine but without the grapes. I think it may have to do with the alcohol pushing through the malty goodness, and mixing with the barley and the yeast, and, and, and...

This beer is goood. Haven't had something like this in quite a while, and this one doesn't disappoint. Melts like sugar in one's mouth and coats the tongue with a lingering grassiness.

Give me more! Give me more! Drinkability is high only because I'm saying screw the alcohol level. Let's drink this all night until we fall asleep in our glasses...

twilight, Mar 31, 2005
Photo of lou91
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer immediately gave off a great nose of candi sugar and spices - -esp. coriander and poured beautifully. Brown yet radiant, the look and smell made my mouth water. The mouthfeel was wonderful – silky smooth with great flavors of coriander, raisins and
Candy apples all in an easy to drink package. It’s been a while since I had this beer and it is much smoother than I remembered. The aftertaste lingers pleasantly. Its good they make the 12oz since it would be too easy to drink a whole 750 ml. Got it at Plumpjack for 4 bucks.

lou91, Mar 14, 2005
Photo of gimmehead
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very pretty burgundy brown with a cream colored head and multitudes of yeast floaters. Aroma is dominated by a sugary sweetness, subtle fruity esters and alcoholic undertones. Big rich malt flavor, lightly hopped. There is a soft lingering vinous quality that I love. The alcohol is well blended, noticeable but not overwhelming. Thick and full bodied.

gimmehead, Mar 13, 2005
Photo of ngandhi
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is what only the Belgians can do. Of all the world's beers, Abbaye de Rocs Grand Cru is perhaps the most arrogant name, but it lives up to its image as wine. Vinous as hell without being particularly grapey (like many strong, dark Belgian beers are), the Grand Cru is closest to an old vintage port. Spicy alcohol and sweet red berry fruit flavors are well balanced with a dry finish of cocoa powder and the slightest but most welcome Starburst-like tartness. The alcohol and yeast lend flavor and creamy, supple texture without ever being heady, astringent, or offensive in any way. The carbonation is soft, but present enough to resemble some acidty.

Relax, relax.
ng

ngandhi, Feb 28, 2005
Photo of 99bottles
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

99bottles, Feb 24, 2005
Photo of mntlover
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark burnt orange and hazy with a nice tan head that falls to a cap of foam that leaves behind some lace.
Aroma is floral sweet and fruity raisins, grapes, apples, prunes some melon mixed with light spice inviting and tastey.
Taste is like aroma its sweet, floral almost, mix with toffee and caramel candy like sweetness and fruity goodness raisin, apple mix then some carbonation appears front stage as it leaves their is a linger spice cinnamon and pepper mix with some hops that are also spicey in nature.
Mouthfeel is smooth carbonation about perfect but seems a little light for some reason.
Drinkability is good alcohol well hidden just a warming sensation is all that is felt a nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale but hard for me to see why its rated as high as it is good no doubt but not the best by anymeans.

mntlover, Feb 23, 2005
Photo of Skidz
4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out a nice orange-brown and sits a deep, burnt, reddish-brown in the glass with a massive light tan head. Fades slowly to a thick, creamy glob of head that doesn't budge on bit. Sticks to the side of the glass like paparazzi to the side of a limosine.

Smells enormously fruity, packed with rhubarb, apples, green grapes, oranges, mangoes, pineapple and passion fruit. Caramel drips from every corner and is dusted with cinnamon. Potently floral aroms brings daffodils, tulips and roses to the nose. Mild peppery spiciness as well. Sha-boom.

Tastes full and malty up front, boasting a dominate caramel presence with hints of toffee. Fruits are more subdued, golden raisins, dates, canned peaches and apples flow freely, but are well well mixed within the malts. A bright hop spiciness provides a nice grassy pepperiness to balacne everything off. Some wooden flavors reside, giving off a touch of maple and just a bit of nuttiness as well, mainly almonds and walnut. Finish is nicely bittered yet mild, with hints of tropical fruits poking out, but fading quickly.

Absolutely orgasmic in the mouth. Smooth, creamy....so soft. Carbonation rolls around like nerf balls. Nice, full body, putting out every ounce of flavora and aroma this beer has to offer.

I have been thoroughly impressed by this beer. Words would fail to express my love of this beer, so I will simply express it in an array of symbols that may or may not mean anything:  ₫   ◦ ▬  ▒ ≡  ☼

Skidz, Feb 16, 2005
Photo of TastyTaste
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

25.4 ounces of green glass bottle, very fancy looking, all capped and corked. Very loud pop when the cork is pulled. Pours a dark but crystal clear and brilliant cranberry/scarlet color. Very light tan head is massive, even after a conservative pour. Smell is rich and earthy, spicy and sweet. Light alcohol in the nose. Taste is full and satisfying. Bitter and slightly musty, so much going on throughtout the beer which ends mucgh drier than it starts. Very warming on a cold February day. Excellent beer, demolishes many others in the style.

TastyTaste, Feb 15, 2005
Photo of troutmask96
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the beer that sparked my beeradvocate.com membership. I just had to post a review to profess my love for my new favorite beer.

I purchased a single bottle of this brew from my local bottle shop and poured it into my snifter. Tight, dark tan head with lingering foam. As I raised the glass to my nose and took my first whiff, I knew I was in for a real treat. A veritable cornucopia of spicy fragrances burst into my nostrils and I had to take my first sip.

Wow.

Smooth, spicy, sweet, with no lingering bitterness or alcohol aftertaste. The only lingering attribute was the world-class flavor.

I promised myself that I would save any 5-star ratings for only world-class characteristics, but this beer gets just about everything right. Unforgettable...

troutmask96, Feb 10, 2005
Photo of faernt
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours pretty after the crown cap and cork are removed. I like the care of the "belt and suspenders" approach. The 750 ml bottle conditioned presentation allows the choice of several tastes of the same beer (with and without the yeast) I chose the yeast at the end but for starts I poured the clear version. That is what I called "pretty". The head is tight and very slightly green. I read the cork to say 065/759976. If anyone reads this review (and I have no reason to believe that anyone really does) and you know what these numbers mean....let me know.

The beer.... she looks good (nice tight head). The nose has a little anise in it. The taste is bitter then sweet but mostly bitter. I say it tries to taste like a dubbel ( which is one of my favorite tastes) but with all this bitterness I look to some food to pair this extremely noticable taste with. It's too bitter alone and makes me think this is a food beer. I expected a drink by itself beer but not so.

I like this beer but am dissappointed by the bitterness. It is too present. The Abbaye des Rocs Belgian Burgundy is much better alone and I assume with food. Whoo Hoo to the dubbel once again. The dubbel trumps the Grand Cru.

faernt, Feb 04, 2005
Photo of FormatKid
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and capped 750ml bottle. I’ve had this one before but let’s just say my palate wasn’t very acute after a full day of beer festing. Do yourself a favor, don’t try to get the cork out of this one without the proper implement, it’s a rugged one. When poured out into my La Trappe goblet the body of this beer is ruby brown and hazy, topped with a meringue like head of off-white foam. Flecks of sediment can be seen sinking to the bottom. This is one delicious smelling beer, lot of vinous notes with hints of brandy soaked fruit. Sweet malt, toffee, and spicy, musty, delicious yeast. The flavor is candy sweet without being cloying. There is a pear-like fruitiness across the front of my palate, combined with suprising sweet coffee like notes. Then that flavor that I often Belgian Strong Darks that I refer to as dates rolled in attic dust, I love it really. The finish is musty, nutty and delicious, with a robust spicy alcohol punch. What a really great frickin’ beer…one that I will definitely be picking up again.

FormatKid, Jan 29, 2005
Photo of yankeeheel
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Half Time for carrying this beer. Pours a moderately clear brown with a super thick beige head. Retention and lacing are as good as it gets. Just a beautiful beer. Smells lightly orangey with a bit of ginger. Perhaps a bit of bread but not overly yeasty. Inviting. Mildly fruity in it's malt. Almost like a light bock, but different. Hints of milk chocolate pop in and out. Peppery, fuity, funky. Finishes mildly tart and a hint of yeast twang dryness. Everything about this is understated. It's sublime.

yankeeheel, Jan 23, 2005
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very impressive head. Massive. After a minute it breaks up into huge rocky chunks but still manages to maintain its mass. Really impressive. Beautiful garnet red color. The yeast is a bring down though. Big huge chunks of yeast even after 2 weeks in the fridge and a careful pour.

Very impressive nose. Definately some Belgian spiceyness but mingles nicely with big fruity esters and a light candi sweetness. Get just a touch of ethanol in the nose too. Very nice.

Very nice flavor. Earthy and peppery and just enough sweetness to mellow everything out. This is the real Dr.Pepper!! Very nice. Just a touch harsh in the finish. Just a touch. The alcohol is well concealed. You feel it on your breath rather than taste it. Not 'hot' at all. Definately feel it in your mouth after a while though too. But still very nice. Actually, maybe that's some of the harshness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is right on for the style. Fairly light with high carbonation.

Dangerously drinkalbe for such a big beer!

Really stood up nicely against the lamb shanks my roomate made for dinner. And its hard to stand up to the meatiest of meats.

cerevisiaephilus, Jan 22, 2005
Photo of Dogbrick
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at From The Vine beer tasting Jan 14th, 2005: Hazy amber with a thick and foamy beige head. Decent lacing. The aroma is sweet with malt, yeast and melon. Full-bodied, creamy and satisfying with a complex array of flavors from ginger, caramel and malt to fruit and even chocolate. I was blown away by how flavorful even a small glass of this was. The finish is sweet and lingering with roasted malt and spices (cinnamon, figs). Outstanding Belgian!

Dogbrick, Jan 17, 2005
Photo of bruachan
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cloudy deep garnet with a thick head that dissipated into a spotted coating. caramel and toffee on the nose, with some floral hops. dried cherries and other dark fruit bring a tart flavor that is slightly refreshing along with the nice carbonation. noticeable bitterness with a nutty finish. ooh! i could drink it all night (weekend)

bruachan, Jan 16, 2005
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown with a nice off-white head. Aroma isn't strong (surprisingly), slightly sweet and malty. Flavor- alcohol profile on top of a nice brown ale at first. In fact, at first, I couldn't get past the alcohol and wasn't going to like it at all. However, it's a good thing I am a patient person. Because, as sometimes happens, it gets better (ok, much better), more complex (dark bready and spices, among others) , and more balanced as it warms towards room temperature. Mouthfeel is nice and bold, but the alcohol profile still holds it back at he end (for me).

Dukeofearl, Jan 08, 2005
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 GCBrewingCo
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice deep amber brown with a slight haze and a low compact head which quickly retreated to the edges of the beer's surface but stayed around to lace the glass.

The aroma was divine and deeply malty. A strong bready/biscuit presence wafted from the surface followed by a deep dark fruitiness of raisins and prunes. Some higher alcohols enhance the fruity esters and lead to a subdued yet present spice of cloves in the complex aroma.

The flavor was malty with dark caramel and dark fruits. The fruits were raisins and prunes in a complex blend. The spice was more refined in the flavor that in the aroma and a definite belgian yeast character adds to the mix. The same bready/biscuit nature from the aroma carries through to the flavor. The alcohol was present but does not detract from the flavor at all.

The finish was dry with a warming alcohol, dark fruits and spice lasting pleasantly long into the aftertaste. The body was medium full and well done contributing beautifully to the complexity of the beer.

750 ml deep green bottle, capped and corked.

GCBrewingCo, Oct 26, 2004
Photo of clvand0
4.78/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber color with a nice head and nice retention. Leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is malty and fruity. Orange mostly, some yeast, and some alcohol. Very nice aroma. The flavor was malty and sweet but very well balance with a subtle hop character. The mouthfeel and drinkability for this beer are great.

clvand0, Oct 25, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
4.78/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The one poured a nice amber red color with one finger of head. The nose is both sweet and spicey, with some cherries coming through most prominently. The taste is great, a nice peppery spice, sweet caramel, sweet cherry. A treat to be consumed. The mouthfeel was moderate to thick. Drnkability is huge on this. I will be getting a few more of these next time I see them.

kmpitz2, Oct 24, 2004
Photo of bditty187
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown in hue with noticeable tawny influences, when held to a light a lovely ruby tint develops. At this point I could notice some suspended yeast sediment in the dense liquid. The head was beige in color, frothy, at the apex of the foam reached almost two fingers in height. Head retention was decent, after a few moments it faded to a modest cap. This cap lasted the entire consumption, impressive. However, subsequent lacing wasn’t that impressive, there were a few patches and that was about all. Still the appearance is excellent. Eye-candy. Sometimes the potency of the nose in “big beers” is disappointing to me, it is never as lively as I like. Very few Belgian beers have lived up to my expectations when it comes to pure potency of the bouquet. I am very pleasant to say, the power of the smells of this ale is second to none! Wow! The nose has strong malty aromas. Not only is the malt deep, it is very wide with so many layers! At no time does the malt standalone. The sweet chocolate is infused with cinnamon and orange. Sugar cookies. Coffee cakes soaked in OSA, you pick the vintage. Yeasty. Lemony at the back with a trace of mustiness. To say this nose is inviting is an understatement. I don’t take sips of the beer until I’m done writing about the nose. I seriously had to force the glass away from my mouth. But finally, I’m done writing and I can take a drink. Allow me to pause… The palate is very, very good. I thought Abbaye Des Rocs was fantastic. While I’m not going to compare the two, I will say the palate of the Grand Cru is not as impressive. With that said, the palate is surprisingly spicy. Cinnamon, ginger, coriander, peppery qualities too that play devilishly well with the fruitiness. Melons, grapes, figs, and dates laced with brandy, dusted with brown sugar. There is a doughiness that reminds me of OSA bread I made once. Oranges stand alone from the other fruit as it comes off with a liqueur quality to it. The malt is not as deep as the nose lead on, I am disappointed about that; yes, I like the sweetness of the chocolate but I need more than that. Sure the maltiness is nothing to complain about, beside that I find it a tickle shallow. Since the rest of this beer is near perfection whining about the malt seems to be nitpicking. Maybe it is. But I did anyway. The aftertaste is modestly hot; this is the only point of the beer that the alcohol seems noticeable. But no way does it come across at 10% abv. Otherwise the aftertaste is a mix of fruit and spice. Very nice, it reminds me of alcoholic marmalade. Is it complex? Yes… but it could be more multifaceted. Would I drink this again? Hell yes! But seriously, more malt backbone is needed. Medium in body, fizzy carbonation that plays perfectly with the spice and fruit; I am very impressed, however, it is too thin. The mouthfeel has fizz but no pizzazz. I really enjoyed this beer. It is great. I understand why this beer is in the BA Top 15. Amazingly tasty and equally as drinkable but, me personally, give me the “regular” Abbaye Des Rocs! I purchased a bottle in Burnsville, MN for $8.40. Recommended.

bditty187, Oct 22, 2004
Photo of ADR
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark burgundy color, clear and transmitting attractive red light. Head is creamy and holds at just under 1/2 an inch. Intricate lacing, very nice-looking beer here. Aromatic, slightly yeasty and sugary at the same time, dark plummy elements with sassy nutmeg. Mouthfeel is lightish and carbonation is lively if a little too overdone and fussy. Flavor is as complex as the aroma, raucous mix of fruit, rum overtones, decided spices including fresh-ground black pepper. Finishes with a flourish, and just a slightly detectable alcohol note. An impressive brew, actually I prefer the regular Abbaye Des Rocs -- it seems to flow more evenly and its construction is more seemless and slightly better balanced.

Later note: Too much protein/yeast glop seems to plague a lot of bottles of this beer as of late.

ADR, Oct 17, 2004
Photo of rastaman
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle, thanks to mat. Just tasted like regular Abbaye des rcos, which is a good thing, great fruitcake, spice aroma, great hous yeast. Gotta love this stuff. Well, yes of course it seemed a little sweeter and fuller than the regular, but there isn't a huge difference.

rastaman, Oct 01, 2004
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 650 ratings.