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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.

650 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 650
Reviews: 500
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 34
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
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
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Ratings: 650 | Reviews: 500 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shiredave
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Shiredave, Oct 13, 2003
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have been waiting awhile to try this beer and the day has finally come. Solid brown in color with a big tan head that lasts and lasts. The smell is very malty and sweet with hints of raisins.

The taste is very strong in the front as it kind of hits you in the face with a sweet earthyness. The middle and end are extremely smooth and a bit buttery. I can't believe this is a 10% abv beer.

Everything about this beer is great. From the label to the bottle to the taste. I served this beer in a tulip glass, not sure if that is correct but it worked.

CharlesRiver, Oct 10, 2003
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This rare beauty pours an orange-tinted amber with a firm rocky beige head, and tons of sticky lace. The aroma is complex mix of crushed berries, damp earth, apples, sweet malt and light alcohol esters. A candy sweet flavor melds with fresh bread, caramel apples, mild lime-like bitterness, light pine, a hint of chocolate, and an ever so faint astringent camphor taste. A warming alcohol works its way through the crowded flavor field. The mouthfeel is buttery and smooth just after an initial fizzy effervescence. This should be a "must try" beer.

BeerResearcher, Oct 03, 2003
Photo of ManekiNeko
4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Capped and corked 750 mL bottle. Served chilled in a Raftsman tulip glass.

Appearance: Exploding and volcanic head! Over half of my glass was filled with bubbles! Reddish brown liquid topped with a tan head. Excellent retention and kickass lacing.

Smell: Very complex nose. Cherries, sweet candi sugars, cloves, pepper, and citrus aromas do the lambada in your nostrils (girlfriend's comment: Anything the does the lambada in any of my orifices sounds good to me). Man, my mouth was watering.

Taste: Belgian malty goodness balanced by cherry fruit flavors. Just a bit sweet, just a titch tart. No alcohol taste at all. Light herby/medicinal taste on the finish. Reminiscent of a lambic at some times, but not in a bad way (can there be a bad way?)

Mouthfeel: Great medium body, slightly thick. Slightly drying and palate cleansing. Very smooth, devilishly so.

Drinkability: Freeyow! I picked a good 'un for #50. I picked up an extra bottle of this for a trade just to make sure the supply wasn't skunked (green bottle, ya know). At $7 a pop, I'll definitely be picking up a few bottles of this for the cellar.

ManekiNeko, Sep 19, 2003
Photo of jeffboo
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm lookin for love in all the Grand Cru's and they seem to be lovin me back. This Cru finished # 2 in my tasting of 4 (of which all were incrediblly tasty).

This one was dark brown with a huge candy sugar aroma mixed with a sourish, spicy yeast. Smooth was the key word here, medium bodied with sweet dark fruit flavors (plums and cherries) with nice bubbly carbonation and a long fruity finish drying with cinnamon,vanilla and oak, and so very slightly acidic in a nice way. A very complex brew and very satisfying.

jeffboo, Sep 03, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - This one sports a nice dark brown body with a huge, tan head. The head showed amazing retention for such a big ABV ale and left some clingy lacing on the inside of my glass.

Smell - The nose started off with big sherry notes. After wading through that I was rewarding by a grocery store full of fruits. Everything from the dark, heavy guys like prunes and raisins to the light, summary ones like melons and star fruit. The quality malt backbone held things together quite nicely.

Taste - The malts are a bit bigger at the taste. They are brownish and incredibly easy on the palate. The plethora of fruits from the nose make it all the way to the tongue. There's also some light yeasty notes that are just heavenly. We close with some powdery Belgian spicing. Talk about complex!

Mouthfeel - Lots going on in there. There's just enough carbonation to please the tongue, the alcohol stings just a bit, and the sweet cherry taste salivates the mouth. This one is almost chewy in between the cheeks and is definitely full-bodied.

Drinkability - This one went down way too smoothly. I had a Rochefort 10 the other day and the difference in the sense of ABV is amazing. When you can smoke a quality beer like the Rochefort 10 you know you're good.

Comments - I asked my hop head wife, who detests Belgian beers, to give this one a taste. She reiterated that it's not "her style" but then added, "I can still tell that this is a good one, though." You can't hide the quality of this offering.

Update - I did my initial review of this ale less then a month after joining the site so decided to (figuratively) revisit the Abbaye des Rocs for 2004. Having now officially tasted and reviewed over 100 Belgian ales I've really come to recognize how truly remarkable this bottle is.

Update - It's been awhile since I updated this wonderful ale so popped a 2007 in 2008 and decided to compare. It is as great as ever and that collection of fruit flavors is unbelievable.

RoyalT, Aug 29, 2003
Photo of nomad
3.55/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a resplendent mahogany color, with a head that exploded and then fell faster than any beer I’ve ever seen. Had tons of carbonation so the cream-colored foamy head sat well. Surprisingly, had mediocre lace. Smelled of cherries, oak, and an alcohol scent, but rounded nicely. Taste was oaky from middle through finish, with a nice true cherry flavor up front. Tasted some roast and “green” flavors at the end – hops, yeast, both?. Left an oily and creamy coating on the tongue. A decent example of the style, but a bit basic and not as fascinating as some others (Allagash, hmmmm....)

nomad, Aug 08, 2003
Photo of frank4sail
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fruity caramel nose. On the initial pour there is a huge fluffy beige head. Deep plum color with lots of carbonation in the goblet. Rich regal smelling. Fruity mango-ish sweet malt taste. Rich smooth malty mouth. Quite full on the tongue as well. Overall very regal tasting. Rich, fruity, full and inviting. One to snuggle up to... Slight touch of white pepper in the finish. Nice.

frank4sail, Aug 08, 2003
Photo of jcalabre
3.45/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

orginally sampled on 25 March 2003. Huge white head w/ big bubbles & a slightly hazy golden brown color are the first things that catch your eye. It's very thick on the tongue, notes of honey & dried fruit abound. It has some complexity, but not on the order of some other well known beers. It's an elegant brew.

jcalabre, Jun 15, 2003
Photo of Wildman
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a very dark brown amber color and formed a huge bubbly off white head that left laticed lace as it subsided. A large amount of carbonation and some sediment is present. It has a wonderful aroma of malt, caramel, raisins and other fruit with a touch of pepper. A heavy flavor of malt, caramel, raisins and a warming touch of the alcohol. The finish is of a medium body and slightly sweet and creamy with a warm aspect of the alcohol present. Another one I wish we could see in Ohio with our new laws and I think I picked a winner for my 500th review.

Wildman, Jun 15, 2003
Photo of beerguy101
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Medium brown color. Medium head. Aroma is fruity and malty. Big bodied Belgian. Malty and very fruity. Traces of raisins, pears, peaches, apricots and more. Spices were coriander, peppers, brown sugar and chocolate. Extremely smooth, very creamy. Hides the 10% alcohol very well. There is a touch of an alcohol bite, but it could just be the peppers. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is very smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

beerguy101, Jun 09, 2003
Photo of marburg
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color with offwhite head -- not nearly as carbonated as I was expecting for some reason. Baskets of ripened plums. Sugary sweet aroma pushes into a sweet palate highlighted by the way roses might taste if one were to eat roses. Something of an herbal tea taste. While more fruity in aroma, very floral in taste -- if that makes sense. I suspect that the semi-sweet finish is derived from some type of hops -- not really bitter but not really sweet. Just delicately balanced. Chunks of yeast sediment settle around the bottom of the glass but are easily stirred -- gives the beer a slightly heavier feel as you gulp a little much of it at the end. All in all, the sweetness is a tad powerful. But considering the abv on this, it's impressively well done.

marburg, Jun 05, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes: 750ml corked and capped bottle

A very earthy and complex Grand Cru in my opinion. This beer poured a beautiful dark cherry/mahogany wood colour with a nice, foamy, white head. The aromas are of earth, spices, alcohol, yeast and malts. The taste is very creamy, caramelly, malty, earthy and spicy. The mouthfeel is very full and wonderful and the drinkability is excellent as well...
A real winner!

francisweizen, Apr 30, 2003
Photo of mzwolinski
4.97/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yippie! I’d been looking forward to this one for a while, but it takes a special occasion to break open a bottle this big of a brew this potent. On second thought, no it doesn’t. Being alive is occasion enough! Lovely garnet in color with some sediment floating about. Medium sized, light tan head fades to a moderate, creamy and persistent top. The aroma is simply to die for. Malty sweet, maybe a bit nutty, with a healthy dose of candi sugar and a deep fruitiness. God I love these Grand Cru’s. Taste starts off sweetly malty, perhaps just a bit toasty, then becomes fruity with an ever-so-slight hint of tartness. Lightly peppery toward the finish. Sheesh, is there alcohol in this beer at all? If there is, it’s damn hard to find amidst the big creamy and oh-so-smooth body. Delicious. Treat yourself to a bottle – if you haven’t done something to deserve it yet, this beer will certainly inspire you to do so!

mzwolinski, Apr 18, 2003
Photo of Bierman9
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Whoa! This bastard made me work for # 500!! (Ooops, this is an Abbaye bier, not Stone!). Not only a bottle cap, but then a cork! And it didn't give up the ghost easily, either!

This Cru has an oh-so-luscious ruby/garnet hue!! Damn, I love biers looking like that! Head is a light tan color, and very fine and creamy. It is a long-lasting, though thin, topping to the ruby lusciousness beneath, and lacing is quite nice, also.

The aroma is quite inviting, and you don't have to go searching for it. It's right there under your nose! It possesses a fruity, yet sweet lean to it. The sweetness reminiscent of candi-sugar, and the fruit like raisins and dates. And though it's 10% abv, I don't detect any of that strength in the nose.

The body was a pleasing, medium entry, and it had the typical bubbly/foamy/creamy feel of many good Belgians.

A lovely combination of the Belgian sweetness and dark fruit flavors attacks the palate, and I am only too willing to succumb to their forays! Take me! (Ladies, you've found one of my weak spots!). It is very nicely balanced between the two, with neither dominating the other. There's more! The malt, candi-sugar, and dark fruit combine for a menage-a-trois that is very satisfying! A swirl of the bottle and an addition of some yeasties adds a nice, sharp, little zing to the affair. I wish it (I?) could last longer! Mmmmm....a verrry nice bier! I scored this a while back, but thank VENOM for recommending that I hold on to it for a something special! Skol!!

overall: 4.5
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5


Bierman9, Mar 01, 2003
Photo of StevieW
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big 750 ml Euro bottle. Deep mahogoney roasted brown color. Subtle hints of ruby along the edges. Head was thick, dense, full, beige and creamy. Super smooth looking beer. Aromas of fruit, rum soaked rasins, and big malty sweetness. First taste had a shot of high abv heat. Settled into a creamy full malty sweet and balanced beer. Hints of plums, candied apples, rum soaked rasins, and full yeasty goodness. Lots of suspended particles, I think helped the alcohol settle down. Nice crisp, bitter finish. Then the alocohol presence shows again in your belly. Super smooth, creamy, full bodied beer. Silky. A top notch beer in every respect. Worth the wait, I've had it in my fridge now for 7 months. I will seek this one out again.

StevieW, Feb 09, 2003
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another fine example of a great style. Very creamy, full bodied and sweet. Alcohol not noticeable in taste, but in effect! Goes down easy, flavorful and subtle. Different enough to distinguish itself. An excellent Belgian, from a terrific brewery. Don't hesitate!

JohnnyDuvel, Jan 25, 2003
Photo of hyuga
4.97/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For my 100th review, I chose something from my favorite style that has been highly recommended to me. Let's see... Pours a deep mahogany brew, which is slightly hazy. A thick cream-colored head forms on top. A beautiful beer. The head retains quite well. Well, this has to be one of the best beer aromas I've ever smelled! All kinds of complexities in here. Most obvious I'd say is a sweet raisin aroma. Many spices are present that I wouldn't expect out of a beer in this style, but that just makes it all the more unique and wonderful. Kind of hard to place, but I'd say cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg... things like that. It's also very fruity, like passion fruit or something tropical. There's a hint of sourness in there as well. Maybe some banana? It's just a pleasure to sit back and take in this aroma! Now for the flavor. A wave of caramel sweetness with the aforementioned spice twang riding in on top enters your mouth ever so smoothly. A bit of hop bitterness is detectable when it hits the middle. Cherry bourbonish flavor. Dark fruits are present throughout (raisin and plum). Some berries here and there. Slightly bready in the malt department besides the caramel. Wonderful mouthfeel. Smooth, thick, and rich. The finish is just as smooth as the rest. I want to say it's full-bodied, but it's so subtle. I'd say medium-full. I would never have guessed at the 10% abv if I hadn't looked at the bottle. A great beer to relax with, incredibly drinkable. Overall, this is one of the best beers I've ever tasted! An excellent pick for my 100th, I must say. I'm speechless!

hyuga, Jan 22, 2003
Photo of mickeymac
4.97/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Now this is what Belgian beer is all about. It pours a beautiful reddish brown with a smallish head that disappears rather quickly. The smell is absolutely remarkable, with floral, fruit, and pepper/spice aromas on top of a slightly musty smell. I was almost afraid to start drinking it out of fear that I'd be left without that wonderful smell. However, the taste makes the next step more than worth it. Cherries, flowers, caramel, pepper, and a host of other flavors swim around and work together perfectly in this spectacular beer. The alcohol is warming but certainly not overwhelming; it doesn't taste or smell like a 10% beer. If you see this don't leave without out it. I can't wait to try the other beers from Abbaye des Rocs.

mickeymac, Jan 19, 2003
Photo of ipogios
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

To start with... the appearance of this beer is excellent. Pours a moderate brown colour which is topped with a nice head which settles rather easily. The smell is quite good with hints of caramel. The taste is simply STRONG and makes your mouth really feel this beer. A very good Dark Strong Ale with 10% alcohol level. Especially with this beer DON'T drink and drive

ipogios, Nov 29, 2002
Photo of putnam
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cherry brown liquid with a creamy, off-white head. Lots of moist chunks bobbing, frolicking in suspension. Mmmm.
The aromas are stunningly beautiful. Like a brunette. Polished, concentrated fresh cherry essence greets the nose and is supported by darker elements of charcoal, pencil shavings and baked black walnuts. Clean and dark.
Lazy, lilting berry fruit flavors occupy a wilting body of melting whipped cream-like texture. Nutshell bitterness gives structure without the help of any sourness at all. Very low acid, yet fresh. A Burgundian, delicate, powerful statement.
I wonder how this might pair with a ripe real Epoisses(?). A Taleggio in good condition might be easier to get a hand on though...

putnam, Nov 02, 2002
Photo of Gusler
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
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!

Gusler, Oct 25, 2002
Photo of John
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy brown with floating and suspended yeasties. Head is quickly reduced to a creamy, swirly layer of foam. Aroma consists primarily of dark ripe fruits, carmelized sugar and a whiff or two of alcohol. Initial taste is tart with tight carbonation. Mouthfeel smooths out as the brew warms. Flavors are a blend of fruity esters; raisins, prunes, dates and a bit of a yeasty tartness. A mild ethanol burn follows each sip. The sweetness of this beer has moments of stickiness, but is never cloying. Not quite as spicy as some grand crus, but a solid, very tasty dark Belgian strong ale.

John, Sep 12, 2002
Photo of marc77
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Two fingered, uniform off white head tops a clear dark ruby hued brew if decanted off the yeast. True lace is left down the glass. Crisp, vibrant fruity esters reminescent of slightly unripe raspberries and citrus in aroma, accompanied by sweet biscuit and notes of buttery malt. Heaty alcohol is perceptible only with a deep inhalation. As the brew breathes the aroma takes on a floral, red rose - like character. Very enticing, and highly appetizing aromawise. Fruity sweetness upfront in flavor yields to a light malt profile comprised of bready and buttery malt. Sweetness becomes floral and perfume like mid palate. When combined with the malt profile, I am reminded of raspberry preserves on rustic bread. Moderate to full in body, with a smooth mouthfeel lent both by the relatively low carbonation and residual dextrins. Hop bitterness is appropriately low and would only detract from the layered sweetness. Yeast fermentation byproducts are surprisingly mild and consist of trace green apple acetaldehyde only. Finishes pleasantly sweet, w/ lingering rose petal notes. Abbaye de Rocs has produced a stellar Grand Cru. It's complex and enjoyably sweet, yet unbelievably clean, with a striking deep floral character. The drinkability is simply unparalleled.

marc77, Sep 10, 2002
Photo of rosebud
4.97/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pure enjoyment from the 1st sip. The aroma was that of fresh baked fruitcake. The taste was like chocolate covered cherries, with it starting off sweet and finishing dry. The creamy texture stays in your mouth and in your glass forever. I took a chance on this beer and it was a chance worth taking, truly an amazing tripel, and a must have no matter what time of year.

rosebud, Jul 30, 2002
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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.