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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.

659 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 659
Reviews: 502
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 35
Gots: 27 | 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
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Ratings: 659 | Reviews: 502 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of feloniousmonk
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The cork is off, there's no turning back, in we go...

A lovely, hazy tumult of deep auburn colored brew pours into my glass, joined by a Brobdignagian layer of fizzy, creamy, off-orange foam. Looks good so far, I'm tingling so far.

Aroma: lemon...biscuits...orange...must...sour...but sweet...cinnamon...a spiced lemon cookie, to wrap it succinctly. Nice. Lively, luscious, in an utterly other realm than any other beer I've ever sniffed.

Taste...Good Idea, let's!
Oh, it's happening again! A shockwave of pleasure engulfs and enwraps my body and all the senses. Certainly very winey in flavor, but uniquely beery, too! Softly peppery, deep in dark fruit (besides grape, we wander among fields of cherries, berries, melons), it's a grand melange, a masterful marriage of flavors. There's something uplifting here, something that sets my soul free, something that happens in few brews, and you know it when you feel it, and it's happening now! Something ancient exists in this, a collection of metaphysical passages through the centuries. It feels light at times, deep at others, citric for a stage, then a touch woody, even oaky, showing some malt, as if peeking through peepholes in a glimpse through time itself.

If my remarks seem grandiose, forgive this foolish ale imbiber, for there's simply no better way to transmit the feelings this glorious brew delivers than to let imagination soar, and transplant the sensations into corresponding comments that may seem at times beyond the ordinary. So be it, for this beer is...I'm still drinking, it's still changing, tasting sweeter now, with a sharp candyish feel, still an underlying layer of tart. The tongue dances and darts, utterly delighted by the play it encounters from this frisky brew.

Sweet, deep, dark, toffee-ish, completely original, a meal in a bottle, a dream trapped under a cork, ...

Oh, so very, very, very wonderful!
I wish it would never end.

feloniousmonk, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well strap me to a tree and call me Brenda. There it was – in between the Cantillon and Fantôme - Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru, a new and very welcome addition to the Wine Country in Long Beach. An old friend, a dear old friend that I had met several times in Belgium, even at his home during a Brewery Visit at Easter 2000 when I stayed in Poperinge. It was just marvelous to see that distinctive bottle again – the first time since I had come to the USA.

Presented in a 750ml green glass wine style bottle. The neck label and crown cap have the Abbaye des Rocs Coat of Arms. The cork was easily extracted, but surprisingly it had no date on it – I am sure previous examples did. The main label has the distinctive AdR generic label, with red writing in this instance. 10% Alc. /Vol. listed, recommended serving temperature 55°F (12.8°C)

Awesome Appearance - Sheer Perfection. It does not get any better than this. A veritable perfectly unbroken sheer smooth velvety tan-beige head sits atop the lucid reddish-brown body. Streamers throughout the beer. Incredible lacing. The use of my Westvleteren Glass is highly warranted.

Beautiful aromas, the winged angelic arms of the beers odors reach out and wrap themselves around your head – they pull you closer like a mother pulls her child into her Bosom. Deeply inhaled this is the nasal elixir of life – the whiffs of rich enticing malts, dark alcohols, fruits and sweet candy lick the edges of your nose invitingly. The Tastes are a marvelous emulsion of rich malts, fruits, herbs and spices – Fuck It ! - I need 10,000 words to describe this beer!!!

A lady of the night, the AdR GC treats you well in the mouth. It immerses your aural cavity in immense pleasure; it licks at your extremities – leaving you with a real buzzed feel. You know it’s so wrong to enjoy this.

It’s 10% and you would never know it. Smooth, silky and lubricated to the max, this goes down oh, so well.

Sheer brilliance – splendid, marvelous, supreme…just fucking brilliant and worth way in excess of the measly $6.99 I paid for it. You want to know what a Belgium Grand Cru is? – look no further than Abbaye des Rocs.

How you can I possibly say this beer can be better?
I tried - Honestly – I did try – but I just can’t!!!

This surely is one of the best Belgium Grand Cru’s.
The hairs on the back of my neck are still standing up!!!

Review #666 - More Beer Vicar?? Vicar !

TheLongBeachBum, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of maybrick
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color, Balance, Nose, and taste. this has it all. I was reminded of eating cotton candy. You know how you get the big sugar taste all to have it disappear? This is what this beer reminded me of.

Definetly big alcohol content. As it warms, the nose and and the taste intensify. The brew is very bright yet has a lot of yeast in the bottom of the bottle. One of the most remarkable Grand Cru's I've ever had.

Cheers! - Maybrick

maybrick, Nov 17, 2003
Photo of moulefrite
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brownish ruby in color with a nose that screams: "I'm the finest chocolate covered cherry you'll ever come across." Not alot of head or lace retention though, but the taste is knock out! Again, chocolate covered cherries. Gobs of kirsch liquor, bitter chocolate-the good stuff, and throw in a freshly laundered horse blanket to keep this one honest! A rather fruit driven offering with delicious malt flavors and a very fine velvety texture. This sucker goes down easy and gets tastier as it goes down. As the beer finishes it displays a hot buttered rhum like profile. Good heat, slick texture and a hint of spice. If this don't warm ya up, I don't know what will.

moulefrite, Nov 09, 2003
Photo of saltydog
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Before I get to the specific review, let me note that Grand Cru is NOT a style. It simply means the best beer from the brewery. The fact that this beer, Rodenbach Grand Cru, and Hoegaarden Grand Cru are all listed in the same category proves how useless the definition is. This beer is more of an strong belgian ale, with a color right on the border between pale and dark. Appearance: Beautiful reddish-orange color. Big, thick, creamy had, with very good retention, and noticeable lace. Aroma: complex spiciness, and a candy-like sweetness. Flavor: sweet, caramel, with a balancing tartness and spiciness. Mouthfeel: creamy, rich, with a nice dryness from the spicing in finish. Drinkability: The delicate balancing act that this beer performs makes it incredibly easy to drink for such a strong beer.

saltydog, Oct 31, 2003
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a thick tannish head. A beautiful deep garnet color with a slight chill haze to it. This beer smells fruity (apricot being the most predominant aroma, followed by orange). There is a certain candy sweet aroma as well, maybe a hint of butterscotch. This beer has an outstanding aroma and I could just sniff it for ages. As I sniff it the head has barely lost its 2 inch thickness, it is well carbonated. There is a bit of maltiness in the aroma as well. It is definitely well carbonated tasting as well. It is lightly sweet, with a fruitiness that was promised in the nose. There is both a candied apricot and orange flavor here. There is also a slight sense of the alcohol in this one. The taste doesn't quite live up to the aroma but this beer still need to warm up a bit. I detect a hint of astringency in the finish, there seems to be some nice Belgian yeast fermentation byproducts here as well. The beer has some slight Belgian lacing in evidence as I slowly work my way to the bottom of the glass. As it warms up the beer becomes softer, though the alcohol is still evident. Becomes sweeter and maltier. the beer color clears up a bit as it warms too, it displays some nice orange hues as it is held up to the light.

Gueuzedude, Oct 27, 2003
Photo of Stingray5
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 was a tough cork to pop, but with a little elbow grease she was extracted without incident. Oh was it worth the effort, as i poured this deep red goodness into the glasses. "I can't drink this!" proclaimed my wife, reacting to the large amount of floaties in her glass. "Smell it" I retorted, and she was quickly convinced, due to the rich caramel, dark fruit and sweet huckleberry pie aromas. First sip reveals the uber-smooth texture of this brew. Rich caramel malt, prunes, light pepper, and spices abound. Sweetness in the finish. Alcohol is felt but not heard. I just can't find any more words to describe this. It simply needs to be tasted.

This was my wife's first true Belgian beer. I couldn't be happier that I chose this as her introduction. My first Abbaye des Rocs, and far from my last. Finally, perfection!

Stingray5, Oct 27, 2003
Photo of BierReise
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked bottle. Deep amber with a reddish hue and tan head. Superb aroma of fruit and malty caramel. Dried figs,cherries and something nutty. Lively carbonated mouthfeel and a full body. Has a nice warming sensation. This is a high quality Belgian. Nice.

BierReise, Oct 23, 2003
Photo of aracauna
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This had a great cherry and cotton candy aroma on the nose. The beer has a nice head on it with the color hinting at cherries as well. The cherry was a little less apparent in the flavor but the candy sugar flavor ther, almost a brown sugar flavor. It was a little too sweet almost.

aracauna, Oct 13, 2003
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
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 659 ratings.