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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

666 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 666
Reviews: 503
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 35
Gots: 29 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jdhilt on 10-08-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 666 | Reviews: 503 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RoyalT
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
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 ManekiNeko
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
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 maxpower
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle pours a cloudy bright reddish-brown with a lot of floating yeast particles that has a nice creamy light brown head that lasts and leaves sticky sheets of lacing in my glass. Spicy ginger and chocolate aromas, ginger, nutmeg, pear, caramel, chocolate and plum flavors. Full bodied with a perfect soft and creamy mouthfeel, lasting spicy finish.

maxpower, Aug 20, 2005
Photo of Skidz
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
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 dgallina
4.93/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on-tap in an Abbaye Des Rocs chalice.

Arrived a completely clouded and yeasty pale red-brown. Strong effervescence with a small film of foam and huge amounts of clingy lacing. Smells massively yeasty and fruity; peppery biscuits intermingled with dark cherries and caramel malts. Complex interplay of flavors; zesty spices blended with yeast and abundant sweet cherries dipped in caramel. Finishes with a mellowing grainy dryness. Light, tingly, refreshing in the mouth.

One of the best beers I've had and a pleasingly different experience in the bottle and on-draft. The bottles have more wine-like acidity and are dryer, more champagne-like. The draft is intensely yeasty, with superb cherry and caramel malt notes.

dgallina, Jul 23, 2005
Photo of Vipsanius
4.93/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a copper color with an inch and a half fluffy merainge-like cream head. The bubbles in the head and lacing are very, very small. I don't know if I'm picking up on it because geologist in me, but the diameters of the bubbles resemble an igneous rock that has been cooled extremely rapidly to where the crystals didn't have time to form. Very interesting. The only downside to the appearance is that most of the lacing will disappear over time but its still great to look at.

The smell is amazing. Very complex. Sweet, fruity - (figs, plums, raisins, oranges), bread, rum, nuts, spices, herbs, mint...everytime you bring it to your nose you get something new.

The taste is the same. Many of the same flavors of the aroma. Extremely well balanced while being very complex. A very versatile beer. You could pair this with many food items and have it complement them extremely well.

This beer hides the 10% ABV very well. Maybe a slight too carbonated but it feels great otherwise. Very drinkable. So much so that you need to be careful with it given the 10% ABV.

Vipsanius, Apr 08, 2005
Photo of OStrungT
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pouts a murkey brown color with a slight red tint. It has a thick, fluffy yellow coor head. The head fades very slowly, leaving many laces.

This beer has a spicy aroma. I detect some fruity notes. Both citrus, and some dark fruits also. It has a slight nutty aroma. This beer has an earthy aroma also.

Wow, this beer tastes incredible. It tastes spicy. It also has a malty sweet flavor. Some fitrus fruit flavor is present. It tastes nutty. Some dark fruit is present also. The alcohol content is very well hidden.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a nutty, spicy aftertaste. This is one of the most well balanced beers I think I have ever had.

I think this beer might be a good session beer. The problem is the alcohol might creep up on you. It is very easy to drink though.

Overall: Wow. This beer is great. It might be one of the best Belgians I have ever had.

OStrungT, Aug 23, 2006
Photo of rxharr6
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I purchased several bottles of this beer as my favorite little beer store was going out of business. I have been very fond of the Brasserie Des Rocs Triple and was curious about their other fare.
As I begin to post reviews here it will become clear that I am very fond of beers designed to get the good brothers through long fasts and an otherwise stoic existence by providing mana in a bottle, or cask as the case may be.
Much has been made of the sediment found in this beer and it has been characterized as a negative. For my part, the crystal beer varieties are easily arrived at using filteration of what might otherwise be unpleasant lees and provide little poetry to the overall experience of consumption. Indeed, a fine, unfiltered Belgian such as this is eaten rather than simply drunk.
This ale opens to give forth a telling vapor of yeasty sour fragrance that would surely start the fasting friar salivating. When poured, truley there comes forth a cloudy liquid the goldenbrown color of alfalfa honey. Poured into a wide mouthed vessel the fragrance expands to a rich pantry of bakers delights. The local monastary specializes in Fruitcake here and while the frangrance is not quite so sweet as that it isevery bit as complex. I recall memories of making hot mash for frigid horse on a winters day or shoveling fermented corn silage in the early morning as the sweet sour steam roles off the receiving wagon.
Then the first sip. The beer is inded chunky on the teeth and tongue but it bursts forth with a satisfying sourdough, molasses bread coated with brown sugar and sauted pears to finish with a sharp crisp baked apple dumpling.
This beer isn't a drink, it is a meal. It should be nibbled in small, fully experienced sips on the back porch at sunset with a plate of stinky cheese and fruit. If you can be in the woods or a small village with cobble stone streets, all the better!

rxharr6, Aug 10, 2008
Photo of jeff1973
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a Moinette challis. Best before date of 10/16/2012.

A - Dark ruby red. Light tan heads leaves pretty good lacing. A lot of yeast "floaties" throughout beer, not just in the bottom of the bottle.

S - Dark ripe fruit (plums, cherries), touch of licorice.

T - Dark fruit explosion. Lots of cherry, very juicy. Taste then mellows out to acidic wine-like flavor with a touch of licorice before drying out nicely to cut the sweetness.

M - Medium carbonation. Medium mouthfeel. These contrast enough to make the beer refreshing and complex at the same time.

D - Medium high and dangerously so.

Great beer! Very complex taste and mouthfeel. Really coats the mouth with all the great flavors without being too heavy.

jeff1973, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of drperm
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle.
I'm getting conflicting information on the retired status of this brew; I truly hope it is NOT retired -- it's too good to see it disappear!
One of the most well-crafted, well-rounded Belgian Strong Ales I've ever had. Full of complex fruit and honey notes, but enough balance to not be too sweet. Heavenly.

drperm, Apr 28, 2008
Photo of Flightoficarus
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type - Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my Chimay Goblet.

Appearance - A smooth pour reveals a murky, brown ale, with visible yeast sediments floating around. Little foaming, which leaves a nice lacing.

Smell - I smell dark fruits, brown sugar, molasses, and I'm not quite sure what else, but the overall impression is a sweet, spicy, complex aroma.

Taste - Mmm! Now this is good! Taste is on the sweet side, with flavors the smell would initially suggest. I taste brown sugar, molasses, and a candy like flavor, with mild dark fruit and spicy overtones. Very enjoyable. The 9.5% ABV is well hidden too.

Mouthfeel - As the appearance initially suggested, there is a pretty yeasty feel to this beer in the mouth. Medium bodied, little carbonation, and a nice, creamy feel.

Drinkability - Like a good Belgian beer, decievingly delicious for it's ABV, and while not a session beer by any means, very, very easy to drink for a strong ale.

Overall - This one just became a new favorite of mine. I'll definitely be buying this one again!

Flightoficarus, Oct 13, 2009
Photo of alysmith4
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

This is truly an exceptional beer. Tried it at a new Belgian gastro-pub in DC called "Granville Moore's." It was recommended by the server after we tried a few other styles and described to her what we were looking for. She gave us this and it hit the mark.. and then some! Poured an amber body, with an off-white head. Smell was of cherry, caramel, and citrus - perhaps lime? The taste was incredible. Soft and chewy, with a fruity, yet creamy, mouthfeel. So well balanced, and so satisfying. I could have had 5 more. Definitely worth a try if you can get your hands on one.

alysmith4, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Maduro in Madison, WI. Poured generously into an oversized St. Bernardus glass for only $3 per.

Appearance: Satanic velvet completely ensanguined within a rouge mantle. Head is tan and creamy, but thin (probably due to the glass). Lacing is above average, mostly clinging to the sides of the glass. Again, I feel that this glass is inappropriate for this beer. It doesn’t agitate enough. Still, the Grand Cru is a looker. The color is undoubtedly perfect and damned sexy. Carbonation is minuscule and compact.

Nose: Balanced and succinct within the aroma lay some very divergent notes ranging from lemon cookies to earth, cinnamon to plums, and sour orange to candied sugar. Everything fits together like a Lego set. Everything screams drinkable. Nothing even whispers “9.5%.”

Taste: Reminiscent of my first experiences with the St. Bernie 12, I have a hard time placing my palate on particular flavors. I am certain of dark and tropical fruits, candied sugar, cocoa, and plenty of spice but this beer is admonishing me not to get into specifics. Everything is so well blended and balanced it has become difficult to distinguish one flavor from another. Instead this masterpiece is all about feel and drinkability. Both it has in spades.

Mouthfeel: No hint at ABV. Full bodied but drinkable as if it were very light. Defining of the term luscious. Velvety. Rich and complex but not overwhelming. Lightly spicy finish.

Drinkability: One of the most drinkable beers I’ve ever had (top 5 of all time drinkable).

DaPeculierDane, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Carefully poured from a long-standing bottle its body is a brilliant dark ruby/chestnut beneath a creamy cap of off-white (almost tan) foam. The head retention is quite good, and it leaves splashes of lace about the glass. The nose combines a sweetish, caramel-dripped and subtly buttery biscuit-like maltiness with some fairly bold fruitiness (flashes of orange, raspberries, cherry, and a waft of lime). It's airy in the mouth with a combination of dextrinous mouthfeel and CO2 breakout that billows up softly and then fades away with just a light zest on the palate. A richer maltiness and some exceptionally nice, delicately spicy alcohol appear in the flavor; as well as some floral hop notes and wider range of fruitiness (papaya, cocoanut and pineapple perhaps?, and some green apple). It's much more balanced (less sweet) than the standard Abbaye Des Rocs; and it offers exceptional drinkability with a certain level of richness and complexity that does not overwhelm the tastebuds but certainly keeps you coming back for more. It finishes dry with some lingering alcohol spice (although the alcohol never hinders!) and maltiness that reminds you of the beautiful flavors you've just savored. This is an exceptional beer that probably deserves more notoriety, and should not be missed. Brilliant!

NeroFiddled, Aug 17, 2004
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Brasserie Des Rocs Grand Cru has a thin, fizzy, root beer-like, beige head, a reddish-brown, appearance, with lots of big, solid, gray-brown chunks suspended throughout, and no lacing. Some of the smaller chunks are left behind, clinging to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of rich, sweet fruit (figs, dates, fruit cake), candy sugar, chocolate powder, cellar mold, bread crust, and moss. Taste is of sweet, rich fruit, lighter chocolate, bread, cotton candy, fruit cake, grape skin, brandy wine, nougat, nuts, slightly piney hop bitterness, and there is an underlying alcohol flavor. Mouthfeel is medium, and one can feel the big solid particles entering the mouth. There is a lot of carbonation prickle, and one will develop a heavy burp. Brasserie De Rocs Grand Cru finishes dry, ultra sweet, and bready. Overall, this is an epic beer, and one that an enthusiast must try!

RJT

RonaldTheriot, Jul 26, 2013
Photo of dnichols
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I shared a waxed, capped and corked bottle with friends while making a home brew of abbey style beer. We shared a 1.5 L wax capped and corked bottle.

AL It poured a strawberry brown tinted body with a mighty two finger off white head that didn't linger long and left a stringy, leggy lacing. There were massive amount of floaters dancing in the glass.

S: There were pronounced aromas of a variety of fruits including lemons, tangerines and cherries. The fruits were supported by a sweet light malt that was present throughout the experience.

T: WOW!!! The sweet malts and major sweet ripe fruits make this a real taste treat. This is as complex as any Belgium I have experienced. It is smooth and rich with a wonderfully clean finish.

M: There was a lively carbonation that make this light to medium bodied brew dance in my mouth. It was smooth, sweet and had an awesomely clean and crisp body with a refreshing finish that make me want more.

D: I had no problem polishing off the bottle and lusting for more. This is a rare bread of Belgium's that is complex enough to make anyone addicted to having just "one more glass" yet high enough ABV to pack a punch.

dnichols, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of wl0307
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
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!!!!

wl0307, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of ElGuapo
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours to a beautiful dark amber brown that really shows off red tones as it is held to the light. It is covered in a thick mass of tannish foam that holds up for a very long time and leaves lace all over the glass. As soon as I popped the cork, sweet fruity aromas jumped out of the bottle. After the first pour, they hit me again and harder. Cherries and raspberries with a touch of caramel and some spices. With another whiff, I picked up some roasty aromas as well as a rich sweet maltiness.

The flavor is initially sweet with a lot of dark fruit character. Black cherries mixed with raspberries all sitting in a backround of rich malts. Roasty flavors come in next with an ever so subtle burnt flavor. Toasty breads come in to the mix near the finish which is aided by a hint of alcohol. The aftertaste leaves me begging for more as it brings all of its complexity back together and wraps it up with a roasted ending. Each swallow seems to pick up more flavor. The body is rich and full, but not thick. Carbonation is mild, just right. It is silky smooth and creamy, making for a great mouthfeel. The alcohol is very well hidden, and when it comes in, its flavor benefits the beer's character. It has a nice warming quality. It is as drinkable as they come, and I am wishing for more after each sip.

This is simply an amazing beer. The drive and service I dealt with to get this were very unpleasant, but I just may have to do it again. This is a not to miss beer.

ElGuapo, Feb 11, 2004
Photo of peabody
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Man, reading the reviews on this it seems not everyone has the same love for the flavor as I do. This has to be the best thing I have swilled around in my mouth ever. It has a slightly sweet flavor with a spicy aftertaste. I am new to the finer beers of the world, but am learning. The smells are fantastic but the taste has to be the best thing going for it. I could sit and drink two or three bottles of this. I guess it is back to the beer store for some more of this
great beer.

peabody, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of Vyvyan
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%

Vyvyan, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of david131
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Okay, I had heard that this is a yeasty monster and should be poured very carefully. I let this sit for a few months, undisturbed, and poured it with the utmost care, but I still had massive amounts of yeast chunks floating around in here.

A- Pretty unique looking, even aside from the yeast chunks. A murky brown looking beer when sitting there, but when held to a light it becomes a beautiful deep murky orange. The head is very creamy looking and off white with excellent retention. If it weren't for the yeasties, this would be a huge winner.

S- Very complex with brown sugar, candy, bread, some olives, a tad bit of vegetable, and dark fruit. Not the most aromatic beer, but wow... I think I am in love.

T- Sweet and very complex with all of the above mentioned. There is a wonderful balance all the aspects of the beer. For close to 10% ABV, the booze is not nearly as noticeable as I would have anticipated. Very well done.

M- Outlandishly creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. The yeasties are not noticeable in the mouth, but then again I am still drinking the first half of the bottle.

D- If it weren't for those damn massive yeast floaters, I would be all about this... hell I still am all about it, even if it isn't the prettiest beverage. The deliciousness of this far overrides the 10% ABV. This is going to be a fast one.

david131, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of ccrida
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Popping a cap on my 750 ml (best before 08, with "I 601" written below - beermail me if you know what that means!), the foams starts gushing over the edge requiring a quick pour - luckily I had my glass on hand, the tulip shaped tasting glass from Michael Jackson's set, which I'm really warming up too...anyways, the Grand Cru has a firm, 1/2 glass tall head, that is light tan with tons of tight, small bubbles. It was slow to subside and left lots of thick, bubbly, foamy lace. The color is a dark, slightly cloudy garnet with tons of gelatinous looking yeast in suspension.
The aroma is really nice, lots of grape and cinnamon, sweet and boozy, but not as robust as I would have liked.
The taste is really nice, wow! I love it. More grape, honey, caramel malt, vanilla, yeasty and vinous, with more depth and less sweet then the nose. The finish is a bit bitter with a warm, but not hot taste of alcohol. Also, a slighty, woody taste but not oak, more like what I would imagine a sherry barrel aged would taste like - although i've never had one and have no idea if this was. My first thought was cork, but then I realized that this bottle was capped!
The mouthfeel is nice and light, though not nearly as active as the head would lead you to believe. The suspended yeast are also clearly present, which I could see being a real turn off to some. You can feel them, but they disintegrate against the tongue. I like my beers yeasty, but I'd prefer if it settled out.
The drinkability of this is really high for me, from taste alone. The aftertaste is moderate but fair from obliterating the palate, and the alcohol is easily lost in the shuffle. The light body also really helps. And for those afraid of yeast, all the vitamin B really comes in handy the next day if you overindulge, which is easy to do with as fine a brew as this!
Bottom like, the Gran Cru is just awesome. I've been drinking some great beers lately, but this is really fantastic, right up my alley. The taste reminds me a bit of the new Pelican Grand Cru, which I was lucky enough to taste at a Barelywine and Strong Ales festival last weekend. The irony is that beer is brewed 60 miles from my house and cost twice as much at the grocery store as this Belgian OG - thats right, I grew up listening to ganster rap, bitches!

ccrida, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
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 27, 2004
Photo of drpimento
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, truly exceptional beer! Especially well balanced. Poured with a nice tan frothy, textured head with brown highlights; lace is the same way. Nice nose of malt, caramel, vanilla, lots of dark ripe fruit like dates, raisins, cherries, blackberries, peaches. Tastes likewise, but, more of course. Very velvety texture. Ditto drinkability. No indication of alcohol. Does seem to have needed decanting; however, I didn't eat my wheaties this morning....

drpimento, Mar 22, 2007
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.

jakester, Nov 29, 2005
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 666 ratings.