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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

509 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 509
Hads: 693
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 50
Gots: 38 | 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:
Beer added by: rosebud on 07-30-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 509 | Hads: 693
Photo of Sixpack595
3.62/5  rDev -14%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking ruby brew with a long lasting off white head. Aroma is biscuity, malty, sour and slightly fruity with a musty touch. Flavor is very complex whith overripe fruit, bannana, melon and more. The malty, sweet taste gives way to a spicy then sour finish. Mouthfeel is moderate. I rate it above average in taste and drinkability only because it is a very engaging beer. Theres so much going on that its hard to put down even if it does taste a bit funky. (460 characters)

Photo of IceAce
3.62/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml green bottle with a 'Best before end: 2007'

Pours a ruddy / hazy brown with moderate coagulation settling to the bottom of the glass. Light tan foam collar dissapates quickly leaving 20% lace on a beer-clean tulip.

Nose is rich with sweetly spiced apples and plums along with alcohol esters. Entry is an adventure with tiny-bubbled carbonation providing a wake-up call for the palate. Midtaste shows candi sugar, plums and alcohol soaked raisins.

The finish features a nicely funked earthy Belgian yeast fade with just a little warming of the throat from the 9.5% abv.

Many thanks to Brewfan for trading this to the Left Coast! (646 characters)

Photo of Rassputtin
3.61/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best by 16/10/2012

Pours deep brown. Inch of off white head moderate cling. Lots of suspended globlets.

Smells of tarty fruits but not quite sour. Carmal, malty.

Taste is fruity a little but ends carmally and malty. Strong aftertaste.

Mouthfeels is good, kind of dry
Decent beer not quite my style. (303 characters)

Photo of Eldyr
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Nice aroma and coloring. Banana notes and estery aromas and flavors typical of the Belgian Dark style. To much alcohol on the middle and end and the flavors in-between are lost to the strong alcohol. Somewhat of an astringent bitterness also that, while not overpowering, is noted in the middle taste. Likely a better winter beer than summer. Might be slightly better oaked or fresh from the tap. (396 characters)

Photo of tjthresh
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Rich malts and sugars, Belgian yeast character, all very subdued. Ruby/garnet with a lasting dirty white head. Nice clarity. Very soft flavor. It will kick you in the ass if you are not carefull. Lots of bubbles as it folls over the tongue. I enjoy this a lot. (260 characters)

Photo of argock
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11oz brown bottle into a clear oversized wine glass. Enjoy by 2011 date on side of label. Single purchased at Stein's Deli (New Orleans, LA) for $3.79. Review from notes.

A: Velvety brown with thin cap of off-white head and no lace rings.

S: Candy sugar and herbal hops are the most prominent, but sweet alcohol is also easily detected.

T: Very heavy and distinctive alcohol presence detracts from the overal whole. Herbal hops are layered on a very complex mix of sweet maltiness with more than a little candy sugar accentuation.

M: Medium-bodied with average carbonation for style with a highly alcoholic aftertaste.

D: This one NEEDS some cellar time -- too boozy for me but I bet it grows into something impressive. (738 characters)

Photo of nomad
3.56/5  rDev -15.4%
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....) (593 characters)

Photo of Reaper16
3.54/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

This is my second des Rocs beer of the night, and like the first one the Grand Cru comes hard with the gigantic, gross yeast/protein clumps. They look like genetic mutations. I'm pretty sure there was an entire episode of Fringe based around stopping these things from killing the world's population. These things are so big that the Vancouver Canucks should have been suiting them up at goalkeeper instead of Roberto Luongo. This is the Orbitz of beer. As for the color of the beer, it's a tawny, reddish brown. More red than brown when held to direct light. I poured this beer very, very gently, so as to prevent the man-sized floaties, so I generated next to no head. I won't hold that against the beer, especially considering that my strategy failed.

This actually smells damn good for a brown ale! Brown malt meets breadcrusts as the base, but touches of wild honey, cinnamon, and white flowers round things out. Very cool. My only complaint is that the aroma is too subdued. I like what's here, there just isn't very much of it.

Of course, as I say that about the aroma I want the very opposite thing done about the flavor. It's too spiced, too floral, too herbal. The malt character gets somewhat lost amidst the aggressive spices. But this is nitpicking. This is certainly an above average Belgian take on the Brown Ale. It ventures too close to being potpourri to be considered "good" though.

The mouthfeel here, if you can somehow strain the floaties out, is adequately spritzy with carbonation. Perhaps a little hollow in the body, but nothing too egregious.

Overall, this beer from Brasserie des Rocs is a vast improvement of their "Tripel Imperiale" that I had earlier tonight. This has more unique flavors and doesn't just rely on base sweetness. If you like brown ales then this is something you should go out and try. (1,878 characters)

Photo of keithmurray
3.51/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Duvel snifter

Appearance - Redish brown color, aggresive pour yielded no head. Lots of sediment floating around on this one

Smell - This smells sweet and rich, brown sugar, plums, raisins, red wine, grapes

Taste - Feels like I'm drinking red wine instead of a belgian brown. Red wine, grapes, booze is prominent

Mouthfeel - So much Sediment floating around in this one that the first couple of sips felt like a slushie, remove the sediment and the mouthfeel on this one is a bit thin for a Belgian ale, no carbonation to speak of here, which is puzzling me a bit

Drinkability - compared to other BSDA's I've had, this is far down the list in terms of beverage quality. I may have gotten a bottle that wasn't stored in optimal conditions, but with all the nice choices out there for BSDA's and factoring in the price (~$6 for 11.2 oz) I can't see myself re-visiting this one. (908 characters)

Photo of bunnyhustle
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Interesting beer...Pours rich brown into chalice glass with good thick head with great retention, very little lacing. Lots of sediment! I've never seen anything like this, I dont know if its this bottle of what but there are large chunks, the settle in the glass leaving the last drink undrinkable. Smell is of alcohol, yeast, bread, and sour tart fruit. Taste is good, they got something right here. Taste is of raisin and some alcohol, tart cherry, a bit of apple, and a warm caramel sensation as it goes down. Lower carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. This beer tasted good to me but I couldnt get over the large amount of sediment in the little 11.2 oz. bottle. (666 characters)

Photo of jcalabre
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
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. (312 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. bottle, review #1500, my 100th review was an Abbaye Des Rocs beer, so it seems appropriate for another milestone,

A: Pours a reddish copper brown with a very long lasting off-white head which was a real gusher upon opening.

S: Candi sugar, cake batter, molasses, reminiscent of Prior 8.

T: Definite dark fruit, raisins, cardamom, very yeasty. Too boozy for me on the back end, but classic Belgian flavours.

M: Medium-bodied, light ethanol burn going down, very soft carbonation.

D: A solid Belgian Dark, this needs some aging for sure to lessen the EtOH, not too drinkable at this point, but something to retry with a couple years on it. (651 characters)

Photo of trevorjn06
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is labeled as a "Belgian Special Brown Ale" and is 9.5% ABV. That's really all I know about this beer.

Pours a mahogany/dark copper with good clarity. A thick, tan head recedes quickly.

Aroma is dark fruits, raisins and figs with some caramels and very light toastiness. Fairly straight forward but pleasant.

Taste is a bit thin, it includes raisins, light fig and a bit of caramel. The finish is lacking of richness and leaves a thin, malty flavor with a slight phenolic edge. There are hints of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly syrupy on the finish.

Overall very underwhelming. Lacks complexity and is too sweet. (661 characters)

Photo of scooter231
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer has me going back and forth- I think I like it, then I think I don't. It's very pretty, pours a dark coppery red with lots of a creamy colored tan head, very inviting looking. The smell is orangey, with hints of other citrus flavors, and I get some almond in there as well.

Taste was a little disappointing to me after the smell- it's quite different. Coffee, chocolate, toffee, and some dark juicy fruityness. Way sweeter than I'd have thought. Mouth feel is nice, a bit heavy though. Not too much carbonation, but there's a sliiiight sour aftertaste that's not so tasty to me.

Overall I'd say this is a good beer, but the drinkability factor, not so much. It's too heavy, and way too sweet after a while- and it's just so bumming when things don't taste the way they smell, especially when you think they smell soooo good. (840 characters)

Photo of tomordonez
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It pours into a nice head. It comes with chunks of something other than yeast. Smells like raisins. Guess what, it has raisins. That tiny spec floating on top of the head is fermented raisin. Very nice smell. Medium carbonation with a heavy body. Very very rich. Too rich and too sweet. This could be a meal. I prefer the regular non grand cru. (344 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.4/5  rDev -19.2%

Bottle best before January 2016 (old?), listed as 9.5%:
Beer poured a medium brown, and as I was mid pour, I started seeing chunks of sediment (presumably yeast) flying into my glass. The yeast was suspended in the beer, not settled to the bottom (I don't think I shook the bottles any more than usual). Anyhow, this made the beer very cloudy as the yeast remained in suspension. I got a bit of head on the beer with the initial pour before I slowed it with the sediment. The head did not sustain.

The nose is light caramel or toffee, date, maybe hints of cinnamon and raisin. The taste is similar, a bit more sweet, like sugar in the raw, and a bit more like raisin than date. The taste is smooth, but overall the feel is fairly disappointing. The beer feels mostly flat and is a bit watery light, with the flavors coming at the front, and fading fairly quickly.

Disappointing beer overall, and I can only hope this is not a representative bottle. I have a couple more, so I will update my review if the others change my mind.

Follow up beer: had the same ugly presentation:, and the nose was about the same. The feel definitely improved as this bottle had some decent carbonation. Upped review from 3.3 to 3.4, still think I got a less-than ideal 4-pack, though. (1,277 characters)

Photo of becktone
3.38/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This Belgian Strong Dark pours an opaque cloudy light brown color. The head- cascading during and for a short amount of time after pour- is an off white tea stained color. The size and retention of the head are alright, lacing however could be improved. Compared to the other Belgian Strong Darks that I've had this one doesn't look quite as good.

The beer smells of dark fruits-perhaps raisins-, caramel and there is a faint smell of alcohol. The nose is all around is fairly weak and I think it could be improved if it were a bit more pronounced. Smells good, but again I've smelled better.

On the tongue this beer is pretty good one of the first things I notice is that the taste doesn't linger very long. This beer is pretty short lived on the palate. Lots of sweetness in the flavor of this beer. Sweet caramel and candi flavors abound in this beer, but it isn't as complex or nearly as good as others I've had. Alcohol is also apparent in the flavor and adds a nice dimension. The dark fruit aroma is somewhat precievable in the flavor, but isn't noticed unless its looked for. Overall this is a good brew, but it fell short of what I expected. Flavor of this beer is perhaps it's most redeeming quality.

As mentioned above this beer is short lived on the palate. I don't like that quality about this beer. It makes it too easy to drink and too easy to forget what it tasted like. The mouthfeel was a little lighter than I expected, espicially for such a big beer. I would buy this beer again, however with so many Belgian Strong Dark Ales that I've not yet tried this is one that I prolly won't be coming back to any time soon. Its good but not good enough to get me hooked on this specific beer.

Note: reviewed as listed stylistically on this site, I realize that this is not A Strong Dark but is really Brown Ale, ohh my first one. (1,852 characters)

Photo of soulgrowl
3.36/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: An unstoppable spray of foam emerges from the bottle upon opening, spilling more than half the beer on the floor. Great. Freshness date indicates that this is not a bad bottle, and it was not shaken. Pours a reddish chestnut color with a mockingly pathetic head.

Smell: Sour yeast, citric and estery hops, nice nutty malts.

Taste: Earthy, tart, leafy, kind of fruity. Not as complex as I would have hoped, but not bad. Something about this makes me want to pair it with Indian food. Overall, sweet and sour dominate, but the finish is quite yeasty and dry.

Mouthfeel: Flat, thin, powdery from the yeast.

Drinkability: I'd like to try this again, because I have a feeling this bottle was something of an aberration in all departments. Still, it is not a bad beer, and it hides its alcohol well. (817 characters)

Photo of BitterLover
3.35/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 1 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle. The "Best before end" year was 2008. I bought this bottle for my wife because she likes brown ales. But once she saw the floaters in it, she would have nothing to do with it. And this was even after the bottle had sat undisturbed in the back of my fridge for weeks.

A - Dark reddish mahogony color with a three fingers head (must have poured it too vigorously). The tan head died down pretty quickly tho, leaving just an 1/8" thick skin on the top of the beer that was speckled with darker flecks. Curious about these flecks, it was at this point that I noticed that the beer was chock full of some sort of sediment that looked like parsley flakes or something. It reminded me of the scene from "Strange Brew" where the boys poured the beer out of their dog's bowl into a glass for their Dad. :-)

S - Mostly smelled like brown, sticky stuff -- molassas, brown sugar, caramel and brandied fruit. Nice and malty.

T - Really sweet, with a faint sour note on the finish.

M - I'm trying to detect the copious flakes on my tongue, but I really can't. They must be very diaphanous and just melt. Very thick and heavy mouthfeel.

D - Too sweet for my taste, but I'm sure my wife would have liked it if it hadn't been for the detritus. (1,268 characters)

Photo of morebeergood
3.34/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a bottle at Bauer on Newbury Street for this past Friday night. After popping the cap, I got some overflow, not quite an explosion, but enough to spill down the sides. After letting it settle down a bit, I poured myself some into a Belgian chalice. Wow, there were a lot of chunks of yeast. Too many, almost to the point of distraction. I let the glass sit for a bit, and upon first taste, I liked it. The taste was of caramel and fruit, with a smoothness that hid the alcohol level. But those chunks, they are hard to ignore. For the second glass, I poured extremely slow, and most of the yeast stayed in the bottle. This was an enjoyable beer now. But the third and final glass was 1/3 yeast chunks, so not so great. This is a great tasting beer, but I think I'd only get it on draft, and never in a bottle again. (825 characters)

Photo of AltBock
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml capped dark green bottle that has a plain and simple label of a stone walkway that is probably located in Abbaye des Rocs. In front of this stone walkway is their brewery crest. The back of the bottle has a small square label that contains the US Government warning, brewery address, US importer, refund value, proper glassware, proper serving temp, barcode, and a "best before end" year. Mine was best before the year 2009.

Appearance: When this beer was poured into a Corsendonk Christams Ale goblet, I found out that this "special brown ale" apeeared to be a dark cranberry amber, but as it turned out, it was actually a golden amber color. I couldn't but notice that all through out the appearance, there were at leat a million chunks of yeast floating around. These chunks of yeast made the beer look filthy. Anyway, it had a nice sized creamy head of white (almost tan) colored foam. This head of foam was self rising. Once you would pour the beer, the head of foam would self rise and overflow the glass. It didn't matter how much you poured, it always over flowed. Hell, the head of foam even did that from the bottle. Let's just say that it annoying real fast.

Smell: It wasn't the most complexed smelling Belgian beer out there, but it was still very good, but an average quality. In the beginning the aroma was fruity, almost grape like. That was it until it was swirled around. That is where the fruits completely left the aroma and a milk chocolate like aroma with a small spatter of fruity hops behind that emerges. Surprisingly, with all the yeast chunks floating around, there was no yeast in the aroma. There wasn't even a faint whiff of it.

Taste: For a beer that smells fruity as much as this beer, the taste wasn't fruity at all. Instead it was lightly malted with faint sweet tea leaves, milk chocolate, and a quick splash of roasted citrus hops at the finish. And just like the aroma, surprisingly there was also no yeast in here. I couldn't figure out why it didn't come through. There weren't that many flavors in the taste to cover it up. The taste was kind of a let down. I honestly though there was going to be more flavors in the taste.

Mouthfeel: This beer had a simply slick mouthfeel! Where was the 9.50% ABV? It wasn't in the taste and it certainly wasn't in the mouthfeel. That was great and all, but there wasn't much of an aftertaste here. The only aftertaste was that of lightly toasted malts, tea, and yeast. Oh, so this is where the yeast comes into play. It's about time. Talk about being late.

Drinkability: I really felt that this beer didn't have much to offer, except for the fact that it masked its alcohol content. There wasn't much of an aroma to it and there wasn't much of a taste to it either. I know I said it before, but it's true. This beer was a let down. I won't be forking over any more money for this Belgian beer. (2,882 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 7/26/08. 33 cl bottle, I think it said best by 2/5/2008 but it was quite hard to read...in any event, an aged bottle. Pours a dark brown with a huge tan head. No floaties! Aroma of sweet fruit. Flavor of yeast and fruit. It seems that the age dulled any specific fruit notes, as I mostly just got general sweetness from it. I'd like to try this again, fresh, in a 750 as I think it would be a lot better. As it was, just ok.
7/4/6/4/13 (3.4/5) (455 characters)

Photo of BeerRun13
3.32/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a super cloudy amber/ dark orange... quite dark orange. Too much carbonation, as I had to really let this one settle after a gentle pour. Nice eggshell head with some good lace after it calms down. Some floaties in there.
Sweet in the nose. A little banana/clovelike.
Good flavor, but nothing special. Actually quite 1 or 2 dimmensional. Sweet banana/clovelike with maybe a touch of candi.
Full bodied and highly carbonated. Dry enough but the sweetness is still there. Almost cloying.
Over rated in my opinion. At least I scored another 11.2 oz bottle for homebrew (575 characters)

Photo of Prufrock
3.32/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

25.6 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

pours a nice mahogany with half an inch of white head. a touch of sediment.

earthy sweet aroma. caramel, yeast, some raisins and sugar.

malty, sweet and a touch alcoholic. thick and richly smooth. toffee, cherries, yeast, and a sweet alcoholic kick. sweetness and alcohol get to be a little overwhelming after a while. (365 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.2/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. Lots of floaties. There was a half inch of foamy head and virtually no lacing.

S: Not a whole lot of smell here. Some dark fruit and malt, but little else.

T: Tasted of malt, dark fruit (figs, etc.) and a little hops. Not nearly as bold, flavorful or complex as some of its Belgian brethren.

M: A very average amount of carbonation with a somewhat slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This one was not my favorite. Not the worst thing ever, but definitely not a winner. (558 characters)

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 509 ratings.