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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

509 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 509
Hads: 703
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 12.35%
Wants: 53
Gots: 41 | 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:
Beer added by: rosebud on 07-30-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (9) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 509 | Hads: 703
Photo of kegerator
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

from the first pour to the last drop, what a nice beer.
at first glance and taste all i could think was westy 8.
poured out a hazy brown with a beautiful fizzy but frothy head. the head was creamy white to off white and about 1 inch or so, it left great lacing thoughout...
smell was very malty, light spice in the far back, sugars, and slight alcohol.
taste was superior, at first sip i got hit with malt which seemed to have a chocolate taste, then it hit with some port and sugars and warmed the mouth and the throat as it went down.
this was one outstanding ride. very very similar to westy 8 in my opinion and at 7.99 a 750 compared to 8.99 for a 12ounce bottle of westy this dog will hunt. I will definitley be drinking this one over and over.

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Photo of taez555
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a hazy reddish brown body with a fluffy tan/off-white head.

The nose was a mix of wood, phenols, huge malt smells, alcohol, sweet sugar, raisins, plums, port wine, candy, old soaked wooden barrels, touches of whiskey and green earth.

The taste was medium to full bodied. Raisins, plums, port, wood. Big malts. It actually tastes a lot like I’m sucking on planks from an old sailing ship from the 1800’s. Caramel, phenols, alcohol, brown sugar, soft earthy bitterness. Much much much better as it warms, I’d probably not chill this bottle at all if I had it again.

An interesting beer. I’m not really crazy about it. Very sweet and malty, it actually kind of reminded me of a cross between a barleywine and classic belgian. Nice beer, just not my cup of tea.

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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.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The 750 ml. green bottle was distinguished looking with a cap underlain by a cork. The cork was very large and broke my corkscrew from its handle while trying to pull it out. A trusty pair of pliers was able to extricate them anyway. The beer, when poured in the goblet, displayed a deep red color with a 1 ½ inch tall, off-white head, and a fine onrush of bubbles underneath. The smell is reminiscent of raisins, cherries, plums, and hay. The taste is also quite fruity with notes of apples, cherries, rum-raisins, as well as some vanilla, and chocolate. There is also some hoppy dryness in there. The mouthfeel is buttery smooth, and rich. The 10 percent by volume alcohol is very well covered. I was expecting this brew to be a lot more complex, but this turned out to be quite one-dimensional. May be a few more years on the remaining bottle will eat up more of the residual sugars and generate some complexity.

Update: The beer is now available in 330 ml. four packs in Georgia, so I decided to try it again (since I had traded away that other 750 ml. bottle picked up in Chattanooga). Either the beer was more fresh, or my palette had evolved, but gone was the cloying sweetness that bothered me so much last time. Instead this bottle displayed a perfect balance between sweet, spicy, tart, yeasty, and bitter flavors. 9.5% ABV was not evident anywhere in the taste. I certainly enjoyed it a lot better this time. And the heady carbonation, and the resulting full burps were an outstanding finishing touch. And there was no way to sip this one. It just begged to be quaffed. Liquid Crack.

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Photo of ark57
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great find at Monk's back bar. It poured a clear, dark brown with some reddish tint and a good light head. The aroma is malty and has a lot of dark ripe fruit. It starts with the dark fruit (plum and raisin especiall) and then it gets a little spicy with some anise and a touch of choclate and caramel. It was exquisitley smooth and went great with dessert.

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Photo of truthbrew
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on-tap at the Blue Nile (3/30/04).

Muddy brown color with fluffy, thick tan head. The keg at the Blue Nile was just transported and the beer was quite cloudy. Aroma was minimal but good, malty sweetness was evident. Excellent carbonation level, felt like millions of very small bubbles, not sharp at all. Reminded me of cask conditioned carbonation, though more of it. For a 10%ABV, a very easy to drink and well balanced beer.

Very cool having this beer on-tap, thanks to FeloniousMonk for getting a keg of this for the Nile.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in a big-ol' 750ml bottle, capped and corked. Poured into a goblet, it had a murky brown hue with a large creamy biege head that slowly dwindled down, leaving modest bits of lace behind.
Wow, what a mix of aromas in this nose! Hearty, earthy malts, quite yeasty, with notes of dark fruits, a hint of chocolate and a solid slap of alcohol. The taste was every bit as complex as the nose. Sweet, with candy sugar, plums and prunes first. Then a strong bready malt flavor and some woody flavoring. Lastly came the potent alcohol punch, leaving a trail of warmth down the throat and settling into the belly.
The feel was full, round and creamy, no doubt due to the fine effervescence. Overall, quite a tasty strong dark ale. I can't envision drinking it very often, but for a special occasion it would be great.

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Photo of Foxman
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a rich, hazy dark amber, almost brown, and is exceedingly carbonated and lively. An explosive four fingers of frothy beige head erupts, then lingers long, dwindling slowly, creating a considerable wait before the lips can get to it without wearing a bubbly moustache. Sticky veils of lacing cling statically to the inside of the glass.

The aroma brings forth a wave of grainy malt that plows forth with its partner of caramel and grapes, but also allows notes of banana and autumnal spices to work their way forward. the tanginess of yeast and a mild doughy presence fade alongside a slight berry fruit sweetness at the close, effectively causing one's mouth to water considerably.

Upon first sip, a deep, earthy malt character, initially midly sweet, exerts itself, but is kept in check by a spicy, savory undercurrent. A more poignant, somewhat vinous sweetness takes possession of the middle ground, this time mitigated by a tart yeast backbone. The alcohol also makes a strong play at the center, flexing some serious muscle. A dry, musty mild bitterness lays claim to the palate at the finish. It seems rather simple at first blush, but it's actually quite complex in its nuances, with a rich, lustrous balance that leads to a strong and rewarding flavor profile.

A bit heavier than medium bodied, the density of the elements in the flavor cast a syrupy spell on the consistency. The healthy carbonation contributes to an almost frenetic, sparkling identity.

While I generally do not like to keep repeating myself and fall back on the descriptors, this flavor is deep. And just as impressive as the profundity is the artfully blended balance of a number of components. You drink it, and as a reward it caresses the palate, and that's why sipping this is an addictive enterprise. But yes, take note, I did say sipping, because that's certainly the way to go. The potent ABV tries its best to hold you back, but the sense want more, and in my case, they gladly get it. As long as the flavor's warm glow may linger, the contented smile my memory brings to my lips will remain even longer.

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Photo of Zorro
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mildly cloudy brown brew.

Smell is of apple, with a laid back malt and spice scent with a touch of honey.

Taste is sweet and husky malt flavor with a woodiness to it. Lots of fruit and herb flavors to this one, the flavor shifts like a top notch Belgian should. There is a persistent bitter note to this that keeps it all balanced.

Mouthfeel is almost too much; you have to sip it.

Very drinkable brew, a sipper not a chug beer.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 750 mL bottle into a goblet. The color is a dark amber with a creamy, bubbly white head. The smell is a drier dark malt and yeast. The taste is very estery with a very strong dry dark malt presence and a noticable alcohol. Mouthfeel is nice and thick and well-carbonated. As for drinkability, could have a few of these.

A fine beer all around. Though it seems to be a bit of a Westy clone, that's not exactly an insult. A nice presence and a very low price make this one that I'd gladly have again.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep cherry stained mahogony color with a volumenous, rocky, yellowish, off-white head with craggy valleys and hills and plenty of sticky lace. Smell was effervescent sweetness, a lot of grassy barnyard notes, a lemony tartness way in the back of the nose and some whiffs of cherry and orange peel. Taste was plenty estery(10% is a lot) with more sweetness, dried fruits, slightly grainy, tart finish with an aftertaste that moved back and forth between a woody smoke laden pallete and a slight metallic/soapy effect. Mouthfeel was creamy, but agressivly carbonated with the small bubbles all over the place. Of the grand crus I have tried this one struck me as the most banal. Maybe I just like the american intepretation better, but I thought the Southampton blew this out of the water and the Allagash a close second. Gotta find me some of that Rodenbach.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to you Matta for this succulent appetizer!
Appearance is a murky brown, even more so when pouring the immense amount of yeast into the chalice (which helped a lot to release the subtleties of the awesome aroma). It seems paler than the regular abbaye des rocs. Relatively high apparent carbonation level, huge head with irregular bubbles, but quite spectacular. It slowly fades away, but still sticks to the glass. Aroma is very complex if not too intense. This is ultimate belgian goodness and balance between brown sugar malt sweetness and yeast funkiness. Ultra-complex fruity profile (berries, cherries, plums, pears, apples), very spicy also (sage, parsley, cinnamon cake). That's all great by itself, but what makes the aroma truly unique is how it combines the above flavours with the belgian farmhouse character from the yeast which lends it a unique hay-ish and floral side that I love, almost a Fantome. The taste also contains this good dose of funk and spicy unexplainable weirdness, wet fieldish hay drying under the sun, pepper grains, basil, thyme? full of subtleties and perhaps the apotheosis of a spiced belgian strong dark ales with masterfully hidden alcohol, very sweet, bready and yeasty with a creamy, silky crème caramel medium-full body. Plain delicious and worthy of world-class status.

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Photo of DESTRO
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

ive heard about this legend for sometime and i see it every time im in the store...so finally, i sprung for it. capped and corked, it pours out a deep amber hue with a puffy/rocky tan head. looks great. a welcoming aroma of sweet malt, clove spice, hints of alcohol and dark fruits...very nice. pleasant and full in the mouth, but not too heavy. slightly sticky, nice carbonation, seems to have the perfect balance between being hearty but also smooth and enjoyable. right off the bat you get hit with a huge malt profile. toffee and caramels are strong, light spice and sweet molasses. dates and figs come to mind. finishes with an almost cotton candy like aftertaste. fackin glorious. most drinkable and outstanding in every way. this gets two sets of horns, a head bang AND and iron maiden tribute (aces high) on full volume. thank you, beer god.

$6.99 for a 750ml

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Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great chance to have this on tap yoday at a Belgian beer dinner at the Spring House Drafting Room.Pours a rich brown color with a sticky head,aroma was rich and nutty with some nice warming alcohol with some fruity estures.This Belgian Dark has a real nice hop profile to go along with a rich nutty flavor and some spicey/yeasty notes.Glad to finally try this beer and it was on tap to boot.

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Photo of proc
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very good beer, and a complex one at that. Enjoyed this with my nephew (and fellow BA) Dennis as our after-dinner beer. Poured out to a copper/amber color in the glass with a generous head. There was quite a bit of floating yeast in the glass as well. The aroma is fantastic with notes of plum, raisins and bread dough coming to the forefront. The taste is exceptional as well, with said fruits mentioned also being present on the taste. The ABV is well hidden and it got better as it warmed. We made my father, an O'Doul's and Miller Lite drinker taste this and his only comment was, "Skunk piss." Oh well, I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. As for this dog, I will drink this one again, anyday. Delicious.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Solid brown with a full creamy light brown head that lasts, lots of sediment, great carbonation, and sheets of lace (but unpredictable). Turns a good bit darker when sediment is poured. Aroma is lightly sweet with lots of other complexities: Dark fruits, spicy, raisins, etc... Big fruity flavors (and burps) and much like it smells. Medium bodied; creamy and airy at the same time if that's possible !!

A great Belgian -- very complex !! A must buy and must try !

Label states "Belgian Dark Ale"

Purchased: 11/16/02
Tasted: 02/11/04

($6.29 / 25.4 oz. Green Champagne style bottle - Corked and capped)

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru was served from a green 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip. The beer was an attractive deep reddish-orange hue and was topped with a rocky tan head that left thick and fine lacing. The nose was powerful and loaded with funky spices such as clove, star anise, and orange peel...an overall medicinal effect. Underlying the spice was a smell resembling decaying detritis and earth. The flavor profile was extremely complex. A rich and lively sweetish malt body contained flavors of dried fruit, raisins, molasses, scotch, and slim jim spice. The finish was satisfying, with a good bitter cap and lingering clove maltiness. The body was very full and silky smooth, with fluffy carbonation. The Grand Cru was a challenging beer, and grew on me by leaps and bounds as I drank and acquired a taste for it...distinctive, unique, and very complex. I found it similar to the regular version in its flavor/spice, but much better overall.

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Photo of ElGuapo
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours opaque, maroon or garnet color with a tan one-finger head. Lots of gooey lace on the glass. Absolutely beautiful beer.
Aroma is darket malts, grain, corainder, cherries and dark wheat bread and yeast.
Flavor is great with some toffee or caramel mixed in amongst the fruit and spices. The only thing I found with this beer is that is doesn't have one defining to make it exceptionally memorable. I'm not a sure if that makes a miracle and slightly confused. Good tasting though.

Mouthfeel is great, smooth and creamy, very chewy. Given the 10% ABV deceptively easy to drink a 750ml bottle. Drinkability rates very high but it is a very filling beer.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a giant light brown head that was very active and foamy. The head left a smattering of lace as it sank back into the opaque mahogany beer from which it came. Tangy aroma, a bit of pepper, Soft and smooth mouthfeel to the beer and a medium body. Plums, spiced orange peels, and creamy malt make up the flavor which is followed by a moderately bitter aftertaste. A sort of metalic sensation hits at the beginning of the aftertaste. Hardly any hint of the alcohol at hand. A very fine beer, the blend of flavors along with the mouthfeel of this beer make for one awesome combination.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with gusto into the glass, raising a massive rocky ivory colored head over cloudy reddish/brown liquid. Lots of malt in the nose, with notes of brown sugar and horse blanket yeast esters. The taste is layers of fruity and malty sweetness mixed with hints of black pepper and chocolate. Alcohol is very well cloaked here. Finishes lightly bitter with residual maltiness. Mellow yet complex.

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Photo of Crosling
4.79/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Gouden Carolus Chalice. I love this glass and it was such a beautiful sight to see that glass with such pristine liquid inside. Just brought this ale in to the Liquor store. I was so happy to find it distributed, hearing such great things.

Pours a hazy deep mahogany with a dense off white head. The head didn't explode out of the glass like I expected. A fast pour is required. Nice head retention and a thick beautiful lace clings for its life on the glass. Sticky and marvelous!

Incredible aroma! Upon opening the scents fill up the air around you and surround you in a bubble of brilliance. Orange peels throughout the nose with sweet candy, lemon, sour plums, pineapples with alcohol woven in slightly. Now the long anticipated first taste....Here goes.!.!.!.!

Nice soft and sensual flavor. Caramel malt with peppers and spices woven into the first sip. Dark and Tropical fruits in the mid-palate with sour cherries, lemons and raisins. Peppers come back on the finish with some tartness but not sourness, yeast and alcohol.


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Photo of tavernjef
4.73/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First rate pour of light brownish leather settling as a dark caramel brown with a slender reddish tone, dusky thick and opaque with tons of yeasties suspended within the murk. Head grows tall and fast of tannish fluff to a fine velvety smoothness becoming rocky and crusty as it begins to melt down which takes a good amount of time before finally a full haze on top and thickly fluffed collar sticks around the edge. Lacing is in sparitic globbuels.

Aroma is appetizing and soft with spices; delicate and easeful with a sufficient showing of lemon tea cookies and lemon and orange zest with small notes of giniger and cinnamon. Has some notions of dark caramel surfacing from underneath on big wiffs plus some yeast, phenolic, and warm alcoholic notes. More of the yeast and phenols come through as it warms, big time.

Taste is very complex and incerdibly inticing. Whew, what a mouthfull of things going on here. Simply amazing and fine with nothing to overpowering really other then the alcohol hitting fast as it goes down very nicely with a smooth zesty fullness that begins to make your head swoon just after half a glass and there's yet a whole nother serving in that 750ml bottle yet to come, oh boy...a long night ahead. Flavors are quick to enter with sharpening tones of citrus zest from lemon and orange with some light pineapple, white grapes, dulled grapefruit, and sweet mango inscribed within the mix along with small added notes of yeasty spicyness with kinda of a peppery, clove, nutmeg, citrus peel zest thing. Lots of zest! Lots of softened spicyness. And what makes it even more remarkable is there seems to be a very nice dark malty sweetness of toffee/caramel that kinda keeps those spices from getting out of control and too strong. Beautiful medley of flavors that intermingle and dance with each other in perfect harmony. Full bodied feel with a bit of sharpness and yeastyness that takes away just a nudge for me, but not by much. So goes the feel so goes the drinkability, in most cases anyways, and it does with me with this, by just another nudge mainly due to the untraceable alcoholic effect this has and smallish sharp tone of zest and yeast. But damn this is some very good stuff! Thank you very much ManekiNeko!!

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Photo of rkhaze
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a slightly hazy red/amber. Medium sized dense and rocky tan head. Lots of suspended yeast and carbonation. Big aromas. Earthy sweet malt, sticky fruits (red and tropical) a port like woodiness and tart yeast.
Gutsy flavor bordering on musty before all the malt, ripe fruits and herbal notes kick in. Brown sugar sweetness and a fortified wine alcohol note. Hints of nuts, wood and yeast in the finish. Exceptional melange of flavors.
Medium bodied with a soft carbonation that makes this a very drinkable offering. The 10% alcohol is hidden well until it warms up the stomach. Very well done.

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Photo of drewbage
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled at Lucky Baldwin's in a Moinette glass.

Here's the kicker.. the keg has been in storage since 1998. Woo Hoo!

Glass is filled with a deep brown liquid with light red highlights and almost no head.

Aroma is leather, sour cherries, brown sugar oxidation and tropical fruits with a sweet punch character at the finish.

Flavor is deeply spiced with a light malt and brown sugar and a long ground spice mixed with pineapples, mangos, guavas and oranges.

The finish finally comes with a light sourness to cleanse the palate for the next sip.

As David Farnsworth (owner of Lucky Baldwin's) put it, "This is liquid heaven, is there anything better?" My only response is "Yup.. to be having it in Belgium." Heigh thee forth to Lucky's and get a sip of this, but if you don't do it soon David will have drunk it all. Jeez.. my first 5.

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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 509 ratings.