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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.

639 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 639
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 30
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jdhilt on 10-08-2005)
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Ratings: 639 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERchitect


4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's basically all in there. If it's every been in a beer, then you'll find it in this Grand Cru (except for, perhaps chili peppers and chicken wings...don't ask). Right from the pour, a muddy bronze, rust color emits aromas that are distinctly Belgian, but with even the kitchen sink. Aromas lead right into the flavors with: bready, malt, spicy, fruity, vineous, musky, grape, figs, dates, nuts, toast, candy sugar, yeasty, astringent, sherry, citrus, alcohol, peaches, woody, pears, mangos, fruitcake....the list goes on and on. All of the flavors meld together and are well aged into a delicate, yet bold prague for the beer lover (it's all in there). The feel to the mouth is everywhere from astringent to sweet to dry to full. The finish is lightly dry, tart, and sweet. One of the more complex beers out there, but difficult to put into perspective. Could be a bit cleaner.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2006 19:20:04 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of chOAKbarrell


4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Popped the cap, and off to a bad start. About 2 ounces of this 11.2 ounce beer ended up on my desk top from the bottle overflowing. Once in the glass, the beer had a decent one inch head that settled down to a thin layer, and never disappeared. The beer itself is a very very dark opague brown.

Saison yeast in the nose. Cant pick up much else.

Taste is excellent. Very nutty with some fruity tones underneath. I taste raisins as well. A very satisfying, chewy mouthfeel. Nice and hearty. I cant believe this beer is 9.5%! Very deceptive.

Great stuff. If I ever see it again, I will have another.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 00:32:39 | More by chOAKbarrell
Photo of Franchise


4.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This belgian pours a cloudy brown with lots of nice yeast floating around the body. It leaves a thick frothy tan lace that sticks to the glass and looks magnificent. The aroma is fruity peach, plum, raisin, dates, figs, honey, spicey vanilla the nose is so complex. The taste is so smooth, is this really 10% abv? cause it can't be found in this brew it is very well hidden and the fruit, and the slight hops in the beer just compliment each other so well. It finishes bitter sweet syrup thick and creamy. This is one of the best crafted brews I've had in awhile, fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2006 01:10:20 | More by Franchise
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a cloudy brownish copper color with a one finger head.

Smell: tons of yeast, with some spicy crushed pepper and some hop bitterness.

Taste: very complex and many flavors are present. Overall bready texture with some brown sugar, caramel, green apples, lighty toasted nuts, plums, yeast, pepper, and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start and finish. The pepper, plums, yeast, and alcohol linger long into the aftertaste. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: a real slow sippin' beer. The flavors are well balanced but the alcohol levels cut into the overall drinkability here. One bottle is sufficient in a session.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 20:30:09 | More by Gavage
Photo of pbr85

New York

4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a chalis that was split with two friends.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown opaque with a nice, off white one inch head. Beer looks nice.
Smell: Lemon and orange scents dominate with slight hints of alcohol and white bread in the background.
Taste: The taste is much more subtle than I thought it was going to be. Wheaty malts with an ever so slight hint of bitterness at the end. Lemon grass flavor is mixed in with the malts and hops.
Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth going down, with decent carbonation. Its a little too light on the tongue for my preferences.
Drinkability: For 9.5% it is very drinkable, though I doubt I could have finished the whole 750 by myself. I would definetly try this again, or at least try the other Grand Cru that looks so similar...

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 02:03:18 | More by pbr85
Photo of clabaugh


4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep ruby graced with a creamy, tawny head. Retention is strong. Lacing is visually impressive, ornamenting the sides of the chalice with hazy tan sheets.

Smell: Roasty wheat, earth, and significant grape presence. Definitely yeasty in the nose. Some spicy hop character interjects itself as well.

Taste: Very wheaty in character, along with grape and spice. Hints of brown sugar. Hops are present in a mildly bitter, lively spiciness. Fine balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, and pleasingly creamy. Somewhat bubbly on the palate, creating some welcome sensations. Finishes pretty clean.

Drinkability: Nice and warming, with an excellent flavor. The hops emerge in just the right proportion to even out the intensely malty backbone. Well crafted, enjoyable, and excellent all around.

Notes: 750ml bottle, with freshness date.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 01:53:14 | More by clabaugh
Photo of spiffylubes


4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice dark brown/amber, about a finger and a half of very fluffy off-white head with significant lacing. Smell is very much of dark fruit, very sweet, and slightly alcoholey, like most belgian strong darks I've had. Taste is similar to smell, but less sweet and alcoholey. Dark fruits, spices, yeasty and somewhat malty, with a nice slight warmth obviously due to the alcohol, but not too much flavor due to it. To be honest, I wouldn't've minded a bit more of the alcohol flavor, I think it would have gone well with the present flavors, but thats just me. Smooth beer, smooth finish, delicious aftertaste, very drinkable. I could definitely drink more than one.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2006 03:32:29 | More by spiffylubes
Photo of Erdinger2003


4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a nice head that dissapated into a small head with a lacing that's slighty sticky. The color is bright red to dark. Smells very nice, pretty sweet and it's very smooth on the palate. It also has a little nutmeg flavor in it with some slight orange undertones. It's a little smooth and slightly crisp. I feel like it could've had a better head and mouthfeel, it seems like this beer had been abused and incorrectly aged.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2006 20:33:35 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of jaluria


4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this bottle from Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits and was saving it for a special night. Opened it tonight (prelude to my wife's birthday) and I was suprised to see a bottle cap instead of a cork when I pulled back the foil.

Pours a lovely cloudy, murky, light brown color with loads of debris and what appeared to be very tiny bubbles and residue. The head was thick and aromatic with a tan color that left behind subtle lacing. I could detect candy, roasted malt, caramel, and lots and lots of plain ol' sugar. Not as complex as I would have like; no fruit aromas or earthy scents. The taste was quite sweet with a dynamic intensity upfront and a lingering fruity follow-up. The roasted/grilled flavors were present throughout the session. The texture of the beer was very creamy easily engulfing my tongue and begging my taste buds for another sip. The fruit flavors created a sweet & sour aftertaste with a medium-dry finish.
An excellent beer that hides the alcohol exceedingly well and has evolving sweet flavors that entices and mystifies.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2006 02:19:54 | More by jaluria
Photo of bitterdestroyer

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

i strike again. hiiiiyooo YES!!!

appearance: deep dark amber/brown like molasses

smell: nice bouquet of fruit and sugar cane. very nice, very belgian.

taste: very full bodied, nice mixture of sugar, fruit, and just the right amount of alcohol to make you respect and sip this grand cru. sweet and warm.

mouthfeel: very creamy, with a nice flow of carbonation.

drinkability: great, so long as you're only gonna have one 750ml of this bad boy.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 16:38:50 | More by bitterdestroyer
Photo of karst


4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Head forms before you get it poured. Very nice appearance: clarity, color, retention and lace. All the usual suspects indicating a well brewed strong dark Belgium Ale. Has a hefty lineup in the aromatics as well. Its fruity esters and sweet biscuit malt hide all but faint traces of alcohol. Warmth and a little patience adds a boquet of roses to the aromatics. Moderate to full in body, with a velvet mouthfeel. Reserved hop bitterness let a hint of green apple yeast character add to a complex and sweet absolutely drinkable Grand Cru. Difficult to stop with the first glass.

"Your going home by the back roads, right?"

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2006 23:15:46 | More by karst
Photo of Suds


3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’d wanted to try this one for a while.
When removing the cap, this one burst forth with explosive carbonation, making a hell of a mess. After a things calmed down and were cleaned up, the brew revealed itself as a murky, muddy, reddish-brown color with a bulbous, towering light-tan head. Brown sugar, plum, sour apples, alcohol, yeast, and spice all mingle in the aroma. It’s a funky, spicy, musty, earthy, resoundingly intense aroma…intriguing to say the least. The taste is only a little sweet, with a serious meaty yeastiness. Stingingly high carbonation. For a such a high ABV, this one hides it’s alcohol well…there’s a little in the aroma, and just a slight warming, but it doesn’t overwhelm the taste. Full and complex…no question about it.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2006 18:04:55 | More by Suds
Photo of IceAce


3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 08:16:30 | More by IceAce
Photo of ChampionJaguar


2.78/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bias alert - I'm not into hoppy beer.

I should avoid reading reviews before writing them because I had such high expectations and I'm severely disapointed. I poured the 750ml bottle into a St. Bernadus goblet and it's a looker - a nice head and pretty dark redish brown color looks just like you would expect from a great Belgian brown. That's where the joy ended for me.

Smells like hops and hops and a touch of caramel malt. Nothing special to be found here.

The taste - well I don't like hoppy beer and I'm noticing that on this site many people do like hoppy beers - even when they are hopped beyond what the style normaly calls for. All I taste is the friggin' hops and a touch of sweetness with just a faint sour in the finish. I guess this is fairly complex if you can get past the hops but after about 6 ounces - I still can barely taste past the hops. It's a shame really because I think there's a good malt backbone here - if only it wasn't so buried. After about 15 minutes in the glass and at room temperature - I still taste hops over anything else. There is a slight plum-like yeast finish that's kind of nice but hardly what I'd rate a perfect 5.

The mouthfeel is nice as the relatively high carbonation work well with the high alcohol content. This almost feels like a Delerium T in that it's bright but warm.

This has low drinkability for me and I honestly wanted to just pour it down the sink after the first 10 or so ounces. This is just too bitter and I'd swear someone snuck a hoppy microbrew in this bottle if I didn't know better. If it had an American lable on it - I'd be impressed - but knowing this is a Belgian ale - I'm disapointed and knowing that this is rated among the top Belgians on this site concerns me. This is in no way better than any trappist, any 't Smisje, any De Dolle etc etc. Taste is relative and if you're a hop-head looking to get into Belgians - maybe this is your gateway.

Upon reading more reviews I'm noticing that few others have called this hoppy - my bottle says best by 2008. Did I get a different year than what other people are reviewing? I'm aware I've presented the lowest rating so far and I'll stand by it.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2005 02:13:54 | More by ChampionJaguar
Photo of NiceGuyMike

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark redish brown with a bit of a head, not much lacing. Smells of sweet plums. Tastes of sweet plumbs and hints of brown sugar. Warming alcohol that hits hard and fades quick, you get use to it.

Overall and interesting brew, but not overly impressive.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2005 04:47:34 | More by NiceGuyMike
Photo of DrJay


4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby/brown, fairly clear from the initial pour, but with lots of tiny, suspended yeast particles. Fine, light tan head with decent lacing and good retention. Mild aroma with some bread, apple, and chocolate. Malty, but subdued. Moderate malt character with chocolate and orange, and slight raisin. There's a nice breadiness and apple flavour that runs throughout, and it finishes with lingering fruit and mild chocolate. Fine carbonation and a silky texture. An excellent beer, complex without being overpowering, and the alcohol is completely hidden.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2005 02:50:47 | More by DrJay
Photo of stof0048


4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep hazy brown with hints of red and a slightly tan head that sits between 1/4 - 3/4". Heavy lacing coats the glass as I drink it down.

S: Dark malts, slightly sweet smell, complex.

T: Dark malts, slightly candied flavor (plums, brown sugar...), hint of alcohol but it is well balanced with the other flavors.

M: Very smooth, medium to full bodied, has an almost creamy texture, quite nice!

D: A little on the sweet side to drink a lot of this stuff, but still a winner. This is perhaps one of the best brown ales I've experienced... and I mean experienced, not consumed. Very good to curl up with, especially on a cold winter night and enjoy with the closest of friends!

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2005 03:39:35 | More by stof0048
Photo of blitheringidiot


4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, I get to review this gem!

Pours out from a magnum with the punt in the bottom as a hazy russet hue with a half 'n half of beer vs. head cap pour. Loads of scrod chunkerz contained in the pour. Mega foamy spumescent headcap with drippy lace left in the glass. Yes, this gets the 5!

If marriage between man and beer were possible, this would get an engagement ring from me. Pecan and vanilla ice cream notes. Sweet maple syrup and waffles. Dark ale is a misnomer. Mysterious ale is more like it. Root beer and spices. An aroma bomb!

First swigs: Drippy vanilla ice cream. How I waited to taste this? Dunno. Caramel and root beer. Dr. Pepper even. Some pecan extract. Unfathomable sweetness and rich creamy texture. What beer dreams are made of. Soft sweet confetioners sugar and pastry chef delicate perfection.

Feel is a touch of crisp heaven. Soft silky carbonation and a smooth character. Totally smooth incredible offering. I could easily drink this one all night long.

Last swigs: Liquid dessert pastry root beer float. Quite close to Westy 12. Can't wait to see how my friend will receive this as his early Christmas present. Thanks to me for sharing the bottle.

Beer is good. Happy beering. 197/4.35

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2005 05:36:24 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a chunky ruby red/brown, medium off white head, lots of sticky lace. Smell is sweet, molasses/caramel, orange, spice, alcohol, chocolate/coffee, yeast, and cherries. Taste is molasses/brown sugar, apple/pear, cherry, yeast, chocolate, caramel and orange. Mouthfeel is smooth, medium to high bodied, medium carbonation, lives up to reputation. Thanks DrJay!

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2005 21:39:35 | More by Viggo
Photo of budsboy


3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before 2008.

A creeping, slow eruption of white-tan foam on opening, champagne bubbles in there. Milky brown, tan head quickly shrinks back to a sticky residue on top.

Sugary, bready smell, plum, raisen, hint of citrus.

Phenols are apparent but not overwhelming. Spicy, fruity and sharp bitterness on the finish. I expected more, frankly.

Full-bodied and fluffy. Very gratifying.

A brew I couldn't wait to open, and it left me somewhat disappointed. Gets better as it warms. I just don't like phenolic beers, period. Even though this is only slightly so, it steals a bit from me. Still a fine beer, but not the kind to knock me for a loop.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2005 02:20:55 | More by budsboy
Photo of Blakaeris


4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours medium brown about the color of ice tea with a substantial amount of yeast floating around. The yeast gives the beer the appearance of being very thick. The head is a thin ring with slight lacing.

Smell is sweet with dark fruits and malt. Honey and caramel. Very nice.

Taste is amazing. First is plum and apricot flavors. Then the spices make their presence known. Underscored with a wonderful carmel maltiness. The finish is slightly dry.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

I thought this beer was amazing. The high Abv is dangerously hidden in the interesting array of flavors. I would highly recommend this brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2005 00:37:30 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of mynie


4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tight head, redbrown copper brown. An old penny, before it turns green. Head dies away but lacing remains.

Strong alcohol in the nose. Very strong and warm with lines floating on top of it, it's so potent. Melts glass like candy, brown sugar, white pepper, green banana.

Wonderfully smooth flavor is mix of sweet fruit and sugar, sour alcohol, and warm spices. Distinct stages of flavor flowing seamlessly like a jazz band or high-end vinyl siding.

Nearly perfect synergy makes it exceptionally drinkable and smooth in spite of its high alcohol content. Great beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2005 17:24:35 | More by mynie
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2005 19:49:35 | More by jakester
Photo of TheBungyo


4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured gently from the bottle, it looks like a nice mixture of caramel and honey. Creamy looking head sits about an inch tall. In the nose I get a strong tart apple smell mixed with rose petals and pepper. The taste reminds me of a good English Pale Ale, but far more buttery caramel and a sweet aftertaste that I'm tempted to describe as vanilla. Very pleasing. No complaints when it comes to the mouthfeel, not too thin and certainly not too thick. I could have a couple bottles of this and not get tired of it. Too bad the ABV would decide for me!

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2005 08:13:01 | More by TheBungyo
Photo of EStreet20

New Jersey

4.72/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bouttle poured into a St Bernardus goblet.

A - Pours a deep, deep brown with a little reddish tint in there and what must be a metric TON of yeast floating around. I'm pretty sure I poured it well, guess it's just the way it comes out of the bottle. Huge off white head that stays like crazy. Big chucks of lacing all over the glass. A very nice look overall

S - I smell a lot of yeast. A nice big smell for a Belgian dark. A little more of a fruity appearance than most Belgian darks in the smell but not overdone. A nice alcohol kick in there and some spiciness.

T - A taste that's extremely subdued, especially after that extreme smell, but delicious. A bit of a dark bready taste with some sweetness. A tiny bit of hops kicks around toward the end. Overall a great taste that's perfectly balanced.

M - Amazing. Goes down exremely smooth, no bite whatsoever. Medium bodied and a great "clean" feeling going down.

D - You drink a sip, you want another one. I'm sure when I drink this bottle I'l want another one. I'm almost glad I can't get beer at this time on Sunday since I have work tommorrow. That's how drinkable this beer is.

Notes: Try it, regardles of the price. Definitely one of the best beers I've ever had, in all aspects.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 01:18:19 | More by EStreet20
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 639 ratings.