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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown | Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
513 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
513
Ratings:
714
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
12.38%
 
 
Wants:
58
Gots:
40
For Trade:
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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special BrownAbbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rosebud on 07-30-2002

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Reviews: 513 | Ratings: 714
Photo of brendaniel
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber brown in color - relatively clear, with minimal head and little lacing. Strong aromas of candied fruits - some brown sugar and molasses. Flavors were terrific - sweet, a hit of raisin, very smooth and minimal alcohol notes. Medium body with a lingering sweet finish -- improving as it warms to room temperature. Outstanding!!

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Photo of rel
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stuff is awesome.

Pours a hazy yet vibrant chestnut color with a huge foamy head. Great retention but average lacing.

Smell is sweet and malty, with lots of dark fruits, and light fruity hops accompanied by an alcoholic ester.

A combination of lightly roasted malts and sweet mellow sugars. The taste is much sweeter than the alcohol smell would lead you to believe. It has a warming tingle, but doesn't taste alcoholic.

Beautiful beer. Will definitely pick this up often.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 06/08/2013

Beer is a dark chestnut brown in colour with a moderately-sized beige head. Phenomenal retention- head sits there immobile for a long while. Moderate lacing.

Nice deep malty scent off the beer, quite bready. Brown sugar, spices and candied fruit. Belgian yeast.

Taste is very similar to the nose. Bready, spices (clove, pepper) and a little bit of dark fruit. Not as sweet as expected, even a slight bitterness at the end, but still a sweet beer overall.

As for mouthfeel, beer is overcarbonated. Gets in the way of the taste a bit and is somewhat irritating. Other than that, pretty good. Full bodied, chewy.

Overall, very enjoyable. Not quite a 4.5 taste-wise, but a strong enough 4 that I use the 'overall' to boost a little.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
1.09/5  rDev -74%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bottle says best by 2007 – and they weren’t kidding. Still, how something has turned this rank, I have no idea. The beer is an absolute pleasure to drainpour. It smells like an NYC alley, but worse, or like hot garbage, with a strong metallic-rust note to boot. Also like vomit. Just horrible. Also, overly foamy, like a Coke-float or something. From the appearance to everything else, nothing is even moderately acceptable about this brew.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a glowing amber with a puffy, fizzy beige head that dissipates quickly. Big chunks of yeast in the pour mark this beer as being unfiltered.

S: Initially, the nose is dominated by scents of candy sugar, caramel, and heavy spices. As the beer settles and warms, scents of roasted nuts and dark bread emerge, while the spice aromas separate.

T: Sweet and spicy on the entry with flavors of candy sugar, dark bread, earthy hops, licorice, star anise, roasted nuts, coriander, and a playful prickle of warming alcohol. The finish is long and rich with notes of spices, sugar, and bread soaked in alcohol. Very balanced and surprisingly restrained for such a heavily spiced ale.

M: Full-bodied but with an initially slight, slick mouthfeel that disguises the heft of this beer. Grows heavier and even smoother just before the fade.

O: Very nice. This is an excellent Belgian strong dark ale.

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Photo of jeff1973
4.89/5  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.

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Photo of impending
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl into a tulip. Pours a dull deep copper chestnut, minor mocha colored head, minor lacing.

Aroma is rich in grape Hi-C, nearby are dark fruits that have begun to rot. spicy

Deep complex taste. Figs, prunes, grapes and a tiny smokiness. Rummy fruit cake. Perfect phenolic note sits in for bitter. Surprisingly dry finish. Aftertaste evolves nicely as it fades slowly. Thin to medium bodied mouthfeel.
cheers
jd

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Photo of nickd717
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Church Key in SF.

Deep reddish-brown color with an off-white head.

Aroma of dried fruits, caramel malt, yeast, and spices.

Flavor is very fruity - lots of cherries - with other fruits and toffee also.

Smooth, medium-full palate. Good stuff.

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color matches my dark orange credit card almost perfectly. Half a finger of matching head drops of the chart without a lace

Some oranges and chewy Flintstones multi vitamins, sweet molasses and yeast banging off of my nostrils, quite the nose

Heavy wet bread, sourdough yeast. Some belgian candy and a hint of garden vegetable, with a little black pepper. Really thin though for what I was expecting

Medium to heavy bodied ale, some syrupy texture with a hint of warmth mentioning the alcohol within

Overall a solid beer. I highly recommend it. Not too expensive either at 11 bones.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

hazelnut brown color being presented in front of me. A smallish head, maybe an inch and a half came up over the top and settled down gently, forming a very nice pillow of tan across the top. Some nice carbonation could be seen streaming up as well.

The aroma was rich, lots of caramel and brown sugar mixed in with a fig and prune like fruit. Dark, with a touch of alcohol, though I have to admit, very well hidden indeed. The flavor was more of the same, rich and decadent with a large dose of sugar balancing it out quite well. All hotness had faded from this one now, as it was mellow and smooth as hell.

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Photo of trevorjn06
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

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Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in oversized wine glass.

LOOK (4.5/5) This one pours a rich mahogany brown. Clarity is a bit poorer than I would have thought - it is between hazy and opaque. Head is a real treat! It comes up huge and billowing out of the bottle; it is light beige and mousy in texture. It took a while to fall to a cap, but lacing was a bit disappointing.

SMELL (4.5/5) The nose is rich and malty with a good helping of fruit and a touch of pepper. The malt is largely vienna/munich with it's characteristic melanoidin flavor (plums/prunes/dates) it has a hint of caramel, but no roasty/toasty notes. I get a hint of orange peel and other light fruits. The finish is sweet, but has a touch of pepper.

TASTE (4.5/5) The flavor is very similar to the nose, but the relative strengths differ a bit. The malt is still full of those mailard flavors (dark, dried fruits). I get the impression that the yeast adds a lot of lighter notes to the dark fruit flavors. A good helping of pepper and a surprisingly tart finish round it out. The balance was still malty.

FEEL (5/5) Moutfeel is ideal for the flavours going on here! Medium-full bosy adds some weight and depth to the flavor - the latter is a great transition to the finish and gets that fluffy feel I like.

DRINK (5/5) For a rich, complex brew drinkability is really good because of the lighter fruitiness and the drier finish. Great, refreshing, and complex. Very, very nice!

I'd have to have this with a desert with some nice sharper or more acidic fruits like oranges or berries.

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Photo of cyrenaica
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle
9.5% ABV (as written on the bottle)
I tried this beer on December 15, 2010 at "Smokeless Joe's" in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The beer poured a translucent reddish-brown (when held to the light) with a huge genrous foamy light brown head that lasted long after the beer did. The aroma was dark caramel malt, candy sugar, plums, and yeast. The mouthfeel was full-bodied with ample carbonation. The flavour was sweet malt, candy sugar, yeast, dark fruit...and a nice bitter finish. An excellent beer.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.54/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of Auracom
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Holy crap I have so many reviews to catch up on. This was my first brew on my trip to New York; had this on-tap at the Old Toad in Rochester, served in a pint glass.

Pours a very dark, amber-like brown with a reddish tone to it (depending on lighting). Off white head is extremely thin with no retention or significant lacing. Looks just alright.

Aroma is strongly of estery fruit and yeast qualities, including caramel and a little breadiness. Flavor is similar - lots more yeast with malty sweetness, some fruit in the vein of tart apple, a little spice, a slight note of some dark fruit. There's an overlying bite to the drink that's kind of surprising.

Mouthfeel exhibits good carbonation, medium body, a longer finish that isn't all that dry, and a bready aftertaste.

All in all, it's just alright for drinkability. The taste is respectable but it's not all that inviting from the get-go and probably not worth a revisit from me. One positive note - had no clue this was 9.5% until just now. Very little abv presence in this drink.

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Photo of jbonapar
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a wonderful amber with lots and lots and lots of yeasty sediment. A nice head that quickly dissipated.

Smell: Candy surgars, toffee, Butter. a Slight pine.

Taste: Wow....amazingly smooth for a 9.5% beer. Unbelievable. Rich Toffee, Butter Toffee rather...with a hint of raisins and prunes.

This is one of the nicest Belgian Brown's I've ever had.

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Photo of Rassputtin
3.61/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at City-Wide in South Bend, Indiana. "Best buy" date of 2010. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours a moderate caramel-red color with loads and loads of floaties. Bit of a light tan head that goes away fairly quickly and doesn't leave behind much lacing. The nose has some dark fruits and a bit of sweet malt. Some dark sugar there and a bit of yeast. The flavor is along the same lines. It's nice and smooth, but there isn't much complexity to it, especially considering its age. Feel is medium with low carbonation. Somewhat chewy, adding a breadiness to the flavor. Pretty good, but not earth shattering.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was one of my early, fortunate forays into great beer (four years ago...) I was surprised but happy that I hadn't reviewed it - a great reason to revisit a classic.

Somewhat clear but fairly opaque brown color with a sticky tan head. This one got shaken before opening and therefore poured with extreme height and stick. Good bubbling and head retention. Nice look, but the lacing is a little disappointing.

The aroma is dark fruity, overripe but not quite to sour territory. Caramel malts with phenolic overtones and an earthy hoppiness. Good power, decent overall.

Malty. Very malty. Raisin bread with butter up front, with brown sugar and fermenting apples on the side. Fairly spicy, which is kind of lost in the whole production. With warming, the flavors grow intense and the body quite full.

Pretty excellent. Get after this one for an authentic Strong Dark experience.

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Photo of claytong
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was incredibly impressed with this one. The head was ridiculous. I thought it was a bad sign but no it was fantastic. The complexity of this beer was amazing, so many sweets too name so I'm not going to bother.
A bit on the expensive side, but for a special occasion, this will be a go to beer for me to have in my cellar.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Missouri I think - there was a random shortage of Abbaye des Rocs in Chicago for a while. Best before 2009. Served in a Darkness snifter.

A - Pours with a half-finger of tan foam that quickly sizzles to a thin ring, partial cap, and minimal lace. Tons of bubbles adhere to the sides of the glass, and the body is a hazy raisin brown with lots of suspended sediment if you're not careful.

S - Caramel, fruity, estery Belgian yeast, toasted grains, milk chocolate, apples, grapes, brown sugar, and some hints of spice.

T - Taste has lots of rum-soaked fruits, caramel, some light papery oxidation, brown sugar, candi sugar, and a little bit of toastiness in the finish.

M - Slightly zesty carbonation, medium body, dry finish, but with some syrupy residuals. Only a small amount of alcohol warmth at this stage.

D - It's a pretty solid Belgian brown ale. I'd have it again, but there's nothing mind-blowing or totally unique here. I also don't see how this is different from the Brune (or if it is at all).

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Photo of danbar
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle; label says best buy 14/03/11. Phew...just in the nick of the time.

A: A nice, dark brown color with a thin head and...massive chunks of yeast. Was this beer supposed to be strained?

S: Sweet, malty, caramely goodness with a hint of dried fruit.

T: Taste is good, follows the nose with a sweet, tad smokey flavor and that Belgian yeast. No sign of hops. Finished very smooth.

M: The yeast is actually not bothersome when drinking. I didn't really notice it. Decent level of carbonation.

D: Alcohol is very well hidden - do not taste a sign of it (until I stand up). Finished half of the 750 very easily and could've had more.

Overall, a very good beer but does not really stick out as a top-notch Belgian dark ale compared to others at the top of the style.

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Photo of boss302
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A ruby red big fluffy head. Lots of chunkies, might intimidate some, so be careful with the pour if you don't like them, otherwise a fine looking brew 4.5

S sweet, malty, chocolaty, Belgian dark ale typical. 4

T clean dried fruit, plums raisins. Good balance. I served it at 54F, which is in the middle of recommendations, but there was a significant cookoff from the CO2 that hides some of the flavor. Caramely finish. Very smooth and balanced. 4.5

M thick on the tongue, typical of other Belgian Browns. A little high on carbonation, but OK. 4

D a very good beer. Would have another. 4.5

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Photo of Damian
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from an 11.2 fl. oz. bottle purchased at New Beer Distributors, New York, NY
Best before end 2009
Served in a goblet

Upon cracking the cap, a stream of bubbly, light tan froth began spewing from the bottle. As I began pouring the foam (and the liquid) into my chalice, large brown blobs began coming out as well. After settling, the liquid itself was a murky, rusty-mahogany color. The beer was topped by a small, creamy head of khaki colored froth, which quickly faded to a thin, lasting cap.

The aroma was amazingly smooth and fragrant. Yeasty and phenolic. Slightly musty. Sweet toffee and dark Belgian candi sugar notes came through strong. Dried fruits including plums, prunes, figs and raisins were also apparent. Slightly boozy. Some vanilla notes were also detectible.

The flavor profile was very similar to the nose. Lots of rich, sweet malts, caramel and Belgian candi sugar notes appeared up front. Dark fruits and strong spice notes came through in the center. Somewhat nutty. There was an interesting, slightly sour, vinous character as well. The finish was a bit boozy, yet surprisingly crisp and off-dry. A touch of bittering hops were detectible as well.

Had it not been for the large sticky blobs of yeast sediment, the mouthfeel would have been quite impressive. The liquid itself was creamy and silky smooth with a fine, frothy effervescence. Toward the drink's end however, I was getting big chunks of yeast with every sip.

I appreciated many aspects of this beer but the yeast chunks greatly detracted from my overall experience. Perhaps I will seek out a fresher bottle next time.

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Photo of lionchow
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep brown red with many chunks of sediment. Has a finely laced tan head.

Aroma is big, full of grapes, prunes, candi sugar and vanilla. Really beautiful.

Flavor is slightly sour, malty, caramel, sugar, a bit of prune. Flavor is a bit more mellow than the aroma.

Mouthfeel is thin with a little alcohol burn on the back end.

Overall a good taste, but a great aroma.

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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
93 out of 100 based on 513 ratings.