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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.

670 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 670
Reviews: 503
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 35
Gots: 31 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jdhilt on 10-08-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 670 | Reviews: 503 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sabrills70
3.13/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle capped green bottle with a best before end of date of 2008. Upon opening foam rolled freely out the top of the bottle. Pours a medium dark mahogony with a big head, longevity OK and just OK lace. Fair amount of sediment in the bottle, but not chunky sediment as I found in the standard brown ale. Lots of old malt smells. Dried dark fruits, brown sugar, yeasty and earthy. Big malt flavors up front again with dried dark fruits. A bit of an "off" flavor but I am not quite sure what it is. It's kind of an weird tartness/sourness, similar to what I had in a batch of homebrew once. Still drinkable but just an off flavor. Alcohol lingers in the finish. Overall an average brew and nothing to write home about. IMHO the standard brown ale is better.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a foggy dark brown sugar with a quarter inch of creamy light tan head.

Smells of maple syrup, watermelon, strawberries, rye crisps and a pinch of salt.

Tasted of crisp rhubarb and dark brown sugar/molasses with an extremely dry tangy yeast. A tangy strawberry pops in and out of the flavor along with some strange exotic chocolate-like presence. Finishes a bit like ginger cookies.

The mouth feel is light and frothy with a little too much carbonation that doesn’t do too much for the flavor.

The flavor of this one just shines with quality and intricacy. My review can’t even to begin to describe what’s going on. I’ve read other’s reviews, and I nod and smile and say, “yeah, that’s another way to say it.” It’s one of those flavors that just isn’t in our language. There’s only one way to figure this one out. Try it yourself!!!

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

330 mL crowned bottle, 9.5% abv. After uncapping, a slow, steady stream of foam snaked its way out of the bottle. A murky, reddish mahogany colored beer with a thin sandy ring inhabits the oversized wine goblet into which it was poured. I tried to avoid pouring the thick protein globules I could see floating in the bottom of the bottle, but they all started glugging out the mouth of the bottle, even with a slow pour, so I just said, "fuck it," and emptied the thing into my glass. Long story short: there's a ton of floating protein-yeast chunks in the glass. "Good," I guess? Anyway, aromas of cherry soda and prune juice predominate; a slight yeast scent and a scant vapor of alcohol show themselves as well. Cherry-prune juice blend with caramelized sugar added as an additional sweetener! Aftertaste of Bing cherry skins. Alcohol is mildly detectable in the taste, but the flavor profile is so big that it's most noticeable as a buzzy numbness on the tongue afterwards. Near the end, a characteristically "Belgian" yeasted flavor comes in as well. Mouthfeel is thick: syrupy with expansive carbonation that lightens it up a bit. Still pretty full-bodied, though, and not because of any slimy floaters! Although sweet beers are usually less drinkable on my scale, this one has enough funky Belgian yeast character to keep it extremely interesting. "Best Before End of 2008." A couple more years in a cool, dark place would probably meld the alcohol a bit more, making this one truly sublime. World class, and then some.

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

Ruby and brown with thick head.

There are subtle notes in this beer, but primarily it contains that boozy taste you'll find in beers with higher alcohol levels. I usually associate that with quads, but it is here in full force.

Smooth mouthfeel. Good as it warms as well.

Maybe I'm picky but this doesn't have a great drinkability level. Good for the alcohol percentage though.

Photo of Budlum
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes:

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle in to a goblet. Immediately a tough beer to pour properly. Maybe my glass was inappriopriate for what I expected. I felt like a novice. Produces a thick, amber-colored head with a lot of staying power. Immediate scents of dried fruits and maltiness with only a slight hint of alcohol. Initial tastes resemble the scents; dried prunes and figs with a slightly alcoholic finish. The flavors remained consistent from start to finish. Surprisingly, the finish is tart almost like that of Rodenbach. The yeast flakes are certainly a unique character which I could not decide to embrace or loathe. This brew is certainly a wonderful effort and one that every BA should sample for its originality and depth of flavor.

My low rating of mouthfeel only applies to the presence of the yeast flakes, most certainly not the effervesence or flavors of the beer.

Photo of SethB2
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a chalice. Thanks to GClarkage for the sample.

Pourse a medium to dark brown, non transparent with a 1/2" head that disipates withing a minute or two. Smells of overripe fruit, beries and melons. Not a lot of spice on the nose in my opinion. Taste is great. The fruits that were picked up by the nose are accompanied by a nuttiness and clove. What was once hidden by the fruit becomes apparent after a few sips. Nice, complex ale. Mouthfeel is full and smooth. Just the right amount of carbonation. Drinkability is excellent as well. I would have no problem popping another one of these.

Very nice Belgian ale.

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

Best Before 2008. Pours a ruby tinted brown with a big, creamy, off-white head. Mostly lasting, nice lacing. The aroma is ripe, sweet apples, raisins, cookie dough, corriander and lavender. The flavor is very fruity - apples, golden raisins, peaches, with lots of caramel and toffee. Delicate spicing with a touch of oakiness. Mouthfeel is very soft, smooth and creamy. Finish is long, with a touch of bitterness.

Photo of soulgrowl
3.38/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

Photo of carln26
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extremely hazy brown with a chunky off-white head. Mild stream of champagne bubbles streams to the top. Spicy aroma. White pepper, coriander, light orange. There’s also a hint of toffee, and just a touch of bread dough. Spicy flavor too. More of the white pepper, and coriander. Lighter on the citrus than the nose led me to believe. The malt lends a fig character to the beer. Slick mouth feel with just a bit of alcohol warming on the finish. Very drinkable. Good beer, not a great one. I expected a little more complexity, and a little less heat.

Photo of Beaver13
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, corked and capped. I've had this in the fridge for a little under 2 years. It pours a reddish dark amber with lots of active carbonation. It has a huge and fluffy off white head that retains well and leaves a little lacing. The final pour is a bit on the chunky side.

The aroma is sweet vinous fruits (figs and grapes), wood, and some spicy peppery melon.

The flavor is more of the same (but slightly subdued) - sweet and slightly vinous fruits (pears) with a spicy peppery finish with some sweet candy-like alcohol showing its head. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall, an excellent Belgian ale! I was worried that this might be too old, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle.

Appearance- Poured a nice one finger head swith steady retention and had a solid grip on the inside of the goblet with each sip. Even though this medium brown brew looks like brown shoe leather, you can still see the excellent and neverending lacing.

Smell- What a mix of peppery sweet malts and lilacs of all things. All wrapped around a sweet candied apple with a bubble gum accentuation.

Taste- Starts out with a gebneral apple and licorice sweetness. The lightly cooked malt then starts to make its presence known, but then turns into a sweet black cherry pie. The finish was a crushed black pepper.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth even though teh tongue got a litle grainyness from the yeast sediment.

I always have my doubts about my reaction to the best 100 beers of BA, but the flavor of this beer made things very clear. There is no doubt why this beer is one of the best beers on BA or in the world. This was a very rewarding beer.

Photo of doubleipa
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Taco Mac. This is one of my favorite brews, but this is the first time I've been able to have it on tap. Served too cold. After I let it warm up, it was great. Could really smell the cherries and dried fruit. Nice creamy head with wonderful lacing. Seems quite different than Chimay Bleu, but outstanding in it's own way. Even though I've never rated the bottled version, I don't remember the bottled version having as strong a dried fruit aroma and taste. I'll have to break open one of the bottles that have been in the cellar for a while.

Photo of Prufrock
3.28/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

Photo of phisig137
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Large bottle date best before end of 2008. Pours a light hazy ruby brown. Much lighter than I expected. Massive head dies quickly into a blanket of bubbles on top of the glass.

Aroma is faint, coffee, chocolate, spicy yeast esters, and hops.

Flavor Is slightly sweet, but has a bitter finish. Bittersweet chocolate is prevalent, along with coffee, coriander, caramel, and a hoppy finish. Alcohol is warming after only a few sips. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, but does not linger on the palate for much time.

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay glass at cellar temp. Nice off white head that settles to a thin layer fairly quickly. Plenty of chunks floating around....I don't remember that characteristic last time I had this beer. The color is a deep mohagany and clear, besides the "sea monkeys" floating around.

The smell is fruity malt, with candi sugar. The taste is very nice. Sweet malt, dried plum, candi sugar, with a slight hop bitterness at the very end. This is a nice complex beer. A little alcohol warming as well. The mouthfeel is medium. I would say this is one of my favorite belgian beers. It is well balanced and has some complexity. I highly recommend this beer and will continue to seek it out.

Photo of ppoitras
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle bought as part of a 4-pack while travelling in NoVA.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 3/4" beige head above the deeply reddish amber brew. Note that it's hard to call this brew clear, as even with a careful pour there is so much chunkage spinning around in the glass that it scares me. Effervescence allows the head to last and last, with tons of heavy sticky lacing. Aroma is a tantalizing combination of spicy yeast and malt sweetness. Taste is spicy malts, with notes of dark fruits, and slight alcohol warming on the close. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, excepting that pinch of whatever that keeps getting caught between my cheek and gum, and drinkability is nice as well. Still, the big bottle is the way to go here.

Photo of Higravity
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2002 Vintage, the bottle was covered in a heavy amount of dust, tuck away in the back at Max's and for $30 it was sold. Poured hazy brown with a slight red tinge and a small bubble white head that receeded just to hang out. Smells of old red apples ready for juicing, strong malt with a nutty quality and a charged spice with the yeast. Taste is a melding of several flavor from the nose but it brings a sweetnes that is at first strong but the dryness helps settle it out. The mouthfeel was a little too slick but overall fine. Very drinkable, but this is a rather elusive find around here.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (courtesy of Xproudfoot) : Poured a deep brown color ale with a huge foamy off-white head with perfect retention. Aroma of dry raisins, caramel malt and a touch of spice. Taste is also dominated by raisin-like sweetness with a very distinctive yeast signature. Body is full, alcohol well hidden and carbonation is almost off-the-wall. Nice strong Belgian ale the way I like them.

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

Pours a golden brown with a chunky head. Nice to look at.

There's a plethora of aromas in this one. I detected much sweetness, along with nuttiness, maltiness, and several different fruits, such as prunes and raisins.

The taste is sweet. I detect what seem like cashews mixed in with the aforementioned prunes. The beginning is a little watery, but it has a creamy finish. As I said, this is a sweet beer, a little too sweet. It seems like this one is just packed with sugar, and I can feel it on my tongue and lips after each sip. Not that great, I'm sorry. Above average, but not good.

Photo of rodrot
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750ml bottle. This beer poured a hazy reddish brown color with a 1 inch light tan head. The beer left some nice lacing on the side of my Duvel glass. The aroma was sweet, candyish and spicy in the nose. Taste was wonderfully malty and fruity with notes of spices, honey and maple syrup. This brew was medium bodied and very easy to drink. The alcohol was just barely noticeable as the beer warmed. Another winner from Abbaye des Rocs and a bargain at 6.99 a bottle.

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

Served in a Rochefort chalice at cellar temperature. Paired with Chimay a la Biere cheese after dinner. Best by date reads April 2007.

Upon lifting the bottlecap, the beer hissed urgently upwards, creating a fizzy waterfall in my sink. Thankfully, no beer was lost... just a whole lot of carbonation. Due to the generous amount of yeast in the bottle, I'm sure there is nothing to worry about.

Appearance- The beer pours a hazy cognac/raisin with a nicely constructed head... tight, soapy, off-white bubbles... almost two fingers, with terrific lacing.

Smell- Huge malts and old, sweet, fermenting fruit... almost like a moist cake doused in a reduction of alcohol and old peaches. After the yeast is added, the aromas become more full and pronounced.

Taste- A gigantic malt presence drives the fruit and spiciness to the wall... hints of old floorboard and perfume come forward. Upon swirling the sediment and pouring it into the last several sips, a marked complexity takes hold. The maltiness and fruit character integrates with a very natural sweetness, but it isn't sugary. It's a richly flavor-infused intergration of the major components of the beer; malts, fruit, spice, and alcohol... which is nicely hidden.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Good for the style; consistently slick, with just the right amount of carbonation to lift the flavors up and off the tongue... and the drying finale works nicely too. Try it with some strong cheese, I know it worked well for me.

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

A good example of the Belgian strong dark ale.

Pours a dark brown/burnt copper with a nice tan head.

Aromas are of citrusy/piney hops and hazelnut malty sweetness.

Taste is a good combination of bitter hoppiness that becomes sweet caramel/toffee-ish maltiness.

Strong alcohol warmth with a decent carbonic bite.

Photo of dreadnatty08
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured over my sink due to extreme fizziness. Pours a dark amber, opaque, can't see a damn thing through it. Off white head dissapates to about nothing quickly. Aromas are very yeasty and barnyard like, some super funk going on. Flavors are a rush of craziness. Not altogether really sweet, a little bitterness and some sourness in the finish. A little too funky for me, rather go with a Rochefort 10 (dissimiliar style?). Mouthfeel is lighter than expected, not so heavy and syrupy as other strong Belgians. This beer is basically a loaf of bread in flavor, not sure if I enjoy that (I have excellent nearby local bread I'd rather eat). Alcohol isn't too discerning, but is warming. Still not quite sure if this "Special Brown" is in fact the same as the original, but still a good brew IMO.

Photo of mentor
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 2007. Pours a swampy brown liquid with a light brown-caramel head of two fingers. Froth crowned out the bottle when opened. Smells funky phenol, belgian candi sugar, chocolate, yeast, pepsi, and clean fresh straw. Tastes mild phenolic edge. Chocolate malty sweet with some candi sugar. Yeasty. Raisins and caramel. Mild alcohol. Overall, a nice deep and wide dark character. Md body and moderate carbonation.

Photo of Tupperwolf
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So, while I'm trying to get the oversize cap off of the bottle without bending it, bubbles spill down the neck - and continue fizzing out until I manage to pop the cap off and get the beer into a tulip glass. Seems to be a common experience with this beer!

Pours out a ruby-highlighted brown with an eggshell-white head that fills the narrow portion of the tulip for a few moments before falling back to a thin ring and leaves little lacing. Deep, mysterious, strong-looking.

The smell is of raisins, toasted wheat bread, almonds, brown sugar, charcoal, caramel, plums... Damn... What a complex scent... It's such a delight to just sit and sniff this beer. There's a hell of a lot going on inside.

The taste begins with malt, malt, and malt - a brassy, bold, sweet malt that kicks the front of your tongue and then tag-teams its friend sugar. What's amazing to me is that the brewers claim that no candi sugar has been added, because this has a HUGE pack of very sugary tastes - unbelievable from an all-malt Belgian. It has a sharp, fruity body with a spicy but delicate hop finish - slight notes of smoke... Absolutely amazing.

The mouthfeel builds on the tongue, from a creamy beginning to a slowly building frothiness of tiny, energetic bubbles. They recede as you swallow, leaving behind sugary tastes that linger for a while and then dissappear, leaving the mouth feeling clean.

Awesome! I was really looking forward to trying this beer, and have been storing it for a few weeks. A bit of a wild mood was enough to dare me into popping it open for a glass. Definitely deserves to be rated so highly.

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
94 out of 100 based on 670 ratings.