La Montagnarde [Brasserie Des Rocs Ambree] - Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.

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La Montagnarde [Brasserie Des Rocs Ambree]La Montagnarde [Brasserie Des Rocs Ambree]

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very good

82 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 82
Hads: 125
Avg: 4
pDev: 13%
Wants: 8
Gots: 11 | 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:
Beer added by: rastaman on 09-19-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 82 | Hads: 125
Photo of JaimeLondon
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice beer of a dark amber color and a big light beige foam.
Sweet and yeasty smell, possible to feel also the hops, toffee, cristalyzed fruits, caramel and just a little bit of chocolate.
Taste is also sweet, possible to feel a bit of the alcohol (still doesn't seems like a 9% ABV beer). Yeast and hops are evident, there are a lot of fruits in the taste too, specially cherry and grapes.
Carbonation is at high level and body is relatively light. Bitterness could be higher.

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Photo of FLima
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy amber color with a thick thin head with short retention and apparent carbonation. Some floating particles.
Sweet aroma with notes of caramels, crystalized fruits, some pine, cloves and other spices.
Flavor is sweet but it is relatively well balanced by its hops and alcohol content. Notes of molasses, crystalized fruits, peppery yeast, grape juice, overripe plums, mild ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, guava, Poir, fig jam and honey. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness.
Medium body that feels lighter with appropriate carbonation. One great example how to hide alcohol, the 9% abv feels incredibly lower.
Very good Belgian Dark Strong Ale with great complexity bringing lots of fruits, hops, malts and spices to the table. At some point I had to stop searching for more fruits in my palate. Although sweet, all those components make it pleasant and not cloying. Proof that you do not need to add sugar to make a good BDSA.

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Photo of mick303
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served slightly chilled in a tulip glass, 330 ml bottle at 7.5%. Colour is a dark amber, fairly opaque with a solid dense white head, shows really solid retention.

S- notes of estery yeast, clove and nutmeg, banana/fig notes, some caramelized dark malts with a deep dark spiciness. Light spiced fruit notes like dark banana bread with dark fig caramel.

T- a smooth balanced start, dark brown sugar, full caramel with a nutmeg and cinnamon spice, transitions to some peppermint toward the end. Bring a some pleasant lemony yeast esters throughout which blend nicely, the caramel thickness and sweetness is rich but balanced quite well by the yeast and spicy hop bitterness. Finish is caramel and nutty, salted pecans.

M - full bodied with a pleasant mouth filling creaminess, a crisp and restrained carbonation that works quite nicely. Finishes off crisp, a good balance between a rich brown sugar body and enough carb to make it a refreshing amber ale.

Overall this hits a good balance, and conforms to its style. There is a bit of a dominance. Of the caramel brown sugar but also a pleasant yeast and bitterness but these could be played up a bit, this is an enjoyable Belgian and really good for the price. Some nice lemon yeast, maybe could use a touch of hops. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Most Abbaye des Rocs offering I've tried started with a bang! - literally, they gushed all over my counter - but La Montagnarde, thankfully, has a more reserved carbonation; its head is barely thick enough to cover the surface but sticks to it like scotch tape. Be sure to leave the last few ounces out, however, if you want to appreciate the beer's pretty caramel colour.

The acidity of a vineyard's soil or which way its slopes face are rarely obvious except to the most perceptive sommeliers; Belgian yeast, on the other hand, makes for bold, distinct characteristics that can be appreciated by anyone with a nose. This particular example has the air of bruised plum and apple as well as highly aromatic spices (i.e., mace, clove).

Even more noted, however, are the honey, brown sugar, and caramel flavours of the malt. It's not easy to out-muscle Belgian yeast but this grain is not only plentiful but layered with toasty-sweet nuttiness and enough toffee to bake with. The result is a beer that tastes like dried fruits and nuts lathered in honey. Delicious stuff.

What's more, some sips are also tossed with spices. It almost reminds me of a sweet-and-spicy bar mix. The spicy/savory element lends an earthiness that prevents the beer (and all its rich, sticky caramel and chestnut honey notes) from becoming too sweet. Indeed, this is impressively quaffable for such a big flavour profile (not to mention 7.5% alcohol).

Belgian ales like La Montagnarde are so distinctive; they are worthy of the same attention gourmands pay to cheese and offer every bit the satiation. Somewhat like a Rube Goldberg machine in that they perform a very simple task (gratifying refreshment) via such elaborate, complex means, offerings like this are the beers to have on permanent stand-by.

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Photo of BGDrock
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: dull amber, brown, thick with unfiltered yeast; fine, sand coloured head with great retention; fine looking Belgium beer

Aroma: faintly herbal, and floral, with a touch of cinnamon; very light, but there's depth to it, drawing you in; some caramel, vanilla

Taste & Mouthfeel: toffee pudding and some vibrant, almost juicy fruit - cherry, peach, grape - which turns quickly to a dry, crisp finish; lightly acidic with sharp carbonation contribute to the brisk finish, a good play to cut through the initial sweet malt and yeast esters; as the rest of the bottle is poured and remaining settled yeast fills the glass, it obviously becomes much more full bodied (a little buttery) and the fruit flavours more pronounced, with a creamy texture - the whole thing really smooths out

Overall: flavour and particularly aroma is all over the place, surely coming from a great yeast strain - it's exciting and intriguing with great feel and flavour

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Photo of DaveBar
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO 330ml bottle for around $3.25. Served at 10deg C in a challis.

A- Opened with a mighty pop. Poured with an excellent 1" head tapering to a film within a minute or two

S- Hints of roasted caramel

T- Pretty good. Nice carbonation lends itself to easy drinkability. Not a hint of the 7.5%. Well blended brew

M- Very good. Creamy yet light. Again excellent brew

O- Very good. Not a favorite triple for me but very good. I will definitely try again on tap.

Food Pairing

This nice little trip went well with... Roasted turkey! The combination of the poultry seasoning and crispy skin just accentuates this brew.


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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle served cool into glassware. Purchased from LCBO for $3.05 CDN. Quaffed this beer a little too quickly last time to get a proper review in, it was very delicious so I appreciate being able to buy this again at a later date.

Appearance - Extremely hazy, reddish brown colored beer. Gentle pour still yielded a fist full of fingers of dense sticky white head, that receded at a glacial pace. Sediment appears to be moving around in the bottom of the glass and the bubbles rise to the surface only a mere bit faster than the voluptuous head continues its decent. Tons of sticky lacing is smeared all of the glass.

Smell - Molasses and bready backbone, slightest of of something sharp and metallic. A deep whiff reveals some toffee and caramel aromas.

Taste - There's a trace taste of coffee before melting away in a vanilla, toffee caramel blend. Slight peppery heat on the very finish of each sip although it builds steadily from mid-mouthful to the conclusion. A bit of a sticky bread pudding flavor would be a way to describe the way the flavors meld together sweet but never even straddling the line of excess as the sweetness remains subdued. Very tasty. A bit boozy after a few sips as well.

Mouthfeel - Silky smooth with medium carbonation and a slightly hot finish. Medium to heavy bodied that coats the mouth nicely but because of the balanced bitterness that just keeps cutting into the sweetness the beer never approaches cloying.

Overall - Definitely let this one warm up a bit, as the flavors are much more bold when warm than if served on the cold side. A wonderful Belgian that I would heartily recommend. It's just about on par with some of the biggest and best in the style making this an absolute treat at the price point. Pick it up while you can.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $3

Appearance – Hazy brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige coloured head. It’s hard to make out the carbonation level due to the darkness of the beer and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, grapes/raisins, plums, yeast

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and some yeast. There is also some dark fruit flavour.. grapes/raisins.

Overall – Reminded me of a Rochefort 8 with a touch less spice and booze. A decent beer, but my bottle was 7.5% when I was expecting a little more oomph since it is usually 9% by the looks of things. Well worth trying though.

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Photo of rarbring
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hazy deep copper amber ale, a small fizzy head that leaves no lacing. Good curtains.

Smelling sweet, honey, ripe fruits, peaches, apricots, some sherry and yeast.

Starting very sweet, apricot jam and brandy, sherry notes and some spicy yeast.

Medium carbonation, small foamy bubbles, thick and oily, good body.

A potent ale, made for strong cheese.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pour is murky reddish brown with a small white airy head that leaves nice lacings.

S: Fresh fruits up front, then the dark dried ones kicks in. Sweet dark malts, molasses. Yeasty and faint spicy. Perhaps some honey.

T: Balanced and modest; milky chocolate and mild dark dried fruits makes this a complex, but modest brew. A fresh citric vibe is quite refreshing for this style. Yeast and a variety of spices. Liqourice.

M: Aftertaste is short and sweet. Body is only medium while carbonation is mild. Alcohol is a bit too obvious.

O: Not bad, nice, but not great. A bit too light in body and too modest in maltyness.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.12/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

33cl Bottle: New Years Day, in a bar on the Grand Place in Mons, Belgium.

The body had an orange hue, a slight hazy mistiness prevented me seeing through the glass; small head which became a collar and a wisp after my second sip.

Although I found some citrus esters in the nose and yeast aromas the overriding smells were sweeter: summer fruits and a caramel like maltiness.

I thought the taste on the sweet side, caramel and toasted fruit cake: the yeast tries to come through as well, but no real hop input flavour wise.

The alcohol content is well disguised, the sweetness being the only hint that this might be on the strong side. Overall too sweet, it does however slip down very nicely: one is enough for me in a session though.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured in a Chimay chalice.

A: Pours an orange to amber cloudy color. Forms a huge white to beige fluffy and creamy head. An alive beer: As the foam grows, the top vanish making a fizzy sound, impressive. In the end, only few lacings are left

S: Smell is veeery fruity in the beginning. Dark fruits, mainly plums and raisins. Caramel malts, candy, honey, the traditional Belgian Abbaye des Rocs trademark yeasts. Mild citrus hops and alcohol

T: As the nose: Dark fruits, candy, sweet malts, honey, earthy yeasts, brown bread. A sweet upfront and a mild citrus hoppy aftertaste. Completely balanced sweet-bitterness. With the natural hints of alcohol

M: Deliciously creamy body. Molasses. Medium carbonation. Sweet upfront and mild citrus and bitter aftertaste

O: Traditional Abbaye des Rocs beer specimen, I mean, an authentic well done Belgian strong ale. Very tasty with drinkability limited only by its high ABV. Recommended

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4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orangish amber color in a chalice glass. Light beige foam crowns & remains dense. When disipating nice lacings decorate on sides. Fresh fruits, spices & candy aromas will enjoy your nose. Palate is flavored with the same hints, leaving an smooth aftertaste. Alcohol is present but masked in a sugary sensation. Excellent companion in a paused drink-time.

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Photo of ThaCreep
3.38/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lather, amber caramel style. Nose of brown sugar with a small cellar scent that brings out the smell of macerated fruit. The palate offers this fruity flavor with a little bitterness (more or less spicy) accompanied by sugar candy purely typical of Belgian dark beers. A small power alcoholic tickles the back of the palace but we must admit that alcohol is controlled and that even if the beer is not perfect, the balance is ensured in all cases.

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Photo of CaptainPiret
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Super des Fagnes glass. A deep bronze color with a thick, white head that slowly shrinks.

Smells of maple, cinnamon, and yeast, and thus has similar tastes, though the alcohol is present at first taste.

What a rich flavor this beer has -- very pungent, but not overpowering.

As for drinkability, I'd be hard-pressed to ever drink more than two back-to-back, and one might cut it. This beer is bursting with flavor, not one to take lightly, but definitely one to have on reserve whenever you need something with kick.

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Photo of jeranbrews
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Beige light bubbly airy head. Tons of flakes of yeast (the only real negative). A real primordial porridge of activity. Color is mildly reminiscent of English tea.

S - Sweet alcohol smells waft away like dreams and sweet memories. Raisin, peach, and honeydew lots of lovely esters but none of the high alcohol burn.

T - Sweet silky savory taste like cinnamon raisin bread. Aftertaste has a slight crisp bite but so very satisfying. Yeasty flavors mingle and mate with the malts like cookie dough left to rise. Very nice.

M - Smooth silky glides gracefully down the throat like an ice skater 9% abv, not a problem. This is closer to mild mint tea than wine in terms of alcohol burn. There just isn't any burn at all.

D - I have to be honest. This is the best bruine I've ever had.  A few less flakes in the murk and a little more head at the top and this could be a five.

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Photo of brentk56
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a surprisingly modest head for a Belgian; poor retention and minimal lace

Smell: Caramel, cinnamon, vanilla and bready yeast elements

Taste: Bread and caramel, up front, with a growing vanilla/cinnamon spice aspect; at the same time, tropical fruit flavors add some complexity; after the swallow, there is a hint of tartness, but the overall impression is sweet and fruity

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low carbonation

Drinkability: A bit too sweet and too flat on the tongue; too bad, as the beer has some potential - I am not seeing it around much anymore and wonder whether it is still being imported

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Photo of wl0307
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coming in a 330ml slim brown bottle, BB 2010, served lightly-chilled in Gulden Draak's tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: gosh... the presentation is the most... distinctive I've ever seen, for any beer - a cloudy dark amber hue with countless huge&small cottony dirty bits of yeast sediments floating in there and blocking the light, rendering an Armageddon-ish sunset in appearance... the off-white frothy head comes thick and lasts well, luckily, supported by moderate carbonation.
S: semi-astringent in the sour yeastiness with an edge of canned pineapples even, on top of sweet, syrupy malts and semi-sharp oxidised honey; a swirl gives rise to a pungent edge as of overripe pale-green guavas, but still too mild to complement the cloying and thick sugary theme. Not BAD, but unbalanced.
T: luckily, the taste is not as OTT as the nose - a swallow of predictably sour&bready yeasty bits are closely ensued by a pretty enticing mid-taste mixed of Taiwanese Aiyu jelly, guava juice, coriander-seed like herbs, dried pale dates and a touch of fig paste, while a more common exotic-yeasty edge (that appears more or less in most paler Belgian ales I've tasted) is never far away; a quietly dry-ish edge of yeastiness and hops ensues in the very end, prolonging the whole enjoyable drinking experience a bit.
M&D: the flavour, rather than being colourful or BIG, comes rather integrated and pleasantly estery on top of a really mildly carbonated body. I like the fact that the performance of this beer improves stage by stage, from the appearance, the nose through the palate and all the way down the throat, only better and better along the way. This is surely like neither the much more complex darker ales nor the marvellous (double) witbier from the same brewery, but on balance a certain degree of charm and integrity is certainly here to stay.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle bought online from

Poured a hazy coppery amber colour with the usual l'Abbaye des Rocs mass of yeasty chunks. Slightly off white head poured pretty thick and foamy then faded to decent thickish covering... quite a lot of carbonation... some light lacing lines...

Aroma - Lots of toasted bread and toffee maltiness, yeasty spiciness, roasted nuts, some dustiness, lots of overripe fruits (banana, plum, fig and some pear), toffee apple notes, pepper and nutmeg, some sea salt, honey, light cola traces...

Taste is pretty much as above... sweet toffee and bready malts, some buttery traces, treacle, orange marmalade, brown sugar, light vegetal notes, some soapiness, nutmeg, definite overripe fruits, alcohol is just noticeable, light sourness...

Feel - Sharp and dry initially then becomes smoother soon after. The yeasty chunks can be a touch unpleasant though... medium bodied... dangerously drinkable at 9%...

Overall - A pretty good, malty, spicy amber ale.. nothing groundbreaking but certainly recommended...

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.16/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Reviewed 4/10/2009 (Bottle BB end 2010):

Pours an amber reddish colored body, big suspended particles, off white. Small creamy head, quickly diminishing. Floral funky fruity aroma. Some sourness, and a little effervescence. Somewhat sour, dusty taste. Some floralness. Funky and stale tasting. Mostly clean aftertaste. somewhat bland. Might be an old/aged bottle.

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Photo of nick76
2.97/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I am really disappointed with this beer. The aroma has ginger, fruit, yeast, cheese, and spice. The flavor is similar to the aroma and yet not all together pleasant. The palate is smooth but thin. This is not what it should be. The positive qualities are subtle compared to the non-pleasant ones.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at the Kulminator in Antwerp, served in an Abbaye des Rocs glass. The beer was a murky, cloudy brown color with a thick tan foam. The smell was yeasty with dark fruits, extremely good. Same with the taste, this beer has the goods. Absolutely rich with classic Belgian yeast flavors, not unlike others from Abbaye des Rocs or St Bernardus, possibly akin to Unibroue for that matter. Due to my inadequate vocabulary I can't praise it in better detail than this, just to say it stands tall even in good company.

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Photo of ATPete
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle purchased at 'the Bier Koning' in Amsterdam, NL

*this one erupted upon a gentle opening of the bottle, so much that i was left with 3/4 of a beer and a sticky floor.

A- Pours a brilliant amber color with a large and very tight net of a head.

S- A very layered nose, lots of spice and malts

T- very complex, good solid malt character, sweet dried fruit, toffee, some nice subtle hop notes and a little booze.

M- Warming, on the heavier side, nice coating effect.

D- its a sipper to be enjoyed.

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Photo of macster
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a hazy amber-orange hue with a fair amount of yeast floaties. Pour produces a tight and dense 1" thick beige head which shows great retention throughout the chalice. Curtains of lace coat the sides as the glass drains. Aormas are ripe fruity sweet with notes of apple, honey, pear, brown sugar, caramel candy and roasted almonds. Some faint lemon and yeast notes are noted in the background. Palate was silky, creamy and full. An ample amount of carbonation kept the mouthfeel lively, but finished very smooth. Flavors were sweet-tooth's delight. Sugar Daddy caramel, orange blossom honey, toffee, brown sugar, apple cider and orange marmalade abound. Finishes with just a faint touch of herbal, spice bitterness. Alcohol is hidden nicely behind the sugary sweetness making it easy going down. Landed this one at a clearance price of $4.99 for a 750 (best by end of 2008). Still in great shape! Delicious and I'm goin' back for more.

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Photo of Onslow
4.46/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

giggity... has a wonderful fruity dust yeast smell ... low foam, in the glass it looks of thin maple syrup with a head .. .. no alcohol detected, is very delicious.. . . "....face!" .... if you are in the mood for an mellow easy drinking belgian strong...<---

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La Montagnarde [Brasserie Des Rocs Ambree] from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
89 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.