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

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special BrownAbbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown
Liked This Beer
4.2 w/ 736 ratings
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special BrownAbbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown

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

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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Ratings: 736 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of rodrot
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of dogfooddog
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle, the 9.5% version of the grand cru, apparently the 10% is a thing of the past. The bottle immediately startes foaming when i pop the cap. Pours into a chalice with 25% head. best before date illeg.

Nose is dark candy sweetness, with a hint of bitterness along.

Bitter taste up front, typical de rocs notes of dark fruity sensations with powerful bittersweet undertone that carries and dominates the finish. The taste is not as nice as the nose in this bottle. Seems a bit drier than some of their other dark/amber beers.

It has been years since I had the 10% version and cannot offer comparison.

Excellent beer and one to try, though I prefer their triple imperial, amber/montagnarde, and noel beers better.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tasting snifter. Pours a cloudy/hazy looking amber color. Fills the glass mostly golden, with a TON of sentiment floating around. Sentiment pieces are rather large. Small creamy off-white head. No lacing at all.

Aroma is full of fruit and slight spice. At first smell, I said it reminded me of grape soda. Then the booze becomes pretty noticeable. Belgian yeast and candi sugar.

Crisp, carbonated, fruity, funky. Over-ripe fruits on the palate. Booze isn't very noticeable until a small warmth torwards the end. Overall, very solid...but not the best out there. Very enjoyable though.

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Photo of udubdawg
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Front label says 11.2 oz, back label says 1 pt, 9.4 oz...the former is correct. Best before end of 2008 or 2009 - can't read which.

Had one of these a couple days ago and wasn't pleased with it. I like yeast, but can't remember when I have ever tried to avoid it in my glass as much as in this beer - the particles were huge and sort of slimy and didn't agree with me at all. Oh well. A careful pour to try to avoid the yeast was pointless - there was so much foaming and many many lines of bubbles stirring up yeast - for this reason it never settled after pouring either.

So today I tried a different approach - opened the beer a little colder, and let it sit and foam over for a while. Lost a little beer, but the experience was far more enjoyable. The foaming removed many large yeast chunks which I observed oozing out of the top of the bottle, and I was left with a much easier drinking beverage - it is still a very hazed honey-orange color and full of tiny yeast particles, but those I want. I'm giving this points for nice head retention and decent lacing (as witnessed on the last bottle) even though my quest to make this more drinkable took away from both of these qualities.

Nose is an intoxicating combination of earthy yeast, ripe fruit, and a bit of sourness that tickles the nose - it is well behind the sweetness, but noticeable. Can't recall ever thinking of sweet-and-sour sauce before with beer, but that was my first thought. Offered a whiff to the wife - "Eww, don't drink it, it's gone bad!" I assured her it had not. Interesting to say the least - I'll have to make some sweet and sour chicken to compare...hell, maybe I'll use it in the recipe!

After the foaming action has subsided a bit, I'm left with a delicious beer. Honey sweetness in every sip, and big on fruit - plum, but less than I expected, some fig too. Apple and even a bit of citrus are noted as well. Didn't notice much alcohol other than a moderate warming in the throat, even as it warmed. The ripe fruit flavors are still with me quite a while later.

After letting this thing foam I'm left with a creamy smooth full-bodied elixir of low carbonation. Superb.

I'm sorry that I lost a little of this great-tasting beer, but my personal rating for drinkability would have been no more than 2.0 for the first bottle. This was much higher; probably higher than desired for something of this strength.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort goblet.

A: Impressive. A generous head emerges at first, before receding into a lovely dark-chocolate brown body. Moderate lacing.

S: Not very much smell; sweet, dark fruits in the background. No detectable alcohol.

T: Very good. The balance between subtly fruity sweetness and tart, carbonated spice tilts in favour of the former. The middle body is a complex merry-go-round of tastes which makes me noticeably smack, trying to figure everything out. There's figgy dark fruits, green apple tartness, titillating carbonation, and a drying alcohol presence. The aftertaste is long and mostly sweet.

M: Good, but a little heavy on the carbonation. It detracts from more interesting flavours...fortunately not too much.

D: A very nice Belgian ale, but not the best. Easily quaffable, and overall an excellent pick. Recommended.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330mL bottle into my Trappistes Rochefort goblet. Best before date is smudged and faded, but I think it indicated February 2010.

Very chunky pour, the yeast globules are suspended throughout the liquid. Hm. I'll ignore this in my rating as it is probably a result of age. Chocolate body with a creamy, persistent, wheat-colored head. Copper highlights where light gets past the dense yeast sediment. Thick, sudsy lacing and sticky viscous legs.

Vinuous, port-like aromatics with dark fruit esters and sourdough. Caramel, malt, light brown sugar. Good complexity.

Surprising bitterness initially but this is quickly subsumed by the other flavors. Fig-spread, nutella, molasses, buttered-bread (not to be mistaken for diacetyl), and café au lait on the palate. Long malty finish with chocolate and cola notes as well. Not very dry, but not too sweet either.

Some warmth from the alcohol, but not stinging. Well disguised overall. Rich medium-heavy body, and as unappetizing as the yeast looks you don't notice the "chunks" as you are sipping away.

Well balanced complex malty version of the style. Seems like this would be even more enjoyable paired with (this may sound strange) a savory breakfast (e.g. smoked salmon hash or even just eggs and hash browns).

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Photo of russpowell
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this bottle for a while, BBD of 2011, decanted into an Orval chalice

Pours chestnut with a finger of cream colored head. Good head retention & above average lacing

S: Oaky & sour notes, that fade a bit as this warms

T: Dark fruit, dryness, tartness & tannins up front. Leafy hops, a touch of figs, dryness, more oakyness. Finishes with dark fruiityness, some tartness, some leafy hops & a touch of sourness

MF: Soft carbonation, medium bodied, warming, wet, & very tart

Drinks a touch slow from the complexity, but the ABV is well hidden. Not the best Belgian Dark out there, but worthy of respect & adulation

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Photo of TPSReports
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This 11.2 oz bottle was labeled best before 2005 -- a mere three years away. It poured nicely into my chalice with a thick light brown head. The head stuck around the entire time there was liquid in the glass. One great head!

The color was a medium copper color with little to no noticable yeasties floating around.

The first aroma I notice was liquored cotton-candy. After the brew warmed a bit, a maltiness appeared, but the alcohol aromas were still present.

A very complex beer, with extremely dry mild hops in the finish. I big malty flavor with some hint of chicory.

Overall a delight on the tongue - terrific!

I am not sensative to the alcohol flavor, but it is certainly there, which, in my view should detract from the drinkablity.


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Photo of Frosty80
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Popped the cap and, just as it did with a slightly expired bottle, the carbonation goes nuts for a long period of time, carrying a lot of chunky sediment up to the top before it drops it. need to seek a professional opinion on this

Color: pours a slightly milky, light brown. sits slightly cloudy, light brown with orange hue. head is explosive and massive with tight bubbles with about a 5 min half life.

Smell: like a conservative young lady: really takes some work to get it to open up. concentrated blast of sweet, bready malt, dark fruit notes and light caramel. has a very light toasted character along with some spicy highlights. alcohol is pretty subdued as well as the noble hop presence

Taste: light, peppery spiciness is consistent throughout, from the alcohol and light hops i imagine. caramel and dark fruit notes are in quantities enough to balance and not take over the palate. sweet bread and light toasted notes are found a little deeper. finish is somewhat dry, as is most of the palate, with a tinge of spiciness and bitterness along with a hint of toasted nut and dark fruit

Mouthfeel: medium body with, surprisingly enough, medium carbonation

Notes: very complex. gotta keep swirling and smelling to get this brew to reveal all its secrets. more on the Trappist side of BSD's

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The foam rushed out of the bottle as soon as I popped the cap. It pours with a fluffy light caramel colored head. Decent retention and lacing. Has a cloudy amber color. There was a lot of sediment in the beer even though I filtered what I could.

Smells of sour funkiness, a bit of peppery spice, winey alcohol fruitiness, caramel malt and wood.

Tastes of dark fruits, spices ( pepper comes to mind again) and some sweetness. A very drinkable beer, I would like to try a fresher sample and compare notes.

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Photo of JulioH
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great foamy ale. Serving developed a large head, and it remained there for some time.
Scent was very sweet, with dried fruits, and molasses. Tasting revealed a very, very sweet beer. Mouth feel was a bit thin, I expected this beer to be syrupy since the nose was so sweet, but on the contrary it was well balanced. Could drink more than one pour.
When opening, this beer gushed out a bit. My hand was very sticky. Also, this beer had some sediment that looked like cinnamon or nutmeg.

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Photo of MiguelMandingo
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 750ml bottle of this with some friends last night. None of them were beer nerds by any stretch, and they really enjoyed this one.

Poured part of a 750ml into a snifter.

Appearance - It produced a tannish white one finger head that slowly dissipated to a thin crown. It is a hazy translucent ruby brown color. The first pour had no yeast floaties, but all subsequent pours did.

Smell - The smell is pretty good. There are many layers to the scent - green and red apples, raisin, plum, bananas, pear, burnt sugar and caramel. The alcohol becomes more apparent as the beer warms to room temperature.

Taste - All of the scents that are present are also contained in the flavor. It tastes of red apples, raisins, plums, caramel and a slight spice - very sweet. The flavor is very complex and seems to change over the course of the drink, with the apple flavor trading dominance with raisin flavor.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with light carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

Drinkability - Extremely good. Although I shared this 750ml with other people, I could have easily drunk the entire bottle by myself. The smooth mouthfeel, flavor and scent make for a very nice drinking experience.

A really good Belgian. I recommend drinking this brewerie's beers out of the larger bottles. I enjoyed the flavor much more out of the 750mls than the 33cls. I am glad that these are now available in Texas.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 in to my trusty St Bernardus goblet.

Pours a deep brown with ruby glimmering. A thin bubbly head with little to no floaties.

Very fruity, sweet, and somewhat sour. Ripe fruit.

Taste is tart, sour and dry. Raisins or plums. Some funk with the sour.

Mouthfeel is good and pretty full.

Not too sour, and the 10% is very hidden.

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Photo of PugsandBeer
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep, dark mahogany. Loads of flaky sediment floating around. A foamy white head tops this great looking beer.

S: Nice fruit and malt smell.

T: Big fruit flavor of cherry and apple, backed up with some sweet caramel malts. Sweet and delicious. Also, oddly enough, a hint of soy.

M: Really smooth and decent carbonation, good match. Alcohol masked very well.

D: Really good, sweet and savory and easy to enjoy with a high ABV.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cellared for about a year (although I think it was about a year old when I bought it).

Pours BEAUTIFULLY - big, thick head, dark, hazy brown. An absolutely gorgeous beer. Nose was fairly faint - malts, honey, dried fruits are there, but not strong enough. The taste I found similar - bit of sweetness which was nicely rounded with the thick malts, however I just found that it wasn't as flavorful as I had hoped. Still a great tasting beer, but not one where I was pulling out all kinds of sensations from. Drinkability is amazing - goes down silky smooth with only the faintest alcohol presence.

Would like to try a newer bottle.

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Photo of emerge077
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Date: 8 December 2010
Glass: Standard 8.5oz Cervoise
Type: On-tap

Taken from notes on a coaster. Had on-tap @ Tap & Mallet in Rochester, NY.

Poured into standard cervoise, no head, runny lacing, deep clear brown in color. Aroma of amazing toasted malt, almond, and a sweetness like lactose. Taste was sweet, like milk-sweet, so lots of sugar and almond. Extremely complex. Slight sting, but sweet on the palate. I wish I had more time to write about this beer, as it was SUCH a complex Grand Cru.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Bier Academy in Canyon Country, CA.

Best by 2/12/13.

Pours a murky dark brown with a 2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap. No lacing forms on the drink down. A ton of sediment is suspended in the beer after the pour. Smell is of toasted malt, dark fruit, toffee, spices, leather, and alcohol. Taste is of toasted malt, dried dark fruit, leather, clove, and an alcohol kick. There is also a slightly metallic flavor that comes out as the beer warms. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly thick and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some nice and interesting aromas and flavors.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this during my Mother's 70th birthday celebration meal -shared with my brother tenderbranson69 from the 750 in a tulip.

a murky brown color with translucent clarity and thin light head with fine bead. The smell is very good with slight dried fruit and light vinous aroma with a mild spice. The feel is moderately high carbonation and mix of malt with a slight fruity yeast element with mostly dry finish and mild alcohol.

The taste is very good with nice complexity from the yeast adding some dark cherry and slight spice flavors iwth gentle malt sweetness with a mostly dry tangy yeast flavor in the finish. Overall I was glad I got to try this - a very tasty strong belgian ale.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by a friend. From notes.

A - Poured rusty dark brown with tons of yeast floating around. One finger thick light brown head. Good carbonation. No lace, island of retention.

S - Yeast, sugar, dark fruit, great depth on the nose.

T - Dark fruit, gentle sweet spice, sugar, tobacco, plum, yeast. Nice sweetness. No alcohol.

M - Smooth with strong carbonation, a full body, and a weet then dry finish.

O/D - A nice BSDA. Typical flavours, no alcohol, and great drinkability. Solid.

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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 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.

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

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

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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
Beer rating: 90.1% out of 100 with 736 ratings
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