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

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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special BrownAbbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown
751 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 751 |  Reviews: 519
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 Alieniloquium
1.69/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

330 mL bottle poured into a McChouffe chalice... and then a CCB snifter to catch the overflow. This bottle gushed on me big time. The bottle date has been smudged off.

Appearance - So after the bottle erupted all over my hands and the counter, I could watch the stream of murky brown liquid pour into my glass. Chunks of sediment flowed with it. The huge head has specks of floaties all over it. I suppose the head retention is good, though...

Smell - Sour apples and some dry vinous malt aromas. It's be transformed horribly. Sour smelling, but not awful.

Taste - And it's awful. Astringent and the tartness is piercing in the most unpleasant way. Dry and bitter in the finish. Just not good.

Mouthfeel - Dry and leaves the flavors on the palate for far too long. The aftetaste is far worse than the flavor.

Overall - Drainpour and two dirty glasses. Great. Clearly an infected bottle and not a nice infection, either.

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Photo of Seabass1964
1.75/5  rDev -58.3%

Photo of Cresant
2.18/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Poured this 11.2 oz. brown bottle into a Chimay goblet. Dated "best before: 2008" Difficult to read due to smudged ink. This one felt lumpy as I poured. I thought I was imagining this. I poured gently from a bottle that had been resting upright in my fridge for weeks. When held to the light I could see chunks of gelatious yeast (I hope). My beer looked like turtle aquarium sludge.

Smell was okay. Juicy fruit and later cola. Proceed, I carefully sipped...

Taste was sweet raisins and somewhat tangy/sour. Pleasant but I could not handle the texture. I got a kitchen strainer and poured this into another glass. I didn't strain out much but broke up the huge chunks. As it warmed further it had a cola-like quality. I could not finish this one due to the nasty texture and foul impression it made.

From reading other reviews I see this "chunkiness" is rather common.

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Photo of bowersdm
2.46/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

11.2 oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

A - brown color, like apple cider, with no head so speak of save for a thin film of carbonation. The beer had a chunky appearance (I didn't pour the yeast in.)

S - very sweet, but weak: sweet malts, cherries, grapes, apples. Overall, it seemd kind of vinous and almost doppelbock like, but it wasn't strong and it wasn't complex.

T - sweet malt, yeast, some spice and a grassy hop-like finish. that's it. none of the complexity that I heard of. It's a very weak BSDA and definitely one of the worst that I've had.

M - pretty good, considering they (the brewers) couldn't seem to get any of the other parameters right.

D - I'll stick to Rochefort, St. Bernardus, and Chimay. This one just doesn't cut it.

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Photo of PBoegel
2.64/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from 11.2 ounce bottle with a best by 2012 on the label, into a Chimay Goblet.

The beer began to gush and foam over about opening and I could see the yeast and sediment shooting off the bottom as if it was a lava lamp.

The beer poured deep reddish brown with chunks of sludge out of the bottle that you could actually feel as they plopped out into the glass.

The appearance was murky and uninviting with a very poor head.

Smell was sweet, slightly fruity, some flower like notes. The taste was sweet, slightly woody, earthy and lightly sour. The texture was just awful and the mouthfeel was slick, oily and carbonated like a soda with popping fizz.

This beer was awful. Based on the overall ratings on BA my guess is that it is a hit and miss of getting a stable bottle, but I am not playing Russian Roulette at $6 a pop. I will stick with Rochefort, Chimay and Westmalle among some other top Belgians. The brewery and the importer should be sending refunds out for their unstable product.

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Photo of ChampionJaguar
2.81/5  rDev -33.1%
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.

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Photo of klewis
2.86/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Best by 2008

A: Caution! This bottle was very highly pressurized, and I lost a bit upon opening. (Other reviewers mention a corked bottle; I didn't get one.) Pours a murky brown with a big foamy head. Huge gelatinous globs of sediment fill the glass. A bit of sediment is fine, but this looks kind of gross, or it would otherwise get a 5 here. Lots of lacing on the glass.

S: Odd aroma. There's a bit of fruitiness, but also something unpleasant that I can't quite describe... meat maybe?

T: Sour and spicy with fruity flavors and notes of sourdough, lemon, and a bit of Belgian funk. The alcohol is well hidden.

M: Medium-full in body with moderate carbonation. A bit of warming from the alcohol. The sediment is noticable as it slides down the throat. eeewww...

D: I could probably deal with the sediment if the taste was better, but alas. I'll finish the bottle without too much trouble, but I won't be buying this again.

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Photo of jwinship83
2.94/5  rDev -30%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

750ml capped bottle that started to gush before the cap was even fully off. theres a best by date on that back of the bottle, but its too blurry to read. poured into my duvel tulip.

A- this one pours a murky brown with a long lasting and tall beige colored head that leaves a solid wall of lacing behind. more visible "floaters" than i have ever seen before.

S- this one smells lightly of vinegar and something funky. past its prime maybe? lots of summer fruits as well. apples, pears, and green grapes.

T- its starting to turn sour. pretty fruity with apples, pears, raisins, and green grapes. not at all what i was expecting but still nice.

M- vile. the "floaters" feel chunky on my tongue. this is the first time ive ever tried a beer with them and actually felt them. its hard to get past that. light to medium body with a high level of carbonation.

D- hard to finish. beer should not be chunky. strong candidate for my first drain pour. never again for this one.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.96/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Reviewed 12/2/2007 (bottle BB 2010):

Darkish brown body, fizzy w/sediment suspended but quickly settling. Foamy off-white head, average & somewhat lasting. Very strong dark grape/plum aroma. Some alcohol, some floral. Some bourbon-like aroma. Some of that bourbon in the taste, floral aftertaste. Some alcohol but mostly dark plummy taste. Goes good with chocolate, it mutes the flavors. Better as it warms.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.99/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle poured into my Narke tulip...Shiney medium copper, much lighter on the sides. Lots of yeast floaties throughout. A tope head rises about two fingers, then falls quickly to a half finger full cap, decent lacing...The aroma is challenging to say the least, tea, yeast, alcohol, and vomit...The taste again is lots of yeast and iced tea, just not feeling this beer at all. Pass.

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Photo of Stoutsman
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of Zachtheporter
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of bskrtz
3.05/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured cold to tullip shaped beer challice.

A) Dark root beer brown liquid with yeast floaties a-plenty. Surprizingly clear but very dark

S) Sweet molasses. Banana nut bread. Cookie dough.

T) Alcohol is a bit harsh. Sweet fruits -- dates, raisons and figs. Gingerbread pastry

M) I find this a bit flat.

D) This is my second try from seperate purchases -- both were a bit flat.

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Photo of philipquarles
3.13/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

33cL bottle with BBD of 2011. Pours a hazy red-brown with a creamy beige head and a good deal of sediment. Smells very fruity with a bit of caramel. Plenty of orange makes it reminiscent of Cointreau. Sweet malt and dough taste. Lots of dark fruit character and a bit boozy with an almost cloyingly sweet, warming finish. Moderately thick body with a lot of carbonation.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.15/5  rDev -25%
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.

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.19/5  rDev -24%
look: 1.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

I bought this brew from a liquor store in Milwaukee. I can't remember the name.

Appearance - Not the most attractive of beers. Redish brown with a lot of yeast residue. The head poured 2 inches + initially and faded to about an 1/8 of an inch which it held strong.

Smell - The scent is perfect. It has the sweet aroma of a strong Belgian brew with that hint of alcohol for a push.

Taste - Really not what I had expected. I can't get past the texture to enjoy the taste.

Mouthfeel - Like I said.

~ I really hope I got a bad batch/bottle because I've read great things about this brew. The other possibility is that I incorrectly poured the beer. If you read this and have some insight, please, drop me a message.

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Photo of avalon07
3.2/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. Lots of floaties. There was a half inch of foamy head and virtually no lacing.

S: Not a whole lot of smell here. Some dark fruit and malt, but little else.

T: Tasted of malt, dark fruit (figs, etc.) and a little hops. Not nearly as bold, flavorful or complex as some of its Belgian brethren.

M: A very average amount of carbonation with a somewhat slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This one was not my favorite. Not the worst thing ever, but definitely not a winner.

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Photo of newbeeraday
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of BeerRun13
3.32/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a super cloudy amber/ dark orange... quite dark orange. Too much carbonation, as I had to really let this one settle after a gentle pour. Nice eggshell head with some good lace after it calms down. Some floaties in there.
Sweet in the nose. A little banana/clovelike.
Good flavor, but nothing special. Actually quite 1 or 2 dimmensional. Sweet banana/clovelike with maybe a touch of candi.
Full bodied and highly carbonated. Dry enough but the sweetness is still there. Almost cloying.
Over rated in my opinion. At least I scored another 11.2 oz bottle for homebrew

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Photo of Prufrock
3.32/5  rDev -21%
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.

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Photo of AltBock
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml capped dark green bottle that has a plain and simple label of a stone walkway that is probably located in Abbaye des Rocs. In front of this stone walkway is their brewery crest. The back of the bottle has a small square label that contains the US Government warning, brewery address, US importer, refund value, proper glassware, proper serving temp, barcode, and a "best before end" year. Mine was best before the year 2009.

Appearance: When this beer was poured into a Corsendonk Christams Ale goblet, I found out that this "special brown ale" apeeared to be a dark cranberry amber, but as it turned out, it was actually a golden amber color. I couldn't but notice that all through out the appearance, there were at leat a million chunks of yeast floating around. These chunks of yeast made the beer look filthy. Anyway, it had a nice sized creamy head of white (almost tan) colored foam. This head of foam was self rising. Once you would pour the beer, the head of foam would self rise and overflow the glass. It didn't matter how much you poured, it always over flowed. Hell, the head of foam even did that from the bottle. Let's just say that it annoying real fast.

Smell: It wasn't the most complexed smelling Belgian beer out there, but it was still very good, but an average quality. In the beginning the aroma was fruity, almost grape like. That was it until it was swirled around. That is where the fruits completely left the aroma and a milk chocolate like aroma with a small spatter of fruity hops behind that emerges. Surprisingly, with all the yeast chunks floating around, there was no yeast in the aroma. There wasn't even a faint whiff of it.

Taste: For a beer that smells fruity as much as this beer, the taste wasn't fruity at all. Instead it was lightly malted with faint sweet tea leaves, milk chocolate, and a quick splash of roasted citrus hops at the finish. And just like the aroma, surprisingly there was also no yeast in here. I couldn't figure out why it didn't come through. There weren't that many flavors in the taste to cover it up. The taste was kind of a let down. I honestly though there was going to be more flavors in the taste.

Mouthfeel: This beer had a simply slick mouthfeel! Where was the 9.50% ABV? It wasn't in the taste and it certainly wasn't in the mouthfeel. That was great and all, but there wasn't much of an aftertaste here. The only aftertaste was that of lightly toasted malts, tea, and yeast. Oh, so this is where the yeast comes into play. It's about time. Talk about being late.

Drinkability: I really felt that this beer didn't have much to offer, except for the fact that it masked its alcohol content. There wasn't much of an aroma to it and there wasn't much of a taste to it either. I know I said it before, but it's true. This beer was a let down. I won't be forking over any more money for this Belgian beer.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 7/26/08. 33 cl bottle, I think it said best by 2/5/2008 but it was quite hard to any event, an aged bottle. Pours a dark brown with a huge tan head. No floaties! Aroma of sweet fruit. Flavor of yeast and fruit. It seems that the age dulled any specific fruit notes, as I mostly just got general sweetness from it. I'd like to try this again, fresh, in a 750 as I think it would be a lot better. As it was, just ok.
7/4/6/4/13 (3.4/5)

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Photo of morebeergood
3.34/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a bottle at Bauer on Newbury Street for this past Friday night. After popping the cap, I got some overflow, not quite an explosion, but enough to spill down the sides. After letting it settle down a bit, I poured myself some into a Belgian chalice. Wow, there were a lot of chunks of yeast. Too many, almost to the point of distraction. I let the glass sit for a bit, and upon first taste, I liked it. The taste was of caramel and fruit, with a smoothness that hid the alcohol level. But those chunks, they are hard to ignore. For the second glass, I poured extremely slow, and most of the yeast stayed in the bottle. This was an enjoyable beer now. But the third and final glass was 1/3 yeast chunks, so not so great. This is a great tasting beer, but I think I'd only get it on draft, and never in a bottle again.

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Photo of BitterLover
3.35/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 1 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle. The "Best before end" year was 2008. I bought this bottle for my wife because she likes brown ales. But once she saw the floaters in it, she would have nothing to do with it. And this was even after the bottle had sat undisturbed in the back of my fridge for weeks.

A - Dark reddish mahogony color with a three fingers head (must have poured it too vigorously). The tan head died down pretty quickly tho, leaving just an 1/8" thick skin on the top of the beer that was speckled with darker flecks. Curious about these flecks, it was at this point that I noticed that the beer was chock full of some sort of sediment that looked like parsley flakes or something. It reminded me of the scene from "Strange Brew" where the boys poured the beer out of their dog's bowl into a glass for their Dad. :-)

S - Mostly smelled like brown, sticky stuff -- molassas, brown sugar, caramel and brandied fruit. Nice and malty.

T - Really sweet, with a faint sour note on the finish.

M - I'm trying to detect the copious flakes on my tongue, but I really can't. They must be very diaphanous and just melt. Very thick and heavy mouthfeel.

D - Too sweet for my taste, but I'm sure my wife would have liked it if it hadn't been for the detritus.

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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 751 ratings