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
BA SCORE
90.1%
Liked This Beer
4.2 w/ 736 ratings
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
abbaye-des-rocs.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,185
Reviews:
516
Ratings:
736
Liked:
663
Avg:
4.2/5
pDev:
10.48%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
63
Gots:
44
Trade:
1
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 736 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

(Served in a stem less snifter)

A- This beer has a big tan head that sits on a small body of a dark reddish caramel hue. There is a violent swirling of carbonation in the body and it is pushing large bits of trub around the body. Even with the gentlest pour there is still lots of chunks in this beer.

S- The sweet malt smell is rich and has a nice wood and caramel note to it. It has note of dark dates and yeast as it warms.

T- The taste of dark sugar and toffee has a light pale malt flavor and a honey quality to it. There are more burnt sugar notes and a soft marshmallow fluff hint. This finish has a light bitter note to it that doesn’t have much hop flavors but is a nice finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with lots of chunks and a soft alcohol warmth as the beer warms up.

D- I ended up dumping the first glass because of all the chunks an after the beer was open for a bit the carbonation settled and I was able to decant off a few glasses of almost jetsam free beer. The flavor was nice and although not really complex did have some nice depth to it.

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Photo of wedge
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best Before End: 2008

Its about time we broke this one out after buying it more than half a year ago. When we popped the cap off, we had a gusher. Not a big deal really, but it did disturb the yeast quite a bit giving the beer a more murky appearance than was probably intended. Pours a dark coppery brown color with a slight reddish hint. A soft, whipped foamy light tan head sticks to the surface for a while before eventually fading away. Dark, tart, fruity aroma resembles apple cider, cherries, and sweet, sticky bread. The slick, creamy mouthfeel is low on carbonation after the explosive beginning but still very nice in its full body and mild warmth. Rich, dark fruity esters start out the flavor before giving way to a delicious sweet, nutty, creamy maltiness. Yummy.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Best by 08)

Pours a very dirty auburn color and when held directly up to the light glows orange-red from the inside out. Heavily murky with noticeable suspended bits throughout. Head is small and retention is not more than a rim around the glass. No lace. Aroma is soft, sweet, and fruity with a touch of delightful intoxication. Dark juicy fruits, ripe green apple and green grapes blend into woody cocoa and vanilla. Its hard to break from smelling this. Taste matches aroma well but the maltiness becomes more distinct though still thoroughly blended. In aroma and flavor theres a fruity, alcoholic acidity which adds character. Carbonation is just about right and adds a light, even prickly sensation as you become aware of the alcohol, middle to finish. Mouthfeel is light in feel but approaching full in quantity. The texture is slick and is evenly coating. This is very drinkable especially with the high abv.

This is high on the yummy scale and I think I might have sucked it down a little too fast.

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Photo of joe1510
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz Bottle
$3.99
Binny's Orland

Best before 2007

As with other Des Rocs ales the Grand Cru pours loaded with big heavy protein chunks. They break up somewhat but are still thick. The body of this beer would look amazing if not for the floaties. Glowing ruby body with a 1+ finger loose ivory head one the pour. Head fades to a thick half finger cap. Leaves spotty lacing.

Smell is absolutely packed with different aromas. Sweet doughy malts combine with spicy alcohol up front. Brown sugar and dark fruits show up halfway through. Cherries, plums, and figs. The backend brings powdered sugar, nutmeg, and a faint spicy hoppiness. The longer your nose stays in the beer the more the aroma changes.

Flavor is a little of a let down after the wonderful aromas. Much like the smell doughy malts kick things off. Mid palate a some of the darker fruits that were mentioned in the smell hit the tastebuds. There is also, a very mild metallic twang every now and then. Not bad but not an improvement either. The swallow brings brown sugar, slight alcohol warmth, and a mild floral hoppiness. This beer gets much better as it warms.

Medium body with a coating mouthfeel. Slightly sticky. The mouthfeel is good but I just don't like getting one of those bigger protein chunks.

Good flavor and a wonderful aroma help this beer go down pretty easy. To me it seems like it would be more appropriate for cooler weather instead of a hot night like tonight.

Another tasty treat from Des Rocs. My only complaint of their beers are the huge amount of chunky settlement. Des Rocs beers are excellent but if the sediment was taken a little better care of they would be world class.

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Photo of amiles
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Popped a foiled and capped 750ml bottle and immediately started to pour over. I've read other reviews and was sort of expecting it, but this was really rather out of control. It would just not stop. Even after I had a chance to pour the beer, it was forming fairly large bubbles at the bottle opening. Never seen that before! Kinda cool. Anyways...

Appearance - Pour a mellow brown into a St. Bernardus glass. Lots of lingering floaters that really create a not-so-nice visual appeal. Little to no head, which surprised me due to the overflowing bottle. Wouldn't want to drink this in a really well lit room.

Smell - Has a strong, yet non alcoholic sweet smell to it. Something that the typical Belgium brew doesn't. Can't quite put my finger on it. Bit more hop than the usual brown as well.

Taste - The very first sip I took felt like a punch to the mouth. A very GOOD punch to the mouth, yes it exists! Very very powerful initial taste, but mellows out as you drink on. Lots of sweetness and mild hops, with a tarty but pleasant aftertaste welcomes your next sip...

Mouthfeel - Nice...! Not too much carbonation, but enough to keep your mouth interested. Definitely let this one warm up a bit and it will feel even smoother.

Drinkability - Definitely a sipper, and definitely something you want keep in front of you for a while and enjoy how tasty it really is. The 9.5% alcohol shows about half way through the bottle. Not a bad thing though... I like to know that I'm drinking a beer!

Wonderful beer...! Was a bit worried about the floaters at first but really didn't phase me after it was poured. Excellent beer for sure.

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Photo of jwff
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours light, translucent brown with leanings towards plum. Ridiculous amount of carbonation present and head retention/lacing are excellent. Plenty of yeast is there and it's presence fills the whole glass, but it just adds a grainy characteristic to the appearance. Home movie beer. Powdery brown sugar and molasses are present in the smell. Soft brown/chocolate malts noticeable and inviting. Grape-y sweetness with plenty of sugar.

Front of the mouth is loaded up with brown sugar and molasses. Towards mid palette it shifts to a spicy yeastiness and some residual sugars before taking on a burnt spice aftertaste with brown sugar kicking back in. Mouthfeel is kind of weak (probably due to the damn thing exploding). It's on the watery side, but that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. Hard to believe this is 9.5, but the alcohol does start to show itself a bit after it warms.

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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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Photo of roblowther
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a double magnum into a chalice glass. Deep red-brown in color with a dense tan head that just keeps giving. The smell is malt with citrus, sour cherries, and nutmeg from the yeast. My mouth is watering. The taste is very sweet at the front, almost syrupy. The finish dries it out nicely and gives it a great balance. The alcohol follows the liquid down & gives you that glow that says the beer loves you. Really. I promise. The finish is bitter after a few sips but once the alcohol kicks in you really don't mind so much. The mouthfeel has great carbonation held in check by a silkiness that's just sexy. The drinkability is good. Good enough to finish 1.5 litres of the stuff, I'd say. This one has potential. I think I need to get another bottle & age it. This one may have died too young. A moment of silence, please.

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Photo of techdiver
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy mahogany with a big bubbly head that dissipated rather quickly.

Molasses, plum and sour fruit to the nose.

Sweet malt taste with mild hops. Well balanced, not overly complex.

Medium bodied, great carbonation.

Very drinkable, but the Triple Imperiale is still the tops.

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Photo of jwc215
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tulip glass:

After an explosion of foam, it pours dark bark with a thin, creamy head that leaves some trailing lace on glass. Would look a lot nicer if there weren't chunks of yeast on the bottom of the glass.

The smell is of brown sugar, caramel candy, a vague spiciness (probably from the alcohol) and a touch of vinegar.

The taste is of brown sugar and caramel candy. Peppery alcohol is warming. Sweetness is balanced, to a degree, by vinegary sourness. Finishes candy sweet.

Medium bodied and creamy.

Well - those chunks of floaties do detract. After awhile I strained it through a paper towel, and that helped. Floaties aside, it makes for a nice sipping treat.

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for sharing!

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Photo of blakesell
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a pint glass (if you don't like it, you can give me more clean glasses, Belgium).

Appearance- Pours a dark amber with a frothy pillowlike head that lingers forever.

Smell- plum, spices, nutty essences, dark fruits, FIG!, carmel covered breads, toffee.

Taste- Candi sugar sweetness and spices upfront, rich carmel flavors with once again, dark fruits such as the ever infamous fig coming back into play. No alcohol burn for a 9.5% beer. Impressive.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and sticky with lingering carmel and plum. Ok, so there is some detectable alcohol in there. Smooth carbonation.

Drinkability- Very nice. I would drink this again and will as it came in a 4 pack. Rich and delicious, very good for unwinding in cold weather.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

WARNING... recommend opening this product over or near a sink!

After the explosive eruption of foam settles..pours a slightly hazy dark amber color. The effervescence of tiny bubbles continues of course. Less than a full finger tan butterscotch colored head fades fairly quickly to surface. Little lacing observed.

A very sweet smell. Distinctly plum and molasses.

The flavor and smell are very much a like. The sweet fruitiness lingers slightly.

The immediate mouth feel tingles from the carbonation, but once that settles down there is a timid hop signature. The alcohol hides behind fruit, but the warmth is definitely present.

Drinkable but i'd prefer a more fig-like flavor.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$14.99 for a 4-pack of 11.2 oz bottles. 9.5% ABV on the label, so I'm gonna assume that I have the right beer as the older Grand Cru is listed as being retired. Pours out to a cloudy medium-amber with a large amount of proteinaceous debris...looks like flaked fish food but I don't let it bother me. Forms a generous meringue-like light tan head with excellent retention and copious lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma of cloves, rotting apples and cherries, raw apple cider, light vinegar, sour dark fruit, a little musty with some dates as well. Nice nose. Mouthfeel is pillowy soft and powdery with a medium-dense body. The taste is a recap of the aroma, with an abundance of leather and tobacco in the finish and only a very distant sourness. Semi-sweet caramel with a mild herbaceous bitterness. Alcohol is perceptable in warmth, but not in taste. Easy to drink.

A very nice BSDA. Not quite as classic as some other breweries, but still quite delicious. Recommended.

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Photo of oelergud
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opaque orange brown body. Yellow tan head of tiny to small bubbles. Low retention and no lace.
Strong overripe cherry, prune and banana scent. Sweet malts and brown sugar. Some hay, spice and alcohol.
Sweet spiced malts and burnt caramel, some nut and hop flavors. Not much of an aftertaste but it's sweet and abit spiced.
Full body, residual sugars and abit of coating.
Decent drinkability but it does have an off setting flavor that may or may not belong.

-Oelergud

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Photo of Fugazme
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice big gusher!

Settled down into a murky, brown color... giant head, but I had to pour fast. After a few minutes there was a nice fluffy head... excellent swirl and stick.

Complex nose with maple, fig, apricot, chocolate, yeast, spice, banana, orange... Huge and wonderful.

Pretty nice mouthfeel... silky upfront, full... a little alcohol bite on the back.

Bready smooth and yeasty flavor. Some good cola notes and a sweet finish.

Great beer.

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Photo of John_M
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Mahaffey's the other night.

This beer pours a very lovely light orange brown color, with decent head and lacing. On the nose I got very little, just a trace of Belgium spice. On the palate this beer was just delicious. The beer was not heavy at all, and quite reminded me of a beer version of sweet milk chocolate, interlaced with Belgium funkiness and spice. Aboslutely delicious. Considering the abv., this beer is remarkably light and drinkable, probably dangerously so. I never would have guessed this was a 10% abv., at least until I walked out of Mahaffey's. (then I certainly noticed it). The beer finishes with a very good sweet finish.

Granted, this beer is a bit simple and a bit more complexity would be nice, but for all that it was a very nice beer to sip on.

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

A smooth brown/amber pour, big off white head. Not sure if I poured this wrong to get a big head or what. Big.
Head produces an aroma, strong in rich yeast, a citrus splash and sweet malt. A touch of toast and honey as well.
Taste isn't as rich as the aroma. Same flavors; yeast, citrus and honey, but not as rich. This helps the drinkability, though. It's a smooth beer, touch of sourness at the right moment to wake you up.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.69/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark amber/brown with a very full 2 finger off white soft head that melts slowly to sticky lace but still manages to cover the top of the beer with a quarter inch of foam.
Aromas are sweet toasted dark malts and candy.
Flavor is not as multi-dimensional as many Belgium's I've had. I catch the sweet amber malts, the brown sugar, the caramel, and a little of the dark fruits, but somehow it doesn't hit me like others. Possibly because I just finished a Trappist Rochfort 8, but then comparison is how you can rate equitably, no?

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Photo of kajerm
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL champagne-style bottle served in the Brickskeller in DC. Pours a pleasant caramel brown with a half-finger white head and mild lacing.

The aroma and flavor are both fairly simple, belgian yeast and lightly toasted malts. Not terribly complex, but extremely balanced and tasty. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and the 9.5%ABV is nowhere in evidence, making for a ridiculously drinkable beer.

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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 bluejacket74
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle says best before end of 2008. Served in a chalice, the beer pours a brown/ruby red color with about a half inch tan head. It smells like dark fruit, pepper, raisins and caramel. It tastes just like it smells, and it has a nice spicy, peppery finish. Mouthfeel is medium, it's smooth and a bit creamy, and it has a lot of carbonation (but not too much). Drinkability is good, but this is definitely a sipping beer. Overall, I think this is a pretty decent beer.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

03/22/07- Purchased at Draegers in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle. Code imprinted on the label. Poured into my St. Bernardus goblet.

Appearance- Cognac-like color in appearance. So, I guess that makes it a kind of a dark amber, mahagoney color. Huge and I mean frickin huge ass overflowing head (see notation in drinkability). Decent lace streaks and spots left behind.

Smell- Not a huge outgoing nose, but definitely could detect some caramel, a few dark fruits and a bit of fusel alcohol.

Taste- Emense caramel flavor...caramel, then caramel and oh, then some more caramel. Tasted like I shoved my piehole into a bowl of melted kraft caramels. Raisins and maybe some dates and possibly some figs round out the taste.

Mouthfeel- Cask-like smooth and creamy. Lovely coating on the mouth. Little if not any carbonation. I did, however, let this sit for about an hour after the pour to let the gigantonormous head die down.

Drinkability- This was my 3rd of 6 bottles purchased from this store. The reason I purchased so many without trying is because they were not marked and I got them for $1.50 a pop. Once they figured out their error, they were marked up to $14.99 for a 4pk. Anyway, each bottle I have has been infected. I'm assuming so since the huge foaming head occurs each time. The taste seems ok, but I'm not sure about the no carbonation mouthfeel. Something is fishy here. I will have to revisit this beer for sure to get an accurate reading. As is, it has good texture and pretty good flavor. I think the fresh unspolied version should be a bit better though.

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Photo of drpimento
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, truly exceptional beer! Especially well balanced. Poured with a nice tan frothy, textured head with brown highlights; lace is the same way. Nice nose of malt, caramel, vanilla, lots of dark ripe fruit like dates, raisins, cherries, blackberries, peaches. Tastes likewise, but, more of course. Very velvety texture. Ditto drinkability. No indication of alcohol. Does seem to have needed decanting; however, I didn't eat my wheaties this morning....

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Photo of geexploitation
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown with ruby highlights, off-white head with no lace but some staying power. Aroma hints at sweet tastes that lay ahead. Savory spice, beet sugar sweetness, and dusty yeast aromas compose the nose. On the palate, big carbonation first off, then nutty sweetness and a touch of fruity acidity. For a big, rich, beer this has a surprisingly light touch -- the yeast has left over plenty of fruity esters and, along with some bubblegum flavors and big carbonation, this makes for a light touch. On the bottom end, the palate has plenty of malty, dark candi sugar sweetness, along with some earthy, tobacco-like notes. Mouthfeel is pretty heavy, but lightened somewhat by present alcohol and big carbonation. Overall, this is a very good Belgian strong dark ale. Lots of sweet notes, good carbonation level, a bit heavy in mouthfeel, but all this is counterbalanced by light yeasty and fruity notes. Quite good.

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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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