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

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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Reviews: 516 | Ratings: 727
Photo of JayQue
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy mahogany color into my Chimay goblet. Good size antique white head. Good enough retention for this alcohol level. Minimal lacing.

Aroma is dark fruit, plums, figs and raisins, fairly pronounced and pleasant.

Taste is more of the same, dark fruit, some sweetness (brown sugar) and Belgian yeast. The taste is strong and satisfying without being all that complex.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth. The alcohol is well hidden, just some warming effects. East to drinnk even at 9% abv.

Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a rocky tan cap that lasts a long time. plentiful lace trails coat a Westmalle chalice. The aroma is of Christmas cake, figs, roasted malts and dark chocolate. A massive wall of malts fills the first sip - huge doughy, grainy flavors mixed with fruit and cocoa. Some lemon and field berries notes linger in the back. The mouthfeel is very full and dextriny with lots of silky carbonation bubbles. The finish is long and malty with a soothing rummy booziness. Alcohol could be less prominent for 9%, but it's never a distraction.

This is a fantastic Belgian Dark Ale. Huge malt flavors with incredible complexity combined with the high ABV make this one to savour and contemplate. A must try for any beer nerd and RUN don't walk if you're a malthead.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: A shiny rusty brown, opaque with a bit of sediment from the bottom of the bottle. There was a light tan head bubbling up to 2 or 3 fingers that settled quickly to a nice ring and left a bit of lacing.

S: A very pronounced nose heavy on plums and other dried fruit (raisins) backed by a pleasant maltiness from the biscuit and special b malts. It has a nice breadiness component.

T: The beers starts sweet and floral coming from a heavy grain bill but is balanced with the perfect amount of bittering hops for a nice clean, dry finish. That great Belgian yeast profile shines through.

M: Smooth and velvety with a nice soft carbonation; it is very ‘bubbly’ on the tongue.

O: A tasty beer! It has pronounced nose and tastes of plums and raisins at the start balanced out by a sweet biscuit, bready malt profile which finishes dry and clean. This is a very smooth and drinkable beer.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to tulip. Best before 13/12/2014.

A - Deep brown; almost completely opaque. One finger of light brown head.

S - Yeast esters, spice, brown sugar, clove and raisin.

T - Dark fruit, raisin, dates, spice, brown sugar, Belgian yeast and a slight chocolate flavour. very complex.

M - Medium body; creamy. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of peensteen
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown colour, cap of eggshell white head with a bit of lace. Smell is of overripe dark fruits backed with spices and dark breads, rich malt bill and a bit of cocoa, lots of plum and raisin, mildly yeasty. Taste is initially rich and malty followed by dark fruits, pretty big spice profile as well, coriander and a bit on anise, some yeast, cocoa powder, plum and raisin bread aftertaste. Medium but soft feeling carbonation, chewy medium body. Quite a nice dark belgian beer, ABV goes largely unnoticed, would certainly entertain this again.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle reads best before: 13/12/2014.

(4.0) A: Ruby red with a fingers worth of micro-bubbly foam head. Commendable retention and patchy lacing.

(4.0) S: Raisins, figs, cherries, brown sugar, chocolate, spices (including nutmeg), and plums. Rich and hearty aroma that is spot-on for the style.

(4.25) T: Dark and dried fruits with a touch of sour citrus zest that compliments the taste nicely. Roasted malt in the form of dry cocoa coupled with bitter floral notes. Incredibly easy drinking with the alcohol well hidden.

(4.25) M: Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Quite light bodied considering the ABV with enough slickness. A slight gritty-chewy texture.

(4.0) D: This is kind of like a lighter bodied dubbel with a touch of sour, and I find it tasty and dangerously easy to drink.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle, presumably fairly fresh.

A: Clear, dark plum-brown body beneath two fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is decent but unremarkable, with light lace. Good, not great.

S: Bright, fresh, and complex. Candied dark fruits are dominant, with raisin and dried cherry standing out on top of specialty malt and some spiciness. Excellent.

T: Follows the nose precisely - complex interplay of malt and yeast, yielding smoothly sweet notes of dried fruit, glazed fruitcake, and faint chocolate. Some light, spicy alcohol on the alcohol is warming but not the least bit overbearing. Delicious.

M: Even after a bunch of swirling it's distinctly overcarbonated, but the bubbles are delicate enough to avoid being prickly. Ok, but not as smooth as I'd like.

O: This is my second beer from this brewery, and both have been incredibly flavorful but markedly too bubbly. I love the frothiness in a BSPA like Duvel, but in a BSDA I'd rather get to enjoy the substance of the rich malts. Minor carbonation nitpick aside, I love this beer.


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Photo of biegaman
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinking Brasserie des Rocs it's a good idea to be near a sink. Certainly away from electronics. This may be the first of the many bottles I've had from this brewery that didn't reenact a scene from Yellowtone National Park. Nonetheless, the coagulated yeast that has forever been an unsightly pimple on the face of ADR beers continues to plague them. The little sediment clumps provide a visual texture that makes the glass look as though it's fitted in brown leather.

The bouquet is sweet and spicy, with notes of brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and sticky dark fruits all enveloped by milk chocolate and marshmallow overtones. It's like some kind of gourmet Rocky-Road ice cream in beer form! There's also notes of molasses, licorice and sugar-plum that are boosted by a subtle but perceptible alcohol strength. Wonderful stuff!

The taste threw me for a bit of a loop. Gone are most of the many sweet, spicy flavours of the aroma. There's nowhere near the intricacy or variety that was anticipated. At first I thought it too cold - allowing it to breath and warm is certainly beneficial - but it seems to simply be lacking the flagship rich maltiness of this brewery's other offerings.

The flavour is brief, hurried and reserved, as if I were an old high-school mate it ran into on the street and didn't have the time nor desire to get reacquainted. Notes of dark toffee, dried fruits, rye bread and subtle baking spices fail to make much of a lasting impression. A tad chocolatey. I find it flat, figuratively speaking (literally, the carbonation should actually be toned down).

'Grand Cru' is a wine term borrowed in the beer community to refer generally to an offering the brewery feels is particularly great or special. Despite this offering sporting that moniker, I personally think the Brune, Triple Impériale, and La Montagnarde are all more deserving of special denotation than this. They're also, in my opinion, more deserving of my next ADR purchase.

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Photo of mintjellie
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cola brown colour. Poorly-retained fizzy beige head leaves no lace. Aroma is malty and estery with toasted nut, brown sugar, caramel, dried fruit, and banana notes. Light alcohol nose. Malt-foward and fairly sweet with a bready and nutty character, also caramel, then raisin and gentle black pepper mid-palate. Fruit continuing into the finish alongside a very subtle bitter note. Banana burps. Medium-bodied with light, soft carbonation. Feels smooth and deceptively light for its weight, if that makes sense. Alcohol is well-hidden, with only the slightest hint of warmth. Straightforward but big and boldly flavoured. Very good beer.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for 3.00$

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. It's too dark to make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, dark fruits, bananas, anise

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel/butterscotch and malts. There is also a light smokiness, some anise, and some dark fruit (dates/raisins) flavour. It ends with a malty dark fruit aftertaste.

Overall – Another winner from this brewer. A little bit more bitterness than I was expecting, but still a complex and interesting flavour. I picked up a dozen bottles to see is they change with some age. Worth picking up.

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Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at Smoke & Barrel DC, for the DC bottle share. Thanks to 1up for bringing the bottle. From notes.

Pours a faint red amber, there's a little bit of floaties sometimes, but a good and creamy tan head forms and leaves a nice collar.

Classic Belgian yeast with just a nice amount of candi sugar. Very mild presence and hints of caramel like toffee mix nicely. Pretty solid.

Palate is straightforward from the nose, but has a simple caramel coating action that isn't overpowering with a little bit of brown spice kick. Malt backbone continues to let the palate explore the sweetness, with some degree of fruit. Good feel without getting out of control or overly sticky or sweet.

A solid straightforward Belgian Dark that I could get into which is a rarity for me.

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

750 ml bottle into chalice, best before 4/5/2013. Pours very cloudy deep ruby red color with a 1-2 finger foamy cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with plenty of carbonation streaming up retaining the head. Aromas of big raisin, fig, apple, pear, prune, fig, caramel, molasses, toast, toffee, dark bread, light chocolate, clove, pepper, and earthy yeast esters Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy esters and malty notes. Taste of raisin, apple, pear, prune, fig, caramel, toast, molasses, toffee, pepper, dark bread, light chocolate, clove, and earthy yeast esters. Lingering notes of light and dark fruits, caramel, pepper, molasses, toast, toffee, dark bread, floral, light chocolate, clove, and earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of fruity, peppery, and dark malt flavors; with zero cloying sweetness present on the finish. Medium-high carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy, fairly slick, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Very smooth to sip on for 9.5%. Overall this is an absolutely incredible Belgian strong dark ale! Big complexity and balance and fruity, malty, and spicy flavors; and extremely smooth to sip on the for the strength. An extremely delicious offering.

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

330ml bottle served in Trappist chalice.

A: Pours a very dark amber to brown color forming a huge beige color head. In fact, the head pops out when the bottle is opened. Kind of: I'm alive and getting out! Very dirty beer, a lot of chunks can be seen around and small grains on the top of the foam. Retention is great and tons of lacings are left in the glass.

S: Absolutely perfect nose: Sweet malts upfront, very fruity, bready and spicy. Notes of dark fruits, vanilla, nuts, black pepper, Belgian yeasts and alcohol in the very end

T: Sweet upfront. Sweet malts, dark fruits, oak, wood, caramel, vanilla, black pepper, cloves, brown bread, Belgian yeasts. Complex. Hops bitterness is quite light and smooth

M: Heavy body. A bit molasses. Medium carbonation. Caramel and bread aftertaste

O: Excellent drinkability. Excellent beer. An authentic Belgian Ale. Masterpiece. Did I forget something? :)

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Photo of Flounder57
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle was poured into a large Duvel glass.

This beer poured a one finger head that has reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark brown/amber color with some vision of bubbles at the top of the glass. There ate floaties that eventually settle to the bottom of the glass.

This beer smells delicious. Apples, pears, vanilla, spices, caramel, burnt molasses, raisins, plums, and some orange marmalade. The taste is along the same lines with a nice warming boozy alcohol at the end.

This beer is full bodied, silky and creamy smooth, medium carbonation, velvet texture, warm boozy alcohol and great to drink. I enjoyed this beer a lot. I pretty solid BSDA and happy to be enjoying this during hurricane Sandy.

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

330ml bottle. Orval Chalice glass. Revisited on jul´12. Brownish color, reddish to the light. Light brown head & thick lasting crown. Belgian yeast, lots of sweet & fruity –caramel, brown sugar, figs & prunes- aromas to the nose. Flavors as expected: sweet & spiced, toasted malts. Chewing yeast sediments. Full body. Moderate carbonation. ABV well masked by dark ripe fruits in the middle. Kind of sweet flavor & gentle warming sensation in the finish. Delightful.

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Photo of hardy008
3.79/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium brown color with a two finger tan head with fair retention and no lacing. Also a lot of sediment floating in the beer. The aroma has green apples, caramel, figs, raisins, and spices.

Sweet flavor with green apples, caramel, figs, raisins, spices, grapes, and pears. There is no hop bitterness to balance the sweetness.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Has a bit of a sweet aftertaste, and has a sticky feeling to it. Overall a pretty good beer, but not the best BSDA I have had.

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Photo of rarbring
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The brew is dusky brown, rather light, small bubbles, a warm off-white head that leaves little lacing and rather/surprisingly small curtains.

Sweet apricot marmalade, spicy sponge cake, yeast, old bananas.

A sweet mixed fruit marmalade start, some spicy notes, bitter orange peel.

Rather high carbonation, small lively bubbles, soft and sticky texture, a good body and a dry warm finish.

In all a good strong ale, very good with ripe hard cheese.

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

Pours reddish brown,. Creamy white head topping the beer nicely and with a nice lacing. Many big floaters swimming around

N - fruits, alcohol, caramel, Figs

M -, creamy, sweet, bitterness is very mild. Medium to full body. Alcohol is not dominating, even with its 9.5%. Carbonation is medium. Feels oily and smooth

T - dark  and red fruits as present in nose. Sweetness of caramel, ,  figs, nuts, raisins.

Overall a very nice beer from this brewery. Well balanced and very drinkable.  good to comme back to belgian style beer after a few years of ruining my tastes buds with american hops. Very very pleasant.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Small bottle. Pours dark red. Off white foamy head, tremendous retention. It really looks like it's raining chucks of yeast.

Fruity, yeasty, nutty, dark fruits and a hint of alcohol. Caramel.

Dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel and nuttiness.

Full bodied, creamy and lingering.

A nice robust Belgian ale. It's at the end of it's life according to the label, but I think it'll do fine for years...

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a medium mahogany color with pristine clarity aside from the huge chunks of particles floating around the bottom of the glass. The head is tan and thick and durable. There isn't too much lacing but enough to satisfy. The nose is full of dark fruits and candy sugars, with hints of spice. Figs, raisins, brown sugar, nutmeg and Belgian yeast make up and excellent and complex nose. I'm surprised alcohol doesn't come into play. It's completely hidden. There is an immediate candy sweetness in the taste, but not a cloying sweetness. Sweet figs take center stage here only this time the alcohol comes through just barely. The mouth feel is on par with the rest of the beer. It's full bodied, soft and with moderate carbonation. Some of the yeast particle can be felt on the tongue as the beer finishes from the glass. As far as Belgian Strong Dark Ales go this one is above par. The taste, smell, feel and appearance are second to none. Highly recommended to any Belgian lover. It makes a great substitute for a fine port as well.

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Photo of soulfly1492
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Dark fruity esters. Sweet dates and raisins. Some mild brown malts. Some odd spice, I'm actually getting ginger and cinnamon. Some malt character, but mostly the fruits and spice.

Appearance: Super chunky. The largest particles and highest quantity that I've ever seen. Large chunks falling out during the pour, no job, I should have used a strainer as ridiculous as that sounds. That's a first. Decent retention, some lacing. Dark brown in color, opaque. Light brown head.

Taste: Sweet, bold flavor. Dark fruits, dates, raisins and molasses. Rose-like alcohol which is very pleasant here. Some mild bitter hops, but mostly sweet. The finish is brown malt and dates and slightly bitter prunes.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. Oily all the way. Never drying. Low carbonation. Can feel a few chunks on their way across my tongue.

Overall: Very full of flavor, but never harsh or overpowering. Not like a few of the other impressive brews of the Belgian Strong Dark Ale style. Very easy to sip and savor. Absolutely perfect as a "desert beer".

Notes: Best before 9/1/2012, drank on 2/1/2012.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice chestnut color as it pours into my goblet - much like the Abbaye Des Rocs Tripel. This beer too has a lot of sediment, chunks even. Little to no head. I'm going to be a bit more harsh this time - taking a few points off for those last two. Aroma is sweet and tart. The sour apple, pear, plum, brown sugar, chocolate malt, and fig flavors are very pleasant. Flavor - Very interesting and not quite what I expected - I am getting much more of a baker's chocolate and malt character coming forward rather than the fruity phenols that dominated the aroma. Still, the enhance the flavor and make it subtly more complex. After letting the cold temperature come down a little, I can pick up a more distinct raisin as the beer touches my palate, dark chocolate, and the pear/sour apple fruit flavors are soft and in the finish, along with a little spice. Medium bodied - not too chewy or watery - just right. There is no warning in the flavor regarding the alcohol strength. This beer is an absolute joy to imbibe. A+

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

A: Pours deep reddish hazy brown with an almost ridiculously large tan head. Dissipation sets into nice lacings, but rather quickly.

S: Sourness (in a very nice way) with loads of dark dried fruits. Sweetness. Green apples and lemon sezt. Smells almost like molds – like an Oud Bruin and a Strong Dark Ale had a love-child. Some oaky notes.

T: Again the cross between Oud Bruin and Belgian Strong Dark Ale – man this is something else. Sourness and dark dried fruity sweetness in a great combination. Vinous, like a well aged red wine.

M: Aftertaste is rather short and holds nice sour but also sweet notes. Body is medium to full while carbonation is moderate. Smooth and nice.

O: Like I wrote above – a fun mix between a Oud Bruin and this style. Fantastic.

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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 SLeffler27
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big, beige head quickly builds and falls leaving no lace but a thin film. The beer is dark brown with lots of carbonation and chunky floaters.

Sweet with dark fruits such as figs and plums. There is also a distinct aroma of molasses.

Flavor is again dark fruit with nuts and oat added in as well as candy sugar sweetness.

Vigorous carbonation with a full body and syrupy texture. The Dogfish Head snifter has its work cut out for it. There are also chunks of yeast and the alcohol is pleasantly tamed.

Warms well and is easy to drink while relaxing or reading.

The draught version is similar, though with no yeast sediment.

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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
4.2 out of 5 based on 727 ratings.
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