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 mschofield
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pops with smoke, and then pours a dark red-brown full of floating particulates and carbonation. Topped with a four finger red tinged khaki head (I used a Duvel glass).
Robust fruity aroma, alcohol, spice, sugar, currant, fruit seeds.
Very sweet taste, molasses, wood, grape/vinuous, prune, dark bread, raisin.
Full and thick, I couldn't drink a lot but it's very good and the 750 ml afforded me a second glass to enjoy with a cigar.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a murky brownish color with a creamy three fingers tan head. The aroma is herbal and sweet, that of candi sugars, with a dark fruit and yeast smell. The flavor is sweet which then flows to a dry, herbal, slightly fruity flavor. It is full in body and definitely dry. It is a great Belgian brew, one of my favorites.

Sampled 4/2/04

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Photo of jlervine
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with strong ruby highlights. Head was off-white, and quickly receded to the edge of the glass. The smell was dark rum and fruity, a very faint toasted caramel malt, lots of sweetness masking a very fainy alcohol. The flavor is medicinal bitterness at the front, followed by a huge spice wave, and brief sweeping sweet dark malt, and a tongue pounding alcohol finish. Whoa. The first sip, everything goes by so quickly, the mouth cannot keep up. Earthy yeast character becomes present in the beginning after the second sip, and a wave of dark fruit takes over the middle of the tongue. Mouthfeel is similar to the Burgundy Ale, very sharp and crisp, bordering astringent. Very carbonated and prickly on the tongue. If someone asked me to choose between the two, I'd recommend to buy both and decide for yourself. The alcohol finish is a bit much for me on this one, but everything up to it is angelic.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a dirty brown color with light hues of amber and ruby. A nice thick creamy offwhite head appears and just doesn't want to go down.

Smell: The nose presents tones of darks fruits, plums, grapes, along with some sweetness of sugars and other nice malt tones.

Taste: Kapow! This beer just explodes on the pallate. Tastes of strong malts and fruits hit strong at first, with raisins and a port like taste hitting up towards the middle.This beer slowly finishes with a lil peppery spice and warm alcohol.. Damn this tastes good..

Mouthfeel: This beer has quite the body with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Who couldn't drink this beer. Its just fantastic and goes down oh so smoothly.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this on tap at the Blue Nile in Minneapolis – a rare opportunity. And yet, this fine brew didn’t present its truest potential to me at that time. I have subsequently revisited this ale and recently drank a corked magnum to give it another chance. The chance was well taken and my effort was rewarded.

First, you gotta love the color. It is the color of a California sunset. It is an absolutely flawless and radiant color except for the profuse slurry of yeasties that make this beer look like a radiant California sunset during a volcanic eruption. The aroma itself is an intoxicating array of dark fruits, allspice, anise, and plum wine. The taste is a forest of sarsaparilla, sassafras, and birch simmered in brown sugar and drenched in alcohol.

This ale hints at brandy and reminds me of something under the tree on Christmas morning, full of rare spice and excitement. A magnificent creation.

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

Poured a reddish amber color with a small white head that did not leave any lacing. Aroma of dark fruit, also including apples as well as some alcohol. The taste was very vinous, but also including tastes of apples, plums, grapes, slight chocolate and some alcohol was welcomed as the beer warmed alittle (way to cold when initially served). Also present as it warmed were some spices and some candy sugar.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very, very nice cloudy amber colour with a fairly large tan head. stickiness was nice as well. this one looked like it was goign to be big and bold. the re is a nice fruit smell here wit ha hint of sour grapes and some spice notes. bits of wood, butter and caramel were also detected. this one was damn tasty as well, with sweetness up front, dry earth in the middle and back. the middle has some burnt wood flavour as well. it's smooth and creamy, which i was a bit surprised about, but won't complain about either. also surpsing was the fatc that thre was no real alcohol flavour present, especially considering the 10% abv. an excellent brew overall.

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Photo of kegerator
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

from the first pour to the last drop, what a nice beer.
at first glance and taste all i could think was westy 8.
poured out a hazy brown with a beautiful fizzy but frothy head. the head was creamy white to off white and about 1 inch or so, it left great lacing thoughout...
smell was very malty, light spice in the far back, sugars, and slight alcohol.
taste was superior, at first sip i got hit with malt which seemed to have a chocolate taste, then it hit with some port and sugars and warmed the mouth and the throat as it went down.
this was one outstanding ride. very very similar to westy 8 in my opinion and at 7.99 a 750 compared to 8.99 for a 12ounce bottle of westy this dog will hunt. I will definitley be drinking this one over and over.

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Photo of taez555
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a hazy reddish brown body with a fluffy tan/off-white head.

The nose was a mix of wood, phenols, huge malt smells, alcohol, sweet sugar, raisins, plums, port wine, candy, old soaked wooden barrels, touches of whiskey and green earth.

The taste was medium to full bodied. Raisins, plums, port, wood. Big malts. It actually tastes a lot like I’m sucking on planks from an old sailing ship from the 1800’s. Caramel, phenols, alcohol, brown sugar, soft earthy bitterness. Much much much better as it warms, I’d probably not chill this bottle at all if I had it again.

An interesting beer. I’m not really crazy about it. Very sweet and malty, it actually kind of reminded me of a cross between a barleywine and classic belgian. Nice beer, just not my cup of tea.

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Photo of Sixpack595
3.62/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking ruby brew with a long lasting off white head. Aroma is biscuity, malty, sour and slightly fruity with a musty touch. Flavor is very complex whith overripe fruit, bannana, melon and more. The malty, sweet taste gives way to a spicy then sour finish. Mouthfeel is moderate. I rate it above average in taste and drinkability only because it is a very engaging beer. Theres so much going on that its hard to put down even if it does taste a bit funky.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The 750 ml. green bottle was distinguished looking with a cap underlain by a cork. The cork was very large and broke my corkscrew from its handle while trying to pull it out. A trusty pair of pliers was able to extricate them anyway. The beer, when poured in the goblet, displayed a deep red color with a 1 ½ inch tall, off-white head, and a fine onrush of bubbles underneath. The smell is reminiscent of raisins, cherries, plums, and hay. The taste is also quite fruity with notes of apples, cherries, rum-raisins, as well as some vanilla, and chocolate. There is also some hoppy dryness in there. The mouthfeel is buttery smooth, and rich. The 10 percent by volume alcohol is very well covered. I was expecting this brew to be a lot more complex, but this turned out to be quite one-dimensional. May be a few more years on the remaining bottle will eat up more of the residual sugars and generate some complexity.

Update: The beer is now available in 330 ml. four packs in Georgia, so I decided to try it again (since I had traded away that other 750 ml. bottle picked up in Chattanooga). Either the beer was more fresh, or my palette had evolved, but gone was the cloying sweetness that bothered me so much last time. Instead this bottle displayed a perfect balance between sweet, spicy, tart, yeasty, and bitter flavors. 9.5% ABV was not evident anywhere in the taste. I certainly enjoyed it a lot better this time. And the heady carbonation, and the resulting full burps were an outstanding finishing touch. And there was no way to sip this one. It just begged to be quaffed. Liquid Crack.

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Photo of ark57
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great find at Monk's back bar. It poured a clear, dark brown with some reddish tint and a good light head. The aroma is malty and has a lot of dark ripe fruit. It starts with the dark fruit (plum and raisin especiall) and then it gets a little spicy with some anise and a touch of choclate and caramel. It was exquisitley smooth and went great with dessert.

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Photo of truthbrew
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on-tap at the Blue Nile (3/30/04).

Muddy brown color with fluffy, thick tan head. The keg at the Blue Nile was just transported and the beer was quite cloudy. Aroma was minimal but good, malty sweetness was evident. Excellent carbonation level, felt like millions of very small bubbles, not sharp at all. Reminded me of cask conditioned carbonation, though more of it. For a 10%ABV, a very easy to drink and well balanced beer.

Very cool having this beer on-tap, thanks to FeloniousMonk for getting a keg of this for the Nile.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in a big-ol' 750ml bottle, capped and corked. Poured into a goblet, it had a murky brown hue with a large creamy biege head that slowly dwindled down, leaving modest bits of lace behind.
Wow, what a mix of aromas in this nose! Hearty, earthy malts, quite yeasty, with notes of dark fruits, a hint of chocolate and a solid slap of alcohol. The taste was every bit as complex as the nose. Sweet, with candy sugar, plums and prunes first. Then a strong bready malt flavor and some woody flavoring. Lastly came the potent alcohol punch, leaving a trail of warmth down the throat and settling into the belly.
The feel was full, round and creamy, no doubt due to the fine effervescence. Overall, quite a tasty strong dark ale. I can't envision drinking it very often, but for a special occasion it would be great.

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Photo of Foxman
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a rich, hazy dark amber, almost brown, and is exceedingly carbonated and lively. An explosive four fingers of frothy beige head erupts, then lingers long, dwindling slowly, creating a considerable wait before the lips can get to it without wearing a bubbly moustache. Sticky veils of lacing cling statically to the inside of the glass.

The aroma brings forth a wave of grainy malt that plows forth with its partner of caramel and grapes, but also allows notes of banana and autumnal spices to work their way forward. the tanginess of yeast and a mild doughy presence fade alongside a slight berry fruit sweetness at the close, effectively causing one's mouth to water considerably.

Upon first sip, a deep, earthy malt character, initially midly sweet, exerts itself, but is kept in check by a spicy, savory undercurrent. A more poignant, somewhat vinous sweetness takes possession of the middle ground, this time mitigated by a tart yeast backbone. The alcohol also makes a strong play at the center, flexing some serious muscle. A dry, musty mild bitterness lays claim to the palate at the finish. It seems rather simple at first blush, but it's actually quite complex in its nuances, with a rich, lustrous balance that leads to a strong and rewarding flavor profile.

A bit heavier than medium bodied, the density of the elements in the flavor cast a syrupy spell on the consistency. The healthy carbonation contributes to an almost frenetic, sparkling identity.

While I generally do not like to keep repeating myself and fall back on the descriptors, this flavor is deep. And just as impressive as the profundity is the artfully blended balance of a number of components. You drink it, and as a reward it caresses the palate, and that's why sipping this is an addictive enterprise. But yes, take note, I did say sipping, because that's certainly the way to go. The potent ABV tries its best to hold you back, but the sense want more, and in my case, they gladly get it. As long as the flavor's warm glow may linger, the contented smile my memory brings to my lips will remain even longer.

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Photo of Zorro
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mildly cloudy brown brew.

Smell is of apple, with a laid back malt and spice scent with a touch of honey.

Taste is sweet and husky malt flavor with a woodiness to it. Lots of fruit and herb flavors to this one, the flavor shifts like a top notch Belgian should. There is a persistent bitter note to this that keeps it all balanced.

Mouthfeel is almost too much; you have to sip it.

Very drinkable brew, a sipper not a chug beer.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 750 mL bottle into a goblet. The color is a dark amber with a creamy, bubbly white head. The smell is a drier dark malt and yeast. The taste is very estery with a very strong dry dark malt presence and a noticable alcohol. Mouthfeel is nice and thick and well-carbonated. As for drinkability, could have a few of these.

A fine beer all around. Though it seems to be a bit of a Westy clone, that's not exactly an insult. A nice presence and a very low price make this one that I'd gladly have again.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep cherry stained mahogony color with a volumenous, rocky, yellowish, off-white head with craggy valleys and hills and plenty of sticky lace. Smell was effervescent sweetness, a lot of grassy barnyard notes, a lemony tartness way in the back of the nose and some whiffs of cherry and orange peel. Taste was plenty estery(10% is a lot) with more sweetness, dried fruits, slightly grainy, tart finish with an aftertaste that moved back and forth between a woody smoke laden pallete and a slight metallic/soapy effect. Mouthfeel was creamy, but agressivly carbonated with the small bubbles all over the place. Of the grand crus I have tried this one struck me as the most banal. Maybe I just like the american intepretation better, but I thought the Southampton blew this out of the water and the Allagash a close second. Gotta find me some of that Rodenbach.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to you Matta for this succulent appetizer!
Appearance is a murky brown, even more so when pouring the immense amount of yeast into the chalice (which helped a lot to release the subtleties of the awesome aroma). It seems paler than the regular abbaye des rocs. Relatively high apparent carbonation level, huge head with irregular bubbles, but quite spectacular. It slowly fades away, but still sticks to the glass. Aroma is very complex if not too intense. This is ultimate belgian goodness and balance between brown sugar malt sweetness and yeast funkiness. Ultra-complex fruity profile (berries, cherries, plums, pears, apples), very spicy also (sage, parsley, cinnamon cake). That's all great by itself, but what makes the aroma truly unique is how it combines the above flavours with the belgian farmhouse character from the yeast which lends it a unique hay-ish and floral side that I love, almost a Fantome. The taste also contains this good dose of funk and spicy unexplainable weirdness, wet fieldish hay drying under the sun, pepper grains, basil, thyme? full of subtleties and perhaps the apotheosis of a spiced belgian strong dark ales with masterfully hidden alcohol, very sweet, bready and yeasty with a creamy, silky crème caramel medium-full body. Plain delicious and worthy of world-class status.

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Photo of DESTRO
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

ive heard about this legend for sometime and i see it every time im in the finally, i sprung for it. capped and corked, it pours out a deep amber hue with a puffy/rocky tan head. looks great. a welcoming aroma of sweet malt, clove spice, hints of alcohol and dark fruits...very nice. pleasant and full in the mouth, but not too heavy. slightly sticky, nice carbonation, seems to have the perfect balance between being hearty but also smooth and enjoyable. right off the bat you get hit with a huge malt profile. toffee and caramels are strong, light spice and sweet molasses. dates and figs come to mind. finishes with an almost cotton candy like aftertaste. fackin glorious. most drinkable and outstanding in every way. this gets two sets of horns, a head bang AND and iron maiden tribute (aces high) on full volume. thank you, beer god.

$6.99 for a 750ml

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Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great chance to have this on tap yoday at a Belgian beer dinner at the Spring House Drafting Room.Pours a rich brown color with a sticky head,aroma was rich and nutty with some nice warming alcohol with some fruity estures.This Belgian Dark has a real nice hop profile to go along with a rich nutty flavor and some spicey/yeasty notes.Glad to finally try this beer and it was on tap to boot.

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Photo of proc
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very good beer, and a complex one at that. Enjoyed this with my nephew (and fellow BA) Dennis as our after-dinner beer. Poured out to a copper/amber color in the glass with a generous head. There was quite a bit of floating yeast in the glass as well. The aroma is fantastic with notes of plum, raisins and bread dough coming to the forefront. The taste is exceptional as well, with said fruits mentioned also being present on the taste. The ABV is well hidden and it got better as it warmed. We made my father, an O'Doul's and Miller Lite drinker taste this and his only comment was, "Skunk piss." Oh well, I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. As for this dog, I will drink this one again, anyday. Delicious.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.97/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Solid brown with a full creamy light brown head that lasts, lots of sediment, great carbonation, and sheets of lace (but unpredictable). Turns a good bit darker when sediment is poured. Aroma is lightly sweet with lots of other complexities: Dark fruits, spicy, raisins, etc... Big fruity flavors (and burps) and much like it smells. Medium bodied; creamy and airy at the same time if that's possible !!

A great Belgian -- very complex !! A must buy and must try !

Label states "Belgian Dark Ale"

Purchased: 11/16/02
Tasted: 02/11/04

($6.29 / 25.4 oz. Green Champagne style bottle - Corked and capped)

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru was served from a green 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip. The beer was an attractive deep reddish-orange hue and was topped with a rocky tan head that left thick and fine lacing. The nose was powerful and loaded with funky spices such as clove, star anise, and orange overall medicinal effect. Underlying the spice was a smell resembling decaying detritis and earth. The flavor profile was extremely complex. A rich and lively sweetish malt body contained flavors of dried fruit, raisins, molasses, scotch, and slim jim spice. The finish was satisfying, with a good bitter cap and lingering clove maltiness. The body was very full and silky smooth, with fluffy carbonation. The Grand Cru was a challenging beer, and grew on me by leaps and bounds as I drank and acquired a taste for it...distinctive, unique, and very complex. I found it similar to the regular version in its flavor/spice, but much better overall.

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Photo of ElGuapo
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours to a beautiful dark amber brown that really shows off red tones as it is held to the light. It is covered in a thick mass of tannish foam that holds up for a very long time and leaves lace all over the glass. As soon as I popped the cork, sweet fruity aromas jumped out of the bottle. After the first pour, they hit me again and harder. Cherries and raspberries with a touch of caramel and some spices. With another whiff, I picked up some roasty aromas as well as a rich sweet maltiness.

The flavor is initially sweet with a lot of dark fruit character. Black cherries mixed with raspberries all sitting in a backround of rich malts. Roasty flavors come in next with an ever so subtle burnt flavor. Toasty breads come in to the mix near the finish which is aided by a hint of alcohol. The aftertaste leaves me begging for more as it brings all of its complexity back together and wraps it up with a roasted ending. Each swallow seems to pick up more flavor. The body is rich and full, but not thick. Carbonation is mild, just right. It is silky smooth and creamy, making for a great mouthfeel. The alcohol is very well hidden, and when it comes in, its flavor benefits the beer's character. It has a nice warming quality. It is as drinkable as they come, and I am wishing for more after each sip.

This is simply an amazing beer. The drive and service I dealt with to get this were very unpleasant, but I just may have to do it again. This is a not to miss beer.

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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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