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
743 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:
View: Beers
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Ratings: 743 |  Reviews: 517
Photo of irishkyle21
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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Photo of rallison
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a Delirium Tremens glass. Immediately foamed out of the bottle - but that's ok, I was expecting it from this one.

Pours a cloudy reddish brown with lots of sediment. A nice 2 finger off-white head is also present that doesn't want to fully die.

Smells of delicious sweet fruits - dates and raisins - along with some sweet Belgian Candi sugar and red wine. Very nice.

Taste is very good. Belgian Candi sugar sweetness with red wine characteristics. Sweet cherries. Toffee. An intoxicating mix of flavors. What a dessert beer. Hmm, this could be quite nice to cook with as well...

Mouthfeel is exceptional. Rich and creamy with the perfect accompaniment of carbonation. Delicious. Drinkability is insanely high on this.

Highly recommended. I know I've had this before, but I forgot it was that good. And, whatever you do, make sure you serve this warm enough - it truly shines at warmer temps.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, with the ink on the best-before date so smudged as to be completely unreadable. Just arrived in Texas, so probably fairly young. Served in a Bernardus wide-mouthed chalice.

This pours a murky brown color with a moderate head. Little bits of yeast chunks swirl around a bit before settling. Highly fruity aroma, with notes of caramelized cherry, both tart and sweet, followed by a faint hoppiness. Very nice flavor. Fruitiness follows the nose, but adds a grapy tannicness and light sourness that makes it particularly delectable. A yeasty cloviness with a hint of anise rounds out the finish.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

I had no idea this beer was retired. I bought mine over a year ago and was aging it. No idea of how old it was since I couldn't find any dating on the bottle.

Pours a beautiful dark brown with ruby highlights. A one finger light brown head forms with decent retention. Good lacing. Very nice beer to look at.

Aroma is of alcohol, malts, dark fruits, spices and some wood.

Taste is sweet, malts, and dark fermented fruits [dark cherries, apricots, plums]. Has some peach in there as well.

Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and creamy with a medium body. Very impressive.

Overall, a very nice beer which somehow hides its 10%. Very drinkable considering the ABV. Complex and unique. Highly recommend it if you can find a bottle.

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Photo of ndekke39
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Surly Girl Saloon in Columbus. Poured into a tulip glass, the server did a good pour on it. Super hazy light brown color that gleams reddish in the light. Perfect foamy head on the beer, right to the rim of the glass. Aromas and flavors of apples, bananas, heavy yeast (all sorts of sediment in the glass), tiny bite of alcohol, and a definite aroma of sweet white wine. Nice medium body that complemented the crisper flavors in the beer. Overall, a very enjoyable drink. Not as dark as I would have expected from a Belgian Strong Dark, but not disappointing. The alcohol is hidden well, so watch out. A fine example of the style, a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: 11.2 fl. oz. brown bottle, 9.5% abv., glassware (tulip) and serving temp (52-56 F) suggestion, and a best before end of 2007 (sampled August 22, 2007)

Aroma: Rich fruity malt, full of raisins and plums and a perfumed alcoholic note that blends it all nicely.

Appearance: Slow motion gusher as I took the cap. Lava lamp coagulation is disappointing as I am in the age range suggested by the label, if at the tail end of it. I’m patiently waiting and most of it is settling toward the bottom of my glass. Hazy deep brown with a skimpy cover of tiny light tan bubbles but a good collar

Flavor: Firm alcoholic note but not hot. Malt fruit note is pure and simple, I’m guessing Special B and candy sugar in the brewing. There is a mild bubble gum note as well. There is an earthy quality as well, like sugar beets. Definite Belgian yeast quality lends it a Trappist air.

Mouthfeel: Lively without being fizzy, thinner body from the alcohol, lingering finish.

Overall Impression: A tasty beer. I’m a little disappointed that I let it go so long and let it go all lava lamp on me. I guess I was waiting on a special day. Turned out it was the first day back at work for Fall 07.

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Photo of genog
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a trappist goblet. Pours a brown color with a creamy thick off brown head that lingers. A lot of chunky sediment is floating around, moreso than I have ever seen. Smell is slightly vinegar and apple. Taste is more green apple and other dried fruits with sweet belgian candy sugars. Towared the end I was able to taste some honey and molasses. Once you get past the sediment it is a good belgian brown brew.

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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
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.


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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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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 743 ratings
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