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

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735 Ratings
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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
Ratings:
735
Reviews:
516
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
10.48%
 
 
Wants:
63
Gots:
44
For Trade:
1
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 735 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of biboergosum
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle @ 9.5% ABV, with a totally different label, and the 'l'Abbaye' dropped from the name. Happy bloody Canadian Thanksgiving, y'all!

This beer pours a murky, medium orange-brick amber colour, with two chubby fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and fizzy tan head, which leaves some emaciated limestone grotto lace around the glass as it quickly dissipates.

It smells of gritty and grainy pale malt, a lesser caramel/toffee sweetness, edgy earthy yeast, muddled dark orchard fruit (maybe some plum, prune, and bruised red apple), a touch of that musty under the basement stairs thing, and a slightly testy metallic booziness. The taste is bready and doughy pale malt, still understated caramel wafers, some toasted apple pie and pear compote fruitiness, a hint of cocoa-laced black coffee, subtle musty yeast, faint earthy spice notes, and a hint of muzzled alcohol astringency.

The bubbles are fairly active in their pleasingly plump frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and mostly smooth, maybe the yeast and burbling booziness taking things down a notch or two here. It finishes off-dry, but not by much, as the malt seems to bottom out, and the acrid fruitiness and musty yeast take full advantage, as such.

Overall, this is not a bad version of the style, but I found myself questioning its provenance on a few too many occasions - what gives? It's not an old bottle (not that that would really matter), yet the musty essences overcome the fruit and malt character just a little too readily, IMHO. Can't say I'm all that dissatisfied, however - this bad boy cost barely more than 10 Canuck bucks, so who am I to complain, eh?

 1,651 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Heavens, we have a gusher! Pours a cloudy mahogany with a decent head (even though quite a bit was lost in the gush) that persists well and leaves sheets of lace

Smell: Vinous aroma of fruits (dried figs and apricots, primarily); brown sugar and alcohol

Taste: Starts with a sweet dried fruit flavor; that is joined, mid-palate, by an increasing sour apple and cinnamon complexity; after the swallow, the sour flavors build and combine with the sweetness to create a well-balanced blend

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation

Drinkability: Not the best in the category, but certainly a quality brew that deserves a try

 651 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (courtesy of Xproudfoot) : Poured a deep brown color ale with a huge foamy off-white head with perfect retention. Aroma of dry raisins, caramel malt and a touch of spice. Taste is also dominated by raisin-like sweetness with a very distinctive yeast signature. Body is full, alcohol well hidden and carbonation is almost off-the-wall. Nice strong Belgian ale the way I like them.

 386 characters

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.

 1,441 characters

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

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

Carefully poured from a long-standing bottle its body is a brilliant dark ruby/chestnut beneath a creamy cap of off-white (almost tan) foam. The head retention is quite good, and it leaves splashes of lace about the glass. The nose combines a sweetish, caramel-dripped and subtly buttery biscuit-like maltiness with some fairly bold fruitiness (flashes of orange, raspberries, cherry, and a waft of lime). It's airy in the mouth with a combination of dextrinous mouthfeel and CO2 breakout that billows up softly and then fades away with just a light zest on the palate. A richer maltiness and some exceptionally nice, delicately spicy alcohol appear in the flavor; as well as some floral hop notes and wider range of fruitiness (papaya, cocoanut and pineapple perhaps?, and some green apple). It's much more balanced (less sweet) than the standard Abbaye Des Rocs; and it offers exceptional drinkability with a certain level of richness and complexity that does not overwhelm the tastebuds but certainly keeps you coming back for more. It finishes dry with some lingering alcohol spice (although the alcohol never hinders!) and maltiness that reminds you of the beautiful flavors you've just savored. This is an exceptional beer that probably deserves more notoriety, and should not be missed. Brilliant!

 1,304 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Large bottle from the back of my beer fridge served with the New Years' Day bowl games. Bottle is dated stamped Oct. 2014. Initially served at about 48-50F but improved with warming.

Body is a deep reddish-brown, more or less clear excepting a large amount of suspended particles, some of which are rather large. The suspended particles really detract from the appearance, but i have previously encountered excellent Belgian beers with this trait. The particles had no detectable effect on mouthfeel.

Aroma: excellent; rich, fruity and complex. Changed with warming.

Flavor: a harmonious blend of a multitude of flavors, including dates, raisins, dark bread, roast nuts, toffee and dried cherries. Some chocolate and darker malts in the finish. Excellent bitter-sweet balance.

Feel: medium-full body with light carbonation.

 835 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at City-Wide in South Bend, Indiana. "Best buy" date of 2010. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours a moderate caramel-red color with loads and loads of floaties. Bit of a light tan head that goes away fairly quickly and doesn't leave behind much lacing. The nose has some dark fruits and a bit of sweet malt. Some dark sugar there and a bit of yeast. The flavor is along the same lines. It's nice and smooth, but there isn't much complexity to it, especially considering its age. Feel is medium with low carbonation. Somewhat chewy, adding a breadiness to the flavor. Pretty good, but not earth shattering.

 630 characters

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.

 398 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap 1/3/2016 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a large beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, brown sugar, some fruit, maple and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. Then some sweet flavors of caramel, maple and brown sugar quickly follow along with some background dark fruit flavor. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a good beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style.

 879 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of billab914
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dcmchew
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of russpowell
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this bottle for a while, BBD of 2011, decanted into an Orval chalice

Pours chestnut with a finger of cream colored head. Good head retention & above average lacing

S: Oaky & sour notes, that fade a bit as this warms

T: Dark fruit, dryness, tartness & tannins up front. Leafy hops, a touch of figs, dryness, more oakyness. Finishes with dark fruiityness, some tartness, some leafy hops & a touch of sourness

MF: Soft carbonation, medium bodied, warming, wet, & very tart

Drinks a touch slow from the complexity, but the ABV is well hidden. Not the best Belgian Dark out there, but worthy of respect & adulation

 631 characters

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

Dark orange/weathered bronze with more than a dash of candy apple red when backlit. It took quick action on my part to pour the beer before foam exited the top of the bottle. As I type, multiple streams of bubbles are leaping off the bottom of the glass and are creating a softly rocky crown of pale caramel foam. Unfortunately, it isn't tacky enough to leave more than an afterthought of lace.

The nose is classic BSDA with an emphasis on sour dark fruit that I hope is countered by a sufficient amount of candi sugar on the palate. It's also brown malty with an earthy, musky hoppiness that adds some amount of complexity. It doesn't quite equal the best of the style though, despite the fact that I like it more each time I put my nose over the glass.

ADRGCBSB is very good beer and explodes on the palate with flavors that were only hinted at in the nose. The center is occupied by heavily toasted, brown bready malt and has all sorts of interesting things zinging around in its orbit. The beer is impressive dark fruity with dried figs and cidery, fermented apples contributing the most. It's also musky and yeasty and earthy and spicy and... well, it's just chock full of flavor.

I'm sure that other combinations would have been just as enjoyable, but it just so happens that sweet, bitter and tart are nearly equal in intensity. Each one of those flavor sensations are able to be appreciated in turn if one simply focuses the taste buds for a second or two. Warming brings about the expected increase in amount of and depth of flavor. This is not a subtle BSDA by any means (that's a good thing).

I felt pretty good about the mouthfeel early on, even with all the bubbles. As I enter the bottom third of the bottle though, I have a full appreciation for its wonderousness. It's medium-full, voluminous, creamy, lightly silky and lightly slick... all at the same time. I don't care what it took to get there, I just like where it ended up.

My first two bottles of Belgian Special Brown ('best by' dates of 2007) were drainpours due to an overwhelming amount of chunky, proteinaceous garbage. This bottle ('best by' date of 2008) is nothing but sweet, sweet beer. If you can find a fresh one, this is a BSDA to be reckoned with.

 2,248 characters

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

hazelnut brown color being presented in front of me. A smallish head, maybe an inch and a half came up over the top and settled down gently, forming a very nice pillow of tan across the top. Some nice carbonation could be seen streaming up as well.

The aroma was rich, lots of caramel and brown sugar mixed in with a fig and prune like fruit. Dark, with a touch of alcohol, though I have to admit, very well hidden indeed. The flavor was more of the same, rich and decadent with a large dose of sugar balancing it out quite well. All hotness had faded from this one now, as it was mellow and smooth as hell.

 608 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this during my Mother's 70th birthday celebration meal -shared with my brother tenderbranson69 from the 750 in a tulip.

a murky brown color with translucent clarity and thin light head with fine bead. The smell is very good with slight dried fruit and light vinous aroma with a mild spice. The feel is moderately high carbonation and mix of malt with a slight fruity yeast element with mostly dry finish and mild alcohol.

The taste is very good with nice complexity from the yeast adding some dark cherry and slight spice flavors iwth gentle malt sweetness with a mostly dry tangy yeast flavor in the finish. Overall I was glad I got to try this - a very tasty strong belgian ale.

 694 characters

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Alieniloquium
1.69/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

 924 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
4.2 out of 5 based on 735 ratings.
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