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

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
515 Reviews
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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
Reviews:
515
Ratings:
725
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
12.62%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
41
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 515 | Ratings: 725
Photo of drabmuh
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Beer is brown and hazy and forms a tan dusty head of small bubbles that leaves a little lacing on the glass. Carbonation moderate.

Aroma is sweet and bready with notes of citrus in there. Smells really nice!

Beer is medium in body and heavily carbonated on the palate. Its bright up front with a mixture of citrus and sweetness, good malt backbone. The finish has a slight roast to it but overall its a really nice beer. Well balanced. I think the brightness of the citrus gives this one some character the others were lacking. It's a very good 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 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 tempest
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Abe's Cold Beer for $8.50. Like every Des Rocs beer I've had, no pour is complete without floaties. Otherwise, the appearance is a hazy ruby-brown with a short tan head. The aroma and flavor are heavy with sweet grape, maple syrup, and dates with mild dark chocolate in the background. The body is a touch thick, normal for the ABV, and dries out toward the finish, making it deliciously drinkable. Still, because of the sweet lean of this beer, I'd save it for an after-dinner beer. Definitely worth a try, especially if you like the dark Unibroues.

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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 Gavage
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a cloudy brownish copper color with a one finger head.

Smell: tons of yeast, with some spicy crushed pepper and some hop bitterness.

Taste: very complex and many flavors are present. Overall bready texture with some brown sugar, caramel, green apples, lighty toasted nuts, plums, yeast, pepper, and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start and finish. The pepper, plums, yeast, and alcohol linger long into the aftertaste. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: a real slow sippin' beer. The flavors are well balanced but the alcohol levels cut into the overall drinkability here. One bottle is sufficient in a session.

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

The beer pours a translucent brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a fantastic balance of roasted and crystal malts along with a wonderful fruity yeast aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth, malty flavor that is sweet and fruity with esters in the finish. There is a subtle roasted character that balances out the sweet caramel malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an excellent beer. It's quite flavorful and a fine slow drinker that would compliment a good dinnner.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at Café Lucca in old town Orange. On to the beer:

Brownish amber color with flashes of orange, fizzy head on top. The aroma was pleasant. Dark fruit, raisin, dates....this seems to be the standard aroma of the style. In the mouth....boozy with a kick on the palate. Dark fruits, raisins, plums, and pear in the taste. So yes, the flavor is good, but it doesn't quite soak on the palate like others of the style do. That being said, I would still recommend this.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a murky brown color with a cream-colored head. When poured, huge chunks of yeast come out of the bottle. The aroma is a mix of dark fruit, alcohol and candi-sugar. The flavor is a mix of caramel, yeast, brown sugar and alcohol. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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

Pours with a thick tannish head. A beautiful deep garnet color with a slight chill haze to it. This beer smells fruity (apricot being the most predominant aroma, followed by orange). There is a certain candy sweet aroma as well, maybe a hint of butterscotch. This beer has an outstanding aroma and I could just sniff it for ages. As I sniff it the head has barely lost its 2 inch thickness, it is well carbonated. There is a bit of maltiness in the aroma as well. It is definitely well carbonated tasting as well. It is lightly sweet, with a fruitiness that was promised in the nose. There is both a candied apricot and orange flavor here. There is also a slight sense of the alcohol in this one. The taste doesn't quite live up to the aroma but this beer still need to warm up a bit. I detect a hint of astringency in the finish, there seems to be some nice Belgian yeast fermentation byproducts here as well. The beer has some slight Belgian lacing in evidence as I slowly work my way to the bottom of the glass. As it warms up the beer becomes softer, though the alcohol is still evident. Becomes sweeter and maltier. the beer color clears up a bit as it warms too, it displays some nice orange hues as it is held up to the light.

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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 Halcyondays
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. bottle, review #1500, my 100th review was an Abbaye Des Rocs beer, so it seems appropriate for another milestone,

A: Pours a reddish copper brown with a very long lasting off-white head which was a real gusher upon opening.

S: Candi sugar, cake batter, molasses, reminiscent of Prior 8.

T: Definite dark fruit, raisins, cardamom, very yeasty. Too boozy for me on the back end, but classic Belgian flavours.

M: Medium-bodied, light ethanol burn going down, very soft carbonation.

D: A solid Belgian Dark, this needs some aging for sure to lessen the EtOH, not too drinkable at this point, but something to retry with a couple years on it.

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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 flagmantho
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich, dark, cloudy brown with a finger of creamy tan head. Quite nice.

Smell: sweetish but subtle; there's a good chocolate aroma right at first, with a very light grainy element and some alcoholic fruitiness. There's a little dusty tobacco thrown in to boot; it's very nice indeed.

Taste: interestingly fruity; in addition to subtler dark fruits of date, fig and that ever-present tobacco, there's something oddly bananalike here too, although not in a hefeweizen kind of way. The sweetness and fruitiness are very good, but there's something here that just a little bit off to me.

Mouthfeel: medium-rich body with a silky smooth feel and a great creaminess. Wonderful.

Overall: I can't put my finger on why this beer is so weird to me. I like it a good deal, but I wouldn't say I love it. It's still a beer absolutely worth trying, however, perhaps especially for its weirdness.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More of a dark apricot/amber color than true brown; fluffy, fast-falling tan head; very little lace. Cloudy with a fair amount of floaties; disturbed a lot of yeasty chunks in the pour.

Sweet, fruity, yeasty aroma, very typically Belgian; nice spice; touch of sourness. Flavor follows the nose; very low bitterness; pleasant fruitiness with modest candy sugar sweetness. Well balanced with spices, dark fruits, faint booziness in the finish. Trace sourness and woody tannins. Quite tasty.

Solid carbonation; just a little sticky; lingering sweet and sour aftertaste. Slight alcohol warmth in the end. Very good BSDA.

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

Actually reviewed on 12-09-2005, but put under the wrong label (The old 10% Grand Cru).

This one's labelled Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru (Belgian special brown ale), 9.5%. Best before AP 18, 2007. I think it's really more of a Flanders Brown.

A: Redish brown, nice off-white head. Some retention, very nice lace.

S: Winey, raisins, prunes, bready malt.

T: Raisins, prunes (that Belgian Special B flavour), bready malt. No hop flavour. Nice sweet/tart balance. A little chocolate & cherry in the aftertaste. Alcohol is warming, but not abrasive. VERY well rounded.

M: Moderate body, slightly creamy, moderately high carbonation.

D: Awesome, but certainly not a serious session beer.

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Photo of dar482
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

The beer comes in a clear light amber color.

The aroma offers fruity esters from the yeast and sugary and caramel sweetness.

The flavor follows with that sweetness in the front. Lots of syrupy and caramel sweetness. Fruity esters come through of ripe banana and apricot.

A clean drinking brew that does not tastes of its ABV. This is an interesting Belgian brew that tastes towards a sweet English barleywine.

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Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ortino's Northside...
Appears a a caramel toned dark amber with a small, off white head that quickly fizzles out into a thin collar. Only tiny spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is heavenly of brown sugar, ripened dark fruit, melted caramel, raisins, doughy yeast, vanilla, and perhaps a touch of coriander.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a gentle amount of roasted grain complimenting the sugary flavors with a light citrus hop flowing along.
Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, sugary, fruity, and semi-dry in the finish. Carbonation is well done and gentle enough to let all the flavors and textures flow evenly.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a five-fingered cream frothy head that fades slowly and leaves a little lace. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Cloudy brown color with a lot of chunky bits settling to bottom of glass. Nose is a sweet malt. Starts malty and smooth; finishes on the sweet side with a hint of alcohol. 750ml bottle from Vintage Cellar Blackburg, Va.
This is a Belgian Brown but that choice is not listed in styles.

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Photo of corby112
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark red, almost brown color with slightly carbonated head that fades rather quickly. Nice fruity aroma that was't too sweet balancing out the roasted maltiness. Very smooth enjoyable beer that balances out the sweet fruit flavor with a spicy malt character.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Came out of the bottle gushing and a large tan head in my snifter, which was well-needed as brown yeast floaters were in the head - some quick swishing mixed them in and released a great smell that was balanced between sweet caramel malt along with some fruit notes like orange, some yeast and a hint of spices. Mouthfeel is more of the same and covers all the bases. Sticky, sweet, smooth, creamy, has a bit of dry backbite thanks to some hop bitterness and spice. The taste is comprised of sweet malts like caramel and cocoa, maybe some roasted, and also has some heavy fruits like orange in there along with some yeast, figs and a hint of spice like clove. A great example of how the Belgians can make a complex beer and I really enjoyed this brew.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a light cranberry red with a soft pillowy light beige head that was fully lasting. There were some large chunks of yeast floaties suspended in the body.

S: fruity, dried cherries with a soft roasted malting.

T: The initial flavor was malty with a very soft roasted chocolate notes along with a big fruitiness (fresh cherries, cranberries). The was a touch of sour maltiness in the finish, with the body being a little lighter then expected. The alcohol is extremely well hidden for its 9.5% abv and drinks like a dream.

M: light with some tart berries and maly lacing on the tongue.

D: Overall a soft roasted malt palate and fruitiness from the yeast makes for a standout beer by style.

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Photo of wl0307
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml green bottle, corked and capped, with no freshness info. printed on the bottle but the cork has a number for reference: 065/759976. Served lightly-chilled to cool in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

A: elegant dark copperish brown colour, coming with a 2cm creamy beige frothy head that sustains really well and leaves tight and even layers of lacing on the way; very gentle and tiny fizziness witnesses successful bottle conditioning.
S: how can I relate this beer to... a bowl of overly ripened stone-fruits on top of a bed of aromatic hops? The fruitiness and malts come in full force, showing ripe melons, preserved-plums, figs, dates... mashed and sweetened Chinese red beans and a flow of melted brown sugar with a slightly sharp and spicy edge of very ripe pineapple, pepper cone, and coconut. Hoppyness and yeasts play the second fiddle, yet just in place to keep a balance. Especially after a good swirl, the yeasty bouquet in the form of sweet wood and extra-creamy malts both emerge... Overall, thick and rich, very complex yet very settled.
T: wow... a mouthful of creamy and rounded malts upfront, without any bits of sharp carbonation at all... slowly bringing aboard abundant mouthfeel of dried stone-fruits and aromatic yeastiness like Chinese red bean paste, a touch sour-sweet with a healthy input of brown-sugary sweetness of malts, while constantly a kick of hops skirts the main theme just elegantly. Soothing, bitter-sweet chemistry b/w hops and malts lingers in the lo...ng finish, added with a mildly herbal bitter mouthfeel, a bit like licorice but not exactly that. Sublime...
M&D: absolutely great, creamy, silky smooth, and rounded on the mouthfeel, yet much lighter than its abv. tends to suggest!! It's so hard to believe this is a 10%abv. beer--it's rather like a medium-bodied malt soup with plenty of crushed fruits in it. A superb balance between yeasts, hops and malts realises in this sublime and super-approachable ale, that it's slightly too dangerously easy-drinking. Highly recommended!!!!

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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 725 ratings.
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