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 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 gimmehead
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very pretty burgundy brown with a cream colored head and multitudes of yeast floaters. Aroma is dominated by a sugary sweetness, subtle fruity esters and alcoholic undertones. Big rich malt flavor, lightly hopped. There is a soft lingering vinous quality that I love. The alcohol is well blended, noticeable but not overwhelming. Thick and full bodied.

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml, best before 2007. Deep chestnut-colored liquid, with auburn highlights, supports a column-like head of dense, finely interwoven biege bubbles. Lacing is fair to middlin'. No carbonation is visible, though there are a few globs of sediment floating around. Smells fruity and alcoholic, with rum raisin and a vague spiciness that eventually comes closest to cinnamon. Nosefeel is clean, penetrating, and liqueurish. After an initial flavor of brown sugar, the taste becomes like drinking a fruitcake... dank, rum-soaked fruitcake laden with candied fruit and pecans. Apple butter rounds out the finish and burps of dried pineapple soon follow. Alcohol is very notably warm without being at all harsh in the mouthfeel, leading to a smooth, dry finish. Everything just adds up to give this beer fantastic drinkability. Very satisfying.

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Photo of sevineyes
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a brown bottle featuring arches on the label.

A: Started with about an inch of dense off-white head. Cloudy pecan in color.

S: Rasins. Sweet berries. Very clean smell. White grapes. Yeast tones. Crabapples. Something like a weak rum in there over time. Overall, not a very strong aroma.

T: Starts somewhat vinous. Leads to dark fruit flavors. Prunes. Tart like sour cherries and taffy. Caramel and toffee. Dark sugars. Sugared rasins. Finishes with dark cherry. Still pick up some berry flavors. Something like dried blueberries. Plum. Aftertaste is a lingering fruit sweet. Something in there like sweet tomato skins.

M: Nice body, not too heavy. Full and wet. Good balance of carbonation. Very smooth. Silky. Get a feel off my tongue like mint leaves would leave.

Overall: This is a dangerous beer. They just slip away so fast, but are just so enjoyable to drink. I really don't pick up on the alcohol hardly at any point. Very powerful flavor that just continues to evolve. Even now I'm finding more complexities to the flavor that I just can't describe. This is definitely not one to miss if you enjoy the style.

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Photo of Vipsanius
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a copper color with an inch and a half fluffy merainge-like cream head. The bubbles in the head and lacing are very, very small. I don't know if I'm picking up on it because geologist in me, but the diameters of the bubbles resemble an igneous rock that has been cooled extremely rapidly to where the crystals didn't have time to form. Very interesting. The only downside to the appearance is that most of the lacing will disappear over time but its still great to look at.

The smell is amazing. Very complex. Sweet, fruity - (figs, plums, raisins, oranges), bread, rum, nuts, spices, herbs, mint...everytime you bring it to your nose you get something new.

The taste is the same. Many of the same flavors of the aroma. Extremely well balanced while being very complex. A very versatile beer. You could pair this with many food items and have it complement them extremely well.

This beer hides the 10% ABV very well. Maybe a slight too carbonated but it feels great otherwise. Very drinkable. So much so that you need to be careful with it given the 10% ABV.

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

Nice head and lacing on a dark brown body on this one. Long awaited, has sat in my dedicated beer fridge for 3 months. Planning a trip to Belgium in two weeks, so a true Belgian beer sounded good. Smell is basically sweet fruitiness with some strong medicinal phenols. These disappear however in the taste (which is good) which definitely exhibits a lot of the fruit in the smell. There is also a mild spiciness in the taste, and a very intriguing bubble gummy flavor, which I think is the best feature of this beer. Other than that, I don't find much to really rave about, though this is certainly a very good beer that I would drink again. All in all a bit too subdued for my tastes. Oh wait, I forgot the mouthfeel, which is excellent. Nice and thick and creamy, it really stands out as well.

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

Had this on tap at Surly Girl in Short North - Columbus, OH. Came to the table in a Unibroue tulip. Golden, translucent brown with no visible yeast sediment. Nice tight 2 finger head that showed good retention with some lacing.

Not a strong nose, but sweet carmel and toffee maltiness dominated with hints of dark fruit, maybe some cherries. Taste was similar. Not as sweet as the smell and I didn't really detect any hops.

Excellent beer and very drinkable. This really hit the spot.

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

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep ruby graced with a creamy, tawny head. Retention is strong. Lacing is visually impressive, ornamenting the sides of the chalice with hazy tan sheets.

Smell: Roasty wheat, earth, and significant grape presence. Definitely yeasty in the nose. Some spicy hop character interjects itself as well.

Taste: Very wheaty in character, along with grape and spice. Hints of brown sugar. Hops are present in a mildly bitter, lively spiciness. Fine balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, and pleasingly creamy. Somewhat bubbly on the palate, creating some welcome sensations. Finishes pretty clean.

Drinkability: Nice and warming, with an excellent flavor. The hops emerge in just the right proportion to even out the intensely malty backbone. Well crafted, enjoyable, and excellent all around.

Notes: 750ml bottle, with freshness date.

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Photo of OttoPeeWee
4.74/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks very strange. I have had many of these an most have floaties. Scratch that, chunks swirling in your glass. They look like the chunks that form when milk starts to curtle. I don't mind a bit. Smells fantastic, like molasses and apples. Tastes better, like sublte burnt sugar, or caramel corn (without the corn...). Scary that there is 9.5% alcohol. So subtle there isn't even a warming sensation. One of the best from our friends in Belgium! In fact, I can't think of a better strong dark!

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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 raoulduke37
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Plenty of foam coming out as soon as I open it, courtesy of the re-fermented yeast. Poured quickly into a Gulden Draak tulip and instantly a large, two-finger head is formed. The brew itself is very dark brown, completely opaque, with a little sediment clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell - Difficult to detect, but definitely some toffee/caramel malts (candy sugar?) and some banana in there, which is definitely noticeable.

Taste - Extremely rich dark malt flavor up front, changes slightly on the tongue, a little hop kick in the middle, with a lingering phenol flavor at the end, alcohol is incredibly masked. This is really quite tasty.

Mouthfeel - Smooth all around, tingle from the hop profile in the middle, with a long buttery/oily finish.

Drinkability - For the abv, incredibly drinkable. I'd love to have this on tap.

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Photo of mmapes
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Allowed bottle to warm out of the fridge for about an hour. Pours cola-brown with a big foamy tan head.

Smells apple-y, grassy, sweet, maybe a little citrus...

First impression: Medium body. Tastes grassy/earthy, woody?, sweet. Dark fruit like figs or prunes. Has a well-worn flavor - earthy/leathery. Reminds me a bit of Westvleteren. Medium acidity leaves a thinner lingering high-note finish.

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Photo of Iguana
4.69/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well, this is an interesting drinking experience. Been wanting to try this for awhile and finally scored a bottle last week.

A: Looks good, but those chunks are a bit disconcerning. Golden brown with 1 inch head that becomes just a nice foamy layer.

S: Apples, dark fruits, hints of alcohol and sugar. Smells great.

T: Couldnt be better in my book, smooth, dark fruits, silky smooth aside from the chunks. Just amazing.

M: Smooth, clean, Couldnt be improved short of losing the chunks. And I wont mark off for those because they gave it something unique.

D: I could drink alot of this in a night, and I would be 1 buzzed happy BA then. Great beer all around and I want to try the rest from this brewery.

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

750 purchased at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo NY. Best by date is 2007. Drank on a dreary, rainy night in June.

This one poured into my St. Bernardus chalice a reddish brown with a two finger tan colored head. Small bits of yeast slowly settle to the bottom of the glass.

Smell: dark malt along with some medicinal aromas and toffee.

Taste: Major malt backbone here provides sweet flavors of toffee and a little bit of caramel. Dark fruits like figs and prunes supplement that the taste along with some belgian dark candy sugar. Some black pepper on the finish, very rich and complex!

Mouthfeel: is medium bodied,with a awesome creamy feel despite modest carbonation.

Drinkability: well at 10% ABV (though the alcohol is more subtle) and being packaged in a 750, you've got your work cut out for you, much more enjoyable with dinner. That, or get a buddy and split this monster masterpiece.

Overall: I really enjoyed this Grand Cru it's a top notch dark strong ale for sure. I look forward trying more from the brewery, the Imperial Triple is next.

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Photo of jamesdergen
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark orangey, carmel color with a frothy tan head that dissipates rather quickly. Lots of sediment floating around. Gotta love it.

Smell: Can't really pick up a whole lot here. Some dark fruits and a carmelly smell as well.

Taste: Wow, this is a great-tasting brew. I'm picking up some dark fruits, mostly raisins, and maybe some apricot as well. Awesome carmel maltiness and a buttery smooth finish. As I get closer to the bottom of the bottle, the beer takes on more and more of a brandy-like quality, definitely a sipper.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated with a nice medium-bodied mouthfeel. Leaves a tingly, dry feeling in the mouth.

Drinkability: Goes down easy. Maybe too easy... Doesn't feel too heavy and the alcohol is well-hidden.

This is one of the better dark Belgians I have had. I really like the unique carmelly taste and smell. I would definitely recommend this one.

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Photo of instrumentality
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I originally put this review in the wrong place, not realizing that there were two "Grand Crus." The bad news is that I picked the wrong beer. The good news is that this could mean that the arm and leg I paid to have more shipped from Belgium might actually be worth it if they turn out to be the other Grand Cru.

Moving on...

I swear I didn't shake it up before opening it, but as soon as the cap was off, a fountain of foam launched from the mouth of the bottle. Fortunately, I was able to save every drop and I just had to wait patiently for the enormous, bubbly, tan head to settle. The body was a cloudy amber.

The odor was primarily fruity and, oddly, slightly like cola with a hint of malt and red wine. It was very refreshing.

The taste was definitely unique...pretty smooth, a bit like plum but more tart, a bit like apple cider, and slightly carmelly in aftertaste.

Mouthfeel was characterized by a bit of carbonation, but it was very easy on the palate and left only the mildest tart fruity aftertaste.

It's easy to drink in that there are no really intense flavors, but I'd say it's more drinkable than it is good. There are a lot of interesting flavors, but they're all very subtle. It's almost like I'm drinking a really complex beer that's been watered down. I allowed it to warm a bit to see if anything new surfaced, and while it did improve a little, I still wasn't that impressed.

In the scheme of things, it's better than most beers, but it needs more kick. Hopefully one day I'll get my hands on the Grand Cru that actually gets some BA love and really learn what this brewery is capable of.

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

1 pint 9.4 oz. green bottle purchased at Dunderbak's in the L.V. Mall.

Best before end 2007.

I was sceptical about the green bottle. Ya know, because of the effects of light and all and who knows how long it was sitting under the store lights.

I poured it into the Corsendonk tulip Ding gave me in the last CIF.

Color looked like a cloudy ice tea where the sugar is not quite dissolved.

Big, beautiful, tannish, fluffy on the top, tightly bubbled on the bottom head. The beer looks good in the glass.

Subdued nose. Subdued taste too. The best way to describe this beer is muted. I taste the candied sugar but it's real faint. The bottle says 9.5% alc./ vol. but I can't taste it either. Fruity but not like fresh cut flowers; more like week a old in the vase.

This review probably sounds like I didn't enjoy the beer, but I did. Maybe it was just the mood I was in last night, but I wish I would have bought about three or four of these. I could easily drink these down fast. Quite a thirst quencher in my opinion.

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

Served in oversized wine glass.

LOOK (4.5/5) This one pours a rich mahogany brown. Clarity is a bit poorer than I would have thought - it is between hazy and opaque. Head is a real treat! It comes up huge and billowing out of the bottle; it is light beige and mousy in texture. It took a while to fall to a cap, but lacing was a bit disappointing.

SMELL (4.5/5) The nose is rich and malty with a good helping of fruit and a touch of pepper. The malt is largely vienna/munich with it's characteristic melanoidin flavor (plums/prunes/dates) it has a hint of caramel, but no roasty/toasty notes. I get a hint of orange peel and other light fruits. The finish is sweet, but has a touch of pepper.

TASTE (4.5/5) The flavor is very similar to the nose, but the relative strengths differ a bit. The malt is still full of those mailard flavors (dark, dried fruits). I get the impression that the yeast adds a lot of lighter notes to the dark fruit flavors. A good helping of pepper and a surprisingly tart finish round it out. The balance was still malty.

FEEL (5/5) Moutfeel is ideal for the flavours going on here! Medium-full bosy adds some weight and depth to the flavor - the latter is a great transition to the finish and gets that fluffy feel I like.

DRINK (5/5) For a rich, complex brew drinkability is really good because of the lighter fruitiness and the drier finish. Great, refreshing, and complex. Very, very nice!

I'd have to have this with a desert with some nice sharper or more acidic fruits like oranges or berries.

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Photo of pbr85
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a chalis that was split with two friends.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown opaque with a nice, off white one inch head. Beer looks nice.
Smell: Lemon and orange scents dominate with slight hints of alcohol and white bread in the background.
Taste: The taste is much more subtle than I thought it was going to be. Wheaty malts with an ever so slight hint of bitterness at the end. Lemon grass flavor is mixed in with the malts and hops.
Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth going down, with decent carbonation. Its a little too light on the tongue for my preferences.
Drinkability: For 9.5% it is very drinkable, though I doubt I could have finished the whole 750 by myself. I would definetly try this again, or at least try the other Grand Cru that looks so similar...

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

This stuff is awesome.

Pours a hazy yet vibrant chestnut color with a huge foamy head. Great retention but average lacing.

Smell is sweet and malty, with lots of dark fruits, and light fruity hops accompanied by an alcoholic ester.

A combination of lightly roasted malts and sweet mellow sugars. The taste is much sweeter than the alcohol smell would lead you to believe. It has a warming tingle, but doesn't taste alcoholic.

Beautiful beer. Will definitely pick this up often.

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

Color, Balance, Nose, and taste. this has it all. I was reminded of eating cotton candy. You know how you get the big sugar taste all to have it disappear? This is what this beer reminded me of.

Definetly big alcohol content. As it warms, the nose and and the taste intensify. The brew is very bright yet has a lot of yeast in the bottom of the bottle. One of the most remarkable Grand Cru's I've ever had.

Cheers! - Maybrick

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

This 11.2 oz bottle was labeled best before 2005 -- a mere three years away. It poured nicely into my chalice with a thick light brown head. The head stuck around the entire time there was liquid in the glass. One great head!

The color was a medium copper color with little to no noticable yeasties floating around.

The first aroma I notice was liquored cotton-candy. After the brew warmed a bit, a maltiness appeared, but the alcohol aromas were still present.

A very complex beer, with extremely dry mild hops in the finish. I big malty flavor with some hint of chicory.

Overall a delight on the tongue - terrific!

I am not sensative to the alcohol flavor, but it is certainly there, which, in my view should detract from the drinkablity.


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

slighty cloudy brown body with some reddish hues. Large tan head that disappeared quickly leaving medium lacing. More sediment floating around in this beer than just about any other I've tried. Nose is not what I expected and it is not nearly as strong as I expected. The yeast and roasted malts that I normally smell in Belgians is hardly noticeable in this one. The smell is mostly of fruit, but not just of the darker fruit, this has some citrus to it. Taste is very sweet and malty. The citrus in the smell is not near as evident in the taste. As it warms, spice and alcohol start to come through at the end. Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Very good beer but drinkability is hurt a little because of how sweet it is.

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Photo of FernMaster
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

I first stumbled on this beer while beer shopping at my local grocery store. There was this huge tasting going on with maybe 20-30 beers available with samples. Pitching the beers were some of the different distributors, including one really pushy, kind of a jerk, distributor who got offensive once I told him that O'Fallon bores me. Oh well. I had this beer, the Grand Cru and dug it, so now I'm getting one for review.

Wow, this is an ugly ass beer. There are so many floaters that if you did a palette swap it would be the first level in Vectorman. There's also no head and no lacing. It's a nice brown, crimson color in the light, but once you inspect it closely you wonder who put the packet of sea monkeys in your glass.

That nose, however, is fantastic. There's this wonderful caramel, honey scent to the beer. Also there's some dark fruits, raisins in the mix. I really dig the smell of this beer.

The taste is fantastic. There's a nice yeast present along with all the flavors that come off across in the nose. The caramel and dark fruits have almost a candy like mixture. It's truly a joy to drink this beer. The high abv is masked excellently, I don't even notice the 9.2%. It's also a very smooth drink, it's like listening to the Velvet Underground. Everything works so well together.

I truly like this beer. Despite it being ugly as hell (seriously, I wouldn't even pretend to be friends with it), it's a enjoyable, smooth Belgian strong dark ale and one that I would gladly purchase and drink again.

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Photo of iasanlee
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml best before 2009. Pours a beautiful amber brown. Loads of yeast, that I have experienced with 2 other des Rocs, so I was prepared this time. The single finger of head left quickly, and left very little evidence of lacing.
Smell is of sweet fruits and malt. Flavor is special. Very good. Again sweet. Plums and carmel are strongest. Banana and green apple are there as well. Syrup like on the tongue with a very malty finish. Carbonation is delicate. The shear quantity of floating yeast will never fully appeal to me, and I don't remember seeing this amount in the smaller 11.2oz bottles I have tried in the past, but this is a damn fine beer. If you don't mind chewing on it a bit, you will understand the great rating too.

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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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