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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Ratings: 735 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of Beaver13
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, corked and capped. I've had this in the fridge for a little under 2 years. It pours a reddish dark amber with lots of active carbonation. It has a huge and fluffy off white head that retains well and leaves a little lacing. The final pour is a bit on the chunky side.

The aroma is sweet vinous fruits (figs and grapes), wood, and some spicy peppery melon.

The flavor is more of the same (but slightly subdued) - sweet and slightly vinous fruits (pears) with a spicy peppery finish with some sweet candy-like alcohol showing its head. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall, an excellent Belgian ale! I was worried that this might be too old, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle.

Appearance- Poured a nice one finger head swith steady retention and had a solid grip on the inside of the goblet with each sip. Even though this medium brown brew looks like brown shoe leather, you can still see the excellent and neverending lacing.

Smell- What a mix of peppery sweet malts and lilacs of all things. All wrapped around a sweet candied apple with a bubble gum accentuation.

Taste- Starts out with a gebneral apple and licorice sweetness. The lightly cooked malt then starts to make its presence known, but then turns into a sweet black cherry pie. The finish was a crushed black pepper.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth even though teh tongue got a litle grainyness from the yeast sediment.

I always have my doubts about my reaction to the best 100 beers of BA, but the flavor of this beer made things very clear. There is no doubt why this beer is one of the best beers on BA or in the world. This was a very rewarding beer.

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

Had this on tap at Taco Mac. This is one of my favorite brews, but this is the first time I've been able to have it on tap. Served too cold. After I let it warm up, it was great. Could really smell the cherries and dried fruit. Nice creamy head with wonderful lacing. Seems quite different than Chimay Bleu, but outstanding in it's own way. Even though I've never rated the bottled version, I don't remember the bottled version having as strong a dried fruit aroma and taste. I'll have to break open one of the bottles that have been in the cellar for a while.

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Photo of Prufrock
3.32/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

25.6 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

pours a nice mahogany with half an inch of white head. a touch of sediment.

earthy sweet aroma. caramel, yeast, some raisins and sugar.

malty, sweet and a touch alcoholic. thick and richly smooth. toffee, cherries, yeast, and a sweet alcoholic kick. sweetness and alcohol get to be a little overwhelming after a while.

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Photo of phisig137
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Large bottle date best before end of 2008. Pours a light hazy ruby brown. Much lighter than I expected. Massive head dies quickly into a blanket of bubbles on top of the glass.

Aroma is faint, coffee, chocolate, spicy yeast esters, and hops.

Flavor Is slightly sweet, but has a bitter finish. Bittersweet chocolate is prevalent, along with coffee, coriander, caramel, and a hoppy finish. Alcohol is warming after only a few sips. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, but does not linger on the palate for much time.

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay glass at cellar temp. Nice off white head that settles to a thin layer fairly quickly. Plenty of chunks floating around....I don't remember that characteristic last time I had this beer. The color is a deep mohagany and clear, besides the "sea monkeys" floating around.

The smell is fruity malt, with candi sugar. The taste is very nice. Sweet malt, dried plum, candi sugar, with a slight hop bitterness at the very end. This is a nice complex beer. A little alcohol warming as well. The mouthfeel is medium. I would say this is one of my favorite belgian beers. It is well balanced and has some complexity. I highly recommend this beer and will continue to seek it out.

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

11.2oz bottle bought as part of a 4-pack while travelling in NoVA.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 3/4" beige head above the deeply reddish amber brew. Note that it's hard to call this brew clear, as even with a careful pour there is so much chunkage spinning around in the glass that it scares me. Effervescence allows the head to last and last, with tons of heavy sticky lacing. Aroma is a tantalizing combination of spicy yeast and malt sweetness. Taste is spicy malts, with notes of dark fruits, and slight alcohol warming on the close. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, excepting that pinch of whatever that keeps getting caught between my cheek and gum, and drinkability is nice as well. Still, the big bottle is the way to go here.

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Photo of Higravity
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2002 Vintage, the bottle was covered in a heavy amount of dust, tuck away in the back at Max's and for $30 it was sold. Poured hazy brown with a slight red tinge and a small bubble white head that receeded just to hang out. Smells of old red apples ready for juicing, strong malt with a nutty quality and a charged spice with the yeast. Taste is a melding of several flavor from the nose but it brings a sweetnes that is at first strong but the dryness helps settle it out. The mouthfeel was a little too slick but overall fine. Very drinkable, but this is a rather elusive find around here.

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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.

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Photo of Litterbean
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden brown with a chunky head. Nice to look at.

There's a plethora of aromas in this one. I detected much sweetness, along with nuttiness, maltiness, and several different fruits, such as prunes and raisins.

The taste is sweet. I detect what seem like cashews mixed in with the aforementioned prunes. The beginning is a little watery, but it has a creamy finish. As I said, this is a sweet beer, a little too sweet. It seems like this one is just packed with sugar, and I can feel it on my tongue and lips after each sip. Not that great, I'm sorry. Above average, but not good.

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

From a 750ml bottle. This beer poured a hazy reddish brown color with a 1 inch light tan head. The beer left some nice lacing on the side of my Duvel glass. The aroma was sweet, candyish and spicy in the nose. Taste was wonderfully malty and fruity with notes of spices, honey and maple syrup. This brew was medium bodied and very easy to drink. The alcohol was just barely noticeable as the beer warmed. Another winner from Abbaye des Rocs and a bargain at 6.99 a bottle.

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Photo of yelterdow
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Rochefort chalice at cellar temperature. Paired with Chimay a la Biere cheese after dinner. Best by date reads April 2007.

Upon lifting the bottlecap, the beer hissed urgently upwards, creating a fizzy waterfall in my sink. Thankfully, no beer was lost... just a whole lot of carbonation. Due to the generous amount of yeast in the bottle, I'm sure there is nothing to worry about.

Appearance- The beer pours a hazy cognac/raisin with a nicely constructed head... tight, soapy, off-white bubbles... almost two fingers, with terrific lacing.

Smell- Huge malts and old, sweet, fermenting fruit... almost like a moist cake doused in a reduction of alcohol and old peaches. After the yeast is added, the aromas become more full and pronounced.

Taste- A gigantic malt presence drives the fruit and spiciness to the wall... hints of old floorboard and perfume come forward. Upon swirling the sediment and pouring it into the last several sips, a marked complexity takes hold. The maltiness and fruit character integrates with a very natural sweetness, but it isn't sugary. It's a richly flavor-infused intergration of the major components of the beer; malts, fruit, spice, and alcohol... which is nicely hidden.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Good for the style; consistently slick, with just the right amount of carbonation to lift the flavors up and off the tongue... and the drying finale works nicely too. Try it with some strong cheese, I know it worked well for me.

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

A good example of the Belgian strong dark ale.

Pours a dark brown/burnt copper with a nice tan head.

Aromas are of citrusy/piney hops and hazelnut malty sweetness.

Taste is a good combination of bitter hoppiness that becomes sweet caramel/toffee-ish maltiness.

Strong alcohol warmth with a decent carbonic bite.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured over my sink due to extreme fizziness. Pours a dark amber, opaque, can't see a damn thing through it. Off white head dissapates to about nothing quickly. Aromas are very yeasty and barnyard like, some super funk going on. Flavors are a rush of craziness. Not altogether really sweet, a little bitterness and some sourness in the finish. A little too funky for me, rather go with a Rochefort 10 (dissimiliar style?). Mouthfeel is lighter than expected, not so heavy and syrupy as other strong Belgians. This beer is basically a loaf of bread in flavor, not sure if I enjoy that (I have excellent nearby local bread I'd rather eat). Alcohol isn't too discerning, but is warming. Still not quite sure if this "Special Brown" is in fact the same as the original, but still a good brew IMO.

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Photo of mentor
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 2007. Pours a swampy brown liquid with a light brown-caramel head of two fingers. Froth crowned out the bottle when opened. Smells funky phenol, belgian candi sugar, chocolate, yeast, pepsi, and clean fresh straw. Tastes mild phenolic edge. Chocolate malty sweet with some candi sugar. Yeasty. Raisins and caramel. Mild alcohol. Overall, a nice deep and wide dark character. Md body and moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So, while I'm trying to get the oversize cap off of the bottle without bending it, bubbles spill down the neck - and continue fizzing out until I manage to pop the cap off and get the beer into a tulip glass. Seems to be a common experience with this beer!

Pours out a ruby-highlighted brown with an eggshell-white head that fills the narrow portion of the tulip for a few moments before falling back to a thin ring and leaves little lacing. Deep, mysterious, strong-looking.

The smell is of raisins, toasted wheat bread, almonds, brown sugar, charcoal, caramel, plums... Damn... What a complex scent... It's such a delight to just sit and sniff this beer. There's a hell of a lot going on inside.

The taste begins with malt, malt, and malt - a brassy, bold, sweet malt that kicks the front of your tongue and then tag-teams its friend sugar. What's amazing to me is that the brewers claim that no candi sugar has been added, because this has a HUGE pack of very sugary tastes - unbelievable from an all-malt Belgian. It has a sharp, fruity body with a spicy but delicate hop finish - slight notes of smoke... Absolutely amazing.

The mouthfeel builds on the tongue, from a creamy beginning to a slowly building frothiness of tiny, energetic bubbles. They recede as you swallow, leaving behind sugary tastes that linger for a while and then dissappear, leaving the mouth feeling clean.

Awesome! I was really looking forward to trying this beer, and have been storing it for a few weeks. A bit of a wild mood was enough to dare me into popping it open for a glass. Definitely deserves to be rated so highly.

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

It's basically all in there. If it's every been in a beer, then you'll find it in this Grand Cru (except for, perhaps chili peppers and chicken wings...don't ask). Right from the pour, a muddy bronze, rust color emits aromas that are distinctly Belgian, but with even the kitchen sink. Aromas lead right into the flavors with: bready, malt, spicy, fruity, vineous, musky, grape, figs, dates, nuts, toast, candy sugar, yeasty, astringent, sherry, citrus, alcohol, peaches, woody, pears, mangos, fruitcake....the list goes on and on. All of the flavors meld together and are well aged into a delicate, yet bold prague for the beer lover (it's all in there). The feel to the mouth is everywhere from astringent to sweet to dry to full. The finish is lightly dry, tart, and sweet. One of the more complex beers out there, but difficult to put into perspective. Could be a bit cleaner.

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

Popped the cap, and off to a bad start. About 2 ounces of this 11.2 ounce beer ended up on my desk top from the bottle overflowing. Once in the glass, the beer had a decent one inch head that settled down to a thin layer, and never disappeared. The beer itself is a very very dark opague brown.

Saison yeast in the nose. Cant pick up much else.

Taste is excellent. Very nutty with some fruity tones underneath. I taste raisins as well. A very satisfying, chewy mouthfeel. Nice and hearty. I cant believe this beer is 9.5%! Very deceptive.

Great stuff. If I ever see it again, I will have another.

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Photo of Franchise
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This belgian pours a cloudy brown with lots of nice yeast floating around the body. It leaves a thick frothy tan lace that sticks to the glass and looks magnificent. The aroma is fruity peach, plum, raisin, dates, figs, honey, spicey vanilla the nose is so complex. The taste is so smooth, is this really 10% abv? cause it can't be found in this brew it is very well hidden and the fruit, and the slight hops in the beer just compliment each other so well. It finishes bitter sweet syrup thick and creamy. This is one of the best crafted brews I've had in awhile, fantastic.

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

Pours a nice dark brown/amber, about a finger and a half of very fluffy off-white head with significant lacing. Smell is very much of dark fruit, very sweet, and slightly alcoholey, like most belgian strong darks I've had. Taste is similar to smell, but less sweet and alcoholey. Dark fruits, spices, yeasty and somewhat malty, with a nice slight warmth obviously due to the alcohol, but not too much flavor due to it. To be honest, I wouldn't've minded a bit more of the alcohol flavor, I think it would have gone well with the present flavors, but thats just me. Smooth beer, smooth finish, delicious aftertaste, very drinkable. I could definitely drink more than one.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a nice head that dissapated into a small head with a lacing that's slighty sticky. The color is bright red to dark. Smells very nice, pretty sweet and it's very smooth on the palate. It also has a little nutmeg flavor in it with some slight orange undertones. It's a little smooth and slightly crisp. I feel like it could've had a better head and mouthfeel, it seems like this beer had been abused and incorrectly aged.

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Photo of jaluria
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this bottle from Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits and was saving it for a special night. Opened it tonight (prelude to my wife's birthday) and I was suprised to see a bottle cap instead of a cork when I pulled back the foil.

Pours a lovely cloudy, murky, light brown color with loads of debris and what appeared to be very tiny bubbles and residue. The head was thick and aromatic with a tan color that left behind subtle lacing. I could detect candy, roasted malt, caramel, and lots and lots of plain ol' sugar. Not as complex as I would have like; no fruit aromas or earthy scents. The taste was quite sweet with a dynamic intensity upfront and a lingering fruity follow-up. The roasted/grilled flavors were present throughout the session. The texture of the beer was very creamy easily engulfing my tongue and begging my taste buds for another sip. The fruit flavors created a sweet & sour aftertaste with a medium-dry finish.
An excellent beer that hides the alcohol exceedingly well and has evolving sweet flavors that entices and mystifies.

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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 735 ratings.
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