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: 733 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of beveragecaptain
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330 cl bottle. Pours out a dark, brownish red color with a dense head. There are a lot of small chunks suspended in the beer. The aroma is rich and malty with toffee and tropical fruit. Big malt flavor with lots of toffee at first. Becomes fruity in the middle, especially plums. The finish is nice and spicy, like a winter warmer. Alcohol is noticable, but doesn't get in the way of the flavor at all. The mouthfeel is incredible. This beer coats the mouth, and the flavor lingers. Much more drinkable than any beer should be at 9.5% abv. This is an amazing beer.

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

Brown leahter head--tinged with some purple--with a slow developing head that stuck around for a bit. Very rich and deep. Nose is like plunging my head into a candy bowl filled with Deccos. Oh, so sweet smell. Flavor is complex at first, but breaks down very simply. Heavy malt flavor with lots of prunes and sugars. Some cherries and molasses too. Flavor does not cling to my taste buds either but allowed me to enjoy my meal in and of itself as I ate. Mouthfeel was quite medium body, but spread the palate out and was surprisingly a good complement with my barbeque. The alcohol is greaty hidden behind the beer and I hardly notice it until after I feel the effects. Very difficult to separate from my hand as I picked up my ribs.

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Photo of MrBen
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is the good stuff. Wonderful color and head retention. The beer is highly aromatic, and the flavors are deep, rich, round, and robust with complex fruits and malty sweetness all sharing the same bottle. This is an extremely substantial and satisfying beer. A classic for sure. I'm coming back for more!!!

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Photo of hero27
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle.

Decided this would be a good one to try on New Beer Sunday...boy, did I make a good choice here...

Outrageously complex fruits & spices combine with rich, bready malts..throw in a 10% abv and you've got a gem that is Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru. Sickly sweet and flavorful to the last delicious drop. I won't echo everyone else's comments, so I'll just say this..
You won't find a much more complex it out and try it..there will be no regrets...unless, of course, you only buy one bottle.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Rich malts and sugars, Belgian yeast character, all very subdued. Ruby/garnet with a lasting dirty white head. Nice clarity. Very soft flavor. It will kick you in the ass if you are not carefull. Lots of bubbles as it folls over the tongue. I enjoy this a lot.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been hanging onto this bottle for awhile and decided to pop the cork tonight. The Grand Cru pours from the 750ml bottle a murky reddish brown with a khaki head of big bubbles on top that falls to a coating. Some floaties are hanging out when held up to the light. Aromas of rum raisin upfront mixed with caramel, woody tannins, dark fruits and earthy yeast. Exquisite, exotic and unlike any other Belgian strong dark ale I've sampled. Cherry and molasses? Nice.

First sip brings a wave of caramelly cocoa rum raisin maltiness accentuated by dark fruits and candy sugar. Wood tones coat the mouth with hints of black cherry, dark molasses and subtle spice. Earthy yeastiness throughout with a lingering burnt sugars. Quite complex and undoubtedly tasty. Fruity, spicy, malty, wonderful. The alcohol is no where to be found until it begins to warm the belly.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a more mellow carbonation. Fills the mouth nicely and goes down easily. This is a treat to drink and another testament to the amazing brewers at Abbaye des Rocs. I'm having no problem indulging and hope to have the chance to visit the brewery in Belgium one of these days. A truly great brew that lives up to its name.

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Photo of maxpower
4.94/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle pours a cloudy bright reddish-brown with a lot of floating yeast particles that has a nice creamy light brown head that lasts and leaves sticky sheets of lacing in my glass. Spicy ginger and chocolate aromas, ginger, nutmeg, pear, caramel, chocolate and plum flavors. Full bodied with a perfect soft and creamy mouthfeel, lasting spicy finish.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A rather pleasing shoe brown in hue, with a thick, developing and lasting white bubble bath head, chunks of sugary patches that last as well. Where to begin with the aroma – an onslaught and mixture of fresh bubble gum, nuts, caramel, mango, pineapple, cinnamon and malts are all noted, and the aromas develop even further as the beer matures. Large malt based undertones, combined with port like tastings, peppers and slick Belgium spices. Brown sugar, raisins and wheat bread are tasted towards the finish; it’s a sad finish though, one of the best; oh so tasty and enjoyable; drink ability is off the charts!

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

11.2 oz. brown bottle with best before end date of 2007.

The beer is copper colored, clear and bubbly, with a rocky egg shell tinted head.

The nose is sweet malt and fruit with a dose of yeast and a twangy barnyard funkiness.

The palate is sharp and somewhat light in body. This is a complex beer. A tart fruitiness pairs with cookie dough like malts. It's finish is spicy and lingering. The subtle alcohol warms its way down to my stomach.

Delicious. A great piece of work, and a nice canidate for the table.

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Photo of maek228
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bigup's to BigLove for the bottle

Was saving this for a special occasion, but a stressful day of landscaping and homework has driven my prized Brasserie out of the fridge.

Appearance: A murky, burnt orange/brown/amber...with brown being the loudest color, I suppose. Decent tan head that ran about an inch when I poured it, that faded into an awesome half inch head that stuck around like a champ...i'm loving that.

Smell: Dark fruits which come off tart yet at the same time sugary, sweet malts, and a faint hint of caramel. The wonderful contrast between tart and sweet give this Grand Cru a smell to admire

Taste: Estery with rich malts. A full flavor which mirrors the smell and does a great job of hiding the high alcohol content.

Mouthfeel: Smooth kind...I expected this to be thicker, but I can't really complain

Drinkability: I'm having a hard time just "sipping" it

Overall a great beer. "Top Tier" for sure

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

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle into a chalice.

The aroma presents some extremely nice fruity tones of many flavors (oh how I wish I could find the fruit, it's not orange, but close but sweeter, likes canned mango or passion fruit. Suffice it to say it's terrific). Other malt notes of honey, berry and slight grains. Some mild banana. This is unique and wonderful.
A rubyish amber with browns and orange and a swirling mess of yeast setiment. One firm head that's persistent as heck.
Wow! The flavors match the aroma in all the right ways. The indescribable aroma is present in the flavor too. Phenols are more evident, but mild and blending. Malts are evident, but not heavy, excessive or biting.
Soft carbonation, even though there is quite a bit. Smooth and soft. Alcohol noted with warming in the stomach.
Best version of style I've had so far. Bold, but not overpowering. Unique flavors with great blending and no excesses. The fruit flavors temp quicker drinking, but other malts require slower sipping. Wow.

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Photo of bashiba
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a creamy brown with exception head and great retention.

Smell was a semi sweet mixture of sweet fruits mixing in with some toffee and caramel overtones with a touch of pepper mixing in as well.

Taste is a very good complex blend, roasted malts, sweet dark fruits, and a great peppery spicyness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full with a nice dry finish.

Drinkability is fantastic on this great beer, has quickly become one of my favorites.

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Photo of merlin48
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4 oz black foiled, capped, not corked, bottle purchased for $6.99 at the Kroger's that is walking distance of the Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, Va.
Appearance: Pours into my chalice a clear dark, burnt orange body that is alive with tiny bubbles of carbonation. Creamy tan head rises a couple of centimeters and stays right there. Divine sheets of creamy lace drape the chalice, eventually falling into an island chain pattern. Exceptional to behold!
Aroma: a cornicopia of fruit esters greets the nose. Yellow Delicious apples, overripe bananas, a hint of cherries, and multiple dark dried fruits such as figs, dates, and prunes suggest an assertive maltiness that is later borne out by the taste. An interesting note of orangepeel adds to the delight.
Mouthfeel: Effervescent carbonation and some warming alcohol are easily noted. Medium body becomes much more full as it warms to room temperature.
Taste: Lots of sweet, malty, dark fruits open the flavor profile. Fruity esters are all over the board here. Black bananas, prunes, dates, figs, and a hint of caramel apple support an assertive malty sweetness. A note of cocoa adds to the enjoyable complexity. Hints of licorice and some medicinal phenols add even more characteristics to ponder. Soft and smooth, with subtle alcohol warming and a subdued hops bitterness. Very malty for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.
Drinkability: This is a lovely creation, and the price is difficult to beat. Grows a bit heavy on the palate near the room temperature finish, but this is really created to style and very well constructed. Can't wait to try the Tripel later today. Highly recommended!

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

Served on-tap in an Abbaye Des Rocs chalice.

Arrived a completely clouded and yeasty pale red-brown. Strong effervescence with a small film of foam and huge amounts of clingy lacing. Smells massively yeasty and fruity; peppery biscuits intermingled with dark cherries and caramel malts. Complex interplay of flavors; zesty spices blended with yeast and abundant sweet cherries dipped in caramel. Finishes with a mellowing grainy dryness. Light, tingly, refreshing in the mouth.

One of the best beers I've had and a pleasingly different experience in the bottle and on-draft. The bottles have more wine-like acidity and are dryer, more champagne-like. The draft is intensely yeasty, with superb cherry and caramel malt notes.

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Photo of palma
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish amber, dark brown body. Very impressive thick and creamy tan head

Nose: Sweet malty nose. licorice. fruity phenols and some Christmas spice. Like a winter warmer with some kick.

Taste: Cherries, apples, prunes, toffee, and licorice. A very malty Belgian. Dry finish with a very nice pepper aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy mouthfeel. Slightly creamy. Medium carbonation.

A good Belgian strong dark ale that's on the malty side of things.

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

Thanks Gabe

Dark maple syrup brown with an explosive and creamy beige head that retains exceptionally and leaved gobs of sticky lace. The last sip still has a veil of creamy foam on it. Rather cloudy with lots of little yeast chunkers in the bottem of my goblet.

The aromas are a malt lovers dream. Dark caramel, chocolate, toffee, fresh wildflowers, honey, with some spicy hops.

The flavor is initially of chewy caramel drenched in hot fudge. Lots of creamy malt notes and very chocolatey, with dark fruits, yeast, brown sugar, lite citrus notes, and spicy floral hops in the finish. Tastes like a Belgian barleywine. Very good, but not quite as complex as some other strong Belgian dark ales.

Big body on this one with a rich and chewy texture and a creamy malty mouthfeel. Lip smacking sweet without being cloying.

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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 blitz134
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of carbonation when I opened the bottle. Had to do an early taste off the mouth of the bottle to keep the rising foam from spilling over the edge.

Upon pouring I was expecting a head explosion when it hit my goblet, but all was well. Pours a gorgeous dark ruby garnet color. Clear body that barely lets any light through. Head is off white, bordering on light tan, and a solid finger thick. It doesn't want to go away either. High marks for this.

Smells typical belgian dark ale. Ripe, tart, dark fruits coming through in the nose, liqour soaked bananas and clove. Candy sweet with a hint of sweet caramel malts. Very nice.

Taste is dark ripe fruits with a bit of sweet alcohol in the finish. A little tart apple rounds out the initial fruit flavors and then goes into a sweeter plum, raisin concoction. Finish is slightly dry. Up there with the best, but doesn't offer anything any other great belgian can't offer as well.

Mouthfeel is highly carbonated which added a crispness to this. I haven't noticed as much carbonation in other beers of the style. Mouthfeel is good but could be a bit fuller. Some of the body might be masked by the carbonation levels.

Drinkability is nice as well. The alcohol doesn't warm as much as some of the others of the style. That alone brings the drinkability up, although this is still a sipping beer.

Overall a good belgian dark. Its hard to stand out with so many good examples of the style, but this one does its part and hangs in with the best of them.

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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 ypsifly
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Capped 750 best before end of 2007, poured into a chalice.

Reddish brown with a foamy head that is off white, almost tan, and of good height with maximum stickage. Nice retention, it never really goes away.

Bready yeast, slightly tangy spices, confectioner's sugar, banana, and nuts. Very complex and appealing.

Upfront the velvet mouthfeel is noticed. This is full without any chewing or oily stickiness. The malts come and go quickly, just a flash. They set the stage for a sweet note that turns tart and is paired with a hoppy dryness in the finish. The alcohol registers as a suggestion of pepper, but that's it.

Amazing shit. I could drink it all night long until the stealthy abv caught up with me.

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

Translucent dark ruby with mellow golden edges, so beautiful under the light. Chucky yeasts floating around and a prodigious head that lasts for many minutes before leaving a latticework of lacing. Smell is that Belgian candi smell, but with some alcohol and a mildly bittering odor, nuts maybe or a spice. Taste is not as sweet as I expected. Mildly malty with a trace of hops, wonderful dark fruits bathed in alcohol. I love this kind of stuff. I wish 5% beers would taste like this so that I could have more on a school night. Mouthfeel is slick, medium, super long finish and that alcohol warmth. Not a great beer for a 90+ F day, but I'm in air-conditioning...I can wear shorts and a t-shirt and put my feet in a bucket of ice. This brew is worth it.

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Photo of scooter231
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer has me going back and forth- I think I like it, then I think I don't. It's very pretty, pours a dark coppery red with lots of a creamy colored tan head, very inviting looking. The smell is orangey, with hints of other citrus flavors, and I get some almond in there as well.

Taste was a little disappointing to me after the smell- it's quite different. Coffee, chocolate, toffee, and some dark juicy fruityness. Way sweeter than I'd have thought. Mouth feel is nice, a bit heavy though. Not too much carbonation, but there's a sliiiight sour aftertaste that's not so tasty to me.

Overall I'd say this is a good beer, but the drinkability factor, not so much. It's too heavy, and way too sweet after a while- and it's just so bumming when things don't taste the way they smell, especially when you think they smell soooo good.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was excited to find this one after everything I've read. I love strong dark ales and this is one of the most highly regarded (I consider dubbels and quadrupels strong dark ales) of the style.
It's certainly impressive enough coming out of the bottle (750mL corked and caged into my goblet). Deep dark with a good sticky head, lacing all over the glass.
Smells really enticing. I kept wanting to smell this one. So I did. Over and over and over again.
Candied Fruits.
Alcohol soaked fruits.
Dark sweet dark sweet.
Too surgary, ultimately, for me.
Alcohol is.. oh, that's right, there's alcohol in this.
Easy enough to forget.
I split this bottle with a friend and was kind of glad I didn't have to drink any more of it.
This wasn't the miracle of a beer I was hoping for but I would love to have a glass of this from time to time.

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Photo of ejquin
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

App: Burnt brown with a ton of sediment. Poured a little to aggressively and I had a ton of yeast in my chalice. Very thick white head with some lacing. Cola colored.

Smell: Very Belgian to me. Pehonlic and piney with some malt and slight frutiness.

Taste: Devine taste. Very crisp. Fruity yet deep. Slight alcohol perception upfront which was different, but very quick. Finishes dry with nutty aftertaste and quite peppery. Some cherry in there as well.

Mouth: Nice rich and slightly chewy.

Drink: Little perception of alcohol and crispness of brew leads to phenominal drinkibility. Downgraded slightly because the very peppery finish can get a bit much after a while.

Overall: Amazing, amazing beer. Grand Cru alright. This is probably the most crisp 10% abv beer I've ever had. Defintely a step up from the normal Abbaye which is a great brew in its own right.

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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 733 ratings.
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