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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 GreatPondBrewer
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep cherry stained mahogony color with a volumenous, rocky, yellowish, off-white head with craggy valleys and hills and plenty of sticky lace. Smell was effervescent sweetness, a lot of grassy barnyard notes, a lemony tartness way in the back of the nose and some whiffs of cherry and orange peel. Taste was plenty estery(10% is a lot) with more sweetness, dried fruits, slightly grainy, tart finish with an aftertaste that moved back and forth between a woody smoke laden pallete and a slight metallic/soapy effect. Mouthfeel was creamy, but agressivly carbonated with the small bubbles all over the place. Of the grand crus I have tried this one struck me as the most banal. Maybe I just like the american intepretation better, but I thought the Southampton blew this out of the water and the Allagash a close second. Gotta find me some of that Rodenbach.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thin 11.2 oz bottle with Belgian Special Brown Ale at the bottom of the label. Poured into a tulip it formed a nice tan head that falls to a solid covering and leaves sliding ring lacing. 9.5%.

Lots of caramel and dark fruits. Sleek sour bill creeps into the show ever so slightly. Not much balance to this but to me there is really not much needed as the malt bill mixed with a touch of spices is really all it needs. Very well done. Mouthfeel was interesting in that it was on the thick side but was able to burn through a bit with a snappy carbonation. Thankfully the carbonation was not fizzy or annoying just zippy.

Notes: It was above average but for me this was just good. Not such a bad thing by any stretch. Worthy of a grand cru status...ehhhh not in my opinion.

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Photo of blakesell
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a pint glass (if you don't like it, you can give me more clean glasses, Belgium).

Appearance- Pours a dark amber with a frothy pillowlike head that lingers forever.

Smell- plum, spices, nutty essences, dark fruits, FIG!, carmel covered breads, toffee.

Taste- Candi sugar sweetness and spices upfront, rich carmel flavors with once again, dark fruits such as the ever infamous fig coming back into play. No alcohol burn for a 9.5% beer. Impressive.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and sticky with lingering carmel and plum. Ok, so there is some detectable alcohol in there. Smooth carbonation.

Drinkability- Very nice. I would drink this again and will as it came in a 4 pack. Rich and delicious, very good for unwinding in cold weather.

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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 adamette
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Live review. Poured from the 11.2 oz. brown bottle that I bought from Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor for $3.75 a few weeks ago into my silver rimmed Orval Chalice. "Best before end" of 09/01/2012 stamped on the lower right of the back label. My bottle features the name "Brasserie Des Rocs Grand Cru."

A Nice light brown creamy head over a brown only slightly translucent body with visible chunks of sediment that I could see as I poured from the bottle and are currently floating on the top of the liquid. Nice, classic look. Bump by 0.5 for a cool darker color on the head where the last pour was, a feature that reminds me of Westvleteren 4.5

S Sweet, bready malt and a nice Belgian yeast smell as well. 3.5

T Bread like sweet malt smell carries right over into the taste. The Belgian yeast smell is not as obvious in the taste and I simply do not taste the ABV listed at or about 10.0%. This, therefore, can be one of those beers that sneaks up you so be careful with this one! 4.0

M Big, thick, chewy, especially with the chunks of what I believe to be yeast sediment (I spooned a few of the larger ones out but felt several others go "down the hatch"). This is a big beer but it is smooth anyhow. Really good feel for the style. 4.5

D One and done for me with the size of the beer, the ABV and, I'll say it, the cost. $3.75 apiece will keep this from being a session beer. Of course I know that the beer is not trying to be a session beer, though. I think that the drinkability is on target for the style but not much higher than that. 3.0

Notes: BA lists it as a retired beer but my local store has about 10 of them with an expiration date in 2012 so maybe it is not retired?

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Photo of josanguapo
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From cervezasespeciales. In Teku glass. Watching Sons of Anarchy 6x10. Good, but maybe a bit more dry and harsh that I’d like. Ive read from others that its like an oud bruin but without the acid, and I agree

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Photo of Shaw
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep, deep cloudy ruby in color with some sediment, even after pouring carefully. Plenty of carbonation.

The smell is quite complex. I detect fruit like dates and raisins as well as nutty aromas and alcohol. It smells like a good fruitcake. There is also a light funky, earthy smell.

Its taste is equally complex. The flavors of raisins and dates and other fruits are quite apparent, while the high alcohol level is essentially invisible. Tastes of nut mix with some bread-like flavors. It needs just a bit more flavor, in my opinion.

The body is creamy and smooth, though a little light for me.

A fine strong dark ale.

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Photo of nopucophop
3.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a gorgeous dark brown with a nice thick head. Although the head did not hold long the initial appearance really got my mouth watering. It was upon further looking I noticed this had a TON of floaters. So many I thought it may have been frozen. No ice just a bunch of floaters.

The smell was great! A nice sweet smell with a appley undertone and a touch of caramel.

The flavor is much as the smell. Sweet with that apple ester. The alcohol is not present and there really is no hop flavor. It has a ever so slight dry finish which really balances the sweet front nicely.

It is hard to get past all the floaters. Really brings a beer you can chew to a hole new light. It was well carbonated maybe a touch pringly with a creamy feel.

All in all this is a good beer that really goes down easy. I look forward to another one. I hope they are not all this full of floaters. I think it is a decent representation of the style.

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Photo of aracauna
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This had a great cherry and cotton candy aroma on the nose. The beer has a nice head on it with the color hinting at cherries as well. The cherry was a little less apparent in the flavor but the candy sugar flavor ther, almost a brown sugar flavor. It was a little too sweet almost.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, best before 10/08.
Cloudy, hazy, brown with an orangeish tint. lots of yeast in suspension.
Aroma is dried cherries, chocolate, alcohol, yeast.
Flavor is tart cherries, chocolate, honey. a lttle yeast in there as well.
Alcohol for the most part is hidden well, starts out not noticable but as it warms in the glass it starts to peek out and burn the throat a little.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this from the Cloverleaf Tavern.

A: Pours a hazy kind of bloody, amber body with a small, off-white head with pretty decent retention and lacing.

S: A musky, fruity smell with some slightly bitter and alcoholic undertones.

T: A smooth, sweet toffee taste with a brown sugar sweetness to the taste. There was a pretty sweet, burnt toffee aftertaste as well. As the beer began to warm up, the alcohol made itself more present, but it was welcome and not overbearing to the taste.

M: A pretty smooth and light, medium-bodied mouthfeel that seemed ok overall.

D: An ok mouthfeel and taste combination. As I noted earlier, the alcohol makes itself evident as the beer warms up, adding a slight tartness and biting warmth to contend with the sweet toffee taste. Overall, a nice tasting beer.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

WARNING... recommend opening this product over or near a sink!

After the explosive eruption of foam settles..pours a slightly hazy dark amber color. The effervescence of tiny bubbles continues of course. Less than a full finger tan butterscotch colored head fades fairly quickly to surface. Little lacing observed.

A very sweet smell. Distinctly plum and molasses.

The flavor and smell are very much a like. The sweet fruitiness lingers slightly.

The immediate mouth feel tingles from the carbonation, but once that settles down there is a timid hop signature. The alcohol hides behind fruit, but the warmth is definitely present.

Drinkable but i'd prefer a more fig-like flavor.

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Photo of JulieRFoster
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I received this beer as a gift from a friend in Belgium, and force of circumstance (he gave it to me at 7am) meant that I brought it back to Paris, let it sit in poor conditions in my apartment for two months and then lovingly carried it back with me to the States. Therefore much of my perception of this beer is tainted by my horrible treatment of the bottle, but I enjoyed it all the same.
A friend who I shared this with characterized it as "Kind of like your standard good beer." Despite its sweetness, it had a good drinkability. The flavor was a little unbalanced with a little too much sugar, and a mouthfeel that was a little too light. The carbonation was good, and it would have been perfect if the texture was slightly more viscous. Of course, that's most likely a product of transport.
The nose was very pleasant, although not too complex: some strawberry and other red fruits (merteuille), a little oaky, lots of yeast and some alcohol (which detracted from its overall appeal).
I would describe the taste similar to how I described the appearance (if that makes any sense). It comes off kind of like a Flemish red ale; a cloudy burgundy yeasty color. However, this beer had a nice little bite, with a pinch of something peppery (which was delightfully augmented by the carbonation) and some strong malts that were subtly blended to be incredibly smooth (adding to its drinkability). This beer makes me think of Ghent - it's in Belgium, and it has lots of French Belgium characteristics, but everyone only speaks Flemish.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.69/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark amber/brown with a very full 2 finger off white soft head that melts slowly to sticky lace but still manages to cover the top of the beer with a quarter inch of foam.
Aromas are sweet toasted dark malts and candy.
Flavor is not as multi-dimensional as many Belgium's I've had. I catch the sweet amber malts, the brown sugar, the caramel, and a little of the dark fruits, but somehow it doesn't hit me like others. Possibly because I just finished a Trappist Rochfort 8, but then comparison is how you can rate equitably, no?

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Photo of Auracom
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Holy crap I have so many reviews to catch up on. This was my first brew on my trip to New York; had this on-tap at the Old Toad in Rochester, served in a pint glass.

Pours a very dark, amber-like brown with a reddish tone to it (depending on lighting). Off white head is extremely thin with no retention or significant lacing. Looks just alright.

Aroma is strongly of estery fruit and yeast qualities, including caramel and a little breadiness. Flavor is similar - lots more yeast with malty sweetness, some fruit in the vein of tart apple, a little spice, a slight note of some dark fruit. There's an overlying bite to the drink that's kind of surprising.

Mouthfeel exhibits good carbonation, medium body, a longer finish that isn't all that dry, and a bready aftertaste.

All in all, it's just alright for drinkability. The taste is respectable but it's not all that inviting from the get-go and probably not worth a revisit from me. One positive note - had no clue this was 9.5% until just now. Very little abv presence in this drink.

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Photo of sacfly
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish brown with big chunks circulating around, even with a gentle pour. Thin head of brown bubbles. The head is ever replenished due to the high carbonation on this one. Ginger immediately comes to mind in the aroma. Mild alcohol and a hint of spicy yeast. Taste follows suit almost to a tee. Light to medium body. I think this one is a bit past it's prime. Good, but glad it is retired...

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Photo of budsboy
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before 2008.

A creeping, slow eruption of white-tan foam on opening, champagne bubbles in there. Milky brown, tan head quickly shrinks back to a sticky residue on top.

Sugary, bready smell, plum, raisen, hint of citrus.

Phenols are apparent but not overwhelming. Spicy, fruity and sharp bitterness on the finish. I expected more, frankly.

Full-bodied and fluffy. Very gratifying.

A brew I couldn't wait to open, and it left me somewhat disappointed. Gets better as it warms. I just don't like phenolic beers, period. Even though this is only slightly so, it steals a bit from me. Still a fine beer, but not the kind to knock me for a loop.

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Photo of botham
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet. pours a deep caramel color with garnet highlights and a single finger of light tan head that dissipates in one minute. coarse sediment is suspended in the brew.

aroma is mildly sour, with fruit notes of raisen, apple, grape, and a bit of apricot. malt notes include caramel and a distant hint of roasted malts.

taste is mildly sour as well, with a sweet character and fruit notes of apple, grape, and raisen. the same caramel malt is present here as well, with a finish of residual fruit and a sweet and sour character.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a strange feel from all the sediment (or suspended matter, as it is experienced). soft CO2 is prevalent, with a smooth finish.

drinkability is good. this is a rich brew with a notable amount of sediment in the brew (which was unavoidable from the pour), but that does not take away from the flavors present. a solid belgian.

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Photo of shivtim
3.66/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A mean-looking beer. It's a clear red/brown, but with evil little chunkies floating in it. Good lacing. The nose is sweet and syrupy, with some sweet and tangy apple and a whiff of alcohol. Taste is again sweet and syrupy (a little too syrupy) but has some good hop flavor. Mouthfeel is fine, and drinkability is not bad for the ABV.

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

dark brown pour and and a very big spritzy head that doesnt stick around and leaves little on the glass.

raisins and figs on the nose, maybe some dark cherries. toffee? i can't tell its got a lot of carbonation.

taste is the same but more earthy and sweet(brown sugar).

slightly creamy but too foamy for my taste.

too foamy and a little heavy, but not bad.

mine had a lot of sediment, i don't know if thats normal....?

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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 bitterdestroyer
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

i strike again. hiiiiyooo YES!!!

appearance: deep dark amber/brown like molasses

smell: nice bouquet of fruit and sugar cane. very nice, very belgian.

taste: very full bodied, nice mixture of sugar, fruit, and just the right amount of alcohol to make you respect and sip this grand cru. sweet and warm.

mouthfeel: very creamy, with a nice flow of carbonation.

drinkability: great, so long as you're only gonna have one 750ml of this bad boy.

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Photo of NiceGuyMike
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark redish brown with a bit of a head, not much lacing. Smells of sweet plums. Tastes of sweet plumbs and hints of brown sugar. Warming alcohol that hits hard and fades quick, you get use to it.

Overall and interesting brew, but not overly impressive.

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Photo of Dope
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle states best before 06/08/2013. Whoops!

A: Gusher bottle, managed to save it. Pours a nice dark brown. Enormous fluffy light light brown head. Head takes forever to dissipate. Marginal lacing but great retention.

S: Big overripe dark fruits in the aroma. Sweetbread aroma too.

T: Hmph. Kinda funky overripe fruits from start to finish. There's raisin, dates, cherry, banana? A little brown sugar. Sweetbread malt, tastes like poundcake (had another beer that tasted the same just recently, funny). Kind of a sickly sweet aftertaste, like molasses maybe? No sign of alcohol at all.

M: Heavy and sticky.

O: Very interesting and unique BSDA. I honestly can't decide if it's good or bad. Lots of fruit and poundcake. Kinda odd flavors overall but at the same time I can't call it truly bad. Not sure if it's just old or if it just doesn't suit me. I gave it sorta middling scores, I didn't particularly enjoy it though I liked most aspects of it (none of that probably makes any sense). I tried to be nice due to the age (past the "best by"), this one clearly does not age well as I'm reading past aged reviews.

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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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