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

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special BrownAbbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown
Liked This Beer
4.2 w/ 736 ratings
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: 736 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of jrenihan
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 06/08/2013

Beer is a dark chestnut brown in colour with a moderately-sized beige head. Phenomenal retention- head sits there immobile for a long while. Moderate lacing.

Nice deep malty scent off the beer, quite bready. Brown sugar, spices and candied fruit. Belgian yeast.

Taste is very similar to the nose. Bready, spices (clove, pepper) and a little bit of dark fruit. Not as sweet as expected, even a slight bitterness at the end, but still a sweet beer overall.

As for mouthfeel, beer is overcarbonated. Gets in the way of the taste a bit and is somewhat irritating. Other than that, pretty good. Full bodied, chewy.

Overall, very enjoyable. Not quite a 4.5 taste-wise, but a strong enough 4 that I use the 'overall' to boost a little.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: 11.2 fl. oz. brown bottle, 9.5% abv., glassware (tulip) and serving temp (52-56 F) suggestion, and a best before end of 2007 (sampled August 22, 2007)

Aroma: Rich fruity malt, full of raisins and plums and a perfumed alcoholic note that blends it all nicely.

Appearance: Slow motion gusher as I took the cap. Lava lamp coagulation is disappointing as I am in the age range suggested by the label, if at the tail end of it. I’m patiently waiting and most of it is settling toward the bottom of my glass. Hazy deep brown with a skimpy cover of tiny light tan bubbles but a good collar

Flavor: Firm alcoholic note but not hot. Malt fruit note is pure and simple, I’m guessing Special B and candy sugar in the brewing. There is a mild bubble gum note as well. There is an earthy quality as well, like sugar beets. Definite Belgian yeast quality lends it a Trappist air.

Mouthfeel: Lively without being fizzy, thinner body from the alcohol, lingering finish.

Overall Impression: A tasty beer. I’m a little disappointed that I let it go so long and let it go all lava lamp on me. I guess I was waiting on a special day. Turned out it was the first day back at work for Fall 07.

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Photo of arizcards
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple of bottles at AJ's on Central for $3.99 each in late February. I am nearing the end of my birthday splurge.

Beer is very interesting to look at, poured a reddish-brown with a nice lasting head with lots of floating yeast. Nose is a combination of dark fruits, doughy bread, and sweet wine. Taste is a combination of fermented plums, sour apple, and bread. Mouthfeel has the classic Belgian feel, very nice to swirl across the palate. Drinkability is good. The alcohol was present with the first sip but it is very well disguised afterwards.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a glowing amber with a puffy, fizzy beige head that dissipates quickly. Big chunks of yeast in the pour mark this beer as being unfiltered.

S: Initially, the nose is dominated by scents of candy sugar, caramel, and heavy spices. As the beer settles and warms, scents of roasted nuts and dark bread emerge, while the spice aromas separate.

T: Sweet and spicy on the entry with flavors of candy sugar, dark bread, earthy hops, licorice, star anise, roasted nuts, coriander, and a playful prickle of warming alcohol. The finish is long and rich with notes of spices, sugar, and bread soaked in alcohol. Very balanced and surprisingly restrained for such a heavily spiced ale.

M: Full-bodied but with an initially slight, slick mouthfeel that disguises the heft of this beer. Grows heavier and even smoother just before the fade.

O: Very nice. This is an excellent Belgian strong dark ale.

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Photo of chinchill
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Large bottle from the back of my beer fridge served with the New Years' Day bowl games. Bottle is dated stamped Oct. 2014. Initially served at about 48-50F but improved with warming.

Body is a deep reddish-brown, more or less clear excepting a large amount of suspended particles, some of which are rather large. The suspended particles really detract from the appearance, but i have previously encountered excellent Belgian beers with this trait. The particles had no detectable effect on mouthfeel.

Aroma: excellent; rich, fruity and complex. Changed with warming.

Flavor: a harmonious blend of a multitude of flavors, including dates, raisins, dark bread, roast nuts, toffee and dried cherries. Some chocolate and darker malts in the finish. Excellent bitter-sweet balance.

Feel: medium-full body with light carbonation.

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Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is cloudy brown in color and has yeast particles near the bottom of the glass. A thin layer of bubbles is covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of dark fruits and malty sweetness in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is complex and rather sweet. It has lots of malty and fruity flavors. A very slight amount of bitterness is also perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a light amount of warming from the alcohol.
D: This is a good beer to sip and appreciate the complexity in the flavors.

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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 SkeeterHawk
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer for quite some time. In fact, I may have had it since about 2006 as I got some from one of the brewers at a beer wholesalers convention I was fortunate enough to attend once. Anyway, I imagine that it has settled as I remember this beer having a lot of floaters. Let's see what it is like:

Appearance: I barely got half of the beer out of the bottle before some serious floaters started heading for the opening, so I stopped them and only got a couple in the beer. The beer itself is a clear amber brown color with a solid vortex of bubbles rising to maintain the 1" head for a good while before it starts to fade slowly back into the beer. I have to say that I am pretty turned off by the huge floaters. Not like I am a wuss, but...

Aroma: I initially got some sweet malt with toffee notes and some raisins and other dark fruit. There is a reserved spiciness that is blending well with the beer, and I think that it is as much real spice additions as it is contribution from the alcohol. Some toasty Munich notes and the spice is giving a clear Lavender as the beer warms up a bit.

Taste: The flavor is also complex and fragrant with spice and floral notes complimenting the alcoholic spiciness and sweet toffee malts giving the beer an almost dessert-like impression. Overall the beer is medium bodied with plenty of carbonation, so it comes across quite drinkable despite its high alcohol percent. There really isn't any hops to speak of, but they may be hiding behind the spice. The finish is balanced firmly toward the sweetness with the alcohol staying reserved the whole time.

Opinion: Well, this is a well blended beer, especially at this point. I remember when I got this beer that it was really balanced toward the spice, and it was all so fresh and new that I knew that this beer had to cellar for a while to soften up. Well, I didn't intend on letting it sit for over 5 years, but it has definitely done this beer well. If there weren't so many floaters, this would be pushed up a lot higher for me...but I am not a big fan of chewing my beer unless it is an imperial stout, you know what I mean?

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Photo of JoeyHotrod
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite a beautiful beer to look at here, with it's brown body and huge head that doesn't ever go away and the nice lacing left throughout the glass.

From a scent standpoint this beer has elements of fruit, malt and a touch of alcohol, though by no means overbearing and in fact quite tame for a 9.5 percent beer.

The taste is what you would expect from the style. Dark Fruits, malt and a touch of spices. Again the alcohol is there, though undervalued enough not to be a disturbance.

This is a quality beer to had here. My first ale from these guys, though with my love of Belgian Beer and if this is an example of what these guys are capable of, I hope to try some others.

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Photo of jpro
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle from JI Pig (50% off sale)...

A: Pours a light, tawny copper; a bit cloudy.

S: Light sweetness and bready.

T: Again, bready; a cornucopia of Belgian spice / yeast aromas accompany.

M: A little thinner than expected.

O: Not bad; quite drinkable.

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Photo of Devman171
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Sampled at a tasting with biegaman, northyorksammy, and grub. Thanks guys!

Poured a cloudy gold into a tasting class, lots of sediment. Surprising amount of carbonation, and quite a bit of lacing.

An aromatic beer, with both malty caramel and peppery spice competing for dominance. Flavour was extremely malty, caramel and bread, with very little hop presence except for a little bit of that 'pepperyness' coming through. Great mouthfeel, sweet aftertaste. Liked this one a lot, and was glad to be able to share it with these guys!

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

This was one of my early, fortunate forays into great beer (four years ago...) I was surprised but happy that I hadn't reviewed it - a great reason to revisit a classic.

Somewhat clear but fairly opaque brown color with a sticky tan head. This one got shaken before opening and therefore poured with extreme height and stick. Good bubbling and head retention. Nice look, but the lacing is a little disappointing.

The aroma is dark fruity, overripe but not quite to sour territory. Caramel malts with phenolic overtones and an earthy hoppiness. Good power, decent overall.

Malty. Very malty. Raisin bread with butter up front, with brown sugar and fermenting apples on the side. Fairly spicy, which is kind of lost in the whole production. With warming, the flavors grow intense and the body quite full.

Pretty excellent. Get after this one for an authentic Strong Dark experience.

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

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

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Photo of 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 JayQue
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy mahogany color into my Chimay goblet. Good size antique white head. Good enough retention for this alcohol level. Minimal lacing.

Aroma is dark fruit, plums, figs and raisins, fairly pronounced and pleasant.

Taste is more of the same, dark fruit, some sweetness (brown sugar) and Belgian yeast. The taste is strong and satisfying without being all that complex.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth. The alcohol is well hidden, just some warming effects. East to drinnk even at 9% abv.

Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of joe1510
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz Bottle
Binny's Orland

Best before 2007

As with other Des Rocs ales the Grand Cru pours loaded with big heavy protein chunks. They break up somewhat but are still thick. The body of this beer would look amazing if not for the floaties. Glowing ruby body with a 1+ finger loose ivory head one the pour. Head fades to a thick half finger cap. Leaves spotty lacing.

Smell is absolutely packed with different aromas. Sweet doughy malts combine with spicy alcohol up front. Brown sugar and dark fruits show up halfway through. Cherries, plums, and figs. The backend brings powdered sugar, nutmeg, and a faint spicy hoppiness. The longer your nose stays in the beer the more the aroma changes.

Flavor is a little of a let down after the wonderful aromas. Much like the smell doughy malts kick things off. Mid palate a some of the darker fruits that were mentioned in the smell hit the tastebuds. There is also, a very mild metallic twang every now and then. Not bad but not an improvement either. The swallow brings brown sugar, slight alcohol warmth, and a mild floral hoppiness. This beer gets much better as it warms.

Medium body with a coating mouthfeel. Slightly sticky. The mouthfeel is good but I just don't like getting one of those bigger protein chunks.

Good flavor and a wonderful aroma help this beer go down pretty easy. To me it seems like it would be more appropriate for cooler weather instead of a hot night like tonight.

Another tasty treat from Des Rocs. My only complaint of their beers are the huge amount of chunky settlement. Des Rocs beers are excellent but if the sediment was taken a little better care of they would be world class.

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Photo of danbar
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle; label says best buy 14/03/11. Phew...just in the nick of the time.

A: A nice, dark brown color with a thin head and...massive chunks of yeast. Was this beer supposed to be strained?

S: Sweet, malty, caramely goodness with a hint of dried fruit.

T: Taste is good, follows the nose with a sweet, tad smokey flavor and that Belgian yeast. No sign of hops. Finished very smooth.

M: The yeast is actually not bothersome when drinking. I didn't really notice it. Decent level of carbonation.

D: Alcohol is very well hidden - do not taste a sign of it (until I stand up). Finished half of the 750 very easily and could've had more.

Overall, a very good beer but does not really stick out as a top-notch Belgian dark ale compared to others at the top of the style.

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Photo of codewarrior
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL Bomber (L100108072), poured into a chalice.

The label on this bottle - along with it's entire dress - is hilarious and tacky, and it's not surprising that no one yet has uploaded a picture of the bottle. I have a photo of the labels as they are in my journal ... we'll see if that's up to BeerAdvocate snuff.

A: Murky dark brown, very little head.

S: Smells of sweetness and booze, with a little fruit.

T: Sweet and sticky. Iron here in the back, fat bloody finish. Damn good.

D: Complex and lovely in 4 of the 5 or so stages. The finish itself is immaculate, at least 2 stages to it alone, and it goes on for days. Beautiful beer. Beautiful.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena. Appearance was dark brown almost black with a thick off white head. Lots of earthiness and sour yeast in the aroma. Taste does not differ except some caramel present, hops add a small amount to the finish.. Very drinkable and a nice carbonation gives it a bite.

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Photo of mntlover
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark burnt orange and hazy with a nice tan head that falls to a cap of foam that leaves behind some lace.
Aroma is floral sweet and fruity raisins, grapes, apples, prunes some melon mixed with light spice inviting and tastey.
Taste is like aroma its sweet, floral almost, mix with toffee and caramel candy like sweetness and fruity goodness raisin, apple mix then some carbonation appears front stage as it leaves their is a linger spice cinnamon and pepper mix with some hops that are also spicey in nature.
Mouthfeel is smooth carbonation about perfect but seems a little light for some reason.
Drinkability is good alcohol well hidden just a warming sensation is all that is felt a nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale but hard for me to see why its rated as high as it is good no doubt but not the best by anymeans.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yesterday, I sampled Brasserie des Rocs "Triple Imperiale" and absolutely hated it... rated it very poorly... this one however, is much, much better... definitely quality stuff, and the flipside from the "Triple Imperiale"... Pours a very attractive dark brown color with a frothy and foamy head... smell is replete of brown sugars, figs, and dark malts... taste is saturated with prune and malt flavors, plums, dark fruits, esters, alcohol, and yeast... really good, warming, wholesome taste true to the Belgian style... a very satisfying and pallate-pleasing brew that is rich and thick without being too cloying or overbearing... mouthfeel was good... creamy, rich stuff with a pretty easy drinkability considering the hefty 9.5% ABV... alcohol is not as noticeable as the wonderful combination of flavors that permeate from the terrific interwoven style that tackles this beer... Certainly Recommended...

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap 1/3/2016 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a large beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, brown sugar, some fruit, maple and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. Then some sweet flavors of caramel, maple and brown sugar quickly follow along with some background dark fruit flavor. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a good beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style.

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

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of illidurit
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Poured into a snifter. Dark amber with tan 2 finger head. Great retention, modest lacing.

Aromas of maple syrup and cherries.

Flavor includes a sourish overripe cherry note up front, with a brown sugar finish.

Smooth on the palate, well carbonated.

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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
Beer rating: 90.1% out of 100 with 736 ratings
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