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 kmpitz2
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The one poured a nice amber red color with one finger of head. The nose is both sweet and spicey, with some cherries coming through most prominently. The taste is great, a nice peppery spice, sweet caramel, sweet cherry. A treat to be consumed. The mouthfeel was moderate to thick. Drnkability is huge on this. I will be getting a few more of these next time I see them.

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4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of mrjbrown27
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

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

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

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Photo of tavernjef
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First rate pour of light brownish leather settling as a dark caramel brown with a slender reddish tone, dusky thick and opaque with tons of yeasties suspended within the murk. Head grows tall and fast of tannish fluff to a fine velvety smoothness becoming rocky and crusty as it begins to melt down which takes a good amount of time before finally a full haze on top and thickly fluffed collar sticks around the edge. Lacing is in sparitic globbuels.

Aroma is appetizing and soft with spices; delicate and easeful with a sufficient showing of lemon tea cookies and lemon and orange zest with small notes of giniger and cinnamon. Has some notions of dark caramel surfacing from underneath on big wiffs plus some yeast, phenolic, and warm alcoholic notes. More of the yeast and phenols come through as it warms, big time.

Taste is very complex and incerdibly inticing. Whew, what a mouthfull of things going on here. Simply amazing and fine with nothing to overpowering really other then the alcohol hitting fast as it goes down very nicely with a smooth zesty fullness that begins to make your head swoon just after half a glass and there's yet a whole nother serving in that 750ml bottle yet to come, oh boy...a long night ahead. Flavors are quick to enter with sharpening tones of citrus zest from lemon and orange with some light pineapple, white grapes, dulled grapefruit, and sweet mango inscribed within the mix along with small added notes of yeasty spicyness with kinda of a peppery, clove, nutmeg, citrus peel zest thing. Lots of zest! Lots of softened spicyness. And what makes it even more remarkable is there seems to be a very nice dark malty sweetness of toffee/caramel that kinda keeps those spices from getting out of control and too strong. Beautiful medley of flavors that intermingle and dance with each other in perfect harmony. Full bodied feel with a bit of sharpness and yeastyness that takes away just a nudge for me, but not by much. So goes the feel so goes the drinkability, in most cases anyways, and it does with me with this, by just another nudge mainly due to the untraceable alcoholic effect this has and smallish sharp tone of zest and yeast. But damn this is some very good stuff! Thank you very much ManekiNeko!!

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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 rabidawg
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear chestnut and ruby blend with abundant carbonation. Creamy, fluffy, rocky off-white head that clings to the glass like meringue. Sheets of lacing.

Smell: Amazing. Exceptionally sweet with a rich, deep maltiness. Slightly smoky with dark dried fruits, tea leaves, and bittersweet chocolate. Incredibly deep with spiciness. Alcohol present and obvious but nowhere near distracting.

Taste: Very spritzy initially, with slight alcohol burn. Sweet initially, but dries out quickly after the swallow. Oaky, with vanilla notes accentuated by the strong presence of alcohol bite, which also seems to accentuate the spice matrix. Caramel and toffee nose through in the finish. After-finish is dry, crisp, and known to induce a desire for another sip.

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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 czechsaaz
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml cellared for about a year.

Very spicey aroma with lots of yeast esters. Some citrus-like yeast character and licorice. Malt aromas are complex cofee and honey and maybe a little biscuit. There's also a dessert wine effect with a little acidity in the smell but mostly sweeter aromas.

Light brown colored, pretty hazy but with a solid 1/2 inch layer of lasting tan head.

Flavor is first off malty sweet a caramel. Then lots of fruit flavors, cherry and baked apples and other things that whatever yeast they're using probably produced. None of the fruit is strong enough to indicate it was brewed with fruit. Very spicey too. Not sure how much of that is the yeast again and what was added. I taste cinamon and coriander and licorice again. All very subtle and hard to pick out for sure. Complexity here is pretty outstanding. All the flavors balance out really nicely. On the back end there's acidity and a light hop bite so it isn't overly sweet but on malty-to-hoppy scale this is definitely far on the malty side.

Very full bodied but not heavy. Carbonation level is pretty light and creamy. Just a hint of alcohol there so you can tell it's a big beer.

Very enjoyable complex sipper. Delicious beer but not for everyday drinking.

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Photo of troutmask96
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the beer that sparked my membership. I just had to post a review to profess my love for my new favorite beer.

I purchased a single bottle of this brew from my local bottle shop and poured it into my snifter. Tight, dark tan head with lingering foam. As I raised the glass to my nose and took my first whiff, I knew I was in for a real treat. A veritable cornucopia of spicy fragrances burst into my nostrils and I had to take my first sip.


Smooth, spicy, sweet, with no lingering bitterness or alcohol aftertaste. The only lingering attribute was the world-class flavor.

I promised myself that I would save any 5-star ratings for only world-class characteristics, but this beer gets just about everything right. Unforgettable...

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Photo of John_Beeryman
4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A Belgian brown that tastes like a really good hefeweizen.

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Photo of asabreed
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle. Since I read such good reviews, and I thought the bottles were fairly cheap (around $3.50), I decided to go ahead and purchase three of them. Now is the time to finally try one.

Appearance: I still don't have the proper glassware I know, but I already have some ordered, as this is still, I think, sufficient in a wine glass. Started with a huge and beautiful sounding pop as I removed the cap. And what an amazing appearance. Beautiful white head, lacing that keeps sticking thickly to the glass, and an amber red with hints of brown. Not only that, but is there yeast floating in it? Not only bubbles, but something solid. Reminds me of how the Smuttynose IPA looks, as it's gorgeous and whatever is inside the glass shimmers. Superb.

Smell: Once again superb and complex. Fruits, tons from the malt. Both dark, tart, sweet, and light all together. Grape aromas, but almost like a natural grape spread or grape preserves, nothing artificial and not quite like wine. Slight bit of strawberry or cherry, some tart apple and slight cranberry. Tons of yeast, but it only enhances the complexity of the malt characters. Some notes of prune and raisin. Some acidity, but once again only to enhance -- now I taste some orange zest. This is insanely and beautifully complex. My nose doesn't want to come out of it.

Taste: Close to a 5, very close, but not quite there. I think possibly because the aroma is fantastic. However, it's on par but not beyond, and I wanted that from the aroma (though it's damn close to almost perfectly representing it). Acidity up front, opening up to complex fruity sweetness, and ending with a slight hint of hop bitterness, and ending almost perfectly in a mixture of both. Absolutely delightful.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth. Carbonation is perfect, as you can almost tell from the slow, slow decline in the bubbles from appearance. After all, this is only a wine glass, and from what I hear this beer is making my glass seem like a chalice. A key for me is the swish, as it remains silky in the mouth.

Drinkability: Way too amazing to drink all the time, unless you're a celebrity who has a lot of money and somehow can afford cases and cases of good beer. But if you're a celebrity I imagine you'd know nothing about beer, even if you said you did. Regardless, this is a fantastic example of the style, and I think it may be bad that I tried this Grand Cru when I have so many others sitting to try. However, the fact that I have 2 bottles left makes me a happy man. They will be a cause for celebration, and I'd suggest you try this beer immediately and also buy at least one more, just in case you think it's as good as I do.

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Photo of brdc
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Large capped bottle.

This is one delicious beer, but hard to rate given all the floaters.
After I filter the floaters out, it is a beautiful murky reddish brown brew, with a long lasting creamy tan head. Before I filtered it, the floaters just give it a horrible appearance.
Aroma is delicious, dark fruits, caramel, bread, a mild grassy hoppiness.
Full bodied and creamy, with a nice mouthfeel without the floaters; the feeling of swallowing one was just the reason to filter it.
Taste is excellent, sweet and caramelized, but with a mild hoppy bite, alcoholic spiciness among the yeastiness before it finishes dry.
Very well balanced, and when filtered, an exceptional beer. The floaters, on the other hands, are hard to explain. I heard a lot of people talking about the floaters, and a few people that did not see it. This is my sixth different Abbaye Des Rocs bought in the sixth different place, this one kept in the cellar for a month, served without agitation. I imagine these are not supposed to be here, but the beer is clearly prone to develop it. A significant blemish in an otherwise fantastic beer.

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Photo of HotHabanero
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with an amber colour and with a nice off-white head. Aroma of floweris, green, earthy hops and caramel. Citrus and caramel flavour with lot of hops. Honey texture. Full bodied. The strong alcohol is just present. Long nice finish. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When poured in a pint tulip glass, the color was a medium bark amber reddish brown. Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru has rich flavors reminiscent of cherries dipped in caramel, finishing with notes of dried chocolate, roasted almonds, and a hint of molasses.

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Photo of FormatKid
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and capped 750ml bottle. I’ve had this one before but let’s just say my palate wasn’t very acute after a full day of beer festing. Do yourself a favor, don’t try to get the cork out of this one without the proper implement, it’s a rugged one. When poured out into my La Trappe goblet the body of this beer is ruby brown and hazy, topped with a meringue like head of off-white foam. Flecks of sediment can be seen sinking to the bottom. This is one delicious smelling beer, lot of vinous notes with hints of brandy soaked fruit. Sweet malt, toffee, and spicy, musty, delicious yeast. The flavor is candy sweet without being cloying. There is a pear-like fruitiness across the front of my palate, combined with suprising sweet coffee like notes. Then that flavor that I often Belgian Strong Darks that I refer to as dates rolled in attic dust, I love it really. The finish is musty, nutty and delicious, with a robust spicy alcohol punch. What a really great frickin’ beer…one that I will definitely be picking up again.

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Photo of baos
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Atlas Mason jar.

A: Looks like iced tea. Huge head goes right away with a nice halo and really nice lacing on the tip-to-drink.

S: Deep floral smell cross between butterfly bush and wild roses. Honey wheat and maltiness and moldering apples under Grandmama's apple tree.

T: Wow there's a lot going on here. Fig Newtons, strong cider (if strong cider was awesome). You get a nice wheatiness and hoppiness too. Nice booziness too, not too much , but just enough to add to the overall taste. This brewer doesn't fuck around. This stuff is pretty fucking awesome and he more it warms in your jar the more it warms on your pallet.

M: Big and bubbly. It it were just one smidgen fuller this beer would be a perfect score.

D: This is a strong beer.
Real men drink strong beer.
Therefore, drinkability is a one. Try one on it fits rather nicely!

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Photo of EStreet20
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bouttle poured into a St Bernardus goblet.

A - Pours a deep, deep brown with a little reddish tint in there and what must be a metric TON of yeast floating around. I'm pretty sure I poured it well, guess it's just the way it comes out of the bottle. Huge off white head that stays like crazy. Big chucks of lacing all over the glass. A very nice look overall

S - I smell a lot of yeast. A nice big smell for a Belgian dark. A little more of a fruity appearance than most Belgian darks in the smell but not overdone. A nice alcohol kick in there and some spiciness.

T - A taste that's extremely subdued, especially after that extreme smell, but delicious. A bit of a dark bready taste with some sweetness. A tiny bit of hops kicks around toward the end. Overall a great taste that's perfectly balanced.

M - Amazing. Goes down exremely smooth, no bite whatsoever. Medium bodied and a great "clean" feeling going down.

D - You drink a sip, you want another one. I'm sure when I drink this bottle I'l want another one. I'm almost glad I can't get beer at this time on Sunday since I have work tommorrow. That's how drinkable this beer is.

Notes: Try it, regardles of the price. Definitely one of the best beers I've ever had, in all aspects.

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Photo of cyrenaica
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle
9.5% ABV (as written on the bottle)
Smokeless Joe (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
December 15, 2010
The beer poured a translucent reddish-brown (when held to the light) with a huge genrous foamy light brown head that lasted long after the beer did. The aroma was dark caramel malt, candy sugar, plums, and yeast. The mouthfeel was full-bodied with ample carbonation. The flavour was sweet malt, candy sugar, yeast, dark fruit.....and a nice bitter finish. An excellent beer.

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Photo of Nowhereman529
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a delightful red-amber from the bottle producing a fluffy tan head that filled half the glass. I had not read the reviews prior to picking up this brew, so much to my surprise there were quite a few floaters. Ahh the joys of unfiltered beer!

Smell is very pleasant, encompassing cherry, caramel and maybe a little bit of honey in the background.

Taste proceeds from the smell. It's very fruity with the predominant fruit being cherry, with some melon, brown sugar and maltiness backing it up. Of course you can't avoid some yeastiness in the aftertaste on this one.

Mouthfeel is light with a moderate amount of carbonation. Really complements the flavor nicely

Overall a very drinkable beer, I'll be picking another one of these up the next time I make a stop by the market.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of karst
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Head forms before you get it poured. Very nice appearance: clarity, color, retention and lace. All the usual suspects indicating a well brewed strong dark Belgium Ale. Has a hefty lineup in the aromatics as well. Its fruity esters and sweet biscuit malt hide all but faint traces of alcohol. Warmth and a little patience adds a boquet of roses to the aromatics. Moderate to full in body, with a velvet mouthfeel. Reserved hop bitterness let a hint of green apple yeast character add to a complex and sweet absolutely drinkable Grand Cru. Difficult to stop with the first glass.

"Your going home by the back roads, right?"

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Photo of jdoolin
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750 mL bottle, poured into tulip glasses.

Appearance: Absolutely gorgeous beer. A beautiful dark reddish brown with a spectacular tan head that dissipated very slowly. I got the floaties in later glasses.

Aroma: Mmmm... so fruity, lightly spicy.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Incredible fruity flavor. Cherry, plum, apple, figs... so interesting and tasty, just a bit sweet. A touch of raisins and molasses. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth with the first glass. But the floaties in later glasses brings a deduction to the mouthfeel.

Notes: Perhaps I'll try filterting this next time. Otherwise this is one of the finest beers I've ever had.

[Edit]: Such a shame that they retired this beer. I'm grabbing every bottle I can find.

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Photo of putnam
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cherry brown liquid with a creamy, off-white head. Lots of moist chunks bobbing, frolicking in suspension. Mmmm.
The aromas are stunningly beautiful. Like a brunette. Polished, concentrated fresh cherry essence greets the nose and is supported by darker elements of charcoal, pencil shavings and baked black walnuts. Clean and dark.
Lazy, lilting berry fruit flavors occupy a wilting body of melting whipped cream-like texture. Nutshell bitterness gives structure without the help of any sourness at all. Very low acid, yet fresh. A Burgundian, delicate, powerful statement.
I wonder how this might pair with a ripe real Epoisses(?). A Taleggio in good condition might be easier to get a hand on though...

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Photo of DrJay
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby/brown, fairly clear from the initial pour, but with lots of tiny, suspended yeast particles. Fine, light tan head with decent lacing and good retention. Mild aroma with some bread, apple, and chocolate. Malty, but subdued. Moderate malt character with chocolate and orange, and slight raisin. There's a nice breadiness and apple flavour that runs throughout, and it finishes with lingering fruit and mild chocolate. Fine carbonation and a silky texture. An excellent beer, complex without being overpowering, and the alcohol is completely hidden.

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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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