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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Reviews: 516 | Ratings: 727
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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Photo of danielharper
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark brown body, thick foamy off-white head that sticks around, and a highly significant amount of yeast in the snifter I used. This is not a beer for those who don't like a bit of yeast in the glass.

Smell: Heavily malted, strong sweet tart notes due to the yeast. Extremely complex, notes of raspberries, grapefruit, a medley of other fruits. A touch of cherries, some bananas.... Highly complex, becomes more aromatic as it warms, the tartness becomes more prominent. Amazing.

Taste: First impressions are very yeasty. Strong notes of bananas in the aftertaste, like a really nice banana bread. Tartness due to the Belgian yeast strain, a touch of astringency from the alcohol. Very sweet, almost jammy, but swishing around the mouth also leaves a bit of harsh bitterness on the back of the tongue. As the beer warms, it becomes just a bit too astringent, but overall this is a very complex and enjoyable beer. It hurts me not to give it a 5, but it's not quite as perfect as I'd like it to be.

Mouthfeel: Moderate-to-heavy carbonation, very thick, somewhat chewy due to the yeast. Leaves a heavy Belgian coating across the palate.

Drinkability: This is a very very good beer, hard to find these days, but worth seeking out. I had another of this brewery's beers for Thanksgiving a couple of years back, and this beer would pair perfectly with that kind of hearty meal.

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

Served in oversized wine glass.

LOOK (4.5/5) This one pours a rich mahogany brown. Clarity is a bit poorer than I would have thought - it is between hazy and opaque. Head is a real treat! It comes up huge and billowing out of the bottle; it is light beige and mousy in texture. It took a while to fall to a cap, but lacing was a bit disappointing.

SMELL (4.5/5) The nose is rich and malty with a good helping of fruit and a touch of pepper. The malt is largely vienna/munich with it's characteristic melanoidin flavor (plums/prunes/dates) it has a hint of caramel, but no roasty/toasty notes. I get a hint of orange peel and other light fruits. The finish is sweet, but has a touch of pepper.

TASTE (4.5/5) The flavor is very similar to the nose, but the relative strengths differ a bit. The malt is still full of those mailard flavors (dark, dried fruits). I get the impression that the yeast adds a lot of lighter notes to the dark fruit flavors. A good helping of pepper and a surprisingly tart finish round it out. The balance was still malty.

FEEL (5/5) Moutfeel is ideal for the flavours going on here! Medium-full bosy adds some weight and depth to the flavor - the latter is a great transition to the finish and gets that fluffy feel I like.

DRINK (5/5) For a rich, complex brew drinkability is really good because of the lighter fruitiness and the drier finish. Great, refreshing, and complex. Very, very nice!

I'd have to have this with a desert with some nice sharper or more acidic fruits like oranges or berries.

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

Appearence: Pours a wonderfl copper with creamy, perfectly sized beige head.

Smell: Oh my God. What a sensational smell! It's so complex yet it's incredible humble. Caramel and nuts are the obvious focus, but there is so much going on the background.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is a glorious mix of bread, but, sweet, chocolate, caramel, and even bitter notes. It's a wonderful combination, filled without enough complexity to bring anyone to their knees. The only thing that keeps me from giving the flavor a 5 is the yeast presence at the end. A tiny bit too strong. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy.

Drinkability and Overall: Thanks to GCLarkage for the fabulous brew. It's one of the better beers I've tried in a long time. So full of complexity, so balanced, yet so fun to drink. This one is a must try, and could quite possibly be one of the kings of Belgian beers.

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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 lackenhauser
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very nice, deep, somewhat muddy brown in color. Huge, huge off white head on top. Very musty and earthy aroma. Wonderful flavor-has a honey like taste to it. Reminds me of a mellow tasting mead. Almost a citrus like, lemony flavor. Good belgian yeast flavor in there. The whole thing is well balanced though not overly complex. Very creamy mouthfeel. Hard to believe this puppy is 9.5%. Extremely drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of corby112
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark red, almost brown color with slightly carbonated head that fades rather quickly. Nice fruity aroma that was't too sweet balancing out the roasted maltiness. Very smooth enjoyable beer that balances out the sweet fruit flavor with a spicy malt character.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, I get to review this gem!

Pours out from a magnum with the punt in the bottom as a hazy russet hue with a half 'n half of beer vs. head cap pour. Loads of scrod chunkerz contained in the pour. Mega foamy spumescent headcap with drippy lace left in the glass. Yes, this gets the 5!

If marriage between man and beer were possible, this would get an engagement ring from me. Pecan and vanilla ice cream notes. Sweet maple syrup and waffles. Dark ale is a misnomer. Mysterious ale is more like it. Root beer and spices. An aroma bomb!

First swigs: Drippy vanilla ice cream. How I waited to taste this? Dunno. Caramel and root beer. Dr. Pepper even. Some pecan extract. Unfathomable sweetness and rich creamy texture. What beer dreams are made of. Soft sweet confetioners sugar and pastry chef delicate perfection.

Feel is a touch of crisp heaven. Soft silky carbonation and a smooth character. Totally smooth incredible offering. I could easily drink this one all night long.

Last swigs: Liquid dessert pastry root beer float. Quite close to Westy 12. Can't wait to see how my friend will receive this as his early Christmas present. Thanks to me for sharing the bottle.

Beer is good. Happy beering. 197/4.35

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Photo of rallison
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a Delirium Tremens glass. Immediately foamed out of the bottle - but that's ok, I was expecting it from this one.

Pours a cloudy reddish brown with lots of sediment. A nice 2 finger off-white head is also present that doesn't want to fully die.

Smells of delicious sweet fruits - dates and raisins - along with some sweet Belgian Candi sugar and red wine. Very nice.

Taste is very good. Belgian Candi sugar sweetness with red wine characteristics. Sweet cherries. Toffee. An intoxicating mix of flavors. What a dessert beer. Hmm, this could be quite nice to cook with as well...

Mouthfeel is exceptional. Rich and creamy with the perfect accompaniment of carbonation. Delicious. Drinkability is insanely high on this.

Highly recommended. I know I've had this before, but I forgot it was that good. And, whatever you do, make sure you serve this warm enough - it truly shines at warmer temps.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, very beautiful bottle. Label says "Brasserie Des Rocs" Nice chesnut brown, murky beer, with a good sized ,tight bubbled light tan head. This is after the fowm escaped from the bottle before I even noticed, flooding the computer desk!!. Very dried fruit like aromas, dried apricot, prunes, sweet gooseberry, and a touch of ginger/coriander thrown in. Lovelly tasting ale, all of the aroma was present in the beer, but a tad more spicy/peppery. With a slight buttery taste, some sourness. Darker chocolate tones set in then a nice bitterness, peppery after taste. Warming in the lower throat and belly, quite impressive. The palate was quite full and slick to begin with but dried out nicelly near the end, leaving traces of alcohol . very very nice beer, I was rather concerned at the price of this but its well worth every penny..the slippery slope has began!
Great beer for my 800 th review!

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Photo of proc
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very good beer, and a complex one at that. Enjoyed this with my nephew (and fellow BA) Dennis as our after-dinner beer. Poured out to a copper/amber color in the glass with a generous head. There was quite a bit of floating yeast in the glass as well. The aroma is fantastic with notes of plum, raisins and bread dough coming to the forefront. The taste is exceptional as well, with said fruits mentioned also being present on the taste. The ABV is well hidden and it got better as it warmed. We made my father, an O'Doul's and Miller Lite drinker taste this and his only comment was, "Skunk piss." Oh well, I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. As for this dog, I will drink this one again, anyday. Delicious.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.61/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Dark brown hue, amazing look to it right from the pour, very thick foamy head, high carbonation with beautiful small bubbles running up the side of glass, looks so alive and beautiful

Smell- Apples, fruits and citrus nose, heavy sweet malty jumping out at you,

Taste- Slight almost wine flavor, very advanced and complexed amazing flavor that just feels like so much is going on, smooth well balanced with and amazing finish, really really tasty sweet Belgian style brown ale

Mouthfeel- Soft, smoothly carbonated, best described as heavy and full bodied

Drinkability- Extraordinary tasty beer that is one I definitely will be having again every so often when mood for good Belgian style beer, this is a strong beer that will knock you on ur butt before you even know it with its great flavor giving you know idea of how hard its hitting you, if you can get it near you definitely give it a try you wont be disappointed

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a foggy dark brown sugar with a quarter inch of creamy light tan head.

Smells of maple syrup, watermelon, strawberries, rye crisps and a pinch of salt.

Tasted of crisp rhubarb and dark brown sugar/molasses with an extremely dry tangy yeast. A tangy strawberry pops in and out of the flavor along with some strange exotic chocolate-like presence. Finishes a bit like ginger cookies.

The mouth feel is light and frothy with a little too much carbonation that doesn’t do too much for the flavor.

The flavor of this one just shines with quality and intricacy. My review can’t even to begin to describe what’s going on. I’ve read other’s reviews, and I nod and smile and say, “yeah, that’s another way to say it.” It’s one of those flavors that just isn’t in our language. There’s only one way to figure this one out. Try it yourself!!!

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Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage '05

Pours a mahogany color with a silky tan head.

Nose has dark pitted fruits, caramel, toffee, peppery Belgian yeast and bready malts.

This has aged very well. The complexity has really grown and the balance is near perfect. Raisins, cherries, figs, rich candies, nutty malts and herbal yeast.

Creamy body has a soft carbonation. Fantastic stuff.

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

Bottle, thanks to mat. Just tasted like regular Abbaye des rcos, which is a good thing, great fruitcake, spice aroma, great hous yeast. Gotta love this stuff. Well, yes of course it seemed a little sweeter and fuller than the regular, but there isn't a huge difference.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice chestnut color as it pours into my goblet - much like the Abbaye Des Rocs Tripel. This beer too has a lot of sediment, chunks even. Little to no head. I'm going to be a bit more harsh this time - taking a few points off for those last two. Aroma is sweet and tart. The sour apple, pear, plum, brown sugar, chocolate malt, and fig flavors are very pleasant. Flavor - Very interesting and not quite what I expected - I am getting much more of a baker's chocolate and malt character coming forward rather than the fruity phenols that dominated the aroma. Still, the enhance the flavor and make it subtly more complex. After letting the cold temperature come down a little, I can pick up a more distinct raisin as the beer touches my palate, dark chocolate, and the pear/sour apple fruit flavors are soft and in the finish, along with a little spice. Medium bodied - not too chewy or watery - just right. There is no warning in the flavor regarding the alcohol strength. This beer is an absolute joy to imbibe. A+

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into St. Bernardus Chalice

A - Upon opening, the foam immediately started developing inside this beer. Not pouring out like a poorly handled Duvel, just developing. A careful pour revels a chestnut hued brown with a dense light tan head that is slow to fade. Lacing is surprisingly minimal.

S - Scent is strong on spicy and yeasty traditional Belgian flavors. Plum, raisin and maybe even date provide intense dark fruit aromas. A slight touch of molasses and alcohol add to the complexity. Not too sweet and nicely balanced. A pleasure to just sit and smell.

T - Starts with a mild dose of sweetness and the above mentioned dark fruit flavors. Transitions to a nice spicy flavor with strong yeast notes. Alcohol is slightly noticeable with a bite, but it works well with the other flavors. Maybe a little bit nutty. Well balanced and certainly enjoyable.

M - Medium bodied with a high and pleasant amount of carbonation. Smooth on the palate with a slight mouth coating feel. Finishes slightly dry with a bit of a steely aftertaste.

D - A thoroughly enjoyable Belgian strong dark ale. Normally I enjoy the strong pale ales better, but I could drink this one everyday. Alcohol is not a factor for such a high ABV beer. Pick one up if you can find it.

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Photo of StevieW
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big 750 ml Euro bottle. Deep mahogoney roasted brown color. Subtle hints of ruby along the edges. Head was thick, dense, full, beige and creamy. Super smooth looking beer. Aromas of fruit, rum soaked rasins, and big malty sweetness. First taste had a shot of high abv heat. Settled into a creamy full malty sweet and balanced beer. Hints of plums, candied apples, rum soaked rasins, and full yeasty goodness. Lots of suspended particles, I think helped the alcohol settle down. Nice crisp, bitter finish. Then the alocohol presence shows again in your belly. Super smooth, creamy, full bodied beer. Silky. A top notch beer in every respect. Worth the wait, I've had it in my fridge now for 7 months. I will seek this one out again.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 750 mL bottle into a goblet. The color is a dark amber with a creamy, bubbly white head. The smell is a drier dark malt and yeast. The taste is very estery with a very strong dry dark malt presence and a noticable alcohol. Mouthfeel is nice and thick and well-carbonated. As for drinkability, could have a few of these.

A fine beer all around. Though it seems to be a bit of a Westy clone, that's not exactly an insult. A nice presence and a very low price make this one that I'd gladly have again.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have been waiting awhile to try this beer and the day has finally come. Solid brown in color with a big tan head that lasts and lasts. The smell is very malty and sweet with hints of raisins.

The taste is very strong in the front as it kind of hits you in the face with a sweet earthyness. The middle and end are extremely smooth and a bit buttery. I can't believe this is a 10% abv beer.

Everything about this beer is great. From the label to the bottle to the taste. I served this beer in a tulip glass, not sure if that is correct but it worked.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured gently from the bottle, it looks like a nice mixture of caramel and honey. Creamy looking head sits about an inch tall. In the nose I get a strong tart apple smell mixed with rose petals and pepper. The taste reminds me of a good English Pale Ale, but far more buttery caramel and a sweet aftertaste that I'm tempted to describe as vanilla. Very pleasing. No complaints when it comes to the mouthfeel, not too thin and certainly not too thick. I could have a couple bottles of this and not get tired of it. Too bad the ABV would decide for me!

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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 727 ratings.
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