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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: 515 | Ratings: 724
Photo of ujsplace
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized tulip.

Big, thick, frothy, light beige head sitting atop a deep brown colored brew. The head settles to a thin wispy layer covering to the sides with a thickened middle.

Smells of dark over-ripened fruits, doughy yeast, caramel and musty, earthy hops.

Tastes like it smells, over-ripened dark fruits - rasins, cherries, spices, caramel, grains, mild vanilla, doughy yeast and mildly bitter hops. The abv is fleeting...

Good carbonation, silky smooth and creamy.

A very good BSDA. If you like the style - I can't imagine not...pick it up, you will not regret it.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL green champagne bottle with an indecipherable best-by date; purchased 2-3 years ago. No adjunct sugars in this Belgian brew. Deep amber, with a fluffy tan head and turbulent carbonation that makes the chunks of floaties swirl around like crazy. Smells very rich, almost vinous, with fruity orange notes and a sugary caramel backing. Dense, malty flavor. Nutty, spicy, warming, with mild yeast, and sweet, but not cloying malts. Little, if any, discernible hops, with cherries, plums, raisins and some kind of spice (orange peel?). It is fullish, warming, with numbing carbonation and, apart from the occasional glob of yeast, feels very nice. This is a solid beer that has stood the years very well. Sweet, spicy and malty, and easy to drink despite being all-malt.

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Photo of biggred1
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazed, russet brown with a massive creamy tan head and some visable chunks of yeast circulating through the bubbles that jet off of the bottom of the glass. Dark fruit, musky hop and apple cider in the aroma. Alcohol is barely detectable. Tart and cidery with raisin and sour plum flavors and a touch of coriander and herbal hops. Medium bodied with ample carbonation. A nice example of the style.

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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 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 ptykozoon
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to the advocate and trader below me, both of us were able to try this one out, thanks Michael :)

Pours a dirty brown, with a light beige head. Strong tiny bubbles keep retention and lacing undying. Is this bits of sediment I see floating in the beer absolutely everywhere? Strangely antibeautiful..yet intriguing.

Unexpected apple pie coming through, tinge of orange peel, nuts, light floral tidbits.

Strong belgian flavors come through immediately. The cooked apples are there now as well. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and lively. Overflowing yeast works well to make this interesting. Not getting any heat on this one, which is strange..yet nice.

I'll be revisiting this again. I'd love to experiment with this one for sure. Great solid belgian.

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Photo of djmichaelk
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle into a perfect pint. Grabbed a couple for extras since it was on my tradee's list, so figured I should at least try it before sending.

A - Pours a cloudy medium brown, with a solid-looking two fingers of head. Great retention and lacing.

S - Lots of the usual belgian notes -- figs, dates, raisins. Also some oatmeal cookie and... pumpernickel? Clean and fruity smelling, without the earthiness that I get with some of this style.

T - I can't help but think of oatmeal-raisin cookies. Toffee and caramelized sugar, along with more dark fruit. Alcohol is there but definitely in the background, so it's more complimentary than detrimental.

M - Medium-bodied, with a long-ish dry finish. It might be the yeast, but my mouth is fairly well dry after each sip.

D - Like many in this style, I could easily see myself downing a few of these without an issue. The ABV might get in the way, but I probably wouldn't notice.

O - This beer was a nice surprise, above average in almost every aspect. If I hadn't been looking for extras I doubt I'd ever have picked this one out, but I'm very glad I did. The price is in line with quads and tripels, so I'm putting this in my rotation for when I need a sweet, yeasty fix.

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Photo of aepb1
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Special thanks to vapodge for sharing
Poured into a Dogfish Head goblet

A- Dark brown with a small white head

S- Vanilla, fruity and some alcohol/rum

T- Caramel, spiced in the end, there's a nice sequence, one after another with a nutty flavor after the end when you breathe!

M- creamy and smooth with good carbonation

D- Great brown and easy going!

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Photo of daledeee
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a tulip glass and got a nice light tan head with great lacing and clear dark brown body.

Nose at first was absolutely perfect. Vanilla, figs, prunes, raisins. After it aired the nose simplified somewhat but still showed raisins figs and maybe rum.

Taste is great as well. Caramel, rum dark fruits with some spice.

The mouth feel is a little carbonated but acceptable. Alcohol is warming and the taste makes this quite drinkable. Very good dark Belgian. Reminds me of a quad.

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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 FernMaster
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

I first stumbled on this beer while beer shopping at my local grocery store. There was this huge tasting going on with maybe 20-30 beers available with samples. Pitching the beers were some of the different distributors, including one really pushy, kind of a jerk, distributor who got offensive once I told him that O'Fallon bores me. Oh well. I had this beer, the Grand Cru and dug it, so now I'm getting one for review.

Wow, this is an ugly ass beer. There are so many floaters that if you did a palette swap it would be the first level in Vectorman. There's also no head and no lacing. It's a nice brown, crimson color in the light, but once you inspect it closely you wonder who put the packet of sea monkeys in your glass.

That nose, however, is fantastic. There's this wonderful caramel, honey scent to the beer. Also there's some dark fruits, raisins in the mix. I really dig the smell of this beer.

The taste is fantastic. There's a nice yeast present along with all the flavors that come off across in the nose. The caramel and dark fruits have almost a candy like mixture. It's truly a joy to drink this beer. The high abv is masked excellently, I don't even notice the 9.2%. It's also a very smooth drink, it's like listening to the Velvet Underground. Everything works so well together.

I truly like this beer. Despite it being ugly as hell (seriously, I wouldn't even pretend to be friends with it), it's a enjoyable, smooth Belgian strong dark ale and one that I would gladly purchase and drink again.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort goblet.

A: Impressive. A generous head emerges at first, before receding into a lovely dark-chocolate brown body. Moderate lacing.

S: Not very much smell; sweet, dark fruits in the background. No detectable alcohol.

T: Very good. The balance between subtly fruity sweetness and tart, carbonated spice tilts in favour of the former. The middle body is a complex merry-go-round of tastes which makes me noticeably smack, trying to figure everything out. There's figgy dark fruits, green apple tartness, titillating carbonation, and a drying alcohol presence. The aftertaste is long and mostly sweet.

M: Good, but a little heavy on the carbonation. It detracts from more interesting flavours...fortunately not too much.

D: A very nice Belgian ale, but not the best. Easily quaffable, and overall an excellent pick. Recommended.

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Photo of Spineypanda
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep brown, and has little head.
Smells rich, with maltiness and Belgian yeasts. A bit sweet smelling from the candied sugars.
Has a bit of almost a Lambic yeast taste to it, with nice sweet caramel tones. A ton of dark fruit there too.

An enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. bottle, review #1500, my 100th review was an Abbaye Des Rocs beer, so it seems appropriate for another milestone,

A: Pours a reddish copper brown with a very long lasting off-white head which was a real gusher upon opening.

S: Candi sugar, cake batter, molasses, reminiscent of Prior 8.

T: Definite dark fruit, raisins, cardamom, very yeasty. Too boozy for me on the back end, but classic Belgian flavours.

M: Medium-bodied, light ethanol burn going down, very soft carbonation.

D: A solid Belgian Dark, this needs some aging for sure to lessen the EtOH, not too drinkable at this point, but something to retry with a couple years on it.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a murky brown color with a cream-colored head. When poured, huge chunks of yeast come out of the bottle. The aroma is a mix of dark fruit, alcohol and candi-sugar. The flavor is a mix of caramel, yeast, brown sugar and alcohol. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tasting snifter. Pours a cloudy/hazy looking amber color. Fills the glass mostly golden, with a TON of sentiment floating around. Sentiment pieces are rather large. Small creamy off-white head. No lacing at all.

Aroma is full of fruit and slight spice. At first smell, I said it reminded me of grape soda. Then the booze becomes pretty noticeable. Belgian yeast and candi sugar.

Crisp, carbonated, fruity, funky. Over-ripe fruits on the palate. Booze isn't very noticeable until a small warmth torwards the end. Overall, very solid...but not the best out there. Very enjoyable though.

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Photo of BobZ
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml 25.4 Oz. bottle.

Appearance: Light brown almost amber. Very good head and lacing but Holy Christ! My chalice looks like a snow-globe with all the floaties. No exaggeration either, never seen a snow-storm in a beer glass like this, and I tried to pour slowly to let the beer settle.

Smell: Wow, like a tripel, spicy with some sweet overtones.

Taste: Like a cross between a strong dark ale and a tripel. Great flavor all around, like the nose some spice, some sweetness, all very well balanced.

Mouth feel: Rich carbonation, silky smooth and (again) well balanced.

Drinkability: Good session beer, with truly great flavor. Very good beer to have on-hand.

Ok, you need to get past the floaties with this one, if you are bothered by this yeasty surprise don't even try this beer. If you can get past that singular issue it's a great beer, a really great beer.

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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 mwa423
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep brown color with two fingers of head and tons of floating yeast, as in, giant floaties.

S - Very complex aroma, lots of dried fruit, some belgian yeast, brown sugar, and I feel like there is more and my palate can't find them now.

T - Very complex (and excellent) flavor. Strong nutty flavor with some sweet malt flavors, followed by Belgian yeast and so many other flavors I can't quite detect.

M/D - Mouthfeel is a bit rough, only because the large clumps of yeast. This is reasonably drinkable, the complex flavor makes this a sipper and not a fast drinker.

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Photo of BeerGodz
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Dark brown color, murky - lots of sediment, dense light tan head with uber good retention and decent lacing

Smell: Brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, slight metallic smell

Taste: Up Front: Dark fruit - all kinds. Finish: Sweet malt, chocolate, and more fruit

Mouthfeel: Medium body & carbonation, slightly dry finish

Drinkability: Alcohol is well hidden. Very quaffable.

Overall Impression: This is billed as a Belgian Special Brown Ale. It is a very interesting & complex beer to say the least. While it was tasty, perhaps I was not in the mood for the style, so it did not live up to the hype. Then again, it was ratebeer that gave it a 100 rating, so I should have known better, since that site sucks! Anyway, it is worth checking out!

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Photo of chaz01
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had two six ounce draught servings at a Belgium beer event at Chappy's in Dayton. Served in a little wine tasting glass.

A: Light brown color, thick one inch brown head produces some lacing.

S: Brown sugar and caramel with some fruity aromas. Reminded me of a freshly baked apple pie.

T: Lots of malty caramel flavors, with notes of dark fruits like plums and raisins. A little spicy bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied, well carbonated.

D: Would go great with a desert or complex enough to drink on it's own.

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Photo of Xul
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy brown with amber hues, with tons of sediment even on a fairly cautious pour. Capped by a one finger white head that recedes fairly quickly.

S: Fruit is heavy on the fruit, predominantly apple, figs, and cherries. Some sweet caramel characteristics come through, but the aroma is almost entirely fruit.

T: Wow, lots going on here...the apples and dark fruits are slightly more subdued than in the nose, but that just brings them down to a level of "balanced", rather than hard to detect. Some caramel, some chocolate, some belgian yeastiness in the backend...every sip is a melange of flavors.

M: Very smooth, could be a little bit less carbonated but it's not outside the parameters of the style.

D: Goes down easily and every sip is enjoyable...if it wasn't strong, it would be one to enjoy several of.

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Photo of fastsrt
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured 11.2 ounce bottle in snifter bottle over flowed upon opening
A: murky brown with tons of sediment (rather bad pour on my part) soapy active head. lots of carbonation
S:dark fruits, tart smelling, yeasty,
T: everything i had hoped for complex, dark dried fruits figs, raisins, cherries. chocolate, there is mostly a sweet juicy fruitiness that makes this beer great. wonderful flavor profile complex as ever. alcohol is there but lends to the flavors.
M: lots and lots of carbonation finishing semi dry, yet flavorful,
D: Extremely drinkable, wow, 9.5% never would have guessed, the alcohol is there but balanced in to the flavor profile so the drinker does not notice.

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Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep, dark mahogany. Loads of flaky sediment floating around. A foamy white head tops this great looking beer.

S: Nice fruit and malt smell.

T: Big fruit flavor of cherry and apple, backed up with some sweet caramel malts. Sweet and delicious. Also, oddly enough, a hint of soy.

M: Really smooth and decent carbonation, good match. Alcohol masked very well.

D: Really good, sweet and savory and easy to enjoy with a high ABV.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Plenty of foam coming out as soon as I open it, courtesy of the re-fermented yeast. Poured quickly into a Gulden Draak tulip and instantly a large, two-finger head is formed. The brew itself is very dark brown, completely opaque, with a little sediment clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell - Difficult to detect, but definitely some toffee/caramel malts (candy sugar?) and some banana in there, which is definitely noticeable.

Taste - Extremely rich dark malt flavor up front, changes slightly on the tongue, a little hop kick in the middle, with a lingering phenol flavor at the end, alcohol is incredibly masked. This is really quite tasty.

Mouthfeel - Smooth all around, tingle from the hop profile in the middle, with a long buttery/oily finish.

Drinkability - For the abv, incredibly drinkable. I'd love to have this on tap.

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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 724 ratings.
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