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
739 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 739 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of longarm
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dingy opaque orange occasionally clears enough to reveal thick chunks of yeast scattered throughout the glass. Thick carbonation and rocky foam settles into a noticeable head roughly 1/2" thick.

Aroma is sweet, a little musty and somewhat reminiscent of green apples. Alcohol takes-over the nose a little too much for me.

Flavor has strong elements of cider, layered over raisins and something that reminds me of carrot cake. This was extremely odd and needed several sips, but that's what I noticed. Somewhat tart at the finish. But wait, there's flavors arrive on subsequent sips this time oranges, lemons and a grassy finish somewhat bitter from the hops. Occasionally it reminds me of dandelions. When the hops arrive they arrive by themselves, noble, subtle and distinct.

Full and fluffy, it coats extremely well. No complaints here.

This improved exponentially as it warmed to the recommended serving temp. It's my own fault for initially serving it 10 degrees cooler, but I guess I'll have to live and learn. It didn't affect the above review. At 52 degrees, it was wonderfully complex with wave after wave of different flavors surprising me at each sip. A first class beer and well worth the price. Like many Belgian ales, flavors become even more complex and interesting if paired with the right food.

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

This ale poured a very hazy, red brown color with light tan foam that settled and clung to the glass a little bit. The smell was malty and fruity with a touch of hops. The taste was malty and fruity with a light sugar sweetness and moderate hoppiness. The mouthfeel was smooth and malty with full body and good carbonation. There was a residual sweetness and fruitiness in the finish and aftertaste. This was a very nice and enjoyable beer.

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

Appearance: Perfectly clear scarlet red hue. Nice sized dollop of beige foam on top. Retention is excellent as is the lacing.

Aroma: Mildly doughy, slightly pepper, estery from the yeast tones, sweet and candy-like, and a little musty.

Taste: Flavors speak of subtlety in a big way. Light doughy and bready malts. Sprinkles of brown sugar. Raisin and plums come to mind. Slight pepper. And a little EtOH.

Mouthfeel: Quite spritzy and carbonated. Not gassy though. Body is about light-medium.

Drinkability: For a beer this size, there's not much hint of alcohol. But the flavor doesn't just blow me away. It's solid, but nothing spectacular. Which means that this is a beer I'd return to, but not in a much anticipated, overly enthusiastic way.

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

Amber brown in color - relatively clear, with minimal head and little lacing. Strong aromas of candied fruits - some brown sugar and molasses. Flavors were terrific - sweet, a hit of raisin, very smooth and minimal alcohol notes. Medium body with a lingering sweet finish -- improving as it warms to room temperature. Outstanding!!

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Photo of Meganomiidae
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark brown, the color of liquid milk chocolate. Small tan head that dissipates swiftly, leaving not a trace. Mine was quite sediment ridden - probably a product of my fridge deciding to act as a freezer today.

S: Candied apple and cherry duet, with a hint of plum background vocals. As others have said, slight cola notes which for me are quite distinct to this beer. I hope it tastes as good as it smells!

T: Yes, it does. Seemlessly mending cherry and cola notes together with that slight Belgian sweetness. Other dark fruits are there, again, providing a supporting structure to a beautiful medley. Slight hints of darker chocolate and espresso creep in as the main flavors recede, making one think twice about taking a second sip. Finished with a red wine yeast, maybe? Quite tasty, and well blended with just the right levels of all of the flavors.

M: Quite silky, rolls over the tongue like Dutch hot chocolate.

O: Fantastic beer. Will be buying again.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Finally I got my hands on some fresh des Rocs on tap at EightBall Brewing at the Party Source.
This most excellent BSA pours a deep reddish mahogany with a thick ring of foam and spotty lacing once it settles. Nose is complex mix of candied apples, Belgian candy sugars, cola, plums, cherries, and subtle herbal notes. Flavors exceed the nose with apple cider and dark cherries on the front and sides, currants and cola on the middle of the taste, and a pleasant plum brandy note on the rear touched with a subtle Belgian yeast note. Excellent mouth feel with moderate carbonation that cuts the sweetness and lets the flavors shine with a subtle cola and dark fruit finish that is subtly dry.

Of note, I have had this many times in the past but was leery from a couple of lightly soured purchases. This is as good as the first time I tried it, yet better without the suspended chunky yeast that can be rather unpleasing on the eyes. At 28 or so a growler I am tickled to have tried it. A phenomenal brew that has been at the top of my Belgian list for years.

THANKS EightBall!!!!!!


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Photo of gumushie
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From a 330mL bottle. Drink by date listed as 16/10/2012. Served into a Hoegaarden Grand Cru glass at 55°.

Before I even opened the bottle I noticed a lot of sediments floating around, so I left it to settle for a few more days. I gave up waiting 3 days later. Looking through the bottle, even with no disturbance, there are tons of little flakes of sediment floating around. It looked like a piece of amber.

The Pour: As soon as the cap was cracked the beer gave an impressive 1/2 in. head in the neck. The sediment sort of takes over. It come rushing out no matter how carefully and slowly the bottle was tipped. Formed a very voluminous head, color was cream tinted pink. Despite the lees a gorgeous it had a deep ruby red/brown. However, beer that 'glops' from chunks of stuff is a little disconcerting.

The Aroma: Mouthwatering. It hits you as soon as you start pouring. Like any good beer, you get notes of general types of smells but it's seamlessly and wholly it's own thing. Sweet, caramel, dried raisins/cherries, spiced wine and malt. Delicious and no heat.

The Taste: Though the sediment is potentially a drawback, it certainly wasn't what I was looking to have a mouthfull of, this is a damn good beer. Incredibly smooth (once you get past the lees). It tastes as good as it smells with the addition of dark buckwheat honey and walnuts on the tongue. Like the daytime version of the Rochefort 8. Does not drink like a 9.5% abv!

Overall: I've complained about the lees enough. This is an exceptionally tasting beer. Perfect for cold nights and desserts.

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Photo of yuno
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Douglas14
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown color with absolutely no transparency whatsoever. It has a nice fluffy head that leaves little lace but stays intact almost the whole way down. Smells of oak and caramel mainly with a few spices as well. The taste far more complex than the smell: intense caramel, yeast, earth and candied sugar are the main flavors that I am picking up. Slight citrus notes appear as well. What impresses me most about this beer is the incredible smoothness of it. This beer's texture is buttery, at the least.

Overall, awesome beer.

p.s. When I opened this beer, foam came rushing out and it didn't look like it was stopping anytime soon. After about a minute or so of waiting with no sign of the foam stopping, I went ahead and poured it...and the foam stopped.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle as shown. A gift from my son. Good boy, right?

Moderate pour into a tulip yields a two-finger light tan chunky frothy head over a cloudy dark amber body. Head fades quickly to a solid lid, with a tiny bit of lacing.

Smell is spicey-malty fascinating and rich. The dominant aroma is dark-chocolate-covered oranges! Prune is there, and some currants and raisins. Sweet cherries. Fantastic aroma, though not nose-grabbingly strong. Just full and rich. Mmmmm. I hope it tastes this good.

Taste does not disappoint. More chocolate than orange, more raisins than cherries or currants. Solid malt base underneath everything, and a hint of floral hops in the finish. This is a fine tasting beer, and quite unique, at least to this American's palate.

Mouthfeel is good and round. Rich, yet crisp with some excellent carbonation hanging around.

Drinkability is somewhat reduced by the ABV, but this a very easy-to-quaff beer. Smooth yet spicy on the palate, and very interesting.

I think if I lived in Belgium, this one would be a regular for me. Highly recommended.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy brownish red with a nice, creamy beige head that pours big and settles to a healthy cap. Great retention; some lacing.

Lots of spicy yeast aromas. Rubber, leather, over-ripe bananas, baking spices, bubblegum, and some earthy floral notes.

Soft, delicate, and sweet. Immediately sweet with dark fruits, syrup, and earth herbal aromas; slightly bready with the yeast making it really filling, spicy and full.

Amazingly velvety and smooth. Medium to full bodied with good carbonation and a luscious feel. Slightly coating with a lingering pleasant aftertaste. Nearly perfect.

Fabulous beer!
Really nice, 'together' flavor that I would expect from a random Belgian beer whose name I had heard of before. The beer pours lovely and has an incredible nose on it with tons of yeast character. The flavor is very whole and pleasant and the palate is to die for.
WILL have again; worth seeking out.

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Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great chance to have this on tap yoday at a Belgian beer dinner at the Spring House Drafting Room.Pours a rich brown color with a sticky head,aroma was rich and nutty with some nice warming alcohol with some fruity estures.This Belgian Dark has a real nice hop profile to go along with a rich nutty flavor and some spicey/yeasty notes.Glad to finally try this beer and it was on tap to boot.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in a big-ol' 750ml bottle, capped and corked. Poured into a goblet, it had a murky brown hue with a large creamy biege head that slowly dwindled down, leaving modest bits of lace behind.
Wow, what a mix of aromas in this nose! Hearty, earthy malts, quite yeasty, with notes of dark fruits, a hint of chocolate and a solid slap of alcohol. The taste was every bit as complex as the nose. Sweet, with candy sugar, plums and prunes first. Then a strong bready malt flavor and some woody flavoring. Lastly came the potent alcohol punch, leaving a trail of warmth down the throat and settling into the belly.
The feel was full, round and creamy, no doubt due to the fine effervescence. Overall, quite a tasty strong dark ale. I can't envision drinking it very often, but for a special occasion it would be great.

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Photo of champ103
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brownish/amber color. At first a creamy beige head rises to over two fingers. The foamy head has great retention. Light lace is left behind.
S: At first, this is very reserved. Though as the beer warms, lots of subtle aromas come out. Dry wood at first, dark fruits, and caramel malts come out. Funky barnyard aromas and some yeast.
T: Very dry with caramel, and some dark fruits linger on. Follows the nose. This becomes much more complex than I thought it would be. As it warms up to room temp, lots of subtle flavors come out. Raisins, plums, cherries, ext. Very nice.
M/D: A full body with medium carbonation. A nice crisp snap up front, but finishes with a good creaminess. A good beer to sip on. I am not having any problems finishing the bottle.

This is a good Belgian strong ale. Something I would highly recommend.

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Photo of artusory
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best Before 2008. Pours a ruby tinted brown with a big, creamy, off-white head. Mostly lasting, nice lacing. The aroma is ripe, sweet apples, raisins, cookie dough, corriander and lavender. The flavor is very fruity - apples, golden raisins, peaches, with lots of caramel and toffee. Delicate spicing with a touch of oakiness. Mouthfeel is very soft, smooth and creamy. Finish is long, with a touch of bitterness.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a murky brownish color with a creamy three fingers tan head. The aroma is herbal and sweet, that of candi sugars, with a dark fruit and yeast smell. The flavor is sweet which then flows to a dry, herbal, slightly fruity flavor. It is full in body and definitely dry. It is a great Belgian brew, one of my favorites.

Sampled 4/2/04

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Photo of boss302
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A ruby red big fluffy head. Lots of chunkies, might intimidate some, so be careful with the pour if you don't like them, otherwise a fine looking brew 4.5

S sweet, malty, chocolaty, Belgian dark ale typical. 4

T clean dried fruit, plums raisins. Good balance. I served it at 54F, which is in the middle of recommendations, but there was a significant cookoff from the CO2 that hides some of the flavor. Caramely finish. Very smooth and balanced. 4.5

M thick on the tongue, typical of other Belgian Browns. A little high on carbonation, but OK. 4

D a very good beer. Would have another. 4.5

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Photo of claytong
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was incredibly impressed with this one. The head was ridiculous. I thought it was a bad sign but no it was fantastic. The complexity of this beer was amazing, so many sweets too name so I'm not going to bother.
A bit on the expensive side, but for a special occasion, this will be a go to beer for me to have in my cellar.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown leahter head--tinged with some purple--with a slow developing head that stuck around for a bit. Very rich and deep. Nose is like plunging my head into a candy bowl filled with Deccos. Oh, so sweet smell. Flavor is complex at first, but breaks down very simply. Heavy malt flavor with lots of prunes and sugars. Some cherries and molasses too. Flavor does not cling to my taste buds either but allowed me to enjoy my meal in and of itself as I ate. Mouthfeel was quite medium body, but spread the palate out and was surprisingly a good complement with my barbeque. The alcohol is greaty hidden behind the beer and I hardly notice it until after I feel the effects. Very difficult to separate from my hand as I picked up my ribs.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, with the ink on the best-before date so smudged as to be completely unreadable. Just arrived in Texas, so probably fairly young. Served in a Bernardus wide-mouthed chalice.

This pours a murky brown color with a moderate head. Little bits of yeast chunks swirl around a bit before settling. Highly fruity aroma, with notes of caramelized cherry, both tart and sweet, followed by a faint hoppiness. Very nice flavor. Fruitiness follows the nose, but adds a grapy tannicness and light sourness that makes it particularly delectable. A yeasty cloviness with a hint of anise rounds out the finish.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This rare beauty pours an orange-tinted amber with a firm rocky beige head, and tons of sticky lace. The aroma is complex mix of crushed berries, damp earth, apples, sweet malt and light alcohol esters. A candy sweet flavor melds with fresh bread, caramel apples, mild lime-like bitterness, light pine, a hint of chocolate, and an ever so faint astringent camphor taste. A warming alcohol works its way through the crowded flavor field. The mouthfeel is buttery and smooth just after an initial fizzy effervescence. This should be a "must try" beer.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours medium brown about the color of ice tea with a substantial amount of yeast floating around. The yeast gives the beer the appearance of being very thick. The head is a thin ring with slight lacing.

Smell is sweet with dark fruits and malt. Honey and caramel. Very nice.

Taste is amazing. First is plum and apricot flavors. Then the spices make their presence known. Underscored with a wonderful carmel maltiness. The finish is slightly dry.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

I thought this beer was amazing. The high Abv is dangerously hidden in the interesting array of flavors. I would highly recommend this brew.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Gabe

Dark maple syrup brown with an explosive and creamy beige head that retains exceptionally and leaved gobs of sticky lace. The last sip still has a veil of creamy foam on it. Rather cloudy with lots of little yeast chunkers in the bottem of my goblet.

The aromas are a malt lovers dream. Dark caramel, chocolate, toffee, fresh wildflowers, honey, with some spicy hops.

The flavor is initially of chewy caramel drenched in hot fudge. Lots of creamy malt notes and very chocolatey, with dark fruits, yeast, brown sugar, lite citrus notes, and spicy floral hops in the finish. Tastes like a Belgian barleywine. Very good, but not quite as complex as some other strong Belgian dark ales.

Big body on this one with a rich and chewy texture and a creamy malty mouthfeel. Lip smacking sweet without being cloying.

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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 739 ratings
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