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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 IntriqKen
3.69/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark amber/brown with a very full 2 finger off white soft head that melts slowly to sticky lace but still manages to cover the top of the beer with a quarter inch of foam.
Aromas are sweet toasted dark malts and candy.
Flavor is not as multi-dimensional as many Belgium's I've had. I catch the sweet amber malts, the brown sugar, the caramel, and a little of the dark fruits, but somehow it doesn't hit me like others. Possibly because I just finished a Trappist Rochfort 8, but then comparison is how you can rate equitably, no?

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, best before 10/08.
Cloudy, hazy, brown with an orangeish tint. lots of yeast in suspension.
Aroma is dried cherries, chocolate, alcohol, yeast.
Flavor is tart cherries, chocolate, honey. a lttle yeast in there as well.
Alcohol for the most part is hidden well, starts out not noticable but as it warms in the glass it starts to peek out and burn the throat a little.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this from the Cloverleaf Tavern.

A: Pours a hazy kind of bloody, amber body with a small, off-white head with pretty decent retention and lacing.

S: A musky, fruity smell with some slightly bitter and alcoholic undertones.

T: A smooth, sweet toffee taste with a brown sugar sweetness to the taste. There was a pretty sweet, burnt toffee aftertaste as well. As the beer began to warm up, the alcohol made itself more present, but it was welcome and not overbearing to the taste.

M: A pretty smooth and light, medium-bodied mouthfeel that seemed ok overall.

D: An ok mouthfeel and taste combination. As I noted earlier, the alcohol makes itself evident as the beer warms up, adding a slight tartness and biting warmth to contend with the sweet toffee taste. Overall, a nice tasting beer.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

WARNING... recommend opening this product over or near a sink!

After the explosive eruption of foam settles..pours a slightly hazy dark amber color. The effervescence of tiny bubbles continues of course. Less than a full finger tan butterscotch colored head fades fairly quickly to surface. Little lacing observed.

A very sweet smell. Distinctly plum and molasses.

The flavor and smell are very much a like. The sweet fruitiness lingers slightly.

The immediate mouth feel tingles from the carbonation, but once that settles down there is a timid hop signature. The alcohol hides behind fruit, but the warmth is definitely present.

Drinkable but i'd prefer a more fig-like flavor.

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Photo of JulieRFoster
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I received this beer as a gift from a friend in Belgium, and force of circumstance (he gave it to me at 7am) meant that I brought it back to Paris, let it sit in poor conditions in my apartment for two months and then lovingly carried it back with me to the States. Therefore much of my perception of this beer is tainted by my horrible treatment of the bottle, but I enjoyed it all the same.
A friend who I shared this with characterized it as "Kind of like your standard good beer." Despite its sweetness, it had a good drinkability. The flavor was a little unbalanced with a little too much sugar, and a mouthfeel that was a little too light. The carbonation was good, and it would have been perfect if the texture was slightly more viscous. Of course, that's most likely a product of transport.
The nose was very pleasant, although not too complex: some strawberry and other red fruits (merteuille), a little oaky, lots of yeast and some alcohol (which detracted from its overall appeal).
I would describe the taste similar to how I described the appearance (if that makes any sense). It comes off kind of like a Flemish red ale; a cloudy burgundy yeasty color. However, this beer had a nice little bite, with a pinch of something peppery (which was delightfully augmented by the carbonation) and some strong malts that were subtly blended to be incredibly smooth (adding to its drinkability). This beer makes me think of Ghent - it's in Belgium, and it has lots of French Belgium characteristics, but everyone only speaks Flemish.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle @ 9.5% ABV, with a totally different label, and the 'l'Abbaye' dropped from the name. Happy fucking Canadian Thanksgiving, y'all!

This beer pours a murky, medium orange-brick amber colour, with two chubby fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and fizzy tan head, which leaves some emaciated limestone grotto lace around the glass as it quickly dissipates.

It smells of gritty and grainy pale malt, a lesser caramel/toffee sweetness, edgy earthy yeast, muddled dark orchard fruit (maybe some plum, prune, and bruised red apple), a touch of that musty under the basement stairs thing, and a slightly testy metallic booziness. The taste is bready and doughy pale malt, still understated caramel wafers, some toasted apple pie and pear compote fruitiness, a hint of cocoa-laced black coffee, subtle musty yeast, faint earthy spice notes, and a hint of muzzled alcohol astringency.

The bubbles are fairly active in their pleasingly plump frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and mostly smooth, maybe the yeast and burbling booziness taking things down a notch or two here. It finishes off-dry, but not by much, as the malt seems to bottom out, and the acrid fruitiness and musty yeast take full advantage, as such.

Overall, this is not a bad version of the style, but I found myself questioning its provenance on a few too many occasions - what gives? It's not an old bottle (not that that would really matter), yet the musty essences overcome the fruit and malt character just a little too readily, IMHO. Can't say I'm all that dissatisfied, however - this bad boy cost barely more than 10 Canuck bucks, so who am I to complain, eh?

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Photo of aracauna
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This had a great cherry and cotton candy aroma on the nose. The beer has a nice head on it with the color hinting at cherries as well. The cherry was a little less apparent in the flavor but the candy sugar flavor ther, almost a brown sugar flavor. It was a little too sweet almost.

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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 josanguapo
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From cervezasespeciales. In Teku glass. Watching Sons of Anarchy 6x10. Good, but maybe a bit more dry and harsh that I’d like. Ive read from others that its like an oud bruin but without the acid, and I agree

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Photo of Shaw
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep, deep cloudy ruby in color with some sediment, even after pouring carefully. Plenty of carbonation.

The smell is quite complex. I detect fruit like dates and raisins as well as nutty aromas and alcohol. It smells like a good fruitcake. There is also a light funky, earthy smell.

Its taste is equally complex. The flavors of raisins and dates and other fruits are quite apparent, while the high alcohol level is essentially invisible. Tastes of nut mix with some bread-like flavors. It needs just a bit more flavor, in my opinion.

The body is creamy and smooth, though a little light for me.

A fine strong dark ale.

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Photo of yelterdow
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Rochefort chalice at cellar temperature. Paired with Chimay a la Biere cheese after dinner. Best by date reads April 2007.

Upon lifting the bottlecap, the beer hissed urgently upwards, creating a fizzy waterfall in my sink. Thankfully, no beer was lost... just a whole lot of carbonation. Due to the generous amount of yeast in the bottle, I'm sure there is nothing to worry about.

Appearance- The beer pours a hazy cognac/raisin with a nicely constructed head... tight, soapy, off-white bubbles... almost two fingers, with terrific lacing.

Smell- Huge malts and old, sweet, fermenting fruit... almost like a moist cake doused in a reduction of alcohol and old peaches. After the yeast is added, the aromas become more full and pronounced.

Taste- A gigantic malt presence drives the fruit and spiciness to the wall... hints of old floorboard and perfume come forward. Upon swirling the sediment and pouring it into the last several sips, a marked complexity takes hold. The maltiness and fruit character integrates with a very natural sweetness, but it isn't sugary. It's a richly flavor-infused intergration of the major components of the beer; malts, fruit, spice, and alcohol... which is nicely hidden.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Good for the style; consistently slick, with just the right amount of carbonation to lift the flavors up and off the tongue... and the drying finale works nicely too. Try it with some strong cheese, I know it worked well for me.

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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 blakesell
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a pint glass (if you don't like it, you can give me more clean glasses, Belgium).

Appearance- Pours a dark amber with a frothy pillowlike head that lingers forever.

Smell- plum, spices, nutty essences, dark fruits, FIG!, carmel covered breads, toffee.

Taste- Candi sugar sweetness and spices upfront, rich carmel flavors with once again, dark fruits such as the ever infamous fig coming back into play. No alcohol burn for a 9.5% beer. Impressive.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and sticky with lingering carmel and plum. Ok, so there is some detectable alcohol in there. Smooth carbonation.

Drinkability- Very nice. I would drink this again and will as it came in a 4 pack. Rich and delicious, very good for unwinding in cold weather.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep cherry stained mahogony color with a volumenous, rocky, yellowish, off-white head with craggy valleys and hills and plenty of sticky lace. Smell was effervescent sweetness, a lot of grassy barnyard notes, a lemony tartness way in the back of the nose and some whiffs of cherry and orange peel. Taste was plenty estery(10% is a lot) with more sweetness, dried fruits, slightly grainy, tart finish with an aftertaste that moved back and forth between a woody smoke laden pallete and a slight metallic/soapy effect. Mouthfeel was creamy, but agressivly carbonated with the small bubbles all over the place. Of the grand crus I have tried this one struck me as the most banal. Maybe I just like the american intepretation better, but I thought the Southampton blew this out of the water and the Allagash a close second. Gotta find me some of that Rodenbach.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thin 11.2 oz bottle with Belgian Special Brown Ale at the bottom of the label. Poured into a tulip it formed a nice tan head that falls to a solid covering and leaves sliding ring lacing. 9.5%.

Lots of caramel and dark fruits. Sleek sour bill creeps into the show ever so slightly. Not much balance to this but to me there is really not much needed as the malt bill mixed with a touch of spices is really all it needs. Very well done. Mouthfeel was interesting in that it was on the thick side but was able to burn through a bit with a snappy carbonation. Thankfully the carbonation was not fizzy or annoying just zippy.

Notes: It was above average but for me this was just good. Not such a bad thing by any stretch. Worthy of a grand cru status...ehhhh not in my opinion.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.79/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into a Chimay goblet... not a lot of head in the glass, although it did foam over after popping the top. Very murky brownish color with a hint of red... looks like some sediment made it into this first pour too.

Sweet & spicy aroma, a little funk to it.

Definitely some trub in there... but otherwise the taste is pretty solid. Kinda like a spicy strong Belgian version of a milder brown ale. I like it, even though I have a feeling this one was past its shelf-life.

I'll have to check this one out again on a fresher bottle, this one isn't doing it justice I'm sure.

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Photo of hardy008
3.79/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium brown color with a two finger tan head with fair retention and no lacing. Also a lot of sediment floating in the beer. The aroma has green apples, caramel, figs, raisins, and spices.

Sweet flavor with green apples, caramel, figs, raisins, spices, grapes, and pears. There is no hop bitterness to balance the sweetness.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Has a bit of a sweet aftertaste, and has a sticky feeling to it. Overall a pretty good beer, but not the best BSDA I have had.

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Photo of kmo1030
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

pours a chunky (and i do mean chunky) coppery brown with a moderate tan head. there are chuks of what looks like brown snot in the this beer. not just suspended yeast chunks, but full on wads of protein. this seems par for the course though, since i've had this a few times, and it's always been like this to varying degrees. i try and pour carefully too.
the aroma is cider-like with brown sugar and a yeasty spiciness. grapes (fresh) and cherries weave in and out. caramel/ginger bread cookie with warmth.
the taste has a soft tangy aspect to it with more cidery-ness as in the nose. the other fruits come out more in the flavor though (see aroma). brown sugar and wood come through along with a sweet caramel characteristic. there are other less defined fruits i there too, but it's quite complex and hard to pick them out, but i get raisin, soft baking apples, plum and a sort of androgenous berry flavor. all this surrounded by the warm brown sugar/caramel.
the mouthfeel is occasionally like drinking applesauce. gross. i purse my lips really tight on the edge of the glass, so i just get beer in my mouth. again, there has to be something the brewery could do to make this work a little bit better.
just average drinkability because although this is a damn good beer, i'm sick of drinking it by the time i'm halfway through the bottle because it's like drinking stagnant slimy water. good beer though, too bad.

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Photo of faernt
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours pretty after the crown cap and cork are removed. I like the care of the "belt and suspenders" approach. The 750 ml bottle conditioned presentation allows the choice of several tastes of the same beer (with and without the yeast) I chose the yeast at the end but for starts I poured the clear version. That is what I called "pretty". The head is tight and very slightly green. I read the cork to say 065/759976. If anyone reads this review (and I have no reason to believe that anyone really does) and you know what these numbers mean....let me know.

The beer.... she looks good (nice tight head). The nose has a little anise in it. The taste is bitter then sweet but mostly bitter. I say it tries to taste like a dubbel ( which is one of my favorite tastes) but with all this bitterness I look to some food to pair this extremely noticable taste with. It's too bitter alone and makes me think this is a food beer. I expected a drink by itself beer but not so.

I like this beer but am dissappointed by the bitterness. It is too present. The Abbaye des Rocs Belgian Burgundy is much better alone and I assume with food. Whoo Hoo to the dubbel once again. The dubbel trumps the Grand Cru.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

(best by date 08/11/2014 - bottle states 9.5% - served in an Orval goblet)

A: was told that the beer is difficult to pour without the sediment globbing into the glass - I don't know about that - I'm fine with the last 1-2 oz being left in the bottle... first thing to notice is the rather large, loogie-esque blobs of mummified yeast floating on the surface, killing any foam that formed - there is also a slight chill haze at first... later the reddish-brown liquid clears up with great clarity, revealing maybe a shot glass' worth of feathery nuggets of yeast and proteins... all-in-all, the pour was anything but pretty

S: due to the lack of head and straight-sided glassware, not all that potent of aromas... one gets a hint of dark, rich, mildly toasty caramel, however, without much potency, even after 10+ minutes

T: actually, quite lovely... the taste is dominated by a lusciously-rich, dynamic toasted caramel - some bold dark malt flavors, perhaps of the roasted barley or brown variety... little-to-no hop flavor or bitterness and very little presence of alcohol - despite that, the sweetness seems to be controlled... esters are present around the edges - mild, lightly floral, perhaps fruit cup like - nothing spicy or harsh though

M: on average, a thickish and fairly viscous without much presence of hard booze to cut through its chewy body... luscious is the best word

O: a very nice, big Belgian brown ale... I'd recommend it to malt lovers - just be careful pouring it

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Photo of paytoplay
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance was a bit odd, brown and orange. Didn't matter as this is a solid brew. Somewhat sweet but not persistant as the complexity takes over. Distinct with clove, spice, brown sugar, slight malt and mixed dark fruits. Nicely balanced with some acidity and some interesting funk. I liked the finish. Was out of a 12oz or maybe 33cl bottle. Will be interesting to try later on out of 750ml I have coming. This beer could be aged for several years.

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Photo of genog
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a trappist goblet. Pours a brown color with a creamy thick off brown head that lingers. A lot of chunky sediment is floating around, moreso than I have ever seen. Smell is slightly vinegar and apple. Taste is more green apple and other dried fruits with sweet belgian candy sugars. Towared the end I was able to taste some honey and molasses. Once you get past the sediment it is a good belgian brown brew.

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Photo of ericj551
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

After my experience with another beer from this brewery, I opened and poured this very carefully, but I still ended up with tons of chunks of yeast in the bottle. On the one hand the beer is a beautiful color with an almost perfect head. Unfortunately the floating chunks really ruin it for me. The aroma is rich carmel corn with dark fruity esters. The flavor is more dark fruits, sweet and malty, with a delicious complexity. The low score on mouthfeel is from the chunks that really ruin it for me. They're very unpleasant and ruin an otherwise very good beer. I was hoping that the bottle of Tripel Imperial I had the other day was just a bad bottle, but with the same experience I have to assume its a brewery wide problem.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at Café Lucca in old town Orange. On to the beer:

Brownish amber color with flashes of orange, fizzy head on top. The aroma was pleasant. Dark fruit, raisin, dates....this seems to be the standard aroma of the style. In the mouth....boozy with a kick on the palate. Dark fruits, raisins, plums, and pear in the taste. So yes, the flavor is good, but it doesn't quite soak on the palate like others of the style do. That being said, I would still recommend this.

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Photo of Onslow
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a medium sized head for a belgian strong .. smell of grape, tar, molasses, plums... abv well hidden... nice flavours with this one, sugary plums and fruits.... good stuff but possibly falls short of the 'grand cru' title.. a very decent and enjoyable pony in this fine stable of beer horses..

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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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