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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
740 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: 740 |  Reviews: 517
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 baos
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Atlas Mason jar.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of aubuc1
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 in to my trusty St Bernardus goblet.

Pours a deep brown with ruby glimmering. A thin bubbly head with little to no floaties.

Very fruity, sweet, and somewhat sour. Ripe fruit.

Taste is tart, sour and dry. Raisins or plums. Some funk with the sour.

Mouthfeel is good and pretty full.

Not too sour, and the 10% is very hidden.

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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 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 twiggamortis420
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Figured a white wine glass would be good for this one. Pours a murky, boggy red color. This one gushed a little, so there is plenty 'o head.

Notes of white sugar, figs and green grapes. Also get some Belgian yeast funk.

Whoa, this beer is complex...where to start? Definitly get classic Belgian yeast and malt flavors. Carmel with hints of toffee, red apples, rotting tree logs and wheat pasta. The more I have of this, the more I like it.

Very interesting brew. Recommeded trying this beer at least once. A bit pricey. Aging is a near must with this one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of rxharr6
4.89/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I purchased several bottles of this beer as my favorite little beer store was going out of business. I have been very fond of the Brasserie Des Rocs Triple and was curious about their other fare.
As I begin to post reviews here it will become clear that I am very fond of beers designed to get the good brothers through long fasts and an otherwise stoic existence by providing mana in a bottle, or cask as the case may be.
Much has been made of the sediment found in this beer and it has been characterized as a negative. For my part, the crystal beer varieties are easily arrived at using filteration of what might otherwise be unpleasant lees and provide little poetry to the overall experience of consumption. Indeed, a fine, unfiltered Belgian such as this is eaten rather than simply drunk.
This ale opens to give forth a telling vapor of yeasty sour fragrance that would surely start the fasting friar salivating. When poured, truley there comes forth a cloudy liquid the goldenbrown color of alfalfa honey. Poured into a wide mouthed vessel the fragrance expands to a rich pantry of bakers delights. The local monastary specializes in Fruitcake here and while the frangrance is not quite so sweet as that it isevery bit as complex. I recall memories of making hot mash for frigid horse on a winters day or shoveling fermented corn silage in the early morning as the sweet sour steam roles off the receiving wagon.
Then the first sip. The beer is inded chunky on the teeth and tongue but it bursts forth with a satisfying sourdough, molasses bread coated with brown sugar and sauted pears to finish with a sharp crisp baked apple dumpling.
This beer isn't a drink, it is a meal. It should be nibbled in small, fully experienced sips on the back porch at sunset with a plate of stinky cheese and fruit. If you can be in the woods or a small village with cobble stone streets, all the better!

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Photo of russpowell
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this bottle for a while, BBD of 2011, decanted into an Orval chalice

Pours chestnut with a finger of cream colored head. Good head retention & above average lacing

S: Oaky & sour notes, that fade a bit as this warms

T: Dark fruit, dryness, tartness & tannins up front. Leafy hops, a touch of figs, dryness, more oakyness. Finishes with dark fruiityness, some tartness, some leafy hops & a touch of sourness

MF: Soft carbonation, medium bodied, warming, wet, & very tart

Drinks a touch slow from the complexity, but the ABV is well hidden. Not the best Belgian Dark out there, but worthy of respect & adulation

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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 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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Photo of beerthulhu
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a light cranberry red with a soft pillowy light beige head that was fully lasting. There were some large chunks of yeast floaties suspended in the body.

S: fruity, dried cherries with a soft roasted malting.

T: The initial flavor was malty with a very soft roasted chocolate notes along with a big fruitiness (fresh cherries, cranberries). The was a touch of sour maltiness in the finish, with the body being a little lighter then expected. The alcohol is extremely well hidden for its 9.5% abv and drinks like a dream.

M: light with some tart berries and maly lacing on the tongue.

D: Overall a soft roasted malt palate and fruitiness from the yeast makes for a standout beer by style.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First, why are there two of these? A 750 ml big bottle and poured into a Leffe goblet.

I want to note before the review that this beer was a gusher and had a lot of protein coagulation going on so I ended up straining it. This had a best before 07 on it and drank it now.

A - One beautiful looking beer. When I first poured it, it had a nice pale brown two finger head that looked beautiful sitting on top of the glass. It did slowly fade down to a small thin head but it left a lot of lacing down the sides as the beer descended. The color is a golden brown. It is has amber and reddish hues. It is mildly opaque and I can see a few bits of yeast and protein floating around but no where near as bad as I did before straining.

S - Scents of honey, brown sugar, and caramel waft up. Also a slight hint of dark fruit esters. I also note a slight hint of orange cutting through the sweeter aspects.

T - The taste on this is one is very nice. At first there is a sweet malty, caramel toffee taste that comes through. As the beer progresses, I find hint of orange and pepper as well. It seems to have a nice port like finish to it as I noted a dark plum flavor and a slight dry finish. There is a slight taste of the alcohol as well that comes up when the dark fruit flavors occur and carry on towards the finish.

MF - The body is full and creamy. The creaminess really goes along well with the sweet flavors near the top. There is a slight carbonation as well but nothing too harsh.

D - Hmm overall this is the hardest aspect to judge. The beer itself is sweet, tasty and has a great mouthfeel. I want to keep drinking it but I don't know if I would buy another for the single aspect that this beer has a protein coagulation problem. Overall, though a very good beer and I hope to try others from this abbey.

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Photo of BMoney575
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 6-24-08
Best before end 2009

Pours a cool orange/brown color with a bunch of chunky floaters. What a shame.

Smell is sweet and fruity, with a sour, fermented quality. Very thick, and little Belgian, and a little boozy.

Taste is sweet and sour, very fruity, with a definite fermented edge. Slight Belgian yeast in the middle, and lightly hoppy and boozy in the finish.

Mouthfeel is great, super thick and creamy.

Drinkability is good, but the yeast floaters are kind of grossing me out.

Overall, a very good beer, if you don't pour it like a moron.

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Photo of Atron67
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

came to the table in a tulip glass which was more like a chalice than a tulip, no out turn at the end of the glass.

A- dark brown pretty cloudy body, light foamy head, a decent amount of fruity character. big white head on top that lasted awhile

S- lots of fruit and maltiness. low hops. a definite burst of different fruitiness. cherries and raisens seem to be the strongest of them. a light chocolate maltiness is there as well.

T- again alot of dark fruits all over, cherries raisens, peaches. as the fruit flavor at the beginning fades a nice maltiness with dark maltiness come in and there is a really nice almond type flavor on the end.

M- heavy full body with medium carbonation.

D- a great siper and delicious

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Photo of drperm
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle.
I'm getting conflicting information on the retired status of this brew; I truly hope it is NOT retired -- it's too good to see it disappear!
One of the most well-crafted, well-rounded Belgian Strong Ales I've ever had. Full of complex fruit and honey notes, but enough balance to not be too sweet. Heavenly.

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Photo of botham
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet. pours a deep caramel color with garnet highlights and a single finger of light tan head that dissipates in one minute. coarse sediment is suspended in the brew.

aroma is mildly sour, with fruit notes of raisen, apple, grape, and a bit of apricot. malt notes include caramel and a distant hint of roasted malts.

taste is mildly sour as well, with a sweet character and fruit notes of apple, grape, and raisen. the same caramel malt is present here as well, with a finish of residual fruit and a sweet and sour character.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a strange feel from all the sediment (or suspended matter, as it is experienced). soft CO2 is prevalent, with a smooth finish.

drinkability is good. this is a rich brew with a notable amount of sediment in the brew (which was unavoidable from the pour), but that does not take away from the flavors present. a solid belgian.

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

Large capped bottle.

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

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Photo of AltBock
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml capped dark green bottle that has a plain and simple label of a stone walkway that is probably located in Abbaye des Rocs. In front of this stone walkway is their brewery crest. The back of the bottle has a small square label that contains the US Government warning, brewery address, US importer, refund value, proper glassware, proper serving temp, barcode, and a "best before end" year. Mine was best before the year 2009.

Appearance: When this beer was poured into a Corsendonk Christams Ale goblet, I found out that this "special brown ale" apeeared to be a dark cranberry amber, but as it turned out, it was actually a golden amber color. I couldn't but notice that all through out the appearance, there were at leat a million chunks of yeast floating around. These chunks of yeast made the beer look filthy. Anyway, it had a nice sized creamy head of white (almost tan) colored foam. This head of foam was self rising. Once you would pour the beer, the head of foam would self rise and overflow the glass. It didn't matter how much you poured, it always over flowed. Hell, the head of foam even did that from the bottle. Let's just say that it annoying real fast.

Smell: It wasn't the most complexed smelling Belgian beer out there, but it was still very good, but an average quality. In the beginning the aroma was fruity, almost grape like. That was it until it was swirled around. That is where the fruits completely left the aroma and a milk chocolate like aroma with a small spatter of fruity hops behind that emerges. Surprisingly, with all the yeast chunks floating around, there was no yeast in the aroma. There wasn't even a faint whiff of it.

Taste: For a beer that smells fruity as much as this beer, the taste wasn't fruity at all. Instead it was lightly malted with faint sweet tea leaves, milk chocolate, and a quick splash of roasted citrus hops at the finish. And just like the aroma, surprisingly there was also no yeast in here. I couldn't figure out why it didn't come through. There weren't that many flavors in the taste to cover it up. The taste was kind of a let down. I honestly though there was going to be more flavors in the taste.

Mouthfeel: This beer had a simply slick mouthfeel! Where was the 9.50% ABV? It wasn't in the taste and it certainly wasn't in the mouthfeel. That was great and all, but there wasn't much of an aftertaste here. The only aftertaste was that of lightly toasted malts, tea, and yeast. Oh, so this is where the yeast comes into play. It's about time. Talk about being late.

Drinkability: I really felt that this beer didn't have much to offer, except for the fact that it masked its alcohol content. There wasn't much of an aroma to it and there wasn't much of a taste to it either. I know I said it before, but it's true. This beer was a let down. I won't be forking over any more money for this Belgian beer.

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

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

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

750ml best before 2009. Pours a beautiful amber brown. Loads of yeast, that I have experienced with 2 other des Rocs, so I was prepared this time. The single finger of head left quickly, and left very little evidence of lacing.
Smell is of sweet fruits and malt. Flavor is special. Very good. Again sweet. Plums and carmel are strongest. Banana and green apple are there as well. Syrup like on the tongue with a very malty finish. Carbonation is delicate. The shear quantity of floating yeast will never fully appeal to me, and I don't remember seeing this amount in the smaller 11.2oz bottles I have tried in the past, but this is a damn fine beer. If you don't mind chewing on it a bit, you will understand the great rating too.

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Photo of illidurit
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Poured into a snifter. Dark amber with tan 2 finger head. Great retention, modest lacing.

Aromas of maple syrup and cherries.

Flavor includes a sourish overripe cherry note up front, with a brown sugar finish.

Smooth on the palate, well carbonated.

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

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle to a snifter, the liquid is a semi cloudy brown with lots and lots of carbonation. A big thats to joepais for the brew and thanks for the heads up on the carbonation. I opened it over the sink and had a drain bowl handy. I lost no beer. The head is nice, yet small, tan in color and leaves little lace.

The smell is real nice, a yeasty mix with light caramel, candy sugars and touch of alcohol.

The taste follows but just not quite as good as the aroma, The brew was not as complex as I was hoping. The taste notes include dark sugars, yeast rolls and some dark fruits. I was looking for some citrus but it just was not there.

The mouthfeel is ok a nice sparkling body with good carbonartion but I expect with the gushing it lost its edge.

The drinkability was good, I enjoyed the brew and the aroma was very good indeed,I would try this one again.
Thanks Joe, Prosit MK

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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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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 740 ratings
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