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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 troutmask96
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the beer that sparked my beeradvocate.com membership. I just had to post a review to profess my love for my new favorite beer.

I purchased a single bottle of this brew from my local bottle shop and poured it into my snifter. Tight, dark tan head with lingering foam. As I raised the glass to my nose and took my first whiff, I knew I was in for a real treat. A veritable cornucopia of spicy fragrances burst into my nostrils and I had to take my first sip.


Smooth, spicy, sweet, with no lingering bitterness or alcohol aftertaste. The only lingering attribute was the world-class flavor.

I promised myself that I would save any 5-star ratings for only world-class characteristics, but this beer gets just about everything right. Unforgettable...

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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 FormatKid
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and capped 750ml bottle. I’ve had this one before but let’s just say my palate wasn’t very acute after a full day of beer festing. Do yourself a favor, don’t try to get the cork out of this one without the proper implement, it’s a rugged one. When poured out into my La Trappe goblet the body of this beer is ruby brown and hazy, topped with a meringue like head of off-white foam. Flecks of sediment can be seen sinking to the bottom. This is one delicious smelling beer, lot of vinous notes with hints of brandy soaked fruit. Sweet malt, toffee, and spicy, musty, delicious yeast. The flavor is candy sweet without being cloying. There is a pear-like fruitiness across the front of my palate, combined with suprising sweet coffee like notes. Then that flavor that I often Belgian Strong Darks that I refer to as dates rolled in attic dust, I love it really. The finish is musty, nutty and delicious, with a robust spicy alcohol punch. What a really great frickin’ beer…one that I will definitely be picking up again.

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Half Time for carrying this beer. Pours a moderately clear brown with a super thick beige head. Retention and lacing are as good as it gets. Just a beautiful beer. Smells lightly orangey with a bit of ginger. Perhaps a bit of bread but not overly yeasty. Inviting. Mildly fruity in it's malt. Almost like a light bock, but different. Hints of milk chocolate pop in and out. Peppery, fuity, funky. Finishes mildly tart and a hint of yeast twang dryness. Everything about this is understated. It's sublime.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very impressive head. Massive. After a minute it breaks up into huge rocky chunks but still manages to maintain its mass. Really impressive. Beautiful garnet red color. The yeast is a bring down though. Big huge chunks of yeast even after 2 weeks in the fridge and a careful pour.

Very impressive nose. Definately some Belgian spiceyness but mingles nicely with big fruity esters and a light candi sweetness. Get just a touch of ethanol in the nose too. Very nice.

Very nice flavor. Earthy and peppery and just enough sweetness to mellow everything out. This is the real Dr.Pepper!! Very nice. Just a touch harsh in the finish. Just a touch. The alcohol is well concealed. You feel it on your breath rather than taste it. Not 'hot' at all. Definately feel it in your mouth after a while though too. But still very nice. Actually, maybe that's some of the harshness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is right on for the style. Fairly light with high carbonation.

Dangerously drinkalbe for such a big beer!

Really stood up nicely against the lamb shanks my roomate made for dinner. And its hard to stand up to the meatiest of meats.

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

Sampled at From The Vine beer tasting Jan 14th, 2005: Hazy amber with a thick and foamy beige head. Decent lacing. The aroma is sweet with malt, yeast and melon. Full-bodied, creamy and satisfying with a complex array of flavors from ginger, caramel and malt to fruit and even chocolate. I was blown away by how flavorful even a small glass of this was. The finish is sweet and lingering with roasted malt and spices (cinnamon, figs). Outstanding Belgian!

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Photo of bruachan
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cloudy deep garnet with a thick head that dissipated into a spotted coating. caramel and toffee on the nose, with some floral hops. dried cherries and other dark fruit bring a tart flavor that is slightly refreshing along with the nice carbonation. noticeable bitterness with a nutty finish. ooh! i could drink it all night (weekend)

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown with a nice off-white head. Aroma isn't strong (surprisingly), slightly sweet and malty. Flavor- alcohol profile on top of a nice brown ale at first. In fact, at first, I couldn't get past the alcohol and wasn't going to like it at all. However, it's a good thing I am a patient person. Because, as sometimes happens, it gets better (ok, much better), more complex (dark bready and spices, among others) , and more balanced as it warms towards room temperature. Mouthfeel is nice and bold, but the alcohol profile still holds it back at he end (for me).

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

Large bottle, with cap and cork, no freshness dating. Pours dark garnet,brown. Poured with a gassy release, lifted a large and rocky tan head, which slowly morphed to a blotchy film. Leaves some thick, stringy lacing. Yeasty chunks abound. Nose is rum raisins, murky funk and sweat malts. multilayered, complex flavors and sensations on the tongue. Obvious and unrelenting waves of interest and intrigue. World class sipper. Dangerously drinkable. Seek out this nectar and enjoy.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.84/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice deep amber brown with a slight haze and a low compact head which quickly retreated to the edges of the beer's surface but stayed around to lace the glass.

The aroma was divine and deeply malty. A strong bready/biscuit presence wafted from the surface followed by a deep dark fruitiness of raisins and prunes. Some higher alcohols enhance the fruity esters and lead to a subdued yet present spice of cloves in the complex aroma.

The flavor was malty with dark caramel and dark fruits. The fruits were raisins and prunes in a complex blend. The spice was more refined in the flavor that in the aroma and a definite belgian yeast character adds to the mix. The same bready/biscuit nature from the aroma carries through to the flavor. The alcohol was present but does not detract from the flavor at all.

The finish was dry with a warming alcohol, dark fruits and spice lasting pleasantly long into the aftertaste. The body was medium full and well done contributing beautifully to the complexity of the beer.

750 ml deep green bottle, capped and corked.

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Photo of clvand0
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber color with a nice head and nice retention. Leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is malty and fruity. Orange mostly, some yeast, and some alcohol. Very nice aroma. The flavor was malty and sweet but very well balance with a subtle hop character. The mouthfeel and drinkability for this beer are great.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The one poured a nice amber red color with one finger of head. The nose is both sweet and spicey, with some cherries coming through most prominently. The taste is great, a nice peppery spice, sweet caramel, sweet cherry. A treat to be consumed. The mouthfeel was moderate to thick. Drnkability is huge on this. I will be getting a few more of these next time I see them.

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Photo of bditty187
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown in hue with noticeable tawny influences, when held to a light a lovely ruby tint develops. At this point I could notice some suspended yeast sediment in the dense liquid. The head was beige in color, frothy, at the apex of the foam reached almost two fingers in height. Head retention was decent, after a few moments it faded to a modest cap. This cap lasted the entire consumption, impressive. However, subsequent lacing wasn’t that impressive, there were a few patches and that was about all. Still the appearance is excellent. Eye-candy. Sometimes the potency of the nose in “big beers” is disappointing to me, it is never as lively as I like. Very few Belgian beers have lived up to my expectations when it comes to pure potency of the bouquet. I am very pleasant to say, the power of the smells of this ale is second to none! Wow! The nose has strong malty aromas. Not only is the malt deep, it is very wide with so many layers! At no time does the malt standalone. The sweet chocolate is infused with cinnamon and orange. Sugar cookies. Coffee cakes soaked in OSA, you pick the vintage. Yeasty. Lemony at the back with a trace of mustiness. To say this nose is inviting is an understatement. I don’t take sips of the beer until I’m done writing about the nose. I seriously had to force the glass away from my mouth. But finally, I’m done writing and I can take a drink. Allow me to pause… The palate is very, very good. I thought Abbaye Des Rocs was fantastic. While I’m not going to compare the two, I will say the palate of the Grand Cru is not as impressive. With that said, the palate is surprisingly spicy. Cinnamon, ginger, coriander, peppery qualities too that play devilishly well with the fruitiness. Melons, grapes, figs, and dates laced with brandy, dusted with brown sugar. There is a doughiness that reminds me of OSA bread I made once. Oranges stand alone from the other fruit as it comes off with a liqueur quality to it. The malt is not as deep as the nose lead on, I am disappointed about that; yes, I like the sweetness of the chocolate but I need more than that. Sure the maltiness is nothing to complain about, beside that I find it a tickle shallow. Since the rest of this beer is near perfection whining about the malt seems to be nitpicking. Maybe it is. But I did anyway. The aftertaste is modestly hot; this is the only point of the beer that the alcohol seems noticeable. But no way does it come across at 10% abv. Otherwise the aftertaste is a mix of fruit and spice. Very nice, it reminds me of alcoholic marmalade. Is it complex? Yes… but it could be more multifaceted. Would I drink this again? Hell yes! But seriously, more malt backbone is needed. Medium in body, fizzy carbonation that plays perfectly with the spice and fruit; I am very impressed, however, it is too thin. The mouthfeel has fizz but no pizzazz. I really enjoyed this beer. It is great. I understand why this beer is in the BA Top 15. Amazingly tasty and equally as drinkable but, me personally, give me the “regular” Abbaye Des Rocs! I purchased a bottle in Burnsville, MN for $8.40. Recommended.

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

Dark burgundy color, clear and transmitting attractive red light. Head is creamy and holds at just under 1/2 an inch. Intricate lacing, very nice-looking beer here. Aromatic, slightly yeasty and sugary at the same time, dark plummy elements with sassy nutmeg. Mouthfeel is lightish and carbonation is lively if a little too overdone and fussy. Flavor is as complex as the aroma, raucous mix of fruit, rum overtones, decided spices including fresh-ground black pepper. Finishes with a flourish, and just a slightly detectable alcohol note. An impressive brew, actually I prefer the regular Abbaye Des Rocs -- it seems to flow more evenly and its construction is more seemless and slightly better balanced.

Later note: Too much protein/yeast glop seems to plague a lot of bottles of this beer as of late.

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

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

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Photo of meathookjones
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This came in a green 750ml bottle. The body was a deep brown with reddish highlights and a giant fluffy off white head peaking over the top of the glass. As this was consumed sticky rings of lacing were left hung around the glass. Very good head retention as even the last sips had a nice covering of the fluffy head still floating. The smell was sweet with a slight spice to it as well as strong fruit notes. The taste started off with a fruity caramel sweetness that mingled with a bit of spice and yeast flavors. Not overly sweet but just right, the aftertaste is a bit tart as well. Very good taste with a lot of things going on that I will have to have this again to pick up on more of them. This almost has a full body but just falls short not that it hurts it in any way, and it’s very rich and creamy on the tongue. This stuff was way too drinkable to be 10%, no real hints of the alcohol anywhere. I will have to pick up a few more bottles of this to keep around.

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Photo of Doppel07
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby-brown body with substantial carbonation and a soft spumous buffy head. Sweet aroma of vanilla, rum, bubble gum, cherries, caramel malt, yeast, candy sugar, maple, flowers, and wet grass. Wow. Basically I can smell most things that I can think of here. Big malty flavor but less sweet than expected. Has some leathery bitterness and a turpentine quality that reminds me of Orval. Freaking delicious. Nice long finish. Smooth, round body. I'm a sucker for a great Belgian Strong Ale.

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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 Southernbrew
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Coca-cola brown with a BIG, soft, bubbly head.

Aroma is all fruit and a little alcohol. A strong cherry aroma really stands out, almost lambic-like.

Full bodied and quite smooth. A huge bouquet of flavors emerges. It starts off with fruit flavors including cherries, apricots and mybe a little apple. It then develops a sweet, brown sugar flavor on top of the fruitiness. A brief, weak alcohol flavor flashes through, but not especially noticable. It finishes with a rich, sweet fruit and alcohol flavor leaving the drinker in a mellow ecstasy.

This is the best Belgian I have yet to try. A sheer pleasure to drink. The only drawback is the large bottle and high alcohol content.

A big thank you to Rajendra82 for the trade!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Carefully poured from a long-standing bottle its body is a brilliant dark ruby/chestnut beneath a creamy cap of off-white (almost tan) foam. The head retention is quite good, and it leaves splashes of lace about the glass. The nose combines a sweetish, caramel-dripped and subtly buttery biscuit-like maltiness with some fairly bold fruitiness (flashes of orange, raspberries, cherry, and a waft of lime). It's airy in the mouth with a combination of dextrinous mouthfeel and CO2 breakout that billows up softly and then fades away with just a light zest on the palate. A richer maltiness and some exceptionally nice, delicately spicy alcohol appear in the flavor; as well as some floral hop notes and wider range of fruitiness (papaya, cocoanut and pineapple perhaps?, and some green apple). It's much more balanced (less sweet) than the standard Abbaye Des Rocs; and it offers exceptional drinkability with a certain level of richness and complexity that does not overwhelm the tastebuds but certainly keeps you coming back for more. It finishes dry with some lingering alcohol spice (although the alcohol never hinders!) and maltiness that reminds you of the beautiful flavors you've just savored. This is an exceptional beer that probably deserves more notoriety, and should not be missed. Brilliant!

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep ruby red color with four fingers of off-white foam. There is lots and lots of lacing, which is something you don't see out of too many high alcohol brews. The smell has lots of sweet plum, cherry, and red grape mixed with a subtle but solid alcohol aroma. The taste has lots of malt and sweetness, more of those fruit flavors coming through. The different tastes are very layered, and come together very nice in the finish with just a splash of ethanol. The mouthfeel is thick and strong, yet smooth as silk. The drinkability lacks some due to the 10% coming through, but who cares? This is a brew I could sip on for hours!

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Photo of rabidawg
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear chestnut and ruby blend with abundant carbonation. Creamy, fluffy, rocky off-white head that clings to the glass like meringue. Sheets of lacing.

Smell: Amazing. Exceptionally sweet with a rich, deep maltiness. Slightly smoky with dark dried fruits, tea leaves, and bittersweet chocolate. Incredibly deep with spiciness. Alcohol present and obvious but nowhere near distracting.

Taste: Very spritzy initially, with slight alcohol burn. Sweet initially, but dries out quickly after the swallow. Oaky, with vanilla notes accentuated by the strong presence of alcohol bite, which also seems to accentuate the spice matrix. Caramel and toffee nose through in the finish. After-finish is dry, crisp, and known to induce a desire for another sip.

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Photo of dave750
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a wide mouth goblet from a 750ml. bottle. A dark red brown color topped by a tall thick head that takes it's time dissipating. A very sharp citrusy hop and sweet malt aroma is immediatly apparent.
A bold roasted, caramel malt initial taste is replaced by a toffee flavor at midtaste and remains to the end. Grain and menthol influences blend in and out throughout the taste. A nice alcohol warmth emerges as the flavor fades. A complex flavor overall, is enhanced by exceptional carbonation. A very drinkable brew.

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Photo of ZAP
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First thing I am struck by is a sweet berry noise....strawberries....also some sweet cherries....sweet overripe watermelon....with a small hint of spicy leather....

Pours a burnt orange...nice fluffy tan head...very sweet enjoyable flavors...big on the fruits I mentioned but also some cinamin or ginger coated coffee cake....just a hint of leathery spiciness...finishes with a dash of the ABV....slides down very easy though for the ABV and the alcohol hit on the finish actually compliments the sweeter flavors nicely..

This is a hell of a Grand Cru and a great beer....what I wouldn't do to be a millionaire with a cellar full of about 100 of these on hand at all times...

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Photo of mschofield
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pops with smoke, and then pours a dark red-brown full of floating particulates and carbonation. Topped with a four finger red tinged khaki head (I used a Duvel glass).
Robust fruity aroma, alcohol, spice, sugar, currant, fruit seeds.
Very sweet taste, molasses, wood, grape/vinuous, prune, dark bread, raisin.
Full and thick, I couldn't drink a lot but it's very good and the 750 ml afforded me a second glass to enjoy with a cigar.

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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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