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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Ratings: 728 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of cdkrenz
3.19/5  rDev -24%
look: 1.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

I bought this brew from a liquor store in Milwaukee. I can't remember the name.

Appearance - Not the most attractive of beers. Redish brown with a lot of yeast residue. The head poured 2 inches + initially and faded to about an 1/8 of an inch which it held strong.

Smell - The scent is perfect. It has the sweet aroma of a strong Belgian brew with that hint of alcohol for a push.

Taste - Really not what I had expected. I can't get past the texture to enjoy the taste.

Mouthfeel - Like I said.

~ I really hope I got a bad batch/bottle because I've read great things about this brew. The other possibility is that I incorrectly poured the beer. If you read this and have some insight, please, drop me a message.

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Photo of bunnyhustle
3.47/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Interesting beer...Pours rich brown into chalice glass with good thick head with great retention, very little lacing. Lots of sediment! I've never seen anything like this, I dont know if its this bottle of what but there are large chunks, the settle in the glass leaving the last drink undrinkable. Smell is of alcohol, yeast, bread, and sour tart fruit. Taste is good, they got something right here. Taste is of raisin and some alcohol, tart cherry, a bit of apple, and a warm caramel sensation as it goes down. Lower carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. This beer tasted good to me but I couldnt get over the large amount of sediment in the little 11.2 oz. bottle.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a tulip.

Pours a chocolatey brown with a huge head. As with every bottle from Brasserie de Rocs I've had, this one foams and stirs up that yeast something serious!

Smell is sweet malt and figs.

Taste is delicious! Dates and juicy figs with hints of chocolate and brown sugar. Even some plum in there.

Overall, this is an amazing beer from an amazing brewery. Every beer of theirs I've had has been very good.

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

Are we sure this beer has been retired? I just found a few out and about.

In any event, pours a hazy dark orange. Crazy amount of sediment, I mean there are gobs of stuff in here. No real head, just a thin white crust.

Smell is solid and appealing, with hints of fruit and a deep bread-y aroma. Taste is sublime. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, this is lavished with apricots, apple ... citrus of too many types to name (with a lemon zest), and some sort of malty tropical backbone that's reminiscent of guavas and mangoes.

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

Shared a 750ml bottle of this with some friends last night. None of them were beer nerds by any stretch, and they really enjoyed this one.

Poured part of a 750ml into a snifter.

Appearance - It produced a tannish white one finger head that slowly dissipated to a thin crown. It is a hazy translucent ruby brown color. The first pour had no yeast floaties, but all subsequent pours did.

Smell - The smell is pretty good. There are many layers to the scent - green and red apples, raisin, plum, bananas, pear, burnt sugar and caramel. The alcohol becomes more apparent as the beer warms to room temperature.

Taste - All of the scents that are present are also contained in the flavor. It tastes of red apples, raisins, plums, caramel and a slight spice - very sweet. The flavor is very complex and seems to change over the course of the drink, with the apple flavor trading dominance with raisin flavor.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with light carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

Drinkability - Extremely good. Although I shared this 750ml with other people, I could have easily drunk the entire bottle by myself. The smooth mouthfeel, flavor and scent make for a very nice drinking experience.

A really good Belgian. I recommend drinking this brewerie's beers out of the larger bottles. I enjoyed the flavor much more out of the 750mls than the 33cls. I am glad that these are now available in Texas.

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Photo of Trueant1
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown color. Has lots of yeastie floaties. Too much floaties. The beer is cloudy.

Smells sweet and spicy. Even smells of nice fresh wheat bread.

Tasts of sweet candy, caramel, and some bitter hops balance the extreme sweetness nicely. Some alcohol comes through on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is thick sweetness. Lots of small carbonation that tingles your pallet.

This beer is way above average. However, just too sweet for my personal tastes. The sweetness made it just a tad hard for me to drink.

A good beer!

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Photo of Hemi
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours to a 3 finger off white head that almost completely disappears. Weak sporadic lacing. Cloudy mahogany in color with an abundance of suspended yeast clumps. I'm picking up a very fruity nose, a bit of banana and spices. No doubt the yeast strain contribute a lot of the characteristics. This is a very rich beer to the palate, similar to other Belgiums. I can taste a bit of belgium sugar candy, hints of plum and raison with a slight hop bitter finish. A bit thinner mouth feel then I would expect but not thin by any means. Its a good beer however I think the bottle was about as much as I can handle personally. A bit too rich to consume in large quantities.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.34/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a bottle at Bauer on Newbury Street for this past Friday night. After popping the cap, I got some overflow, not quite an explosion, but enough to spill down the sides. After letting it settle down a bit, I poured myself some into a Belgian chalice. Wow, there were a lot of chunks of yeast. Too many, almost to the point of distraction. I let the glass sit for a bit, and upon first taste, I liked it. The taste was of caramel and fruit, with a smoothness that hid the alcohol level. But those chunks, they are hard to ignore. For the second glass, I poured extremely slow, and most of the yeast stayed in the bottle. This was an enjoyable beer now. But the third and final glass was 1/3 yeast chunks, so not so great. This is a great tasting beer, but I think I'd only get it on draft, and never in a bottle again.

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

First off, I don't remember the name of the place I picked this up at. It's a little liquor store on the opposite corner from the Hopleaf in Chicago. Nice place. Into the La Chouffe tulip...

A - Dark, with lots, I mean LOTS of floaties. Head was perfect in both retention and size.

S - Tart cherries and strawberries are the first things I noticed about this beer. Underneath that, I noted a tiny bit of alcohol, some cream, and sugarcane, with a sweet malt background. Very pleasing, if not as quite as complex as expected...

T - The entry focused again on tart fruits, with some nice spices mixed in. The alcohol picks up at midpalate, and becomes somewhat prickely in the finish. Deffinately some triple qualities going on here. The fuits become more sour towards the finish, and mix with some sour bread notes and the alcohol in what I can best describe as an appropriate finish to this beer. Wonderful lingering farmhouse qualities. I like what they did here.

M - Those damned floaties get in the way here...

D - I see myself buying this again, if for no other reason than to match with some good salty bleu cheese.

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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 irishkyle21
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The foam rushed out of the bottle as soon as I popped the cap. It pours with a fluffy light caramel colored head. Decent retention and lacing. Has a cloudy amber color. There was a lot of sediment in the beer even though I filtered what I could.

Smells of sour funkiness, a bit of peppery spice, winey alcohol fruitiness, caramel malt and wood.

Tastes of dark fruits, spices ( pepper comes to mind again) and some sweetness. A very drinkable beer, I would like to try a fresher sample and compare notes.

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Photo of rallison
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a Delirium Tremens glass. Immediately foamed out of the bottle - but that's ok, I was expecting it from this one.

Pours a cloudy reddish brown with lots of sediment. A nice 2 finger off-white head is also present that doesn't want to fully die.

Smells of delicious sweet fruits - dates and raisins - along with some sweet Belgian Candi sugar and red wine. Very nice.

Taste is very good. Belgian Candi sugar sweetness with red wine characteristics. Sweet cherries. Toffee. An intoxicating mix of flavors. What a dessert beer. Hmm, this could be quite nice to cook with as well...

Mouthfeel is exceptional. Rich and creamy with the perfect accompaniment of carbonation. Delicious. Drinkability is insanely high on this.

Highly recommended. I know I've had this before, but I forgot it was that good. And, whatever you do, make sure you serve this warm enough - it truly shines at warmer temps.

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

750ml bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

I had no idea this beer was retired. I bought mine over a year ago and was aging it. No idea of how old it was since I couldn't find any dating on the bottle.

Pours a beautiful dark brown with ruby highlights. A one finger light brown head forms with decent retention. Good lacing. Very nice beer to look at.

Aroma is of alcohol, malts, dark fruits, spices and some wood.

Taste is sweet, malts, and dark fermented fruits [dark cherries, apricots, plums]. Has some peach in there as well.

Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and creamy with a medium body. Very impressive.

Overall, a very nice beer which somehow hides its 10%. Very drinkable considering the ABV. Complex and unique. Highly recommend it if you can find a bottle.

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Photo of ndekke39
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Surly Girl Saloon in Columbus. Poured into a tulip glass, the server did a good pour on it. Super hazy light brown color that gleams reddish in the light. Perfect foamy head on the beer, right to the rim of the glass. Aromas and flavors of apples, bananas, heavy yeast (all sorts of sediment in the glass), tiny bite of alcohol, and a definite aroma of sweet white wine. Nice medium body that complemented the crisper flavors in the beer. Overall, a very enjoyable drink. Not as dark as I would have expected from a Belgian Strong Dark, but not disappointing. The alcohol is hidden well, so watch out. A fine example of the style, a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: 11.2 fl. oz. brown bottle, 9.5% abv., glassware (tulip) and serving temp (52-56 F) suggestion, and a best before end of 2007 (sampled August 22, 2007)

Aroma: Rich fruity malt, full of raisins and plums and a perfumed alcoholic note that blends it all nicely.

Appearance: Slow motion gusher as I took the cap. Lava lamp coagulation is disappointing as I am in the age range suggested by the label, if at the tail end of it. I’m patiently waiting and most of it is settling toward the bottom of my glass. Hazy deep brown with a skimpy cover of tiny light tan bubbles but a good collar

Flavor: Firm alcoholic note but not hot. Malt fruit note is pure and simple, I’m guessing Special B and candy sugar in the brewing. There is a mild bubble gum note as well. There is an earthy quality as well, like sugar beets. Definite Belgian yeast quality lends it a Trappist air.

Mouthfeel: Lively without being fizzy, thinner body from the alcohol, lingering finish.

Overall Impression: A tasty beer. I’m a little disappointed that I let it go so long and let it go all lava lamp on me. I guess I was waiting on a special day. Turned out it was the first day back at work for Fall 07.

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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 rhoadsrage
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

(Served in a stem less snifter)

A- This beer has a big tan head that sits on a small body of a dark reddish caramel hue. There is a violent swirling of carbonation in the body and it is pushing large bits of trub around the body. Even with the gentlest pour there is still lots of chunks in this beer.

S- The sweet malt smell is rich and has a nice wood and caramel note to it. It has note of dark dates and yeast as it warms.

T- The taste of dark sugar and toffee has a light pale malt flavor and a honey quality to it. There are more burnt sugar notes and a soft marshmallow fluff hint. This finish has a light bitter note to it that doesn’t have much hop flavors but is a nice finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with lots of chunks and a soft alcohol warmth as the beer warms up.

D- I ended up dumping the first glass because of all the chunks an after the beer was open for a bit the carbonation settled and I was able to decant off a few glasses of almost jetsam free beer. The flavor was nice and although not really complex did have some nice depth to it.

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

Best Before End: 2008

Its about time we broke this one out after buying it more than half a year ago. When we popped the cap off, we had a gusher. Not a big deal really, but it did disturb the yeast quite a bit giving the beer a more murky appearance than was probably intended. Pours a dark coppery brown color with a slight reddish hint. A soft, whipped foamy light tan head sticks to the surface for a while before eventually fading away. Dark, tart, fruity aroma resembles apple cider, cherries, and sweet, sticky bread. The slick, creamy mouthfeel is low on carbonation after the explosive beginning but still very nice in its full body and mild warmth. Rich, dark fruity esters start out the flavor before giving way to a delicious sweet, nutty, creamy maltiness. Yummy.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Best by 08)

Pours a very dirty auburn color and when held directly up to the light glows orange-red from the inside out. Heavily murky with noticeable suspended bits throughout. Head is small and retention is not more than a rim around the glass. No lace. Aroma is soft, sweet, and fruity with a touch of delightful intoxication. Dark juicy fruits, ripe green apple and green grapes blend into woody cocoa and vanilla. Its hard to break from smelling this. Taste matches aroma well but the maltiness becomes more distinct though still thoroughly blended. In aroma and flavor theres a fruity, alcoholic acidity which adds character. Carbonation is just about right and adds a light, even prickly sensation as you become aware of the alcohol, middle to finish. Mouthfeel is light in feel but approaching full in quantity. The texture is slick and is evenly coating. This is very drinkable especially with the high abv.

This is high on the yummy scale and I think I might have sucked it down a little too fast.

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Photo of joe1510
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz Bottle
Binny's Orland

Best before 2007

As with other Des Rocs ales the Grand Cru pours loaded with big heavy protein chunks. They break up somewhat but are still thick. The body of this beer would look amazing if not for the floaties. Glowing ruby body with a 1+ finger loose ivory head one the pour. Head fades to a thick half finger cap. Leaves spotty lacing.

Smell is absolutely packed with different aromas. Sweet doughy malts combine with spicy alcohol up front. Brown sugar and dark fruits show up halfway through. Cherries, plums, and figs. The backend brings powdered sugar, nutmeg, and a faint spicy hoppiness. The longer your nose stays in the beer the more the aroma changes.

Flavor is a little of a let down after the wonderful aromas. Much like the smell doughy malts kick things off. Mid palate a some of the darker fruits that were mentioned in the smell hit the tastebuds. There is also, a very mild metallic twang every now and then. Not bad but not an improvement either. The swallow brings brown sugar, slight alcohol warmth, and a mild floral hoppiness. This beer gets much better as it warms.

Medium body with a coating mouthfeel. Slightly sticky. The mouthfeel is good but I just don't like getting one of those bigger protein chunks.

Good flavor and a wonderful aroma help this beer go down pretty easy. To me it seems like it would be more appropriate for cooler weather instead of a hot night like tonight.

Another tasty treat from Des Rocs. My only complaint of their beers are the huge amount of chunky settlement. Des Rocs beers are excellent but if the sediment was taken a little better care of they would be world class.

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Photo of amiles
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Popped a foiled and capped 750ml bottle and immediately started to pour over. I've read other reviews and was sort of expecting it, but this was really rather out of control. It would just not stop. Even after I had a chance to pour the beer, it was forming fairly large bubbles at the bottle opening. Never seen that before! Kinda cool. Anyways...

Appearance - Pour a mellow brown into a St. Bernardus glass. Lots of lingering floaters that really create a not-so-nice visual appeal. Little to no head, which surprised me due to the overflowing bottle. Wouldn't want to drink this in a really well lit room.

Smell - Has a strong, yet non alcoholic sweet smell to it. Something that the typical Belgium brew doesn't. Can't quite put my finger on it. Bit more hop than the usual brown as well.

Taste - The very first sip I took felt like a punch to the mouth. A very GOOD punch to the mouth, yes it exists! Very very powerful initial taste, but mellows out as you drink on. Lots of sweetness and mild hops, with a tarty but pleasant aftertaste welcomes your next sip...

Mouthfeel - Nice...! Not too much carbonation, but enough to keep your mouth interested. Definitely let this one warm up a bit and it will feel even smoother.

Drinkability - Definitely a sipper, and definitely something you want keep in front of you for a while and enjoy how tasty it really is. The 9.5% alcohol shows about half way through the bottle. Not a bad thing though... I like to know that I'm drinking a beer!

Wonderful beer...! Was a bit worried about the floaters at first but really didn't phase me after it was poured. Excellent beer for sure.

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Photo of jwff
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours light, translucent brown with leanings towards plum. Ridiculous amount of carbonation present and head retention/lacing are excellent. Plenty of yeast is there and it's presence fills the whole glass, but it just adds a grainy characteristic to the appearance. Home movie beer. Powdery brown sugar and molasses are present in the smell. Soft brown/chocolate malts noticeable and inviting. Grape-y sweetness with plenty of sugar.

Front of the mouth is loaded up with brown sugar and molasses. Towards mid palette it shifts to a spicy yeastiness and some residual sugars before taking on a burnt spice aftertaste with brown sugar kicking back in. Mouthfeel is kind of weak (probably due to the damn thing exploding). It's on the watery side, but that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. Hard to believe this is 9.5, but the alcohol does start to show itself a bit after it warms.

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Photo of BitterLover
3.35/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 1 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle. The "Best before end" year was 2008. I bought this bottle for my wife because she likes brown ales. But once she saw the floaters in it, she would have nothing to do with it. And this was even after the bottle had sat undisturbed in the back of my fridge for weeks.

A - Dark reddish mahogony color with a three fingers head (must have poured it too vigorously). The tan head died down pretty quickly tho, leaving just an 1/8" thick skin on the top of the beer that was speckled with darker flecks. Curious about these flecks, it was at this point that I noticed that the beer was chock full of some sort of sediment that looked like parsley flakes or something. It reminded me of the scene from "Strange Brew" where the boys poured the beer out of their dog's bowl into a glass for their Dad. :-)

S - Mostly smelled like brown, sticky stuff -- molassas, brown sugar, caramel and brandied fruit. Nice and malty.

T - Really sweet, with a faint sour note on the finish.

M - I'm trying to detect the copious flakes on my tongue, but I really can't. They must be very diaphanous and just melt. Very thick and heavy mouthfeel.

D - Too sweet for my taste, but I'm sure my wife would have liked it if it hadn't been for the detritus.

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

Poured from a double magnum into a chalice glass. Deep red-brown in color with a dense tan head that just keeps giving. The smell is malt with citrus, sour cherries, and nutmeg from the yeast. My mouth is watering. The taste is very sweet at the front, almost syrupy. The finish dries it out nicely and gives it a great balance. The alcohol follows the liquid down & gives you that glow that says the beer loves you. Really. I promise. The finish is bitter after a few sips but once the alcohol kicks in you really don't mind so much. The mouthfeel has great carbonation held in check by a silkiness that's just sexy. The drinkability is good. Good enough to finish 1.5 litres of the stuff, I'd say. This one has potential. I think I need to get another bottle & age it. This one may have died too young. A moment of silence, please.

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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 728 ratings.
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