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: 732 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of Hampton73
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After openning the 11.2 oz bottle, the foam came out. I poured just in time to catch it. Nice off white head that dissipated quickly to a layer of fine foam on top of this dark brown beer.

The aroma is full of fruity sweetness. Not quite sure what to think, but probably something good.

The first drink is sweet, fruity, musty, and malty. Maybe too sweet for my mood at the time. I should have one for dessert, because it is good.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another outstanding beer from Abbey. Pours a creamy, craggy head, leaving lacing down the glass. The smell? Geez, you name it..oranges, plums, raisins, bit o' chocolate, all kinds of nice, light spices. Oh, and don't drink this cold, it kills the great flavors. Also, is a very dark brown color. Tough to top this belgian great.

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Photo of joeskirkie
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice brown with s light amber hint to it, nice thick beige head too.

The scent is just malty in general, some sweetness in there but nothing specific.

Oh boy what a sweet brew. Nice caramel hinting with spices throughout. I think I get mild hop bitterness on the finish.

It's so smooth and sweet; I'll take another please.

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Photo of Vancer
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Unfiltered mahogany brown, thick and juicy tan head. Sheet of lace slide around in the 1745 crystal snifter. I’m liking where this is going. Big ol’ ring of yeastys on the bottom.

Tons of Belgium yeast, sugar cane and fruits in the aroma. Also, I note a little pop of bourbon. Weird.

Thick, sweet boozy quaff, whats with the anise in here? Thick and creamy, they dumped a fruit basket in the mash. Tastes great, not a hot alcohol burst, but subtle and lovable. What a great sipping brew, along with a fire in the fireplace, golf on TV, and Amsterdam Old Age cheese to snack on. Glad I have two bottles of the brew.

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

This beer poured a cloudy brown with a big head with beautiful lacing. The smell is quite malty and a bit sour. The taste is malty and spicy. The mouthfeel is full and has a nice carbonation tinge. The drinkablity of this one….wow…great flavor, everything balanced well, without being overpowering. Delicious!

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Photo of crwills
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at a tasting with biegaman, northyorksammy, and grub. Thanks guys!

Poured a cloudy gold into a tasting class, lots of sediment. Surprising amount of carbonation, and quite a bit of lacing.

An aromatic beer, with both malty caramel and peppery spice competing for dominance. Flavour was extremely malty, caramel and bread, with very little hop presence except for a little bit of that 'pepperyness' coming through. Great mouthfeel, sweet aftertaste. Liked this one a lot, and was glad to be able to share it with these guys!

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Heavens, we have a gusher! Pours a cloudy mahogany with a decent head (even though quite a bit was lost in the gush) that persists well and leaves sheets of lace

Smell: Vinous aroma of fruits (dried figs and apricots, primarily); brown sugar and alcohol

Taste: Starts with a sweet dried fruit flavor; that is joined, mid-palate, by an increasing sour apple and cinnamon complexity; after the swallow, the sour flavors build and combine with the sweetness to create a well-balanced blend

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation

Drinkability: Not the best in the category, but certainly a quality brew that deserves a try

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Photo of BeerRun13
3.32/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a super cloudy amber/ dark orange... quite dark orange. Too much carbonation, as I had to really let this one settle after a gentle pour. Nice eggshell head with some good lace after it calms down. Some floaties in there.
Sweet in the nose. A little banana/clovelike.
Good flavor, but nothing special. Actually quite 1 or 2 dimmensional. Sweet banana/clovelike with maybe a touch of candi.
Full bodied and highly carbonated. Dry enough but the sweetness is still there. Almost cloying.
Over rated in my opinion. At least I scored another 11.2 oz bottle for homebrew

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Photo of scottoale
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This came in a 11.2fl.oz. brown bottle with a Best before end (what looks like) 2007. It pours into a semi-tulip 13.5oz. a dark murkish hazelnut brown with a solid, tight 2-finger tan head that lasts. Some thick lasting lace left stuck to the glass as you drink.

The smell is of thick, chewy malt and caramel...sweet and very malty, nice strong aroma of unhopped wort...sticky sweet.

The flavor can best be classified as a "Malt Bomb" in that it is very sweet and thick, almost malt syrup like. This brew is just about the opposite of a "Hop Bomb", although there are hops that manage to tame the sweetness quite nicely. Just a big, fat malty brew that is very tasty and fairly strong as well.

The body is massive, thick and chewy, with a good smooth mouthfeel and the right amount of carbonation to give this strong ale a good drinkability...the alcohol is well burried in the malty thickness. A good solid drinker that deserves a try for this style...another unique Belgian for sure.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opening the bottle resulted in a slow oozing over the kitchen table.
Poured a cloudy brown color into a Duvel glass. Pronounced tannish head with great retention and lacing.
Smell is a pleasant mixture of candy sugar amd ripe dark fruits (raisins, plums).
Taste matches the smell with a rich malty sweetness. Very light on spices.
Full and creamy in the mouth.
Nice and easy to drink.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Part of my recent large purchase of assorted Belgians. $6,59 / 750mL at Michael's Beer and Wine, Marietta, Ga.
My first beer from Brasserie Des Rocs. Poured a very murky reddish brown with red-orange highlights. Quite a lot of sediment can be seen floating about in this. The head on this beer was beautiful! A khaki coloured foam about two fingers thick that stayed around for much longer than I was anticipating. This was simply a very, very nice looking pour. Smell was bread dough, mild mulling spices, dark stewed fruit, and just a hint of brown sugar.
Taste is sweet malts, a bit of yeast, some spice, and has a little longer finish than I was expecting. There is also some faintly noticeable alcohol, but faint none the less. Mouthfeel was quite average for a Belgian Brune. Very drinkable, though, considering its style and 9,5%abv. A lovely ale.

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Photo of sloejams
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Seconds after opening this bottle, the carbonation went buckwild and went everywhere. I rushed it to the sink where it would cause the least amount of harm. After it settled down, I poured into my chalice. Sadly, 1/3 of it was lost in the foam explosion.

It was a dark, murky, muddy water with an enormous head. Sediment swam around the bottom. It smelled of brown sugar and raisin - sweet but not overwhelming. As was the taste - the spiciness carried well with the dark malts. I paired it with some spicy Thai food and the combination was brilliant.

I'm still a bit saddened to see that the former Abbeye Des Rocs Grand Cru is no longer being made. It was a favorite. I enjoy the Special Brown but it's really not in the same league. But still, it's a fine Belgian brew.

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Photo of grub
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

tasting party dec 6/06 with northyorksammy, crwills, biegaman and me (grub). everyone threw in a few bottles and we had an interesting mix of beer. crwills contributed this one, so thanks craig!

pours a very cloudy red-brown colour with a gushing huge tan head. the sediment hangs throughout the glass.

aroma is great. roasty. slightly sweet. honey and caramel. raisin and grapes. slightly vinous. just a hint of spice, maybe clove. i think i could just sit and smell this one all night.

taste is good. light bitterness. caramel sweetness. bittersweet chocolate. dried fruit, maybe cranberries. not quite as nice as the aroma, but still good.

mouthfeel is good. fairly dry with a nice carbonation level.

drinkability is great. well balanced and very enjoyable. liked this one alot.

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Photo of phishgator
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a wide mouthed goblet. The color is brown; there are a great deal of perticles in the brew and it has a large gushing foamy head. The smell is of rasins, chocolate, and pumpernickel bread. The taste is sweet and slightly tart upfront. Then there is alcohol soaked dried fruits and it finishes with a crisp dry edge. The body is big and filling. There is a lot of belgian sugar in this and I can taste the hangover if I were to stick to only this all night.

I like their beers and this is one that everyone should try.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark orange/weathered bronze with more than a dash of candy apple red when backlit. It took quick action on my part to pour the beer before foam exited the top of the bottle. As I type, multiple streams of bubbles are leaping off the bottom of the glass and are creating a softly rocky crown of pale caramel foam. Unfortunately, it isn't tacky enough to leave more than an afterthought of lace.

The nose is classic BSDA with an emphasis on sour dark fruit that I hope is countered by a sufficient amount of candi sugar on the palate. It's also brown malty with an earthy, musky hoppiness that adds some amount of complexity. It doesn't quite equal the best of the style though, despite the fact that I like it more each time I put my nose over the glass.

ADRGCBSB is very good beer and explodes on the palate with flavors that were only hinted at in the nose. The center is occupied by heavily toasted, brown bready malt and has all sorts of interesting things zinging around in its orbit. The beer is impressive dark fruity with dried figs and cidery, fermented apples contributing the most. It's also musky and yeasty and earthy and spicy and... well, it's just chock full of flavor.

I'm sure that other combinations would have been just as enjoyable, but it just so happens that sweet, bitter and tart are nearly equal in intensity. Each one of those flavor sensations are able to be appreciated in turn if one simply focuses the taste buds for a second or two. Warming brings about the expected increase in amount of and depth of flavor. This is not a subtle BSDA by any means (that's a good thing).

I felt pretty good about the mouthfeel early on, even with all the bubbles. As I enter the bottom third of the bottle though, I have a full appreciation for its wonderousness. It's medium-full, voluminous, creamy, lightly silky and lightly slick... all at the same time. I don't care what it took to get there, I just like where it ended up.

My first two bottles of Belgian Special Brown ('best by' dates of 2007) were drainpours due to an overwhelming amount of chunky, proteinaceous garbage. This bottle ('best by' date of 2008) is nothing but sweet, sweet beer. If you can find a fresh one, this is a BSDA to be reckoned with.

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Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ortino's Northside...
Appears a a caramel toned dark amber with a small, off white head that quickly fizzles out into a thin collar. Only tiny spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is heavenly of brown sugar, ripened dark fruit, melted caramel, raisins, doughy yeast, vanilla, and perhaps a touch of coriander.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a gentle amount of roasted grain complimenting the sugary flavors with a light citrus hop flowing along.
Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, sugary, fruity, and semi-dry in the finish. Carbonation is well done and gentle enough to let all the flavors and textures flow evenly.

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

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

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Photo of JoeyHotrod
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite a beautiful beer to look at here, with it's brown body and huge head that doesn't ever go away and the nice lacing left throughout the glass.

From a scent standpoint this beer has elements of fruit, malt and a touch of alcohol, though by no means overbearing and in fact quite tame for a 9.5 percent beer.

The taste is what you would expect from the style. Dark Fruits, malt and a touch of spices. Again the alcohol is there, though undervalued enough not to be a disturbance.

This is a quality beer to had here. My first ale from these guys, though with my love of Belgian Beer and if this is an example of what these guys are capable of, I hope to try some others.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Murky, mahogany color, medium thick head, tan, made of tiny bubbles, with nice retention.

S: Rather sweet, cinnamon raisin, aspirin, slight alcohol fume.

T: Tangy sweet, caramel and dark fruit malt flavors, light alcohol and hint of bitterness in finish.

M: Medium thick, lightly creamy on the palate with subtle carbonation.

D: This one opens up smelling like their Triple Imperiale, but the taste doesn't have the same complexity. I would try it again...

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Photo of nickss
4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bad first impression!... I open the bottle only to have about an ounce of it explode out of the top in the form of foam.
However, first impressions are quickly overcome as I pour the brew into the chalice. Deep ruddy brown with some ruby highlights, capped by a beautiful 2" head which refuses to subside.

Wonderful berry notes mingled with a spicy alcohol aroma. A certain breadiness as well... quite nice, yet not as pronounced as I would like.

Huge and complex... a very nice tasting brew. Berries, chocolate, cookie dough... fantastic.

Crisp with some heady carbonation, but moderately thick. Nice.

Quite drinkable for a brew of this abv. 9.5%, youve got to be kidding.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

review from notes about a month and cloudy with floaty sediment. nice white head. great fruity clove odor. oh man, oh man...mmmm....smooth with delicious cloves and red fruits (plums?). soft malt and slightly sweet. alcohol not hiding very well. a good one.

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

Very active tan head tops a scant b it of beautiful copper liquid. The head falls slowly, revealing more of the beer.

The smell is nutty and yeasty, with malty bits dancing about. There's also some almond and peach here.

Flavour is woody yet hearty. It's a bit spicy just up top. There's some almond here, and some fruitiness. It's a very distinctly Belgian flavour...

Mouthfeel is hearty but not thick. Carbonation is higher than I generally like, but that seems the style here.

VERY drinkable. Not the most complex, but well done and agreeable.

Be well

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Photo of wl0307
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml green bottle, corked and capped, with no freshness info. printed on the bottle but the cork has a number for reference: 065/759976. Served lightly-chilled to cool in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

A: elegant dark copperish brown colour, coming with a 2cm creamy beige frothy head that sustains really well and leaves tight and even layers of lacing on the way; very gentle and tiny fizziness witnesses successful bottle conditioning.
S: how can I relate this beer to... a bowl of overly ripened stone-fruits on top of a bed of aromatic hops? The fruitiness and malts come in full force, showing ripe melons, preserved-plums, figs, dates... mashed and sweetened Chinese red beans and a flow of melted brown sugar with a slightly sharp and spicy edge of very ripe pineapple, pepper cone, and coconut. Hoppyness and yeasts play the second fiddle, yet just in place to keep a balance. Especially after a good swirl, the yeasty bouquet in the form of sweet wood and extra-creamy malts both emerge... Overall, thick and rich, very complex yet very settled.
T: wow... a mouthful of creamy and rounded malts upfront, without any bits of sharp carbonation at all... slowly bringing aboard abundant mouthfeel of dried stone-fruits and aromatic yeastiness like Chinese red bean paste, a touch sour-sweet with a healthy input of brown-sugary sweetness of malts, while constantly a kick of hops skirts the main theme just elegantly. Soothing, bitter-sweet chemistry b/w hops and malts lingers in the finish, added with a mildly herbal bitter mouthfeel, a bit like licorice but not exactly that. Sublime...
M&D: absolutely great, creamy, silky smooth, and rounded on the mouthfeel, yet much lighter than its abv. tends to suggest!! It's so hard to believe this is a 10%abv. beer--it's rather like a medium-bodied malt soup with plenty of crushed fruits in it. A superb balance between yeasts, hops and malts realises in this sublime and super-approachable ale, that it's slightly too dangerously easy-drinking. Highly recommended!!!!

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Photo of shivtim
3.66/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A mean-looking beer. It's a clear red/brown, but with evil little chunkies floating in it. Good lacing. The nose is sweet and syrupy, with some sweet and tangy apple and a whiff of alcohol. Taste is again sweet and syrupy (a little too syrupy) but has some good hop flavor. Mouthfeel is fine, and drinkability is not bad for the ABV.

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Photo of ken3c
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer gushed a little but didn't seem to affect the taste. Served at about 55 degrees. The appearance however...
Starts very foamy with a large rocky head but dwindles to a ring of foam with small islands. Medium brown with a hint of red. Floating debris makes this beer rather cloudy.

Aroma has hints of biscuit, molasses and something spicy like allspice, nutmeg, and a little cinnamon. I can't sense very much alcohol at all.

Taste is first like eating a piece of cinnamon roll but then there's a taste of some peppery coriander, a brief bitterness and a lingering tartness. Again, if I didn't read 9.5% alcohol on the label, I couldn't guess it.

Mouthfeel is quite foamy and a sense of chewyness. I'd have to say mouthfeel is this beer's best feature.

In one sense (the hidden alcohol) this beer is dangerously drinkable. In another sense (do I want another one?), I'd have to say that it's merely good.

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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 732 ratings.
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