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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
739 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: 739 |  Reviews: 516
Photo of GClarkage
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

03/22/07- Purchased at Draegers in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle. Code imprinted on the label. Poured into my St. Bernardus goblet.

Appearance- Cognac-like color in appearance. So, I guess that makes it a kind of a dark amber, mahagoney color. Huge and I mean frickin huge ass overflowing head (see notation in drinkability). Decent lace streaks and spots left behind.

Smell- Not a huge outgoing nose, but definitely could detect some caramel, a few dark fruits and a bit of fusel alcohol.

Taste- Emense caramel flavor...caramel, then caramel and oh, then some more caramel. Tasted like I shoved my piehole into a bowl of melted kraft caramels. Raisins and maybe some dates and possibly some figs round out the taste.

Mouthfeel- Cask-like smooth and creamy. Lovely coating on the mouth. Little if not any carbonation. I did, however, let this sit for about an hour after the pour to let the gigantonormous head die down.

Drinkability- This was my 3rd of 6 bottles purchased from this store. The reason I purchased so many without trying is because they were not marked and I got them for $1.50 a pop. Once they figured out their error, they were marked up to $14.99 for a 4pk. Anyway, each bottle I have has been infected. I'm assuming so since the huge foaming head occurs each time. The taste seems ok, but I'm not sure about the no carbonation mouthfeel. Something is fishy here. I will have to revisit this beer for sure to get an accurate reading. As is, it has good texture and pretty good flavor. I think the fresh unspolied version should be a bit better though.

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Photo of drpimento
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, truly exceptional beer! Especially well balanced. Poured with a nice tan frothy, textured head with brown highlights; lace is the same way. Nice nose of malt, caramel, vanilla, lots of dark ripe fruit like dates, raisins, cherries, blackberries, peaches. Tastes likewise, but, more of course. Very velvety texture. Ditto drinkability. No indication of alcohol. Does seem to have needed decanting; however, I didn't eat my wheaties this morning....

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

Pours very dark brown with ruby highlights, off-white head with no lace but some staying power. Aroma hints at sweet tastes that lay ahead. Savory spice, beet sugar sweetness, and dusty yeast aromas compose the nose. On the palate, big carbonation first off, then nutty sweetness and a touch of fruity acidity. For a big, rich, beer this has a surprisingly light touch -- the yeast has left over plenty of fruity esters and, along with some bubblegum flavors and big carbonation, this makes for a light touch. On the bottom end, the palate has plenty of malty, dark candi sugar sweetness, along with some earthy, tobacco-like notes. Mouthfeel is pretty heavy, but lightened somewhat by present alcohol and big carbonation. Overall, this is a very good Belgian strong dark ale. Lots of sweet notes, good carbonation level, a bit heavy in mouthfeel, but all this is counterbalanced by light yeasty and fruity notes. Quite good.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very nice, deep, somewhat muddy brown in color. Huge, huge off white head on top. Very musty and earthy aroma. Wonderful flavor-has a honey like taste to it. Reminds me of a mellow tasting mead. Almost a citrus like, lemony flavor. Good belgian yeast flavor in there. The whole thing is well balanced though not overly complex. Very creamy mouthfeel. Hard to believe this puppy is 9.5%. Extremely drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of ccrida
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Popping a cap on my 750 ml (best before 08, with "I 601" written below - beermail me if you know what that means!), the foams starts gushing over the edge requiring a quick pour - luckily I had my glass on hand, the tulip shaped tasting glass from Michael Jackson's set, which I'm really warming up too...anyways, the Grand Cru has a firm, 1/2 glass tall head, that is light tan with tons of tight, small bubbles. It was slow to subside and left lots of thick, bubbly, foamy lace. The color is a dark, slightly cloudy garnet with tons of gelatinous looking yeast in suspension.
The aroma is really nice, lots of grape and cinnamon, sweet and boozy, but not as robust as I would have liked.
The taste is really nice, wow! I love it. More grape, honey, caramel malt, vanilla, yeasty and vinous, with more depth and less sweet then the nose. The finish is a bit bitter with a warm, but not hot taste of alcohol. Also, a slighty, woody taste but not oak, more like what I would imagine a sherry barrel aged would taste like - although i've never had one and have no idea if this was. My first thought was cork, but then I realized that this bottle was capped!
The mouthfeel is nice and light, though not nearly as active as the head would lead you to believe. The suspended yeast are also clearly present, which I could see being a real turn off to some. You can feel them, but they disintegrate against the tongue. I like my beers yeasty, but I'd prefer if it settled out.
The drinkability of this is really high for me, from taste alone. The aftertaste is moderate but fair from obliterating the palate, and the alcohol is easily lost in the shuffle. The light body also really helps. And for those afraid of yeast, all the vitamin B really comes in handy the next day if you overindulge, which is easy to do with as fine a brew as this!
Bottom like, the Gran Cru is just awesome. I've been drinking some great beers lately, but this is really fantastic, right up my alley. The taste reminds me a bit of the new Pelican Grand Cru, which I was lucky enough to taste at a Barelywine and Strong Ales festival last weekend. The irony is that beer is brewed 60 miles from my house and cost twice as much at the grocery store as this Belgian OG - thats right, I grew up listening to ganster rap, bitches!

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

Appearance: The ale is a dark ruby red color that has yeast and sediment sprinkled through resulting in some cloudiness. The bottle almost exploded with carbonation. This resulted in a huge tan head with moderate lacing around the glass.

Smell: The nose is of caramel, a mix of spices (cinnamon in particular). There are also lots of fruits in here. You've got oranges, apricots, figs, and apples.

Taste: The beer really excites the palate when warmed adequately. A nice thick earthy malt. Then you have the sweet brown sugar taste with the seems in equal measure with the tart fruits and figs. The spices are around too adding to the nice balancing act.

Mouthfeel: Creamy centered medium bodied beer. The carbonation is lively to excite the palate without overpowering it.

Drinkability: I am glad I have some more bottles of this stashed away. I could drink a couple of these with a detriment to my sobriety.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First off, opening this resulted in a carbonation emergency with foam and beer everywhere. The color is deep dark mahogony with a ton of carbonation that leaves a giant tan foamy head,but the lacing is almost nonexistant. The smell is pungent with roasted malt,dark fruit,nuts, and alcohol. The taste is nutty, sweet with malt,and filled with alcohol. Dark fruit along with roasted malt and Belgian candy sugar makes this beer very sweet and delicious. The m/f is medium with the abundant mix of flavors matched perfectly. This is a great tasting beer that should not be missed, but I have to go and clean my rug now.

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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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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 739 ratings
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