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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown | Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
515 Reviews
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Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special BrownAbbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
Belgium
abbaye-des-rocs.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
515
Ratings:
725
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
12.62%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
41
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 515 | Ratings: 725
Photo of rarbring
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The brew is dusky brown, rather light, small bubbles, a warm off-white head that leaves little lacing and rather/surprisingly small curtains.

Sweet apricot marmalade, spicy sponge cake, yeast, old bananas.

A sweet mixed fruit marmalade start, some spicy notes, bitter orange peel.

Rather high carbonation, small lively bubbles, soft and sticky texture, a good body and a dry warm finish.

In all a good strong ale, very good with ripe hard cheese.

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

Pours reddish brown,. Creamy white head topping the beer nicely and with a nice lacing. Many big floaters swimming around

N - fruits, alcohol, caramel, Figs

M -, creamy, sweet, bitterness is very mild. Medium to full body. Alcohol is not dominating, even with its 9.5%. Carbonation is medium. Feels oily and smooth

T - dark  and red fruits as present in nose. Sweetness of caramel, ,  figs, nuts, raisins.

Overall a very nice beer from this brewery. Well balanced and very drinkable.  good to comme back to belgian style beer after a few years of ruining my tastes buds with american hops. Very very pleasant.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Small bottle. Pours dark red. Off white foamy head, tremendous retention. It really looks like it's raining chucks of yeast.

Fruity, yeasty, nutty, dark fruits and a hint of alcohol. Caramel.

Dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel and nuttiness.

Full bodied, creamy and lingering.

A nice robust Belgian ale. It's at the end of it's life according to the label, but I think it'll do fine for years...

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a medium mahogany color with pristine clarity aside from the huge chunks of particles floating around the bottom of the glass. The head is tan and thick and durable. There isn't too much lacing but enough to satisfy. The nose is full of dark fruits and candy sugars, with hints of spice. Figs, raisins, brown sugar, nutmeg and Belgian yeast make up and excellent and complex nose. I'm surprised alcohol doesn't come into play. It's completely hidden. There is an immediate candy sweetness in the taste, but not a cloying sweetness. Sweet figs take center stage here only this time the alcohol comes through just barely. The mouth feel is on par with the rest of the beer. It's full bodied, soft and with moderate carbonation. Some of the yeast particle can be felt on the tongue as the beer finishes from the glass. As far as Belgian Strong Dark Ales go this one is above par. The taste, smell, feel and appearance are second to none. Highly recommended to any Belgian lover. It makes a great substitute for a fine port as well.

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Photo of soulfly1492
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Dark fruity esters. Sweet dates and raisins. Some mild brown malts. Some odd spice, I'm actually getting ginger and cinnamon. Some malt character, but mostly the fruits and spice.

Appearance: Super chunky. The largest particles and highest quantity that I've ever seen. Large chunks falling out during the pour, no job, I should have used a strainer as ridiculous as that sounds. That's a first. Decent retention, some lacing. Dark brown in color, opaque. Light brown head.

Taste: Sweet, bold flavor. Dark fruits, dates, raisins and molasses. Rose-like alcohol which is very pleasant here. Some mild bitter hops, but mostly sweet. The finish is brown malt and dates and slightly bitter prunes.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. Oily all the way. Never drying. Low carbonation. Can feel a few chunks on their way across my tongue.

Overall: Very full of flavor, but never harsh or overpowering. Not like a few of the other impressive brews of the Belgian Strong Dark Ale style. Very easy to sip and savor. Absolutely perfect as a "desert beer".

Notes: Best before 9/1/2012, drank on 2/1/2012.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice chestnut color as it pours into my goblet - much like the Abbaye Des Rocs Tripel. This beer too has a lot of sediment, chunks even. Little to no head. I'm going to be a bit more harsh this time - taking a few points off for those last two. Aroma is sweet and tart. The sour apple, pear, plum, brown sugar, chocolate malt, and fig flavors are very pleasant. Flavor - Very interesting and not quite what I expected - I am getting much more of a baker's chocolate and malt character coming forward rather than the fruity phenols that dominated the aroma. Still, the enhance the flavor and make it subtly more complex. After letting the cold temperature come down a little, I can pick up a more distinct raisin as the beer touches my palate, dark chocolate, and the pear/sour apple fruit flavors are soft and in the finish, along with a little spice. Medium bodied - not too chewy or watery - just right. There is no warning in the flavor regarding the alcohol strength. This beer is an absolute joy to imbibe. A+

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

A: Pours deep reddish hazy brown with an almost ridiculously large tan head. Dissipation sets into nice lacings, but rather quickly.

S: Sourness (in a very nice way) with loads of dark dried fruits. Sweetness. Green apples and lemon sezt. Smells almost like molds – like an Oud Bruin and a Strong Dark Ale had a love-child. Some oaky notes.

T: Again the cross between Oud Bruin and Belgian Strong Dark Ale – man this is something else. Sourness and dark dried fruity sweetness in a great combination. Vinous, like a well aged red wine.

M: Aftertaste is rather short and holds nice sour but also sweet notes. Body is medium to full while carbonation is moderate. Smooth and nice.

O: Like I wrote above – a fun mix between a Oud Bruin and this style. Fantastic.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Bier Academy in Canyon Country, CA.

Best by 2/12/13.

Pours a murky dark brown with a 2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap. No lacing forms on the drink down. A ton of sediment is suspended in the beer after the pour. Smell is of toasted malt, dark fruit, toffee, spices, leather, and alcohol. Taste is of toasted malt, dried dark fruit, leather, clove, and an alcohol kick. There is also a slightly metallic flavor that comes out as the beer warms. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly thick and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some nice and interesting aromas and flavors.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big, beige head quickly builds and falls leaving no lace but a thin film. The beer is dark brown with lots of carbonation and chunky floaters.

Sweet with dark fruits such as figs and plums. There is also a distinct aroma of molasses.

Flavor is again dark fruit with nuts and oat added in as well as candy sugar sweetness.

Vigorous carbonation with a full body and syrupy texture. The Dogfish Head snifter has its work cut out for it. There are also chunks of yeast and the alcohol is pleasantly tamed.

Warms well and is easy to drink while relaxing or reading.

The draught version is similar, though with no yeast sediment.

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

2010 vintage. pours a seductive amber dark maple syrup color with a hazy red glow, some yeasty floaters, and a receding off white head that falls back to a quarter inch. leaves not lacing but pancake batter like froth on the sides of my tulip glass. smells is crazy, funny fruit up front, almost like a white grape juice, mellowed out with a raisiny like sweetness, and a funky tart musk vibe from the yeast. flavor is extraordinarily complex. only noe does the brown ale part of this start to make sense, roasty sweet caramel malts dominate, with all kinds of subtle action, dried fruit again, almost winelike. huge belgian yeast profile too. mouthfeel is quite good, a little sweet, but thats just me. really a nice evolving aftertaste and good carbonation, alchohol kick as well. overall an excellent beer, ive got food pairings dancing in my brain

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Photo of Alieniloquium
1.69/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

330 mL bottle poured into a McChouffe chalice... and then a CCB snifter to catch the overflow. This bottle gushed on me big time. The bottle date has been smudged off.

Appearance - So after the bottle erupted all over my hands and the counter, I could watch the stream of murky brown liquid pour into my glass. Chunks of sediment flowed with it. The huge head has specks of floaties all over it. I suppose the head retention is good, though...

Smell - Sour apples and some dry vinous malt aromas. It's be transformed horribly. Sour smelling, but not awful.

Taste - And it's awful. Astringent and the tartness is piercing in the most unpleasant way. Dry and bitter in the finish. Just not good.

Mouthfeel - Dry and leaves the flavors on the palate for far too long. The aftetaste is far worse than the flavor.

Overall - Drainpour and two dirty glasses. Great. Clearly an infected bottle and not a nice infection, either.

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Photo of OttoPeeWee
4.74/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks very strange. I have had many of these an most have floaties. Scratch that, chunks swirling in your glass. They look like the chunks that form when milk starts to curtle. I don't mind a bit. Smells fantastic, like molasses and apples. Tastes better, like sublte burnt sugar, or caramel corn (without the corn...). Scary that there is 9.5% alcohol. So subtle there isn't even a warming sensation. One of the best from our friends in Belgium! In fact, I can't think of a better strong dark!

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

More of a dark apricot/amber color than true brown; fluffy, fast-falling tan head; very little lace. Cloudy with a fair amount of floaties; disturbed a lot of yeasty chunks in the pour.

Sweet, fruity, yeasty aroma, very typically Belgian; nice spice; touch of sourness. Flavor follows the nose; very low bitterness; pleasant fruitiness with modest candy sugar sweetness. Well balanced with spices, dark fruits, faint booziness in the finish. Trace sourness and woody tannins. Quite tasty.

Solid carbonation; just a little sticky; lingering sweet and sour aftertaste. Slight alcohol warmth in the end. Very good BSDA.

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

Amber brown in color - relatively clear, with minimal head and little lacing. Strong aromas of candied fruits - some brown sugar and molasses. Flavors were terrific - sweet, a hit of raisin, very smooth and minimal alcohol notes. Medium body with a lingering sweet finish -- improving as it warms to room temperature. Outstanding!!

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Photo of rel
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stuff is awesome.

Pours a hazy yet vibrant chestnut color with a huge foamy head. Great retention but average lacing.

Smell is sweet and malty, with lots of dark fruits, and light fruity hops accompanied by an alcoholic ester.

A combination of lightly roasted malts and sweet mellow sugars. The taste is much sweeter than the alcohol smell would lead you to believe. It has a warming tingle, but doesn't taste alcoholic.

Beautiful beer. Will definitely pick this up often.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 06/08/2013

Beer is a dark chestnut brown in colour with a moderately-sized beige head. Phenomenal retention- head sits there immobile for a long while. Moderate lacing.

Nice deep malty scent off the beer, quite bready. Brown sugar, spices and candied fruit. Belgian yeast.

Taste is very similar to the nose. Bready, spices (clove, pepper) and a little bit of dark fruit. Not as sweet as expected, even a slight bitterness at the end, but still a sweet beer overall.

As for mouthfeel, beer is overcarbonated. Gets in the way of the taste a bit and is somewhat irritating. Other than that, pretty good. Full bodied, chewy.

Overall, very enjoyable. Not quite a 4.5 taste-wise, but a strong enough 4 that I use the 'overall' to boost a little.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
1.09/5  rDev -74%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bottle says best by 2007 – and they weren’t kidding. Still, how something has turned this rank, I have no idea. The beer is an absolute pleasure to drainpour. It smells like an NYC alley, but worse, or like hot garbage, with a strong metallic-rust note to boot. Also like vomit. Just horrible. Also, overly foamy, like a Coke-float or something. From the appearance to everything else, nothing is even moderately acceptable about this brew.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a glowing amber with a puffy, fizzy beige head that dissipates quickly. Big chunks of yeast in the pour mark this beer as being unfiltered.

S: Initially, the nose is dominated by scents of candy sugar, caramel, and heavy spices. As the beer settles and warms, scents of roasted nuts and dark bread emerge, while the spice aromas separate.

T: Sweet and spicy on the entry with flavors of candy sugar, dark bread, earthy hops, licorice, star anise, roasted nuts, coriander, and a playful prickle of warming alcohol. The finish is long and rich with notes of spices, sugar, and bread soaked in alcohol. Very balanced and surprisingly restrained for such a heavily spiced ale.

M: Full-bodied but with an initially slight, slick mouthfeel that disguises the heft of this beer. Grows heavier and even smoother just before the fade.

O: Very nice. This is an excellent Belgian strong dark ale.

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Photo of jeff1973
4.89/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a Moinette challis. Best before date of 10/16/2012.

A - Dark ruby red. Light tan heads leaves pretty good lacing. A lot of yeast "floaties" throughout beer, not just in the bottom of the bottle.

S - Dark ripe fruit (plums, cherries), touch of licorice.

T - Dark fruit explosion. Lots of cherry, very juicy. Taste then mellows out to acidic wine-like flavor with a touch of licorice before drying out nicely to cut the sweetness.

M - Medium carbonation. Medium mouthfeel. These contrast enough to make the beer refreshing and complex at the same time.

D - Medium high and dangerously so.

Great beer! Very complex taste and mouthfeel. Really coats the mouth with all the great flavors without being too heavy.

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Photo of impending
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl into a tulip. Pours a dull deep copper chestnut, minor mocha colored head, minor lacing.

Aroma is rich in grape Hi-C, nearby are dark fruits that have begun to rot. spicy

Deep complex taste. Figs, prunes, grapes and a tiny smokiness. Rummy fruit cake. Perfect phenolic note sits in for bitter. Surprisingly dry finish. Aftertaste evolves nicely as it fades slowly. Thin to medium bodied mouthfeel.
cheers
jd

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Photo of nickd717
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Church Key in SF.

Deep reddish-brown color with an off-white head.

Aroma of dried fruits, caramel malt, yeast, and spices.

Flavor is very fruity - lots of cherries - with other fruits and toffee also.

Smooth, medium-full palate. Good stuff.

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color matches my dark orange credit card almost perfectly. Half a finger of matching head drops of the chart without a lace

Some oranges and chewy Flintstones multi vitamins, sweet molasses and yeast banging off of my nostrils, quite the nose

Heavy wet bread, sourdough yeast. Some belgian candy and a hint of garden vegetable, with a little black pepper. Really thin though for what I was expecting

Medium to heavy bodied ale, some syrupy texture with a hint of warmth mentioning the alcohol within

Overall a solid beer. I highly recommend it. Not too expensive either at 11 bones.

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

hazelnut brown color being presented in front of me. A smallish head, maybe an inch and a half came up over the top and settled down gently, forming a very nice pillow of tan across the top. Some nice carbonation could be seen streaming up as well.

The aroma was rich, lots of caramel and brown sugar mixed in with a fig and prune like fruit. Dark, with a touch of alcohol, though I have to admit, very well hidden indeed. The flavor was more of the same, rich and decadent with a large dose of sugar balancing it out quite well. All hotness had faded from this one now, as it was mellow and smooth as hell.

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Photo of trevorjn06
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is labeled as a "Belgian Special Brown Ale" and is 9.5% ABV. That's really all I know about this beer.

Pours a mahogany/dark copper with good clarity. A thick, tan head recedes quickly.

Aroma is dark fruits, raisins and figs with some caramels and very light toastiness. Fairly straight forward but pleasant.

Taste is a bit thin, it includes raisins, light fig and a bit of caramel. The finish is lacking of richness and leaves a thin, malty flavor with a slight phenolic edge. There are hints of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly syrupy on the finish.

Overall very underwhelming. Lacks complexity and is too sweet.

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

Served in oversized wine glass.

LOOK (4.5/5) This one pours a rich mahogany brown. Clarity is a bit poorer than I would have thought - it is between hazy and opaque. Head is a real treat! It comes up huge and billowing out of the bottle; it is light beige and mousy in texture. It took a while to fall to a cap, but lacing was a bit disappointing.

SMELL (4.5/5) The nose is rich and malty with a good helping of fruit and a touch of pepper. The malt is largely vienna/munich with it's characteristic melanoidin flavor (plums/prunes/dates) it has a hint of caramel, but no roasty/toasty notes. I get a hint of orange peel and other light fruits. The finish is sweet, but has a touch of pepper.

TASTE (4.5/5) The flavor is very similar to the nose, but the relative strengths differ a bit. The malt is still full of those mailard flavors (dark, dried fruits). I get the impression that the yeast adds a lot of lighter notes to the dark fruit flavors. A good helping of pepper and a surprisingly tart finish round it out. The balance was still malty.

FEEL (5/5) Moutfeel is ideal for the flavours going on here! Medium-full bosy adds some weight and depth to the flavor - the latter is a great transition to the finish and gets that fluffy feel I like.

DRINK (5/5) For a rich, complex brew drinkability is really good because of the lighter fruitiness and the drier finish. Great, refreshing, and complex. Very, very nice!

I'd have to have this with a desert with some nice sharper or more acidic fruits like oranges or berries.

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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 725 ratings.
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