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Abbaye Des Rocs Spéciale Noël | Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.

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BA SCORE
89
very good
40 Reviews
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Abbaye Des Rocs Spéciale NoëlAbbaye Des Rocs Spéciale Noël
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: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 09-22-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
40
Ratings:
61
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
10.92%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
4
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 61
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A strong nutmeg beer, and cinammon and ginger and licorice and orange peel. Some malts and candy sugar to tone down Belgium spice. White foam. Basically syrupy. Some brandy alcohol. Three years of aging would add to the experience. Thanks Irondjinn for the sample.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a muddy dark brown color ale with a huge off-white bubbly head with better then average retention. Aroma of big sweet malt with a distinctive yeast presence. Taste is semi-sweet caramel malt with some faint presence of prunes with a slightly funky yeast presence toward the end. Body is quite full and alcohol is very well hidden. I still feel that it lack a little something to make it truly spectacular but very good beer nonetheless.

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

Review from notes. Slightly hazy brown color with beige head. Aroma has nothing really special, just some malt character. Taste is quite interesting, malt, caramel, dark sugar, molasses and some liquorice. Nice one, balanced and drinkable yet really tasty.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12-26-05- Purchased at a B.C. Provincial liquor store in Kewlowna, B.C.

Presentation- 11.2 oz bottle with a dating strip on the side of the label. Best by 2007. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Dark brown colored pour, full inch head after I barely got the bottle to the glass before it overflowed. Decent to lighter lacing.

Scent- Sweeter caramel malt, definite dark fruits as well. Plums and dates mostly.

Taste- Plums come into play big time in this tasty brew. As well as a nice caramel malt base and a pinch or two of powdered sugar. Spicy as well, but not overplayed.

Mouthfeel- Lightly creamy with moderate to a lower tight carbonation level.

Drinkability- Have another one of these aging and may pick up another one or two when I go back to Canada in February for skiing. Tasty as is, but may turn into a true gem in a few years.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

0.75 litre bottle: best before 9 Nov 2013, poured into three chalices during a random tasting evening at my house in Aug 2012.

The sediment came up with the pour and at a pace: so each glass ended up with a messy, chunky, hazy liquid within. The actual colour of the brew is dirty brown and no head wanted to be seen on top.

The smells were of a spiced fruit cake which had been caramelised and over cooked: the taste was very similar to the aromas and the lumps did break up a little as the beer warmed, but it wasn’t the greatest Belgian Christmas experience you’re ever going to get.

I’m going for OK rather than good, even though the brew has some fine flavours it lets it’s self down with the overall look and the floating sediment.

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Photo of wl0307
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

BBE 2007, served lightly chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

A: lovely dark copperish hue, relatively clear; a beige-hued foamy beer head comes rather moderate but sustains well, on top of a gently-carbonated body.
S: perfumy fruity, malty and yeasty-spicy--very ripe dark berries and plums, cherry-liquor, brown-sugary as well as candyish malts, sweet fig-jam, a slightly sharp edge of fruit-syrup, a faint tinge of sweetened tangerine/Curacao peel, plus a cinnamon-like spicy hint... The nose is reasonably complex and thick as a 9%abv. Belgian ale should be, but lacks an evolving structure which I'd prefer. Pretty nice still.
T: sweet caramely maltiness and candyish fruity flavour upfront, backed by lots of sticky sour-sweet fruits, like black plums, black cherries, figs, a little bit of citrus peel, plus a soft touch of mixed spices (cinnamon, coriander seeds, white pepper); after the mid-taste it turns slightly drier and the sweet edge also softens, as a welcoming but understated citrus-hoppy flavour develops at the back; a fruit-jammy and slightly licorice palate stays in the short aftertaste, with a subtle flow of warming alc. creeping down the throat. Satisfying and warming finish, albeit a bit sugary-sticky for me.
M&D: the carbonation is executed just beautifully, making a soft and creamy mouthfeel throughout; full-bodied, full-flavoured yet so easy to drink, this X'mas special is IMO a successful beer in its skill of blending all pronounced flavours so well, with a soft touch. A solid, though not heavenly, beer well worth a try.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.17/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pour is a dark ruby red with a tight light tan head. Nose is caramel, candied sugar, light metallic note, and banana in back. Taste is sweet, caramel is light, a touch sugary, faint seltzer and metallic not mid palate, light banana lingers through the finish. Lighter body, hides alcohol very well, moderate carbonation, and slightly empty on the finish.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle BB Nov 9, 2013. Not sure how old this makes it.

Beer is a relatively dark brown colour, a bit toffee-hued. A big-off white on top, this thing just leaves mammoth amounts of head. Lots of sediment in the beer, even when only the top half of the bottle has been poured. Little lace.

Smell contains dark fruits in the front, primarily plum and raisin. A sweet, bready malt scent accompanies. I don't know if this beer actually contains spicing, but I don't really get any in the nose.

Taste focuses on the sweet, bready malt scent. Unsurprisingly, this is a malt-focused brew. Raisin and plum there again, along with some caramel. Some light spicing is present, but no spice particularly sticks out. To the extent that "christmas" ales tend to taste like a fruitcake, I think this one is pretty mild in that regard. A bit of booze is noticeable.

Medium to full bodied, moderately carbonated. Sticky.

Overall, good, but not the best this brewery does.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 750ml bottle. Dark rusty red/brownish colour with a nice head of tanny froth that lasted and left some excellent lacing. Aromas are spicy and doughy with definitive peppery hints, and some exquisite fruitiness as well. Taste is fruity and spicy with peppery hops in the mix with doughy malts. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and lush with carbonation. Drinkability is very good, especially condiering the 9% abv and the complexity of the flavor here. Quite wonderful, unique, and hard to describe, I hope to visit it again...

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled during a visit to the Taverne Du Château on Monday 12th April. Situated in Montignies-sur-Rocs, a lovely small village in Northern Hainaut close to the French Border, and also home to the Brasserie de l’Abbaye des Rocs. The Taverne Du Château stocks a great range of the AdR beers and is one of the best places to sample them.

The fourth and last of the AdR beers that we sampled here was offered to us, presumably, by the owner of the Taverne Du Château. He realized that he had a Taverne full of beer geeks and knew that we were ordering our last beer of the afternoon before leaving. He had some excellent on-trade and bottle sales from our party of 30 for what was a quiet Easter Monday afternoon. So he offered a limited number of us a few cellared Abbaye des Rocs Spéciale Noëls that were definitely not on the Beer Menu and had been aging for around 8 years!!! A jolly nice chap he was, of course we just had to take him up on his very kind offer, and we didn't want to offend him after all!

Presentation: Another 750ml capped green glass bottle. Standard AdR presentation which includes a generic design for the main label, a gold edged simple crown shaped formed from 3 tall arched windows topped in the center arch with a red, white & gold coat of arms. This sits against a dark blue background. Sadly one of our party peeled the label off our bottle before I had chance to snap a picture of the bottle, such is the rarity of this one. The neck label has the same dark blue background, but unlike other AdR offerings that have pictures of the coat of arms and the name of the Brewery, this one simply states “Spéciale Noël” in gold lettering.

Appearance: Dark orange-amber body that was thick in character but which may have faded over the years. The bottle had a large track of yeast down it length indicating that this had been kept on its side for many years. As such, relatively little sediment emerged with the contents, the sediment appeared welded to the side of the bottle. The head formed easily, the inherent conditioning was still lively and assisted in forming a nice 3” deep off-white collared head that slowly collapsed to a rocky mass that laced well. Even after all these years this one looked bloody good.

Nose: Powerful fruity aroma. Tripel like, it had a strong bitterness set amidst some gorgeous fruity aromas. Apples and Pears, cooking spices, some ginger, toasted malts and lots of alcohol soaked plums. Wow, quite the nose on this mature Xmas beer.

Taste: Chewy at first, the bitterness has matured to become very smooth and it balances the large toasted malts about the fruity fulcrum with perfection. Big & bold but never brash, this is more like a Brandy than a beer. Incredible tastes that are almost beyond comprehension and description.

Mouthfeel: The extremely powerful Noël has a massive mouthfeel, incredibly large, all-consuming with a huge alcohol base that warms yet spices the mouth with vanilla soaked ginger and sponge cake. The infinitesimally small carbonation is like a lifeboat that keeps this powerful monster afloat at all times.

Drinkability: Powerful as it was, it was a very drinkable sipper that increased in quaffability as you got used to dissecting its complex character. Shared amongst several of our group, this was a warming ale that nevertheless has appeal and is far from overpowering.

Overall: It seems that later versions of the Abbaye des Rocs Spéciale Noël has gotten darker over the years and more heavily spiced. It was a real treat to have this older version that was most certainly more Tripel-based in character at one time it seems.

I cannot praise the welcome and service that we received at the Taverne Du Château in Montignies-sur-Rocs highly enough. And to have this special cellared treat before we left. Just Incredible! This was a fucking great beer to finish the afternoon with!! Most Impressive. The first time that I ever seen this offering from AdR, let alone tried it, and at 8 years old I can tell you that it was awesome. To think that I may never try this again.

If you see any aged versions of the Abbaye des Rocs Spéciale Noël do not hesitate to snap them up!

Seriously Recommended.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle into a Duvel tulip. Best by 9/8/14.

A: Gusher; like, seriously. Once I get it into the glass, though, the head disappears almost immediately - and without leaving any lace. THe body is a cloudy brown. Not a great looking beer.

S: Sweet, fruity, complex malts. Brown sugar, prune, vanilla, toffee, and a unique tequila-esque piquancy. Interesting and lovely.

T: The tequila aspect jumps out up front, with the toffee and fruitcake notes right behind; some spicy alcohol on the finish. Highly intriguing, and rather delicious.

M: Way too carbonated, and a bit sticky. Disappointing.

O: This would have been tremendous if it weren't for the ridiculous overcarbonation. As it was, it was a deliciously flawed novelty. I've never tasted anything quite like it.

Cheers!

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Photo of canucklehead
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this for my Birthday as it near Xmas. The beer overflowed like a geyser but the pour itself was no problem. The nose is spice and dark corners with the promise of friutcake. I liked the complexity married with a smoothness inherent in the finish. I also suggest cellaring a few bottles for the following Xmas.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle bought from BelgianShop.com... aged for about 18 months...

Poured a deep dark burgundy red colour. Creamy head poured quite loose and foamy then faded to just a thin ring around the edge... light carbonation... some sticky lacing...

Aroma - Strong rich dark fruity sweetness (black cherries and black currents mixed together, some red grapes), some light Flemish sour ale notes, the faintest hint of tobacco just noticeable, allspice, charcoal traces, lots of liquorice mixed with some chocolate, molasses, some balsamic vinegar...

Taste - Lots of rich dark fruits (black currents and red grapes) mixed with liquorice and chocolate... reminded me of a Black Forest Gateau. Kirsch alcohol notes, black treacle sweetness, some burnt nuttiness, faint smokiness, Christmas pudding, brandy notes, definite sour ale traces...

Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy... medium / full bodied.. very drinkable for 9%

Overall - A superb and very original Christmas brew... definitely recommended...

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Photo of flyingpig
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

330ml Bottle from Good Spirits Co, Glasgow (£3.80):
Medium brown with red tinges & a cloudy body. A bubbly, brownish-white 0.5cm head that fades to a fine lacing quite quickly.

Spicy with a lot of sweetness, mainly from some dark fruits such as prunes, plums & some dates. There is a toasted malt aroma that is complimented by some sugar & a medium strength alcohol smell also comes through alongside oak & faint vanilla.

Spicy with lots of sweetness both from the dark fruits mentioned in the smell but also from the sugar. There's a strong taste of prunes with some vanilla & alcohol.

This one was quite a spicy, sweet and medium bodied beer that had a slightly warming alcohol taste to it. There was a fair amount of carbonation in this one & the beer seems boozy with a sticky finish.

An okay Belgian offering but it never really hit the heights of some of the countries better strong ales, coming across a little strong and without the best of balance between flavours. I doubt I'll be picking this one up again.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Whoa, Caution, Contents Under Pressure!!! Granted that this spent the trip from the West Coast to the Eastern border of the Rockies in my trunk, but has been sitting in my fridge ever since. The moment I popped the cap off cinnamon speckled tan foam came shooting out like champagne, getting all over the keyboard and floor and myself. My first reaction? I put my mouth over the lip of the bottle to prevent it from spilling anywhere's else. The pressure was immense, the stuff started coming out of my nose! Still, from that bizarro sample alone I could tell this was good stuff.

Okay, so when I finally do get it in a glass, it's a deep burnt almond tone, cloudy with suspended particles, with a tall sticky tan head, which eventually lowers to a thick cap and leaves many traces of sticky lacing. On the aroma is rich caramel malt, toffee, orange zest, licorice, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisin, faint ginger, and then a deep brandy alcohol presence. Yet in the flavour it starts with an unmistakable butter/rum character, followed by orange peel, licorice and nutmeg, with even a bit of sweet chocolate nearing the finish. The mouthfeel is very light for a 9% abv, but has such an enticing creamy texture, very smooth, with the smallest of alcohol kicks on the aftertaste, like trying to strike a wet match. A very fine seasonal, I could definitely not drink this every day, but would love it on a regular basis when the weather is freezing outside near the Yule holidays.

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Photo of Crosling
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled at Stillen Genieter in Mechelen, Belgium.

Brown.

Unusual aroma. The nose mainly consisted of old hop pellets, seriously it did. Strong spices as well, pumpkin and coriander. Vanilla, chocolate, caramel and molasses were present as well.

Small for it's size. Mainly malt notes (caramel and toffee) with some notes of plum and raisins. Unbalanced. This just didn't please me. I'd like to try another bottle sometime soon and rereview.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33 l.) purchased from La Cervoiserie, and tasted in 2013.

Appearance : brown color with white foamy head.
Smell : roasty malt and spicy aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : dark fruity and caramel flavors.
Drinkability : a good beer in the style Belgian Strong dark ale.

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

Very christmasy, raisiny, orangy, spicy, caramelly. Nice soft yeast character.Long spicy, slight bitter finish, with some acidity, yeah, i dig it. Pretty much what i'd expect in a Christmas beer. Quite complex and manages to cover every inch of your tongue, beautifully soft texture, ver tasty.

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Photo of paterlodie
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is OK but seen better from beers from brewery Rocs specialy in foaming but all in all good. Pours out with a yellow head up on a clear dark brown beer. Smell is candysweet full malted, hoppy and litle koreander. Taste is warming by alcohol, full malted( partly roast), candy-sugar and hops. Drinkability is great, nothing to stop you enjoying and every sip ends sweetbitter; isn't that nice for a christmas brew? Humm.

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

Pours nice and cloudy brown with a brownish head that is strong but not excessive. Smells malty and of spices. Taste is similar, with more emphasis on the malts. Detectable spices. Not too bitter. A little too fizzy, but easy to drink. Did not have a problem with the carbonation as others seem to. A high ABV limits drinkability.

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Photo of impending
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl into a tulip. Pours a dingy dark orange brown, nice creamy head is very slow to subside, ok lacing.

Aroma of a dark Noël with ginger, cloves and orange peel atop dark fruits. Mild vinous characteristics. Spicy and sweet, very nice.

Taste follows the nose and adds a phenolic touch. Quiet anise appears which I didn't detect in the aroma. Pleasant long lasting aftertaste is dominated by spicy dark fruits. No sense of the alcohol. Warms well.

Full creamy yet prickly mouthfeel.

Belgian dark Noëls are in a category all their own and this is a welcome addition!
cheers
jd

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle on 02/16/2006.

Pours a hazy deep amber with a large creamy off-white head that lasted with excellent lacing. Heavy complex toasted caramel and allspice aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Moderate sweet spice flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of long duration.

Good winter brew that went well with a big meal.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured in a chalice.

A: An alive beer! As you open it, it wants to jump out the bottle :). Pours a dark amber to brown color. Very dirty, traditional des Rocs style with many chunks floating around. A huge beige head is formed when its poured, however, the retention is medium. It dissipates leaving a thin tan layer on top. Very few lacings left. Beautiful Belgian Strong Dark Ale

S: Sweet on the nose. Brown bread and Belgian yeasts are a must. Reminds the Brune version. Dark fruits, mainly raisins, caramel, malts, wood and alcohol. Very reach on smell

T: Sweet caramel malts, Belgian yeasts, brown bread, dark fruits (raisins), spices. Molasses and syrupy. Mild bitter end. Complex on taste. Delicious

M: Full body, creamy and molasses. Reasonable carbonation. Great sweet-bitterness balance. Warming with a bit alcoholic end

O: Abbaye Des Rocs = Quality Belgian trademark beer

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Photo of Naerhu
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I am neither a great fan of Belgian, nor am I fan of winter/spiced ales, but I was definately a fan of this fine beer.

A - Prodigious amount of floaties in a nice red/amber body.
S - Rich, spicy, cinnamon, spruce, hops and nutmeg.
T - Complex maltness hiding behind all of the nicely integrated spices.
M - I couldnt tell that this beer was a percent over 4. Amazing. Smooth, yet lively.
D - The brewer of this beer should be arrested for contributing to my delinquincy. Smooth, lively and complex, what more could you want?

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dany (glouglouburb on RB). 750mL green glass pry-top bottle. 2010 Vintage. My first Abbaye des Rocs.

Pours a deep reddish mahogany with creamy off-white head.

Nose is a little skunky (green glass). Nose is creamy with some black cherry skin, real hand-made caramel, big red wine note (like a Cali Cab), tobacco leaf and some floral notes, like maybe lavender?

Palate is bright and prickly with carbonation and alcohol. Medium bodied. There's big caramel malt right up front but it fades out into some spicy notes and I catch tarragon on the finish. Carbonation turns creamy, but the alcohol is still really prickly on the tongue. Finish is nice and round.

Notes: Not bad at all, my only complaint is that it's too hot. Nicely integrated flavors and finish. Would probably be better served on the dinner table than by itself.

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Abbaye Des Rocs Spéciale Noël from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
4.03 out of 5 based on 61 ratings.
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