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Grand Cru - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Grand CruGrand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

413 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 413
Reviews: 144
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 17.71%
Wants: 16
Gots: 88 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  12.90% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: nbree00 on 07-22-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (19) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 413 | Reviews: 144
Reviews by dansmcd:
Photo of dansmcd
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A clear, pale golden colour under two fingers of fluffy white head, and then long strands of lacing.

S - Sweet pears, yeast, champagne, honey.

T - Sweet pear and peach, slightly acidic and quite boozy as you'd expect at 12.9%.

M - Medium bodied and sweet.

O - At first, quite an interesting beer, but after half a glass its more than a touch too sweet and sugary.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a large tulip glass a clear medium golden with a tinge of orange,a thinner but well defined white head atop.Sweet agave nectar,candied citrus,and as the beer warms vanilla-bourbon aromas,just smells sweet.Sweet and hot on the palate,alcohol plays a huge role in this beer...too big.Candied citrus and light phenols in the finish,the boubon barrel doesnt play much of a role on the palate.A sweet boozy bomb here,I expected better from a kick ass brewery,dissapointed.

Photo of ehammond1
2.58/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On Tap

Blue Palms 3rd Anniversary Party
Blue Palms BrewHouse
Los Angeles, CA

Clear gold and yellow with a thin white head. Spotted, messy lacing down the glass.

Exceptionally sweet aroma: apple juice, pears, lemon, and alcohol.

Flavor follows the aroma, and it's not particularly pleasant. The beer is exceptionally sweet: lots of candied, sugary apples, pears, some lemon, some Belgian yeast tartness, perhaps some vanilla--and then more alcohol. Fairly unpleasant. Though those flavors don't sound terrible when listed, as a beer it just becomes a syrupy, sweet, boozy error.

Medium mouthfeel with relatively low carbonation.

A sweet, boozy, syrupy mess.

Photo of MattyG85
4.16/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked 500 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head that settles into a thin patch.

Smell: A sweet, fruity, and yeasty Belgian style aroma with hints of Bourbon, fruits, and spice. Belgian yeast with hints of funk, clove, and pepper spicing. The barrel presence comes through with hints of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and slight wood. Big sweet scent of agave nectar. Lots of fruit esters with hints of pear, apples, banana, orange, mango, and lemon along with dark fruit hints of cherry, raisin, and fig. Pale malt with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, and straw. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like the smell, a fruity, yeasty, and pretty sweet Belgian Cru style taste with notes of Bourbon, spice, and fruits. Belgian yeast with some notes of clove, funk, and pepper. Solid but not overwhelming barrel presence with notes of bourbon whiskey, oak, vanilla, and wood. Sweet notes of agave nectar and candied sugar. Good taste of fruit with notes of banana, apple, pear, orange, lemon, and mango. Dark fruit notes of raisin, cherry, and fig. Sweet malt notes of caramel, toffee, straw, and biscuit. A good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Juicy and fairly slick and syrupy. Alcohol heat is noticeable but tame considering the ABV and barrel aging.

Overall: A solid take on a Belgian style Grand Cru. Nice fruit esters that blend well with the barrel and agave presence.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.28/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Didn't expect this beer to come out looking like Coors, but it had a dark golden color. Just don't see that too often when something is labeled as bourbon barrel aged, but hey, something new. Aroma was all over the place. Mostly it was just the smell of alcohol. Throw in some roundabout fruit and wood, and there it is.

Taste, wow, even bigger disappointment. More alcohol heat, no distinguishable direction, seems like a grand cru where everything, including the kitchen sink is dumped together, slap it in a spirits barrel and a few months later, you have a beer that retailers can ask $20 a pop for. The bourbon aspect is paltry compared to the alcohol heat and belgian steroid yeast. Where the agave was, I have no idea. It was like a mix of raisin and pear, with wet oak, and rubbing alcohol with a boilermaker shot of whiskey added for 'bad' measure.

North Coast frequently gets it right with their affordable beers. Their barrel Rasputin was never in my opinion better than the regular, and this stuff is just downright disappointing on a whole nuther level.

Avoid unless the price comes down to like, $1 a bottle.

Photo of williamjbauer
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled served in a pint glass

A - Clear amber with a 1 finger cream head with moderate lacing and min to mod head retention.

S - Agave aka tequila, crisp apples, grapes, honey, lemon, pear, banana esters, malt, wheat. It is kind of weird, but really engaging.

T - So as fair as the typical reviews are going I am way off as I think this beer tastes pretty stellar. I don't want to compare it with most other Belgian Pale Ales because frankly this one is just weird. But weird doesn't mean bad, this is damn good. This is a full palate journey with sweet at first then sour and a little bitter at the end. Agave and honey hit me first then some citrus sourness and finally a slight wheat body and hint of back palate bitterness.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation.

O - I like Belgium ales and I thought this one deviated from the norm but that is a good thing. I really enjoyed it and would recommend this to other for a try.

Photo of chinchill
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark bottle with cork and wire served in a Belgian snifter.

Both the aroma and the flavor are quite fruity.
The lightly sweet flavor suggests golden raisins and ripe apricots but has a good bit of tartness too. There's an unusual component in the taste that may be the agave.
Pronounced BBL influence on the aroma, with more moderate BBL effects on he flavor.

Feel: Medium-full body and carbonation. Notable warming

O: a fine, refreshing sipper. A suitable anniversary beer, albeit not as wonderful as their Old Rasputin.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(Served in a chalice)
A- This beer pours a crystal clear golden yellow hue with a thin white cream and a champagne carbonation trailing to the surface.

S- The clean soft honey notes are dry with an agave nectar note and some malty cardboard notes to finish that are more abbey yeast and not really oxidation.

T- The slight sweetness has a dry hop note and some carbonic acid notes that finish with a slightly sweet boozy agave hint. The yeast character comes through with some pale malt and a touch of peach as the beer opens up. The finish takes on a vinous white wine and estery hint aswell.

M- The light mouthfeel has a gentle fizz to it and an alcohol spice in this finish.

O- There is some nice yeast character that is a bit hard to describe but blends with a hint of agave and some champagne characteristics except it is not really dry. There are some triple qualities but I don't get any barrel character. It becomes a bit one-dimensional and doesn't have a real character that makes it interesting enough to want to finish the whole bottle.

Photo of weonfire
2.68/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A - Golden. one finger of white head that fades quickly. As is sits- looks flat. Not inspired to sip this.

S - High amount of alcohol. Agave is also potent. smells like old cheap rum.

T - sweet agave at first. alcohol takes over and is not hidden whats so ever. Makes me cringe at every sip.

M - while it didn't quite 'burn the nostrils', straight booze coats the mouth and throat. not a pleasant taste.

O- I was looking forward to aged nectar in bourbon barrels. Greatly disappointed. $15 for this bottle? I expected far better from North Coast. I would not recommend this to anybody.

Photo of Nick29
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It was worth having it

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

North Coast Grand Cru

It looks like what you might expect of a Belgian "grand cru". It's got a slight haze while cold (how can that be faulted?) and its orange-gold body is quite nice. The head retention is pretty good (white, and fairly small bubbled, BTW), but the lacing could have been a bit better - still, there are no real faults with the appearance at all.

The aroma is bready and gently sweetish with a hint of wet oak. It even gives me hints of coconut here and there. There's a touch of sharp yet dull fruit, perhaps like a handful of dried apricots topped by a single slice of freshly cut pear. And a light bit of spice... or is that alcohol? With everything combined there's a bit of a tropical fruit thing happening.

In the mouth it's got a nice, gently bristling carbonation within a medium, gently dextrinous body. It reminds me of sparkling wine. Nice.

The flavor is what makes it a bit odd. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was at first, but when I read that it was brewed with agave nectar it all made sense. I was originally thinking tequila, which seemed bizarre and completely out of left field, but I guess I was actually on the right track. As it warms and becomes a bit 'softer', however, it smooths a bit and more of the fruit and oak come forward. You're also getting used to the taste of it at that point, and it doesn't seem so odd anymore at all, but those first few sips can raise an eyebrow. It's rich, but the flavors remain very concentrated; they don't separate to the point that you'd say "Oh, there's the fruit, and there's the malt... oh, and there's a bit of alcohol". And to be honest, on that note, I didn't really get any hop character until the finish, unless it was citrusy and I was just confusing it with yeasty fruitiness. (I actually found it a bit like papaya). But the hop I get in the finish is more leafy and grassy - or perhaps it just appears that way when combined with the delicate note of vanilla that appears with the oak.

So what to make of this odd bird? I don't think I can judge it against any "style", so it's got to be done hedonistically. Would I drink it again? - sure! Do I want to buy it? - no, not really, but I am a cheapskate. Could it have been brewed better? - probably yes, but I still can't fault it as is. So how about this, did I want to have a second glass out of the bottle? - yes, so OK. Everything told it's pretty decent. I wish its components were a little more balanced overall, and played their parts with just a little more flair, contributing to the betterment of the whole, but it is what it is. Time in the bottle may help, but I doubt it as I didn't find a lot of yeast to help it along. Drink now; one thumb up.

Photo of nbree00
2.99/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Pours a golden honey color, really a lot lighter in color than I expected. Looks more like an imperial pilsner than a grand cru.

S: Aromas are some what promising with notes of citrus, melon, bubble gum, banana, and a hint of yellow cake.

T: This is where the beer losses me. A little bit apple cidery for me with nowhere near enough complexity and a very thin texture. Flavors of green apples, bubble gum, agave nectar, and fennel. Has an off flavor in the finish.

M: Gotta say for an oak aged beer the texture is virtually non-existant, very thin and just not memorable.

O: Overall I'm disappointed in this beer, it's definitely not bad or undrinkable, just very simple and not the least bit compelling.

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.72/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

500 mL bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Clear copper body with a fleeting white head. After that, it's got nary a hint of life to it.

Smell - Belgian aroma, but really dominated by various fruit sweetnesses. I think I get the agave, but it's tough to tell with this smell. It's big.

Taste - Estery fruit flavors up front. Apples and a hint of banana. It's somewhat sweet, but not as much as I'd expect at 12.9%. The finish is harsh. Really harsh. I'm not even sure what aspect makes it harsh, but it's bad.

Mouthfeel - I guess it's not awful, but it's close. Low carbonation and dry in the finish, so it doesn't feel huge, but the alcohol burn is like drinking whiskey. The astringent flavor left is really terrible.

Overall - I couldn't finish the bottle. It was too much. The flavor was ok, but it's undrinkable. By the way, where's the bourbon in this?

Photo of thagr81us
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to beermeX2 for sharing this one during the ORF '11 release! Served from bottle into a sampler snifter. Poured golden yellow with a two finger off-white head that subsided to none very slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, banana, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, banana, sweet alcohol, and wood. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. This one really feel short on what I was hoping for/expecting. This brew just seemed a little one-dimensional to me and lacked complexity that I typically get from other brewery's Grand Crus. Not horrible, but not great either.

Photo of Mbertrand2
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not your typical beer, but has a very complex taste and is highly carbonated. Hints of wine and oak, especially in aromas.

Photo of Kinsman
3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pop goes the cork and a soft pour fills the glass with a clear golden color and a dense white head filling the upper half of the tulip.

Sweetness in the aroma may just be too much of an understatement. Fruity nectar alongside a good does of vanilla makes for über sweet aroma. Just a hint of alcohol in the background breaks through the sweetness.

Fortunately on the palate a bit more of the beer came through, with a strong malty bready backbone upon which the sweetness of the agave build off of. Some woodiness from the oak comes along as well just before a decent bourbon kick right at the end.

Mouthfeel was full bodied and a bit warm. Overall, I wasn't sure what to expect from this beer. Certainly not a disappointment but far from the best for a barrel aged beer.

Photo of imasloth
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a golden yellow with a large white head that quickly subsides with minimal lacing. Light carbonation once settled.

S- Fermented fruit (sweet), some alcohol. Some agave (tequila?) after warming a bit.

T- Initial sweetness, followed by the taste of agave, finishing dry.

M- Smooth and fairly light. Some dryness after swallowing.

O- Certainly not a beer you'd want for any old occasion, and not one you'd want to drink all night, but a nice innovative brew worth the occasional tasting.

Photo of KYGunner
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is absolutely glowing in its pear or golden Apple hue. The head was bubbly and thin but collared and retained for the duration.

The scent has bourbonesque qualities with hints of Apple, pear, vanilla honey and honeysuckle.

After fighting the initial brashness of the alcohol and/or bourbon, I was able to settle in towards the final 2/3rds. I was completely unfamiliar with this and figured there had to be barrel aging from the taste alone. There's a creamy bourbon flavor with a touch of oak. As the beer airs it begins to mellow and a fruitiness comes alive. Apple's, pears, honey, earthy honeysuckle, and raisin swirl about a vanilla cream and toasty malt.

The feel seems to never come off the brashness and champagne like bubbliness which I found mildly detracting.

This is a very fascinating beer, one that probably needs a little age and a little air. My initial feeling though is that it's well worth the try and probably a second.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.52/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a fading head.
Nose shows wine-like notes, fruity tequila, very soft bourbon, coconut. Pretty wierd and different. Not sure I like the fruity white wine character though.
More coconut as a flavour along with bourbon and booze. Some fruity wine notes are still there.
Boozy-feeling body, low carbonation. Some burn.
A bit too boozy and white wine-like in my opinion.

Photo of emerge077
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Into a footed tulip glass, it pours a bright straw gold, with a thin layer of white foam on top. Spotty arcs of lacing remain, sticking to the walls of the glass.

If you've ever had pulque, or pure agave blanco tequila, maybe you know what agave tastes like. Tart and fruity, a little bit green, some vanilla from the barrel, and a lick of residual sweetness.

Flavors are similarly fruity and vinous with tart white grapes, somewhat vegetal agave nectar, and a smooth, buttery feel. Some barrel nuance as well, vanilla sweetness and mild oak woodiness. Body is light and somewhat thin, detracting slightly from the overall character. Sippable, not something to take lightly, and best shared. Thanks Jay for sharing!

Photo of Gobigvt7
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz corkncage (heaviest bottle I've held in ages) into a new belgium chalice.

hazy (from bubbles), then crystal. peachy straw-colored with a dab of amber. a thumb of white head quickly dissipates, but legs remain.

smells rather hot and sweet, like a champagne, faint peaches and passion fruit.

immediately boozy and cloying, lots of fruity, yeasty flavors (peach, passion fruit, honey, clover). Not a lot else. A sugar bomb.

sticky and syrupy, the abv has a lot to do with the flavor here. Still only medium bodied as far as weight goes.

Disappointing, but decent. Could have been better balanced, but flavors were there. $15.99 a bottle was a little steep.

Photo of DSchulers
3.31/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 9/2/2011, poured into glasses and shared by fellow beer enthusiasts. The following is our collective review:

Appearance – North Coast’s Grand Cru pours a rich golden color, with a large head which dissipated quickly. The clarity of the beer was also remarkable, and the heavy carbonation was noticeable from the glass; all good signs from the appearance.

Smell – Aromas of honey, flowers, Belgian yeasts, apples and pears greet the nose, with citric notes and a distinct champagne-like smell to it as well. The aroma of this beer is very pleasing.

Mouthfeel – The mouthfeel was rich, sticky, and full. The agave shows its presence in this; the rich stickiness hinting toward dark fruit or raisins. The carbonation manifests in the finish, developing a creamy foaminess that seems to conflict with the sticky agave.

Taste – The first thing that was immediately apparent was the lack of bourbon. For being bourbon aged, this had absolutely none of the bourbon characteristics that most of us appreciate. The notable tastes included pears, raisins, and hints of caramel. The agave dominated the palate with its cloying, sticky sweetness which clung to the palate throughout.

Overall – The sweet, stickiness of the agave does not blend well with how carbonated this beer is. Cloying is definitely the word of the day for this beer. It seems like it is having an identity crisis between trying to be rich, sweet, and malty and light and champagne-like. Grand Cru is by no means a bad beer, but North Coast is capable of far better beer.

Photo of jmunsters
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Blonde and copper with a half finger head that dissipates quickly. A little lacing.

S - Belgian yeast. Fruit and citrus. Lemons and sugar.

T - A mix grouping of fruits. Apples and bananas at first give way to a bit more of a citrus and tequila at the end. A little bit of spice and prevalent Belgian yeast. A tad sour at the end. Oh and booze.

M - Quite dry with a mild carbonation. I was hoping for a bit more carbonation, but that would have made it quite refreshing and drinkable. Dangerous if at 13%.

O - I went to three of my favorite stores in the area and everyone of them recommended this highly. I think it's exceptionally overrated, especially at $16.50 for a pint. It's good, but it's definitely over priced, and probably over-hyped due to the price.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to Bruery tulip.

A - Bright yellow/orange colour. Translucent. One finger of off-white head.

S - Oak up front along with a big candy sweetness, Belgian yeast and some bready malts. Some light hopping is present in the background.

T - Massive oak flavour up front that gives way to big candy sugar and Belgian yeast flavours. Very light bourbon flavour is detectable with hints of cloves.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First things first: beers reviews always come from biased sources, right? Everyone's got their idea about what they like, and how this style should be done, etc.
Second, let's consider North Coast Brewing. They brew the classic RIS, Old Rasputin. They brew a barleywine-esque old ale, the Old Stock Ale. These two beers are top flight. Their other major beers, Pranqster and Brother Thelonius, are respectably good beers.
When I see North Coast on a label, I expect good things. When I see Grand Cru on a label, I expect the best of the best. It is, after all, a grand cru.

A: Deep gold/pale amber body with slight haze from a center-pour unto a tulip kicked up a slim finger of tan head; the beer leaves the glass clean as you drink

S: orchard fruits, apricots and peaches soaked in bourbon

T: luxurious sugars from the malts and aromas from the hops create a tapestry of the lush orchard fruits and booze - a very sultry, heady flavor. Fresh and juicy.

M: brisk carbonation creates a warm fuzz to the medium-to-full bodied feel

O: ignore the mundane (so far) reviews, and just get it already.

Buyer beware: it's just a pint-and-change bottle, so you're not gonna get much of a second pour!

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Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 413 ratings.