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Grand Cru - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Grand CruGrand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.

145 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 145
Hads: 431
Avg: 3.57
pDev: 18.21%
Wants: 18
Gots: 90 | 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 (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 145 | Hads: 431
Photo of artdob
4.68/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A 16 ounce bottle, topped with a cork kept in place with a wire cage. Surprised that the head was extremely minimal and disappeared entirely almost in a blink of an eye. That said, sure pours a very attractive, unique orange color.

This beer has a nose that hits you from a distance. Nice yeasty notes balanced with apricot esters. Can just about sense the agave that is noted as part of this brew on the bottle notes.

On the palate, oh wow. After seeing the pour, my expectations turned real low. But this is so unique. A very rich, fruity apricot, fruit compote in the glass. Warming and velvety on the mouthfeel.

This was a fairly pricy bottle, I think I paid about $14 bucks. Being a huge fan of North Coast, had to give this a try. Rare that I would do this would beers that are on this end of the price scale (per bottle), but tomorrow am going back to the store where I bought this to buy several more bottles. I could see laying this one down for awhile and popping open when feeling like indulging in something special.

Initial appearance disappointment was mire than made up with everything else that followed. Beer nectar baby. Kudos North Coast!

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Photo of akrz47
4.68/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, what a beer! Finally had one that had been aging for 4 years. The first impression is that it's very thin. Not a ton of foam or lacing, very light color and body. For a brief moment, I forgot it was such a strong beer and did a quick glance down to recall what I was pouring. The smell is...well dang nabbit it's good. At first it's a lot of banana and Belgian yeast, slight malt -- not much clove -- I wouldn't have even noticed it if it wasn't from an apparent beer-smelling expert (a.k.a. Mom) teaching me smells usually lost in beer (women have damn good palates(!)). Anyway, at the very least the clove is negligible. It's been aging a while and I smell and little bit of sour grape...not much, just barely. It's appealing. Like what you get when you have a good fruity vinaigrette. The slight tart fruity smell complements it perfectly. The taste is about equal to what you'd expect from the smell with apple in there. It's malty, sweet but drying, some good apple flavor. Not kidding, it's like a malty apple juice with overripe banana, incorporated perfectly with the malt and slight grape. Nice. Finally, the mouthfeel is decently thick -- very thick for what is looks like but not compared to most other 13%-ers. Much more importantly, it COMPLEMENTS the beer. Somehow it's just perfect...looks light , feels thicker, but when you sip it it all just makes sense. It just...works. What a beer. I'm glad I took some time refining my palate and learning about beer before trying this gem, because it is simply a friggin' perfectly made beer.

This would dominate and be very appreciated if re-released. I hope North Coast does it. This is a darn friggin' amazing beer, and it's no wonder they named it their "Grand Cru."

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Photo of floridadrift
4.62/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

Golden orange. Sweet caramel, bourbon with fruits. Pretty hot still.

Really tasty for how many years it has on it. I'm really glad I have 2 more.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.52/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two finger, white head that fades quickly and leaving no lace. Clear light amber color. Good carbonation, medium bodied. Fruity yeast nose. Flavor is sweet, spicy fruit and yeast, high ABV is hidden, smooth finish. Pricey, but worth trying at $14.20 for a caged & corked 500ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of Jagzfan86
4.5/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hits on a ton of notes. Hints of cider, watered down bourbon, an oaky Chardonnay, but best of all it still maintains a strong ale backbone. I may not be the best to review this beer as I do not often branch out from IPAs, but I am happy I tried this one.

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Photo of SlothB77
4.46/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

poured from 1 pint 9 ounce bottle into a snifter.

This is the champagne of beers. and by that i mean the beer tastes like champagne. Smell: floral aromas. Taste: like champagne. Very sweet. Mouthfeel: very acidic, very carbonated, light-bodied. As close as beer gets to champagne. $36 for a 1 pint 9 ounce bottle in NoVa,

Rave reviews.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.45/5  rDev +24.6%
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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Photo of Givemebeer
4.41/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: there's no head on this and no lacing. In my glass it looks like I'm sipping a brandy

S: bourbon in the forefront. Smells sweet and light fruit

T: bourbon and molasses dominate. Some apple and pear in the background

M: thick full bodied and sweet

O: I'm really digging this one. A perfect night cap as a sipper die to its 12.9% and sweetness. Kudos to north coast brewing on this monster

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Photo of BierJager89
4.4/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Very opaque golden with small white head.

S/T: Oaky, buttery Chardonnay, lemon, funky belgian yeast, fresh orange, vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, lemon, an odd combination but very tasty.

M: Medium bodied and bubbly, though not harsh. More foamy than harsh with carbonation.

O: This is an excellent beer, I disagree with the rating given to it.

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Photo of gigaknight
4.35/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours radiant gold with champagne-like carbonation, culminating in a finger of crisp white head which dissipates quickly. Little lacing is seen remaining on the glass. Plenty of good nucleation from the bottom of the chalice.

S- Light phenols and some tart Belgian yeast make up the bulk of the bouquet, supplemented by some toasted oak and vanilla sweetness. Some alcohol is also present.

T- Somewhat tinny malt sweetness opens the palate, followed by tart white wine grapes, ending with a very pleasant combination of farmhouse funk, clove, and musky agave sweetness. Bourbon flavors are hardly present, lending more toasted oak and vanilla notes as opposed to sour mash. Perhaps this is simply because the agave nectar possesses a similar character and thus masks some of the typical musk of bourbon. However, the warmth of the bourbon is noticed yet not unwelcome. There is no real "bite" to speak of, but a light alcoholic heat flashes in the back of the palate, highlighting the more carmelized notes of the barrel.

M- I found this to have just the right amount of carbonation, fizzy enough keep the alcohol and residual sugar from becoming cloying, though not at all lacking in substance. The sticky sweetness of the agave adds weight to the mouthfeel, and it seems that the oak helps to dry out the finish before the robust flavors linger for too long.

O- I got this beer for $3.99 a bottle on account of a pricing error, but I think I'd still gladly pay the $15.99 it was intended to cost. A very interesting beer from North Coast, and a superb counterpoint for the BA Old Rasputin which was equally graceful and bold.

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Photo of diamondc
4.32/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden hue, not much head or lacing. Hazy.. can't expect much at this abv level.

S: Intense fruitiness... apricot & peaches mainly. Hard liquor, a bit of vinegar, caramel. Oak aroma becomes more noticeable the warmer the beer gets. Unique.

T: The initial taste is of intense syrupy cloyingness. Then there is a delicate mango/passion fruit/agave nector flavor after the initial sweetness. Not a lot of hop flavor on the aftertaste. I get vanilla and a bit of dry wood flavor instead.

M: Rivals Duvel in the way of hiding the high ABV. I can't detect any hotness here. A bit syrupy, but kind of refreshing.

O: A surprise, and a winner. Glad I shelled out the $16 bucks for the bottle and I might do it again.

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Photo of LazFTW
4.3/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Excellent and complex Belgian style ale. Its hard to believe that this is almost 13% ABV as most beers nearing 9%. you can clearly taste the flavor. I would highly recommend this to any fans of Belgian beers. It seems the U.S. can give some Belgian brewers a run for their money.

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Photo of maximum12
4.3/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wanted to try this when it came out, but being a happy home-dad, decided I shouldn't drop the money on a little 500ML bottle. After relucatantly heading back to the salt mines, saw one languishing on a random shelf & liberated it. Time to try it. Split with my wife.

Cork is tough to budge, & when it moves, it dances a good half-inch. Lack of carbonation is no worry. The pour is an overcast yellow. The nose is, well, I don't know what agave smells like, but this beast smells like the Southwest - pears & cactus & dry heat. Distinct sharpness. Bourbon is so faint I have to try to pick it out. Nice.

North Coast Grand Cru has all sorts of tastes clamoring for attention. A sharp fruitiness - agave, I presume - mingles with a bite that toes, but doesn't quite cross, into sour. There's a surge of sweetness in the middle that gives way to a touch of barrel. An herbal pie completes the odd picture. No alcohol maybe, what, 4.5%? Nice sipper.

Original & strange if nothing else. With brewers desperately trying to find a Tibetan winter root that only grows on dead tiger carcasses to spice up their latest beer...what was I saying? Oh, the agave is a new touch, & a fine one at that. Great twist on the style & an excellent beer. Better have been for the price, eh?

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Photo of weeare138
4.27/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a transparent light gold with a tight white cap. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of orange citrus, honey, vanilla, and bourbon. Perhaps some warmed peach, also.
Taste is of the aromas with a boozy, peach, apricots, poached pears, vanilla, delicious bourbon, and blast of citrus. Damn.
Mouthfeel is medium full bodied, boozy, up front, yet somehow enticing. A very, very interesting brew that I was glad to have enjoyed.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bier Academy in Canyon Country, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange with a 1/2 inch off-white head that fades to nothing. Absolutely zero lacing on this one. Smell is of spices, yeast, citrus, and a slight sour funk. Taste is of spices, minor Belgian yeast, citrus, cane sugar, and some slight funky flavors. There is a noticeable alcohol burn in the throat with each sip as well. A high level of carbonation with a crisp, bubbly, and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is very tasty. I really liked the complex flavors, especially with the subdued Belgian yeast that let other tastes come out.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.23/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Hazy copper with solid stream of carbonation. Off white head fades quickly, no lacing.

S: Sweet-ish malt resembling raisins, mild oak, some notes of caramel and whiskey, a touch of tropical fruit... very rich, rounded, warm.

T: Strong on the whiskey notes (spice, nuts, wood), toffee malt and sweeter caramel, raisins still there too. Sweetness is made matured with fruit notes (the agave nectar surely). Oak on the finish. Equally as rich as the nose, balanced, nuanced, lasting, and rewarding. No telling the ABV is so high- almost a shame, a burn would compliment the whiskey flavors.

M: Smooth, almost like a whiskey with mild carbonation. Full bodied for sure, almost thick.

O: This is a great beer. The flavors are unabashed and full-forced, without running over each other. Special compliments on not overdoing the barreling- it picked up the bourbon and wood, but wasn't overwhelming, a fine display of mature woodwork. I'm left smelling my glass in wonder of its character. I'll be buying more, if I can find it.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy golden orange color with a 2 finger fairly dense white head with decent retention, that reduces to a lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big peach, pear, apricot, apple, orange peel, agave, clove, oak, pepper, light bourbon, light toffee, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, malt, and light-moderate barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big apricot, peach, pear, apple, orange peel, agave, caramel, vanilla, toffee, clove, oak, bourbon, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of apricot, peach, pear, apple, orange peel, agave, caramel, vanilla, toffee, oak, clove, bourbon, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, malt/agave, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome barrel flavor balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged Belgian strong ale! All around great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, malt/agave, and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a Unibroue tulip.

A: Pours a translucent, golden color with 1/2 finger of off-white head. Good retention and lace, vigorous carbonation.

S: Tart apple and a bit of lactic funk.

T: Sweet nectar up front, with more of the agave coming through in the middle, then finishing with white wine and oak. Strong vinous character overall. Alcohol pretty well hidden. After a few sips, the malt starts to join in. Little if any hop flavor. A little later, some cider notes come forth. Still later, hints of watermelon?!?

M: Fairly light and quite smooth. Velvety carbonation.

O: This is an interesting beer. I would not categorize this as a BSPA, but then again, not sure what I would call it-- perhaps closer to a saison. It is very sweet and honestly pushes the boundaries of beer altogether. I wouldn't mind having another if I could find it within 100 miles. Yum!

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Photo of JayAre46
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very transpartent golden color with a 1 finger spotty head that sits on top falls to a thin cancerous layer with a thin ring around the edges. im not going to lie im afraid after the big red 77 score popped up, the 12.9 abv and the fact that ive never heard of it, im afraid. the nose is of a clean hot alcohol, very yeasty and fruity. the taste. ah the taste, whats the problem guys? burst of pears comes through immediately, green grapes and more light fruits not much spice, lack of bubble gum bullshit which is great. it finishes very clean and the alcohol is very warming as is goes down the throat. big time white wine influence, it says it was bourbon barrel aged, which you have to really search for and its in the finish for a split section as the brewer just texted me they aged it for a whole week. yeah all seven days! i can't believe it either! the mouth feel is medium the carbonation is there but not prickly at all, its pretty smooth and easy to drink to me. overall this is not a bad brew at all, its not great and i will never drink it again but ill have no problem drinking all 50cl of it. if i would have had it a bit cooler i think i would have enjoyed it even more and it needs more hops to balance the sweetness. probably around 60 degrees because my girlfriend is in my fu#%ING EAR right now as it sits on the table. facepalm, go away. drink it, its good for the heart.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml corked and caged bottle served in a Blvd. Tank 7 tulip. Poured a pale gold with a couple of fingers of white head. Interesting aroma, the bourbon is subtle also some fruit. Lots of carbonation. Medium bodied. A little hot. More fruit, some Belgian spice. Oak and bourbon come through a little more in the finish. I really liked this, the barrel was not overpowering and very integrated. Very easy drinking for the abv. There's a lot going on here.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.16/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.16/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the most beautiful Belgian pale ales I have ever seen, or beer for that matter. It just looks so damn clean and refreshing, just something about it. It is a light orange that is crystal clear and a light head on top. Aroma is of pear, peaches, yeast and a weak funk. This is deceptively carbonated on the first sip. The taste follows nose with the pears and other light fruits along with some alc warmth. This is very crisp just overall relatively easy to drink. Calling this a Grand Cru allows it to meander thru the Belgian Pale style and back. This is very good and just a bit different to really stand out. In all honesty, after every sip I think this is a lighter version of Avery's Beast. Well dang done.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.12/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

North Coast Grand Cru, 500 ml, Alc./Vol. 12.9% Ale brewed with agave nectar and aged in bourbon barrels.

Hazed, golden/amber-hued, skinny ring of snowy white forage.

Nose: alcohol is smelled first, then tequila…mmm, hmmm. Some oak effects, but not much from bourbon. Beneath, I don't get a whole lot. Some fruity ale esters.

Taste: Hell of a lot going on. Apple. Cider-y. White wine. Citrus zest. Bright lemons and limes. Lean, crisp, and swimming with flavor. Flavors of cactus fruit, definitely.

What's the base beer on this? No word on the label. A new invention, or was another NC brew used? These questions need answers.

Tasty, tasty stuff. Feels like a lighter quadruple, with the extra agave kick. The bourbon barrel aging? Didn't pick much up on that. Maybe the oak helped balance the agave. Not quite as sharp as you'd expect, rather smooth and mellow.
I'm not even feeling the 13% ABV…yet…(famous last words).

This high alcohol brew may doom my night, but it's muy deliciouos, that much cannot be denied. Actually…almost done, and I'm doing fine. Wait, here it comes…

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Photo of KajII
4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

[Best served in a Snifter]

The pour was a murky medium golden orange with a large (2-3 finger) white fluffy head that lasted only a short while, reducing to a light film with a large collar and having some good streaky lacing.

The aroma was of a hay malt and a doughy yeast with notes of banana, apple, oak cask, white wine, apricot, agave nectar and a touch of alcohol.

The taste was sweet and a bit acidic with a hint of fruity esters early on and then became rather yeasty and a bit sour with a mild sweet wine undertone and a slight oak alcohol presence at the end. The flavor lingered for a good long while with a nice fruity sour sweet alcohol warming sensation left behind.

Mouthfeel was a little past light in body with a dry oily texture and a fizzy carbonation.

Overall this was a fantastic Strong Ale that had a great fruity presence, which along with the Belgian yeast hid the high ABV very nicely...

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Photo of BeerDocT
4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

It's that time of year, when beer fans over-indulge and sample beers we might normally skip because of price or...well, price. That's the backstory.

Poured into a chilled La Trappe goblet.

Appearance 4.0: Poured a beautiful deep, coppery golden color. Little head, but lots of obvious carbonation; thinking it is bottle conditioned. Very little lacing.

Smell 4.0: Very nice -if subdued-- bouquet on this brew. First scents are sharp and somewhat spicy. Different layers of light yellow fruits: pineapple, mango...I also detect a delicate but definite hint of alcohol, which is no surprise given the mighty 12%+ ABV on this monster.

Taste 4.25: Front is somewhat tart and has a touch of low-level sweetness. Middle is where the most interesting taste of tropical fruit seeps in: pineapple, mango, kiwi. Unexpected and delicious. This is accompanied by a nice hit of sweet barley and a tangy tartness. Finish is where the previous taste level clears out and everything revolves around a subtle graininess and clean malt. Aftertaste is where the taste levels from the middle jump back up and re-assert themselves for a fabulous ending. Remarkable. BTW, no hint of the massive ABV in the taste.

Mouthfeel 3.75: Nice and complementary, but somewhat biting and shallow in the mouth.

Overall 4.0: Certainly exceeded my expectations. Not just a typical "hey, let's brew a monster beer, dude!" offering from a micro-brew, this beer is well-balanced, masterly crafted and a pleasure to imbibe. However, enjoy at your own risk, as this baby packs a Asgardian-type wallop.

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Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 145 ratings.