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Grand Cru - North Coast Brewing Co.

Grand CruGrand Cru

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

345 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 345
Reviews: 136
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 18.51%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: nbree00 on 07-22-2011)
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Ratings: 345 | Reviews: 136 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of KYGunner


3.96/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-25-2013 14:06:22 | More by KYGunner
Photo of rand


3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From tap to tulip glass

A: Golden-yellow with an nice frothy, 2-inch head. Looks indistinguishable from a DIPA.

S: Boozy bouquet, strong. Notes of over-ripened fruit, plums, and candied malts. The combination almost reminds of Dole Banana-Pineapple juice, although I can't pick up any distinct pineapple or banana. Weird but interesting.

T: Notes of sweet ripened fruit roll in first, joined by strong notes of biting alcohol. I'm still getting that tropical-banana thing, but it's rolled up with a bunch of other flavors. A smattering of hoppy earthiness keeps the profile from tasting actually like juice, because it's close otherwise. Finishes sweet and boozy.

M: Medium to heavy bodied, but given all that's going on in this brew its a lot lighter in complexion than you'd think. Ample carbonation to wash the residue.

One of the more unique brews I've had. I wouldn't exactly call it drinkable, but compelling and I've just blown a half an hour trying to parse the flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2011 05:21:02 | More by rand
Photo of champ103


2.88/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Petrol Station in Houston, TX

A: Pours a clear, but dull orange color. A mall bubbly white head forms with pour retention. The foam recedes to nothing in a second with light lace.
S: Apple juice up front. Some sweet malt, but that is about it.
T: Again, a big apple juice/cider flavor. Though without the great crisp, almost tart bite that I would expect with such a beer. Some sweet malt and hot alcohol. Overall, just blah.
M/D: A medium body and low carbonation. This needs to me much cleaner, and dryer. Plenty of hot alcohol makes this a very slow sipper. One I don't really care to finish.

Not much to say besides over priced, average at best, and disappointing coming from one of my favorite breweries. Not something I would recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2011 01:05:42 | More by champ103
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


2.25/5  rDev -37.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2011 00:16:13 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of dansmcd


3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2011 08:19:30 | More by dansmcd
Photo of metter98

New York

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is clear golden yellow in color and poured with a quarter-finger high off white head.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of sweet fruit in the nose.
T: The taste has malty sweetness along with fruity flavors.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Considering its strength, this beer is relatively easy to drink because the sweetness is not cloying and the alcohol is very well hidden from the taste.

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2011 00:28:46 | More by metter98
Photo of Arbitrator


1.43/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

On tap at the Bistro barrel-aged fest. One of the reasons I need to get a smartphone is that I can't check what crappy beers I've already had before. This is one I mistakenly purchased at an (average) cost of $3 a pour.

A: Pours a clear, pale gold body with a short-lived finger of off-white head.

S: Yeast. Lemon, floral hops, a touch of pepper in the finish. This reminds me of a tripel.

T: Lots of yeast. It's like they made some wort, tossed in some yeast, and killed the fermentation a day later. Ta-da! Yeast soup. Not much spice or Belgian flavor on the tongue, but it's nice and sweet, which is good.

M: Full-bodied with low carbonation.

O: Bah. I'm beginning to think North Coast is a one-trick pony, and that trick is Old Rasputin.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2011 03:53:13 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of david18

New York

4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been enjoying this beer quite a bit lately but was surprised to hear it characterized as a Belgian Strong Pale. It was darker and not esthery enough in my opinion. However, as a strong ale I like this very much.

Appearance is a medium to dark brown with lots of carbonation. Very opaque but not cloudy.

Aroma is quite malty. More malt than anything. Not a lot of yeast in the aroma.

Flavor is quite strong but well balanced at the same time. Good malt flavor balanced with the hops. Very good.

Serving type: on-tap

11-08-2011 14:53:46 | More by david18
Photo of notchucknorris


3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Bruery Provisions

A: Clear golden color with a lot of rising bubbles in the glass.

S: Butterscotch, brown sugar and a lot of oak.

T: The mouthfeel definitely weighs this one down a bit, but the flavors hold up to it. Honey, belgian yeast, butter and a bit of agave in here. An interesting grand cru.

Serving type: on-tap

09-15-2011 16:35:06 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.28/5  rDev +18.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-21-2011 20:48:17 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of ehammond1

2.5/5  rDev -30.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2011 19:12:19 | More by ehammond1
Photo of charlzm


4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed at Blue Palms 3rd Anniversary event in Hollywood, CA.

Exceptionally clear (almost like a pilsener!) with a white head a finger thick.

Delicious smell: mild pepper, sweet pears, melonoidins.

Flavor is complex and unexpected: again pears, juicy white grapes, a dash of wood-style bitterness, a fleeting dash of powdery Belgian yeast. Interesting that I got no bubblegum aroma or flavor, as others who had the same beer from the same keg have noted it.

Mouthfeel is unremarkable: medium bodied with low carbonation.

Absolutely delicious and there is NO TRACE of the nearly 13% alcohol. A real winner.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2011 06:24:20 | More by charlzm
Photo of womencantsail


3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Blue Palms

A: The beer pours a lightly hazed golden amber color with a white head.

S: Nose opens up with sweet toffee and candi sugar. There are some sweet fruits such as pears, oranges, and apples. A ton of bubblegum and cotton candy.

T: The beer tastes primarily of cotton candy with a fair amount of bubblegum. Heavy on the sugar, plus brown sugar and toffee. There might be a bit of bread. Really, though, just very sweet.

M: Almost syrupy with a medium carbonation.

O: Cloying, sugary, and not something I'd care to have again.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2011 05:20:28 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Halcyondays


3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a medium gold with a firm white head leaving some good lace.

S: Loads of pears and booze, some honey and banana.

T: Banana and pear, quite estery with a lot of booze and sweet malt. A substantial big beer.

M: Full-bodied, with some solvent character, fizzy carbonation at times.

O: This is a beer that needs to be put into a hole in the ground and not touched for at least 4 years. It's awkward in its infancy and needs to coalesce. Something that could be really interesting come 2015, but right now it's all over the place.

Serving type: on-tap

08-12-2011 21:52:17 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of UnknownKoger


3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Congregation Alehouse in Long Beach. Was I drinking a different beer? Glad I didn't read the reviews before getting it.

Color is a pale golden. No head at all. Some light lacing/foam action is left on the glass. Nothing exciting here. The smell I couldn't quite detect because my allergies were bugging me, but it did smell sweet.

I thought it tasted fantastic. Other reviewers have mentioned an apple or cidery taste, but I didn't get that at all. I tasted vanilla. The bourbon notes were very slight. I could detect some booziness but it definitely wasn't hot like a bourbon barrel stout. It was sweet but not cloyingly sweet.

Mouthfeel was pretty decent for such a big beer. Almost 13%? Felt lighter than that.

Overall, this beer seems to be a pretty mixed bag of tricks depending on where/how you get it and what your own personal tastes are. Grab a drink and you be the judge.

Serving type: on-tap

08-10-2011 03:33:55 | More by UnknownKoger
Photo of cbutova


3.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured from the 500ml to three pint glasses with a super hazy, yeast clogged golden apricot appearance. Head forms to about a finger but does not stick around for very long as it fizzes out. Small ring leaves a few spots of lace but not much at all.

S- Fruit mostly comes to mind with some barrel influence and definitely the Belgian yeast as well. Notes of apple, pear, agave, oak, vanilla, Bourbon, yeast spice and raisin. Not much Bourbon for me but it just compliments the fruity and yeast feel.

T- Tons of fruits again with a super heavy yeast influence and some barrel feel. A whole myriad of fruits come to mind like pears, apples, lemons, agave nectar, raisins, cherries and figs, kind of insane actually. The barrel adds a hint of whiskey and vanilla but doesn't overpower the beer for me. Nice Belgian yeast brings an almost Blonde Trappist feel. A slight tartness.

MF- The body itself is fairly dried out and somewhere around moderately thick compared to other Belgian styles. Carbonation at a higher end level with a somewhat fizzy feel which feels kind of strange with the flavors present. Finishes with a bit of warmth.

I would have never guessed this being 12.5%. The mix of intense fruitiness with the barrel (on the subtle side) is nice but the overall finish is just a bit strange to me. The flavors clash just a bit but for me it is a pretty nice brew. Unlike anything other beer I can think of, after 1500+ that isn't something I say much.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 00:04:18 | More by cbutova
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly


4.46/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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. This is the cherry on top.

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 05:15:20 | More by 1000lbgrizzly
Photo of superspak


4.23/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 00:44:56 | More by superspak
Photo of GregorywBrown13


3.99/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shocked this beer is rated so low.

A- stunning crystal clear coopper. Head dies a little quicker than you would hope
s- tropical funk, nice malt sweetness, booze is there, but not as juch as you woukd think at 12.9%. Very faint bourbon notes.
t- same tropical funk as the nose. Delicious. I love sweet malty beers, and the way this beer pairs the sweet malt with the tangy funk character is superb. Again, the booze is there, but not as much as I expected. This beer is big, expect to taste the alcohol. Where this beer might lose points with some is the barrel aging. It has a subtle oak characteristic that really plays well with the malt/funk. It tastes nothing like a bourbon barrel aged beer. If that is what you are looking for, look elsewhere.
m- given the belgian influence, could be carbonated a bit more.
o- I loved this beer. I havent reviewed a beer in years, but I was shocked how low this beer was ranked. If you like boozy funky belgian style ales with a strong malt profile, try this. If you like the subtle use of oak on such beers, try this. If bourbon aged means bourbon flavored beer, or sweet and funky isn't your style, try something else.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 01:20:46 | More by GregorywBrown13
Photo of BierJager89


4.4/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2014 05:18:47 | More by BierJager89
Photo of BeerDocT


4.09/5  rDev +13%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 06:14:47 | More by BeerDocT
Photo of DrJay


3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2013. Hazy orange with a thick collar of eggshell foam. Good head retention. Woody aroma from the barrel aging, light malt and hops character, slight bourbon and cheese. The flavour was much the same, but with more alcohol presence and a light caramel sweetness. Notes of fruit, wood, bourbon, booze. Moderate astringency from the wood, medium bodied, high carbonation that lent it a fluffy/airy texture, and plenty of alcohol warmth. As it warmed, the astringency continued to grow. Pretty good, but it didn't blow me away, mainly due to the balance of wood/astringency in the overall character of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 15:51:50 | More by DrJay
Photo of RonaldTheriot


2.43/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

North Coast Grand Cru has an extremely thin, off-white head, an opaque, brilliant orange appearance, few bubble streams, and no lacing left behind. The aroma is of an intense mix of bourbon, sweetness, coconut, alcohol, and fruit juice. Taste is harsh- shaved coconut, alcohol, juice, sweet, lightly-roasted malt, and a vanilla background. Mouthfeel is heavy, chewy, and cloying, and North Coast Grand Cru finishes rich and overly sweet and alcohilic. After sipping on it for about an hour, I did notice that the coconut faded and more of a caramel aspect presented itself. The beer is complex, but not particularly enjoyable. Just too harsh.


Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 10:24:11 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of hardy008


3.56/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear amber with a less than one finger off white head, which has very nice retention and lacing for a 12.90 % abv beer. Has a nice aroma with pears, apples, sugar, pale malt, spices and alcohol.

Has a sweet flavor with pears, apples, pale malts, sugar, and alcohol. I can taste and smell alcohol, but it does not remind of other beers aged in Bourbon barrels. If I didn't read on the label that this beer is aged in Bourbon barrels, I never would have guessed. I just would have guessed that the alcohol was not well hidden. No Bourbon, oak, or vanilla detected.

Medium to full bodied.Syrupy at times. Has average carbonation. A decent beer, but I wish I could have detected the Bourbon barrel characteristics.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 03:42:32 | More by hardy008
Photo of RenoZymurgist


2.53/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Clear amber with a thin head that subsided quickly.
Aroma is spicy and belgian but no bourbon to note.
Taste is boozy, sweet, spicy and again no bourbon.
Fizzy mouthfeel with medium carbonation.
Wouldn't try again,boozy expensive and a letdown for the price. Expected more complexity and barrel character.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 03:22:08 | More by RenoZymurgist
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Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 345 ratings.