Grand Cru - North Coast Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 373 | Reviews: 138 | Display Reviews Only:
4.28/5 rDev +17.9%
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.
08-21-2011 20:48:17 | More by UCLABrewN84
3.6/5 rDev -0.8%
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.
12-06-2011 00:28:46 | More by metter98
3.5/5 rDev -3.6%
As an American brewery which has flirted with Belgian styles with much success, It's easy to become currious on which one that they think is the best and entitled with the moniker "Grand Cru".
The pop of the cork yields a mild spillover of foam that seeps from the bottle (have your sinks ready kids). But then I was surprised by the relatively light colored ale inside. Medium amber in color, the beer carries well the hues of honey and pine sap. Even the most gentle of pours cause the froth to separate from the beer beneath with an expansive and heady cap. Spotty lace takes the forms of broken rings and isolated pockets, but is surprisingly mild on both retention and lace.
Complex Belgian character slathers the olfactory senses with a ton of fruit, malt, and spice. Caramel, honey, and biscuit lay the foundation but its the fruity complements that come in the form of apple, apricot, cherry, spiced pear, banana and dates that quickly gain command. Its balanced scent is a crazy melange of pepper, cumin, taragon, chai tea-like spices, clove, and of course coriander. Along with the stronger alcohol components, the beer begins to seem lightly of cough syrups.
The fruit and spice balance also battles it out in taste. But first its the coat of malty sweetness that emerges first- honey, caramel, crusted bread, and confectioner's sugar all lay the ground work for the Belgian influences to play upon. Apricot meets coriander, cherry with taragon, mellon with chai tea, banana and clove, alcohol and cayenne, fenel and dates... it seems that the balance of fruit and spice is never ending. But with the immense taste of lingering malt sweetness, all that ester-phenol interplay is fully supported.
Supported so well that it interferes with the beer's overall drinkability. As the candyish malts penetrate the mouth, it buffers against the strong alcohols and spicy notes. But the left over sweetness makes the beer a slow sipping affair rather than a drinking ale. The reluctant recession of malt delays the beer's finish and reserves the beer's spicy dryness and alcohol warmth until very late.
Overall, I would classify the beer as a very complex yet unrefinned ale. It suffers much the same fate as many other American brewed, Belgian inspired ales that portray a half-hearted Belgian depth and lacking the raw rusticity and supple dryness that makes those from Belgium so great.
01-11-2013 06:30:15 | More by BEERchitect
3.25/5 rDev -10.5%
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.
08-16-2011 05:20:28 | More by womencantsail
3.78/5 rDev +4.1%
500ml bottle - $12.99 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Appearance: Pours a clear, deep golden body with an initially high, foaming, near white head.
Smell: Rather sweet-scented aroma evocative of sugared tequila, but with additional notes of twangy pils malt, sliced tropical fruits spilling their precious juices, and buttery oak.
Taste: Tangy pilsner malts hinting of syrup-drenched French bread, with a strong sweetness upfront and throughout of toffee and agave nectar. Fruity touches of sugar-cooked pears, banana juice, and even papaya. Low spiciness. Buttery oakiness trying to emerge from underneath the sweetness. Noted tongue-singing ethanol on the continued sweet, but mercifully crisp finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-high carbonation cutting through what otherwise you can just sense would be truly cloying. However, it seems the carbonation leaves this one quick which it so desperately needs, so, as much as I hate to say this: drink it fast. Have plenty of water and a DD on hand, though!
Overall: Starts to take on a taste of Prosecco blended with honey and agave syrup for added thickness and sweetness. Notably warm from the ABV, but not painfully hot, though not my best choice to down before going in to work, perhaps. It's not the grandest of crus, so, how about Interesting Cru?
09-13-2011 18:33:42 | More by ChainGangGuy
4/5 rDev +10.2%
This brew poured out as a very nice sparkling gold color with a pretty nice white head on top. The head has a decent retention but not much lacing at all. The smell of the beer gives off a mix of champagne and bourbon. The aroma is a little sweet and has a big yeasty aroma too. The taste of the beer is a little tart upfront with some elements of vanilla and booze. The aftertaste is soft and light. Very palatable stuff here. The mouthfeel of the beer is light, fairly refreshIng and smooth. It's got plenty of carbonation at first but settles well on the tongue after swallowing. Overall I enjoyed the beer. I can't say that I'd buy it again because of the price tag on it but still it's not a bad brew at all.
10-31-2011 02:36:17 | More by Knapp85
3.25/5 rDev -10.5%
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.
10-19-2011 02:07:15 | More by oberon
3.58/5 rDev -1.4%
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!
08-18-2011 03:20:54 | More by emerge077
3.85/5 rDev +6.1%
A - Poured out a hazy, golden/orange color with a one-finger, white head of bubbly foam. It left little to no lacing.
S - It smelled honey-like. I guess that's the agave. Sweet overall aroma.
T - It tasted somewhat spicy with a champagne-like fruitiness. Lots of caramel sweetness.
M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.
O - This is a nice beer. It is unique and not what I expected. The "Grand Cru" name is misleading. It seems more like a Biere de Champagne.
03-08-2012 02:37:14 | More by zeff80
3.9/5 rDev +7.4%
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.
11-29-2011 00:08:21 | More by NeroFiddled
3.98/5 rDev +9.6%
A - Pours with one finger of white foam on top of a clear, golden copper body. The head settles rapidly and leaves only light lace.
S - Honey and pilsner malt with some herbal hops and musty notes of clove and pepper.
T - Sweet, thick malt up front with some clove. Peppery yeast in the middle with notes of pear and pineapple as well as some toffee. Finishes with clove, pepper, honey, and lingering herbal hops.
M - A medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.
D - Reasonably complex and quite drinkable despite its high ABV. The finish is a bit sweet for my taste, but it is forgivable for a beer this strong. I enjoyed this beer, but I really feel like 13% is a bit too much for the style; I have a feeling I would have enjoyed it more if it was <10%.
02-17-2012 07:27:26 | More by nickfl
4.15/5 rDev +14.3%
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…
10-11-2011 06:18:06 | More by feloniousmonk
3.58/5 rDev -1.4%
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.
08-12-2011 21:52:17 | More by Halcyondays
Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.