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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 SFLpunk
3.86/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

500mL brown glass cork and caged bottle. Split with coworkers last night.

Pours really clear and is a medium golden yellow with crackly white head that dissipates quickly. The nose is rather odd and unusual, with notes of pear, sticky wet flowers, prickly pear cactus/nopales, maybe some stone fruit like peaches, honey and of course one would say you can smell the agave nectar. The palate takes all of the aromas and wraps them in a slightly creamy vanilla flavor for a resulting cactus creamsicle taste. No woodiness to speak of here. Does not taste like almost 13%.

Notes: This is a seriously unusual and unique beer right here. Never had anything like it, so points overall to NC for originality. That being said, I didn't really want to drink more than 3 ounces, so I think the mouthfeel score will be a bit low. My advice is to keep experimenting! I think it may have been better without the barrel-aging. Just a thought.

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Photo of shawnsmith1
3.18/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear gold color into tulip. 1/2" white head fed by vigorous carbonation, disappears quickly.

S: Vinous and cidery. Pear, apple and spice. Buttery oak. Reminiscent of a California Chardonnay.

T: Follows nose. Spicy and sweet.

M: Medium body; Starts with a high level of palate cleansing carbonation, which quickly dissipates, leaving it quite cloying. Finishes with turbinado and spice.

O: I like the idea of this beer, but it just didn't do it for me. Glad I experienced it, but no interest in having it again.

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Photo of DovaliHops
2.76/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours an almost-clear, golden orange color with small white head that disappears quickly. Scent is spicy with some faint alcohol aromas and sweet fruit. Lemon and grassy aromas. A hint of butter as well. Taste is VERY buttery. Initially I get boozy fruit flavors, possibly the agave nectar, quickly followed by butterscotch and extremely minimal oak barrel flavors. Not really detecting any bourbon flavors, which is very disappointing. Okay, I lie...maybe a bit as the beer warms up. Mouthfeel is thick and a bit syrupy. Drinkability is fair...Overall, this beer was rather disappointing. Kinda a mess.

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Photo of JackieTH
2.34/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

From notes, ABR 2011.

Pours yellow-golden color, sparkling, with white head. Good retention and lacing.

Smells sweet and lactic, with clear notes of the agave nectar. Taste is agave sweet nectar up front, many white wine characteristics, or perhaps cider, its sweet, and a bit oaky.

Mouthfeel is light with lively carbonation.

Overall I didn't enjoy this. Way too sweet and quite frankly not sure this is beer or a Riesling.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.75/5  rDev +5%
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.

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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 FightingEntropy
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light golden ale that's effervescent bubbles floating to the top, but the head disappeared immediately. Nose has a very light spice, clean and pleasant, with light apple, pepper and yeast. Bubbly appears with a carbonic bite before a spicey with light pepper before a sweet finish. Slightly hot with a clear taste of alcohol. Mouthfeel is a light for the beer. Seems a bit out of balance, but a nice beer for the night. Not a fan of the beer, but enjoying it at the moment.

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Photo of mattboyer182
3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - light golden color with almost no head. Nothing to brag about.

S - smell is fruity. Kind of nectarine and tangerine and citrusy and what not.

T - the taste is interesting. It's very sweet and juicy up front and falls off in the end and gets a little stale but has a major juice consistency to it.

M - mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied and light carbonation.

O - the weirdest grand cru I've ever had. I don't see why a beer this light and minor could even be considered a grand cru.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
2.45/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours out a deep gold, almost apple juice colored. Heavy carbonation, small head, no lace.

The smell is nectar heavy, but with the whisky barrel smell it ends up a bit like fruit punch. Some light malts show up in the background.

Wow, too sweet. Barrel and sweet nectar throw down right away, some malt and yeast, but not much going for it in terms of complexity (at least not at this age). Alcohol burn gets pretty noticeable by the end.

I'd put this in the flavored beer category. Too much like a boozy fruit punch for my taste. Oh well, next time tone it down a bit.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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?

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Photo of DCon
4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared a 500 ML 1 PT 0.9 FL. OZ. bottle of this brew w/ GeoffTheAleMan from Schnucks in Frontenac, MO for $13.99. Poured from the Golden Bottle that weighs over 5 lbs into a Groupon Pint Glass and does not have a freshness date on the bottle.

Aroma- Has a ton of strength in the aroma. Starts with a huge grape juice and light sour aroma. Not much spice and not much fruit except this fake, Juicy Juice aroma meaning its very sweet and malty.

Appearance- Pours a 3 finger, frothy and dense head that stays for a long time! Has a golden body with good clarity. Leaves good lacing.

Flavor- The tastes going on in this one are very complexed! Can tell there was a strong citrus flavor and then aged in bourbon barrels (slightly). Very fruity and has a nice belgian style finish (Light-Medium). Only a hint of alcohol in here (even though its a close to 13% brew).

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Effervescent, and has a slight alcohol taste on the tongue.

Overall Impression- This was a strong and nicely complexed Grand Cru! I was very excited to buy when it came out but now seeing it in a grocery store, I had to buy. Better than the reviews it got on BeerAdvocate also. I would suggest you getting a 500-750 mL bottle of this but sharing it with a friend. Very intense, strong, and could give you a nice buzz if your first brew of the evening.

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Photo of scottfrie
2.24/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

500ml caged and corked bottle into Portsmouth snifter.

A: Pours a dark golden with a couple fingers of foamy white head that quickly faded into a thin film leaving a couple streaks of lacing down the glass.
S: Light smelling. All I really get is some barrel-esque wood and a touch of stone fruits. There is something faintly sour as well. The nose isn’t bad, but it’s barely there.
T: Big syrupy flavor of sweet fruits, toffee and candied sugar. This is one syrupy sweet beer. I’ve never really described a beer as “cloying” before, but I think that fits nicely. I guess it's the agave. The finish has a pretty good dose of warm alcohol that doesn’t go well with all the syrupy toffee sweetness. I get some bready yeast and pepper in the aftertaste.
M: Bubbly, tingly carbonation that froths up on my palate. The body is full and the mouthfeel is definitely thick, heavy and syrupy. The high alcohol adds to the high viscosity and creates a very slick mouthfeel as well.
O: Another miss *coughtwentiethanniversarycough* from a brewery that I really do love. Even the great breweries make mistakes. I’m just glad I found this bottle for only $12 as even this is asking too much.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: hazy golden. Head is big off white and billowy (to type).
Smell: some sour, some spice, some candy.
Taste: this is better than the nose suggests. I thought from the reviews it would be a pale imitation of Duvel, but IMO it's a damn good amped up version of the style.
Nice and full bubbly carbonation. Amazingly smooth for the 12.9%. Thanks to my best pal for surprising me with this yesterday.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.57/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

North Coast Grand Cru, bottle bought for $14.99 at Malloy's Finest in Naperville, Illinois.

Appearance: Classic Belgian looks- pale and transparent like apple juice, with a whitey one-finger head that dies almost right away. No lacing whatsoever and low carbonation. Nothing exciting here.

Smell: Yeasty, spicy, dry and puckering. Sour apple. Distant honey.

Taste: Follows nose, with more Belgian yeast and spice. Tart and crisp. A tad of sweetness at the end, but barely a hint, considering this is brewed with straight-up agave. No bourbon, wood or barrel either. Nothing too complex here.

Mouthfeel: Flavor is full but disappointing (where's the sweetness and the barrel?), body is medium-to-full, carbonation is adequate. Finishes dry and persistent.

Overall: Super drinkable, there's no doubt about that! Not a hint of 12.90% here. But not worth $14.99. If you told me this is a $6 bottle of Duvel, I'm fine. But really, agave? bourbon barrels? 15 bucks? No way. I love North Coast but this just doesn't fly.

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Photo of snaotheus
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pair of pint glasses. I'm at my in-laws' place, and they don't have that much glassware. I'll survive.

Pours straw yellow, very clear, small pale head. Smells musty and sweet, straw and wet wood, wet leather.

Taste is jarringly sweet. A little bit of lemony tang. Maybe some slight honeysuckle flavor...but it's soooo sweet everything is just drowning in syrupy-ness. It actually made me shiver.

Mouthfeel is sticky, but surprisingly light. Overall, not such a fan. Way too sweet.

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Photo of DSchulers
3.31/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of Brez07
2.55/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

500ml bottle split into 2 glasses

A: Looks like... apple juice. Just a little bit of head left after an initial 1 finger amount. No lace, just some brief oily presence with each swirl

S: When I first opened this, I commented on how it smelled somewhat like champagne. Some sweet fruit notes, similar to pears. I struggled to find any vanilla here. Touch of alcohol

T: Pale, crisp malts. Pepper like spice. Overly sweet, probably from the agave, with some belgian yeast characteristics. What is this? Are we sure this is barrel aged? I'm confused

M: Light, bubbly. Slightly dry finish

M: Definitely disappointed with this one. Not a drain pour, but I was close at first. There are basically no signs this was in a barrel and the sweetness from agave is a bit much. Spend your money elsewhere

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Photo of sweemzander
1.8/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

500mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a golden apricot color. Produced a giant 4+ finger fluffy head with surprisingly good retention and lace despite it being 12.9%.

(S)- A little strange. Lots of pear and that sweet agave nectar fruit profile. Bits of a sweaty gym sock yeast. On the background finish is an oaky bourbon character. All together, it almost smells like marinara sauce somehow as it warms up.

(T)- Just like the smell. A sickly sweet fruit note in front of some kind of marinara sauce meets an oaky muddy yeast. This is borderline gross; drain pour.

(M)- A good carbonation level, though thats the only good thing I can see. Very sweet and has lots of vegetable notes and a bizarre yeast. Finishes boozy.

(D)- This looked great, though quickly turned to an abomination in my opinion. It tastes like vegetables and a very strange muddled yeast. This needs to go back to the drawing board unless my bottle is completely off or an infection of some kind.

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Photo of JoeySchlitz
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light golden, effervescent color with a half inch of head. Looks decent and smells a bit funky with some light lemon notes, bourbon barrels and some Belgian yeast. There are some additional fruit notes - grapefruit and mellon - at the tail end. Taste is quite different though, with a very sweet, bourbon and agave mixture that is highly carbonated. The beer is very heavy with alcohol, to the point of seeming more like a strong mixed drink than beer. Overall, its a decent beer and worth trying, but doubtful that I'll look for any additional bottles.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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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 kzoobrew
3.11/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bourbon barrel aged beer brewed with Agave nectar, worth a shot.

The pour is nothing like what I expected. Super carbonated and effervescent. Clear golden yellow body capped by a towering fizzy bone white head. The head recedes is relative short order, spotty lacing left clinging to the glass.

This beer continues to.... well confuse me? I simply have not had anything like it. The agave nectar is prominent. The Belgian yeast strain comes into play just behind. Very sugary sweet aroma. The barrel contributions are relatively low. Does it smell like a BSPA should? Maybe, I just am thrown off by this beer all together.

Do I even need to say it? The flavor continues the weirdness of this beer. Strong sweetness up from. There is a little bit of a tart citrus flavor up front. The agave is there once again, blends well with the initial sweetness. Belgian yeast picks up mid palate, though is a bit subdued. Soft phenols lay on the tongue. The barrel presence is seemingly missing again. To be honest, it kinda tastes like a Red Bull.

The body checks in somewhere between light and medium. Carbonation is a bit high, does not really do the beer many favors. The finish is surprisingly dry despite the sweetness.

Just a down right strange beer. I applaud North Coast for experimenting and trying something new, I just have no idea what to think of this beer. NC Grand Cru does not fit a style, I think I would prefer it if I did not think of it as a beer. Worth a try, I do not think I will be picking it up again.

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Photo of emerge077
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
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!

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Photo of ehammond1
2.58/5  rDev -27.7%
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.

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Photo of charlzm
4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

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