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Grand Cru - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Grand CruGrand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.

404 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 404
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 17.98%
Wants: 16
Gots: 85 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 404 | Reviews: 142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of harrymel
1.48/5  rDev -59.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bottled: unk

A: pale golden with little head production. No lace. Etched mirror surface. Excellent clarity.
S: pear juice, some floral notes, belgian yeast. Kinda like a tripel with a sharp edge.
T: Really sweet and cloying. Wow, this is like syrup and tripel yeast. Wow, seriously sweet. So much yeast flavor too.
M: Thick and sticky with moderate on low carb. Semi dry finish.
O: This beer is an embarrassment.

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 brotherloco
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml C&C bottle. Served in a tulip at cellar temperature.

Pours a clear golden orange with a big loose off-white head. Lots of cascading bubbles remain in the glass. Some broad lacing.

Aroma is earthy and funky and definitely tilts Belgian. I get a lot of nutty swiss cheese notes along with some buttered popcorn. Sweet malt, vanilla, and booze.

Initial taste is very sweet and heavier on the palate than I was expecting from the apparent carbonation. Not sure what the agave nectar is contributing, but there is definitely a sweet fruit juice note. Oaky wood notes sit in the background along with some spiciness. Finish stays sweet and seems to bury whatever booze I got in the nose. Decent and interesting, but too sweet to rate highly.

Body is full and carbonation is low in comparison. Not really enough to support the thick feel.

This is certainly a unique offering and definitely has a "wine" quality to it, but it isn't a total stunner.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a pale yellow with yellow highlights and a nice 2 finger bubbly head thst left plenty of lacing sticking to the glass.

S: Got a whiff of dark fruits upfront on the nose with sweetness from the belgian yeast, some traces of brett funkiness and pear notes.

T: The sweet belgian yeast was more apparent on the palate with pear, dark fruit, and hints of booze but had a touch of tart bretty funkiness.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a good amount of carbonaton which had a sweet, slight fruity, funky bretty tart finish.

D: it was drinking pretty damn good considering the ABV and was tastier than anticipated. Definitely could drink another one of these.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of richbrew
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of FrankyLikesIt
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of JeremyDrinksBeer
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of chrisinidaho
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of CopeTech
5/5  rDev +36.2%

Photo of Ratman197
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle poured a clear tarnished gold with a small lingering ivory head. Aromas of cookie, pear, pineapple, bourbon, light oak, light vanilla and alcohol. Palate was light to medium bodied and crisp. Flavors of cookie, apple, pear, pineapple and light bourboin with a crisp lingering fruity finish.

Photo of BeerArchivist
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of ShanePB
2.73/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

16.9 fl oz corked & caged bottle, purchased at quite a steep price. My girlfriend and I read the words "agave" and "bourbon barrel" and we were sold. Hopefully it was worth it. Poured into two goblet glasses.

A: Slightly hazy golden honey colored body with a big rocky white head initially. A thin bubbly retention cap stuck around, along with some minor patches of lacing.

S: Odd overall aroma; notes of pear, lemon, yeasty, bread and a dried woody bourbon element. The back end brings a large amount of alcohol esters. Eh, it doesn't really smell overwhelming good, but there's nothing completely off-putting about it.

T: Lots of Belgian-style yeast flavors, dough, stale dried fruits (lemon and pineapple). Mid-palate has a nice honey flavor and alcohol kick which leads right into a seriously weak bourbon element. It's almost laughable, actually. Either their barrel treatment skills are lacking or other parts of this beer completely consume any barrel flavors that were imparted. Not impressed.

M: Bubbly, very lively carbonation and medium-bodied. Somewhat sticky on the palate; finish is a bit off with an astringency I can't place.

Well, this was one beer that is absolutely in my opinion not worth the money. I didn't drain pour because of the price but had this been offered to me for free I doubt I'd finish it. A weird combination of flavors and certainly not what it was billed to be.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2/5  rDev -45.5%

Photo of WynnO
2.45/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

The beer is decent in every category except taste. It evokes confusion to my palette, unable to decide what it wants to be. I sense a dry, in your face bitterness---bitter as in an immature old ale.

Rather than regret throwing my money away on this $19 snow job of advertising and squirrely one-liner quotes on North Coast's website, I actually wish I had bought two, putting bottle #2 away in a cool dark place for a year, maybe two. It might turn into something to brag about by then. If you want it to drink now though, spend your money on something else.

Photo of Arbitrator
1.43/5  rDev -61%
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.

Photo of ADZA
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-See through golden honey hue which leaves a two finger head and little clingy lacing.

S-White grapes,musty barnyard funk,peaches,alcohol and yeasty belgian bread.

T-Candied peaches,pineapple,barley,mangoes and porridge with oats and paw paw.

M-Light to medium bodied with a creamy backbone.

O-Very nice with its high ABV well hidden and would drink again cheers.

Photo of diamondc
4.33/5  rDev +18%
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.

Photo of Zaplt
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a huge white head that has very poor retention and little lacing. Golden amber color.

Aroma - Caramel sweetness and a bit of a tart slight sourness coming through.

Taste - Clove, floral tones, caramel, breadiness with a light hop bite that meets with the bourbon and the alcohol at the finish. Not as tart as expected. The bourbon barrel is evident but the whiskey taste seems to clash and barrel through any other complexity that may shine through without the aging. The aroma was very inviting but the taste seems to not live up to it.

Overall - For the price, no thank you. I felt as if it was a pretty average beer covered by oak and bourbon.

Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

Photo of david18
4/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of rarbring
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A clear golden brew with small bubbles, a white high head that settles rather quickly, leaving good lacing, and having some curtains.

The smell is sweet and fruity, grapes, vinegar and a whiff of stable.

The taste is sweet, grapes, elderberries, apples, vinegar and white whine.

Medium low carbonation, minimal bubbles, a fresh feeling, a warm and dry finish.

A very nice brew, very well with dinner, read meat.

Photo of srandycarter
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am not going to do my usual breakdown. This beer pours clear, extremely clear, light amber. Not much very white head that goes to disk fast. Some cling. Smell is cider or mead. Not pleasant for a belgian. Taste is weird. Cloying, cidery, not what I expected. Don't need to go on. Will drain pour balance... not because it is too gross, but because I don't waste beer calories.

Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 404 ratings.