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Grand Cru - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Grand CruGrand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.

408 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 408
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 17.71%
Wants: 16
Gots: 87 | 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 (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 408 | Reviews: 142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.16/5  rDev +13.4%
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
3.06/5  rDev -16.6%
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.

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Daniellobo
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting take at bourbonizing a Belgium pale ale touched with agave…

Presentation: 500 ml corked and caged brown bottle. Simple design with a golden label presided by an embroided Celtic like pattern, alongside a minimal description of brew, and serving recommendation. Shows 12.9% Alc. by Vol. Poured into a snifter.

A - Clear deep gold pour, short lived frothy head, and moderate lacing.

S - Toffee and burnt caramel with a yeasty sense, hint of buttery booze...

T - …which translates nicely to the palate. Syrupy range, with that burnt caramel, buttery sugar, hint of hop and spicy, citric peel with a deep lingering yeastiness, hints of wood, vanilla, with a remote sweet memory of bourbon.

M - Full to medium body with good carbonation adding a nice rhythm to the sweetness.

O - Good sipper, slightly boring towards the end, but offering a nice initial range.

Notes: Worth the try and the experiment but again I feel a tad shortchanged with these heavy and small bottles carrying these price tags… I was reluctant to try it and ultimately it was a nice experience but nowhere as close to the promised quality-hype...

Photo of Gobigvt7
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz corkncage (heaviest bottle I've held in ages) into a new belgium chalice.

hazy (from bubbles), then crystal. peachy straw-colored with a dab of amber. a thumb of white head quickly dissipates, but legs remain.

smells rather hot and sweet, like a champagne, faint peaches and passion fruit.

immediately boozy and cloying, lots of fruity, yeasty flavors (peach, passion fruit, honey, clover). Not a lot else. A sugar bomb.

sticky and syrupy, the abv has a lot to do with the flavor here. Still only medium bodied as far as weight goes.

Disappointing, but decent. Could have been better balanced, but flavors were there. $15.99 a bottle was a little steep.

Photo of Kinsman
3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pop goes the cork and a soft pour fills the glass with a clear golden color and a dense white head filling the upper half of the tulip.

Sweetness in the aroma may just be too much of an understatement. Fruity nectar alongside a good does of vanilla makes for über sweet aroma. Just a hint of alcohol in the background breaks through the sweetness.

Fortunately on the palate a bit more of the beer came through, with a strong malty bready backbone upon which the sweetness of the agave build off of. Some woodiness from the oak comes along as well just before a decent bourbon kick right at the end.

Mouthfeel was full bodied and a bit warm. Overall, I wasn't sure what to expect from this beer. Certainly not a disappointment but far from the best for a barrel aged beer.

Photo of Reagan1984
1.73/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Good looking beer, that’s for sure. A fluffy bright white head builds quickly and then fades quickly on the beer. The beer is a very bright brass/gold color with perfect clarity and nicely spaced escaping strands of carbonation. No lace to speak of.

Aroma is very fruity with pear and light apple notes. Definitely a sweetness noted here.

Oh My, this is a sweet beer. Pear flavor and specifically like the syrup from canned pears. Really over powers everything else. Some candied sugar.

Cloying does come to mind.

Wow, this is a decidedly bad beer. Have no interest in finishing the glass. Not coming back for more here.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a medium golden color with a nice white cap

S: Fresh fruits like some apples or even pears going, some wood, hint at vanilla and agave of course

T: Sharp alcohol tinge with agave, Earthiness, wheat or hay, wood, vanilla with a syrupy, sticky feel with pears, apples and subtle vanilla, agave and light pepper at times

M: Big beer, medium body and feel of wheat on the palate

0: An average on this because it is not one I would go back to again, not unless it had a couple of years on it

Photo of LtCracker20
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clear golden yellow body wit ha 2-finger white head that shows OK retention before falling to a thin cap. Little lace.

S- Slight tart apples, but more of a slight sourness and funk to it. The smell is pretty subtle, but it's there.

T- Sweet apples and pears, slight funk, a little sourness, but very different from the aroma.

MF- Medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation. Flavors don't seem to linger too long, but the meld on the palate well.

Photo of oberon
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of gford217
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle.

Pours crystal clear golden amber with a big pillowy white head that shows excellent retention and lacing.

Aroma is very sweet with lots of candi sugar and all kinds of overripe fruits like pears and apricots. Tons of booze, especially tequila, and some spiciness from the wood.

Taste is hot up front - definitely no hiding the alcohol in this one. That initial boozy spiciness gives way to the sugary fruit notes with some bananas and fruity esters.

The mouthfeel is full bodied, really sticky and crazy boozy.

This is a decent beer but pretty extreme on the both the sweetness and alcohol scale. Little bit of this goes a long way...

Photo of jdhilt
4.52/5  rDev +23.2%
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.

Photo of BillHilly
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Lacing dissipated fast, color is a slightly amber, much lighter than most GC.

S: Slightly funky, don't have words for it. Pull my finger on a cold day?

T: More like a hybrid grand cru and golden ale IMO.

M: Comes up short on MF, under carbonated.

O: Well, in my humble but short opinion, not worth the price, but I would say, give this a good cellar for 3 years minimum.

Photo of jmunsters
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Blonde and copper with a half finger head that dissipates quickly. A little lacing.

S - Belgian yeast. Fruit and citrus. Lemons and sugar.

T - A mix grouping of fruits. Apples and bananas at first give way to a bit more of a citrus and tequila at the end. A little bit of spice and prevalent Belgian yeast. A tad sour at the end. Oh and booze.

M - Quite dry with a mild carbonation. I was hoping for a bit more carbonation, but that would have made it quite refreshing and drinkable. Dangerous if at 13%.

O - I went to three of my favorite stores in the area and everyone of them recommended this highly. I think it's exceptionally overrated, especially at $16.50 for a pint. It's good, but it's definitely over priced, and probably over-hyped due to the price.

Photo of Bendurgin
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulilp. This one pours a slightly hazy golden color with a creamy finger of white head that settles down quickly.

Apples in the aroma with bits of caramel with some vanilla and a rich cheese like aroma in the background. Interesting to say the least. Kind of a granny smith apple flavor with caramel and hints of bourbon and some vanilla on the pallet. The tartness doesn't seem to work with the more prominant sweet flavors.

Medium sticky body with good carbonation. Not bad here, but I'll pass in the future and stick with some of the less expensive alternatives.

Photo of mothman
3.31/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a half finger of white head. Color is a clear golden orange. Good head retention and lace.

Aroma: Sweet, sour, and a little bit of tartness. Very fruity. Some lemon. Oak with a hint of bourbon. Vanilla.

Taste: The bourbon shows more here, but it is more oaky with vanilla. Bananas and cloves. Big time Belgian flavors. Yeasty. Sweetness. Spices.

Mouthfeel: Dry. Medium to full bodied. Medium amount of carbonation. Ends with some stickiness and a bit of sourness.

Overall, it is not bad and I am glad I got to try it. Odd aroma however. Not to much bourbon flavors. I wouldn't pay $15 for this beer.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
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…

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.72/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

500 mL bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Clear copper body with a fleeting white head. After that, it's got nary a hint of life to it.

Smell - Belgian aroma, but really dominated by various fruit sweetnesses. I think I get the agave, but it's tough to tell with this smell. It's big.

Taste - Estery fruit flavors up front. Apples and a hint of banana. It's somewhat sweet, but not as much as I'd expect at 12.9%. The finish is harsh. Really harsh. I'm not even sure what aspect makes it harsh, but it's bad.

Mouthfeel - I guess it's not awful, but it's close. Low carbonation and dry in the finish, so it doesn't feel huge, but the alcohol burn is like drinking whiskey. The astringent flavor left is really terrible.

Overall - I couldn't finish the bottle. It was too much. The flavor was ok, but it's undrinkable. By the way, where's the bourbon in this?

Photo of mikereaser
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a light golden copper color with 2 inches of foam that quickly faded to a ring of bubbles around the glass
S - The aroma is reminding me of some pear, maybe some lemon, honey and maybe some agave. It just has an overly sweet aroma but not overpowering
T - Wow, the taste is very overpowering, lots of pear, lemon and fresh fruit hits you hard with just a touch of a malt backbone. Its very fruit orientated but not overpowering and not completely easy to pick out whats going on.
M - good carbonation, medium bodied with still a residual sweetness creaping in and keeping this a guessing game.
D - again, too sweet for me, enjoyable, but a 750ml bottle seems to much for me to be able to keep up with.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours gold and clear into my snifter with about two fingers of head that doesn't stick around too long but leaves some splotchy lacing.

S - Smells very sweet and malty, the agave is very present as well, tropical fruit, peppery spice and oak.

T - Sweet and tangy right up front, agave, pear, banana and other tropical fruits, caramel/toffee malts, peppery on the palate from mid taste through the finish and then comes the best part, the lingering buttery oak on the palate making you want to keep sipping.

M - Medium/full body with really bright carbonation, feel is unbalanced and too prickly on my tongue.

O - This is a pretty unique beer that has qualities I really enjoy and other qualities I really do not enjoy. Very hard to rate a beer like this because it is indeed good, but could be far better.

Photo of imasloth
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a golden yellow with a large white head that quickly subsides with minimal lacing. Light carbonation once settled.

S- Fermented fruit (sweet), some alcohol. Some agave (tequila?) after warming a bit.

T- Initial sweetness, followed by the taste of agave, finishing dry.

M- Smooth and fairly light. Some dryness after swallowing.

O- Certainly not a beer you'd want for any old occasion, and not one you'd want to drink all night, but a nice innovative brew worth the occasional tasting.

Photo of SFLpunk
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of shawnsmith1
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 408 ratings.