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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 (28) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 145 | Hads: 431
Photo of billab914
3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 500ml bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured orange in color with a thin, frothy, white head to it.

The aroma has a orange citrus mixing with some sweeter honey and vanilla like flavors. The Belgian yeast adds some earthy spice to it. There is a sweeter, malty, almost candied like presence to it that I assume is the agave. It feels overly sweet and boozy already.

The taste shows a little more of the sweeter, candied citrus fruits to it. The agave gives it a honey like quality, but it feels even more sugary, sweet and boozy. The pilsner malt shows through in the finish along with some of the belgian yeast spice.

The mouthfeel feels a little on the heavy side with carbonation being above average. Overall, I didn't think it was that good of a beer. I thought the agave gave it too much of a sweet, sugary quality that made it tough to drink. It just didn't come together well for me.

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Photo of zeff80
3.82/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of weeare138
4.27/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a transparent light gold with a tight white cap. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of orange citrus, honey, vanilla, and bourbon. Perhaps some warmed peach, also.
Taste is of the aromas with a boozy, peach, apricots, poached pears, vanilla, delicious bourbon, and blast of citrus. Damn.
Mouthfeel is medium full bodied, boozy, up front, yet somehow enticing. A very, very interesting brew that I was glad to have enjoyed.

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Photo of nickfl
3.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have only had this beer for a couple months now. I kinda wish that I could let it sit for a couple years before trying it, but I want to know if I should buy some more since it is still pretty available right now. Let's give it a shot, but I am expecting it to be a bit "hot" like the Old Stock normally is when it is this green.

Appearance: Pours a mildly hazy yellow golden color with a solid 1/2" head of fluffy white bubbles after a very slow pour. There are lots of bubbles rising and since the beer isn't too cloudy, you can see that there is a vortex of bubbles rising. The head was >1/2 its height over a minute after the pour. Though the head hangs on forever (unusual for such a strong beer) there isn't a whole lot of lace left after drinking.

Aroma: The initial aroma was rather dry and woody like it was wood aged in a young barrel. There is also already a lot of spiciness present. Dry wood and some wheat notes seem to make their way to the top as the beer sits for a bit. Some mildly floral and herbal hops are starting to come out as the beer warms. The aroma is interesting, but a little weird for a "Grand Cru" whether I am going to judge it from American or Euro standards. It actually smells like it was aged in young American Oak barrels. I am going to have to read up on this one.

Taste: The flavor is bold with a mild medicinal component stemming from the alcohol. It is warming from the begging to the end, no doubt, so it doesn't hide the fact that it is a strong beer. In the finish there are some apricot flavors that I assume are mostly hop derived and rather nice. The flavor is an interesting ride, and every time I go back to it I am getting something different. There is definitely a fruity aspect that is coming out late, which is a little unusual. The beginning of the profile is led by the sweet and mildly toasty malt, but then the spice form the alcohol sets in and leads into the hops in the finish. Strangely, the hops come across more in the flavoring than bittering in the finish, so I guess this indicates how strong this beer actually is. The carbonation is adequate. It may be a bit high, but I think that will serve this beer well as it ages.

Opinion: As I suspected, I am pretty happy with this beer. It has a lot of character and has "age me" written all over it. I need to see if I can get a half-dozen more of these to set back for at least two years to come back and re-visit. Old Stock is one of my favorite beers to cellar, so I am sure that I can make some room for a few bottles of this one beside the OS vertical I am collecting. I would recommend this beer. Now, it is pretty good, but I am pretty confident that it will be outstanding in about 3 years...maybe 5.

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Photo of williamjbauer
3.77/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled served in a pint glass

A - Clear amber with a 1 finger cream head with moderate lacing and min to mod head retention.

S - Agave aka tequila, crisp apples, grapes, honey, lemon, pear, banana esters, malt, wheat. It is kind of weird, but really engaging.

T - So as fair as the typical reviews are going I am way off as I think this beer tastes pretty stellar. I don't want to compare it with most other Belgian Pale Ales because frankly this one is just weird. But weird doesn't mean bad, this is damn good. This is a full palate journey with sweet at first then sour and a little bitter at the end. Agave and honey hit me first then some citrus sourness and finally a slight wheat body and hint of back palate bitterness.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation.

O - I like Belgium ales and I thought this one deviated from the norm but that is a good thing. I really enjoyed it and would recommend this to other for a try.

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Photo of bonkers
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tasting snifter. It pours golden yellow, 2 inch white head, good lacing. The aroma is sweet, lots of fruit notes(especially green apples and pears. The beer is sweet, lots of candi sugar, lots of green apple, hint of oak, realy sweet finish. The body is medium, alcohol is noticeable, good carbonation. The beer is too sweet, but I still liked it. I knocked down the scores because the bourbon ageing had no effect on the beer. Maybe it tempered the sweetness, but the bottle is a bit pricey, and no bourbon notes.

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Photo of Pencible
4.02/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy gold with moderate white head.
S: It smelled like vanilla and biscuit and wild honey, with some toasted coconut and lemon meringue and crisp apples.
T: It tasted like sweet orange and tart lemon meringue, with metallic hops and wild honey, and a little vanilla and toasted coconut and crisp apple. It had a sweet and tart aftertaste that was fairly hot but clean.
M: It was oily and smooth with fine natural carbonation. Very nice slick body.
D: This was not what I expected, but nevertheless a delicate and unique brew with good scent and taste. Body was excellent, but the finish had quite noticeable alcohol, so it must be sipped. Could probably stand some age, but not super long. A nice brew to try fresh, but not an instant classic (and probably not worth the cost).

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Photo of JayAre46
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very transpartent golden color with a 1 finger spotty head that sits on top falls to a thin cancerous layer with a thin ring around the edges. im not going to lie im afraid after the big red 77 score popped up, the 12.9 abv and the fact that ive never heard of it, im afraid. the nose is of a clean hot alcohol, very yeasty and fruity. the taste. ah the taste, whats the problem guys? burst of pears comes through immediately, green grapes and more light fruits not much spice, lack of bubble gum bullshit which is great. it finishes very clean and the alcohol is very warming as is goes down the throat. big time white wine influence, it says it was bourbon barrel aged, which you have to really search for and its in the finish for a split section as the brewer just texted me they aged it for a whole week. yeah all seven days! i can't believe it either! the mouth feel is medium the carbonation is there but not prickly at all, its pretty smooth and easy to drink to me. overall this is not a bad brew at all, its not great and i will never drink it again but ill have no problem drinking all 50cl of it. if i would have had it a bit cooler i think i would have enjoyed it even more and it needs more hops to balance the sweetness. probably around 60 degrees because my girlfriend is in my fu#%ING EAR right now as it sits on the table. facepalm, go away. drink it, its good for the heart.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.07/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Drank from my Duvel tulip

A - Pours a clear Golden honey colour with a nice White head that retains well and laces a little.

S - Sweet sticky citrus like nose with a touch of green grapes and wood.

T - Up front some oak flavours that are followed by some apple and grren grape taste. Acidity is high and there is a little burn at the finish. There is also a lingering stick sweetness. Kind of all over the place.

M - Medium body and carbonation.

O - Has plenty to like about it, but also plenty not to like. The heat and sticky sweetness lets it down. I wouldn't have another.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml caged and corked bottle, given to me by @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a very effervescent, clear golden colour, with a champagne-like bead and fizzling sec head. Body is fluid, with just a touch of weight behind it. Lacing is patchy. The champagne appearance is quite pleasant and refined, but it could be a little big more persistent.

Nose is a very strange combination of nectar sweet and bone- and earthy-dry. Soft bourbon oak characters come through giving a round, smooth sensation to the aroma, while the carbonation gives crisp champagne acidity. Together, they blend in to an odd apple-cider and caramelized tarte tartin flavour. It's unusual, and not unpleasant, but also a bit haphazard.

Taste is similar, with the added disadvantage of having quite a prominent heat on the back palate. Bourbon barrel opens proceedings, with a smooth oaky sweetness that develops into a slightly crisp phenolic tartness mid palate. More apple skin characters accompany the roar of booze on the finish, leaving a seared, raw character.

Feel suffers substantially from the heat, especially on the back, where it just overwhelms everything.

This had some promise. I quite liked the odd juxtaposition of the bourbon sweetness with the Bière Brut dryness, combining to give a demi-sec complexity, but they haven't quite pulled that off. I think the Agave nectar probably ferments to nothing, leaving a much higher alcohol percentage than the beer can justify.

In the end, this is hot, boozy, unbalanced and slightly too thin for its aggression. It's a bit of a mess.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

There's something very exciting with a beer that comes in a large bottle with steel cage and natural cork...

A: Pours slightly hazy orange with a tall white head that sizzels into some lacings.

S: Belgian yeast (perhaps even some brett) and some spices, sourness and oak. Green apples and some citric notes. The high ABV is well hidden.

T: Sweetness. The sourness reminds me of that in a Flanders Red Ale. Some yeast (but NO brett). Vanilla and lots of fruit and berries. Apples and some faint banana (wheat?).

M: Sour medium full body, kind of strong carbonation for this style. Aftertaste is rather long for the style and holds a sweet dry sourness. The alcohol is very "shy"...

O: A nice try by North Coast, but not near the best Belgians. If you're curious - give it a try, but if you consider the price; avoid - this was way too expencive.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.11/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clean yellow to orange-ish color with a white head. In the aroma, buttery, a bit syrupy, and a dry alcohol smell. In the taste, alcohol, a light licorice taste, dry and somewhat buttery. Quite smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry alcohol and small licorice like aftertaste. Quite big and buttery, I wish I would have aged this for a year or three.

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Photo of gigaknight
4.35/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours radiant gold with champagne-like carbonation, culminating in a finger of crisp white head which dissipates quickly. Little lacing is seen remaining on the glass. Plenty of good nucleation from the bottom of the chalice.

S- Light phenols and some tart Belgian yeast make up the bulk of the bouquet, supplemented by some toasted oak and vanilla sweetness. Some alcohol is also present.

T- Somewhat tinny malt sweetness opens the palate, followed by tart white wine grapes, ending with a very pleasant combination of farmhouse funk, clove, and musky agave sweetness. Bourbon flavors are hardly present, lending more toasted oak and vanilla notes as opposed to sour mash. Perhaps this is simply because the agave nectar possesses a similar character and thus masks some of the typical musk of bourbon. However, the warmth of the bourbon is noticed yet not unwelcome. There is no real "bite" to speak of, but a light alcoholic heat flashes in the back of the palate, highlighting the more carmelized notes of the barrel.

M- I found this to have just the right amount of carbonation, fizzy enough keep the alcohol and residual sugar from becoming cloying, though not at all lacking in substance. The sticky sweetness of the agave adds weight to the mouthfeel, and it seems that the oak helps to dry out the finish before the robust flavors linger for too long.

O- I got this beer for $3.99 a bottle on account of a pricing error, but I think I'd still gladly pay the $15.99 it was intended to cost. A very interesting beer from North Coast, and a superb counterpoint for the BA Old Rasputin which was equally graceful and bold.

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Photo of rand
3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of gregy55902
3.29/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage poured into an oversized snifter.

A - Pours a nice, vibrant dark mango color. Minimal head which recedes quickly leaving bubbles around the rim of the glass.

S - This smell is not like any other beer, and I have to suspect the agave nectar made it smell like this. Bread, belgian yeast, funky earthen notes, and alcohol.

T - Sour dark fruits (almost cloying), a bit of bourbon, alcohol is present but not overpowering.

M - Medium bodied, good for a belgian style beer.

O - I had no idea what to expect with this one (or even what the style was, really). I prefer other styles (imperial stout/IPA) more, but this beer is ok and a good change of pace. Share this with friends because its a chore to drink the whole bottle. Not something I will seek out again but I'm glad to have tried it. I can't really recommend this to the average citizen, something just seems off and it's not a beer that I would call very enjoyable.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured the 2011 vintage from 500-mL bottle into a snifter glass on 8-20-11.

A: Light, bright gold. Little head with wisps of lace at the sides and swirling in the middle. There is visible carbonation throughout.

N: Crisp belgian tartness mingles with a bready butterscotch flavor and a slight hint of booze.

T/M: Taste that follows the nose with defined apple tartness. A bit of oak flavor on the finish with a nice warming sensation. Not much of a bourbon flavor. Light carbonation but this seems appropriate for the style, with a light to medium body.

Overall, this is a very nice beer. Good flavors for a barrel-aged quad-style.

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Photo of HOPPYKC
3.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No bottling date available on the bottle. Pours similar to apple juice. Crystal clear with a slight yellow hue to it. BAM Witt the citrus and fruit straight to the dome. Thiah has amazing finish and aroma, rivals some of the best I've had for grand cru. I will say this was sour to the taste. I've had much more well rounded brews that went down and tasted much better. Nice drink ability. Nice lacing. Expected a little more. Overall north coast laid down a good brew.

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Photo of kbutler1
2.74/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. C&C. Cork is a little tough to get out but finally gives way. Not sure why but I imagined this to be a darker color as it pours a clear apple juice golden color with a lively white head that settles to coaster in the glass. Fruity aroma mixed with some barrel notes. I also get a funky cheese note. Medium mouthfeel. Sweet fruit start with a boozy note. The agave throws this off for me I think. Overall, I’m not a huge fan of this.

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Photo of jayhawk73
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium gold color w/ a thin off white head. Below average lacing on my CBS snifter. Completely clear to look through- strange for the color and strength. The smell is a little weird too... apricot, pear, spices, bourbon? It's very sweet, and very unique. I'm not crazy about the nose, though. The taste is like white wine, fruit juice and a shot of bourbon all mixed into one. Definitely on the light side taste-wise for the style. I see now that agave is listed on the bottle, and I definitely get some of that too. Feel is very light, syrupy, highly carbonated, with a bite in the aftertaste. Overall, this is an interesting beer that definitely needs a couple years on it. Very unique. I don't think I will seek this out again, but it's worth checking out. Cheers.

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Photo of champ103
2.87/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

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

500 mL bottle into a wine glass.

A: Golden orange in color with about a half finger of bright white head. Good lacing, good retention.

S: There is a yeasty floral smell that predominates, I also feel I get a root beer-like aroma. Lots of esters and alcohols.

T: Citrusy with some Belgian spice, certainly a fair amount of alcohol on the palate.

M: Dry, crisp, pretty boozy--as expected. Good amount of carbonation.

O: Definitely a good Belgian-style Gran Cru. I think it would have been ideal sharing this bottle, however, as I'll probably be drunk by the end. Cheers!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.28/5  rDev -36.1%
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.

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Photo of dansmcd
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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