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Grand Cru - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

Not Rated.
Grand Cru
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very good

49 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 49
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 12.03%
Wants: 3
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tavernjef on 01-18-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 | Reviews: 25
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brassy pumpkin orange with honey colored highlights. Grand Cru looks for all the world like an IPA rather than a BSDA. The cap is orangish ecru in color and is lightly creamy rather than rocky and sticky as the best of this style tend to be. Most U.S. versions have a hard time recreating the look of the Belgian masters though. The head hasn't fallen far enough to know for certain, but it appears as though the glass will be on the lace-deficient side.

After a few deep inhales, I'm guessing that the style changes from year to year and that this 2006 iteration is really a BSPA. The nose is sweet and fruity as well as being a trifle spicy. It's a good one, but lacks the depth and power that I'd expect from a true Cru. Having said that, I'll be happy if the flavor is a reflection of the aroma.

It is, more or less. As hoped for, the beer comes alive on the palate and is easily the equal of all but the best BSPAs and tripels. There's a considerable pale malt structure that provides both sweetness and body. While it may not be as fruity or as spicy as some, those portions of the flavor profile are loud enough to be easily heard above the malty din.

I don't know if a true Belgian yeast strain was used or not (I'm guessing yes), but Grand Cru tastes authentic to me. It's hard to believe that a beer that lives in the shadow of 10% is so non-boozy. The alcohol is beginning to sneak up on me, but there's no way that I'd have guessed the true ABV on flavor alone. Great job guys.

As it warms (and I started it out at barely cool), the flavor becomes a bit more forcefull and defined. Sticky golden delicious apples and buttery pears lead the way, along with a dash of white spices. More white pepper and clove would be welcome since they would provide a little more zing to a flavor profile that is a wee bit shy in that department.

Despite the relative lack of bubbles (compared to bottled Belgians), the body's fullness is never ponderous. Yeah, it's sticky and slick, but this is still a tremendously gulpable beer that is ready to go whenever you are. I like beer that gives me choices.

Grand Cru is a fine achievement for a brewpub that seems to specialize in 'hoppy as hell' styles. It doesn't rock my world like I expected it to, but I'm glad that I have an entire growler to sip and savor over the course of what I'm sure will turn out to be an incredibly mellow evening. Town Hall has done it again.

Photo of womencantsail
3.01/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this growler.

A: The pour is a hazy dark amber color with an initially fluffy cream colored head that settles down to a thin layer.

S: A very citrus forward nose, mostly of oranges, along with some notes of stale hops and sugar. A bit of a cardboard aroma, which seems strange, and some fruitiness, I guess plums. Definitely a fair amount of alcohol along with a Windex type smell.

T: Overall, the flavor is pretty "meh". Sweet fruits, mostly plums and apples, and plenty of alcohol (again). Also, some of the same stale/cardboard type character that was present on the nose.

M: The body is medium to full with a fairly high carbonation. This is actually one of the best things about this beer.

D: I just couldn't get into this on. Too boozy and seemingly stale/oxidized.

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I first sampled this several weeks ago at the Winterfest in St. Paul and found it to be the hit of the evening. Now it's on tap at the pub, finally, and I can check it's progress from a fresh growler, and so I shall...
Appearance: solid orange color, with a lively, fresh, bubbling froth above, very attractive. Aroma: Wow! This is the stuff! Fruity, alcoholic, with an utterly ethereal quality I associate with the likes of Abbaye des Rocs or Delirium Noel. Spicy, yes, and loaded with dark fruits, grapes, cherries,.plums, elevated by a sublime, otherworldy somethin' else! Yeast is predominant and contributes to this atmospheric effect.
So, taste already! Don't mind if I do...Mmmm! Flavor rides high in this one, spicy, solid, sure, becoming a magical blend of malt, fruitiness, spice, hops, and all things nice and good. Alcoholic content lends a certain whisky-ish tone to the taste. All in all, delcious.
This is a marvelous nightcap, an excellent guard against this ridiculous February chill, just the thing to wrap around me before I surrender to slumber.
Watch as I try to stockpile some growlers to last until spring...pity you can't cellar the stuff!

Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

First off, this beer isn't retired. I'll report an update. This is one of the Town Hall seasonals, offered as a ten ounce pour on draft at the brew pub.

Beer is amber and has a thin white head of small bubbles that doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate and steady. Beer is mostly clear. Looks good.

Aroma is odd. There is a kind of Belgian yeasty / breadiness to this beer but its overall kind of weak. There is some mild maltiness as well.

The flavor is that of a Belgian strong amber ale or something similar but there is something off about this beer. Its odd in a sense that there is something BIG missing. I can taste a tinge of alcohol but not a lot of malt. Its too thin or something. I'm not having problems drinking it but its probably my least favorite out of the beers of theirs I've sampled.

Photo of kojevergas
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

8.9% ABV per the menu as of November 2012. Served on-draught at the brewery. Reviewed from notes taken around Thanksgiving.

A: Pours no head whatsoever; retention didn't last from pour to table. Body colour is a rich copper-amber. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Fruit, caramel, biscuit malt, pale malt, rich cherry and raspberry, and rich malty sweetness.

T: Rich cherry, overdone sugary malty sweetness, caramel, and biscuit malt. Jesus, that's sweet. No alcohol or yeast comes through. Too simple for the style.

Mf: Quite sticky. Chewy, smooth, and wet. Good carbonation and thickness.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable for the style. I expected far better, but it seems all this brewery does is disappoint me. I wouldn't have this again. Hides its ABV well. One of this brewery's better beers, but that isn't saying much. Underwhelming.


Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of Bighuge
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This dark bronzed brew is capped by a good sized ivory white head. The creaminess dissipates gradually and forms a nice collar. The aroma is heavenly. Big on the yeasty bread notes and some "green" fruit tones. Toxic candied tones as well. The taste is nice. I pick up some green apple and pear, grape skin, cookie dough and yeasty, bready tones. A little mint leaf. The ethanol that is present blends into the whole context of the beer nicely. The carbonation is appropriately moderate. Body about medium or so. Does the fact that I downed a growler of this no prob make it drinkable?? I think yes! It's one I'd revisit again and again.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an orangish brown with a half finger of head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was pretty big on the belgian yeast with dark fruits like plums and had a some malty notes as well. There was a bit of alcohol presence in the nose. The taste was also big on the belgian yeast but apple pear flavors came through on the palate with dark fruit and malt accents but some heat from the booze to round out the taste. The brew was medium in body with a pretty good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, slight fruity, but boozy finish. It drank alright considering the ABV and to me was a good interpretation of a grand cru. I honestly hope I get the chance to try some more of their IPA style offerings.

Photo of eawolff99
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of bsuedekum
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of ZAP
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure if they change up their Grand cru from year to year but this is much different and not nearly as good as last years version....thus the new review to balance things out. I want to leave the old one in because it reflects what that beer was....this is different..

Burnt orange...Meringue like head...nose is big on black licorice...anise...and ground pepper...body is full....taste leans malty but with a very pronounced black licorice element...perhaps some candy sugar notes..

Overall this is OK but not one of my favorite Grand Crus...last years was much better.

Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a lovely chill hazed cherrywood with a slight plum tone within, soft puffy white head and good amounts of lace stick in thin curtains. Lovely aroma, spicy with some clove and yeast, very clean, some nice caramel candy mixed with some light dullish dark fruits of raisin and maybe some fig. Taste is nice as well, takes over from where the smell leads to, clean and pleasantly smooth character with some very nice dark caramel and toffee mixing with some dark fruits and a great touch of spice in both clove and yeast that blend and balance out. Finishes with some malty sweetness then has a calm little floral crispness and favorable spicyness lingers across the palate. Nice smooth and clean character in all aspects of smell, taste, and feel. A well balanced brew, a true keeper from Town Hall. Hopefully this will work its way into regular rotation.

Many samples from Winterfest in St.Paul 2004

Photo of cokes
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clean, freshly-minted copper sprayed with a scattered ecru spume.
Fumes of barrel-aged dark rum, augmented with additional brown sugar, lilac, cedar, toffeed pineapples, dates, and figs.
A literal menagerie in the mouth, as it roars from every corner. Sweet and fruity yelps of caramel, toffee, dates, figs, grilled pineapples, cinnamon apples, bruised pears, fried plantains and toasted coconuts. Poignant shreiks of dark rum, peach schnapps, bourbon, oak, vanilla, black pepper, orange peels, and pound cake. Then a final whimper of dried hay, as everything that came before continues to echo.
Glossy in the mouth and medium full in texture. The carbonation is tiny but steadfast.
This presents as a Belgo-barleywine.
A truly thought-provoking all-night sipper.

Thanks to Bighuge for the hospitality of sharing this growler while I was up.

Photo of KarlHungus
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of mattmarka1
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of birchstick
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of ADR
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub...

Very clear copper apricot color, yellowish head rises to 1/2 an inch and then calms down. Very little in the way of lace. Sweet aromas, candied cherry, peach, unripe pear, slight dusty Mexican chocolate. Almost medium body, lower carbonation. Slightly thick and cloying, elements of Fruit Stripe gum with a definite emphasis on black pepper and slightly clovey closer to the finish. Lacks yeastiness and interesting things going on, kind of sits atop its first impression without a lot of complexity to show for itself, thought there is a ponderous heaviness going on. This sample was middling.

Photo of Crosling
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler. Orange/red color. Aroma is moderately vibrant and very fruity, with hints of coriander, yeast and a variety of fruits; orange and tangerine. I find the flavor very sweet and fruity, more of a panty dropper than a typical beer I would usually enjoy. Candy like flavor, with a variety of sweetened fruits, passion, tropical, orange, pear...you name it. Light spice and a mildly vinous flavor on the finish. Pretty damn tasty, although it is a bit sweet, and it definately doesn’t taste Belgian to me.

Photo of MattyG85
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Don't know if this is still "retired" as I just had this at the brewpub. Poured into a 10 oz. goblet glass.

Appearance: Deep brown with some amber and a tint of ruby red. Moderate amount of bubbles and a decent two fingers of off white head that slowly fades into a thin layer. Moderate amount of lacing.

Smell: A bright and fruity aroma. Belgian yeast and clove with some big hints of grapes, plums and other dark fruits. Hints of citrus orange and apple. Sweet bready caramel malts. Light hints of brown sugar and honey. Light presence of earthy hops in the background.

Taste: A sweet and fruity taste. Moderately spicy Belgian yeast and cloves up front. Big dark fruits that have a jam like taste. Notes of grape juice, plums, raisins, and figs. Also some orange and apple. Decent backing of caramel malts and toffee. Some hints of sugar and a little honey. Subtle earthy hops towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a light to medium level of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and chewy. Very smooth for the ABV. Alcohol heat is hidden well.

Overall: A pretty solid take on a Belgian dark ale. Good fruit presence and sweetness is kept in check.

Photo of TastyTaste
4.88/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was truely a treat. $3.75 for a 10? oz. serving (in a goblet). Nice gold color, complex and somewhat foreboding aroma (nice amount of alcohol. The flavor was awesome. Spicy, sweet, and it left my lips smacking every time I took a sip. This is an experience that every beer should be shooting for.

Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of nlmartin
4.61/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer was from a trade with Faro. Thanks for hooking me up Faro! The growler was split with my wife. The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer is a coppery nearing on bronze coloration. The beer has a small white head that quickly resolves. No lacing remains behind on the glass.

Smell: Smelling this beer is like walking into a bakery. The beer has massive yeasty bready smells. The beer has a very good combination of fruity (apples, grapes, pears, plums) jelly smells. This beer smells definately sweet. Oddly enough the smells of this beer bring back memories of my grandmothers kitchen smell.

Taste: The beer has all the above smells captured in the flavor. This is coupled with corriander pepperyness. The alcohol is present in the flavor; however, the spicyness of the alcohol plays nicely with the beer.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer is medium bodied plus. The beer is very smooth and has a low level of carbonation. This beer is very easy to drink. I was able to easily drink slightly more than 2/3rds of this growler by myself and I wanted more.

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Grand Cru from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.