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30th Anniversary - Grand Cru - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
30th Anniversary - Grand Cru30th Anniversary - Grand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.

782 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 782
Reviews: 465
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.5%
Wants: 38
Gots: 187 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: GratefulBeerGuy on 11-04-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 782 | Reviews: 465 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zeff80
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with amber highlights. It had a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. Nice retention and some thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of oak, vanilla, rich malt and floral notes.

T - Nice roasty malt flavor with mild vanilla and oak flavors. Good citrusy hop bitterness. I really could taste Bigfoot, Celebration and Pale Ale in this.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

O - This was really good. I've enjoyed all of the SN 30th Anniversary beers and this may be the finest.

Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So here it is, the beer I've heard so much about. A blend of oak-aged Bigfoot, Celebration Ale (both favorites so far...) and the classic SNPA that created the American pale ale style. To top it off, it's then dry-hopped!

It looks a bit like Celebration ale with its reddish-hued deep chestnut body. There's a slight haze to it, but I can see my fingers clearly through the glass (no fingerprints though). The head rises up like a souffle, measuring three fingers thick before I have to stop and let it settle enough to finish the pour. It's a frothy off-white, slightly yellowed tan cap that looks like a thick milkshake. The head retention is exceptional, and the lacing is really quite good, leaving thick drooping figures of lace that remind me of Spanish moss on a Magnolia tree.

Being dry-hopped I wasn't expecting to find any oak in the nose, but it's there. The dry-hops weren't overdone, and it's clearly meant to display some of its toasty and darkly caramelish malts as well. I find a delicate waft of citrusy fruit that includes tangerine & orange, as well as soft pineapple with just a hint of grapefruit zest. At times I even found quick notes of papaya and coconut.

The flavor is really interesting. I'm immediately reminded of the Celebration ale with its dark malts and solid bitterness, but then it reveals the maltiness of the Bigfoot. How strong is this? I don't really get a lot of alcohol penetrating the flavor until the finish, but I know it's there throughout! And what a malty beast!? It's definitely full bodied. But back to the flavor, it's not as hoppy as I thought it would be, and it's certainly not as citrusy. There are some aspects to it, of course, but it's also really floral, grassy, and leafy - very traditionally English-style in my opinion; except for the late finish where the resinous pine really shines. How it can appear leafy and floral with mainly Centennial (which actually is quite floral, but also citrusy), Cascade (which is just SO juicy citrusy) and Chinook (which is more piney) I don't know. I think the rich, almost burnt sugar and bready maltiness is combining to give what I perceive as a leafy flavor. The grassiness then is really just the pine; and the floral may be coming from the Centennial. Solved! Or not. It doesn't matter.

In the end it does what Sierra Nevada does best, it bonds malts and hops together in a way that they're perceived more as 'one' planned beer, rather than a display of different ingredients put on showcase. Their beers are focused and rounded. And even when their beers are hoppy, they never let the hops become the entire show. As far as I can recall they've never brewed a beer where the malt was just a background to a bombastic hop display, nor a malt bomb that didn't have a decidedly hoppy side to it.

Photo of nickfl
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The beer pours into the glass, forming a two finger head of dense, light tan foam on top of a clear, amber-brown body. The head settles fairly slowly and it leaves the glass coated in sticky lace.

S - Dark, sugary malt with notes of brown sugar, dark caramel, and a hint of molasses. Ample hops are present to push back against the sugar with notes of mustard, pine, and spicy grapefruit.

T - Pine hops and brown sugar up front with a bit of caramel. More spicy, slightly floral hops come out in the middle as toffee and brown sugar dominate the malt profile. Things finish up with an increasingly barley wine like profile of pine hops, spicy mustard and pepper notes as well as brown sugar and moderately strong bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - It says on the bottle that it is a blend of, among other things, Bigfoot and Celebration and both show in this grand cru. There is plenty of the dark, spicy hop character from the barleywine, but with bright, pine and citrus notes that are more reminiscent of the IPA. In aroma qualities, it really does exhibit the best of both worlds, though the flavor doesn't quite succeed in the same way. It is, oddly enough, more drinkable than either of its parents, though I am not sure it is complex enough to merit aging despite the big, fancy bottle.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of malts on this one. I feel like I may be drinking it a bit too late in that the first review was a year ago. But there is a spicy tone to it that seems not to have been changed by age. And the chalky malty sweetness that I get from other ales from Sierra seems to be as boisterous as I'd expect from a fresh version. So this seems to be holding up quite well. It isn't really blowing me away or overly impressing me, but it's good.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep ruby amber hue with a big off white head foams above the rim of the Sierra Nevada 30th Grand Cru, this one serves up a big head with fine speckled lacing. Aroma has strong upfront pine tones with a hoppy pine/citrus mix of hop flow amongst the Barleywine oak aged characteristics. Dominant oak aging didn't truly sit well with me, but I liked the strong ale that came from the blending of three of their existing beers. A bit rough in the finish, but big caramel malts with hints of vanilla, oak. Strong pine, citric rinded hop heaviness throughout with ample bitterness to create an interesting experience. Mouthfeel was medium to fuller bodied nice flowing carbonation, wonderful pop after decorking this bottle. Drinkability was solid, easy drinking slow sipper aggressive big specialty release from Sierra Nevada. I can't wait to try their next hoppy seasonal that's on the horizon.

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this pint at Shady McGrady's Downtown -served cool on tap. This marks the end of a 30 day period without any alcohol consumption -so sort of a 30 celebration -30th after 30, what a coincidence.

A Deep copper color bordering on rust with translucent clarity and toppped by 1/2 inch of light beige which leaves a thin film on the glass. The bead is miniscule and retention is decent. The smell of fruit permeates the nose w/ a solid piney hop aroma which is augmented by mild citrus notes. There is a slight caramel and alcohol aroma that accompanies the hop presence which is undeniably American. The feel is fruity and very bitter w/ mild sweetness and moderate carbonation w/ light acidity and very mild alcohol effect on the palate.

This ale has an orange rind/bitter citrus/grapefruit-like hop flavor and greets my tastebuds with mild astringency. The light toasted/woody notes from the barrel and malts compliment well. The celebration portion of the blend seems to dominate yet a mild alcohol and sweetness from the bigfoot in the beer comes out more when warmed slightly. The taste of alcohol is mild relatively speaking and the vibrancy of the hops is taking the mainstage w/ a pretty bitter taste and supplemental juicy flavor after the swallow-like 'an amped up Celebration' it has a lot going on w/ pertty interesting balance from smooth caramel malt and west coast hop flavor.

The candied bitter orange rind taste comes to mind halfway in w/ pleasantly semi-dry finish. The beer has high drinkability for me in that regard. The beer doesn't come off as very barleywine-like, more or less 'Celebration on steroids' is what it strikes me as, cliche or not. As it warmed it got tastier and toastier as the carbonation settled slightly and bitterness advances. This has the drinkability score from the hophead's perspective, a big blood orange and ruby red juiciness later in the taste adds dimension. I was very pleased with this blended beer from Sierra Nevada, worth waiting for.

Photo of oline73
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with two finger of off white fluffy head. A layer of carbonation remains throughout.

Smell: Initially I notice the pine hops. There is also some brown sugar and caramel sweetness. Overall the smell isn't very strong.

Taste: This one is pretty well balanced. There is a sweetness with hints of brown sugar and caramel. The sweetness works well with the citrus peel hops and there is also some alcohol in there as well. The finish is bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with smooth carbonation that seems to fit the beer well. The finish is quite dry.

Drinkability: This beer is very smooth. The sweetness and hops are mixed together very well. The alcohol stays in the background. I would be very happy to have this one again.

Photo of russpowell
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Found this at Macadoodles, Joplin, MO

Opens with a resounding whoosh! Pours caramel with 3+ fingers of fluffed up khaki colored head. Insane lacing & head retention

S: Plummy, some herbal hops, a touch of booze

T: Rich dark fruit herbal & woody hoppyness, plus much dryness & some boozey pine needles up front. Some oakyness with vanilla & toffee creeps in as this warms; along with orange rind, pine sap, leafy hop notes & grapefruit. Plums & figs are up in there too, this is really working for me! Finishes dry, oaky, piney with leafy hops in abundance, plus more earthy herbal hops as well & subtle vanilla notes

MF: Chewy, a tad over carbonated, but the balance is fantastic! Carbonation skews creamy once warmer, nice warming sensations

Drinks pretty easy, the complexity & ABV do put the breaks on a bit. This is a great beer, I can't decide if I liked this or the Stout the most. Both were great gifts to craft beer lovers in 2010! I may have to pick up a bottle to cellar if lucky enough to find again...

Fantastic formulation/blend of beers!

Photo of MarkyMOD
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was completely oxidized, was really looking forward to popping this one, but it was the most disappointing beer I've had. Bought six months ago from a shop with all refrigeration, then cellared at 55 degrees. Almost feel bad about reviewing this after seeing reviewers who loved it two years later, but the rating I'm giving this beer is generous, saw many others pour this out after passing it around. This is my first full review, had been planning to start reviewing for awhile, but I think the disappoint drove me to finally do it, at least something good came from this beer.
P.S. Was told it was amazing fresh, but that same person thought it lost a lot two months later.

Photo of MasterSki
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris (spycow) for sharing. Served in a Russian River tulip glass.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of light tan foam that settles to a thin cap and glass-coating lace. Mostly transparent coppery-amber body.

S - Faded hop aroma, oak, piney and herbal. The backbone is heavy in toffee and caramel, with some burnt sugars and bread in there as well. Smells like a slightly aged Bigfoot, but with some oak and vanilla character mixed in for good measure. I suspect this was better fresh, but I find it a little harsh. Seems a bit boozier than the listed ABV too.

T - I liked the taste quite a bit better, as it was a smooth blend of caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Finishes with an oak bite and lingering residual hop bitterness. Alcohol is also better hidden.

M - Smooth, pleasant lower carbonation. Resinous medium body, with mild warmth and tannins, and dryness in the finish. Seems a tad undersized, but goes down quite easily.

D - I'd probably rather have regular old Bigfoot, as the oak character doesn't entirely work within the flavor profile, particularly in the aroma. The combination of tannins and residual hop bitterness make this fatiguing to drink, although I think I had more than the rest of my tasting group. An interesting and solid brew, but not something I would purposely seek out again.

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of drabmuh
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is poured into a RR wine glass. Beer is amber and clear with a good head of small and medium white bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low to moderate.

Beer smells oddly hoppy and malty, its sweet and piny at the same time.

This beer is worse than any of the individual beers used to make up the blend. Its way way dry...distractingly so. It is mildly sweet up front (Bigfoot) with some nice bitterness from the hops in the back (SN pale ale / celebration). Some pininess in the midpalate and a mlid citrus note and a little woodiness. I've had all four of these beers now and I'm glad I did this was one of my least favorites.

Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 11/27/10 notes. Split a 750ml bottle of this with my brother. Poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a transparent reddish amber color with two fingers of fluffy off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of fruity malts, fresh pine hops, caramel malts, and oak.

t - Tastes of hops, caramel malts, oak, pine, fruit, and alcohol. A bit bitter.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good strong ale but a little all over the place. While good, not my favorite in the 30th Anniversary series. Would try again.

Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a rich pale and caramel malt scent. It's dry with a touch of sweetness and roasted character. It's also quite bitter and full of citrus hops in the nose. The taste is great as well. Like the bottle indicates, it's a marriage of three very good beers; Oak aged Bigfoot, Celebration, and fresh Pale Ale. It's rich with lots of caramel sweetness and a bit of roasted malt character. The hop taste is outstanding. The citrus appeal provides an intense bitterness that hits you up front and resinates in the finish. Finally, a mild oak character rounds out a very complex taste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It's complex and flavorful; a real treat. Happy anniversary!

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark reddish-amber color with an off-white head.

The aroma is oak, maple, orange citrus, caramel and pine. I think you can really pick out the different aroma components from the three base beers.

The flavor is very similar. The two first flavors I get are caramel malt and citrus from the hops. I also get some oak and pine notes. Low to medium bitterness. I also get quite a bit of alcohol, which I imagine will mellow a bit with aging. Of course the great hop components in the flavor and aroma would probably fade with age, so I am not sure if the beer will improve with age, although I am sure it would still be very good.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

I think this is by far the best of the four Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary beers.

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A solid pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a stable, four-finger thick, pale-amber tinged, tan colored head that has some immense longevity to it, but as it slowly subsides leaves a thick layering of lace clinging to the sides of my glass. The beer is a dark amber red color that shows a brilliantly clear, crystalline ruby hue when held up to the light; it is really quite pretty in the light. Up front the beer smells similar to Bigfoot with resinous aromas of caramelized grapefruit zest, brown sugar coated pine sap, citrusy / resinous fresh spruce tips and a really bright berry note that comes on more towards the end. The malt plays a role here as well, though it is on the subtle side, it does contribute aromas of caramelized malt sugars, toasted whole grain crackers, rich biscuit like freshly crushed grain aromatics as well as a rich, sort of brown ale like, chewy, almost savory maltiness in the middle. Now that I have spent some time with the nose I am realizing that much, or at least some, of the richness that I associated with the malt is actually derived from the oak; definite vanillin, a toasted wood character that hints at coconut and just a round woody note that accentuates and boosts the complexity of the malt aromatics. This smells very, very nice; I really like how subtle the oak is in the nose, I like that it influences, but doesn't hit you over the head with intensity.

Aggressively hoppy flavored from the first sip, resinous pine notes, piquant essential citrus oil flavors and a biting, long lingering bitterness play a hugely prominent role in the flavor. The hop character is amply supported by chewy, viscous malt that lingers on the palate with caramelized & toasted malt flavors and sweetness. The beer doesn't seem overly sweet though as the resinous and bitter hops easily balance this and the long, lingering finish sees the slightly herbaceous, but mostly clean biting bitterness wiping the palate clean of the malt sweetness. A touch of lightly toasted, brown, whole grain bread character plays a very secondary role in the long lingering finish. The oak also comes in to play, especially in the finish where it plays a supporting role to the bitterness with a spicy-oak character and some astringent wood notes. While this is fairly viscous, this is not overly heavy and definitely does not get cloying and is actually almost quaffable given its strength; but in the end this is definitely a sipping brew. It is interesting that the caramelized malt sweetness lingers for some time on the palate after each sip, but ultimately the ample hop bitterness wins out. The Bourbon / oak character adds some vanillin notes that accentuate the bright citrus character and its interaction with the caramel character, there is also a touch of toasted coconut character here that softly melds with the caramel and toasted grain notes. The hop flavors in this beer are pretty well balanced between citrus and herbaceous / pine; the hops contribute flavors of Curacao orange zest, tangelo, some meyer lemon notes, a touch of menthol, definite pine, a green herbaceous hop character and perhaps a touch of green grassiness.

This excessive, exuberant beer at the end of the day ends up being an execution in how to show restraint; the oak is wonderfully done in this beer, it is fairly subtle, doesn't suppress any of the hop or malt character, but plays an incredibly integrated and accentuating supporting role to both the hop and the malt character in this beer. This is perfectly crafted oak influence & I wish more breweries were showing this much restraint when using oak in beer. This is quite similar to fresh bigfoot; it is not quite as big as that beer & I really like the soft Bourbon / oak influence in this beer, but the basic hop / malt balance and profile is very similar (at least from memory). Still I think I might enjoy this beer just a little bit more than regular Bigfoot; it is definitely more quaffable and the bright hop character, rich, but supporting malt character and the subtle influence of the Bourbon barrel all work so well together.

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of GClarkage
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle,

A: Pours amber with a mild white head, solid retention and lace.

S: Strong crystal malt smell with some booze.

T: Bigfoot takes over, oaky barleywine type flavours, lots of pine, young barleywine. Fairly sweet, but has a nice balance.

M: Smooth, full-bodied, resinous.

D: Nice beer, I'd like to see this with some age on it for sure.

30th Anniversary - Grand Cru from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 782 ratings.