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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.

786 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 786
Reviews: 467
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.5%
Wants: 38
Gots: 186 | 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: 786 | Reviews: 467
Photo of nhindian
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Dogfish Head Signature snifter.

A - Pours a deep burnt amber color, dark orange with shades of red intermingled. It looks a bit like Celebration, perhaps a little darker. A fluffy, 2-fingered head builds and is incredibly thick and creamy and eggshell white in color. Retention is fantastic as the foam sticks to the surface of the liquid and refuses to dissipate. The head is so stubborn, that it actually affects the lacing as the head doesn't want to part with the liquid and join the glass. Very interesting.

S - Sierra Nevada has a distinctive hop profile that distinguishes themselves from the competition and its in full force in this beer. I am getting some of the oak and malts from Bigfoot here, but this is predominately a very hoppy beer. You run the gamut with hop characteristics here, to resiny, fruity, and spicy, and the malt backbone is just that; a support off which the hops can springboard. A good bit of caramel and toffee in here.

T - Taste is a rollercoaster of flavor, starting with the sweet malts from Bigfoot, which transitions into a more oak and vanilla taste, which is subtle and quick before rushing into a hop forest. Notes of oranges, grapefruit, pine, and slight hop spice run rampant in the finish, which lingers and turns quite bitter. Addicting and instantly recognizable as Sierra Nevada.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with good carbonation. Very smooth and the persistent head adds a velvet creaminess that creates a nice introduction for the vast flavors in the beer. Long finish and leaves a good coating in the mouth.

D - Drinkability is moderately high. I would've liked to see the Oaked Bigfoot play a bigger role in this beer, as at this point, the Sierra Nevada hop profile is common and its all too easy to get the Celebration and Pale Ale flavors in this, but the Bigfoot is quickly glanced over. Maybe some age will do this one some good to balance it out more, but it still is tasty fresh.

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

Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary (Brewer's Reserve) Grand Cru pours up lively with plenty of effervescence that creates a massive sustainable beige-tannish cream colored head that craggily tops the deep burnt orangish-reddish coppery body. This one has an excellent head retention, but the clarity suffers initially from some hop/chill haze, but shows off some apparent alcoholic legs. The aroma is a showcase for resinous Northwest hops (Cascade & Centennial) which are part of their signature with an abundantly fruity (citrus salad/grapefruit) character. The spiciness (piney/pine tar) and grassy/floral notes add complexity, but eventually gives way to a solid malt backbone and some notable strength as it warms. The flavor starts off very fruity (apricot preserves, Mandarin orange, Texas Red Grapefruit) with some toasted (ginger snap, shortbread cookies, vanilla wafer) character & moderate caramel maltiness (hot buttered rum, toffee/treacle) that carries a touch of nuttiness (sugared almonds, peanut brittle) which layers into the overall complexity. There's a very marked amount of underlying bitterness that keeps this one relatively balanced and prevents it from ever being overly cloying. The bittersweet finish is bold, warming, and zesty with just a hint of oak astringency. Here's to The Meddlesome Moth's 1st & Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Photo of sholland119
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-A massive pop as the cork is released. I was very surprised this one did not explode out the bottle. Pours a very clear reddish amber with a Huge frothy tan head with a great pool about three minutes after the pour. Nice.

S-Caramel malt, oak, pine hops.

T-Mostly malty with some nice pine hops in the finish. Bitterness is subtle, which I think means the Celebration Ale takes the most prominent role here. A bit less oak than I might have hoped for but quite delicious.

M-Medium bodied, very highly carbonated, nice lingering bitterness.

O-Really nice. I love Celebration Ale and Bigfoot. This beer has the rich bitterness of Celebration and the richer malt of Bigfoot with a nice understated oak character. As I mentioned previously, a bit more oak would have been nice but this is a very nice finish to a great series.


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

Poured from a corked and caged 750 bottle. Labeled as the Grand Crüe with a 2010 date on the right side of the banner on the label. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: A dark orange color that has hints of brown. A two finger eggshell head is fluffy and thick. Lacing is there but recedes eventually.

S: Earthy hops with a huge thick caramel and dark fruit nose . Wow. Some wood notes and
baked bread.

T: The earthy hop bite hits me first with big dark fruit flavors. Some wood tones with huge earthiness and the heavy caramel malt sweetness. Some baked bread flavors sneak in with some biscuit and some citrus rind flavors. The earthy floral hops don't back down, but the sweetness sticks through the finish. Funny finish as you feel the bitterness but the sweetness sticks on the tongue. Very complex.

M: Thick, coating, chewy and still prickly. Some alcohol is felt but it's nice and warming. Nice carbonation. Its a mouthful for sure.

O: A real nice beer that is so complex. I really enjoyed the mix of flavors but one can really taste the Bigfoot the most. Still real enjoyable...real enjoyable.

I loved this beer. Not something I would drink everyday, but super enjoyable. Great job SN, you have a winner here.

Photo of Phelps
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Formerly the Grand Cru and now known as Oak-Aged Ale, this is the big daddy of the 30th Anniversary beers, a dry-hopped blend of Pale Ale, Celebration and oak-aged Bigfoot (which would be nice to try on its own, SN). Enjoyed from the tap at Flanny's, poured into a tulip.

Dark, murky burgundy-tinged copper. Lightly hazy, with a fuzzy one-finger light khaki head that recedes quickly to a thin ring, leaving oodles of spotty, jagged lace.

Grassy nose. Bright orange peel, oak, a bit of caramel, dark bread.

The flavor: caramel, grapefruit juice, pine, raisins, lots of grass, burnt sugar. Some vinous oak and dark, overripe oranges are also apparent. Impressive bitterness, though it's also quite sweet on the finish.

Light, prickly carbonation amidst a big, creamy body. No alcohol is noticeable, which is impressive since I'm pretty sure this thing is 9 percent.

A nice blend. It's not as exciting as I expected, but each component beer is showcased. It was, however, amazing with the Flanny's cheddar and fontina macaroni and cheese, with the dish accentuating the beer's malty qualities.

Photo of Hemi
4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This peer pours with two finger head which is very creamy and hangs around for a few minutes. Great lacing and overall appearance with a dark copper slightly clouded with yeast. Smells slightly hoppy but not as much as you may think. I'd say the taste and mouth feel are the best thing about this beer. You can barely notice the alcohol is over 10%. The mouthfeel is one of the best of this beer style I've ever had. This is a great anniversary beer.

Photo of BigE90
3.3/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a sniffer, 40 deg to start, 55 finish, 1 finger foam, good carbonation

A: Great looking deep/dark amber

S: Slight hop aroma, nothing over powering

T: A little bitter hops pow at the start then just a suttle flavor towards the finish. Not a lingering aftertaste but you know you are drinking not your average beer

M: Focused on the back of the tongue, no taste of alcohol, just a slight bitter hops flavor

O: Ok beer with my taste, definitely taste better warmer, takes the edge of the hops in my opinion. Would drink again but not one that I would gravitate towards.

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 cratez
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

25oz corked bottle purchased at Bottle Caps in Daytona Beach, FL.

Pours a hazy dark ruby hue with one finger of foamy, cream-coloured froth and large strands of lacing on the tulip. Head retains for the duration of the beer. A gorgeous-looking brew.

Smell is big piney and citric hops, toast, burnt sugar, caramelized fruit, flower petals, oak wood, vanilla cake batter, prunes, ethanol, orange rind, anjou pears, and resiny hop oils. Ridiculously complex and inviting aromas.

Taste is equally nuanced with rich caramel, taffy, vanilla, and oak barrel upfront; mild dark fruit sweetness; spicy, acidic and piney hops; citrus zest, orange peel, and red grapefruit mid-palate; bold grassy and astringent bitterness with some warming alcohol and a lush, resinous hop finish that coats the mouth. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is fuller than medium bodied, creamy carbonation, juicy middle gives way to a clean, bitter finish. Not as thick or drying as you would expect for the weight and style.

Overall, this is an absolute beast of a beer and an exemplary American strong ale. Right up there with Double Bastard IMHO. Well worth the $11 if you can get your hands on a bomber.

Photo of coachdonovan
3.41/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Honestly I thought Grand Cru was usually a Belgian style, but I'm psyched to see this as a combination of three all-timers: PA was one of my first craft loves, Celebration is an annual classic, and Bigfoot has recently helped turn me on to barleywines. No date on the bottle but this should be about five months old based on the release date.

Big pop of the cork with gunsmoke drifting out of the bottle, this pours a ever-so-slightly-hazy reddish amber with off-white lace that sticks around forever. Aroma has hints of Celebration but that takes a back seat to some strong medicinal alcohols. I'm surprised that the hops aren't as prominent, but then again I'm not having this fresh.

Mouthfeel is smooth and silky as I'd expect from this style and abv. The fresh hops of Celebration and Pale Ale lead the way, but again the alcohol isn't quite hidden enough. I hardly get any of the dark fruit and/or caramel sweetness from the barleywine side of things. Drinkability takes a hit as the booze burns.

Maybe my timing was off with this one- not fresh enough to get all the hops, but not aged long enough to let it cool off. Oh well. For me, it certainly comes well behind the 30th anniversary stout and barleywine. The oak certainly adds a twist, but it's not for the better.

Photo of elgiacomo
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottled October 2010. Procrastinated on trying this...wish I woulda had it super fresh, but oh well.

Pours red/copper with a dense two finger tan head that leaves a ton of foamy lacing and holds a thick cap.

Aroma is lush caramel and vanilla with some oak, citrus, grass and pine. Very good strength.

Flavor starts with citrus and pine hops, then moves to some nice caramel malt and vanilla, along with bread and toffee, hint of chocolate. Fairly sweet but also finishes with strong bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, oily, medium to high carbonation.

An excellent brew. The flavor and aroma are both excellent, fantastic appearance too. May purchase another bottle to see what extended aging may do...

Photo of DoktorZee
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

25oz bottle poured into a schooner. No obvious best before date.

A - stunning deep red (slightly cloudy) with a massive fluffy head that leaves big chunky lacing. Looks chewy!

S - wet hops and caramel.

T - moderate hops attack with some bitterness up front shifting into a strong caramel malt profile. Not super-concentrated. Strong wood trailing at the end caramel along with some sweetness.

M - very lightly carbonated and slightly velvety. Coats the mouth but isn't overly heavy.

D - quite drinkable with only a hint of booziness; caramel and wood dominates in the long run but won't get in the way.

Very nice complex offering; reminds me a little of Luck Basartd but with it more sweet and caramel based.

Photo of gdrydenc
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an awesome mahogany with some unbelievably thick off white head. This head takes days to subside, and never really leaves.

S - Smells exactly like it is billed. A good amount of Bigfoot, some Celebration, and SNPA. An awesome smell, a lot like a very hoppy smelling barleywine.

T - A lot like the smell. This is a delicious beer that couldn't be described better by SN's own description of it. Tastes a lot like a hoppy smelling barleywine, like it smells.

M - Not a ton of carbonation, which I like. A surprisingly clean finish on the tongue.

Overall, this is one of my favorite beers that SN makes, if not one of my favorite beers in a while. Good work, SN.

Photo of budgood1
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. corked and caged.

uncorks with a pig pop! pours out a relativley clear deep chestnut colour with a perfect looking cream coloured head. very thick and sticky, leaving beautiful lace. lovely. typical SN ale aromas of pine and resiny hops with bits of lemon and grapefruit skin thrown in. a bit of ripe fruitiness from the malts and hints of oak and vanilla for good measure. very nice. the taste is sublime...oak and vanilla from barrel ageing smooths out any rough edges from the obvious bigfoot nuance...bright maltiness and lip smacking resiny hops are the contributions obvious from a blend from celebration and SNPA. a bit of spice from both the alcohol and hops add to the layered nuances. a great deal of bitterness envelops the tongue in a velvety blanket for a long lasting and great finish. perfect body...which leads me to the mouthfeel....amazing...for such a seemingly bitter pale ale/IPA/barleywine it has the velvety feel mentioned prior which is amazing in that it seems so smooth and effortless for such a big ABV, highly hopped ale. very little coarseness. wow. decidedly delectably delicious and dangerously drinkable.

overall this concoction stands up well and makes the sum of its parts proud. any hop enthusiast must try this...just for the sake of curiousity and novelty. although the price may seem a bit outlandish...it's probably worth it for this one time offering. recommended.

Photo of tapman
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rudy brown color, the head can be as large as you like, 3 fingers for me, and is a moderate brown in color. Filtered? I don't see any conditioning sediment.

Pastry, pineapple, lemon and vanilla make up the nose for me.

Vanilla and oak, resinous pine, a soft bitterness up front that grows in the finish and a mixture of lychee juice and scorched caramel. I could have used some more flavor hops, but I'm not sure if that would throw off the balance or not. Would be interesting.

Smooth, creamy and a little dry in the finish.

A great beer, though a little sweet. Goes down easy despite the abv% and has excellent balance. This brews expands to so many layers as it warms in your mouth during the sip.

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

Poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - Amber/Blood red, 3 finger tan head that sticks around for a long time, nice lacing

S - Vanilla, tabacco, cherry, wine barrel, pine, citrus and a bit of floral, earth, bittersweet coaco, molasses, wheat, lots of yeast, barley, maybe rice, and a little chard oak. The big foot, pale ale and celebration really blend nicely

T - This is one of those beers where all the smells make the taste. Everything is combined almost seamlessly. The yeast isn't as prevalent in the taste

M - Very carbonated, sticky, coats the mouth. The sweet and bitter last long after the beer is gone

D - For a 9% this one is hard to drink daily. Definitely one to age

Final thought - Sierra Nevada makes really nice limited beers

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

The pour was about what I would expect given the style. Nice color, rich dark brown, near black with a light head of tan that comes up and caps the top of the glass nicely. Aroma is dominated by aromas of oak and vanilla, which meld seemlessly into the chocolate notes that become ever more present as time goes on. First sip is wonderful, more carbonated then I typically see with barrel aged beers, with a nicely lively presence and rich, velvet like carbonation. First sip is loaded down with oak notes, hints of bourbon and vanilla start to come out as I dive further into it. Suble at first but then it starts to build. Nice backbone of chocolate coming through as well as a light touch of smoke. Nicely put together I have to admit. Smooth, with the alcohol all but absent from the profile making it for a smooth, sublte, and wonderfully complex nightcap.

Overall I have to say it was outstanding. I was not expecting much but was more then happily suprised with the results. An outstanding barrel aged beer.

Photo of Murchmac
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I just need to say this is a really really good beer. Im glad I got it fresh because while this puppy while mellow out deliciously, it is outstanding fresh. I wish I had it even fresher and on tap.

Looks great, smells great, lets get to the taste.

A very very sharp hoppy, piney beer. Great malt character that will grow with time, but right now excellent piney hops that create that great resin on your tongue. This tastes more like Celebration right now but maybe in the future the barleywine will shine.

Good brew, get it, drink it, age it.

Photo of kwjd
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My last of the 4 30th anniversary beers to try. Pours a dark amber colour with thick off-white head. Thick lacing down the glass. Smells of cherry, citrus hops, vanilla, brown sugar and caramel. Quite a sweet flavour, slightly boozy too. The alcohol seems to linger a little bit in the after-taste. Very smooth mouthfeel. This is a very nice beer, glad I got to try it.

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a good beer and a great idea for a blend but nothing outstanding. Head retention and lacing were 2nd to none. Beautiful Dark Ruby Red in coloring. Beer is very active in the snifter, looks very lively.

The complexities are all there. You do get that initial oak and Bigfoot upfront, grapefruit and pine of Celebration in the middle and the Pale Ale balancing out this beer in the finish. They are all identified and pieced together. I'm still not sure if the oak aging of the Bigfoot helped to blend all 3 beers together nicely and balanced it or if it offset the notes of each beer in the blend. There were times throughout this bomber I was on both sides of that argument.

Mouthfeel was a bit piney and resinous but the finish was clean and crisp with a welcomed piney bitterness. Hops still linger after each draw from the snifter. A nice sipper whereas the bomber is just enough. Good for a Strong Ale.

Finally - a good beer I've enjoyed numerous times now but better on tap. I've come the the conclusion however, that each one of these beers are better on their own. Jack and Ken's Black Barleywine was the best of the Anniversary series for me.

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 OttoPeeWee
3.2/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clearly this is a good looking brew. Great head, retention, and lacing. The smell is good with raisin, prune, sherry, and some citrus from the hops. The taste was somewhat of a mess for me. The bourbon barrel flavors didn't fit well with the bitterness of the hops. It also seemed too carbonated for the amount of alcohol which made the brew too boozy for my liking. It is an interesting direction I think the recipe needs some modification and the style needs to drink more like a good bourbon.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imbibed at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL 03/11/2011.

Appearance -- Ruby red with a cap of creamy beige head. Catches light incredibly well. A thing of beauty.

Smell -- The aroma is a nice blend of pithy citrus, sticky pine resin, red malt, and a dab of that decadent Bigfoot malting. Oak character is nonexistent.

Taste -- Citrus and pine hoppiness up front with toasted malt, caramel, and toffee. Very hop-driven, likely due to the post dry-hopping and by cutting the rich maltiness of Bigfoot with SNPA. Whatever oak-aging this Bigfoot went through is completely absent from the taste - masked by dry-hopping? Long resinous finish a la SNPA with a hint of Celebration grapefruit bitterness.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels more like Celebration or Pale Ale than Bigfoot.

Drinkability -- Pretty good. One can easily pick out the subcomponents: resinous hop bittering from the Pale Ale, citrusy aromatics and gentle toasted malting from Celebration, and the rich malt underlay courtesy of Bigfoot. This was fun. However, on its own merits the Grand Cru is just an okay strong ale. If anything, it's slightly less than the sum of its parts. The three beers are icons of their respective styles, and any tampering diminishes them.

Overall, it was fun to drink, a pleasure to try, but I'd gladly take SNPA when I want a pale, Celebration when I want an IPA, or Bigfoot when I want a big, burly barleywine.

Photo of metter98
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a thin off white head that left behind lacing down the edges of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of citrus and pine resin hops as well as alcohol in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell but is more balanced due to the presence of underlying malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer tastes strong but the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

Photo of KajII
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

Poured a hazy light brown with an average sized white creamy head that lasted throughout and had excellent lacing. The aroma was heavy with the scent of a pine hop, grain malts and a light sweet yeast with notes of cirtus, banana and mango. It tasted mildly sweet and slightly bitter at first and then became slighty more bitter and a little acidic with notes of fruit and a nice hoppy finish that lasted a nice long time. Mouthfeel was light to medium in body and dry in texture with a flat carbonation. Overall a friggin great marriage of Sierra Nevada's ale collection.

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30th Anniversary - Grand Cru from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 786 ratings.