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

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30th Anniversary - Grand Cru30th Anniversary - Grand Cru

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

776 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 776
Reviews: 464
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.72%
Wants: 36
Gots: 183 | FT: 5
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: GratefulBeerGuy on 11-04-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 776 | Reviews: 464 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gford217
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle,

Cork pops out with some nice force. Pours a deep, clear copper with an enormous, thick beige head. The retention and lacing is outstanding.

First thing I notice in the ode is the hops, with a slightly herbal, minty character. There is a heft caramel malt presence with some sugar mixed in.

Taste also starts with a hefty citrus and floral hop kick but it's very smooth, not bitter at all. The backbone of caramel malts and sugary fruits is in full force with vanilla hints. The finish is where the hops bring a little more bitterness as well as some spicy oak.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and with less carbonation than the appearance would suggest. The alcohol heat is present but not overpowering.

Another excellent beer in the reserve series for Sierra Nevada. A hoppy strong ale with some nice barley wine characteristics. Well done.

Photo of silentjay
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a nice purplish brown with a huge, densely packed eggshell colored head that does not disappear and clings to the glass.

hops come out first and run the spectrum from herbal to earthy to fruity to piney to bitter citrus. some oak comes in behind that with some maple and vanilla, and malts make a strong appearance as well providing some toast, caramel, and brown sugar. not as huge an aroma as would be perfect.

wow. flavor starts off very smooth with vanilla and maple from the oak striking first, but quickly being overtaken by some fruity hops, which are sweetened up with some brown sugar and a bit of alcohol heat, which is again overtaken by the hops which provide a dry and bitter finish. they definitely got the mixture down on this one, as all the flavors balance each other out well to provide complexity and flavor.

resiny on the tongue with a full/medium body, but finishes a touch dry with a pleasant lingering bittersweetness that is just as tasty as before the swallow.

drinks very well. just a hint of alcohol heat is mixed in to an immensely flavorful beer that has many strong flavors working alongside many subtle flavors. very well done.

Photo of ccbrewer138
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-typical sierra nevada off white head. Very dense, and takes its time settling down. Love the color of this beer, deep amber, definatly looks like something from sierra nevada.

S-lots of fresh hop aromas, minty, citrusy, with a smooth, sweet malt scent. Nothing is overpowering.

T-so many flavors its hard to pinpoint all of them. The first thing that stands out is the huge malt bill of the barleywine. After that hop flavors hit the back of the tongue for what seems like a whole minute. Incredibly complex.

M-too light for me. I feel that a beer with such complexity should be big and bold, but that's just my opinion. When I brew a strong ale I like to load up on specialty malt.

D-a job well done to sn. One of the most complex strong ales I have tasted that isn't belgian. Would not hesitate to try again.

Photo of DaveHS
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Grand Cru is the last beer in what has been an impressive series. While I have enjoyed the previous three beers immensely, they all had little problems. I felt the Fritz & Ken's Ale could've eased up on the hops a bit. The Charlie Fred & Ken's Imperial Helles Bock was a great, innovative take on a familiar style, but suffered slightly from being overly sweet. The Jack & Ken's Black Barleywine was my second favorite of the series, but was more of an Imperial Stout than a barleywine. The Grand Cru, however, is a satisfying finish to the series because it is an expertly balanced beer composed of three of Sierra Nevada's most impressive releases.
Pours a deep rusty orange with nearly 2 inches of creamy white head that leaves moderate lacing. Hop aromas are most prominent. A pleasant blend of grassy, citric, piney, and floral hoppiness, with some subtle oak somewhere in the background, with traces of vanilla bean and caramel malt. The first sip explodes on the palate with deep, resinous hop character, at first overwhelming, but ultimately complex and masterful. The backbone of caramel malts and sweet oak serve as an excellent contrast against the barrage of hop flavors. The oak asserts itself in the lingering finish. Full bodied with moderate, chewy carbonation. I think this will cellar very well, but be sure to drink at least one bottle fresh, so you can appreciate the depth and complexity of hop character at work in this beer. A satisfying end to a series that included some of the best limited releases of the year.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA. Served in a 10 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Arrives a deeply burned ruddy copper, slightly hazed, and deep enough in hue that seeing too deeply in to it as it is is a questionable prospect. The retention of the initial half finger of foamy, dense head is the only mark against this one - it fades just a little too quickly in to a thick, creamy collar and a thin dusting of snow atop the surface, both consistently replenished by multiple tiny rivulets of slothlike effervescence. The side lacing is quite nice, however - streaks and pockmarks of fine, rocky foam has great stick.

Aroma: No harshness at all in what is a surprisingly mild nose, given the intense bitterness of all three of the constituent components involved here. A malty backbone is readily apparent - very deeply roasted, gingersnap-like, bready - as are slight hops, mostly characterized by heavy tobacco, heavy pine, and heavy grapefruit. On the whole, very crisp and clean.

Taste: Similarly crisp and clean in the mouth, though as crisp and clean as a beer can be when it consists of three hop bombs. First, the dominant notes. Strong leafy and piney hops, harsh up front but mellow as hell in the back, with none of that lingering Celebration or Bigfoot bitterness - its instead a refined hop presence, and mingles well with a refined but moderately high bitterness with no hint of astringencies. Caramel notes - distinguishable from slight toasty coconut notes, barrel sugar notes, and a definite vanillin presence from the oak - form the primary component of the malt backbone, though the toastiness of the Bigfoot backbone also contributes hints of chocolate, toast, and toffee. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, even, and smooth, with enough velvet qualities to amplify the sweetness of the malts but also enough carbonation and lift to amplify the sharpness and spiciness of the hops. A nice balance.

Drinkability: Excellent, and perhaps the highlight of the 30th Anniversary series. SN knows hops, and Bigfoot, Celebration, and their SNPA are all classic examples of hop usage. This one manages to represent another great facet of the hop - a smoother, gentler side, if you will - and color me impressed. At 9.2%, it's certainly less boozy than several of the iterations of the series, and the alcohol is definitely nowhere to be found. Highly recommended - an excellent brew.

Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a 10oz pour at the Happy Gnome for $4 during the 30th Anniversary party. Served in a pilsner flute, it appeared a rich red with a short off-white head and lacing. Honestly, this mostly tasted like a blend of Bigfoot and Celebration with huge pine and citrus. The SNPA helps lighten the whole beer, making this about as drinkable as Celebration. I can barely make out a hint of vanilla from the oak aging, but otherwise this just comes as a blended double IPA.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at The Hulmeville Inn inside a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary chalice, thanks for the keepsies.

Thirty is sturdy beer. A nice big dense bright cream foam was about an inch leaving spraypaint lace on the way down. Colors include dark red, some bronze and a hint of light tan, it looks delicious.

It really took a while for this to make some odors, served very cold, just some faint malts pop out. Once at room temp caramel, toast, bisquit, semi piney hops, and with significant warming bigfoot peeps through with that B-wine scent. Faint traces of vanilla.

Taste is really balanced for the blend. In fact no beer here outshines the other, but unfortunatly, they kind of mute each other out. Toasted malt up front with slight sweetness including vanilla from the oak chips Im guessing. Goes into caramel and a slight piney hop, earthy like in the middle finished with a little celebration spice. Once the glass gets very warmer, that's when BF shows up giving off some dark fruit.

This is a big beer with a not so big body. It's above medium yet not quite full. It's syrupy though and slick with some bitterness on the end. It's properly carbed but that manages not to register to me through the gooey feel. Not really hot either, it's not offensive, just slimy, in a good way.

It took me a while to get through this. While I like the idea and the execution of this 12oz was plenty for me. It's not all that drinkable, yet it's not cloying in any way, I like the beers that are in it, perhaps I should stowe a bottle away for later. I think the mix of spice on top of bigfoot may be interesting.

-30-

Photo of Darkale
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grand Cru is certainly appropriate. This is a tremendous beer - my clear favorite in Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary lineup, and that is saying something, as its competitors are no slouches.

Khaki head bursts high on the pour then fades, but stops at a quarter-inch and sticks around, becoming a foundation for thick splats of lace. Bright cherry-red color, quite festive.

I think my sample is too cold, and my nose is no champion; to me, the aroma is the least of this beer's virtues; however, perhaps as it warms it will give up more in that regard.

Taste is amazing. This is the best beer I have tasted in the last 12 months. The balance is beautiful: you detect the burning darkness of the Bigfoot; you detect the hint of whiskey; you detect the old-friend friendliness of the Celebration IPA; and you detect a hint of the biscuity pale ale. Merged together, all of these flavors become the chord of one damned happy orchestra.

I am trying to be descriptive, and all I can say is: it's a brisk barley wine.

This beer was expensive, and tomorrow I am going to purchase as many more of them as I can. Another reason why Sierra Nevada must be seen as a proud member of the very first tier of American brewers. Bravo.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.93/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance: golden, amber, reddish

smell: tons of hop flavor, vanilla from oak

taste: this beer is loaded with hops. very solid double with heavy citrus flavor mixed with oaky vanilla.

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: my gosh. talk about hitting a homerun. This is a beer to masterbate over!

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5.2%
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 larryi86
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter

A- A deep red, with a brown tint, and a 3 finger off-white head.

S- Pine hops, vanilla, citrus, dark fruits/figs, caramel malts.

T- Complex and well crafted. Pine hops come out right away followed by a nice malt backbone and hints of dark fruit, and a bitter citrus hop finish with a hint of bourbon.

M- A little on the light side, creamy, and a little bit of a burn.

D- This is a great finish to the 30th Anniversary beers. Different and leaves you wanting more. Easy to drink a whole bottle at once.

This is my second favorite of the anniversary beers, my favorite being the Stout. Would really like to see what happens to this with age.

Photo of WesWes
4.43/5  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 Brez07
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml poured into a snifter

A: Leaves a 2 finger eggnog colored head on initial pour. Dark cherry red beer sits in the glass with some carbonation rushing upward. Scant lacing throughout

S: Some hops, mostly pine but with some minor fruit. There is some caramel like sweetness. Seems like there is a solid malt backbone to this

T: Dry hopped indeed. Large piney hop presence at first. Almost reminds me of an amber initially. Some caramel and vanilla mix with a touch of oak. Warming alcohol presence in the finish

M: Medium to full bodied. Creamy with a fair amount of carbonation. Residual hop presence left on the tongue

D: This is a great example of a blended beer. Had the hops from the pale, IPA and barleywine. That was smoothed over with malts and some oak aging. The one contention I have is the bottle suggests you could age this - I have no plans to do that

Photo of bgjohnston
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This the the 30th anniversary beer I have been looking for. Pours a slightly cloudy dark amber with a robust tan head that has a lot of staying power. A nice level of carbonation here, too. Smell was piney, but in a muted way.

The first sip is where it's at. This is a smooth and very agreeable beer. Starts out with a vanilla sweetness that progresses to a citrus hoppy finish, but takes its sweet time doing so. There is definitely something at work mellowing this beer out, as all of the beers in the blend, taken individually, are much brighter and more aggressive with the hop bite. With this beer, it's all in there, but I can't get over how smooth and cohesive it is. I have had a couple of these over the past few days, and I keep coming back to how well it tastes: very well put together, and just as it is.

I do feel the alcohol in this one pretty quickly, but that may just mean I have not been drinking big beers as much lately. Still, it is very enjoyable going down.

This is truly a wonderful beer, and well worth the price of admission. Enjoy it for the holidays, as it will all too soon be gone.

Photo of sweemzander
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750mL corked & caged bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a clear reddish mahogany amber color that produced a great yellowish to tan colored head with great retention as well. Some good lacing here and there too.

(S)- Dry; very dry with some subtle pine and citrus. Has a big woody backbone with some underlying caramel-like fig sweetness, but otherwise a very dry aroma.

(T)- This has a great combo of flavors. A very dry woody pine that turns into a walnut-like nutty oak. Some subtle lemon. Has a really nice underlying fig-like toffee caramel malt background alot like the aroma had. A complex beer.

(M)- This is ridiculously smooth despite its hop dryness and woody bite. That Bigfoot-like background really meshes well with the big dry woody front. Great carbonation level and balance. Definitely does not feel like 9.2% ABV either.

(D)- A delicious and complex beer that really hits the spot for me on this rainy night. I look forward to what a year of age will do to this, but it really hits a homerun fresh.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color with a thick and frothy tan head that retains well and leaves impeccable lacing. The aroma has big piney and citrusy hops upfront, along with some caramel and vanilla, toasted bread, fruity esters, oak, and some alcohol. The flavor also starts off with piney and citrusy hops, along with some oak and vanilla, caramel and toffee, fruity esters, toasted bread and alcohol. The mouthfeel is moderate, and drinkability is pretty good. Overall a pretty tasty beer, but really not a whole lot to distinguish itself from SN's numerous other hoppy beers.

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 12 November 2010 at the "Ithaca Beer Happy Hour" @ Tap and Mallet.

The keg tap for this beer says "22% ale brewed in bourbon barrels, 78% ale; 9.2% ale; 5 GALS." Three ounces poured in non-standard glass. Color is copper-orange. Good head retention, beautiful lacing covers 95% of glass. Aroma is heavy in almond, hops, toffee, NO BOURBON. Taste has fresh pine hops, slight bourbon taste, a little citrus, bitterness of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Medium-bodied. Simple review. Nice brew!

Photo of hosehead83
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
Amber/copper in color, with a thick cloud deck of off-white foam.
Aroma-Piney hops
Taste-Oakey/toasted malt, then big onrush of piney hops. Exceptionally smooth and well-balanced for the strength. Dangerously drinkable, complex and full of character. A veritable celebration of hops. Heady and flavorfull, perfect by the fireside with family and friends. A well-crafted brew without a doubt. get one for now and one for a special occasion in the future. Well done Sierra Nevada! Cheers!!

Photo of WanderingFool
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Grand Cru pours a clear, ruby color into the glass with a big, creamy off white head on top. The foam dissolves slowly to a thick sheet on the surface and leaves behind a lot of netted lace on the glass.

The aroma is a blend of oak and hops. Notes of pine and orange citrus along with some vanilla are present.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is slick, slightly chewy and gives a fizzy carbonated tingle on the tongue. The flavor is an interesting combination of oak, hops and sweet malt. It begins with orange citrus and pine hoppy notes. In the middle some sweet malt and caramel flavors plus a touch of raisins move in. It finishes bitter with some grassy hop character and notes of oak and vanilla. Dry finish with a slight alcohol burn. Once gone the citrus hops and oak flavor lingers on the palate.

This beer is a sipper. Lots of flavor. It reminds me most of a Bigfoot barleywine.

Photo of zoso1967
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served up a rich dark amber with a light tan head. The head has very nice staying power and leaves pretty sticky lace.

The aroma is bright and hop forward with tons of citrusy cascade character. The other major aroma components are caramel sweetness some pine and just a hint of alcohol.

I expected this to have a pretty interesting flavor, but it still took me by surprise. It is very hoppy, almost like a double IPA, but it has a really nice barley wine like malt character as well with a bit of earthiness. The hops are very grapefruity and piney and definitely call the Celebration ale to mind. The more I sip it seems like the Celebration might have sort of dominated this mix here, though there is a very hard to describe character that I feel like the Bigfoot is adding.

The mouthfeel is medium with a fairly low amount of carbonation. It finishes quite well with a nice dryness and a lingering hop aftertaste.

I think that this beer is really interesting and it definitely has some very nice flavors, but I think that it is perhaps a scenario where the parts are greater than the sum. It seems the Pale Ale is completely lost, the Bigfoot is way in the back and it ends up being kind of like an imperial Celebration ale. Still, this is a cool idea and a fitting way for SN to celebrate their 30th year. Here's to many more.

Photo of aasher
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This one poured a reddish brown in appearance, borderline amber, with a thick off white head that took a several minutes to calm down. The smell was dry and hoppy. Others said they smelled flowers, another said hard citrus. The debate was to which vintage of Bigfoot they used. Because it wasn't overly sweet or fruity we thought it was probably a 2010 version of the oak aged Bigfoot. The taste was good but I expected a bit more. It was more dry hopped than anything. It had a little kick from the Celebration but I didn't notice much from the Bigfoot. It gave me cotton mouth a bit. The mouthfeel was disappointing. It looked well carbonated but it drank like it was flat. This was fresh, literally one day off of the truck. This beer would've been ten times better if it had better carbonation and increased complexity. I don't believe this lived up to the anniversary series.

Photo of despainmakesbeer
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excellent deep copperish ruby color. Lasting head, thick light tan color, nice lacing in glass. Moderate malt aroma, slight roastiness present. Small amount of alcohol present in aroma. Malty flavor with a dry bitter hop finish. Fruit present, raisin/plum. Oddly enough, picked up some peach as well. Overall well balanced, some alcohol in finish but fades. Excellent beer to have while putting up the Christmas tree.

Photo of ElGallo
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a balloon glass. The nose has the hop profile of Celebration, which is very nice. The barrel aging of the Bigfoot dominates the taste up front, and this is not as hop forward a beer as many might have expected. Instead there is a nice balance of malt and oak with the bitterness of the pale ale and the aged Bigfoot. This blends together very nicely and makes for a great sipper when fresh. I can't wait to age a bottle or two. A great finale to the 30th Anniversary XXX Series.

Photo of ferrari29
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 1 finger white foam formed; moderate lacing on glass; deep red color body; alive with carbonation

S - Fruit and oak tones; flowery (rose) scents; smells like a lot of the ales out there

T - Light fruit taste at the beginning followed by grapefruit sourness; taste washes over tongue and turns in to a hop bitterness (doesn't last long though)

M - Creamy viscosity; mild carbonation over tongue; well-built with a good balance of fruits and malts

D - Another quality high-end beer; lacking a lot of the front-end flavor I'm looking for in a grand cru; light flavor; only one glass per sitting for me

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a deep orange color with good carbonation and a nice white head.

S: Nose is floral hops. some oak

T: Big SN Pale Ale influence here. Still trying to find the Bigfoot influence...a little bit of Celebration. I have had aged Bigfoot, Oaked Bigfoot and Bourbon Bigfoot..where is this in the Grand Cru? If it were a blind taste test I would say it is Oak aged Pale Ale blend with Celebration, thats what I would get.

M: Nice, very hoppy, dry hopping is evident, medium bodied despite the booze and blend

D: Good. Great price for the beer indeed but man, I wanted something bigger since it boasted about Bigfoot

30th Anniversary - Grand Cru from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 776 ratings.