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Lips Of Faith - Grand Cru Abbey Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
Lips Of Faith - Grand Cru Abbey AleLips Of Faith - Grand Cru Abbey Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

324 Ratings

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Ratings: 324
Reviews: 170
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 39
Gots: 43 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-11-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 324 | Reviews: 170
Photo of brewandbbq
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before date of Sept. 13,2003.

Pours dark, brilliant ruby, with half-inch head of off-white. Some minimal lacing between sips.

The nose on this one is is excellent.
Dark, ripe fruits, juicy malt, raisins, and nougat.
Cherries, figs, and a hint of vanilla.

The mouthfeel is a bit sticky and medium at best. Low carbonation detracts.

Malt-laden and fruity on the pallet. A slight roast adds some depth, as well as earthy undertones. Bitterness is surprisingly firm.
Notes of pepper-studded chocolate and grape jam.

Finishes drying, bitter, and warming.

I was told that this was the last batch that was bottle conditioned. No oxidation was apparent, and the aromatics were outstanding.

Photo of shivtim
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap in Seattle. Served in a New Belgium goblet. It's a clear but deep red brew with pink tints. Has a decent white head that fades. Nose is very sweet fruits mixed with dark plums. Taste is syrupy sweet balanced with hops and a malty backbone. Great example of the style. Alcohol comes through in the finish. Mouthfeel is excellent, nice and thick and creamy. Drinkability is good but may be hurt by the ABV.

Photo of Fugazme
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this bottle back in November... its been in the cellar since...

Pours a darker bright coppery color... clarity is quite clear... some tiny bubbles wander up, but very little in the way of a head. Swirl is nice with decent stickage and great legs.

Aroma is very yeasty upfront... the alcohol is present all over... medicinal... raisins and rum... some whiskey... was hoping for more.

Pretty smooth mouthfeel... a little harsh on the swallow, but nice.
Sticky in a good way.

Taste: Caramel and bourbon flavors... toffee and malty... quite sweet... a touch of licorice and smoke... dried dark fruits.... definitely pick up the cherry...

Photo of Bitterbill
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Here's another brew I got in a trade with Wasatch!

Poured from 12oz bottle a very nice amber gold with a medium head of foam that shrank fairly quickly leaving a fine layer with plenty of lacing.

The smell is a mix of caramel malt and fruit and spices that is doing nice things to my nose. Hmm...I'm spending too much time with the glass to my nose on this one, me thinks. ;^)

The taste has a strong dose of caramel malt but it's not overly sweet. Then there's a very nice kick of banana and dark fruit, mainly cherries and plum, that's hitting my palate just right and wait, there's also some biscuit notes..dang...this one is so flavourful, my taste buds are literally dancing in the streets!
And yeah, there's some warming but it's not in the tasting at all, just when it goes down. Yummy and delicious, that's what it is.

Bottom line: A *great* sipping Belgian Strong Ale. I'm glad I got this bottle in a trade as I tried a small sample at the brewery and I wasn't that impressed. As BA advises you, don't review a brew based on small samples and boy, is that ever true. I highly recommend this one!

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light mahogany color with a huge head, almost too much. Couldn't pour it without half foam. Knocks down this rating a notch.
Smells of sweetened bananas, light apples and rich biscuits. Floral presence as well.
Tastes rich. Ripe banana and soft plums. Some raisins, but not much. Yeasts make this brew rich and a bit spicey. Alcohol is noticeable in the distance.
Overall a good brew.I did like it.

Photo of BlindPig
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- 1/4-1/2" light tan head. Clear deep amber body (can't really see through it since it's so dark). Bit of lacing over top with a nice collar and a bit sticking to glass.
S-Big fruit smell. cherries and plums? Yeast smell also. Big malt. Maybe just a tad hint of alcohol. Not much hop smell. Maybe a bit dry?
T- Big fruit taste. cherries and plums really come through. Alcohol is also there and causes a bit of warming in back of throat (gentle though). Dry taste. Maybe some grapes and raisins too? Maybe some Belgium sugar too. Maybe a very light bitterness in it.
M- Smooth and low carbonation. Medium body.
D- Very easy to drink. very good. Wish this was made regularly. Like it a lot.

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gbontrag for this one.

Pours a nice clear dark mahongy color, nice carbonation, nice fizzy one-finger head which leaves some nice islands and sticy lacing afterwards. The nose is of malts, yeast, plums, grapes, figs, raisins, slight caramel. The taste is very nice, sweet malty, yeasty, slight tangyness from the fruits, and a nice clean finish. Medium body, a well rounded, complex brew. Very drinkable, a very nice compliment to the style. Highly recommended.

Photo of RedHaze
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bditty187 for the opportunity to sample this one.

Pours a dark red tinged brown, almost mahogany, with a dense one finger head that settles slowly to a soapy cap. The subsequent lacing is very thick and sticky.

Smell; dark fruits with plums and dates with a little bit of cherries thrown in. There's a bit of a oaky presence with vanilla, as well as some caramel and candied sugar.

Taste; the dark fruits come out very nicely with plums, dates, grapes and cherries. Chocolate, caramel and candied sugar and a nice sweetness to a bit of an alcohol bite towards the middle. In the finish there's bit bit of a chalkiness that must be from the yeasts.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and with the alcohol and chalky feeling this is a little drying, but otherwise very good. Drinkabilty is good, and would be even higher with a lower abv.

Photo of Zorro
3.47/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled due to the kindness of gbontrag.

This pours a clear reddish brown colored ale with a skimpy head formation.

Smell is a little sweet and fruity with a dried dark fruit aroma of Bing cherry and currant. Sugar scents of brown sugar and candy mix with vanilla, oak and caramel to give this a slight whiskey barrel aroma. After I warm this with my hand a little bit the aroma of chocolate cake comes on strong along with a spicy whiff of alcohol.

Taste is light and slightly fruity at the beginning of the experience. Mild flavored to say the least, to light actually. Good mild flavors of citrus, rum, vanilla, chocolate and wood probably oak. Definite taste of cake in the malt here. Only problem with this is that the flavor isn't as strong as it could be.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side.

Drinkability is fine probably because this seems to be a bit under-flavored. It seems that the alcohol is diluting out the taste and the mouthfeel in this one. An OK beer but not a great one.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grand Cru. Interesting to note about the history, but either way sampled from the brewhouse itself. And with my inside connections I was able to get a full glass, lucky me.

Poured a rich ruby brown color that hints it's very similar Abbey heritage. Good head that remained around the edge of the glass throughout but limited lacing.

The aroma is sweet with some brown sugar esters and although hidden well, the phenolic high ABV is noticeable. Some other notes of malty and caramel flavors come out, as does the New Belgium Abbey yeast.

The flavor has more of a caramel flavor then the nose would indicate. The phenolic character hides a bit, but still noticeable. A brown sugar sweetness comes out quickly but blends well. The yeast is very noticeable as NB and leave as yeast bite at the end.

The body is smooth for it's 10% build. I did sample side by side the Abbey and the Grand Cru, and I would prefer the Abbey, but its nice to see NB creating new things.

Photo of benito
2.46/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Glancing at the other reviews, I realize that I'm going to be the lone dissenter amongst the crowd that recommends this beer; I know full well that my taste buds may (must?) be out there on this one. A second caveat: for whatever reason, dubbels (and Belgian darks) are a style that I struggle with. My fun tickets ran out quickly on this one...

A: Light brown with low carbonation and little head.

S: Caramel and flesh. Not exactly appetizing, but it's not that different from the slight repulsion I detect at most dubbels.

T: Most of the fruitiness I like in the regular NB Abbey is absent, though there is a nice banana and fig presence. Nonetheless, for a 'grand cru' this is like a quad that forgot half of its malts! It's very peppery and light on the finish.

M: Too thin overall. I would have liked something with more length and strength to back up some of the flavors.

D: The lack of body detracts from overall quality. To my palate, there was just too funky a mix of strong fruits and spritzy tonic.

Take a pass on this, and try one of NB's other fantastic brews.

Photo of mentor
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was last produced 5 years ago (batch #10,000 produced by New Belgium Brewing). Batch #20,000, not released to the public, was a repeat of the Grad Cru and was available on-tap only at the brewery. A special offering was available one night only at the Falling Rock Taphouse in Denver (mid-May, 2006). That's where I had my sample.

Presented in a brandy-snifter-style glass with a thin layer of brown head. Dark brown and slightly cloudy. Smells delicious. White grapes (Zinfandel), bourbon, belgian candi-sugar, vanilla, caramel. Alcohol sting is mild and clean, carrying a sweet character. Plums is the closest I can put my finger on it.

Tastes more chocolatey that I was expecting. The little caramel mixes with the chocolate to come across as a gentle toffee. Candi-sugar floats lightly upon a clean alcohol sting. Fruity esters were mild to the other characters. A beer of delicate flavors. Overall, malty sweet until a dry woody finish. The finish sees the appearance of the phenolic funk, which persists long and dry as an aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium, but quite creamy.

Wow, just noticed this beer is 10%. The alcohol is very well hidden. IMO, this could have used a bit more umph in the plums

Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Pre-GABF babblefest.

2001 Vintage.


Dry, spicy aroma of dark fruits (raisins, cherries and plums) slight cloves and yeast.

Overripen fruits dominate he palate, mainly dates, figs and plums. Chocolate and caramel as well with a dry, chalky, lingering finish.

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

Reddish brown mostly clear body. Light brown head displaying good belgian lacing. Very malty aroma with nutty, toffee aspects together with dark fruits (dates) and maybe some licorice. Spicy on the tongue, yeasty and bready while just being very malty and candi sugar sweet. Nice velvety mouthfeel, mostly thick with gentle carbonation. Mild alcohol warmt in the finish. This does right just about everything I expect from a dubbel which really seems to be a tough style to make a great example of.

Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decided to break out another of my 4 year old New Belgium Abbey Grand Cru’s, till have 7 of my original 12, and once a year I like to break one out and give it a sample.

The beer as it debouches the 22 oz. bomber is a quite hazy mahogany color with a portly head that is spumescent in texture and a winsome light tan in color, as it evaporates, it leaves behind a fine curtain of lace to drape the glass. Nose is sweetly malt, hints of fusel alcohol, fresh and pleasing to the senses; start is ambrosial, rich in malt and the top middling to full in feel. Finish is meek in its acidity, the hops delectable in their spiciness, dry and somewhat sweet aftertaste, and a definite belly warmer, still good after 4 years, well I wonder what it will be like next year?

Photo of freed
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was surprised to see this on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Looks like a treat.

Pours surprisingly clear. Must be filtered. Nice clean head, thicker on the edges. Aroma is primarily malt. Yeast doesn't at much to the smell, excluding the hops. Taste nice and sweet, though not very full. Malt body is nearly full; fills towards the end, though isn't' full.

I'm not sure if this is filtered or not, but if it is, it shouldn't be. The lack of body and yeast flavors. Please bring them back.

Photo of tavernjef
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice deep russet muddy brown color with a finger high head of frothy ivory colored creamyness. Fades fast, leaves very minimal whispy thin lace that appears from a fast fading sheet after each sip. Aroma is a whole lotta plum, malty sweet, alcoholic with some notes of dark cherry, raisin, and toffee with a yeasty spiced overlay. Taste is super mild, soft, and malty sweet, dulled dark fruityness of raisin and plum mostly upfront leading through and into the midway point with fruit skin dryness- raisin, pear, grape, apple skins and yeasty spiced dryness. A nice finish with this one that also gets a late easy dried hop bitterness that comes through. Feel is fairly creamy throughout and nearly full in alot of aspects and finishes with a variety of drying layers. Alcoholic hints barely show in this, but can be noted in some warming in the throat very late, and even later in the Ol' sensory factory. A nice Grand Cru, not as complexing or spiced as some but note worthy and respectable and a must try for any beer lover.

Thanks to Gusler for the bottle!

Photo of beerguy101
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Medium copper color, large creamy head. Very rich malt taste. Very full rich flavor, expansive and fruity. Mouthfeel is very round, full and smooth. Good hop balance. Re-fermented in the bottle with Belgian yeasts, there is a near vinous like quality to this beer. Reminiscent of a Belgian Red. Very complex flavor, somewhat thick. High Alcoholl is really not that evident. Finish is very smooth. Aftertaste is malty and sweet. VERY NICE beer.

Photo of jeffboo
4.61/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

# 3 in a tasting of 4 Cru's. But this one was the looker. A beautiful deep red color with tannish head. A very spicy aroma of dark fruits (raisins and plums) and yeast. Full body on the tongue, heavy concentrate of dark candy sugar, raisins, cherries which are still present in the long finish. Very smooth considering the heft, still highly recommended.

Photo of RoyalT
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Nice deep brown color with good head that left a little lacing.

Smell – Big, sweet malt on the nose of this one. The huge date and raisin aroma jumps right out of the glass along with a sense of alcohol. This one reeks of grand cru and means business.

Taste – This is a good representation of the style. The sweet flavors come out in force here. Big, ripe fruits like peaches, dates, and figs along with a lot of raw cane, melted toffee, rich caramel, and wet, sticky brown sugar. There’s some yeast in there as well, but mostly sweetness in accordance with the style.

Mouthfeel – Very little carbonation, but the sugary flavors are pleasing to the cheeks.

Drinkability – Definitely a “sipper.” The 9.4 ABV commands respect, and the sugary nature precludes guzzling. This is a good dessert or end-of-night beer to open and split between friends (good friends).

Comments – True, this brewery has put out some duds. But, mostly, they are innovative and strive to hit the style dead on. This was a bull’s eye.

Photo of jcalabre
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to herbjones for splitting this one with me.
Appearance: New Belgium's Grand Cru is a clear reddish brown color.
Aroma: The nose of this brew is floral & malty, with some some alcohol noted.,It is quite vinuous
Nice rich complex flavor that's smooth on the palate

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, very deep orangish-mahogany body that appears to have an almost burgundy cast in the full goblet; and displays some crimson/ruby highlights. Beautiful! Upon inspection, hundreds of tiny bubbles can be seen streaming to the surface, helping to support the short but creamy bone-white head. It holds fairly well, but eventually the circle cannot hold and it drops to a creamy collar and minor whispy surface foam. It leaves some transient spotty lace, but nothing of substance. The aroma, however, is much more noticeable and displays a softly toasted malt amidst sprinkles of peppery spice, dollops of dark fruit (prune, raisin, fig) and to a lesser degree some almost cake-like sugariness. It's firm body is rounded by the gently effervescent carbonation that caresses the tongue, and it's surprisingly smooth across the palate. The flavor is rich with maltiness that's at first lightly toasty with just a mild acidity; then soaked in ripe dark fruits; and finally followed by some peppery spice and alcohol in a long-lasting drying finish. It's really well-balanced and quite excellent! I'm immediately reminded of Chimay Premier, although this is softer; and the De Koninck Cuvee comes to mind as well. Wonderful. A real treat! The alcohol is extremely well-hidden; and it's drinkability is quite good! This is a beer that I will seek out to enjoy again and again!

Photo of 49degrees
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nicknamed "Colorado Holy Water," New Belgium's Abbey Grand Cru (Belgian Style) is a hearty contender that has its sight clearly set on the traditional Dubbel style. Deep, dark, and full of suave characteristics, this one aims to please and hits it's mark.

I've long been a fan of New Belgium's Fat Tire (Amber Ale) which is relatively easy to find on draught throughout the Pacific Northwest and makes a great accompiament to a great meal. As for the Grand Cru, this review is based on their 650ml, gold foil capped bottle with a freshness date [best before] September 13, 2003).

Pours a deep, very dark brown with significant amber hues. Virtually no head whatsoever, no lacing, with a very very small bright white collar forming around the miniscus layer.

The Grand Cru is characterized by extensive malting with a nice mellow fruity aftertone, and that all too distinctive estery hint that follows most grand Belgian styles ales.

Taste wise, the heavy maltiness and fruity blends lends this brew to follow traditional after dinner drinks such as Brandy, Sherry, and Port. There is a slight sourness to the aftertaste, but in a considerably more refined state than what most 'slightly sour' brews could ever hope for.

Despite all the great characteristics to this brew, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't just a little more carbination in this one. Despite bottle fermentation, complete with a small amount of yeast particulate in the pour, it severely lacked in the spritz department. Not necessarily bad when taking the style into account, but definitely lacking all the same. It would be very interesting if they corked this one rather than capping it, and then letting it cellar for a couple of years to see the effects. It has great future potential but is still an enjoyable today just as it is.

Photo of marc77
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish brown w/ a slight haze. The head settles quickly into a thin layer that leaves a respectable lace. Assertive bubblegum ester in aroma like New Belgium's normal strength dubbel. In this kicked up brew the bubblegum ester isn't overbearing & is accompanied by toffee, a bit of banana, raisiny Special B notes and phenol; heaty fusels are there as well if you inhale deeply. Quite complex in aroma-- I'm reminded of an overly phenolic & caramelly Dunkelweiss. The initial flavor is of sugary sweetness, but heavily caramelized sugar flavors from the Special B & dark candi sugar follow along w/ subtle chocolate notes. The hop bitterness is virtually nonexistant & lends a syrupy sweet but smooth quality to this brew. Banana flavors from the yeast persist from start to finish. Finishes sweet, caramelly, & with mild alcohol warmth. This brew could age for a while & will gain complexity through time. This would be great with a rich banana split topped with chocolate syrup.

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Lips Of Faith - Grand Cru Abbey Ale from New Belgium Brewing
89 out of 100 based on 324 ratings.