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The Beast Grand Cru - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The Beast Grand CruThe Beast Grand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

581 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 581
Hads: 1,286
Avg: 3.82
pDev: 23.56%
Wants: 75
Gots: 375 | FT: 26
Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  16.83% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Crosling on 01-29-2004

Hop Variety: Bravo, Bullion, Sterling, Hersbrucker, Columbus, Styrian Goldings
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Honey malt, Dark Aromatic, Pale wheat, Roasted wheat, Special B
Sugars: Dates, Molasses, Dark Belgian Candy Sugar, Colorado Honey, Raisins, Turbinado
OG: 1.135 ABV: 15-17% IBUs: 63 Color: Burgundy

The Beast is a seducer – accomodating, complicated, powerful, dark and created to last the ages. With a deep burgundy color and aromas of honey, nutmeg, mandarin orange and pineapple, this massive and challenging brew has flavors akin to a beautiful Carribean rum. Dates, plums, raisins and molasses are dominant in a rich vinous texture. Cellarable for 10+ years.

The Beast is the first installment of “The Demons of Ale” series.

Food pairing: Pineapple upside down cake pairs nicely with the sweet, rum-like flavors found in our Beast Grand Cru.

Batch 1 (2004): 15.7% ABV
Batch 2 (2004): 18.1% ABV
Batch 3 (2005): 14.9% ABV
Batch 4 (2006): 14.6% ABV
Batch 5 (2007): 16.42% ABV
Batch 6 (2008): 16.31% ABV
Batch 7 (2009): 15.07% ABV
Batch 8 (2010): 16.21% ABV
Batch 9 (2011): 16.83% ABV
Batch 10 (2012): 16.00% ABV
Batch 11 (2013): 18:00% ABV
Batch 12 (2014): 16.1% ABV
Batch 12 (2015): 17.2% ABV
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 581 | Hads: 1,286
Photo of Longhorn08
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - cloudy Amber with cream head that dissipates quickly

S- brown sugar, plums, Belgian yeast

T - very sweet, plum and figs up front, brown sugar on the back end, alcohol is hidden well

F - a little flat for the style, but not bad

O - very solid for the style, will have again

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Photo of Phigg1102
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a deep amber/light brown color. Thin cap hangs arround the edge for a bit. Aroma of apple and cinnamon, caramel. Taste is like straight applesauce. Crazy high levels of booze are hidden pretty well.

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Photo of Auraan
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a perfect cloudy reddish brown body with a ring of delicate white lace. Overall impression of appearance is of a fantastic example of a high ABV Belgian Strong Dark ale, magnificent. Scents of sweet, spicy alcohol upfront, imparting notes of rum-soaked dark fruit and fruitcake, strong malt presence is rich, with notes of caramel, rich bread and light amounts of chocolate, high levels of fruit esters imparting aromas of date, raisin, and a light dried cherry presence, notes of molasses and brown sugar sit at moderate levels in the background adding further depth and very light peppery phenols mingle with the spicy alcohol. Overall impression of aroma is of a very bold, forward Belgian Strong Dark, with a massive amount of different aromas derived from malt and yeast, bringing out fruit, spice and rich malt aromas and with a massive, though balanced alcohol presence. Unlike other Belgian Strong Darks in its boldness, but not overwhelming. Flavor begins rich, sweet and malty with notes of caramel and molasses blending with dark fruit flavors of raisin, date and dried cherry, notes of rum-soaked fruit cake are also imparted by the high level of warming alcohol. Middle continues these flavors though alcohol presence increases and a light presence of dark chocolate appears. Finish is sweet with pronounced notes of warm alcohol, moderate dark chocolate, molasses and fruity esters of dried cherry, raisin and date with a large amount of alcohol on the swallow. Aftertaste is dry with notes of peppery phenols mingling with warm alcohol and bitter dark chocolate and light coffee. Overall impression of flavor is interesting. This is a very intense, varied and rich flavor profile, yet I cannot tell if it is complex, or if it is overwhelmed by the alcohol. It is quite delicious however, and the myriad flavors blend together into a wonderful whole. Quite nice. Mouthfeel is full bodied, with a creamy feel and light carbonation prickle that is enhanced by a moderately high level of alcohol burn. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a rich, boozy, strong ale. The strongest Belgian Strong Dark I have sampled. Quite nice in a cool night. Overall this is a fantastic beer. It has a wonderfully complex aroma and a possibly complex, but certainly delicious flavor and a wonderfully warming mouthfeel. It is varied, boozy and rich, the perfect sipping beer for a cool Halloween night. It may not be the finest Belgian Strong Dark, but it is one of the finest strong ales I have sampled. Avery nailed it.

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Photo of delta490
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the 2015 bottling of batch 12. Pours a murky brown with a short-lasting off white head. A little head manages to last and leave a small bit of tight sticky lacing. The aroma is actually quite understated given how big and boozy this beer is. There are hints of malt, sugary sweetness and alcohol but nothing is dominant or pronounced. The flavor is much more intriguing, with all the complex elements just smashing around, changing as the beer warms. The first sip was sweet and boozy. The next was fruity. And it went on like that, the elements changing as it went on. It's not a hugely thick or weighty beer and is remarkably easy to drink given all that's going on.

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Photo of rodlavers
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is m py first review in a long time, but I've also had this bottle for a long time:

This is batch #9

It's dark ruby red, beautiful, thin light tan ring for a head, no surprise there after 4 years.

Smells rather sweet like candy with molasses, dried fruit, caramel & toffee, and perhaps some light notes of spice.

Taste is similar to smell, with an emphasis on sweetness. It's smooth, sweet and dark-fruity.

Feel is smooth and syrupy...no carbonation and still thick a little bit.

Overall I'm glad a I save this thing, but I'd also like to try a bottle fresh.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.78/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Cloudy, tan color with an effervescent head after an aggressive pour. Cap settles to a thin layer and spots of lacing cling along the glass. Aroma is of vanilla and honey. Caramel and toffee flavors mix well with the vanilla honey. Booze is hot and lingers a while burning while coating the palate. Very thick, smooth, and goes down way too easily for 17.2%! I really enjoyed this Grand Cru; though, it is quite the sipper and after half the glass I can feel it! If you know what I mean... Second strongest beer I've ever indulged upon!

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Photo of unclekeith
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2015 (17.2%) Version

L: Hazy deep amber, 2 finger creamy head,
A: Alcohol vapors are stinging my eyes, alcohol dominates, some figs, caramel
T: Hot, boozey, a bit bready - more of a blonde barleywine than a belgian
M: Sticky, viscous, definitely coats whatever it touches
O: Can't decide if this is complex or 1-dimensional (booze) - my chapped lips are burning so I'm leaning towards 1-dimensional

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Hazy brown pour. Ah. This is big and dark for a Belgium. The smell is nondescript honey malt-something, and the taste is big and burning of some orange flavor. A bit metallic and biting of alcohol. Some pineapple yes for sure. Sweetness pokes through the alcohol. It is a beast.
I poured half a bottle here on an evening after sampling other brews, as a whole would put me off kilter on a work day eve.
After awhile I get the mandarin. It really has some medicinal aspects to it too, which may explain the mixed reviews?
Feel is medium-thick and sticky, chewy-nice.
I think this has some nice qualities, but obviously they should be slowly sipped so as to bring out whatever flavors you may enjoy as it warms. For me it was mandarin burn with a sweet intro and a dry and warming endnote of not-too-sweet pineapple.
Aging should do this wonders. 10 years they suggest. Why not. If I see another I may try that.

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Photo of Mattygross44
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was good hid the abv very well i like the boozy big boy beers it was a nice sipper i tasted toffee and a sharp bite would buy again even though its $16 a bottle

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Photo of maxifunk777
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Finally an Avery beer I liked or maybe my taste buds have been exposed to enough high ABV beers to appreciate this high octane beer. Reminded me of a barley-wine with the sweetness and fruit notes galore the taste does have little alcohol kick but not over bearing at.

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Photo of jpro
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2012... I think 3 years helped smooth the edges... Molasses, raisins, brown sugar in aroma and taste - slightly rummy. Big feel and extra sticky on the palate. Almost a dessert beer.

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Photo of kamoosekazi
4.77/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

You really need a good palette to enjoy the full flavor of "The Beast". There is a ton of ingredients that go into this strong ale, and at 16%, this 12oz monster is not for the faint of heart as it will be your only beer for the night.

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Photo of zac16125
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a tulip
Batch #12, Aug 2014

Thanks to themadnanner for sending this extra over in a trade!

A: Dark mahogany, opaque, 1 plus fingers width of tan head, decent retention but only a very small amount of lacing. 4.25

S: Lots of old ale notes like caramel, candied sugar, and toffee. Lots of booze as well. Vinous dark fruits round things out. 4.25

T: Theres a big sweetness, that I very much enjoy. Dark fruits, toffee/caramel, candied sugar, semi-sweet cocoa. The sweetness is balanced nicely by a big, but not dominating, boozy character, and some bitterness. 4.25

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation appropriate low, ABV is noticeable but for 16% plus its quite impressively restrained, and all rings considered drinkability is very good. 4.25

O: I really dig this beer. Big, bold, boozy, flavorful. Very well done. 4.25

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Photo of anon
4.34/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thick, oily and murky brew. Looks like swamp water with a sheen from the alcohol. Small head with very little lacing hanging around.

Smells sweet and sugary, caramely and fruity. This brew lives up to its name as a beast. Lots of stuff going on here, and in the taste as well. Dark caramel, candy and fruits mainly; the raisin and molasses shine through. Delicious.

This one is thick in the mouth feel and goes down oh so smooth. The 16% ABV is blanketed nicely, better than lower alcohol strong ales I've had. It is definitely noticeable, but not as much as one would expect for the % being so high.

I think I'll definitely be getting another of these in the future. Throuroughly enjoyed.

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Photo of kevdemers
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2007 bottle. Thanks to changdulla!

Look: Surprising head given the age. Ruby/brown color.

Smell: Raisins, plums, brandy.

Taste: Sweet start with plum and honey, then boozy/tart finish. Minor unpleasant cough medicine on the aftertaste, but not a deal breaker.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full, obviously carbonation was not high given the vintage.

Overall: Not a style I usually partake of, but this was a pretty nice experience. Probably would not purchase on my own but glad I tried it.

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Photo of Beejay
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 bottle.

A: Brown mud, with no head.

S: Burnt bread and sweet caramel.

T: Rich caramel, burnt brown sugar and booze. A decent bit of bitterness in the finish as well as some grapefruit notes.

M: Thick with medium carbonation.

O: A big beer for sure. Tasty, but a little hot.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.44/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 bottle shared tonight by Todd, thanks for the opportunity!
Very sweet and still has a bit of alcohol to it. Very fruity. Probably past but nice to try.

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Photo of BeerAllYouCanBe
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Batch 9. 2011. February 2015. Four years in the bottle, and still feels new. Had only one bottle and wish I had kept it longer. The hops has begun to drop out, allowing a ton of stuff to go on with the many sugars in this witches' brew. Molasses in the nose and entrance, candy sugar and raisin sugar are prominent, and black strap is strong on the long finish. Pretty sure I'm growing new chest hair as I write this. Reminiscent of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot after a few years, but oh so much bigger than even that. Passes the Big Beer smell test with flying colors.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.99/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased at Total Wine in Jacksonville, FL. Another one of Avery's big old sugary ABV bombs.

Pours a clear garnet brown, with basically no head or lacing.

Smells really strongly of sugary booze and sugary malt, and not much else.

Another exceedingly sugary and strong Avery creation. To it's credit, the booze is not that powerful- it doesn't feel "hot," but the alcohol is definitely quite present. It's warming, and slightly spicy. The boozy sugar levels in this one are insanely high, and it drowns out any Belgian dark complexity there may be.

This is thick, and exceedingly syrupy, making it a bit of a chore to drink. The carbonation level is pretty low.

Not one of Avery's best, it just seems extreme for the sake of being extreme.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 Vintage. Very strong brew. I feel it might be necessary to grab another bottle, age it for two or three years, and enjoy it then. Despite the strength, I sat with this beer for a good hour and a half and enjoyed each small sip I took. No rush. Why rush with a good beer?

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Photo of Mikus
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had a generous sample of this at my local taphouse. $15 a pint kept me from going all in. It was a very interesting brew. Do I have to tell you that it is really big? Notes of a high-octane Flanders Red on the nose... big warm alcohol bite on the back red of the palate. Bravo to Avery for aiming high. In this style, prefer the lower ABV fare as they are more delicately balanced. This is worth a try, by far, but I don't think it would become a regular fridge stocker (as if I could find it).

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Edition: Poured a seethru light brown body with one finger head and lace ring . Aroma is dark fruit filled with raisins, figs, even plums, and I do get a bit of the honey (thanks, label) and chocolate...and some booze, natch. Thick bodied, slow drinker thanks to stickiness and this beer will give off a little booze with a hot finish. Dark fruits make up most of taste as I get raisins, prunes, figs in the beer and there is a bready, cracker like dryness to the beer that adds balance as well as touches of caramel and toffee sweetness. I like this beer but there are not hops for more balance and I think the alcohol mutes a little bit of the fruit and sweet tastes so not my one of my favorites (the price doesn't help).

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Photo of Radome
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, dated Aug 2014, into a goblet.

L - Color is a beautiful dark ruby, but clear when held up to the light. Tan head is not very high, but a thin sheet and plenty of lacing are persistent.

S - Aromas are centered on malt. I get graham crackers, molasses, prunes, and raisins. There is are spices in the background, but I can't identify any individual spices. Possible oak? Hops are not distinct, but they may make up part of the spicy note. There is an aged, slightly oxidized note.

T - Flavors are similar to the aromas. Malt is there in pumpernickle, graham cracker and molasses flavors. Prune, plum and raisin re there, along witht he same oxidized, aged impression from the aroma. There is a solid hops bitterness and earthy flavor. No yeast character. Some sweet alcohol flavor.

F - Medium body. Strong alcohol presence, but not burning. Low, smooth carbonation. Medium to high hops bitterness. Everything is in balance.

O - This is a great beer. Although it hits extremes in alcohol level, hops and oxidation, altogether the impression is of a balanced and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
2.53/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a Chimay beer chalice.

A - 5 - Poured a very rich, dark rust color. Forms a half finger of quickly dissipating, medium tan head. Weak head potential, retention and lacing, forgivable due to the massive ABV.
S - 5 - Spot on. Dark cooked fruits such as prunes, plums, figs, raisins, dates and black cherry all harmoniously blending into a black cherry wine and molasses finish.
T - 1 - What an absolute disaster. Upfront there is a STRONG, extremely cloying sweet sweet alcohol which ends on a chemically bitter finish, likened to spraying Windex on your tongue. Any of those lovely flavors I described in the aroma that might be present in the taste are overpowered and lost entirely.
F - 3.25 - Gave a middle of the road score because it is entirely irrelevant to me. My senses were too overwhelmed by the taste to notice a mouthfeel.
O - 1.5 - I've, so far at least, noticed a trend with the Avery "Demons of Ale" series. THEY NEED TO TONE IT DOWN A LITTLE! I understand these are supposed to be these MASSIVE, monstrous beers that have huge ABVs and flavors. I LOVE when brewerys do this kind of thing, I'm REALLY into massive and experimental brews. But even with massive beers, you HAVE to have BALANCE. Balance is the theme of the lesson here. You can talk a pretty game and have awesome curb appeal with your label art, described flavors and massive ABV, but if you aren't properly balancing your two MAIN aspects of flavor, the salt and pepper of beer, sweetness and bitterness, then you've done your entire effort a massive disservice. This could be an absolutely astounding brew, and perhaps its somewhat my fault for not aging it long enough, but I can't imagine, even with multiple years that this amount of cloying sweetness could be toned down. If you see this brew and you are compelled to grab it, let it age for many a year!

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage 12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, with a quarter of a finger of oatmeal-colored head that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Not much in the aroma department, which is disappointing. There are some faint notes of toasted malt and candied sugar, but that’s all, and those notes are extremely faint. What’s odd is that I don’t even get any aromas of alcohol, which I thought I would get, as this beer has an ABV of a whopping 18.0%. Maybe the beer is too cold.

Taste: What the Beast lacks in aroma, it more, much more, makes up for in flavor!! Massive flavors of toasted malt up front, followed immediately by massive amounts of candied sugar-like sweetness, dried stone fruit, such as dates, figs and sour cherries, Belgian yeast, and some nicely balanced hoppy bitterness. Absolutely, amazingly, spectacularly, awesome!

Mouthfeel: Chewy, creamy, yet slightly viscous, and smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 18%, there is quite a bit of pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Jesus, what a spectacular, amazing, exceptionally, awesome beer! Avery has knocked it out of the park with this one!

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The Beast Grand Cru from Avery Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 581 ratings.