The Beast Grand Cru - Avery Brewing Company

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The Beast Grand CruThe Beast Grand Cru

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very good

578 Reviews
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Reviews: 578
Hads: 1,273
Avg: 3.82
pDev: 23.56%
Wants: 72
Gots: 364 | FT: 23
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: 578 | Hads: 1,273
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 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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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

on draft at churchkey DC

tastes like an english barleywine without the bitterness, this is indeed a beast of a beer, take it 4 oz at a time folks, with the stature though it kinda goes a little beyond a pleasant enjoyable beer bc, even with time to enjoy this beer, shitfaced or a least a heavy buzz are non optional

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.49/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Avery's The Beast Grand Cru a month a half ago for $8.49 at Holiday Market. I'm pretty interested in trying this beer, but I'm a little scared it might be as sweet as Samaels Oak Aged Ale, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz foiled bottled into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it goes well with the name and I think it's a little eye catching. It poured a muddy mahogany color that didn't really let any light come through and it half a fingers worth of light tan head that died quickly died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left some spotty lacing behind. This was a pretty nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a high amount of sweetness that has a candied sugar like aroma and it's followed by the dark fruits which impart a brighter dark fruit aroma that's a little similar to grape juice and it goes right into the Belgian yeast which imparts a typical spicy yeast aroma. Up next comes some more sweet aromas followed by the malts which impart a toasted malt, caramel malt, sweet malt, caramel and slight toffee like aroma. This beer had a nice aroma, but the sweetness was a little too dominating and it wasn't very complex.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of sweetness that still has a candied sugar like aroma to and it starts off with the dark fruits still being the first to show up and they impart that same bright dark fruit and grape juice like aspects and it goes right into the Belgian yeast which imparts the same aspects that it did in the aroma. Up next comes the malts which impart the same aspects that it did in the aroma with the caramel sticking out the most. On the finish there's pretty much no bitterness with some more sweetness and a light alcohol flavor that's pretty warming and it had a candied dark fruit and caramel like aftertaste. This was a nice tasting beer, but the sweetness was a little out of control.

M- Not the smoothest, a little crisp, fairly cloying, slightly sticky, very warming, on the thick side of being medium bodied with a lower amount of medium carbonation. This beer had a decent mouthfeel, but I wish it wasn't so warming and cloying.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and a nice example of the style, the Belgian aspects came through even though it was pretty much dominated by the sweetness there were still some nice flavors and aromas that showed up. This beer didn't have good drinkability, it was not the smoothest, a little crisp, fairly cloying, slightly sticky, very warming, slightly filling and the taste did an ok job of holding my attention, but I think half the bottle is a good amount for me, anymore than that and it might really start to wear on me, especially the warming aspect. What I like the most about this beer was the appearance and the Belgian Strong Dark Ale aspects that came through, to me those were the highlights of this beer. What I like the least about this beer was the sweetness and the mouthfeel, those two aspects need some work. I wouldn't buy this beer again, I'm glad I tried it, but I see no need to revisit it anytime soon and I would only recommend it if you like really sweet and strong beers. All in all I liked the beer, but didn't love it and in the end it was the sweetness that really held this beer back. It isn't a favorite Avery beer or a favorite of the style, it falls in the middle in both aspects. I appreciate the effort it took to make this beer, but in the end it's just not for me, better luck next time guys.

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Photo of minterro
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had two of these both from July of 2013. Tasting occurred 14 & 16 months in the bottle, really not much difference in two months (as you would probably expect).

A&S: Dark cherry colored beer. Surprisingly big head for being around 18% ABV and aging over a year. Head is a light brown color.

T&M: Really hot on both times. Woody, tannins, acidic, spicy. Becomes much sweeter when you pour the second half of the bottle in., but still on the bitter side. Sharp carbonation, but somehow smooth and thick.

Overall: I think if I was going to buy this one again I would probably let it sit for 2.5-3 years. I probably should have let it sit longer, but I forgot to double check my notes from the 14 month tasting before cracking this one. I don't know if the flavors I'm getting a strictly alcohol based, but it feels pretty hot still.

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The Beast Grand Cru from Avery Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 578 ratings.