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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: 1,285
Avg: 3.82
pDev: 23.56%
Wants: 75
Gots: 374 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 581 | Hads: 1,285
Photo of MikeWard
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into a goblet. Batch 11, bottled July 2013. Having seen previous reviews that weren't too enthusiastic about aged bottles of this,I figured a "fresh" review might be interesting. That and I''m not patient enought for cellaring. It is worth noting that it took me almost 3 hours to get through this one. Incidentally, bottle shows 18.0abv, BA has it at 16.83, though I doubt the extra 1.17 would matter at all.

Appearance was superb. Reds & burgundies, crystal clear, with good carbonation. Head was less than a finger of off-white color, with large bubbles. Head did dissipate to a covering with collar, evetually disappearing altogether, as did the carbonation.

Smell was heavenly, about the most wonderful aroma I've ever got from a beer. Honey & sweet malts, and dried fruits, with only a touch of alcohol burn. Loved it so much, I inadvertantly snorted the beer, both nostrils. I don't reccomend this at all, quite a bit of burning.

Taste really has to be divided into early and later on tastes. Initially, the beer was very dynamic, getting the fruit, honey, and at the end, the strong alcohol warmth, which faded quite quickly. Very pleasant rolling around the tongue. This was quite pleasant, thinking about a 4.

Later on, as the carbonation and aromas died down (remember, a 3 hour beer) the second half of the drink was nothing but booze, booze, and more booze. This was less than pleasant. Thinking less than 3 Hence, averaged out to 3.25

Mouth was medium plus, initially pleasant rolling around the tongue, later just like sipping spirits.

Overall a beer that, for me, went downhill. Others who enjoy the alcohol might like it more. I'll always remember the appearance and wonderful aroma. But since I'm not much of a spirits drinker, won't seek it out again.

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Photo of Rutager
4.01/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle, 16.83%, Yikes!

Appearance. Pours a murky brow with orange-amber at the edges. Topped with a finger of light khaki, slightly orange head.

Smell. Lots of sweet caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon, with a bit of raisin and oak. Smells sweet and delicious, like a bb bwine.

Taste. Brown sugar and caramel again, a little molasses, raisins and a decent hit of woody booze (but not nearly as strong as one would think with the crazy abv).

Mouthfeel. Full body, low creamy carbonation.

Overall. Wish the taste lived up to the awesome smell, but still a decent tasting brew (especially for the abv).

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.29/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

I first tried this back in college, mostly for its then-ridiculous ABV. It was very hard to put down. Now, a few years later, I feel I can tame this Beast... It pours a deep auburn-ruby topped by a small sheeting of off-khaki foam. The nose comprises rich caramel, booze, a melange of dark and stone fruits, and an underlying strata of straight barley. It's all a bit much, with the booze really muddling things up, but it's not hard to deal with. The taste brings in more of the same, with the booze coming through stronger than expected and mixing with some candied orange peel for a strong, boozy, and bitter flavor; this leads the way for some grainy sweetness and a touch of toast. The body is fairly hefty, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, this is indeed a beast, perhaps too much of one to really allow the flavors to coalesce without the undue influence of the booze. It's truly not bad, just not something I'd really wanna drink again.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
2.7/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2007 bottling reviewed in July 2013. Poured into a Great Lakes snifter. The beer pours out clear and very dark red with little carbonation. No head, just a thin lacing of foam on the boundary of the surface. The nose is sweet, fruity, boozy, and medicinal. I get notes of oranges, pineapple, and cherry cough syrup.

Very intense sweet boozy flavor, even after 6 years. Where Samael develops a soft, caramel and marshmallow-like sweetness and a refined port-like flavor, this one keeps its booziness intact and, with the fruitiness, tastes like something they serve at frat parties. The result of all that sweet fruit flavor and booze is a medicinal quality that just doesn't agree with my palate. The feel is good and firm (it had better be with that original gravity), but drinkability is minimal.

I'm going to have to pass on the rest of this one. Couldn't finish it. I was hoping this beer would age like Samael does, but unfortunately it's just a different beast.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.34/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 6
Bottled in 2008

A: A deep copper good clarity. There is little carbonation producing very little head even with an agressive pour. What little of the light brown head is there is quick to fade to a thin film and slim ring around the glass.

S: A strong alcohol aroma with a bit of heat. Lots of caramel and rich malt complexity like an Barley Wine. There is no noticeable hops aroma. A light cocoa and slight spice notes with a little chewable vitamin.

T: Lots of alcohol and malt sweetness with a rich malt complexity having strong treacle and toffee like flavors. There is a moderate hop bitterness and pretty much no hops flavor. The balance to the malt done as much by the hops as the alcohol but even together the avalanche of malt sweetness just can't be stopped giving a balance that is fairly sweet. There is a medium amount of orange flavor and a light raisin and mollasses thing going on. A medium-low spiciness. The finish is medium sweet with a linger alcohol sweetness and a touch of spicy fruit flavors.

M. Heat and then a medium bodied beer that feels heavier and viscous from the low level of carbonation.

O: A boozy beer with some fruit and spice that has a high enough alcohol content that you'll want to share. It shows little signs of mellowing in the past few years. The flavors make more sense after reading the bottle that it was brewed with honey malt and actual honey.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – Pours a murky brownish-orange color with ruby highlights seen shinning through when held to the light. Upon a vigorous pour there is a tiny white foam on top of the brew. This foam fades very fast leaving only the lightest level of lace on the sides of the glass. Upon swirling the beer, a fingery foam is left sticking to the glass as the thick body of the brew slowly settles to its resting place at the bottom of the snifter.

Smell – The aroma is big and boozy with a harsh alcohol smell. Underneath the strong alcohol are fruity aromas as well as lots of caramel and a big malty backbone. The fruit aromas are big of citrus orange with some cherry as well as raisin and plum. A thick and heavy caramel and buttery toffee are mixed with a malty and lightly grainy smell. Overall it is a big and warming aroma, smelling more like a sweet barley wine then anything else.

Taste –Wow!! Massive sweetness up front with tons of caramel and a thick and pallet coating orange Dimetapp flavor. Right from the start there is a strong presence of alcohol giving it at first a more warming taste. The alcohol continues to strengthen throughout the brew getting very potent at the end. Along with the increasing boozy taste, a buttery toffee flavor hits the tongue more toward the middle and the end. A maltiness, that was lighter upfront, grows stronger more toward the middle and the end of the taste. Some grainy and grassy flavors develop at the end with the alcohol taste now very big and hot giving a harsh alcohol burn. This huge alcohol taste when mixed with the sweet fruit and sugary tastes, leaves a very mediciney flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the brew is quite thick and chewy with a carbonation level that is very low. Not too surprising of a body for a 16 % abv brew with it giving a very mediciney like character to the beer and making this on a very slow sipper when combined with the big boozy flavor.

Overall – Thick of a hot boozy and mediciney flavor; this is a very sweet and slow sipper indeed. It is rather odd, while it has some more off characteristics like the medicine flavor and huge sweetness, somehow it goes together to make something rather palatable and somewhat enjoyable. While not one I would ever want to frequent, it is one I think that should be experienced, and one to come to every so often when you feel like something intense and hot.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Lightly chilled 12 oz. bottle into a Real Ale tulip pint. Label states August 2011/Batch 9 release. Bottle lists 16.83% ABV.

Look- 3+ fingers of off-white frothy head cap a deep brown-burgundy brew. Insane retention and lacing for the ABV.

Smell- Big dose of candied dates, grainy brown bread, rhubarb jam, intriguing licorice-laced cream soda something in the background. At first, it's a bit overly assertive and comes across like opening a container of dark LME, but as it warms and oxygenates it takes on a character that brings to mind strawberry jam-slathered fresh dark rye bread. Pretty good, bold.

Taste- Wow, well I thought the nose was assertively malty but this takes the cake. Sweet up front and straight through the finish; toasted brown sugar, golden raisin, honey, black molasses, and a subtle earthy spiciness. Again, letting it breathe brings out its best characteristics. Fruit cake, roasted nutty base, dank earthy hops, mace, and something that feels like green hay. Some spice, but really feels more like an insane imperial brown.

Mouthfeel- Thick, syrupy, moderate carbonation barely lightens it. Fairly boozy feel, significant warming down the gullet. Not unwelcome, but this one's definitely a sipper. 12 oz. lasted me through four hours or so.

Overall- A Beast indeed. As long as one's not put off by a sweet, heavy brew, this is certainly worth trying. I'd definitely consider picking up and stowing a few away, but I wouldn't crack one very often. One to savor, heavier and boozier than some of the other uber-strong ales on the market but unique and assertive enough to be worth revisiting.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a very creamy off-white head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is an opaque plum purple with a bit of red notes. The beer smell has strong dark fruit notes such as plum with a bit of raisin and honey notes. The smell also has a slight hint of alcohol to it. The taste is very strong compared to the smell. The beer has strong dark fruit notes and raisins in addition to an alcohol note that gives a little burn and improves the sweet flavor from the other notes. The honey also makes an appearance in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fairly smooth but still a little thick to the tongue. The carbonation is minimal, which allows the beer to be pretty smooth. Overall, the beer is pretty good and not too bad even though there are better strong dark ales. The flavors mix well enough to provide a fairly fruity and sweet beer that is worth getting again.

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Photo of barczar
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2010 vintage.

Pours a murky medium brown with copper tones and a foamy one inch khaki head that dissipates fairly quickly, leaving minimal lacing.

Dark Belgian candi sugar, nutty toasted malt, alcohol, raisins, and dark cherries form the initial aroma. Very complex. There's a cola quality at the base, along with dates and lots of indescribable Belgian yeast esters.

Flavor is focused on dark fruit, with prunes, raisins, and dates dominating throughout, and dark cherry esters offering contrast. Lacks a bit of the umami quality promised in the aroma. Grassy hops, of all things, become noticeable mid palate. Decidedly sweet, there's significant caramel, brown sugar, and lightly toasted malt present.

Body is fairly thick, with moderate to light carbonation and significant alcohol warmth. Almost fusel.

Could use a few years to tame the alcohol. Definitely a sipper. Fairly complex, though more so in the aroma than flavor.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Batch 10, from July of 2012.

Three fingers of head? That's absurd for 16%. Russet red color and impressive visible carbonation. Bonus points for lacing.

First, alcohol... then toffee, rum raisin, rhubarb, candi sugar, and prune. Very potent nose with some dehydrated fruit and dark malts.

Sweet candi sugar and dried fruit open things up; alcohol rushes in and flexes big all the way through the finish. Belgique, in the yeast and their esters. Black cherry, hard tack, phenolic-like cooked rhubarb, and a hint of clove. Hard to dissect with all of this alcohol.

Huge, sticky, a little rough. The fact that the carbonation brings it is the best aspect. Body is thick, but not so much creamy.

Mega big, but with personality. Too much to try again. And, too big for the style. Traded the delicate for the beastiness.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

August 2011, Batch #9.
Poured in to tulip.

A - Medium copper with a slight orange glow around the edges. Opaque. A thin layer of dirty reddish brown head formed.

S - Sweet candy sugar, brown sugar, caramel and molasses with some bready notes and raisin and fig aromas.

T - A big sweetness hits the tongue right away and immediately gives way to a huge warming alcohol presence . Brown sugar, toffee, raisin, date, spice and some lighter yeast esters and clove flavours. The finish has a hint of sweet molasses. Drinks well for being almost 17% ABV.

M - Medium to full body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, 2005 vintage. Pours a cloudy very dark reddish brown color with a small dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Slight spotty foamy lacing on the glass. Aromas of huge raisin, prune, fig, toast, toffee, chocolate, molasses, earth, licorice, tobacco, honey, dark bread, candi sugar, and light earthy yeast esters. Incredible and highly complex aromas with great balance and strength. Taste of big raisin, prune, fig, toffee, molasses, toast, dark bread, earth, tobacco, candi sugar, honey, light licorice, light hop spiciness, and light earthy yeast esters. Lingering notes of dark fruits, toffee, molasses, toast, dark bread, earth, tobacco, light licorice, candi sugar, honey, and earthy spiciness on the finish for a while. Damn nice malty flavor balance with big complexity; with a good balance of maltiness with light earthy spiciness; and slight lingering sweetness on the finish, that is minimally cloying. Light carbonation and very full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and syrupy mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is extremely well hidden at 15% with only a moderate warming noticed after the finish; definitely a sipper. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian strong dark ale. Huge flavor complexity and balance of malty flavors; and very smooth to sip on slowly. A very enjoyable offering with this amount of age, though I have never tried it fresh.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz Batch 9 bottle poured into a wine glass at cellar temperature.

L – Amber-brown color with a 2-finger foamy cream-colored head. Pretty good retention but not much lacing. Clear with a moderate amount of bubbles. I understand that the head characteristics may not be so good because of the high ABV, but this is supposed to be a Belgian.

S – Wow, this beer smells crazy hot at first but more comes out the more that I smell it. I’m getting caramel malt, molasses, raisins, plums, dates, black cherries, Belgian dark candi sugar, a little bit of peppery yeast, and definitely a good bit of alcohol. Much more complex than I thought it was at first.

T – Sweet all the way through with caramel malt, dark candi sugar, molasses, plums, raisins, figs, dates, and honey. A bit of peppery yeast spice comes in toward the finish and then there is the awesome near-bitterness from the alcohol.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky and hot (but not in a bad way) mouthfeel, and a sweet and dry finish. Sweet dark fruit and candi sugar flavors linger nicely. There is definitely a throat-and-palate-warming sensation from the alcohol that lingers almost as long as a liquor’s would.

O – This is a really nice beer and actually much better than I thought it was going to be. It has a very high ABV at 16.83%, but it ends up being very drinkable. It is decently complex, very sweet, and pretty tasty. Unfortunately for this beer score-wise, it happens to be a member of a style that holds some of the best, most complex beers in the world. So while the score may not reflect how good the beer is (I rate in reference to style always), this is definitely a very good beer.

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Photo of Moss
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Release July 2012 Batch No 10. Cellaring another for review once aged 5-10 years.

A - One finger light tan head, reddish brown beer with somewhat of a haze to it. Leaves good lacing going down the glass.

S - Smells of slight alcohol with a smell of dates and molasses.

T - Wow. Strong with a very upfront alcohol taste and a very nice warming effect afterwards. Taste of dates, plums, honey, molasses, and goodness. Sweetness from the candi sugar. This may very well be one of my favorite tasting beers. May be hard to cellar the other one for a long time without temptations.

M - Medium - Heavy bodied.

Overall - Very impressed. This beer is great. I look forward to trying the other one in years to come.

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Photo of mscudder
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

A - Milky beige, somewhat cloudy, hue with a 1" tan head.

S - Smooth, sweet booze. Lots of booze... Sticky molasses is clinging to my nostrils.

T - Sweet caramelized sugars with a heavy alcohol warmth.

M - Full bodied, as if I was sipping on a bottle of molasses. Large ABV opens the beer up after a few moments.

O - Great balance for a beer of this size. I would enjoy another of these in the future, granted I could never dream of throwing back a pair.

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Photo of ElCommodoro
5/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is probably the best beer I've ever had. It's intensely sweet, but it makes up for it by having a malt character reminiscent of scotch and by tasting like many different dried fruits at once. The typical raisin/prune flavour still dominates, though. This is the ultimate sipping beer. I need to get another one to do a better review, but I needed to leave something here so I'd remember how amazing this was.

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Photo of davey101
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 5, 2007, 16.42% abv. Foil topped 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a clear dark red/amber body with lots of rising carbonation. A small head forms but sizzles away leaving behind a beautiful edging of light tan foam. A swirl produces thin lacing and nice alcoholic legs. Certainly doesn't look like a big beer.

S - Huge alcohol presence. Once you get past that though its a rather complex and layered BSDA. Rich caramel and toffee malt, honey, expired dried prunes and raisins, Christmas spices, wet cardboard, soy sauce and some vanilla. Incredibly sweet with just a touch of savory, really unique aroma.

T - Toffee and caramel malt lead into gobs of raisins, vanilla, and spice. A bit savory towards the end with some soy sauce. Slight oxidation actually compliments the beer. Somewhat one dimensional but full of flavor. The alcohol is very warming but pleasant. Mouth feel is thin yet syrupy with medium carbonation. The alcohol seems to break up any mouth feel by numbing the tongue anyways.

O - This has held up surprisingly well. I can't say I feel inspired to buy any more of this, but I'm glad I finally caved in to try it. I feel like this beer is just over the hill.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with a teeny tiny brown head even with a relatively aggressive pour. Aroma of heavy bourbon and more vanilla than I have smelled in a barrel aged before. Small bit of roasted grain. Bourbon flavor explodes on the palate up front even more than I expected. Lasting vanilla & cocoa after swallowing that is pretty intense. As it fades there is an additional punch of chocolate and hint of espresso out of nowhere. Very complex. Heavy on the palate, very warming. Just the right level of sweetness. Want more...

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Photo of SkeeterBoganski
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed the 2011 version at the brewery

Drinking from a 4-oz snifter; still, good head...half inch; still fizzing as it sits; dark cherry in color; says its made with 6 hops, 6 sugars, 6 malts; smells very malty, sweet; on a first sip, it's got serious punch; tastes ALOT like Samiclaus; very cherry sweet; has a bread flavor on the backend, oddly enough; I can't get over the malt taste in it; love the experimentation here, although there's a flavor profile that is a little bitter; this has to be the last beer I try here...it's a palate destroyer!

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: The beer is much lighter in color than I remember it from my several taproom experiences with it. Unlike in the taproom, this one also has a little bit of head, maybe a quarter-inch or so that lasts for a couple minutes. A lighter shade of burgundy and clear, with no haze, the foam of the Beast tries to cling to the edges of the glass, but with each sip it slides down, leaving no lacing for more than a few seconds.

SMELL: There is a ton of malt in this beer and every ounce of it is present in the nose here. It smells remarkably like a Dogfish Head creation, with that slightly raisin-like smell that I get in World Wide Stout, it also has that boozy aroma.

TASTE: This is a complex beer to say the least. Orange came through the most for me and that was the first and most dominant flavor throughout. Some of the raisin from the nose pulled through along with a host of other dark fruits. Caramel, vanilla and a touch of oak also make appearances and the alcohol, while not as strong as it could be, is certainly present.

MOUTHFEEL: This is an enormous beer in terms of body and it is super sweet. The finsih dries up a little bit, but it is not enough to avoid a boozy and sugary mouthcoating aftertaste. At 16.83% this beer also can make you feel a little drunk. Even now after just 8 ounces, I am feeling it.

OVERALL: For a lot of breweries this would be their best effort by leaps and bounds. In Avery's case, it is not their best, but it is an excellent showcase of what they can do with malt. Of course, it still has 63 IBUs. Great celebration beer. Grab a couple bottles and save them for future Christmas gatherings, that would be the perfect time to break them out.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Finally time to break this one out of the cellar! Batch 6, bottled 2008. Brewed with two-row, honey malt, aromatic, pale wheat, roasted wheat, and Special B, along with raisins, dates, alfalfa honey, turbinado, and dark Belgian candy sugar. Poured into a Chimay chalice. 16.31% abv? Let's get it on!

Appearance: Nearly opaque dark amber beer; very much like unfiltered, raw (i.e. the good stuff) apple cider like you'd get at an orchard. A bit different, for sure, but the lasting light tan cap of foam on top is quite nice, especially with 4 years on this bad boy.

Smell: Waves of caramel, dark/caramelized sugars, toasty Belgian malts (esp. biscuit). A hint of boozy dark fruit. Massive and pleasant; even with four years on it, this is borderline overpowering (in a good way). Sticky dark fruits (dates) as well as hints of hard candy

Taste: Tons of sweet sticky caramel, slightly burnt toast, toasty pale malt, sugared dates, and a mean hit of (clean, at least) alcohol on the finish. Rich, potent, and full, with a surprising bitterness on the finish (maybe a combination of hops and higher alcohols?) So, SO much better than several years ago when I had this (much fresher) on tap, and it tasted like cheap fruit brandy with nothing but burn. Complex and challenging.

Mouthfeel: Full, fairly smooth.

Conclusion: Challenging, rewarding, and (even at this age) ALMOST over-the-top. These used to go for around $5.99 for a 12oz. At that price, I might well get another one-or two to put down for 4-5 years, as my two experiences with this beer have taught me that age is DEFINITELY a component to enjoying it fully.

B+/A- (major points for subdued alcohol w/aging and nice melding of sweet date and caramel flavors, esp. since this was not cellared under anything like ideal conditions for 2 of its 4 years)

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
3.57/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Paired this with some nice bacon garlic steamed clams.

A: Hazy brown with more carbonation that I thought there would be.

S: Powerful... smooth... complex. Well balanced. A good sweetness. A little woody smell.

T: Pretty intense and the balance seems a little off. A dry sweetness dominates which I can only imagine if the alcohol. There is a nice oak note but it seems overpowered.

M: Very intense. A nice flavor development is quickly overpowered by the huge alcoholic body.

Overall this is not the beer for me. I thought I'd like it, having very much enjoyed JW Lees harvest ales but this beer seemed considerably less balanced. There are some great flavors but they just get overpowered by the body and alcohol.

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Photo of DavidST
3.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter, July 2012 release. This pours a dark mahogany brown, with a surprisingly large (for the abv) tan head which has a longer than expected retention which leaves a lacing. Right away on the nose I get a big load of alcohol, the potency of this isn't hidden, there is a little vanilla and some caramel but its hard to smell past the alcohol. The feel is mostly thick. The taste is okay, the alcohol burn is very present and that's the dominate taste, beyond that you get some sweetness, but its all secondary to the alcohol.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

batch 10. pours a caramel color without much carbonation and a very noticable density wel above normal brews. it smells like booze, very sweet, like molasses and brewing sugars. there is also some whiskey characteristics to it, charcoal and vanilla. the flavor is very very sweet, much more of a spirit than a beer i feel like. there is some definite spice to it behind the sweet, the alcohol is intense, and there is a sugary film left in the mouth after each sip. its really potent, but its not overwhelming until it warms up to room temp, then it can be pretty punishing. its a nice beer to share after dinner, but not something you drink several of to your head. avery has got these big beers pretty well dialed, but this is perhaps my least favorite of the bunch, just due to the crazy sugar levels.

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Photo of gtermi
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours a nice dark amber with a thin tan head that quickly fades.

S: There is a strong amount of alcohol on the nose, with a decent amount of sweet grain and a sort of strong wine scent.

T: This beer is very boozy. There is a nice sweet caramel flavor that lingers forever and like the scent, a strong wine presence.

M: This beer is very crisp and leaves a weird coating in mouth. The beer also burns as it goes down.

O: This is a decent beer, but nothing crazy. I would for sure try it again if I had the chance, but I wont go out of my way to get it though.

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