The Beast Grand Cru - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The Beast Grand CruThe Beast Grand Cru

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BA SCORE
87
very good

1,169 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

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Ratings: 1,169
Reviews: 558
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 16.1%
Wants: 67
Gots: 291 | FT: 15
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:
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

(Beer added by: Crosling on 01-29-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,169 | Reviews: 558 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of axeman9182
2.6/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, 2010 vintage that I received from volunteering at this year's EBF. It was allowed to warm for about an hour before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

The Beast pours a crystal clear, vibrant cherry. The off white foam crown is massive, hurdling up to and just past four fingers in height and threatening to spill out of my glass. Retention is very good, and gobs of lacing are left all down the side of the glass. The nose is way off for a big Belgian, it smells much more like a heavy English Barleywine. The nose is heavy on caramel/toffee sweetness, with a pronounced boozy quality. The flavor is just a little bit better. It takes those same notes and adds some fruitiness to the mix. Primarily dates and figs, but there's just a bit of raisin mixed in as well. Still though, no clove or peppery yeast notes, no real intense dark fruits. There's not much of anything here that suggests a dark Belgian ale. Again, the mouthfeel doesn't have a trace of Belgian-ness to it. The body is excessively heavy and the carbonation doesn't come close to cutting through it. In a word, syrupy. The Beast isn't as bad as the final score would indicate, it's just grossly miscategorized. As an English Barleywine I'd say it's just a little bit hot and needs some more time. As a strong Belgian dark ale though it's entirely off base.

Photo of Phelps
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a tulip. Bottled in 2007.

Whoa. I don't know why, but I expected The Beast to be black as night, so this murky gold pouring from the bottle is surprising. It amalgamates inside the glass to become lightly hazy blood orange, topped with a frothy half-finger head of light tan. The head fizzles away slowly, becoming a silky and persistent top layer and large ring. Bubbles grip the sides in thick horizontal streaks.

The nose is equally off-putting. There are a lot of flavors competing here, but upon reading the bottle, I'm able to discern a few: raisins, dates, blackstrap molasses, alfalfa honey, turbinado sugar and dark Belgian candy sugar. The dates and honey seem most prominent now, with the molasses and sweet sugars rearing their heads every so often. In the back is a mild toastiness and an odd, malty tang that reminds of wet wheat. A rich aroma that, surprisingly, exhibits very little booziness.

Well, the flavor follows the nose well in its rich sweetness. I get tons of that Belgian sugar now, along with wheat, raisins and honey. The seems to be some small semblance of spicy German hops left behind, but they've been pushed into obscurity by the sweet malt and sugars. Bitterness does linger on the sides of the tongue between sips. It's a heavy flavor -- liqueur-like, and a little overbearing. Amazingly almost no alcohol shows up in the flavor, but the beast rears its head after the swallow, imparting major heat to my throat. It's almost as if it's picking up steam the further it goes.

Very light carbonation inside a dense medium body. It fizzes up a tiny bit as it moves about, while the alcohol envelops the tongue in a numbing assault. Perhaps it's the sluggish carbonation paired with the big body, but the mouthfeel just strikes me as downcast. Not completely digging it.

Everything about The Beast was unexpected, from color to flavor to mouthfeel. It's most definitely a heavy sipper, and if this is what four years of mellowing have done to it, I can't imagine what this beer tastes like fresh, and nor would I want to. Nice to try once, but I probably won't look for it again.

Photo of perrymarcus
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.
2010 vintage. (16.21% ABV)

pours a translucent deep amber tone with a quickly dissipating finger of tan head (unsurprising given the heat of this one); patchy lacing.

nose is rife with caramel, toasted malt - sort of reminiscent of a barleywine. notable presence of dark fruits; very slightly astringent. alcohol is a player.

flavor profile follows the nose. sweet and malty with notes of dark fruit, candied sugar, and a touch of molasses. very boozy (north of 16% ABV, how could it not be), especially in the finish. to me this is more barleywine territory than BSDA, but tasty nonetheless. would like to try this beer with some age on it.

syrupy, medium-full mouthfeel with adequate carbonation. the quintessential sipper.

Photo of seeswo
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle. Pours hazy, translucent dark brown with a small, lingering tan head. Smells of boozy dark fruits and raisins and a bit of caramel, similar to a booze bomb english barleywine. Front is caramel, bready, dark fruit goodness with an awesome butteryness. Finishes with a slightly unpleasant hop and booze combo. In addition, this beer right on the border of being too sweet to enjoy. The mouth is creamy and hot with low carbonation. The finish, mouthfeel and booze (even after almost 3 years) makes this beer not particularly drinkable.

Photo of BARFLYB
2.93/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle from 2006 taken from the cellar, been sittin on this for a bit cause it's a beast. Into a snifter, split cause 12oz is to much.

Beast Grand Cru, pours with a big shade of faded red with some soft brown sported within. A stealth pour yielded little results with just a cm of ivory colored foam that left after some time, no stick.

Smell is fusel alcohol up front that is certain, Toned down just a bit after 4 years, it's still there. A nice amount of alcohol soaked dark fruits, spirits, grapes, raisins, rum, BSDA.

I've drank this vintage for the past few years and it gets better with each year taming in alcohol and overall heat, yet remains a monster. Pretty much this can be summed up with alcohol soaked plums and other dark fruits in the BSDA category amped up alot. Some raisins, dates, spirit like tastes. Alot of alcohol.

Feel is a smoothtextured beer with a heat alert on it. I could not imagine anybody drinking this stuff fresh and enjoying it, it's impossible. Alot of years does alot of good, but at 15 percent it's hard to fully mask that. Light carbonation.

Five ounces is plenty, anymore is overkill. Not very drinkable and too big for it's own good. With that said, there still is some nice Belgian fruity ness coming out, just buried beneath alcohol, that's all.

Photo of greenmonstah
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, Batch 6 bottled 2008. Poured into DFH snifter.

A - Pours a dark copper with a wisp or head that's gone quick. Alcohol lacing is huge. Cloudy.

S - Deep draw brings in tons of raisin and fig, plus a nice boozy sting. Sweet and bready. Some strong and sweet molasses, too.

T - Up front a boozy sting with some bitterness. Immediately rounds out to a sweet breadyness leading into an incredible raisin and fig finish that lingers for ages. A bit of molasses in the middle.

M - Full body and sticky sweet. Finish stays for ages and it fully coats the mouth.

D - A sipper, but the booze enhances the beer. I could sip it for hours, making it a delicious and drinkable brew. Certainly can't drink it down quickly, though.

Photo of oglmcdgl
2.83/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

An 06 bottles on the late thanks to onix1agr, you the man b.

A- a hard pour yields a surprising inch or so of tan head but it settles almost instantly leaving a mirror finish. Slightly muddy orange brown in color.

S- candied fruits, raisins and dates come to mind with caramel, chocolate and a good bit of nail polish remover.

T- sweet and vinous with lots of raisins and dates again. Brown sugar and some spiced baked good kinda thing. Lots of alcohol taste like a spirit.

M- on the fuller side of body with a light carb that has some trouble fighting its way through the brew making it feel slick and chewy. Still pretty hot after 5 years, yikes!

D- well for what it is I guess it succeeds but as far as being drinkable not so much. Its an alcohol bomb and for those in the hunt for the heat a fresh bottle of this will sure do it for ya. Maybe some more time will finish the mellowing this needs.

Photo of MadBeerX
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My rating on this beer is based on the its five year age mark, which i think was key for a powerful beer such as this one. Bottled June 2006 - %14.6

It was a murky brownish-orange color.
Smell was extreme, and extremely interesting. Nuts, orange, coco, funk.. and so on.

Taste was exceptional, mouth feel was superb. Carbonation felt, soft and confident.

Finished for a full minute.

Find it and try it.

Photo of Pahn
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Bottled 2006, Batch 4, 14.6% ABV.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one and a half inch, frothy light tan head that dissipates slowly leaving sweeping peaks of lacing. Pours a beautiful, solid dark red brown. Leaves occasional islands of lacing.

Smell: Huge raisin/fig from the bottle. Same in the glass, with a bright Belgian yeast note, toffee, molasses, some cake. Strong aroma. Suggests a good quad. I'm pretty fond of the deep, cutting molasses smell and the lack (for the most part) of booziness.

Taste: Molasses and fat, chewy raisins. Smooth raisin aftertaste, finishing dry and a little sticky. Alcohol heat is felt in the chest but not right away in the taste. Interesting, sugary flavors, but more strong than complex. Definitely a beast... if the beer itself is St. Bernardus 12, it makes the water I'm drinking with it taste like St. Bernardus 8; the thick flavor really stays with you, for better or worse. Would love to cook with this beer.

There's a fair amount of interesting flavors happening, but as a BSDA the notes don't really sing together. Also starts to get a bit solvent-like and occasionally too sweet with warmth. Ultimately, it tastes mostly like an average quad, goes above with the more interesting notes, but goes below average with the clashing, off notes. The strength of the flavor does more to exacerbate its flaws than emphasize its virtues.

Mouthfeel: Light side of full bodied, but thick and sticky. A bit slick. More dryness in the finish than expected (or welcomed). The combination of thickness/stickyness plus dryness is rather unpleasant.

Drinkability: A decent sipper. I like its boldness, and while it took me 2 hours to drink the 12oz bottle, I wasn't forcing it down or anything. Still, in the end, no matter in what light I try to look at this beer, I've had a lot better and don't need to return to this one.

The Beast Grand Cru is definitely the worst of the three in the Demons of Ale series. Samael and Mephistopheles, both as bold and unique as The Beast, have a balance and palatability that the latter lacks. Still, it's the kind of adventurous, genre-bending beer that would make me want to try more Avery beers even if I wasn't already long sold on their greatness as a brewery.

I think my main issue with The Beast is that it tastes like pouring a bottle of 10 year old J.W. Lees into an average quad (both in how the flavors clash, and in that the feel is so off that it feels like randomly mixing 2 beers). It's not bad, but there's a lot of problems and the overall flavor doesn't really work.

As a sidenote, I'd be kind of interested in trying some of the more attenuated batches of this beer. Batch 4 is 14.6% ABV, the lowest of any batch, and I believe the original gravity was pretty much constant for all batches. Batch 2 was 18.1% ABV, and all the recent batches have been around 16%~ ABV. After sufficient aging, I'd like to try this beer with less residual sugar. I'm not positive, but I think it might fix at least some of its problems.

Photo of matjack85
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked this up at Sal's Liquors in Addison, IL as one of their beers of the month selections for February. $6.99 for a 12oz brown bottle. I didn't realize this beer had different vintages to it until I started reading the other reviews. This may account for the wide differences in color and taste comments between the different reviewers. This bottle is from the 2006 release.

The beer poured a burgundy wine color and produced a 1-finger light tan head that lasted about a minute. Not much lacing.

Massive dose of molasses and dark fruits in the nose.

This is definitely a sipper. Thick and sweet - almost syrupy, but not quite. Big molasses flavor along with rum soaked raisins, dates, figs, and dark cherries. The 14.6% alcohol in this vintage doesn't hide either. The hops are barely noticeable despite the 68 IBU rating.

Medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and high alcoholic warmth.

It's good, especially if you like sweet beers, but with such high alcohol and heavyness, I can't see trying more than one at a time.

Photo of ElijahCSkuggs
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dan Severen's favorite beer means I had to try this. And also, I'm a massive sucker for any beer with foil on it's cap. And as well, it has an evil looking creature on the front. Furthermore, it's a belgian strong dark ale and it says it's 16.21% - not sure why it only says 14.9% here on the site. Whatever. Let's guzzle!

Pours smooth and bubbles up into an off-white/tan 2 finger head that has fizzled down into a patchy layer of skin bubbles. Skin bubbles? The lace factor is surprisingly lacking.

Damn. This thing is strong when ya whiff. *takes another long whiff* Fucking A....this is strong...too strong for my liking. Smells like an antique spice cabinet that was clumsily dipped into a vat of absinthe. Incredibly strong notes of spice and dark fruit. Some of you may love the hell outta this stinker.

Phewy! This doesn't hide the alcohol in the slightest bit. Whoa, one hefty sip instantly warmed me over and after the next one I may be seeing double. (Haha, I'm actually wary to take another sip of this. It's been a minute and I'm still feeling the after-affects of this one. You can feel it traveling deep.) On the next few tastes it continues the barrage of alcoholic spice. You can probably find a smatter of differing fruit notes, but I find this beer a bit overwhelming.

I was surprised by almost everything this beer has had to offer; the lack of lace, the pungent smell and the demanding taste. I'm also struck by how heavy this beer is. It's a full bodied beer to the fullest bodiest extremest (to my knowledge). Creamy, thick and hot.

This is a beer that is not in my rolodex. I like sipping beers, but I don't like sipping beers. This sipping beer is one that I'm not goo-goo ga-ga over. Is it tasty? Yeah. Does it deliver a unique experience? Yeah. Can I recommend it? Only to lovers of strong beer who have large mustaches and smoke out of old time pipes.

Photo of FanofHefe
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle; very thick body with a dark caramel color and a small light tan head. A little creamy lacing along the glass.

Potent aroma of sweet dark fruit, molasses, and a hint of tart hops. The sweetness abounds.

The flavor follows the aroma being very sweet, thick, and dominated by dark fruitiness. A good level of carbonation and a very chewy mouthfeel. The alcolhol is very hot in this one.

Huge abv detracts from the drinkability. But, this is one strong brew. Not for the lighthearted.

Photo of rrski198
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Done from brief notes at a beer festival

A: cloudy amber color. Decent sized off white head.

S: Sweet smell of dark fruit. This smells of a big time olde ale.

T: Sweetness up front and center. I want to say taosted marshmellow and caramel.

M: Absolutely coats the mouth. Mild hop spice and bitterness. Mouth is puckered. Mucus is thick.

O: Sweet thick fruit syrup. Like most of this series from avery, a great complex beer, but only once in a while and in veryu little amounts.

I didn't know that this was belgian while drinking it and now that I do, I can say that I think the yeast must get lost in the sugary sweetness. I now wish I had gotten more of that aspect of the beer.

Photo of Bajasith
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter dark weathered copper color huge with a small thin head leaving an oily lace on the rim...
Huge dried fruit, dark molasses, raisins and roasted malts mixed in with rum aroma as the alcohol lingers...
Palate was treated to a sweet caramel, raisin/dried figs and butter toffee with a hint of hops adding bitterness...
Very creamy and oil-like mouthfeel. The carbonation, mild, is negligible, and the beer just coats every inch of your mouth in a thick wave of massive flavors. Malts dominate...
At 16.21 abv, I would be very carefull with this beast. A very sippable brew yet to young to judge accurately, 2010. Would like to stock up and try again in a few years.

Photo of GIVEMEBACKMYSON
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 bottling

Well I saw alot of merit in this back in 04 when I had it last, despite it's loudness, I was a fan, it was a malt bomb. I layed one down, which I knew could be folly or fortune. Let's see...

Appearance: Cloudy tawny brown with minimal head, minimal lacing, mild effervescence. Looking pretty good.

Smell: Brown sugar, dryer sheets, old gloves, brandy, raisins, sherry.

Taste: Well fuck me. This is absolutely teeming with flavor, crawling with it like flies on a dead crow. Prunes, pecan sugar buns, raisins, catcher's mitt, whiskey barrels, whole wheat bread, brandy, sweet and low, stale red grapes, cigar stubs, jet fuel.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability as one run-on thought
:
Well this actually retained a surprising amount of CO2 which detracts a bit, as the CO2 admittedly livens the alcohol. But, 7 years has helped the cause, both in carbonation and definitely in alcohol liveliness. I don't know that it'd follow style for the CO2 to deaden out more, but overall it'd help the cause, as this starts to drink suspiciously barleywine like anyways. Honest to God this Beast has become a champ with age. I sincerely wish I had laid another one or two down back in 04. Call me a heretic if you will, but this is quite good.

Photo of Kakaraht
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: It pours a dark tawny orange. Very little white head but good lacing.

S: A sour maltiness, very pungent and tart. Hints of dried apricot and dates, along with a candied/brown sugar aroma. I smell that sweaty horse blanket smell that is so common in Belgian wild yeast.

T: Warm malt, with a nice pungent slightly sour after taste. The alcohol is quite pronounced but is crucial to the complex warm flavor, leaving my temples tingling. I taste a little prune and molasses, as well as a tangy grape like essence.

M: Very heavy with medium carbonation and a warming effect of the high ABV.

D: Delicious beer but too heavy to have more than one. Still worth a try for anyone who is into a finely crafted ale.

Photo of pilotgod
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into Chimay goblet.

A: Pours a dark burgundy, about a 37 on SRM chart with mild head that quickly dissipates to a very fine film like head which remains for the entire glass. Lacing in moderate with fine bands developing from each successive sip.

S: The alcohol is a bit overpowering at first and you have to fight your through it to find the other nuances. A molasses note becomes apparent which hints at a confectioners sweetness to the beer. Later on, almost as an after thought come hints of fruits like dates, prunes or raisins.

T: This one will wake you up. The alcohol presence presents as a tingling on the tongue and cheeks, but is balanced well by the sweetness of the molasses and caramel flavors. If you hold it for a bit before swallowing, other notes come into character like the dried fruits and a raw honey note. Hold it too long though and the only thing you notice is the alcohol.

M: The carbonation is light, but combines with the alcohol to give a pronounced tingling that may be unappealing to some not accustomed to higher ABV styles. The sweet leaves a pronounced tingle towards the back of the tongue, which of course makes you want to take another sip.

D: For the Grand Cru/Belgian Dark Ale style this is a fair example and definitely worth getting. The entire style though does lend itself to easy drinking. I think of it more as a fine brandy or cognac. You pour it into a goblet or snifter, sit down after dinner, and grab a nice cigar if so inclined. This is almost a dessert beer and with the high ABV, one glass sets pretty well for the evening. If you plan on trying this, save it for last, because otherwise, you've thrown off your pallette for other beers for a while.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first grand cru - whatever that is - I see that the site has it pegged as a Belgian strong dark ale - I assume this to be in the company of Gulden Draak.

A: orange-red pour into dark orange-brown glassfull. Thin tan head persists for a bit. Gorgeous colors.

S: caramel, apple, molasses

T: bright, a little too sweet for my tastes, but perhaps this is typical of a grand cru/strong dark Belgian ale

M: not as syrupy as a beer this sweet usually is - very nice, actually, with a little sting (from the alcohol, presumably)

D: also very good, especially for something this sweet and strong

Photo of DoubleJ
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I feel cold, what to do? Bust out The Beast! This is the 2009 vintage with 15.07% ABV. On to the beer:

Into a snifter it goes, the beer displays a color that is maple red, fading into pale orange. The head is sticking around for a long time, surprising for a beer of this strength. I'm not surprised by the intensity of the aroma, it's HUGE! Massive aromas of grapes, raisins, dough, interweaved with compelteing booze, hit your nostrils like a brick. So far, this is setting up to be fun.

Wild and tasty. It's quite sweet. Green grape sweetness is noted, raisin and the skins of assorted dark fruit add extra variety. The alcohol gives the beer a spicy note to keep things from getting cloying. The carbonation provides a little prickly feel to the tongue. In the end, there's a strong sweet raisin and pepper flavor which last into the aftertaste. These factors play a role in helping this beer be surprisingy apporachable.

I like it as it is now, but additional aging couldn't hurt. I sometimes worry about these extremely high ABV beers, but in two trials with Avery in this department (the other being Samael's Ale), I can be confident the day I open the bottle of Mephistopheles' Ale.

Photo of ncfrey
2.9/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Transcribed from notes taken 5 April, 2010. This was the 2009 edition. 12 oz. bottle purchased for $6 at DaveCo in Thornton, CO.

a - pours a clear, medium copper-red with a small, dense, off-white head

s - can smell it from 3 feet away. Massive dark candied fruit, very sweet. Molasses, toffee, and a (relatively) light earthiness. perhaps a bit of coffee and anise.

t - big flavor of some candy I can't quite put my finger on. Kinda cloying. Heavy molasses, toffee, caramel, with dark fruit throughout, and a bit of bitterness in the finish. ABV is suprisingly well hidden, even as it warms to room temp.

m - just shy of chewable

d - having trouble with this bottle

definitely a new and interesting experience, but I've no intention to try this beer again. Just too damned sweet.

Photo of Vonerichs
2.2/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

The appearance and smell are both good, but it goes downhill fast.

Appearance is a maple-syrup brown and I can tell the texture resembles syrup as well. Head is small and brief.

The smell has caramel, honey, and dates. There's also a ton of booze and I know from there it's gonna be a hot one.

The taste is bad. Period. All I picked up was honey and booze (rum?) They don't go together... at all.

Mouthfeel is even worse. On top of being too boozy, which I'm willing to forgive considering the 16% abv, but it's thick, syrupy, and cloyingly sweet. There's no carbonation to cut the burn. It's a mess in the mouth.

I don't advocate drain pours and didn't on this one, but it was as close as I've ever come. No doubt. I'll never have this again.

Photo of danman0125
1.5/5  rDev -61%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I had this beer on tap last night at the Brass Rail deli in Campbelltown, Pennsylvania. It was served as a 10-oz in a snifter.

Appears Dark Brown in color (not quite as dark as you would usually expect from a typical Belgian strong dark ale.... looks more like a pale ale). Nice-sized ~1 inch head that has good retention while you are sipping the brew.

Smells like a barleywine in my opinion. I am not picking-up on much of a hop aroma.... it is subtle but certainly not in your face. What I smell predominantly is a rich malty sweetness similar to what one would expect from a barleywine with a similar ABV. Questionably some caramelized sugars and maybe some figs/raisins.

As far as taste goes, I think I would have liked this brew much more if the taste resembled the smell.
The beer has an extremely dry and pungent alcoholic taste. There is no hiding it. Any beer that has this kind of ABV you would expect to be a slow sipper but I could hardly even finish my glass. If it wasn't $10.95 for a 10 oz glass, I probably would have left the last few sips. It seriously tastes like taking a sip of vodka or some other hard liquor without much taste to it.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the alcohol seriously overpowers this brew (and I've drank plenty of 15%+ ABV beers which have left a much better impression on me taste-wise).

As far as mouthfeel goes, there is moderate carbonation. That + the impressive head retention for a beer with its ABV gives it a decent mouthfeel.

This beer gets a low-grade for drinkability from me. On the other hand, I don't think it was Avery Brewing Co's intention to make it very drinkable (it isn't a low-ABV American IPA or anything like that where you can bang down 5 or 6 of 'em in front of the pool on a hot summer day).
I'm sorry if my review might seem a little biased.... I very much enjoy Belgian-style strong beers and a good deal of high ABV beers, but this brew doesn't do anything for me but make me want to pass it to someone else.

Photo of bens0n
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I snagged a bottle of the 2009 batch (15.07% ABV), figured one year of aging was reasonable (in hindsight, maybe not) later that day at another liquor store I went to, I found some of the 2008 batch which was the 16.21% ABV, but I had already bought the 2009 so this is what am posting my review from (notes).

It pours a murky copper color with a surprisingly good amount of yellowy off-white head. The head dissipates pretty quickly but leaves a small amount of lacing in the glass even after it flattens out.

Overall it has a fairly sweet smell, hard to miss the maple syrupy smell and something that reminds me of figs or prunes is present, but the alcohol is still definitely there too. Pretty complex, but given the amount of ingredients I am not surprised.

The taste is alot like the smell, but a little less pleasant. Given the ABV and lack of aging it wasn't bad, but wasn't anything exceptional. There is less fig/prune in the flavor and more of a sweet sugary flavor with the maple syrup. You can definitely taste all of the different kinds of sugar that they used.

It has an interesting mouthfeel, its moderately thick, but the most interesting part is the sticky quality it has. The aftertaste is my favorite aspect of it, its much less sweet and different than the rest of the beer, hard to describe, but I would consider it pleasant.

I shared a 12 oz bottle with somebody and it still took me a while to finish it, not very drinkable, but decent as a slow sipper.

Photo of buschbeer
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz
14.9% ABV
Bottled in 2005

This is the final one of the "demon" series acquired and the first to be tasted. I figured five years was enough aging.

A - Served in tulip glass. Murky brown in color. Fleeting, barely present head.

S - Fruity aromas emanate, fig, prune, raisin. I also can tell there is alcohol in there.

T - Fig is the predominant flavor. The alcohol that I smelled is greatly mellowed in the taste. I also get some prune flavors.

M - Velvety smooth and oily thick. Superb.

D - Obviously, it's a sipper. But, it is very easy to drink with the alcohol being mellowed and infused over the years.

Photo of zackinthebox
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is an interesting beer that I will drink on occasion. There is no hiding the alcohol content in this one. The first sip was surprisingly more thick than I thought it would be. It has a lot going on as far as the flavor goes. I can enjoy one and move on to the next.

The Beast Grand Cru from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,169 ratings.