1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

The Beast Grand Cru - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The Beast Grand CruThe Beast Grand Cru

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,034 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,034
Reviews: 540
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 16.1%
Wants: 60
Gots: 235 | FT: 12
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 11 (2013): 18:00% ABV

(Beer added by: Crosling on 01-29-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,034 | Reviews: 540 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of joeyels


3.38/5  rDev -12.2%

Pours out a thick burnt brown color, with little head that fades very quickly to nothing. Smell is a heavy, sweet smokey fruit, a raisin or prune quality. Taste is sweet fruits and a light syrupy flavor, finishes with warming alcohol that tingles the throat on the way down. Feels very thick on the palate and is very filling, definitely a sipping beer. Decent at best for this style, I would be curious to see how it ages but probably won't go out of my way to do so.

01-27-2006 14:33:14 | More by joeyels
Photo of mentor


4.15/5  rDev +7.8%

2005 release aged properly for about 6 months in my cellar. Pours super-thick to leave a half-finger light brown head over a very cloudy dull orange-brown liquid. Many particulates floating in the beer. Smells sweetly of brandy, a hint of funk, caramel. Has a fruity sweet ester that isn't quite oranges. Some darker character I find in the St. Bernardus series of beers. Molasses and raisins? I love the smell. There is an enticing aroma I can't place. Sweet, yet edgy. Familiar, but fleeting. Almost biscuit or munich malty. Taste starts with an alcoholic umph that is not a nice introduction. Dry, somewhat phenolic. Just overall rather edgy. It has some sweet caramel character but is way over-played by by the alcohol. The thick body allows a rich dark sweet to persist in a manner similar to a barleywine. A hint of darker grain flavor and bourbon smothness. Superthick mouthfeel with modest carbonation. The carb rises through this syrup like the carb in some meads. Definitely an intriguing and challenging beer. Not quite to style or to my flavor preferences.

01-24-2006 05:51:03 | More by mentor
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


2.63/5  rDev -31.7%

Appearance - thick, glass-coating pour of orange/purple ale. brief head leaves only a trace ring of bubbles around the edge.

Aroma - very sweet and fruity, settles into an aroma much like chocolate malt or malted milk balls. Definite alcohol presence, works well with the aroma.

Taste - a shock of sugar on the first sip. *Man* that's sweet. And very boozy, too. There's too much intensity here to pick out anything subtle. Hot on the swallow, I believe there's some hop action in there, but it's not easy to be sure. The finish is sweet with a very warm feeling in the belly. No development in the flavors at all. A most basic 31 proof firewater brew.

Mouthfeel - thick, heavy, draping, all that you'd expect from such a huge beer. Subdued carbonation is good for the style.

Drinkability - criminy, no way. This would be the thing you want tied around a St. Bernard's neck if you're rescued in the tundra, but that's it. I think 'The Beast' would never truly approve of something this sugary.

01-15-2006 17:54:53 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of hero27


3.88/5  rDev +0.8%

12 oz bottle. Listed at 14.9% ABV on the label. Bottled in 2005.

Clear reddish-brown. Plenty of fine Belgian yeast sediment floating around and slowly settling to the bottom. Says on the bottle it uses six different varieties of hops, but the hops are so blanketed by thick sugary malts that you can't pick them up very well in the taste or aroma. Hands-down one of the sweetest beers I've ever had. The character is unlike any Grand Cru I've ever had..more like a super-sweet barleywine with a Belgian flair. The brown sugar character is laid on so thick that you'd swear it's liquified sugar you're drinking. Mouthfeel is as thick as cough syrup. Surprisingly, as strong as this baby is, I didn't have any problem putting down the entire 12-ouncer. Would love to cellar this for a decade or so and see how it turns out.. An interesting, ominous brew from Avery.

01-05-2006 02:54:19 | More by hero27
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

2.63/5  rDev -31.7%

Appearance: clear brown in color with burgandy highlights along the edge of the glass. Very thin 1/8" tan colored head that quickly evaporates to a surface spot.

Smell: dominated by alcohol, some over ripe fruit hides in the background.

Taste: only word that can be used is harsh and that was with it sitting at room temperature for a half hour. When this brew sat for an 1.5 hours to really get to room temperature, it was a bit more drinkable. Roasted malts, raisins, prunes, molasses, honey, and alcohol made up a overly sweet concoction. Bitterness was masked by alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel: syrupy at the start and finish.

Drinkability: I had a very hard time finishing the glass. I like some of Avery's over the top beers, but this one just doesn't work for me.

01-03-2006 14:10:31 | More by Gavage
Photo of JISurfer

South Carolina

2.7/5  rDev -29.9%

Talk about in your face! This one was way too strong for my buds and I normally like the higher alcohol beers. I think this one's alcohol was just a bit too much "out there" and not hidden enough, or balanced enough with everything else. Very malty, with some hints of darker fruits, faint hops, and strong smell/taste of alcohol. This one went down more like a whiskey than a beer. I honestly couldn't finish it, so I gave it a bad rating on the D scale. Sorry, this one was just too much over the top for me. I think they could do better.

01-02-2006 05:37:53 | More by JISurfer
Photo of amicar


3.4/5  rDev -11.7%

Hmm... pours a reddish/ copper color with the minimal head expected from high ABV brews. What the heck is that smell? Kind of a pleasant solvent smell with cantelope, strawberries, deck sealant... singes the nose a bit. A bit harsh on the first sip, with different waves of flavor... a bit of pine resin, toffee, roasty notes, and again, a solvent/ oily feel. This is pretty syrupy, and if it weren't for the coarse slap in the face bitterness and intense alcohol burn, I would be able to tell that it's sweet. As for drinkability... well, we'll see if I can finish this. It's not that it's bad, it's just... challenging. It reminds me of the first time I tried grappa.

12-21-2005 05:58:24 | More by amicar
Photo of jujubeast6000


3.05/5  rDev -20.8%

Reviewed 12/13/2005

Pours a dark brown-reddish color, slightly off-white head, with a complex aroma: flowery, hops, alcohol, molasses, syrupy. Has a sweet bitter taste-molasses, thick & syrupy, spices, cloves, lightly acidic, soft carbonation. A little too sweet/thick for drinking on its own. Update: letting it warm up clears the thickness, but it's still very sweet. A lesson: temperature matters a lot. This might be more palatable after cellaring.

12-19-2005 05:15:18 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -5.2%

Brown in color with a not so large creamy head that was slightly stained khaki. Not clear because of the shade of brown but there were not little floaties going on in the glass. Nose is very deep in tone--grapes, raisins and prunes. Sweetish too.

Flavor is very sweet and fruity--even more of the raisins and prunes. The alcohol is admirably (and impressively) hidden. Very vinuous and sticky. The fruity raisin flavors really kind of stick to the cheeks, gums and teeth. Strong caramel--very rich--tones. The alcohol becomes more noticeable in the burn as the beer warms. Kind of warming actually. I like this beer a lot, but one bottle and I am done.

12-17-2005 21:13:14 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of kmpitz2


4.47/5  rDev +16.1%

2005 edition. 12 oz bottle. 14.9%ABV.

Pours a light amber with a light head that falls to patchy coating over top. Very good clarity too. Nose is sweet...sweet with almost a smokeyness and dark fruityness coated in brown sugar and rum. Awesome. Flavor is thick, but not big or alcoholic at all. I get a super concentrated brown sugar infused with a very light smoke. I'm impressed with this one, as the 03 version I had a while back was really hot and not good. Feel is uber-thick, lightly syrupy. I am really impressed with this brew. Avery has done good with this recipe. I am enjoying it a lot.

12-05-2005 03:13:54 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +0.8%

My first encounter with the beast its been a long time comin,poured a very nice deep ruby red with a fluffy 2 finger pinkish colored head that leaves nice sheets of lace behind as it settles.Alcohol dipped cherries really jump out at me in the aroma along with some raisin and maybe a touch of spice perhaps cinnamon,thick mouthfeel that coates the mouth but is very smooth on the way down,whoo this baby packs a wallop like the aroma the alcohol infused cherry is predomenant in the flavors as well with more alcohol and candied figs.One thing I did notice is a light herbal hop underneath all that massive malt and alcohol wich was nice.The Beast left its mark on me no doubt whoo it was damn good but definent one and done for me.

12-03-2005 02:24:06 | More by oberon
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.03/5  rDev +4.7%

Appearance: Pours a clear rusted red color. Surpisingly, a rather full tan-colored head bloomed leaving a thick rings of lacing with each sip. Bottled in 2005, btw.

Smell: Honey, tawny port, and with an alcohol waft that bristles the nose. There's some fruit to be found in the aromatics as well, for me it was orange (zest) and cherries (the ones from the jar, swimming in sugary juices).

Taste: Again, sharply honey-flavored initially, which then transitions into an intense malt profile sided with the super-sweet Belgian sugars. Of course there's the mark of the dark fruits prevalent in so many of these types of beers. Hops provide a slight bitterness, but for me it can be hard to find at times amidst the stronger alcohol and sweetened components. Remarkably though, the taste of alcohol is rather "gentle" for the high ABV.

Mouthfeel: Finishes like a velvety port wine, but there's a noted astringency to it. Massive in body, almost obscenely (though lusciously) syrupy. There's also, to absolutely noone's surprise, a tingly alcohol finish.

Drinkability: It's delish - just keep it to one, and a 12-ouncer at that. If you enjoy succulent sweetness and higher ABVs, then I'd recommend this one. However, if you have an aversion to either of those, than I'd steer clear.

All I really got to say about it is: whoopeee!

11-28-2005 10:17:02 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of zjungleist


3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Poured into a goblet this beer has a nice ruby/amber color with a pretty light head. The head was short and now pretty much clings to the edges of the glass. The smell is very fruity and sweet. I'm getting mainly dates and molasses, but there is a little yeast and other sugars to detect as well. This is probably the sweetest beer I have ever had. It is so sweet I can hardly detect any malts or hops at all. Pretty much all I'm getting is sugars, molasses, some fruit, and a little sour twang at the end. The mouthfeel is pretty much pure syrup. There is little carbonation, and the mouthfeel is way off balance. The flavor is way off balance too, sickly sweet and verycloying. I was hoping for a little more charecter, or complexity, but whatever depth this might have is totally destroyed by the sweetness. I could maybe... maybe see this being good to cook with, or bake with, but otherwise... at $7+ per 12oz... a real disapointment. Very hard to drink.

11-24-2005 23:25:46 | More by zjungleist
Photo of SkeeterHawk


4.15/5  rDev +7.8%

First, I feel it necessary to mention that this review is biased in the fact that it is lumping every year of the beast together. The same can be said for Sierra Nevada's Celebration and Bigfoot, so this is why I don't contest the method.

Appearance: Pours a deep reddish amber color that had a quarter inch head on it at first pour, but then disappeared very quickly. There is already lacing on the glass.

Aroma: A good bit of spicy alcohol along with a rich woody/earthy aroma that is noticeable at first. There are some cherry and solvent notes coming out as it warms a bit. As it warms further, there is a noticeable spicy alcohol along with some candy-like sweetness.

Taste: Now this beer is one rich muthah! It's hard to discern what actually happened after my first sip. There was rich and syrupy malt that washed over my palate just as the spiciness from the alcohol became noticeable. At this point my palate was ruined, so I can only speculate as to what this beer tastes like from now on. There is lots of plum and syrup available that would probably go well on pancakes if it weren't for the fire hazard.

Opinion: Oh my God, how do I describe this? Well...it is big...REAL big with some meaty malt and other flavors that make up this beers personality. It finishes with a warming liqueur like finish.

11-17-2005 05:21:08 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of carln26


4.22/5  rDev +9.6%

Deep garnet color, mildly hazy and topped by a tan head of small tight bubbles that leave a nice sheet of lace on the side of the glass as it recedes. The nose has spice in the front with pepper, coriander, a little orange. The bread/yeast aroma follows next followed by fig from the malt. The flavor has a sweet orange flavor backed by coriander and all spice. The yeast adds a little mid flavor, and then the malt kicks in with the fig and a little toffee. A little alcohol heat on the finish. Nice full, rich mouth feel, decent drinakbility. Many people seem hot or cold on this beer. It seems like a nice beer to me.

11-12-2005 20:27:49 | More by carln26
Photo of Blakaeris


3.28/5  rDev -14.8%

Pours a beutiful copper color with a thin head. No lacing whatsoever. Smell is malt and dark fruits, however the smell of alcohol overwhelms what may be a complex aroma.

Taste is warm and fruity, unfortunately the alcohol flavor overwhelms what otherwise may be a truly exceptional beer.

Mouthfeel is thick and lingering. very nice.

Overall the drinkability is lessened by the extreme alcohol flavor. It is not a bad beer, but I won't be drinking this on a regular basis.

11-08-2005 00:04:59 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of bashiba


3.33/5  rDev -13.5%

This was a brand new 2004 bottle, 14.9 abv.

Poured a nice dark copper with a thin white head.

Smell was an incredibly strong sweet dark fruit odor mixing in with high alcohol smell.

Taste is a very sweet fruit flavor up front which is quickly taken over with a strong flavor of alcohol and slight bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is suprisingly thin and slightly oily with a very fuzzy warmingness of the huge abv.

Drinkability is very average, the flavors aren't bad, just so extreme this can only be enjoyed in small doses.

11-07-2005 23:54:33 | More by bashiba
Photo of Domingo


4.2/5  rDev +9.1%

Bottled in 2005 - and it's now 14.9% ABV.
I was visiting the Avery Brewery and I mentioned that it was my fave, so I was given a bottle of the 2005 by Larry (thanks!)
Not as strong as last year's version, but now easier to drink. This was a 12oz bottled version so I think an average BA could drink this by themselves without having to split it!
A little sweeter than before - lots of fruit flavors. Reminds me of a barleywine to be honest.
The smell is similar to the 2004, but the alcohol smell has obviously been toned down a bit. There's a little bit of a cherry and wood smell that comes out and is very pleasant.
Appearance is terrific...a rich cedar color.

Still an excellent beer - I recommend trying, especially if the 18% scared you off! While not as strong as previous versions, I think the new version is the best yet.
One of those beers you either love or hate depending on your view of "bigger is better."

08-06-2005 23:19:39 | More by Domingo
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.47/5  rDev +16.1%

It pours a crystal-clear reddish-copper body beneath a creamy, yellow-tinged head that dwindles down to just a thin collar with nary a scant touch of lacing left on the glass. It just cannot hold, but that's to be expected in any beer that boasts 18.1% alcohol by volume!

The nose delivers bright, juicy, vinous and tropical fruits (apples, berries, prunes, red grapes, raisins, wine, melon, pineapple, and even a bit of cocoanut) over a honeyish, bready, and dough-like maltiness. (I'm guessing the yeast strain is White Labs Belgian Ale - WLP550, or the Wyeast equivalent. I think it may be derived from Chimay because I'm linking that fruit and spice characteristic to the Chimay Grande Reserve... just pumped up a notch! But I could be wrong, However, there has to be a Champagne yeast at work here to boost it to it's incredible alcohol level - unless it's a distiller's yeast).

The flavor is even fuller than the nose indicates, with a much wider fruitiness, more bready maltiness, and a whallop of palate-and brain-wrecking alcohol! It's like Samichlaus infused with fruit juice, wine, a handful of raisins, and a splash of vodka! It starts and finishes almost the same; but there's so much there in between! It finishes drying, mostly because of its alcohol, but there's a bold bitterness at work there as well.

Forgiving the heat of this bad boy, this is a remarkable Belgian strong ale, although I tend to think of it more as a barleywine fermented with Belgian yeast. Of course, it wouldn't be a barleywine then, would it?

It suffers in the "overall" drinkability category due to its intense alcoholic push, but if you have just a small 8 ounce glass you migh pine for another - which leads me to a 4.5 for drinkability.

This is probably Avery's best, and it's unusual at that, as they seem to try to hit the mark for the style on their other beers (and grand cru is not a style, it simply means "great vintage"), but this one is way out there. And, the alcohol is kind of a defect as well, yet all of their other beers are very well done. Let's just call this one a 'crazy-assed enigma'. But I do have one final note... why was this not put into the 12 oz bottles? 22 oz is enough for 4 to share!

07-18-2005 01:15:57 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Zorro


3.53/5  rDev -8.3%

Pours a chill hazed reddish brown brew with no head.

Smell is sweet and malty with a distinct Soy Sauce scent and a fair amount of dark fruit scents like candy apple and ginger and brown sugar. Standard Dark Belgian ale scents are present. Noticeable scent of alcohol that carries a rum scent.

Taste is sweet and fruity with a lot of molasses flavor. Noticeable alcohol flavor present. Extremely warming in the chest. Lots of brown sugar and plums in the taste with a moderate bitter bite in the finish. Not as complex as I would have expected.

Mouthfeel is syrupy like a Samiclaus.

Drinkability isn't so high. I get the idea drinking this that I am drinking Bourbon and prune juice. It is OK but I won't buy it a second time.

02-13-2005 04:23:07 | More by Zorro
Photo of coasterfreak75

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -9.6%

The pour was a dark copper/red with a great three finger choppy beige head. The head quickly dissapated and left a nice lace on the beer and glass throughout the drink.

The smell was very heavy in apricot like fruit mixed with a molasses sweetness and mixed spices.

The drink started with a kick of sweet fruit followed quickly by alchohol heat. The lingering taste was more alchohol.

All and all a pretty good barley wine. It was alot smoother and more drinkable than I expected. I would love to get another one of these and put it away for a few years to see what happened to it's flavors.

02-06-2005 04:40:04 | More by coasterfreak75
Photo of ADR


3.08/5  rDev -20%

Out of a bottle, Extreme Beer Fest 2005...

Coppery and clearish, head is greatly diminished and leaves only traces of faint dots on the glass. Impressive aroma, malty to the point of being almost organically vegetal -- a big sniff brings out celery leaves and a soil-like humus. Body past medium with very subdued carbonation, somewhat lighter than I figured. On the sip, there's an immediate prickling of the tongue and lips, like a thousand little paper cuts. Hugely alcoholic -- of the petroleum distillates, maybe closest to laquer thinner by the time the beer makes its way to the throat. Way too stinging, there are some sherry and vanilla tones but they are almost completely obliterated. I don't hate this beer but its too frying in character and its drinkable only to the point that a small glass is plenty.

02-01-2005 14:43:33 | More by ADR
Photo of winomark


2.55/5  rDev -33.8%

Pours a nice reddish amber with a tiny, fleeting light brown head. Aromas of DME and alcohol, along with some spice notes. Mild tropical tones. Alcohol controls everything in the palate. Malt, molasses, honey and ALCOHOL. Very hot on the palate. Did I mention the alcohol? Mouthfeel is astringent, syrupy and very warm. A very over-the-top beer. Part of me enjoyed this beer, but the rest of me realized it is way too much. The alcohol burns the throat. Clad to try it, but way too bold for my taste. If I wanted to drink brandy, I will buy brandy.

01-05-2005 18:09:05 | More by winomark
Photo of cerevisiaephilus


4.18/5  rDev +8.6%

We really think its a beautiful beer. Very nice color. very deep deep red/orange copper almost color. But...the carbonation is a little low for a Belgian strong Dark ale.

Fruit-a-licious!!!! Definately some alcohol. Get dried fruit notes. Raisins, prunes...etc. Very very nice. Very complex.

Overwhelming. Again...veryvery complex. Lots of rich fruityness, big alcohol, big hop bitterness. Bittersweet finish. I get a little candy-ness. Kind of like the Dry Tortugan Christmas Candy fish. Drop me a beer mail if you to know the story. I think the bitterness is really too much for the style.

We like the body. Just right. If it was a bit thicker with a bit higher carbonation, i.e. 'if it was a woman running down the beach in a bikini...we wouldn't look away', we'd give it a 5.

This is a big big beer. Really....I think the alcohol and hop bitterness kind of wears on me. I couldn't do more than 1 or 2 small glasses. 'Its like a piece of dark German chocolate...its good...but you couldn't eat more than a piece or two."

This review was a joint effort between Sean, Mateo and Derren.

12-13-2004 04:05:25 | More by cerevisiaephilus
Photo of SeanChouffe

New Mexico

2.88/5  rDev -25.2%

Bottled 2004
The color is a maraschino/amber, a small tawny head with very low retention. Carbonation is plentiful, rising evenly throughout the beer, and the lacing is clear and wine like. Aroma is malty with rich fruity esters and dark fruits – rich and sweet with some light hop notes. Alcohol is noticeable, however it is relatively low considering the overall ABV. Flavor is intensely sweet and syrupy with a full, numbing, hop finish. There are many distinguishable tastes other than possibly cherries and some dark fruits. Palate is full bodied and syrupy/creamy with that full hop bite. Effervescence is overpowered by the intensity of flavors.
What can one say. This is an intense experience. However, it is far from well balanced. I found it to be crude in its presentation and the alcohol burn was like that of cheap vodka. Quite Beast like. Sampled too early?

12-11-2004 00:05:37 | More by SeanChouffe
The Beast Grand Cru from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,034 ratings.