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Grand Cru Winter Reserve - Flying Fish Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Grand Cru Winter ReserveGrand Cru Winter Reserve

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

428 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 428
Reviews: 216
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 13.74%
Wants: 4
Gots: 15 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Flying Fish Brewing Company visit their website
New Jersey, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 09-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 428 | Reviews: 216 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bouleboubier


4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm telling ya - it's a toss up between their Abbey Dubbel and this, but I'm beginning to think this might be Flying Fish's best beer in their regular/seasonal lineup. This is not counting their line of Exit beers, which just about trump anything in their core offerings. Flying Fish brews predominantly (or solely) English or Belgian style ales. I'd offer that their Belgian styles are much better than their English interpretations, and also that perhaps some Belgian characteristics can be found in their English styles as well (but not vice versa). With that said...

The Cru shines solid gold, pouring with a bubbly head that poofs out into a ring in no time. No kidding, the aroma is jello shot - a mix between orange and cherry. Vaguely cinnamon spicy. Actually, I could also take the angle that it smells like a bubblegummy malt liquor. And it's all lusciously appealing. A firm spicy bite tickles the tongue before a warming wave of fruit, bubblegum, and not-so-dry champagne wash through. Feels soft and cheaply silky, again, like the best $3 champagne around. I'm a bit stunned - I really enjoy this beer. Tasty and soothing. Likely the best domestic Grand Cru label I've come across in memory.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2010 03:45:35 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of number1bum


3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a pretty clear golden color with about one finger of white head. Keeps a bubbly, not terribly full lace and doesn't really coat the glass with much stick.

Smell is sweet and buttery, with a distinct honey-like aroma plus some earthy, musty yeast. Not bad, but not terribly interesting either.

Taste starts off with some fruity flavor, pear comes to mind, with some buttery honey sweetness. Yeast character is slightly fruity with some musty flavor too. At first this has a strange bitterness in the finish, somewhat musty and tasting a bit like dirt. That seems to level off after a few sips though, which is good because it wasn't terribly pleasant. All in all there is some good flavor here, although like the nose it's not all that complex or distinctive.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good creaminess to it, but is hurt by very low carbonation that leaves it feeling somewhat flat in the finish. I think the lack of carbonation also contributes to the weird finish, which is somewhat dirty and bitter. Not a great mouthfeel here.

This is an ok beer, but really not something I'd come back to very often. Decent flavor but it has some flaws that hurt the drinkability, and nothing stands out enough to make me say hey I want more of that. I wonder if it's better on tap.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 01:13:42 | More by number1bum
Photo of donniecuffs

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a filtered golden hue, with one finger of white head, average retention, and good lacing. Smelled of sweet candied pears, apple, and sugar, and not as much spice as I was led to expect. The taste yielded a nice fruity/sweet blend, which progressed to a slightly spicy (and sweet) finish. Spritzier than expected, blending nicely with the medium body. Good session Belgian, but would benefit tremendously from a little more spiciness, and a little less sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2010 21:07:18 | More by donniecuffs
Photo of therica


3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A= golden with minimal white head, some lacing.

S= light scented, peach, mild citrus, nutmeg, hints of cinnamon.

T= modest, not bold; slightly too sweet; peach, light tangerine, light grassy notes, maybe some apple and pear popping in and out at times. Not much of a good example of Gran Cru style but still interesting and drinkable in its own way.

M= a little too sweet and syrupy for my preferences but nothing offensive; light grassy notes, slightly crisp.

D= very drinkable if you don't mind a slightly sweet beer that's more lightweight than bold in flavor. Probably good with almost any meal, would be great with a burger on a hot day, or any fish or chicken dishes. Maybe even good with a light dessert.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2010 01:37:30 | More by therica
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Closer to tangerine than honey. The eggshell colored lid barely reached one finger after an increasingly high-altitude pour. The crown lasts a while, but it doesn't look that good while doing so. A few ragged streamers of lace keep the glass from feeling left out entirely.

The golden-fruit-and-spice of the Belgian Abbey ale yeast makes this FFBC seasonal smell authentic. Trouble is, it's way too weak, which may be due to poor aerosolization due to less than optimal carbonation. If the flavor profile is up to snuff, this brew can still be salvaged.

Grand Cru Winter Reserve rights the ship (for the most part) on the palate. The brewery calls it a 'strong golden ale', which is closer to the mark than BSPA. Alcohol is slightly too prominent for the ABV, but big beer lovers won't be too offended.

Contributors include golden grains, pears soaked in Poire Williams and a generous amount of spicy clove. Maybe a few slices of ripe banana as well. Looks like the high fermentation temperature brought out all sorts of bold esters. Even though this is a pretty good effort, it doesn't have the refinement necessary for the next highest flavor and drinkability scores.

The mouthfeel, which is far from Belgianesque, isn't bad in the end. It's easily big enough for the style/ABV, and isn't as laid back on the carbonation front as expected. In fact, it's almost peppy.

Flying Fish Belgian Grand Cru Winter Reserve won't make anyone forget the best Belgian or Belgian-style ales in the world. That said, it's worth at least a single for those who love the style and those who have a soft spot for aggressively flavored ale.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2010 11:23:59 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of blackie


3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a: snifter serving, cap goes zooming off with a loud release of air, pale golden in color, a light head is sustained as only a thin ring around the glass

s: wheat body with heavy coriander, lots of dusty yeast bringing some banana taffy, light aged hop nose

m: carbonation medium, body lighter, but with an unfortunate sugary-slick feeling left behind

t: sweet and sugary - malts mostly wheaty, with the major accompanying notes being coriander and yeast - a good deal of them, lightly hopped

d: not terrible, but I'd rather not have another, not exactly a one-note performance but a really long way from complexity

single from the Foodery, NL, Philadelphia

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 02:16:58 | More by blackie
Photo of dasenebler


3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served with almost no head. Rich gold with little active carbonation. No retention-- looked like apple juice. This was supposed to be a Belgian style, and it failed the appearance category for that genre.

Flavor was caramel-like with no significant hop character. Finish was fruity and kind of syrupy sweet. Pretty good creamy mouthfeel, with moderate carbonation. Belgian style ale? Are you kidding me? This drank like an average bock beer, and at least it was somewhat drinkable.

If this is their Grand Cru, I'm not sure I want to try anything else from Flying Fish.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2010 05:10:20 | More by dasenebler
Photo of NittanyBeerFan


3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saw this on tap at the Philly Airport after returning from a business trip to Mexico and decided to have it as my "welcome back to America" beer.

A: Pours a crisp clear orangey amber and produces no head. Champagne-like streams of carbonation bubbles...maybe a bit finer...continuously rise to the surface. The lack of head leads to a lack of lacing, which is slightly disappointing for a Belgian style.

S: Spicy and definitely full of Belgian characteristics. Spiciness is a dominant component of the aroma even though there are no spices used in the brewing of this beer. There is also a vanilla aroma the manifests itself with the malty sweetness, just in front of the distinctive aroma of Saaz hops.

T: Taste follows the aroma for the most part as the sweet, malty and spicy components of the beer trade of dominance seemingly from sip to sip. A warm peppery character comes through as well. Alcohol is masked completely. Spice is a bit stronger than desired, and it builds as I drink more, sort of detracting from the rest of the beer.

M/D: Nicely carbonated as it should be. Consistency is medium, but the weight of the alcohol is clearly felt despite its omission from the taste. Enjoyable, but this seems a bit under-malted and over-spiced. However, the hops add a nice flavor to the finish.

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2010 21:47:26 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of Hypersomnia

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle.

Golden color, 1 finger frothy head dissipates to a thin ring. Decent amount of carbonation is visible. Visually this beer is quite appealing.

Aroma is Belgian yeast spiceness, a bit of clove, maybe some kind of citrus. Sort of reminds me of Apple pie or some kind of strudel or something. Bit of banana.

Taste is more or less like the aroma. Lots of spicy complexity, bit of sweetness.

Finish is light almost pilsneresque with a a bit of the same spiceness.

Pretty easy to drink a number of these and they are tasty enough to want to do so.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2010 02:42:46 | More by Hypersomnia
Photo of hdofu


4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is pretty nice. Has a nice gold color with very few white bubbles. Taste is kind of like raisin bread. Smell is like a spicy malt. feels nice and bubbly to sip. Goes down smooth enough to have a couple while watching a long movie. It also is nice with an italian sandwich

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2010 01:17:22 | More by hdofu
Photo of dborginis


3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into a pint glass. Smells sweet, of bananas. The taste again hits with the bananas, followed by a mild but noticeable hit of bitterness of hops. Not amazing, but an enjoyable flavor. Not immensely complex, but a good banana fix.

I like my beers to have the appropriate alcohol to taste proportion...big flavor beers need to be bigger alcohol. This beer doesn't seem to have enough big flavor for the big 7.2% ABV.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2010 03:58:19 | More by dborginis
Photo of FickleBeast

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours very clear, bright yellow. Barely any foam bubbles up, and that which does fades away quickly without lacing. This is dry, very thin bodied. The predominant flavor is phenolic, yeasty, with a little bit of hot alcohol. Finishes very dry with some clove like aftertaste. I suppose this beer is "to-style", but it is too thin-bodied and one dimensional for my taste. There is nothing bad or off about this beer, just not my preference.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2010 03:05:21 | More by FickleBeast
Photo of Seanibus


3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A really interesting beer, with a weirdly tropical character, as if a bunch of Belgian monks took up brewing on Maui.

Pours sunny straw yellow and very clear with a short-lived head. Aroma is perfumy and sweet, with some jasmine and pineapple. Flavor is very sweet and tropical, with pineapple, jasmine, a little rose, apricot jam, with just enough phenolic character to remind you this is a Belgian style. There are notes of baked apple, a little mace or nutmeg, with some sunny pale malt character. Mouthfeel is thin and slightly carbonated.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2010 19:33:22 | More by Seanibus
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a goblet

An orange infused golden body with a thin, creamy off-white cap. Streams of bubbles push through the body. Very light, delicate lace forms sparingly.

Candi sugar and an astringent, herbal/medicinal aroma hit me up front. A hearty dose of alcohol soaked berries rounds out the nose.

Berry flavors throughout the palate with candi sugar and an herbal quality reminiscent of a homeopathic remedy. Some light spices, pepper and clove and a strong pale malt backdrop.

A very full body with a creamy, lush feel and a finish that is clean and dry.

I found this to be pretty tough to get through at first, but as I acclimated to the complex flavors, it became easier and easier. However, by that time, I was near the bottom of my glass.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2010 17:17:59 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of jhammel01

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very clear straw yellow with a nice fluffy white head. It doesnt retain well and basically dissapears all together. The beer has no sign of a head or lacing in a matter of 10 mins.

Smells of belgian yeast. Strongly. Thats all I can smell!

Tastes of sweet Belgian yeast, a bit of grape, pistachio (just a little), some green apple and little bit of hops. Finishes with a little bit of bread and alchoholic burn.

Mouthfeel is a little watery but plenty carbonated. Its great.

Like others have said...not overly complex but that doesnt make it a bad beer. It was thoroughly enjoyed....Very good!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2010 02:32:02 | More by jhammel01
Photo of philbe311


3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A fingers worth of pure white creamy rich cloud like head comprised of varying sized bubbles... Decent retention gives way to a lacing with the same characteristics... A decent amount of rapid paced carbonation rises throughout... A golden yellow color with honey highlights... Translucent...

S - Very pleasant Belgian yeast... Lemon... A vague spiciness namely in the form of clove... Perhaps the slightest hint of pine...

T - Sweet golden raisins... Passion fruit... Apricot... Lemon... Bubblegum... Yeasty... Some candied sugars... Hints of wheat...

M - Medium bodied... Smooth.... A mild carbonated bite... Excellent balance... Slightly dry finish...

D - Quite quaffable... Not the most complex Belgian Strong Pale Ale, but an enjoyable one none the less... This won't be confused with world class offerings in the style, but there is definitely a place for this one in the winter seasonal line-up...

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 03:30:08 | More by philbe311
Photo of albern


3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a nice Belgian Pale, but I don't know if I would classify it as a strong pale. It pours a surprisingly clear golden amber color for a beer that is bottle conditioned. There were no particulates that I saw. The nose is a dead ringer that this was a Belgian pale, it had the yeasty aromas and the coriander and clove spices.

The taste is Belgianesque, very sweet, malty, yeasty, with the aforementioned spices. There was a slight sourishness to the beer that would keep it from being even more highly ranked. It was a nice beer but the off flavors, maybe a touch musty, kept this one in the B range. I only had one bottle and I would like to review this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 01:33:04 | More by albern
Photo of bob3701

New Jersey

3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a wheat type glass. Hazy gold yellow color with a big head that quickly disapates with minor lacing. Citrus and spice aroma. This is my first grand cru style beer so I have no reference point. Very tart and sour and might not have been bad alone but did not sit well with other beers I had during the session.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 16:39:35 | More by bob3701
Photo of TheFightfan1


4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Poured a slightly hazy gold color with bright yellow highlight's.Decent heading stays around for just a bit. No lacing.

Smell is a touch of toasted malt,a touch of lemon zest, as well as spice and clove.

Taste is very much the same as the nose. Cloves,spice and toasted bread taste, along with a slight candy taste. Very well suited tastes.

Mouth is super smooth in texture aand finely carbonated when you swoosh it around a bit. Medium bodied and finshes with a lingering spiciness.

All and all a surprisingly good beer from flying fish. One of my new favorites from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 23:38:49 | More by TheFightfan1
Photo of flannelman808


3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a very bright golden color. Poor head retention, but what little head that is there is white.

S: There is a citrusy spice on the nose, like cardimum and dried orange peel.

t: Crisp and light to medium body. I get spice on the back of the tounge.. im thinking cinnamon. Not a whole hell of alot going on here Id have to say im pretty dissapointed with this one. Hardly worthy of a grand cru title.

M: light and crisp on the tongue.

D: Quite drinkable, but im not crazy about the beer in general.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 22:27:58 | More by flannelman808
Photo of tjd112

New Jersey

4.9/5  rDev +34.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Chimay glass. Appearance is a translucent amber-gold colour with a fast dissipating white head and little lacing. A smell of honey and booziness comes out strong, but the taste is doughy with a hint of vanilla. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy with a somewhat dry finish. This is a beer that must be sipped to truly enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2009 17:35:45 | More by tjd112
Photo of bbeane


3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a snifter... after an aggressive pour, almost no head, retention, or lacing. Beer is a light amber color with very little activity.

S- After I swirled the glass a sweet and fruity smell with a hint of honey... little boozy.

T- Starts with a weak belgian sweetness, and finishes somewhat dry. All in all, tastes watered down.

M- Watery. Light body with little carbonation.

D- Very easy to drink due to watered down taste/ lack of flavor. High ABV not easily detected.


Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 01:40:34 | More by bbeane
Photo of irishking1977

New Jersey

2.93/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Since Flying Fish's Grand Cru is a seasonal winter Belgian Ale, I always find myself grabbing at least one six pack during it's availability. I suppose I wonder if the recipe will change with time. I guess not.

A: Pours a clear gold in my Unibroue glass. The initial head maintains itself for a short time then dissipates to nothing. Moderate lacing left around the glass. Pretty good lookin' beer.

S: Biscuits, bread, yeast. A slight hint of vanilla along with candy sugar. Not bad, but the smell could reveal a slightly cloying taste of these descriptions.

T: More bread. Yeasty breadiness. Not a word, I know. But that's what came to mind. It's moderately cloying with a bread-like finish.

M: Not as carbonated as I would have liked. I think if it was more so, it might mask the syrupy feel of the beer. This is tantamount to the mouthfeel of a barley-wine. Needs more bubbles.

D: Not bad, but after a few of these, one might yearn for something with more direction. This one is sort of all over the place for a Belgian style ale. It makes me appreciate Duvel that much more.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 04:09:27 | More by irishking1977
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey color with a modest head that fades rather quickly but leaves a few shards behind

Smell: Sweet and doughy, with a menthol edge

Taste: Doughy, up front, with a growing candi sugar and tart stone fruit flavor that is supplemented by vanilla and bubblegum at mid-palate; after the swallow, the brew takes on a tea-like herbal aspect, though the finish remains rather sweet

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with less than effervescent carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting flavor profile and unique in many ways, but just not much to my liking due to the excessive sweet vanilla flavors

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2009 01:06:19 | More by brentk56
Photo of bort11


3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Thin white head and a dark straw yellow color. Clear with moderate carbonation.

Smell is pretty sweet, malt and grilled pears. Taste is caramelized fruit with a peppery yeast.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick and verges on syrupy. Seems a little heavy handed for a style that is known for being delicate.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2009 03:32:09 | More by bort11
Grand Cru Winter Reserve from Flying Fish Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 428 ratings.