AleSmith Grand Cru Ale - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

793 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 793
Reviews: 365
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 98
Gots: 159 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 04-27-2002

Bottle conditioned.
AleSmith Grand Cru really needs to be tasted to be truly appreciated. Toasty, caramelly flavors, as well as flavors imparted by the Belgian yeast strain, predominate over a tapestry of subtle nuances. Winner of the blue ribbon at the 1999 California State Fair, it is a thing of beauty. It is available in 750 ml. champagne bottles.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of AleSmith Grand Cru Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 793 | Reviews: 365
Photo of Jeffreysan
4.79/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle, 2013 edition, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color with a half of a finger of white-colored head that dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic! Tons of bready, toasted malt imparting notes of freshly baked bread, as well as tons of aromas of dried stone fruit, such as dates, apricots and prunes. There’s notes of candied sugar, funky Belgian yeast, which imparts notes of saddle leather, chestnuts. Earthy and inviting.

Taste: Wow! Delicious! Lots of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by lots of dried stone fruit, raisins, prunes, dates, currents, apricots, and candied sugar. There’s also quite a bit of Belgian yeast, which imparts some funk and a touch of sourness at the finish. There’s some spice notes too, such as black pepper, all-spice and a touch of ginger.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very effervescent, as there’s quite a bit of carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 10%, there is quite the pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Wow! What an excellent beer. Strong, complex flavors wrapped up in an excellent mouthfeel. Alesmith knocked it out of the park with this beer! Highly recommended.

Photo of SensorySupernova
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Clear brown amber. Low off-white head settled to a faint ring.

Smell: Caramel, Belgian yeast, ethanol.

Taste: Intense spicy yeast up front, very Belgian. Into a sweet, caramel malt; raisins. Ends with a bit of clean ethanol heat and a faint, slightly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thick, low carbonation.

Overall: Good special occasion brew. Everything fits together nicely.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Chestnut brown in color with lots of carbonation problems throughout the body. There's no head whatsoever. The aroma is very subdued but I detect dark Belgian candy sugar and sweet dark malt. The flavor much more aggressive than the nose implies. There is a large concentration of dark Belgian candy sugarand sweet,dark malt. Belgian yeast gives it a tart acidic red wine edge. The mouth is warm with alcohol and moderately carbonated.

Photo of Phigg1102
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Caramel and dark stone fruit dominate the taste. Apples and booze towards the end.

Photo of john0721
3.87/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle poured into a goblet.

brown, off white head

brown sugar and dark fruit in the nose.

taste - dark fruit: prune, plum with raisin building as it oxidizes and warms.

Photo of Gr8ful4Beer
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wonderfully pleasing. Had it aged 2 years. Worth the wait. Some fruit, nice texture. Sinuous ruby color.

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/5/14

Appearance: Has the authentic Belgian look, with a massive, frothy head perching on top of the burnt caramel colored liquid; excellent retention with multiple strands of lacing left behind

Smell: Date and banana, with yeasty phenols, toasty tones and treacle

Taste: Treacle and toast, up front, with a growing dark fruit (raisin and date) influence; in the mid-palate, the phenolic tones develop as does a spicy character (clove, cardamom and a touch of ginger); a touch boozy, in the finish, but the flavors all meld together

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: I recall in the early days of BA the reverence paid to the BSDA style and, with not many US craft brewers working in the genre, it has been a while since I have had one; this beer reminds me how good the style can be; rarely have domestic brewers tackled the style as well as AleSmith has done with this beer; a true Grand Cru

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. I couldn’t find any date on it, but I know for a fact I’ve had it stored for at least 6 years.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains strong notes of candy sugar, dark fruit, caramelized malts, Belgian yeast and a very faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with strong candy-like sweetness from flavors of brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit and licorice. Then some breadiness comes in from Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. There’s also a significant alcohol sting that follows. The hops presence is very mild but considering the age it’s a wonder that there’s any left at all. The balance comes together some as you continue to drink the beer.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation (another shocking attribute for a beer of this age), finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a solid beer to sip on for a while but there are better beers in to age for a long period of time.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%

Notes of yeast and gentle spicing. Nutmeg, white pepper, cardamom. Foundation of moderately toasted malts, caramels and toffee with some ABV floating above. Plums, moist raisins, dried dark red fruit. Nose is soft and needs coaxing, but well worth it. After it warms in the glass, the ABV includes sugared orange rind and takes on a brandy personna.

Rich caramel malts and dark fruit jam open. Spices from the nose follow after the ABV moves over the tongue. Finish offers traces of anise, pepper, and raisins / dried black cherries with caramel and toffee.

Smooth and rich without being thick. Good carbonation with a solid body. Components are extremely well-integrated, offering a complex and nuanced melange of flavors.

Want to make a great impression at a small dinner party? Take a bottle or two and some small tulip glasses and serve this with dessert. Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch would be an outstanding match. This is a libation that's meant to be shared, enjoyed, and appreciated. Great stuff.

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Nose: very fruity nose (plums) over spice and malt, dried fruit, brown sugar
Pours hazy reddish amber to deep brown with a thin white quickly dissipating head that provides light lace. Has legs.
Palate: Starts sweet with a wine quality, plums, brown sugar, toasted grains, with a gentle, balancing hop finish.
Mouth feel: Very creamy medium to medium full body, medium high carbonation, warming but not harsh or solventy alcohol.
A classic

Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
4/5  rDev -1.2%

2009 - A really nice representation of a style I'm not fond of

Photo of jellikit
4.49/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Crystal clear. Deep copper. Thin foamy head.

S: Cream Soda. Vanilla. Prune.

T: Raisin, prune, fig, vanilla, slight chocolate. Well balanced with the flavors and the booze.

M: medium carbonation, medium body. Velvety goodness.

O: great beer. Well balanced. Easy drinking for a big beer. Will buy again.

Photo of seand
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a translucent reddish brown with a fair amount of tan head. This dissipates to a ring around the edge of the glass, which leaves mild lacing.

S: Candied honey sweetness, with a touch of booze.

T: Full candied raisin-y sweetness leading into some mild but noticeable booze towards the finish. Extremely well balanced, deep, complex, and sweet, but well short of the cloying line. The finish is a touch sticky.

M: Full body, medium carbonation, and perfectly matches the flavor profile.

Overall, this is truly an excellently constructed beer. Everything is very well balanced, and the end result is complex, rich, and very enjoyable.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.82/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I completed an IRONMAN 70.3 in Haines City on April 13 and popped this beer open that afternoon to celebrate my accomplishment. I wish I would have opened something else :(

I received this in a trade about 7 or 8 years ago. Popped the cork and there wasn't a lot of fizzy sounds coming from the bottle, which usually portends a lack of carbonation. The beer emerges hazy and muddy and ruddy brown in color with not much head on the beer or carbonation. Looks very dull and rather unappealing.

Aroma was sweet and caramelly and oxidized. This bottle has not held up well. I have kept this one is a cellar since I received it. No real spark or anything to the aroma.

Flavor was dull and muted as well. Sweet and alcoholic, mostly flat with very little carbonation. Perhaps a fresh bottle of this is delicious, but one aged in perfect conditions for 7 years doesn't hold up well. Not sure what to say about this one except it was a huge disappointment. Belgian styles are supposed to stand the test of time; not this one.

Photo of msquared36
3.02/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Very dark with a deep red tint.

Aroma is roasted malt with a hint of smoke.

Malty and fruity - dark fruit like plum and cherry. Very sweet finish.

Very smooth and substantial.

A little too sweet for me. Seems to get sweeter as it warms. Lacks complexity, maybe it would be better aged. Tough to get through the whole bottle because it gets syrupy. First Alesmith I've tried that isn't great.

Photo of TheDoctor
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A:
Pours a ruddy copper that is fairly clear with a creamy three fingers of beige head that rapidly settles to a film that beefs back up with a quick swirl . Decent retention; little to no lacing.

S:
Spicy, yeasty, phenols. Raisins, bitter orange, nutmeg, with roast nuts underneath it all.

T:
Spicy and complex with some very prominent fruity notes. Orange, coriander, caramel, dark fruits, earth and a subtle rind-like medicinal hop flavor underlying it all. Pretty over-arching lacquer-like alcohol flavor present.

M:
Warm, medium- to full-bodied and coating. The alcohol has a nice, even warming feeling and the relatively strong carbonation counterbalances the creamy, warm coatingness of the rest of it.

O:
Good take on a big Belgian beer.
If I described this beer with one word it would be spicy. Everything about it is phenol-laced, yeasty, and warm as could be. Not the best-looking beer (but pretty good for how stiff it is). Everything else is a tingly counterpoint to the brandy-like coating warmth of it. Spicy, boozy, darkly fruit-tinged.
Would have again; worth having if you can get it.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a real beauty of a beer here, an elegant and well refined glass of ale. the color is dark, a belgian strong dark by nature, but more than that. grand cru has no meaning really, but in this case refers to a special beer released just once a year. a caramel colored brew with a dried fruit nose of raisins and molasses, and a classic fruity ester yeast strain. flavors of liquid cereal and brown sugar, like a real good granola. yeast and grain driven flavor, in equal parts, but sweetness lingers and prevails. a toffee or butterscotch dessert vibe, fancy from the get go, but i like the way it slides from soil minerals to sunny harvest grains to sugars melting and about to burn. the yeast makes it though, high gravity belgain stuff that cleans up all the heaviness. not overcarbonated, but its not too filling. more sugar than i need, and one bottle is way too much to take down solo. extremely well hidden alcohol is the most impressive feature. a beer for once in a while, but a special one.

Photo of BierJager89
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Brown with a touch of orange and a light brown head.

S: Orange, mango and a general fruitiness in the nose.

T: Lots of orange, banana and maybe some pineapple.

M: Medium-full bodied, decent amount of carbonation.

O: Typical of the style? No. Alesmith's best beer? Definitely not. A great beer in and of itself? Definitely. Try it.

Photo of blindtiger24
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Starts with a thick, frothy two finger head that thins out. Active carbonation that pokes up through the head. A bright ruby / garnet color.

S: Huge yeast ester and phenol aromas with hints of granny smith apples, plums, and clove.

T: Graham cracker flavor from the malt and the esters provide tart apple and caramelized banana that sweetens the finish.

M: Medium body with a lingering sticky sweetness.

O: A loyal and accurate take on the classic Belgian ale. Perfect for fall / winter and pairing with the holiday meals.

Photo of REDAMI
4.51/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into Chimay goblet.

A - Medium to deep golden brown. Off white head dissipated quickly.

S - Dried fruits, dates, raisins, buttery yeast, spice, sweet malt.

T - Spice warmth, Belgian yeast, with a nutty finish.

M - Some alcohol bite, but not overpowering. Fine, stinging carbonation.

A great American interpretation of a Belgian beer. Very enjoyable for a Christmas Eve beer.

Photo of raznug
4.31/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: This grand cru pours a hazy brown color and is topped with barely any head at all.
Smell: It smells of a blend of malt and an alcohol aroma that after 4 solid years of aging I was not expecting, I think I smell an aroma of maybe oak, not sure.
Taste: The taste is spot on where I was expecting a blend of malt, alcohol, and oak from aging very delicious beer.
Mouthfeel: It maybe a bit on the thin side but it makes for a rather easy drinking beer that with at least 4 yrs under it, maybe more, has me wanting more.

Photo of dar482
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a review of the 2010 Vintage.

The beer comes in a reddish brown copper with lots of head.

The aroma has a bit of spice of pepper and clove, still some alcohol, though that could be the phenolic character. Then with lots of candied sugar and dark fruits.

The flavor follows with that candied sugar sweetness with dark fruit of raisins and plums and dates. There's a lingering bready malt character on the end.

A well made Belgian beer, though I have had better.

Photo of JParlow
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass. Bottling date is slightly rubbed off but I can make out the 13th day of a month in 2013.

Appearance: Pours a very deep brownish/ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and about two fingers of light tan head that fade into a thin patchy layer. Leaves little lace.

Smell: A light yeasty, dark, caramel malt with hint of banana. The aroma was not as prominent as I thought it might.

Taste: Like the nose gives off, a yeasty, dark, and bready caramel malt taste with lots of dark fruits. Big presence of dark fruit with notes of raisin, plum, dates, fig, dark cherry, and prune.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation. Juicy, spicy, silky, and pretty smooth. Alcohol presence is detectable but very smooth.

Overall: I'd by again.

Photo of ADZA
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got to sample this and then immediately I knew u had to purchase one and wanted to age it but I just couldn't wait and it pours a deep red copper hue with a long lasting creamy off white two finger head and a tight rim of lacing,the smell is spicy plum jam,dried apricots,old banannas,brown sugar and booze,the mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and the tastes are quite sessionable for a big dark Belgian but all the same very traditional with spicy plum jam,candied figs,candi sugar,sweet malts and finished with an apricot booziness that leaves you dry and wanting more and at would age nicely cheers.

Photo of ElSid
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Beers of California

#94

A: Amber brown with copper hues and a head of tan of foam which quickly abates to a thin layer of bubbly cling.

S: Berries on first pour which gives way to earth, wood and stone with hints of sugar and caramel.

T: Foundation of slightly toasted grain, caramel and candied sugar. Again are syrupy berry sweetness along with raisins and dates. Hints of oak, vanilla and cocoa powder bring interest and complexity to the palate. The finish brings some warming alcohol along with hints of black pepper.

M: Medium full feel which is also syrupy with good linger. The carbonation is moderate to light.

O: Bold and complex without being overpowering. This strong ale has nuances yet manages to maintain its drinkability. My hat goes off to Alesmith for producing this fine ale.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 793 ratings.