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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

687 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 687
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 99
Gots: 125 | FT: 8
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:
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 added by: RedDiamond on 12-16-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 687 | Reviews: 355 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Morris729:
Photo of Morris729
Morris729

Texas

4.38/5  rDev +8.1%

Pours a deep garnet amber color with a tall and foamy light tan head that soon settles into a nice lace. Nose is dark fruit, toasted bread, and spicy alcohol. Taste begins with candied sugar and a sweet fruitiness followed by a syrupy note. A bit of plum and notes of brandy come across towards the finish along with a touch of chocolate covered cherries. A very complex and thoroughly enjoyable brew.

12-30-2006 23:53:08 | More by Morris729
More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4.6/5  rDev +13.6%

Appearance – Not much of a head to this 10.0 ABV monster, but that’s to be expected I guess. The body is a luscious, hazy, dirty brown.

Smell – There’s no shortage of sweets to this Alesmith offering. The strong, dark fruits jump out at you from across the room. The bananas, which I often find absent in this particular style, mix wonderfully with the darker raisins and dates.

The milder presence of figs and doughy malts smells almost like a Fig Newton. The refined sugars are in abundance as well, making this one a very complex BSDA.

Taste – More of the same at the taste. The refined table sugars take things up a notch, making this even sweeter than the nose indicated. The yeasty malt kicks into high gear as well, especially as it warms, making this a real sipper.

Mouthfeel – Full-bodied and very juicy sweet (like the forbidden pool?). The year’s first knat just did a kamikaze “belly flop of death” right in the glass. This one will activate your salivary glands big-time. I was drooling at the nose.

Drinkability – This was a “reward beer” after tasting two horrid bottles (St Pauli Girl & Mission St). I felt like a king sipping on this one. Terrific!

Comments – I’ve only had a handful of ales that can measure up to this one. The BigDog (xlperro) sent me this along with a few other beers and some kick ass homebrews. A big “BA Thanx” for this awesome offering.

03-06-2004 03:34:44 | More by RoyalT
Photo of cam477
cam477

Newfoundland (Canada)

4/5  rDev -1.2%

10-03-2013 02:34:46 | More by cam477
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

3.43/5  rDev -15.3%

Huge thanks to Kevin R for opening this one, along with many other AleSmith goodies. The Grand Cru pours a light-ish, slimy brown color with some mild copper clarity at the top of the brew. The creamy, beige head makes plenty of noise and it sizzles away quickly from almost a half-inch to nothing but a thick skin and collar.

Sweet, sweet grapes and plums and dates in the nose; plenty of dark fruits, like you'd expect from a Belgian dark ale, possibly a little softer and more sweet than usual. Sticky toffee and buttery toasted malts make up the background while also adding more sweetness to the already sweet aroma. Earthy phenols and sweet esters, with a slight medicinal undertone that's kind of throwing me off.

The taste is complex in that it has may elements in it; figs, light clove spice, sweet plums, brown sugar, toasted malts, Candi sugar, spicy yeast, burning phenol alcohol... see? The problem is that, for whatever reason, the flavors don't meld together in Utopian harmony like they typically do for Belgian strong ales.

It seems more like a pot where you just throw in any and all ingredients you can find in the cupboards, paying no attention to the amounts, the schedule, or anything like that. I can't quite put my finger on why this might happen, but the beer definitely suffers in drinkability and overall enjoyability due to this. All the flavors are there, sure, but not in proper capacities.

The mouth feel is typically for this type of ale; carbonated quite heavily giving a light and effervescent (almost) feeling on the palate; medium bodied and lightly creamy. I was expecting to enjoy this beer more than I did, especially given the scores. It was far from bad, but I've had so many other Belgian strong ales that I'd choose over this (and they're cheaper and easier to find, too!)

07-16-2013 11:15:10 | More by tectactoe
Photo of MadScientist
MadScientist

New York

4.45/5  rDev +9.9%

A: A medium copper with excellent clarity and a ruby hue. The creamy off-white head leave lacing on the glass and falls slowly but is easily roused.

S: Fruit, spice with a malty sweetness is my first impression. There is a moderate plum and raisin fruit aroma with a moderately-low peppery spice that seems part yeast part hops aroma. A nice rich malt with a little caramel mixes well with the perfumey alcohol and dark fruit.

T: The fruit, malt sweetness and alcohol the dominate flavors here with a moderate flavor of plum and dried cherries. The moderately-high hops bitterness more than balance the malt sweetness bringing the balances moderately bitter despite the initial sweetness. There is a quick bitterness and fruit in the after taste and an off-dry finish. The alcohol brings a floral sweetness towards the finish.

A: This is a medium-full bodied beer with a high level of carbonation and substantial warmth. There is a satisfying moderate creaminess as well

O: Like candy coated plums with a healthy balance of hops. A rich beer like this would be complement to a rich holiday dinner with ham.

09-22-2012 22:47:19 | More by MadScientist
Photo of weatherdog
weatherdog

Illinois

4.18/5  rDev +3.2%

A big thanks to Eric for bring this to a recent tasting. He was unsure of the age but he has had it since Jan of 2009 so the bottle has some age on it.

It poured a murky deep garnet with a bone colored head that lasted for a decent amount of time before dying which is kind of impressive considering the ABV.

Dark ripe fruits and port/sherry aromas were the main contributers to the smell. The nose had a warming alcohol aspect to it but it was actually very pleasant and not harsh which I suspect aging helped that tremendously. I can also see some parallels to a big bold red wine.

The taste is just brimming with a ton of plum and cherry flavors. Once again this beer has an absolute ton of port/ oxidized sherry flavors as well, more than I've ever tasted in a beer. The alcohol is present but very smooth. It's on the verge of having the alcohol too present for my liking but age has smoothed it out. i have a feeling that if I had this beer with 6 months less age or so I wouldn't be as much of a fan.

The body is on the thin side and carbonation is quite low which plays up the similarities to a sherry like beverage. On the same vein the thin body brings out the alcohol which dings the drinkability a notch. In this case I don't mind drinking it slower as it's a beer meant to be sipped over the course of an hour or so.

05-03-2010 04:03:48 | More by weatherdog
Photo of steelerguy
steelerguy

New York

3.9/5  rDev -3.7%

A - Pours a cherry wood like color, not as dark as your typical Belgian Dark Strong. Slight head that fades quickly to a wispy covering. Lots are carbonation in there.

S - What aroma is there is quite nice, a little malt, come candy like sweetness, some floral notes, along with a Belgian spiciness. The problem is that is it is faint! I had to swirl this and let it warm a bit to get anything from it.

T - The beers makes up for the good but faint aroma with a nice maltiness, dark fruit, caramel malts, good complexity. There is also some nice spice and phenols in there. Again, could have used some more intensity, and that shouldn't be said about a DARK Strong. Almost a bit too delicate, more like a Golden Strong dressed as a Dark. Still good!

M - Surprisingly light, hides the alcohol well, smooth feel.

O - This is a good beer, but I honestly expected a bit more from Alesmith. This seems almost like a combination between Strong Ales...too much dark malt to be a Golden but not enough robust malt flavors, color, and aroma to be a Dark. This may be their "Grand Cru" but I'd take Horny Devil anyday over this.

06-27-2011 23:52:49 | More by steelerguy
Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
3HovsepiansBrews

California

4.45/5  rDev +9.9%

A- A nice orangish brown with a cream colored head.

S- Alcohol, toffee, leather, and dried fruits.

T- The sweet taste of brown sugar/molasses is what hits you first. But as the taste matures in your mouth it turns into mostly dried dark fruits like raisins and plums with a hint of apricot. There is also a nice warmth from the alcohol.

M- Syrupy with a subtle carbonation.

D- Be careful. At first you think you could drink a bit, but at the end of the glass, you realize your eyes were bigger than your stomach because the alcohol catches up with you.

07-29-2010 05:32:35 | More by 3HovsepiansBrews
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Doomcifer

Rhode Island

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

08-01-2014 13:52:22 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev +6.2%

Presentation: 1 pint 9 oz champagne magnum that is corked, capped and foiled. Light amount of sediment is on the bottom and stay compact while pouring. 2000 vintage.

Appearance: Tarnish copper with brownish hues, thick and creamy light tan lace straps its self to the glass and leaves a trail all the way down to the bottom.

Smell: Spicy and orangey with a sweet alcoholic nose. Fruity and estery with hints of ripe plum. More spiciness than anything else.

Taste: Smooth to the point of being unreal with a luscious creamy back, mellow alcohol character drapes its sweet and spicy flavours over the tongue. Maltiness is sizable with traces of caramel and a mouth feel that is close to syrupy. Spiciness from the alcohol doubles up and with a hint of yeast brings levels of complexity. Hops? Well they are there but not in any way seen with all of the flavours bursting and thus there is no need for even a modest presence. Mild citric peel with a big plum like fruitiness, alcoholic esters make their move but the spiciness stays on top. A heavy hand of residual sweetness is left over for the spice loaded finish to deal with.

Notes: This is a stellar brew with a deceiving alcohol. Complex flavours keep things in balance with a well rounded spiciness and big malt foundation.

04-27-2002 19:53:58 | More by Jason
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

4.03/5  rDev -0.5%

Another fine Alesmith offering enjoyed at a Saturday tasting session with mtnlover. Grand Cru pours an actively carbonated body with a large, ecru toned head that is creamy and longlasting. Sheet and patch lace is immense.
Aroma has notes of banana, mango, cotton candy sugars, and spicy notes of coriander.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has effervescent, Belgianesque, carbonation.
Taste has a notable dark fruit component of figs and raisins. Candy sugars and clover honey are also noted. Very little bitterness here, with a bit of spicy white pepper and coriander, and a mild yeast note. Alcohol is well hidden except for some warming sensation.
I wish Alesmith brews were available in Kentucky. This one came from Cincinnati, but is a nicely drinkable and well crafted Belgian style strong dark ale that is definitely one I would sample again. I just wonder what's up with the green bottles?

01-31-2005 12:42:25 | More by merlin48
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.63/5  rDev +14.3%

Large champagne bottle, gold foil, capped, no vintage or best before indication. Poured dark murky plum brown, very minimal carbonation, no head, no lacing. Bold nose of rum, smoke, vanilla, nice.

Deep, bold, intense and complex brew. Notes of rum soaked raisins, oak, smoke, figs, vanilla. Port like. World class brew, fine night capper, or with some tasty rich foods, roasts, bbq, stinky cheese etc.

BSDA lovers go get some to wrap yourself around

09-16-2006 14:16:41 | More by Billolick
Photo of ElSid
ElSid

California

4.16/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

09-14-2013 03:35:57 | More by ElSid
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Appearance: minimal head, low carbonation, clear, caramel in color

Smell: alcohol, toasted malt, and dark fruit

Taste: dark fruit, caramel malt, cinnamon, alcohol, and cardamom

Mouthfeel: light bodied, high carbonation, sweet with a slightly bitter alcohol backbone

Drinkability: Decent for the style but not spectacular. There is a lot of subtle flavor going on here, but nothing that calls me to rush out and get this again..especially given the price. Not bad, just had better--especially from this brewery.

04-28-2010 17:01:59 | More by tigg924
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aquazr1

California

4/5  rDev -1.2%

06-28-2014 21:33:46 | More by aquazr1
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4.43/5  rDev +9.4%

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this beer. This is my 1,700th beer and it didn't disappoint.

The beer pours a hazy brown color with a white head. The aroma is sweet sugar with some vanilla and cherry notes. The flavor is cherry, caramel malt, brown sugar, alcohol, Belgian yeast and Belgian candi-sugar. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A great American-made Belgian-style beer. Glad I got to try this one.

06-26-2010 18:51:41 | More by Mora2000
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Mugenlude

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -1.2%

03-10-2014 18:51:31 | More by Mugenlude
Photo of mattster
mattster

Texas

4.43/5  rDev +9.4%

Opened impressive 750ml bottle, poured into chalice.

Pours a low creamy head atop a dark amber colored mostly opaque brew. Nice small bubbles present.

Smell is of malts, warm caramel and dark fruits. Taste follows through with a full bodied flavors. I really like how this taste on the palate and finishes really nice. I was expecting something more sweet considering the sugary smells; the 10% ABV of this brew would also leave one to expect something a bit more burning, but this ale is definitely a well balanced beast.

03-18-2008 08:47:02 | More by mattster
Photo of jisak74
jisak74


4/5  rDev -1.2%

04-14-2012 22:03:25 | More by jisak74
Photo of Altenor
Altenor

California

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

06-28-2013 04:19:27 | More by Altenor
Photo of magictrokini
magictrokini

California

3.9/5  rDev -3.7%

Reddish-brown color with a squatty off-white head. A rich, sweet malty aroma. Kind of musty in an old way, not a bretty way. Malty sweet, almost like bread pudding, but a dry finish. Alcoholic warmth is very noticeable. Liquer-like mouthfeel. This borders on a malt bomb, if there is a such thing, but is still very nice.

12-04-2008 19:32:38 | More by magictrokini
Photo of Osiris9588
Osiris9588

Ohio

4.28/5  rDev +5.7%

750ml green glass bottle, capped and wrapped in red foil--no date or vintage. Pours a murky amber color with an orage hue, brightening when held to light. Plenty of sediment floats near the bottom. The beige head is big and fluffy, never growing too firm, shows decent retention.

The aroma is dominated by sweet malt and yeast, accented by notes of fig and cherry. The flavor blends the elements of the aroma along with strong candi sugar and licorice. The alcohol is unmistakenly there but not intrusive.

The mouth is light, but it is very complex on the palate. It's sweet, yet never cloying as different notes strike on all points of the palate. Very drinkable, though I think one 750ml bottle would be plenty for nearly anyone. Well balanced and very good overall.

02-04-2007 05:39:42 | More by Osiris9588
Photo of warmbier804
warmbier804

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

06-15-2014 03:31:50 | More by warmbier804
Photo of MattyG85
MattyG85

Minnesota

4.38/5  rDev +8.1%

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Duvel 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 amber orange with some ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and about two fingers of light tan head that fade into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A yeasty, dark, caramel malt forward aroma with lots of fruit esters. Belgian yeast upfront with some clove, funk, and pepper spicing. Burnt Belgian candied sugars. Toasted malts with hints of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, cracker, and slight tea. Fruit hints of banana, pear, and apple. Big hints of dark fruits with some raisin, plums, fig, dates, prune, grape, and black cherry. Subtle earthy hop hints in the background. Some alcohol is also scented. A very nice dark Belgian style aroma.

Taste: Like the nose gives off, a yeasty, dark, and bready caramel malt taste with lots of dark fruits. Belgian yeast along with some funk and a mix of pepper and clove spicing. Sweet burnt Belgian candied sugars. Bready toasted malts with sweet notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit, toast, tea, and cracker. Big notes of banana along with some pear, apple, and grape fruits. Big presence of dark fruit with notes of raisin, plum, dates, fig, dark cherry, and prune. Slight note of earthy hops and some alcohol taste in the background. A very solid dark toasty Belgian style taste.

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

Overall: A very solid take on the Belgian Grand Cru style. Good mix of yeast with toasty caramel malt and fruit esters.

09-06-2013 07:06:54 | More by MattyG85
Photo of Mantooth
Mantooth

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -1.2%

08-31-2014 05:37:58 | More by Mantooth
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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 687 ratings.