Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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

365 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 365
Hads: 805
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 102
Gots: 164 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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  | nextlast
Reviews: 365 | Hads: 805
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.97/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer pours a slightly dense amber body with a good carbonation of tiny bubbles supporting a creamy light caramel colored head. The head last as a thin film with nice lacing for most of the beer.

S- This beer has a soft yeasty note of faint bananas and circus peanuts which are subtle and balanced soon give way to a bolder toasted note and a robust caramel sweetness at the finish.

T- The rich caramel malt flavor has some darker roasted notes to it with a soft alcohol heat and white raisin quality. There is a soft cola note that gives way to an apple butter note to the malt and a soft toasted malt flavor to boot. The finish is a soft herbal bitterness that wraps up the malt flavors quite nicely without big hop flavors.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft alcohol heat and a tight little fizz in the finish that enhances the herbal bitterness.

D- This beer has a great depth of flavor and a perfect support of the wonderful caramel malt. This grand cru is like a great loaf of fresh bread. It doesn't wow you with over-the-top flavor or huge amounts of flavor but it has that amazing freshness and subtle complexity to make this beer stand out. (1,200 characters)

Photo of KellyScottMad
4.89/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

WoW! This beer is the closest thing to a real Belgian Dark Ale coming from the States that I have ever had. The look and the feel of this beautiful beverage was that of a Rochefort. This beer is a thing of beauty. I wasn't expecting this from and American Brewery, but I like it very much. I will be buying this again. (318 characters)

Photo of Vylo
4.87/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark ale (duh) with very little head and strong pleasant smell. Tasted great, but mouthfeel was a bit off, needs more carbonation. My bottle was a year old so that may be a factor. Worth trying for sure. (205 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.79/5  rDev +18%
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. (1,311 characters)

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +17%

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 (439 characters)

Photo of Crosling
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Burgundy.

Intoxicating, deep and dense nose of plump raisins, plums, figs, grapes, bananas and clove.

Incredible and an instant "5" at first taste. Round, very dynamic and very full-bodied. Front is mainly fruit, cherries, plums and dark grapes. In the backround a big caramel and nutty body of deep malt is present. On the finish is port wine and a spicy yeastiness.

Simply Delicious. Alesmith is one of the best. (425 characters)

Photo of AlexJ
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Murky, rusty amber pour with a massive, billowy head of oatmeal colored froth that retains exceptionally, leaving scores of delicate lace.

A convincingly Belgian nose exhibits big malt notes, candi sugar, figs, sour apple, raisins, yeasty must, (the yeast smells very Unibrou), and traces of crushed rock minerality.

Flavor certainly stands up as well, with complex malt, dried fruits, green apple, pinapple, cherries, lots of yeasty spice, and a dry, mineral laden finish that leaves me wanting another sip. Reminds me of a dryer version of Brasserie de Rocs Grand Cru.

Body is medium to large, with a light and airey mouthfeel and a soft, pillowy texture. A joy to drink and could easily convince one that this was crafted in Belgium. (745 characters)

Photo of xraided81
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: poured from a 750ml bottles, pours a clear amber, with dark ruby highlights. The head quickly dissipates, and only leaves a moderated carbonation.
S- Vinous, dark fruit, dried cherries, sherry like aromas are present, and acidic smell, which is great.
T- bready yeasty flavors are present, with a subtly tartness is present in the back of the palate, the taste is all malt and yeast and very little hop presence.
M- a medium mouthfeel is present, surprising fro the maltiness of this beer. the high alcohol content of this brew is present in the mouthfeel, i feel the heat as i swish in my mouth.
D- Is great i would definetly pick this up if i came across again, i have never had an alesmith beer i did not enjoy, awesome interpreatation of a belgian beer, by an awesome brewery. (787 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle: Vintage 2003. The beer pours an opaque red hued brown color. About a non-existent head on this one. Notes of caramel, alcohol, maybe chocolate, plums, maybe some yeast and a lot of others that I can’t quite place. It is very complex in there. The flavor is a bit sweet, with a slightly sour aftertaste. Actually a bit dry tasting also, as well as a touch syrupy. Notes of the chocolate, fruits and caramel to the taste. Very nice. (445 characters)

Photo of erica
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yep, this one was a good 'un. It was a dark reddish brown color, I dont remember the head to be honest because I was doing some work while it was poured for me and when I got to it there wasnt much head at all. just a thin layer of bubbles. It smelled sweet, carmel-ish kind of. I knew it would be good. It tasted amazing- a nutty flavor with a butter-toffee taste in there as well. Definitely made me smile, and though I couldn't taste the 10%abv, I could definitely feel it going down all warm. Mouthfeel- just right, soft, and so very drinkable. I hope I get an opportunity to try this again sometime! (604 characters)

Photo of smarcoly
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought the Alesmith Grand Cru as a celebration ale for my sister-in-laws wedding to share with my new brother-in-law. It was the perfect selection.

Poured beautifully into a "Bruery" tulip glass with a small head and mild lacing. Nice dark golden color worthy of any strong belgian ale. Aroma is extremely enticing and tempting to just dive in and drink up. The flavors did not disappoint. Just the right balance of sweetness initially, followed by enjoyable caramel/malty notes, and slightly hoppy in the finish. Just the right level of carbonation as it was not too bubbly, but just enough to let your tongue know it was there.

I cant wait to pick up another bottle. Alesmith hits it out of the park with this one! (720 characters)

Photo of BeerManDan
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When poured, it was a dark reddish brown with absolutley no foam what so ever and no trace of lace what so ever also. Now, the smell was something else. There was a sweet candied smell with the aroma's of fruits and roasted malts. The taste was outstanding, with the sweet caramel/toffee/figs along with the roasted malts is just overpowering. I'll give it a five, but, it may be just a little to sweet for someone else!

Overall, toasty toffee/caramel/fruity nose, with layers of soft malt and hops. Extremely well balanced. Another winner from Alesmith! (558 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 batch (gold foil): I had been saving this one for quite some time and I wasn't disappointed. It poured a rich caramel/toffee colour with a thin ring of fine bubbles. Very mellow, well-integrated aroma, with notes of caramel, apple, toffee, and brown sugar. The flavour has a fine balance - moderate bitterness with plenty of bready malt. Apple, chocolate, and toffee all make contributions as well. The finish has a tootsie roll character and fruit lingers beyond that. No alcohol was apparent. Full bodied with low carbonation and an extremely smooth texture. Truly awesome. The balance in the flavour and aroma was superb. I wish I had more of these beauties in storage. I miss this beer already... (705 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a dark murky reddish/brown liquid with a very fluffy white/beige/tan head of foam. This beer also leaves very excellent belgian lace throughout the glass. The aromas are immense and lovely. They consist of chocolate, raisins, dark fruit, spicy alcohol, zesty hops, caramel and patent roasted malts, yeast, and much, much more! The taste is a lovely melange of heavily malty flavors. As Darren has already stated, this stuff is very reminiscent of a nice 12 year old single malt scotch whiskey. The flavors are all over the place, and consist of: chocolate, dark fruits, spizy hops and alcohol, chocolate and caramel malts, scotch whiskey, and more. The mouthfeel is full, rich, and reminscent of cask conditioned real ale. The mouthfeel is great when this beer is cool (cellar temperature) but it is even better when this beer is warmed up to a warm (70*F) room temp. The tiny bubbles really cling to your tongue, and make the drinkability for this beer excellent! A huge thanks has to go out to Boilermaker88 for trading me, what is possibly, one of the last bottles in the world of this finely aged, nearly 4 year old, brew! Cheers! (1,142 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
4.64/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am splitting a 750 with Stopper and pouring it at room temp into a snifter.

The beer pours a clear mahogany with some deep ruby highlights. A small beige head foams up and fades rapidly.
Aroma is caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit, plums, raisins, and a little bit of rum booziness.
First sip reveals a syrupy texture with very mild carbonation. Pretty hefty body. The flavor is similar to the nose and almost as complex. Brown sugar and caramel mix with dark fruit, plums and raisins, some tart raspberry, and even red grape. I also get the warming booze on the finish. A sipper but a damn tasty one at that. Definitely worth a buy! (639 characters)

Photo of donManguno
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed blind. Sent to me by Sitarist, who is the man.

A: Pours a translucent mahogany into my Duvel tulip, 2-finger fluffy cream-colored head that lasts a decent amount of time. Little lacing.

S: Smells like a BSDA, getting some dark fruit and raisins, and a great deal of sourness from the belgian yeast. As it warms the sourness recedes and I get a lot more dark fruit and caramel, as well as some chocolate undertones.

T: This is delicious. Straight from the fridge it's very tart, almost like a Flanders Red. Tart cherry and sweet sourness dominate. I let it sit for about fifteen minutes after my initial sip and now it's really rich. I get plum and cherry, caramel and some cocoa, as well as some winter spice, like cinnamon. I really took my time on this and let it get to room temperature, which brought out a lot more of the chocolate and spice. I am really enamored of this beer.

M: Medium-heavy body, moderate carbonation. Velvety is a good word for this.

D: I want more. (989 characters)

Photo of Kemmerlin
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a gorgeous velvety unfiltered caramel color with very little head.

S: Supported smells of caramelized sugar, with fresh malts, and a hint of cinnamon, yum!

T: Had a very holiday type of taste. Apricot, raisin, caramel, brown sugar, spices, alcohol, and well done beef. I strongly recommend this one for a Christmas dinner.

M/D: A light feel that actually had a spicy feel to it. The drinkablility was very good with strong sweetness and very tiny alcohol feel. (473 characters)

Photo of Atron67
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to olibeer22 for this great trade!!!

A- almost ruby red body, with a crystal clear body. lgiht brown foam built on top and then fell down quickly. not too impressive, but its not where youd expect it to be impressive either. its a lot lighter than i would expect, but theres nothing wrong with it.

S- amber scents, light plum characther, light on both malt and hops flavor, definitely dark fruit characther but beyond the plum, which is definitely strongest, but only the beginning. slight caramel charachter which im not the biggest fan of, but with all the raisen plum charachter is rpetty good

T- big malt charachter to start. with the beginning of the malt bursts begins a huge dark fruit burst being, as would expect from the nose, mainly plum and raisen charachter coming from the yeast, but which is much more than just that can say. the caramel flavor is there but its not a negative. very creamy throughtout and very delicious

M- creamy, medium carbonation, lingers on the tongue

D- amazing to have gotten it, sad sad sad that this cant make it out to madison (1,081 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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. (1,412 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%

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. (1,030 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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 (456 characters)

Photo of tanarm
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured gently to not disturb the yeast, as a result not much head forms, but a ring sticks to the sides of the chalice. It is a wonderful deep mahogany/amber color. Crystal clear.

Smell is very sweet, hints of belgian candi sugar and raisins.

The taste is sweet and caramelized up front. Crisp... notes of biscuit, maybe a pinch of chocolate. There's a little nip from the 10.5 ABV but it is balanced out by the rest of the flavors going on here. Light balanced bitterness in the finish. It has a full body that coats the palate nicely. Not too much carbonation... this is good. As the beer warms, the flavors keep getting more intense.

Very nice! This is one of my favorite beers. This one will age excellently as well, if you can wait that long. I can't...

On a side note this doesn't taste anything like any other Belgian Strong Dark Ale I've ever had, but I don't believe that is at all what they were going for here. I would say it's more like a Belgian Barleywine... if there were such a category. (1,017 characters)

Photo of watermelonman
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This poured to a nice dark ruby color with a minor head. Lace is minimal.

The smell is a wonderful combination of dark fruits. Most notable are dark cherry, plum, and fig flavors. The taste is an even mix of dark fruits, malt, and just enough hops to balance it out. Alcohol is nowhere to be found. The mouthfeel is full. Drinkability is disturbing for the content. (368 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an aged, 2004 vintage bottle that I've been sitting on for a while...
Appears a faintly transparent dark amber with a small light tan head that fades to a small cap. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of spicey Belgian yeast, vanilla, doughy, light orange, sugary candy, and coriander.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a warming syup, brown sugar, along with cocoa, and vanilla.
Mouthfeel is chewy, syrupy, with brown sugar, mildly spiced, and full bodied. Delicious. (501 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Second AleSmith I've tried. Pours a dark brown color with an extremely large head that sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of sweet fruits, alcohol, and a slight spice (probably from the yeast). The flavor was very nice. Somewhat fruity - cherries? raisins? I'm not really sure, but I like it. Very easy to drink for the high alcohol. Wish this stuff wasn't so expensive, because I'd have it every day. (435 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 365 ratings.