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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: 101
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
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Reviews: 365 | Hads: 805
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)

Photo of xymyl
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Color: Vibrant dark copper/mahogany, 2 tone tan/cream colored head (like shore and surf). Very small bubbles, long lasting carbonation, some lacing.

Aroma: Scotchlike peaty malt and sherry (think lagavulin with less peat), light smoke, toast, yeasty dough, caramel, various herbs and spices (crazy stuff like dill), old stale coriander, anise, cloves, cinamon, candi sugar, plums, cherries, rasins and much more (but I haven't got all day to write this).

Taste: starts off soft, lightly acidic and mouthwatering, then gets huge and lactic with a dense rush of flavors, everything I mentioned as being on the nose and many others as well, you have to wade through the richness and complexity, as well as the sweetness, then there is a light floral/citric/herbal note that creates a line between middle and end. The end is a dry/sweet/dry interplay that lasts a good while.

Body is medium-full to full.

Note: This has been aged a couple of years, but seems to be at its peak. The sweetness might put some off, but I don't think you can make something this complex and large without this level of sweetness. It is a perfect beer to substitute for both a vintage port and a island single malt scotch (esp. Lagavulin 16 year old), if you need a beer to stand in temporarily for a higher ranking (in age and alcohol) dead soldier. (1,336 characters)

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a generic tulip- pours a a sort of rosewood color with a HUGE three finger head that sticks around for a while and has a few streaks of lacing.

Smells very much like a Belgian strong ale- yeasty and malty with a little spice (seems to me like cinnamon and nutmeg).

Tastes excellent- again very much like a Belgian strong ale; yeasty and malty, but not overly yeasty as some can be. It is pretty sweet but not sickeningly sweet. I do taste a hint of nutmeg but it is mostly just perfectly balanced yeast and malt flavors.

Mouthfeel is fantastic- light to medium bodied and very well carbonated. Sparkles on the tongue. This is an excellent beer (as are all of the other Alesmith brews that I've had). Get if you see it! (749 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This seemed like a fitting beer for my 700th review...750 mL bottle, either 2008 or 09 vintage. Pours a mostly clear, crimson-brown color without much in the way of head retention or lacing.

Smelling this beer one might not know it was brewed somewhere other than Belgium. Caramely, sugared rum lend an almost quad-like nose. Bready yeast, dark fruits and brown sugared figs. Smells damn good.

Taste is rich chocolaty, yeasty goodness. Tastes like something between a BSDA, Dubbel and Quad. So complex, yet so drinkable! Caramely, toasty malts and brown sugar mingle with a nice yeast contribution of light fruits and heavy bread. Hides the ABV very well. Alesmith has really produced a winner here, I like it alot! (717 characters)

Photo of jeddsp
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow...what a great beer. Being that I live in Atl, I haven't had the opportunity to drink any Alesmith until now...and I was dissapointed.

Poured Ruby Red with mild lacing and a light head.

Smell was exceptional. Dark, fruity, syrupy, caramel.

Taste and drinkability were the same-dark fruits like raisins with a hint of molasses. Very drinkable.

Would like to get another bottle of this, cellar it and see how it ages. Seems like the perfect beer to age for a year or so. (476 characters)

Photo of aerozeppl
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice clear dark amber color with some slightly brownish head that quickly retreated to the edge of my Abbaye Du Val Dieu chalice.

S: Very impressive. It is a nice mix of basement must and nuts. Really have not gotten nuts as a smell that often in beer but this one punched me in the face. Just a great malt profile as well.

T: Very sweet off the bat. The dark fruit is super subtle but it does creep up on you nicely. I want to know what yeast they used in this.

M: A touch on the dry side. Carbonation is very low but it really works.

D: A really nice sipper. I cellared this for about a year and a half and it is drinking fine right now. Still have not had a bad beer from Alesmith. This is one of the better American made Belgian strong dark ales that I have had. (773 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a nice dark brown color with a 2 finger thich tan head that wouldn't go away. The nose was a nice brown sugary mixed with some raisiney spice. This beer tasted great, with a wonderful spicey and fruity character going on with the slight raisin flavor mixing with the belgian yeast. The beer was thick and a bit creamy, and fantastic. With the high ABV on this puppy, drinkability couldn't be better. A treat to have tried it. Word to my man clvand0 for sharing this one. (487 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a one finger, cream head that quickly fades leaving no lace. Nose is raisins and alcohol. Cloudy amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is caramel, raisins and some alcohol. Pricey - $12.70 for a 750ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. (265 characters)

Photo of dnichols
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had two six ounce samples from the caged and corked 750 ml bottle whose cap was wrapped in gold foil.

A: It poured a cooper hue body with a slight off-white head that was gone before it could leave any lacing.

S: It had the aroma of dark fruits (plums and fresh plum black raisins) and a hint of bananas.

T: The sweet raisin flavor was dominant. I could also pick up the plums and dates. This is one complex ball of sweetness without being overpoweringly sweet.

M: It was medium bodied. Sweetness rolled across my tung with each sip. The was a sweet drying on the backside that left my mouth coated with a light sweet taste that encouraged the next sip.

D: This is an easy clean brew to drink. It has a enjoyable flavor and pleasant aftertaste. The 10% ABV might limit one to two or three at a setting but what a joyous session that would be.

Comments: I shared this fine ale with a couple of friends but secretly I was wishing I had it all to myself. My guilt now drives me to ordering a few more of these so next time, and the time after, I can enjoy it at my leisure and from the first to the last drop. (1,118 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Bottle: Alesmith continues to impress! Deep amber color with a thick and rocky beige head. Thin and sticky lacing. Big aroma of sweet caramel, malt and maple. Rich body with loads of fruits and spices up front, and more sweet malt, chocolate and other goodies underneath. The finish is chocolatey and sticky. As with the other Alesmith beers, a champagne bottle disappears all too easily. (393 characters)

Photo of REDAMI
4.51/5  rDev +11.1%
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. (405 characters)

AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 365 ratings.