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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.

696 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 696
Reviews: 357
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 98
Gots: 127 | 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: 696 | Reviews: 357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of htomsirveaux
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%

750 mL bottle tried 22 Feb 2010.

Served in a 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Small white head. Well carbonated. Clear very dark reddish brown color. Yeast, ethanol and brown sugar in the aroma. Lots of candy sugar, very much like a spice cake, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and molasses. Dried fruit, resin and orange. Warming ethanol finish, aftertaste is sweet with a touch of chocolate. Medium light body.

Would get this again, but probably not a daily drinker...

htomsirveaux, May 23, 2010
Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%

750ml. Assuming this is 2010 since I just picked it up during our Christmas trip. Fairly clear dark amber pour. Nice fluffy off white head, retained very well.

Aroma, Malt, yeast, but the largest scent is dark fruit, plum, black cherry.

Taste, pretty varied and changing. Starts with the plum, grape. Malty caramel, earthy yeast. Last more molasses, chocolate covered candied fruit.

Medium bodied, smoother and lighter on carb than the appearance would lead one to believe. Warming, but alcohol is not overly present. If not for the carbonation I'd say this tasted more like a port. 8 oz. is probably about enough though, due to the lower carb.

Not bad and the price wasn't outrageous. The rating number is probably a little higher than my feeling of the beer.

Bung, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%

Bottle to snifter.

A - Very dark amber/brown in colour; basically opaque with only a slight shimmer of ruby glow around the edges. Half a finger of cream coloured head formed and slowly dissipated.

S - Belgian yeast, spice, clove, candy sugar, raisins, figs, toffee and a hint of chocolate. Fairly complex nose.

T - Big spice presence combined with Belgian yeast and cloves up front. The mid-palate adds caramel, candied raisins and toffee. The finish is dry with a touch of chocolate. Very easy drinking.

M - Medium body but a touch thin at times. Light to moderate carbonation.

TheSevenDuffs, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of mntlover
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%

Pours a light mahogany with a light tan head that lasts and lasts is feed by lots of carbonation bubbles sticking to my chalice. Was hard to make out the hue of this brew do to the amount of bubbles stuck to my glass actually.
Aroma belgian candy like sweetness mixed with dark fruits, dates dipped in mollasses and some spice mingling around the mixture.
Taste is malty caramel, mollasses and candy like sweetness all rolling around with raisins, dates and figs a very tastey little party. Some spicey pepper and the like mix with some herbal/floral hops for a finish that also has hints of honey.
Mouthfeel is great all the carbonation noted in the looks doesn't make it into the feel, it is not fizzy at all just a good feeling medium bodied beer.
Drinkability is good a nice Grad Cru provided by an even nicer BA thanks merlin48 for sharing this with me.

mntlover, Feb 03, 2005
Photo of GClarkage
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%

11/13/07- Received in trade with RKHaze.

Presentation- 750ml bottle. Nice silk screen logo bottle. Doesn't have the year of the release, but I know it was version 2003 per the trader. Poured into my Alesmith tulip as suggested by the bottle label.

Appearance- Mahogoney-brown in color pour. Really light lace patchwork with a 1.4 inch if that head upon pour. Very light rim after it settles.

Smell- Raisins, sugar plums, a really sweet caramel and light alcohol. Very pungent and sweet boquet.

Taste- Another caramello bar beer. Very sweet, but also has a tiny hint of sourness (think it was a bit past it's prime). Decent amount of alcohol noted as well as some raisins and dates. Maybe even a touch of coffee as noted in the first few sips. Mild hops noticed.

Mouthfeel- Very minor and light carbonation. Slight bitterness in the aftertaste and headed towards being a tad watery. Still silky and smooth though.

Drinkability- I wish badly I had tried this beer last year. I think 4 years old was pushing it a bit. I have no doubt in my mind this beer would have been fantastic or even world class if I had consumed it earlier. As is, it's still a very good beer, just a bit past it's prime.

GClarkage, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of cdkrenz
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%

A - Reddish body with lots of carbonation. Head is around two inches tall and light tan in color with very nice stamina.

S - Slight floral aroma with spice, sweet caramel and roasty toffee. There's also a subtle pungency of plum.

T - The tastes are that of a deep plum with rich caramel. This is a full flavored beverage.

M - Texture is thick and smooth with a slight chewiness to it.

~ I couldn't do more than one of these in a night. This is the kind of brew you enjoy of a cold winter night while sitting in front of the fire place. I will definitely suggest this to friends.

cdkrenz, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of TheBungyo
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%

This is tough to review. I poured into my Orval glass and was shocked to get NO head whatsoever. I know it was clean as I had washed it whilst being careful NOT to use too much soap, and rinsed it generously. In another review, Skyhand used the word lifeless in regards to the appearance, and because I'm unimaginative I'm going to steal it and agree. Very little carbonation and no lacing or head. Body is exactly the right color. Brown and amber mingled. Nose is tart apples, red wine, butter ... just what the doctor ordered for a good Grand Cru. Taste put me off initially ... it was much like the smell, maybe with the tart apples playing the dominant role. I paired this with some Jarlsberg and made sure I had several sips before eating any cheese so as not to blemish my initial taste. It was only when I tried the cheese when the flavor really became amazing ... the cheese really balanced out the flavor and made this beer extremely enjoyable. Mouth is ok, but maybe just a little too thin for my taste. Drinkability suffers when you know there are better and CHEAPER beers of the same style sitting on the shelf. I surely would give this another go though, because this is an enjoyable beer ... if I could get it without having to trade for it.
Thanks to Clickpush for providing this!

TheBungyo, Jun 11, 2006
Photo of SShelly
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%

On tap at the brewery.

Off the tap a dark brownish amber color with big pillow of foam.

Smell has great malt character, with a little yeasty, banana thing going on.

Malt dominant with lots of dark fruit, spicy yeast character and some residual sugar.

Feels great in the mouth, very lively with great carb, leaves a little residual sugar in the mouth.

Excellent offering from alesmith, my wife and I left with a growler.

SShelly, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, medium brown body with a full, foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Aroma of dark caramel malts, dark candi sugar, vanilla, plums, and earthy dried herbs with a spicy yeast character.

Taste: Sweet, rich caramel maltiness with a juicy, tangy dark fruit flavor. Pinch of cherry-infused pipe tobacco. A drizzle of sweet syrup and two drops of vanilla extract. Lightly alcoholic throughout. Mild hop bitterness. Spicy yeastiness. Fruity, semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Moderate carbonation. Slightly syrupy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: One of my favorite American-made Belgian Strongs.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%

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.

StonedTrippin, Feb 01, 2014
Photo of WJVII
4.05/5  rDev 0%

2/23/11 Review session hosted by Cdkrenz, reviewed from notes

Poured a nice amber color with strong red tints in the light. A modestly thin 1 finger head that left a light trace of a cap. The aroma was of dark fruits, plum, cherry, and some alcohol in the nose. The taste was very sweet with a strong plum and very warm alcohol taste in the finish. This was a thin brew with light to moderate carbonation. A nice brew to start the session.

WJVII, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of trbergman
4.05/5  rDev 0%

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a chalice.

A - Pours a rich auburn with a thin tan crema of foam.

S - Sweet caramel, fig, raisins, some spicy clove phenols.

T - Taste follows from the nose, with additional phenols and a nice peppery character. Alcohol is up front and warming. Rich and malty. As it warms, fruit flavors blossom with notes of plum and dried apple. Hop bitterness is a tad high, but not overwhelming. Finishes spicy, with a tingle of alcohol.

M - Full body with ample carbonation to perk things up.

D - Alesmith Grand Cru is a very nice beer, but I think it needs a bit more age to really come into its own. Worth a try.

trbergman, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of blindtiger24
4.05/5  rDev 0%

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.

blindtiger24, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of Bendurgin
4.05/5  rDev 0%

Bottle shared by Andy and poured into a tulip. This one pours a Dark mahogany and pours with a giant off white head. It settles down to about a finger of creamy foam. Real nice sticky soapy lace.

Really a lot of fruit in the aroma. I would say grapes and raisins with a touch of toffee to round out the aroma. This is a little boozey in the aroma with a bit of cinnamon spiciness it. Pretty nice here, bready malts with a nice dried fruit flavor to it; dates and raisins come to mind with grape skins. This one finishes try with a touch of sweetness.

This one seems a little heavy on the carbonation. I'd prefer to see it toned down a bit but the body is nice a full. Overall, a solid offering from these guys. I think one would be hard pressed to find a better American offering of the style.

Bendurgin, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of ZAP
4.05/5  rDev 0%

Pours a cherrywood color….no head…what a great nose…fresh, spicy blend of crisp Cabernet grapes….crushd green leaves….and efervescent tangerine and bergamot.. smootthed with rich tobacco….violet….nutmeg and earthy woods....deeper in a big boozy, rum like alcohol smell eminates..,

Flavor is very sweet…a blend of fruity heartiness of lemon, lime, pineapple and tangerine…. combined with jasmine….rose……port soaked cherries…nutmeg and cocoa…. also some hints of woods, musk and even some slight vanilla...definitely some heat too

Body is full…slick and sweet…

Overall I find this a fascinating beer but one that is a bit too sweet…Despite it’s intrgue I don’t think I would pay the coin for this one again..

ZAP, May 31, 2005
Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.05/5  rDev 0%

This beer pours a murky reddish brown, with golden edges. A light tan head that fades fast. The nose is strong of sour unripe cherry, belgian yeast, alcohol and spices. The tast is belgian yeast strains, spices, and cherries. A grood mouthfeel and finish with good carbonation. Another good beer from Alesmith.

BdubleEdubleRUN, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of jampics2
4.05/5  rDev 0%

A 22oz bottle purchased in 2009 split with my family to celebrate my birthday!

Poured into a snifter - looks nice. Reddish in color with no head. A bit of head retention would make this score higher.

Smells great! Raisin, bready malt, caramel, some Belgian yeast, and some alcohol. For some reason the first sniff reminded me of a rum soaked raisin.

Taste is also quite nice. Toasted raisin bread with the crust on. Plum. Sweet Belgian candy sugar. Some dark cherries.

Mouthfeel falls a little short for me. I know it's bottle conditioned, but the carb is abrasive and rough to me.

Drinkablity was better than average but this is a hot beer. Overall it's enjoyable, but it's a big time brew!

jampics2, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of jjayjaye
4.05/5  rDev 0%

Pours a slightly hazy dark tea amber color with a shallow wispy eggshell head that fades quickly to spotted lacing. The smell is rich and malty sweet, dark fruit, caramel, Belgian yeast and alcohol. Full bodied and lightly carbonated, a significant piece of the mouth feel is the tang from the 10% ABV. This particular sample isn't exhibiting the effervescence from the secondary fermentation that is described on the bottle. I like the flavor and I fully intend on stocking up on these on my next trip to Table & Vine, but i can't say that its true to style or not. My first impression was that the taste came across like a barleywine. The nose has off setting figginess. The flavor will change as you get closer to the suspended yeast. Highly recommended. Yes...i intend on doing "the yeast shot".

jjayjaye, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of TheDoctor
4.05/5  rDev 0%

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

TheDoctor, Feb 16, 2014
Photo of billab914
4.05/5  rDev 0%

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Southern Tier tulip glass. It poured a deep and dark, caramel color with a modest, bubbly, khaki colored head to it. The head retreated to the edges of the glass, where it left just a hint of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma reminds me a lot of champagne actually. I get a lot of white wine, delicate fruit fruit flavors out of it, with some strawberry and grape coming through. Some malty, darker fruit flavors come out as it warms as well as a bit of the Belgian yeast spice.

The taste shows some of the white wine/champagne like character that was present in the aroma, but it's definitely maltier and shows more of the dark fruit side. I get some raisins, cherry and plums in addition to the more delicate and bright, grape and strawberry. I get some of the Belgian yeast spice in the finish, with some cinnamon and nutmeg notes.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being high. Drinkability was pretty good, it had some very nice flavors to it overall. It definitely reminded me of champagne, but yet maltier and with some more depth to it. I can't say I drink this style often, but this is one of the better ones I've had. Definitely has a lot of depth and complexity to it, and was a very nice beer overall.

billab914, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of dar482
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

dar482, Nov 26, 2013
Photo of jmdrpi
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%

750 mL capped bottle, no date.

popped the cap, and it fizzed over. pours a clear chestnut brown. the bubbly head fades fast. the smell is a nice mix of slightly earthy Belgian yeast and bready malt. taste is bold yet smooth and easy drinking. good balance, starts biscuity and slightly sweet then finishes dry and a bit boozy. thin to medium body, higher carbonation. could be a little less fizzy.
overall - quite good, only the over carbonation is an issue.

jmdrpi, May 25, 2013
Photo of merlin48
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?

merlin48, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%

Appearance: Ruby brown thin cream colored head lacing is thin and spread unevenly across my tasting glass. Aroma: Deep fruit infused notes cary across my schnose, all blended with upfront alcohol tones and candi sugar sweetness with a blend of spices that just work. Taste: Very big in flavor this brew sits on the palate, touch of upfront alcohol to let you know who's boss. Then she creeps in with a blend of barleywine like caramel rich malt backbone blended with a dubbel raisin and tart fruit notes somewhat of a curveball. The hop profile stands out quite well for a Belgian style with this much alcohol, not too hoppy but definitely has some balls. Mouthfeel: Medium body a bit syrupy on the palate, decent big beer from the Alesmith brewing company. Drinkability: I feel that this beer is meant to be drank in smaller portions after about seven or so ounces I would get tired of the flavor and the texture just sits on the palate need a cleanser with this one.

WVbeergeek, Apr 12, 2004
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%

Found this at a local corner liquor store. Thought to myself, "wow, that's three years old or pretty damn close." Never had a beer that old before, let's try it.
Alesmith's 2000 Grand Cru came in a 750ml brown bottle with a big gold foil wrapper on top covering a cap covering a cork. It's like they don't want you to get at what's inside! I read the directions on the back carefully as, at $11, I didn't want to have a bunch end up on the counter. Get the tulip glass, get the bottle open, and away we go....
This beer poured a murky brownish red. I was expecting a head of some kind but was rewarded with only a thin little tannish ring around the edge.
Smell was much more rewarding. Immediately note the strong alcohol aroma and the scents of plums, raisins and malt. Has an almost scotch-like nose after waiting three years to be unleashed.
Taste was an enticing assortment of malt, rock candy, prunes, raisins, chocolate and alcohol flavors. The bottle stated the %ABV was 9.5% but that was three years ago. I wonder what it's at now?
Feel was full, smooth, and round with a nice warmth.
I've not had a beer that's been around this long but I definitely liked this. I was a bit swizzled by the time I finished the bottle but that wouldn't stop me from going back to that little store and getting what's left.

Boilermaker88, Oct 02, 2003
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 696 ratings.