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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.

718 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 718
Reviews: 357
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 98
Gots: 128 | 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: 718 | Reviews: 357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy chestnut brown ale with no head at all.

Smell is raisins and brown sugar with a bit of caramel and pineapple make up the bulk of the scent. Spicy black pepper and nutmeg scents ride on the alcohol fumes from this.

Taste is brown sugar and chocolate cake in the first sip. Spicy black pepper and coriander are the next flavors to appear. Mild chocolate and fruit show up next. Flavorful but it could be more.

Mouthfeel is good.

A nice drinkable double but this one just isn't all that in the flavor department. I might be a bit spoiled on the easy availability of La Chouffe here but this just isn't quite up to the level of Belgium's best.

Zorro, Nov 01, 2005
Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to PhxHorn for this!

750 ml bottle - gold-foiled poured into tulip glass:

Pours dark amber with a thin off-white head that eventually dissipates to leave a ring and some trailing lace.

The smell is of toffee, spiced bread, plums, stewed/dried apricot and peach. Complex. Malty, with a touch of smoke.

The taste is of rich toffee - towards chocolate at times - caramelish with spicy, slightly roasted fruitiness - stewed apricot/peach/prune - slightly grapey. Fruity and malty, but with an herbal bitterness that lingers. Rum-like booze is there, but not sharp. Abv high for a beer, but not sharp.

Rich, especially in aroma. There is a bitter touch to it, and alcohol there, but not overwhelming. A rich, delightful "sipper".

jwc215, May 27, 2009
Photo of neonbrown82
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer seems all over the place. Not that that's a bad thing. It's just so incredibly complex. It pours to a dark plum color, very hazy. No head even with a vigourous pour. Carbonation is very minimal as well, and of course, no lacing.

The smell is very interesting. A whole bunch of tropical fruits, such as pineapple, but also some more dark and earthy berry-like tones, such as raisins and dates. A little brown sugar with an alcohol burn as well.

The taste is very good. Almost has a Oude Bruin tartness, though it is not sour. It would be interesting to see how this recipe would turn out with a touch of brettanomyces. Other than that, it tastes much on par with the nose. Quite sweet with some very nice fruity esters. Lots of residuals leave a coating brown sugar flavor in the mouth.

The body is very thick and chewey. Seems almost flat, however. The finish lingers forever. Quite good. Thanks to dogfooddog for the opportunity to try this.

neonbrown82, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of Rifugium
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: Philly Beer Scene Tasting panel with Matt Falco at Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

I was privileged enough to be on the tasting panel for PBS Magazine, along with Bill Covaleski of Victory and Greg Ramirez of Exton Beverage. This was one of 21 beers we sampled during the session.

Poured a slightly hazy mahogany color with a small layer of tannish bubbles for a head; not much to speak of in retention and lacing. Aroma of dark sugars, cider and dark fruits. Alcohol warmth on the tongue, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits, mulled cider. Medium body, moderate carbonation, pretty nice overall.

Rifugium, May 26, 2012
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: A bottle received into the Bums 11th floor Beer Cellar courtesy of fellow Gentleman BA xlperro as I never seem to come across this beer in my area. A green glass 1 Pint 9 fl.oz Bottle. Gold lettering highlighted with a red splash of color. A full straight sided Pint glass sits atop an Anvil with the words “Alesmith 2003 Grand Cru Ale”. Listed as 10.0% Alc. by vol. The thick gold foil that wraps the crown cap (no cork BTW) reminded of chocolate gold coins I bought as a child.

Appearance: Dark cloudy brown chestnut, bordering on a mahogany colored body – slight turbidity. The tanned-beige head was a reasonable size and comprised of large bubbles at first, but it settled to a thin collar covering. Nice conditioning that helped to resurrect the fading head when the beer was swirled.

Nose: Strong caramel odors, mixed with a sweet melted honey and warm maple syrup aroma. Sweet and inviting, yet the Single Malt Whisky aromas warm the nostrils in the latter third of the nose and remind you that this is double-figure beverage to be treated with respect.

Taste: The beginning is all malts, warm, soothing and surreptitiously seducing, before you know it; you are in the dark fruity middle of this fine Ale. Warming alcohols, dates, figs and a liquid molasses texture rim the mouth. The sweetness rises in the ending, as does the warming alcohol and malts.

Mouthfeel: The alcohol comes through in the ending of this beer, and warms the throat adequately enough to remind you that this beer is 10%, and a sipper – sadly it drinks way too easily for me to head this warning.

Drinkability: Immense, it goes down well, just too damn easily! You should really sip this one from a Belgium Goblet – but I actually used a Pint Glass to finish the 750ml bottle off, it was that good.

Overall: Much different to the 2000 from my faded memory. Yet still another excellent quality offering from Alesmith that reinforces the fact that this Brewery is way too good to be in a small unit in San Diego - it needs to move to larger premises in Long Beach! The 2003 will certainly age well & improve for years to come I believe. Shame I don’t have any more (for now).

Thanks for this one BigDog! You’ll go to Heaven (you’ll be on yer own when you get there though, I’ll be down below drinking this and the Alesmith Horny Devil)

TheLongBeachBum, Nov 13, 2003
Photo of cpetrone84
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-the color pours a deep hazy reddish amber beer with tons of a thin white bubbly head that fizzles away and leaves no lacing on the glass

S-there are big notes of alcohol through. the smell also brings some wild yeast and clove that becomes sweet dark fruits of black cherry and ripe plum

T-the taste does not have nearly the presence of alcohol as the nose, however it is there. it brings a light yeast up front and is immediately overtaken by sweet malts of dark fruit, lots of ripe plum and some dark cherry

M-the body is on the lighter end of a full body which is nice, it is quite syrupy and slightly astringent towards the back of the throat. it also is highly carbonated which is a slight turn off for me

D-the taste hides the high alcohol very well and brings big malty sweetness, however too much carbonation and some alcohol presence takes away from the drinkability slightly.

cpetrone84, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of mrkun
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brewery.

A: Very dark amber/brown with nice head and good lacing.

S: Very fruity and sweet with noticeable Belgian yeast presence.

T: The taste follows the nose. Lots of fruit is present, especially bananas, Belgian yeast, spices, brown sugar.

M: Light/medium carbonation and very smooth.

O: There was barely any alcohol detectable at all in this stuff making it dangerously drinkable. Very nicely done.

mrkun, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml into Duvel tulip at 50 degrees.

Pours with a large, 4F of beige foam head over a really pretty mahogany wood colored body.

Aromas of prune, Belgian yeast, candied sugar, maybe even some red twizzlers.

Decadent. Thick sweet malted goodness. Currant jelly, red grape skins. Good spicy qualities come thru as it warms a bit, too. Lite bitter bite at the end, especially as it warmed.

Mouthfeel is pretty creamy up front, and then pulls in the carbonation through the middle and finish to keep it from being too thick.

Drinkability is just fine for a 10% BSDA - Not too thick, not overpowering on either end of the flavor spectrum. Would be a fun one to age as well.

BeerImmediately, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 7/24/10 notes. Had at the CL cdc release.

a - Pours a mahogany color with no head and moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of cherries, dark fruits, spices, and sweet sugar.

t - Tastes of dark fruit, molasses, and a hint of alcohol.

m - Medium body and no carbonation.

d - A pretty good Belgian style dark ale. I enjoyed the smell a lot and would like to try again.

mdfb79, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of rye726
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Up for review is a 750ml bottle of Alesmith Grand Cru. Poured at room temp into a St. Bernardus Goblet. Botle was around $10 in Michigan. Great American example of a Belgian style, well balanced. But I would expect nothing less from Alesmith. Go get a bottle, try it for yourself.

rye726, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of pentathlete
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Translucent burnt umber, 1 inch head, falls to a ring with islands of bubbles. Smell is alcohol, rum soaked raisins, and cinnamon bread dough. The taste is caramel and alcohol, though less than I expected after the strong nose. This has a fine mouthfeel, with the alcohol thinning things out a bit. Very drinkable, but after a 750ml bottle you shouldn't be having much else.

pentathlete, Apr 03, 2006
Photo of htomsirveaux
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
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.

StonedTrippin, Feb 01, 2014
Photo of WJVII
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
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.

blindtiger24, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of Bendurgin
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 718 ratings.