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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

686 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 686
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 99
Gots: 126 | FT: 9
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: 686 | Reviews: 355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SaCkErZ9
SaCkErZ9

Florida

2.81/5  rDev -30.4%

I completed an IRONMAN 70.3 in Haines City on April 13 and popped this beer open that afternoon to celebrate my accomplishment. I wish I would have opened something else :(

I received this in a trade about 7 or 8 years ago. Popped the cork and there wasn't a lot of fizzy sounds coming from the bottle, which usually portends a lack of carbonation. The beer emerges hazy and muddy and ruddy brown in color with not much head on the beer or carbonation. Looks very dull and rather unappealing.

Aroma was sweet and caramelly and oxidized. This bottle has not held up well. I have kept this one is a cellar since I received it. No real spark or anything to the aroma.

Flavor was dull and muted as well. Sweet and alcoholic, mostly flat with very little carbonation. Perhaps a fresh bottle of this is delicious, but one aged in perfect conditions for 7 years doesn't hold up well. Not sure what to say about this one except it was a huge disappointment. Belgian styles are supposed to stand the test of time; not this one.

04-17-2014 20:54:40 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of toeknee
toeknee

Georgia

2.88/5  rDev -28.7%

Purchased this bottle in LA area Summer, 2006. Carried back to Atlanta where it has been in my basement since.

Not much fizz when I popped the cap. Pours a very murky amber with surprisingly weak head.

Big, rich, malty aromas with almost candy-like sweet notes. Smells almost of creamy cotton candy. Big and sweet, but with little complexity.

Very sweet, malty flavor with not much carbonation at all. I find I'm having to search really hard on my palate for flavors and that should not be the case. Perhaps it's too cold. Regardless of temperature, the flavor starts slowly on the tongue, ramps up nicely, but then fades away before any sort of defining climax. All that's left on the tongue is the telltale vinuous coating of oxidation.

I've heard / read this beer can be hit or miss, but I wonder if it is a quality control issue or if people are cellaring improperly or what. I took pretty good care of this bottle and I can't imagine this is what the brewery intended for me to drink.

01-05-2008 04:08:47 | More by toeknee
Photo of msquared36
msquared36

Ohio

2.96/5  rDev -26.7%

Very dark with a deep red tint.

Aroma is roasted malt with a hint of smoke.

Malty and fruity - dark fruit like plum and cherry. Very sweet finish.

Very smooth and substantial.

A little too sweet for me. Seems to get sweeter as it warms. Lacks complexity, maybe it would be better aged. Tough to get through the whole bottle because it gets syrupy. First Alesmith I've tried that isn't great.

03-09-2014 22:35:51 | More by msquared36
Photo of kevwcamp
kevwcamp

Washington

3/5  rDev -25.7%

09-09-2013 06:23:31 | More by kevwcamp
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3/5  rDev -25.7%

Bottle courtesy of Black95tt: Poured an hazy dark amber color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention. Aroma of candi sugar, sweet malt and alcohol is pretty intense and reminiscent of Gouden Carolus Keizer. Taste is quite hot at first, which does not really suit my taste. The presence of candi sugar is quite evident as well as some dry figs characteristics. Yeast is totally overshadowed by the malt and the alcohol. Body is just above average but could be fuller and carbonation was appropriate. Overall, I really don’t see the big fuss over this beer and would prefer to taste a Gouden Carolus Keizer, which is similar, but more balance overall.

08-25-2006 18:21:46 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Drew26
Drew26

Wisconsin

3/5  rDev -25.7%

08-16-2013 19:10:35 | More by Drew26
Photo of fragilemacabre
fragilemacabre

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -25.7%

While I'm pretty new to this style of beer, I don't like this incarnation. I really enjoy the dark smokiness of it, and it is rather pretty. Its smell is flat to me, almost like stale pumpernickel bread soaked in a stout overnight and left to try. The alcohol content is fairly apparent (read: you can tell there's a smidge, but not necessarily that it's a 10% smidge), and the carbonation seems to me to interfere with the taste. Considering that I don't like its taste as much as I was hoping (and that I want to try other beers in this style), it is still surprisingly drinkable... Doubtful on my chances of ordering it at a beer bar, but it hasn't convinced me to give up on the style (unlike 99% of pilsners)

03-12-2010 06:39:22 | More by fragilemacabre
Photo of djaeon
djaeon

California

3/5  rDev -25.7%

01-22-2012 20:51:37 | More by djaeon
Photo of akttr
akttr

Michigan

3/5  rDev -25.7%

09-29-2012 12:41:42 | More by akttr
Photo of smi
smi

New York

3/5  rDev -25.7%

04-14-2012 01:43:48 | More by smi
Photo of ejw127
ejw127

Nevada

3/5  rDev -25.7%

04-19-2012 03:30:20 | More by ejw127
Photo of johnhenryconway
johnhenryconway


3/5  rDev -25.7%

12-15-2011 13:00:03 | More by johnhenryconway
Photo of xnicknj
xnicknj

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -25.7%

01-22-2012 16:54:57 | More by xnicknj
Photo of jophish17
jophish17

Georgia

3/5  rDev -25.7%

12-09-2011 02:03:42 | More by jophish17
Photo of zbooks
zbooks

Texas

3/5  rDev -25.7%

02-14-2012 22:12:24 | More by zbooks
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

3.03/5  rDev -25%

Ok, but not great. Poured with a nice light tan, foamy, frothy, head that lasts a long time and a little lace. Color is a cloudy amber brown. Aroma is solvents, malt, caramel, yeast. Flavor's much like nose, with sweetness standing out but a little confusing to me as it matches sweet solvents. Body and carbonation are ok. Finish is like flavor, of average length and no hint of booze.

11-16-2011 02:15:21 | More by drpimento
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.05/5  rDev -24.5%

Bottle, aged ~1 year. Pours a deep brown with a small white head. Aroma of raisin and sweet malt. Flavor is vegetal, quite malty and heavy in the palate. A little better as it warms, but it's super sweet. This is supposed to age well, but I didn't like how it turned out. Meh, not a fan.
6/4/7/3/13 (3.3/5

01-25-2009 04:57:23 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of beerwolf77
beerwolf77

Wisconsin

3.08/5  rDev -23.8%

Thanks to sweemzander for another bottle to sample.

A: Cinnamon brown with red edges. Small amount of dirty white head. Soapy lace.

S: Caramel malt and sort of faded hops. Bready with a mix of dark fruit. There's a bit of spice in there but the nose is rather subdued.

T: Mild caramel malt and faded hops. A bit of dark fruit and wet leather. Strange spices float around in there as well.

M: Medium body with modest carbonation.

O: Overall very average at best.

04-16-2011 23:59:38 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -23.3%

750mL bottle poured into a tulip. Got this awhile ago from a generous trader, but I cannot remember who, but thank you!

(A)- Pours a reddish amber color. Produced a decent off-white head that dissipated down to bubbles.

(S)- A rich earthy clay with some dark fruits and subtle raisin.

(T)- Lots of raisin-like dark fruits. Mildly earthy.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Dry and earthy with some bitterness in there too.

(D)- Its a decent belgian strong dark. A tad thin, yet rich in a sweetness sense. Rather straightforward for the style.

04-06-2011 01:18:15 | More by sweemzander
Photo of hannydawg
hannydawg

Illinois

3.13/5  rDev -22.5%

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

A- Rich mahogany color with reddish hues. 2 finger off white head sticks around for a while with minimal lacing left behind.

S- Dark fruits dominate with figs, plums and raisins present. A peppery smell is also present, as well as caramel malts.

T- Sweet caramel malts, plums, raisins, and a bit of alcohol present that was hidden on the nose.

M- Medium bodied, with ample carbonation, but the alcohol comes through too much, something the Belgians seem to hide much better.

O-Not a bad BSDA, a but too sweet, and the alcohol is more present than I care for.

04-11-2012 03:53:06 | More by hannydawg
Photo of odeed
odeed

California

3.2/5  rDev -20.8%

after drikning a 2000 bottle a few weeks ago i must say this was a bit different.(good thing i bought 2 as im going to cellar the other one)
first thing i noticed is this one did not have a cork in it as the 2000 bottle did.
i dropped this one in a pint glass and it gave no head at all.
had a nice drak amber color.
overall taste?it was still smooth but the alcohol was a bit overwhelming twards the end.i could see the same taste as the 2000 bottle trying to come out but hey...what do ya expect ya know?

10-08-2004 08:08:57 | More by odeed
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

3.2/5  rDev -20.8%

750ml bottle purchased at Whole Foods for a nice price. Split with Oglmcdgl, into some Duvel snifters. Been two years since I had a aged bottle and I think this is fresh(er).

Dead red plum juice drizzle with light brown bark rounding out the hue. A stealthy healthy pour yielded a whole hand of vanilla white foam that stuck together quite well, but not on the glass. Just some small sqiggly streaks and a ring around the glass.

For a BSDA this does not have the moxy or the dark fruit and sweet presence for the style. This smells more like an American Strong with all that booze in there, it's not hiding, it's not scurred. There is some dark fruit with light plum and apple but it comes off some what rotted or decayed. Some melted banana and strange yeast.

A big bite of banana in the morning that's whooomp, up there. Some applesauce with sprinkled cinnamon, rotted plums and bready yeast that leaves a strange taste in my mouth. Along with all of that is the booze which is kinda killing this for me, or the beer for that matter. Some sweet toasty malt but it needs more and more fruit for that matter.

Grand Cru is nice on the higher side of medium that is boozy and some heat comes from that, especially warmed. The warmer it got the drinkability went down, although the fruit comes out more, but so does that booze. A semi dry finish where I would expect a smoother ride. It does kinda fit the strong ale category in feel along with other areas. A sharp bitey carb on the tip of the tounge.

I remember liking this more when I picked it up an aged bottle in NY a few years ago, a bit more complex then. I don't think my palate changed, I just think this beer may need to grow up a bit and mature. Split these 750's or sit on em, this could be good in at least two years, not my bag now. Will update in the future.

05-10-2010 04:40:46 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of claspada
claspada

New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev -20%

Pours a reddish caramel color with bright orange edges with a nice pale knahki/pale orangish cap. The foam is much too soft to last or to result in much lacing.

Aromas begin not too powerful or complex. I get a lot of over-ripe apple and a great deal of warm yeast spiciness. As it warms the above become more forward with the clove and more complex Beligan yeast smells coming into the forefront. I am surprised by the lack of dark fruits which I typically find in this style.

The tastes begin with light sweet bready, biscuity, pale maltiness. Soon you are overwhelmed with the typical Belgian yeast dominant flavors which I have admitedly become tired on. Spicy clove esters are dominant and really all I get with the exception of a light cidery apple flavors you get mid-palate. I would prefer a lot more dark malts or dark fruity malt flavors here, but sadly they are lacking.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very good for the style.

Overall this is just a miss for me because of the lack-luster complexity and overwhelmingly dominant Belgian yeast flavors. I prefer the yeast to play an equal part with the malts and hops in my Belgian dark ales, but here it didn't quite work. Definitely my least favorite AleSmith offering I have had to date.

10-03-2011 14:27:57 | More by claspada
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.23/5  rDev -20%

On-tap at 38 Degrees, another beer that nearly got away. On to the beer:

Looks dark amber with a translucent look. Small amounts of lace are dotted around the glass as the beer is consumed. The nose says GRAPE! More specifically, dark grape. Somewhat medicinal too.

Isn't it funny how I think of medicinal and dark grape in the nose, yet in the taste, it reminds me a lot of children's chewable grape pills. I remember liking the flavor of those pills, and while I'll admit to still liking that taste somewhat, it isn't the most optimal note to taste in a Belgian-style ale. Cocoa notes are a distant second. The alcohol shows only a fraction of itself. The medium heavy, chalky mouthfeel is the best characteristic of the beer.

AleSmith does a lot of things that I like, but the Grand Cru isn't one of them. A beer with this kind of monotonicity needs a really good flavor to carry the weight, but in here, while tolerable, isn't enough.

06-16-2011 04:53:59 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

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
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 686 ratings.