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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale - AleSmith Brewing Company

AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

620 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 620
Reviews: 352
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: RedDiamond on 12-16-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 620 | Reviews: 352 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TinusTime


4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a reddish brown with a nice sized barely offwhite head. Smell was of prunes, a little nuttiness. Taste was somewhat sour in that Belgian way, also a little cooked wine and a lot of plum prune and dark sour cherry. Hints of scotch whiskey soaked fruit as the beer warms. Nicely carbonated even almost 4 years later. Drinkability is good as the alcohol is well hidden. Definite an after dinner lounging before the fire type beer. Thanks to Eyechartbrew for the bottle and to BiermanVa for drinking it with me.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2004 14:57:28 | More by TinusTime
Photo of RoyalT


4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2004 03:34:44 | More by RoyalT
Photo of beerguy101


4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color. Mead head. Aroma is malt, brown sugar, hops, clove and banana and… I could spend a long time just smell this beer. A full-bodied Belgian Strong Ale. Malts are fruity (bananas, peaches and raisins) bready and sweet. Very well balanced. Extremely smooth, nearly creamy taste. Touches of must and wood, vanilla and caramel. Some sherry and wine like characters are here as well. The 10% alcohol is very well hidden. Flavors of figs and plums come out as it warms, and I swear it get even smoother tasting. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2004 01:28:47 | More by beerguy101
Photo of aracauna


3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The body is a very dark red there's not a lot of head, but there's enough. There are lots of fruity esters and a warmth to the malt. It's a bit alcoholic, but not overpowering, although it does give it a bit of a bourbon undertone. I was a bit underwhelmed by the beer, though.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2004 19:42:01 | More by aracauna
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Cloudy deep brown body, small light brown film consisting of ultra-sticky tiny bubbles. Aroma is deep maltiness, fruity (raisin, prunes), chocolate, caramel, earthy, notes of dirt and alcohol. A bit of a let down on that department, not to intense nor complex, this could have been made by any belgian brewery. Taste gets a little more serious, tons of malt in there, smoky honey and maple, chocolate, caramel. A good earthy profile too accompanies the woody sphere. Quite complex with a very mild bitterness and an alcohol bite. Medium body, silky smooth, creamy. As this is my first Alesmith, it's definitely not up to my expectations from this highly acclaimed brewer which seemed (reading other reviews) to brew beers made just for me. It apparently is not the case, but I'll gladly give a try to their other products despite having to lay down 10$ on each of those big ones.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2004 16:32:30 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of mzwolinski


4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lovely looking bottle for a lovely, lovely beer. Pours dark brown/ruby, with just a thin halo of a head. Aroma of dark fruit, with a bit of toffee-scented malt. The flavor is rich -- dark fruits with just a hint of sour, more roasty toffee and a somewhat spicy finish. Smooth mouthfeel with a bit of alcohol warming at the end. A very nice beer and one that will age magnificently.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2004 04:02:51 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of francisweizen


4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
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!

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2003 20:59:45 | More by francisweizen
Photo of erica


4.72/5  rDev +16.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2003 17:54:26 | More by erica
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)

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2003 08:15:06 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of BierReise


3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2003 Vintage. Dark and hazy plum colored with no head at all. Aroma is really malty with some fruit like dried cherries and figs. I don't get the vanilla/chocolate aroma, maybe that was a different vintage. Mouth feel is a bit weak with some dryness and lacks the excitement of a Belgian Grand Cru. Flavor is malty sweet with a hint of caramel and cocoa. Alcohol is very present in aroma and flavor. A bit dissapointing.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2003 22:46:21 | More by BierReise
Photo of Gusler


4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If I would have known it was going to take me more than a year to restock this magnificent beer, I would have never drunk my last bottle. From what I can ascertain from the local package store is that there seems to be a labeling problem that is delaying its shipment to Arizona, and I’m mad a hell and I’m not going to take it anymore, guess I will just order a case via the internet and be damned the expense.

The pour a deep lucent brown with ruby highlights, the head behemothic in size, spumescent in texture and a winsome light tan color, the lace a velum like sheet to conceal the glass. The nose has a deep malt walnut like sweet aroma, rich and full, fresh a treat for the eye, nose and palate. Start is creamy rich and sweet, top is moderate to full in feel and the finish spiny in its acidity, vinous, hop spicy and desert bone dry aftertaste, a real “Hoot in my books.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2003 16:58:44 | More by Gusler
Photo of Boilermaker88


4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2003 18:16:22 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of jcalabre


4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beauty pours a gorgeous mahogany with a very thin off white head. It's transparent & quite nice to look at. I used a Chimay glass to taste it.
Aroma: You can definitely smell toffee & honey on the nose.
Flavor, It's nice and sweet and rich on the tongue, with a small bite of alcohol on the roof of your mouth. It was so easy to drink the whole friggin' 750. This is a killer brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2003 03:40:44 | More by jcalabre
Photo of TheDM


3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This brew pours a small head of finely sized mostly diminishing bubbles that leave a fair lacing and it has a transparent dark amber body. It also had a strong alcohol aroma. Initially, the alcohol flavor comes through, but later softens in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2003 22:53:22 | More by TheDM
Photo of mickeymac


4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It comes in a 25 oz. champagne style bottle with a cap and a cork. The color is amber-brown. The head is slight and fades rather quickly. The smell is fruity and just a bit musky. At first it didn't grab me, but it warmed and really started to expand. Ripe fruit and hints of chocolate are present but it doesn't have any of the expected spiciness. However, you won't miss it. This beer has enough going on as it is. I'm looking at Alesmith and its lowest rated beer as of today is a 4.14. I don't know how they do it so consistently, but this is another winner.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2002 17:00:36 | More by mickeymac
Photo of Jason


4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 1 pint 9 oz champagne magnum that is corked, capped and foiled. Light amount of sediment is on the bottom and stay compact while pouring. 2000 vintage.

Appearance: Tarnish copper with brownish hues, thick and creamy light tan lace straps its self to the glass and leaves a trail all the way down to the bottom.

Smell: Spicy and orangey with a sweet alcoholic nose. Fruity and estery with hints of ripe plum. More spiciness than anything else.

Taste: Smooth to the point of being unreal with a luscious creamy back, mellow alcohol character drapes its sweet and spicy flavours over the tongue. Maltiness is sizable with traces of caramel and a mouth feel that is close to syrupy. Spiciness from the alcohol doubles up and with a hint of yeast brings levels of complexity. Hops? Well they are there but not in any way seen with all of the flavours bursting and thus there is no need for even a modest presence. Mild citric peel with a big plum like fruitiness, alcoholic esters make their move but the spiciness stays on top. A heavy hand of residual sweetness is left over for the spice loaded finish to deal with.

Notes: This is a stellar brew with a deceiving alcohol. Complex flavours keep things in balance with a well rounded spiciness and big malt foundation.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2002 19:53:58 | More by Jason
Photo of pmarlowe

District of Columbia

4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a brownish, caramel color with dense brown head. Incredible retention (as with many of their tap beers) and displays generous lacing. Superb clarity for a darkish beer.

S: Sweet bubble gum and cherry, and a bit of red fruit.

T: Sweet and a little tart with cherry and dark dried fruit. The fruit or yeast is reallly pronounced which contributes to the tartness.

M: Medium-full body--a bit syrupy--with medium-light carbonation. Hides the alcohol well.

O: Pretty good. A touch sweet for my tastes, and very fruity.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2012 21:20:19 | More by pmarlowe
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a slightly murky orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that fades to nothing. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, spices, wood, alcohol, and an unmistakable woodsy cologne scent. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, spice, banana, and an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that tastes better than it smells, especially with the cologne deal going on.

Serving type: on-tap

06-28-2012 04:58:58 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of HopHead84


4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap at Alesmith

A: Dark amber with a creamy beige head.

S: Plum and grape with a dash of raisin and orange. Aromatic and perfumy, with sugar and subtle spices. Malt is of bread and a little caramel. I get some vanilla as well.

T: Sweet baked bread with Belgian candi sugar. Very fruity, reminiscent of plum, grape, and raisin. Lower moderate level of earthy bitterness. Lightly spicy with alcohol warming in the sweet, bready finish.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and sticky.

Overall: An enjoyable fruity Belgian Strong Dark.

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2011 00:25:12 | More by HopHead84
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2011 17:29:32 | More by mrkun
Photo of DoubleJ


3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2011 04:53:59 | More by DoubleJ
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2011 04:25:31 | More by rye726
Photo of charlzm


3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed at Encinitas Ale House in Encinitas, CA on December 29th, 2010.

Beer is a clear, deep shade of brown with ruby red highlights. The head is composed of very fine, uniform bubbles that provide nice sheeting on the glass.

Aroma is unfortunately all metallic.

Mouthfeel is a bit chewy. Flavor is juicy and fruity: plum, pear, dark chocolate, caramel malts and a hint of nutmeg. Moderately sweet. Finish is dry, clean save for that metallic note. Slight warmth at end.

Flavor is assertive and unusual but not terribly complex; I'm glad I didn't have a big glass of this!

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2011 22:57:16 | More by charlzm
Photo of nomomentwasted


4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Porter's Pub at UCSD in an 8oz Tuilp glass, and was shocked to see it in there. Just replaced the Old Numbskull on tap in there, received fresh from the brewery just days before I was told.

Appearance: I've read a lot of reviews calling this beer brown, and I was more thinking darker orange, like coppery-amber. Little head in the tulip glass the filed itself away pretty quickly.

Smell: Sweet, sweet, and more sweet. I smelled a sugary, apple, and grape notes which I have little experience with, but having had a few Belgian style I can say is much stronger than say the Stone Cali-Belgique style. Total Belgian sweetness though, with a hint of maybe a plum?

Taste: Whew, like the nose and then some. The sweet reminded me of apple/grape juice, except if it was a beer with Belgian yeast. The flavor keeps coming in waves, with the sugary characteristic on full display, running the gamut of fruits. Not a ton of citrus here, but more like plum, apple, and grape.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and slightly resin-y, and not too bubbly. Again, left me with the impression I'd just had a sip of apple juice with that texture remaining.

Drinkability: For a ten, it's almost perfection on the drinkability front. Catches up with you on the back end but not at all when it's being consumed. Only thing I'd say against it is the sweetness does eventually slow you down, but not in the first glass. Tasty, sweet, and a beer relatively unlike most of everything else I've had. Definitely worth a run.

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2009 15:48:34 | More by nomomentwasted
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2009 15:56:44 | More by SShelly
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 620 ratings.