AleSmith Grand Cru Ale - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale

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366 Reviews

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Reviews: 366
Hads: 814
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 15.27%
Wants: 104
Gots: 163 | 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: 366 | Hads: 814
Photo of mattcrill
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go to Jamie at From the Vine for the chance to sample this one at a recent beer tasting that she hosted.

Served from a 750 ml bottle.

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby-amber color with carbonation noted in the body.

Smell: Alcohol, deep dark fruits, cabarnet grapes, and over-ripe bananas.

Taste: dates, raisins, butterscotch, rum-soaked raisins, cocoa powder, and over-ripe bananas.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied bordering on full and crispy due to the carbonation.

Drinkability: Careful...this one is dangerous. Very complex and immensely enjoyable. Alesmith continue to impress me.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick set russet brown color with a small, compact tannish cap. Bits of lace grab hold in light ink blot patches.

Nice aroma of tangy molasses and dark fruity syrup. Fairly plump and ripe with raisin, fig, and dates floating around on top keeping a big boosted sweet malt profile. Notes of slightly burnt or smoldering doughnut dough.

Taste is darkly sweet and ripe with ample dark fruity flavors masked within a molasses tang. Has a partial smokey finish with regards to some vanilla, brown sugar, and licorice. Nice doughy center and creamy mouthfeel with a sweetly dark brigade behind it all keeping a fairly bold and dense action of flavors and bread doughy heft. Dark cherry hints and very light tobacco spices sweep off and on throughout the finishing areas as it floats away with one finely appealing dryness.

Mellow but stark and darkly set with sweet fruits and sugared breads. Age has suited this well. The feel is quite big still. Creamy medium/full tilted body with just a slight edge of warmth and alcoholic texture underneath. Bold, clean, and rightly set with dark fruity tang and sweetness. Nicely balanced. Easily drinkable and easy to get use to. 10% shows up later. A nice complimentary beer to all the other fine Alesmith brews. Yum.

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Photo of palma
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark amber color body. A head barely develops even with the most aggressive pour. A little disappointing actually, though the ring around the glass warrants a respectable score. After all, it is an aged beer ya know.

Smell: Prunes, licorice, banana, and a considerable nuttiness. A complex smell to say the least.

Taste: Very malty. Brown sugar. Sherry-like. A robust malty flavor lingers on the palate. Spicy aftertaste is sufficient. If not for a little more spice or zest in the finish, this beer scores a 5 in taste. Almost like an English Old Ale but with a yeasty kick in the ass... Get some MF!

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation. Slightly creamy. Maybe even a little oily. A sugar stickiness, which is not a detriment.

Notes: This is a very drinkable ale. Smooth yet strong, and so flavorful. Too bad it’s so hard to find. This is definitely Alesmith’s Grand Cru.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

exceptional brew from alesmith. I love the fact that american breweries are stepping up and making beer that are hard to make, complex, full bodied, this is a gem.

Poured a dark plum color with a rich frothy head throughout.

smell of some plum, malt, and a kick ass in your face complexity of aroma's that I wont even venture to guess...JUST GOOD!!

Tasted like a good strong belgian on steroids. lots of different size carbonation, mostly fine with some mid size popping on the lips. taste lingers can move your tongue around and smack your lips and taste it over and over again...gobble. I used this beer as a nightcapper and would do so again...the drinkability is amazingly good....I was craving another one of these big 750ml bad boys as soon as i finished. Lets put it this way, when I was halfway through I was already planning a trip to the brewery....unfortunately late october or november is the earliest it can fit the schedule...Great BEER...THANK YOU ALESMITH.

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Photo of beersarang
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage sampled in July 2005.

Pours a ruby brown with a small head that is not hugely impressive. The lacing and syrupiness of this brew is apparant, and the color is beautiful.

Nice fruit alcohol aroma, simple and sweet.

Malt character is complex and hard to describe. A lot of flavor comes from the fruits in the brew. Raisins are big, as well as some plums perhaps. Hops show there face only in bitterness, but the alcohol is slick and warming.

Medium bodied with a slick oily feeling. Very velvety smooth. Light carbonation.

Buy this one and shelve it. It will mellow out with age. In 3 years I can tell this will be incredible.

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Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being a big AleSmith fan I picked up a 750ml bottle from AJ's in late April for $10.99.

Poured a deep red-brown with a champagne like head which quickly dissapated. Nose is of dark fruits, sugar, and alcohol. The first taste reminded me of champagne because of the high carbonation and high alcohol. There was an overwhelming blast of the dark fruits at the beginning of the taste quickly passing to a sugary alcohol finish. Mouthfeel is very lively but it was thinner than I thought it would be. Overall drinkability is good as the complexity of all the flavors make this very interesting. I would recommend that one try this once as I will probably not purchase again with the high price tag.

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Photo of ZAP
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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..

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage bottle 2003, Sampled April 2005
This beer sits a rich amber color, and pours with a thin head that disappears pretty quickly. The aroma is thick with notes of dark fruit, I get notes of raisins, figs and a solid caramelized bread note. The aroma is quite evident and quite enticing. The taste is sweet with a thick-mouth coating feel to it that is quite satiating. The flavor is quite fruity, again I get notes of raisins as well as notes of prunes. I was not expecting this beer to be so thick and hearty, but it is and I really like it.

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Photo of bultrey
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is dark cinnamon brown, with a thin head clinging to the sides of the glass. Aroma is redolent of a bit of banana and clove, and a little bit of orange oil, but with something slightly deeper going on, though I'm not quite sure what.
Taste also has a little banana, but dusted with cocoa powder. Also present are notes of tobacco, cinnamon, and toasted almonds. The start is quite sweet, but the finish is drying enough to keep the balance. This reminds me -- very distantly -- of Vapeur Cochonnette, but it seems like everything went right with the Alesmith as opposed to everything going wrong with the former. Just an incredibly rich and complex taste.
The mouthfeel is a bit syrupy -- I'm wishing for a little livlier carbonation. Overall drinkability is good -- huge alcohol is fairly well-hidden.
What do you know? West coast can make Belgian beers...
Many thanks to EyeChartBrew and co. for the sample.

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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.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity... Capped and foiled.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1 1/2" light tan head over the dark reddish copper brew. Exuberant carbonation generated while sitting in the glass makes the head grow and grow. Superb foamy lacing. Aroma is slightly spicy, slightly fruity, a bit yeasty, a lot going on, but could be a bit more intense for the style, in my opinion. Taste is light dark fruits coupled with malty depths, sliding into the slightest alcohol flavor, but all the warming one would expect from an abv 10. For the style, mouthfeel and drinkability are excellent. Grand indeed.

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Photo of mntlover
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of merlin48
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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?

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Photo of meathookjones
3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes taken on 1/09/05 with a 750ml bottle. Even with an aggressive pour this beer seemed hard pressed to get even a full covering of tan bubbles. The body was a ruddy brown. Aroma was very sweet with various fruits, caramel and sugars. There was a bit of spiciness to it as well and another scent that reminded me of English style barley wines. Sweetness was dominant in the flavor as well with various fruits coming through and a good dose of caramel/toffee. Sugar and spice were prevalent as well. Something in the flavor reminds me of barley wines as well. A bit of lingering spice was on the finish. Fairly thick and slick was the body and it had quite a warming feel to it as well. Pretty good stuff but the sweetness became cloying towards the middle and really made the last glass drag on. On e I would like to try fresher if I ever get the chance.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel brwon and gold colors with reddish purple tints (I swear !) Minor off-white head disappears quickly leaving no lace but alcohol tannins on the glass are evident.
Aroma of plums, dates, figs, candy and brown sugar and some subtle dark spices.
Flavors of dark citrus, fructose sugar, Belgian candi sugar, a coriander yeat profile with a hint of herbal, fruity hops.
Mouthfeel is sweet but not cloying. Malts dominant but cut with enough spice to provide good balance.
Drinkability is good. Weel-crafted very attractive brew. Only issue I have is it is somewhat one dimensional and lacks a depth and a strong finish. After the malt and light spice it sort of fades away. This is a little picky point but just noticeable in comparing to other Grand Cru's

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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.

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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.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a thistle glass. It pours a deep raspberry color with three heaping fingers of head. There is a good amount of lace. The smell is slightly sweet. Some slightly tart cherry helps fill the nostrils. The taste also has a bit of cherry flavor, mixed with some clover honey and a touch of delicate spices. Just a little bit of ethanol present. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and strong. The drinkability is pretty good for a 10% brew. Another nice one from Alesmith!

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Photo of lou91
3.32/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No cork and no fizz on the open. Oh, what a great nose of sweetness, plums and rum. Good looking beer. A dark amber color with a creamy rich head. I hate to say this but the taste falls way short of reputation for the style and the brewer. The taste is like a tug-o-war between malt, alcohol and sugar with taste being the obvious loser. The imbalance makes for a dry malty strong ale with a maple butter chaser. I can't imagine time helping but I could be wrong.

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Photo of odeed
3.23/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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?

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The looks of it: rich ruby hue, opaque, slim, beigish sliver of foam.
The smell of it: port wine meets cognac, dark fruits meets a mature, well-mannered alcohol burn, sophisticated and almost sublime, a jammy medley of berries and booze.
The taste of it: surprisingly mellow and light on entering the tongue, satisfactorily full on the palate, merrily leaving it's tracks all over the mouth, tingling the senses from the start. Very snappy, this, brimming over with tasty, cherry brandy flavor, figgy, bready, grapey. Sits prettily on the palate, spilling over with juicy, boozy goodness.
The sum of it:This is a late-night relaxer kind of beer, a swirl-it-in-the snifter during quiet ruminations, and complex contemplation kind of beer...the kind I need right now.
So, thanks Alesmith, and thanks boilermaker88..right beer at the right time...yum...

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A long-standing bottle delivers a very clear first glass of ruby-mahogany topped by a short head of of ivory foam. (Subsequent glasses naturally pick up a bit of yeast). The head retention is limited by the alcohol, and it slowly drops to an average collar but leaves some nice splashes of lace about the glass. The nose is caramelish, peppered with a light splash of red and dark fruit, some mild candy (sugar, licorice, honey), and yeasty fruitiness. Very nice! It's smooth and slick across the palate with a very, very fine natural carbonation that's surprisingly moderate for the style; and a body that's medium-full. The flavor is more intense than the nose suggests, yet it remains restrained. Dark fruits, baked brown-sugar, yeasty spice, vanilla-suger glazed donuts, slightly burnt bread-crusts, and a masculine push of bitterness round it out. And the alcohol never appears in either the flavor or the aroma; even after more than one serving! It's very nice... not overly rich or syrupy, and exceptionally well-balanced. There are certainly more complex examples of a "Grand Cru" (which is not a style, but a designation), but this one delivers an exceptionally rounded and enjoyable, "drinkable" beer. It's well recommended, as are almost all of the other Alesmith beers!

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Photo of Wildman
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a rather dark reddish amber color and formed a small light tan bubbly head that left circular lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. The aroma on this one is fairly heavy with malt, dark fruits, caramel and some banana with a hint of the alcohol present. The flavor was of malt, caramel, some dark fruit and some doughy aspects. The finish was slight sprite and sweet. A good beer that may get better with a little aging.

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Photo of Boto
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle: Vintage 2003. The beer pours an opaque red hued brown color. About a non-existent head on this one. Notes of caramel, alcohol, maybe chocolate, plums, maybe some yeast and a lot of others that I can’t quite place. It is very complex in there. The flavor is a bit sweet, with a slightly sour aftertaste. Actually a bit dry tasting also, as well as a touch syrupy. Notes of the chocolate, fruits and caramel to the taste. Very nice.

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Photo of Crosling
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


Intoxicating, deep and dense nose of plump raisins, plums, figs, grapes, bananas and clove.

Incredible and an instant "5" at first taste. Round, very dynamic and very full-bodied. Front is mainly fruit, cherries, plums and dark grapes. In the backround a big caramel and nutty body of deep malt is present. On the finish is port wine and a spicy yeastiness.

Simply Delicious. Alesmith is one of the best.

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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.