1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
91
outstanding

713 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 713
Reviews: 357
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 97
Gots: 129 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of AleSmith Grand Cru Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 713 | Reviews: 357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown Loveliness. great taste: Coriander, brandy-like barley, some toast, cherry, raspberry, black cherry, oak, chocolate malting, caramel,warming alcohol. Honeyish yeast, full mouthfeel, lovely in the mouth and well-carbonated. Thanks Joey Capps.

Sammy, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of t0rin0
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2004 750 ml bottle.

Pours a red/amber color. Some tan head but not much and it didn't last. The beer is hazy but the color is very nice.

The aroma is, like the last guy said, amber-like. Interesting use of darker malts in a belgian beer. Some moderate yeast smells. No hops in the nose. A little alcohol is noticeable.

Taste is very similar. Malty and tangy. The tanginess is almost like a wit thats past its prime. The rest of the flavor is sweet and spicey due to the belgian yeast no doubt.

Body is a bit thin for my tastes but I'm not sure that a belgian beer is supposed to be thick. Medium CO2.

t0rin0, Apr 21, 2008
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.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 28, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -1.2%

djrn2, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

zestar, May 05, 2014
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -1.2%

spycow, Mar 11, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to daysinthewake for getting this bottle out my way. Long-time want. Served in a Russian River "TION" goblet.

Pours a dark brown with a nice bright hue in the light. Creamy off-white head with some good lacing on the way down. The nose is complex with plenty of Belgian yeast and a good dosing of dark fruits. The flavor doesn't hit quite as hard and isn't as complex, though I think it would really benefit from a bit of aging. Medium body and quite creamy without any noticeable alcohol. Really well done.

Thorpe429, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

acurtis, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -1.2%

nmann08, Apr 22, 2012
Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear brownish amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a two finger high beige head that has very good retention properties.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of dark fruits (cherries and plums stand out in particular) and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a slight amount of sweetness with flavors of dark fruits and notes of spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is definitely a sipper due to its strength but the alcohol is well hidden from both the smell and taste.

metter98, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Texasfan549, Jul 25, 2013
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strawberry caramel with bright orange edges. The cap is pale orangish ecru in color and is airily expansive thanks to a near Belgianesque amount of carbonation. It's too bad that it doesn't share the firm, sticky texture of the best Belgian heads though. The foam is much too soft to last or to result in much glass coverage. The beer itself looks great though.

On a good note, the nose is classic BSDA. On a not so good note, it could be both more powerful and more complex. It's wonderfully mushy apple fruity with a warm spiciness that is more appealing the more I smell it. I detect cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, spices that remind me of autumn for some reason. Warming improves things to a considerable extent and makes a bump in score an easy call.

I needn't have worried. This brewery rarely disappoints and they definitely haven't done so here. One sweet, spicy, explosive sip is all it takes to tell me that Grand Cru is yet another fantastic AleSmith ale. For some reason, it looks as though the brewery decided to stop putting the vintage on the bottle. My best guess is that I'm drinking the 2005 edition.

This truly is a world-class BSDA that can easily hold its head high in the company of the best that Belgium has to offer. Grand Cru isn't all that dark in terms of roasted malt (see Stone Vertical Epic 05.05.05), but is more darkly fruit along the lines of heavily spiced dates and figs. Delicious, delicious, delicious.

I'm a little surprised at how sweet it is. That isn't a complaint though, I love sweet as long as it's in the context of an outstanding, multi-faceted flavor profile, as it is here. It looks like a perfect amount of dark candi sugar is Grand Cru's secret weapon. That and a wonderfully spicy Trappist yeast strain that provides authenticity and complexity galore.

I'm feeling the double-digit ABV much more than I'm tasting it. Well-integrated alcohol is a valued part of the flavor, as it is in almost all big beer. The fact that it whispers rathers than shouts is a very dangerous thing indeed. The body/mouthfeel is the best of both worlds. It's full, borderline syrupy and sticky, yet is as energetically carbonated as all but the most hyperactive Belgians.

Grand Cru is truly wonderful beer. It pays homage to its Continental counterparts while at the same time delivering a distinctly American, big beer twist. It isn't often that I spend $13 on one bottle, but it's hard to argue with the quality that this brewery puts into each and every one of their 750s. I love AleSmith beer!

BuckeyeNation, Sep 14, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tremendously flavorful with a balance of candied malt, estery fruits, and yeasty spice- all deliver the strength of taste, alcohol, and skill deserving of the "Grand Cru" tag.

Pouring with a slightly oily appearance of tawny ruby and rust, the beer lightens considerably toward the edges. A creamy off-white cap of foam rides for most of the session before succumbing to the weight of the beer. Lacing early and legging late, the beer is somewhat of ale and brandy at once.

Candied fruits of cherries, figs, raisins, and grapes fill the nose with a somewhat sugary scent of caramel and confection. Spicy with mild wine acidity, peppercorn, dried orange peel, and coriander complement the sweet estery mix, and do so with an added pop of cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum.

Sweetness settles in at first with impressions of powdered sugar and brown sugar that melds and coats fruit flavor of figs most prominantly, but also with secondary flavors of grapes, raisins, dates, and cherries. Spices balance the sweetness with a taste of Christmas that includes cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus zest, and white pepper. Additional complexities of mild vinous wines, rummy sweet alcohol and fruitcake finish the flavor profile and substitutes dessert to conclude any meal.

Richly textured as the sugary malt provides a mild oily texture to the mouth, but then the pepper and carbonation delivers a pang of sharpness and a lift of evaporation that allows for just enough lightness for easy of drinking. Alcohol warmth, peppery spice, and a semi-dry finish lingers well into the next sip like a fine port or cognac.

BEERchitect, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

kjkinsey, Jul 25, 2013
Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Phyl21ca, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

GRG1313, May 17, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very nice vintage 2006 bottle that I picked up tow years ago and aged in my cellar. I decided to open it up last night to see how it had held up. Gold foil wrapped, I popped the cap on this 750ml bottle and served it at cellar temperature in an oversized wine glass. Consumed on 09/16/2008.

The pour was nice with a very hazy, and very rich looking hazelnut brown color being presented in front of me. A smallish head, maybe an inch and a half came up over the top and settled down gently, forming a very nice pillow of tan across the top. Some nice carbonation could be seen streaming up as well.

The aroma was rich, lots of caramel and brown sugar mixed in with a fig and prune like fruit. Dark, with a touch of alcohol, though I have to admit, very well hidden indeed. The flavor was more of the same, rich and decadent with a large dose of sugar balancing it out quite well. All hotness had faded from this one now, as it was mellow and smooth as hell. Rich caramel and sugar notes, light fig and almost a tart or sour apple taste on the finish. Some vinous hops bouncing around, but nothing too terribly strong. Easily a sipper, I was enjoying this one thoroughly throughout the evening. Chewy, medium to full bodied ale was just what I needed.

Overall thought this was excellent, as most everything from Alesmith is. Very mellow and sweet for the style, I was surprised by how well the alcohol was hidden and how nicely put together this actually was. I would have no issue with having this one anytime!

mikesgroove, Sep 18, 2008
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

ygtbsm94, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a slightly cloudy amber color with a very thin off-white head, sort of khaki color.

S: Plenty of sweet caramel and brown sugar and perhaps even more sweet, dark fruits. Some plums, figs, dates, and cherries, but a fair amount of alcohol as well.

T: A great toffee and brown sugar component along with some caramel. This provides a nice sweet, malty base and the dark fruit flavors just sort of sit on top. Somehow, the alcohol is a bit more pronounced than on the nose.

M: The body is medium with a really quite smooth carbonation.

D: I would have enjoyed this quite a bit more were it not for the obvious alcohol presence. This might be a good one to age and allow to mellow.

womencantsail, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alesmith's Grand Cru poured out as a really nice reddish brown color, the head was white and pretty thick looking. There was a bit of lacing on the glass after each sip. I let this one sit for just a few moments before i dove into it. I wanted to let it warm up a little before my first time. The aroma of the beer had just a slight funk or tartness to it otherwise it was pretty hoppy and had some nice earth tones to it. The taste was much better than I expected. I was thinking it was going to be a sour ale of some kind, but it turned out to be a really nice blend of something like a brown ale with an IPA and then a touch of sour in the faint distance. The mouthfeel was smooth and very easy to drink, even though I tried making mine last a while by sipping it. Overall I found this beer to be quite impressive and enjoyed it a lot. Will be looking forward to have it again one day.

Knapp85, Jun 15, 2011
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 westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

JAHMUR, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

largadeer, May 17, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

SocalKicks, Aug 03, 2012
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 713 ratings.