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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

660 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 660
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 96
Gots: 118 | 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: 660 | Reviews: 355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2007 02:40:10 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2010 21:33:51 | More by womencantsail
Photo of acurtis
acurtis

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

12-31-2011 18:47:27 | More by acurtis
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2008 21:15:01 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

07-25-2013 02:04:52 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.2%

03-11-2013 05:21:08 | More by spycow
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

07-25-2013 02:03:34 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of ygtbsm94
ygtbsm94

Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

11-15-2011 04:40:24 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2011 18:11:10 | More by Knapp85
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

05-17-2013 03:28:03 | More by GRG1313
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

11-29-2011 20:01:54 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

05-17-2013 20:43:09 | More by largadeer
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
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!

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2004 22:16:40 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

11-14-2011 22:48:34 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

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

Pours a slightly fogged brown with a very thin creme head. Nose is touched with caramel with some yeast and sugar. Flavor is robust and mildly sweet with an earthy tone. Nice, but perhaps a bit too rustic and earthy. It's still nice though; make no mistake. Feel has a fairly full but not obtrusive carbonation. Overall this is pretty easy to drink. Definitely well made, but lacks a certain edge that would take it to a higher level of appreciation for me. (I mean, it is a Grand Cru and all)

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2008 06:29:40 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

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 feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
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...

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2004 07:37:45 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1999 vintage. Thanks Brad. Beer is brown and hazy with no head, appears kind of thin.

Beer has an odd aroma, almost musky but really caramelly, lots of malt character in there, hint of sulfur.

Beer is medium bodied, not quite what I expected. Lots of malt and caramel. Its very butterscotchy, could be a sign of oxidation. I mean this bottle is 11 years old at this point. Its quite alcoholy but not hot or boozy. I can tell that its high but it doesn't dristrat. Overall this beer was OK, the newer version was totally different but they probably weren't even close to the same recipes.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2010 17:27:07 | More by drabmuh
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this bottle since New Years, time to see what have here..

Pours an effervescent auburn with 2 fingers of sand colored head. hazes towards the bottom, some head retention & lacing

S: Plums, other dark fruit, toffee, & a touch of caramel

T: Plums, a bit of booze, a bit of smokeyness & peaches up front. Toffee, dryness, slight herbal hops, appleskins & plums. Finishes with pecans, dryness, & appleskins

MF: Sticky, with moderate carbonation & medium body

Drinks good, but there's not enough Belgian flair here for me. Hides the ABV very well

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2008 02:39:48 | More by russpowell
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

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

Appearance: Ruby brown thin cream colored head lacing is thin and spread unevenly across my tasting glass. Aroma: Deep fruit infused notes cary across my schnose, all blended with upfront alcohol tones and candi sugar sweetness with a blend of spices that just work. Taste: Very big in flavor this brew sits on the palate, touch of upfront alcohol to let you know who's boss. Then she creeps in with a blend of barleywine like caramel rich malt backbone blended with a dubbel raisin and tart fruit notes somewhat of a curveball. The hop profile stands out quite well for a Belgian style with this much alcohol, not too hoppy but definitely has some balls. Mouthfeel: Medium body a bit syrupy on the palate, decent big beer from the Alesmith brewing company. Drinkability: I feel that this beer is meant to be drank in smaller portions after about seven or so ounces I would get tired of the flavor and the texture just sits on the palate need a cleanser with this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2004 20:34:08 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

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

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm, malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts along with a fruity Belgian yeast aroma. The esters smell of raisins and figs; very nice. The taste is great. It has a smooth, roasted malt flavor with a bit of crystal malt sweetness. It goes down easy and finishes warm and fruity. It's creamy and delicious. The yeast works well to compliment the array of malt flavors. The mouthfeel is excellent. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. It has kick ass malt character and yeast esters. It's smooth and creamy; a slow drinker, but an enjoyable one.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2007 00:56:07 | More by WesWes
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

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

Not sure if this is '09 or '10 vintage as I have both in the cellar but they are not marked.

Pours a fizzy big bubbled almost 1 finger head that fades at a med pace with some lacing, over slightly hazy cranberry dark reddish mahogany colored beer.

NOse is strong, some booze comes right out with some Belgian yeast and esters, some dark fruits from the yeast as well as nuts, fig, nutmeg, spices, etc, and very slightly phenolic. Some sweet candy and syrupys, dark malts, esters round it all off.

Taste starts with dark malts, it gives a slight dark porter like flavor to start and surprisingly. Comes with light chocolate malts and slightest hint of roast, biscuit, plenty of caramel and dark crystal malts, and plenty of reddish malts, very malty, and even a bit creamy malt flavor. Booze comes through as well, not too strong but def some tingly and warming booze, fairly hot. Belgian yeast, bringing some dark fruits, fig, raisin, apple, pear, other fruits, nuts, spices, nutmeg, hint of cinnamon. The yeast and booze brings some esters as well, but fits in well. Some light raw cherries come through as well. Finishes still a bit hot but mellows a bit, dries slightly but still a bit on the sweet side, some lingering dark creamy malts, light fruits and esters all lingering. Well balanced and tasty, the booze is def present but not too heavy and doesn't interfere too much.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, decent carb for the style, and hot boozy.

Overall not bad, nice malts, nice Belgian yeast flavors, fruits, nuts, spices, a bit syrupy, but its pretty hot and boozy and the slight aging didn't mellow it at all, the esters actually fit with the style well, but nice overall. A few more years aging may help.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 01:20:49 | More by jlindros
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this beer. This is my 1,700th beer and it didn't disappoint.

The beer pours a hazy brown color with a white head. The aroma is sweet sugar with some vanilla and cherry notes. The flavor is cherry, caramel malt, brown sugar, alcohol, Belgian yeast and Belgian candi-sugar. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A great American-made Belgian-style beer. Glad I got to try this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2010 18:51:41 | More by Mora2000
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2012 02:22:09 | More by Rifugium
Photo of SocalKicks
SocalKicks

California

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

08-03-2012 05:51:03 | More by SocalKicks
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 660 ratings.