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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.

713 Ratings

(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
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Ratings: 713 | Reviews: 357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JoelClark
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

JoelClark, Aug 03, 2014
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle age unknown. Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: Poured out kind of thin, but produced a massive, khaki-colored, foamy head. Once settled, the body is rich auburn in color, showing shades of red and caramel around the edges. Head quickly dissipates to a thin crown. No lacy. Body still looks kind of thin.

Smell: I initially thought cherries, but JustinA1 called out rose champagne and I instantly agreed. Prunes, molasses, and dark currants are all over. The alcohol is quite apparent, but it's not off-putting. Great balance and complexity. I'm very happy with this.

Taste: Prunes, dark berries, clove, flowery esters, and leather. I'm having trouble picking out all of the flavors, but there's a lot going on in here. Really well balanced. I dig.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, foamy, warm, and dry. Carbonation is very high, but soft; lots of activity. Aftertaste is pretty light and composed mainly of floral esters.

Drinkability: Fantastically balanced and very interesting. I have had better strong dark ales, but not many. I'll certainly purchase this again.

ThreeWiseMen, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of meatyard
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

meatyard, Sep 25, 2013
Photo of TXhomebrewer
4/5  rDev -1.2%

TXhomebrewer, Feb 09, 2013
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.

Boilermaker88, Oct 02, 2003
Photo of Yeti1979
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Yeti1979, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of neonbrown82
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer seems all over the place. Not that that's a bad thing. It's just so incredibly complex. It pours to a dark plum color, very hazy. No head even with a vigourous pour. Carbonation is very minimal as well, and of course, no lacing.

The smell is very interesting. A whole bunch of tropical fruits, such as pineapple, but also some more dark and earthy berry-like tones, such as raisins and dates. A little brown sugar with an alcohol burn as well.

The taste is very good. Almost has a Oude Bruin tartness, though it is not sour. It would be interesting to see how this recipe would turn out with a touch of brettanomyces. Other than that, it tastes much on par with the nose. Quite sweet with some very nice fruity esters. Lots of residuals leave a coating brown sugar flavor in the mouth.

The body is very thick and chewey. Seems almost flat, however. The finish lingers forever. Quite good. Thanks to dogfooddog for the opportunity to try this.

neonbrown82, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of Nightrain87
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Nightrain87, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of tdmccarthy
4/5  rDev -1.2%

tdmccarthy, Feb 01, 2014
Photo of meathookjones
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

meathookjones, Jan 19, 2005
Photo of victory4me
4/5  rDev -1.2%

victory4me, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of impending
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a tulip. Pours a deep rich clear reddish copper, the light that passes through becomes traffic light red when cast upon my palm. Minor head receded rather quickly, ok lacing.

Superb aroma, inviting and heavy. Significant spices atop the mix of dark and light fruits - somewhat atypical for a strong dark. Hint of a tripel. No brew has ever smelled this good then tasted bad :)

Nice prickly mouthfeel. Caramel malts with dry wrinkled dark fruits plus some dried apricots and grains. Alcohol warms in the finish providing balance. A sum of the entire taste is a echoed quietly after sipping.

impending, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another find at Julios...

A: Dark brown with a small white lace head that quickly disappates. I love the dark ale color on this one.

S: I definitely smell some nice hints of sugar and dark fruit. Smells very satisfying.

T: Tastes slightly hoppy with a chocolate flavor aftertaste. More of a complex flavor, but once you get a handle on it, it's so tasty!

M: Not too crazy about the carbonation on this one. A little over-carbonated for me.

D: This one goes down fairly easy. Very taste, but the carbonation a little overbearing at times.

All in all, this is a great brew with a little too much carbonation. Very tasty, but the carbonation can be hard to get over. I definitely got over it and enjoyed this very much!

steve8robin, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of cdkrenz
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Reddish body with lots of carbonation. Head is around two inches tall and light tan in color with very nice stamina.

S - Slight floral aroma with spice, sweet caramel and roasty toffee. There's also a subtle pungency of plum.

T - The tastes are that of a deep plum with rich caramel. This is a full flavored beverage.

M - Texture is thick and smooth with a slight chewiness to it.

~ I couldn't do more than one of these in a night. This is the kind of brew you enjoy of a cold winter night while sitting in front of the fire place. I will definitely suggest this to friends.

cdkrenz, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: ruby brown beer with big head of tniy bubbles that'll settle into a nice lid with some ropy lace

S: orange, coriander, spices, toffee, dark fruit

T: spices and fruit with booze infusion, raisins, figs, toffee, caramel, apples, clove, ginger

M: fuzzy and rich, medium body, fairly clean-finishing, wonderfully drinkable

O: AleSmith hasn't had a miss yet in my book - I'll venture to say that any big bottle of AleSmith beer is worth a buy, their Grand Cru being no exception - I'm gonna say these guys are in league with Founders, 'cept Founders produces some of the best 4-packs of 12 oz beers and Alesmith produces some of the best 22 oz bombers of beer

Greywulfken, Jun 26, 2012
Photo of Tom-Peters
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Tom-Peters, Sep 01, 2013
Photo of Modernrickk
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Modernrickk, Mar 21, 2014
Photo of ommegangpbr
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very excited to see Alesmith bottled brew on this side of the country. The Christmas Yulesmith is kinda findable now but not so much anything else.
It's pretty on the pour. Deep reddish brown, clear body with a light tan head. Fermented fruits on the nose, mostly sweet notes with an edge of sour.
On the tongue it bites sweet then dries up quite quick. Frankly, it reminds me of bottles of Ommegang I've had in the recent past. The sweet and smooth dials have been turned up a little bit in that comparison. At 10% strong I would expect such a thing. Nectarine, plum, raisin, dark cherry, all in a fermented slurry.
For the money, I'm going to pick up a bottle of Ommegang first if I'm in the mood for this sort of flavor profile. Reviews indicate that this brew greatly benefits from aging, but seeing as how it's my birthday today I just couldn't wait to try this. Will definitely revisit and maybe I'll even wait for it to mature.

ommegangpbr, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of beergeek279
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served as a sample from the 750 mL bottle. The color was amber, with a ring of white head. The smell was a sweeter malt and alcohol. The taste was a nice sweet dark malt, with some hints of coriander and a good bit of hops for the style, and the alcohol was definitely noticable. Mouthfeel was very chewy. As for drinkability, could have several of these.

Another fine offering from the folks at Alesmith. A Belgian Dark with hops...well, certainly going to be up my alley. The only shame is that I can't run into Alesmith around here...distribute further, please!!

beergeek279, Apr 12, 2004
Photo of jkane101
4/5  rDev -1.2%

jkane101, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of kingmaker
4/5  rDev -1.2%

kingmaker, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of soulgrowl
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very hazy walnut brown, with cinnamon, sepia, and orange in the spectrum. The head is pathetic, ivory-beige, fizzy, and frail - for a Belgian style, pretty unacceptable. The aroma, however, is very attractive - vanilla, toffee, raisin, apricot, hazelnut, maple, armagnac, and banana bread notes make this a joy to sniff. Deeply fruity and complex. The flavor disappoints after such a good nose, full and subtle yet somehow shallow. Crab apple and hawthorn, brandy, honey, trappist yeast, pears, and leafy hops make this a respectable pastiche of a classic Belgian quadrupel, but it falls short in terms of complexity and mellow drinkability. Soft, rolling carbonation makes this a nice, sippable full-bodied ale, but it is nothing outstanding.

soulgrowl, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: looks dark brown until held to light where it has a grape juice color, thick head slowly disappears, thick lacing
s: dark fruity, belgian yeast, coriander
t: consistent with smell as dark fruits throughout mingle with belgian yeast and coriander, also some woodiness present and moderate alcohol finish; not overly sweet, actually maybe not sweet enough for my taste
m: starts out almost creamy but almost seems to turn light halfway through, nice carbonation
d: 1st time i tried this beer i was disappointed, but 2nd time i enjoyed it. a hint sweeter and more full-bodied would make this phenomenal

belgbeerdrinker, May 20, 2009
Photo of Morris729
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep garnet amber color with a tall and foamy light tan head that soon settles into a nice lace. Nose is dark fruit, toasted bread, and spicy alcohol. Taste begins with candied sugar and a sweet fruitiness followed by a syrupy note. A bit of plum and notes of brandy come across towards the finish along with a touch of chocolate covered cherries. A very complex and thoroughly enjoyable brew.

Morris729, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of Maillard
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Maillard, Jul 08, 2013
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 713 ratings.