AleSmith Grand Cru Ale - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

363 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 363
Hads: 796
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 97
Gots: 159 | 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: 363 | Hads: 796
Photo of BostonHops
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep, dark, and translucent amber tone with ruby red hightlights; yields a a big foamy 2" head, light tan in color; patchy lacing. great nose offers sweet malt, candied sugar, dark fruit, a bit of spice, and a perceptible alcohol character.

taste follows the aroma fairly closely with a good dose of fruits - primarily dark, but i do get a subtle note of apple... very malty; sweet but not overly so... there's a substantial floral/spicy quality to it... very enjoyable. booze could be a little better hidden, but that's my one real complaint. medium bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall, as far as american versions of the style go this one is really well done. the more it warms the more impressed i am. not on the level of a rochefort but then, what is?

originally reviewed: 04-11-2011 (847 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Unique in every way it looks, dark hazy beer amber in color and an off-white head roughly 1/3" above the body.

Smell: Light yeast and feel of banana (peel).

Taste: Complex and sweet but bitter with a touch of malt. This is truly good beer, it is not good actually it is great...for a beer that is not from Belgium it would impress any Belgian (and you).

Mouth: Medium to full, and everlasting after taste.

Overall: I would buy this again, this was great beer and just that impressing. I hope you like as much as I do, a blessing not in disguise, Salud! (600 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.1/5  rDev +1%
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. (616 characters)

Photo of orangesol
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for bringing this '06 bottle to Stakem's Fish Fry.

A - Pours murky brown with a half finger tall off-white head leaving small trails of lace down some of the glass.

S - Smells of sweet caramel malt, brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits, figs, some cherries and a bit of spicy/sweet belgian yeast. The booze is all but gone from the nose.

T - Starts off with a bunch of sweetness - mostly made up of toffee, brown sugar and caramel malt - slowly giving way to hints of dark fruits, cherries, vanilla and some spicy yeast. Only a tiny bit of booze creeps as it warms up, warming the end of each sip. Finish has some sweetness, lingering on the pallet long after consumption.

M - Big body with a creamy sweet feel and moderate carbonation. The flavors are fairly sweet throughout with very little booze detectable.

O - I liked this one. The flavors worked well and it was surprisingly easy to drink. It appears to be at its peak now, maybe beginning to slide a little bit. (987 characters)

Photo of hannydawg
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

A- Rich mahogany color with reddish hues. 2 finger off white head sticks around for a while with minimal lacing left behind.

S- Dark fruits dominate with figs, plums and raisins present. A peppery smell is also present, as well as caramel malts.

T- Sweet caramel malts, plums, raisins, and a bit of alcohol present that was hidden on the nose.

M- Medium bodied, with ample carbonation, but the alcohol comes through too much, something the Belgians seem to hide much better.

O-Not a bad BSDA, a but too sweet, and the alcohol is more present than I care for. (594 characters)

Photo of Teleweizen2
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a ruddy mohogany brown hue with some hints of ruby in the rim. small off-tan head which quickly dissipates. leaves little lacing.

S - a very fruit forward nose. figs, raisins, dates, and grapes are showcased along with a pithy note.

T - dark bready notes up front which meld nicely with notes of white grapes and fruit juice sort of sweetness. as it warms on the tongue there are hints of spice in the vein of spearmint.

M - crisp texture. not what i was expecting from a "quad" style ale. medium body with a high carbonation.

O - a very nice interpriation of a BDSA. easy to drink for the style but enough flavor to keep you interested. (655 characters)

Photo of Murrhey
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a rounded wine glass. Reviewed live. Expectations are very high.

A- Three finger, very thick tan head. Very long retention. Darker brown-orange color.

S- Boozy and cherry smells. Dark fruits and somewhat sour.

T- Warm and subdued tastes, dark and alcoholic.

M- Smooth and winey. Heavier taste.

O- Very strong and tasty. This is a good beer, (381 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml brown glass bottle with foiled-over standard pressure cap served into an oversized wine glass in me friend's gaff in low altitude Orange, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high given the brewery.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a three finger head of fluffy white cream, nice thickness, and great retention for the ABV. Incredibly frothy. Quite beautiful and appealing. Colour is an exquisite dark amber. Very impressive and inviting.

Sm: Cherry and raspberry fruit esters. Some cream. Warm clean complex malts. Fresh biscuity yeast. Amber hops. A moderate strength aroma. I'm excited to try this.

T: Clean amber malts form the foundation, with nice cream atop. Some caramelized malt. Some toasted malt. A nice yeast note. Hints of fruit esters - cherry and raspberry. Nicely balanced and built, but not as good as expected given the brewery and current ratings. I like it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with cream, and enough coarseness to allow the flavours to come through. Just thick enough. Complements the flavours pretty well.

Dr: Highly drinkable - especially considering the high ABV, which is extremely well hidden. It tastes like it's about 5.00%. I'd have it again, preferably on draught.

I don't recommend an oversized wine glass as the proper glassware for this beer.

(1,444 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a dark red amber, massive, fine off-white persistant head and lacing. Looks nice. Aroma of malt, Belgian spices, slightly sour. Sweet malt and fresh fruits; apple, pear and raisins. Starts sweet and fruity, but finishes dry with a hop kick. The aftertaste is overly astringent and bitter. Alcohol is noticeable. The finish knocks this one down a bit in flavor. Not my favorite Alesmith. (430 characters)

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a generic tulip- pours a a sort of rosewood color with a HUGE three finger head that sticks around for a while and has a few streaks of lacing.

Smells very much like a Belgian strong ale- yeasty and malty with a little spice (seems to me like cinnamon and nutmeg).

Tastes excellent- again very much like a Belgian strong ale; yeasty and malty, but not overly yeasty as some can be. It is pretty sweet but not sickeningly sweet. I do taste a hint of nutmeg but it is mostly just perfectly balanced yeast and malt flavors.

Mouthfeel is fantastic- light to medium bodied and very well carbonated. Sparkles on the tongue. This is an excellent beer (as are all of the other Alesmith brews that I've had). Get if you see it! (749 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into tulip glass. Pours toast-brown color with massive foamy head leaving spotty lacing throughout - typical for a big Belgian like this one. Sarts with the tangy flavor of Belgian yeast, then fades to a medium-light flavor of vanilla, caramel and chocolate. Finishes dry and well-balanced with a slightly toasty flavor. Vanilla and chocolate aromas predominate, along with the Belgian yeast/candi characteristics. Clean and crisp mouthfeel, medium-bodied. Warmth from the high alcohol content makes it feel like a Belgian champange. Quite decent brew. (577 characters)

Photo of Bung
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml. Assuming this is 2010 since I just picked it up during our Christmas trip. Fairly clear dark amber pour. Nice fluffy off white head, retained very well.

Aroma, Malt, yeast, but the largest scent is dark fruit, plum, black cherry.

Taste, pretty varied and changing. Starts with the plum, grape. Malty caramel, earthy yeast. Last more molasses, chocolate covered candied fruit.

Medium bodied, smoother and lighter on carb than the appearance would lead one to believe. Warming, but alcohol is not overly present. If not for the carbonation I'd say this tasted more like a port. 8 oz. is probably about enough though, due to the lower carb.

Not bad and the price wasn't outrageous. The rating number is probably a little higher than my feeling of the beer. (764 characters)

Photo of AwYeh
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage; 750 ml poured into nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy brown, dark copper color. Foamy off white head with light lacing; good retention.

S: This is quite a fancy smell; reminds me of what wines smelled like when I was younger and first exposed to them. Lots of dark fruits going on, particularly plum and raisin, along with a light tartness.

T: Following smell, dark fruits are what really show up here, complemented by another light tartness– mostly plum and apple flavors here, but a bit of sour pear shows up too.

M: Heavily carbonated, I feel like this could be easily introduced to a non-beer drinker as a kind of unique wine. Medium bodied, with a decent amount of alcohol on the finish– though it does add a certain spiciness rather than detract from the overall experience. Quite dry on the finish as well.

O: It's an interesting, and quite good beer, even if I prefer some of Alesmith's other offerings and some other beer's within the style over this one. Nonetheless, I recommend checking it out; you could easily enjoy this one more than me, and given its qualities, I would hate to discourage anyone from picking it up. (1,153 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
2.65/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage. I reviewed a fresh bottle (which was lost in one of BA's "lost review" moments) and didn't care for it much. We'll see if this is any better with some time on it.

3.0 A: Opaque medium brown color. Two fingers of fizzy beige head. Retention is below average and no lacing is left.

3.0 S: Brown sugar, caramel, and a rum soaked raisin type booziness. Fig and prune fruitiness. Some toastiness in there as well. Peppery spiciness. Light bready maltiness. The flavor profile looks better on paper than how it actually smells. The aromas don't balance each other out that well. Still, not bad.

2.5 T: This has mellowed to the point of being boring. Brown sugar and caramel are the strongest flavors. Almost tart fruitiness featuring dates, figs, and raisins. Light peppery spiciness. Booze is in check though.

2.5 M: Medium body. Carbonation level is right, but it's a "passive" carbonation as opposed to the spritzy Belgain yeast carbonation that I like. Seems almost oily. Smooth though.

2.5 D: Didn't care for it fresh and I care for it even less with some age. It's not undrinkable, but it's boring with a subpar mouthfeel. (1,164 characters)

Photo of Neffbeer
3.51/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

bottle from 2010

A: Pours a deep amber with ruby hues. Decent size two finger head that fades really fast with zero lacing. Average clarity.

S: Very spicy with cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves on the first whiff. Brown sugar, caramel, toasted biscuits, figs, raisins, cherries and apples round out the mix.

T: The spice rolls out front with cloves and apples bringing a little bready goodness. As it gets to room temp some notes of berries emerge with cherries in front. The stone fruits from the nose are not really evident the more I drink and any hope of toffee/carmel goodness is lost as the finish falls a bit flat.

M: A bit thin with carbonation along the line of "spritzy." I really think the beer is over carbonated and the depth of flavor is lost in the effervescence.

D: Sadly this beer comes up short of being anything truly great. The flavors fall a bit flat for me after a really inviting nose. All in all still a drinkable brew. (945 characters)

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

750ml bottle, 2007 vintage. Wax sealed upon purchase (fresh). Opened and reviewed 12-3-11

Aroma- Burnt caramel, toast, raison, with some hints of cedar. Touch of oxidation.

Taste- Huge raison flavors, some bready yeast carrying through, with a touch of wet paper from it's age. Touch of cranberry, with some dark (burnt) sugar coming through on the finish.

Overall- This one has held up and then some. I see this beer lasting at least another couple of years. My 2006 bottle would be lucky the get opened in 2014. Lay this one down. Much better aged than fresh. (564 characters)

Photo of ficknish
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy dark brown. Big off white head.

S - Dark fruits. Orange citrus. Raisins.

T - Toasty malts. Alcohol. Raisins. Stone fruits. Dates. Leather.

M - Big body. Strong alcohol heat.

O - A complex mix of strong flavors and smells. Love how big it is in flavor, smell, body, and alcohol. Very intense beer. A little too intense with the alcohol flavor. Might drink again. (374 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, but not great. Poured with a nice light tan, foamy, frothy, head that lasts a long time and a little lace. Color is a cloudy amber brown. Aroma is solvents, malt, caramel, yeast. Flavor's much like nose, with sweetness standing out but a little confusing to me as it matches sweet solvents. Body and carbonation are ok. Finish is like flavor, of average length and no hint of booze. (386 characters)

Photo of philbe311
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Slightly more than two fingers worth of densely packed moderately creamy light khaki colored froth... Audibly fizzy... Modest retention gives way to a full creamy rich lacing and a moderately thick collar... The color is a warm medium caramel brown with a distinctive moderate reddish hue... Mostly still with just a bit of carbonation as you jostle the glass back and forth...

S - Brown sugar... Toffee... Caramel... Dark fruits... Raisins... Figs... Bing cherries... A bit of bubble gum... A bit of flat cola... A bit of syrupy sweetness... Warm spicy notes... Perhaps even some faint cinnamon notes... Very subtle Belgian yeast tones...

T - The malty goodness is at the forefront... Toffee... Caramel... Fig... Raisins... Light apple notes... Perhaps even some strawberry... Warm bready tones... Notes of tobacco... Loaded with complexity... New flavors arise with varying intensity in each and every sip...

M - Medium to full bodied... Exceedingly smooth... Just the slightest of carbonation... Sleek... Elegant... Warming... Lively... A bit of stickiness...

D - A delightful and easy sipper... Rich and sophisticated with layers upon layers of complexity... Alesmith never ever seems to disappoint... Highly recommended and a brew that I would welcome in my glass anytime... (1,291 characters)

Photo of claspada
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish caramel color with bright orange edges with a nice pale knahki/pale orangish cap. The foam is much too soft to last or to result in much lacing.

Aromas begin not too powerful or complex. I get a lot of over-ripe apple and a great deal of warm yeast spiciness. As it warms the above become more forward with the clove and more complex Beligan yeast smells coming into the forefront. I am surprised by the lack of dark fruits which I typically find in this style.

The tastes begin with light sweet bready, biscuity, pale maltiness. Soon you are overwhelmed with the typical Belgian yeast dominant flavors which I have admitedly become tired on. Spicy clove esters are dominant and really all I get with the exception of a light cidery apple flavors you get mid-palate. I would prefer a lot more dark malts or dark fruity malt flavors here, but sadly they are lacking.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very good for the style.

Overall this is just a miss for me because of the lack-luster complexity and overwhelmingly dominant Belgian yeast flavors. I prefer the yeast to play an equal part with the malts and hops in my Belgian dark ales, but here it didn't quite work. Definitely my least favorite AleSmith offering I have had to date. (1,277 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (1,723 characters)

Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a murky reddish brown, with golden edges. A light tan head that fades fast. The nose is strong of sour unripe cherry, belgian yeast, alcohol and spices. The tast is belgian yeast strains, spices, and cherries. A grood mouthfeel and finish with good carbonation. Another good beer from Alesmith. (310 characters)

Photo of nickd717
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review originally written 12/19/08. Another excellent beer from AleSmith. It is rare these guys produce anything that is less than awesome it seems. Cloudy red appearance with little to no head. Nice aroma with berry notes and sweet caramel. Flavor is big, cherries and raspberries dominate, also caramel malt and spices. No real hop presence unlike most AleSmith offerings. Very satisfying. (391 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (520 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8/4/2011

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. (581 characters)

AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 363 ratings.