1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.

660 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 660
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 95
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of AleSmith Grand Cru Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 660 | Reviews: 355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Flyer


3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this beer to be disappointing. Totally by coincidence, I had this after Ale Asylum Grand Cru, and given my respect for AleSmith, I was shocked that it "lost" that comparison. Both are malty versions of a belgian ale/dubbel, but the difference is that this is out of balance -- a cerealy malt dominates the subtler notes associated with a dubbel and candi sugar. Some nice toasty, minty, vanilla notes almost get lost.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2008 01:55:00 | More by Flyer
Photo of ggoss3


3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a) dark deep brown color in the glass, little to no head

s) i get alcohol on the nose, followed by a caramel sweet flavor

t) brown sugar with a caramel sweetness... a bit of spice on the finish

m) tiny bubbles on the mouthwith a very smooth finish, leaves again, a sweetness to it

d) a bit heavy, and a bit heavy on the alcohol nose/mouth... good to quaff though

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2008 01:57:18 | More by ggoss3
Photo of magictrokini


3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish-brown color with a squatty off-white head. A rich, sweet malty aroma. Kind of musty in an old way, not a bretty way. Malty sweet, almost like bread pudding, but a dry finish. Alcoholic warmth is very noticeable. Liquer-like mouthfeel. This borders on a malt bomb, if there is a such thing, but is still very nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2008 19:32:38 | More by magictrokini
Photo of BretSikkink


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

Caramel color with lighter highlights. The head has an orangish hue to it, with lots of carbonation that leaps out to a pretty tall head. Either the ABV or the lack of hops quickly comes into play, however, and de-sticks the cap and glass from any long lasting lacing.

Pleasing notes in the aroma, though you have to go searching a bit. Definitely notes of mulled cider, with the apple and spice components, and a little clove to round out the aroma.

Low on the roast totem pole for sure, this BSDA relies on fruity sweetness, spices, and alcohol to earn its designation. Some date and fig in there, but still leaning towards red apple overall, especially in the aftertaste. The sweetness is more powerful than spiciness; some can be attributed to candi sugar I imagine.

The spice flavors are pretty prominent, and include notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, plus the clove phenols from the yeast strain. The added complexity takes the strain off the sweetness.

Decent heft in the mouth; I wouldn't be disappointed by a Strong Dark with more body and creaminess, but there's a certain American attitude about this variety that allows it to be inspired by Belgium without being enslaved.

I'm impressed by this vintage of the Grand Cru, and I'm really happy that I came upon a bottle for $9 - not exactly a steal, but definitely a deal.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2008 04:33:51 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of OWSLEY069


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

Pours a hazy deep amber color, with some reddish hues and a small light tan head. In the aroma, dark fruits, plum, dry fig, and a hint of alcohol. In the taste, prune, fig, dry dark fruits across the board. A small bitterness and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry dark fruit and alcohol aftertaste. Big dark fruit and alcohol, but not overbarring, and a nice dry end.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2008 02:14:33 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of Goliath


3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, dark amber with red hues in the light. As it warmed, it became rather clear but retained it's dark amber color. A thin slightly yellowed head forms and quickly dissipates leaving nothing but a thin collar behind.

The aroma is pretty nice. A good bit of fruit in the nose, sugar, spice, and yeast. Kind of phenolic and boozy as well.

The taste is decent. Again, some nice fruit presence giving a bit of plum. A decent amount of alcohol shows up, and hides behind some big solvent and phenolic notes. Kind of spicey as well with a nice warmth.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full bodied. Carbonation is very low and fine, but perhaps not appropriate for a Belgian style ale.

Drinkability is moderate. The flavor is decent, but the booziness is a bit much at times. I would say that as of right now this is my least favorite of Alesmiths 750 lineup, and potentially least favorite altogether. I am however still curious if age would smooth it out a bit and make it more palatable for my liking.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 20:37:14 | More by Goliath
Photo of tmoneyba


4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at tasting at Baskets Gourmet.

Poured brown hue with large off-white head that lasted with excellent lacing. Medium to heavy aroma of molasses and malt. Medium body with long finish. Moderate to heavy malty sweet flavor with a moderate to heavy complex sweet finish and small alcohol bite.

Always god beers from this brewer.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 14:54:56 | More by tmoneyba
Photo of PatronWizard


4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at the BA Speedway release. Got thirsty so....

Super thick liquid caramel. Some of the bubbles actually stop while moving up the glass. No head first pour. Not to worry, this 750 looks like it has many more pours in store. Second aggressive pour results in the thinnest of heads that dissipates quickly. I proclaim this a headless beer.

Smells like a sugar daddy with a vodka core. In other word: yum.

Big big taste of caramel. Sweet and malty malt bomb. Candied apples.

Surprisingly smooth. Goes down like water (with a little vodka in it). Carbonation seems non-existent, alcohol is a distant fire on a far off shore. Incredible easy to drink. This 750 of 10% will get in my bellay in very short order I'm afraid.

Big drinkable beer. It seriously has to be melted candied apples and vodka in a bottle.

Overall: grand cru

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2008 21:57:09 | More by PatronWizard
Photo of hopdog


4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. 2003 Vintage.

Poured a dark reddish-brown color with a very small sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, toffee, bread, and dark fruits. Tastes for toffee, caramel, dark fruitiness, and doughy. Malty and on the sweet side.

Notes from 2/28/05

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2008 21:38:49 | More by hopdog
Photo of Reagan1984


4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A thanks and shout out to ThreeWiseMen for providing this beer in a recent trade. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to try this one.

A special beer and one that is meant to be savored. The more you think about this one, the more complex it becomes.

There was a thin off white head that appeared then vanished almost immediately. The beer itself was a fairly dark brownish amber color. No visible carbonation and translucent.

Aroma was Apple, like green apple Jolly ranchers. I mean that in a good way since I love those. The slightest bit of a boozy sense..

Deep caramel flavors, freshly pressed apple cider, toffee, toasted almost burnt malt towards the end. Lots of dark fruits. Figs, cherries and a bunch of other stuff going on. Certainly sweet, but it still balanced nicely with the complexity of other flavors on the scene.

Mouth feel was medium bodied and you certainly get a warming effect from the alcohol. Slightly sticky..

Very, very drinkable. I am happy to report one of my buddies didn't really appreciate it and I was able to steal his share.
I really enjoyed this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2008 13:37:07 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of jujubeast6000


2.7/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reviewed 1/31/2008 (bottle):

Pours a brownish red color body. Cloudy. Small head, off-white, quickly diminishing. Floral, dark fruit, sweet, some alcohol fumes when inhaling. Not too strong. Watery, woody, alcoholy. Warming up...Dark fruit, still some alcohol. Flattish. Might be another bad bottle from AZ.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2008 00:13:42 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of radshoesbro


3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this shit is pretty good, but it's really strong which means you're not gonna be able to drink many more than one bottle if you value your motor functions. it tastes basically like maple syrup and alcohol. phenols are very present just like any beer of this type. this is absolutely a sipping beer and not something you're going to want to have multiples of.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2008 06:21:19 | More by radshoesbro
Photo of jpiper


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

6-9 months old. Little to no head quickly dissipates to a minor lace. Aroma is of sweet overripe fruits. Flavor is sweet malty, raisin, ripe fruit, with a residual sweetness and caramel. Mouthfeel is sticky. Poured at about 50 degrees F, got much better as it approached 60 degrees.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2008 00:39:18 | More by jpiper
Photo of waltonc


4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 2006 bottle compliments of abfraser.

Pretty dark, hazy, cider-like in appearance. Not much head. Smells like spice and sweet fruit. Taste has the same properties, along with a lot of sweetness. Overall very good. I wouldn't mind a little bit more carbonation, but this has enough that I didn't feel like I was drinking beer juice. Highly gulpable, I give this good drinkability marks in spite of the ABV.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2008 20:22:16 | More by waltonc
Photo of brewandbbq

New Hampshire

4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2005

Pours dark amber with a ruby hue.
No head developed, even with a stretch pour.
A thin ring of white lace ran around the edges of the glass with a few dots of lacework remaining.

Sweet malt, candied fruit, and caramel start the nose. Cherries, tangerines, grape jam, cloves, and rum follow through.

Medium bodied, slick, and slightly syrupy.
Low carbonation lends a light chew to the mouthfeel.

Ripe fruit, sweet malt, and rummy alcohol lead off the palate. Hints of Grand Marnier, red grapes, cherries, raisins, and ripe berries add plenty of depth.

Finishes with warming alcohol, a light peppery note on the throat, and plenty of lingering ripe fruit.

Three years on it's side has really rounded this beer out. The spiciness when young has stepped back and allowed plenty of complex fruit to come forward.
Approaching the realm of a very fruity Quad.
Further time in the cellar will really put this one over the top.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2008 14:49:01 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of ballewblake

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gold foil wrapped cap 750 bottle into my Duvel glass.

On pour I wasn't getting a head so I notched it up and still didn't get much of one. One finger on a semi aggressive pour, that dropped down to a ring of foam around the glass. Dark brown in appearance, off white head when it was there. Smell is yummy, lite malts, grapes, and ethanol. Smooth brew with some warm alcohol on the finish. Carbonation is low but there. Lacing practically washes off with each swig. Some Belgian yeast notes further in, really lightly roasted malts in the finish. Alcohol is a bit noticeable, but not a killer for the brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2008 01:33:19 | More by ballewblake
Photo of Wetpaperbag


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

A- When I poured this beer I couldn't help but notice how the head formed like a soda, and sounded like I was pouring a coke or something. The head is very loose and disappeared quickly. As I look into the glass I see that this is a busy beer. There is lots of activity in the dark copper/amber colored beer. I can't help but think how much this looks and sounds like a soda and not a beer.

S- The smell of this beer is very much in line with the style. There is dark fruits coming through. Lots of nice spice is present as well. I can also smell the alcohol in the beer, its faint.

T- This is quite malty tasting. There is a nice clove taste, as well as a buttery taste/feeling. The dark fruit taste is sweet. I also find that there is a very slight coffee taste involved.

M- As this beer warmed up the beer became thicker in feel and the carbination deflated.

D- This beer has gotten much better as it has warmed up. The head started to become tighter and creamier. The activity in the glass calmed down quite a bit. This beer is better as it warmed up.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2008 03:14:48 | More by Wetpaperbag
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

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!

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2008 23:52:08 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of SkeeterHawk


3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I have had this beer for a good bit over a year at least, and it is high time that I reviewed it. I picked this one up just outside LA. Anyway, here we go...

Appearance: There was very little off-gas when I opened the cap, and the head poured reflecting the same lack of carbonation. The beer itself is a murky reddish brown with a few bubbles seeking the top.

Aroma: My initial impression was that of raisins mixed with sherry, but as it sits for a few minutes the alcohol isn't as much in your face and it is taking on a sweet brown sugar nose.

Taste: The flavor is pretty much inline with the aroma in that there is a lot of brown sugar sweetness and spice from the alcohol that stays with you all the way into the finish as an evident warming on the back of the throat. The fruitiness is also a big player, and I get mostly dark fruits like raisins, figs, black cherries...and oh, boy does this beer warm up the throat! Though the lack of carbonation hurts the mouthfeel, but this beer is big enough to go down like an Old Ale or some such that doesn't need any major carbonation. The sherry notes are in the flavor as well.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer for being as flat as it is. I must have had it for too long or something, but it is rather murky as well. Anyway, I would like to try this beer again fresh, but I will still drink the whole thing this evening.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2008 01:11:32 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of kmeves


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

Pours a cloudy amber brown with a thin filmy off white head. Aroma is very sweet with caramel, almonds, toffee, maple syrup and a lot of dark fruit. The flavor is much more nutty and less sweet. The caramel and fruit still shine through and are balanced by a nice amount of bitterness. Finishes long nutty sweet and a bit hot. Medium to full bodied, creamy texture.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2008 18:31:18 | More by kmeves
Photo of Ryanbob


4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep Red w, good lacing.

S - Strong, Pungent Aroma, alcohol is noticable. Spicy.

T - Heavy malts, very very rich, toasted and tangy malts. More spicy, smoky with hints of citrus as it warms. Slight bitterness in the finish, minimal hops that balance the huge malty richness.

M - silky, carbonated mouthfeel.

This is a complex ale, and a tricky one. At first it just seemed rich, but it opens up to all kinds of spicy, taosty, tangy, citrus and smoky flavors. A great special occasion brew, not something I would have more than one of in a session.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2008 02:03:55 | More by Ryanbob
Photo of cswhitehorse


3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Grand Cru was a semi cloudy reddish brown with a two finger foam head with tightly packed bubble profile. It had some wicked sweet lacing that was reminiscent of a snowy day.

The aroma was the weaker link of the brew for me. I got brown sugar, plums and a faint malt smell. The taste was malty all the way through and the spiciness pops you i the nose. It was really smooth yet peppery. Nice and chewy mouth feel. It left a bitterness in the mouth and tingling in the gums, maybe from the 10 percent abv. I found this to be lovely crafted beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2008 20:51:33 | More by cswhitehorse
Photo of dedrinker


4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark copper color with a thin off-white/ cream colored head. The head dipped out quickly, but even several minutes after the pour there is an interesting little geyser of carbonation bubbling up in the middle of my goblet that actually disturbs the surface as in a swift flowing river. The aroma is a soft, clean, and persistent mix of jammy fruit and some kind of sugary syrup I can't place. The flavor is packed with more jammy fruit, brandy, light caramel perhaps, and some yeast and alcohol show up on the finish. The flavors are intense yet it somehow finishes lighter and more delicate than the start. There is good length on the finish, but it seems to gracefully lift away off the tongue so as not to be cloying. Great.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2008 05:00:37 | More by dedrinker
Photo of lifebeer

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

consumed in a Westmalle goblet:

a. pours a stained mahogany with an emphasis on the red, off-white 1/4 finger of head that dissipates completely over a couple of minutes

s. fruit juice, orange peel, coriander, a yeasty earthiness

t. yeast, orange peel, woodiness, coriander, fruit, and a noticable alcohol character, although not overbearing or distracting

m. very bold and heavy for the style, love it!

d. tastes great with Indian food, refreshing although heavier than others of the same style, will definitely drink again, if i can find it

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2008 00:46:23 | More by lifebeer
Photo of russpowell


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
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 660 ratings.