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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.

745 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 745
Reviews: 358
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 100
Gots: 132 | 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: 745 | Reviews: 358 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ballewblake
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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of lifebeer
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

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

Photo of cjgator3
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750ml capped gold foil wrapped bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a really beautiful dark brownish red color with a creamy light tan head. Very impressive.

S- The aroma features dark ripe fruits, hints of spices and yest. There is also some alcohol in the nose as well. You can tell that they used a Belgian yeast strain, it definitely has that feel to it.

T- The taste is dark alcohol soaked fruits with some spices and a good dose of alcohol in the warming finish.

M- The mouthfeel is incredibly smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation. Very nice!

D- This is a very nice beer, but the high ABV limits the drinkability of this one. I find it to be a little too hot in the alcohol department. This is a fresh sample, so I think some aging would definitely help. I wish I would have split this one with somebody, the alcohol definitely sneaks up on you.

Overall, AleSmith Grand Cru is another solid beer from this great brewery. Recommended.

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

Reddish, light brown color and clear. Great start to the head although it leaves no lace on the glass

Very strong port-like sweetness to the nose. No spice, hop or yeast aroma that I normally detect in most "Belgians".

Rich texture with a moderate level of carbonation to make this a chewy brew. This could be called the sherry of beers, although the finish is far more dry than I'd ever expect. I can detect subtle hop which prevents the alcohol oiliness from showing up. It's a deceptively balanced beer even though it is sweet (caramelized sugar and molasses).

This one is growing on me as I continue to sip. Do not expect a Belgian style here as much as a barley wine, but a very good one.

Photo of dsa7783
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ML bottle just purchased from New Beer Distributors in Manhattan on Chrystie Street for $9.25...
Presented with an elegant gold-foil around the bottle neck...
A slow and steady pour yielded a dark-orange, hazy, off-red hue with a modest-sized foamy head that quickly dissipated and left behind a minimal amount of lacing...
Smell was loaded with yeast, citrus, and alcohol in the nose...
Taste was headily alcoholic, and very noticeable, especially with a powerful 10% ABV... This one is definitely a sipper and can be enjoyed over a long period of time...
Spicy, citrus-filled flavors dance on the tongue, along with a warming alcohol glow, candied sugars, caramel, and a touch of oak and vanilla...
Mouthfeel was full-bodied, rich, and creamy, however the drinkability took a serious blow due to the overwhelming presence of alcohol on the tongue and hefty ABV...
Worth a shot...

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

A: Poured a briwnish ruby color with a big fluffy head and some good sedementation.

S: Smelled spicy with dried fruits, perhaps plums and raisins with some spiciness and tons of sugar.

T: Provided a nice warmth and stickiness. Lots of sugar, malt and other good stuff.

M: Big bodied, s bit sticky sweet, well carbonated, creamy

O: Very good

Photo of Kemmerlin
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a gorgeous velvety unfiltered caramel color with very little head.

S: Supported smells of caramelized sugar, with fresh malts, and a hint of cinnamon, yum!

T: Had a very holiday type of taste. Apricot, raisin, caramel, brown sugar, spices, alcohol, and well done beef. I strongly recommend this one for a Christmas dinner.

M/D: A light feel that actually had a spicy feel to it. The drinkablility was very good with strong sweetness and very tiny alcohol feel.

Photo of robbyc1
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From the bomber into a plastic cup, nice looking near black, fuzzy head, looks like a BSDA for sure.

Nose of dark fruits, some yeast esters, gooood...

Taste is full as it smells, goes good with roast beef, very nice caramels from the malt, tasty dark fruits, and a bit dry at the end but no notice of hops, just right.

Good mouthfeels, a bit fizzy and not as full as I like, but ok.

No sign of abv at 10% easy drinker, would love to see more of this , thanks to my trader who got me this one. Very close to the Chimay Blue which I like too.

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

750ml bottle, split on memorial day, a few years old at least

appearance: poured into a capital pint glass, moderate mahogany body with light strawberry highlights, light tan foam head

smell: big and bold, dark belgian yeast, raisins/prunes/walnuts/dates, brown sugar, light cinnamon and loads of other belgian spices. thick caramel malts

taste: a delightful belgian treat, loads of dark belgian yeast, brown sugar and tons of belgian spice, big caramel malts - lovely!

mouthfeel: active spicing, medium body, lively and somewhat potent

drinkability: good

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

Poured from a 750ml champagne-style bottle into a Stone IRS glass.

A: A ruby brown color with a very thin head.

S: A sweet malty smell with a hint of spices, dark fruit, and caramel.

T: Dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, and other similar sweet dark malt flavors. It's a little too sweet and a little less complex than I like to see in a Belgian Strong Dark.

M: Nice mouthfeel, its smooth, rich and low in carbonation.

D: A decent BSDA, not the best I've had but not bad either.

Photo of DIM
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was an amber/orange color, slightly murky. It poured with a smallish light tan head that faded quicky leaving some lace behind.

s: This has a huge malty nose. Aromas of peats, cherries, and sugary raisins. To a lesser extent I found some vanilla and alcohol.

t: This was on the sweeter side, but it works. Brown sugary raisins, floral peats, and some sour cherries dominate. There is a bit of alcoholic heat at the end.

m: Great body and gentle carbonation, very nice overall.

d: Thanks to tayner for this treat, I'd like to try this again sometime.

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.

Photo of Atron67
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to olibeer22 for this great trade!!!

A- almost ruby red body, with a crystal clear body. lgiht brown foam built on top and then fell down quickly. not too impressive, but its not where youd expect it to be impressive either. its a lot lighter than i would expect, but theres nothing wrong with it.

S- amber scents, light plum characther, light on both malt and hops flavor, definitely dark fruit characther but beyond the plum, which is definitely strongest, but only the beginning. slight caramel charachter which im not the biggest fan of, but with all the raisen plum charachter is rpetty good

T- big malt charachter to start. with the beginning of the malt bursts begins a huge dark fruit burst being, as would expect from the nose, mainly plum and raisen charachter coming from the yeast, but which is much more than just that can say. the caramel flavor is there but its not a negative. very creamy throughtout and very delicious

M- creamy, medium carbonation, lingers on the tongue

D- amazing to have gotten it, sad sad sad that this cant make it out to madison

Photo of ArrogantB
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage with a really cool silkscreen on the bottle. The smell is a real nice maltiness followed by syrupy caramel and some alcohol fumes. It is a good smell and reminds me a little of Caracole amber. There are almost no bubbles whatsoever let alone a head and the beer is an opaque chestnut color. The flavor is very sweet and hard to describe, complex and fruity, its quite delicious. This is perfect for sipping, gets better the closer it gets to room temperature. I'd like to try a fresh version to see what the differences are but this was a tasty beer.

Photo of throwitallaway
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750ml. bottle into a goblet. Nice brown color, with a small head that sticks around for awhile. Smells of spice, dark fruits, and brown sugar. Tastes of spice, slightly bitter hops, brown sugar, apples, and a slight alcohol warmth at the end. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and creamy. Complex and tasty, but suffers in the drinkability department. I'll probably have to struggle a little to get through the bottle.

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

Opened impressive 750ml bottle, poured into chalice.

Pours a low creamy head atop a dark amber colored mostly opaque brew. Nice small bubbles present.

Smell is of malts, warm caramel and dark fruits. Taste follows through with a full bodied flavors. I really like how this taste on the palate and finishes really nice. I was expecting something more sweet considering the sugary smells; the 10% ABV of this brew would also leave one to expect something a bit more burning, but this ale is definitely a well balanced beast.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer pours a slightly dense amber body with a good carbonation of tiny bubbles supporting a creamy light caramel colored head. The head last as a thin film with nice lacing for most of the beer.

S- This beer has a soft yeasty note of faint bananas and circus peanuts which are subtle and balanced soon give way to a bolder toasted note and a robust caramel sweetness at the finish.

T- The rich caramel malt flavor has some darker roasted notes to it with a soft alcohol heat and white raisin quality. There is a soft cola note that gives way to an apple butter note to the malt and a soft toasted malt flavor to boot. The finish is a soft herbal bitterness that wraps up the malt flavors quite nicely without big hop flavors.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft alcohol heat and a tight little fizz in the finish that enhances the herbal bitterness.

D- This beer has a great depth of flavor and a perfect support of the wonderful caramel malt. This grand cru is like a great loaf of fresh bread. It doesn't wow you with over-the-top flavor or huge amounts of flavor but it has that amazing freshness and subtle complexity to make this beer stand out.

AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 745 ratings.