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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.

696 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 696
Reviews: 357
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 98
Gots: 127 | 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: 696 | Reviews: 357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oggg
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%

Sampled on tap at Liars club in a Belgian goblet

This beer pours a dark brown with auburn edges. The head is minimal and barely covers the beer. The aroma is distinctively "Belgian", with lots of complex fruity aromas and some caramel. The initial carbonation is restrained well, and is followed by caramel and and mild roastiness. Low to no bitterness. Melon and other fruit. Sugar. Alcohol is apparent but not strong. Medium to full body. I rather downed this fairly quickly, and it went down surprisingly well.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed this beer

oggg, Jun 21, 2004
Photo of rkhaze
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%

Pours a dark chestnut color with huge bubbles that disappeared immediatly leaving no head to speak of.
Smells of sweet malt, roasted fruits and brown sugar. There was a rum like alcohol aroma and a bit of yeast as well.
Deep, complex earthy taste. Bready roasted malt, brown sugar, dark caramel and red fruit. There was a definite rum alcohol presence, some tangy yeast and a hint of cinnamon waaay back there.
Rich and full bodied with a thick viscous mouthfeel and an alcohol burn. The lack of carbonation took it to the edge of being almost syrupy.
The alcohol presence and syrupy cloying mouthfeel hurt the drinkability for me. Definitly a sipper.
Quite the alcohol laced malt monster. This probably needs a little more time to mellow a bit and let the alcohol smooth out. Wish I would have picked up an extra bottle to age. Reminded me somewhat of La Terrible.

rkhaze, Jun 07, 2004
Photo of Bighuge
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%

Dark burgandy appearance. Very slight head recedes to almost nothing as a collar. This Grand Cru has a nice, thick aroma. It's dark fruits (cherry, plum), burnt molasses, raisin, bread pudding, alcohol and port. Nice. The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated. Body is about medium. This beer packs a punch with its flavor. The big everclear soaked melon and dark fruit characteristic is dominant. The alcohol isn't too heavy, but it's fucking there. It's got the fig and date thing going on. Nuances of port. Bready and doughy yeast tones. Nice flavor.

A Big ol Grand Cru thanks to the Grandest of BeachBums.

Bighuge, May 24, 2004
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

WVbeergeek, Apr 12, 2004
Photo of beergeek279
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%

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 TinusTime
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%

Poured a reddish brown with a nice sized barely offwhite head. Smell was of prunes, a little nuttiness. Taste was somewhat sour in that Belgian way, also a little cooked wine and a lot of plum prune and dark sour cherry. Hints of scotch whiskey soaked fruit as the beer warms. Nicely carbonated even almost 4 years later. Drinkability is good as the alcohol is well hidden. Definite an after dinner lounging before the fire type beer. Thanks to Eyechartbrew for the bottle and to BiermanVa for drinking it with me.

TinusTime, Apr 10, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%

Appearance – Not much of a head to this 10.0 ABV monster, but that’s to be expected I guess. The body is a luscious, hazy, dirty brown.

Smell – There’s no shortage of sweets to this Alesmith offering. The strong, dark fruits jump out at you from across the room. The bananas, which I often find absent in this particular style, mix wonderfully with the darker raisins and dates.

The milder presence of figs and doughy malts smells almost like a Fig Newton. The refined sugars are in abundance as well, making this one a very complex BSDA.

Taste – More of the same at the taste. The refined table sugars take things up a notch, making this even sweeter than the nose indicated. The yeasty malt kicks into high gear as well, especially as it warms, making this a real sipper.

Mouthfeel – Full-bodied and very juicy sweet (like the forbidden pool?). The year’s first knat just did a kamikaze “belly flop of death” right in the glass. This one will activate your salivary glands big-time. I was drooling at the nose.

Drinkability – This was a “reward beer” after tasting two horrid bottles (St Pauli Girl & Mission St). I felt like a king sipping on this one. Terrific!

Comments – I’ve only had a handful of ales that can measure up to this one. The BigDog (xlperro) sent me this along with a few other beers and some kick ass homebrews. A big “BA Thanx” for this awesome offering.

RoyalT, Mar 06, 2004
Photo of beerguy101
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%

Dark brown color. Mead head. Aroma is malt, brown sugar, hops, clove and banana and… I could spend a long time just smell this beer. A full-bodied Belgian Strong Ale. Malts are fruity (bananas, peaches and raisins) bready and sweet. Very well balanced. Extremely smooth, nearly creamy taste. Touches of must and wood, vanilla and caramel. Some sherry and wine like characters are here as well. The 10% alcohol is very well hidden. Flavors of figs and plums come out as it warms, and I swear it get even smoother tasting. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

beerguy101, Mar 06, 2004
Photo of aracauna
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

The body is a very dark red there's not a lot of head, but there's enough. There are lots of fruity esters and a warmth to the malt. It's a bit alcoholic, but not overpowering, although it does give it a bit of a bourbon undertone. I was a bit underwhelmed by the beer, though.

aracauna, Feb 23, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%

Cloudy deep brown body, small light brown film consisting of ultra-sticky tiny bubbles. Aroma is deep maltiness, fruity (raisin, prunes), chocolate, caramel, earthy, notes of dirt and alcohol. A bit of a let down on that department, not to intense nor complex, this could have been made by any belgian brewery. Taste gets a little more serious, tons of malt in there, smoky honey and maple, chocolate, caramel. A good earthy profile too accompanies the woody sphere. Quite complex with a very mild bitterness and an alcohol bite. Medium body, silky smooth, creamy. As this is my first Alesmith, it's definitely not up to my expectations from this highly acclaimed brewer which seemed (reading other reviews) to brew beers made just for me. It apparently is not the case, but I'll gladly give a try to their other products despite having to lay down 10$ on each of those big ones.

Rastacouere, Feb 16, 2004
Photo of mzwolinski
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%

Lovely looking bottle for a lovely, lovely beer. Pours dark brown/ruby, with just a thin halo of a head. Aroma of dark fruit, with a bit of toffee-scented malt. The flavor is rich -- dark fruits with just a hint of sour, more roasty toffee and a somewhat spicy finish. Smooth mouthfeel with a bit of alcohol warming at the end. A very nice beer and one that will age magnificently.

mzwolinski, Feb 15, 2004
Photo of francisweizen
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%

This is a dark murky reddish/brown liquid with a very fluffy white/beige/tan head of foam. This beer also leaves very excellent belgian lace throughout the glass. The aromas are immense and lovely. They consist of chocolate, raisins, dark fruit, spicy alcohol, zesty hops, caramel and patent roasted malts, yeast, and much, much more! The taste is a lovely melange of heavily malty flavors. As Darren has already stated, this stuff is very reminiscent of a nice 12 year old single malt scotch whiskey. The flavors are all over the place, and consist of: chocolate, dark fruits, spizy hops and alcohol, chocolate and caramel malts, scotch whiskey, and more. The mouthfeel is full, rich, and reminscent of cask conditioned real ale. The mouthfeel is great when this beer is cool (cellar temperature) but it is even better when this beer is warmed up to a warm (70*F) room temp. The tiny bubbles really cling to your tongue, and make the drinkability for this beer excellent! A huge thanks has to go out to Boilermaker88 for trading me, what is possibly, one of the last bottles in the world of this finely aged, nearly 4 year old, brew! Cheers!

francisweizen, Dec 18, 2003
Photo of erica
4.72/5  rDev +16.5%

Yep, this one was a good 'un. It was a dark reddish brown color, I dont remember the head to be honest because I was doing some work while it was poured for me and when I got to it there wasnt much head at all. just a thin layer of bubbles. It smelled sweet, carmel-ish kind of. I knew it would be good. It tasted amazing- a nutty flavor with a butter-toffee taste in there as well. Definitely made me smile, and though I couldn't taste the 10%abv, I could definitely feel it going down all warm. Mouthfeel- just right, soft, and so very drinkable. I hope I get an opportunity to try this again sometime!

erica, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%

Presentation: A bottle received into the Bums 11th floor Beer Cellar courtesy of fellow Gentleman BA xlperro as I never seem to come across this beer in my area. A green glass 1 Pint 9 fl.oz Bottle. Gold lettering highlighted with a red splash of color. A full straight sided Pint glass sits atop an Anvil with the words “Alesmith 2003 Grand Cru Ale”. Listed as 10.0% Alc. by vol. The thick gold foil that wraps the crown cap (no cork BTW) reminded of chocolate gold coins I bought as a child.

Appearance: Dark cloudy brown chestnut, bordering on a mahogany colored body – slight turbidity. The tanned-beige head was a reasonable size and comprised of large bubbles at first, but it settled to a thin collar covering. Nice conditioning that helped to resurrect the fading head when the beer was swirled.

Nose: Strong caramel odors, mixed with a sweet melted honey and warm maple syrup aroma. Sweet and inviting, yet the Single Malt Whisky aromas warm the nostrils in the latter third of the nose and remind you that this is double-figure beverage to be treated with respect.

Taste: The beginning is all malts, warm, soothing and surreptitiously seducing, before you know it; you are in the dark fruity middle of this fine Ale. Warming alcohols, dates, figs and a liquid molasses texture rim the mouth. The sweetness rises in the ending, as does the warming alcohol and malts.

Mouthfeel: The alcohol comes through in the ending of this beer, and warms the throat adequately enough to remind you that this beer is 10%, and a sipper – sadly it drinks way too easily for me to head this warning.

Drinkability: Immense, it goes down well, just too damn easily! You should really sip this one from a Belgium Goblet – but I actually used a Pint Glass to finish the 750ml bottle off, it was that good.

Overall: Much different to the 2000 from my faded memory. Yet still another excellent quality offering from Alesmith that reinforces the fact that this Brewery is way too good to be in a small unit in San Diego - it needs to move to larger premises in Long Beach! The 2003 will certainly age well & improve for years to come I believe. Shame I don’t have any more (for now).

Thanks for this one BigDog! You’ll go to Heaven (you’ll be on yer own when you get there though, I’ll be down below drinking this and the Alesmith Horny Devil)

TheLongBeachBum, Nov 13, 2003
Photo of BierReise
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%

2003 Vintage. Dark and hazy plum colored with no head at all. Aroma is really malty with some fruit like dried cherries and figs. I don't get the vanilla/chocolate aroma, maybe that was a different vintage. Mouth feel is a bit weak with some dryness and lacks the excitement of a Belgian Grand Cru. Flavor is malty sweet with a hint of caramel and cocoa. Alcohol is very present in aroma and flavor. A bit dissapointing.

BierReise, Oct 27, 2003
Photo of Gusler
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%

If I would have known it was going to take me more than a year to restock this magnificent beer, I would have never drunk my last bottle. From what I can ascertain from the local package store is that there seems to be a labeling problem that is delaying its shipment to Arizona, and I’m mad a hell and I’m not going to take it anymore, guess I will just order a case via the internet and be damned the expense.

The pour a deep lucent brown with ruby highlights, the head behemothic in size, spumescent in texture and a winsome light tan color, the lace a velum like sheet to conceal the glass. The nose has a deep malt walnut like sweet aroma, rich and full, fresh a treat for the eye, nose and palate. Start is creamy rich and sweet, top is moderate to full in feel and the finish spiny in its acidity, vinous, hop spicy and desert bone dry aftertaste, a real “Hoot in my books.

Gusler, Oct 26, 2003
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%

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 jcalabre
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%

Appearance: This beauty pours a gorgeous mahogany with a very thin off white head. It's transparent & quite nice to look at. I used a Chimay glass to taste it.
Aroma: You can definitely smell toffee & honey on the nose.
Flavor, It's nice and sweet and rich on the tongue, with a small bite of alcohol on the roof of your mouth. It was so easy to drink the whole friggin' 750. This is a killer brew.

jcalabre, Aug 19, 2003
Photo of TheDM
3.45/5  rDev -14.8%

This brew pours a small head of finely sized mostly diminishing bubbles that leave a fair lacing and it has a transparent dark amber body. It also had a strong alcohol aroma. Initially, the alcohol flavor comes through, but later softens in the finish.

TheDM, Jul 25, 2003
Photo of mickeymac
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%

It comes in a 25 oz. champagne style bottle with a cap and a cork. The color is amber-brown. The head is slight and fades rather quickly. The smell is fruity and just a bit musky. At first it didn't grab me, but it warmed and really started to expand. Ripe fruit and hints of chocolate are present but it doesn't have any of the expected spiciness. However, you won't miss it. This beer has enough going on as it is. I'm looking at Alesmith and its lowest rated beer as of today is a 4.14. I don't know how they do it so consistently, but this is another winner.

mickeymac, Oct 19, 2002
Photo of Jason
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%

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.

Jason, Apr 27, 2002
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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 696 ratings.