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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

731 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 731
Reviews: 358
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 98
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of AleSmith Grand Cru Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 731 | Reviews: 358 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.05/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle, aged ~1 year. Pours a deep brown with a small white head. Aroma of raisin and sweet malt. Flavor is vegetal, quite malty and heavy in the palate. A little better as it warms, but it's super sweet. This is supposed to age well, but I didn't like how it turned out. Meh, not a fan.
6/4/7/3/13 (3.3/5

LilBeerDoctor, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of beerwolf77
3.08/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to sweemzander for another bottle to sample.

A: Cinnamon brown with red edges. Small amount of dirty white head. Soapy lace.

S: Caramel malt and sort of faded hops. Bready with a mix of dark fruit. There's a bit of spice in there but the nose is rather subdued.

T: Mild caramel malt and faded hops. A bit of dark fruit and wet leather. Strange spices float around in there as well.

M: Medium body with modest carbonation.

O: Overall very average at best.

beerwolf77, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of sweemzander
3.1/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into a tulip. Got this awhile ago from a generous trader, but I cannot remember who, but thank you!

(A)- Pours a reddish amber color. Produced a decent off-white head that dissipated down to bubbles.

(S)- A rich earthy clay with some dark fruits and subtle raisin.

(T)- Lots of raisin-like dark fruits. Mildly earthy.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Dry and earthy with some bitterness in there too.

(D)- Its a decent belgian strong dark. A tad thin, yet rich in a sweetness sense. Rather straightforward for the style.

sweemzander, Apr 06, 2011
Photo of hannydawg
3.13/5  rDev -22.7%
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.

hannydawg, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of odeed
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

after drikning a 2000 bottle a few weeks ago i must say this was a bit different.(good thing i bought 2 as im going to cellar the other one)
first thing i noticed is this one did not have a cork in it as the 2000 bottle did.
i dropped this one in a pint glass and it gave no head at all.
had a nice drak amber color.
overall taste?it was still smooth but the alcohol was a bit overwhelming twards the end.i could see the same taste as the 2000 bottle trying to come out but hey...what do ya expect ya know?

odeed, Oct 08, 2004
Photo of BARFLYB
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle purchased at Whole Foods for a nice price. Split with Oglmcdgl, into some Duvel snifters. Been two years since I had a aged bottle and I think this is fresh(er).

Dead red plum juice drizzle with light brown bark rounding out the hue. A stealthy healthy pour yielded a whole hand of vanilla white foam that stuck together quite well, but not on the glass. Just some small sqiggly streaks and a ring around the glass.

For a BSDA this does not have the moxy or the dark fruit and sweet presence for the style. This smells more like an American Strong with all that booze in there, it's not hiding, it's not scurred. There is some dark fruit with light plum and apple but it comes off some what rotted or decayed. Some melted banana and strange yeast.

A big bite of banana in the morning that's whooomp, up there. Some applesauce with sprinkled cinnamon, rotted plums and bready yeast that leaves a strange taste in my mouth. Along with all of that is the booze which is kinda killing this for me, or the beer for that matter. Some sweet toasty malt but it needs more and more fruit for that matter.

Grand Cru is nice on the higher side of medium that is boozy and some heat comes from that, especially warmed. The warmer it got the drinkability went down, although the fruit comes out more, but so does that booze. A semi dry finish where I would expect a smoother ride. It does kinda fit the strong ale category in feel along with other areas. A sharp bitey carb on the tip of the tounge.

I remember liking this more when I picked it up an aged bottle in NY a few years ago, a bit more complex then. I don't think my palate changed, I just think this beer may need to grow up a bit and mature. Split these 750's or sit on em, this could be good in at least two years, not my bag now. Will update in the future.

BARFLYB, May 10, 2010
Photo of claspada
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

claspada, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of DoubleJ
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On-tap at 38 Degrees, another beer that nearly got away. On to the beer:

Looks dark amber with a translucent look. Small amounts of lace are dotted around the glass as the beer is consumed. The nose says GRAPE! More specifically, dark grape. Somewhat medicinal too.

Isn't it funny how I think of medicinal and dark grape in the nose, yet in the taste, it reminds me a lot of children's chewable grape pills. I remember liking the flavor of those pills, and while I'll admit to still liking that taste somewhat, it isn't the most optimal note to taste in a Belgian-style ale. Cocoa notes are a distant second. The alcohol shows only a fraction of itself. The medium heavy, chalky mouthfeel is the best characteristic of the beer.

AleSmith does a lot of things that I like, but the Grand Cru isn't one of them. A beer with this kind of monotonicity needs a really good flavor to carry the weight, but in here, while tolerable, isn't enough.

DoubleJ, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of tigg924
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: minimal head, low carbonation, clear, caramel in color

Smell: alcohol, toasted malt, and dark fruit

Taste: dark fruit, caramel malt, cinnamon, alcohol, and cardamom

Mouthfeel: light bodied, high carbonation, sweet with a slightly bitter alcohol backbone

Drinkability: Decent for the style but not spectacular. There is a lot of subtle flavor going on here, but nothing that calls me to rush out and get this again..especially given the price. Not bad, just had better--especially from this brewery.

tigg924, Apr 28, 2010
Photo of roostor07
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

roostor07, Dec 27, 2013
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip.
10% ABV, "Improves with age, Store in a cool, dark place for 6 to 24 months or longer. Do no refrigerate until ready to drink. Serve at 50-55 F for best flavor. Pour gently into an Alesmith tulip glass leaving brewer's yeast in the bottle."

Thanks to Sweemzander for breaking out yet another bottle for our tasting!

A - Cinnamon brown with orange highlights and a fluffy tan head. Low lace and retention but good clarity with this brew.

S - Strong Belgian yeast nose brings the authenticity right away. Dry, dark fruit esters consist of dark cherries, fig, and spice. Deep maltiness and candied sugar through the finish.

T - Dry and dirty, there isn't much going on with this one aside from the dusty, dirty flavor quite honestly.

M - Dry but smooth, Grand Cru doesn't have much flavor but it does finish with an alcohol kick.

O - The nice aroma sets this one up for a big let down. Bland flavor, this Belgian brew is pretty weak, especially for an Alesmith.

BeerFMAndy, May 07, 2011
Photo of jeff1973
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

jeff1973, Sep 24, 2013
Photo of KFBR392
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Very similar look to a barley wine style ale, dark amber color. Clean look with a much smaller head then I expected. Had to aggressively pour this one to get a more traditional belgian head, which subsided quickly.

Smell: A very bright yeast aroma, not what I expected out of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. The booze is hidden well behind the again very strong belgian aroma.

Taste: A smooth clean taste, again, not what I expected from this beer. There are some slight exotic fruit flavors at the front of this beer but subside quickly to a traditional yeast taste. A very thin body to this beer, certainly didn't make me remember or favor this beer.

Mouthfeel: Thin. Drank like a regular belgian beer. No flavors stood out on the tongue.

Overall: I had higher hopes for this one. Alesmith brings it with most of their brews but I won't recommend this one. Maybe it is unfair I had Unibroue Maudite a couple days before so it had some high standards to meet. Solid beer but did not live up to my expectations or the price tag.

KFBR392, Jan 11, 2013
Photo of josephwa
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

josephwa, May 29, 2013
Photo of mrebeka
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

mrebeka, Jul 12, 2013
Photo of bsuedekum
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

bsuedekum, Jul 06, 2012
Photo of beernads
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

beernads, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of BrownAleMale
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

BrownAleMale, May 20, 2014
Photo of BillHilly
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

BillHilly, Aug 31, 2012
Photo of malcontent
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ruby to brown body with a slight haze about it. Head is short-lived but lacing is generous.

Dried fruit, especially prunes and apricots, rush forward initially. Then, however, strong boozy aromas and faint spice (cardamom) flit back and forth. There's a lot good going on here but the fruit esters grow a touch strong.

Big fruit right off the bat (it's squarely apricot now) turns quickly to borderline cloying because of the alcohol. If it were more viscous this could pass as a dessert wine. Hints of toffee creep up before a mild sourness meets it, thereby creating an almost lactic (if not downright cheese-like) finish. A real mish-mash of flavors without much cohesion. The beer certainly has its strengths but seems to fail on the larger level.

Mouthfeel is a strength with a thick start that never descends in to syrupy territory. In fact, it's almost shockingly thin given the ABV. Still, the sheer inconsistency of the beer makes it fall short of my expectations. The real culprit actually seems to be a yeast strain that may have gotten away from the brewers. I'd be curious to see how this ages.

Big thanks to kryptic for the trade.

malcontent, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of MastaShonuf
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

MastaShonuf, Jun 02, 2014
Photo of Chrisdslap
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Chrisdslap, Sep 02, 2012
Photo of KAF
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

KAF, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of lou91
3.28/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No cork and no fizz on the open. Oh, what a great nose of sweetness, plums and rum. Good looking beer. A dark amber color with a creamy rich head. I hate to say this but the taste falls way short of reputation for the style and the brewer. The taste is like a tug-o-war between malt, alcohol and sugar with taste being the obvious loser. The imbalance makes for a dry malty strong ale with a maple butter chaser. I can't imagine time helping but I could be wrong.

lou91, Oct 15, 2004
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 731 ratings.