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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.

686 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 686
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 99
Gots: 126 | FT: 9
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: 686 | Reviews: 355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of savagepm


4/5  rDev -1%

06-07-2013 23:00:40 | More by savagepm
Photo of Pencible


4/5  rDev -1%

This poured a dark, hazy mahogany with a bit of tan head. It smelled like chocolate covered banana, with coconut and some nutty malt and light yeast. It tasted like banana and chocolate and cherry, with sour yeast and some nutty malt, and a bit of earthy nutmeg and alcohol. It was fairly thick with some carbonation, and had a mild sour aftertaste. Overall this had a nice smell and taste and body, making it an all-around good beer. It hid the alcohol fairly well, so it was easy to drink, but preferable to sip to fully enjoy. Not sure about aging ability. I'm sure it could last, but I'm not sure if it would improve. AleSmith makes some of the most amazing beer, and while this was far from bad, it didn't blow me away. A solid brew, but not the best ever.

10-12-2009 16:02:11 | More by Pencible
Photo of Zimm

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -1%

09-27-2013 23:30:13 | More by Zimm
Photo of Teleweizen2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -1%

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.

03-25-2012 05:25:56 | More by Teleweizen2
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

4/5  rDev -1%

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black/brown, 1/2 thick head, lots of lacing.

Smell - Yeast, floral, hops, sugar and spices, some alcohol.

Taste - Cold first drink was very floral and wine-ish. Plenty of yeast. As this warmed up more spices and hops came out. Thick and tastly, right on par with chimay and unibrowe. Sweet and yeasty with tons of sweet fruits like apples, grapes and pear.

Mouthfeel - Plenty of sweetness and some dry bitterness. I loved how floral it was. Easy to drink, pallete was sweetened, tounge was bittered slightly.

Overall - Another great brew from alesmith. A find dark ale, right up with the best ones. The alcohol is high, and the price is steep, so that keeps this from being a weekly beer. A nice treat once in awhile.

03-18-2011 05:40:09 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of Roger85


4/5  rDev -1%

01-31-2013 20:03:14 | More by Roger85
Photo of oglmcdgl


4/5  rDev -1%

750 ml bottle split with onix1agr and poured into duvel tulips.

A- two fingers of off white loose head rise from a hard pour. Ruddy red brown in color with hints of orange in the light.

S- sweet and fruity with caramel, brown bananas, and old oranges. Mild background spice and breadiness.

T- sweet malts up front with some fruit, bananas and orange peel. Some spice picked up with the booze. No hops to be found but I guess there in there.

M- medium body and about the same in carb. Nice linger and semi dry finish.

D- its nice stuff for sure but might need some time down. I thought it was an american strong ale but the site says belgian strong dark ill go with them.

05-08-2010 01:11:29 | More by oglmcdgl
Photo of crashoveride


4/5  rDev -1%

01-21-2012 15:53:29 | More by crashoveride
Photo of ThirstyHrothgar

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -1%

03-15-2014 23:25:55 | More by ThirstyHrothgar
Photo of Sparky44


4/5  rDev -1%

03-23-2013 23:30:53 | More by Sparky44
Photo of KimenTshom


4/5  rDev -1%

11-09-2013 07:18:26 | More by KimenTshom
Photo of tdmccarthy


4/5  rDev -1%

02-01-2014 00:12:20 | More by tdmccarthy
Photo of SLeffler27

New York

4/5  rDev -1%

Clear, dark ruby with a short-lived, off-white creamy head. Leaves a viscous film on the Brigand oversized wine glass.

Part cherry and candy sugar comes out front with raspberry and crisp apple presenting with warmth. All are rather subtle.

Opens with light, tart cherries and sweeter than expected. Light earthiness, banana, plum and faint oak in the middle. Lots of faint flavors oscillate between spicy and fruity character. The finish is almost absent. Warmth adds little.

Soft, fine carbonation and silky texture compliment this medium-bodied beer. The alcohol is well below expectations.

This is an easy sipping beer and, while quite tasty, lacks the pop expected of this style. I enjoyed it as part of the pre-Super Bowl festivities.

04-21-2013 14:55:27 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of Hayden202

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -1%

08-08-2014 01:51:26 | More by Hayden202
Photo of tom10101

Quebec (Canada)

4/5  rDev -1%

10-01-2013 01:38:41 | More by tom10101
Photo of ADZA


4.01/5  rDev -0.7%

I got to sample this and then immediately I knew u had to purchase one and wanted to age it but I just couldn't wait and it pours a deep red copper hue with a long lasting creamy off white two finger head and a tight rim of lacing,the smell is spicy plum jam,dried apricots,old banannas,brown sugar and booze,the mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and the tastes are quite sessionable for a big dark Belgian but all the same very traditional with spicy plum jam,candied figs,candi sugar,sweet malts and finished with an apricot booziness that leaves you dry and wanting more and at would age nicely cheers.

09-20-2013 11:21:32 | More by ADZA
Photo of merlin48


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%

Another fine Alesmith offering enjoyed at a Saturday tasting session with mtnlover. Grand Cru pours an actively carbonated body with a large, ecru toned head that is creamy and longlasting. Sheet and patch lace is immense.
Aroma has notes of banana, mango, cotton candy sugars, and spicy notes of coriander.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has effervescent, Belgianesque, carbonation.
Taste has a notable dark fruit component of figs and raisins. Candy sugars and clover honey are also noted. Very little bitterness here, with a bit of spicy white pepper and coriander, and a mild yeast note. Alcohol is well hidden except for some warming sensation.
I wish Alesmith brews were available in Kentucky. This one came from Cincinnati, but is a nicely drinkable and well crafted Belgian style strong dark ale that is definitely one I would sample again. I just wonder what's up with the green bottles?

01-31-2005 12:42:25 | More by merlin48
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

04-12-2004 20:34:08 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Boilermaker88


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

10-02-2003 18:16:22 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of mcallister


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%

Beatiful copper colored trasparent liquid. A 3 inch head with golden hue is very loose and fading quickly leaving splotchy lace.

Fig, candy sugar, spice, yeast, plum, bready malts with a hint of floral hops.

Nice beer with a creamy smooth mouthfeel. Semi sweet with date, fig, plum, candy sugar, cardomon, light corriander, a hint of floral hops and a sweet caramel finish. Finish is short and too the point. Very nice. 10%? seems more like 5%.

07-12-2010 20:26:53 | More by mcallister
Photo of BretSikkink


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

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


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

05-19-2008 18:16:43 | More by willjschmidt
Photo of PittBeerGirl


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%

Thanks to raznug for this beer! 750 ml bottle poured into my large Duvel tulip glass.

A- Body is a very hazy translucent medium brown hue. Pours with a very large, foamy light tan colored head that is 3 fingers+. This subsides quickly to approximately 1 finger and has pretty good retention from there-although the 2nd pour produced much less and the head eventually faded completely leaving no lacing behind in the glass. Cloudiness is thick and somewhat dynamic with uniform translucency-but cloudiness whirls about the body. (Not going to dock for this since I have been milking this beer for 3 hours).

S- The nose is rich in dark fruit such as raisin and plum. Dark malt, a slight candi sugar sweetness, and a nice spicy yeast tone are also present along with a hint of phenols.

T-Upfront the flavors are a bit dry and fruity with some raisin coming through with a bit of a peppery spice accent. A hint of candi sugar also comes through as the brew first hits the tongue. A big bready, spicy yeast background is eminent behind this. The finish adds to the complexity with a bit of an alcohol heat and a more intensified spicy yeast presence. What liners is a bready, spicy yeast wrapped in a warm alcohol blanket.

M- Carbonation is tingly and high at first (especially when chilled) but mellows a bit to a nice medium carbonation when it warms a bit. Body is medium weight and very smooth and yeasty upfront but phenols can definitely be detected during the finish.

D- This is a very good beer and Alesmith is still yet to receive under a 4.0 from me. The ABV is present but gives more of a warmign effect than an astringency-and that is very good. Its a solid, wonderful beer all around and very complex. Not my favorite from this brewing co. (but hey it has very rough competition)-but this proves to be a wonderful representation of a BSDA and is solid all around. Alesmith is probably my favorite CA brewery. I need to make another trip to OH in order to pick up a 2nd Speedway to review (awesome but consumed during my reviewing break)...and I need to try other Alesmith Brews. Thanks again to raznug!

01-28-2009 04:22:58 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of pmarlowe

District of Columbia

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%

On tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a brownish, caramel color with dense brown head. Incredible retention (as with many of their tap beers) and displays generous lacing. Superb clarity for a darkish beer.

S: Sweet bubble gum and cherry, and a bit of red fruit.

T: Sweet and a little tart with cherry and dark dried fruit. The fruit or yeast is reallly pronounced which contributes to the tartness.

M: Medium-full body--a bit syrupy--with medium-light carbonation. Hides the alcohol well.

O: Pretty good. A touch sweet for my tastes, and very fruity.

12-16-2012 21:20:19 | More by pmarlowe
Photo of dar482

New York

4.04/5  rDev 0%

This is a review of the 2010 Vintage.

The beer comes in a reddish brown copper with lots of head.

The aroma has a bit of spice of pepper and clove, still some alcohol, though that could be the phenolic character. Then with lots of candied sugar and dark fruits.

The flavor follows with that candied sugar sweetness with dark fruit of raisins and plums and dates. There's a lingering bready malt character on the end.

A well made Belgian beer, though I have had better.

11-26-2013 03:20:32 | More by dar482
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 686 ratings.