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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
90
outstanding

689 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 689
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 99
Gots: 126 | 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: 689 | Reviews: 355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of walshclimb
walshclimb

Nevada

3.33/5  rDev -17.8%

This is a strange beer. I expected more, coming from Alesmith, but overall I was not very impressed. The bottle states that it is brewed once per year, but there is no indication on the bottle of brew date or year. I think it may be better aged, but how long? Who knows because we have no date. I don't know if this was a 2006 or 2007 bottle.

The appearance is the highlight. It is dark honey to red amber in color with a thin bubbly head that dissipates quickly to almost nothing. It smells malty up front with molasses and a hint of spice with maybe a hint of cough syrup. The initial flavor is hot and strongly malty with some carmel and slight perfume. Overall pretty sweet with maybe a hint of wet blanket. The aftertaste is sweet molasses and a little tart and is medium lived. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with an alcholic finish, and It is a little light on carbonation.

This is an interesting beer with complex flavor, but I would probably not buy it again. One small glass was enough. I would like to taste an aged bottle to see how the flavor changes.

06-18-2007 17:16:52 | More by walshclimb
Photo of theopholis
theopholis

California

3.35/5  rDev -17.3%

Appearance- Pours a dark, fairly clear ruby.Head is a uniform, foamy, tan head with some staying power. No lacing at all.

Smell- Lots of breadiness up front. Hints of molasses, roasted toffee, caramel, and figs. Some light fruits in there to. Yellow apple maybe.

Taste- Very well blended malt profile. No specific flavor jumps out at you. Slightly earthy with hints of caramel; brown sugar; toffee, with a very subtle mix of dark fruits (raisin, plum, black cherry, etc.) with light fruits (yellow apple). Hints of a very melange of spiciness in there to. Maybe some pepper and nutmeg right at the edge of detectability.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Good carbonation. Nothing to write home about.

Drinkability: Decent. Not great, but worth trying.

08-28-2009 05:26:45 | More by theopholis
Photo of bennetj17
bennetj17

Arizona

3.35/5  rDev -17.3%

Purchased last summer, covered with red foil. Nice reddish amber color with a high clarity. The tan foam is about 1/2 inch thick and settles pretty quickly despite a high degree of carbonation present. I like the contrast between the ruby hue of the beer and the almost brown color of the head. The nose is an astringent mix of plum, raisin, caramel, and strong alcohol with a lightly charred character. Much of the same fruity malt and alcoholic burn in the taste. The flavor also seems to have a decent hoppy balance giving it a slight bitter finish. The strength of flavor appears somewhat similar to a Barleywine style. The mouthfeel is pretty unremarkable, medium body, soft carbonation. Overall the drinkablility suffers from the harsh alcohol. It's decent, but I can't really say that I recommend it...

02-08-2007 04:49:37 | More by bennetj17
Photo of Flyer
Flyer

Wisconsin

3.38/5  rDev -16.5%

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.

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

Michigan

3.43/5  rDev -15.3%

Huge thanks to Kevin R for opening this one, along with many other AleSmith goodies. The Grand Cru pours a light-ish, slimy brown color with some mild copper clarity at the top of the brew. The creamy, beige head makes plenty of noise and it sizzles away quickly from almost a half-inch to nothing but a thick skin and collar.

Sweet, sweet grapes and plums and dates in the nose; plenty of dark fruits, like you'd expect from a Belgian dark ale, possibly a little softer and more sweet than usual. Sticky toffee and buttery toasted malts make up the background while also adding more sweetness to the already sweet aroma. Earthy phenols and sweet esters, with a slight medicinal undertone that's kind of throwing me off.

The taste is complex in that it has may elements in it; figs, light clove spice, sweet plums, brown sugar, toasted malts, Candi sugar, spicy yeast, burning phenol alcohol... see? The problem is that, for whatever reason, the flavors don't meld together in Utopian harmony like they typically do for Belgian strong ales.

It seems more like a pot where you just throw in any and all ingredients you can find in the cupboards, paying no attention to the amounts, the schedule, or anything like that. I can't quite put my finger on why this might happen, but the beer definitely suffers in drinkability and overall enjoyability due to this. All the flavors are there, sure, but not in proper capacities.

The mouth feel is typically for this type of ale; carbonated quite heavily giving a light and effervescent (almost) feeling on the palate; medium bodied and lightly creamy. I was expecting to enjoy this beer more than I did, especially given the scores. It was far from bad, but I've had so many other Belgian strong ales that I'd choose over this (and they're cheaper and easier to find, too!)

07-16-2013 11:15:10 | More by tectactoe
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

3.45/5  rDev -14.8%

OK, I wasn't sure if it was part of this beer, but it seemed really flat. It's the 06 and it was stored properly. No head, almost no carb in tasting. I am just not into really flat beers and I am having trouble rating it as such, but here goes.

A - Pretty, dark dense looking caramel. No head.

S - Dark fruits, mostly, with some sweet and roasty malt floating about in there.

T - Rich candied and cooked fruits. Some hops in there to bitter, but not completely balanced. An almost oxidized, stale finish.

M - FLAT. Medium bodied, not completely balanced.

D - In it's current state, I would never try it again. The carb thing just really disappoints for me.

03-11-2009 03:12:43 | More by srandycarter
Photo of TheDM
TheDM

Indiana

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.

07-25-2003 22:53:22 | More by TheDM
Photo of SirSketch
SirSketch

Massachusetts

3.45/5  rDev -14.8%

The color was a nice array of reds and oranges, reminiscent of sunset. Very small ring of head on the edge. I got a lot of white wine from the nose, as well as a nice balance of sweet and sour aromas. For some reason though, I got a very distinct smell of rubber cement or crazy glue from this beer, and I really couldn't get passed it. The taste is very vinous, with some malt backing it up, and a little Belgian yeast characteristic mixed in, though not as prominent in most Belgian style beers. Pleasant, but I keep drinking and wishing for more flavor and complexity to come out of this beer. Alright, but not worth seeking out, as I did.

09-10-2009 02:20:43 | More by SirSketch
Photo of Neffbeer
Neffbeer

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -14.1%

bottle from 2010

A: Pours a deep amber with ruby hues. Decent size two finger head that fades really fast with zero lacing. Average clarity.

S: Very spicy with cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves on the first whiff. Brown sugar, caramel, toasted biscuits, figs, raisins, cherries and apples round out the mix.

T: The spice rolls out front with cloves and apples bringing a little bready goodness. As it gets to room temp some notes of berries emerge with cherries in front. The stone fruits from the nose are not really evident the more I drink and any hope of toffee/carmel goodness is lost as the finish falls a bit flat.

M: A bit thin with carbonation along the line of "spritzy." I really think the beer is over carbonated and the depth of flavor is lost in the effervescence.

D: Sadly this beer comes up short of being anything truly great. The flavors fall a bit flat for me after a really inviting nose. All in all still a drinkable brew.

12-17-2011 01:41:27 | More by Neffbeer
Photo of OldSock
OldSock

District of Columbia

3.48/5  rDev -14.1%

Appearance – Green 750 ml bottle from Bev Mo and hauled back from San Diego. The beer pours a dark brown-ruby with a small bit of carbonation rising through it. The head is tan and composed mostly of large bubbles that only rises one finger even with a vigorous pour. Retention is poor and lacing is patchy.

Smell – Good malty yeasty aroma. Hints of caramel and alcohol play back up roles as well. In the background there is a faint hint of chocolate.

Taste – Eh, alcohol and a faint toasted malt comprise most of the flavor. Pretty well balanced, sweet , but not cloying. It isn’t an unpleasant flavor, just not particularly interesting.

Mouthfeel – Full mouthfeel with low carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – The mouthfeel and big alcohol flavor, not to mention the alcohol itself, make this a slow drinker. This is an alright beer, no glaring problem, but nothing really sets this apart from its peers. A bit of a disappointment from such a great brewery.

10-22-2005 20:13:51 | More by OldSock
Photo of SkeeterHawk
SkeeterHawk

Texas

3.48/5  rDev -14.1%

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.

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

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

12-31-2011 18:47:27 | More by acurtis
Photo of whatname
whatname

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

04-20-2012 18:43:29 | More by whatname
Photo of dtx00
dtx00

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

02-16-2013 00:20:32 | More by dtx00
Photo of kbuzz
kbuzz

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

02-16-2013 05:04:45 | More by kbuzz
Photo of tclapper
tclapper

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

12-17-2011 19:17:02 | More by tclapper
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

05-17-2013 20:43:09 | More by largadeer
Photo of Noelito76
Noelito76

New York

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

05-26-2014 12:04:11 | More by Noelito76
Photo of cofeeguru
cofeeguru

Minnesota

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

05-29-2013 21:02:07 | More by cofeeguru
Photo of hansenm72
hansenm72

Wisconsin

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

08-30-2014 22:12:06 | More by hansenm72
Photo of aracauna
aracauna

Georgia

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.

02-23-2004 19:42:01 | More by aracauna
Photo of ygtbsm94
ygtbsm94

Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

11-15-2011 04:40:24 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Consumed at Encinitas Ale House in Encinitas, CA on December 29th, 2010.

Beer is a clear, deep shade of brown with ruby red highlights. The head is composed of very fine, uniform bubbles that provide nice sheeting on the glass.

Aroma is unfortunately all metallic.

Mouthfeel is a bit chewy. Flavor is juicy and fruity: plum, pear, dark chocolate, caramel malts and a hint of nutmeg. Moderately sweet. Finish is dry, clean save for that metallic note. Slight warmth at end.

Flavor is assertive and unusual but not terribly complex; I'm glad I didn't have a big glass of this!

01-03-2011 22:57:16 | More by charlzm
Photo of Wolfpack2005
Wolfpack2005

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

07-08-2013 20:09:41 | More by Wolfpack2005
Photo of ThatWineGuy
ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

This beauty was given to biegaman by a friend and shared with me tonight. It was of uncertain vintage but likely 2006, possibly older I'd guess as it seemed, unfortunately, a bit over the hill. Cloudy prune juice on the pour, a murky mid-brown with no head whatsoever. Thin ring and no lace but for some small "polka dots" that were left after a healthy swirl in my tall tulip shape glass. After a short while, however, there wasn't even a trace of a thin ring and even a swirl produced nothing, it went perfectly flat and featureless.

The smell of pear predominated, also some semillion or sauvignon grape white wine aromas. With air and warming, a sweeter smell appeared, feint toffee. Taste had some very light caramel undertones but pear and carrot juice came to mind most, a bit of spice, possibly coriander, nothing too sweet and not much if any caramel that I expected. Body was thin, a bit spritzy to begin with, cleansing.

I look forward to trying this beer again once I locate a fresher bottle. Thanks Jan for splitting it, next one is on me.

12-31-2009 05:26:40 | More by ThatWineGuy
AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 689 ratings.