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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
378 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
378
Ratings:
863
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
15.27%
 
 
Wants:
106
Gots:
177
For Trade:
7
AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

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.

Added by Jason on 04-27-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 378 | Ratings: 863
Photo of KFBR392
3.26/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter.

A - Very dark amber/brown in colour; basically opaque with only a slight shimmer of ruby glow around the edges. Half a finger of cream coloured head formed and slowly dissipated.

S - Belgian yeast, spice, clove, candy sugar, raisins, figs, toffee and a hint of chocolate. Fairly complex nose.

T - Big spice presence combined with Belgian yeast and cloves up front. The mid-palate adds caramel, candied raisins and toffee. The finish is dry with a touch of chocolate. Very easy drinking.

M - Medium body but a touch thin at times. Light to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of retry4z
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Served at room temperature in an AleSmith Decadence glass.

A deep and dense Burgundy color with a beautiful three-finger persistent head.

Smells of raisins, caramel, alcohol, and some spices.

Taste is sweet, dark fruit, some spice, and a nice alcoholic finish. No bitterness present.

Full-bodied, with high carbonation.

Overall, I would try this again. It's sweet. This is one of the finest examples of Belgian strong ale. Would go very nicely with a fresh hearty burger.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark reddish brown with large head that recedes quickly. Very effervescent. Aroma of mostly fruit (plums, figs, pears) and yeast. A hint of spice. Flavor is heavy on prunes and fig, with a bit of toffee giving this an interesting complexity. Mouthfeel is lighter than I expected. A good bite on the way down to balance out the sweet fruit. A lot going on here. Solid brew.

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Photo of draheim
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL into a chalice. Pours a clear amber w/ moderate carb, light head settles to a thin film.

Aroma is dark fermented fruit, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla.

Taste follows nose. Dark fruity malt, candi sugar, toffee, vanilla and booze. Rich, sweet and tasty.

Mouthfeel is sticky and chewy, but finishes fairly dry.

Overall a solid, enjoyable BSDA.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from 2007.
Pours a dark ruby brown with a smallish bubbly off white head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells of caramel and brown sugar with a fair bit of melanoid, spice, peeper, and a touch of alcohol round out the nose quite well. The flavor is sweet up front with brown sugar and caramel. Melanoid, prunes and plums come in with a bit of alcohol and licorice midway through. Long lingering sweet burnt sugar lingers long after every sip. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. Nice brew, I really enjoyed it. I would have liked a touch more carbonation, but I can live with it as is.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: A medium copper with excellent clarity and a ruby hue. The creamy off-white head leave lacing on the glass and falls slowly but is easily roused.

S: Fruit, spice with a malty sweetness is my first impression. There is a moderate plum and raisin fruit aroma with a moderately-low peppery spice that seems part yeast part hops aroma. A nice rich malt with a little caramel mixes well with the perfumey alcohol and dark fruit.

T: The fruit, malt sweetness and alcohol the dominate flavors here with a moderate flavor of plum and dried cherries. The moderately-high hops bitterness more than balance the malt sweetness bringing the balances moderately bitter despite the initial sweetness. There is a quick bitterness and fruit in the after taste and an off-dry finish. The alcohol brings a floral sweetness towards the finish.

A: This is a medium-full bodied beer with a high level of carbonation and substantial warmth. There is a satisfying moderate creaminess as well

O: Like candy coated plums with a healthy balance of hops. A rich beer like this would be complement to a rich holiday dinner with ham.

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Photo of Dope
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark mahogany with a huge frothy tan head. Fades slowly but leaves almost no lacing behind, just hints here and there.

S: Fruity, get some raisin, fig and grape. Lots of caramel with some brown sugar. Earthy with a bit of cocoa. Finally, some spices.

T: Lots of raisin, apple and grape skin up front. Molasses, caramel and brown sugar in the middle. Finishes earthy and spicy in typical belgian fashion.

M: Heavy, borderline syrupy.

O: Not a bad BSDA. Heavy on the molasses and fruits for sure, more barleywine than belgian in my opinion. Having said that, there's plenty of spice and earth from the belgian yeast. Pretty decent brew but nothing amazing or outstanding about it.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: deep amber hue with a body completely free of haze. Effervescence is very low, but the head is a nice thick finger of frothy ivory foam. I like it.

Smell: rich malty aroma with a little bit of a biscuity character and a light component of dark fruits. It reminds me very much of a Scottish wee heavy. Not typically what I'd call "Belgian" in character, but not bad.

Taste: malty, thick flavor with a light hint of dark fruits. This tastes exactly like a wee heavy. Did I get a bottle that is labeled wrong? It's not bad, but again, there's nothing Belgian about this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a surprisingly large carbonation, considering its low apparent effervescence. Creaminess is wonderful in this beer, though; I love it!

Overall: this is a decent strong Scottish ale. Is it the Belgian style that AleSmith is marketing? Not really. If they were going for that style, it's not really a success.

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Photo of parris
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, deep amber color, 1/4" beige head.

Smells toasty, molasses, a bit smokey

Tastes toasty but smooth, similar to the smell, but much more rounded out, some vanilla, some butterscotch.

Big bodied, stronger than expected carbonation, but I like it.

Overall great beer, stand up Grand Cru.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, no bottled-on date, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a hazy amber brown color, produces a thin layer of off-white head, leaves spotty lacing.

S- Sweet aroma of caramel, brown sugar, candi sugar and fruit, a bit of alcohol and spice in the background.

T- Brown sugar and caramel blended with candi sugar and Belgian yeast. Some spice, fruit and alcohol as well as a phenolic, herbal orange and citrus flavor.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth, spicy feel, booze is well-hidden.

O- A nice Belgian-style beer, very drinkable for 10%, although I would still recommend splitting this bottle with friends.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Small head atop a dark brown body. Not quite quad dark. Lighter side of a BSDA.

Smell - Belgian yeast, apples, caramel, and spices. Nice. Dry smelling, if that makes sense...

Taste - Candi sugar taste up front. Interesting, and nice, twist on what I expected. Caramel, but it's not a sweet caramel. Earthy hop finish. Spicy and dry in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Dry. Too dry, I suppose. I guess it's to style, but not what I like. Good carbonation. Not really a smooth drink and possibly a bit thin.

Overall - It's nice, perhaps very good. Not as good or complex as other BSDAs, but nice in everything in provides.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a slightly murky orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that fades to nothing. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, spices, wood, alcohol, and an unmistakable woodsy cologne scent. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, spice, banana, and an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that tastes better than it smells, especially with the cologne deal going on.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: ruby brown beer with big head of tniy bubbles that'll settle into a nice lid with some ropy lace

S: orange, coriander, spices, toffee, dark fruit

T: spices and fruit with booze infusion, raisins, figs, toffee, caramel, apples, clove, ginger

M: fuzzy and rich, medium body, fairly clean-finishing, wonderfully drinkable

O: AleSmith hasn't had a miss yet in my book - I'll venture to say that any big bottle of AleSmith beer is worth a buy, their Grand Cru being no exception - I'm gonna say these guys are in league with Founders, 'cept Founders produces some of the best 4-packs of 12 oz beers and Alesmith produces some of the best 22 oz bombers of beer

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Photo of BostonHops
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep, dark, and translucent amber tone with ruby red hightlights; yields a a big foamy 2" head, light tan in color; patchy lacing. great nose offers sweet malt, candied sugar, dark fruit, a bit of spice, and a perceptible alcohol character.

taste follows the aroma fairly closely with a good dose of fruits - primarily dark, but i do get a subtle note of apple... very malty; sweet but not overly so... there's a substantial floral/spicy quality to it... very enjoyable. booze could be a little better hidden, but that's my one real complaint. medium bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall, as far as american versions of the style go this one is really well done. the more it warms the more impressed i am. not on the level of a rochefort but then, what is?

originally reviewed: 04-11-2011

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Unique in every way it looks, dark hazy beer amber in color and an off-white head roughly 1/3" above the body.

Smell: Light yeast and feel of banana (peel).

Taste: Complex and sweet but bitter with a touch of malt. This is truly good beer, it is not good actually it is great...for a beer that is not from Belgium it would impress any Belgian (and you).

Mouth: Medium to full, and everlasting after taste.

Overall: I would buy this again, this was great beer and just that impressing. I hope you like as much as I do, a blessing not in disguise, Salud!

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Photo of Rifugium
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: Philly Beer Scene Tasting panel with Matt Falco at Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

I was privileged enough to be on the tasting panel for PBS Magazine, along with Bill Covaleski of Victory and Greg Ramirez of Exton Beverage. This was one of 21 beers we sampled during the session.

Poured a slightly hazy mahogany color with a small layer of tannish bubbles for a head; not much to speak of in retention and lacing. Aroma of dark sugars, cider and dark fruits. Alcohol warmth on the tongue, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits, mulled cider. Medium body, moderate carbonation, pretty nice overall.

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Photo of orangesol
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for bringing this '06 bottle to Stakem's Fish Fry.

A - Pours murky brown with a half finger tall off-white head leaving small trails of lace down some of the glass.

S - Smells of sweet caramel malt, brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits, figs, some cherries and a bit of spicy/sweet belgian yeast. The booze is all but gone from the nose.

T - Starts off with a bunch of sweetness - mostly made up of toffee, brown sugar and caramel malt - slowly giving way to hints of dark fruits, cherries, vanilla and some spicy yeast. Only a tiny bit of booze creeps as it warms up, warming the end of each sip. Finish has some sweetness, lingering on the pallet long after consumption.

M - Big body with a creamy sweet feel and moderate carbonation. The flavors are fairly sweet throughout with very little booze detectable.

O - I liked this one. The flavors worked well and it was surprisingly easy to drink. It appears to be at its peak now, maybe beginning to slide a little bit.

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Photo of hannydawg
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a rounded wine glass. Reviewed live. Expectations are very high.

A- Three finger, very thick tan head. Very long retention. Darker brown-orange color.

S- Boozy and cherry smells. Dark fruits and somewhat sour.

T- Warm and subdued tastes, dark and alcoholic.

M- Smooth and winey. Heavier taste.

O- Very strong and tasty. This is a good beer,

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Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml brown glass bottle with foiled-over standard pressure cap served into an oversized wine glass in me friend's gaff in low altitude Orange, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high given the brewery.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a three finger head of fluffy white cream, nice thickness, and great retention for the ABV. Incredibly frothy. Quite beautiful and appealing. Colour is an exquisite dark amber. Very impressive and inviting.

Sm: Cherry and raspberry fruit esters. Some cream. Warm clean complex malts. Fresh biscuity yeast. Amber hops. A moderate strength aroma. I'm excited to try this.

T: Clean amber malts form the foundation, with nice cream atop. Some caramelized malt. Some toasted malt. A nice yeast note. Hints of fruit esters - cherry and raspberry. Nicely balanced and built, but not as good as expected given the brewery and current ratings. I like it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with cream, and enough coarseness to allow the flavours to come through. Just thick enough. Complements the flavours pretty well.

Dr: Highly drinkable - especially considering the high ABV, which is extremely well hidden. It tastes like it's about 5.00%. I'd have it again, preferably on draught.

I don't recommend an oversized wine glass as the proper glassware for this beer.

B

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a dark red amber, massive, fine off-white persistant head and lacing. Looks nice. Aroma of malt, Belgian spices, slightly sour. Sweet malt and fresh fruits; apple, pear and raisins. Starts sweet and fruity, but finishes dry with a hop kick. The aftertaste is overly astringent and bitter. Alcohol is noticeable. The finish knocks this one down a bit in flavor. Not my favorite Alesmith.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a generic tulip- pours a a sort of rosewood color with a HUGE three finger head that sticks around for a while and has a few streaks of lacing.

Smells very much like a Belgian strong ale- yeasty and malty with a little spice (seems to me like cinnamon and nutmeg).

Tastes excellent- again very much like a Belgian strong ale; yeasty and malty, but not overly yeasty as some can be. It is pretty sweet but not sickeningly sweet. I do taste a hint of nutmeg but it is mostly just perfectly balanced yeast and malt flavors.

Mouthfeel is fantastic- light to medium bodied and very well carbonated. Sparkles on the tongue. This is an excellent beer (as are all of the other Alesmith brews that I've had). Get if you see it!

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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 378 ratings.