Alesmith Grand Cru Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company
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Ratings: 48 | Reviews: 8 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Tom-Peters:
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3.75/5 rDev -4.6%
Huge thanks to Kevin R for opening this one, along with many other AleSmith goodies. It pours just slightly darker than the regular Grand Cru - deeper brown and rusty copper with even less clarity than before. The head is about the same, though it seems to fade just a bit quicker. Needless to say, no lacing is left on the sides of the glass.
The aroma contains many of the components present in the original Grand Cru, you know, the typical notes you'd find in Belgian strong dark ales - dates, raisins, plums, brown sugar, toffee - very sweet and malty. However in this barrel-aged iteration, each slice of the pie is a bit more soft and tame and combines much more nicely with each other than they originally did.
Aside from softening up the aromas and giving the beer more time to "mesh", the red wine barrel aging also adds some large vinous notes to the aroma. Wet oak, light vinegar, mild grapes, and a touch of vanilla in the back end. Red wine barrels are some of my favorite barrels to age beer in; I already like this beer better than the original and I haven't even tasted it yet.
Much like I was expecting (and hoping), the flavor follows suit with the aroma in the fact that the flavors are yet again similar to the original, yet much more refined, soft, and mature, giving them a chance to blend in a much more enjoyable fashion. Vinous flavors are abound in the same capacity as they were in the aroma; vinous oak, grapes, and a touch of wine-like booziness.
The Barrel-aged Grand Cru is not quite as sweet as the original, either, which bodes pretty well as it was quite sugary. The barrel takes away some of the sweetness, softens it up, and counter it with oak and boozy warmth. The mouth feel is also a little sharper, with noticeably higher carbonation... A cause of secondary fermentation perhaps?
Overall, this is not a beer I'd spend twenty dollars on for a single bottle, nor would I trade away lots of other good beer to get a bottle. It's just not *that* good. However, I feel that the red wine barrel aging did quite a bit to improve the base beer - something that I wasn't particularly fond of.
07-16-2013 11:27:56 | More by tectactoe
3.29/5 rDev -16.3%
750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.
Appearance - Amber body. Big off white head. Thick collar.
Smell - Very malty. Fruity malt. Red wine. Cuts the depth with a bright wine aroma.
Taste - Very caramelly. Some fruits. Kinda monotonous. A bit of red wine, but mostly a Belgian malt sweetness.
Mouthfeel - Feels light. High carbonation and bright flavors lend it lightness.
Overall - Disappointing BA beer from AleSmith without being offensive.
08-27-2013 02:47:39 | More by Alieniloquium
4.2/5 rDev +6.9%
750 ml bottle poured into a tulip.
10% ABV, Serve in a goblet at 50-55°, 2012 on bottle.
A - AleSmith's red wine barrel-aged Grand Cru pours a turbid-looking ruby-hued tawny brown in color with a fleeting, loose eggshell head that dots the tulip in little more than specks of lace.
S - Barrel-aging at it's finest, AleSmith's Grand Cru escapes the confines of a dark Belgian beer and breaks into the world of wine with a glorious aroma of distressed leather, oak vats, and dry, Merlot-like vinous red wine grapes. Subtle spicy yeast emerges through the deep and complex barrel-aging for a relaxed blend and smooth nose. Quite extraordinary.
T - Dark rock candy sweetness splashes the tongue, quickly followed by powerful dark malt and Belgian yeast-driven dark fruits. Moist fig newton, Crasins, and prune linger with a touch of peppery spice before finishing out with grape skin tannins and dry oak stave.
M - Sparkling carbonation prickles the lips and throat before descending to bloat the burp chamber otherwise known as the stomach. The beer's sweetness is thankfully cut by dry alcohol and an even more bone dry red wine finish that leaves the tongue feeling like sandpaper. Aside from the bothersome effervescent of this beer, the profile has a wonderful smoothness to it!
O - AleSmith's wine barrel-aged Grand Cru smells voluptuous and incredible; an early indicator that the $40 price tag was well worth it but, beyond that point it's worth seems to diminish. Like regular Grand Cru, the beer tastes heavily of dark fruit - great! - and dark, alcohol-boosting sugar - not so great. The Belgian character is there and, don't get me wrong, the beer is damn good but, it's red wine barrel influence seems to disappear rather quickly, only adding faint grape and oak flavor with a dry red wine finish in flavor. In a beer this sweet I was hoping for, and think there should be a little more barrel prominence, especially with the cost attached.
01-08-2014 02:16:55 | More by BeerFMAndy
4.05/5 rDev +3.1%
On tap at Alesmith.
A: Dark red bordering on brown with a frothy beige cap.
S: Strong vinous profile, redolent of grape and oak. Mild lactic character with evident tartness. Vanilla blends with caramel, honey, plum, prune, and raisin. I'm getting a little citrus that reminds me of orange.
T: The flavor is dark fruit forward, with notes of plum, prune, raisin, and grape. Grape seems to take over in that category. A surprisingly strong amount of vanilla from the barrel with some caramel as well. Oaky and tannic finish. Mildly tart with a gentle alcohol presence
M: Upper medium to lower full body with high carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and tannic with alcohol warming.
Overall: A nice beer and one I was happy to try, but I'm glad I didn't buy a bottle.
05-09-2013 18:51:38 | More by HopHead84
Alesmith Grand Cru Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.