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Allagash Grand Cru - Allagash Brewing Company

Allagash Grand CruAllagash Grand Cru

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

609 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 609
Reviews: 458
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.78%

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Grand Cru is brewed with a touch of peated malt and spiced with coriander, sweet orange peel and a hint of anise. It is deep golden in color, full bodied and has hints of smoke and licorice in the taste and aroma. The malty, warming finish is perfect for colder weather.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-23-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 609 | Reviews: 458 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spiced Belgian style, very similiar to Unibroue. Excellent aroma, nice white creamy foam and carbation. Cloudy orange brown color. Yeast with noticeable pieces. Moderate malt and citrus orange peel, pear, hint bannana very pleasant fruit and herbs. Coriander (which may reduce fertility). Bonus for complexity. Good competition for wine.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2004 01:35:09 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle I brought to share at AndrewK’s tasting.

Batch # 15.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, spices, and yeast. Taste is much the same with a slight honey flavor as well. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has aged well in my opinion and is still quite tasty.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2012 00:59:12 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly gauzy, coppery pumpkin orange with electric amber highlights. The head is French vanilla in color, displays a cobbled surface and is sticky enough to deposit thin, soapy sheets and arching ribbons of lace as it ever so slowly recedes.

The nose is wonderfully aromatic and is reminiscent of oranges, peaches and apricots in heavy syrup with sprinklings of clove, ginger and tamed white pepper. It's a near perfect recreation of a world class Belgian pale ale without the funky yeastiness. I've grown to love the aroma of Belgian yeast, but this beer is plenty complex and nuanced without it.

Grand Cru is a fantastic version of the style. For starters, it isn't as viscous or as sweet as anticipated. It's more light in the mouth with an understated sweetness that, frankly, improves drinkability. The level of spiciness is just about perfect, merging with the ripe orchard fruitiness like hand in glove. The carbonation is nearly unnoticed and the alcohol is... what alcohol?

Given the seamless interplay of sweet-bitter, sweet-dry, fruity-spicy and the velvety (yet angelically light) mouthfeel, this is one well-crafted beer and is my favorite Allagash offering to date. If Grand Cru is less a specific style than an appellation to be bestowed upon a brewery's proudest achievement, then this beer is aptly named.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2005 15:42:24 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass

A - Poured a nice hazy pale yellow. Lots of carbonation apparent with the big white pillow like head. Good retention left behind lots of side glass lace.

S - Aroma was highly spiced with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of yeast. Some pears or apples sneaking in there as well.

T - Flavor was nice, nothing explosive for me, but still good. Lots of apple and pear flavors mixed in with a good amount of spice. A slightly dry finish and something bitter that wanted to come through but never actually made it.

M - Very smooth, medium bodied and well carbonated. Never slick and had a very nice finish.

D - Not bad, a little bit more then a sipper this could catch up to you. You could easily finish a 70 without trouble and it is deceptively smooth.

Overall not bad. Not my favorite from them, but in no way was this a bad brew. I would recommend giving it a shot it is a pretty good seasonal offering.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2007 18:56:58 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy rust-imbued amber color with a frothy, but delicate head that leaves swathes of foam around the sides of the chalice

Smell: A melange of sweet and herbal aromatics - honey, cream, orange peel, cardamom, green banana, pear and grape

Taste: Opens like a fruit salad, with all of the flavors detected in the aroma dancing around on my tongue, the flavors become progressively sweeter after the swallow and they move in a sweet grape direction

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Despite the complexity of this beer, the flavors just don't cut it for me; after a glass I was ready to move on

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2008 01:12:02 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a slightly cloudy copper brown color ale with a huge off-white foamy head with perfect retention. Aroma is quite the spice mix with some Belgian yeast and caramel malt. Taste is also very interesting at first with some spices and caramel crating a huge full body beer (which seems to be more then 7.5%) with a slight bitter finish with some great medium funky yeast. I found the aftertaste was a bit thin and watery which would be my only complaint. Great Belgian…

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2005 18:27:07 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seriously complex with fruit, spice, and champagne-like effervescence, the beer washes the palate delivering new and exciting impressions of taste with each and every sip.

Allagash's Grand Cru pours with a rusty garnet color that receeds to honey-gold coloration toward the edge of the glass. A yeasty haze build and allows a soft glow outside, but a faint dullness toward the center. Capped by a rocky, sand-colored head, the foam is sprinkled with yeast and spices from the bottle. Superb retention and lacing patterns on the glass reinforce the quality that's inherently in any beer worthy of the Grand Cru moniker.

Richly aromatic with spiced and candied fruits that range from apples, dates, figs, and raisins to dried orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and an herbal/flowery note. All this seems wrapped in a delicate caramel and honey scent from aromatic malts and candy sugar. Slight tartness of wine rounds out the scent with a very inviting cork-like wood earthiness.

Deliciously flavored as all of the taste of the beer attaches to the taste buds first delivering the sweet flavor of candied malt that's reminescent of light caramel, honey, and powdered sugar. The malts develop seamlessly into the sweet fruitiness of estery pears, apples, figs, dates, raisins, tropical, and citrus fruit. Balance comes from light winy acidity and an onslaught of spices either from yeast or brew kettle additions that give impressions of cinnamon, nutmeg, dried oranges, celery seed, peppercorn, and grape skin.

Full bodied throughout despite the authentic bubbly carbonation doing a good job of lifting the beer off the tongue and allowing the impression of prickly carbonation and lightness. Still, a sticky candyish feel is left on the tongue in a semi-sweet cola-like fashion. Aided with mild acidity and alcohol warmth, the finish is savory and long lasting making the beer a fine dessert-like session.

Where most Belgian versions are more subtle in their displayal of malt, fruit, and spice; there's no such finesse here. This beer is bold, vivid, and rich from sip to finish.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2006 13:31:36 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of metter98

New York

3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellowish amber in color. It poured with a finger high frothy white head that died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderately strong aromas of Belgian yeast are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but also has some hints of oranges and spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer doesn't really taste like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale as it lacks the flavors of dark fruits and dark malts but it is a nice Belgian Ale.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2013 12:27:32 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In the past, I've been fortunate enough to taste some aged samples of the Allagash Grand Cru. Yesterday, I eagerly purchased a 4-pack at Green's in Atlanta and am quite Crurious about the fresh bottle experience.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, orangey-amber body with a small, foamy white head. No amount of snifter swirling can seem to kill the gooey lacing.

Smell: Flowery, doughy aroma that's simply full of lush fruit notes, including bananas, oranges, and melons. Lots of spice character, too, with coriander and ginger.

Taste: Bready, caramel maltiness with a perky Belgian dark candi sweetness followed by a pleasant cinnamon spiciness and a hint of herbs. All of the fruit juiciness blends well in the flavor and imparts a bit of sourness which, along with the spice, helps to balance the initial sweetness. Further spice notes appear on the drying finish leading into a peppery aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Relatively smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A very lovely Belgian Strong, and one that I know ages fairly well. Grand Cruriosity: sated!

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2007 22:12:05 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really nice beer,pours a deep murky burnt orange with alight head,aroma irony and clovey with light orange essence.Flavor is of 10x sugar and some nuttiness with a real nice orange liquore flavor.A nice late night sipping beer as good as some of the Belgians in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2003 20:54:57 | More by oberon
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle; corked and caged. Batch # 5. Even a careful pour delivers a slightly hazy, copper colored body with bronze and gold highlights. It's full and foamy head of off-white froth wants to leap out of the glass initially, but eventually settles to a creamy 1/2" lid that holds throughout the goblet and leaves excellent lace. The nose is floral with some light citrus; a yeasty spiciness; a touch of mustiness from the cork; and a candyish, honey-like and gently caramelish malt. It's medium bodied, but light and crisp in the mouth due to its very fine, natural, and lightly effervescent carbonation. The flavor is richer than the aroma indicates with a sweet, softly caramelish malt that's accented by yeasty clove and subtle, dried fruit. Notes of white pepper and spice appear mid-palate, (the small bottles are much spicier) probably due to its alchol. The hop bitterness is restrained, allowing the spiciness to balance it; and it finishes with a note of sweet, candyish malt that displays a slight touch of caramelization. This is a really enjoyable, softly malty and not overly-sweet beer that can be sipped slowly or enjoyed with a meal; but the smaller bottles tend to be a bit more abrasive with increased pepperiness and alcohol to them. Regardless, it's a very nice beer in either form.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2003 04:06:59 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A solid, bright crimson, color, an enormous, full, fluffy, lacey head, loaded with bubbles..looks good so far...
Aroma: oooo, very nice! Light, airy, loaded with citrus, yeast and spice...an uplifting thing in the nose, very lively and enticing. You just want to keep it up to your nose, knowing this happy occasion should not be interurrupted...feels darker, fruitier later on, and that's very nice as well. Mmmm, a constant happiness abides in this aroma, and it never wanes.
Taste: hops grab the palate at first, then fade, and the palate is washed with a complex, incredible melange of flavors. A lush fruit factor is at the heart, incredibly integrated, a magnificent cocktail, with a tasty spicy kick riding on top. Somehow this is mellow, and terrifically full-flavored all at the same time. Full-bodied, but not a tiny bit thick, with a long, luxurious finish that resides softly on the plate, but never ends the delivery of joy.
As I close in on draining this bottle, I'm still reaching for proper words to encapture it's utter sublimity. And, still, more thoughts arise, as more flavors jut out, for I swear I'm tasting a touch of chocolate now. Is this a tripel mixed with a wit, and doused in a touch of tripel? Whatever it is, it's fan-diddly-tastic!

This is a re-review, a year and a couple days after my first scribblings, which I now refute. And perhaps the aging of this sample, from Batch #5, did something to enhance it's overpowering appeal.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2004 11:03:01 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep orange color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma has a lot going on; Belgian yeast, caramelized malts, spices, citrus, apples and some hops.

T: The taste is bready and spicy with flavors of Belgian yeast, caramel, nutmeg, clove and some fruit. There's a pretty hearty malt character and there's a decent hops presence that provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, nice representation of style, due to its complexity, this is a nice beer to drink for a while. I'm not sure I could pound it for a whole evening, but I could certainly enjoy a 750ml if I'm in the right mood.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2008 02:39:31 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle/batch 8

Pours a slightly hazy caramel/red with 2 fingers of sand colred head. Very good head retention& a little lacing, expected more

S: Apricot & caramel with hints of brown sugar& earthy notes

T: Apricot & dates follow, along with earthy notes & some currants & cherry hints, Some hints of vanilla & praline follow with oaky dryness. Breadyness & a slight alcohol warming are coming through as it warms. Finishes dry, warming & with cherry, oak & some musty yeat notes that detract from the taste

MF: Low carbonation & medium bodied & very dry

Drinks pretty easy despite the complexity. I think this ot really a Belgian Pale, but as it says a Grand Cru or brown to me, except for the yrast profile (way to clean tasting) , any way you look at it, yummy & fairly complex. Easily my favorite from this brewery (so far)

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2006 07:34:25 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark orange color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent with the aroma of spices and light crystal malts. There is a fruity Belgian yeast scent as well. The taste is good. It has a warm, yet spicey pale and light crystal malt flavor. It goes down easy with a fruity Belgian style finish. It has a corriander taste on the way down; very nice. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine Belgian beer. It has good flavor and excellent mouthfeel; a good drinker.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2004 02:01:49 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000


4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 20. I don't have a date, but I believe the bottle is at least approaching two years old.

The beer pours a hazy brownish-red color with a white head. The aroma has a ton of brown sugar and dark fruit, as well as some caramel and toffee. There is also a little spice and some alcohol. The flavor has a ton of toffee and caramel, as well as some cherries and grapes. There is a bit of pepper, as well as some alcohol and candy sugar. The carbonation is fairly light and the beer is soft on the palate. The age has definitely not hurt the beer, although I can't say if it improved it.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2012 01:19:39 | More by Mora2000
Photo of jlindros


4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Armsby Abbey

Big fluffy head fades semi slowly with sticky lacing, hazy golden pale orange.

Nose nice Belgian malts, light fruits, light citrus, orange peel, light saison like spices, light sweet candi sugar.

Taste is semi sweet, lots of Belgian malts, fluffy, semi bitter orange peel, zest, citrus, light candi sugar, very light booze, light spices light spices coriander, etc. finishes a bit drier, somewhat bitter, light slices and Belgian fruity yeast.

Mouth is med to lightly heavier bodied with good carb.

Overall great, I think the bottles were better years ago but those are long gone, but a great beer

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2011 17:36:20 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch #5, Sampled February 2004
A rich aroma of port, rum, and raisin escapes from my glass as pour this brilliantly clear, amber-copper beer. It is topped by a prodigious tan head that is fueled by a highly active carbonation (I am having difficulty getting to the beer in my tulip glass because of the carbonation) There are some soft spicy notes in the aroma, but it is dominated by the fruity, port, rum notes that where mentioned earlier. It smells quite sweet and reminds me of fresh grapes. The taste fulfills the promise that was given in the nose. The beer is sweet, fruity, and has a hint of spice notes. This is a light bodied brew. The alcohol is evident in the finish, though this is in no way distracting. The beer reminds me of fresh sweet succulent grapes. I am not sure why, but it does. This is pretty good, thoug my attraction to this beer dimineshes with time. At first it is awesome, but the taste fades with time a bit; the beer lack staying power.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2004 16:35:38 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of jwc215


4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass chalice:

Pours hazy orange-amber with a head that immediately descends to a patch, but leaves some lacing.

The smell is of ginger, a touch of cinnamon, some tea-leaf.

The taste is of light gingerbread, caramel/grainy, towards orange liqueur. Malty, but nor overly sweet.

Softly carbonated and very smooth, it has a velvety texture.

Wonderfully drinkable - Alcohol well-covered. I could drink this any time of the year and be happy!

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2008 14:36:06 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange brown with basically no head. Nose is a yeasty citrus thing with a minor spiced tone. Flavor is a bit tangy with a nice spiced kick to it. Feel is just slightly thin on the liquid and the carbonation is lower, but a bit biting it seems. A nice spicy BSPA. I bet this would be good to pair with food.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 15:01:28 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Allagash Grand Cru batch no. 7, Appearance: Cloudy orange amber brown tone with a nice sized tan caramel colored head leaves behind belgian style lacing in specks spread randomly. Aroma: Christmas is in the air piney hops rich but soft malts coat the senses this is one great smelling beer almost like a pine air freshener but in a good way, just too good. Taste: A wave of piney spiced flavor bringing the pale malts out in the sweetness excellent candy like tasting brew puts an instant smile on your face. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied fluffy carbonatin very nice feeling . Drinkability: Very nice easy as all hell to put down simply amazing Christmas ale I have had this on tap but this is by far one of the best beers I have tasted this holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2004 02:06:42 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy amber color with a thin head that produced some minor lacing thorugh the drink. The aroma was full of spices and fruits and absolutely wonderful. The taste matched the aroma as a complex mixture of cinammon, nutmeg, coriander, yeast, citrus, malt and some hop bitterness made the tongue very happy.

This was a little thicker than some other Grand Cru's but the malt was not overbearing like some others. A slight crispness was also detected on the tongue. The spices ride the tongue long into the finish. This is one of the best Grand Cru's I have ever experienced.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2003 13:56:26 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw


3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy orange-amber color. Long lasting but mild head. Very good ring lace.

I cannot detect the spices in the smell of this brew. Instead, I find the classic Belgian smells--stale hay, strong dry malt, a generous amount of lace. Some darker malt aromas.

Creamy body with a high carbonation. The alcohol is really noticeable in this beer. Mostly malty with some prickly hop bitterness in the background.

This is a full flavored ale that comes very close to the traditional Belgians.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2008 00:49:16 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays


3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at The Bruery Provisions,

A: Pours a deep amber colour with a full white head, leaving good lace.

S: Banana, sweet malt, not particularly aromatic though.

T: The banana esters come through in the flavour with a hint of pear and sugar cane. Sweet malt flavour overall, a tad cloying at times.

M: Medium-bodied, very smooth, soft carbonation.

O: A solid beer from Allagash. Very low ABV for the style, but still feels bigger. Worth a shot.

Serving type: on-tap

04-15-2011 22:55:38 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of tempest


4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pretty nice beer, but no wow-factor here. Smells of fruit and corriander, almost like a beefed up wit. Tastes of creme and candied oranges with a little spice and corriander. Very smooth and easy drinking. Basically a well-crafted and balanced belgian, but lacks complexity.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2006 06:55:02 | More by tempest
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Allagash Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 609 ratings.