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Allagash Grand Cru - Allagash Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Allagash Grand CruAllagash Grand Cru

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

630 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 630
Reviews: 458
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 75
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
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: 630 | Reviews: 458 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beergeek279
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #7. Served in the 750 mL corked bottle into the St. Bernardus goblet. The color is amber, with a nice coating of white head. The smell is a nice, sweet yeastiness. The taste is a very nice fruitiness, leaning towards the drier side. Mouthfeel is quite nice. Drinkability-wise, could definitely have quite a few.

A nice Belgian-style beer. Not too sweet, not too dry, but a good amount of sweetness to make this quite an interesting little brew. Quite good, and I'll certainly be awaiting the next release.

beergeek279, Dec 21, 2003
Photo of Crosling
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yes! Yes! Yes! I have been craving this beer for the past few weeks and finally decided to pick one up. This ale is sitting in front of me right now looking so extravagent and so beautiful in a tulip glass. Pours with a golden hue and a monstrous perfect frothy belgian head. The head is not dense at all which seems perfect for the occasion. A impenetrable layer of lacing clings to the side of the glass. Could perhaps be the best lace I have ever seen on a beer. Looks like the inside of an erupting oceanic volcano when help up to the light. A feast for the eyes!

The nose on the ale definately improved as the ale warmed which was expected but this dramatically improved. Red licorice was the most apparent scent in the nose. A suddle smokiness, leather, honey, rich malts, alcohol, light fruits, sour fruits and spices also came streaming through my nostrils. The aroma was descent but definately the low point in this one.

Colossal flavor! Sour cherries, raspberries, caramel, cinnamon, ripe red apples, red licorice, yeast, wet blueberries dipped in sugar, plums, clove, and alcohol with a tart undertone that is hard to notice but apparent. Very smooth and heavy in the mouth. A nice hop bite on the back of the tongue with a lingering perfect plum finish. I feel like I am missing a lot of flavors here too. The flavors are so intricate and there are so many of them that it is hard to identify all of them.

A very well put together beer. I hope to see this in the top 50 someday.

Crosling, Dec 21, 2003
Photo of merlin48
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 12-19-03, from 12 oz bottle served at approximately 55 degrees. Pours into a goblet a cherry gold color. Beige head disappears quickly but leaves behind respectable lacing. Cloves dominate a complex nose of spices, sour citrus, fruity hops, and sweet malt. Mouthfeel is tart and fizzy, and a spice cabinet explosion assaults the tongue.

Tasty stuff here. Orangepeel, a hint of apple, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, nicely blend with an excellent malt/hops balance. Dry finish leaves a crisp, spicy aftertaste. Excellent drinkability, and a very well concocted seasonal brew. Alcohol is well disguised by the spices and aromatics, but this one leaves a warm, spicy feeling behind. Very well done.

merlin48, Dec 20, 2003
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.

NeroFiddled, Dec 17, 2003
Photo of ElGuapo
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An amber colored brew with a small off-white head. The aroma is fruity with a big blast of spices. Cinnamon and clove are the leaders in a pack of in your face spice that makes it hard to lift your nose from the edge of the glass. I picked up a bit of smokiness.

The flavor is started off with big fruitiness. Spices come in next in a big way. This beer is not lacking flavor. I really enjoyed the smoky flavor that I got out of it. I think it was just how the spices came in that gave it that smoky flavor, but it was very nice. There are lots of citrus kicks and heaps of cloves in there. It has some roasty flavors as well, and finishes you off with a toasted aftertaste. Complex, oh yeah! This is a very nice offering from Allagash.

Note: I believe this bottle sat for about 1 year since I bought it.

ElGuapo, Dec 14, 2003
Photo of dannyvee
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

$4.50 on tap @ anam cara. served in the allagash goblet.
the appearance was a deep orange w/ a nice little white head. subtle aromas of orange and spice (by no means overpowering).
taste was very smooth, banana notes...gentle carbonation and pretty full body.
i generally shy away from "spiced" beers, but i loved this one. perfect for a cold, snowy boston night.

dannyvee, Dec 11, 2003
Photo of ybnorml
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is a slightly cloudy amber. The head looks like a milkshake nice and thick and leaves a decent lace. A citrus lemon peel aroma rises from the glass. The taste is full of spices and herbs. It is almost like eating food, like sausage or meat pie. Good even finish. Definitely a beer to drink slowly and savor.

ybnorml, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of vitesse
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served in 12 oz. bottle. not aged.

a very interesting beer.
appareance is orange/amber. barely hazy. smallish tan head. nice lace on the glass. smell is of spices: cloves, coriandar, citrus.
taste is very unique. really balanced between light biscuity maltiness, citrusy hops, spicy coriander flavoring and sourness in the aftertaste. very thoroughly flavored.
slightly astringent with some alcohol presence.
mouthfeel is very carbonated and effervescent. very high drinkability -- almost duvel-like "alcohol creep" that sneaks up on you. watch out.

a must-try beer. one of the best belgian-styled beers i've ever had.

vitesse, Dec 08, 2003
Photo of Darkale
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy dark-butterscotch body probably would have been clear if I had poured it with more care. Bone-colored head is thick and resilient with excellent lacing.

Aroma is light and fresh. Sweetness is high in the nose, slightly spicy but not quite deep enough for me to discern exactly which spice I'm smelling.

Rich and full in the mouth. Chewy and sweet. Subtly spicy, with a deep sweetness like dark brown sugar.

This is a tremendous holiday beer. One of my new favorites.

Darkale, Dec 08, 2003
Photo of Weissenheimer
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For lunch on the day after Thanksgiving I pulled out some left over turkey and stuffing and popped the cork on a bottle of Allagash Grand Cru. It poured a deep, reddish caramel with a nice pillowy head. The scent was very complex, inviting, balanced, and not at all cloying like so many spiced ales. I spent a long time trying to parse that scent, but a few minutes of sniffing yielded little beyond a suspicion that anise was present. By that time I had also become impressed with the head; it wasn't going anywhere. As I sipped it left lots of foamy, spattered arcs on the glass.

The taste was as beautifully complex as the scent. Creamy and spicy with some caramel malt up front, it dared me to nail it down any further than that. I believe I tasted a little orange peel and possibly some cinnamon and cloves, and definitely caught some citrus toward the end. I may not be all that good at parsing out tastes yet, but to me this beer's inscrutability speaks volumes. It is smooth, spicy, and incredibly balanced. Beyond that the taste is largely a mystery to me, and I'm very happy with that.

By the time I neared the end of my glass I was admiring how well this beer paired with the leftovers. My sister makes a killer stuffing with, among many other things, some nicely spiced sausage. At first I thought I was imagining things when I tasted some pepperiness in the beer, but the delightful way in which it linked up with the spices in the sausage dispelled all doubt.

As usual, I'm very impressed with Allagash on this one.

Weissenheimer, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of crookedhalo
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy, glden orange color with a thick light-tan colored head that last for a bit. Aromas of blood orange rind, malt, and a mixture of light spices, I picked up on the obvious of some of them; coriander. Malty sweet with smooth spices rounding out a quality Grand Cru replication. Nicely effervescent and drinkable (to the extent that one likes spiced beers.).

crookedhalo, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of freed
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Batch #5 and have been sitting on it. Thanksgiving with some of my wine snob family seemed like a good time to break it out. The pop of the cork got their attention.

The pour was somewhat wild, and a turbulent pour left a big dollop of foam on top. As it settled, the foam left nice lacing, and some spots so big that dust would have settled on them.

The aroma is wonderfully offensive. Pungent old farm, livestock, and wet blanket finishing with a hint of ripe apples. When I exclaimed about the smell, people were surprised.

The taste is amazing. I feel no shame in sharing it will family. Rich, sweet, malty, and deep. Its a pleasant mixture of orchard sweetness, malt sweetness, and malt dryness. The yeast offers its own additions to the mix, a nice funky bready.

Though this is a stellar beer, you can't, and don't want to drink that much of it. Splitting the 22 was ample for 3 people, though I could have probably done with one myself over the course of a meal.

Happy thanksgiving indeed!

freed, Nov 27, 2003
Photo of waughbrew
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A deep orange with a thin white head in an Allagash wide tulip glass. Very clear. (is it keg conditioned?) Nothing really leaps out in the aroma, just a myriad of subtleties. Orange peel, clove, some lightly toasted malts. Flavor is a similar balance of many things, nothing overpowering. A small amount of toffee flavor is snuck in there. Feel and drinkability are absolutely perfect - smooth and very slightly creamy, with small bubbles that caress your mouth. This is a polished beer, a real work of art that forgoes the trend of extreme flavors in favor of a complex mix of subtle ones.

waughbrew, Nov 21, 2003
Photo of frank4sail
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A twist off brown bottle. Fresh clean hop yeasty sweet bread nose. Hazy cloudy dark golden color with a beautiful thick dense white head. Malty rich corriander spice taste with a touch of cinnamon and walnut in the finish. Smooth rich dense mouth. The toung is lift stinging with spice and malt. There is also a layer of grassy peat hop flavor that comes out more as the beer warms. A wonderfully complex treat. Before you know it, it is gone. A comfort beer... nice!

frank4sail, Nov 19, 2003
Photo of edchicma
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy, coppery, almost cidery in appearance. Head left quickly, but minimal residue remained that presented bubble of different sizes. Aroma was an excellent spicy, appley, malty combination that was excellent. Taste was equally a balance of spice, malt and some fruitiness. Smooth for a high abv, with a nice dry feeling on the palate with a pleasant bitterness in the aftertaste. Nicely drinkable for the high alcohol content.

edchicma, Nov 18, 2003
Photo of bmills1608
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A handsome, deep amber color, a little hazy. Head was on the small side. On the nice was "Belgian" style spice. I often have trouble breaking down these spices, so I will describe them as "Belgian style and leave it at that. Some definite fruit in the aroma as well, raspberries, peaches? and also a big malt presence as well.

Taste is rich and slick malt and heaps of ripe fruits (plums and raisins). Middle palette gets quite sweet and is bursting with chewy malts. Very interesting mix of flavors and very drinkable. Finishes with lingering sweetness, sticky malt and a touch of hop bitterness.

Overall - I really liked this beer. Excellent mixture of fruits, malts and spice and extremely drinkable.

bmills1608, Nov 05, 2003
Photo of oberon
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.

oberon, Nov 03, 2003
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden reddish-brown. Very little head but very lacy. Smells fantastic. Spicy, malty, sour. Hints of fuit/apple.

Tastes of malt and yeasty. Spicy and warming. Smooth and full mouthfeel. Sour and spicy aftertaste.

This is a damn good brew for winter. Not as good as on draft but still outstanding. This has quickly become one of my favorites.

ViveLaChouffe, Oct 31, 2003
Photo of HossMcGraw
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Miles better than their Double offering. This has hints in the flavor that are comparable with the Double, but it seems like they got it right with this one. Huge white head, Deep golden/burgundy color, Taste is complex. Dark fruit, Belgian yeast, pine, and actually, pretty hoppy which is an interesting twist. Mouthfeel is good, (very carbonated), but I wouldn't really want to drink more than one of these in a sitting, and it's definitely something I'd need to be in the mood for.

HossMcGraw, Oct 23, 2003
Photo of Mustard
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Stubby, 12oz. brown bottle; no "best by" or "bottled on" date; no ABV %; purchased as part of a ten beer "Winter Brew" (vel sim.) sampler pack from the Cost Plus on Santa Monica and Westwood for $14.99.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark honey-brown hue; hints of red; somewhat hazy; smallish, off-white head; little in the way of lacing or head retention.

Aroma: Modestly of sweet malt, toffee and orange rind; just a whit phenolic.

Taste: Slight sweet upfront; toasty, biscuit malt backbone; piney, hop spiciness in the finish; firm notes of toffee, figs and candied fruit; secondary flavor characteristics include those of yeast, nutmeg and coriander.

Notes: Damn, I'm sorry drank this -- now I'm just pissed I can't get this regularly; seven thumbs up.

Mustard, Oct 22, 2003
Photo of Jon
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch # 6.

Deep golden-orange color that's absolutely beautiful. Steady stream of carbonation present under natural light with an ample, retaining cream hued head. Nose is spicy with additional notes of sweetness including marshmallow and caramel. Sweet malt, green raisins and cinnamon also make their presence known. Nose, however, is somewhat restrained overall. Taste is an onslaught of a variety of flavors. At first, dark fruit, allspice, cinnamon, tangy citrus, yeast and malt are all prevalent with a mild hop bitterness present on the finish. A mild alcoholic bite also appears, but the alcohol content is well-masked overall. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and quite elegant overall. This is certainly a sipping delight, and quite easy drinking at that. This beer is quite age-worthy, as some time in the cellar would help to incorporate its complexities even further. Allagash does a wonderful job crafting Belgian-style brews.

Jon, Oct 16, 2003
Photo of JISurfer
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I know this may sound funny, but the first thing I thought of when I opened this one, was fresh paint. I don't know why, but I think it smells like fresh paint. Anyways, it's definately a good beer for a cold night. It's got some spices in it that warm you from your stomach upwards. It's a murky amber color with a cream colored head. The head started off strong and went down to a laceing. I could also taste some hints of citrus in it. I like it and it's cheap, so that makes it even better!

JISurfer, Oct 15, 2003
Photo of UnionMade
3.1/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer arrives looking a slightly hazy reddish orange color. A thick white head tops it, diminishing into a thin, frothy haze coating the beer. Good retention, lasting all the way through the glass, leaving some large blobs of lace.
Aroma is very sweet, big and phenolic. Big belgian maltiness, with plenty of candi sugar and esters. Hints of fig, plum, apple, pear, and peach. A very sweet caramel aroma to the malt. No hops to speak of, just sweet and malty as hell. The alcohol is completely hidden.
The flavor starts with a rich caramel maltiness. Medium to full bodied, with a sparkly, bouncy carbonation, carrying the flavor across your tongue. Tons of candi sugar and estery sweetness take up the middle, with huge estery pear, apple, fig, raisin and kiwi flavors. Almost overwhelming on the first sip or two. A light sourness in the finish, with a bit of alcohol as you swallow. A lingering candi sugar aftertaste, kind of saccharine and a bit cloying.
A big, complex beer. A little too sweet for my tastes, and not quite up to par with an authentic belgian grand cru. A great beer, but something seems to be missing.

UnionMade, Sep 30, 2003
Photo of yankeeheel
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep ruby-copper color from a 12oz bottle. A very short lived white head with little lacing. Smells of caramel, fruit, and just a hint of alcohol.

The taste is magnificent. It slowly coats your mouth in a mellow malt bath. Smooth....damn smooth. I didn't get much of the spice that's hyped on the bottle, but I did get some nice citrus. Not a hoppy bite you in the mouth citrus, but a subtle underlayer of pear or something of that affect. A barely detectable hop finish makes this a winner in my book. Highly drinkable over an entire evening.

yankeeheel, Sep 19, 2003
Photo of dmarch
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy reddish-copper color with a large, well-retained, white head. Aroma is of orange peel and spices. The taste is of apples covered in the very intriguing spices. I'm probably wrong, but the spices I taste are cinnamon, cloves, and coriander. This is without a doubt, a very interesting beer and quite enjoyable.

dmarch, Sep 08, 2003
Allagash Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 630 ratings.