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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: 77
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 PatandDavid
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was another outstanding discovery we made in Maine...when they say spicey, they mean it, but boy, it's so understated!

So many beers can be so overwhelming and try too hard, but this beer was just so smooth...dark mahogany, nice head. A full, rich flavor with that hint of sweet spice.

I could make this a session beer, it's that good, but felt that due to the alcohol content, I couldn't give it a five.

Very, very, good, highly recommended.


PatandDavid, Mar 13, 2003
Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The label said "made with spices" but the spices were not overpowering. Poured a nice amber hue with good carbonation. Although it had a "light" ABV of 7.2, it did give me a nice glow as I drank the bottle. Great balance of hops, not gamey. An excellent beer.

bewareOFpenguin, Mar 10, 2003
Photo of longpondbeerman
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fine brew. A medium off-white head faded to a thin foamy lace which only served to highlight the slightly clouded reddish-amber color. It has a muted fruity smell with a hint of maple, but the high alcohol content (7.8%) is neverthless distinct. The first drink was a delightful experience as the texture of this spicy ale was thicker than I expected with almost a buttery smoothness and just a hint of carbonation The taste is consistent; that is, it does not shift much from first blush to aftertaste, and there is a strong woodsy overtone. Loved it. Hats off to another exciting ale from my home state of Maine!

longpondbeerman, Feb 25, 2003
Photo of inebrius
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mmmm! What a fantastic nose of bubblegum, juicy watermelon, freshly tapped maple sap, crushed coriander seeds, banana cupcakes with orange buttercreme icing and hay. I'm almost content to sniff this beer only, but no, that would be silly. Starts maple--the real stuff, no corn syrup with maple flavoring garbage--and is quickly awash in an alcoholic whitecap that morphs into a mild bitterness riding a magic spice carpet that flutters across the buds in an exuberant fashion fit for analogies of hot tubs or backyard hosedowns. As warm as Nana's quilt on a snow-day.

Those Mainards can make some brew, eh?

Thanks Venom!

inebrius, Feb 24, 2003
Photo of Wildman
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark amber color and formed a medium bubbly white lace that left latticed lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation was present. An aroma of malt and floral elements were present. A flavor of malt and caramel was present. The finish was a touch astrigent yet buttery, which was different.

Wildman, Feb 19, 2003
Photo of doho95fu
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the second brew I have had from Allagash, and I think this brewery is doing it right. Something about the beers just make me feel that they are fresh. The Grand Cru was a deep copper beer with a creamy medium-thick head. The smell was of fruit, yeast and honey and the taste was not too far afield which the same flavors represented. There were some currant hints which left a port-like aftertaste as well. The taste was just "smooth". Very drinkable and interesting brew.

doho95fu, Feb 01, 2003
Photo of Morris729
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch #4
Pours deep copper in color with a huge creamy and pillowy white head that eventually fades into a nice thick and heavy lace. Nose is fruity with notes of clove, allspice, and fresh citrus. Nice crisp mouth feel with lots of carbonation. Taste is spicy up front with flavors of clove and allspice blended with some candied fruit. Middle is more of a malty yeastiness with some raisin notes. Finish is dry with a kick of spicy pepper. No hop bitterness is present. Any fan of Belgian-style ales will surely love this brew. A very big thanks to paceyourself for sending me this brew!

Morris729, Jan 30, 2003
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer deserves to be in the top 50 hands down. It was a wonderful buy! The pour was rich with a white head and a beautiful foggy, dark, amber body. The only complaint I had was with the smell which revealed the increased alcohol conten. However, there was also a good spicy/fruity smell, which was very pleasing to the nose. The taste was great with some serious hops and fruits and subtle notes of honey and maple. It left a great, bitter taste in the back of my throat. Even though I had even warmed it up a bit it still felt like I was drinking water straight from the top of Khatadin. It was incredible!

GreatPondBrewer, Jan 28, 2003
Photo of mophie
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belgian with a Down-East flair. I love it! Seriously, this is my first Allagash, and seriously, these guys are serious about their brews, and I respect them immensely for it. It's a great looking beer, deep copper-orange with a persistent white head that gives to that typical Belgian lace as you empty the glass. There's an in-your-face aspect to the taste that is a bit less subtle than other examples of this style. Is it a hint of grapefruity hoppiness? I don't know, but it's grown on me over the course of this six-pack. Definitely a bready quality to the taste, with hints of spice (a bit of coriander and clove), a little pepper, and some molasses. I can imagine Bert and I speaking a Down-East version of Flemish over this one.

mophie, Jan 22, 2003
Photo of kunzbrew
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a rich dark copper color that is very sexy and it has a nice creamy head that last the duration, leaving a nice lace behind. The smell of herbs and spices fill the nose with great pleasure. Hops are not existent in the nose. A maltiness is ver subdued. A raison flavor hits the palate with great pleasure on the first sip. The after taste is one of plums that ligure in the mouth.


kunzbrew, Jan 18, 2003
Photo of cokes
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch #5
A murky golden amber body topped with a hazelnut gelato. Massive cloudbanks of head initially, before receding to reveal a archipelago of foaming islands.

A Wit on acid, perhaps?
This one swallows the caramel pill and ventures through a land of multi-colored toasted biscuits dripping honeyed sticks of coarse grain. Dancing elfs throw about candi sugar. The checkerboard corridor then leads through a melting door with grinning horses holding coriander and orange peel. A pulsating sphere materializes of vinous, grape qualities. Menacing specters threaten with flashing alcohol notes, but never intrude on the pleasantness of this voyage inward. Spiraling flowers of hops provide closure to this trip.

Set and setting are important. And this lays the foundation with an impervious mouthfeel and a comsumablity factor that is rarely equalled.

One of the best American bastardizations of Belgian styles. Delightfully bizarre.

Big ups to the Notorious B.I.G.H.U.G.E.

cokes, Jan 13, 2003
Photo of BeerAngel
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours slightly hazed amber orange with a 2 finger off-white head that sticks around. A whiff reveals very nice fruit and spices with light yeast. Smells very nice! The taste consists of more spices that are very pronounced and also has a fruity, yeasty, and light alcohol flavors that taper into a slightly dry tail. Again, very nice! A highly complex Belgian Style Ale that is light to medium bodied and it leaves you wanting more. Wonderful! Thanks again Beerluvr for this experience! Cheers!

BeerAngel, Jan 08, 2003
Photo of HopheadEd
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ML corked and caged. Batch #5. Pours a copper, mahogany color with abig creamy head and ample lacing. Head falls to a 1/4 inch then holds. Aroma of spices, light fruits, citrus. First taste reveals a light grapefruit, sweet malty flavor. Creamy mouthfeel, with just the right carbonation. Crisp, dry finish, light hops. Very nice. Worth a try.

HopheadEd, Jan 05, 2003
Photo of marc77
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #4. Dark bronze hue, w/ a light haze. Moderate, persistent off white head leaves sparse lace. Sweet orange peel, w/ floral notes of lavender honey and rosemary in aroma. Caramel malt becomes more pronounced as the beer warms & breathes. Mild banana esters and toasted malt. Flavorwise, clove laced sweetness persists throughout. Caramel malt is more pronounced that the "norm", adding a richness to the flavor profile. Malt sweetness combines w/ clove and peppery alcohol to from a black licorice mid palate impression. Spices seem to have mellowed somewhat, w/ light herbal notes of citrus peel and perhaps coriander perceptible. Fruitiness is mild, but distincitively date like in nature. Subdued banana esters as well. Becomes progressively more vinous and sherryish in underlying flavor as it breathes. Moderate bodied, yet crisp and light on the palate. Low hop bitterness leaves residual sweetness unhindered. Finishes full circle, w/ fading clove and malt sweetness. Allegash Grand Cru is a unique & delicious brew. It's reminescent of a Wit / dubbel hybrid-- almost the best of both worlds.

marc77, Dec 24, 2002
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had this in my fridge for awhile and am finally getting around to drinking it. This beers pours reddish-brown in color with HUGE head that lasts. The bubbles in the head are varied in size. The smell is very sweet with hints of orange, lemon and corriandor. Once the head finally subsides, the taste is very smooth. Again, more citrus and spicyness in the taste. I also pick up some raison flavors but it still remains balanced.

After awhile the head is still going strong and leaves a beautiful lace. If I had known how good this ale was I wouldn't have let it sit for so long. I think that I have one more different Allagash left and I think that I will have to sample.

CharlesRiver, Dec 23, 2002
Photo of yemenmocha
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep red amber hue with some haze from the yeast. Belgian lace present throughout the whole drinking experience, though initial head is somewhat flacid even with an aggressive pour.

Aroma suggests sweetness throughout. Malt, Wit/Hefeweizen yeasty fruity aromas, and some black tea aromas are present. Ceylon Fancy?

Medium bodied. A nice malty flavor, balanced though. Sweetness is great for those who like this style. Higher alcohol is very deceptive to me. For an alternative to pricey Belgian imports, give this one a try.

yemenmocha, Dec 18, 2002
Photo of ADR
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #5...again, welcome to the midwest, Allagash...

Ochre-brown color, hazy with a fairly small head that laces little but with intricate detail. Spicy aroa, clove and nutmeg, somewhat wheaty and grainy. Flavor follows smell, with estery elements and an added sense of orange and other sweetened fruit, almost a pineapple property. Nice mouthfeel, semi-lush because of low carbonation. Slight alcohol and rind at the finish. This beer gets better as it warms a bit, a nice big and bad one for Winter. Good entry for Allagash, I prefer it over the Dubbel Reserve -- with other examples to come.

ADR, Dec 06, 2002
Photo of Bighuge
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch #5.

Aroma is wit-reminiscent for me. Malted wheat, curacao and corriander. Maybe nutmeg or cinamon. Very nice. Slightly turbid brown tone. A tightly packed beige head sits on top. It becomes a rimming in a minute, except for a thin filmy island in the middle that remains for the duration. The tastes are so subtle and intricate it will be hard for me to nail them all down. The spicing seems to be orange curacao and cinamon. I think I get some wheat tones (like a wit, not like a weizen). A subdued bitterness comes from either the hops or possibly a bitter orange element. Some slight bready, yeasty tones add another layer of complexity. The body is light. The carbonation is fairly low. This is so damn drinkable. I can't believe it's close to 8% a/v. No signs of alcohol whatsoever. I need to be careful not to can this 750 in 10 minutes. Lovely belgian. My favorite Allagash product so far. (I've also had White, Double and Dubbel Reserve.) The Trippel Reserve is set to fall soon.

I'd love to try this side by side with the Allagash White to try and decipher the differences.

Bighuge, Dec 02, 2002
Photo of Kwak
3.23/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice frothy head didn't hang around for to long, light tan color. You can smell the fruit mixed with the spices very appetizing. Good body not to thick a nice orange/amber color. It has a nice fruit taste that is raging with spices. nice hints of alcohol that gives a really good warming effect in the end. Goes down nice and easy for it's high alcohol content. Good beer would not recommend having a sixer of this one it's a good night cap!

Kwak, Dec 01, 2002
Photo of MJR
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Spills into my tasting glass with a semi-clear, reddish-orange color. A huge tan head fills almost half of my glass and shows no intention of going anywhere. Awesome head retention and lacing with this brew.

Smell: Spicy, with a strong aroma of orange peel and tropical fruits. A lot of sweet complexity in the nose here. Very inviting!

Taste: Starts with a fruitiness that turns into a fantastic spiciness. A bit of toffee, orange peel, caramel, and licorice. Tropical fruit. Very complex and full-flavored. Subtle hints of alcohol here and there. Nice warming effect. There doesn't seem to be any hop flavor or bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Oily, creamy, smooth, and slightly medium-bodied. It almost seems like a barley-wine in it's mouthfeel. Goes down way too easy!

Drinkability: Quite high considering it's almost 8%abv. This is a great beer to have beside you in front of a roaring fire with a good book. Allagash continues to impress...

MJR, Dec 01, 2002
Photo of Viking
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear copper, with a thick bubbly head. Moderate amount of CO2 in the body. Thick clinging lace on the glass. Sweet and malty smell with a healty dose of licorice and other spices. Malty caramel flavor with fruit and spicy notes - again, licorice is most notable. Rather thin body. Dry finish, with a slight lingering fruit taste. Overall, it's a good brew, but it doesn't stand out as particularly special.

Viking, Nov 29, 2002
Photo of zerk
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #4... this beer was somewhat cloudy and copper / brown with a thick but quickly disappating head. Aroma of malt, cloves, figs, and vanilla. Flavor was sweet... malt upfront, some dried fruit notes, and vanilla, followed by some spicy bitterness... with a bit of alcohol lingering on the tongue. Body was medium... gave a crisp impression... well carbonated. This is a very solid Belgian dark ale.

zerk, Nov 28, 2002
Photo of DrewS
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with the look of fall, brownish red and orange. Nice but modest head that dissipates soon to a thin layer. Interesting nose infused with the smell of malt, spice and some fruity esters. Lighter in body than I expected with good carbonation delivering a fairly smooth mouthfeel. The taste is different and hard for me to decribe. Malt and spice are present, with some bitter orange peel and fruity, herbal tea flavors. Bitterness is perceived not only in the very beginning but in the finish as well. Like I said, interesting. Give it a try. BTW, I believe the alcohol content to be 7.2% this year.

DrewS, Nov 12, 2002
Photo of Bierman9
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet, this Cru (batch #3) had a lovely, dark copper color with red overtones. A tan head of about 1.5" was easily produced, eventually thinning to a lasting 1/4" layer. Belgian lacing was quite nice. The nose was a pleasing blend of fruit and spices, with a spicy sharpness quite evident. Body was middle of the road, and the carbonation gave the mouthfeel a bubbly creaminess on the tongue. Flavor, too, was a well-crafted mix of fruit and spices, with a somewhat dry finish, and a gratifying aftertaste. I enjoyed this bier quite a bit (it's a Maine bier, after all, right JohnnyP?!).

overall: 4.55
appearance: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


Bierman9, Nov 07, 2002
Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice amber brown color clouded by yeast, with a big head of beige foam that shrinks quite a bit, but leaves lots of lace.
The smell of this beer is full of spices and some orangey citrus with some grassiness in the background.
Great flavor with good amount of malt sweetness, spicy cloves and some orange fruitiness with a little yeastiness. Zippy mouthfeel with a good bit of carbonation, yet has a kind of creaminess after the initial bubbly sting. Warming alcohol noticeable after a few sips, this is another gret Belgian from Allagash. I'll be saving a few of these while they are available to try later and see how they age.

MaineBeerMan, Oct 25, 2002
Allagash Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 630 ratings.