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Black Diamond Brandy Barrel Grand Cru - Black Diamond Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Diamond Brandy Barrel Grand CruBlack Diamond Brandy Barrel Grand Cru

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

47 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 47
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 16.1%
Wants: 1
Gots: 6 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Black Diamond Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
Our Belgian-style dark ale has been taken to the next level by careful blending and aging techniques.

(Beer added by: John_M on 08-05-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 47 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of HerdNo1
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a wine glass since I'm in a hotel room and that's the only glass available.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown with a creamy white head that leaves incredible lacing that lasts.

Smell - Initial smell of dark fruits. I get figs and maybe some dark cherry. Vanilla beans have been added but I don't get that on the nose. I don't get any bourbon either.

Taste - A distinctly unpleasant metallic taste at first. I have no idea where that comes from but I tasted it with all three glasses from the bottle. For whatever reason, it faded after the first taste. Weird. Anyway, dark fruits dominate at first and then the vanilla comes through. Alcohol is nicely hidden even though this beer has a 9% a.b.v. I can't find any alcohol on the nose or the palate. Rich malt with a dryish finish and just a bit of hops but they are very much in a supporting role.

Mouthfeel - Easy, creamy, dry finish that doesn't overwhelm.

Overall - Not a great beer but not bad. I would really have liked a bit less vanilla and a bit more bourbon but perhaps that's just personal preference. Would I buy it again? Sure. Would I drive an hour for it? No.

HerdNo1, Sep 22, 2012
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

Sammy, Jun 01, 2014
Photo of bconsidine
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

bconsidine, May 10, 2013
Photo of ohiobeer29
2.25/5  rDev -36.4%

ohiobeer29, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of uziangis
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

uziangis, Oct 10, 2012
Photo of dtx00
2.75/5  rDev -22.3%

dtx00, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of TruePerception
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

TruePerception, Sep 20, 2013
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark red amber. One finger fine light tan head with good retention. Unusual aroma of dark fruit, malt with a strong vanilla element, somewhat vinous. Flavor also unusual, sweet malt, a mixture of light and dark/dried fruit with faint vanilla. Light brandy and wood in the middle and finish, which has some vinous elements. Flavor is somewhat subdued, but fairly complex and well integrated. The finish is a bit dry due to the the other flavor elements fading out at the end. Although the flavor is more mild than I'd expect, the 9% alcohol is well covered. Medium bodied with some creaminess. This was an interesting beer and I'm glad I tried it. I would have classified it as a Belgian strong dark rather than a dubbel.

LiquidAmber, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +13%

DrBier, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of oline73
2.28/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I had this on-tap at Max's. Served in a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, very red dark amber color with a half finger of off white head.

Smell: Very mild. Sweet malt, but that's about it. This was the point where I started to worry.

Taste: The taste is way to small. Not enough flavor at all. There is a hint of brandy and malt, but it seems to be a bit watery.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. The finish is dry.

Overall: Not enough flavor or smell. Definitely wouldn't have this one again.

oline73, Aug 08, 2011
Photo of FreshHawk
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky amber color with an average sized, foamy, whispy, off white head. Average retention and little to no lace left.

S - Quite sweet. Brandy along with fig, date and prune aromas are strong. Also strong is a molasses, brown sugar, cotton candy sweetness.

T - Similar to the nose. Very sweet beer with dark fruit, molasses/brown sugar and cotton candy. Brandy comes out a bit, more as the beer warmed and toward the finish of the sip. Slight vinous taste but it brings out the sweet dark fruit more as well.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Sticky and slightly syurpy.

D - It made a decent dessert beer but it is a little too sweet and really has those 2 notes of dark fruit (and brandy) and molasses/brown sugar/cotton candy.

Notes: On tap at Beer Revolution. Wasn't a bad beer, but I wasn't tempted to get it again. Pretty sweet.

FreshHawk, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of BWH999
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

BWH999, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of bubseymour
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

bubseymour, Apr 19, 2014
Photo of JamieDuncan
4.39/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up because local store was doing a special. Marked down to $5 for a 22. Low expectations due to store seemingly clearing it out. Great looking beer, dark, rich with a good head and the smell jumps up and grabs you. Excellent and very strong, just sat and sniffed for a few. Taste is also excellent and it is very easy to drink with 9% ABV. Bonus points overall for alcohol content and value, although if at regular cost it would lose those points. Will swing back by and see if it is still on sale and will also get the Bourbon variety if available.

JamieDuncan, Mar 08, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
3.2/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Brad for sharing this bottle. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a moderately-dark brown color with a nice light tan head and a bit of lacing on the way down. The nose carries a good bit of brandy plus some dark fruits and a bit of brown sugar. Faint caramel. Flavor hits the brandy notes pretty well with some dark fruit in the background. Medium body and good carbonation. Pretty decent.

Thorpe429, Mar 06, 2012
Photo of RyanCoonan
3/5  rDev -15.3%

RyanCoonan, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of bigeyedfish89
4/5  rDev +13%

bigeyedfish89, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev +13%

AngusOg, May 24, 2013
Photo of IHyphySF
1.53/5  rDev -56.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Was excited to crack this one open but quickly got disappointed and poured into a Chimay goblet. This was the first drain pour of the year. This is surprising to me because the bourbon barrel version tasted so delicious.

A - Poured into a goblet and it had no apparent foam or head and it looked like a 2 liter bottle of coco cola that has been half drank and been sitting in your fridge for a week. There were small amounts of bubbles forming on the bottom of the glass.

S - The beer had a plastic artificial vanilla smell to it and smelled more like a subdued root beer aged in brandy.

T - Disappointment is the first thing that came to my thought process because it tasted like cheap brandy mixed with burning plastic. Tasted the vanilla but it tasted artificial and way to sweet for a beer.

M - Was flat and the very few bubbles i saw did not reflect on what i felt in my mouth.

O - Would not buy this again it was a trainwreck in my mouth and when i described the brandy it was not hot or extremely boozy i think it was just a bad pairing with this type of brew. I am not sure if time will help this one out but maybe it is what it needs.

IHyphySF, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Liked the bourbon barrel version at Max's, so figured I give the brandy barrel a try.

The brandy barrel version looks pretty much the same as the bourbon barrel version. The beer is a brownish amber, with good head retention and lacing. Pretty similar nose as well, except that instead of bourbon, I get brandy, brown sugar and some underlying spice... maybe a hint of vanilla as well. The flavor profile is similar to the bourbon version, but not as pronounced. Still, I get considerable bourbon, brown sugar, cherry liquer and vanilla. It's pretty nice, though not as good as the bourbon version (IMHO). Mouthfeel is fairly full and long, with smooth, moderately sweet, brandy flavored finish.

Maybe not as impressive as the bourbon version, but a solid beer nonetheless.

John_M, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

nmann08, Jul 22, 2012
Photo of Rickythejeweler
4/5  rDev +13%

Rickythejeweler, Jul 20, 2012
Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap acquired at a local bottle shop; 2011 vintage. I'm excited to try this one because I love a good Belgian dark ale and I really enjoyed Black Diamond's Jagged Edge IPA, although the beers I've had from them since have largely been disappointing. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average.

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

9.0% ABV according to my bottle (not 8.0% as currently listed). It's also currently listed as a dubbel, but the label clearly states "Our Belgian-style dark ale has been taken to the next level by careful blending and aging techniques." **After completing my review, it's very clear this is a Belgian dark ale and not a Dubbel; much more Chimay blue than Westvleteren 8. I'll put in an update.

A: Pours a one finger very light khaki colour head - quite thin - without much cream, and of above average retention considering the high ABV (~3 minutes). Body colour is - true to the label - a dark deep mahogany (although that diction comes off pretentious; it's a caramel-red). Barely translucent. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Dark fruit, oak, light subtle brandy, raisin, fermented fruit, grape/stonefruit, dark malts, and caramalt. A rather light aroma, actually, but it has some nice subtlety. Nice quite as evocative of dark fruit as I'd like in a good Belgian dark ale, but it's complex and appealing. Little yeasty character. I'm excited to try it.

T/Mf: Lovely brandy notes, stonefruit, raisin, cream, and vanilla bean up front, giving way to a dark malt body with lingering notes from that open. Fig and a bit of grape, but not as fermented or dark as I'd like. Little wood comes through; it's mainly as an underlying guiding tone in the background. The vanilla is subtle; Victory at Sea this is not. Fruity sweetness throughout is complemented by the creamy smooth feel. Still, it's coarse enough to allow the flavours to come through. It might be a bit too thick, coming off slightly vinous; I'd stop short of calling it syrupy, but it is a bit too viscous. Overall, the flavours come off strangely muted; I'm hoping this changes as it warms but I doubt it will. For all its complexity, it's shockingly timid. I search for the banana and bubblegum mentioned on the label but find none. Hopping is minimal and hop character is floral/generic. No real yeasty notes. A touch of alcohol heat, but it's hardly noticeable. All around a well balanced Belgian dark ale, but one that lacks depth of flavour and evocative quality.

Dr: Very drinkable, especially considering the 9% ABV. It's not a fantastic blow-your-socks-off Belgian dark ale, but it did surpass my modest expectations. This helps restore my faith in Black Diamond, and I'd happily try the Bourbon version of this beer; Black Diamond seems to have a firm handle on barrel aging. I wouldn't recommend it to friends, but it's a nice little Belgian dark ale for what it is, and I like the brandy barrel exprimentation.

Low B-

kojevergas, Jan 17, 2013
Photo of mactrail
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lovely dark amber in the tall chalice. Very nice foam and lacing. Fragrant with booze and vanilla. Long nose of honeysuckle and peanut brittle. A buttery flavor with lots of malty sweetness. Reminds me of Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur, only better. Lots of caramel and butterscotch with just enough hoppy bitterness to give it an edge. Slight sharpness and a winey touch.

One of the better vanilla-flavored beers I've had. 22 oz bottle from Beer Revolution in Oakland. The label says 9.0% ABV.

mactrail, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of brotherloco
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. 2011 edition. 9% ABV. Served in a snifter.

I tried the Bourbon Barrel version last week, so I'm basing this review to that one.

Pours a deep root-beer brown with ruby-red highlights. A small yellow head forms and then dissipates fairly quickly. A spot or two of lacing.

Very similar aroma to the Bourbon Barrel version. A lot of vanilla, brown sugar, raisins, plums, some peppermint sharpness, Belgian yeast, and sweet malt.

Not surprisingly, very similar flavor to the Bourbon Barrel version. Flavor hits you with an initial fruit-soda sweetness, although maybe tempered a bit in this version. Things get tart in the middle (again, a little tempered) and the finish dries up and introduces some wood character (oak and vanilla). I'm tasting more vanilla in the finish of this version. Not sure what the Brandy in contributing, perhaps a sweet fruit note. Alcohol is really nicely hidden.

Body feels a little thin. The carbonation is relatively high and sharp. Feel is kind of harsh and burns the tongue.

Not very different from the Bourbon version, but not surprising since that's only 25% of the beer.

brotherloco, Mar 15, 2012
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Black Diamond Brandy Barrel Grand Cru from Black Diamond Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.