1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

49 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 49
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 15.73%
Wants: 1
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: John_M on 08-05-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our Belgian-style dark ale has been taken to the next level by careful blending and aging techniques.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 49 | Reviews: 18
Photo of tommy5
3.96/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Edgarallenpoor
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of Cylinsier
3.17/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22 oz.

Pours a clear dark brown, light yellowish white head about a quarter inch thick, dissipates slowly.

Smells strongly of vanilla with some caramel, dark fruit sweetness, and bready malts.

Tastes of vanilla, figs, bready malt, and a hint of chocolate.

Full body with tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

This is cloyingly sweet and rich with very little if any hint of the brandy barrel it was aged in. It's not terrible, but it's got some off-putting characteristics that make it hard to enjoy. There are some good things in there too, but they are unfortunately outweighed. Might be worth a pickup if you get it for a good price and want to split it with someone, but it's a bit of a chore to drink.

Photo of bigeyedfish89
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of jrein0254
3.82/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very interested in trying this as I always love bourbon barrel-aged beers. I thought the aroma would be more intense, like brandy. It smells more of flowers and vanilla. I'm actually having a hard time getting any brandy in the aroma or the taste. The vanilla flavor is almost too much. I'm almost imagining a brandy alexander. Like it, but I think I would love it with less vanilla and more brandyness.

Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of bubseymour
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Wolberjs
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.43/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | 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.

Photo of DaveRinn
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Photo of TruePerception
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of imperialking
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of bconsidine
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of kluless59
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of ohiobeer29
2.25/5  rDev -36.8%

Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  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-

Photo of BWH999
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of uziangis
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of HerdNo1
3.88/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of matttttYCE
3.24/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a murky brown color and a purple tint. The head is maybe a figer high, creamy, and off-white in color. Retention/lace is low. The aroma is decently complex.

Plenty of rich malts and dark fruits, like figs, dates, raisins, and black cherries, as well as vanilla (though a bit light) and cream at first. After that notes of sweet molasses and brown sugar, sherry and brandy, cocoa powder. Bringing up the rear are hints of bubblegum, vinous notes, and nutty hints. Not getting any of the clove, banana, and belgian yeast that the bottle mentioned.

Taste is a bit of a let down compared to the aroma. Brandy, dark fruits, malty sweetness, light vanilla (lighter than the nose) and cream, hints of cola and cocoa powder, and chocolate covered cherries, light brown sugar, hints of bubblegum, and vinous notes on the finish.

Carbonation is light-medium, consistency is thin and filmy with the touch of carbonation to help it, light-medium body, with a finish that's, again, light and a tad dry.

Overall this is an interesting beer. The best description I can give it is that it's not necessarily a beer I would seek out again, but certainly not one that I'm having any qualms about finishing and certainly not one I have any thought of drain-pouring by any means.

Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Black Diamond Brandy Barrel Grand Cru from Black Diamond Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.