Grand Cru
North Coast Brewing Co.

Grand CruGrand Cru
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Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
Ranked #220
Ranked #32,494
3.77 | pDev: 16.71%
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
Very Good
Grand CruGrand Cru
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Reviews: 162 | Ratings: 484 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of neenerzig
neenerzig from Ohio

4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer is classified as a Belgian Pale Ale style beer in this website's data base. This beer is pretty dark amber/medium brown color. And it isn't very pale at all. Rather cloudy/hazy actually. I think this beer's style is listed in BA's data base incorrectly. Doesn't have much head at all when poured out pf the 16.9 oz. bottle, but a medium sized white ring surrounding the inside of the glass along with some very small spots of surface foam. Aromas of some bready malts with definite caramel sweetness, Belgian candi sugar, and some plum and date notes, also dark red apples and a hint of apricot. And I think a bit of nectar as well along with some yeasty esters. Rounded out with a bit of bourbon oak. The flavors are very similar, with caramel sweet and bready malts, Belgian candi sugar sweetness, some fruity notes of plum, dates, and hints of apple and apricot. Also, a definite bready, and just slightly funky yeasty note, a bit of nectar, that's all rounded out with some bourbon oak. Not really any discernible hops. Has a smooth, just slightly oily and just slightly chewy, medium bodied mouthfeel with light carbonation. Has a slightly grainy finish. The various flavors really linger on my palate for a long time nicely after each sip. A very interesting beer here. I've had this bottle in my cellar for about 4-5 years until I drank it tonight.


Mar 15, 2020
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VABA from Virginia

4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a hazy amber color with a nice head and lacing
A-Aroma has fruit and spice hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a fruit and spice flavor
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer
O-A good Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Oct 10, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Murky light orange hue.

White head; minimal lace.

Grapefruit & cranberry nose; hint of booze.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Oak, bourbon, tequila & grapefruit.

Too bold for me!

Apr 01, 2019
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bl00 from Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky copper, thin head of large bubble dissipate quickly.
Smell is apricots, cherry, grape, corn.
Taste is orange, grape, barrel, some alcohol though smooth.
Some notes of oxidation though they blend well. Lingering finish of whiskey and orange.
Mouthfeel is medium, smooth, no carb. Some tingles on the tongue like neat whiskey.
I'm interested to try more of this. After this bottle I got a 4 pack of 2018, curious to see if I can keep the carb and if so, how it fares with less oxidation.

Oct 29, 2018
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bushbeer75 from Michigan

3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 1pt. 0.9 fl. oz. caged and corked brown bottle

North Coast Grand Cru poured a hazy dirty gold color - almost peach like. No head or lacing to speak of was produced. The nose was sweet, some yeast and light fruit were present. The taste follows the nose with the flavors of peach, pear and apples detected. Mouth feel is a little syrupy and sticky. High-medium bodied with lower carbonation than expected. The alcohol was present, however. well hidden for its 12.9 abv.

Overall, a flavorful Grand Cru that its drinkability is limited by that high abv.

Aug 01, 2018
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Mitzvahman72 from California

4.58/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

With an opaque amber straw color, the flavor is balanced with sweet apricot and dried fruits, along with delicious dark caramels, brandy overtones and a slight yeast undertone. The aroma is yeasty phenols and brandy, with an aftertaste of a more yeasty plum cake. Despite the lack of carbonation from not opening the bottle for a long time, it has a enjoyably munchy mouthfeel that act as a pleasant digestif. For a barrel-aged offering, I really like how it has the actual flavors one would expect from bourbon barrel aging without getting too boozy. Don’t forget to try out other great barrel aged options, mainly the Barrel Aged Numbskull and Olde Ale/Special Reserve from Alesmith Brewing Company, Rye-on-Rye from Boulevard Brewing Company, Chanukah in Kentucky from Shmaltz Brewing Company, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Brown Ale from New English Brewing Company and the Vanilla Bean Stout from Avery Brewing.

Feb 25, 2018
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The body has a gradient of dark amber to sunset red, with a minimal bubbly collar.

Cherry, oak, yellow apple, caramel and agave.

Carbonation is crisp, body medium, finishing semi-dry.

Dec 11, 2017
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bshefftz from California

4.75/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

February 2019 review update: grabbed my last of a handful of bottles of this (bought a whole bunch at Costco however many years ago...) and thought I'd revisit and revise - upwards! - my rating.

First off, this is heck of a beer. Opaque brownish-orange, thick mouthfeel, about as sweet as a sweet & strong beer should be, thick mouthfeel, strong alcohol heat and minimal carbonation. An enjoyable winter sipper. Tastes like Old Stock's lighter, brighter, sweeter cousin. Reminiscent of some sweeter English barleywines I've enjoyed. I'm glad I stocked up on this and saved some and if they brew it again, I'll buy it again.

Second off, what this beer is not: It ain't a Belgian Strong Pale Ale! Should be categorized as an Old Ale, American Strong Ale, etc. I don't know how to change this but it sure isn't right.

Finally: The rating here is criminally low. But maybe my rating is too high since enthusiasm and 13% ABV may have the better of me. So maybe split the difference. But if you come across a bottle of this and enjoy old ales, strong ales, British Barleywines, etc., you're going to love this stuff.

Apr 27, 2017
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Specules from California

4.58/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

500 ml into a pint glass.

Saw this at Ojai Bev Co. and had to try it out of my love for North Coast. Slightly dark honey colored brew with a small effervescence to it.
Im nearly recovered from a cold right now so my nose is not as strong today, but even so I definitely smell the bourbon with some sweet honeycomb aromas from the agave nectar. Also maybe some nutty peanut brittle.

The taste is phenomenal with bourbon and sweetness (from the nectar), slight dark fruit, malty with a striking old ale/barleywine reminder on the back end.

Good mouthfeel, some syrupyness and good thickness going on as the alcohol warms my tongue.

I hope I can find this again! I live in Santa Barbara and the only place that would possibly have this is Keg n bottle in isla vista.

Jul 24, 2016
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CoreyC from Wisconsin

4.41/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Color of honey
S - Sweet green apple
T - Very nice. Smooth, no bite, sweet malt flavors cut with a light tartness,
M - thick but not too heavy
O - Very good malt forward beer. Another great beer from NC, highly recommended

Feb 27, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

2.2/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Golden dark color on it, minimal head 1/6". There and gone. Reeked of pruno like alcohol.

Taste was even more rubbing alcohol like heat, nothing else exists, all obscured. Finally the belgian yeast and spice rack comes through, and that sucks too. Maybe some raisin.

This is a terrible deal and price. Not a good beer. Not everything is meant to be blended together.

Feb 03, 2016
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Brolo75 from California

3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours a dark orange, with a white head, head was full of tiny bubbles, no head retention, just a soapy film, good amount of carbonation streaming up the side, decent amount of lacing as well, looks pretty good.

A: Not getting any bourbon barrel presence but the agave nectar comes through pretty strong giving the beer a honey like aroma, Belgian yeast, spice, cloves, overall, smells really sweet with a hint of spice.

T: Bourbon, agave nectar, Belgian yeast, hint of spice and cloves, finish is sweet as the agave nectar reemerges imparting a honey like flavor to the beer, aftertaste is of agave, honey, hint of spice and clove, very complexity with some depth.

M: Medium bodied, low carbonation, looked highly carbonated on the pour, but it’s not.

O: A little too sweet for me, I was expecting more spice and clove with a touch of agave but with the addition of bourbon the beer is really sweet, too much for me. It’s a quality beer but the combination of bourbon, agave, and Belgian yeast just doesn’t mix for me.

Jan 06, 2016
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MLoxxer from Nebraska

3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This beer was sold to me in a 500ml bottle. During the first pour into a 330ml chalice I noticed that there was almost no head. What little carbonation there was disappeared very quickly. The liquid does have a very hazy appearance and is quite translucent. The aroma is pleasingly strong and complex giving the impression of a well conditioned bottle of ale. The flavor, as one might expect is quite alcoholic yet mild and pleasant. My first impressions were reminders of the old Samiclaus Brown and Samuel Adams' Triple Bock. The flavor is pretty sweet, malty, and reminds me a bit of a sweet dessert wine. This offering is good, but not great, I would still rather have a well aged bottle of Gulden Draak 9000 or Piraat, but for the price this will do.

Dec 12, 2015
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aquazr1 from California

4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange color with no head. Slightly sweet with hints of oak and bourbon. Drinks rather easy for the ABV. Nose has a lot of heat but it doesn't taste as hot to me.

Oct 10, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a very interesting brew right here. not sure if all of these are bourbon barrel aged and this is just a double listing, or if it really is a special edition, tough to say, but i love the beer. its orange in color with some sediment, plenty of age on this bottle but no oxidation at all. the head is white and thin, but it leaves fine lacing as it drinks down. pils malt and agave nectar for the fermentables, supposedly thats all they use, which i find fascinating. the nectar is probably mostly for the alcohol spike, but it has a peachy orange marmalade sort of thing going on with it too. the bourbon barrel is the most obvious feature in the nose. the belgian aspect has fallen out a lot, if it was ever there at all, its very subtle. the yeast is unique, just not characteristically belgian, maybe some saison elements to it, lots of spice in that regard. the light malt base does a good job of being complex despite being delicate, i like that, and the beer has a great many fruits happening from sweet melon to apricot and peach, candied orange peel, very dynamic. the booze is not harsh, but its very apparent, i think it should be that way in this style. one of the more unique north coast beers out there, and possibly my favorite i have had from them. love everything about it except that its gone. top level brew, not adequately appreciated here on BA i dont think.

Jun 15, 2015
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akrz47 from Massachusetts

4.68/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, what a beer! Finally had one that had been aging for 4 years. The first impression is that it's very thin. Not a ton of foam or lacing, very light color and body. For a brief moment, I forgot it was such a strong beer and did a quick glance down to recall what I was pouring. The smell is...well dang nabbit it's good. At first it's a lot of banana and Belgian yeast, slight malt -- not much clove -- I wouldn't have even noticed it if it wasn't from an apparent beer-smelling expert (a.k.a. Mom) teaching me smells usually lost in beer (women have damn good palates(!)). Anyway, at the very least the clove is negligible. It's been aging a while and I smell and little bit of sour grape...not much, just barely. It's appealing. Like what you get when you have a good fruity vinaigrette. The slight tart fruity smell complements it perfectly. The taste is about equal to what you'd expect from the smell with apple in there. It's malty, sweet but drying, some good apple flavor. Not kidding, it's like a malty apple juice with overripe banana, incorporated perfectly with the malt and slight grape. Nice. Finally, the mouthfeel is decently thick -- very thick for what is looks like but not compared to most other 13%-ers. Much more importantly, it COMPLEMENTS the beer. Somehow it's just perfect...looks light , feels thicker, but when you sip it it all just makes sense. It What a beer. I'm glad I took some time refining my palate and learning about beer before trying this gem, because it is simply a friggin' perfectly made beer.

This would dominate and be very appreciated if re-released. I hope North Coast does it. This is a darn friggin' amazing beer, and it's no wonder they named it their "Grand Cru."

May 30, 2015
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been sitting in the cellar for quite a while. Guess now is as good a time as any to give it a go.

Off-white bubbles pop up quickly and fade just as fast leaving a golden brew. Sour light fruit to the nose. Among the orange and green apple, slight notes of gum are revealed and followed by a good dose of booze aroma. Hot and boozy up front with more light fruits, fruit juice, fruit peel and a bit of spice following. Has an effete body that's supported only by the alcohol heat.

Not terrible, but going to sip on this one all night because it scares me to some extent.

May 10, 2015
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Shon4star from Michigan

4.04/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

I saw this sitting on a shelf. So I bought it despite the mixed reviews. This brew was surprisingly good. I right away could taste some charred oak, toffee, and a small hint of vanilla. It coats the palate very well. Overall I would by this again due to the low price point 14.99 fora 500ml.

Apr 19, 2015
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floridadrift from Florida

4.62/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

Golden orange. Sweet caramel, bourbon with fruits. Pretty hot still.

Really tasty for how many years it has on it. I'm really glad I have 2 more.

Mar 26, 2015
Photo of Jagzfan86

4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hits on a ton of notes. Hints of cider, watered down bourbon, an oaky Chardonnay, but best of all it still maintains a strong ale backbone. I may not be the best to review this beer as I do not often branch out from IPAs, but I am happy I tried this one.

Dec 24, 2014
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MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.16/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked 500 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head that settles into a thin patch.

Smell: A sweet, fruity, and yeasty Belgian style aroma with hints of Bourbon, fruits, and spice. Belgian yeast with hints of funk, clove, and pepper spicing. The barrel presence comes through with hints of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and slight wood. Big sweet scent of agave nectar. Lots of fruit esters with hints of pear, apples, banana, orange, mango, and lemon along with dark fruit hints of cherry, raisin, and fig. Pale malt with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, and straw. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like the smell, a fruity, yeasty, and pretty sweet Belgian Cru style taste with notes of Bourbon, spice, and fruits. Belgian yeast with some notes of clove, funk, and pepper. Solid but not overwhelming barrel presence with notes of bourbon whiskey, oak, vanilla, and wood. Sweet notes of agave nectar and candied sugar. Good taste of fruit with notes of banana, apple, pear, orange, lemon, and mango. Dark fruit notes of raisin, cherry, and fig. Sweet malt notes of caramel, toffee, straw, and biscuit. A good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Juicy and fairly slick and syrupy. Alcohol heat is noticeable but tame considering the ABV and barrel aging.

Overall: A solid take on a Belgian style Grand Cru. Nice fruit esters that blend well with the barrel and agave presence.

Sep 26, 2014
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BMMillsy from Florida

3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from Gator Bev. Pours cloudy gold with a one finger white head. Aroma of honey, Belgian yeastyness, I assume agave nectar, hint of vanilla. Not much bourbon here. Flavor is big sweet honey up front (agave nectar?), some yeasty esters, banana, pear, light spice, vanilla, and finishing with a big burn of bourbon booze. Very sweet. Medium plus bodied with medium carbonation. Not what I was expecting here. It’s no terrible, but don’t think I can get through the whole bottle alone. Like an insanely boozy saison.

Aug 04, 2014
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bholt5 from Tennessee

3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Apperance is a beautiful golden color with little lacing. Smell is of bourbon with a hint of dark,sweet fruit. Mouthfeel is moderately thick although the carbonation seems very light. Taste is very heavy on alcohol with bourbon Flavor hitting first. hints of vanilla and malt round out the flavor followed by a unique sweetness on the finish. Overall a nice alternative to big bourbon aged stouts but don't let the color fool you, this is a bomb of a beer.

Jul 17, 2014
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cbutova from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured from the 500ml to three pint glasses with a super hazy, yeast clogged golden apricot appearance. Head forms to about a finger but does not stick around for very long as it fizzes out. Small ring leaves a few spots of lace but not much at all.

S- Fruit mostly comes to mind with some barrel influence and definitely the Belgian yeast as well. Notes of apple, pear, agave, oak, vanilla, Bourbon, yeast spice and raisin. Not much Bourbon for me but it just compliments the fruity and yeast feel.

T- Tons of fruits again with a super heavy yeast influence and some barrel feel. A whole myriad of fruits come to mind like pears, apples, lemons, agave nectar, raisins, cherries and figs, kind of insane actually. The barrel adds a hint of whiskey and vanilla but doesn't overpower the beer for me. Nice Belgian yeast brings an almost Blonde Trappist feel. A slight tartness.

MF- The body itself is fairly dried out and somewhere around moderately thick compared to other Belgian styles. Carbonation at a higher end level with a somewhat fizzy feel which feels kind of strange with the flavors present. Finishes with a bit of warmth.

I would have never guessed this being 12.5%. The mix of intense fruitiness with the barrel (on the subtle side) is nice but the overall finish is just a bit strange to me. The flavors clash just a bit but for me it is a pretty nice brew. Unlike anything other beer I can think of, after 1500+ that isn't something I say much.

Mar 31, 2014
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1000lbgrizzly from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Hazy copper with solid stream of carbonation. Off white head fades quickly, no lacing.

S: Sweet-ish malt resembling raisins, mild oak, some notes of caramel and whiskey, a touch of tropical fruit... very rich, rounded, warm.

T: Strong on the whiskey notes (spice, nuts, wood), toffee malt and sweeter caramel, raisins still there too. Sweetness is made matured with fruit notes (the agave nectar surely). Oak on the finish. Equally as rich as the nose, balanced, nuanced, lasting, and rewarding. No telling the ABV is so high- almost a shame, a burn would compliment the whiskey flavors.

M: Smooth, almost like a whiskey with mild carbonation. Full bodied for sure, almost thick.

O: This is a great beer. The flavors are unabashed and full-forced, without running over each other. Special compliments on not overdoing the barreling- it picked up the bourbon and wood, but wasn't overwhelming, a fine display of mature woodwork. I'm left smelling my glass in wonder of its character. I'll be buying more, if I can find it.

Mar 26, 2014
Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 484 ratings