Grand Cru | North Coast Brewing Co.

Grand CruGrand Cru
BA SCORE
58.4%
Liked This Beer
3.7 w/ 474 Ratings
Grand CruGrand Cru
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
northcoastbrewing.com

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by nbree00 on 07-22-2011

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#27,354
Reviews:
153
Ratings:
474
Liked:
277
Avg:
3.7/5
pDev:
17.03%
Alströms:
-
 
 
Wants:
18
Gots:
102
Trade:
3
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Ratings: 474 |  Reviews: 153
Photo of Sammy
3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bier Academy in Canyon Country, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange with a 1/2 inch off-white head that fades to nothing. Absolutely zero lacing on this one. Smell is of spices, yeast, citrus, and a slight sour funk. Taste is of spices, minor Belgian yeast, citrus, cane sugar, and some slight funky flavors. There is a noticeable alcohol burn in the throat with each sip as well. A high level of carbonation with a crisp, bubbly, and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is very tasty. I really liked the complex flavors, especially with the subdued Belgian yeast that let other tastes come out.

 631 characters

Photo of GRG1313
2.5/5  rDev -32.4%

Photo of spycow
3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

 1,377 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
3/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a very nice sparkling gold color with a pretty nice white head on top. The head has a decent retention but not much lacing at all. The smell of the beer gives off a mix of champagne and bourbon. The aroma is a little sweet and has a big yeasty aroma too. The taste of the beer is a little tart upfront with some elements of vanilla and booze. The aftertaste is soft and light. Very palatable stuff here. The mouthfeel of the beer is light, fairly refreshIng and smooth. It's got plenty of carbonation at first but settles well on the tongue after swallowing. Overall I enjoyed the beer. I can't say that I'd buy it again because of the price tag on it but still it's not a bad brew at all.

 713 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2/5  rDev -45.9%

Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is clear golden yellow in color and poured with a quarter-finger high off white head.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of sweet fruit in the nose.
T: The taste has malty sweetness along with fruity flavors.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Considering its strength, this beer is relatively easy to drink because the sweetness is not cloying and the alcohol is very well hidden from the taste.

 497 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.51/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

As an American brewery which has flirted with Belgian styles with much success, It's easy to become currious on which one that they think is the best and entitled with the moniker "Grand Cru".

The pop of the cork yields a mild spillover of foam that seeps from the bottle (have your sinks ready kids). But then I was surprised by the relatively light colored ale inside. Medium amber in color, the beer carries well the hues of honey and pine sap. Even the most gentle of pours cause the froth to separate from the beer beneath with an expansive and heady cap. Spotty lace takes the forms of broken rings and isolated pockets, but is surprisingly mild on both retention and lace.

Complex Belgian character slathers the olfactory senses with a ton of fruit, malt, and spice. Caramel, honey, and biscuit lay the foundation but its the fruity complements that come in the form of apple, apricot, cherry, spiced pear, banana and dates that quickly gain command. Its balanced scent is a crazy melange of pepper, cumin, taragon, chai tea-like spices, clove, and of course coriander. Along with the stronger alcohol components, the beer begins to seem lightly of cough syrups.

The fruit and spice balance also battles it out in taste. But first its the coat of malty sweetness that emerges first- honey, caramel, crusted bread, and confectioner's sugar all lay the ground work for the Belgian influences to play upon. Apricot meets coriander, cherry with taragon, mellon with chai tea, banana and clove, alcohol and cayenne, fenel and dates... it seems that the balance of fruit and spice is never ending. But with the immense taste of lingering malt sweetness, all that ester-phenol interplay is fully supported.

Supported so well that it interferes with the beer's overall drinkability. As the candyish malts penetrate the mouth, it buffers against the strong alcohols and spicy notes. But the left over sweetness makes the beer a slow sipping affair rather than a drinking ale. The reluctant recession of malt delays the beer's finish and reserves the beer's spicy dryness and alcohol warmth until very late.

Overall, I would classify the beer as a very complex yet unrefinned ale. It suffers much the same fate as many other American brewed, Belgian inspired ales that portray a half-hearted Belgian depth and lacking the raw rusticity and supple dryness that makes those from Belgium so great.

 2,396 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.44/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

500ml brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork served into a Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Acquired at Red Carpet Wines in Glendale, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery.

In light of the ABV, I'd prefer a smaller cheaper bottle size, but this will do. At least it's not a 750.

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

Gave a satisfying pop as I uncorked it. Didn't overflow.

A: Pours a two finger head - disappointingly thin, with no real cream at all, but of damn good retention given the high ABV. Colour is a vibrant yellow-gold. Carbonation bubbles are visible in abundance rising towards the head. I have to say the retention is impressive, but the rest of the appearance is lackluster.

Sm: Yeast, honey, lemon, boozey alcohol, hints of lime, agave when I look for it, nectary sugary sweet notes, and clean malts. A touch floral. Very sweet. I'd say nectar is dominant. A strong, very forward aroma.

T: Nectary and sweet, with strong honey tones. Lemon and lime come through. Agave is present, though not in a tequila type of way. Heavy unfermented sugars. Too sweet, especially in the finish, heavily affecting the balance. Layered clean malts. No yeast. Alcohol warms the stomach, but doesn't come through in the taste. I wouldn't call it fruity. No real cream. Not complex or subtle. A simple, strange beer with a poor build. The nectar taints the rest of it. Too lemony. Severely imbalanced: sugar sugar sugar.

Mf: Somewhat coarse and tingly from the sugar. Wet. Too thick. Adequately carbonated. The sugar just gives it too much heaviness on the palate, calling attention to itself. No real cream.

Dr: I can feel my teeth rotting as I drink it because of its heavy sugar content. I expect better from a brewery like North Coast. I could easily see this as an obscure experiment from an off-the wall brewery, but North Coast should no better. Hides its ABV well taste-wise, but you feel it in the stomach. It's far from dangerous. Hard to drink on account of its abundance of sugar. You couldn't quaff this, nor would you want to. Very pricey for its limited quality. I wouldn't have this again, and I'd caution friends from purchasing it. A major disappointment, but every beer gets a chance.

D+

 2,414 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Into a footed tulip glass, it pours a bright straw gold, with a thin layer of white foam on top. Spotty arcs of lacing remain, sticking to the walls of the glass.

If you've ever had pulque, or pure agave blanco tequila, maybe you know what agave tastes like. Tart and fruity, a little bit green, some vanilla from the barrel, and a lick of residual sweetness.

Flavors are similarly fruity and vinous with tart white grapes, somewhat vegetal agave nectar, and a smooth, buttery feel. Some barrel nuance as well, vanilla sweetness and mild oak woodiness. Body is light and somewhat thin, detracting slightly from the overall character. Sippable, not something to take lightly, and best shared. Thanks Jay for sharing!

 719 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of zeff80
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a hazy, golden/orange color with a one-finger, white head of bubbly foam. It left little to no lacing.

S - It smelled honey-like. I guess that's the agave. Sweet overall aroma.

T - It tasted somewhat spicy with a champagne-like fruitiness. Lots of caramel sweetness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is a nice beer. It is unique and not what I expected. The "Grand Cru" name is misleading. It seems more like a Biere de Champagne.

 507 characters

Photo of largadeer
2/5  rDev -45.9%

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy golden orange color with a 2 finger fairly dense white head with decent retention, that reduces to a lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big peach, pear, apricot, apple, orange peel, agave, clove, oak, pepper, light bourbon, light toffee, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, malt, and light-moderate barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big apricot, peach, pear, apple, orange peel, agave, caramel, vanilla, toffee, clove, oak, bourbon, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of apricot, peach, pear, apple, orange peel, agave, caramel, vanilla, toffee, oak, clove, bourbon, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, malt/agave, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome barrel flavor balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged Belgian strong ale! All around great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, malt/agave, and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,453 characters

Photo of mothman
3.31/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a half finger of white head. Color is a clear golden orange. Good head retention and lace.

Aroma: Sweet, sour, and a little bit of tartness. Very fruity. Some lemon. Oak with a hint of bourbon. Vanilla.

Taste: The bourbon shows more here, but it is more oaky with vanilla. Bananas and cloves. Big time Belgian flavors. Yeasty. Sweetness. Spices.

Mouthfeel: Dry. Medium to full bodied. Medium amount of carbonation. Ends with some stickiness and a bit of sourness.

Overall, it is not bad and I am glad I got to try it. Odd aroma however. Not to much bourbon flavors. I wouldn't pay $15 for this beer.

 610 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

North Coast Grand Cru

It looks like what you might expect of a Belgian "grand cru". It's got a slight haze while cold (how can that be faulted?) and its orange-gold body is quite nice. The head retention is pretty good (white, and fairly small bubbled, BTW), but the lacing could have been a bit better - still, there are no real faults with the appearance at all.

The aroma is bready and gently sweetish with a hint of wet oak. It even gives me hints of coconut here and there. There's a touch of sharp yet dull fruit, perhaps like a handful of dried apricots topped by a single slice of freshly cut pear. And a light bit of spice... or is that alcohol? With everything combined there's a bit of a tropical fruit thing happening.

In the mouth it's got a nice, gently bristling carbonation within a medium, gently dextrinous body. It reminds me of sparkling wine. Nice.

The flavor is what makes it a bit odd. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was at first, but when I read that it was brewed with agave nectar it all made sense. I was originally thinking tequila, which seemed bizarre and completely out of left field, but I guess I was actually on the right track. As it warms and becomes a bit 'softer', however, it smooths a bit and more of the fruit and oak come forward. You're also getting used to the taste of it at that point, and it doesn't seem so odd anymore at all, but those first few sips can raise an eyebrow. It's rich, but the flavors remain very concentrated; they don't separate to the point that you'd say "Oh, there's the fruit, and there's the malt... oh, and there's a bit of alcohol". And to be honest, on that note, I didn't really get any hop character until the finish, unless it was citrusy and I was just confusing it with yeasty fruitiness. (I actually found it a bit like papaya). But the hop I get in the finish is more leafy and grassy - or perhaps it just appears that way when combined with the delicate note of vanilla that appears with the oak.

So what to make of this odd bird? I don't think I can judge it against any "style", so it's got to be done hedonistically. Would I drink it again? - sure! Do I want to buy it? - no, not really, but I am a cheapskate. Could it have been brewed better? - probably yes, but I still can't fault it as is. So how about this, did I want to have a second glass out of the bottle? - yes, so OK. Everything told it's pretty decent. I wish its components were a little more balanced overall, and played their parts with just a little more flair, contributing to the betterment of the whole, but it is what it is. Time in the bottle may help, but I doubt it as I didn't find a lot of yeast to help it along. Drink now; one thumb up.

 2,711 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of chinchill
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark bottle with cork and wire served in a Belgian snifter.

Both the aroma and the flavor are quite fruity.
The lightly sweet flavor suggests golden raisins and ripe apricots but has a good bit of tartness too. There's an unusual component in the taste that may be the agave.
Pronounced BBL influence on the aroma, with more moderate BBL effects on he flavor.

Feel: Medium-full body and carbonation. Notable warming

O: a fine, refreshing sipper. A suitable anniversary beer, albeit not as wonderful as their Old Rasputin.

 529 characters

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Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 58.4% out of 100 with 474 ratings
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