Grand Cru De Pelican
Pelican Pub & Brewery

Grand Cru De PelicanGrand Cru De Pelican
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Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
4.11 | pDev: 15.57%
Pelican Pub & Brewery
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Grand Cru De PelicanGrand Cru De Pelican
Notes: 21.8 degrees Plato
Alcohol: 9.5% by volume
Bitterness: 24 IBU
Color: 45 SRM
Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 54 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Beerzebub from California

4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2007 bottle.

Almost black, with some creamy tan head.

Smells good - malt, molasses, caramel, dark fruit along the lines of dried mission fig. Mellow. Cohesive.

Dark fruit is more prominent on the palate - lots of raisin and fig, along with plenty of rich malty flavor, dark caramel, molasses; roasted nuttinesss develops in a fairly long finish. Medium level of sweetness; excellent balance and cohesion. Smooth medium-full bodied texture, almost silky. Delicious.

This was better than expected; the years have treated it well.

Mar 28, 2014
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Big head. Murky brown body with a dark khaki head. Lots of retention.

Smell - Bananas. Dark fruits and booze. Kinda spicy. Nose-tingling.

Taste - Bananas and caramel. Nicely balanced fruit flavors with the caramel. Spice builds with the bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and then bitter. Medium heavy body. A slightly unpleasant finish.

Overall - Very nice without being standout. Balanced, I suppose.

Jun 10, 2013
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tieman for sharing this one at his tasting.

Bottled 4/2012.

Pours a slightly murky orange-brown with a foamy orange-khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, and dark fruits. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a mild spice bitterness with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that tastes better than it smells in my opinion.

Nov 11, 2012
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draheim from Washington

4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL (bottled March 2011) into a tulip. Pours a clear mahogany w/ vigorous carb (typical of Pelican), big billowing khaki head, great retention, nice clumps of lace clinging to the glass.

Aroma is sweet bready malt, sticky dark stone fruit, warm booze.

Taste follows nose. Sweet dry bready malt, Belgian yeast, candi sugar, alcohol. Fermentable dark fruity malt has an almost vinous quality.

Mouthfeel is clean, light w/ a dry finish. Carbonation keeps it crisp and sharp.

Overall a really enjoyable BSDA. Only real flaw is that the alcohol is pretty evident. Well done Pelican.

Oct 14, 2012
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impending from California

4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


750ml into a tulip. Pours a dull deep mahogany, relentless tan head, core retains a dense head the outer melds to large supporting bubbles.

Classic traditional strong dark aroma. Dark fruits, yeast, camphor and old world spices.

Big long evolving flavor. Strong vinous phenols appear twice, the big initial flavor then the length of the long lived aftertaste each distinct and clearly defined. Easy to understand those who won't like this. With warmth the alcohol figures more prominent as a flavor component. Medium bodied mouthfeel isn't revealed until the carbonation dissipates. Delicious complexity. Enjoys warmth.

Jun 23, 2012
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark murky red brown. Massive medium light tan head dissipates very quickly, leaving a ring with little lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt, plum and dark fruit, slightly sour. Taste is intense caramel malt, dark and fried fruit and alcohol. Long aftertaste of malt and dark fruits with a bit of a hop element. Medium bodied with active carbonation. An enjoyable Belgian ale, perhaps not as integrated as some, perhaps because of the alcohol kick.

Mar 01, 2012
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HopHead84 from California

3.67/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Bottle shared by Javier at Strong Ale 2011.

A: Dark crimson with a beige head.

S: Strong esters redolent of sugary peach, apricot, plum, and date. The yeast is decidedly Belgian. Malt is bready and sweet.

T: Plum and apricot with bubblegum and banana. Alcohol is evident. Caramel accompanies bread and sugary sweetness. The finish has a pepper-like spiciness to it.

M: Upper medium body with high carbonation.

Overall: A pretty good Belgian Strong Dark.

Dec 06, 2011
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billshmeinke from California

3.05/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky brown/orange/amber color. Finger of yellowish tan head. Retention is good, lacing is not.

Fruity esters, green apple, hints of caramel, spicey Belgian yeast.

Tastes of cherry cough syrup, a touch of band aid, fruity esters, touch of caramel, green apple, peppery spice.

Full, really nice carbonation.

Too sweet, too much band aid, otherwise ok.

Oct 30, 2011
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loren01 from Washington

4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a murky reddish brown color. Nice bubbly head with some lacing down the glass
S: Smell is sour, fruity and spicy
T: Big dark fruity taste, Belgian yeast and slight sour aftertaste.
M: Medium bodied beer, good amount of carbonation
D: This is a really good beer, glad I picked this one up.

Jul 21, 2011
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basica from California

4.63/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark amber brown color into my Rochefort chalice with a very thick, rocky and milky white head and very good retention (5)

S - The nose is moderately sour with a bready backing; other aromas included suggestions of caramel, dark fruits, liquorice and alcohol; pleasant nose but not too pronounced though this improves as the beer warms (4)

T - Strong flavors of brown sugar sweetness and caramel malts smacks the taste buds upfront along with a very slight sourness/tartness that lasts towards the finish; right after the initial treat was a brief but distinct breadiness which quickly gave way to an explosion of dark fruits with suggestions of dates, plums, raisins, apples, berries, which are pleasantly blended with alcohol; flavors were without a doubt complex and very delectable (5)

M - Pleasant full-bodied thickness with a slight syrupy stickiness and a nice foamy, creamy smooth texture spotting just about the right amount of carbonation; goes down flawlessly with a nice and persistent alcohol warming to round things up (5)

D - Top class flavors and nicely blended in with the alcohol with the 9.5% hardly showing through; very well-balanced and complex with a great malt character, bready yeast nature and fruity explosion. I would definitely session this with friends if I can get easy access to this but this is definitely a sipper and something to be shared. (4.5)

The Pelican Grand Cru is nothing short of a great rendition of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale; the bottle that I have is a 2009 vintage bottled in October. Notable chaaracteristics include the fruitiness, balance and the sour notes. It is noteworthy that the Pelican Grand Cru improves significantly as it warms just as most Belgian Strong Dark Ales do.

This is #1 of 3 in a horizontal tasting with 2 other American brewed Belgium Strong Dark Ale. The other 2 are: Unibroue La Terrible and Lost Abbey 10 Commandments, both top class American BSDAs

Jan 12, 2011
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

Oregon goes Belgian, from the ingredients right down to the Champagne magnum. Maybe it was just us, but the corks tore right in half. We managed to get the rest off with a corkscrew. Oops.

In any case, the cork came off with a very loud pop. Very foamy head drops down to a tan lace, sustained by very active carbonation. Dark chestnut colors border on black. Sweet malty aromas of raw cane sugar, toasted grain and shortbread pair with a ripe plum and blackberry fruitiness. Boisterous carbonation manhandles the mouthfeel with a full-on rolling crispness that doesn't let the full body get in its way. A juicy smack of fruitiness is followed by a drawn-out and complex malt character that takes a while and some warming to decipher. Suggestions of lavender, coconut and light-roasted coffee come to mind. Dark, bready malt and brown sugar flavors with steely apparitions. Hops are very mild, but a touch of bitter herbal phenol and a spicy alcohol help balance out the malt. Finishes dry with an intricate, bready malt flavor.

Outstanding! Sip, savor and enjoy! This one will surely give many other Belgian Strong Dark Ales a run for their money. So complex that it can stand on its own without a pairing--though a creamy blue cheese wouldn't kill you.

Sep 27, 2010
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twiggamortis420 from Texas

4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle from the 2007 vintage shared by fthomasl, gracias bro! Pours a murky brown color with a fluffed, dark tan foam. The initially good looking head surprisingly fades fast and does not leave much lacing.

Dark fruit smacks the nose around at first, followed by a big dark bread aroma. Little bit of oxidized malt and alcohol bring up the rear but are still quite big. Huge nose on this beast and is really complex, kind of a mix between Old Ale and BSDA.

Starts sweet on the palate with burnt caramel and marshmallows. Has a mellow, balancing sourness and a dose of bready yeast. I must say, this is right up there with the best BSDAs from Belgium. Just a light bite on the finish and a heavy dose of fruitiness add to the complexity. Even throws out some cola and blueberries as it warms. Creamy mouthfeel and a light-ish body. Even better as it warms, great stuff! Does Pelican brew a bad beer? Doubtful.

Aug 29, 2010
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degerbah from Ohio

3.77/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with a ton of head. The aroma is spicy with a large amount of scents melding together into a potpourri of smells. The taste is very similar to the unibroue belgian strong dark ales. At best I think its not quite as good as La Fin du Monde.

Aug 23, 2010
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hughesm4 from Ohio

3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a bomber.
a-pours deep amber in color with a ton of gold head.
s-Strong, very sweet smell that is sweet and fruity.
t-Malty caramel taste is the most dominant along with some random sweet fruit.
m/d-Decently thick but fades from the mouth rather quickly. Goes down smooth and leaves a sweet taste in your mouth.

Aug 23, 2010
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mwa423 from Ohio

4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown with reddish hues. The first pours are full of head but evens itself out in the later pours. The head is long lasting and sticky and an off white.

S - Lots of dried fruit, some belgian yeast, a slight sour note and also some sweetness.

T - Taste is strong and fills the mouth with the Belgian yeast and dried fruit. The aftertaste is a bit yeasty. Certainly a good BSDA but not worth seeking out if not close to the brewery.

M/D - Mouthfeel is good with a very full body and good carbonation, surprisingly enough there isn't really any booziness in this with the abv, but this is a reasonably drinkable BSDA.

Aug 23, 2010
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scratchchance from Hawaii

4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours effervecent, dark brown carmel in colour with a nice head. Very light almost citrus, estery, sweet smell with almost Champaign like notes.
Belgian lacing down the sides of the glass are present.
Malty, slightly sweet up front with a slight citrus bitter finish. Light belgian esters present but not over powering are balanced with the darker caramel flavours.
Nicely effervecent but not overly hot.
Overall one of the best belgian styles made here in the beautiful Northwest by one of the best brewerys in Oregon.

Jun 06, 2010
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afausser from Montana

4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: ridiculous foil on this bottle that could easily be turned into a cat toy. Pours a near bitch black that doesn't show much color when held to the light, but is has purple and deep red highlights to it. Has about a finger of mocha head, which is comprised of various sized bubbles (generally medium). The head lasts a decent amount of time and when it disappears leaves an interesting wispy pattern on the top of the glass (which interestingly enough looks kind of like the pattern that the head left behind on the Perfect Storm). Pretty impressive for a 9.5% in terms of persistence. Nice fine and spongy lacing that quickly disappears down the side of the glass.

Smell: Smells delicious--an interesting mix of bitter, sour, and sweet chewy syrup notes. Bitter cherries are the most prominent note, but there's also a very strong, chewy toffee, caramel, and molasses. Extremely rich, and delightful to smell. Is a little more dominated by sour notes as it warms and after it's been tasted, but then as it sits everything just becomes stronger and heavier, with nice rich and strong caramel.

Taste: The taste is of heavy sour cherries, and a slight earthy and smoky bitterness, but most of the sweet notes from the nose are gone. I've just taken one sip of this and the alcohol is rather obvious...not in a hot way, but it's definitely there, almost like a sweet, fermented sour cherry taste. But there is a sweetness--particularly brown sugar, apples, and raisins. There's a syrupy element to it...perhaps blackberry syrup, which carries through to the aftertaste. Slight bitter hops are present in the aftertaste. A little bready, but the fruit notes dominate. Sort of peppery and alcoholic as it warms.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is a little low overall. The bubbles are very fine and a bit foamy at times, but the mouthfeel is generally pretty good. I'm trying to find a way to describe this and do it justice...I guess the best way to say it is that the carbonation is basically near perfect as the brew hits the tongue, but then disappears before the end of the sip.

Drinkability: Pretty damn drinkable for the ABV, but the alcohol is definitely evident here. Still, it's way more smooth, medium bodied, and drinkable than I would have expected, and it gets points for that.

May 31, 2010
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CrellMoset from Virginia

4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 mL corked, caged, AND foiled bottle courtesy of madhomebrewer - thanks! 2007 vintage, poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a ruby-studded mocha, nearly opaque ... well, entirely opaque, and capped by an initially fizzy but ultimately lusciously dense and creamy head, one-finger tall. Indeed, the consistency of the head is evocative of a mocha, too, I suppose, consistently being replenished by a stream of slow but steady effervescence. It's very reminiscent of Cuvee van de Kaiser, in a good way - the lacing is even similar, streaky, clingy, spotty, and erratic, beautifully strewn across the sides of the tulip.

Aroma: Caramelized pineapple, sort of that canned pineapple smell that suggests cane sugar, but more roasted, wholesome. Brown sugar, toast, cherries, figs, kiwi, and slight banana notes are far more in balance here than they are in the taste, but they're a little fainter on the whole, so it's a wash (as far as the score goes).

Taste: Fantastically fruity ... almost too fruity, in fact. Starting up at the top of the register, I get a slew of mostly pineapple but also gala apples, pears, and sweet cherries. Darker fruits lag behind, but not by much - tons of prunes (and accompanying pruney tartness), raisins, and figs. The underlying malt foundation is nice, but really is only that - a foundation, providing wholesome toasted notes, brown sugar at the top, slight molasses, toast, faint toffee and caramel. But, again, this pales in comparison to the dominant fruit notes (perhaps the result of three years of cellaring?), which are great, complex, delicious ... but very, very intense.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth, creamy, oily, and luscious. The carbonation is plentiful, but it's almost entirely unnoticeable, fine and well-integrated, resulting in a fluffy but still wonderfully even body. Speaking of, the body itself is thick enough ... but not too thick, which works perfectly with the aforementioned level of carbonation.

Drinkability: An exceptionally well-made beer, both simple and complex, a little rough around the edges, but very authentic. The fruit notes were great, but almost too fruity at points - I would have loved to have tried this one with a little less age on it. It was so fruity in fact, that I would have imagined it was spoiled if it had been a gusher or a little more tart. As it stands, the 9.5% was fantastically manageable and completely unnoticeable, hidden and blended beneath the seat of fruity maltiness, and the whole package is neatly presented. Recommended.

Apr 20, 2010
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paco1029384756 from Illinois

4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage.

Pours a deep murky brown with a fizzy tan head with decent retention.

Scent of strong sweet dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, oatmeal, and bitter earth. Deep, rich and complex, a wonderful aroma.

Taste of sweet dark fruit, strong brown sugar, bitter earth, caramel, a hint of noble hops, and yeast. Rich, balanced and complex, this is a highly tasty beer and I can't wait to see what further age does to this.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly thick with a good bite of carbonation, great stuff.

This is far too drinkable for the style, but I can't get enough of this.

Nov 14, 2009
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JohnGalt1 from Idaho

4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a hard time discerning the vintage date from the sharpie on the label.. I am pretty sure it's a 2007 though. buckeyeboy brought this to a tasting Friday night... badass!! I've been wanting to try this for a long time and it did not disappoint.

Long lasting light tan head.. great lacing.. deep mahogny brown..

Nose is rich and everything good about great domestic BSDA's.. lightly phenolic and spicy.. the dark fruits run rampant with raisins .. dried cherries and plums..

Out of the gate the flavor reminds me of a thicker Chimay blue.. dates and essence of dark figs.. dark and toasty.. very rich.. more "fresh" while still somehow having plenty of aged complexities.. fairly large body with an abundant yet smooth carbonation.

I revisited this one a couple of times just to make sure I was right... and I certainly was.. The Grand Cru is just about as good as any Continental BSDA out there.. and should be much more hyped (ehh!! I said it!!!) I've enjoyed quite a few Pelican brews over the years and most of them have been close to a benchmark in their style.

Jeremy... Huge thanks for bringing this one.. I am seriously impressed.

Oct 12, 2009
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured rich malty brown, some decent kitche spice aroma.It was drinkable,with an abov-average mouthfeel. spicy sweet,but too spicey sweet to be greatly enjoyable,too much corriander and cinammon, and I question this brewery's beer scores in general, not every one. Not a great example of grand cru style.

Oct 05, 2009
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Arbitrator from California

2.55/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Chilled 750mL bottle into a glass. 2007 vintage. A gift from ramnuts aka end 0))). Thanks Frank!

A: Pours an opaque amber color that tilts toward ruby at the edges when held to the light. Has an inch of off-white head that recedes into half an inch on the glass, and remains indefinitely. Temporary washes of lacing when I take a swig.

S: TONS of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Nutty, with a dark fruit bent that breaks down into blackberry, raisin, fig, and date esters with spicy phenols. Quite a good nose.

T: Caramel, brown sugar, and raisins on the initial taste lay a very sweet groundwork. It progresses into a nutty toffee flavor that's rounded out by blackberry. As the taste comes to a close, it presents an earthy date sweetness with peppery spice, closing in a dry finish with a slight residual sweetness. Unfortunately, it's almost all imbalanced toward sweetness.

M: Medium to full bodied, with lively carbonation that gives it a crisp and dry finish. The alcohol is well-masked, but it does have a strong warming effect. It's on the sweet side; it feels underattenuated and unfinished, which hurts the beer.

D: Unfortunately, supremely low. This doesn't seem to be a well-attenuated beer, as I feel like I'm still drinking tons of sugar. It's just so sweet. I have trouble with the full bottle and I do not want to deal with another one. I made a similar complaint about another Pelican beer. Perhaps they are not the brewery for me.

May 14, 2009
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hopdog from Pennsylvania

4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml caged and corked bottle. 2007 Vintage.

Opened to a very loud pop. Not a gusher, but a little bit came out of the bottle.

Poured a deep and dark amber color with a large sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, some dark fruits, yeast, and some chocolate. Tastes of caramel, dark fruits, caramel, lighter yeast, brown sugary, and all around malty. Alcohol content well hidden. Lively body.

Feb 19, 2009
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dnichols from Washington

4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received a bottle from a friend who traveled to the coast for a summer vacation. I poured the capped, corked and gold foiled 750 ml bottle into multiple chalices full of the beer.

A: it poured a murky ruddy brown body that look like cola around the edges when back lit. It had a deep tan head that stood one finger tall before falling all to soon back into the liquid. It have an even layer of bubbles over the surface and supported temporary but dense lacing.

S: It had a rich, sweet caramel and dark fruit aroma with dark yeast and spices.

T: It began with a dense coating of sweet caramel malts and dark bready yeast flavors with plenty of tangy raisins, figs and tart plums. The flavors were well integrated and balanced. It hid the alcohol well while finishing with a peppery and sweet aftertaste.

M: It was medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation and a warm sweet finish.

D: It was a very well balanced with complex and well defined flavors. This is a very decent BSDA and deserves to be sampled and kept in the stash. It is not a strong session beer but a great sipper.

Nov 06, 2008
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OWSLEY069 from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber-ish color with a tan head. In the aroma, sweet caramel and toffee. In the taste, toffee, caramel, small hints of cherry and raisons, and a small hint of alcohol. A small bite due to alcohol, and medium mouthfeel, with a semi dry raison and alcohol aftertaste. Big dark fruit, nice presence of alcohol and just a hint of sourness.

Jul 06, 2008
Grand Cru De Pelican from Pelican Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 54 ratings