30th Anniversary - Grand Cru | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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30th Anniversary - Grand Cru30th Anniversary - Grand Cru
30th Anniversary - Grand Cru30th Anniversary - Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 465 | Ratings: 808
Photo of loubrew
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Haven't had this previously. Just popped it and looking great (deep copper), faint smell from the barrel, and taste has that faint barrel flavor. Has a great Old Ale taste. Doing very well after all these years.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark orange and amber color, good 5/6" white head on it. Impressive appearance even for Sierra Nevada. Aroma was lots of that thick crystal malt and C hops giving citrus smells. Some woodsiness to that as well.

Taste had a good amount of grapefruit and caramel. As it warmed the citrus went into tropical territory with mild notes of pineapple. Its a good blend of three all time classics. Kind of surprised you almost get proprietary hop feels out of such traditional hop varieties used in this one.

It was a neat beer, and I'm gonna pop one of the bottles here this summer now that it is a 5 year old beer.

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Photo of Resuin
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into an enlarged snifter. This is from 2010 so has been in the bottle for 4 years now.

Appearance: Pours a copper brown and leaves a pretty off-white/light caramel colored head of several fingers, which takes a long time to fade. Looks like this still has plenty of carb despite the age. (4.75)

Smell: Big caramel, some oxidation, peat, hint of oak, vanilla, plenty of malt. Smells like a 4 year old barleywine. Nice aged flavors, and quite mellow. (4.25)

Taste: Milk chocolate, some peat, light molasses, leather, malts, mild piney hops, raisins, figs. Really complex. The age has really mellowed this out. (4.5)

Mouth-feel: Low carb with a medium body - really light body for the style. Smooooth finish. (4.25)

Overall: This aged really well - smooth drinking with dark fruits, malts, chocolate, hops and molasses all integrated together. Worth seeking out at this point, and based on the carb still being solid, I'd say this will be good for several more years. (4.5)

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Photo of kdahnke123
3.69/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter. Bottle reads 22% aged in bourbon barrels.
A - Pours a deep amber color with a generous 2 finger off-white head that slowly dissipates to a thick lacing.
S - Bourbon up front with carmel, vanilla and hops at the end.
T - Bourbon and carmel to start with a somewhat blank middle and a distinct hops bite on the end.
M - Somewhat thin for a celebration ale. Moderately carbonated.
O - You can taste the various components, the Bigfoot, the Celebration and the Pale ale. Even after being blended, re-hopped and partially barrel aged it hasn't married very well.

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Photo of mverity
3.24/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours an amber brown with a bit of orange. Medium tan collar and the head was either non-existent or faded so quickly that I didn't see it by the time it was handed to me. Aroma is boozey, really overly woody, brown sugar. Medium body and very low carbonation . Taste is of raisin, toffee, and some of that woodiness present in the aroma. Taste is more of a barley wine than grand cru.

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Photo of Samuel906
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Really excited about this beer, and found by chance at a local liquor store - the first time I had seen or heard of it. Pours a nice deep dark red with clingy thick white head. Some effervescing. Smell is somewhat mild, mostly apples and caramel and some citrus. Taste is actually a lot hoppier than I was expecting; lots of citrusy hops, pine, and oak up front with some brown sugar and vanilla. Lots of Bigfoot influence. Mouthfeel is very smooth, and not too heavy. Feels nowhere near 9+%. Carbonation is good. Overall very pleased... Not overly sweet, and very complex. Lots of good flavors to pull out. A great tribute to 30 years for one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of harrymel
3.51/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Well, been a couple years since I had this.

Pours a red amber with a thick, buttery quilt with soapy tops. Smells of malts, bitter hops, some medicinal quality, some oak, some vanilla. Flavor is malty with a touch of alcohol, lots of sweet caramelized sugar character, some bitterness, some chemical character. Medium bodied with velvet for carb and a semi dry finish. A really pleasant beer, not my favorite of the series, but decent enough. Wouldn't seek out, but wouldn't turn down.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.76/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750mL kept at cellar conditions for the past couple years. poured into tulip.

A: clear chestnut hue. head is slightly off-white, hinting towards brown. good retention, spotted lacing.

S: a little bit of oxidation hits me at first. disappointing for sure. as I delve further able to get some burnt raisins. plums? a decent amount of clean oak. interesting aroma for sure. im not getting any hop presence as I suspect time did away with their aroma.

T: a bit of heat which is a tad surprising considering how long this has been cellared. there is some dry chocolate flavor. mild roast. similar to the nose, definitely some oxidation. lingering sweetness.

M: moderate carb on a pretty full body.

D: more flavor and aroma develops as the beer goes down. however I still have to acknowledge the oxidation as it was a bit of a let down. wish I had it fresh! seems to be a bit of debate on here as some people are raving it post cellaring and some people are drinking the oxidized brew I had. I guess all I can say is good luck cellar'ers!

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

We crack the cage and cork, pouring a brew of rich, ruby mahogany into our Founders snifters. It holds a three finger head of creamy, cakey orange-tinged cream, showing wonderful retention. This pops away at a slow pace, leaving thick and cratered lacing around the glass as it goes. A thick chill haze is noted, with no sediment. Carbonation appears to be slow and mild. The nose is rich with caramel and pale malt roast, sweet toast, and thick and sticky buttery diacetyls. Toffees, molasses depth, dirty saltiness, crystallized ginger, wet cornmeal, light metallics, softer milk chocolates, fresh cotton, floral hops, light booziness, vegetal tomatoes, and crumbly, biscuity warmth round things off. Our first impression is that it is nowhere near as sweet as you would expect, with the resiny, green qualities of the hops drying us out more than any other beer in recent memory. As we sip, the taste opens with rich caramel sweetness, plum and raisin sugars, heavy buttery diacetyls, spicy herbal hop bite, phenolic plastics, black pepper, green grassiness, and spicy fumes of alcohol. Peaking is a blend of toasted marshmallow sweetness, continued butters, vinyl, spicy booze, herbal and green bark hoppiness, resiny sap, maple sugars, clovey phenols, and biting oaky musk. The end comes with the bitterness of mustard greens, thick caramel sugars, tannic dryness, nectary hop sugars, plum, light roast and smoke of cooked caramels, corny adjuncts, clean brown sugars, dusty pale malts, and PCV piping plastics. The aftertaste breathes of Tootsie Roll sweetness, moderately bittered chocolates, vegetal mineral, graphite, woody mossiness, phenolic plastics, acorn earthiness, herbal and faintly citric hoppiness, gritty roast, fig sugars, honeysuckle, and fusel alcohols. The body is thick and full, and the carbonation is medium, but puts up a hearty froth and cream all around the mouth. Each sip gives fantastic slurp, sip, smack, and pop, and again, generously coats the mouth with foam. This quickly gives way to a resiny, woody, yeasty, bone dryness, sucking all moisture from the lips, tongue, and palate. The abv is appropriate, and the beer sips rather easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its appearance and its feel. The head remained for what was essentially the entire tasting, leaving foam to lace both the glass and the lip with each sip. This also contributed to the feel, which was happily creamy and frothy at the outset, with insanely drying, resiny slowness left across all of the mouth’s landmarks. The aroma and flavoring were both heavily malt forward at this point in the aging. While this pushed the hoppy balance back a bit, the bulk of the bitterness did, in fact, come from greenness of hops, and the bite of those barrels, despite their lower concentration to the final blend. This beer truly showcased the freshness and bigness of the Sierra Nevada accolades, offering a memory of an anniversary that won’t soon fade.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Winding down an awesome beer tasting night (corked bottles only) and thought I'd crack open another corker.

Appearance - cloudy, bubbly reddish amber. A finger of manila foam on top like melted ice cream. Nice lacing.

Aroma - sticky sweet orange and pineapple, bready malts creep in a bit after setup.

Taste - dark fruit and toasted bread open up the beer. Pineapple and mango at first, giving way to moderate bittering. A great toasty, coffee-like flavor flavor kicks in at the swallow and hangs around through the afterttaste. Oak on the aftertaste and into the finish, what a fun ride this beer is! Ends with dry lingering bitterness, oak, and toasted grain.

Mouthfeel - moderate carbonation and weight. Feels crisp without being too heavy for a strong ale.

Overall - wish I had bought a few more of these. Outstanding. Here's to the BCBT group, good beers tonight, guys.

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Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/8/2010. Pours extremely hazy deep ruby red color with a nice 1-2 finger dense cream colored head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big orange, grapefruit, orange rind, pear, apple, caramel, pine, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, oak, light bourbon, and floral earthiness. Fantastic aromas with big balance and complexity of hop, malt, and oak notes. Taste of big orange, grapefruit, orange rind, caramel, pine, toast, toffee, floral, oak, brown sugar, brown bread, light bourbon, and floral hop earthiness. Light pine and citrus bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, caramel, pine, toast, toffee, brown bread, floral, oak, brown sugar, and floral earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of hop and malt flavors; with a great subtle oak presence and moderate bitterness balancing the malt sweetness; and zero cloying sweetness present on the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish; very smooth to sip on. Overall this is an absolutely incredible American strong blended ale! Huge complexity and balance of hop and malt notes; and extremely smooth to sip on. An extremely awesome offering, top notch stuff as expected.

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Photo of MarkyMOD
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was completely oxidized, was really looking forward to popping this one, but it was the most disappointing beer I've had. Bought six months ago from a shop with all refrigeration, then cellared at 55 degrees. Almost feel bad about reviewing this after seeing reviewers who loved it two years later, but the rating I'm giving this beer is generous, saw many others pour this out after passing it around. This is my first full review, had been planning to start reviewing for awhile, but I think the disappoint drove me to finally do it, at least something good came from this beer.
P.S. Was told it was amazing fresh, but that same person thought it lost a lot two months later.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wasn't sure how this was gonna keep after a long rest in the cellar. Cellared since the release.

NIce pop goes the cork. Pours a MASSIVE frothy beige head that does not want to go away. Major lacing. Nice clear dark amber colored ale. Just geat!

Getting a lot of the essential Celebration and Bigfoot whiffs. Oak. Sweet candy scent. Hops. Pine. Honey. Brown sugar.

The taste is outta site. A hyrbrid Celebration and Bigfoot taste come through. Not getting much of the Pale Ale which is fine with me. Liking this combo. Hoppy taste with a refreshing bitter, mouthwatering finish. Everything is still here. Getting a big grapefruit rind taste on the aftertaste. Not picking up bourbon flavors though it says 22% aged in bourbon barrels. Could be just blended really well. The dry hop technique is nicely noted.

Mouthfeel is good. Still has great carbonation.

Overall I am happy to report this is doing amazing. If you want to wait and properly cellar it, continue. This is turning into something special. Sadly this is my last of this part of the series but it went out with a bang. This combo of beers worked brilliantly and kudos to the brewmaster. And even kudos to moi for letting this lie as long as I did.

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Photo of JayQue
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let this one sit for well over a year. Poured from a corked and caged bottle into an AF Academy brandy snifter. Dense amber color with a good size off white head. Some lacing on the glass. Smell is malty, an oak presence and more than a hint of alcohol.

Taste really features the oak and some whiskey elements. The malt presence dominates, sweet caramel malts. There is some hoppiness at the end but I would imagine that a lot of the hoppiness died out over the last year or so.

Mouthfeel is rich with a surprisingly boozy finish considering the aging. The booze makes this a slow sipper but it is not an unpleasant sensation.

Overall, a good winter's evening drink. I am in the process of drinking the whole bottle, but half would have been fine.

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Photo of guityler83
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark copper color with a slight haze to it. off white head with patchy lacing

S: Woody, slightly sour, not much alcohol surprisingly coming from a 9.2% beer. A tiny bit of beady toastyess comes through.

T: Mildly tart with the woodyness coming through in the flavor. Sweet at the end with little to no hop bitterness.

M: Very dry with low carbination

O: I held on to this bomber for about a year to age it and popped the cork on New Years 2013. Writing this review days later my descriptions are a little hazy, but I thought this would be more sour than it was. That being said, the folks that didn't like sours did like it. RECOMENDATION: don't drink this in combination with Mead and Scotch... bad news my friends, bad news

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Photo of philbertk
3.53/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"A Collaboration of Pioneering Brewers. 22% Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels, 78% Ale. Blend of Oak Aged Bigfoot, Celebration Ale, and Fresh Pale Ale". Tan orange half inch lacy lasting head. Rich dark amber color.Mellow bourbon oak aromatic complex fruit malt hop aroma front. Surprisingly light medium textured medium sweet somewhat fruity malty Bigfoot dominated body. Medium light fruity sediment. Flavors aged well and mellowed together nicely. Touch of Bourbon heat mixed with lingering sweetness and hop spice in rich complex somewhat overpowering end. Tasty, but too much work to drink. (3.65/5.0)

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Photo of chinchill
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle served in a Unibroue snifter. After a solid 'pop' of the champagne cork (showing the 1980-2010 anniv. span), this poured a murky orange-brown with a modest but durable beige head. Served a bit too cold at first, the aroma opened up to a rich, inviting and complex mix after just a little warming. I am not a fan of bourbon but did appreciate the clear impact on the flavor, together with a rather pronounced presence of oak in the finish: Both linger on and on in the aftertaste. In the superb nose [4.75], both the wood and the bourbon residue had a much more subdued influence, letting the malts and hops take the forefront, as well as a nice dark fruit note. The flavor too has a rich base of medium roasted malts and, I think, some dark malt. This provides a solid base, with enough hops to lend a spicy/peppery aspect and to render to overall flavor bitter-sweet.

Near full body. Surprisingly smooth for 9.2% ABV. [4.25]

O: a truly great beer [4.75] ... one of those I wish I had a case [or more] of in my cellar.

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Photo of ThaApricot
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Thick amber to brown color with substantial ivory head. Nice head retention through the length of the glass leavy foamy legs.

S-Smells of caramel, toffee, and mild dark fruit. Not much in the way of hop aromatics despite the abundant dry hopping. Slightly "boozy" nose.

T-Much like it smells, amazing malty flavors. Big toffee flavor up front mixed with piney hops despite the lack of them in the smell. Raisiny notes round out the malty sweetness into a bitter then sweet finish that lingers.

M-Nice full bodied mouthfeel without seeming too heavy or resiny. Still very effervescent from carbonation. Has a slight alcohol astringency to it.

O-Very, very nice beer. It mentions being a marriage of a barleywine, ipa, and fresh pale and even after a year maintains the best portions of all of them. Despite not apparent aromatically, the abundant hopping balanced out the heavy, malty wine well even after awhile. Wish I could remeber what it was like on draft and fresh to compare.

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Photo of katan
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml into a pint

A - Pours a dark ruby color, amber, hefty looking body. Strong off white head formation. Well retained.

S - Strong hopping, bitterness profile in the nose. This seems almost barleywine isn, as it has a rather strong maltish profile.

T - Starts off smooth and sweet, malty, caramel, toffee, not much roast. Mid-stream gets more fruity from a hop profile. A sweet flavor abounds throughout this, as I said like a barleywine. Finishes sticky with a hint of alcohol on the nose.

M - Full bodied, moderate carbonation. Thick and creamy, almost could be confused with a nitrogen pour. Alcohol warmth is well hidden.

o/D - A solid american ale, regardless of its classification. Not very distictive overall, just well done in almost every attribute. Alcohol is manageable and not very filling, surprising considering its body.

Only trouble I had was that I broke the cork. That bites.

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Photo of MatthewWilde
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample: 1 bottle 2010

A: Pours a dark brown-orange with a respectable off-white head which evolves into nice lacing, slightly cloudy

S: Elements of citrus, brown sugar, firewood, caramel and cognac are present, moderately fragrant overall

T: Much akin to the nose, quite complex with very apparent notes of oak, strong hop elements, citrus, nice sweetness reminiscent of sugar cane and caramel, flavorful

M: Nice texture on the palate, smooth, incredibly mild alcohol taste (aging has certainly done the bottle well), a bit lingering and slightly drying but not overpowering

O: A complex and flavorful ale, definitely worth a try, could certainly be cellared for a little longer

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Photo of Etan
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, vintage 2010. A blend of oak-aged Bigfoot, Celebration, and Pale Ale (22% bourbon barrel-aged).

A: Pours a murky orange-brown with a nice off-white head. Some lacing with great retention.

S: Thick, sweet old hops, cider, maple, caramel, some vanilla.

T: Hops still dominate the beer but have an aged quality to them. Tea leaves, cider, mango, bitter resin. Caramel and toffee notes from the malt form a base, with the barrel adding a little bit of tannic sweetness. A bit of heat lingers.

M: Relatively thick and chewy with crisp carbonation.

O: A nice blend, still hoppy after 2 years. I'd be curious to see what a higher barrel-aged percentage would do to this beer, but it's certainly good at 22%.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep transparent amber body with a huge frothy sticky off-white head.

S- Huge oaky, malty aroma up front. The oak aged Bigfoot comes through a lot. The hops are still noticeable, but the aging has probably reduced the aroma somewhat. Really nice nose.

T- Really similar to the smell, a nice big malty and oaky taste balanced out by a hop presence. More of a piney hop aroma with almost no citrus present.

M- Nice smooth body with medium carbonation. Very sticky mouthfeel that is better suited to sip.

O- This is a really good beer. Hoping they do something similar again.

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Photo of azdback
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 750ml bottle. Cork broke on the way out and I had to use a corkscrew to finish the job.

Poured into a Stone Imperial glass. A dark amber or ruby color, clear with tons of tiny carbonation bubbles that lead to a very large three finger head that is a light caramel color and creamy and sticky in appearance. Lace is very stick and patchy.

Smell is fantastic. Sweet caramel, vanilla, wood. Some alcohol. Smells a lot like Double Bastard.

Taste is all malt sweet. Hard candy, light caramel, light brown sugar. There is actually still some hop bitter. Just a bit of lacquer alcohol, but not overpowering at all.

Mouth is full, carbonation is medium to spritzy, finish is on the long side and a bit dry.

Overall I waited over a year to finally open this and I didn't wait too long in my opinion. I does get a bit more gritty on the alcohol taste as it warms but a great pick up and a great start to my Labor Day night.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bang erupts from the bottle with cork is pulled. Off-white, thick, foamy head. Brew is modest blood red with some purple. Lacing is gloppy at best..

Heavy amounts of faded citrus hops. Is it a sugary bomb?

Even with the time on it, Grand Cru is still quite a hoppy brew. Large amounts of pine and grapefruit; your typical west coat IPA. Well (heavy) carbonation, medium body and nicely bitter. A little bit like iced tea.. Zero sugaryness like I kinda expected. Heat is well hidden.

Highly recommended, even at $15. Smooth and refreshing with a nice bite.

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Photo of atr2605
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a nice brown amber with an off white creamy head with great retention
S-caramel, biscuit, oatmeal
T-dry biscuit flavor up front followed by a creamy and rich caramel flavor
M-medium-full bodied
O-A really nice beer that has great balance and flavor and hides the abv pretty well.

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30th Anniversary - Grand Cru from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 808 ratings