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

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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:
No notes at this time.

Added by GratefulBeerGuy on 11-04-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 465 | Ratings: 800
Photo of BARFLYB
3.51/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at The Hulmeville Inn inside a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary chalice, thanks for the keepsies.

Thirty is sturdy beer. A nice big dense bright cream foam was about an inch leaving spraypaint lace on the way down. Colors include dark red, some bronze and a hint of light tan, it looks delicious.

It really took a while for this to make some odors, served very cold, just some faint malts pop out. Once at room temp caramel, toast, bisquit, semi piney hops, and with significant warming bigfoot peeps through with that B-wine scent. Faint traces of vanilla.

Taste is really balanced for the blend. In fact no beer here outshines the other, but unfortunatly, they kind of mute each other out. Toasted malt up front with slight sweetness including vanilla from the oak chips Im guessing. Goes into caramel and a slight piney hop, earthy like in the middle finished with a little celebration spice. Once the glass gets very warmer, that's when BF shows up giving off some dark fruit.

This is a big beer with a not so big body. It's above medium yet not quite full. It's syrupy though and slick with some bitterness on the end. It's properly carbed but that manages not to register to me through the gooey feel. Not really hot either, it's not offensive, just slimy, in a good way.

It took me a while to get through this. While I like the idea and the execution of this 12oz was plenty for me. It's not all that drinkable, yet it's not cloying in any way, I like the beers that are in it, perhaps I should stowe a bottle away for later. I think the mix of spice on top of bigfoot may be interesting.


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Photo of Arbitrator
3.51/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased for $10 or so.

A: Pours a hazy, darkly red amber body with two fingers of long-lasting, dense, creamy, light beige head. As it slowly retreats down the glass, it leaves sticky, ivy-like trails down the sides. Really beautiful appearance.

S: Pine needles, caramel malt, toffee. A smattering of grapefruit citrus, some oak. Not the most expressive nose, for some reason. It's dominated by the Bigfoot that went into it.

T: The taste is much more well-rounded. Pine-dominated, with caramel malt and toffee providing substantial barleywine-like backbones. A touch of grapefruit citrus is noted. The hops are vibrant, fresh, and powerful. I find that the finish has an element of cinnamon, which pairs well with tannins to give it a drying impression. Small vanilla character and lots of lingering pine bitterness. This was aged partly in bourbon barrels, from what I've heard, but I never tasted that particular aspect, unless you count the caramel and vanilla flavors.

M: Medium-full bodied, with ample carbonation, maybe even a tad high. It is quite oily and has a lingering, sticky, resinous presence. The oak finish is lightly astringent. There is some heat that makes it lightly warming, though not hot or unpleasant.

D: Probably unnecessary to put this in 750mLs, though I guess it makes it seem more prestigious and premium. Worth a try, but it's nothing to write home about. I wish I had spent the money on a 12 pack of Celebration instead.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

75 cl

Pours a hazy reddish gold. Thick head over an inch dissipates very slowly.

Smells of piney hops and fresh grainy malts with a hint of citrus.

Tastes malty and hoppy with some apple-like sweetness and a flicker of alcohol.

Moderate to full in the mouth with soft carbonation throughout.

Pretty decent hoppy ale, kind of like an American Barleywine. Not crazy about it though, like some of the other SN 30th ales better.

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Photo of philbertk
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
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 SafeAtFirst
3.54/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I thought maybe I should wait and let the oak-aged part of this blend mellow. But when a Sierra Nevada beer label says "generously dry hopped", I knew I had to pop it open.

The beautifully rich ruby color is the best part of this grand cru.

Aroma doesn't backup the label hype. Good american hop aroma, not grand.

Taste is a little rough around the edges, blame the oak. Some citrus, a touch of caramel. Alcohol shows as a peppery bite that amplifies the hop/oak bitterness.

Carbonation could have been a little softer for such a big bodied beer. Finish is chalky, rough, dry.

It'll probably be better in 6 months, but I doubt I buy another bottle.

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Photo of beertunes
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a nice reddish-amber color with a tall, fluffy, off-white head that had very good retention and light lacing.

The aroma was mostly sweet malts with a trace of spicy hops in the background. The taste was very similar, although the hops had a much stronger presence than the aroma had led me to expect.

The body was nice full and round. Drinkability was pretty good, especially for an almost 10% brew. Overall, a very nice beer. I suspect a lot of people will be aging this but I don't think time is going to help it much, it's probably as good as it's going to get now.

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Photo of shageman331
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle purchased over Thanksgiving 2010 and consumed Dec. 22, 2010. Melange of oak-aged bigfoot, bigfoot, and celebration (not 100% about the exact blend)

Appearance - A rousing pour yields a nice two finger head. Beer is a red/coppery/amber color

Smell - Blend of citrus and pine, but there is a little alcohol present. Good, not great.

Taste - Sturdy malt backbone with some hop bitterness. A little pine. Again, good, but not great.

Mouthfeel - A solid mouthfeel... enough bubbles to keep the party moving along.

Overall - Sierra Nevada has always been a solid brewery. They never blow me away, but they never disappoint. This beer is another example of that. I am glad I tried it, but its not something that I would go out of my way to get again.

NOTE: I tried it when it first came out and it was much better...

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Photo of peabody
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice clear amber to red with two fingers of slightly off-white suds. Lacing is good here.
Smell is subtle hop and malt with a tinge of alcohol. Not a strong aroma here for an Imperial IPA.
Taste is boozy. Some bitter hops but mostly strong alcohol with some sugar and malt. Here again we have a very subtle brew.
Mouthfeel is slightly dirty but flavors of the hop leave the palate too quickly.
Drinkability is OK for a cold night in Dec. Otherwise it's not a great Imperial IPA. However, for Sierra Nevada this one if pretty good.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Transcribed from notes dtd Sa, 13 Nov 2010. TJ's was the place!

"A dry-hopped blend of oak-aged Bigfoot Barleywine, Celebration Ale and fresh Pale Ale." Wow. It had a finger of foamy, deep-tan head when it arrived. Color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a nose hair-searing heat that should have served as a warning, but I plodded onwards. Mouthfeel was medium with a heat that rivaled Mount Vesuvius. Geez-O, man, but that was hot! I could not taste much else. Finish was gaspy and I knew that this was the end. I could hardly catch my breath after this bad boy. Buy some and age it!

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Photo of HoosierInOhio
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy Brown, barely see through it, 3 finger foamy head sits atop this in my Pilsner glass

S - Hard to get a read, caramel? Hops, vanilla notes, some dark fruits buried in there

T - Vanilla, Oakey-ness, Fruits, hoppy, slight chocloate, lots going on but nothing overpowers

M - Velvety feel, alcohol isn't too prevalent, well hidden

O - Expected more, much prefer arrogant bastard at half the price

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Photo of flannelman808
3.59/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Sort of a ruby copper color and very clear. Light tan head which has small to medium bubbles. Good retention, It has a frothy latte foam quality. Nice lacing to boot. I would expect nothing less from sierra.

S: Real tough to get anything discernible on the nose, maybe its a little too cold... There is a really soft malty presence and I'm searching for spice maybe there is something but nothing of note really... what the hell. poured into a tighter glass and get Pine cone and some herbal notes... it can be smelled but don't treat it like anything but a mild smelling beer. Amazing the difference a glass makes.

T: Thankfully there is in fact flavor. Fruity esters first followed with some malty fullness and some bitterness in the finish. Everything is quite in balance, subtle sweet fruit flavors merging with oak and fallen pine needles. All together its nice and balanced but perhaps lacking in depth in the end.

M: stick and move

D: High

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Photo of abuliarose
3.62/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Portsmouth Brewery snifter, revealing a clear and pleasantly ruddy brown body under an airy thick cream head with some lacing. Very pretty looking, lots of bubbles. Smells meaty and hoppy with a slight metallic tinge and some oak. Not much to the smells.

Tastes decently hoppy but otherwise mellow with a hint of caramel. The wood comes through significantly but doesn't mesh well with the other flavors. Body is lighter and somewhat watery in texture with a fine and prickly carbonation to give it some volume. Drinkability is ok, perhaps better to let the hops mellow out a bit first. The flavors there are all nice but don't marry well as is.

Overall I think I might prefer it more aged. Still, it's not bad.

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Photo of Phelps
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Formerly the Grand Cru and now known as Oak-Aged Ale, this is the big daddy of the 30th Anniversary beers, a dry-hopped blend of Pale Ale, Celebration and oak-aged Bigfoot (which would be nice to try on its own, SN). Enjoyed from the tap at Flanny's, poured into a tulip.

Dark, murky burgundy-tinged copper. Lightly hazy, with a fuzzy one-finger light khaki head that recedes quickly to a thin ring, leaving oodles of spotty, jagged lace.

Grassy nose. Bright orange peel, oak, a bit of caramel, dark bread.

The flavor: caramel, grapefruit juice, pine, raisins, lots of grass, burnt sugar. Some vinous oak and dark, overripe oranges are also apparent. Impressive bitterness, though it's also quite sweet on the finish.

Light, prickly carbonation amidst a big, creamy body. No alcohol is noticeable, which is impressive since I'm pretty sure this thing is 9 percent.

A nice blend. It's not as exciting as I expected, but each component beer is showcased. It was, however, amazing with the Flanny's cheddar and fontina macaroni and cheese, with the dish accentuating the beer's malty qualities.

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Photo of headbucket
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A:a nice dark amber color. Semi-thick, frothy looking head on pour. Minimal head throughout and not much lacing on glass.

S: dark,sweet malts and a nice hop presence with hints of pine and citrus.

T:a nice dark, biscuity malt flavor to start. Sweetness, then the hops and oak come in. Dark grapefruit and citrus biterness. The oak adds a bit of woody and vanilla flavor.

M: medium heaviness, kinda slick and a bit oily.

D: good but not great. It seems a bit syrupy from the sweetness to me. The alcohol is noticeable but not bad and doesn't really hurt the drinkability too much.seems like a well made beer and I am very interested in these blended beers, this just is a bit too sweet and malty for me right now.

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Red body topped bya medium tan head standing over three inchaes tall at first pour. Head is frothy and foamy with solid stamina hanging in very well at two inches. The body is clear and offers some transparency.

S - Modest citrus aroma witha floral hint and a nice sweet edge.

T - Tastes like a barleywine with a spicy hint. It has an after taste of biting hops while most of each pull is spicy and somewhat bitter.

M - The feel is nice and warm with a moderate coarseness on the middle of my tongue. It leaves a nice sticky feel on my lips and gums.

~ This is listed as an American Strong Ale, which I guess would fit pretty much any American beer once it surpasses the 8.0% ABV mark. But in this case it really has more of a barleywine styling. Either way I like the brew and appreciate what Sierra Nevada has done with it.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at The Little Pub, in Ridgefield CT.

Pours a reddish amber with good foam, very good retention, notable lacing.

Piney citrus smell.

Hop forward taste, quite bitter, with some of the celebration spice mix pushing through. Finish is a bitter wallop. The alcohol hides out, but smacks you in the end.

A moderately drinkable ale. Good taste, a little strong on the hop, though not a surprise.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been a while since I've been here but good to be back. 750mL bottle poured into a tulip glass. Not at all easy to get the cork out of this one, nearly broke my wine bottle opener trying to get this thing open.

A: Pours out clear, golden amber with a thick and frothy, sandy white head.

S: Certainly a hop presence here, lemongrass, slight pepper, with a biscuity maltiness that cuts through the hops here and there.

T/MF: Malt forward with touches of honey with astringent hops following through in the finish. Not really any flavors standing out more of just a kind of feeling that permeates throughout. Feel is a bit light, but the taste remains bold. I mean, to me, the feel is just a tad watery, not as chewy as other beers in this style category.

D: Not bad, but there are better options. I think Sierra Nevada did a better job on their bock, that's just me though.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to korguy123 for this one.
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark amber, translucent; 2 fingers of thick foamy cream coloured head. Some decent lacing.

S - Bitter hops up front with grapefruit, pine and light earthy notes. Not as much of the malts (Bigfoot) comes through in the nose as I expected but there is a light bready malt profile.

T - Very different than the nose. The Bigfoot really comes through with a big sweet caramel/bready malt flavour up front. A nice hop bitterness here too with some light citrus and earthy notes breaking through. Bitterness lingers in the finish. Something is slight off with the mix of flavours here and I can't put my finger on it. As the beer warms up, some nice oak flavours come through.

M - Thick, chewy. Lightly carbonated.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber (no date) into a pint glass. Pours a dark caramel-brown color with a huge foamy orange-beige head that lingered and produced good lacing throughout. The aroma was bitter with pine, raisins, grapefruit, brown sugar and a touch of wood. The flavor was bitter with moderate brown sugar, strong grapefruit and light piney resins and floral hops. Underneath were notes of wood and smoke. The finish was long, dry, and lightly bitter with lingering grapefruit, brown sugar and wood. Fairly full bodied with decent carbonation throughout. I can vouch that this was a marriage of Sierra Nevada's three most acclaimed ales: Oak-aged Bigfoot, Celebration Ale, and fresh Pale Ale blended together and generously dry-hopped throughout. An interesting brew, but not one I will seek after.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imbibed at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL 03/11/2011.

Appearance -- Ruby red with a cap of creamy beige head. Catches light incredibly well. A thing of beauty.

Smell -- The aroma is a nice blend of pithy citrus, sticky pine resin, red malt, and a dab of that decadent Bigfoot malting. Oak character is nonexistent.

Taste -- Citrus and pine hoppiness up front with toasted malt, caramel, and toffee. Very hop-driven, likely due to the post dry-hopping and by cutting the rich maltiness of Bigfoot with SNPA. Whatever oak-aging this Bigfoot went through is completely absent from the taste - masked by dry-hopping? Long resinous finish a la SNPA with a hint of Celebration grapefruit bitterness.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels more like Celebration or Pale Ale than Bigfoot.

Drinkability -- Pretty good. One can easily pick out the subcomponents: resinous hop bittering from the Pale Ale, citrusy aromatics and gentle toasted malting from Celebration, and the rich malt underlay courtesy of Bigfoot. This was fun. However, on its own merits the Grand Cru is just an okay strong ale. If anything, it's slightly less than the sum of its parts. The three beers are icons of their respective styles, and any tampering diminishes them.

Overall, it was fun to drink, a pleasure to try, but I'd gladly take SNPA when I want a pale, Celebration when I want an IPA, or Bigfoot when I want a big, burly barleywine.

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Photo of kdahnke123
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
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 palma
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

great appearance. big frothy head. Taste is more barlywine than anything else. I would have liked to see more of the pale ale flavor in this beer. Its basically a barlywine IMO. Was expecting a little more complexity with this being a mix of three SN beers. Its complex enough however after it warms up a bit. Malt carries the beer - different for sierra nevada i guess. Lots of oak flavor. Dry, prickly, american hops are present as expected.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

25.4oz bottle, 'XXX' strategically placed around the presentation, which I assume represents the 3 mainstay Sierra Nevada brews that make up this joint.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, dark bronzed amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, foamy, and rocky beige head, which leaves some hanging icicle lace around the glass as it slowly bleeds away.

It smells of boozy raisins, prunes, creamed citrus, caramel, toffee, treacle, anise and some musty, dusty, and bitter floral hops. The taste is, quite frankly, an eye-opener, to the drying-out stage, because it sure catches one's breath - boozy, almost sour caramel malt, zingy, but not really all that fresh bitter citrus/pine hops, dark fig-like black fruit, some further black licorice, molasses, and more musty, dusty cellar character.

The bubbles are quite deflated, the body a sturdy, winsome medium-heavy weight, and fairly smooth, in light of the surprisingly underachieving Sierra Nevada-class hops. It finishes malty, with too many stripes to detail here, alongside a feeble hop protest, and general overbearing mustiness.

I can't really explain it, as this offering nails practically all of the expected talking points, but something just seems off about this - and it isn't the hops, for those of you lounging in the peanut gallery - maybe it's the dearth of expected bourbon barrel character or cohesiveness amongst the strong central players, leaving that musty old ale flavour as the most resounding image to me. A well-intentioned beer, to be sure, but a bit hard to put back in practice.

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Photo of Zorro
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear read colored ale with a tall red colored head.

Smells spicy and hoppy with a little soapy scent. Cedar pine and caramel are the strongest scents. After this warms up more coconut and a little chocolate show up. Finally some clove cinnamon, but very faint.

Starts out neutral to bitter with no aftertaste. Vanilla, butter and woodiness come next. That is pretty much it except for a strong bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good.

OK drinkability but this did not wow me at all, it OK.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Corked & caged 750, poured into a chalice.

Pretty dark amber color, with ruby highlights. Crazy thick and dense off-white head, that clings to the glass forming a solid ring as it fades. This beer appears very effervescent.

Mild citrus and spicy hops in the nose. Hints of a dank, earthy maltiness as well. Taste is spicy with hops, some alcohol presence for sure, and malty sweet balance. Really the overall effect is rather perfumey. Bitterness in the finish lingers for a while but is not overbearing.

A bit lighter bodied than an American Strong should be, but this does give it some drinkability that a heavier version would lack.

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30th Anniversary - Grand Cru from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.18 out of 5 based on 800 ratings.
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