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.

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Reviews: 465 | Ratings: 801
Photo of elNopalero
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Seems like it’s Sierra Nevada appreciation night for me.

Popped this one open after cellaring it for over two and a half years. For a beer that old this shows a surprising amount of carbonation. I had my doubts as the cork looked tough and dehydrated.

This has an aroma of caramel, lightly toasted coconut, and what I think of as orange marmalade rounding it out. The layers are intriguing and as it warms more peel away.

At first sweetness dominates the flavor, with some slight rough and harsh edges that mellow out as it opens up and warms, becoming more and more delightful with each subsequent sip. The flavor starts off sharply bitter, but becomes sweeter with a bitter finish. I can taste the orange marmalade and coconut, along with some pine. The alcohol isn’t evident, even as it warms.

This was a delightful accompaniment to the rest of my evening.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a nice ruby red amber with a moderate head and nice lacing. Hoppy, malty aroma. Mmm. Malt, intense hops, and oak all well integrated. Creamy heavy body. A beautifully made beer that almost defies categories. I really like this. What a great finale for an excellent series.

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Photo of mltobin
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in New York City.

Appearance is dark brown with a tan head, a thin one at that. The nose has a sweet character, brown sugar, raisins and malts. Sipping on this and I taste caramel, hops, vanilla, more of those malts too. Mouthfeel is medium, leaning towards heavy. It has a nice, rich finish to it. Some of that sweetness and alcohol lingers in the aftertaste. A nice strong ale from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of mattsander
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep amber. Good clarity with the tiniest bubbles Ive seen in a long time. Big dense head lasts forever, a very beautiful beer.

S: Lots of sweet toffee, spice, rye bread, cocoa, coconut, grilled pineapple. Very malty, very well balanced.

T: The sticky toffee comes in first, then a rich fruity center and a slightly tannic, coffee-infused finish. Awesome beer.

M: A big, malty beer with an appropriately malty body. The barrel character in the blend helps to dry this out and make it deceivingly drinkable.

I don't typically enjoy malt-bomb style beers, but this was delicious. I wish I had more.

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Photo of SebD
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice deep amber color to it. It has a nice thick off-white head that dies down slowly and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of citrus/mango and pine hops, sweet caramelly malts, spices, some bourbon and some dark fruit (mostly raisins).

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice citrus and pine flavor from the hops along with caramelly malts, some spices, bourbon/oak and some raisins and prunes at the end.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance, feel and bitterness.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas. Glad I got to try this one!

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into 12oz flute at Lazy Boy White Plains, NY.
Pours a wine ruby red/amber brown. Thin white foam head with no lacing. Smell of sweet malts and sweet fruity yeast.
Taste of some roasted fruit yeast, a bit of bitter fruity hops, with a milkey sweet lactic finish. Hints of vanilla and apricot maybe...
ABV is hidden very well, and its super easy to drink. Overall, great cru brew.

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Photo of WertMaker
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bronze and ruby tones greet you in the glass with a thin white head which dissipates slowly.

Poured into a Reidel Magnum wine goblet, the aromas of toast, currant, leather and oak are present.

On first sip, there is hop bitterness that lingers well beyond the nuances of malts, bourbon and oak with undertones of Barleywine, mixed with a the bright hoppiness the likes of an American Pale Ale. This is not a lawn mower beer, but one to relax with on a cold winter day, taking comfort from the cold in it's depth and bold hoppiness.

Serving temperature of this beer was 48 degrees, but the flavor profile improved during this writing allowing the beer to warm slightly above 55.

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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 RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of malts on this one. I feel like I may be drinking it a bit too late in that the first review was a year ago. But there is a spicy tone to it that seems not to have been changed by age. And the chalky malty sweetness that I get from other ales from Sierra seems to be as boisterous as I'd expect from a fresh version. So this seems to be holding up quite well. It isn't really blowing me away or overly impressing me, but it's good.

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Photo of bmwats
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a sn-ulip.

A: Medium dark, cloudy, brown hue. Pours about a 1 finger, foamy, white head. Settles fairly slowly, leaving a blanket of of carbonation on the surface, and a substantial beer ring. Not really much to say in the lacing department.

S: Strong hop character, lots o' molasses, caramel, and licorice.

T: Hops and black licorice. The sweet character does not really come through in the flavor. Cardboard-y and acetyl.

M: Full, thick and syrup, body. Strong alcohol character. A metallic hoppy aftertaste remains.

D: Strong alcohol profile, bitterness, and steely aftertaste dictate this thing goes down a little slow.

Atmosphere is good. Nice hue, decent head, but no real lacing. Nose is a complex combination of sweet and hop notes. Flavor is bitter, and hoppy with a really paper or cardboard character to it, and just the very slightest rumor of sweetness. Thick and syrupy with a high alcohol profile. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. The store owner assures me that at 16 months old, the Grand Cru is drinking better than ever.

A: A finger of creamy head. Clear, ruddy amber, with some bubbles. Glows in the light. Great lacing.

S: Citrus and pine; sweet, fruity malts; and maple syrup.

T/M: This is quite nice. Much softer than I remember, with a round, sweet smoothness leading the way. Creamy grapefruit, lightly dry malts. Rich and layered, I imagine this would make a nice after dinner drink. The hops in the maintaste have largely faded -- not much Bigfoot here -- but make a stunning reappearance in the transcendent aftertaste...velvety and unassuming, a minute or so after the last sip the hidden pine sneaks up and bares its hoppy bitterness

O: Don't serve it too cold. The creamy mouthfeel can tolerate room temperature. This obviously a well-made beer to taste so good after so long. Highly recommended if you can find some, and for $7.50/bottle at The Willows Market, I think I'll be picking up another.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a copper color with a huge off white, nearly tan head with excellent retention
S: Smells of pine, slight citrus and an underlying malt sweetness
T: Taste starts off surprisingly caramelly sweet with accompanying bitterness with flavors of pine and some vanilla flavors. Aftertaste is oily hop flavors mixed with some sweet citrus
M: Thick and viscous in the mouth with very soft and delicate carbonation
O: This is a fantastic beer and a very good blend. I kinda want another bottle to age a couple years. It's so smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark amber-golden body, nice clarity, with a foamy, off-white head about half an inch in height.

Smell: Vibrant aroma smelling of toasted, bready malts, varied fresh citrus fruits, florals, booze, new oak wood, slightly sweet-scented caramel, but also some toffee, and with a faint, underlying earthiness.

Taste: Day-old baguettes edged with a little caramelly sweetness. Floral, citrusy hops hinting at marmalade with a moderate degree of pronounced bitterness. Integrated alcohol warmth. Slight earthiness. Fair oak character, some subtle tannins present. Firmly dry, warming finish with a long, lingering bitterness trailing into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: It's good stuff!

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber red with a slightly orange tinge. The beer creates a creamy light tan head that lasts quite a bit.

A slightly boozy smell but the pine hops dominate the smell with caramel malts and slightly piney.

I get a caramel taste with slight piney hops. I also get hints of bourbon and oak undertones. The aftertaste is hoppy and bitter.

Light to mild carbonation and a slightly thick feel. The drink also has s light cold feel to it.

A fairly good beer.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear dark brown, to dark copper with a three inch creamy off-white head that slowly drops leaving thick lacing. Fine carbonation streams from below.

An even mix of rich caramel and pine sap. Warming brings out spruce, raisins, citrus, even vanilla and some oak.

Grand Cru opens sweet, followed with balancing bitterness. Sweet/bitterness oscillates. There is some acidity and a mix of berries with prunes, pepper and honey as it warms. It has a long, subtle, bitter finish with a roasted character throughout.

A full body and chewy texture are accented by strong alcohol and fair carbonation. Ultimately this is a dry ale.

This is an excellent sipping beer for conversation or bold food. The depth of character continuously changes with warmth. This beer deserves to be consumed slowly.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml corked & caged bottle poured into a HF tulip.

Pours a hazy dark amber/brown with a small light brown head with some thin lacing. Nose is a lot like Bigfoot, a bit oxidized, sweet, malty, and a bit earthy.

Taste is balanced but a bit underwhelming, age certainly isn't helping - but this shouldn't be too much of a surprise since it's dry hopped and has pale ale in it. It's pretty malty, there's a nice hoppy bitterness that's mellow. Overall it's ok but it's the weakest of the series two years out.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a heck of a blended beer. pours darker than a lot of grand cru ive tasted. almost auburn glow, decent off white head. smells very hoppy, definitely from their celebration in the mix. flavor is more akin to a hoppy barleywine, woody, sweet, and strong. a nice drawn out nutty caramely finish. feel is good, medium carbonation and a full body. alcohol gets a but caustic as it warms, and the hops turn sweet, but its all in good proportion. this is a good one to share with a loved one, because a whole bomber would be a major undertaking. perhaps my favorite of the 30th anniversary series.

edit: this ages poorly after awhile. i have learned its a blend of barrel aged bigfoot, celebration, and pale ale, and a lot of the hops drop right off and leave oxidation in their place. this was on tap at falling rock just this week, marked as 2010 vintage, and its way past its prime, not half as good as it was in the bottle, but the barrel and woody aspects remain relatively in tact, and the booze is barley detectable. maybe still good in a bottle, but this was a keg that should have been tapped years ago...

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Photo of Nuke77
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful red amber color with a very nice very light tan head. The scent is yeasty bread with some sweet malt with a hint of vanilla. The scent follows close on though a bit of hoppiness comes in on the finish as well as a hint of the oak. Very well balanced and a very viscous mouthfeel. The alcohol is well integrated and makes this an easy sipper. Good effort from SN.

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Photo of tweeder263
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a fairly clear amber / red beer nice fluffy almost white head. Has a nice clean smell, nice maltyness and high hoppyness noted, my sense of smell is bad but i do pick up notes of vanilla, possibly from the wood barrel. Taste is quite amazing, alcohol is definitely there,no burn though, sweet but not cloying, with hops right up front to hold it all together. This is definitely a sipper for me. Mouthfeel is nice. Overall a great beer.

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Photo of gtermi
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This pours a nice dark copper body, with a nice with two finger head. The head is tan and slowly fades away. Once the head fades away it leaves a lot of lace on the glass.

S: There is a lot going on in the nose of this beer. I am getting a lot of different things, such as hops, spices, alcohol and some caramel malt.

T: The taste is a lot like the smell. At first I get a strong amount of hops and a little bit of alcohol. There is a very nice bitterness to the beer and once you get past all this, the beer lingers and leaves a very pleasant malt finish.

M: For as strong as this beer is, it is very smooth. It leaves a slight dry feeling in my mouth too. It also feelings like an oily hop coating in my mouth.

O: This is a great beer. I got lucky and found this at a local store and has been buried in the back for two years. It has aged very well and wish I could have tried a fresh bottle. Sierra Nevada never fails to amaze me.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted on 11/5/10 so consider this a late review of a fresh Grand Cru

Aroma - Plenty of hops on the nose with both citrus and pine qualities

Appearance - A lot of head that was a light tan that didn't hardly dissipate either. Red color with just a trickle of residual carbonation in the glass. A very good looking beer.

Taste - Interesting level of malt and hops. The upfront malt character is complex with wood notes but not a lot of sweetness. This is a well balanced beer with a more hop forward finish that even I as not too much of a hop head can appreciate. No real hint of alcohol. This is a well crafted beer. Maybe not great but well crafted. Still plenty of head from that first pour.

Notes - Medium mouthfeel with a definite hop oil feeling adding to the mouthfeel and likely the head retention too.

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Photo of 1Adam12
3.41/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden amber color. The nose is very weak. Smells like a watered down bigfoot. Caramel and sweetness. Taste has a nice caramel like bigfoot, but I taste cinnamon on the back end, however the back end really doesn't last. Mouthfeel is too light IMO. This could've been better with a fuller mouthfeel. Light, and the finish just isn't much. Overall, this was ok. Like I said, I feel with a fuller, bigger mouthfeel, this could've been better. Just a bit thin. Still ok though, just wouldn't buy it again.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a slightly hazy amber gold and produced a eggshell creamy head about two fingers high. The retention is very good and there is excellent lacing.
The smell is quite complex. Honey, piney hops, caramel, fruity notes like peach and citrus as well as earthy notes.
The taste is truly a combination of different beer styles.
Up front there is a sweet note of honey, caramel and fruity notes of peach. In the middle pine hops and earthy wood notes spice up the flavor. In the end the sweet and the bitter flavors marry in perfect balance. What a great job of brewing!

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a slightly hazy deep red/copper color from a 750 mL corked bottle. The cork literally torpedoed out and shot straight up to the ceiling with the loudest pops I have heard when opening the bottle (no exaggeration).
Nice two finger foamy frothy head that dissipates very slowly. Carbonation does not want to go anywhere.
Aroma is so complex, there is so much going on in the nose. There is definitive vanilla and sweet malts upfront. The citrus, fruity hop aroma raises it's head intermittently, only to be drowned by the sweet malt and vanilla notes. Every swirl releases a wonderful bouquet of aromas. Grapefruit, peach and some dark fruit notes are noticeable. There is also a definite presence of woody notes.
Taste compliments the aroma almost to a tee. Upfront the malt is so big and evident. Palate is coated with silken goodness. Hints of hop spice and kick are evident in the middle, with the finish being almost silken and full-bodied. This is a really complex, yet well balanced ale. The alcohol is very well hidden, hard to tell this beer is all of 9.2% ABV.
Mouthfeel and drinkability are exceptional.
Overall, I think this is a fantastic brew. I am glad I got my hands on a bottle, and if you ever see one of these bottles still around, do get it. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours an amber color with a nice egg shell colored head. Head has pretty solid retention and leaves some nice layered lacing.

S- Smell is very nice. Picking up quite a bit of hops with pine leading the way. A nice amount of wood here too.

T- A great mix of flavour here. You can pick out each of the brews here. A great taste of wood, vanilla, and booze. Caramel malts, tropical fruit hops and a bit of spice are in a great balance.

M- Fuller side of medium in body and carbonation was right on.

O- Very impressive beer.

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30th Anniversary - Grand Cru from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.18 out of 5 based on 801 ratings.
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