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

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30th Anniversary - Grand Cru30th Anniversary - Grand Cru
804 Ratings
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 804 |  Reviews: 465
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Pizza Plant. A very hoppy beer with a good three inch head, and lots of lace.Decent drinkability. Complex, but something I need to try again, with food, to fully appreciate.Understated carbonation.Caramel. Interesting.Some caramel sweetness.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev -5.7%
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 jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy reddish brown with a huge 3 inch whitish-red head that fades to a small cap. Nice sticky latticework of lacing forms around the glass on the drink down. Smells of malt, brown sugar, huge amounts of hops, and woody aromas. Taste is of huge citrus zest/pine hops with a sweet malt finish. The woody aroma I was getting does not really present itself in the taste. Mild hop bitterness on the palate fades after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly thick and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with nice hop aromas and flavors. A nice 30th anniversary offering from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Knapp85
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the one I had been waiting for. This brew has it all in my opinion. Just reading the description on the label gave me a pretty good idea that this would probably be the one to take the crown from this series of beers. This brew poured out as a brownish red color. The head is moderately thick but nice looking. Leaves a sticky lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer is very hoppy along with some soft barrel aged aromas. The taste to me is really well balanced between all the styles blended into this brew. Loaded with hops and malts and aged in barrels, just about all those elements are detectable. The mouthfeel is a tingly and smooth at the same time, and just over medium bodied. Overall I really liked this brew so much. I really should buy more of it before it vanishes forever.

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Photo of spycow
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -40.6%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of metter98
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a thin off white head that left behind lacing down the edges of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of citrus and pine resin hops as well as alcohol in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell but is more balanced due to the presence of underlying malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer tastes strong but the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of biboergosum
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
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 oline73
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with two finger of off white fluffy head. A layer of carbonation remains throughout.

Smell: Initially I notice the pine hops. There is also some brown sugar and caramel sweetness. Overall the smell isn't very strong.

Taste: This one is pretty well balanced. There is a sweetness with hints of brown sugar and caramel. The sweetness works well with the citrus peel hops and there is also some alcohol in there as well. The finish is bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with smooth carbonation that seems to fit the beer well. The finish is quite dry.

Drinkability: This beer is very smooth. The sweetness and hops are mixed together very well. The alcohol stays in the background. I would be very happy to have this one again.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With a ton of hop character and the structure of a Barleywine, this strong ale becomes much more drinkable than the malt bombs and with a crisp dryness of well attenuated IPA's. With Ecclecticity at the forefront this beer blends all of what's best about Sierra Nevada in a single glass.

A deep mohogany hue shows through the snifter and carries an off-white head that has both creamy and froathy character. Nice lacing that drips as the beer falls. Good clarity but with a mild dry-hopped haze.

Aromas are resiy, grassy, piney, and citrusy with a mouthwatering sharpness and invigorating zest. Bready/crusty, lightly toasty, and with a malted barley scent, the beer restrains fruity esters, avoids phenolics, and prounounces cleanliness and robust notes.

Flavor of pine and citrus dominate in taste while taking on a sharp and resiny flavor. Dry bread crust and medium toast gives a strong and aggressive balance of malt and hops (reminding me a bit of Stone's Arrogant Bastard). The esters of the Bigfoot give a mild berry-like, grapey flavor that adds complexity to the dry toffee and toast. Aggressive and robust throughout, this beer is not for timid palates.

Full, robust, and froathy in mouthfeel (at least early on); the beer turns quickly into a full toasty-malty dryness that ushers in the acute dryness of spruce, mint, citrus, and alcohol. Toasty dry and hoppy in the end.

For Sierra Nevada to blend their most popular beers in such a way, partly barrel aged; and to meld them in such a way is a remarkable feat that would make Belgian brewers jealous.

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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 zeff80
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with amber highlights. It had a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. Nice retention and some thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of oak, vanilla, rich malt and floral notes.

T - Nice roasty malt flavor with mild vanilla and oak flavors. Good citrusy hop bitterness. I really could taste Bigfoot, Celebration and Pale Ale in this.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

O - This was really good. I've enjoyed all of the SN 30th Anniversary beers and this may be the finest.

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Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: After one of the loudest cork pops I have ever heard, the beer pours a clear amber color with a massive head; the tremendous amount of stringy lace looks like an Asian alphabet on the side of the chalice

Smell: Smells like a fresh hop, with green hops delivering a pithy grapefruit character; caramel and bready elements evident underneath

Taste: Bready, up front, with a developing caramel flavor that is quickly subsumed by piney and pithy elements; plenty of caramel and oaky flavors linger underneath but the beer is dominated by the bitter hop flavors after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: Just a great beer all around and it is fun to try to pick out the elements; Celebration and Bigfoot are most prominent on the tastebuds but the SNPA makes its presence felt in the mouthfeel

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a deep copper color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of caramelized sugar with light oak and some hoppy resinous notes is quite enjoyable. Taste is also a nice mix between some caramelized sugar and solid malt backbone with light oak and some resin-based hops. Hops were probably stronger when the bottle was fresh but still very drinkable. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not something for everyday drinking but well worth drinking.

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

Pours a finger of beige head. Pretty good retention. Color is a dark copper amber.

Aroma: Floral and pine hops. A lot like celebration. A lot of caramel malts and vanilla with some oak and heat.

Taste: A big amount of hops followed by a big amount of malts as well. Grapefruit citrus, floral and pine hops all up front. Sticky. Caramel sweetness. Vanilla and oak. Again, a little boozey.

Mouthfeel: Bitter than creamy. Medium to full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. It had a lot of unique flavors blending together and it worked really well. Solid offering from SN.

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Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So here it is, the beer I've heard so much about. A blend of oak-aged Bigfoot, Celebration Ale (both favorites so far...) and the classic SNPA that created the American pale ale style. To top it off, it's then dry-hopped!

It looks a bit like Celebration ale with its reddish-hued deep chestnut body. There's a slight haze to it, but I can see my fingers clearly through the glass (no fingerprints though). The head rises up like a souffle, measuring three fingers thick before I have to stop and let it settle enough to finish the pour. It's a frothy off-white, slightly yellowed tan cap that looks like a thick milkshake. The head retention is exceptional, and the lacing is really quite good, leaving thick drooping figures of lace that remind me of Spanish moss on a Magnolia tree.

Being dry-hopped I wasn't expecting to find any oak in the nose, but it's there. The dry-hops weren't overdone, and it's clearly meant to display some of its toasty and darkly caramelish malts as well. I find a delicate waft of citrusy fruit that includes tangerine & orange, as well as soft pineapple with just a hint of grapefruit zest. At times I even found quick notes of papaya and coconut.

The flavor is really interesting. I'm immediately reminded of the Celebration ale with its dark malts and solid bitterness, but then it reveals the maltiness of the Bigfoot. How strong is this? I don't really get a lot of alcohol penetrating the flavor until the finish, but I know it's there throughout! And what a malty beast!? It's definitely full bodied. But back to the flavor, it's not as hoppy as I thought it would be, and it's certainly not as citrusy. There are some aspects to it, of course, but it's also really floral, grassy, and leafy - very traditionally English-style in my opinion; except for the late finish where the resinous pine really shines. How it can appear leafy and floral with mainly Centennial (which actually is quite floral, but also citrusy), Cascade (which is just SO juicy citrusy) and Chinook (which is more piney) I don't know. I think the rich, almost burnt sugar and bready maltiness is combining to give what I perceive as a leafy flavor. The grassiness then is really just the pine; and the floral may be coming from the Centennial. Solved! Or not. It doesn't matter.

In the end it does what Sierra Nevada does best, it bonds malts and hops together in a way that they're perceived more as 'one' planned beer, rather than a display of different ingredients put on showcase. Their beers are focused and rounded. And even when their beers are hoppy, they never let the hops become the entire show. As far as I can recall they've never brewed a beer where the malt was just a background to a bombastic hop display, nor a malt bomb that didn't have a decidedly hoppy side to it.

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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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30th Anniversary - Grand Cru from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 804 ratings