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 womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Tustin

A: The pour is a bright and rich amber color with a creamy khaki colored head and some impressive lacing.

S: Quite hoppy, despite the oak aging, with a nice citrus character and quite a bit of pine, too. There's a very strong oak aroma which provides some sweet vanilla notes. A slight booziness along with a lot of sweet caramel and toffee.

T: The sweetness of the caramel and toffee flavors are on display from the beginning here. The hops are more toward the back end providing a piney bitterness. Lots of oak and vanilla (bourbon?) with just a touch of alcohol warmth.

M: The body is on the full end of medium with a smooth carbonation.

D: This is the best of the four 30th Anniversary beers and just a fantastic one all around. I should probably pick up a few bottles of this.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 11/27/10 notes. Split a 750ml bottle of this with my brother. Poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a transparent reddish amber color with two fingers of fluffy off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of fruity malts, fresh pine hops, caramel malts, and oak.

t - Tastes of hops, caramel malts, oak, pine, fruit, and alcohol. A bit bitter.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good strong ale but a little all over the place. While good, not my favorite in the 30th Anniversary series. Would try again.

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Photo of MarkyMOD
3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
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 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 Huhzubendah
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

A: Hazelnut brown hue with a huge head that leaves a bunch of lacing on the glass.

S: It's hard to pinpoint the style of this beer solely based on the aroma. Scents of oily hops and pine alongside a large toasted malt presence.

T: I like all three beers in this blend much more when served individually. The beer tastes decent enough, but not nearly as delicious as I was hoping / expecting. Subtle notes of oak peek through (Bigfoot) along with some lasting hop bitterness (Celebration Ale). I'm sure that the Sierra Nevada Pale makes a notable contribution to the blend, but as the weakest of the three beers involved, it gets lost in the shuffle.

M: The feel is medium-full bodied with a noticeable alcohol presence and a sticky, resinous finish.

D: A fun experiment, but again, I would prefer to enjoy any of the beers used in this blend by themselves.

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

Deep ruby amber hue with a big off white head foams above the rim of the Sierra Nevada 30th Grand Cru, this one serves up a big head with fine speckled lacing. Aroma has strong upfront pine tones with a hoppy pine/citrus mix of hop flow amongst the Barleywine oak aged characteristics. Dominant oak aging didn't truly sit well with me, but I liked the strong ale that came from the blending of three of their existing beers. A bit rough in the finish, but big caramel malts with hints of vanilla, oak. Strong pine, citric rinded hop heaviness throughout with ample bitterness to create an interesting experience. Mouthfeel was medium to fuller bodied nice flowing carbonation, wonderful pop after decorking this bottle. Drinkability was solid, easy drinking slow sipper aggressive big specialty release from Sierra Nevada. I can't wait to try their next hoppy seasonal that's on the horizon.

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

Review from notes taken 11/20/10.

Poured from a corked and caged bottle into a snifter, this brew appears a crystal clear amber red color. A creamy yellowish stained head sits atop the brew. Patchy lace clings to the glass. A swirl revives the head that quickly dissolves.

This brew smells of leafy green hops, citrus and pine. A scent of fusel alcohol is evident before the onset of some green yeastiness. As the brew warms, it picks up more of a fruity aspect.

The taste is herbal resinous hops like pine. Alcohol is upfront that fades to hops that last with some spiciness and bitter sharpness. There is a light toasty grain flavor that imparts mild sweetness but overall this is one-sided with the bitterness and alcohol winning the fight.

A medium bodied offering with light carbonation. It is oily and a tad hot. A dryness hits the tongue with the most faint indication of oak aging as the brew warms. For everything that went into the making of this brew the subtle changes make this a hard one to differentiate between a higher octane celebration offering.

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

Pours a clear deep ruby color with a huge fluffy white head that slowly recedes while sticking itself to the glass all the way down. Smells of citrus and pine, a cherry like candy sweetness with hints of dark fruits. A bit of pepper, caramel and alcohol round the nose out. Taste is a little on the sweet side up front until the hops take over and assault the taste buds. Taste is filled with sweet dark fruits, plums and cherries come to mind. The candied sweetness carries into the taste and adds some woody, earthy, pine and citrus notes before finishing with a lingering hop bitterness and a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is somewhere between creamy and resinous. Carbonation and body are somewhere in the middle. I really enjoyed this one after a long stressful work week. It will be interesting to see how this one ages, I'm guessing it will only get more complex.

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

What did my wandering eyes see through the bottle fridge behind the bar at Tulunes in Johnstown, PA...A stinger of Sierra Nevada Grand Cru!!! Didn't have any clue what a Grand Cru was so I read the lable...saw dry hopped...and got really excited!!! SET ME UP SLIM!!! The color was a clear amber with wonderful white head and awesome lacing. The dry hop in this beer really helped the nose! The taste was awesome...very well balnced between hops, malt, and booz! The beer definitely got better as it warmed. The beer was full bodied and rich. The high ABV gives it some punch making it a tough session. This beer is worth a taste...you see it...buy it!!!

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

First....Happy F'n anniversary!!

One of the finest breweries on the planet and quite an old friend....large bottle, capped and corked. Pours coppery amber, under a majestic lite tan head, that slowly fades to a thick film and leaves fine scattered lace.

The nose is loaded with citric and resiny hop notes that come through loud and clear even to my challenged sense of smell. Impressive

Super smooth and flavorful brew. Dense hop notes. Luscious malt under carriage. Adds up to a world class ale. No joking around on this one, all the components come together, dry hopping, barrel aging, and blending...well done, thanks for the excellence of your products and here is to another 30 years!

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Photo of MasterSki
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris (spycow) for sharing. Served in a Russian River tulip glass.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of light tan foam that settles to a thin cap and glass-coating lace. Mostly transparent coppery-amber body.

S - Faded hop aroma, oak, piney and herbal. The backbone is heavy in toffee and caramel, with some burnt sugars and bread in there as well. Smells like a slightly aged Bigfoot, but with some oak and vanilla character mixed in for good measure. I suspect this was better fresh, but I find it a little harsh. Seems a bit boozier than the listed ABV too.

T - I liked the taste quite a bit better, as it was a smooth blend of caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Finishes with an oak bite and lingering residual hop bitterness. Alcohol is also better hidden.

M - Smooth, pleasant lower carbonation. Resinous medium body, with mild warmth and tannins, and dryness in the finish. Seems a tad undersized, but goes down quite easily.

D - I'd probably rather have regular old Bigfoot, as the oak character doesn't entirely work within the flavor profile, particularly in the aroma. The combination of tannins and residual hop bitterness make this fatiguing to drink, although I think I had more than the rest of my tasting group. An interesting and solid brew, but not something I would purposely seek out again.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is poured into a RR wine glass. Beer is amber and clear with a good head of small and medium white bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low to moderate.

Beer smells oddly hoppy and malty, its sweet and piny at the same time.

This beer is worse than any of the individual beers used to make up the blend. Its way way dry...distractingly so. It is mildly sweet up front (Bigfoot) with some nice bitterness from the hops in the back (SN pale ale / celebration). Some pininess in the midpalate and a mlid citrus note and a little woodiness. I've had all four of these beers now and I'm glad I did this was one of my least favorites.

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Photo of aasher
3.28/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This one poured a reddish brown in appearance, borderline amber, with a thick off white head that took a several minutes to calm down. The smell was dry and hoppy. Others said they smelled flowers, another said hard citrus. The debate was to which vintage of Bigfoot they used. Because it wasn't overly sweet or fruity we thought it was probably a 2010 version of the oak aged Bigfoot. The taste was good but I expected a bit more. It was more dry hopped than anything. It had a little kick from the Celebration but I didn't notice much from the Bigfoot. It gave me cotton mouth a bit. The mouthfeel was disappointing. It looked well carbonated but it drank like it was flat. This was fresh, literally one day off of the truck. This beer would've been ten times better if it had better carbonation and increased complexity. I don't believe this lived up to the anniversary series.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle, pulled from Nick's cellar. Shared for a video episode, transcribed from the footage. Poured into two tulip glasses.

A: Semi-hazy copper/amber colored body with a creamy looking, dense off-white head. Retention is pretty good on this one, leaving a thin patchy cap and acceptable lacing on the walls. Very nice looking beer.

S: Lots of darker fruits and a rich robust malt element. Big dark and caramel malts, raisins and figs up front. Midway through, some sweeter sugars and fruits come in. The back end brings the barrel treatment part of this beer in the form of woody oak notes and a bit of generic booze.

T: Follows suit fairly well with the aroma. Lots of dark malts and a touch of bitterness first, perhaps from the dry hopping I believe was done to part of this beer. Mid-palate is sweet darker fruits (raisins, prunes) and brown sugar. Again, the barrel aging treatment comes in for the finish, lots of woody flavors with just a hint of bourbon on the back end. Certainly not overwhelming nor the focus of the beer, but another excellent addition to a complex and ever-changing profile.

M: Fairly bubbly, medium-bodied and a bit fizzy on the tongue. It is lower on the carbonation but I'm not sure I'm entirely sold on this feel. Not as smooth or silky as I would have thought or liked.

This one surprised me; it's a super complex flavor profile that takes your palate on a rollercoaster ride of flavors. Although only 23-25% (I believe) part of the beer had a barrel treatment done, I just would have liked more of that to come through throughout the taste. My preference but it doesn't hurt any part of my scores since that wasn't the intention. Complex, flavorful, this is one to try.

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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 tempest
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a 10oz pour at the Happy Gnome for $4 during the 30th Anniversary party. Served in a pilsner flute, it appeared a rich red with a short off-white head and lacing. Honestly, this mostly tasted like a blend of Bigfoot and Celebration with huge pine and citrus. The SNPA helps lighten the whole beer, making this about as drinkable as Celebration. I can barely make out a hint of vanilla from the oak aging, but otherwise this just comes as a blended double IPA.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
2.83/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Promising start to this one. Pours a glossy chestnut reddish/brown. Off white head is a mix of soapiness and rocks. Sticky lacing is scattered.

Dark cherry, alcohol, leather, baked caramel in the nose. Some sweet and spice here and there. No off aromas, nothing strong.

Alcohol breaks up the flavors to me. Dark cherries and leather come and go. The flavors actually come more around 2 sec after swallow. Somewhat spicy, very boozy. Leather and spice, both light. Carbonation whisks away most substance and alcohol buries it.

Maybe this one could use some age. Right now, at least, it's a tough sell.

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

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a rich pale and caramel malt scent. It's dry with a touch of sweetness and roasted character. It's also quite bitter and full of citrus hops in the nose. The taste is great as well. Like the bottle indicates, it's a marriage of three very good beers; Oak aged Bigfoot, Celebration, and fresh Pale Ale. It's rich with lots of caramel sweetness and a bit of roasted malt character. The hop taste is outstanding. The citrus appeal provides an intense bitterness that hits you up front and resinates in the finish. Finally, a mild oak character rounds out a very complex taste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It's complex and flavorful; a real treat. Happy anniversary!

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark reddish-amber color with an off-white head.

The aroma is oak, maple, orange citrus, caramel and pine. I think you can really pick out the different aroma components from the three base beers.

The flavor is very similar. The two first flavors I get are caramel malt and citrus from the hops. I also get some oak and pine notes. Low to medium bitterness. I also get quite a bit of alcohol, which I imagine will mellow a bit with aging. Of course the great hop components in the flavor and aroma would probably fade with age, so I am not sure if the beer will improve with age, although I am sure it would still be very good.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

I think this is by far the best of the four Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary beers.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ontap into pint glass.

Amber in appearance off white head and a whole sheet of lace. Aroma of malt, piney hops and some light oak/woodsy aroma. In the flavor, pine, vague fruit, vanilla, malt toasted note. Brown sugar, some barleywine moments. Super smooth with relatively low carbonation and a mellow bitterness and bite. My favorite of this series and a nice sipper.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the Chip Shop, Brooklyn, New York.

Poured a deep amber hue with a half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a balmy piney hop coupled with a full caramel malt.

The taste consisted of a full blown hop spice with elements of pone, grapefruit and apricots. There was a robust earhy caramel as well.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a tasty and complex blended ale.

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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 biegaman
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary Grand Cru is of a brown velvet tone that probably was last popular 30 years ago (if not longer before that). It is truthfully a bit drab although inflames with ruby-amber coals when held against the afternoon sky. Curious that lacing doesn't materialize; it has a head thick as paint that curdles like a sour milk cheese.

The mechanics of this bouquet are about as difficult to work out as string theory physics and are almost equally as bewildering. The sheer quantity of ingredients (malts and hops) that must have been used to ensure a beer that is both this sweet and nectarous *and* this resinous and pithy is damn near unfathomable; how can it be that it's so much of both?

It tastes like they've snapped a giant oak tree in a half, filled its hallowed interior with all sorts of vines, weeds and plant roots, doused them in brown sugar, flambeed it with gin and pine oil and then served it alongside slices of pineapple, grapefruit and lychee fruit. And cheesecake. Although each is so distinguishing, the malts and hops blend so seamlessly that it's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It's like they grew from the same plant.

The mouthfeel can almost become gritty, with citric bitterness levels gradually rising over the palate like canal water over Venice’s St. Mark's square, but then a wholesomely bready, brown sugar-sweet maltiness sweeps in and, along with a few splinters of oak, dries things up very quickly. The aftertaste is so sapped so as to be almost disappointing. But at least the alcohol has been wiped out; the beer's almost as much as a gulper as it is a sipper.

I think it fitting for Sierra Nevada to release as their 30th anniversary "grand cru" an offering so emblematic of the liberally, dually hoppy/malty style of beer that they've pioneered. While it seemed initially quite large and intimidating, the beer ended up drinking with the same casual, unfussy manner as its three component beers and, by extension, every other member of the Sierra Nevada family. This was a very worthy purchase.

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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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