Grand Cru Abbey Ale
New Belgium Brewing Company

Grand Cru Abbey AleGrand Cru Abbey Ale
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Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
4.01 | pDev: 10.97%
New Belgium Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Grand Cru Abbey AleGrand Cru Abbey Ale
Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 334 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice, the appearance was a murky semi-dark red to brown color displacing any sort of light allowed through it. Just a finger's worth of white foamy head sat atop and softly fell off to leave some mild messy sliding lace.
The aroma had some soft sweet dark fruits muddled by some Belgian sugars, light Belgian yeasty/breadiness, red apples, eventful allspice/Belgian spice blend, some floral sweetness, and a moderate long sweet earthiness coming about.
The flavor was a fine blend between sweet and bready - Belgian sweet to Belgian spicy pummeling the aftertaste just I expected it would, but there was some faint breadiness in the aftertaste - very little.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sipping quality about it. Carbonation felt fine rolling against my tongue nicely. ABV felt appropriate.
Overall, pretty nice as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale that I wouldn't mind coming back to.

Jun 29, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2011 edition, absolutely delicious. have been wanting to get into one of these for a long time. the base abbey i think is by far the best of the all the time new belgium stuff, and its cool to see this bigger brother special edition of it. looks deep red in color, softly hazy, well carbonated but also delicate, great lacing and head retention, and a nose of amazing belgian yeast with white pepper and clove spice. its got a great malt base, specialty malts i assume, copper and sweet reds, belgian candy sugar too i would assume to spike the abv. the yeast and the grain work amazingly well together, it tastes a lot like the base beer, just more of it, bigger, concentrated, delicious. clove spice is more subtle in the flavor, but the yeast is vibrant, i get dried cherry and plum, as well as brown sugar in it, but its all real gentle and well integrated, obviously very mature at this point. this is really special beer overall, an amazing yeast strain and it ages extremely well. good enough to have come from the likes of la trappe or bernardus or something, very genuine old world belgian style with brilliant execution. this makes me yearn for the days all new belgium beer was this good! stoked to have finally gotten to have a glass of this, i have heard a lot of rave reviews, and it lives up to the hype. hopefully cross paths with this again sometime...

Mar 27, 2016
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Kylemif from Oregon

4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Opened a bottle of this last night that I had cellared. Bottled on 3/21/2011 and it was phenomenal. Was dinner-partying and a few buddies tried with me, enjoyed thoroughly by all.

Aug 26, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl L: Clear amber to chestnut, not much head. S: Light fruit and spice, some Belgian yeast. T: Yeast driven with a little caramel, hints of chocolate, light fruit. Moderately sweet. F: Medium body and slightly above average carbonation. O: A well made easy to drink Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Jun 23, 2015
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mvanaskie13 from Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a new belgium chalice: color is opaque amber, somewhat dense looking, head is tan, presents thin but a few swirls quickly build it back up, spot lacing on the glass.

Smell is a malt heavy, caramel, light plum, raisin mixes in, subtle phenols, light hop grass.

Taste is very good, very pleasant, amazing this brew is strength. Malts are caramel upfront, more biscuit and wheat undertone than in the aroma, subtle fruitiness, plum, raisin, some banana, fig; hops are bittering but not flavorful. This is a more clean, creamy beer for this style, in my opinion, but well done as the it tastes delicious.

Mouthfeel is also very good at this strength, somewhat drying of the tongue, flavors linger on the mouth and cheeks pleasantly.

Overall, great tasting beverage, hides its strength well with great malt presence and subtle yeast off flavors.

Feb 21, 2014
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a modest head for a Belgian style; wispy lacing down the side of my New Belgium tulip

Smell: Spice cake aromatics, with caramel, banana, fig, clove and powdered sugar

Taste: Spice cake flavors, up front, with caramel, banana, fig and clove; in the middle, there is some pear, too; the finish is a bit sugary

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; velvety

Overall: A very nice BSDA but not in the top echelon of those brewed by the Trappist monks; lacks the depth in the malt profile and the complexity of the Trappist yeast

Thanks, RuckusDu, for the opportunity

Dec 21, 2013
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brurevu from Texas

4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From my tasting notes: New Belgium’s Abbey Ale is one of their best beers and this one kicks it up a few notches. It has a very deep and intense flavor that strikes all the right Belgian Abbey notes with hints of raisins, figs, and that distinct Belgian yeast. I remember having this on draft previously and it blew my socks off. The bottled version, while still fantastic, didn't quite blow me away. Still a great beer.

Dec 12, 2013
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Phyl21ca from Canada

3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle: Poured a clear brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of dry caramel malt with a bready yeast is interesting. Taste is dominated by dry caramel malt notes with very subtle residual sugar notes and some bready notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and light warming alcohol can be detected. I am not sure where all those high ratings are coming from. I was expecting more complexity from the yeast ester which I could find here and I thought the beer was too dry for the style.

May 01, 2013
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DoubleJ from Wisconsin

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

With a name like New Belgium, I couldn't have completed my trip at the tap house unless I tried something truly Beligian-styled. And with "Grand Cru" being arguably the Belgium's signature style, it felt approriate to close on that note. On-tap at the source, on to the beer:

Belgian lace covers the glass round of this ruby colored beer. Nose is sweet, yeasty, very Belgian styled. More specifically, notes of sweet cherry and dark malt sweetness. The flavor offers some cherry and chocolate notes, a little heat from the alcohol to keep the sweet flavor in check, and is complemented with a full, yet silky body. Quite nice indeed.

Oct 18, 2012
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Philousa from California

3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Imbibed at Harry's Hofbrau for their Lips of Faith Tap Takeover in 8/29/12

Very clear ruby with no head, but is coaxed out with a swirl. Tan and clings to the glass. Lots of sweet candied sugar, confectionary sugar, like a red vine. A little cedar and some berries; strawberry and cherries, all this is faint though. Tastes like a double. Pungent and bordering on too sugary as it warms. Light body and dry finish. Very good cold to middle, dies a little warm. This one was hinting towards interesting but ultimately isn't something special.

Sep 06, 2012
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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is quite tangy and sweet. There seem to be a lot of melon tones to it on the nose and tight nectarine ones on the flavor. It works as a Belgian ale, but it's a bit loud and not entirely smooth with such a boisterous profile. Easy to drink, but a bit too loud to be considered entirely smooth.

Aug 30, 2012
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rfbenavi80 from Missouri

3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a murky sun tea brown with 1 finger of off white head that didn't linger but is leaving some nice lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet dark fruits, mixed with caramel and vanilla.

T- Plenty of sweet malty goodness. Sugared dark fruits, caramel sweetness that finishes clean leaving no aftertaste.

M- Solid medium bodied with a moderately low amount of carbonation.

O- A good offering from Lips of Faith, but not their best offering.

Aug 02, 2012
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RuckusDu from Colorado

3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle to Duvel tulip glass. Have a bunch of these and really trying to understand why I haven't had it before. Now I have.

A - About a finger of light beige head. Body is clear and a deep reddish amber color. Light lacing.

S - Very strong Belgian yeast. Caramel, vanilla, and some slight citrus. Lots of darker fruits.

T - Same as the nose. Strong malt flavors to go with the dark fruits. Finish is the weakest bittering hops, but noticeable.

M - Extremely smooth in the mouth. Well balanced carbonation and body makes this a great feel. Just the slightest alcohol burn.

O - A strong resemblance of regular Abbey. Good beer, but really just in that 3.5 range.

Jul 20, 2012
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber into pilsner glass

look is a clear brown amber with a small khaki head. smell is warm toasty malts, grain, pepper, spice, ginger bread, clove. Taste is much of the same but with a finish of alcohol and overly sweet apple juice.

Good flavor but ultimately unimpressive.

Jul 14, 2012
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impending from California

4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


22oz into a tulip. Pours a gorgeous crystal clear deep amber copper, minor light tan head subsides to a ring, minor lacing.

Aroma is alive with crystal candied dark fruits, hints of molasses, caramel and distant anise. Significant banana esters.

Sweet phenolic goodness. Again dark fruits and caramel. Pleasant solvents on the inhale. The aftertaste is a long nice phenolic note. Solid medium body, creamy mouthfeel.

Jul 09, 2012
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martyl1000 from Wisconsin

4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On the Alchemy. No head. Very light, the appearance of cloudy apple juice.

Has a tinny yeast aroma, which mildly carries into the mouth. Big flavor. Boozy alcohol makes it hard to pick apart the tropical fruit, spice, and the rest, though the complex flavors are there.

I think I might not be partial to the style -- I've been disappointed with Trois Pistoles, Maudite, and Brother Thelonious. And now this. (But wait, I love La Terrible.)

May 28, 2012
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bump8628 from Oklahoma

4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewery. I was really impressed. Smooth, clean, and dangerous. Deep notes of toffee, caramel, carob, anise, and milk chocolate. Bitterness is mild and hops lend just a hint of earth and herb. Cinnamon and clove spiciness add plenty of depth. Where the hell is the alcohol? Complex and satisfying.

May 21, 2012
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claspada from New Jersey

3.12/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark mahogany-hued body with a small, scant, white head from a generous pour. Quite tame for a Belgian ale; usually much more fluffy head is expected for the style

Aromas begin particularly sweet-scented and almost unforgivably phenolic and estery. As it warms you get a ton more yeasty spice and a splash of booze.

The tastes begin with malty, hard-hitting sweetness and considerably fruity esters. Simple syrup, biscuity bready maltiness. Then some yeasty clove, overripe banana and the poignant fruitiness of plum juice and a few ripe pear slices. No hops or bitterness to provide any balancing relief to the caramelized sugariness, but it is clipped a bit by the alcohol.

The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is malty sweet and yeasty, a bit overly so of both.

The sweetness and in your face Belgian phenols and esters leave this one a slow, laborious sipper for me. I prefer my Belgian Dark strong ales with much more dark fruit malt complexity and much less banana and clove forward. Alcohol is a bit too overstated as well. Not a top notch American-made Belgian style ale and not worth seeking out.

Apr 30, 2012
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle allowed to warm for about an hour, then served in a snifter.

A: Pours a dark, clear, orange-mahogany with a 1-2 finger tan head. The head has weak retention, but moderate lacing is left on the glass.

Smell is a but subdued for style, but as expected, it's fruity, spicy and yeasty. The flavor profile is complex, and suggests cherries, plums, raisins, nutmeg, cloves, yeast and medium malt. The high ABV is well-hidden. The flavor leans to the sweet side, like St. Bernadus. A good bit of spice and dark fruit in the lingering aftertaste.

M: Very smooth and creamy; medium-full body; a bit sticky in the finish. Lightly warming.

O: In terms of flavor, mouthfeel and appearance, this could readily pass for a fine Belgian abbey ale -- is there a higher complement? Glad a have a 2nd bottle which I will let age a bit longer. I enjoyed this notably more than NB's 'regular' Abbey Ale.

{2nd bottle consumed July 2013 - delicious. Light revision of rating}

Apr 17, 2012
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spinrsx from Canada

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


Appearance - Slightly hazy dark brown colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for a few minutes.

Smell - Malts, raisins, yeast, cloves

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, grapes/raisins, and grains. There was also some light notes of cloves/yeast and a bit of booze. It ends with a dark fruit sweet aftertaste with some light spiciness.

Overall - A really enjoyable beer that I would drink again in a heartbeat. It rivals some of the beers within this style from Belgium. Worth picking up.

Apr 04, 2012
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ngeunit1 from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an almost clear ruby-mahogany color with a thin finger of frothy brownish head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet dark fruits, raisin, dark candi sugar, Belgian yeast, spice, clove, banana, and some booze.

T - Starts off with some sweet dark fruit with some prune and raisin with some banana and clove flavor. Through the middle some candi sugar with some more dark fruit and some cherries. The finish is a mix of clove, banana, sweet dark fruit, and a touch of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate-minus carbonation. Smooth with a sweet and lightly warming and yeasty finish.

D - Very drinkable. Surprisingly smooth with a nice super rich malty flavor. The balance is really nice all around.

Mar 30, 2012
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tvv375ia from Iowa

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from 22oz bottle into imperial pint glass

A-somewhat hazy light auburn with about 1 finger of head that leaves some nice lacing as it fades to a small cap

S-banana comes first on the nose then some carmel malts and finishes with some apple/pear tree fruits

T-similar to the smell but starts with the carmel then to the apple/pear and finishes with some clove banana

M-good carbonation with a medium+ creamy body

O-good solid beer loaded with flavor and complexity

Mar 13, 2012
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phishsihq from Colorado

4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Abbey Grand Cru pours a dark ruby-brown with a dense off-white head that leaves tons of lace. Fruity aromas of banana and clove are off-set by caramel malt, dark fruit, alcohol, and even some bubble gum. Malty sweetness dominates the pallet, with spice, clove, banana, bubble gum, alcohol, and a hint of citrus noticeable. A dry finish is met with medium amounts of carbonation in this medium-light bodied ale. Very complex and delicious, this brew supposedly comes around every 1000 barrels, and we cannot wait for more!

Feb 19, 2012
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argock from Virginia

4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $8.99.

A: Light-hued amber with 1-2 fingers of beige frothy head with good retention and a solid lace formation.

S: The aroma is light and mainly caramel, pale malt, and pear

T: The flavor is much more interesting as the caramel edge builds a nice counterpoint to the sweet light fruit maltiness of the strong pear and accompanying apple. The yeast is very estery with spicy, floral aromas and flavors mingling. There is a touch of raisin in there too, but I would say this straddles the BSDA-BSPA line pretty much and might more resemble a BSPA with a touch of caramel-toffee to give it a twist. Hopping is probably more than I'm giving it credit for but mostly floral. A really nice beer.

M: Smooth and medium-full bodied without feeling sweet, sticky, or heavy. Even carbonation.

O: I was impressed by this beer -- the pear juice is undoubtedly there but is measured and the double Fat Tire base pushes the body up without overdoing the caramel sweetness. I would definitely buy this again and look forward to seeing if a year or two does anything to my other bottle.

Feb 15, 2012
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Fatehunter from Oregon

4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet. Nice amber color, almost transparent. Barely any head though.

The smell... am I back at Delirium Cafe? Strong malt, candy, ripe plum and other fruits. Wow. Knockout here.

Malty taste, sweet in the middle to end, alcohol hidden just below the surface, kept down by mild bitterness. Like drinking candy.

Medium body and low carbonation. It almost gets that sticky texture that this style usually has, but just short.

Smelled amazing. Great beer overall, excellent job.

Feb 12, 2012
Grand Cru Abbey Ale from New Belgium Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 334 ratings