Grand Cru Abbey Ale | New Belgium Brewing

very good
172 Reviews
Grand Cru Abbey AleGrand Cru Abbey Ale

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-11-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 172 | Ratings: 332
Photo of jcdgoad
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I absolutely loved this beer. I had it on tap at the flying saucer in Little Rock, AR. All I can say is wow. I could taste bourbon and the funky Belgium flavor and all I can say is wow. The beer was dark like a porter or a stout, and it was very drinkable. This is a must try beer.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.64/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Map Room.

Since moving to Chicago, the one beer that I have missed the most is the New Belgium Abbey. When I saw the Grand Cru version on tap, I jumped on it... and I was not dissappointed.

A- dark, reddish, slightly cloudy, thick white soapy head

S- I smell grapes, belgian candi sugar, sweet malts and other fruity notes

T- This is delicious. Very well hidden alcohol for a 9.4 ABV, tastes very similar to the normal Abbey Ale from NB. Initial grain sweetness followed by a nice dryness from the alcohol. Very well balanced.

M- thin to medium body, very bubbly, reminiscent of some of the better belgians (st. bernardus)

D- Abbey Ale is one of my favorite go to brews, and if I could find this in the bottle in Chicagoland, this would fall under the same category. For its ABV, this is dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of phishsihq
4.62/5  rDev +16.1%
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!

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Photo of jeffboo
4.61/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

# 3 in a tasting of 4 Cru's. But this one was the looker. A beautiful deep red color with tannish head. A very spicy aroma of dark fruits (raisins and plums) and yeast. Full body on the tongue, heavy concentrate of dark candy sugar, raisins, cherries which are still present in the long finish. Very smooth considering the heft, still highly recommended.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A vigorous pour generated a modest airy froth on top of this dark brown beer... it didn't bring out much of a head, but it generated a wondefully fruity aroma of ripe, dry raisins, caramelized apples & pears, figs... in other words, extremely fruity. The flavor is dead-on for the style, sweet but not too sweet, with a nice caramel malt, all the fruits in the aroma, plus lightly spicy phenols: a truly wonderful mix. Easily the equal of Chimay Grand Reserve or Benardus 12, and possibly the best NB beer yet.

I love New Belgium most of the time... they take the time to craft their specialty beers right, and their profit margin gives them ability to tweak recipes to the maximum effectiveness. In this case, they landed at the pinnacle.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Medium copper color, large creamy head. Very rich malt taste. Very full rich flavor, expansive and fruity. Mouthfeel is very round, full and smooth. Good hop balance. Re-fermented in the bottle with Belgian yeasts, there is a near vinous like quality to this beer. Reminiscent of a Belgian Red. Very complex flavor, somewhat thick. High Alcoholl is really not that evident. Finish is very smooth. Aftertaste is malty and sweet. VERY NICE beer.

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Photo of uwmgdman
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter this ale pours a brilliantly clear deep ruby red with a long lasting off-white head, a beautiful beer. The aroma is rather malty and loaded with yeast character. The nose brings about dark fruit, especially cherries, a bit earthy, and lots of peppery, spicy esters, quite nice. The flavor is quite malty, rather toasty, lots of caramel, and some sweetness. The malts are balanced by medium-low hop bitterness and spicy/peppery yeast character. The beer finishes with just a prick from the carbonation, a subtle warming glow in my belly, and pleasant lingering bittersweet malt presence. The carbonation is medium-high and body, smooth and medium-full. Overall this beer is wonderful. A sight to be had, with great aroma and flavor to back it up. My one mistake was picking up only one bomber. Highly recommend.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Nice deep brown color with good head that left a little lacing.

Smell – Big, sweet malt on the nose of this one. The huge date and raisin aroma jumps right out of the glass along with a sense of alcohol. This one reeks of grand cru and means business.

Taste – This is a good representation of the style. The sweet flavors come out in force here. Big, ripe fruits like peaches, dates, and figs along with a lot of raw cane, melted toffee, rich caramel, and wet, sticky brown sugar. There’s some yeast in there as well, but mostly sweetness in accordance with the style.

Mouthfeel – Very little carbonation, but the sugary flavors are pleasing to the cheeks.

Drinkability – Definitely a “sipper.” The 9.4 ABV commands respect, and the sugary nature precludes guzzling. This is a good dessert or end-of-night beer to open and split between friends (good friends).

Comments – True, this brewery has put out some duds. But, mostly, they are innovative and strive to hit the style dead on. This was a bull’s eye.

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Photo of Kylemif
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Here's another brew I got in a trade with Wasatch!

Poured from 12oz bottle a very nice amber gold with a medium head of foam that shrank fairly quickly leaving a fine layer with plenty of lacing.

The smell is a mix of caramel malt and fruit and spices that is doing nice things to my nose. Hmm...I'm spending too much time with the glass to my nose on this one, me thinks. ;^)

The taste has a strong dose of caramel malt but it's not overly sweet. Then there's a very nice kick of banana and dark fruit, mainly cherries and plum, that's hitting my palate just right and wait, there's also some biscuit notes..dang...this one is so flavourful, my taste buds are literally dancing in the streets!
And yeah, there's some warming but it's not in the tasting at all, just when it goes down. Yummy and delicious, that's what it is.

Bottom line: A *great* sipping Belgian Strong Ale. I'm glad I got this bottle in a trade as I tried a small sample at the brewery and I wasn't that impressed. As BA advises you, don't review a brew based on small samples and boy, is that ever true. I highly recommend this one!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, very deep orangish-mahogany body that appears to have an almost burgundy cast in the full goblet; and displays some crimson/ruby highlights. Beautiful! Upon inspection, hundreds of tiny bubbles can be seen streaming to the surface, helping to support the short but creamy bone-white head. It holds fairly well, but eventually the circle cannot hold and it drops to a creamy collar and minor whispy surface foam. It leaves some transient spotty lace, but nothing of substance. The aroma, however, is much more noticeable and displays a softly toasted malt amidst sprinkles of peppery spice, dollops of dark fruit (prune, raisin, fig) and to a lesser degree some almost cake-like sugariness. It's firm body is rounded by the gently effervescent carbonation that caresses the tongue, and it's surprisingly smooth across the palate. The flavor is rich with maltiness that's at first lightly toasty with just a mild acidity; then soaked in ripe dark fruits; and finally followed by some peppery spice and alcohol in a long-lasting drying finish. It's really well-balanced and quite excellent! I'm immediately reminded of Chimay Premier, although this is softer; and the De Koninck Cuvee comes to mind as well. Wonderful. A real treat! The alcohol is extremely well-hidden; and it's drinkability is quite good! This is a beer that I will seek out to enjoy again and again!

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 Pint, 6oz bottle poured into an oversized wineglass. No date on bottle. I think this is just a 20th anniversary brew.

Appearance - Dark clear reddish-brown body. No sediment. Offwhite pancake head with decent retention and good lacing.

Smell - Very malty sweet. No detectable hoppiness. Smells delicious.

Taste - Delicious. Would get a 5/5 if I wasn't rating it in style. Great balance of alcohol and malt. Slight off-flavor in the finish, a very slight hint of stale bitterness; however, it doesn't subtract from this very flavorful brew. Reminiscent of Chimay Blue, but less alcohol-forward.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, medium bodied. Has some frothiness when agitated in the mouth.

Overall Drinkability - Light and smooth for a Belgian strong dark ale. Doesn't offer as much complexity as others in its style, but sort of creates a style of its own. Cleaner than its brethren.

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Photo of Whadawookie
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't been drinking abbey ales for a while, but it's cold and gloomy out today so I thought what the hell. I poured into a goblet and couldn't seem to produce much head. Fine lacing sticks to the glass a little while you drink. It's sitting in the goblet with a nice deep red hue. This beer has a lot of flavors going on in it. Very nice. I'll have to compare it to others of this style, it has been so long I'm not sure how this beer stacks up to the the best of this style, however, I'm extremely pleased to be drinking this at the moment. What a complex, balanced beer! Yum. Sit's on the mouth very lovely. I'm eating some alfredo sauce pizza with chicken/artichoke/tomato/feta/basil on it and it is pairing fantastically!

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Photo of JayS2629
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper, chestnut color with a two finger creamy off white head that fades slow and leaves behind rings of foamy lace.

The smell is very phenolic, belgian yeast with loads of banana, clove, and spice. Hints of vanilla and sweet caramel, toffee, and honey. Notes of dark fruit, figs, and sweet apples.

The taste is full of bananas, spice, clove, and honey. Sweet malty backbone with sweet fruity esters, figs, raisins, sweet red apple, and hints of spicy, herbal hops to balance things out.

The mouthfeel is creamy, full bodied and smooth. An excellent, delicious beer to sip.

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Photo of zeff80
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a New Belgium goblet.

A - Arrived at my table with a two finger, caramel colored head. The beer was cloudy with a burgandy hue.

S - It smelled of sweet biscuty malt, candy sugar, dried fruits (plum and cherry). I spent several minutes just smelling the beer.

T - The taste matched the aroma. Sweet maltiness with some earthy hops, sugar sweetness and dried fruit flavor.

M - It was soft and smooth with a touch of fizziness. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a delicious brew. I'm thrilled Sycamore has started carrying the Lips of Faith series.

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Photo of cbwufpack
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours deep brown with light carbonation.
S- immediate sense of buttery caramel....light citrus
T- immediate honey sensation followed by raisin flavors to finish
M- very light body
O- this is another sensational lips of faith. Great variety in flavors and hides abv well.

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Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decided to break out another of my 4 year old New Belgium Abbey Grand Cru’s, till have 7 of my original 12, and once a year I like to break one out and give it a sample.

The beer as it debouches the 22 oz. bomber is a quite hazy mahogany color with a portly head that is spumescent in texture and a winsome light tan in color, as it evaporates, it leaves behind a fine curtain of lace to drape the glass. Nose is sweetly malt, hints of fusel alcohol, fresh and pleasing to the senses; start is ambrosial, rich in malt and the top middling to full in feel. Finish is meek in its acidity, the hops delectable in their spiciness, dry and somewhat sweet aftertaste, and a definite belly warmer, still good after 4 years, well I wonder what it will be like next year?

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my New Belgium goblet and man that sweet, Belgian sugar aroma is perfect. It is a dark brown but still can see thru it. The head settles quickly to just lacing. This is the aroma that made fall in love with Belgian ales. That sweet, buttery, toffee aroma with just a bit of banana and malts. Man, this one packs a punch. The alc is there but not too over powering. You get that sweet banana sugar taste with some Belgian malts and then a somewhat light finish. This is so good. Every sip is enjoyable at various temps. To me this is very drinkable but the alc does creep up on you. Really enjoy this one.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- 1/4-1/2" light tan head. Clear deep amber body (can't really see through it since it's so dark). Bit of lacing over top with a nice collar and a bit sticking to glass.
S-Big fruit smell. cherries and plums? Yeast smell also. Big malt. Maybe just a tad hint of alcohol. Not much hop smell. Maybe a bit dry?
T- Big fruit taste. cherries and plums really come through. Alcohol is also there and causes a bit of warming in back of throat (gentle though). Dry taste. Maybe some grapes and raisins too? Maybe some Belgium sugar too. Maybe a very light bitterness in it.
M- Smooth and low carbonation. Medium body.
D- Very easy to drink. very good. Wish this was made regularly. Like it a lot.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my New Belgium Globe glass. Pours a deep, clear ruby with a light tan head of a few fingers, that drops rather quickly. Leaves a nice lacing.

Aromas of dark fruits, raisins, plums, mint, tobacco and licorise.

Flavors of dark fruit, tobacco, raisins, licorise, flinty minerals. Some oxidation.

Mouthfeel is big, chewy malt. Good level of carbonation.

Overall a very complex brew. A great late night brew with a cigar.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gbontrag for this one.

Pours a nice clear dark mahongy color, nice carbonation, nice fizzy one-finger head which leaves some nice islands and sticy lacing afterwards. The nose is of malts, yeast, plums, grapes, figs, raisins, slight caramel. The taste is very nice, sweet malty, yeasty, slight tangyness from the fruits, and a nice clean finish. Medium body, a well rounded, complex brew. Very drinkable, a very nice compliment to the style. Highly recommended.

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Photo of rwdkosak
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap, poured into tulip glass at below cellar temp. A rich, deep amber, half centimeter head that lasted longer than expected. Nose was appealing...very appealing with hints of fruit, a quite floral scent without note of alcohol which surprises one with ABV >9%.

Taste was enjoyable, again fruit and sweet floral, fairly light on the palate, again a welcome surprise. Slight malt followed with just the slightest feel for alcohol content but by no means sharp or detracting.

A very drinkable beer and though there are better examples of a Belgian style/Grand Cru, I still rate this highly..Exemplary effort for a US brewery.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Belgium Abbey Grand Cru, a brew they make after every 1000 batches of the Abbey Dubbel ale. The same recipe, brought up in ingredients and fermentation time, with added Belgian yeast fermentation. Brought up to 9.5 % ABV. Custom made for a dubbel lover like myself. Let's get to it.

Dark, plummy brown body, beneath a thick, lush, creamy head, off-white/eggshell-colored, last long and leaves lacing.

Aroma: rich and sweet in the nose, plump with spice, sugar, dark fruit and cocoa. Cinnamon, clove, brown sugar, figs, and raisons. Ginger bread cookie in a glass. Soft and lovely.

Taste: Sweet and sharp at once, with the toasty dark malt taking center stage. Low hops, high booze. Alcohol shows itself early, but stays in the sidelines until late. Toffee and caramel. Starts sweet, but ends dry and smooth.
Halfway in, the booze is creeping, and flavor remains tasty, sophisticated, clean and classy. Beautiful stuff, really. Nicely balanced, exquisitely crafted, nothing too out-of-bounds, nothing out-of-step, just right and just delicious.
I'm glad to drink this on tap, but I'll be looking for some bottles to cellar before they're gone.

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Photo of zep9865
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into New Belgium snifter with 1/4 inch white foam head and very dark reddish brown hue.

Smells of dark fruit and sweet malt. I smell raisins and vanilla without being able to detect the alcohol in this 9.5% beer.

Beer is sweet but not in a bad way at all. I taste dates, raisins and prunes. As weird as this sounds i kinda taste pecan pie and fruit cake...def a good thing

Beer is great on the palate from start to finish. Manages to balance sweet, tangy and a little bit of bitterness perfectly

I most definitely recommend this beer. Im always very skeptical about malty belgian beers but this does not disappoint in the least bit.

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Grand Cru Abbey Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.98 out of 5 based on 332 ratings.
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