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

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Reviews: 172 | Ratings: 332
Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 3 finger frothy off white head. Nice lacing and not much retention. Amber with brown hues . Hazy

S: Belgian yeast eaters produce a fruity, mostly spicy banana aroma with caramel notes.

T: some dark fruit and fig up front. Fairly sweet but not overwhelmingly so. A little sourness to the finish.

M: smooth, light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: excellent drink ability. Not the best representative of its category but a very good beer overall.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
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...

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Photo of brentk56
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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

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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looking over the tap list, this jumped out at me as a new arrival at the Map Room. It was served in a fluted tulip glass.

High clarity reddish auburn, with a dense cap of off-white foam. The head had a nice creamy texture, and was very long lasting. Aromas were sweet and loaded with fruit and caramel. Banana/juicyfruit gum esters with some clove spice in the background. It was mandatory to sniff this before every sip...

Flavor was likewise sweet and rich. Liquid caramel, candi sugar, with spicy phenolics that gave it a drying finish. Savory feel with slightly lower carbonation that was still perceptible. No hint of the alcohol, but it's definitely a slow sipper. Somewhere between dubbel and quad, entirely delicious.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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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 superspak
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip, no bottle date. Pours a clear, yet finely cloudy, reddish orange color with a nice 2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap. Some decent lacing on the glass. Aromas of big banana, molasses, caramel, clove, pepper, plum, cherry, apple, bread, light fruits, and yeast spices. Some nice and well balanced Belgian aromas. Taste of big molasses, nuttiness, banana, clove, caramel, raisin, light fruits, biscuit, pepper, and yeast spices. Lingering notes of light fruits, pepper, clove, banana, and molasses on the finish for a good bit. Not overly spicy from the yeast at all; yet still has nice balance with no cloying sweetness. Slightly above medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a slightly creamy and slick mouthfeel. Very smooth to drink but it is still a bit of a sipper. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming well after the finish. Overall this is a very excellent Belgian style offering. Great flavor balance and complexity; with smooth drinkability for the level of alcohol.

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Photo of nickfl
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with two fingers of white foam on top a perfectly clear, amber brown body. The head fades slowly and leaves nice lace.

S - Lots of coriander with a little bit of clove. Some caramel and toffee malt character in the background.

T - Sweet, malty caramel up front with coriander and allspice flavors that come or in the middle. Finishes with lots of clove and nutty caramel malt as well as a hint of red apple yeast character.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Pretty standard for a spiced dark belgian. A little more spice character than I like but not bad.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Maybe not the perfect beer while out grilling chicken in this heat but it wasnt a bad choice.Poured into an Ommegang chalice a chesnut infused burgundy with a one finger slight off white head atop.Aromas of candied sugar and spicy phenols,flavors are somewhat cakey at the onset,and phenolic,but the sweetness is held at bay really well in the finish.Its a nice Grand Cru, it has all the character but its not over the top with yeasty phenols and sweetness,I will say its not overly complex for the style though.

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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 chinchill
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
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}

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Photo of mactrail
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amazingly rich with just enough sweetness. Balanced with a zingy tang of acidity and a slight bitterness in the aftertaste. Spicy like an amped-up Dunkelweizen. It even has that nice brownish amber of a good wheat beer. However they do it, this is a great and stylish ale. Lots of cloves with a big raisiny taste. Even a touch a cinnamon and apple pie, but with enough tartness. Nice head, good carbonation in the mouth, feels good.

This is thoroughly drinkable, well, sippable, with it's complex flavors and long spicy nose. This should be on everybody's must try list. Should taste this with the Lips Of Faith Dunkel Weiss to see if they're actually different beers.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11 ounce goblet - Taco Mac in Woodstock, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark mahogany-hued body with a scant, head white head from a generous pour.

Smell: Particularly sweet-scented and almost unforgivably fruity on the nose with a rounding out from a hint of ground spices and a splash of liquor.

Taste: A malty, hard-hitting sweetness and considerably fruity at the opening. Simple syrup saturated bread, a pinch of nutmeg and clove, a piece of Trident gum, and the poignant fruitiness of plum juice, banana puree, and a few ripe pear slices. An altogether understated hop character and essentially no bitterness provides zero balancing relief to the undaunted sugariness, but it is clipped a bit by the heated alcohol. Finishes as sweet and fruity as it started, but with a vein of booze running through it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation. Lightly sticky.

Overall: The sweetness and alcohol leave this one a slow, laborious sipper for me. A glass of water and a few necessary refills (and, later, a pat on the back for a job well done) were a must here.

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Photo of russpowell
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at trinity BP

Pours orange/amber with sand colored head, average head retention & lacing

S: Apricot, peach, bubblegum

T: Much dryness, bubblegum, & a touch of toffee up front. Slight green apple twang, peaches, more toffee, a bit of fruitcake, breadyness & bubblegum as this warms. Finishes dry with general orchard fruit & honey, plus some nice vanilla extract notes

MF: Sticky with minimal carbonation & much fruittyness

Drank pretty good, I probably would've bought this more as Weizenbock, but very nice none the less!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Provisions

A: The pour is a deep amber color with a finger of off-white head.

S: Cherries, candy, spices, and cough syrup come through right away with a bit of kool aid.  Hints of chocolate and quite a bit of caramel maltiness.  Just a hint of leather and banana in the background.

T: Lots of banana and dark fruits such as cherries and raisins.  The spices are quite strong and there us even a bit of vanilla.  Caramel malts and a hint of booze are there throughout.

M: Certainly full in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: This wasn't really a great beer with the first sip or two (didn't like it much at all, in fact). But after letting it sit for a moment, it improved significantly.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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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 drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer served from a bomber into a New Belgium globe glass because I can. This beer is not currently on the Belgian Strong Dark Ale best of list but is still quite a decent ale.

Beer is brown and hazy with a decent head with some retention, nice lacing on the glass, moderate carbonation, off white head.

Aroma is sweet, yeasty, and caramel.

Beer is medium in body but has a slightly dry finish. There is a mild grain bitterness at the end but the lead off here is some nice caramel with a strong body of yeast esters on the midpalate. Overall a very nice little beer, I'd have it again but probably not a whole bomber alone again.

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Photo of aasher
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a thin dark molasses brown in color with a heaping cream colored head. It is very clear and translucent. The beer resembles a dark iced tea after the head dissipates. It smells of banana bread, cloves, toffee, molasses, and has great breadiness. The flavors are very sweet and bready. It's like banana bread in a glass. If I didn't see what I was drinking I'd mistake it for a light, light bodied dunkelweizen. The flavors are really nice but it's a little sweet for my liking. It drinks extremely thin and you can't detect any alcohol. It's also extremely thin, especially for the style. It's a decent beer but nothing special. At $7.99 it was worth it.

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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 Mebuzzard
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light mahogany color with a huge head, almost too much. Couldn't pour it without half foam. Knocks down this rating a notch.
Smells of sweetened bananas, light apples and rich biscuits. Floral presence as well.
Tastes rich. Ripe banana and soft plums. Some raisins, but not much. Yeasts make this brew rich and a bit spicey. Alcohol is noticeable in the distance.
Overall a good brew.I did like it.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from the new release in the Lips of Faith series.

The beer pours a dark brown color with an off-white head. The aroma is full of caramel malt and dark fruit. I also get some nice brown sugar notes and a little bit of Belgian yeast.

The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of candy sugar and brown sugar as well as some caramel malt. The beer is very sweet and has some great dark fruit notes.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice Belgian-style ale that I hope to have again.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at 1702 Tucson AZ
Arrives in a frozen, frozen, frozen fucking glass. I don't know why I expected this to automatically served in a warm tulip glass; I am so pissed at myself for not specifying; oh well perhaps I'll remember next time. As I transfer my pint to a Belgian tulip aromatic notes of banana come out. The beer is topped by a frothy, initially three-finger thick, lightly tan colored head. The beer is a lightly hazed, amber color that shows a flash of color when held up to the window on this Tucson afternoon. Ample banana notes lead to notes of sweet plums, raisins and a fair amount of spicy clove. There is a backdrop of caramelized grain and toasted malts towards the end of the nose. The nose is very ester driven, and is definitely quite influenced by the fermentation / yeast character.

My first sip shows a firm, but not overly so, sweetness that accentuates lots of fruit notes (banana and concentrated pear are most prominent), this is backed by a nice spiciness (product of both carbonation and fermentation character) that provides a peppery bite and a touch of young-ginger like spice. My pizza cuts through the sweetness a bit and brings out a bit more of the spiciness. The fruit character is the most prominent set of flavors here with notes of banana and pear being joined by apple reminiscent notes, perhaps a touch of raisin and some definite bubble-gum (both juicy-fruit and hubba-bubba). Clove phenolics mix in with the fruity esters and tend to linger on in the palate with a soft turpene like bite. This definitely has a heft to it with a medium sort of body that tends to stick to the palate; this is definitely a sipping beer. Much of the sweetness here though is accentuated by the esters and clove notes rather than straight residual malt sugars.

This has a nice balance between the sweet, fruit driven notes and the spicy fermentation character, but somehow it seems to be lacking a little something to be really balanced. It is very tasty though, and I am quite pleased to finally get a chance to try this beer.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Buckeyeboy supplied this bottle at a recent tasting.... Thanks Jeremy.

Pours clear amber brown... tannish head with decent lacing and retention.

Nose shows peppery mix of booze soaked prunes and raisins... maybe some clove.

Flavor is sweet toasted bread.... clove and overripe pears... caramel essence.. some banana with warmth.

Pretty big body with a medium carbonation.

Overall too sweet for my liking and pretty boozy.


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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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