Grand Cru Abbey Ale | New Belgium Brewing

Grand Cru Abbey AleGrand Cru Abbey Ale
334 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 334 |  Reviews: 173
Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a semi transparent amber with a small head of light tan fluff. Tons of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is similar to Chimay blue with dark fruit notes, Belgian candi sugar, caramel, raisiny, black pepper, with freshly baked bread coming through.
Taste is of the aromas with spicy raisin bread, a touch of cocoa, with a mineral flavor that is both unique and intriguing.
Mouthfeel is chewy, medium bodied, spicy, smooth, and warming.

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Photo of Nashvillain
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light copper body, like a ruddy penny at the bottom of that one jar full of spare change you really meant to take to Coinstar last time you went to WalMart. Pretty righteous head after a not so vigorous pour, settles down after a little while. Sugary and fruity on the nose, a dark sweetness like the bastard child of a tootsie roll and raisins. Cloying and light, not too subtle though.

Taste is of fruits and light chocolate like the smell promised, a little bit of heat in the middle, finishes with the copper alluded to in the appearance. I can see the similarity to the original Abbey, but this one is much bolder, almost irresponsibly so. Kind of reminds me of the Pink Panther remake, the one with Steve Martin.

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Photo of zep9865
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
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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Photo of aasher
3.74/5  rDev -6.3%
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 gford217
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

Pours a deep, clear reddish amber with a thick frothy beige head that shows exceptional retention and lacing. Really great looking beer.

Sweet dark fruits including raisins, bananas and plenty of Belgian yeast. Light spices, maybe cloves, but the fruity esters are dominant here.

Taste is just as sweet as the aroma with sugary fruits, lots of bananas and more spices and Belgian yeast than the aroma. Like the aroma, fruity esters are the main player, but there is a hint of alcohol in the finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and really creamy with strong carbonation.

This is one of the better New Belgium beers I've had though it's crazy sweet. Still, it's a great dubbel.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
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 JayS2629
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
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 Scrumtralecent
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A - Pours a dark caramel brown with foamy white head. Little like can get through, but pretty dark.

S - Nice smell of banana, fig, malts. Smells light and almost candied.

T - Full bodied taste of what was in the nose. Banana tastes dominates mostly, and some light malt backbone. Candied malts seem to stick to the sides of the mouth. A solid Belgian taste, but not very complex. Hits and fades without changing too much.

M - Mouthfeel is light. The malt starts to linger after a while and makes it seem a little heavier, but each taste seems to stay just as light.

O - Overall this was a good solid beer, but would want a little more taste profile and variation. A good Belgian and nice to have after a meal on a warmer day, but would want a little more substance.

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Photo of ferrari29
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from bottle into a Tulip shaped glass

A - Beer poured with a brown/dark amber color translucent body; pour produced a one finger frothy looking head, leaving behind a moderate amount of lacing

S - Beer gives off an aroma of dark fruits, like raisin or dates; well roasted malts; subtle hints of spices and yeast; bananas; touch of high ABV comes up; mildly aromatic

T - Beer had flavors similar to those of the smell; palate picks up caramel, toffee, dark fruits; taste is a bit watery and could stand to use some more bite

M - Aftertaste is mild, crisp and dry; some bubbly; medium bodied feel, almost chewy

D - Overall, I thought this beer could stand to use a bit more flavor; I really felt that this beer was kind of all over the place; not really sure what the brewers were going for; I was shocked that this received better reviews than the Super Cru; I had both this evening and this doesn't even come close to touching the NB Super Cru

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Photo of nsabo
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Malt and yeast are the stars of this brew. I get stewed red apples, funky banana yeast, syrupy bread malts, and a charming hint of booze. I'd like the mouthfeel to be a bit more viscous, but this is a great beer regardless, easily my favorite new belgium brew. Other Belgian strong ales I've had have tended to stunt my palate with their fermented booziness that is nice for the first few sips and boring for the rest. AGC is a beer that is able to balance its strengths, and is one of those rare beers where smelling and drinking it are almost equally enjoyable.

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Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had a dark brown color and a mostly clear texture. There was an inch of fairly long-lasting, foamy head. Good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of light fruits, malt, yeast, and some spices.

T: Tasted of apples, malt, Belgian yeast, a little pepper (and other spices), and a tinge of hops. A solid flavor. Not exactly groundbreaking, but still tasty.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: On the whole, a generally well made and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of laikom
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass
A - 1 finger of head - nice clear ruby/copper coloring – very nice lacing lasting throughout the glass
S – alcohol smell mildly apparent, bananas, a faint smoke scent perhaps from some spice.
T – malty, alcohol is there but nice, bananas again, alcohol presents a very pleasant dryness at first, but gets tedious if not drinking this with food.
M – medium carbonation(but just enough for the style), small bubbles, thick enough but not too heavy.
O – a nice brew, nothing jumps out as unique or spectacular. Then again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it either. I probably won’t go out of my way for it, but I’d definitely enjoy one if I happen upon it again. Only complaint, nice dry alcohol taste got a bit old toward the end of the glass.

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Photo of t420o
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Semi aggressive pour produces a 1/2 finger khaki colored head that dissapates quick leaving little lacing. Beer is copper in color and transparent.

S- dark fruits, toffee, caramel, apples, ripe bananas, slight dryness

T- Similar to the nose there is caramel, toffee, dark fruits,ends dry. The flavors are somewhat weak. Taste is better as it warms bringing out a slight toasted biscuit taste that is reminiscent of Fat Tire.

M- Nice "chewy" moutfeel but the carbonation level is too high

O- This is a good beer but isn't anything special. Ive had better offerings from New Belgium. Even though this was still a tasty brew, it didn't live up to my expectations of this particular beer, nor of the style in which it was created. For 9.5 it has quite good drinkability though.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from Supermarket Liquors in Ft. Collins, CO. $6. Into a NB Globe.

A: Nice chestnut color with a sand colored head that sticks around at about half an inch quite nicely. Where it has receded there are huge gobs of lacing as it recedes. Excellent clarity. Really a nice looking beer.

S: Really a large amount of banana and clove, which is reminiscent of the standard Abbey from NB. A lot of caramel, and a slightly phenolic profile as well. Smells nice. No alcohol to speak of.

T: Lots of sweet caramel and bananas, a few notes of vanilla, a bit of a hoppy profile on the finish, slightly earthy, with a hint of bitterness on the finish that is aided by a slight alcohol bite. Really a stronger, amped up version of the Abbey Dubbel. Very nice.

M: Medium carbonation, with a fairly thick body, slightly warm on the finish, and fairly sticky on the lips.

O: Really enjoyable beer, if you're a fan of Abbey, then by all means snag some of this while you can. Lots of enjoyable flavors that really blend nicely. It will be interesting to see how this continues to mature.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

560th Review on BA
Bottle to NB Globe

App- Its an appearance I was hoping for. Dark, big puffy creamy looking head. Two fingers of head, legs for days.

Smell- A yeasty, blend of spice and flavors. Its soft but assertive with some americanized belgian notes.

Taste- i love this style. The yeast and big bold flavors are nice. The spice with the bubbles creates a great depth of flavor.

Mouth-, Medium bodied and almost a high carbed beer. Yeasty and spice flavors remain.

Drink- For the style its very well done. Its soft, tasty and easy drinking

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Photo of nickthegun12
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i like this beer, its not what i thought it was gonna be though.

appearance is a medium to dark ruby color with thin lacing and little to no head.

the smell is good, but one dimensional, like this beer overall ...bubblegum comes to the nose first and foremost....a little bit of light fruits come to the nose as well

the taste is thin, this beer is definitely that...but great drinkability....not nearly as complex as i would like to see a belgian strong dark ale

the feel is the carbonation and the fizzyness of it....

although i really enjoy drinking this and will have no problem doing so! live up to a belgian dark strong it def falls short

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Photo of beertunes
3.18/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in tulip. Poured a clean, clear brown, with just a hint of red, color and had just a thin cap of off-white head that low retention and lacing.

The aroma was good, but had that grape scent I get from some of NB's brews (maybe the yeast?). There was nice grain in the nose and some spiciness. On the tongue, the story was pretty similar, base grain, spice and some fruit.

The body was crisp and clean, but thinner than I like for the style. Drinkability was good, I'd have a couple. Overall, a nice little beer that's worth trying when you see it.

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Photo of SamN
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Abbey Grand Cru has a clear, bright red amber color. Brilliant to light, not much in the way of head, just a thin wisp of light tan foam than quickly disappears. Smell is lacking the dark fruits I expected, more sweet toffe and caramel malts with a touch of coffee in there. Finishes clean and somewhat of rubbing alcohol. Noticeable hopping in there, too, mostly some pine resin. Again, not what I expected, but not bad at all. Could be a little stronger. Taste is dominated by phenols; spicy and herbal. Noticeable hoppy bite in the middle, finishes more in the relaxed Belgian dark style; dark fruits like raisins, mellow toffee sweetness and a distinct woody lingering. Cloves and bananas become pronounced as it warms up some. Mouthfeel doesn't have the Grand Cru quality I expected, seems thin and boring, almost no carbonation. Feels a little dead on the palette. Slight alcohol numbness factors in after some sipping.

A pretty good American Belgian-style ale, lighter fruits and a decent hoppiness. Not as creamy as I would've liked, but the taste and smell are quite good.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Dusky orange copper. Soapy off white head. Fat lazy lacing that sticks around for a while.
smell: Fruity and sour.
taste: Nice. Better than the nose presaged. Well balanced malt to the fruity, sourness. The finish is delightful, though i can't down the taste, it works and then some.
overall: I didn't have high expectations and this guy exceeded.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A hard pour into a St. Bernardus glass produces an off-white head that's about 0.5cm in height. This fades very quickly to a thin ring around the glass. Spotty lacing, nothing substantial or sticking. Beer itself is light orange-red amber in color, translucent, and displays some active carbonation.

Swirling, then smelling, I first get the aroma of yeasty whole wheat bread, followed by scents of spices like clove and allspice, and some mashed banana. Alcohol becomes significantly more pronounced in background as it warms.

Taste is very high in malt sweetness. Fairly high in German dunkelweiss flavors: dark wheat malt, bananas, cloves, some coriander. Very minor Belgian yeast funk. Minor fruitiness, too, with watered-down prune and raisin flavors. The alcohol is a bit too apparent, especially so as the beer warms. Aftertaste somewhat medicinal and/or metallic. Not particularly enjoyable.

Medium-heavy in body, with moderate carbonation, style-appropriate. Finish is dry. Decent blend of flavors, nothing overpowering.

This is good quality, but I don't think it really reflects an elaboration of the Abbey style. It's more alcoholic, but more flavors and complexity aren't really introduced as compared to the original version. Regular Abbey from New Belgium was quite good, but I don't find myself needing a more alcoholic version of it, which is essentially what this is.

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Photo of turble
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured amber color, with a nice white head. Smelled was intense to me, very malty, with some banana, clove and maybe raisins. Taste again was very malty, some brown sugar. Overall its a nice drink. Not anything I would go out of my way to get again, but if I saw it on a shelf I may buy it. Though, at over 9% alcohol I will need a friend to split it.

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Photo of Phelps
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into my Lost Abbey tulip.

Not as dark as I expected. Pours amber from the bottle and collects in the glass to a clear dark cherry hue. A dense, one-inch head of off-white foam recedes at a good pace to a frothy ring, leaving sticky sheets of lace.

Deep, sweet nose. Bubble gum, brown sugar, banana, pear, plum, dark bread.

The flavor: brown sugar, toasted pumpernickle, raisins, hints of banana and pear, a slight alcohol flavor. More bread than expected, with a nicely dry, almost roasty finish.

Soft, whipped body exhibits prickly medium carbonation. Holds together well as it moves, popping with only very low fizziness. Lots of alcohol in the nose, but nowhere else.

The Grand Cru seems as if it relies more heavily on malt than the Belgian yeast it uses. It’s dark and sweet, though lacks the depth of most authentic Belgian darks. A drinkable high-ABV Belgian, but it won't change your life.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 22oz bottle.

A- Pours a nice deep cola brown color. When held up to the light there was some light reddish hues. Two finger off white colored shows medium retention. Nice thick lacing left on the sides of the glass.

S- Darker bready aroma in the front of the aroma. This gives way to a light darker fruit and light bubblegum hint. Banana and clove with light spicing in the backend blend together nicely with darker bready notes. Light alcohol heat in the end of the aroma.

T- Darker bready notes come out more with light sweetness from belgian candi sugar on the front of the beer. There is a light bubblegum flavor that lingers toward the middle which inturn draws out to a banana and clove flavor. Ending of the beer is lighter darker fruits with a hint of something like allspice I would assume. Alcohol does creep in the ending giving this a nice warming finish.

M- Medium light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Bready malts and hints of darker fruit are dominate on the palate with light notes of clove and bubblegum are present as well. Aftertaste is warming alcohol, darker fruits, and hints of darker bready malts. Flavors were well blended I thought for the style. No off flavors were present while drinking this beer. Medium alcohol drying left on the palate.

O- Overall this beer was good. There was something about it though that didn't sit right with me to go after another pint or two if I had the option. The ABV was not really a problem although I suspect the underlying sweetness is what turned me off of other glasses of this. A nice try for New Belgium but they missed the mark just a little.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Pours a dark amber with a medium creamy off white head that goes to a thin film that laces the glass.

The aroma is banana and clove with some sweet malt and a little spice.

The flavor is sweet malts, molasses, some chocolate and some lighter banana and spice notes from the yeast with some alcohol notes in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, a solid Belgian. The banana is a little strong for me. I recall this being better balanced on draught.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
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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Grand Cru Abbey Ale from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 334 ratings
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