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Grand Cru Abbey Ale | New Belgium Brewing

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Grand Cru Abbey AleGrand Cru Abbey Ale
Very Good
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:
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Ratings: 334 |  Reviews: 173
Photo of BretSikkink
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown color with amber highlighting and a tanned head. Not overly tight, but a fairly ambitious head. Decent lacing, almost like egg white left behind. Aromas of banana and clove, alongside some darker fruits and a smack of booze. Super estery.

Again, high yeast character. Banana and dark fruits combine for an upfront sweetness. Spicing arrives from a clove ester as well as a bracing metallic carbonation.

Lingering, boozy finish. Body is sticky and hovering in medium. Finishes less overtly sweet - the aftertaste is the fructose sweetness of banana rather than a candi sugar bomb. Balanced and interesting, but it does seem more German than Belgian..

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

according to the text on the bottle, this is a jacked-up version of the abbey ale which they brew to celebrate every 1000 batches at NB.. usually it's a brewery-only treat but now us plebs are lucky enough to get our hands on some as well.

there was no question about whether or not i would be buying this. on the east coast, i was a big fan of ommegang abbey, but it's priced to the rafters here in OR for whatever reason.. the closest to it for me is the NB abbey (and super reasonably priced to boot). so i guess you'd call it a fridge staple. i wanted to see where they could take this beer in a grand cru presentation..

NB has such a finesse with these belgians that jacking up the abv 2-3% to 9.5% added no heat or excess sweetness. if anything, it added depth of fruit flavor and smoothed out some of the earthy/nutty/dry tones normally found in the abbey. it really is an excellent brew but has an interesting youth to it.. and i feel like a couple years on it in the cellar would produce stellar results. at $5.99/22oz, i'm probably going to take that gamble.

it's a B+ if regular abbey is a B. let's see where the numbers land it..

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle. Pours medium brown, cola-like in color, with medium sized off-white head. Sexy appearance. Nose is quite enjoyable with moistened black tea leaves, dark dessert breads, and a trace of juicy fruit bubblegum (in a good way). Palate offers a mineral-like quality with toasty brown sugar sweetness, more bready qualities, and some of the black tea into the finish. Delight to drink, though my memory is more fond of the early 2000's releases.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.47/5  rDev +12%
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 DaveHS
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours clear dark amber with 1/2 inch of light tan head. Leaves rings of intricate lacing.

S-Rich, fruity esters, brown sugar, bubblegum, banana, allspice.

T/M-Muted biscuity malt sits beneath a thin layer of Belgian candi sugar sweetness. Clove and banana flavors emerge mid palate, fading into musty stewed fruit and coriander. The finish is sticky and drawn out. Body is thin for the style, and the sweetness is kept in check. Never approaches cloying.

O-Good for the price. I look forward to seeing how it ages.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into Chalice.

A. Poured 1 finger head. Good retention. Decent lacing. Color is an amber brown.

S. Some sour fruit. Spices. Some sweetness. A hint of banana. Overall pretty nice sour and sweet combination going on. Interesting aroma from most BSDAs.

T. Bready biscuity malt. Some sweetness from the malt. Tastes of spice and a little of the banana from the aroma. Drinks pretty dry. Get a bit of the malt flavor that New Belgium uses in alomost all of their beers. Really wish they would try mixing it up. I don't want to taste biscuity malt in a BSDA.

M. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Finishes dry.

O. Overall I think this has the potential to be a better beer than it is. I really dislike the malt flavor in almost all of New Belgium's beers, and this one is no different. It does taste quite a bit like their Abbey Belgian beer. Does not resemble almost every other BSDA. Not bad. Could be better.

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Photo of TheDTrain
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Broken Wings Brewing Co is taking a break from brewing to enjoy the Lips of Faith series Abbey Grand Cru. Strong fruitiness upfront with banana, caramel, bread & mild sweet tart fruits a la cherry & strawberry. Good blend of fruits with a abv kick in this strong dark ale make this brew drinkable & quite enjoyable for all seasons.

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

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip beer glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy deep amber color. Nice creamy foamy two finger tan head that receded slowly to a nice quarter inch creamy foam cap that lasted throughout. Good sticky lacing left behind. A very nice looking beer in a glass.

Smell: Sweet malts and a great Belgian yeast smell up front, with hints of cherries, plums and candy sugars beneath. The malt and yeasts overpower any hops that might be there somewhere. Smells like a good Belgian Dark Ale should.

Taste: Very sweet and malty, with great yeast phenols. Flavors of roasted malts, raisins and plum. Just a little hint of hops bitterness on the finish. Like the smell, the flavors of the sweet malts and yeasts hide any hops that are lurking beneath. Only the slight hops bite at the finish lets you know they are there. Very tasty Belgian Dark Ale, on par with Trois Pistoles from Unibroue...another favorite of mine for the style.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with low to moderate creamy carbonation. Sweet and sticky on the palate.

Drinkability: I wasn't a huge fan of some of New Belgium's earliest entries into the Belgian styles, but they keep getting more and more respectable. This beer definitely goes a long way towards furthering that cause. This is an excellent American interpretation of the Belgian Strong Dark Ale style. A good warming high ABV, sweet malts and tasty yeasts all make this a top notch beer for the style. Will definitely buy more of this to store for the fall/winter months...but it tastes just as good on a nice spring day like today.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer on tap last year so it's nice to see it in bombers now.

Served cool into a NB goblet, the Grand Cru is a deep redish brown color with good clarity. The head is thick and settles very slowly leaving some nice lacing behind.

Aroma is very strong, even from a distance, and has a lot in common with the standard Abbey. Lots of banana and clove over a rich malty base.

Flavor is intense as well. Heavy malt backbone supports a robost yeast strain. Spice notes are strong with pepper and clove. Banana and bubble gum also in there.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in body and moderately carbonated.

Overall a very solid beer and one worth seeking out if you like New Belgium's dubbel.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Unibroue tulip. Bottle says 9.5% ABV.

A: Pours a cloudy copper/mahoganny with one finger of nearly white, fluffy head. Good retention and top-notch lace.

S: Pears, bit of clove and cinnamon, sweet bready malt.

T: Stewed dark fruits, fading to sweet spices on the finish. Also a bit of wood on the finish. As the beer warms, hints of chocolate and hefeweizen bubblegum join the mix.

M: Medium mouthfeel, a bit lighter than expected, but not bad. Considerable creaminess.

O: A good but not great example of the style. Worth a try if you can find it. After standing out in the very cold rain for 8 hours today watching the boys play soccer, this is really the beer that I need to recover.

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Photo of litheum94
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Toad in the Hole.

Pours a dark ruddy brown. Brown head that settles out to a whirlpool of covering. Moderate lacing on the glass.

Bready aromas, with some caramel tones. Some spicing, clove like. Banana esters and some Belgian yeast.

Nice caramel tones up front. Banana bread flavors. Light spicing on the finish, with a drying flavor of earthy hops. Low on carbination, with a slightly slick mouthfeel.

A good drink, very easy drinking. Nice flavors.

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Photo of rawfish
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New Belgium Abbey Grand Cru, brewed once every 1000 batches of Abbey finally bottled again.

Part of the appearance score has to go to this beautiful new LoF bottle, good sky blue and olive color pattern with a stained glass window patterning that takes its inspiration from the tile work in the brewery surrounding their mash tun, lauter tun, pre-run vessel and the Merlin (boil kettle).

Pours a signature Abbey mahogany, clear with garnet highlights. A dense parchment colored cap of foam layers an inch high, quick to settle leaving a ring of layered lacing.

A strong waft of bready and caramel malts with Belgian yeast character of raisins and banana. Some spiciness of clove. Alcohol lingers but it's no stronger than regular Abbey despite the increased ABV.

Shadows the nose well, good amount of sweetness from caramel and bready malts give the beer a good backbone as it pairs with deep fruit esters that are more pronounced in the nose than the taste. Dark fruit and raisin seems to be a bit more pronounced than banana. Some phenolic clove and a dank herbal note towards the end of the drink. Warming alcohol and a bit of herbal hop flavor in the finish.

Slightly heavier and sticky body and average carbonation. Sweet and warming alcohol, slightly hot but this one will age really well.

The brewery does a good job keeping everything consistent with this brew despite the increased ABV. Scaling up is not always easy, but GC Abbey is just every bit as amazing as their award winning staple.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ah, finally NB bottled (for retail) one of my favorite brews of all time...

A - A soapy head quickly develops in the brew head, quickly fading to a more foamy blend. Head is off-white, slightly tan. Brew is crystal clear Mahogany, typical (high class Belgian). Looks delicious, interesting circular lacing remains

S - Deep, dark, and robust. Roasty and sweet too. Smells slightly sweet with hints of wood. Scent is a deep Belgian. Smells very good.

T - A very mild "sugar bomb", not at all like it's predecessor. If you've ever had the previous "small batch" releases you too will notice this is very off from those flavors... Very heavy alcohol burn. I will be buying 6+ brews to sit on and watch age... I would imagine this brew with a year or two would mellow nicely. To give it a "4" right now is a bit of a stretch, but I'll still drop the 4.

M - Very dry and sweet. Heavily bodied with very high carbonation. Again, I'll let a few sit and see where it goes...

D - Yes, quite drinkable... But, it burns so you're able to let sit and relax...

Not at all like it's predecessors... Not sure if that's a good thing. Kind of disappointing for it being NB's first release of Abbey GC in "production". Bummer. Maybe in the next 1000 batches they'll find they're "old recipe". The old recipe was almost perfect "5" across the board... The current recipe is all over the board, needs to be honed in. Try it if you're able, a very good brew nonetheless.

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Photo of rye726
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Up for review is Abbey Grand Cru. Poured cold into a small wine glass. On tap at Backcountry Pizza in Nederland, CO. Pours a nice brown with a tan head. Nose has Belgian yest and sweet malts. Not alot of complexity in the taste. Decent beer, drinks well. Go get some, try it for yourself.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On my first trip to Denver, in October 2002, in between visiting my kids, looking for a place to live and attending GABF, I managed to find a bottle of this beer at a local shop. Poured a medium brown color, with a good off-white head. Aromas of green raisins, light brown sugar and Belgian yeast. Medium bodied and drinkable, with flavors of raisins, honey, bubble gum and spice. Very good, better than the regular version.

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Photo of NWFLyer
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

New Belgium Abbey Grand Cru Batch 20,000 (2006) served on draught at Falling Rock Tap House, 1919 Blake Street, Denver, CO 80202. This is an excellent, and rare offering from New Belgium Brewing Co. This choice selection is an incomparable treat in an ocean of oft repeated styles of brew.
A- Light ruby color, with an ephemeral head.
S- Relatively insignificant aroma, consisting of sweet, aromatic scents.
T- As one would expect from an Abbey-Style Ale; smooth, robust, flavorful, yet not overwhelming.
M- Excellent. Each sip is exquisite, smooth, a minuete on the palate.
D- Outstanding. This Abbey- Style Ale is a treat to the senses. As it is in limited supply, enjoy, but do not over-indulge. Allow others to imbue it treasures.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this in a top hat at the eastside club and we argued over the color. seeming ruby, it was then pointed out by a third that there was too much ambient red. held to a fluorescent, it was beheld a translucent penny color. now, i've had some of the more recent delicious offerings of the new belgium in the nw, but this one is special. candy sugar and malt greet the nose and as the candied cane slides down the throat, you cannot help but engage in merriness and bawdy language. sticks around with its sugary business but the alcohol slowly washes it away. had to go for a second one.. glad to see new belgium bringing their A game national. or at least to the pac-nw.

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Photo of Floydster
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint at Pizza Port Carlsbad last weekend for six dollars I believe, reviewed from notes, this was basically described to me as a double version of their Abbey brew which I had out of the bottle a few times now

A-Medium to dark brown with some red around the edges, 3/4 inch creamy light beige head that did not last, some retention and lacing
S-Belgian yeast, berries, banana, gum, caramel, brown and candied sugar, red apples, and zesty citrus
T-Apples, berries, and sugar at first, caramel and Belgian yeast in the middle, light alcohol and more berries in the finish, more fruit comes out as it warms, has a lot of sweetness after a while, needs some dryness for balance, nice alcohol twinge in the aftertaste
M-Sweet, fruity, and warming mouthfeel, medium to full bodied, on lighter side for carbonation, taste lingers
D-One glass was good enough, it was a bit heavy and filling, alcohol is not completely hidden, can be sweet at times too, can taste its strength

Not a bad beer from New Belgium and a little different than what I am used to from them, hope to see it again when I am Denver in a few weeks, look forward to sampling this again, recommended

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Photo of klewis
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at the New Belgium Tap Room

A: Rich bronze color with little head or lace.

S: Spicy with light fruit aromas. A prominent solvent-like character.

T: Flavors of a potpourri of spices and banana. Heavily phenolic with a slight taste of household cleaner.

M: Medium body and mouthfeel. Sticky with a lingering phenolic taste.

D: Decent, but far too phenolic for my taste.

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Photo of rwdkosak
4.35/5  rDev +9%
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 wagenvolks
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a New Belgium goblet at The Ginger Man in Austin, Texas.

I've always been a fan of New Belgium, and their Grand Cru is a solid addition to their repertoire. Pours a mahogany-copper hue into the goblet, bright and bursting with carbonation. The head retention is phenomenal, as the golden-khaki bubbles remain in a thick layer throughout, leaving some nice lacing behind in the process. The aroma is rife with notes of banana, clove, Belgian yeasts, peach, dark wheat malts, and a hint of floral hops. Aromatically, it reminds me more of a Weizenbock, but no complaints otherwise.

Flavor profile matches up well with the aroma, as complex layers of dark Belgian candy, wheat, pepper, toffee malt, and fruity yeast notes all combine to achieve a palate-pleasing experience. Mouthfeel is perfectly carbonated with a medium-thick body, and finishes semi-dry with a lingering fruity sweetness. Still getting the whole Weizenbock vibe from this beer, but either way, it's a damn tasty brew. Cheers to New Belgium--bottle this thing already!

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Photo of homebrew311
4.64/5  rDev +16.3%
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 Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
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 OStrungT
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a brownish red color, with a creamy, light tan head. the head fades slowly, leaving a good lacing.

This beer has a fruity aroma. I smell figs, dates, and raisins. The dates really stand out. It has a caramel like malty aroma. Some earthy funk is also present.

This beer tastes like it smells. Dates up front, with some fig and raisin. A sweet caramel flavor is also present.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a date aftertaste. The alcohol is hidden well in this beer.

This beer would be a decent session beer. It tastes good, but it may get cloying after a time. Also, the alcohol content is rather high, making it hard to drink too many.

Overall: Good beer, and I am glad to have been able to try it on tap.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Notes. On tap at the Stumbling Monk in Seattle.

Deep copper with red highlights, long lasting head and lacing.

Huge aroma, complex, malty, yeasty, dark fruity.

Sweet malt, vaguely spicy, dark fruity, hint of yeast & slightly bitter dry finish. Very, very nice but not exceptionally complex.

A little fiz, dry finish, not much texture.

Smooth and balanced but a sipper to be savored at 9.5%

A great beer in a great beer hall.

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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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