Grand Cru Abbey Ale | New Belgium Brewing

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 334 |  Reviews: 173
Photo of russpowell
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
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!

 535 characters

Photo of midaszero
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear red amber with a light off white head and good lacing

S - Sweet and malty but faint

T - Little bit of a burn. Strong malt and fruit flavors come out though

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - Pretty solid and easy to drink. Overall enjoyable

 263 characters

Photo of jcdgoad
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
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.

 281 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draught at Belmont Station, served in a 25cl Chimay goblet.
Appearance is a hazy garnett with a very creamy, egg-shell head that leaves thick sheets of foamy lace.

Smell is pretty faint, sweet fruity esters, cherry, with very light boozy pheonls.

Taste is nice, big esters, spicy and phenolic, cured fruits, jolly rancher apricot, cotton candy. Sweet but not to sugary.

Mouthfeel is grate, very light, a crisp, creamy carbonation.

Drinkability is high, this is very tasty. Too bad they didn't make it another value offering in a 12 oz format, like their trippel and dubbel. Solid, if not spectacular, at least flawless.

 628 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

 560 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

 728 characters

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

On tap at City Beer Store. Wow, this is a delicious cerveza. Malty, sweet, candi sugar, pronounced carbonation that retained some lacing throughout my enjoyment of it. Medium mouthfeel, and susceptible to being consumed in large quantities, notwithstanding the high ABV. I will be a repeat drinker of this if I see it again.

 324 characters

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

dark and slightly foggy brown in color with half inch head

very sweet and malty, scent of candi suger is present.

some hints of darker fruits and sweet. this may be too sweet for many but it's right up my alley.

really good beer, i can't believe that this is from the same people that make fat tire.

 302 characters

Photo of mkorpal
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Choice City Butcher and Deli for $5 per pint.

Served in a standard pint glass. A nice deep brown with a decent head. It's a very nice looking beer.

I've got a bit of a cold, so my smell is a bit off. But, what I did smell was very nice. Some very good fruity smells in this beer. Maybe some yeasty smells as well.

The taste was very nice. lots of standard Belgium fruits such as banana and cherries and whatnot. the flavor profile is similar to the standard Abbey Ale except perhaps a bit more pronounced. I wish I could have the sensitivity to taste that some people here do, but it hasn't developed yet, so all I really can say is this beer tasted great.

Mouthfeel was good. it was medium bodies with a good amount of carbonation. pretty much the middle of the road.

Drinkability takes a little bit of a hit here. While it's not bad in any way, it's a little tough to finish a pint. The Alcohol in this beer does catch up with you and the sweetness prevents you from getting seconds. All in all, it's is a fantastic beer. I would love to get my hands on more. Thanks to Choice City for having this beer.

By the way, this is my first beer review. i hope I did well.

 1,184 characters

Photo of nickd717
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at City Beer Store in San Francisco.

A - Reddish brown and lively.

S - Lots of fruits (light and dark), yeast, and a little alcohol.

T - Complex. Starts with banana, then moves on to cherries and other dark fruits. Fairly malty and yeasty as well.

M - Smooth, medium-bodied, with medium carbonation. Fits well with the fruity taste.

D - An excellent brew overall. I could drink 10 of these, and I would if there weren't other beers to try and a little annoyance called having to drive.

 499 characters

Photo of brewandbbq
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before date of Sept. 13,2003.

Pours dark, brilliant ruby, with half-inch head of off-white. Some minimal lacing between sips.

The nose on this one is is excellent.
Dark, ripe fruits, juicy malt, raisins, and nougat.
Cherries, figs, and a hint of vanilla.

The mouthfeel is a bit sticky and medium at best. Low carbonation detracts.

Malt-laden and fruity on the pallet. A slight roast adds some depth, as well as earthy undertones. Bitterness is surprisingly firm.
Notes of pepper-studded chocolate and grape jam.

Finishes drying, bitter, and warming.

I was told that this was the last batch that was bottle conditioned. No oxidation was apparent, and the aromatics were outstanding.

 694 characters

Photo of shivtim
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap in Seattle. Served in a New Belgium goblet. It's a clear but deep red brew with pink tints. Has a decent white head that fades. Nose is very sweet fruits mixed with dark plums. Taste is syrupy sweet balanced with hops and a malty backbone. Great example of the style. Alcohol comes through in the finish. Mouthfeel is excellent, nice and thick and creamy. Drinkability is good but may be hurt by the ABV.

 415 characters

Photo of Fugazme
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this bottle back in November... its been in the cellar since...

Pours a darker bright coppery color... clarity is quite clear... some tiny bubbles wander up, but very little in the way of a head. Swirl is nice with decent stickage and great legs.

Aroma is very yeasty upfront... the alcohol is present all over... medicinal... raisins and rum... some whiskey... was hoping for more.

Pretty smooth mouthfeel... a little harsh on the swallow, but nice.
Sticky in a good way.

Taste: Caramel and bourbon flavors... toffee and malty... quite sweet... a touch of licorice and smoke... dried dark fruits.... definitely pick up the cherry...

 655 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
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!

 1,117 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 401 characters

Photo of BlindPig
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

 695 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +9%
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.

 474 characters

Photo of RedHaze
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bditty187 for the opportunity to sample this one.

Pours a dark red tinged brown, almost mahogany, with a dense one finger head that settles slowly to a soapy cap. The subsequent lacing is very thick and sticky.

Smell; dark fruits with plums and dates with a little bit of cherries thrown in. There's a bit of a oaky presence with vanilla, as well as some caramel and candied sugar.

Taste; the dark fruits come out very nicely with plums, dates, grapes and cherries. Chocolate, caramel and candied sugar and a nice sweetness to a bit of an alcohol bite towards the middle. In the finish there's bit bit of a chalkiness that must be from the yeasts.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and with the alcohol and chalky feeling this is a little drying, but otherwise very good. Drinkabilty is good, and would be even higher with a lower abv.

 885 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled due to the kindness of gbontrag.

This pours a clear reddish brown colored ale with a skimpy head formation.

Smell is a little sweet and fruity with a dried dark fruit aroma of Bing cherry and currant. Sugar scents of brown sugar and candy mix with vanilla, oak and caramel to give this a slight whiskey barrel aroma. After I warm this with my hand a little bit the aroma of chocolate cake comes on strong along with a spicy whiff of alcohol.

Taste is light and slightly fruity at the beginning of the experience. Mild flavored to say the least, to light actually. Good mild flavors of citrus, rum, vanilla, chocolate and wood probably oak. Definite taste of cake in the malt here. Only problem with this is that the flavor isn't as strong as it could be.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side.

Drinkability is fine probably because this seems to be a bit under-flavored. It seems that the alcohol is diluting out the taste and the mouthfeel in this one. An OK beer but not a great one.

 1,000 characters

Photo of Oxymoron
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grand Cru. Interesting to note about the history, but either way sampled from the brewhouse itself. And with my inside connections I was able to get a full glass, lucky me.

Poured a rich ruby brown color that hints it's very similar Abbey heritage. Good head that remained around the edge of the glass throughout but limited lacing.

The aroma is sweet with some brown sugar esters and although hidden well, the phenolic high ABV is noticeable. Some other notes of malty and caramel flavors come out, as does the New Belgium Abbey yeast.

The flavor has more of a caramel flavor then the nose would indicate. The phenolic character hides a bit, but still noticeable. A brown sugar sweetness comes out quickly but blends well. The yeast is very noticeable as NB and leave as yeast bite at the end.

The body is smooth for it's 10% build. I did sample side by side the Abbey and the Grand Cru, and I would prefer the Abbey, but its nice to see NB creating new things.

 966 characters

Photo of benito
2.46/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Glancing at the other reviews, I realize that I'm going to be the lone dissenter amongst the crowd that recommends this beer; I know full well that my taste buds may (must?) be out there on this one. A second caveat: for whatever reason, dubbels (and Belgian darks) are a style that I struggle with. My fun tickets ran out quickly on this one...

A: Light brown with low carbonation and little head.

S: Caramel and flesh. Not exactly appetizing, but it's not that different from the slight repulsion I detect at most dubbels.

T: Most of the fruitiness I like in the regular NB Abbey is absent, though there is a nice banana and fig presence. Nonetheless, for a 'grand cru' this is like a quad that forgot half of its malts! It's very peppery and light on the finish.

M: Too thin overall. I would have liked something with more length and strength to back up some of the flavors.

D: The lack of body detracts from overall quality. To my palate, there was just too funky a mix of strong fruits and spritzy tonic.

Take a pass on this, and try one of NB's other fantastic brews.

 1,092 characters

Photo of mentor
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was last produced 5 years ago (batch #10,000 produced by New Belgium Brewing). Batch #20,000, not released to the public, was a repeat of the Grad Cru and was available on-tap only at the brewery. A special offering was available one night only at the Falling Rock Taphouse in Denver (mid-May, 2006). That's where I had my sample.

Presented in a brandy-snifter-style glass with a thin layer of brown head. Dark brown and slightly cloudy. Smells delicious. White grapes (Zinfandel), bourbon, belgian candi-sugar, vanilla, caramel. Alcohol sting is mild and clean, carrying a sweet character. Plums is the closest I can put my finger on it.

Tastes more chocolatey that I was expecting. The little caramel mixes with the chocolate to come across as a gentle toffee. Candi-sugar floats lightly upon a clean alcohol sting. Fruity esters were mild to the other characters. A beer of delicate flavors. Overall, malty sweet until a dry woody finish. The finish sees the appearance of the phenolic funk, which persists long and dry as an aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium, but quite creamy.

Wow, just noticed this beer is 10%. The alcohol is very well hidden. IMO, this could have used a bit more umph in the plums

 1,222 characters

Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Pre-GABF babblefest.

2001 Vintage.


Dry, spicy aroma of dark fruits (raisins, cherries and plums) slight cloves and yeast.

Overripen fruits dominate he palate, mainly dates, figs and plums. Chocolate and caramel as well with a dry, chalky, lingering finish.

 290 characters

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

Reddish brown mostly clear body. Light brown head displaying good belgian lacing. Very malty aroma with nutty, toffee aspects together with dark fruits (dates) and maybe some licorice. Spicy on the tongue, yeasty and bready while just being very malty and candi sugar sweet. Nice velvety mouthfeel, mostly thick with gentle carbonation. Mild alcohol warmt in the finish. This does right just about everything I expect from a dubbel which really seems to be a tough style to make a great example of.

 498 characters

Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
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?

 766 characters

Grand Cru Abbey Ale from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 334 ratings