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 BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #53 (June 2011):

This is a hefty-looking brew—impressive lacing tops the dark amber, almost burgundy-colored ale. Hermit cookies, raisins, cotton candy, faint Band-Aid and green plantains. Creamy smoothness, a body almost like a fine sherry. Mildly boozy, alcohol stays mellow but very warming. Broth, bread and fruit, all of which are savory. Mild hopping, though the phenols help to balance. Plums? Ripe cherries? Sweetness is not overbearing; lots of layers peeling back here. Malty and spicy finish with more of that alcoholic warmth. Such a striking beer, but well matured—a choice pick, for sure.

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

I've had overall good luck with the Lips of Faith series.

Pours a dark brown with nice lacing and only a thin head after time.

Nose is slightly earthy, molasses.

Taste is caramel, hops, earth. It comes across a little watery but seems to have good bite.

This is an average strong Belgian. Not enough body or complexity to rate the A's.

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Photo of charlzm
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed September 2nd, 2011. Poured into a Bruery tulip.

Light caramel color with a beige head about three fingers high from moderate pour. The head is extremely fine and dense, made form countless numbers of tiny, tiny bubbles.

Aroma is weird. Pears. Massive pear. A little golden apple and some soft, powdery yeast and maybe a hint of molasses, but overwhelmingly pears. Not unpleasing, but unexpected.

Flavor is like fresh dark wheat bread. There is also some mild peppery spice. The beer is sweet with a thankfully restrained pear flavor. Noticeable bitterness on finish.

Dry (just shy of parching) on the finish.

Very credible effort.

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Photo of quirkzoo
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark amber with medium-thick head that recedes to heavy lacing that lingers.

Smell is very belgian with lots of fruity esters and medium range fruits orange, peach, with a touch of banana and malty/caramel base. Taste is more of the same with a little hit of spicy pepper yeast and negligible hop bitterness. Very malt forward sweet fruit beer. Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation (not syrupy, not bubbly).

Overall this is a very good beer. It is not going to give you anything especially unique but it stays true to style and delivers an enjoyable drinking experience.

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

Appearance. Pours a deep brown amber with a little haze and a small, light tan head that leaves some decent bands of lace.

Smell. Sweet roasty grains and caramel, belgian yeast, some fruits ...oranges, plums, strawberry

Taste. Sweet malt ...but not too heavy. Fruity belgian yeast, just a hint of brown sugar and spice.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with medium-low carbonation.

Overall. Nice beer. Alcohol is very well hidden. Not my fav style but a good beer nonetheless.

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Photo of abrand
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into snifter.

This pours deep copper almost brown color with not much of a head. No lacing on the glass. Smells of nuts, malts, and alcohol. Smell is not doing much for me. Taste is mediocre. Lots of malts and a syrupy texture. Some raisins and figs are also present. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty well carbonated. Overall this just isn't doing that much for me. Some many amazing belgian darks out there that it needs to stand out to be remembered.

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Photo of Merkur
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap into a snifter.

Beer pours a nice deep dark amber, with about a finger's worth of tan head that laces throughout.

The smell is somewhat sweet and abit citrusy.

The beer tastes a bit on the buttery side with a fair amount of hops. The beer finishes very well with a sweet malty-raison finish.

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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 FanofHefe
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a pint glass since I don't have access to a chalice. No dating on the bottle. Clear, deep amber body with loads of carbonation. Four-finger tan head and good lacing.

Very inviting aroma that is essentially fruity with a vanilla and nut finish. Rum, raisin, candy sugar, and a hint of earthy hops. This could be a piece of hard candy.

The flavor is equally tasty and follows the aroma with the raisin, rum, and vanilla flavors. More of the Belgian spices from the yeast come through in the flavor than the aroma. A definite note of the alcohol comes through.

Silky, smooth, medium mouthfeel. Hotter on the alcohol than I would have preferred. An excellent brew that I will be very happy to have again in the future.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bottle into NBB snifter.
A: Pours a dark but clear amber with moderate carbonation producing a 1 inch light tan head. Mild lacing.
S: Simply wonderful aroma with banana, clove, sweet malt, grains, and a whiff of alcohol.
T: Follows aroma fairly well...banana, clove, sweet caramel malt, but with a stronger alcohol presence. Alcohol tends to overpower a bit from time to time. Mild dark fruit emerges with warming.
M: Smooth and soft. Light-medium body (lighter than expected). Does not linger much on the palate.
D: Perhaps I am just used to the regular Abbey from NBB, but I'm not convinced that the higher ABV serves this one any better. Still a solid brew...I would certainly give it a go. ABV is very well hidden.

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Photo of craytonic
3.08/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Amber pour with a small off-white head

Smell: Sweet and fruity, some caramel and toffee

Taste: A bit milder than I expected and somewhat muddled, weird mix of citrus, toffee, malt and oak

Mouthfeel: Perhaps a bit thin

Overall: Unimpressive, I was tickled with Terroir but this and Clutch have been major disappointments.

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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 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 chocosushi
3.1/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

6oz Pour->Duvel Tulip
A ~ Pours a Very Grapey red. Almost akin to Burgundy. 1/2 head.

S ~ Grape Juice, Crystal Malt, Noble Hops, Grass, Caramel Syrup...very Saccharine

T ~ Dates, Pears & Red Apples make up the body with Lots of malt (pale & crystal is my first guess) lending caramel/sweet roll notes. Phenolic in a strange way...Cinnamon, Clove, Anise & Fennel. Mild Banana.

M ~ Didn't cohere like I expected with the ABV very loosely hidden. Sticky & Flabby.

D ~ Didn't care for this one too much. Not very balanced, making it not very drinkable. I poured out my last 2oz to make room for better things. My first disappointment in the LoF series.

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Photo of bnes09
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a finger of ivory colored head. Excellent retention with some lace strings.

Beautiful aroma of fresh earthy hops, buttered biscuits and roasted almonds.

Solid malt backbone with a lot of biscuity character. Mild roasted flavors of maple and almonds. Just enough earthy, pine-like hop flavors to balance. Big caramel sweetness hits the tongue mid-drink. Sweet character overall.

Fuller consistency due to the sugar, not to the point of being syrupy though. Bright carbonation.

This is a tasty Belgium-styled ale. Well done.

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

APP - Light amber brown - 1/4" slightly off-white head with dense bubble build up - sticky on side of goblet

AR - Belgian spicy-fruity scent. Xmas candle.

T - Instant sense of belgian smoothness upon entering the mouth with a slight tang of fruit and malt. The caramel/toasted maltiness stretches through the beginning and lasting until a dry finish. A very nice summer beverage.

Getting a B rating is not a bad thing - It only means it isn't amongst the best belgians I've had. However, I would drink this one anytime.

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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 mjurney
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber-brownish color, thick looking. Lots of small bubbles. Thick off-white color head.

Lots of fruits.. Black cherries and ripe plum. Some sweet malts. Touch of spice, nutmeg.

Fruity-malty up front along with slight dry tartness in the finish. Juicy fruit character, I'm getting cherries and plums, maybe some raisins. Malt is very creamy, bready, sweet caramel. Spice is not as strong as Chimay Blue, but it's very mild, I'm getting some hint of nutmeg and cloves. Full bodied, creamy texture. Light on the carbonation.

Tart, slight dry, yeasty finish. Slight alcohol warmth.

It's really good for its style, but not the best I had.

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

Pours a clear, brownish red color with a medium off-white head that diminishes quickly. Scent is packed with dark fruits and banana. Lots of banana and a little clove. Some brown sugar as well. Taste is initially banana with figs, raisins, and some caramel malt. There are some nice chocolate and nutty flavors as well, with just the right amount of boozy flavor. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little syruppy. Drinkability is high. Overall, this is a tasty beer and I would definitely drink this again!

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

I drank this from a mug...

The beer is a dark amber/ copper color with a filmy off-white head. It smells heavily of Belgian yeast with hints of grape, cherry, clove and banana. The taste consists of raisin, Belgian yeast, clove and alcohol. The beer is medium bodied with lots of carbonation and a long finish that leaves a nice aftertaste.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish-mahogany with a very quickly receding 2-finger off-white head. Retention and lace are minimal.

The nose, like I've found with the other recent NB LOF releases (Super Cru and Le Terroir), is very clean for something Belgian in style- festive almost with a country store kind of vibe with its vibrant aromas of spiced apple jam, bread dough, caramel, raisins, poached pears and chocolate. Very lush.

The palate is medium-bodied and moderately sweet with a husky maltiness and a serious combo of yeasty flavors and fruity esters that smelt very powerfully to me like Juicy Fruit gum. There were some very tightly integrated spices, a bit of boozy alcohol and a mildly bitter coating of rich cocoa. The finish started with that persistent Juicy Fruit flavor, but was nicely saved by a return to chocolate and caramel.

Quite a tasty brew. Keeping in trend with my Lips of Faith Belgian experiences lately, this brew as I've already mentioned is quite clean. Nothing incredibly spicy, musky or unbridled. Just forward, sweet flavors and enough of them in a solid balance to be delicious.

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

Deep garnet color, with a thick bubbly off-white that tries to hold its fluffiness, but reduces to a half-inch layer in a couple minutes after each fairly hard pour.

Nose is quite malty, with pretty heavy toffee tones, and hints of tobacco, cinnamon, root beer, nutmeg and a kind of pine/evergreen character. Smell-wise, yeah, it's got BSDA written all over it, but also edges into something that reminds of big US craft Winter Warmer.

Flavors bring in all elements found in the aroma, with the evergreen being very spruce-like, and root beer turning more cola on the tongue, and a general dessert-like spiciness/nuttiness happening (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, brown sugar, pepper). Dark fruit too, something usually always detected in this style it seems (date, raisin). There's also a tell-tale American hops slant to this beer. Not that they used brash West Coast hop(s) here, I don't know what was used, but there's something about the hops, a citrus vibe I suppose, that you probably wouldn't find in a Belgian-brewed dark. Vibrant, a bit spicy, well-incorporated alcohol, and generally a very comforting sort of taste.

Feel starts out superbly creamy, and then the carbonation pushes in, giving you the best of both worlds. Somehow it manages both slickness and bubbly tickle, neither too heavy nor too wimpy, body-wise. The mouthfeel ends up being my favorite part of this beer, just hangs out very nicely in the mouth.

Solid and somewhat complex...and also a bit different for the style, yet respectful of it at the same time. Definitely recommended.

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

22oz bottle split into two large snifters

Pours clear ruby with a small head. Smell is very dark fruity, a little sour. Smells kinda like dates and prunes.

Taste is datey, sour, raisiny, a little bit of bitterness that makes me think of chocolate -- maybe it's burnt pecan taste. Some kind of toasted nut.

Mouthfeel is dry, thin, and a little flat (I think someone once told me I should use the word "still"). Overall, this is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of illidurit
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Clips of Faith event in Santa Cruz. 3 ounce sample pours dark amber with a khaki head. Bready/fruity aroma, raisins and dates with cloves, light roast, bananas. Fruitcake malt flavor, lightly acidic fruits, leather, coriander. Maybe a bit overboard with the spices. Not a fan of the finish, the roast and spice don't mix well to me. Decent enough beer though.

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