Green Flash Grand Cru | Green Flash Brewing Co.

very good
176 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Green Flash Grand CruGreen Flash Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Green Flash Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kleffman on 03-03-2008

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 176 | Ratings: 449
Photo of drabmuh
2.29/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle shared by the other Matt. Thanks. Beer is dark ruby to brown, wispy head no real lacing, carbonation low.

Aroma is gross. Bubblegum. Sweetness. Bubblegum. Fermented too hot probably.

Beer is thin and really sweet with overwhelming yeast esters that dominate the mid and late palate. The esters are so overwhelming that I end up pouring it down the drain.

 363 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
2.39/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Let's start with the positive...The beer is dark chestnut brown with a light, tan head. The head displays excellent retention and leaves ample lacing throughout the glass.

Moving on...The aroma is not awful, but certainly arouses suspicion. Bubble gum and odd fruity esters, raisins, alcohol.

Hiya! mY nMAe is gREen fLaSh gRaND cRu!

Ya, something went seriously awry. Out of balance, off kilter, simply undrinkable. It doesn't taste like the beer is soured, unfresh, or oxidized. It tastes like this beer missed its target, and is just not up to par. Sickly sweet, very present alcohol, weird fruity flavors, no continuity.

Drain, beer. Beer, drain. No me gusta.

 666 characters

Photo of TTAmod
2.48/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. poured into chalice.

A: Pours a coca-cola brown with a small brown head that quickly dissipates into nothingness and leaves behind very little lacing.

S: Heavy dark fruits. Belgian yeast.

T: This one is quite mysterious. Starts with with a bit of dark fruit and yeast, then a wallop of smoked malts enveloped in dark chocolate. There's a tinge of hops underneath and it ends on a coffee and smoked malt note. Not as sweet as it should be.

M: Not as good as an actual Belgian would be, but not horrible. Heavy/medium and smooth. Feels similar to an RIS.

O: This is a bastard child of a BSDA and an RIS, with a bit of rauschbier with the smokey malt notes. The smoke is too much for this type of beer. Don't get me wrong, the smoke isn't bad in general, but not in a beer like this. A similar thing is the smoke flavor in the Aventinus Eisbock, but that was just a hint of smoke. An overabundance of smoke doesn't belong in a yeasty, BSDA, in my opinion.

Other beers have pulled off a BSDA/Stout better (Thirteenth Hour, Avery 14th immediately come to mind.) The latter is a tad more difficult to find, but go for the Thirteenth Hour if you want a good BSDA and RIS blend.

It's a shame. Green Flash brews some of my all time favorites, but this one is a miss.

 1,273 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm still trying to warm to Green Flash's beer. A few times, I've had their beer and really enjoyed it. But too often, I just don't like it at all.

This one, a 22 ounce bomber, starts off well- a nice looking deep murky brew with a small head that is jsut right for the style. The aroma hits several of the BSDA notes- rich chocolate, hint of sweetness, hint of coffee. The flavor even starts out well- definite rich chocolate and chicory, pleasant mouthfeel, but then it goes south when I swallow. I would charitably call this an espresso bitterness, but no, it's way beyond that- it's harsh, medicinal, reminiscent of picking weeds as a kid and tasting them, only to find out that they taste horrible. Burnt grains, don't make me take that antibiotic pill again, please! I'm sorry, such promise, but there are so many great examples of this style- I just cannot drink this one.

 880 characters

Photo of impending
2.62/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz into a tulip. Pours an oily deep garnet, minor head even with encouragement and it receded rapidly, little lacing.

Sweet spicy vinous aroma with tobacco in the background.

Strong tobacco & leather in the flavor dominates in a less than pleasant way. A delicious strong dark does not last past the initial taste. An unnecessary bitterness rides the length of the aftertaste. Medium to full bodied mouthfeel.
disappointing unfortunately

 444 characters

Photo of theopholis
2.65/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a deep, translucent brown with a slight reddish tint. Head is off-white head with decent retention and lacing.

Smell - Semi-complex aroma, but not nearly as complex as a Grand Cru should be. I pick up hints of dark fruits (raisins, cherries, fig) a bit of chocolate along with a hint of maltiness.

Taste - Not impressive. I hate to bag on Green Flash for trying something as impressive as a Grand Cru, but this ain't that great. Tastes like a homebrewers first attempt with extract and old yeast.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, appropriate carbonation.

Drinkability - It really isn't bad, but it ain't no grand cru.

 633 characters

Photo of RoyalT
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - This was a rather unattractive mud-brown in color with a disappointingly modest head.

Smell - I like the playful yeast in the nose but the malts are too burnt, not a good burn like caramelized onions sticking on the bottom of your oven-roasted baby potatoes but more like that idiot at work who leaves his multi-grain bread in the toaster 30 seconds too long. Also conspicuously absent is any sort of fruity sweetness, a hallmark of the true Grand Cru.

Taste - Thankfully the burnt flavor is hardly noticeable at the taste, so that's definitely a plus. Again though the lack of a deep, dark fruit flavor leaves me wondering how they expect this effort to stand up to others readily available.

Mouthfeel - This was the low point of the ale for me. The overly-toasted malts contributed a harsh bitterness to the finish and this ale lacked the classic fluffy carbonation found in better efforts of the style.

Sinkability - It's not often I dump a 9% ale down the sink, but now that I think about it maybe that is why I did it. You can't down too many more beers after a strong bomber like this and I just didn't want to waste my alcohol intake on something so lacking in quality and appeal. Probably one of the worst Grand Crus that I've ever had.

 1,261 characters

Photo of alexhahn82
2.79/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark almost black burgundy in color with a .5 finger head.

S - HOLEY SMOKES. Literally, smoke, smoke, smoke. Wood.

T/M - There isn't much taste here other than smoke. Tastes similar to liquid smoke seasoning and beef jerky minus the beefy taste. But I guess that could be a positive if you like something that tastes like a camp fire smells?

O - 9.1% ABV, can't taste a hint of the alcohol due to the smoke. Very blah overall, complex in its own way but blah none the less.

PP (Price Point) - $6.99 for a 22oz. bomber, Delivers on the ABV with its 9.1%, flavor profile wise its not doing too much for me other than the smoke. For a Grand Cru its not living up to me personally.

 685 characters

Photo of SolomonGrundy
2.91/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The basics: $7.99/bomber and a generous 9.1% ABV...

Pours a rustic mahogany. A nice cream colored head covers it like snow in Valhalla. Never really dissipates and leaves nice, sticky lacing. Hard to tell how well carbonated, or not, this is...Looks good.

Muted aromas. I get some sour apple, a Belgian style yeast component, but very faint. I also get leather boot in there. Also a hint of must.

Flavor is wack-a-doodle. It's Brown-ish, and yeasty...The yeast components are dominant here. A very odd sourness - kind of sweet and not altogether sour - hits you early middle...Then it collapses into a slightly weird bitterness that's not entirely to my liking, and this finishes off the ale. Strange and not altogether pleasant. The beginning and middle are excellent, but this off bitterness is cloying...Alcohol gets hot in your throat, but isn't huge in the flavor profile. Probably too expensive to call good beer.

What I like most: The ABV and beginning of the drink.

What I like least: The unique, yet slightly unpleasant, finish.

Verdict: Not good enough to justify the high price tag.

 1,099 characters

Photo of alaimoa
2.96/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured from bottle with a reddish color, limited head.
Smells of coffee, citrus (orange, lemon)
Tastes like a beer you would want after dinner, dark, heavy and almost a barley wine. Definitely has the upfront alcohol that lingers in somewhat of a bad way
Overall Its ok but probably wouldn't buy again

 302 characters

Photo of mentor
3.05/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a thin layer of tanned head over a very dark brown liquid. Brown with some ruby when held to light. Smells clovey, pumpkin pie spice, dry chocolate, mild roast, and underneath is a smell you'd get at a gasoline pump. Was expecting dark fruity esters, but get only canned pears.

Tastes chocolatey with some cream and a dash of smoke. Mild clove, some dark fruits. Nice brown ale character and toasted caramel malt note beneath the phenols. For me, the phenols are almost overbearing (probably correct for the style, my palate is *very* sensitive to phenols). Finishes with a spicy zing that could be alcohol sting mixed with spice (pumpkin pie). Dry mouth afterward with something I can only describe as 'strung-out caramel' that lingers.

While little carbonation when poured, and fizzy at that, the beer is quite full of carbonation when it hits the tongue. Md-thick, but a late dextrinous thickness helps the body. Overall, a flat presentation of what can be an engaging style.

 986 characters

Photo of wbason
3.08/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

22oz bottle served in duvel glass. Bottled on 11/06/12.

A Fairly aggressive pour leaves over a finger of off-white head that dissipates in a few minutes. Color is dark brown/ ruby red and clear.

S Smell is subdued for the style. Notes of raisin, brown sugar, caramel malt. Unable to detect much else.

T Hints of raisin, dark fruit, and brown sugar are quickly overwhelmed by an overpowering and unexpected hop presence. The hop bitterness is super high for the style. I love my hops but not when I crack open a bottle of "Belgian-style Dark Ale." This is not a bad beer, however it's way too hop-forward for the style... in my opinion.

M For me the mouthfeel is almost spot-on. Just the right viscosity and carbonation. Slightly drier finish than desired.

O This is a hard style to attempt given the hundreds of years of collective experience that you're up against. The beer itself is pretty good, but it is not what one expects given the brewery's description. A very hop-forward interpretation of the style.

 1,015 characters

Photo of Thickfreakness
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A- Looks like root beer on the pour. Some brown with plenty of red highlights. A nice fluffy, two finger tan head floats effortlessly and leaves barely a trace of lacing as it slowly fades away.

S- Some notes of banana and birch. Touches of clove, pineapple, candied brown sugar, and subtle touches of dark fruit like figs, dates, and raisins. I was really expecting much, much more on the nose from this. It's almost a tease. You really have to take a deep whiff just to pull in something on the nose.

T- Again, very subtle and shunted. No big notes of anything. Kind of a blander depiction of the smell. Very disapointed. Some over-ripe banana and spice. A dull mix of tropical and dried fruit.

M- Decent carbonation at first, but it slowly dies out and becomes flat. Has a touch of sticky honey that rolls on the tongue. Nice sweetness and not much alcohol.

O- Average at best. Very dissapointing when compared to most GF brews. I wish they'd get they're act together on this one. I had such high hopes.

 1,012 characters

Photo of BB1313
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Bottled on 10/30/12. Poured into a chalice. Pours a dark brown with ruby red hues. Huge off-white head that sticks around and leaves really nice lacing. Looks pretty good. Smells good too. The aromas are full of cherries, bananas, and bubblegum. There's some sugar cane and dark fruits in the aromas as well. Smells very sweet. I was expecting very sweet flavors, but it's somewhat more on the bitter side. Lots of raisins, plums, and prunes. There's a subtle hop bitterness followed by a minor touch of heat, but far from anything overboard. The mouthfeel is pretty nice. Active carbonation, but not extremely active. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied and remains fluffy and creamy.

I'm not crazy about the taste, but everything else is right on. I'm a huge fan of Green Flash, but this isn't a winner like most of their beers, in my opinion.

 863 characters

Photo of rawfish
3.16/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours dark brown, ruby highlights and a quickly forming parchment colored head. Reaches two and a half fingers in height. Recedes fairly quickly leaving messy scatterings of lacing behind on the glass.

Sweet and earthy tones of molasses, toffee, chicory and heavy licorice. Notes of rhubarb and cherry. Alcohol mixed with the odd phenol finishes the aroma with husky grain, licorice and sharpie marker.

Bready but completely lacking in sweetness, spices hit the palate with clove, more licorice and powder. Earthy and medicinal hops add some balance and light earthy bitterness in the shadow of the drink. Grape-like tannins bring out an astringent flavor with lemony acidity and a twang of metal.

Soapy finish, despite the high indication of carbonation during the pour it is quite appropriate. Easy to drink body . Alcohol is nicely disguised.

This beer really hits the palate with soapy Belgian spices and earthy flavors, very phenol heavy. Really not for me flavor-wise, I've been really sensitive to metallic flavors in some beers lately. Quite a different take on a Belgian strong ale. Happy for the chance to try this one though.

 1,140 characters

Photo of argock
3.17/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a Duvel tulip. Served at 60F. No freshness date. Purchased at Binny's Liquor Depot (Chicago, IL) for $6.99.

A: Very dark brown with plum edges. Short cap of off-white head recedes to leave a lasting rim-riding ring of head that leaves a few spots of lace.

S: Malty by God and with some interesting caramel, raisin, fig, toffee, and spiced aromas.

T: The flavor unfortunately goes a whole different route than the aroma with a very bitter, spiced clove note through the middle which doesn't fade much with warming. The beginning and end are both on the sweeter side with lots of caramel and raisin flavors. Alcohol is well-hidden with only some belly-warming.

M: Very smooth and caressing mouthfeel with low carbonation and pretty dry in the finish.

O: Definitely disappointing with a disjointed flavor profile which emphasizes bitter spices rather than the caramel and dark fruit flavors of the aroma.

 943 characters

Photo of Apellonious
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1 pt 6 fl oz bomber from Lil Roberts Place. The bottled made a "pop" when I opened it.

A - Cloudy, deep brown. Pours with little head, the lacing hangs around the side and in the middle of the glass.

S - Plums , dark fruit, heavy malt, nougat

T - I cant believe I just used the word nougat in a review. First sip was awe inspiring, but not in a good way. Like drinking a fruity ash tray. So, yes, smokey. You get some of plum and malts at first and then overpowering smoke and ash tray, into the finish.

M - Mouthfeel seems ok. Carbonation is medium.

O - Having a hard time with this. Perhaps a bad bottle. Even for a whiskey the ash tray taste and finish would be barely tolerable.

 690 characters

Photo of SCbrewpubfan
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A - Pours the color of brown sugar with a small head that dissipates quickly. Keeps a light body of bubbles on top, but little to no lacing.
S - Super sweet up front with a lot of Belgian rock candy present. Hints of white raisin and Fuji apples in the background.
T - Sugary sweetness is balanced with piney hops, but the overall beer is lacking complexity. Apple and pineapple flavors up front are finished with resiny bitterness. Alcohol is present in the aftertaste.
M - Medium to light body, with little carbonation. A fuller body would help with the abv.
O - Green Flash seems to be at the top of their game when producing west coast IPA's and PA's. This beer is fairly well balanced, but just forgettable.

 716 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Pours brown with a small off white head that quickly diminishes to a thin collar that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sugary malts, molasses, dark fruits and some alcohol. As it warms, sharp alcohol starts to dominate.

The flavor is roasted nutty malts, molasses, dark fruits and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, I didn't really care for this - it seemed like a pretty simple Belgian strong. I thought is was overly sweet and alcoholic.

 503 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three-finger thick, lightly browned, dark tan colored head. The beer is quite dark, with a deeply burnt amber color that is approaching black, when held up to the light the beer shows a brilliantly clear, bright cranberry hue. A rich fruity aroma is noticeable as I pour this brew and reminds me of raisin. A deeper inspection of the nose confirms this but also adds a malty, sweet-bread like note that makes me think of brown sugar glazed pastries that have been lightly browned. This finishes with a cracker like, dry grain note and a meaty malt note. As the beer warms the fruit notes moves towards a prune / concentrated plum type aromatic.

Sweet with an ample carbonation that causes this to foam a bit excessively as it hits my tongue. The beer finishes with a toasted malt astringency and a noticeable hop bitterness as well as a touch of alcoholic warming. Flavors of brown sugar and lightly burnt bread crust mix with fruit flavors of prunes and some fig flavors. This has a really astringent malt character to it for some reason, though this does seem to be accentuated by both the hop bitterness and alcohol. Some dusty malt character and perhaps a touch of cocoa become noticeable as the beer warms up a bit. This beer is not overly sweet, and in fact is really just rich on malt character.

This just isn't my type of beer, it has too much astringency and dark malt character to it for my tastes (despite a Grand Cru being anything but a defined style). The beer is just a bit too un-integrated right now, but I could see this improving if laid down for a year or so.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

 1,667 characters

Photo of theboozecruise
3.31/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a goblet. purchased at Spec's in Houston.

It's a dark Brown, a little hazy with minimal head.

The aroma is faint but what I pick up is good. A little chocolate, followed by some plum notes.

The taste also has a bit of chocolate in there. A little odd for a BSDA but it's not bad. Theres even a little roasted note on the end. Double checking... yep this is the grand cru.

It's very drinkable and I like it but it's just a little out of character.

 487 characters

Photo of Gehrig
3.31/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A finger of chestnut brown body rests under a finger of off-white foam; decent lacing. Some berry smell, a bit of caramel, but for a 'big beer" this does not deliver the appropriate aroma. In fact, it's hard to detect much aromatically from this, unfortunately.

Some berry, a sour funky taste, and modest caramel emerge in the taste, but this is nothing special. The more I consume of this, the more I realize how far short of a "big beer" this Grand Cru falls. One can taste the heat from the alcohol, but it's tougher to discern the distinct flavors of the beer.

Sour, farmhouse taste and mouthfeel--not bad, but far from a traditional BSDA taste. It's more subdued that bold for a BSDA and, when it stands out, it is more for its oddities than its attributes that I acknowledge this.

Green Flash has brewed some real gems over the years. This is not one of them. In fact, it's rather a disappointment, and not one I'll grab again.

 938 characters

Photo of champ103
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark brown color with some ruby highlights around the edges. A small tan head forms with little retention. Light lace as well.
S: Spicy and funky yeast up front. Some roasted malt, chocolate, and dark fruits.
T: Yeast and spice overwhelm the flavor at first. Some burnt malt and some bitter chocolate. Sharp and astringent.
M/D: A medium body with some harsh carbonation. The alcohol is sharp, and makes this harder to drink than I would like.

Not bad, but does not compare to other Belgian dark ales. There are much better examples of the style.

 558 characters

Photo of PBoegel
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was seeking this beer out and was glad to find the 2010 batch to sample fresh.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Chimay Chalice. The pour shows a dark brown to slightly black beer with deep red and even purple highlights going into the glass. In the glass it becomes deep black, dense and stout like with a thin mocha foam head.

There are aromas of espresso, plum, tart dark cherries, and a completely surprising smokiness. At this point it is fair to say I was not prepared for that at all. I don't necessarily always look to see what to expect from a beer in terms of ingredients but I had never come across a note that this beer had smoked malt in it. It is subtle, to add character, but not what I was prepared for at all. Did not pick up too much Belgian spiciness its there but not a dominate player at all in the nose. Bottle says mix of Belgian and American yeast so that explains the subdued nature of the yeast profile.

The taste profile really threw me off with the smokiness being upfront and finishing on the palate. Again it was not dominant but it played a completely unanticipated role in the presentation of this beer. Flavors are a mix of subtle french roast coffee, dark cherries, touch of ripe banana and cooked pear. Some bitterness and alcohol warmth in the finish.

Mouthfeel was medium light bodied, finish is semi-dry, lingering roast and smokiness on the tongue.

Being totally honest, I could not wrap my head around this brew, I have had their Tripel and American Tripel and enjoyed both (have not reviewed yet on BA) I struggled with the smokiness. To the point of wondering was I picking up rauch malt, or was something amiss with the beer. I default to the former, but being fair was disappointed and not into this particular offering. I like Rauch beers, but the smoke just did not work for me in this one.

 1,841 characters

Photo of Nick3
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark, dary brown ale pours a tan one finger head into my Rochefort chalice. Nose is yeasty with fruity esthers, pear and apple, and some malt. Taste is sweet molasses and belgian yeast up-front with a warming alcohol finish accompanied with a mild bite from the hops. Beer has medium to heavy body. Nothing too impressive here compared to other BSDAs, but still a good beer that I'd prefer over many other ales outside this style.

 430 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Green Flash Grand Cru from Green Flash Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 449 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.