Green Flash Grand Cru | Green Flash Brewing Co.

very good
450 Ratings
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 Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 450 |  Reviews: 176
Photo of drpimento
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good beer. Bit sweet as a whole and strong. Poured with a small fine cream colored foamy head that quickly subsides and some lace. Color is a very dark cherry wood. Aroma is sweet malty a bit yeasty and roasty. Flavor's mainly sweet with the other aroma qualities larger also. Good full round body and good carbonation. Finish is mainly sweet with some bitterness at the very end. Not really a session.

 402 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 biggred1
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rosewood with dark red highlights and a creamy peanut butter colored head that leaves sheets of lace on the glass. The nose is rich and fruity with some alcohol and belgian spice notes. Big and boozy..but darn tasty too! Cocoa powder and mascerated dark fruit with banana, coriander and enough Belgian tasting yeast to stay within the style guidelines. The flavor complexities grow as it warms up a bit. Fairly light bodied with milder carbonation. Not truly Belgian tasting to me, but a still a fine beer that is worth the price of admission.

 543 characters

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nose is dark fruity and malty, slightly wet-cardboardish and dank. Smells pretty good.

Pours very dark brown, clear, with mild to no head. Looks okay.

Surprising bit of hop flavor and bitterness as well as thrashy tannins. Dark sweet malt, kind of thick. Some bitter compounds suggesting dark roast. Alcohol notable and pleasant. Tastes pretty good. Feels pretty good. Good drinkability.

 389 characters

Photo of jwillcourt
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a cask into a half-pint glass.

A - Clear, deep chestnut brown color. There is a finger-sized tan head that disappears in a couple minutes, leaving a ring of foam and very little lacing.

S - Roasted malt and candied sugar.

T - Overall sweet flavor. Initially it is sweet malt and cherry, with a slight roasted flavor underneath. The finish tastes like cherry juice. There is a raisin flavor that starts to grow as it warms. The roasted malt flavor also grows in intensity as it warms. There is no hop flavor to remark on.

M - Full bodied with very soft carbonation. It is silky smooth. It feels a little grainy sometimes, but that is not unusual when drinking from a cask.

D - This is so delicious! It is on the sweeter side, though, so you wouldn't want to drink too much. I think a pint serving would be great. The bar has a policy of pouring beers over a certain ABV in half-pint servings.

 908 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 hophead247
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber to cola brown color with reddish highlights and a thin off-white head. Aroma is malty and sweet with notes of ripe fruit, caramel, honey, grains. Flavor is sweet and floral with notes of honey, spice, flowers, caramel, anise. Generally medium body with a sweet malty finish. Not a big fan of the style, but this one was drinkable.

 349 characters

Photo of MisterClean
4.55/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 from total wine tustin

A - Poured a light brown with mahogany highlights. Left 2 fingers of capuccino head and dissipated moderately. Left little lacing.

S - Medium roast coffee, cherries, grapefruity hops, light alcohol, and funk from the yeast.

T - Medium roast coffee, cherries, grapefruit hops, and brown sugar. Shit blew my mind. Awesome!

M - Full-bodied, malt dominated, and smooth.

D - Great. Will seek out again, fantastic beer. Almost tastes like its made with a Belgian Abbey and California Ale yeast (cherry flavors).

 536 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this bottle.

Pours dark brown with a white head. The aroma is very sweet with dark fruit. The flavor is Belgian yeast and cand-sugar with some dark fruit mixed in. The alcohol is present and is warming. A pretty basic Belgian-inspired beer, but nothing special. Still, I don't think anyone will be disappointed if they try it.

 360 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A styrofoam-tight tan head, about a half-inch thick, sits firmly and tightly on top, taking quite some time to diminish to a thinner layer. Color is a deep dark brown, just a few minor shades from black. Lace strings stick to the sides of the glass.

Aroma is a big swirl of yeast, dark fruit (plum, raisin/grape, fig) and milk chocolate/chocolate milk. Has an herbal/spice thing happening in the background, which merges fully with the rest of the characteristics with warming.

Flavor touches on some of the aspects of the aroma, but mostly goes another way, somewhere pretty far off the beaten path of big dark Belgian ales. I get a fluffy marshmallow creme thing here, burnt popcorn too, with citrusy hops hovering underneath these bolder, more unusual flavors. Graham cracker comes on big time, as does cola, watery chocolate milk, anise and an overall vinous character. Alcohol lends a peppery nip.

Dry, with just a little tartness resulting in some pucker, and something reminding of wet creek stones (mineral) in the back. Slick, only medium carbonation and body. Almost airy, but never wimpy.

I understand this isn't a cherished Green Flash beer, but I think it's wonderful. Despite calling this "Grand Cru" (bad choice) and despite the use of Belgian yeast, it's unfair to judge this by Belgian dark ale standards. Just too much of a belligerent west coast vibe here; the label reads "mysterious dark ale," and that's exactly right. Seems obvious Green Flash attempted a hybrid of two different worlds here. I'd put it closest to whatever a Belgian Black IPA might taste like, which probably gives style-purists a heart attack. Is there nothing Green Flash does that is less than mighty?

 1,700 characters

Photo of SLeffler27
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark walnut, almost black, with rich, dark brown highlights. A thick, creamy beige head leaves dense patches of lace.

Pungent aromas of dark fruits, spices, pumpernickel-bread-dough, are followed by sweet floral notes, oak, honey, and light mustiness. The olfactory will be delighted with this rich and heavily layered experience.

The flavors fail to follow through with the promise from the aromas. Harsh astringency and bitterness was unexpected and is unwelcome.

This is a medium bodied, dry ale with moderate carbonation. The sharp alcohol accentuates metallic notes.
This would probably be better with strong-flavored foods like fatty, creamy dishes. The astringency prevents this from being considered a sipping beer.

 734 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber that I've aged for about 8 months, poured into my large St. Feuillien goblet, Grand Cru is cola brown with a very creamy little tan head that leaves nice foamy lace.

Smell is sweet and estery, dark fruits, and spicy, herbal, anise.

Taste is also estery, but there's a dark malt taste that brings it into Belgian porter territry, which I really dig, and is reinforced by the anise. However, I'm not a fan of black licorice, and could do without it.

Mouthfeel is super creamy, medium bodied and dry.

Drinkability is ok, I like the Belgian porter style, but could do without the spices, namely anise. It is also a touch heavy for a BSDA.

 649 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark borwn in color with a 1" head that sports some large bubbles and lasts a while. Spotty lace develops during the session.

Smell: caramel, some bitterenss, and some citrus is easy to detect.

Taste: big malt profile with raisins, prunes, brown sugar, a nicely warming alcohol, and a decent bitterness are most noticeable. There is a bit of earthiness to this beer that shows up late.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth at the finish.

Drinkability: nice overall flavors, but alcohol level knocks this down a notch. Slow sipping but more than one glass can be enjoyed here.

 618 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Roasted chestnut brown that becomes dusky garnet when backlit with afternoon sunshine. Generous carbonation has created three full fingers of butter toffee colored cream that is passably Belgian in appearance. Several sheer sheets of sea foam suds... sell shiny sea shells by the sea shore. Sorry, got carried away there.

Not that I can tell them apart in most cases, and they're pretty similar anyway, but I would have guessed dubbel if blinded. Steely caramel and medium-dark fruit leads the way, with just enough Belgian yeast spiciness to make it work. A lack of boldness is the only reason for the above score.

Green Flash Grand Cru, while a pretty good effort, doesn't get it done in the end. That is, if we're comparing it to the bona fide (read: Belgian) versions of the style. Which we are. For starters, there's too much unmasked alcohol. The result is a beer that has too much harshness and heat. Tastes like 26-proof, not 18-proof.

The brewers hit the malt bill nail on the head, and the yeast strain is pretty estery as well. This really isn't that far away from pretty damn good beer. Specifics include dark caramel, cocoa powder, raisins soaked in Absolut, anise seed and plenty of spicy ground clove.

There's a fair amount of bitterness, though no appreciable hop flavor. Warming smooths off some of Grand Cru's rougher edges. So much so that I'm going to bump the taste and drinkability scores. It helps if you like big, bold, aggressive beer.

The mouthfeel is not Belgianesque. Nor did I expect it to be. Slightly more heft and fewer bubbles would have been better. Not much viscosity allows rapid consumption. Watch it though, because this is a sneaky bastard that is beginning to numb the tips of my typing fingers. Time to slow down.

Le Freak is a rock-solid example of an American-brewed Belgian IPA. Grand Cru isn't quite as solid, but it does have a certain amount of Big Beer charm. As long as you don't go in expecting the moon and the stars, this brutish brew delivers just enough enjoyment to justify the purchase price.

 2,056 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 picked up in Denver over the weekend.... poured into my Delirium goblet... 2 finger tan head with tons of lace... the brew is deeeep dark brown that only reveals cherry juice highlites when held to my dining room ceiling light... pretty.

Nose is light esters and phenols with a fair amount of spicy alcohol.... a little pepper, but seems soft across the board.

Flavor also seems light for a BSDA... mirrors the nose, but there are touches of apple butter without the heavy sweetness... in fact this finishes fairly dry... pretty heavy on the EtOH... a little banana as it warms up.. and the raisin/dried cherries really only show as it hits damn near room temperature... medium body with fairly high carbonation seems about spot on for the style.

Overall... this is just an "Ehhhh" beer for me.

 800 characters

Photo of roopy40
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter, no bottled on date or fresh if drank by date on the bottle

A - Very dark brown, with a half inch frothy white head. A hint of amber comes through when held up and room light passes through it

S - Rum soaked raisins, roasted malt, sugar babies?

T - More raisin, hint of warming alcohol (rum), bite of clove

M - Medium in body and the carbonation is right on IMO

D - Very drinkable beer - slowly that is. At 9.1%, it is strong and should be enjoyed at a slow pace.

I really enjoyed the beer and think it represents the style very nicely. I would recommend trying this to anyone who likes BSDA.

 640 characters

Photo of movingtrain
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bomber poured into a Duvel glass.

Pours a dark brownish-black with a finger or so tan head.

Smells of spice, malts, raisins, sugar...very earthy...sweet milk, caramel.

Tastes of molasses, dark candy sugar, roasted malts, dried fruit...banana, clove...honey.

This is a pretty tasty beer...not the best, but very drinkable. The alcohol is very apparent in the smell, but not in the mouthfeel at all. It is sweet, with a slight bitter hint on across the tongue...the yeast used here lends itself to the banana and clove flavors, while there are some true Belgian-ish flavors coming through in the body...brown candy sugar, and that very earthy flavor.

 661 characters

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by jophish17 - much obliged!

Pours a cloudy brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of raisins and brown sugar with hints of herbal hops.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Rustic sweet malt flavors serve as a backdrop for dark fruits - mostly raisins - and brown sugar. Midway through the sip hints of slightly herbal hop flavors join in and carry through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this is one of my least favorite Green Flash beers I've had to date but it's still a solid effort. Try the DIPA and West Coast IPA first then give this a shot.

 803 characters

Photo of yemenmocha
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown to neear black with tan head that is very generous. Nose is dessert-like with sweet bread aromas, brown bread, brown sugar, and at least one more brown something or other. Palate is malty sweet with a brown sugary, perhaps cocoa-y flavor that has the yeasty bready flavors as well. More candy sugar flavors midway through the finish, and it finishes lightly sweet.

 386 characters

Photo of popery
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very good Belgian ale from a great West coast brewery. I aged this bottle for about 9 months in my makeshift cellar. I initially thought of Green Flash as another San Diego brewer of hop bombs. While I dearly love their various hoppy beers, Green Flash brews some big, complex styles that have much less to do with hops and they do it well (and, to be fair, all of the big SD area craft brewers do too once you get past the hop resin-covered surface). This beer pours a deep brown, only translucent at its edges, with very nice lacing. The aroma is rich and deep with good doughy malt character and lots of Belgian yeast. It reminds me a bit of Rochefort's quad without quite the heat or extreme complexity. The flavor doesn't quite live up to the nose. I'm not getting the sweetness that some people seem to report. It's very yeasty with dark stone fruits and a strong caramel malt flavor. The finish lingers pleasantly. The feel is rich and full. Drinkability is good, but how could that not be the case with a good Belgian-style ale.

 1,036 characters

Photo of juhl31
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pretty dark Belgian which in turn really means Belgian with lots of alcohol really.

-pretty damn dark, you can catch some brown when held to a light

-Belgian right up in there. can definitely smell the alcohol as well

-the Belgium is really coming at me in all aspects. this is a Belgian and it is labeled as strong so it wasn't just a clever name. the alcohol taste really sits in at the back end. 9.1 will do that sometimes. for not being a big Belgian fan, it's not bad

-feels nice enough. i think as it should

-couldn't really reach for this all that often based on my distaste for Belgians for the most part. not to mention the fact that it is pretty strong

 667 characters

Photo of EliottJW
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

this is a solid dark belgian beer... along the lines of a quad. definitely stong enough... or at least tastes so... ooo.

looks solid enough. poured from a bomber into a bruery tulip. The head on this is strong... STRONG at first, but actually dies off pretty quickly. Retention leaves something to bedesired, but it doesn't disappear altogether. leaves a solid lace coming down the side of the glass and sits atop what one might perceive as an imperial stout if it were a bit more viscous.

smells... like a strong belgian beer (can you tell I'm not too well versed in belgians?). sweet, malty... sweet yeasts that just BARELY hint at being bready...

deep, dark malts that don't even think of coming off as toasted or roasted. sweet through and through... until the very end. a strong alcoholic bite shines through for JUST a moment... long enough to put you off a bit. it's deep, dark, sugary... and alcoholic.

feels not as heavy as one would expect from the color... nor the style... but I don't mind it.

drinkable to an extent. to be honest, I'd have a tough time putting down a whole bomber of this... but I'll admit again that I'm not the biggest belgian guy... literally or figuratively.

 1,197 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 aubuc1
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours a dark brown with a tan clingy head.

Smell is fruity, rich bready and slightly sour. Sort of plumy and tangy.

Taste is light tart with rich sweet bread and a sour finish. Great balance between sweet belgian, light sour, and some faint hops.

Full mouthfeel and very drinkable. I wasn't sure what to expect from this brewery(I assumed huge hop), but this is a very nice belgian style beer. I wish this was available locally.

 468 characters

Photo of vrazionale
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pt. 6 fl. oz bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter.

A - Deep, opaque brown with a very slight reddish tint and a off-white head with average retention.

S - Raisins, cherries, chocolate, caramelized bananas, vanilla, candied fruits, fresh and dried figs, gingerbread, and a candy smell that reminds me of my childhood but cannot place the exact candy.

T - Lots of dark fruit. The raisins come forward most prominently, and I get hints of prune, as well. There is a very full spice profile here. I also pick up hints of toffee, chocolate, and cinnamon. Nice long finish.

M - There is a good bite to this brew, coming mostly from the dark fruit flavors. This does mask the heat from the alcohol a bit - but after a few consecutive sips you feel the alcohol burn in the back of your throat.

D - Pretty intense nose and flavor profile. This is no session beer, but if you're in the mood for a spicy, fruity interpretation of a Belgian dark ale, then give this a try.

 987 characters

Green Flash Grand Cru from Green Flash Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 450 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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