Grognard | Bellwoods Brewery

Liked This Beer
3.84 w/ 24 Ratings

Brewed by:
Bellwoods Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 3.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
You don’t often hear “easy drinking” and “stout” in the same sentence, but Grognard is definitely both. This session stout is high on flavour but low on alcohol. Loaded with roasty, chocolatey malt flavour and subtle notes of black currant, cherry, and a soft acidity (without being sour). Grognard is a French word meaning “old soldier”, and compared to the young buck Hellwoods, this guy is definitely moving at a slower pace. But fear not, with age comes wisdom, and Grognard is the sort of guy who’s full of unpretentious life lessons. Like wear some damned sunscreen already. And stop calling yourself fat. Grognard thinks you’re beautiful.

When available, Grognard is on nitro in the brewpub, giving it an extra creamy dimension.

Added by jrenihan on 08-08-2013

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 24 |  Reviews: 8
Reviews by peensteen:
Photo of peensteen
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nearly jet black, more than one finger of mocha head with a ton of lace as well. Smell is loaded with coffee and milky chocolate folowed by bittersweet, nice roast, moderately hoppy with a bit of black liquorice. Taste is roasty with chocolate, gentle hop bitterness, bittersweet and coffee flavours, with a lingering liquorice flavour in a roasty aftertaste. Medium-high carbonation, lightish body. Well executed stuff, very flavourful for such a light stout, mouthfeel suffers a bit but not much else to complain about here.

 526 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of NRo
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.34/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle: Poured a dark black color ale with a very generous brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of dry roasted malt with subtle coffee notes. Taste is also dominated by roasted notes with some light subtle dry coffee notes. Body is light with carbonation really too strong for the style. Enjoyable session-style stout but carbonation is almost like a Coke and doesn’t really fit the style.

 414 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle dated July 29, 2013 poured in to Bellwoods tulip.

A - Black with two fingers of light brown head that quickly receded to a thin layer.

S - A big roast profile dominates with hints of chocolate and smoke. Fairly big nose for the ABV.

T - Bitter roast, smoke and sweet cocoa and molasses. Very smooth. A bitter finish.

M - Medium body. Watery at times. Moderate carbonation.

 384 characters

Photo of dipso123
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of ritzkiss
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of liamt07
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of jrenihan
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nitro tap at Bellwoods.

Beer is pitch black. A good-sized solid tan head on tap. Terrific retention, as expected with nitro.

Smell contains roasted malt, and seems quite creamy. A hint of chocolate. Not a big smell.

The taste, however, is very powerful, particularly considering this is a 3.8% beer. Lots of roasted malt, very creamy. Slightly bitter, with some chocolate. The roasted malt is far and away the dominant flavour. SImple but very tasty.

Medium bodied, seriously creamy and smooth. Moderately carbonated.

Overall, a very nice, straightforward stout.

 577 characters

Photo of Jerboat
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of KeKeKumba
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours near total black with a lace emitting machine of a head. Retention is excellent. The aroma is chocolate, caramel and dry roasted malts. More roasted malts and some black coffee and dark chocolate in the taste. A herbal, lemongrass hop flavor lies in the back, keeping check on the malt sweetness. The mouthfeel is light bodied and creamy with subtle carbonation. Light bitterness and more dark chocolate in the shortlived finish.

This is a great dry stout. Nice and roasty with a good hop compliment and more girth than I was expecting for the ABV. Definitely worth a try.

 579 characters

Photo of hopsolutely
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

An excellent beer that is absolutely perfect for a Sunday afternoon. Wish I'd picked up more!
Pours a near black with ruby and chocolate tones when the glass is held up to light. The creamy milk chocolate coloured head has impressive retention. Very nice aroma of roasted dark and chocolate malts, with light coffee tones. The flavour is well balanced and has great depth. Many malt levels with all the roasted highlights of chocolate, nuts and toast. Truly a well crafted beer that I would highly recommend.

 508 characters

Photo of Jeffo
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at the brewery when I was there this past summer. Looks like a cool place, so I was disappointed I couldn't stay for a while. Will try to rectify that next summer.

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
Bottled 29 July 2013

APPEARANCE: A dark brown pour yields a one finger, medium looking, creamy, light tan head head with great retention. Head slowly fades to a decent wisp and clings to the sides of the glass. Black body and medium levels of carbonation evident. A faint wisp remains leaving dots of lacing down the glass. Good looking Irish dry.

SMELL: Lightly roasted notes, espresso and lots of sweet cream and lactose aromas. Hints of cacao as well, though, and I know this is not billed as a milk stout, the aromas of sweet cream and milk sugars are quite prevalent. Bold aromas.

TASTE: Lightly roasted with caramel sweetness up front. Sweet cream, vanilla and milky flavors through the middle into the swallow. Big and lingering finish is milky sweet with some bitter roasted espresso and cacao powder as well. Pretty flavorful and well balanced between the initial sweetness and bitterness after the swallow. Great.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes a touch dry. Good feel, but could be even creamier for the style.

OVERALL: This is a really, really good low ABV dry stout. Really good. I could swear it's got a bit of lactose sugar in there, but that might just be me. Regardless, this is aromatic, flavorful, well balanced and very easy to drink. One I'd drink regularly throughout the summer if it was available. Don't be afraid to make a lot of this and get it into the LCBO. This and Roman Candle. Don't be shy boys. Recommended.

 1,731 characters

Photo of yancot
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of biegaman
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Grognard certainly doesn't look like a 'light' beer - hell, it's pitch black! They don't come much darker than this. Of course, opacity (or a steely grey head for that matter) is not necessarily an indication of strength, and in this case it's inversely proportional.

Some styles require an advanced, experienced palate, without which full appreciation of the beer simply isn't possible - this is not true of Sweet Stouts. The style's moderate coffee, melted chocolate and milky lactose flavours can be noted (and enjoyed) by drinkers at all levels.

In both aroma and taste, the menu lists simply those three things (roast grain, cocoa and lactose sugars). So it doesn't offer much flash or complexity, but what it does have is plenty of substance. Those flavours, while simple and few in number, are more than ample.

Indeed, rich and decadent it is not - then again what 3.8% beer is? - but Grognard has a flavour profile that far exceeds what most would assume possible for a beer of its strength. It is also thoroughly refreshing which, combined with the engrossing taste, makes it truly sessionable.

Bellwoods has quickly become the Medina of Toronto's craft beer scene; it is a tremendously important place for beer geeks. Given the option between a visit to the brewpub (where they have only 8-10 taps) or any of the city's best beer bars (with three times as many taps and a far more extensive bottle list), I'd still often chose Bellwoods. Their beers are that good.

 1,482 characters

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4/5  rDev +4.2%

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3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

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4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

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3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

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4/5  rDev +4.2%

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3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Grognard from Bellwoods Brewery
Beer rating: 79.2% out of 100 with 24 ratings
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