The Beast Grand Cru | Avery Brewing Company

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The Beast Grand CruThe Beast Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 16.83%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hop Variety: Bravo, Bullion, Sterling, Hersbrucker, Columbus, Styrian Goldings
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Honey malt, Dark Aromatic, Pale wheat, Roasted wheat, Special B
Sugars: Dates, Molasses, Dark Belgian Candy Sugar, Colorado Honey, Raisins, Turbinado
OG: 1.135 ABV: 15-17% IBUs: 63 Color: Burgundy

The Beast is a seducer – accomodating, complicated, powerful, dark and created to last the ages. With a deep burgundy color and aromas of honey, nutmeg, mandarin orange and pineapple, this massive and challenging brew has flavors akin to a beautiful Carribean rum. Dates, plums, raisins and molasses are dominant in a rich vinous texture. Cellarable for 10+ years.

The Beast is the first installment of “The Demons of Ale” series.

Food pairing: Pineapple upside down cake pairs nicely with the sweet, rum-like flavors found in our Beast Grand Cru.

Batch 1 (2004): 15.7% ABV
Batch 2 (2004): 18.1% ABV
Batch 3 (2005): 14.9% ABV
Batch 4 (2006): 14.6% ABV
Batch 5 (2007): 16.42% ABV
Batch 6 (2008): 16.31% ABV
Batch 7 (2009): 15.07% ABV
Batch 8 (2010): 16.21% ABV
Batch 9 (2011): 16.83% ABV
Batch 10 (2012): 16.00% ABV
Batch 11 (2013): 18:00% ABV
Batch 12 (2014): 16.1% ABV
Batch 12 (2015): 17.2% ABV

Added by Crosling on 01-29-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 601 | Ratings: 1,395
Photo of drdiesel9483
4.51/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2017 on tap served in a snifter, 16.8%
Look - dark amber color with some lacing and very slight head that went away
Smell - tons of dark fruit ( plum dates etc) molasses and honey... very rich
Taste - a little bit of booze but lots of honey date and molasses.
Feel - warm medium syrupy body with a slight crisp carbonation
Overall - what a great beer... taste a lot like a quad.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Very deep tan pour, thin head which dissipates to a gossamer lacing. Enticing sweet esters on the nose with a definite nectarine / orange note upfront with underpinnings of fresh date, brandy and cardamom. Bold and sweet on the tongue with notes of carmelized sugar, maple syrup (like Aunt Jemima style), apricot, honey and other cloying flavors. For the style I was surprised how treacly it was. It definitely has a pronounced fusel spike in the mid and end palate which clashes with the rest of the beer's sweetness. Some spicey phenols peek through with some fig & raisin but not as much as you would expect from the style. Lot going on in this beer, some good but a lot of it is too notched to 11. A big in-your-face beer, and not without quality, but better if it were dialed-in.

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Photo of HenryPorter7777
4.46/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Caribbean Rum, malt forward, balanced in hops; barrel aged. This is expensive and a treat, but worth it. Clearly a sipper, but its excellence unfolds as it breathes. Deep copper pour that leaves a nice lacing upon drinking. Initial taste is strong, but gives way soon to an appreciation for what Avery has achieved in this beer. Excellent.
17.2 % ABV

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Photo of josephandbrown
4.46/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

What a beer, this Beast. while not quite the highest ABV I've had from a beer, it is still intimidating at 17.2%. The beer hits like a freight train upon the first sip, and seems closer to a fortified wine than a beer.

The Beast was a deep amber color. While shining a light through it, an orange tint became obvious. While it did not pour with much head, it sustained throughout and left pleasing lacing on the glass.

The aroma was surprisingly light. I mostly detected sweetness, from malt and what smells like Belgian candied sugar. There was also some yeast smell noticeable as the beer warmed. It feels heavy and thick. The carbonation was very strong, making it hard to hold the beer in the mouth for very long. This isn't too much of a problem, as the flavors are strong and tend to linger in the mouth for some time.

I've heard The Beast's flavor described as "complex," and that seems like an understatement. It's almost a grab bag of flavors, and I noticed something different every time I took a sip. At first, it is reminiscent of a port, but as the flavors start to come through, I was hit with a menagerie of Belgian esters: figs, banana, clove, licorice, and toffee. Cocoa nibs seemed present as the beer warmed. Some hop bitterness is present, though it took about half the beer for me to notice it; the sweetness and other malt flavors are clearly dominant. I was surprised to see the IBU was 63, not far from the highest we can detect, about 85. It goes to show you how much those bittering hops are necessary as you get high in ABV.

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, 2005 vintage. Pours very hazy very dark reddish brown color with a thin spotty lace cap for a head that lingers. Slight spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of huge raisin, prune, fig, date, cherry, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, honey, brown bread, molasses, leather, and tobacco; with lighter notes of cinnamon, pepper, licorice, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with fantastic complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruit/sugars, and fruity/earthy yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of huge raisin, prune, fig, date, cherry, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, honey, brown bread, molasses, leather, and tobacco; with lighter notes of cinnamon, pepper, licorice, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Minimal herbal bitterness and yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruit, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, honey, brown bread, molasses, leather, tobacco, light licorice/pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruit/sugars, and fruity/earthy yeast flavors; with a nice malt/spiciness balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Minimal carbonation and very full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, slick, and syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Zero warming or boozy alcohol for 14.9%. Overall this is an incredible Belgian strong dark ale. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruit/sugars, and fruity/earthy yeast flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV. Feels more like an old ale or English barleywine at this point, due to the very subdued spicy Belgian yeast character; but this has aged amazingly. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.46/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- Pours a beautiful,murky, rustic, brown with a thin, off-white, creamy head.
S- Funky, boozy, toffee, carmel and hop.
T- Malt forward with the carmel and toffee taste showing up first along with slight hop funk. Transitions to slightly sweet candied fruit that is quitensmooth the oak.
F- very slick, medium bodynwith nice warming from alcoholm.
O- very unique oak ale, malt forward with vreat sweetness balance. Avery is awesome.

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Photo of Bier82
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is quite the "Beast".
The malt is the most forward aspect of this beer, its sweet and almost spicy.
Next is the oak, it comes through with vanilla notes and woody overtones.

The alcohol is the kicker for me, it comes through clean and harsh all at once.
This beer is an amazing combination of malt, oak, and alcohol.

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Photo of ccg
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #14 from July 2016 (16.8% ABV) and opened November 2016.
Fluffy head on top of a golden/amber-colored, translucent beer. Head retention is good. No real lacing.
Smell is caramel and sweet malted grains with a bit of bite from the alcohol and hint of citrus.
Flavor has quite a bite from the high ABV. The oak comes through more in the flavor than in the smell. It's also tangy with a moderate amount of bitterness, but that alcohol just keeps biting.
It has a slick feel to it even if it is a little thin, but overall that alcohol burn kind of overpowers any subtlety in the mouthfeel.
Overall, I'd say that it somehow seems a bit less than the sum of its parts. I definitely should have cellared this bottle for a long time to give it a chance to mellow out. At five months old, it's still a bit too much like drinking a lightly carbonated, flavored vodka.

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Photo of chinchill
4.31/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap in SC with 16.8% ABV.

Clear copper body with a very good head.

Quite sweet up front but good but-sweet balance overall.
Rich aroma and richer more complex flavor; Dark fruits with faint dark rum. I'm not surprised to find this uses Westmalle Belgian Ale yeast.

Overall: Delicious. High ABV is obvious in the aroma and clear in the aroma but still nicely hidden overall.

Overall: exceptional. The flavor profile and partially hidden alcohol lets this go down way too easily given the 16.8% ABV.

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Photo of CHickman
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Batch No.13, July 2015, 17.2% ABV; pours cloudy chestnut brown color with a 1+ finger light tan colored head that was packed with tiny bubbles and faded slow to average time, leaving very nice foamy lacing clinging to the sides. Much better lace retention and head display then I expected since this was aged over a year with such a high alcohol level. Impressive.

Smells of port wine, toffee, warm caramel, dark rum and brown sugar up front, followed by dark fruits and some piney or floral hops. If the description below is from Avery (and therefore fact...) then I get why this smells the way it does; the sugars listed below include: Dates, Molasses, Dark Belgian Candy Sugar, Colorado Honey, Raisins, Turbinado. Very complex but still on the basic side with booze cutting through the dark fruit and rich fermented malts.

This is super sweet but perhaps that's by design as the alcohol seems muted and just a warming accent in this dark fruit bomb which has tons of toffee, syrup, caramel and bready notes. Hops add minor bitterness with some piney accents and grapefruit, orange peel, guava and mango before the raisin, cherry, plum and date kick in and then bring molasses, peat moss, brown sugar, faint cinnamon, vanilla, oaky notes, cheap red wine, sherry, black cherry soda and a sweetness which remind me of bread pudding. This brew surprised me as I though the booze would be harsh and hot at this stage in it's life, but this was a little sweeter than I wanted but much smoother than expected.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy with a warming from the high ABV, an almost cloying sweetness, lots of complexities, yet a smooth, dynamic taste like a nice bourbon or scotch. It's strong and doesn't apologize for it, yet manages to not offend your taste-buds and slide down easier than it should bringing out a lot of malty flavors as it goes down. Some spices pop up but the boozy aspects and sweet fruity flavors compliment the various malts gathered. There are a lot of hops in the mash but they don't come through and just bring balance, like a Jedi wielding a light-saber. Good shit right here, enjoy!

10/27/2016-Had The Beast on tap at The Lark in East Northport, NY and it was incredibly boozy and way too over the top. It must have been this year's batch as it was very aggressive, angry even. I could taste some of the aspects that made the well aged bottle so enjoyable, but that snifter on tap was one of the forced slowest sippers I've ever faced.

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Photo of Rcaros
4.31/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

July 2016 batch
Dark amber-red in glass very opaque. . Little carbonation
Strong dark fruit on the nose and molasses sweetness. Slight woodyness
Taste follows the nose.. this enormously high abv is hidden well but shows its head a little on the back.
Medium plus mouth feel.. not full but its pretty heavy
Overall very well made beer

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Photo of kojevergas
2.68/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Brief impressions below from a July 2015 vintage (batch #13 / 17.20% ABV).

TASTE: Unrefined/turbinado sugar is evident. Candi sugar sweetness. Crystal malt. Treacle. Candied fruit. Caramelized sugars. Definitely on the sweeter side, but relatively balanced - even if its monstrous 17.20% ABV is problematically noticeable. Fruitcake.

Belgian yeast isn't as committed to as would be ideal.

Sugarcane, rum, plantain banana, booze, warm pineapple sticky sweetness, raw sugars.

Many drinkers will find this cloyingly sweet; I guess that was a feeble attempt to cover up the booze (like high schoolers mixing Hawaiian punch with plastic bottle vodka).

TEXTURE: Overcarbonated, with a full body and a sticky feel. Smooth and wet. Somewhat soft. Not as thick as you might anticipate, and not chewy.

OVERALL: A boozy Belgian dark ale with attenuation issues, The Beast Grand Cru is a bit of a chore to drink and lacks the rich dark fruit notes found in the best expressions of the style. I'm not sure what the idea was here, apart from pushing the ABV as high as possible.

My initial impression was that this was merely average, but as I tried to work my way through the bottle the sticky sweetness just became deplorable. Difficult stuff to drink, but thank God Avery went with the small format bottles instead of money-grabbing via bombers like most breweries would.


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Photo of Czequershuus
4.74/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a cloudy rusty brown with a minimal head. The aroma is rich with banana, figs, and a strong grassy, almost dirty funk. There is also something which reminds me strongly of graham crackers. The flavor is sticky and fairly hot, with notes of brown sugar, bubblegum, clove, dates, figs, chocolate, and raisins. There is a lot of fruit and spice present, and the alcohol does not hide. The mouthfeel is very thick, and the heat is rather pleasantly stimulating. Overall this is a beautifully rich and decadent beer. If you love high ABV beauties that are not afraid to show it, you will dig this brew.

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

12oz bottle
From the label: "Annual release August 2014 Batch No 12" so this is at two years old.

Appearance: Tawny brown hazy body that is completely opaque. The head is a short creamy tobacco stained yellow color and it quickly fades out to a mere off-white colored ring with a few bubbles in the glass that can be counted by hand. No retention but that is forgivable given that it is 16.1% ABV (from the label). At this age and alcohol volume I am impressed it even had a head. Surprisingly it actually forms lacing from the very limited ring.

Aroma: It has a very prominent caramel aroma with notes of brown sugar and dates. It has an aroma that also reminds me a bit of plum dumplings. There is a bit of a warm raisin bread aroma which is very nice.

Taste: It has this surprising chocolate flavor which is very robust. It just oozes with this decadent chocolate flavor that reminds me a lot of a chocolate truffle. There is an alcohol flavor but it has more of a liqueur presence than anything. There is also a woody flavor which is very nice. The aftertaste leaves a bit of a minty flavor behind which is refreshing and manages to cleanse the palate on its own in anticipation for the next sip of sweet malt. Very impressive.

Mouthfeel: It is a very thick, heavy, smooth beer. This is beyond the realm of a mere sipper. Even with a twelve ounce bottle this is likely to be something worth sharing given the massive presence the beer commands. It is very luxurious to drink.

Overall: I did not read the bottle until after I had written my review. I noticed that it mentioned in small text on the side of the label "ale with raisins, dates, molasses and honey." Kudos to the brewer because I actually picked up all of these in one way or another with the exception of the honey. It is a rare treat to have somebody deliver what they promise. You can literally taste decadence and dare I say it, the care that was put into this beer. It just tastes, smells, and feels well made. Aside from the high ABV the overall character of the beer is in that realm that lies between beer and fine alcohol. With beers like this that have different "vintages" it is hard to tell how it will turn out for everyone given the cellar time and the individual character of a beer each year. I can say that I was impressed by this beer and based on my experience I would recommend it. Even if it doesn't pan out given the variables it is worth taking the gamble. For me it was a two year old beer. I will probably buy another one or more if I have room to cellar again. It might even be worth trying it fresh just to see how it turns out.

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Photo of Brob245
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 batch from the cellar. Strong dark Belgium style that starts very sweet. Boozy presence is not there from the cellaring. Complexity forms as it warms with a malty raisin flavor that has quite a bit of depth.

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Photo of stortore
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a reddish mahogany, a little cloudy, with very little head and some foamy cling. Smell Is of figs, dates, raisins, malt, some Belgian yeast, light cherry. Taste pretty much follows the nose- raisins, malt, dates, some fig, molasses, some caramel, yeast. Some alcohol, but not much for the ABV. Fairly smooth, good body, the taste lingers.

This is an interesting beer, as it manages to retain some semblance of a Belgian Strong Dark. Flavorful and fairly complex in taste and aroma, hides the insane ABV pretty well. However, the cost is steep for what you get. Certainly one to try once, you'll enjoy it.

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Photo of MattinHouston
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 batch 13, I thought it was a bit sweet at first. Definitely can taste the dates, molasses, honey, all that extra sugar to ferment to 17% abv. Yet it still has an ale taste shine through, especially compared to other high abv brews which only taste like syrup. Good job making a real beer with unconventional methods, I have to try their other varieties as I have to say in this abv, haven't had anything that tastes better. Once you hit 10%abv all the "beers" seem to taste like experimental projects...

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark raisin/burgundy brown color with a micro-thin lacing ring. Color is murky and opaque. As the beer warms the murkiness goes away and becomes hazy.

S - Raisins, dates, figs, molasses, a little bit of alcohol, and some honey sweetness.

T - Boozy and fusel, so much that it knocks out most of any flavor. raisins, honey, figs, molasses, oak, and ends with a piney bite to offset some of the sweetness.

M - Big and full body, velvety, lip smacking sticky, creamy carbonation on the back end.

O - The alcohol is much more prevalent on the palate as opposed to the nose. Too boozy so it lost a few points. Would like to get a few bottles to cellar, see where it goes, and revisit this review in the future.

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Photo of Briken
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

For my 666th beer had and opened on Christmas 2015 to celebrate the birth of the little baby Jesus:

08/14 vintage
Clear dark mahogany and foamy tan head with decent retention. Booze, raisins, candy, dates, and yeast aromas. Hot alcohol, chocolate, molasses, raisins and notes of honey and spice. Biting, syrupy feel.

Wonderfully complex flavor aside from the overly boozy notes. Devilishly sweet and spicy notes in the back. The overly boozy nature greatly diminishes this beer but maybe after 5 years...

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Photo of bnes09
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dense, syrupy appearance. Looks like liquid caramel. Sweet dark fruit and booze aromas. Rich, ultra sweet dates, raisins, toasted caramel. Rum like booze tingles the palate. Super heavy, syrupy, sticky, chewy mouthfeel that even the high alcohol cannot cut through. Very high carbonation for the strength which is welcome. Complex and strong. Not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of cookedw
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Such a solid, no nonsense heavy octane beer. Lots of sweet, caramel notes. So much more drinkable than the ABV. Avery strikes again on the high octane beers.

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Photo of Longhorn08
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - cloudy Amber with cream head that dissipates quickly

S- brown sugar, plums, Belgian yeast

T - very sweet, plum and figs up front, brown sugar on the back end, alcohol is hidden well

F - a little flat for the style, but not bad

O - very solid for the style, will have again

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Photo of Phigg1102
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a deep amber/light brown color. Thin cap hangs arround the edge for a bit. Aroma of apple and cinnamon, caramel. Taste is like straight applesauce. Crazy high levels of booze are hidden pretty well.

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Photo of Auraan
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a perfect cloudy reddish brown body with a ring of delicate white lace. Overall impression of appearance is of a fantastic example of a high ABV Belgian Strong Dark ale, magnificent. Scents of sweet, spicy alcohol upfront, imparting notes of rum-soaked dark fruit and fruitcake, strong malt presence is rich, with notes of caramel, rich bread and light amounts of chocolate, high levels of fruit esters imparting aromas of date, raisin, and a light dried cherry presence, notes of molasses and brown sugar sit at moderate levels in the background adding further depth and very light peppery phenols mingle with the spicy alcohol. Overall impression of aroma is of a very bold, forward Belgian Strong Dark, with a massive amount of different aromas derived from malt and yeast, bringing out fruit, spice and rich malt aromas and with a massive, though balanced alcohol presence. Unlike other Belgian Strong Darks in its boldness, but not overwhelming. Flavor begins rich, sweet and malty with notes of caramel and molasses blending with dark fruit flavors of raisin, date and dried cherry, notes of rum-soaked fruit cake are also imparted by the high level of warming alcohol. Middle continues these flavors though alcohol presence increases and a light presence of dark chocolate appears. Finish is sweet with pronounced notes of warm alcohol, moderate dark chocolate, molasses and fruity esters of dried cherry, raisin and date with a large amount of alcohol on the swallow. Aftertaste is dry with notes of peppery phenols mingling with warm alcohol and bitter dark chocolate and light coffee. Overall impression of flavor is interesting. This is a very intense, varied and rich flavor profile, yet I cannot tell if it is complex, or if it is overwhelmed by the alcohol. It is quite delicious however, and the myriad flavors blend together into a wonderful whole. Quite nice. Mouthfeel is full bodied, with a creamy feel and light carbonation prickle that is enhanced by a moderately high level of alcohol burn. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a rich, boozy, strong ale. The strongest Belgian Strong Dark I have sampled. Quite nice in a cool night. Overall this is a fantastic beer. It has a wonderfully complex aroma and a possibly complex, but certainly delicious flavor and a wonderfully warming mouthfeel. It is varied, boozy and rich, the perfect sipping beer for a cool Halloween night. It may not be the finest Belgian Strong Dark, but it is one of the finest strong ales I have sampled. Avery nailed it.

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Photo of delta490
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the 2015 bottling of batch 12. Pours a murky brown with a short-lasting off white head. A little head manages to last and leave a small bit of tight sticky lacing. The aroma is actually quite understated given how big and boozy this beer is. There are hints of malt, sugary sweetness and alcohol but nothing is dominant or pronounced. The flavor is much more intriguing, with all the complex elements just smashing around, changing as the beer warms. The first sip was sweet and boozy. The next was fruity. And it went on like that, the elements changing as it went on. It's not a hugely thick or weighty beer and is remarkably easy to drink given all that's going on.

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The Beast Grand Cru from Avery Brewing Company
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,395 ratings.
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