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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Reviews: 601 | Ratings: 1,395
Photo of icetrauma
1.47/5  rDev -61.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This beer poured a nice deep mahogney with a 1/2 finger off white head which quickly dissipated into fine lace on top of the beer and around the glass. Was pretty excited at first site. Had a really sweet nuance of molasses and suger. Mind started to wonder at this point. Took my first drink. I was expecting a whole lot more. Flavors of molasses, figs, and dark sweet fruit met my palate. The taste finished with extreme suger after taste. Mouth puckered and decided to wait another couple of minutes to let the beer warm up. Second taste was just like the first. Way to sweet and syrupy feeling in my mouth. Will never buy another Beast. Sticking with The Reverend and The IPA. IMO, Avery's top brews.

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Photo of danman0125
1.56/5  rDev -59.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I had this beer on tap last night at the Brass Rail deli in Campbelltown, Pennsylvania. It was served as a 10-oz in a snifter.

Appears Dark Brown in color (not quite as dark as you would usually expect from a typical Belgian strong dark ale.... looks more like a pale ale). Nice-sized ~1 inch head that has good retention while you are sipping the brew.

Smells like a barleywine in my opinion. I am not picking-up on much of a hop aroma.... it is subtle but certainly not in your face. What I smell predominantly is a rich malty sweetness similar to what one would expect from a barleywine with a similar ABV. Questionably some caramelized sugars and maybe some figs/raisins.

As far as taste goes, I think I would have liked this brew much more if the taste resembled the smell.
The beer has an extremely dry and pungent alcoholic taste. There is no hiding it. Any beer that has this kind of ABV you would expect to be a slow sipper but I could hardly even finish my glass. If it wasn't $10.95 for a 10 oz glass, I probably would have left the last few sips. It seriously tastes like taking a sip of vodka or some other hard liquor without much taste to it.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the alcohol seriously overpowers this brew (and I've drank plenty of 15%+ ABV beers which have left a much better impression on me taste-wise).

As far as mouthfeel goes, there is moderate carbonation. That + the impressive head retention for a beer with its ABV gives it a decent mouthfeel.

This beer gets a low-grade for drinkability from me. On the other hand, I don't think it was Avery Brewing Co's intention to make it very drinkable (it isn't a low-ABV American IPA or anything like that where you can bang down 5 or 6 of 'em in front of the pool on a hot summer day).
I'm sorry if my review might seem a little biased.... I very much enjoy Belgian-style strong beers and a good deal of high ABV beers, but this brew doesn't do anything for me but make me want to pass it to someone else.

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Photo of crosborne
1.86/5  rDev -51.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Batch 9, 2011
Tasted like a bad Barley Wine where the goal to reach a high ABV overrides the goal to make a good flavorful beer. I suffered through 3/4 of this before I poured it out.
Overly harsh alcohol flavor.
The best thing about this beer is the cool looking bottle

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Photo of stumac
1.89/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottled in 2006. I let it age for about 10 months before trying it. I sat down in front of the projection screen at my house, ready to watch a movie and enjoy this "supposedly" delicious beer. So I crack the Beast open.

Appearance: Nice half inch off-white head stuck with it for a bit. Nice dark amberish color.

Smell: Very sugary and alcoholy

Taste: Horrible! Nothing but sugar. Nothing but sugar. I let my roommate try it just to be safe, and he said the same thing.

Body: Nice and full but the sugar was way too overbearing.

I want to say that my bottle was just an oddity but at $7 a bottle, I guess I won't know for a long time.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
1.91/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

12oz brown bottle with a red golden foil over the cap,served into a tulip glass. Bottled in 06 stated 14.6 by volume . Scanned through a few reviews this stuff sounds a bit scary. Really got my interest up for it,now back to my anticipated review.

Poured a very mirky reddish brown,remisent of cider,a generous light tan head about as tall as you can make it. Thick and creamy good retention leaving thick clinging webs of lace down the glass.

A strong blast of sweet booziness first off,with molasses and a honeyied sugaryness,some dark fruit like dates and figs,the nats are moving in quickly,better rinse this glass good when finished. There is also some nuttyness with heavly burnt carmell and some sight butter notes.

Now for the scary part the taste. Very,very sweet taste right from the start,too sweet for my taste. Very syrupy,not a boozy as expected,but it's definatly there.Dark fruitness throughout dates,figs,prunes.Has a lighter bodied feel then you would expect,yet it has lots of syrupiness. Already 2 years old don't know if aging more would help out or not. Not my kind of beer,very hard to finish. Not a beer i would want to try again.

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Photo of ptykozoon
1.91/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pretty ruby. Lacing on the rim.

Pungent sweets - grape, raisin. Mixed with smoke and oak, rounded out with alcohol.

Raisin, chocolate, lots of molasses, spice, burnt things. This is not working for me - these flavors just don't work in this beer.

Thick mouthfeel with a decent alcohol bite.

I see what this beer is going for and it fails. The problem is it is completely unrestrained and unrefined. Truly a beast.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
1.97/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Urine and syrup. Not good at all. This beer does not seem to be fully fermented. The aroma is dominated by a sickeningly sweet rotten corn husk, urine like odor. Flavors of candied fruits and snow cone syrups overpower anything interesting going on here. The alcohol burns the mouth, nose, and throat. It’s overwhelming. Finishes sticky like maple syrup left spilled on a counter on a hot July day. Rubbing alcohol flavors linger. Ick! This is one case where bigger is not better. I’d take Milwaukee’s Beast over this one any day. I suppose that in about a dozen years, this one might be drinkable. I’ll consider revisiting then.

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Photo of kimcgolf
2.06/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

About all this beer had going for it was the appearnace, which was hazy reddish-orange with good brown head and excellent lacing. Unfortunately, looks ain’t everything. This was so incredibly sweet, in both the nose and taste, that it overwhelmed everything else. I kept sipping it slowly as it warmed, hoping that something else would pop through, even the alcohol, to tame the sweet, but to no avail. It was like drinking a bottle of Karo Syrup, without the corn flavor. This ended up being one of the 3 or 4 on my ratings list which I have drained-poured before finishing. Sorry, but this crap was really nasty.

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Photo of mortarit
2.1/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This bottle was brewed in 2005 with 14.9 % alcohol. Quite different from the above info.

First, Grand Cru Ale so no I really don't have the history behind this style. The pour ended with little head but I expected that sort of I think.

Taste: Well, it drank and harsh like a bad cough sryrup. The after taste seems to never leave. I hate that, must be the malts lingering.

The name describes the beer well , it is the beast.

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Photo of phil7568
2.17/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

According to the label I'm drinking the 04 version at 18.1%. This stuff pours nice but it really gets weird from there. I can't describe the smell but it's funky and I don't mean that in a good way.
I think I taste soy sauce.There's a definite alcohol burn but I had prepared myself for much worse.
Honestly, I think I bought this because of the huge ABV. Maybe this is for someone, but not me.

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Photo of Floydster
2.17/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

12 ounce bottle purchased at Wally's Wine in Los Angeles for eight dollars, I believe this was the 2006 vintage, I probably should have looked at the bottle, it did say 14.6% alcohol though, split with three friends last night, poured into a small wine glass

A-Color was closest to mahoghany, brown but orange at the same time, hazy and murky, surprised to see a 3/4 inch head that was pretty creamy, stuck around for close to ten minutes, great retention, no lacing

S-Tons of raisins, booze conisting of both brandy and cognac, dark fruits galore, vanilla, oak, piercing alcohol scent really affected me, chocolate, toffee, caramel, burned malts, sweet malts, candy, brown sugar, maple syrup, and honey

T-First sip just about knoecked me out of my chair, one of the booziest beers I have ever tasted, really overpowered a lot of the tastes but plums were present, the finish was full of caramel and milk chocolate, taste did not change much except for the fact that the alcohol tamed down just a little bit once it warmed, there was no balance whatsover and it seemed like somebody poured in a couple shots of liquor into the fermenting tank while this was being brewed, too much for me, I siimply could not handle the beast

M-Very boozy, sweet, and pungent mouthfeel, this was one in despeate need of carbonation, thick, taste lasted way too long, wow this was a serious sipper, body was close to being full which is odd for a beer of this style and age

D-Could not even finish my three ounces, sad but true, this is so strong and you taste every drop of alcohol in each sip, about as far from smooth as physically possible, the syrupy texture did not help it go down any easier

Not a huge fan of Avery's big beers and this was no exception, too strong for my palate and would never be able to finish a bottle of this by myself, have heard some people say they really enjoyed it, the four of us did not so much last night, would not drink again, might be worth trying maybe once

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Photo of palliko
2.18/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A coppery red brown color in the glass, not much head, or lacing. Little carbonation. Okay. I cannot remember the last time I actually poured a beer down the drain. But I made an exception for this one - I drank about half of it, and then in a fit of disgust, dumped the other half. I know. I did wrong. I should have gagged the rest down - after all: 15% ABV... But PLEASE! What were the brewers thinking??? Dates and molasses and raisins are actually used in the beer. Not that it just TASTES like them, they are really there in your mouth!!! Good Lord!! Talk about yucky! AND harsh. I REALLY tried to like it. I LOVE Paulaner Salvator, a similar idea, but a hundred times better. Carob, alcohol and hot molasses burn your throat and stomach. Chewy texture. Ghastly aftertaste. Slightly clove-like Chimay Blau Belgian taste - kind of like drinking cough syrup!!!!

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Photo of Pencible
2.23/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Two years aged, this poured a very hazy mahogany with tan head. Its smell was powerful, like sugary caramel malt and honey wheat, with citrus hops and alcohol. It tasted so sickeningly sweet it hurt my teeth. It had flavors of raw sugar, honey, caramel, raisin, and molasses all mixed together, with noticeable alcohol. I couldn't even tell if there were hops present, because the sweetness was so dominant. It was syrupy thick with no carbonation, and had the sweetest aftertaste ever (to a nauseating degree). Overall this beer was simply undrinkable. It was worse even than the 120 minute. The worst part is that it had a lot of potential, and could have been great like the Thomas Hardy's Ale if Avery used any moderation in its brewing at all.

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Photo of Drewcifer
2.25/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours out a muddy, murky orange-brown, very apple cider-like. Capped off with a finger of tan head. Slight bit of lacing.

A heavy nose of sour cherries, musty apple, raisins, plums, toasted malts, a sweet tang to it, but finishes with a nosefull of alcohol.

Disgustingly sweet. Raisins, orange peel, sugar, black cherry, and plenty of alcohol. Really no detectable malt or hop notes.

Full body, syrupy, warming alcohol, a little too much carbonation.

Not very drinkable. They seem to have sacrificed taste for brutal alcohol content. Just way too syrupy sweet. Would not try this again.

Edit - An hour+ later, the remaining 3/4 of the bottle got the drain treatment. I just couldn't stomach it. Unfortunate, and a waste of 5 bucks I could've spent on something I would've enjoy. C'est la vie.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.29/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

So The Beast, finally. 12 oz. brown bottle, red foil around the neck. Head is small, body is clear brown/red, visible carbonation. I have smelled something like this beer before. Very sweet and malty, but has a rounded, somewhat mellow character to it. It is Samichlaus that I am remembering. Taste is waaaay over the top, sweet, strong malt, raisin, but overdone. Slightly fruity quality to it, but it is hard to get through the brash and obvious alcohol presence. Hard to drink, I like the thought, not the final product.

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Photo of Vonerichs
2.3/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

The appearance and smell are both good, but it goes downhill fast.

Appearance is a maple-syrup brown and I can tell the texture resembles syrup as well. Head is small and brief.

The smell has caramel, honey, and dates. There's also a ton of booze and I know from there it's gonna be a hot one.

The taste is bad. Period. All I picked up was honey and booze (rum?) They don't go together... at all.

Mouthfeel is even worse. On top of being too boozy, which I'm willing to forgive considering the 16% abv, but it's thick, syrupy, and cloyingly sweet. There's no carbonation to cut the burn. It's a mess in the mouth.

I don't advocate drain pours and didn't on this one, but it was as close as I've ever come. No doubt. I'll never have this again.

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Photo of dsa7783
2.45/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Yesterday, I sampled Avery's other big brew - Samael's, and the overbearing and overwhelming taste were too noticeable for me to actually enjoy a beer that I spent almost $10 for a typical 12oz bottle... much was the same with this one... an almost identical beer in appearance, taste, and aroma... Dark, ruby-red, grainy appearance with nice frothy head... Smell is very thick and powerful, with a caramel and malt aroma where the 14.9% ABV is very apparent... As with Samael's, the flavor was once again too thick, way too sweet, and too overwhelming to really be enjoyable... you can certainly split this 12 oz with one or two other people... a real sipper that you should try to enjoy over a space of at least an hour... Taste was ultra-rich and way too sweet... the alcohol flavor was surely noticeable, and the overall mouthfeel and drinkability suffered... I would consider the drinkability similar to drinking a batch of sugar bathed in gasoline oil... Not something I enjoyed, and for the ridiculous price, I would never purchase this one again...

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.46/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Shared with some roommates. 2006 vintage. 4oz. pour into a sample glass.

A: Pours a .5 finger fine white head with moderate retention. Beer is a stunning clear ruby. Lacing is spotty and near non-existant.

S: Pineapple, citrus, honey, cane sugar, caramel, toffee, all glazed over with booze. Very sweet nose with a huge alcohol scent that reveals the high abv. of this one.

T: Right off the bat there's booze and there's sugary sweetness. Incredibly hard to get over these components but as I fight, there's hints of pineapple, honey, caramel, and brown sugar somewhere faded into the background. Super hot the whole way through even after all that time. Finish is more of the same. A boozy mess. Aftertaste is sweet honey that clings to the palate and refuses to let go.

M: Medium to full bodied, lightly carbonated, rather smooth in the mouth but incredibly heavy because of the dense sugary presence. Its hard to get down and this is one of the few beers with a high abv. that actually tastes hotter than it really is. Finish is messy, aftertaste lingers.

D: I really wouldn't have this beer again unless it was forced on me. Too hot, too boozy, and too much of a mess. Good complexity but what's the point if the alcohol covers it all. So sweet and heavy in the mouth that 4oz. too seemingly an eternity to get down. I appreciate the effort but I won't have this again.

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Photo of kernalklink
2.46/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Now I like extreme brews, and Avery does a great at pushing the envelope, but for me this was a miss. I let this one age hoping to tone it down, but no luck. Poured a thick light amber, and the alcoholic aromas were out- hard unrefined sugars, spicy and burning on the nostrils. Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy with a lasting burn I have not felt before from even stronger beers. Taste was overly sweet with hints of woody resin and a nasty medicinal character- definately needs refinement.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.48/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Avery- The Beast

Appearance- Nice ruby red with a thick creamy head.
Smell- Strong sugary molassess. Candy malt with vanilla.
Taste- Sickingly sweet sugar!!! Malt with vanilla and raisins. Tastes like candy smarties in a mouthful of sugar.
Mouthfeel- Sugary sweet and difficult to swallow. All sugar with a hint of alcohol at the end.

Overall- Disgustingly sweet. Can't get more than half a pint glass down. Maybe this needs to age a few years to settle it down. Definitely a HUGE letdown!

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Photo of PHENSO
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

It's a deep amber...this is a 2005 that a friend of mine found in the back room of his Binny's.

I poured this into a big 'ol root beer glass from A&W when I was a little kid.

It's a deep amber, and my vigorous pour created a nice 1/2" head with gorgeous lacing on the very top of my glass after the first sip!

It's intensely sweet. But not so much so that I'm disgusted. It's immediately followed up with a sharp alcohol tang. I guess my Ashton cigar might be adding oak flavors.

What a warm, inhalation of relaxation. This is a fireplace beer. Maybe in front of a campfire, when you can just zone out on the flames for awhile. Stretch out and let it consume you. This beer is a bit harsh, yet mind mellow.

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Photo of tonistruth
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- cloudy amber w/ bronze hues, 1/4" off white, thin & bubbly head, little retent, settles to a little ring

S- dried fruit, sweet alcohol

T- dried fruit, molasses, spicy yet sweet alcohol, burn in after, dry burnt unpleasent wood flavor, plenty of unfermented sugars

M- chewy & vicious, fiery, filmy on palate w/ lots of alcoholic burn

D- feels like overkill, too sweet for me, a sipper, bottle best shared between a couple people, not much of a beer, kind of leans toward soemthing else

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Photo of craytonic
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2005 vintage

Appearance: Dark cherry cough-syrup, very little head that quickly fades, no lacing

Smell: A sweet, cheap rum drink - lots of cherries and tropical fruits.

Taste: Sickly-sweet, cheap thick rum drink and cough syrup or cheap port. The alcohol is hot, heavy, and sharp.

Mouthfeel: Sugar-thickness with a very odd soft-drink fizz. Too much like spiked sugar-punch.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
2.53/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a Chimay beer chalice.

A - 5 - Poured a very rich, dark rust color. Forms a half finger of quickly dissipating, medium tan head. Weak head potential, retention and lacing, forgivable due to the massive ABV.
S - 5 - Spot on. Dark cooked fruits such as prunes, plums, figs, raisins, dates and black cherry all harmoniously blending into a black cherry wine and molasses finish.
T - 1 - What an absolute disaster. Upfront there is a STRONG, extremely cloying sweet sweet alcohol which ends on a chemically bitter finish, likened to spraying Windex on your tongue. Any of those lovely flavors I described in the aroma that might be present in the taste are overpowered and lost entirely.
F - 3.25 - Gave a middle of the road score because it is entirely irrelevant to me. My senses were too overwhelmed by the taste to notice a mouthfeel.
O - 1.5 - I've, so far at least, noticed a trend with the Avery "Demons of Ale" series. THEY NEED TO TONE IT DOWN A LITTLE! I understand these are supposed to be these MASSIVE, monstrous beers that have huge ABVs and flavors. I LOVE when brewerys do this kind of thing, I'm REALLY into massive and experimental brews. But even with massive beers, you HAVE to have BALANCE. Balance is the theme of the lesson here. You can talk a pretty game and have awesome curb appeal with your label art, described flavors and massive ABV, but if you aren't properly balancing your two MAIN aspects of flavor, the salt and pepper of beer, sweetness and bitterness, then you've done your entire effort a massive disservice. This could be an absolutely astounding brew, and perhaps its somewhat my fault for not aging it long enough, but I can't imagine, even with multiple years that this amount of cloying sweetness could be toned down. If you see this brew and you are compelled to grab it, let it age for many a year!

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Photo of TexIndy
2.56/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Re-review on 9/14/09. Original review on 10/12/04 (4.5,1.5,1.0,2.0,1.0)

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Bottled in 2009 on front label. Was a rich ruby color. Some carb streams but no lacing. It had an average sized beige head that settled into a collar and some center wisps.

Aroma was dark fruits, candi sugar and tons of alcohol. Not a big fan of BSDA aromas in general but this one had enough candi sugar to somewhat counter the dark fruits but not the alcohol. The alcohol dominated the taste with a sickly sweet kicking in after that and finishing with a way too sweet end. For me, the taste would be a 1.0 or 1.5 but giving a little higher to account for the style where some alcohol is expected in the taste. Even so, this one has much more alcohol taste than others and seems to be lacking a balance.

Overall, the alcohol is too dominant in aroma and taste for me. A miss from one of my favorite breweries. Rotation: one was enough originally and the re-sample didn't change that. [1x]

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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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