The Beast Grand Cru | Avery Brewing Company

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592 Reviews
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The Beast Grand CruThe Beast Grand Cru
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
592
Ratings:
1,350
Avg:
3.83
pDev:
23.5%
 
 
Wants:
82
Gots:
418
For Trade:
30
User Reviews
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Reviews: 592 | Ratings: 1,350
Photo of Rcaros
4.31/5  rDev +12.5%
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%
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.

C- (2.68) / BELOW AVERAGE

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.74/5  rDev +23.8%
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 +9.7%
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 +9.9%
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 +8.1%
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 +2.1%
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 -1.3%
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 Bfarr
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
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 +6.3%
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 +11.5%
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 +7.6%
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 +0.5%
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 +15.4%
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 +1.3%
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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Photo of rodlavers
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is m py first review in a long time, but I've also had this bottle for a long time:

This is batch #9

It's dark ruby red, beautiful, thin light tan ring for a head, no surprise there after 4 years.

Smells rather sweet like candy with molasses, dried fruit, caramel & toffee, and perhaps some light notes of spice.

Taste is similar to smell, with an emphasis on sweetness. It's smooth, sweet and dark-fruity.

Feel is smooth and syrupy...no carbonation and still thick a little bit.

Overall I'm glad a I save this thing, but I'd also like to try a bottle fresh.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.78/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Cloudy, tan color with an effervescent head after an aggressive pour. Cap settles to a thin layer and spots of lacing cling along the glass. Aroma is of vanilla and honey. Caramel and toffee flavors mix well with the vanilla honey. Booze is hot and lingers a while burning while coating the palate. Very thick, smooth, and goes down way too easily for 17.2%! I really enjoyed this Grand Cru; though, it is quite the sipper and after half the glass I can feel it! If you know what I mean...

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Photo of unclekeith
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2015 (17.2%) Version

L: Hazy deep amber, 2 finger creamy head,
A: Alcohol vapors are stinging my eyes, alcohol dominates, some figs, caramel
T: Hot, boozey, a bit bready - more of a blonde barleywine than a belgian
M: Sticky, viscous, definitely coats whatever it touches
O: Can't decide if this is complex or 1-dimensional (booze) - my chapped lips are burning so I'm leaning towards 1-dimensional

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Hazy brown pour. Ah. This is big and dark for a Belgium. The smell is nondescript honey malt-something, and the taste is big and burning of some orange flavor. A bit metallic and biting of alcohol. Some pineapple yes for sure. Sweetness pokes through the alcohol. It is a beast.
I poured half a bottle here on an evening after sampling other brews, as a whole would put me off kilter on a work day eve.
After awhile I get the mandarin. It really has some medicinal aspects to it too, which may explain the mixed reviews?
Feel is medium-thick and sticky, chewy-nice.
I think this has some nice qualities, but obviously they should be slowly sipped so as to bring out whatever flavors you may enjoy as it warms. For me it was mandarin burn with a sweet intro and a dry and warming endnote of not-too-sweet pineapple.
Aging should do this wonders. 10 years they suggest. Why not. If I see another I may try that.

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Photo of Mattygross44
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was good hid the abv very well i like the boozy big boy beers it was a nice sipper i tasted toffee and a sharp bite would buy again even though its $16 a bottle

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Photo of maxifunk777
4.29/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Finally an Avery beer I liked or maybe my taste buds have been exposed to enough high ABV beers to appreciate this high octane beer. Reminded me of a barley-wine with the sweetness and fruit notes galore the taste does have little alcohol kick but not over bearing at.

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Photo of jpro
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2012... I think 3 years helped smooth the edges... Molasses, raisins, brown sugar in aroma and taste - slightly rummy. Big feel and extra sticky on the palate. Almost a dessert beer.

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Photo of kamoosekazi
4.77/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

You really need a good palette to enjoy the full flavor of "The Beast". There is a ton of ingredients that go into this strong ale, and at 16%, this 12oz monster is not for the faint of heart as it will be your only beer for the night.

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Photo of zac16125
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a tulip
Batch #12, Aug 2014

Thanks to themadnanner for sending this extra over in a trade!


A: Dark mahogany, opaque, 1 plus fingers width of tan head, decent retention but only a very small amount of lacing. 4.25

S: Lots of old ale notes like caramel, candied sugar, and toffee. Lots of booze as well. Vinous dark fruits round things out. 4.25

T: Theres a big sweetness, that I very much enjoy. Dark fruits, toffee/caramel, candied sugar, semi-sweet cocoa. The sweetness is balanced nicely by a big, but not dominating, boozy character, and some bitterness. 4.25

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation appropriate low, ABV is noticeable but for 16% plus its quite impressively restrained, and all rings considered drinkability is very good. 4.25

O: I really dig this beer. Big, bold, boozy, flavorful. Very well done. 4.25

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Photo of anon
4.34/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thick, oily and murky brew. Looks like swamp water with a sheen from the alcohol. Small head with very little lacing hanging around.

Smells sweet and sugary, caramely and fruity. This brew lives up to its name as a beast. Lots of stuff going on here, and in the taste as well. Dark caramel, candy and fruits mainly; the raisin and molasses shine through. Delicious.

This one is thick in the mouth feel and goes down oh so smooth. The 16% ABV is blanketed nicely, better than lower alcohol strong ales I've had. It is definitely noticeable, but not as much as one would expect for the % being so high.

I think I'll definitely be getting another of these in the future. Throuroughly enjoyed.

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The Beast Grand Cru from Avery Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,350 ratings.
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