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The Beast Grand Cru | Avery Brewing Company

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587 Reviews
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The Beast Grand CruThe Beast Grand Cru

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 587 | Ratings: 1,328
Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.99/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased at Total Wine in Jacksonville, FL. Another one of Avery's big old sugary ABV bombs.

Pours a clear garnet brown, with basically no head or lacing.

Smells really strongly of sugary booze and sugary malt, and not much else.

Another exceedingly sugary and strong Avery creation. To it's credit, the booze is not that powerful- it doesn't feel "hot," but the alcohol is definitely quite present. It's warming, and slightly spicy. The boozy sugar levels in this one are insanely high, and it drowns out any Belgian dark complexity there may be.

This is thick, and exceedingly syrupy, making it a bit of a chore to drink. The carbonation level is pretty low.

Not one of Avery's best, it just seems extreme for the sake of being extreme.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 Vintage. Very strong brew. I feel it might be necessary to grab another bottle, age it for two or three years, and enjoy it then. Despite the strength, I sat with this beer for a good hour and a half and enjoyed each small sip I took. No rush. Why rush with a good beer?

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Photo of Mikus
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had a generous sample of this at my local taphouse. $15 a pint kept me from going all in. It was a very interesting brew. Do I have to tell you that it is really big? Notes of a high-octane Flanders Red on the nose... big warm alcohol bite on the back red of the palate. Bravo to Avery for aiming high. In this style, prefer the lower ABV fare as they are more delicately balanced. This is worth a try, by far, but I don't think it would become a regular fridge stocker (as if I could find it).

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Edition: Poured a seethru light brown body with one finger head and lace ring . Aroma is dark fruit filled with raisins, figs, even plums, and I do get a bit of the honey (thanks, label) and chocolate...and some booze, natch. Thick bodied, slow drinker thanks to stickiness and this beer will give off a little booze with a hot finish. Dark fruits make up most of taste as I get raisins, prunes, figs in the beer and there is a bready, cracker like dryness to the beer that adds balance as well as touches of caramel and toffee sweetness. I like this beer but there are not hops for more balance and I think the alcohol mutes a little bit of the fruit and sweet tastes so not my one of my favorites (the price doesn't help).

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, dated Aug 2014, into a goblet.

L - Color is a beautiful dark ruby, but clear when held up to the light. Tan head is not very high, but a thin sheet and plenty of lacing are persistent.

S - Aromas are centered on malt. I get graham crackers, molasses, prunes, and raisins. There is are spices in the background, but I can't identify any individual spices. Possible oak? Hops are not distinct, but they may make up part of the spicy note. There is an aged, slightly oxidized note.

T - Flavors are similar to the aromas. Malt is there in pumpernickle, graham cracker and molasses flavors. Prune, plum and raisin re there, along witht he same oxidized, aged impression from the aroma. There is a solid hops bitterness and earthy flavor. No yeast character. Some sweet alcohol flavor.

F - Medium body. Strong alcohol presence, but not burning. Low, smooth carbonation. Medium to high hops bitterness. Everything is in balance.

O - This is a great beer. Although it hits extremes in alcohol level, hops and oxidation, altogether the impression is of a balanced and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
2.53/5  rDev -33.9%
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 Jeffreysan
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage 12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, with a quarter of a finger of oatmeal-colored head that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Not much in the aroma department, which is disappointing. There are some faint notes of toasted malt and candied sugar, but that’s all, and those notes are extremely faint. What’s odd is that I don’t even get any aromas of alcohol, which I thought I would get, as this beer has an ABV of a whopping 18.0%. Maybe the beer is too cold.

Taste: What the Beast lacks in aroma, it more, much more, makes up for in flavor!! Massive flavors of toasted malt up front, followed immediately by massive amounts of candied sugar-like sweetness, dried stone fruit, such as dates, figs and sour cherries, Belgian yeast, and some nicely balanced hoppy bitterness. Absolutely, amazingly, spectacularly, awesome!

Mouthfeel: Chewy, creamy, yet slightly viscous, and smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 18%, there is quite a bit of pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Jesus, what a spectacular, amazing, exceptionally, awesome beer! Avery has knocked it out of the park with this one!

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

on draft at churchkey DC

tastes like an english barleywine without the bitterness, this is indeed a beast of a beer, take it 4 oz at a time folks, with the stature though it kinda goes a little beyond a pleasant enjoyable beer bc, even with time to enjoy this beer, shitfaced or a least a heavy buzz are non optional

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Avery's The Beast Grand Cru a month a half ago for $8.49 at Holiday Market. I'm pretty interested in trying this beer, but I'm a little scared it might be as sweet as Samaels Oak Aged Ale, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz foiled bottled into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it goes well with the name and I think it's a little eye catching. It poured a muddy mahogany color that didn't really let any light come through and it half a fingers worth of light tan head that died quickly died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left some spotty lacing behind. This was a pretty nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a high amount of sweetness that has a candied sugar like aroma and it's followed by the dark fruits which impart a brighter dark fruit aroma that's a little similar to grape juice and it goes right into the Belgian yeast which imparts a typical spicy yeast aroma. Up next comes some more sweet aromas followed by the malts which impart a toasted malt, caramel malt, sweet malt, caramel and slight toffee like aroma. This beer had a nice aroma, but the sweetness was a little too dominating and it wasn't very complex.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of sweetness that still has a candied sugar like aroma to and it starts off with the dark fruits still being the first to show up and they impart that same bright dark fruit and grape juice like aspects and it goes right into the Belgian yeast which imparts the same aspects that it did in the aroma. Up next comes the malts which impart the same aspects that it did in the aroma with the caramel sticking out the most. On the finish there's pretty much no bitterness with some more sweetness and a light alcohol flavor that's pretty warming and it had a candied dark fruit and caramel like aftertaste. This was a nice tasting beer, but the sweetness was a little out of control.

M- Not the smoothest, a little crisp, fairly cloying, slightly sticky, very warming, on the thick side of being medium bodied with a lower amount of medium carbonation. This beer had a decent mouthfeel, but I wish it wasn't so warming and cloying.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and a nice example of the style, the Belgian aspects came through even though it was pretty much dominated by the sweetness there were still some nice flavors and aromas that showed up. This beer didn't have good drinkability, it was not the smoothest, a little crisp, fairly cloying, slightly sticky, very warming, slightly filling and the taste did an ok job of holding my attention, but I think half the bottle is a good amount for me, anymore than that and it might really start to wear on me, especially the warming aspect. What I like the most about this beer was the appearance and the Belgian Strong Dark Ale aspects that came through, to me those were the highlights of this beer. What I like the least about this beer was the sweetness and the mouthfeel, those two aspects need some work. I wouldn't buy this beer again, I'm glad I tried it, but I see no need to revisit it anytime soon and I would only recommend it if you like really sweet and strong beers. All in all I liked the beer, but didn't love it and in the end it was the sweetness that really held this beer back. It isn't a favorite Avery beer or a favorite of the style, it falls in the middle in both aspects. I appreciate the effort it took to make this beer, but in the end it's just not for me, better luck next time guys.

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Photo of minterro
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had two of these both from July of 2013. Tasting occurred 14 & 16 months in the bottle, really not much difference in two months (as you would probably expect).

A&S: Dark cherry colored beer. Surprisingly big head for being around 18% ABV and aging over a year. Head is a light brown color.

T&M: Really hot on both times. Woody, tannins, acidic, spicy. Becomes much sweeter when you pour the second half of the bottle in., but still on the bitter side. Sharp carbonation, but somehow smooth and thick.

Overall: I think if I was going to buy this one again I would probably let it sit for 2.5-3 years. I probably should have let it sit longer, but I forgot to double check my notes from the 14 month tasting before cracking this one. I don't know if the flavors I'm getting a strictly alcohol based, but it feels pretty hot still.

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Photo of cbutova
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

July 2012 Bottle.

A- 12oz bottle poured to a can glass and a chalice with a fairly cloudy amber-brown body, somewhat chalky. A creamy head builds to under a finger with pretty good retention for the ABV. A large puffy ring remains leaving spotty lace.

S- Dusty Old Ale feel, a really deep caramel and a hefty spiced raisin bomb. Certainly doesn't carry much Belgian strength here for me but I can understand at 16%, almost like a Barleywine. Gives me a rum or cognac feel without the actual aging. A fair bit of dried fruits throughout.

T- Raisins, dusty Old Ale caramel and a definite spiciness from the yeast but not overly Belgian at all. Dried fruits and something like vinous grapes come to mind with a rum feel due to the combination of high ABV and caramel spiced flavors. Heavy brown sugar and blackstrap molasses, burnt sugars. Tobacco dark candi-sugar. Toasted nut and very slight roast hints but seriously reminds me of the good Old Ales with a spiced character.

MF- Alcohol thins out the body just a bit but overall it is still a moderately thick brew. Carbonation is low-medium and it all finishes with a spicy yeast presence and fairly hot alcohol on the palate.

This is certainly a beast... in a good way, I just hate to say that. Has an Old Ale feel for the most part but also brings a lot of complex dark sugars, a slight fruity feel and Belgian yeast spice.

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Photo of Roguer
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Dark brown but relatively clear nut brown ale, topped by a minimal head, quickly receding to a thin line around the edge of the glass. A fair amount of sediment makes the brew thick through the center.

Age tints the aroma with a big dose of aspirin, followed by a large amount of toffee and caramel. Some dark fruit also comes through. The aroma, at 7 years old, is not inviting, but neither will it stop me from diving in.

Flavor is fruity, thickly malty, and hot. Unfortunately, the staleness does shine through on the backend, imparting a medicinal, aspirin-like flavor that is pretty strong. The alcohol isn't even slightly balanced. Despite the staleness, the beautiful flavor of the malt is evident: fruitbread and dark fruit, and a big dose of alcohol.

Brew is hot, but very smooth and silky. Medium to medium-light mouthfeel, with an oily, lasting retention.

I don't know what the perfect age for this beer is, but I know that 7 years is simultaneously too much, and still insufficient to take away the alcohol heat and edge. It would be interesting to try this fresh, but at this age, it's not particularly enjoyable. (My rating for taste reflects how I think the beer is without the taint of oxidation.)

2007 edition, enjoyed in 2014.

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Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

APPEARANCE - Dark brown. 1-finger head that dissipates. Some lacing

AROMA/SCENT - Mildly sweet.

TASTE - Super-sweet, sugary, a little boozy, smoky, peaty, much stronger than the smell.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Gooey, not much carbonation.

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - A sipping beer. Do not try to drink this fast.

Homers_Beer_Odyssey, Yesterday at 01:09 PM Edit Delete

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Photo of dar482
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%

The beer is earthy, piney, and covered with caramel sweetness. There's a slight brandy alcohol flavor that comes through and the beer dries and bitters out. A good amount of pleasurable oxidation for an '11 vintage.

The beer tastes towards an aged American barleywine that Belgian style brew. The alcohol is extremely well hidden for its over 15% ABV.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Poured into a goblet, my favorite glass for darker beers.

A - Pours an opaque amber/brown, head is fizzy to start, then settles to a nice 1/8" creamy head that seems to want to stay. It slowly shrinks to a very attractive thin layer across the top of the beer.

S - Very enjoyable aroma, smells likes raisin bread or dates with just a hint of alcohol.

T - First flavors are dates and molasses, very satisfying. The alcohol makes itself known at the end, but it's not overpowering which is surprising for a 16% abv beer.

M - Definitely a little sticky and chewy, and the flavor stays in your mouth for a good long time.

O - I like this beer. Definitely a cold weather drink for me. I kind of wish I was sitting outside around a fire. With the high alcohol it has a warming feel as you drink it.

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Photo of timontheroad
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark amber/red with very little head. The aroma was strong dark fruits, vanilla and bourbon. The taste matched the smell, with the alcohol very prominent along with fig, apricot and date flavors. The mouthfeel was pretty nice and smooth, considering the high abv. Overall this was a pretty good beer, although a little heavy on the burn side.

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Photo of blange3
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Deep, dark ruby explosion of fruity complexity covered with a thin layer of lacy foam.. Sip slowly and allow it to warm as the high alcohol warms you. Savor each drop for its multiple fruit flavors; plums, dates, raisins and figs. Full bodied and port like. Make sure you have time to settle in and relax while you enjoy this one.

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Photo of Samp01
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Batch 8. Pours a deep dark red orange. Aroma is sweet dark fruit, dried plumes, Belgian yeast and honey notes, citrus and orange marmalade. Taste is a combination of all the aforementioned aromas and nuances. Palate is a full rich body, slight creaminess and full flavored. The finishes is a combination of sweet caramel malt, Belgian yeast, fruity notes of dried fruit plums and honey followed a good kick of bitter hops and a good punch of alcohol on the end. Aroma becomes overwhelming as it warms up. Overall seems A bit too strong for my taste.

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Photo of stcules
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark mahogany color, with an off-white foam, quite scarce.
Intense smell, molasses, ripe fruit, candy sugar. Intense and full. Some figs and dates notes.
The alcohol is here, ok, but it is more than 16 ABV.
Full and full bodied in the mouth. Again dried fruit, dates. Apricot in syrup.
Alcohol, ok, but not overwhelming.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

2012 Vintage.
Nose: alcohol, grainy malt, fruit, vanilla, bourbon
Brilliant mahogany under a 1" finely bubbled tan tinted off-white foam cap. Lacy.
Palate: alcohol, toffee, dark dried fruit, vanilla, bourbon, with an assertive hop bitterness wrapped around alcohol flavors on the finish.
Chewy, medium low carbonation. Well balanced between the malt, hops, fruit and alcohol. Warming. Surprisingly not hot and solventy considering the levels of alcohol.

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Photo of draheim
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz (batch 10, July 2012) into a tulip. Pours a murky mahogany with a nice khaki head, patchy lace.

Aroma is simultaneously sweet and hoppy. Rich caramel malt, floral bitter hops. Smells somewhat like an American barleywine, but maybe with a little more toffee and brown sugar.

Taste is sweet and sticky, boozy. Caramel malt, toffee, rum-soaked raisins, brown and sweet candi sugar. Not as much hops presence as on the nose, but I suspect the hop bitterness is still there, tempering the malt sweetness. Lots going on here, obviously high gravity and strong.

Mouthfeel is likewise sticky, chewy, thick. Nice carbonation keeps it as light as possible on the palate.

Overall a big behemoth of a beer, worthy of the name. A tad sweet for my taste but I get it; they weren't going for subtlety here.

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Photo of beergoot
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Release #12 at 16.1% ABV per bottle label.

Blood-red amber body with a thick, sticky, off-white head; fine carbonation (4.0). Nose filling aroma of raisins, figs, molasses, raw oak, and booze; toffee (4.25). Big sweetness; honey, maple syrup; boozy and phenolic; figs and dates (4.0). Heavy body; syrupy and vinous(4.0).

The beast is a monster! Heavy-duty malt character, strongly sweet yet very bearable, especially when bounced off the huge ABV. Wild, complex, huge depth with flavors and mouthfeel. Personally, I don't mind drinking these kind of beers year-round, but this would really make for an awesome cold weather/holiday beer.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2007 Batch 5

Cloudy mahogany color yielded a tan smooth head. Nose is quite loaded with fig. Do get some caramel, mint leaves and alcohol. The nose translates the taste as this is a Fig bomb. I do get a mint and caramel background with a boozy finish. The feel is thick and alcohol laden. Just not my style, big and bold, but just not for me.

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Photo of Trifecta1
4.49/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Me and my buddies found 2 bottles of 2007 Beast at a newly-opened wine shop in Chicago, 5.99 each. No joke. Popped one open that night in celebration of their birthdays.

A - Blood red, crystalline, no head. Big ol' yeast chunks flying around all willy-nilly. Not cool. I know this is cause of age, but I am have to rate based on what I have.

S - Heavenly Belgian. Big, big raisins, plums, figs, extremely sweet malt. No alcohol.

T - So sweet, even after all this time. Intensely strong taste, plums, raisins, figs, bourbon (peculiar, but tasty), caramel, juicy fruits. No alcohol burn. Incredible what 7 years can do.

M - Thick, viscous, all the calories you need. Sticky.

O - A wonderful experience with wonderful people. Awesome.

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Photo of Ricelikesbeer
4.36/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch #9- I was happy to find one of these at a lq in littleton along with a 2013 batch. I split this with two other friends which I feel is about the right portion for such a sticky, sweet monster.

A: slightly hazy and murky, despite the extensive ageing. There are ruby red highlights in the light brown liquid, and their is only slight carbonation which dissipates fairly quickly after pouring.

S: Lots of booze, barrel, and sticky, sweet malt character. Their is a fruity, fragrant yeast character as well. I get hints of honey, bourbon and other spirits, berries, and hard candy.

T: Wow my palate is really challenged on this one, there is so much going on. The first sip yields an overwhelming sensation of alcohol, malt, and tons of flavor. This borders drinking beer and whisky or other strong alcohol at the same time. There is some bourbon character, tobacco, lots of estery fruits, caramel and other sweetness from the malt, and lots of lingering alcohol that coats the tongue for a long time after you swallow. This beer is complex and delicious. The age has really helped tame the flavors and mellow everything out so it does not completely overwhelm, while it still remains a true beast.

M: The beer is sticky sweet and full bodied. The low carbonation makes it a little difficult to drink, but you want to sip this like a spirit anyway, and make the bottle last a long time.

O: This beer is nearly 5 years old, and I'm happy that I did not drink it in the last year since I had it. I'm curious to try other Avery demon-line beers that have been aged this long as this one was such a great sample. I would like to do some additional vertical tastings, but that requires getting several people involved due to the large character of these beers.

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The Beast Grand Cru from Avery Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 587 ratings.
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