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: 600 | Ratings: 1,393
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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Photo of puboflyons
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle that says Bottled in 2009. Sampled on April 20, 2014.

Dark brown pour with a modest a little off-white head and moderate clarity.

Aroma of caramel malts, brown sugar, bread, and a bit of booze. It would be nice if it wasn't so alcoholic pungent.

Medium to above medium body and texture.

If the booze wasn't so prominent this could be a really excellent beer. It has some fine characters of caramel malts, licorice, burnt wood, and overripe fruit. Definitely a beer to have on a special occasion rather than on a daily basis. This will set you out for a loop.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from July 2013. I was going to wait a whole year to crack it, but gave in.

Starts of with a massive frothy head that is light khaki in color. Dissipates fairly quickly before settling about a half-finger thick and leaving streaks of lace at the higher levels. The body is a dark brown color with some translucency.

I get huge aromas with the beer sitting next to me as I type. There's a big aroma of raisins and prunes and something sherry-like. This beer has a barleywine aroma. Lots of malt and bread in there too.

Whoo! Very hot, but it's not unpleasant. This is the beer a St. Bernard would deliver to you if you were stuck in the Alps, for one sip would provide all the warmth you would need. There's still a lot raisin, maybe even pineapple, and plenty of sweetness. About mid-palate I get a thick, creamy blast of sweet malts that offer some caramel and bread.

According to Avery, the beer is a Belgian Dark Strong Ale, but it lacks the yeasty qualities and effervescence of that style (at least to my thinking/understanding), but it very much resembles a barleywine, apart from the Belgian candy syrup flavors I was getting as it warmed up, and a good one at that.

I don't recall how much I paid for this, but if the price is right, I'd buy more in the future.

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Photo of bylerteck
2.74/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Got this bottle from a liquor store in DC. July 2013 Batch 11.

A - Amber pour, bright, one finger tan head, good carbonation. No lace, no retention.

S - Bread, dark fruit, sugar.

T - Booze, sugar, spirits, quite sweet, sort a fecal element, mud, earth.

M - Decent carbonation, slick full body, harsh boozy finish.

O/D - This wasn't the best. Rough, boozy, and a bit too sweet with a very pungent off flavour. Too bad.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Murky orange with a small brown ring of head.

S: Lots of dark and red fruits, plum, maybe some basic (as in, non acid) citrus, particularly orange, some grape, red wine, and a touch of alcohol in the nose.

T: Grapes, spices, plum, raisin, a whisky-like harshness, floral hops, amazing that any hop character comes through after so many years of aging.

M: Full bodied, harsh from alcohol and a touch flat.

O: Pretty good. The alcohol was a bit harsh, and the flatness as unplesant. I'd take Samael or Mephistopheles over this any time, but I'd still recommend this. Perhaps it's better fresh.

Note: Brewed in 2009 (batch 7), Imbibed Fall, 2012.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany brown with a slight head that disappears. No lace.

Aromas of boozy sugars, cherries, woody vanilla, toasted malt, and fruit.

This is hot one. Bottle says batch 11, and 18% alcohol. Yup, that's what you get up front. This was opened young and really needed some age to mellow it. Big chemical alcohol up front. Toasted malt, burn sugars and dark brown bread crust. Vanilla extract, some fruit, and some bitterness to balance it out. What is there is good, but it is like playing a stereo full blast. Everything is in your face.

Fuller bodied with a bit of mouth coating slickness.

Good beer, just a bit rough right now. This one needs a few years on it, but oh my, it will be very good then.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at blind tiger (this is the 2010)- pours a hazy mahogany color with 1.5 fingers of creamy white head. Good retention, some splashes of lacing.

Smell is great- very thick and a little musty. Lots of toasted barley, some molasses, a little booze. Surprisingly little for the abv. I smell some wood as well.

Tastes fantastic- full of smooth, rich barley malt flavor. Certainly sweet, rich caramel flavors, a little spice, kind of peppery. Toffee.

Mouthfeel is very appropriate- full bodied, modest carbonation but enough to make it possible to drink. Long finish that leaves a nice bready caramel flavor. I would definitely get this one again.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, procured at this apparently back alley brewing concern, during Denver Beer Week (and BeerDiaries' road trip) celebrations. Batch 11, July 2013, 18% ABV - I guess the yeast is evolving, getting more hardy over time - or something.

This beer pours a clear, dark red-brick amber hue, with one finger of somewhat puffy, mostly bubbly pale beige head, which leaves little beyond a few remote specks of islet lace around the glass as things slowly sink into oblivion.

It smells of grainy, gritty caramel malt, earthy, weedy honey, mixed dried orchard fruit, brown sugar, musty figs, a bit of leafy, grassy noble hop bitterness, and a sherry-like, subdued yeasty booziness. The taste is big, bready caramel malt, concentrated syrupy demarara sugar, a further bit of spicy graininess, dusty, fruity raisins and dates, molasses, muddled roadside floral honey, a more bitter than aromatic Euro hoppiness, and a persistently befuddling understated alcohol warmth.

The bubbles are quite laid-back in their herculean, otherworldly support effort, the body an um, er, beastly medium-heavy weight, especially for the proscribed style here, and as smooth as one might expect, given the heady parameters of this offering. It finishes a tad on the sweet side, all that complex malt, even more complex sugar bill, and yet more sublimated booziness still unable to instill in me the remotest notion of scraping my tongue. Swuh?

Well, then - this seems like the ungodly stepchild of the biggest, baddest BSDA, and an even bigger, badder American Strong Ale, the kind of attractive urchin that lures you in, settles your nerves, and then BAM! - blood and weakly scripted chaos reign. Anyways, one hell of a strong ale, Belgian-influenced or otherwise, where the grandiosity of the kitchen sink approach is somehow more than enough to ward off the liqueur-esque ABV. Yeah.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into a goblet. Batch 11, bottled July 2013. Having seen previous reviews that weren't too enthusiastic about aged bottles of this,I figured a "fresh" review might be interesting. That and I''m not patient enought for cellaring. It is worth noting that it took me almost 3 hours to get through this one. Incidentally, bottle shows 18.0abv, BA has it at 16.83, though I doubt the extra 1.17 would matter at all.

Appearance was superb. Reds & burgundies, crystal clear, with good carbonation. Head was less than a finger of off-white color, with large bubbles. Head did dissipate to a covering with collar, evetually disappearing altogether, as did the carbonation.

Smell was heavenly, about the most wonderful aroma I've ever got from a beer. Honey & sweet malts, and dried fruits, with only a touch of alcohol burn. Loved it so much, I inadvertantly snorted the beer, both nostrils. I don't reccomend this at all, quite a bit of burning.

Taste really has to be divided into early and later on tastes. Initially, the beer was very dynamic, getting the fruit, honey, and at the end, the strong alcohol warmth, which faded quite quickly. Very pleasant rolling around the tongue. This was quite pleasant, thinking about a 4.

Later on, as the carbonation and aromas died down (remember, a 3 hour beer) the second half of the drink was nothing but booze, booze, and more booze. This was less than pleasant. Thinking less than 3 Hence, averaged out to 3.25

Mouth was medium plus, initially pleasant rolling around the tongue, later just like sipping spirits.

Overall a beer that, for me, went downhill. Others who enjoy the alcohol might like it more. I'll always remember the appearance and wonderful aroma. But since I'm not much of a spirits drinker, won't seek it out again.

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Photo of Rutager
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle, 16.83%, Yikes!

Appearance. Pours a murky brow with orange-amber at the edges. Topped with a finger of light khaki, slightly orange head.

Smell. Lots of sweet caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon, with a bit of raisin and oak. Smells sweet and delicious, like a bb bwine.

Taste. Brown sugar and caramel again, a little molasses, raisins and a decent hit of woody booze (but not nearly as strong as one would think with the crazy abv).

Mouthfeel. Full body, low creamy carbonation.

Overall. Wish the taste lived up to the awesome smell, but still a decent tasting brew (especially for the abv).

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.29/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

I first tried this back in college, mostly for its then-ridiculous ABV. It was very hard to put down. Now, a few years later, I feel I can tame this Beast... It pours a deep auburn-ruby topped by a small sheeting of off-khaki foam. The nose comprises rich caramel, booze, a melange of dark and stone fruits, and an underlying strata of straight barley. It's all a bit much, with the booze really muddling things up, but it's not hard to deal with. The taste brings in more of the same, with the booze coming through stronger than expected and mixing with some candied orange peel for a strong, boozy, and bitter flavor; this leads the way for some grainy sweetness and a touch of toast. The body is fairly hefty, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, this is indeed a beast, perhaps too much of one to really allow the flavors to coalesce without the undue influence of the booze. It's truly not bad, just not something I'd really wanna drink again.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
2.7/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2007 bottling reviewed in July 2013. Poured into a Great Lakes snifter. The beer pours out clear and very dark red with little carbonation. No head, just a thin lacing of foam on the boundary of the surface. The nose is sweet, fruity, boozy, and medicinal. I get notes of oranges, pineapple, and cherry cough syrup.

Very intense sweet boozy flavor, even after 6 years. Where Samael develops a soft, caramel and marshmallow-like sweetness and a refined port-like flavor, this one keeps its booziness intact and, with the fruitiness, tastes like something they serve at frat parties. The result of all that sweet fruit flavor and booze is a medicinal quality that just doesn't agree with my palate. The feel is good and firm (it had better be with that original gravity), but drinkability is minimal.

I'm going to have to pass on the rest of this one. Couldn't finish it. I was hoping this beer would age like Samael does, but unfortunately it's just a different beast.

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The Beast Grand Cru from Avery Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,393 ratings.
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