Grand Cru Winter Reserve | Flying Fish Brewing Company

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Grand Cru Winter ReserveGrand Cru Winter Reserve

Brewed by:
Flying Fish Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by stirgy on 09-14-2002

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Reviews: 232 | Ratings: 571
Photo of Milt2112
1.63/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Not sure if I got a bad batch of this, but this was a very disappointing offering from Flying Fish. Look of the beer is very clear - very amber - with almost no head. Not a good sign. Smell is off - like it is a bit past it's drink by date (it wasn't). Taste was terrible - definitely not what I expected from a belgian style pale. I seriously would rather drink Miller Lite than this. I bought a sixer of this, and was so disenchanted with it that I drain-poured the last 2 - just to get rid of it so I didn't have to dread the moment when I opened it and had that first dreadful taste.
I love Flying Fish - I'm from South NJ - but do yourself a favor - steer clear of this one. Flying Fish - please - get rid of this, or figure out how to brew a Belgian Strong Pale.
I definitely won't be coming near this one ever again.

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Photo of JackTheRipper
1.64/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A: Pale honey in color. Clear. Minimal head with no lacing
S: Sweet up front with a nasty skunky aroma. Sour smell covers the later improved fruity aromas that come through as this one warmed a bit.
T: Slightly bitter with a nice yeasty taste. Somewhat low malty flavors. Lingering bitter aftertaste.
M: Good levels of CO2 and alcohol. Nice medium body.
D&N: I hope I got a bad bottle, cause this beer was awful. As it stands, I wouldn't recommend this at all. A thoroughly yuk beer that was a chore to try and finish.

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Photo of AltBock
2.02/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12 oz. bottle that was poured into a Flying Fish standard pint glass. What came out of the bottle was a clear and pale yellow colored beer that had a small and thin head of white foam. This thin head of foam quickly dissipated into some small white bubbly rings and a spot or two of lace. The beer had a light aroma of malted wheat, a small touch of cherry, apples, yeast, and a few lightly crispy floral hops toward the end. The taste for this beer was far too light and contained lightly dry and crispy floral hops, sour apples, and a small pinch of yeast at the end. As you can tell, there wasn't much of anything to the taste. It really didn't have anything going for it. The mouthfeel was really light and had a very faint aftertaste of crispy floral hops. There was not that much flavor in the mouthfeel either. There's no way I would touch this Flying Fish brew again. Back to the drawing board with this one.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.05/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

What the heck is this stuff? I saw te word Grand Cru on the tap handle and I get something pale yellow? Maybe I've lost touch with reality here but I always thought that a style of beer like that has some form of complexity, and some blood sweat and tears put into it. The guy hands me my sample and I just gave him a look back like "WTF is this?!". It actually had me a little upset, I know flying fish is capable of making good brews (check out their Exit Series). I was just stunned by the lack of everything not put into this brew. I couldn't say much about this if I tried. The beer was yellow and light bodied... Seriously, a winter grand cru? Impossible.

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Photo of pkalix
2.09/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

my first flying fish....
pours a bland gold with no head.
the aroma has got me prejudiced- i dont like it. tinny, rusty, not like a belgian ale at all in my book. one more sniff... cant define it. a fishery, maybe??
taste...? yeah, the candied sugar is there. yeah, the 'belgian' undertones are there... but i dont think i like it.
my bottle is purple and doesnt look anything like the one on the BA site. also the label says 6.9% but BA says 7.2%
i found the website; the brew is just very new. not on BA yet. i still dont like it. it could be great, but there is just a nasty little smell/taste that is giving me much hesitation. i'm trying to be fair with each drink/taste. and the weird thing is, it is a FISHY taste/smell. i dont know what more to say. i have 2/3 down and i'm going to toss the rest. i dont know how to rate this one. i get the distinct style and taste of a brewer and i appreciate that, but i dont like this at all. can i give it a 2 for the abv??? and for what i percieve to be a nice attempt? i like the write up on the website. i get the description. there is just a funky little taste (spice?) that ruins it for me. and maybe this review belongs in a new format as i interpret it to be a 'new' brew rather than the one pictured. but look how much i described in fairness to the brew- i tried to be fair. somebody send me a line if you disagree, please...

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Photo of FrozenJoe
2.26/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

In my opinion this beer sucks. It has a similar flavor profile to a Heineken, but sweeter and not as balanced. Not a pleasant drink. I'd choose a Budweiser or Coors over this any day. Not on par with quality micro brews.

Appearance: Not bad. Light color, but slightly cloudy. Good head. No lacing.

Smell: Has a sourdough bread aspect to it that is pleasant. But an unpleasant, off aroma predominates. That unpleasant, off aroma pretty much represents what this beer will taste like.

Taste: Sweet. Too sweet. Tastes like sugar or some other sweet adjunct has been added at some point in the brewing process. I cannot taste hops. A weird malty / burnt grain flavor is present, but it just doesn't work with the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: The best thing about this beer. Balanced level of carbonation. Not too thick or watery... really just right, except for the taste.

Drinkability: I don't like drinking this beer. I bought 2 cases of this stuff because it was on sale and the lady at the liquor store told me it was a really good beer. I am not looking forward to having to finish those 2 cases.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.45/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up at Total Wine in Alexandria. Poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Color is a light golden with a single-finger head that recedes very quickly without really leaving any lacing behind. Not nearly what I would expect from a Belgian Strong Pale. The nose brings quite a bit of yeast and fruity character with some pear, apricot, and a bit of melon. Some light floral notes as well. It's a bit plain, as I had to work fairly hard to pick out many of the characteristics of this beer.

The flavor brings forward a lot of yeast character with some spicy zest and a bit of pear, lemon, and melon. The yeast is definitely the dominant character here. The body is a bit thin and watery and not what I would expect from the style. Not a terrible effort, but when judging by the style, this just really does not stack up.

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Photo of timobkg
2.7/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

It pours a nice golden color, but with very little head, and what head there was faded quickly. I would have liked to see more head, with better retention.

The aroma is faintly fruity, with hints of clove and other spices. The right smells are there, but they're faint.

It tastes watered down. I can tell that there's a strong belgian ale in there somewhere, but it's far too faint. There's nothing Grand to this beer, and the spices that Winter Reserve calls to mind are barely present. It really tastes like someone took a good belgian ale and mixed it 1:2 or 1:1 with water. Very disappointing.

It's very easy to drink, as the alcohol is completely masked. Unfortunately, the flavour is also masked, and thus there's no desire to finish your glass, let alone reach for another.

Overall, I had high expectations for this beer, since I liked their Dubbel, and this came recommended, but I was completely let down. It tasted bland for what it should have been. After a second bottle to confirm that it wasn't a fluke, the rest were reserved for cooking.

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Photo of jayhawk73
2.78/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a bright orange color with a thin off white head on my snifter glass. Smell is grass, hops, fruit. Not bad, but not nearly as good as the best in the style category. The taste is just not right for this style to me. Yeast, alcohol are added to the nose profile.. but, it's WAY too sweet. Not a fan of the taste. The feel is thin, syrupy, with a little bit of an undercarbonated vibe. Overall, this is fairly mediocre. Probably won't look for this again. Cheers.

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Photo of mcb4538
2.8/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear golden color with very little head, which dissipates quickly. A lot of carbonation present. Smells mainly of cloves. Light in taste. The cloves are very faint on the palate. To be fair, it was a light mouthfeel for a semi-high ABV. Overall, nothing too offensive but also not too rememberable. 

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.86/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Flying Fish- Grand Cru Winter Reserve

Appearance- Golden, straw yellow with a super thick head that lasts and lasts.
Smell- Malty and spicey.
Taste- Bitter with some spices and ,I think, pepper?!
Mouthfeel, too bitter and bland.

Overall, I did not enjoy this one.

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Photo of irishking1977
2.93/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Since Flying Fish's Grand Cru is a seasonal winter Belgian Ale, I always find myself grabbing at least one six pack during it's availability. I suppose I wonder if the recipe will change with time. I guess not.

A: Pours a clear gold in my Unibroue glass. The initial head maintains itself for a short time then dissipates to nothing. Moderate lacing left around the glass. Pretty good lookin' beer.

S: Biscuits, bread, yeast. A slight hint of vanilla along with candy sugar. Not bad, but the smell could reveal a slightly cloying taste of these descriptions.

T: More bread. Yeasty breadiness. Not a word, I know. But that's what came to mind. It's moderately cloying with a bread-like finish.

M: Not as carbonated as I would have liked. I think if it was more so, it might mask the syrupy feel of the beer. This is tantamount to the mouthfeel of a barley-wine. Needs more bubbles.

D: Not bad, but after a few of these, one might yearn for something with more direction. This one is sort of all over the place for a Belgian style ale. It makes me appreciate Duvel that much more.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.93/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Sam Smith pint glass. Served chilled.

A: Pours a cloudy golden yellow color along with a somewhat dinky half-finger eggshell color head with poor retention, but decent lacing.

S: Has an interesting cross between a phenolic, yeasty, smell of fruity ale esters (bubblegum, apple, banana), spices, and a noble hop aroma. Works decently enough.

T: Opens nicely with a subdued hit of apple, bubblegum, coriander, and banana. The finish, though, falls flat on its face with a withering, murky bitter aftertaste. ABV is hidden well, at least.

M: Somewhat low carbonation for this type of beer. The body is surprisingly light and has a slightly dry finish.

O: Not bad at all, but it doesn't really impress me. Having said that, I'd be willing to give it a second chance if it were served at room temperature. Otherwise, this isn't something I'll purchase in the future.

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Photo of JeffBrenner
2.94/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle to a pint glass. Next to no head or carbonation on this one. A dark gold color as would be expected for the style. Next to no lacing. Medium light penetration. Perhaps it was just my bottle, but I got next to no aromas on mine. I get notes of honey (almost like a green tea) and lemon. Possibly some coriander or cinnamon. Goes down okay at first, but with the spices, has a bit of a bite at the end. Overall, this beer was okay. I remember having it years ago and it tasting much better. Maybe I had an off bottle, but if this is the consensus of most people (I have not read other reviews), I can not say I would be running out to get more of this. Personally, I got this in a 6-pack sampler from a friend for Christmas.

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Photo of mrgrinch
2.96/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Golden yellow, mild carbonation, no notable head but a vibrant surface. Cloudy.

Smell - The malts not really making themselves known. Spicy perhaps even mildly citrusy hops is in the forefront.

Taste - Cinnamon? Coriander? The spices dominate. Perhaps this is what a winter brew is supposed to be built like. I am new at the seasonal beer thing. It is a nice flavor, though spicy like some off the weissbiers I had in the summer.

Mouthfeel - I do like the texture. This beer has a nice body, and the carbonation leaves a little zing on the tongue at the finish.

Drinkability - This beer is refreshing. The flavor is not too overpowering, though it may be too spicy for me to have more than one or two.

I poured this from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

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Photo of jtierney89
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Honestly pours and looks like an american adjunct. Transparent and straw in color with a bright white head which fizzes away quickly.

The nose is much nicer on the other hand; classic belgian scents of clove, banana, bubblegum and raisins. Nice spicy clove flavor up front with a candied belgian fruitiness on the back end. Slight alcoholic warming sensation on the swallow but pretty clean and dry as well. Not nearly as bad as I thought it would.

I wouldnt consider it a true belgian strong pale ale, but it's flavors are there even though they are subtle and it's very welcoming to the newbie craft brew drinker. A surprising find and something i'd recommend to the newbie craft drinkers at my store.

why this is associated with winter? idk. It's light enough to drink any time

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Photo of dsa7783
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was my first-ever brew from Flying Fish Brewing Co., a brewery located in my home-state of New Jersey, and unfortunately, I really wasn't too impressed with this sample... mediocore and average in all respects, this beer failed to captivate me or grab my attention... very average appearance, applejuice-yellow with no head... very bland smell and watered-down, artificial juice-like taste that failed to impress... They are definitely trying to imitate a more bonafide Belgian style, and they failed to reproduce that with this beer... alcohol is not well-masked and is certainly detectable... wouldn't say this is a horrible beer, just not as impressive as I would have hoped... Copped singly from Total Wine and More in West Orange... this is not a brew I would buy again or recommend...Average...

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Photo of ckollias
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Blonde-orange hazy ale with a frothy wheat one-finger head that quickly dissipates into a wispy lace.

S: Belgian candies aromas fill the nostrils. Hints of citrus and yeast in the background.

T: The flavor brings forward a lot of yeast character with some spicy zest and a bit of pear, lemon, and melon. The yeast is definitely the dominant character here follow by the Belgian candy.

M: Light body and medium carbonation

O: Decent beer – nothing I will remember or grab for again.

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Photo of Roser
3/5  rDev -18.5%

A- clear honey gold. A not too big bone white head. Minimal lacing.

S- Belgian yeast. Floral. Sweet.

T- spices and clove. Sweet (butterscotch?). Maybe a little nutty.

M- medium body. Not much going on here.

O- not bad (but not great). An interesting offering for a winter seasonal. A nice Belgian style brew from an American brewery. I'd have again but wouldn't go out of my way, especially if better Belgian beers are an option. Seems like a beer that could please/disappoint depending on the palate, so I recommend trying.


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Photo of aaronh
3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I poured this beer into my small goblet. I was surprised to see how radiant this orange-amber beer was! It almost looks like it is glowing beneath the white head! The head slowly fades to a thin ring of foam. The body of the beer has a slight haze to it as well, which probably adds to the glowing effect. The aroma is sweet and fruity, with notes of alcohol and peach cobbler. Some sort of spice is also there. Not sure if it's clove or coriander or something else, as it is so well mingled with the other scents. The aroma is fairly unified, making it difficult to pinpoint individual scents.

The first couple sips are surprsingly light in flavor, and it is hard to discern much more than simply malt. Then the third sip hits you with a ton of coriander. Wow! I wait a few seconds to gather my wits, and a saccharine sweetness appears in the aftertatse, joined by a decent level of bitterness. The next sip reveals more creamy malt and some ripe fruits, then candi sugar, and then the same aftertaste. In contrast to the homogenous aroma, the flavor profile is like a 'Battle Royale' in your mouth. So many very distinct flavors are present, including that diet soda aftertaste. It's hard to get through it, but taking minimal time between sips lessens the impact of the aftertaste. And it does seem to subside a bit as the beer warms or as my mouth adjusts, creating more of a dry, hoppy finish.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin in body, but very smooth. The carbonation that is present is very fine. The drinkability suffers on two counts: very noticeable alcohol esters for a 6% ABV brew, and that "sacharrine diet soda aftertaste" aftertaste that hits you in the early part of the glass. I'm reminded of the old clich`e "You can't judge a book by it's cover", because inside this beautiful cover is one of the most confusing stories ever told in a beer bottle. This Flying Fish doesn't fly too well with me, as there are many other Belgian-style ales I'd rather buy before catching this Fish again..

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.04/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, mason jar, best by 3/23/14.

Straw gold, dark, like honey. A small but frothy, tight knit white head.

Classic fruity, spicy yeast. Sweet. Goodly amount of clove.

Tastes as it smells. Not as sweet. Absolutely yeast oriented with lots of clove. Good, but ho-hum.

Pretty full, approaching syrupy actually. Small fizzy bubbles.

It's very blah. It's OK or less. Grand Cru conjures up grand thoughts of a sparkling, effervescent Belgian pale ale. This is just not it. Too heavy and too singular.

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Photo of barknee
3.07/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours slightly hazy with an intense medium gold color and an impressive 3/4" fizzy head. Generous nose of coriander and fresh lemon, accompanied by warming alcohol. The taste is medium bodied at best, fairly balanced acidity with flavors of lemon, grains of paradise and honey. It is mildly tart and dry. Mouthfeel is fair, with a slight coating of honey and spice in the mouth. This brew had an unpleasant aftertaste; one of dry-stale grains, although this brew was recently brewed. Drinkability is good, as long as you don't stop to allow the aftertaste to develop. This is a relatively average example of the style; Not particularly enjoyable, generally uneventful and lacking the overall competency that I look for in a product like this. Grand Cru it aint!

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Photo of stevoj
3.09/5  rDev -16%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from Beer Heaven. Hazy golden with spare head. All the elements of a true Belgian, but diminished. Malty but subdued, sort of bland. Minimal finish.

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Photo of oline73
3.11/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a golden color, the beer is slightly cloudy. There is a half finger of off white head that leaves just a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Belgian spice and sweet malt. Mild fruity hints along with the spice.

Taste: A very mild sweetness from the malt. Belgian spices with a mild fruity hint. Perhaps mild banana, bubble gum, and clove notes. A bit spicy in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a good amount of light carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: A solid beer. The flavors are nice and fairly simple. Not a ton going on, but not bad at all.

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Photo of KyleVick4
3.11/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pint glass

A: Cloudy with no particulate. Thick head that quickly dissipates and leaves sub-par lacing. Murky honey color is less than appetizing.

S: Spicy smell of coriander/anise. Yeasties in there also but not as strong as the spice.

T: Nothing special here, spiciness hinted by in the nose is present but pretty bland through and through. A very subtle sourness in the aftertaste reduces its drinkability. No hint of the high ABV.

M: Well carbonated and thick, fairly heavy. Fits the style.

O: Meh, I'm not disappointed I bought it, but I'm not thrilled either. Nothing special here.

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Grand Cru Winter Reserve from Flying Fish Brewing Company
3.68 out of 5 based on 571 ratings.
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