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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 pezoids on 09-14-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 230 | Ratings: 556
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Recent bottle from New Jersey drive through. Pours an opaque peachy colour with tiny retained head. Belgian yeast aroma, with malt and fruitiness. Average mouthfeel, tingling mouthfeel. More complex flavour profile as it warmed. Satisfying and drinkable.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Best by 4/5/13. 6.9% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, spices, and some fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with a yeast and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some nice aromas but the flavors are more earthy without any real fruity aspects that I get from the smell.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 2 finger thick head on a murky golden with crimson hue body. Excellent head retention and some lacing.

S: Strong belgian yeast, candy, banana and pineapple aroma.

T: caramel, banana, belgian yeast/esters and green apple mostly. bubblegum and corriander notes in the background.

M: light to medium body and moderate carbonation. semi-dry finish as expected.

Overall: This genre seems to vary quite a bit with some more on the saison side, some on the tripel side and others on the belgian strong ale side. This one is more in the tripel realm by my tastes.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.05/5  rDev -44.1%
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 metter98
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short white head that quickly died down, leaving a patch of bubbles in the center and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of Belgian and fruity yeast as well as candi sugars are present in the nose.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and starts out a little fruity from the yeast and transitions to flavors of pale malts and candi sugars. Slight bits of spices are also perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer tastes a little sweeter compared to other beers in the style as it doesn't have any associated dryness. It seems to taste like a hybrid between a Belgian Strong a Pale Ale and a Dubbel.

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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey color with a modest head that fades rather quickly but leaves a few shards behind

Smell: Sweet and doughy, with a menthol edge

Taste: Doughy, up front, with a growing candi sugar and tart stone fruit flavor that is supplemented by vanilla and bubblegum at mid-palate; after the swallow, the brew takes on a tea-like herbal aspect, though the finish remains rather sweet

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with less than effervescent carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting flavor profile and unique in many ways, but just not much to my liking due to the excessive sweet vanilla flavors

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Photo of oline73
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
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 Thorpe429
2.45/5  rDev -33.2%
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 oberon
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep golden color with decent medium'rocky head,very citruis like aroma with a little alcohol sweetness.Taste was very alcoholic with some dried fruit background along with some yeastiness,good medium body made this pretty easy to drink.I have had better brews of the style but still pretty good.

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Photo of chinchill
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz., undated bottle served in a Belgina snifter. Complete pour but a thin coat of sediment remained on the bottom. The body is a hazy apricot-amber color with a short-lived, off-white head that quickly reduces to some thin film and a thin ring, leaving some small patches of sticky lacing.

S: Very fruity aroma with a strong suggestions of canned mandarin orange and cardamon, moderate yeastiness, and hints of pear, citrus and apple. Moderately spicy and peppery.

T: Lightly tart with a faint bitterness. Biscuits with fruit, with the fruits from the nose repeating here, along with a touch of ripe banana. Moderate amounts of spices and yeast.

M: Near medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: An enjoyable ale with definite Belgian characteristics but not quite the quality (or price range) as the best Belgian counterparts.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh on draft 2002 - only recently released from the brewery by about a week or so. I was told by the brewery rep that they had "bumped it up a little bit this year". Deep golden, slightly hazy, with some tiny particulate. Firm white head that holds quite well and initially leaves sheets of lace. Very nice. The aroma is quite spicy (from the Belgian yeast strain - no additional spices are added) with lots of Saaz hops over a vanilla-tinged maltiness. The body is medium with a very fine carbonation, leaving it quite smooth in the mouth. A wrestling match takes place between the malt and the spice. Although the spiciness is there continually, and sometimes peppery but without any serious weight behind it, the almost-cookie-dough sweet malt does get some good hits in. Much more vibrant than the aged (1 year) bottle that I recently reviewed. But the alcohol is also clearer and the spiciness is a bit bold. Still, fairly well-balanced with both the bitterness and spicy hop flavor supporting the maltiness. My guess is that this is a little more attenuated than last year's, giving more alcohol and a slightly less full maltiness. It finishes nicely dry with a long, lingering, fresh and spicy hop note. Still my favorite beer from Flying Fish although I think I'll pick up a case of bottles to cellar at least until spring! Worth trying.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from NeroFiddled, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a murky deep gold color with a thin dense white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of apples and citrus, light malts, spice, some hops and a touch of Belgian yeast.

T: The taste is fruity, malty and still light. There’s a mild Belgian yeast profile but it doesn’t over-power you like it can in most other beers in the style. There’s a mild and complimentary hops presence, which provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, very clean finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not very filling, good kick, good representation of style without overdoing it. This is the beer to drink if you want a Belgian style, but on a much lower level. There’s a lot of talk about gateway beers, well I think this beer is a good gateway to the Belgian styles.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Closer to tangerine than honey. The eggshell colored lid barely reached one finger after an increasingly high-altitude pour. The crown lasts a while, but it doesn't look that good while doing so. A few ragged streamers of lace keep the glass from feeling left out entirely.

The golden-fruit-and-spice of the Belgian Abbey ale yeast makes this FFBC seasonal smell authentic. Trouble is, it's way too weak, which may be due to poor aerosolization due to less than optimal carbonation. If the flavor profile is up to snuff, this brew can still be salvaged.

Grand Cru Winter Reserve rights the ship (for the most part) on the palate. The brewery calls it a 'strong golden ale', which is closer to the mark than BSPA. Alcohol is slightly too prominent for the ABV, but big beer lovers won't be too offended.

Contributors include golden grains, pears soaked in Poire Williams and a generous amount of spicy clove. Maybe a few slices of ripe banana as well. Looks like the high fermentation temperature brought out all sorts of bold esters. Even though this is a pretty good effort, it doesn't have the refinement necessary for the next highest flavor and drinkability scores.

The mouthfeel, which is far from Belgianesque, isn't bad in the end. It's easily big enough for the style/ABV, and isn't as laid back on the carbonation front as expected. In fact, it's almost peppy.

Flying Fish Belgian Grand Cru Winter Reserve won't make anyone forget the best Belgian or Belgian-style ales in the world. That said, it's worth at least a single for those who love the style and those who have a soft spot for aggressively flavored ale.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Casey's, Newtown Square, PA

Poured orange-brown with a slight, white head that receded rather quickly. Spices and malts in the nose. Pretty dry and almost bland tasting, but somehow still good; I guess the complexity wins it over. Malts, yeast, some non-threatening spice and floral accents. Medium mouthfeel, and moderately drinkable, but probably not memorable enough for more than a glass.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour was very nice. A rich dark amber color with a nice amount of clarity to it. A good two inches of white foam coming up over the top settled down nicely into a thin layer of white crown that capped it and brought down tons of side glass lacing.

The aroma was highly charged. Nice light hop profile was highlighted by hints of grapefruit and fresh grass. As it warmed it got tremendously more balanced, with a light bready malt character coming through and a light herbal like quality to it. Smooth flavor here, though the hops did seem a touch off to me. Light, with a grapefruit, peach, lemon like tartness coming through in the front and an almost green tea leave like flavor in the mid palate. Intresting mix of flavors here, some biscuit and a touch of light grain coming through now. Smooth, mellow, and consistent carbonation never failed and allowd this very sessionable lager to really be a smooth and easy drinker.

Overall yet another solid brew from them.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Texas Arizona in Hoboken, NJ

A: Pours a hazy medium apricot to peach in color with some orange and golden yellow highlights as well as some light amounts of visible carbonation and just a touch of visible sediment in suspension. The beer has a finger tall sudsy off-white head that quickly reduces to a very thin film covering about half of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate amounts of golden fruits (apricot and pear/golden delicious apple) and spices (pepper and coriander), likely from the Belgian yeasts. Additionally there is a light amount of citrus/grapefruit hops.

T: Upfront there are pale malts with some light to moderate amounts of pear, golden delicious apple and apricot fruit sweetness followed by moderate amounts of spices (pepper and coriander) from the yeast. Just a touch of grapefruit/citrus hops and alcohol. Very light bitterness in the finish which fades rather quickly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy and coats the inside of your mouth with just a touch of dryness in the finish.

O: This is an enjoyable brew with some Belgian characteristics but not in the same category as the great Belgian beers of the style - the alcohol is a little more present than I would enjoy.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I purchased this at Giant, enjoyed chilled from the 12oz in a tulip.

The color is golden with good clarity and thin white cap with fine bead and spots of lace stick. There is a strong yeast ester with sweet candy sugar-like smell and mild phenolic accent with subtle alcohol aroma. The feel is strong with spice and light vegetal smoothness gentle alcohol and moderately carbonated with dry finish.

The taste has a good amount of Belgian yeast and slight phenolic quality with mild candy sweetness compared to the aroma with subtle fruit like ripe banana and hints of citrus with a mild alcohol flavor and subtle bitterness in the background with vegetal element as it finishes. Overall I think this is a pretty good pale with some Belgian yeast flavor not bad but not great - kind of middling -worth a try I suppose.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange with a one inch white head that settles quickly. It left behind a ring of foam and a little bit in the center. There was some spotty lacing and little floaties in this one.

S: Faint hops, with a little bit of grass and grapefruit. Some hints of spice, coming out more as it warms and some bready malt.

T: A good amount of light fruit on the flavor profile, some grapefruit, a little lemon, some orange rind, and apricot. There is a slightly grainy flavor on the back, and there really isn't much of a lingering taste.

M: Medium bodied, very smooth with good carbonation.

O: Didn't wow me, but was very solid. Easy drinking and at 7.2%, could be a little dangerous. Would drink it again.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My local trader, tone77, and I did another pick-up/drop-off the other day and this time our roles were reversed - I dropped off while he was at work. More bottles for me to keep the numbers aligned with The CANQuest (TM). So be it!

The label read: "Bottle Conditioned Belgian Style Ale" and so I went with a gentle pour to avoid stirring up the lees. This not only meant mere wisps in terms of the head, but the color was STILL a hazy orangish-yellow. Nose had a tropical fruit quality along with a general mustiness. Mouthfeel was effervescent and the alcohol was upfront and immediate, followed by a general fruitiness on the tongue. Finish was semi-dry with the yeasty mustiness really taking hold. I fail to understand why this is a "Winter" Reserve - it would be a reasonable beer any time of year, although one or two at time would be plenty.

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Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours golden straw yellow with a thin head that leaves some lacing on glass.

The smell is of banana/clove with orange peel.

The taste is of sweet malt with backing of a fairly spicy yeast. Hints of banana/clove, orange peel come through, though sweetness dominates just a bit too much. Some bubblegum notes come through near the end.

It is rather full-bodied for the style and is fairly smooth. Alcohol isw warming, but not sharp.

It's not quite the same as one from Belgium, but decent for an American interepretation of one of this brewery's better offerings.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hop Angel Brauhaus in Fox Chase.

A - Nice golden body, not completely clear. Patchy swirls of carbonation sitting atop the beer.

S - Smells fresh and inviting. This beer smelled of some citrus.

T - Most of the taste is refreshing citrus, some hops, and an underlying Plant like crispness. I can only assimilate this note to the kind of sweet taste a super fresh vegetable would have, much like that of a sweet pea. Some yeast tanginess was also present.

M - The mouthfeel was clean and fresh. The beer had a slippery feel, possible diacetyl additon. It was well carbonated and lighter bodied.

D - Very drinkable. Good beer for any time of the year, ont he lighter side, yet crisp clean flavors to be enjoyed anytime.

Notes - Very pleasant glass of beer. I like Flying Fish and this was a well balanced refreshing brew from them.

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Photo of Billolick
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, no freshness dating. Bought a sixer today, I opened 2 bottles and they both started foaming over immediatly. Poured into glasses and after they calmed down, was able to enjoy em. May have not been stored all that well, may have been abit old, may have been on their way to beer heaven. Anyway was left with a very cloudy, yeasty concoction, white puffy head, alot of lacing. Fruity, spicy nose, typical Belgian type phenolics. Spicy, cloves, pepper, citrus. Herbal hoppyness. Decent stuff, would like to try this one in Winter next year, when I can get my hands on a fresher sample.

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Photo of stevoj
3.09/5  rDev -15.8%
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 tempest
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Devil's Alley in Philadelphia.

This reminds me of Allagash's Grand Cru right off the bat with its golden body and light, fruity flavors. The Flying Fish GC has a nice grassy and extra earthy element to it that make it not necessarily the better beer, but certainly more interesting. Worth a try if you like weird Belgians.

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Photo of Gavage
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Arrived in a pint glass crystal clear gold in color and a 2" head. The head hung around for a bit. Some decent lacing developed. The aroma was of sweet candy.

The flavor was of strong malts, candy, light lemon citrus, soft alcohol, and some pepper spiciness. Bitterness was mild.

Mouthfeel was mostly smooth with a touch of crispness at the swallow. Medium bodied. Drinkability is decent. Better on tap than the bottled version.

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Grand Cru Winter Reserve from Flying Fish Brewing Company
3.67 out of 5 based on 556 ratings.
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