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

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Reviews: 232 | Ratings: 568
Photo of Halcyondays
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a translucent to opaque dark goldenrod-orange with a small white head. Nice retention, the remnants last a long time, no real lace.

S: Anise initally, a good amount of pear, estery.

T: Good malt flavour matches with a really interesting pineapple play with yellow apple, pear and white pepper. Nice mix of flavours, well made.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy carbonation, there's just an ease in the body, it's a big beer but never feels like it.

O: This is fantastic American made Belgian style beer. Good complexity and great mouthfeel like the best from Belgium have. I'll be buying this every Christmas as long as it's available.

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside De Ranke Père Noël.

A: Clear yellow with one-finger, white, fizzy head that lasted a minute or two. Okay lacing.

S: Belgian yeast and earthy spice.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Toasted biscuit and a tiny bit of spice. Belgian yeast.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Not very smooth, but crisp, not dry, and no trace of alcohol.

O: The head and lacing were lacking, but everything else about this ale was pretty good. I liked this slighly better than the Père Noël.

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Photo of larryi86
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Clear golden color with very smell white head.

S- Nice earthy spices, yeast, and bananas, could be strong, but very nice.

T- Follows the nose, again the taste be stronger, but it is nice. Nice malt backbone.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A nice beer at is enjoyable. I feel that if it was made stronger and had more flavor this could be a great beer. I will probably pick this up again.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale in color with no head to speak of. Very little carbonation. This beer looks tired.
Aroma is quite malty with Belgian yeast, spice and light fruitiness. Taste has a nice tropicial fruit taste followed by rich malts and yeast. Smooth but spritzy on the palette with a soft warming alcohol presence during the finish. Finish itself is semi dry.
A good tasting beer which I failed to mention has a sweet aspect too. I think this would be an excellent beer year round.

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Photo of corby112
3.64/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy golden orange color with a half finger white head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Minimal spots of lace left behind.

Slightly spicy aroma with a grassy, earthy hop presence, light fruit, alcohol phenol and pale malt. Peppery with some pine needle, apple and pear along with some bread and biscuit. All of these elements come together pretty well creating a pretty complex nose.

Medium bodied with a zesty spice presence that's countered by light fruit, bready yeast and biscuity malt. Some coriander up front followed by hints of apple and pear followed by a strong bread and pale malt character. The bready yeast and malt backbone add fullness to the palate but the ABV is well masked making this beer easy to drink. Not overly complex but a decent beer that's easy to drink.

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Photo of Naugros
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One of my knocks on this brewery is that their offerings that come in six-packs (as opposed to bombers) tend to be sub par. Their Exit Series is quite good, which has led me to believe that don't do as good a job when brewing big batches.

I can see that the thought behind this one was excellent, but the execution fell a bit short for me. They bottle-conditioned this but it still wound up pretty sweet, almost cloyingly so.

Honey is a good word to use in this review as that is the color, the smell and the taste. I do appreciate the Belgian yeast aroma and flavor in this, with a trace of banana and some phenols, but the phenols are a bit more than should be and they wind up sitting at the roof of the mouth delivering some "burn" there.

I'm not sure if the yeast they used in the bottle did their job. The carbonation is sort of light (and would have been welcome to cut into the sweetness), the head is nearly non-existent and the sweetness tells me that the attenuation was sort of low, despite the 7.2%. I'd love to test the bottles I got to see if it actually attained that ABV as I didn't sense much alcohol at all in the flavor, mouthfeel or my state of sobriety.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a medium gold color with a 1/2 inch head that falls to an 1/8 inch thick ring around the edge of the glass with some billowy foam bumps across the surface.

S- Has a potent, almost funky brightness to it obviously brought on by the yeast strain. Sweet, fumy, excellent. Some citrus shines through as well.

T- Full, rich yeast in the start that swirls with semi-bitter hop oils and a sweet, biscuity malt finish. It's not as hop forward as a Belgian IPA, but they're definitely around. The spice, yeast and hop combination creates some tasty esters that dance on the palate.

M- Vibrant and prickly on the tongue, with medium-high carbonation that keeps it interesting to drink and provides a full body.

O- A brilliant Belgian-style ale. But I would expect nothing less from FF.

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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 Hophead717
3.76/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: A straw gold color, with virtually no head or lacing whatsoever.

S: The nose is a mix of Belgian yeast and light winter spices.

T: A really light and crisp flavor. Perfect balance between Belgian yeast and spices-namely nutmeg with hints of cloves. Winter brews are generally not my favorite, but this one was really light and generally great. Not what I'd expect from a winter seasonal!

M: Fairly light with a comfortable amount of carbonation.

O: A solid winter offering for those who do not want to be totally assaulted by a winter lager. Not one I'd seek out, but definitely one I'd enjoy seeing at my hometown dive bar (which generally has the worst beer selection ever).

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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 yemenmocha
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy golden with smallish white head. Nose has bready-yeasty qualities, but somewhat light overall. Trying to see how his example fits he style. Some candyish flavors on palate with hops in balance. Complex & different. Some alcohol warmth is noted, and detracts from drinkability.

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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 woodychandler
3.79/5  rDev +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 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 bgildea
4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a darkish yellow color almost a pale amber with a little bit of white head that faded quickly and left little lacing.

S: Nice strong rich aroma. Hints of spice, nuts, and other yeast smells. Very appetizing.

T: The taste follows the smell. The flavor starts with a sweet flavor then moves into the spicy notes found in the smell. The flavor comes back to the sweeter side before leaving a very slight bitter aftertaste.

M: Pretty thin beer, I was hoping for a little more chew to it.

O: Overall I found the beer to be enjoyable. The smell and flavor blended a sweet and spicy flavor very well. I'd definitely recommend any beer drinker try it.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single that I grabbed at the Village Pump last night.

Clear light orange with a dense, white head that recedes to a thin ring leaving no lace. The nose is decent. A clean, bready pilsner malt base is present, mildly straw-like. Very rustic, though there seems to be a serious lack of yeast expression here. A little bit of stone fruit is present, along with some floral character. While I appreciate subtle beers, this is too mild for the ABV, allowing the alcohol to be noticed.

The palate is a step up, with the blend of floral and stone fruit character overcoming the stark simplicity of the malt character. A little spicy, even, with a touch of mace present. Again, the alcohol is noticeable, furthering the spicy aspect. Mildly sweet, sugary in nature, on the finish, this beer is medium-light in body with moderate carbonation. Ultimately, this is too simple to be a true grand cru, but is a solid effort. Closer in spirit to Duvel Green rather than the regular Duvel, if that helps.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
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 JayQue
3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad take on the style. A bit too mild tasting and weak in the aroma department bout overall this is fairly good.

Looks promising!! Hazy gold color with a delicate bubbly white head. Head retention is typical for the style. Fades fast and leaves a covering on the glass.

Smell is fairly weak! Aromas is a big part of the Belgian Strong Ale experience and this one does not measure up.

Taste is fairly good. The fruit (apples and pears), hint of alcohol and just the right amount of sweetness. A bit light on the Belgian yeast and the spices.

Mouthfeel is fairly rich...More so the more you drink. There is an alcohol presence but it does not detract from the beer.

Overall this is pretty good, not up to the best Belgian standards, but I would drink it again.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
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 mikeg67
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours light amber hue with a small, short-lived white head and light lacing.
Nose is of sweet malt, honey, grapes and yeast. Body is medium, creamy and slightly crisp.
Taste is some bready malt, earthy hops, Belgium yeast, some fruit and alcohol. Short, dry finish.
On the whole quite complex, good brew.

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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 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 JamisonM
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a Gold color fairly clear with a really white head that fades fast

S: coriander white pepper yeasty nose with a spiced smell

T: very sharp dryness wheat taste with coriander and white pepper notes

M: light mouth med carbonation

D: good drinkability

Overall: its a good beer but I never expected this in a grand cru

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - It pours an orangey hue, close to Orangina but just a bit more golden. The head is not more than a few wisps, but flecks of lacing hang spottily about the glass.

S - I love the nose: orange zest, pristine pale-pils bready maltiness, mild green hop, vanilla, clove; delectable.

T - I am hoping that the taste will be an extension of the aroma. It turns out that the nose is followed in terms of elements, but the taste is a bit too sweet, so I am let down. The flavor's basis is outstanding but the amplitude is too much. The subtlety that I was hoping for is naught. Still, it tastes pretty good.

M - Average, certainly nowhere near credibly Belgian-esque.

D - This is a good beer. It tastes/smells/looks good, drinks easy, etc. If only it didn't have the potential to be so much greater, I would have nothing to complain about. With a few tweaks, this brew could be phenomenal.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

A- Pours a slightly hazy golden orange color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is pale malts, fruit (apple and pears), spices and Belgian yeast.

T- The taste has some malt up front with spices, citrus, yeast and some alcohol in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, not a bad brew but nothing all that special either. Worth a try if you are a fan of the style, but nothing I would purchase again.

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Grand Cru Winter Reserve from Flying Fish Brewing Company
3.68 out of 5 based on 568 ratings.
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