Grand Cru | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Grand CruGrand Cru
BA SCORE
4.04/5
Exceptional
962 Ratings
Grand CruGrand Cru
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
alesmith.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bottle conditioned.
AleSmith Grand Cru really needs to be tasted to be truly appreciated. Toasty, caramelly flavors, as well as flavors imparted by the Belgian yeast strain, predominate over a tapestry of subtle nuances. Winner of the blue ribbon at the 1999 California State Fair, it is a thing of beauty. It is available in 750 ml. champagne bottles.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#6,979
Reviews:
400
Ratings:
962
pDev:
10.4%
 
 
Wants:
116
Gots:
206
Trade:
7
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 962 |  Reviews: 400
Reviews by BucannonXC5:
Photo of BucannonXC5
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Type: 32-oz. growler
Glass: Karl Strauss 26th anniversary tulip glass
From: AleSmith in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $12.00
Purchased: Dec. 31, 2016
Consumed: Dec. 31, 2016
Reviewed as: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Misc.: N/A

Apparently hadn’t had this before purchasing on a trip to AleSmith for Emily’s birthday. Grabbed a 32-oz. growler for the festivities later, hoping I would get to review it. Liked it at first sip, giving it a 4.00 on Untappd. Reviewed it roughly six hours later.

Poured a copper amber clear color with two fingers of khaki white frothy head, which thinned out quickly. Decent amount of bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. Decent watery lacing. Decent retention. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled dark cherry candy, cloves, banana, purple grape, herbal, cherry cough medicine, raspberry and hints of wintry spices. (Smell - 4.00)

Lots of fruits on the tongue. Got cherry candy, followed by a splash of booze, feeling the warmth. Also cloves, plum and purple grape, ending with an abrupt finish. More prodding got me cherry jelly, a touch of banana, dark raisins, wintry spices (nutmeg, touch of cinnamon), Red Vine candy and peppery spices. (Taste - 4.25)

Medium body. Oily texture. Lively carbonation. Long, fruity finish (Feel - 4.25)

This was a good beer for any style. I highly recommend it. (Overall - 4.25)

4.16 | 93 | A-

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%

Notes of yeast and gentle spicing. Nutmeg, white pepper, cardamom. Foundation of moderately toasted malts, caramels and toffee with some ABV floating above. Plums, moist raisins, dried dark red fruit. Nose is soft and needs coaxing, but well worth it. After it warms in the glass, the ABV includes sugared orange rind and takes on a brandy personna.

Rich caramel malts and dark fruit jam open. Spices from the nose follow after the ABV moves over the tongue. Finish offers traces of anise, pepper, and raisins / dried black cherries with caramel and toffee.

Smooth and rich without being thick. Good carbonation with a solid body. Components are extremely well-integrated, offering a complex and nuanced melange of flavors.

Want to make a great impression at a small dinner party? Take a bottle or two and some small tulip glasses and serve this with dessert. Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch would be an outstanding match. This is a libation that's meant to be shared, enjoyed, and appreciated. Great stuff.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottling date is slightly rubbed off but I can make out the 13th day of a month in 2013.

Appearance: Pours a very deep brownish amber orange with some ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and about two fingers of light tan head that fade into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A yeasty, dark, caramel malt forward aroma with lots of fruit esters. Belgian yeast upfront with some clove, funk, and pepper spicing. Burnt Belgian candied sugars. Toasted malts with hints of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, cracker, and slight tea. Fruit hints of banana, pear, and apple. Big hints of dark fruits with some raisin, plums, fig, dates, prune, grape, and black cherry. Subtle earthy hop hints in the background. Some alcohol is also scented. A very nice dark Belgian style aroma.

Taste: Like the nose gives off, a yeasty, dark, and bready caramel malt taste with lots of dark fruits. Belgian yeast along with some funk and a mix of pepper and clove spicing. Sweet burnt Belgian candied sugars. Bready toasted malts with sweet notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit, toast, tea, and cracker. Big notes of banana along with some pear, apple, and grape fruits. Big presence of dark fruit with notes of raisin, plum, dates, fig, dark cherry, and prune. Slight note of earthy hops and some alcohol taste in the background. A very solid dark toasty Belgian style taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Juicy, spicy, silky, and pretty smooth. Alcohol presence is detectable but very smooth.

Overall: A very solid take on the Belgian Grand Cru style. Good mix of yeast with toasty caramel malt and fruit esters.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strawberry caramel with bright orange edges. The cap is pale orangish ecru in color and is airily expansive thanks to a near Belgianesque amount of carbonation. It's too bad that it doesn't share the firm, sticky texture of the best Belgian heads though. The foam is much too soft to last or to result in much glass coverage. The beer itself looks great though.

On a good note, the nose is classic BSDA. On a not so good note, it could be both more powerful and more complex. It's wonderfully mushy apple fruity with a warm spiciness that is more appealing the more I smell it. I detect cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, spices that remind me of autumn for some reason. Warming improves things to a considerable extent and makes a bump in score an easy call.

I needn't have worried. This brewery rarely disappoints and they definitely haven't done so here. One sweet, spicy, explosive sip is all it takes to tell me that Grand Cru is yet another fantastic AleSmith ale. For some reason, it looks as though the brewery decided to stop putting the vintage on the bottle. My best guess is that I'm drinking the 2005 edition.

This truly is a world-class BSDA that can easily hold its head high in the company of the best that Belgium has to offer. Grand Cru isn't all that dark in terms of roasted malt (see Stone Vertical Epic 05.05.05), but is more darkly fruit along the lines of heavily spiced dates and figs. Delicious, delicious, delicious.

I'm a little surprised at how sweet it is. That isn't a complaint though, I love sweet as long as it's in the context of an outstanding, multi-faceted flavor profile, as it is here. It looks like a perfect amount of dark candi sugar is Grand Cru's secret weapon. That and a wonderfully spicy Trappist yeast strain that provides authenticity and complexity galore.

I'm feeling the double-digit ABV much more than I'm tasting it. Well-integrated alcohol is a valued part of the flavor, as it is in almost all big beer. The fact that it whispers rathers than shouts is a very dangerous thing indeed. The body/mouthfeel is the best of both worlds. It's full, borderline syrupy and sticky, yet is as energetically carbonated as all but the most hyperactive Belgians.

Grand Cru is truly wonderful beer. It pays homage to its Continental counterparts while at the same time delivering a distinctly American, big beer twist. It isn't often that I spend $13 on one bottle, but it's hard to argue with the quality that this brewery puts into each and every one of their 750s. I love AleSmith beer!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. I couldn’t find any date on it, but I know for a fact I’ve had it stored for at least 6 years.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains strong notes of candy sugar, dark fruit, caramelized malts, Belgian yeast and a very faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with strong candy-like sweetness from flavors of brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit and licorice. Then some breadiness comes in from Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. There’s also a significant alcohol sting that follows. The hops presence is very mild but considering the age it’s a wonder that there’s any left at all. The balance comes together some as you continue to drink the beer.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation (another shocking attribute for a beer of this age), finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a solid beer to sip on for a while but there are better beers in to age for a long period of time.

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Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of Newenglandcraftbrew
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of timmy2b
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of eawolff99
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BrewmanCapote
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of vande
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of 1FatJ
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of JohnSnowNW
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of AndrewMichael
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 mL capped bottle, wrapped in foil, poured into a stemmed, tulip style glass.
Very dark brown color, and nice head. Enjoyed this beer fresh, instead of aging.
Complex, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, that was very smooth at over 10% abv. The Belgian spices are subtle, which I prefer, and then you get the plums and dark cherries. Another outstanding beer from AleSmith, and excited we get more of their beers in Virginia Beach now.

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Photo of kevwcamp
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of dannyfayy
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of mattster
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Opened impressive 750ml bottle, poured into chalice.

Pours a low creamy head atop a dark amber colored mostly opaque brew. Nice small bubbles present.

Smell is of malts, warm caramel and dark fruits. Taste follows through with a full bodied flavors. I really like how this taste on the palate and finishes really nice. I was expecting something more sweet considering the sugary smells; the 10% ABV of this brew would also leave one to expect something a bit more burning, but this ale is definitely a well balanced beast.

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Photo of cam477
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of JandJMD
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of illidurit
4.44/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06 vintage signed by Peter Zein! Deep ruddy brown color with a sticky creamy tan head. Aromas of bruised apple flesh, chocolate-covered caramel, and grapes. Extremely appealing. Flavor is sweet bready malts and chocolate accented by red fruits, citrus, and cidery notes. Just delicious. Mouthfeel and body are perfect. Another epic Alesmith beer.

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Photo of smi
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of Maillard
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of lifebeer
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

consumed in a Westmalle goblet:

a. pours a stained mahogany with an emphasis on the red, off-white 1/4 finger of head that dissipates completely over a couple of minutes

s. fruit juice, orange peel, coriander, a yeasty earthiness

t. yeast, orange peel, woodiness, coriander, fruit, and a noticable alcohol character, although not overbearing or distracting

m. very bold and heavy for the style, love it!

d. tastes great with Indian food, refreshing although heavier than others of the same style, will definitely drink again, if i can find it

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Photo of smarcoly
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought the Alesmith Grand Cru as a celebration ale for my sister-in-laws wedding to share with my new brother-in-law. It was the perfect selection.

Poured beautifully into a "Bruery" tulip glass with a small head and mild lacing. Nice dark golden color worthy of any strong belgian ale. Aroma is extremely enticing and tempting to just dive in and drink up. The flavors did not disappoint. Just the right balance of sweetness initially, followed by enjoyable caramel/malty notes, and slightly hoppy in the finish. Just the right level of carbonation as it was not too bubbly, but just enough to let your tongue know it was there.

I cant wait to pick up another bottle. Alesmith hits it out of the park with this one!

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Grand Cru from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 962 ratings