AleSmith Grand Cru Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
912 Ratings
AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale
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.

Added by Jason on 04-27-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
912
Reviews:
385
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.59%
 
 
Wants:
111
Gots:
199
For Trade:
6
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 912 |  Reviews: 385
Photo of dwilson01
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my arrogant bastard pint glass.

Caramel color, looks a bit like an amber ale, nice carbonation which produces a foamy head, perfect recessing , stays completely flat the whole time with medium sized bubbles.

It seriously smells first of champagne, just a hint of fruityness but the alcohol esters are definitely there. If you have tasted the awesomeness of almond champagne and how sweet it is this is what the brew smells of. Second smell I can differentiate is white zinfandel, the fruit flavored kind that is really easy to drink.

The taste was surprisingly smooth, not very thick because of the solid amount of carbonation. The wine and champagne nose I got was completely smoothed out in the flavor. Fruit is there, cherries mostly but that's just part of the raisin/currant/cherry type flavoring. It's (wine+champagne)-alcohol ester flavor. The wine flavor imparts a sourness in the end somewhat reminiscent of a belgian sour. Spices have their touch as well, coriander is present, nutmeg seems to be there too. Overall extremely complex flavors in there, much more than the initial general description I am trying to give

The mouthfeel is lighter than I expected, the carbonation disguises how much like a stout the body of this beer is. In my mind it combines a stout body with that of a white zin.

Drinkability, always, I mean I keep going back for more so yea, it's got it but definitely in the sipping brew type of way.

Overall it's interesting, complex, comparable to the blue label chimay but with a bit of american spice thrown in the mix. I like it, it's the first offering I have tried from alesmith and it will most certainly not be the last.

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Photo of waltonc
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 2006 bottle compliments of abfraser.

Pretty dark, hazy, cider-like in appearance. Not much head. Smells like spice and sweet fruit. Taste has the same properties, along with a lot of sweetness. Overall very good. I wouldn't mind a little bit more carbonation, but this has enough that I didn't feel like I was drinking beer juice. Highly gulpable, I give this good drinkability marks in spite of the ABV.

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Photo of epyon396
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rkhaze
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark chestnut color with huge bubbles that disappeared immediatly leaving no head to speak of.
Smells of sweet malt, roasted fruits and brown sugar. There was a rum like alcohol aroma and a bit of yeast as well.
Deep, complex earthy taste. Bready roasted malt, brown sugar, dark caramel and red fruit. There was a definite rum alcohol presence, some tangy yeast and a hint of cinnamon waaay back there.
Rich and full bodied with a thick viscous mouthfeel and an alcohol burn. The lack of carbonation took it to the edge of being almost syrupy.
The alcohol presence and syrupy cloying mouthfeel hurt the drinkability for me. Definitly a sipper.
Quite the alcohol laced malt monster. This probably needs a little more time to mellow a bit and let the alcohol smooth out. Wish I would have picked up an extra bottle to age. Reminded me somewhat of La Terrible.

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Photo of Wizzle32
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ArrogantB
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage with a really cool silkscreen on the bottle. The smell is a real nice maltiness followed by syrupy caramel and some alcohol fumes. It is a good smell and reminds me a little of Caracole amber. There are almost no bubbles whatsoever let alone a head and the beer is an opaque chestnut color. The flavor is very sweet and hard to describe, complex and fruity, its quite delicious. This is perfect for sipping, gets better the closer it gets to room temperature. I'd like to try a fresh version to see what the differences are but this was a tasty beer.

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Photo of PatronWizard
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at the BA Speedway release. Got thirsty so....

Super thick liquid caramel. Some of the bubbles actually stop while moving up the glass. No head first pour. Not to worry, this 750 looks like it has many more pours in store. Second aggressive pour results in the thinnest of heads that dissipates quickly. I proclaim this a headless beer.

Smells like a sugar daddy with a vodka core. In other word: yum.

Big big taste of caramel. Sweet and malty malt bomb. Candied apples.

Surprisingly smooth. Goes down like water (with a little vodka in it). Carbonation seems non-existent, alcohol is a distant fire on a far off shore. Incredible easy to drink. This 750 of 10% will get in my bellay in very short order I'm afraid.

Big drinkable beer. It seriously has to be melted candied apples and vodka in a bottle.

Overall: grand cru

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a nice cream colored head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is a nice and clear amber-brown color. The beer has a beautiful hue and is fairly pleasing to look at.

The smell is pretty good. The smell has a subtle lightly toasted malt note and some spice that blends into the more heavier malt notes. The heavier malt notes come off as fairly fruity and closer resembles dark fruits such as dates. The hop note is fairly light and mixes in with the dark fruit notes but the bitterness is there and keeps the beer from being too sweet. Also, there is a very light and hidden alcohol note.

The taste has the same notes as the smell but is the better of the two. The lightly toasted malt note is still there but is a bit stronger and less subtle. The malt has the same dark fruit notes and the light hop bitterness. However, the spice notes are also a bit stronger. The alcohol is also still there.

The feel is heavy bodied but very smooth. The carbonation gives it a bit of bite and texture, which makes it even better.

Overall, a pretty good beer and worth getting at least once.

 1,102 characters

Photo of bruachan
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

great ruby red color with vivacious carbonation that helps sustain a very nice merengue head

this is a belgian? i would have picked barleywine in a blind tasting. no joke...it tastes like a slightly subdued old guardian (which i loved). same butterscotch/toffee character in the aroma and flavor and the same chewy feel. it's even hoppy enough to fit the style. this beer makes me wonder if i have a grasp on barleywines like i think i do

do i punish this beer for tasting like a beer that i loved from a different style?

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Photo of Beastcpa
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dirtylou
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, split on memorial day, a few years old at least

appearance: poured into a capital pint glass, moderate mahogany body with light strawberry highlights, light tan foam head

smell: big and bold, dark belgian yeast, raisins/prunes/walnuts/dates, brown sugar, light cinnamon and loads of other belgian spices. thick caramel malts

taste: a delightful belgian treat, loads of dark belgian yeast, brown sugar and tons of belgian spice, big caramel malts - lovely!

mouthfeel: active spicing, medium body, lively and somewhat potent

drinkability: good

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Photo of VeganUndead
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of abfraser
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one's been aging for a couple of years. They don't stamp batches, unfortunately, so I have no idea how old it really is.

A: Deep nut brown with no head. Looks a little viscous. Almost no carbonation.

S: Spicy, medicinal, orange peel

T/M: Smooth, sweet and malty. The medicinal qualities on the nose are really present here, which is a little bit of a turn off. This was definitely not as present in the non-aged versions. Mouthfeel is close to syrupy. Spice is definitely there. A really complex beer.

D: Being a bit syrupy and medicinal detracts from the drinkability here a little bit. But this hides its alcohol really well.

Overall, I know this is a great beer but I don't think it aged particularly well. The carbonation is almost completely non existent, making it too syrupy. I think I'll drink the others I have sooner rather than later. My ratings are posted as a hybrid...I've had enough non-aged versions that I feel comfortable doing so.

 959 characters

Photo of BostonHops
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep, dark, and translucent amber tone with ruby red hightlights; yields a a big foamy 2" head, light tan in color; patchy lacing. great nose offers sweet malt, candied sugar, dark fruit, a bit of spice, and a perceptible alcohol character.

taste follows the aroma fairly closely with a good dose of fruits - primarily dark, but i do get a subtle note of apple... very malty; sweet but not overly so... there's a substantial floral/spicy quality to it... very enjoyable. booze could be a little better hidden, but that's my one real complaint. medium bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall, as far as american versions of the style go this one is really well done. the more it warms the more impressed i am. not on the level of a rochefort but then, what is?

originally reviewed: 04-11-2011

 847 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. 2003 Vintage.

Poured a dark reddish-brown color with a very small sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, toffee, bread, and dark fruits. Tastes for toffee, caramel, dark fruitiness, and doughy. Malty and on the sweet side.

Notes from 2/28/05

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Photo of tyanow
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To me AleSmith can be hit and miss. I want to love everyone of their beers and I cannot say that I do.

The Grand Cru lifts the bar and holds it high. I was a tad disappointed when I took the foil off and found a cap and not a cork, but from there on it was a pure delight.

This is a big beer from start to finish. A dark yellowish amber slightly cloudy look with a thick and pale head leaves light lacing after every sip.

Vanilla and caramel aromas abound and the alcohol content is evident before it touches the lips. Spicy yeast is the first flavor impression and it gives way to a slightly fruity and sweet caramel finish. This is a medium body malty and low hop beer that at 10+% is a pure delight by any measure. Cheers

Ps. I had this in a beer tasting with a 2 other guys. We made the mistake of trying it first. Everything else was a big let down especially as this one warmed up. it got better and better and we all kept going back to it.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: a nice red amber with off-white head and tight bubbles; light columns of bubble movement and decent retention

s: spicy fruity scents; light wine; apples; sweet cider; light vinegar; very fruit forward

t: nice caramel notes; sweet toffee finish; butter; apples and pear; prunes; light wine/abv; a little bit of chocolate and spiciness; very smooth

m: a little over carbed in my opinion but a nice lightly cloying buttery body

d: a great take on the style; who says americans don't do belgian?

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep, dark, and translucent amber tone with ruby red hightlights; yields a a big foamy 2" head, light tan in color... patchy lacing.

great nose offers sweet malt, candied sugar, dark fruit, a bit of spice, and a perceptible alcohol character.

taste follows the aroma fairly closely with a good dose of fruits - primarily dark, but i do get a subtle note of apple... very malty; sweet but not overly so... there's a substantial floral/spicy quality to it... very enjoyable. booze could be a little better hidden, but that's my one real complaint.

medium bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall, as far as american versions of the style go this one is really well done. the more it warms the more impressed i am. not on the level of a rochefort but then, what is?

 818 characters

Photo of Chaney
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was given to me in a trade by my now good tasting buddy and all around great guy, Dreadnaught33. I barely even knew the guy when he gave it to me. Thanks Jonathan.... and I hope we will have many more tastings together in the near future!

Aged for a year and poured into a tulip.

A: After gunning this sucker as hard as I could, I summoned up an 1/8 finger (at best), anemic head that died down seconds later. However, the murky, almond/black cherry colored brew was a force to be reckoned with.

S: Not earth-shatteringly potent, yet still pleasant. Mild sour cherries, grapes, and a good bit of yeast. The Belgian funk was definitely there, but not as "Belgiany" as many I've tried. After all, this was done by an American brewery... not to mention one that normally does hop bombs by the truckload.

T: Smooth as hell actually - Holy shit! Fruity... and to my palate, almost into lambic territory. A little bit of almond-like nuttiness thrown into the mix, just to let me know that this wasn't a fruit beer, but that's about it.

M: The sweetness was a bit cloying, but in an "I want a package of Gummy Bears daddy!" kind of way. This was pretty well carbonated for something "Grand," and the booze was absolutely non-existent.

O: I honestly thought this was going to be a hophead/hyper sweet/Funk fest. However, what I got was a fairly understated brown sugar infused, fruit beer with a mild Belgian character. There was nothing wrong with that... and dammit, I liked it for that!

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Photo of Grundle20
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:
Pours a dark burnt amber into a snifter. There was a substantial 2-3 finger head but it was quick to dissipate and there was no lacing to note.

Smell:
Rich roasted malts and a standard "earthy" Belgian quality dominate this beer. There's slight tart yeasty notes but they are pretty well muddled by the primary scents.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
The beer blankets my mouth with a dry silky layer of chocolate cherries. It's certainly malty but there's big fruit character of cherries, apples, and pears to compliment the sweet maltiness. The alcohol is very well hidden amongst strong flavors. For being a 10% big malty bastard this beer finishes amazingly clean.

Drinkability:
I would usually score such a big beer lower in this area but Alesmith has pulled out an amazingly clean and refreshing beer as far as really malty high ABV beer goes. Drinkable and infinite food potential really boost the score this time around.

Bottom Line:
A surprising beer indeed. One of the better really strong beers I've had. If you're in to Belgian dark you must try this beer.

 1,086 characters

Photo of hozersr
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Bmoyer0301
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:

This beer comes in a beautiful 750ml champagne bottle with shiny gold foil around the neck and artistic gold hand writing all over the face. I ripped off the neck wrapping and popped the cap and was greeted by a slight hissing sound. I pulled out my Kasteel goblet for this Belgian treat, and I poured straight on and got a wonderful two finger thick head in my glass. This beer poured a hazy amber brown color with some rusty hues trying to shine through. I held my glass up to the light and didn't see any light passing though this murky drink and as typical I gave it a hefty swirl and got a slight amount of legs running down the glass but nothing too thick or thin.

Smell:

Now this is a well made ale, there is a lot going on here in the nose. First off, I'm picking out notes of bananas, clove, raisins, chocolate, and something spicy like cinnamon. There really is not much heat alcohol to mention here but there is a buttery, almost carmel like aroma that is lingering around the belly of my goblet. As my beer gets warmer the phenolic apple like notes are really shining though and create a comforting aroma.

Taste:

Belgian breweries better be watching there back because this beer gives them a run for their money. This baby is sweet and warming plum notes with plenty of spices wrapping around your tongue, I'm noticing the dark candy sugar which produces a nice caramel note as well as dark pit fruits to balance out the sweetness. As far as hops go they are almost nonexistent, there is only a faint amount of bitterness to be talked about here. Again, as in the smell I'm really noticing a green apple taste as it warms up and it adds a certain amount of tangy complexity which I'm really liking. This almost reminds me of a rum cake or something cooked in brandy that I had before, either way this is a great sipper and I'm going to go refill my glass now.

Drinkability:

AleSmith, I tip my hat to you this is a solid representation of a dark Belgian beer. I would say that this beer would be enjoyed by many especially since there is a low amount of bitterness and higher level of residual sweetness. With the high alcohol level I am willing to bet if you cellared this beer for a few years it would improve with complexity and taste. This beer was overall a great pick for the price ($14) and I am glad that this is now available here in PA and can't wait to try some of their other offerings. If you come across it I'd say this is a must try, and you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JParlow
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a 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/ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and about two fingers of light tan head that fade into a thin patchy layer. Leaves little lace.

Smell: A light yeasty, dark, caramel malt with hint of banana. The aroma was not as prominent as I thought it might.

Taste: Like the nose gives off, a yeasty, dark, and bready caramel malt taste with lots of dark fruits. Big presence of dark fruit with notes of raisin, plum, dates, fig, dark cherry, and prune.

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

Overall: I'd by again.

 794 characters

Photo of cultclassic89
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%

AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 912 ratings.
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