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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
379 Reviews
AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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
Reviews:
379
Ratings:
879
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.1%
 
 
Wants:
109
Gots:
187
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 379 | Ratings: 879
Photo of cvm4
3.71/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep amber with brown hues to it. Has a creamy beige head to it that dissipates to just a ring around the glass.

S - Has great dark fruit qualities of prunes & figs. Some candied sugars are present.

T - Sweet from start to finish. Figs, brown sugar, candy qualities, bready malts and toffee.

M - Light to medium bodied with a good amount if carbonation. Has a dry finish and the sweetness can seem cloying.

O - It's not something I'd normally reach for as this style typically bores me. But, it's not a bad one to try.

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Photo of peabody
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice dark reddish brown with very little suds. Lacing appears on the tulip glass.
Smell is root beer and ainse. Sour cherry and raisin with a burning
sensation that must be the yeast. Can't really smell the alcohol.
Taste is licorice(sp) and orange peel with lots of alcohol. Very sweet but it quickly leaves and the alcohol and bitterness take over the palate.
Very oily slick feel in the mouth. Not a lot of carbonation here but with all the alcohol who needs it? The alcohol sits in the back of the throat and simmers keeping you warm on a cold night.
Great winter's sipping dring here! Couldn't drink a lot of it but I can and will finish this bottle.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml capped bottle into a goblet

Pours with a huge pale beige head, brownish ruby in color, dark but somewhat translucent, not cloudy. Carbonation is very active. Smell is rich, slightly astringent, malty. Have a bit of a cold so smell is dampened for me. Sort of a sweet brandy smell, a little woody, very Belgian smelling.

Taste is surprisingly mild...maybe my cold is damping this, too. It's thick and malty, sweet, but somehow watery. Some tart fruitiness, maybe dates and cherries.

Mouthfeel is very surprisingly light and thin. Carbonation is pleasant. Drinkable, although it's very sweet and very strong, but I think that's expected for the style.

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Photo of dgilks
3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Hazy dark amber colour with a small, light tan head. Fair head retention.

Aroma is pretty classic. Caramelised sugars and dark fruits. A moderate yeast ester note which raises some almost tropical notes. Touches of clove.

A little sweet but not too much. Nice fruitiness but it is pretty indistinct. Light spicing.

Medium body with moderately-high carbonation. Fine.

A solid beer but nothing special in my book. Good aromas and an approachable flavour. It just doesn't reach any highs.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750ml capped gold foil wrapped bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a really beautiful dark brownish red color with a creamy light tan head. Very impressive.

S- The aroma features dark ripe fruits, hints of spices and yest. There is also some alcohol in the nose as well. You can tell that they used a Belgian yeast strain, it definitely has that feel to it.

T- The taste is dark alcohol soaked fruits with some spices and a good dose of alcohol in the warming finish.

M- The mouthfeel is incredibly smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation. Very nice!

D- This is a very nice beer, but the high ABV limits the drinkability of this one. I find it to be a little too hot in the alcohol department. This is a fresh sample, so I think some aging would definitely help. I wish I would have split this one with somebody, the alcohol definitely sneaks up on you.

Overall, AleSmith Grand Cru is another solid beer from this great brewery. Recommended.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ML bottle just purchased from New Beer Distributors in Manhattan on Chrystie Street for $9.25...
Presented with an elegant gold-foil around the bottle neck...
A slow and steady pour yielded a dark-orange, hazy, off-red hue with a modest-sized foamy head that quickly dissipated and left behind a minimal amount of lacing...
Smell was loaded with yeast, citrus, and alcohol in the nose...
Taste was headily alcoholic, and very noticeable, especially with a powerful 10% ABV... This one is definitely a sipper and can be enjoyed over a long period of time...
Spicy, citrus-filled flavors dance on the tongue, along with a warming alcohol glow, candied sugars, caramel, and a touch of oak and vanilla...
Mouthfeel was full-bodied, rich, and creamy, however the drinkability took a serious blow due to the overwhelming presence of alcohol on the tongue and hefty ABV...
Worth a shot...

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - this grand cru pours a sark reddish/brown thatn wells up a thin tan head but is too dark to see any carbonation

S - the aroma is nice, but rather nondescript, and unusual iced tea aroma with associated undecipherable spices, very enticing

T - a ver nice sweet taste, with a great hoppy/malty balanced aftertaste, with a great roasted malt background

M - smooth, very smooth, this grand cru is nice and easy on the palate

D - high, the smoothness and balanced flavor lead to a above average drinkability

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.67/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear amber brown, almost ruby in fact, with a very low and wispy head which didn't even completely form at the top of the surface of the beer.

The aroma was fruity with a strong dark fruit character of raisins and prunes and dried cherries. Also present were some slight spicy phenolics from alcohol, but the alcohol aroma was not strong at all. A nice Belgian yeast character was present and interesting.

The flavor was malty with a fruity chocolate flavor. The fruity flavors were dark and that of raisins, prunes and cherries. The alcohol was present and detracting in the flavor. The carbonation level was so low in the beer that the flavor was almost syrupy while not being sweet. The bittering component and the alcohol kept the beer from being overly sweet.

The finish was even with a lasting alcohol flavor which contributed a spicy character with the Belgian yeast that lasted long into the aftertaste. The body was medium full. The lack of carbonation really killed this beer for me. A mostly flat beer with lots of alcohol warming after consumption, but little in the way of complexity.

750 ml capped and foil sealed bottle. Purchased at Papago in Phoenix a few days ago, kinda sad that the beer is retired when it can still be found. This beer must be the 2003 since it does not look like the other vintages on the AleSmith website and I see no new entries.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml capped bottle into a Duvel tulip. No dating info on bottle but got recently from South Bay when it was released so should be this years. Was a deep red color with plenty of carb in the center. Quick sliding lace. It had an average sized tan head that quickly dissipated into a thin collar and film center.

The aroma was candi sugar, dark fruits, some spice and a touch of alcohol. Aroma was a tad too sweet for my liking. The taste followed the aroma but the sweetness was much more pronounced. Needs something to cut the overwhelming sweet. Piles up and becomes cloying after awhile.

Overall, I was disappointed with this one. Found the aroma and taste to be way to sweet to be enjoyable. Wonder what some aging would do to this one. For me, one was enough unless I can easily get an aged one to try. Maybe once on-tap.

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Photo of brdc
3.64/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Large capped bottle, aged as suggested in the bottle for one year. Poured into a goblet.

Burgundy red, with some obvious carbonation problems, and a head that shows minimal retention or lacing.
Nice fruity aroma, mostly dark fruits, caramel maltiness, candy like sweetness.
Full bodied, but the lacko of carbonation severely limits the enjoyment. Flavor profile is on the sweeter side, malty, fruity, with minimal alcoholic warmth.
A decent brew, but if I have another chance, will ignore the bottle statement and drink fresh. I believe the lack of carbonation might be an aging problem, although mentioned in other reviews as well.

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Photo of satowns
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage; 750ml bottle. tasted last summer, just now posting my limited notes.

pours a brilliant bright orange with a white layer of dense bubbles.

aroma is all bright candied fruits...

Crisp citrus and spices dominate flavor.

rich and creamy mouthfeel.

Quite delicious!

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Photo of Murchmac
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Drank on xmas day after dinner. From notes:

Smells nice figs, caramel, yeast,

ruby red highlights, cherry color, some cloudiness to it. Pretty looking beer.

thin body, dark fruits yeasty. This one falls short of the usualy outstanding brews by alesmith. A little too thin. I love alesmith for the backbone of their beers. Good taste, just wanted more of it.

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Photo of bulletrain76
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

75cl bottle. Beautiful clear deep chestnut brown colored body. The head is pretty weak, but Ill cut it some slack because the color is really perfect. Wonderfully complex aroma of dark candi sugar, toffee, fruity notes of berries, and some cinnamon. The flavor is sweet and is dominated by toffee, with some vanilla dried fruit as well. I was looking for a little more balance and complexity, but it is still pretty nice. Full, almost chewy body is a bit heavy, but the ample amount of silky carbonation lets it move over the tongue well enough to avoid any excessive, cloying stickiness. Pretty nice beer, though missing some yeasty complexities that I look for in the style that would make it stand out. At the premium price it commands, I probably wont be buying this in the future.

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Photo of sloejams
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at Pure Luck, Los Angeles
$5 for a 20oz glass - beat that price!

I'm glad I go to have this again to get around to review it and on draught, no less.

It's a copper color ale with virtually no head from the barkeep's pour. Raisin and currant are the predominant scents. The taste follows with more dried fruit - apricot and pear. Caramel sweetness comes across later and even a hint of fig.

I enjoyed it but I was in a bit of a rush and sadly didn't finish the entire 20oz.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into tulip glass. Pours toast-brown color with massive foamy head leaving spotty lacing throughout - typical for a big Belgian like this one. Sarts with the tangy flavor of Belgian yeast, then fades to a medium-light flavor of vanilla, caramel and chocolate. Finishes dry and well-balanced with a slightly toasty flavor. Vanilla and chocolate aromas predominate, along with the Belgian yeast/candi characteristics. Clean and crisp mouthfeel, medium-bodied. Warmth from the high alcohol content makes it feel like a Belgian champange. Quite decent brew.

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Photo of Vixie
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice ruby red color with a decent sized tan head. Fair amount of carbonation.

Smell has quite a bit of brown sugar to it. Can also detect a hint of chocolate and toffee.

This is a fairly sweet beer, I am describing it mentally as liquid candy. There is a lot of brown sugar and toffee to it, if a Heath Bar was in liquid form, it would taste a lot like this. I can also detect some Belgian candy sugar, and there is just a hint of a hop bite at the finish. The alcohol is very well hidden in this one, just a touch of warming at the back of my throat.

Feel is just ok, I think should be a little more solid for the style.

Overall a pretty good beer. It is lacking a bit in complexity, but has a nice flavor and is easy to drink for such a strong beer. This one is deceptive, it doesn't taste like a 10% ABV beer, handle with care, but worth a try.

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Photo of mmapes
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bought in September, opened in March. Bottle suggests cellaring for 6 to 24 months.

Pours a big head of medium-sized bubbles. Amber/peach colored, very clear. Smells of dried fruit -- apricots?

Tastes very much like it smells. It's nice but a little one-noted. Sweet finish after a tangy start. There are some sweet malts but not much in the way of hops. The apricot smell/taste is prevalent -- is that from the Belgian yeast?

Nice, but not very complex.

Would buy again if it weren't too expensive. We have one more bottle in the cellar. Will see how it ages.

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Photo of BierReise
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2003 Vintage. Dark and hazy plum colored with no head at all. Aroma is really malty with some fruit like dried cherries and figs. I don't get the vanilla/chocolate aroma, maybe that was a different vintage. Mouth feel is a bit weak with some dryness and lacks the excitement of a Belgian Grand Cru. Flavor is malty sweet with a hint of caramel and cocoa. Alcohol is very present in aroma and flavor. A bit dissapointing.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml brown glass bottle with foiled-over standard pressure cap served into an oversized wine glass in me friend's gaff in low altitude Orange, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high given the brewery.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a three finger head of fluffy white cream, nice thickness, and great retention for the ABV. Incredibly frothy. Quite beautiful and appealing. Colour is an exquisite dark amber. Very impressive and inviting.

Sm: Cherry and raspberry fruit esters. Some cream. Warm clean complex malts. Fresh biscuity yeast. Amber hops. A moderate strength aroma. I'm excited to try this.

T: Clean amber malts form the foundation, with nice cream atop. Some caramelized malt. Some toasted malt. A nice yeast note. Hints of fruit esters - cherry and raspberry. Nicely balanced and built, but not as good as expected given the brewery and current ratings. I like it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with cream, and enough coarseness to allow the flavours to come through. Just thick enough. Complements the flavours pretty well.

Dr: Highly drinkable - especially considering the high ABV, which is extremely well hidden. It tastes like it's about 5.00%. I'd have it again, preferably on draught.

I don't recommend an oversized wine glass as the proper glassware for this beer.

B

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Photo of AwYeh
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage; 750 ml poured into nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy brown, dark copper color. Foamy off white head with light lacing; good retention.

S: This is quite a fancy smell; reminds me of what wines smelled like when I was younger and first exposed to them. Lots of dark fruits going on, particularly plum and raisin, along with a light tartness.

T: Following smell, dark fruits are what really show up here, complemented by another light tartness– mostly plum and apple flavors here, but a bit of sour pear shows up too.

M: Heavily carbonated, I feel like this could be easily introduced to a non-beer drinker as a kind of unique wine. Medium bodied, with a decent amount of alcohol on the finish– though it does add a certain spiciness rather than detract from the overall experience. Quite dry on the finish as well.

O: It's an interesting, and quite good beer, even if I prefer some of Alesmith's other offerings and some other beer's within the style over this one. Nonetheless, I recommend checking it out; you could easily enjoy this one more than me, and given its qualities, I would hate to discourage anyone from picking it up.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes taken on 1/09/05 with a 750ml bottle. Even with an aggressive pour this beer seemed hard pressed to get even a full covering of tan bubbles. The body was a ruddy brown. Aroma was very sweet with various fruits, caramel and sugars. There was a bit of spiciness to it as well and another scent that reminded me of English style barley wines. Sweetness was dominant in the flavor as well with various fruits coming through and a good dose of caramel/toffee. Sugar and spice were prevalent as well. Something in the flavor reminds me of barley wines as well. A bit of lingering spice was on the finish. Fairly thick and slick was the body and it had quite a warming feel to it as well. Pretty good stuff but the sweetness became cloying towards the middle and really made the last glass drag on. On e I would like to try fresher if I ever get the chance.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was the last beer of an evening of several pretty big beers (American Independence Day), and I have to say that I probably would've enjoyed it more had it been the first beer of the evening rather than the last. It was certainly not bad, but not what I was expecting (a problem I would not have had if I read the bottle), but not a great night-cap for a hot evening spent outdoors. Still, pretty good, and something I'd be willing try again.

The body was a sort of muddy red-brown with very little head. The description says it is "crystal clear (when served properly)" - I'm dying to know what those conditions are! I thought for some reason that flavor would be fruitier and lighter than it was; in actually it was a pretty heavy sweet cerealness with lots of biscuity character above it with some very sweet alcohol tang to it. Mouthfeel was dry and warming, owing largely to the high ABV.

I wasn't a huge fan of this one, but given the circumstances, I'd be willing to give it another try.

I bought this bottle a few months back at the Winerak in Zanesville, OH.

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Photo of Neffbeer
3.51/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

bottle from 2010

A: Pours a deep amber with ruby hues. Decent size two finger head that fades really fast with zero lacing. Average clarity.

S: Very spicy with cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves on the first whiff. Brown sugar, caramel, toasted biscuits, figs, raisins, cherries and apples round out the mix.

T: The spice rolls out front with cloves and apples bringing a little bready goodness. As it gets to room temp some notes of berries emerge with cherries in front. The stone fruits from the nose are not really evident the more I drink and any hope of toffee/carmel goodness is lost as the finish falls a bit flat.

M: A bit thin with carbonation along the line of "spritzy." I really think the beer is over carbonated and the depth of flavor is lost in the effervescence.

D: Sadly this beer comes up short of being anything truly great. The flavors fall a bit flat for me after a really inviting nose. All in all still a drinkable brew.

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Photo of aracauna
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The body is a very dark red there's not a lot of head, but there's enough. There are lots of fruity esters and a warmth to the malt. It's a bit alcoholic, but not overpowering, although it does give it a bit of a bourbon undertone. I was a bit underwhelmed by the beer, though.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beauty was given to biegaman by a friend and shared with me tonight. It was of uncertain vintage but likely 2006, possibly older I'd guess as it seemed, unfortunately, a bit over the hill. Cloudy prune juice on the pour, a murky mid-brown with no head whatsoever. Thin ring and no lace but for some small "polka dots" that were left after a healthy swirl in my tall tulip shape glass. After a short while, however, there wasn't even a trace of a thin ring and even a swirl produced nothing, it went perfectly flat and featureless.

The smell of pear predominated, also some semillion or sauvignon grape white wine aromas. With air and warming, a sweeter smell appeared, feint toffee. Taste had some very light caramel undertones but pear and carrot juice came to mind most, a bit of spice, possibly coriander, nothing too sweet and not much if any caramel that I expected. Body was thin, a bit spritzy to begin with, cleansing.

I look forward to trying this beer again once I locate a fresher bottle. Thanks Jan for splitting it, next one is on me.

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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 379 ratings.
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