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 BDerosia
2.75/5  rDev -32.3%

Photo of Caudalie
2.75/5  rDev -32.3%

Photo of ccrida
2.77/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my large Gulden Draak tulip glass, The Grand Cru is a light muddy garnet with a big khaki head with large bubbles that quickly dissapates to a slight collar, leaving no lace. The label makes a few mentions of yearly vintages and aging potential, but there is no date that I can find, and only a blank crown cap and foil wrapper, no dated cork.

The smell is fairly rich, and is an interesting mix of BSDA dark fruit and barelywine malt, with a hint of booze. It can take you back a bit at first, but the fruit seems to take charge and it is ultimately pretty good, albeit funky.

The taste follows the smell, being an unusual mix of BSDA with a punch of barleywine. However, it's the inverse of the nose, in that the barleywine malt and diactly seem to take precedence over the BSPA fruit and spices. The finish is very vinous and a bit cloying as well, coating your mouth like red wine.

The mouthfeel is pretty thin, with very light carbonation at all. While I like my Belgians to have the light body that lends to the digestibility, this one comes off thin and watery and is not very satisfying.

Ultimately, this was not a very impressive brew. I'm not sure how old it was, but I've seen them at the store for a while, and this was the last bottle, which had been refrigerated. I love AleSmith's IPA, and with all the talk on the label about being the 1st place winner at the California state fair, I was disappointed.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.82/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I completed an IRONMAN 70.3 in Haines City on April 13 and popped this beer open that afternoon to celebrate my accomplishment. I wish I would have opened something else :(

I received this in a trade about 7 or 8 years ago. Popped the cork and there wasn't a lot of fizzy sounds coming from the bottle, which usually portends a lack of carbonation. The beer emerges hazy and muddy and ruddy brown in color with not much head on the beer or carbonation. Looks very dull and rather unappealing.

Aroma was sweet and caramelly and oxidized. This bottle has not held up well. I have kept this one is a cellar since I received it. No real spark or anything to the aroma.

Flavor was dull and muted as well. Sweet and alcoholic, mostly flat with very little carbonation. Perhaps a fresh bottle of this is delicious, but one aged in perfect conditions for 7 years doesn't hold up well. Not sure what to say about this one except it was a huge disappointment. Belgian styles are supposed to stand the test of time; not this one.

 1,023 characters

Photo of toeknee
2.93/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Purchased this bottle in LA area Summer, 2006. Carried back to Atlanta where it has been in my basement since.

Not much fizz when I popped the cap. Pours a very murky amber with surprisingly weak head.

Big, rich, malty aromas with almost candy-like sweet notes. Smells almost of creamy cotton candy. Big and sweet, but with little complexity.

Very sweet, malty flavor with not much carbonation at all. I find I'm having to search really hard on my palate for flavors and that should not be the case. Perhaps it's too cold. Regardless of temperature, the flavor starts slowly on the tongue, ramps up nicely, but then fades away before any sort of defining climax. All that's left on the tongue is the telltale vinuous coating of oxidation.

I've heard / read this beer can be hit or miss, but I wonder if it is a quality control issue or if people are cellaring improperly or what. I took pretty good care of this bottle and I can't imagine this is what the brewery intended for me to drink.

 994 characters

Photo of fragilemacabre
2.97/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

While I'm pretty new to this style of beer, I don't like this incarnation. I really enjoy the dark smokiness of it, and it is rather pretty. Its smell is flat to me, almost like stale pumpernickel bread soaked in a stout overnight and left to try. The alcohol content is fairly apparent (read: you can tell there's a smidge, but not necessarily that it's a 10% smidge), and the carbonation seems to me to interfere with the taste. Considering that I don't like its taste as much as I was hoping (and that I want to try other beers in this style), it is still surprisingly drinkable... Doubtful on my chances of ordering it at a beer bar, but it hasn't convinced me to give up on the style (unlike 99% of pilsners)

 713 characters

Photo of kevwcamp
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Black95tt: Poured an hazy dark amber color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention. Aroma of candi sugar, sweet malt and alcohol is pretty intense and reminiscent of Gouden Carolus Keizer. Taste is quite hot at first, which does not really suit my taste. The presence of candi sugar is quite evident as well as some dry figs characteristics. Yeast is totally overshadowed by the malt and the alcohol. Body is just above average but could be fuller and carbonation was appropriate. Overall, I really don’t see the big fuss over this beer and would prefer to taste a Gouden Carolus Keizer, which is similar, but more balance overall.

 660 characters

Photo of Drew26
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of dleigh
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of NickMunford
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of akttr
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of smi
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of ejw127
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of johnhenryconway
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of xnicknj
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of zbooks
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of msquared36
3.02/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Very dark with a deep red tint.

Aroma is roasted malt with a hint of smoke.

Malty and fruity - dark fruit like plum and cherry. Very sweet finish.

Very smooth and substantial.

A little too sweet for me. Seems to get sweeter as it warms. Lacks complexity, maybe it would be better aged. Tough to get through the whole bottle because it gets syrupy. First Alesmith I've tried that isn't great.

 397 characters

Photo of drpimento
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, but not great. Poured with a nice light tan, foamy, frothy, head that lasts a long time and a little lace. Color is a cloudy amber brown. Aroma is solvents, malt, caramel, yeast. Flavor's much like nose, with sweetness standing out but a little confusing to me as it matches sweet solvents. Body and carbonation are ok. Finish is like flavor, of average length and no hint of booze.

 386 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.06/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle, aged ~1 year. Pours a deep brown with a small white head. Aroma of raisin and sweet malt. Flavor is vegetal, quite malty and heavy in the palate. A little better as it warms, but it's super sweet. This is supposed to age well, but I didn't like how it turned out. Meh, not a fan.
6/4/7/3/13 (3.3/5

 305 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to sweemzander for another bottle to sample.

A: Cinnamon brown with red edges. Small amount of dirty white head. Soapy lace.

S: Caramel malt and sort of faded hops. Bready with a mix of dark fruit. There's a bit of spice in there but the nose is rather subdued.

T: Mild caramel malt and faded hops. A bit of dark fruit and wet leather. Strange spices float around in there as well.

M: Medium body with modest carbonation.

O: Overall very average at best.

 468 characters

Photo of sweemzander
3.12/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into a tulip. Got this awhile ago from a generous trader, but I cannot remember who, but thank you!

(A)- Pours a reddish amber color. Produced a decent off-white head that dissipated down to bubbles.

(S)- A rich earthy clay with some dark fruits and subtle raisin.

(T)- Lots of raisin-like dark fruits. Mildly earthy.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Dry and earthy with some bitterness in there too.

(D)- Its a decent belgian strong dark. A tad thin, yet rich in a sweetness sense. Rather straightforward for the style.

 543 characters

Photo of hannydawg
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

A- Rich mahogany color with reddish hues. 2 finger off white head sticks around for a while with minimal lacing left behind.

S- Dark fruits dominate with figs, plums and raisins present. A peppery smell is also present, as well as caramel malts.

T- Sweet caramel malts, plums, raisins, and a bit of alcohol present that was hidden on the nose.

M- Medium bodied, with ample carbonation, but the alcohol comes through too much, something the Belgians seem to hide much better.

O-Not a bad BSDA, a but too sweet, and the alcohol is more present than I care for.

 594 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.21/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle purchased at Whole Foods for a nice price. Split with Oglmcdgl, into some Duvel snifters. Been two years since I had a aged bottle and I think this is fresh(er).

Dead red plum juice drizzle with light brown bark rounding out the hue. A stealthy healthy pour yielded a whole hand of vanilla white foam that stuck together quite well, but not on the glass. Just some small sqiggly streaks and a ring around the glass.

For a BSDA this does not have the moxy or the dark fruit and sweet presence for the style. This smells more like an American Strong with all that booze in there, it's not hiding, it's not scurred. There is some dark fruit with light plum and apple but it comes off some what rotted or decayed. Some melted banana and strange yeast.

A big bite of banana in the morning that's whooomp, up there. Some applesauce with sprinkled cinnamon, rotted plums and bready yeast that leaves a strange taste in my mouth. Along with all of that is the booze which is kinda killing this for me, or the beer for that matter. Some sweet toasty malt but it needs more and more fruit for that matter.

Grand Cru is nice on the higher side of medium that is boozy and some heat comes from that, especially warmed. The warmer it got the drinkability went down, although the fruit comes out more, but so does that booze. A semi dry finish where I would expect a smoother ride. It does kinda fit the strong ale category in feel along with other areas. A sharp bitey carb on the tip of the tounge.

I remember liking this more when I picked it up an aged bottle in NY a few years ago, a bit more complex then. I don't think my palate changed, I just think this beer may need to grow up a bit and mature. Split these 750's or sit on em, this could be good in at least two years, not my bag now. Will update in the future.

 1,826 characters

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