AleSmith Grand Cru Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

385 Reviews
AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

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

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Reviews: 385 | Ratings: 911
Photo of CraftBeerRunner
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not very familiar with the style, but what I liked was the clean after taste lingering sweetness (lack of metallic after taste I associate with similar styles). Minimal head which I also thought odd, pretty good lacing. Overall quite sweet, good flavor, but nothing to drink again. Oak, CA, Mar 2017

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Photo of mwilbur
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a beautiful deep red garnet hue with 1-2 inch light tan head that quickly settles to a thin skim.
S: Banana, clove, fruity esters, fresh cinnamon raisin bread, and sweet caramel malt. Can smell the Belgian yeast attributes from a foot or two away immediately after pouring.
T: Sweet banana, raisin, and caramel malt hit first followed by clove, cinnamon, and a hint of chocolate.
M: Extraordinarily soft and velvety smooth. Sweet fruit notes with some spice. The high ABV is imperceptible. Lingers and matures nicely on the palate too.
D: A nice sipper that has some depth, but is easily approachable. Wish it was a bit more complex with the aroma and on the palate. Still a very solid brew.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
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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Photo of hman43
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: It pours brown with a light tan head. The overall clarity is rather hazy.

Smell: It has deep aromas from the malts and esters. The malt is bready. There is a deep dried cherry aroma as well. It has some spices in the aroma that are perfume like.

Taste: There are flavors of bready and some chocolate. There are flavors of dried cherries, plums, and floral elements. The overall flavor presentation is moderately sweet and moderately bitter.

Body: It has a moderate body with some noticeable alcohol warmth. It also has fairly high carbonation. The finish is also somewhat dry.

Overall, there is a complex combinations of flavors and aromas provided by the malt and esters. The overall presentation starts moderately sweet with moderate bitterness and finishes dry with a slight bit of tartness.

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Photo of avalon07
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had a dark amber-red color and a cloudy texture. there was a small amount of foamy head that didn't last very long. OK lacing.

S: A solid aroma of Belgian yeast, caramel, fruit, and malt.

T: Tasted of some caramel notes, light malt notes, Belgian yeast, some light spices (pepper, in particular, with some coriander), apples, malt, and dark fruit. A vibrant and easy to like flavor. It's definitely sweeter and more sugary than other BSDAs, but it seems to work here.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a lively finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a well made American version of Belgian-style beer. Easy to drink, and never very overpowering.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Alesmith brew house 8.27.16

L - Amber ruby red. Not much lacing

S - light on the nose, but sugar is you get deep into it

T - Sweet, honey, figs. Well balanced for a 10% bomb. Lingering sweetness in the finish

F - mild body and carbonation

O - A good Belgian strong but too sweet to drink much of

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Photo of Mitchster
2.16/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

10% ABV, 17 IBU, OG=1.088. No other specs per the website. $10.99 for a 750ml bottle at Woodmans in Kenosha.

Pours out to a clear medium dark amber, forming a nice creamy light tan/yellow head with very good retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate, ~2.5 carbs or so. The nose is very phenolic, earthy, hints of caramel, a little pepper, suggestions of oxidation. Mouthfeel is syrupy, lightly cloying, quite ruddy. The taste again, is very phenolic, sticky, and unfortunately, quite oxidized with wet cardboard/newspaper. Bitterness is very mild. Very very boozy, some harsh fusels in the aftertaste.

Unfortunately, this is going to be a drain pour. What a mess. Terrible beer. I've heard lots of great things about alesmith and have like the 2 other beers I've had, and am looking forward to the other 5 or so that I picked up.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
4.73/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

With a bold mahogany color, it has an orange sorbet aroma with a malty sweet dried apricot and orangey caramel taste as well as a great, balanced mouthfeel. It does have some hops, but is balanced out with a malty backbone. It also doesn’t feel alcoholic despite having a high alcohol content. This is a great treat overall! Meanwhile, other beers to try out is the Dark Truth Stout from Boulevard Brewing Company, the Dubbel Vission from Aftershock Brewing Company and, if you’re lucky to find it, the Shegöat from the Bruery.

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Photo of Ri0
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Bottled 8/2013. It is a cloudy dark mahogany with a nice 2.5 finger sand colored head. Nice cap and lacing form on the glass. Sweeter aromas of bread, figs, dark plum and cherry mingle with toffee and caramel. Some banana esters, yeast and, clove are also are present. Flavor is sweet and yeasty in the front with some banana, gives way to the sweet toffee and caramel with hints of the dark fruit. Medium smooth feel with soft carbonation. A tasty brew even after it sat for 2.5 years.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

75 cl

Pours clear cherry red, yellowish white head is a quarter inch thick and retains as a lacing.

Smells of citrus, coriander, fresh fruity notes like cherry and raspberry, and a grassy malt undertone.

Tastes of cherry, oatmeal, fresh grass, citrus, yeast and a dry woodiness.

Full body with tingly carbonation.

Awesome brew, lots of flavor and aroma. Very rich and full bodied. The taste isn't quite perfect with the different elements not fully blending together, but this is a small criticism. Overall, an excellent beer and worth seeking out.

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Photo of Qbdoo
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reddish brown color with a nice head that quickly vanishes. Aroma is caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruit. Taste is similar though there's an interesting but somewhat odd clove taste as it finishes. The texture is on the thin and crisp side. A solid take on the style.

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Photo of Jim_Benz
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Wow. Sweeter than I expected, but in the glass it's one of the most beautiful beers I've ever poured. Head fades pretty fast, with almost no lacing. Smells like plums and raisins with distinct fruity esters from the yeast. I don't know how to describe the malt flavors when I sip it--quite a bit of complexity, but taste mainly follows the nose. The sweetness really dominates for me, and that's not a plus. I prefer something drier, but still. A little bitterness toward the end helps. Alcohol is well hidden, except that I can FEEL it half way through. Carbonation is a little lower than I expected--more would have been good. To cut the sweetness. Mouthfeel derives mostly from that almost syrupy excess, but is otherwise thinner than anticipated. Overall? I like it but am surprised that I'd rate the taste lower than all its other attributes. Too sweet.

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Photo of beergoot
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruddy, brownish-red body; very thick, fluffy, lasting head. Fruity aroma with touches of caramel; raisins and dates; dark grain fresh bread. Upfront, toasted grain flavor; bread crust; mild toffee character; dried cherries; low-key booziness. Heavy body; smooth and luscious on the palate; warm with residual sugars; creamy texture.

A fine tasting, exceptionally warm and easy drinking strong ale. It presents lots of depth and complexity within its flavors and does an excellent job of keeping the alcohol presence within bounds. Malt-forward with a chewy caramel note. A very nice find...

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Photo of AndrewMichael
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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 lordofthewiens
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at When Pigs Fly.
The beer poured a medium brown color with no head.
Aroma of caramel, dark fruit.
The taste expanded on the aroma. Caramel and toffee, coffee, some dark fruit, some banana.
Smooth and easy drinking for 10% ABV

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Photo of corby112
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark golden brown color with tangerine edges and a two finger off-white head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Sweet, slightly spicy aroma with prominent dark fruit esters and dark malt sweetness. Slightly herbal and medicinal with a touch of cough syrup, pepper and clove. Vinous fruit sweetness with grape, fig and raisin. Some Belgian candi sugar in there with caramel malt sweetness, toffee and toast.

Fuller end of medium body with a more complex flavor profile than the nose hinted at. Soft carbonation with a nice balance of peppery spice, herbal/syrupy flavor, vinous fruit and dark malt sweetness. Peppery with some clove and faint piney hops. Very sweet and vinous with prominent fruity esters, notably grape, fig, raisin and other dark berries. Also, there's some dark malt sweetness with hints of chocolate, caramel and toffee. Nicely balanced and the high ABV is excellently masked making beer a bit too easy to drink. Would never have guessed it was 10%.

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Photo of teromous
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The body is a dark mahogany red-brown with a very good clarity. The head is a short foamy white cap that fades shortly to a ring. Some lacing.

Aroma: Banana and clove that smell nice but have a mellow presence that doesn't extend past the rim of the glass.

Taste: Very nice flavors here. It's a wonderful bouquet of flavors consisting of clove, light toasted bread, brown sugar, a bit of earthiness at the end. No strong alcohol character here.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is great. It's fairly full bodied with a nice smoothness to it. No alcohol burn.

Overall: It is an outstanding beer that I would recommend. It is a pleasant beer to drink that delivers the Belgian yeast character that drinkers of this style have come to expect. I would buy it again.

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Photo of bnes09
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Iced tea appearing ale. Light tan head goes flat very quickly.

Chocolate, dark fruit, pepper and funky yeast aroma.

Nice, complex, dark fruit, subtle caramel, mild chocolate and yeast flavor. Minimal hop flavor.

Full body. Not sticky. Minimal malt texture. Clean. Descent carbonation.

A solid Belgian style ale. Quite enjoyable.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, no apparent date:
Initial thoughts were on a cold beer (below suggested temps on bottle of 50-55°), changes noted as the beer warmed.

Nice ruby-brown with a billowing head of light reddish tan. Significant condensation with the cold beer, but fighting through the lasting head, the beer seems to have a fair amount of clarity of substance (color being the blocker of light).

Nose seems strong on banana Belgian yeast notes. I think I got some spiciness early, but really not as much as the beer warmed, oddly. Warming beer and deep sniffs added a little alcohol and definitely some tart cherry to the party. A more normal sniff yielded some apple and strawberry.

Beer starts with toffee and fruity taste. Mildly sweet pop backed by some strawberry-banana notes. Some amber ale characteristics come to play mid taste before a dull woody unsweetened cocoa nib note comes forth. This taste is somewhat unique, and as the flavor fades I almost get a real coconut impression (meaning not very sweet at all). A very interesting ending that I see as bland apple in some dips, and raw coffee-bean notes in others (or what I would assume this tastes like).

Carbonation is a bit higher than I'd like for this beer, and there's a light sting of alcohol.

Very interesting beer, and pretty different than most beers out there. Strangeness has me perplexed as to how much I really like this beer.

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Photo of argock
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml brown bottle into a glass snifter. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville,VA).

A: dark brown-Amber with minimal off-white head with minimal retention and no lacing.

S: boozy fig and raisin with woody herbal tones on huge yeast esters of peach, pear, and apricot layered with caramel. Big delicious aroma.

T: pretty boozy and alcoholic but hugely estery with the same slightly phenolic peach and pear esters dripping with fig, toffee and caramel. Woody leather bitterness. Big bad sweet BSDA. Could use a little roastiness to offset the sweetness.

M: very smooth but slightly tacky with low-medium carbonation and full body.

O: good beer and a great display of yeast esters. A little too sweet and alcoholic but I could see this improving with 2-3 years of cellaring.

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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.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a mostly brown body with minimal head and a little bit of lace. The aroma is light with notes of yeast and dark fruits like figs, possible raisins or plums. Medium bodied, a little bit sticky and sweet as the yeast helps it smoothly pass and not boozy at all but mostly a sweet body of caramel, toffee, figs and raisins. Not the most complex Belgian style ale that you'll find but the sweet notes are not overpowering and everything seems to balance itself and beer is quite enjoyable.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Lost Nation
Great brown amber color, smelled and tastes include cherries, vanilla, caramel an malt - a bit on the sweet side but smooth and delicious

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Photo of Vylo
4.87/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark ale (duh) with very little head and strong pleasant smell. Tasted great, but mouthfeel was a bit off, needs more carbonation. My bottle was a year old so that may be a factor. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.79/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle, 2013 edition, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color with a half of a finger of white-colored head that dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic! Tons of bready, toasted malt imparting notes of freshly baked bread, as well as tons of aromas of dried stone fruit, such as dates, apricots and prunes. There’s notes of candied sugar, funky Belgian yeast, which imparts notes of saddle leather, chestnuts. Earthy and inviting.

Taste: Wow! Delicious! Lots of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by lots of dried stone fruit, raisins, prunes, dates, currents, apricots, and candied sugar. There’s also quite a bit of Belgian yeast, which imparts some funk and a touch of sourness at the finish. There’s some spice notes too, such as black pepper, all-spice and a touch of ginger.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very effervescent, as there’s quite a bit of carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 10%, there is quite the pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Wow! What an excellent beer. Strong, complex flavors wrapped up in an excellent mouthfeel. Alesmith knocked it out of the park with this beer! Highly recommended.

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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 911 ratings.
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