AleSmith Grand Cru Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
913 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:
913
Reviews:
385
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.59%
 
 
Wants:
112
Gots:
197
For Trade:
5
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 913 |  Reviews: 385
Photo of Knapp85
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alesmith's Grand Cru poured out as a really nice reddish brown color, the head was white and pretty thick looking. There was a bit of lacing on the glass after each sip. I let this one sit for just a few moments before i dove into it. I wanted to let it warm up a little before my first time. The aroma of the beer had just a slight funk or tartness to it otherwise it was pretty hoppy and had some nice earth tones to it. The taste was much better than I expected. I was thinking it was going to be a sour ale of some kind, but it turned out to be a really nice blend of something like a brown ale with an IPA and then a touch of sour in the faint distance. The mouthfeel was smooth and very easy to drink, even though I tried making mine last a while by sipping it. Overall I found this beer to be quite impressive and enjoyed it a lot. Will be looking forward to have it again one day.

 888 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2004 750 ml bottle.

Pours a red/amber color. Some tan head but not much and it didn't last. The beer is hazy but the color is very nice.

The aroma is, like the last guy said, amber-like. Interesting use of darker malts in a belgian beer. Some moderate yeast smells. No hops in the nose. A little alcohol is noticeable.

Taste is very similar. Malty and tangy. The tanginess is almost like a wit thats past its prime. The rest of the flavor is sweet and spicey due to the belgian yeast no doubt.

Body is a bit thin for my tastes but I'm not sure that a belgian beer is supposed to be thick. Medium CO2.

 605 characters

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -20%

Photo of metter98
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear brownish amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a two finger high beige head that has very good retention properties.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of dark fruits (cherries and plums stand out in particular) and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a slight amount of sweetness with flavors of dark fruits and notes of spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is definitely a sipper due to its strength but the alcohol is well hidden from both the smell and taste.

 632 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tremendously flavorful with a balance of candied malt, estery fruits, and yeasty spice- all deliver the strength of taste, alcohol, and skill deserving of the "Grand Cru" tag.

Pouring with a slightly oily appearance of tawny ruby and rust, the beer lightens considerably toward the edges. A creamy off-white cap of foam rides for most of the session before succumbing to the weight of the beer. Lacing early and legging late, the beer is somewhat of ale and brandy at once.

Candied fruits of cherries, figs, raisins, and grapes fill the nose with a somewhat sugary scent of caramel and confection. Spicy with mild wine acidity, peppercorn, dried orange peel, and coriander complement the sweet estery mix, and do so with an added pop of cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum.

Sweetness settles in at first with impressions of powdered sugar and brown sugar that melds and coats fruit flavor of figs most prominantly, but also with secondary flavors of grapes, raisins, dates, and cherries. Spices balance the sweetness with a taste of Christmas that includes cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus zest, and white pepper. Additional complexities of mild vinous wines, rummy sweet alcohol and fruitcake finish the flavor profile and substitutes dessert to conclude any meal.

Richly textured as the sugary malt provides a mild oily texture to the mouth, but then the pepper and carbonation delivers a pang of sharpness and a lift of evaporation that allows for just enough lightness for easy of drinking. Alcohol warmth, peppery spice, and a semi-dry finish lingers well into the next sip like a fine port or cognac.

 1,592 characters

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

 1,444 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/5/14

Appearance: Has the authentic Belgian look, with a massive, frothy head perching on top of the burnt caramel colored liquid; excellent retention with multiple strands of lacing left behind

Smell: Date and banana, with yeasty phenols, toasty tones and treacle

Taste: Treacle and toast, up front, with a growing dark fruit (raisin and date) influence; in the mid-palate, the phenolic tones develop as does a spicy character (clove, cardamom and a touch of ginger); a touch boozy, in the finish, but the flavors all meld together

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: I recall in the early days of BA the reverence paid to the BSDA style and, with not many US craft brewers working in the genre, it has been a while since I have had one; this beer reminds me how good the style can be; rarely have domestic brewers tackled the style as well as AleSmith has done with this beer; a true Grand Cru

 947 characters

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 largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of dmorgan310
3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

750 ml bottle into chalice, no bottle dating. Pours crystal clear reddish brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of raisin, prune, banana, grape, clove, caramel, dark candi sugar, toast, bubblegum, and earthy yeast esters. Very nice aromas with good balance of fruity/spicy yeast esters with candi sugar maltiness. Taste of raisin, prune, banana, grape, clove, caramel, dark candi sugar, bubblegum, toast, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of dark and light fruits, clove, caramel, dark candi sugar, bubblegum, toast, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/lightly spicy esters with malt sweetness; and almost zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a slick, lightly syrupy, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian strong dark ale. Very nice complexity of fruity/spicy yeast esters with candi sugar sweetness; and quite smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,273 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of DrBier
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to daysinthewake for getting this bottle out my way. Long-time want. Served in a Russian River "TION" goblet.

Pours a dark brown with a nice bright hue in the light. Creamy off-white head with some good lacing on the way down. The nose is complex with plenty of Belgian yeast and a good dosing of dark fruits. The flavor doesn't hit quite as hard and isn't as complex, though I think it would really benefit from a bit of aging. Medium body and quite creamy without any noticeable alcohol. Really well done.

 520 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

Not sure if this is '09 or '10 vintage as I have both in the cellar but they are not marked.

Pours a fizzy big bubbled almost 1 finger head that fades at a med pace with some lacing, over slightly hazy cranberry dark reddish mahogany colored beer.

NOse is strong, some booze comes right out with some Belgian yeast and esters, some dark fruits from the yeast as well as nuts, fig, nutmeg, spices, etc, and very slightly phenolic. Some sweet candy and syrupys, dark malts, esters round it all off.

Taste starts with dark malts, it gives a slight dark porter like flavor to start and surprisingly. Comes with light chocolate malts and slightest hint of roast, biscuit, plenty of caramel and dark crystal malts, and plenty of reddish malts, very malty, and even a bit creamy malt flavor. Booze comes through as well, not too strong but def some tingly and warming booze, fairly hot. Belgian yeast, bringing some dark fruits, fig, raisin, apple, pear, other fruits, nuts, spices, nutmeg, hint of cinnamon. The yeast and booze brings some esters as well, but fits in well. Some light raw cherries come through as well. Finishes still a bit hot but mellows a bit, dries slightly but still a bit on the sweet side, some lingering dark creamy malts, light fruits and esters all lingering. Well balanced and tasty, the booze is def present but not too heavy and doesn't interfere too much.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, decent carb for the style, and hot boozy.

Overall not bad, nice malts, nice Belgian yeast flavors, fruits, nuts, spices, a bit syrupy, but its pretty hot and boozy and the slight aging didn't mellow it at all, the esters actually fit with the style well, but nice overall. A few more years aging may help.

 1,723 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A long-standing bottle delivers a very clear first glass of ruby-mahogany topped by a short head of of ivory foam. (Subsequent glasses naturally pick up a bit of yeast). The head retention is limited by the alcohol, and it slowly drops to an average collar but leaves some nice splashes of lace about the glass. The nose is caramelish, peppered with a light splash of red and dark fruit, some mild candy (sugar, licorice, honey), and yeasty fruitiness. Very nice! It's smooth and slick across the palate with a very, very fine natural carbonation that's surprisingly moderate for the style; and a body that's medium-full. The flavor is more intense than the nose suggests, yet it remains restrained. Dark fruits, baked brown-sugar, yeasty spice, vanilla-suger glazed donuts, slightly burnt bread-crusts, and a masculine push of bitterness round it out. And the alcohol never appears in either the flavor or the aroma; even after more than one serving! It's very nice... not overly rich or syrupy, and exceptionally well-balanced. There are certainly more complex examples of a "Grand Cru" (which is not a style, but a designation), but this one delivers an exceptionally rounded and enjoyable, "drinkable" beer. It's well recommended, as are almost all of the other Alesmith beers!

 1,281 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

 1,160 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 913 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More