AleSmith Grand Cru Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

915 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 915 |  Reviews: 385
Photo of JMBSH
5/5  rDev +23.2%

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.

 205 characters

Photo of tclapper
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of HoistinBrews
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of josephwa
3.25/5  rDev -20%

Photo of sgregory
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A gold foiled 750ml bottle. Personally, I'd rather they skip the foil entirely and concentrate on something important, you know, like freakin' dating their bottles.

Poured into my Duvel tulip. The ale appears a hazed crimson chestnut color with about two fingers of golden rust colored foam. A nice looking pour. Nose and flavors consist of sweet malts, ripe cherries, toasted coconut, light cocoa notes, not much alcohol heat, pears, red apples, cherry candy, aromas are quite complex. The taste falls a bit short of the nose. the ale is amply carbonated but the body could be a little fuller. Worth a try.

 608 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel color with lighter highlights. The head has an orangish hue to it, with lots of carbonation that leaps out to a pretty tall head. Either the ABV or the lack of hops quickly comes into play, however, and de-sticks the cap and glass from any long lasting lacing.

Pleasing notes in the aroma, though you have to go searching a bit. Definitely notes of mulled cider, with the apple and spice components, and a little clove to round out the aroma.

Low on the roast totem pole for sure, this BSDA relies on fruity sweetness, spices, and alcohol to earn its designation. Some date and fig in there, but still leaning towards red apple overall, especially in the aftertaste. The sweetness is more powerful than spiciness; some can be attributed to candi sugar I imagine.

The spice flavors are pretty prominent, and include notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, plus the clove phenols from the yeast strain. The added complexity takes the strain off the sweetness.

Decent heft in the mouth; I wouldn't be disappointed by a Strong Dark with more body and creaminess, but there's a certain American attitude about this variety that allows it to be inspired by Belgium without being enslaved.

I'm impressed by this vintage of the Grand Cru, and I'm really happy that I came upon a bottle for $9 - not exactly a steal, but definitely a deal.

 1,338 characters

Photo of stephens101
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jamescrames for the awesome trade which included this bad boy. Into my favorite snifter it pours dark brown in with cherry hues on the edge. A diminutive bubbly tan head exits quickly, leaving a smattering of dots all around the glass. Smell is complex and bold with cherries, phenols, earthy hops, sweet malts and vinegar all working in concert. Some subtle pears and other light fruits exist in the extreme back. Taste isn't quite as complex, but remains intriguing with ripened dark fruits, spice, malts and an ascetic undercurrent. Mouth-feel is smooth, and would almost be silky if not for the ubiquitous hop bite and alcohol heat. Body lies just on the heavy side of medium, and the carbonation is mild. After it warms it becomes a little creamier going down, and I can begin to feel the alcohol warmth in my stomach, which is a really nice feeling. I'm sure a more refined palate than mine could find something noteworthily wrong with this brew, but I sure can't.

 980 characters

Photo of Evan
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of vande
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of rye726
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Up for review is a 750ml bottle of Alesmith Grand Cru. Poured at room temp into a St. Bernardus Goblet. Botle was around $10 in Michigan. Great American example of a Belgian style, well balanced. But I would expect nothing less from Alesmith. Go get a bottle, try it for yourself.

 280 characters

Photo of hardy008
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a tan one finger head with decent retention and some lacing. The aroma has brown sugar, apples, Belgian yeast, and caramel.

The beer taste like it smells. There is a beautiful blend of brown sugar, apples, Belgian yeast, and caramel. The flavor is sweet, but not cloying in any way. Very nice, and flavorful.

Medium to full bodied. Slightly above average carbonation. Has a sweet aftertaste. I think this is a great example of a BSDA. There are some I like better, but this is still excellent.

 511 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of sourdog
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of clvand0
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Second AleSmith I've tried. Pours a dark brown color with an extremely large head that sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of sweet fruits, alcohol, and a slight spice (probably from the yeast). The flavor was very nice. Somewhat fruity - cherries? raisins? I'm not really sure, but I like it. Very easy to drink for the high alcohol. Wish this stuff wasn't so expensive, because I'd have it every day.

 435 characters

Photo of far333
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2000 vintage. Served at cellar temperature in a crystal snifter.

Picked up in a trade several years ago, and patiently waiting in my cellar ever since.

A murky brownish orange color, with a thin soapy head that rises up slowly and settles back down quickly with minimal lace.

Aroma of caramel, tart cherry, oak, sherry, roasted malt, and some brown sugar. A hint of the alcohol strength rises up.

This is strange and wonderful all at once. Mildly carbonated, yet a fine tingle dances on the tongue. Flavors of toasted malt, cocoa, and grainy brown sugar, but also hints of sherry and brandy, and fermented plum. The alcohol sits beneath and doesn't mess with the flavors.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, fairly drinkable, but definitely a sipper.

 744 characters

Photo of pmarlowe
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a brownish, caramel color with dense brown head. Incredible retention (as with many of their tap beers) and displays generous lacing. Superb clarity for a darkish beer.

S: Sweet bubble gum and cherry, and a bit of red fruit.

T: Sweet and a little tart with cherry and dark dried fruit. The fruit or yeast is reallly pronounced which contributes to the tartness.

M: Medium-full body--a bit syrupy--with medium-light carbonation. Hides the alcohol well.

O: Pretty good. A touch sweet for my tastes, and very fruity.

 550 characters

Photo of sholland119
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a hazy copper brown with very little head or lacing.

S-Dark fruits, mainly raisin along with brown sugar and a sweet booziness.

T-Sweet sugary fruitiness, brown sugar and more than a little bit of alcohol.

M-Medium to heavy bodied and a bit sticky.

D-Nice. A little heavy, boozy and sweet to have more than occasionally.


 336 characters

Photo of Nat1975
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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.

 524 characters

Photo of Zbeetleman
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of cultclassic89
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Tyecko
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 915 ratings.
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