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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale
931 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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Ratings: 931 |  Reviews: 391
Photo of avaldivia
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle from Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa and poured into a Pint Glass

Appearance: Thick white head which laces the glass. auburn brown in color and when held to the light, is a bit red in color.

Smell: A bit malty and get a whiff of grapes or raisins. Caramel is also present.

Taste: Sweet with a bit of spice. Light caramel and maltyness. Alcohol is present which is should be expected for a 10%.

Mouthfeel: Rich. Smooth. Not overly carbonated. The body on this beer was absolutely fantastic. The mouthfeel on this one elevated the rest of the beer for me.

Overall: Great flavor. Well balanced beer that is a must try.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into 2 tulip glasses.

The color is a ruby and garnet combination that looks absolutely awesome sitting in the glass. The head foams up quickly to a very Belgian height, but unfortunately, it disappears quickly, leaving no sticky gobby head to produce any lacing, leading to the slight demerit. However, the color is awesome.

The aroma is full of all sorts of Belgian influences. A supple bready backbone is augmented by cidery apples, clove, cinnamon, and coriander. There is also a nice balance of caramel/toffee goodness. The high alcohol content is masked by the medley of aromas that come through. I just ask that they be a bit more intense, as they are somewhat muted.

The flavor dispels any doubt of the intensity of flavors pretty much immediately...That over-ripened apple comes through with the bready and caramel malts. These linger through the mid-palate before giving way to warm spices -- clove, cinnamon, and coriander, with maybe just a hint of nutmeg. Well balanced throughout, and again, no sign of the alcohol.

Spicy and warm on the palate, medium bodied, and full of ample fizzy carbonation, this definitely can hold its own in a lineup of Belgian Strong Ales. Another top-notch beer from a brewery that has a habit of delivering quality brews.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip.
10% ABV, "Improves with age, Store in a cool, dark place for 6 to 24 months or longer. Do no refrigerate until ready to drink. Serve at 50-55 F for best flavor. Pour gently into an Alesmith tulip glass leaving brewer's yeast in the bottle."

Thanks to Sweemzander for breaking out yet another bottle for our tasting!

A - Cinnamon brown with orange highlights and a fluffy tan head. Low lace and retention but good clarity with this brew.

S - Strong Belgian yeast nose brings the authenticity right away. Dry, dark fruit esters consist of dark cherries, fig, and spice. Deep maltiness and candied sugar through the finish.

T - Dry and dirty, there isn't much going on with this one aside from the dusty, dirty flavor quite honestly.

M - Dry but smooth, Grand Cru doesn't have much flavor but it does finish with an alcohol kick.

O - The nice aroma sets this one up for a big let down. Bland flavor, this Belgian brew is pretty weak, especially for an Alesmith.

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Photo of bbeane
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into my DFH oversized snifter... Starts with a huge frothy off white head that eventually disappears leaving behind decent amount of lacing sticking to the glass. Beer is dark in color turning crimson when held toward the light... has a fine sediment floating within the steady flow of bubbles rising to the top of the glass

S- First wiff provides a sweet malty aroma... After some swirls of the snifter, the sweet malts and fruits intensify and are accompanied a healthy booziness

T- Has a very sweet spicey taste... malts, candied sugar, dark fruits with a hint of hops presense and lots of alcohol

M- Medium/full body with light carbonation. Like an intense IPA, the malty sweetness clings to your tastebuds

D- My first beer from Alesmith, and it was excellent. I'm very anxious to get my hands on some others


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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Chimay chalice, and man does it look like liquid gold. Even 20 minutes after being poured, it retains a nice velvety tan colored head. Color is a beautiful copper red that is only enhanced when held up to the light, very nice.
Spice and a mild alcohol bite compose the nose up front, with mission fig and a bit of nuttiness in the background.
This brew is just miraculous once you take a sip, or better yet, a mouthful so you can completely experience the mouthfeel. A delicious spiciness again dominates the palate, and the booze creeps just a little closer to being fairly noticable, but not in any way discouraging. This thing is just so creamy and smooth, and i really wouldnt change much about it. This bottle has about a year and a half on it so id be interested in trying it on both opposite ends of the spectrum. Very nice overall, love the spice and creaminess, stellar.

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Photo of Patrickbrusil
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found a 750ml champagne bottle of this at Kappys in Medford.

This is a staggeringly good American brewed Belgian style dark ale.

The beer pours just beautifully and it drinks dangerously close to a Rochefort 10. Nice 2 finger white frothy head that dies away rather quickly leaving some lache. Rich dark plum overtones surrounded by a delightful breadiness. This one is over the top smoothness with a SLIGHT initial hop bitterness on the front of the tongue that gives way to a giant, smooth, malty waterfall.

The alcohol is hardly noticeable. Smell lacks the rich yeast and bread notes one would expect from a true belgian dark ale.

Bravo. I'm thrilled to have tried this. Looking forward to my next one.

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Photo of seeswo
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden-brown with a nice tannish head. A low key nose of bready yeast, some sweet malts and dark fruit. The taste is also a bit reserved, but quality. Bread, caramel, dark fruits, cinnamon, other spices...it finish dry. The taste is solid, but doesn't have the depth of flavor that a really good BSDA has. In that it is pretty light, it is exceedingly drinkable. The mouthfeel is very nice, a bit dry, yet some sweetness in the front with active carbonation. Overall, this beer was enjoyed, liked, but not loved.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.08/5  rDev -24%
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.

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep, dark, and translucent amber tone with ruby red hightlights; yields a a big foamy 2" head, light tan in color... patchy lacing.

great nose offers sweet malt, candied sugar, dark fruit, a bit of spice, and a perceptible alcohol character.

taste follows the aroma fairly closely with a good dose of fruits - primarily dark, but i do get a subtle note of apple... very malty; sweet but not overly so... there's a substantial floral/spicy quality to it... very enjoyable. booze could be a little better hidden, but that's my one real complaint.

medium bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall, as far as american versions of the style go this one is really well done. the more it warms the more impressed i am. not on the level of a rochefort but then, what is?

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Andy and poured into a tulip. This one pours a Dark mahogany and pours with a giant off white head. It settles down to about a finger of creamy foam. Real nice sticky soapy lace.

Really a lot of fruit in the aroma. I would say grapes and raisins with a touch of toffee to round out the aroma. This is a little boozey in the aroma with a bit of cinnamon spiciness it. Pretty nice here, bready malts with a nice dried fruit flavor to it; dates and raisins come to mind with grape skins. This one finishes try with a touch of sweetness.

This one seems a little heavy on the carbonation. I'd prefer to see it toned down a bit but the body is nice a full. Overall, a solid offering from these guys. I think one would be hard pressed to find a better American offering of the style.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one for Christmas from Ben! Thanks! Poured into a tulip. Poured with a lot of carbonation and lots of fizz is heard. The color is very dark red to light brown. The head is solid and tan colored.

The aroma yields biscuit and cinnamon, with a heavier dose of plum and raisin.

The flavor starts with a nice plum fruitiness, followed by a smooth bready flavor. The finish is slightly sweet. The fruitiness of the yeast is a dominating flavor.

The body is medium but feels a little light for a quad (or BSDA if you prefer) for enhanced drinkability.

This is one of the best American made quads I've had. Great balance of sweetness and fruity yeast flavor.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.12/5  rDev -23%
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.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black/brown, 1/2 thick head, lots of lacing.

Smell - Yeast, floral, hops, sugar and spices, some alcohol.

Taste - Cold first drink was very floral and wine-ish. Plenty of yeast. As this warmed up more spices and hops came out. Thick and tastly, right on par with chimay and unibrowe. Sweet and yeasty with tons of sweet fruits like apples, grapes and pear.

Mouthfeel - Plenty of sweetness and some dry bitterness. I loved how floral it was. Easy to drink, pallete was sweetened, tounge was bittered slightly.

Overall - Another great brew from alesmith. A find dark ale, right up with the best ones. The alcohol is high, and the price is steep, so that keeps this from being a weekly beer. A nice treat once in awhile.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml capped bottle picked up while out in boston for EBF/NotB. drank from the only glass available: samuel adams perfect pint glass.

A- this one pours out a translucent brown body with a large khaki colored head on top. the head lasts for a while and leaves behind small rings of lacing.

S- the nose starts out with sweet caramel malts and belgian candi sugar. then comes some frutiness. plums, raisins, and cherries. some herbal hops at the end.

T- the taste starts out with the sweet caramel malts and belgian candi sugar that i could smell. after that comes some belgian yeast and some fruitness. lots of raisins and plums with a lesser amount of cherries. some herbal hops at the end. very rich and decadent.

M- medium bodied with the correct level of carbonation. the alcohol remains pretty well hidden.

D- this one went down fast. id love to grab another one of these to sit on for a while. i really wish alesmith was sold in my area.

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Photo of brotherloco
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Very nice looking pour, deep reddish amber. Not a huge head, but good looking remains and lacing.

Smell brings in the promised Belgian yeast, but a stronger component is the fruit, specifically grapes. A very wine like aroma, sparkling white wine. Lightly sweet and a promise of good carbonation.

Flavor is more sweet malt than on the nose, middle gets spicy with sweetness remaining on the top of the tongue. Wonderful creamy mouthfeel. Lingering well balanced aftertaste. No trace of the big ABV on this one except the tiniest hint at the very end of the flavor.

This is on the lighter end of Belgian Dark's I've tried, but has a terrific overall balance.

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Photo of donManguno
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed blind. Sent to me by Sitarist, who is the man.

A: Pours a translucent mahogany into my Duvel tulip, 2-finger fluffy cream-colored head that lasts a decent amount of time. Little lacing.

S: Smells like a BSDA, getting some dark fruit and raisins, and a great deal of sourness from the belgian yeast. As it warms the sourness recedes and I get a lot more dark fruit and caramel, as well as some chocolate undertones.

T: This is delicious. Straight from the fridge it's very tart, almost like a Flanders Red. Tart cherry and sweet sourness dominate. I let it sit for about fifteen minutes after my initial sip and now it's really rich. I get plum and cherry, caramel and some cocoa, as well as some winter spice, like cinnamon. I really took my time on this and let it get to room temperature, which brought out a lot more of the chocolate and spice. I am really enamored of this beer.

M: Medium-heavy body, moderate carbonation. Velvety is a good word for this.

D: I want more.

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Photo of WJVII
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2/23/11 Review session hosted by Cdkrenz, reviewed from notes

Poured a nice amber color with strong red tints in the light. A modestly thin 1 finger head that left a light trace of a cap. The aroma was of dark fruits, plum, cherry, and some alcohol in the nose. The taste was very sweet with a strong plum and very warm alcohol taste in the finish. This was a thin brew with light to moderate carbonation. A nice brew to start the session.

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Photo of drizzam
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to my good BA friend cdkrenz for sharing this offering during a recent tasting.

A - Pours a cloudy reddish orange in color topped by a substantial orange colored head. Decent lacing was left behind from the foamy head.

S - Dark fruit was the dominating aroma. Not especially aromatic but good smelling nonetheless.

T & M - Dark fruit presents itself immediately on the palate, followed by grapes and some drying apple rind. The alcohol leaves a warm trail down my throat and all the way down into my stomach. Finishes with a bit of that same dark dominating fruit. Medium bodied and crisp.

D - You can tell that this is one of your big boys. Big ABV, but the flavor is certainly not second hand to the booziness. This is my first offering from Alesmith, and I'll certainly be looking for more brews from them. A very nice example of the style!

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Reddish body with lots of carbonation. Head is around two inches tall and light tan in color with very nice stamina.

S - Slight floral aroma with spice, sweet caramel and roasty toffee. There's also a subtle pungency of plum.

T - The tastes are that of a deep plum with rich caramel. This is a full flavored beverage.

M - Texture is thick and smooth with a slight chewiness to it.

~ I couldn't do more than one of these in a night. This is the kind of brew you enjoy of a cold winter night while sitting in front of the fire place. I will definitely suggest this to friends.

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Photo of rye726
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of billab914
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Southern Tier tulip glass. It poured a deep and dark, caramel color with a modest, bubbly, khaki colored head to it. The head retreated to the edges of the glass, where it left just a hint of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma reminds me a lot of champagne actually. I get a lot of white wine, delicate fruit fruit flavors out of it, with some strawberry and grape coming through. Some malty, darker fruit flavors come out as it warms as well as a bit of the Belgian yeast spice.

The taste shows some of the white wine/champagne like character that was present in the aroma, but it's definitely maltier and shows more of the dark fruit side. I get some raisins, cherry and plums in addition to the more delicate and bright, grape and strawberry. I get some of the Belgian yeast spice in the finish, with some cinnamon and nutmeg notes.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being high. Drinkability was pretty good, it had some very nice flavors to it overall. It definitely reminded me of champagne, but yet maltier and with some more depth to it. I can't say I drink this style often, but this is one of the better ones I've had. Definitely has a lot of depth and complexity to it, and was a very nice beer overall.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a 750 mL brown champagne bottle served at cellar temperature, where it has been quietly waiting for a year. Brewed with imported malts and hops, dark candi sugar and Trappist yeast; bottle-conditioned with no vintage date. Pours cherry brown, punctuated with particulates, and heavy carbonation which builds and subsequently replenishes a finger of off-white head that leaves a bit of lacing. Smells pleasant, with whiffs of apples, plums, raisins, caramel and perhaps some hops. Plums, grapes and their dried counterparts on the palate combine with dark malts, crisp red apples, light phenols and floral/spicy hops which contribute a mild bitterness. Nearly hot with ethanol, and there are prevalent rosy/floral and solventy fusels which lend a noticeable sweetness. However, the high carbonation and well-attenuated body help to counter the sweetness and dry the beer right back out. It may not be the most complex Belgian, and the higher alcohols can be distracting, but this is still a pretty decent brew that is dangerously drinkable. A good beer for the cellar, as I feel this one could age for years and years.

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Photo of tpd975
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: Pours a muddy brown hue with a very small head.

S: Sweet caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and mild dark fruits.

T: Very sweet yet tasty. All the candy sugars are there with brown sugar and toffee standing out. Mild tones of chocolate, caramel, and sweet summer fruits.

M: Fuller in body, rich, smooth, and sweet.

D: Good Thanks to SeaBass.

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Photo of pwoods
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kels for sharing.

750ml brown Belgian bottle, capped, poured into a snfiter.

A: Pours a deep garnet, opaque. Pretty good sized head on the pour with good retention and decent lacing.

S: Lots of yeast. A good balance between phenols and fruity esters. Some spicy alcohol in the back. Great Belgian pilsner malts.

T/M: Belgian malts are just right, not too sweet and plenty drinkable. The yeast is, again, a great balance between phenolics and esters. Alcohol comes through just a touch more and adds to the phenolic edge. Body is about medium with good carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, especially for the ABV.

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Photo of BeerNemesis
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

AleSmith Grand Cru Ale | 750 ml. | 10.0% ABV | 2010 vintage

Brewer: AleSmith Brewing Company
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Glass: red wine glass

Dark copper with a supreme tan head and the gush of bubbles beneath.

Spicy and alcoholic with fringe scents of orange peal and dark fruits.

Tons of maltiness and caramel, invigorated by alcohol, and flecked with spices and fiery yeast. Citric peel highlights the heavier flavor of alcohol-drenched plums and dates. A heavy dollop of sweetness finishes the sip, mitigated only by spicy esters.

So smooth and lusciously creamy that grainier BSDAs--good ones even--are royally put to shame. Carbonation provides the necessary kick.

A great ale that leans on the sweat side without being cloying. The spicing is phenomenal though there could be more emphasis on brooding dark fruits.

Would I get it again?:

Bottled: ?
Served: September 10, 2010

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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 931 ratings
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