Grand Cru Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Grand Cru AleGrand Cru Ale
942 Ratings
Grand Cru AleGrand 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: 942 |  Reviews: 394
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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Photo of metter98
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of hardy008
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a chalice.

A - Pours a rich auburn with a thin tan crema of foam.

S - Sweet caramel, fig, raisins, some spicy clove phenols.

T - Taste follows from the nose, with additional phenols and a nice peppery character. Alcohol is up front and warming. Rich and malty. As it warms, fruit flavors blossom with notes of plum and dried apple. Hop bitterness is a tad high, but not overwhelming. Finishes spicy, with a tingle of alcohol.

M - Full body with ample carbonation to perk things up.

D - Alesmith Grand Cru is a very nice beer, but I think it needs a bit more age to really come into its own. Worth a try.

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

Poured a lovely mahogany color with a tight white head.

Strong, aggressive aroma of yeast, citrus and malt.

Taste was surprisingly subdued, given the aroma, but complex, malty and well balanced.

A touch of alcohol warmth that doesn't feel out of place.

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Photo of charlzm
3.42/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed at Encinitas Ale House in Encinitas, CA on December 29th, 2010.

Beer is a clear, deep shade of brown with ruby red highlights. The head is composed of very fine, uniform bubbles that provide nice sheeting on the glass.

Aroma is unfortunately all metallic.

Mouthfeel is a bit chewy. Flavor is juicy and fruity: plum, pear, dark chocolate, caramel malts and a hint of nutmeg. Moderately sweet. Finish is dry, clean save for that metallic note. Slight warmth at end.

Flavor is assertive and unusual but not terribly complex; I'm glad I didn't have a big glass of this!

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

Pours with a very nice head and brilliant okay color. Very very well received among the group very flavored taste. This beer scored a solid b on our group scale which is hard to do considering the differing palates. This one could satisfy any crowd. A great mid day beer this one will be enjoyed again.

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Photo of Thanby
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep garnet color with lots of foamy lacing. Fairly clear with visible carbonation.

Nose is a dark malt with a lot of dark fruit tartness. Fig, plum, black cherry, a little spiciness.

First taste is the dark sweet malt, well-rounded, the dark fruit follows leaving the tartness behind.

Full body and wonderfully delicious, a little spicy from the carbonation, very easy to drink with a nice citrusy aftertaste, overall a great beer.

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

2010 batch received in a trade from ShadesofGray. Poured into my Sinners tulip from Lost Abbey.

Appearance: Pours a deep ruby garnet with a solid two fingers of light tan head. Very billowy, the head shows decent retention, and the lacing is pretty solid as well. The brew itself is slightly cloudy, but this is expected as the label advises a gentle pour leaving the brewers' yeast in the bottle.

Smell: Sweet caramel, toffee, and some fruity notes highlight the nose. The breadiness is indicative of the higher grain bill is BSDA, but I was very surprised by the amount of sweets present. Also present is a bit of alcohol burn, and I'm expecting this to provide a lot of warmth as I finish this glass.

Taste: The first few sips yield a variety of fruit flavors, notably figs, cherries, and dates. There is definitely some spiciness as well (cinnamon and nutmeg), and the back end yields the caramel/toffee flavors I noticed in the nose. All in all, the flavors meld very well to create a very strong beer for the style.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy goodness is the best way to describe this hearty brew. This beer coats the palate with its lush goodness. The fruit provides a refreshingly crisp start, but the sweet bready and caramel malts create an interesting effect on the back side of the tongue. This one goes down super smooth, which is exactly what I expect from a BSDA.

Drinkability: The 10% ABV is definitely present in the nose, and while hidden somewhat, it still remarkably present in the brew. I could see this one aging well over the next few years, and I wish I had ready access to Alesmith to do just that. Overall, a very solid Strong Dark Ale, and one I will definitely seek out again.

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Photo of jeddsp
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow...what a great beer. Being that I live in Atl, I haven't had the opportunity to drink any Alesmith until now...and I was dissapointed.

Poured Ruby Red with mild lacing and a light head.

Smell was exceptional. Dark, fruity, syrupy, caramel.

Taste and drinkability were the same-dark fruits like raisins with a hint of molasses. Very drinkable.

Would like to get another bottle of this, cellar it and see how it ages. Seems like the perfect beer to age for a year or so.

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Photo of impending
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a tulip. Pours a deep rich clear reddish copper, the light that passes through becomes traffic light red when cast upon my palm. Minor head receded rather quickly, ok lacing.

Superb aroma, inviting and heavy. Significant spices atop the mix of dark and light fruits - somewhat atypical for a strong dark. Hint of a tripel. No brew has ever smelled this good then tasted bad :)

Nice prickly mouthfeel. Caramel malts with dry wrinkled dark fruits plus some dried apricots and grains. Alcohol warms in the finish providing balance. A sum of the entire taste is a echoed quietly after sipping.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown with ruby highlights that had a thin head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I got alot of dark fruit aromas like raisins alongside good boozy presence, caramel, toffee, and slight molasses underlying notes on the background.

T: the flavor is really complex and fruity consisting of toffee, molasses, slight brown sugar, some booze, and a touch of chocolate covered raspberries.

M: the brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, slight fruity, but quite boozy finish.

D: it drank really good and has been really delicious everytime I've had it. Hands down one of the best alesmith offerings

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Photo of rfgetz
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown/ruby color with suprisinly active carbonation and cap of sand colored head... good retention and lacing. Scent is forward with fig, prune, hints of cherry and grape, background is yeast bread and booze touches the nose. Taste is very sweet and forward of the fruits mentioned in scent, the alcohol comes on strong and hides the belgian bready yeast qualities a bit. Improves as it warms. Medium bodied, slightly high carbonation, dry and warm. A very nice, fruit laden, Belgian beer which lacks some aggressiveness in the "Belgian" qualities, possibly due to alcohol warmth.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml capped bottle into a goblet

Pours with a huge pale beige head, brownish ruby in color, dark but somewhat translucent, not cloudy. Carbonation is very active. Smell is rich, slightly astringent, malty. Have a bit of a cold so smell is dampened for me. Sort of a sweet brandy smell, a little woody, very Belgian smelling.

Taste is surprisingly mild...maybe my cold is damping this, too. It's thick and malty, sweet, but somehow watery. Some tart fruitiness, maybe dates and cherries.

Mouthfeel is very surprisingly light and thin. Carbonation is pleasant. Drinkable, although it's very sweet and very strong, but I think that's expected for the style.

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

A: The pour is a slightly cloudy amber color with a very thin off-white head, sort of khaki color.

S: Plenty of sweet caramel and brown sugar and perhaps even more sweet, dark fruits. Some plums, figs, dates, and cherries, but a fair amount of alcohol as well.

T: A great toffee and brown sugar component along with some caramel. This provides a nice sweet, malty base and the dark fruit flavors just sort of sit on top. Somehow, the alcohol is a bit more pronounced than on the nose.

M: The body is medium with a really quite smooth carbonation.

D: I would have enjoyed this quite a bit more were it not for the obvious alcohol presence. This might be a good one to age and allow to mellow.

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Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 942 ratings