AleSmith Grand Cru Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
912 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:
912
Reviews:
385
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.59%
 
 
Wants:
111
Gots:
199
For Trade:
6
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 912 |  Reviews: 385
Photo of KAF
3.25/5  rDev -20%

Photo of KFBR392
3.26/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Very similar look to a barley wine style ale, dark amber color. Clean look with a much smaller head then I expected. Had to aggressively pour this one to get a more traditional belgian head, which subsided quickly.

Smell: A very bright yeast aroma, not what I expected out of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. The booze is hidden well behind the again very strong belgian aroma.

Taste: A smooth clean taste, again, not what I expected from this beer. There are some slight exotic fruit flavors at the front of this beer but subside quickly to a traditional yeast taste. A very thin body to this beer, certainly didn't make me remember or favor this beer.

Mouthfeel: Thin. Drank like a regular belgian beer. No flavors stood out on the tongue.

Overall: I had higher hopes for this one. Alesmith brings it with most of their brews but I won't recommend this one. Maybe it is unfair I had Unibroue Maudite a couple days before so it had some high standards to meet. Solid beer but did not live up to my expectations or the price tag.

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Photo of malcontent
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ruby to brown body with a slight haze about it. Head is short-lived but lacing is generous.

Dried fruit, especially prunes and apricots, rush forward initially. Then, however, strong boozy aromas and faint spice (cardamom) flit back and forth. There's a lot good going on here but the fruit esters grow a touch strong.

Big fruit right off the bat (it's squarely apricot now) turns quickly to borderline cloying because of the alcohol. If it were more viscous this could pass as a dessert wine. Hints of toffee creep up before a mild sourness meets it, thereby creating an almost lactic (if not downright cheese-like) finish. A real mish-mash of flavors without much cohesion. The beer certainly has its strengths but seems to fail on the larger level.

Mouthfeel is a strength with a thick start that never descends in to syrupy territory. In fact, it's almost shockingly thin given the ABV. Still, the sheer inconsistency of the beer makes it fall short of my expectations. The real culprit actually seems to be a yeast strain that may have gotten away from the brewers. I'd be curious to see how this ages.

Big thanks to kryptic for the trade.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
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 walshclimb
3.31/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a strange beer. I expected more, coming from Alesmith, but overall I was not very impressed. The bottle states that it is brewed once per year, but there is no indication on the bottle of brew date or year. I think it may be better aged, but how long? Who knows because we have no date. I don't know if this was a 2006 or 2007 bottle.

The appearance is the highlight. It is dark honey to red amber in color with a thin bubbly head that dissipates quickly to almost nothing. It smells malty up front with molasses and a hint of spice with maybe a hint of cough syrup. The initial flavor is hot and strongly malty with some carmel and slight perfume. Overall pretty sweet with maybe a hint of wet blanket. The aftertaste is sweet molasses and a little tart and is medium lived. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with an alcholic finish, and It is a little light on carbonation.

This is an interesting beer with complex flavor, but I would probably not buy it again. One small glass was enough. I would like to taste an aged bottle to see how the flavor changes.

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Photo of lou91
3.32/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No cork and no fizz on the open. Oh, what a great nose of sweetness, plums and rum. Good looking beer. A dark amber color with a creamy rich head. I hate to say this but the taste falls way short of reputation for the style and the brewer. The taste is like a tug-o-war between malt, alcohol and sugar with taste being the obvious loser. The imbalance makes for a dry malty strong ale with a maple butter chaser. I can't imagine time helping but I could be wrong.

 463 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased last summer, covered with red foil. Nice reddish amber color with a high clarity. The tan foam is about 1/2 inch thick and settles pretty quickly despite a high degree of carbonation present. I like the contrast between the ruby hue of the beer and the almost brown color of the head. The nose is an astringent mix of plum, raisin, caramel, and strong alcohol with a lightly charred character. Much of the same fruity malt and alcoholic burn in the taste. The flavor also seems to have a decent hoppy balance giving it a slight bitter finish. The strength of flavor appears somewhat similar to a Barleywine style. The mouthfeel is pretty unremarkable, medium body, soft carbonation. Overall the drinkablility suffers from the harsh alcohol. It's decent, but I can't really say that I recommend it...

 809 characters

Photo of Flyer
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this beer to be disappointing. Totally by coincidence, I had this after Ale Asylum Grand Cru, and given my respect for AleSmith, I was shocked that it "lost" that comparison. Both are malty versions of a belgian ale/dubbel, but the difference is that this is out of balance -- a cerealy malt dominates the subtler notes associated with a dubbel and candi sugar. Some nice toasty, minty, vanilla notes almost get lost.

 425 characters

Photo of theopholis
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours a dark, fairly clear ruby.Head is a uniform, foamy, tan head with some staying power. No lacing at all.

Smell- Lots of breadiness up front. Hints of molasses, roasted toffee, caramel, and figs. Some light fruits in there to. Yellow apple maybe.

Taste- Very well blended malt profile. No specific flavor jumps out at you. Slightly earthy with hints of caramel; brown sugar; toffee, with a very subtle mix of dark fruits (raisin, plum, black cherry, etc.) with light fruits (yellow apple). Hints of a very melange of spiciness in there to. Maybe some pepper and nutmeg right at the edge of detectability.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Good carbonation. Nothing to write home about.

Drinkability: Decent. Not great, but worth trying.

 749 characters

Photo of baconfromwalmart
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of John_Beeryman
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of tgraven
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of chrismattlin
3.41/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of charlzm
3.42/5  rDev -15.8%
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 tectactoe
3.44/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Kevin R for opening this one, along with many other AleSmith goodies. The Grand Cru pours a light-ish, slimy brown color with some mild copper clarity at the top of the brew. The creamy, beige head makes plenty of noise and it sizzles away quickly from almost a half-inch to nothing but a thick skin and collar.

Sweet, sweet grapes and plums and dates in the nose; plenty of dark fruits, like you'd expect from a Belgian dark ale, possibly a little softer and more sweet than usual. Sticky toffee and buttery toasted malts make up the background while also adding more sweetness to the already sweet aroma. Earthy phenols and sweet esters, with a slight medicinal undertone that's kind of throwing me off.

The taste is complex in that it has may elements in it; figs, light clove spice, sweet plums, brown sugar, toasted malts, Candi sugar, spicy yeast, burning phenol alcohol... see? The problem is that, for whatever reason, the flavors don't meld together in Utopian harmony like they typically do for Belgian strong ales.

It seems more like a pot where you just throw in any and all ingredients you can find in the cupboards, paying no attention to the amounts, the schedule, or anything like that. I can't quite put my finger on why this might happen, but the beer definitely suffers in drinkability and overall enjoyability due to this. All the flavors are there, sure, but not in proper capacities.

The mouth feel is typically for this type of ale; carbonated quite heavily giving a light and effervescent (almost) feeling on the palate; medium bodied and lightly creamy. I was expecting to enjoy this beer more than I did, especially given the scores. It was far from bad, but I've had so many other Belgian strong ales that I'd choose over this (and they're cheaper and easier to find, too!)

 1,820 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.44/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I have had this beer for a good bit over a year at least, and it is high time that I reviewed it. I picked this one up just outside LA. Anyway, here we go...

Appearance: There was very little off-gas when I opened the cap, and the head poured reflecting the same lack of carbonation. The beer itself is a murky reddish brown with a few bubbles seeking the top.

Aroma: My initial impression was that of raisins mixed with sherry, but as it sits for a few minutes the alcohol isn't as much in your face and it is taking on a sweet brown sugar nose.

Taste: The flavor is pretty much inline with the aroma in that there is a lot of brown sugar sweetness and spice from the alcohol that stays with you all the way into the finish as an evident warming on the back of the throat. The fruitiness is also a big player, and I get mostly dark fruits like raisins, figs, black cherries...and oh, boy does this beer warm up the throat! Though the lack of carbonation hurts the mouthfeel, but this beer is big enough to go down like an Old Ale or some such that doesn't need any major carbonation. The sherry notes are in the flavor as well.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer for being as flat as it is. I must have had it for too long or something, but it is rather murky as well. Anyway, I would like to try this beer again fresh, but I will still drink the whole thing this evening.

 1,379 characters

Photo of TheDM
3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This brew pours a small head of finely sized mostly diminishing bubbles that leave a fair lacing and it has a transparent dark amber body. It also had a strong alcohol aroma. Initially, the alcohol flavor comes through, but later softens in the finish.

 252 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.47/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

OK, I wasn't sure if it was part of this beer, but it seemed really flat. It's the 06 and it was stored properly. No head, almost no carb in tasting. I am just not into really flat beers and I am having trouble rating it as such, but here goes.

A - Pretty, dark dense looking caramel. No head.

S - Dark fruits, mostly, with some sweet and roasty malt floating about in there.

T - Rich candied and cooked fruits. Some hops in there to bitter, but not completely balanced. An almost oxidized, stale finish.

M - FLAT. Medium bodied, not completely balanced.

D - In it's current state, I would never try it again. The carb thing just really disappoints for me.

 661 characters

Photo of SirSketch
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color was a nice array of reds and oranges, reminiscent of sunset. Very small ring of head on the edge. I got a lot of white wine from the nose, as well as a nice balance of sweet and sour aromas. For some reason though, I got a very distinct smell of rubber cement or crazy glue from this beer, and I really couldn't get passed it. The taste is very vinous, with some malt backing it up, and a little Belgian yeast characteristic mixed in, though not as prominent in most Belgian style beers. Pleasant, but I keep drinking and wishing for more flavor and complexity to come out of this beer. Alright, but not worth seeking out, as I did.

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Photo of OldSock
3.49/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – Green 750 ml bottle from Bev Mo and hauled back from San Diego. The beer pours a dark brown-ruby with a small bit of carbonation rising through it. The head is tan and composed mostly of large bubbles that only rises one finger even with a vigorous pour. Retention is poor and lacing is patchy.

Smell – Good malty yeasty aroma. Hints of caramel and alcohol play back up roles as well. In the background there is a faint hint of chocolate.

Taste – Eh, alcohol and a faint toasted malt comprise most of the flavor. Pretty well balanced, sweet , but not cloying. It isn’t an unpleasant flavor, just not particularly interesting.

Mouthfeel – Full mouthfeel with low carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – The mouthfeel and big alcohol flavor, not to mention the alcohol itself, make this a slow drinker. This is an alright beer, no glaring problem, but nothing really sets this apart from its peers. A bit of a disappointment from such a great brewery.

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Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of whatname
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of ElJosharino
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of dtx00
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 912 ratings.
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