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Alesmith Grand Cru Barrel Aged | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Alesmith Grand Cru Barrel AgedAlesmith Grand Cru Barrel Aged
Very Good
65 Ratings
Alesmith Grand Cru Barrel AgedAlesmith Grand Cru Barrel Aged

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This Belgian-Style Ale has been matured in American and French oak red wine barrels for a year to add layers of complexity to its rich flavor profile of dark fruit and Belgian caramel malts. The oak and red wine flavors imparted by the barrel-aging process blend seamlessly with subtle hints of raisin, plum, and bittersweet chocolate from the beer. Enjoy now or continue to age in a cool, dark place.

Added by ArrogantB on 05-07-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 65 |  Reviews: 11
Photo of kscaldef
2/5  rDev -49.2%

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of acurtis
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Amber body. Big off white head. Thick collar.

Smell - Very malty. Fruity malt. Red wine. Cuts the depth with a bright wine aroma.

Taste - Very caramelly. Some fruits. Kinda monotonous. A bit of red wine, but mostly a Belgian malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Feels light. High carbonation and bright flavors lend it lightness.

Overall - Disappointing BA beer from AleSmith without being offensive.

 448 characters

Photo of dar482
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of brother_kenneth
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Halfbrother83
3.52/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of zhanson88
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sampled at the Alesmith taproom. 2013 vintage.

Appearance: Pours out a turbid mahogany color. Not much head, but what there is is off white. Very little head retention or lacing. Not the most attractive beer.

Smell: Bit of caramel and toffee up front, remainder is barrel dominant. Bready and spicy rye character and bourbon, as well as vanilla.

Taste: Small amount of caramel and toffee sweetness up front. Remainder is predictably heavy barrel dominated. Very heavy rye, with vanilla and tannins.

Mouthfeel/Overall: A bit thin, probably right at medium bodied. Appropriate carbonation. Lingering aftertaste of barrel. Overall a pretty nice beer. Could use some time sitting to mellow the barrel out for me. As it sits the barrel pretty much makes this beer. Could definitely be more balanced.

 799 characters

Photo of Lare453
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of tectactoe
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Huge thanks to Kevin R for opening this one, along with many other AleSmith goodies. It pours just slightly darker than the regular Grand Cru - deeper brown and rusty copper with even less clarity than before. The head is about the same, though it seems to fade just a bit quicker. Needless to say, no lacing is left on the sides of the glass.

The aroma contains many of the components present in the original Grand Cru, you know, the typical notes you'd find in Belgian strong dark ales - dates, raisins, plums, brown sugar, toffee - very sweet and malty. However in this barrel-aged iteration, each slice of the pie is a bit more soft and tame and combines much more nicely with each other than they originally did.

Aside from softening up the aromas and giving the beer more time to "mesh", the red wine barrel aging also adds some large vinous notes to the aroma. Wet oak, light vinegar, mild grapes, and a touch of vanilla in the back end. Red wine barrels are some of my favorite barrels to age beer in; I already like this beer better than the original and I haven't even tasted it yet.

Much like I was expecting (and hoping), the flavor follows suit with the aroma in the fact that the flavors are yet again similar to the original, yet much more refined, soft, and mature, giving them a chance to blend in a much more enjoyable fashion. Vinous flavors are abound in the same capacity as they were in the aroma; vinous oak, grapes, and a touch of wine-like booziness.

The Barrel-aged Grand Cru is not quite as sweet as the original, either, which bodes pretty well as it was quite sugary. The barrel takes away some of the sweetness, softens it up, and counter it with oak and boozy warmth. The mouth feel is also a little sharper, with noticeably higher carbonation... A cause of secondary fermentation perhaps?

Overall, this is not a beer I'd spend twenty dollars on for a single bottle, nor would I trade away lots of other good beer to get a bottle. It's just not *that* good. However, I feel that the red wine barrel aging did quite a bit to improve the base beer - something that I wasn't particularly fond of.

 2,129 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Bottle: Poured an hazy amber color ale with a medium off-white head. Aroma of sweet malt with some residual sugar, some caramel and light dry fruit notes. Taste is also a well balanced mix between some sweet malt with caramel malt and light dry fruit notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Enjoyable but not as complex as I was hoping and barrel was not as apparent as I would have expected.

 425 characters

Photo of drewone
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of mrebeka
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of _morandi_
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap for The Full Pint 6th Anniversary Celebration held at 38 Degrees in Alhambra, CA.

Pours a clear copper with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, fruit, and woody aromas. Taste is much the same with fruit and red wine flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a fairly subtle barrel aged presence.

 594 characters

Photo of baybum
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Tom-Peters
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of drummermattie02
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of srandycarter
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Was excited to finally try this one. Bought a few awhile back and cellared them. Gotta say, not that impressed. Copper and ruby, clear, small near white head, not much lace. wood and vanilla, etc, comes out big in the smell, along with Belgian yeast and malt. Taste is larger, big malt, big barrel, smaller yeast profile, but similar to smell; pretty good just not great. Mouthfeel is medium to full, good carb, fair balance. Maybe I will save the other and see how it morphs over time.

 493 characters

Photo of mtomlins
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%

Shared at a 10K review beer tasting; drank from a Hill Farmstead stemmed snifter.
Thanks to Phyl21ca for the bottle!

Pours a rich amber color, clear with a short off-white head and no lacing. The nose is rich, sweet toasted malt, brown sugar, caramel and some wood. On the palate, the grain bill shines through with big toasted grain, caramel, brown sugar, raisins, molassas coming though; the barrel is also more present with some wet wood and grapeskins. Nice.

 465 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

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Alesmith Grand Cru Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 65 ratings
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