Grand Cru | Allagash Brewing Company

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Grand CruGrand Cru
651 Ratings
Grand CruGrand Cru

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Grand Cru is brewed with a touch of peated malt and spiced with coriander, sweet orange peel and a hint of anise. It is deep golden in color, full bodied and has hints of smoke and licorice in the taste and aroma. The malty, warming finish is perfect for colder weather.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-23-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 651 |  Reviews: 458
Reviews by euskera:
Photo of euskera
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a honey blonde. Small head that dissipates. Opaque in my glass. Smell is malt and yeast, with a little candy feel to it. Smooth taste, malty sweet a little bitter overtone with a spice backbone. Orange zest, maybe coriander in there too. Mouthfeel is somewhat silky. Very drinable as the aftertaste is very pleasant. A very solid offering.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really nice beer,pours a deep murky burnt orange with alight head,aroma irony and clovey with light orange essence.Flavor is of 10x sugar and some nuttiness with a real nice orange liquore flavor.A nice late night sipping beer as good as some of the Belgians in my opinion.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This ale was light brown in the body with some good carbonation. It was also somewhat cloudy. The head was big and slightly tan.

Smell – The toasted malts came out nicely in the nose of this one. The typical orange peel smell was here as well along with some light spicing like coriander and white pepper.

Taste – The sweet Grand Cru character comes out big and strong here. The sugars, honey, maple syrup, and unsulphured molasses are coupled with a monster orange peel flavor that makes this a classic. The malt almost takes a back seat, but it’s still big enough to be noticed.

Mouthfeel – This Grand Cru is nicely carbonated and nearly full in the mouth. It will keep your cheeks busy.

Drinkability – This was an excellent interpretation of the style and a joy to consume.

Comments – This was an extraordinary complex Grand Cru, and I’m sure I didn’t do it justice with this review. A big BA thanks to JohnnyDuvel who gave me this when I was down in Florida.

Update – It’s been a little over three years since I last had this beer to thought I’d take another stab at it. The nose shows much more spicing than indicated in my original review and it’s not as sweet as I remember it, but other than that it seems fairly consistent. A fine brew all around!.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.

You've probably seen the term "grand cru" in the wine world to denote wines from favorable terroir. Although the same concept of terroir can also be applied to beer, in the beer world the term is loosely applied to special release Belgian-style ales--it's not a specific beer style.

Pours turbid, dark and dirty amber, with a slightly off-white foamy head--nice stickage. Very aromatic with soft and powdery spices--cardamom and nutmeg come to mind--and a splash of orange and fresh grainy malts. Smooth, medium-bodied and creamy on the palate--thanks to a lively carbonation. Zesty smacking of hops. Fruity and sweet with a solid malty base, suggestions of citrus fruits (more orange), bready malts and hint of smoke. Spicy with a dusting of black pepper, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and yeast. Apple and pear flavors hand in the back with some alcohol and mild esters, with some green banana towards the finish. Biscuity and a bit doughy with a coarse, somewhat dry finish that's tannic and yeasty.

Though it's a bit rough around the edges due to bottle-conditioning and spices, it's delicious, full of character and a nice change of scenery from the typical winter seasonal releases. For a cleaner experience, we recommend that you store this beer cool for several days, allowing things to settle, and decant slowly in order to leave as much of the sediment in the bottle as possible--if you want a spicier experience, decant the sediment.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared this one with my dad on 2/5/05. Batch #8. Nice loud pop from the cork. Pours a cloudy copper amber with a bubbly 1 inch head. Quite nice. Aromas of earthy, caramel malt mixed with spiciness and some hints of light fruitiness as well.

Smooth candi sugar caramel maltiness with a nice warm spiciness as well...featuring cloves and coriander. There's some nice light, almost tropical fruitiness in there as well. A very tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with an abundance of small, bubbly carbonation..maybe a bit too much. This is a great winter brew and made for a nice nightcap for me. Another winner from Allagash and one I look forward to having again!

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Photo of blitz134
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Caramel colored body, cherry colored highlights. Lots of floaties. White head that reduced to only a thin layer.

Aroma is fruity, with hints of pear, grape, and apple. Not overly spicy in the nose. Has some malt and some yeast bread notes as well. The yeast flavors remind me of the summer wit. A little light in the aroma

Taste is definately spicy with lots of carbonation. Sharp and tangy on the tongue. Taste has some tartness, with some sugary apple and pears. A good dose of spices, quite a blend. A good taste overall, but this is way too sharp on the tongue. Mouthfeel is a bit thin as well. Drinkability is okay. The sharpness really is hard to get past for too many. It makes your tongue work overtime. A guess a benefit to this is the reasonable alcohol level. Usually with Belgians I have to set time aside to enjoy them when I'm not going anywhere for a while.

Overall a good Belgian Pale, but way too crisp. A solid offering though.

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Photo of JasonA
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 14. I think this is a bit old, maybe over a year. Some lacing. Relatively thick head.

Pours a transparent light copper. Easy finger plus of head. Looks very clear.

Smells light, sweet, maybe citrus? No alcohol present.

Sweet, floral. Very light malt. Might be some metallic cloying, hard to tell. Overall light.

ABV seems non-existent. Is this really 7+? Fresh, clean, yet basic, though subtle.

Not sure of the winter season, feels more fall.

Worried my brew has hit an age barrier. Hasnt aged improved thats for sure.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Nice orange/gold color with a good head.Smells a little malty to me. The taste is spicy and fruity; I think mostly orange. It feels great in my mouth, and is a wonderfully drinkable beer. Good taste on it,s own, and great with foods. One of the first seasonals I ever tried, and still one of my favorites.

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Photo of Britton
5/5  rDev +22.5%

Photo of Doomcifer
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden amber color with yeast swirls in it. Not much of a head to talk about.

Smells of yeast, pineapple, pears, slight breadiness, cherries.

Tastes of yeast, fruitiness, pears, cherries, some spiciness, malty, some slight hoppiness in the finish, finishes kind of dry.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with decent carbonation.

Very drinkable.

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Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Brown 750 ml magnum with “Batch #1” on the label. A blurb about the beer, pairing suggestions as directions on how to pour the beer on the side.

Appearance: Mildly hazed sunset amber with a big and fast frothing light tan head, rocky and dense the head sticks in large clumps.

Smell: Clovey allspice, anise, orange peel, herbal medicinal phenolic, slight alcoholic esters, candied fruit and a powdery yeast make up the aroma.

Taste: Aggressive carbonation, crisp and flowing with a well textured mouth feel. Dry toasted biscuity malt character, goes a touch husk in the finish. Spicy palate with lots of clovey allspice, orange peel, mild medicinal phenols and a peppery end. Hops are nearly negligible though would be in the way if they were too noticeable. Fruity with a candied fruit flavour, deceivingly mild alcoholic esters and a powdery almost musty yeast lingers in the after taste.

Notes: This one gets quite dry the longer it ages and the alcohol seems to mellow out a bit also which makes for a perfect summer time brew even though this is a winter seasonal. Next time it comes around or if you see it on the shelf buy a few and cellar them for a few or several months.

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Photo of merlin48
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 12-19-03, from 12 oz bottle served at approximately 55 degrees. Pours into a goblet a cherry gold color. Beige head disappears quickly but leaves behind respectable lacing. Cloves dominate a complex nose of spices, sour citrus, fruity hops, and sweet malt. Mouthfeel is tart and fizzy, and a spice cabinet explosion assaults the tongue.

Tasty stuff here. Orangepeel, a hint of apple, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, nicely blend with an excellent malt/hops balance. Dry finish leaves a crisp, spicy aftertaste. Excellent drinkability, and a very well concocted seasonal brew. Alcohol is well disguised by the spices and aromatics, but this one leaves a warm, spicy feeling behind. Very well done.

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Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice puffy head, and calms down to a 1/8 inch foam. Nice orangy dark brown in color. Lovely and smooth mouthfeel. Cloves and nut meg nose. lots of fruit and spice in malty center.Belgian yeast esters and a bit of bubblegum in the finish. Plain and simple this is a well crafted and tasty Belgiain style concoction from Maine.

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Photo of henryclay_
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of badbeer
3.18/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice amber color with a soft white head leaving some lacing and lasted with the glass. Smell of some coriander and very breadlike, but not real exciting. Taste is bread-y, with some spices coming into play as well. Seemed a bit simple, I seem to have missed out on some of the fruit flavors others have described; different batch? Mouthfeel felt like too much carbonation and lighter side of medium bodied. This was probably worth a try, but I don't think I'll be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 20. I don't have a date, but I believe the bottle is at least approaching two years old.

The beer pours a hazy brownish-red color with a white head. The aroma has a ton of brown sugar and dark fruit, as well as some caramel and toffee. There is also a little spice and some alcohol. The flavor has a ton of toffee and caramel, as well as some cherries and grapes. There is a bit of pepper, as well as some alcohol and candy sugar. The carbonation is fairly light and the beer is soft on the palate. The age has definitely not hurt the beer, although I can't say if it improved it.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Squat 12oz. bottle courtesy of Chadbrew and the BIF 24.

Pours a pumpkin cider-like color with a fantastic, boisterous head. Thick sheets of lace cling to the sides of my glass. Aromas are spicy. Coriander, pepper, allspice, candied fruit rinds, and honey. Flavor is wonderful. Mix of spcies, honey, doughy sweetness, sweet citrus fruit. Mildly medicinal alcohol flavor at the end. Drier in the finish than expected, but it allows some more of the spicy zing to sit on the palate. Bubbly and thick at the same time. Extremely drinkable. Thanks Chadbrew for this gem from Allagash!

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Photo of magictrokini
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange-gold pour with some haze and a big white head. Aroma of spice, clove, and yeast. Taste is corriander, clove, and sugar, with a lot of apricot. Good malt and yeast backbone. Great balance Very light mouthfeel, but compliments the variety of flavors.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pleasant fruit and spice aroma, which continues into the palate. Peach/apricot flavors mix with spices, producing a nice, light beverage (but still full on flavor!) that nicely complements the colder fall days. Hops are kept to a minimum, so the bitterness is subtle, and grain flavors tend more towards lightly-toasted Grape Nuts. Drink this one while staring at the New England foliage in October, when the leaves turn red and golden-brown.

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Photo of Janeinma
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of WeymouthMike
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My review is from a a 22oz bottle marked batch #5.

I started off pouring this too fast which resulted in a tremendous thick tan head. When settled a few minutes later the beer maintained a small lace and an incredible sweet aroma. I noticed that the flavor improved tremedously after warming up a little releasing banana like fruit aftermaths. It was tough to see my hand through the pint of this dark caramel color. Overall, I loved this beer and can't wait to try the Allagash white I have sitting in my fridge for tonight.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A bright and clear pumpkin orange with a thick and luscious bubbly head that goes nowhere. A sight to behold, a truly beautiful beer, even if it doesn't look like any quad I've ever seen before.

A sweet nose of honey, berries, caramel, and spicy yeast. Interesting and evolving.

A sweet quad heavy in yeast and sugary fruits. A bit of peppery spice.

Medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Relatively smooth.

An enjoyable and simple quad. Not nearly as layered or complex as others in its style, but a very good beer.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A wonderful New England seasonal, maturity seems to have done this beer nothing but good. The epitome of balance: mellow yet robust, peppery yet velvety. Fruity and tantalizingly sweet with subdued hop character. The spices seem at one with the brew. Alcohol notes are present but do not mask the flavor. This beer has a raw cidery quality (I mean real dark cider, not the light fizzy stuff) that is so appropriate for fall/winter months. Matured nicely into the early spring months, curious to drink it again a few months down the road.

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep ruby-copper color from a 12oz bottle. A very short lived white head with little lacing. Smells of caramel, fruit, and just a hint of alcohol.

The taste is magnificent. It slowly coats your mouth in a mellow malt bath. Smooth....damn smooth. I didn't get much of the spice that's hyped on the bottle, but I did get some nice citrus. Not a hoppy bite you in the mouth citrus, but a subtle underlayer of pear or something of that affect. A barely detectable hop finish makes this a winner in my book. Highly drinkable over an entire evening.

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Photo of skivtjerry
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful orange color, very clear if carefully poured. Moderately high carbonation with a big initial burst of foam quickly shrinking to a small persistent bead. Aroma is clean with hints of malt and (I think) coriander. Feels light on the tongue with pleasant malt and alcohol, slightly spicy. Hops are there but don't stand out. Very nice coriander flavor upon swallowing. Overall, very good. Not at all cloying as some beers in this style can be. Grows on my palate very quickly. Doesn't make me scream with joy but does make me smile.

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Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 651 ratings