Grand Cru | Allagash Brewing Company

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Grand CruGrand Cru
650 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 650 |  Reviews: 458
Photo of Sammy
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spiced Belgian style, very similiar to Unibroue. Excellent aroma, nice white creamy foam and carbation. Cloudy orange brown color. Yeast with noticeable pieces. Moderate malt and citrus orange peel, pear, hint bannana very pleasant fruit and herbs. Coriander (which may reduce fertility). Bonus for complexity. Good competition for wine.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle I brought to share at AndrewK’s tasting.

Batch # 15.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, spices, and yeast. Taste is much the same with a slight honey flavor as well. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has aged well in my opinion and is still quite tasty.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of metter98
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellowish amber in color. It poured with a finger high frothy white head that died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderately strong aromas of Belgian yeast are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but also has some hints of oranges and spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer doesn't really taste like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale as it lacks the flavors of dark fruits and dark malts but it is a nice Belgian Ale.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seriously complex with fruit, spice, and champagne-like effervescence, the beer washes the palate delivering new and exciting impressions of taste with each and every sip.

Allagash's Grand Cru pours with a rusty garnet color that receeds to honey-gold coloration toward the edge of the glass. A yeasty haze build and allows a soft glow outside, but a faint dullness toward the center. Capped by a rocky, sand-colored head, the foam is sprinkled with yeast and spices from the bottle. Superb retention and lacing patterns on the glass reinforce the quality that's inherently in any beer worthy of the Grand Cru moniker.

Richly aromatic with spiced and candied fruits that range from apples, dates, figs, and raisins to dried orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and an herbal/flowery note. All this seems wrapped in a delicate caramel and honey scent from aromatic malts and candy sugar. Slight tartness of wine rounds out the scent with a very inviting cork-like wood earthiness.

Deliciously flavored as all of the taste of the beer attaches to the taste buds first delivering the sweet flavor of candied malt that's reminescent of light caramel, honey, and powdered sugar. The malts develop seamlessly into the sweet fruitiness of estery pears, apples, figs, dates, raisins, tropical, and citrus fruit. Balance comes from light winy acidity and an onslaught of spices either from yeast or brew kettle additions that give impressions of cinnamon, nutmeg, dried oranges, celery seed, peppercorn, and grape skin.

Full bodied throughout despite the authentic bubbly carbonation doing a good job of lifting the beer off the tongue and allowing the impression of prickly carbonation and lightness. Still, a sticky candyish feel is left on the tongue in a semi-sweet cola-like fashion. Aided with mild acidity and alcohol warmth, the finish is savory and long lasting making the beer a fine dessert-like session.

Where most Belgian versions are more subtle in their displayal of malt, fruit, and spice; there's no such finesse here. This beer is bold, vivid, and rich from sip to finish.

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

750 ml bottle into chalice, batch 19(probably a few years old). Pours a hazy reddish orange color with a nice foamy 1 finger off white head with great retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing on the glass, with nice carbonation streaming up. Aromas of big prune, golden raisin, pepper, coriander, clove, caramel, candi sugar, and spicy yeast. Nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of big caramel, prune, raisin, apple, pepper, molasses, biscuit, clove, roasted nut, candi sugar, and yeast spices. Lingering notes of caramel, dark fruit, molasses, biscuit, and yeast spices on the finish for a bit. Great balance of flavors with the spiciness. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a slightly creamy and slick mouthfeel. Drinks really smoothly despite the slightly prickly carbonation. Alcohol is nicely hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Quadrupel style offering from Allagash. Great balance of flavors with a high amount of complexity; and is super smooth to drink as well given the 7.2%.

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Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy rust-imbued amber color with a frothy, but delicate head that leaves swathes of foam around the sides of the chalice

Smell: A melange of sweet and herbal aromatics - honey, cream, orange peel, cardamom, green banana, pear and grape

Taste: Opens like a fruit salad, with all of the flavors detected in the aroma dancing around on my tongue, the flavors become progressively sweeter after the swallow and they move in a sweet grape direction

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Despite the complexity of this beer, the flavors just don't cut it for me; after a glass I was ready to move on

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Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of Kurmaraja
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.61/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a slightly cloudy copper brown color ale with a huge off-white foamy head with perfect retention. Aroma is quite the spice mix with some Belgian yeast and caramel malt. Taste is also very interesting at first with some spices and caramel crating a huge full body beer (which seems to be more then 7.5%) with a slight bitter finish with some great medium funky yeast. I found the aftertaste was a bit thin and watery which would be my only complaint. Great Belgian…

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Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2%

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

750 ml bottle; corked and caged. Batch # 5. Even a careful pour delivers a slightly hazy, copper colored body with bronze and gold highlights. It's full and foamy head of off-white froth wants to leap out of the glass initially, but eventually settles to a creamy 1/2" lid that holds throughout the goblet and leaves excellent lace. The nose is floral with some light citrus; a yeasty spiciness; a touch of mustiness from the cork; and a candyish, honey-like and gently caramelish malt. It's medium bodied, but light and crisp in the mouth due to its very fine, natural, and lightly effervescent carbonation. The flavor is richer than the aroma indicates with a sweet, softly caramelish malt that's accented by yeasty clove and subtle, dried fruit. Notes of white pepper and spice appear mid-palate, (the small bottles are much spicier) probably due to its alchol. The hop bitterness is restrained, allowing the spiciness to balance it; and it finishes with a note of sweet, candyish malt that displays a slight touch of caramelization. This is a really enjoyable, softly malty and not overly-sweet beer that can be sipped slowly or enjoyed with a meal; but the smaller bottles tend to be a bit more abrasive with increased pepperiness and alcohol to them. Regardless, it's a very nice beer in either form.

 1,306 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Armsby Abbey

Big fluffy head fades semi slowly with sticky lacing, hazy golden pale orange.

Nose nice Belgian malts, light fruits, light citrus, orange peel, light saison like spices, light sweet candi sugar.

Taste is semi sweet, lots of Belgian malts, fluffy, semi bitter orange peel, zest, citrus, light candi sugar, very light booze, light spices light spices coriander, etc. finishes a bit drier, somewhat bitter, light slices and Belgian fruity yeast.

Mouth is med to lightly heavier bodied with good carb.

Overall great, I think the bottles were better years ago but those are long gone, but a great beer

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Photo of chinchill
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

on tap at Duckworths (NC)

Pour is a bit light for the style. The clear amber body is covered by a bone head that has great retention

Mouthfeel: near medium body with appropriate, medium carbonation.

Taste and Aroma: Plenty of alcohol esters and Belgian yeast. Also rather sweet. Wild yeast in the flavor that is not apparent in the nose.

O: unusual for style, this Belgian ale was disappointing but should appeal more to folks who like wild yeast in their beers more than I do.

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

Appearance - Dark, almost opaque amber with a lot of haze. Right in between a dubbel and a tripel in appearance. The frothy off-white head retains for the entire bottle.

Smell - Spicy and sweet. Cinnamon and clove come to mind. Very yeasty, almost dough-like.

Taste - Sweet, earthy, estery and extremely spicy. A bit overly spicy and estery for me - while enjoyable, the spices really dominate the flavor. Esters and spices really linger in the finish, making this a slow drinker.

Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated but gentle. Medium-bodied. Slightly cloying.

Notes - A solid brew, but not my favorite from Allagash.

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Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of smithj4
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

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Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 650 ratings