Allagash Grand Cru | Allagash Brewing Company

458 Reviews
Allagash Grand CruAllagash Grand 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

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Reviews: 458 | Ratings: 647
Photo of GClarkage
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01/24/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 750ml bomber with a "batch #8" on the label. Poured into my Maredsous glass.

Appearance- Huge large bubbled foamy and chunky head. Better than average lacing and a golden-amber colored pour.

Smell- Lots of cloves, spices, sweet fruits and a licorice like scent.

Taste- Much sweeter than I thought it was going to be. I assumed more of a relaxed, even tasting brew considering it's only 7.2%. Alocohol comes out slightly, but not overwhelming. Cloves, cinnamon, dates and other sweet spices come out.

Mouthfeel- Average carbonation. The bubbles are constantly coming up from the bottom. A bit of a fuller mouthfeel. A tad thick.

Drinkability- A very nice brew. As I said before, wasn't expecting this beer to be a sweet as it was. So, I guess that was a pleasant suprise. Was expecting it to be around 8-9% with the flavors and thickness it gave off. Good one to try though.

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Photo of Gavage
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy amber color with a thin head that produced some minor lacing thorugh the drink. The aroma was full of spices and fruits and absolutely wonderful. The taste matched the aroma as a complex mixture of cinammon, nutmeg, coriander, yeast, citrus, malt and some hop bitterness made the tongue very happy.

This was a little thicker than some other Grand Cru's but the malt was not overbearing like some others. A slight crispness was also detected on the tongue. The spices ride the tongue long into the finish. This is one of the best Grand Cru's I have ever experienced.

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Photo of tempest
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pretty nice beer, but no wow-factor here. Smells of fruit and corriander, almost like a beefed up wit. Tastes of creme and candied oranges with a little spice and corriander. Very smooth and easy drinking. Basically a well-crafted and balanced belgian, but lacks complexity.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle
Batch 14

Poured into a tulip a very nice darkish golden orange color, very nice carbonation, very nice two-finger creamy off-white head, lots and lots of nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, yeasty, some nice spices thrown in, and a dash of caramel. The taste is mostly malts/yeasty, very nice touch of spices, and some caramel to top it off. Medium body, a very nice well-round/complex brew. Very drinkable, this one is a joy to drink, thank you Allagash.

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark orange color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent with the aroma of spices and light crystal malts. There is a fruity Belgian yeast scent as well. The taste is good. It has a warm, yet spicey pale and light crystal malt flavor. It goes down easy with a fruity Belgian style finish. It has a corriander taste on the way down; very nice. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine Belgian beer. It has good flavor and excellent mouthfeel; a good drinker.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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 plaid75
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a murky medium copper hue with a one and a half finger creamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured aromas of coriander, raisins and apricot together with a touch of candy sugar.

The taste was upfront spicy with both citrusy and dark fruit and some yeast esthers.

The mouthfeel was full and moderately chewy.

Overall a complex and authentic Belgian. Well done.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful reddish orange with a somewhat thin head and some slight lacing. The smell is sweet and spicy with some characteristic Belgian yeast tang,but with a spicy edge. The taste is even fuller and spicier. Nice fruit up front with some juicy spiciness with cinammon, orange, and spiced plum. Sweet and honeyed and tang of coriander herbal bitterness at the end. Creamy and effervescent mouthfeel and light enought body to be quite drinkable, but with enought sweetness and depth of flavor to keep it interesting.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's been so long since i've had this and so glad to see it back, this was one of my first and I totally forgot about it.

Allagash Grand Cru looks like your average beer, brownish shades with mahagony hues and tree bark edges. Just a whiff of tan/white suds on top creating a loose cap, no stick. Smell is berries up front and not fake berry either, a pleasant whiff of toasted malts with bread, some caramel, and than with warming a disgusting scent that reminds me of a basement. Taste is nice though and not so in your face and sugary like alot of quads, more should be made in this vain IMO. Berry forward, plum over apple, caramel sweetner, fruity over sugar, my type of quad. No alcohol interference. Feel is superior and medium making for at least two goblets to go down the hatch, I can't say that with any other quad. Carb ios minimal, smooth is the word with the slightest bit of heat towards the end. This is a winner except for that awful smell with much warmth.

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Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A deep, pumpkin-skin tone of orange that flushes with a vivid warmth when held to the light. It's a heavy colour but its resplendent radiance averts it from appearing all that thick. It is outlined by a prominent white crown. A little school of yeast sneaked their way in near the end of the pour and dispersed enough to entirely smudge my clarity.

Whether Allagash or simply their house yeast, someone is responsible for making one heck of a nice smelling beer! The bouquet is a citrus punch. It is blossoming flowers. It is a spiced fruit pie. It is a collection of fruit jams spread over yeasty, freshly baked bread. It is stunningly brimming with ripe, lively, zestful notes of apricot, tangerine and grapefruit.

There seems to be a number of ways to describe the taste but the most accurate I would consider is an apricot jam smeared over a yeasty, freshly baked loaf of ancient grain bread. The bready flavour truly tastes whole grain! Also on the menu is a spiced fig pudding topped with shavings of citrus zest and a hard crust custard with a center of pureed bruised fruits.

Despite all the bready flavour the beer never becomes dry. Despite all the citrus taste it never becomes acidic. Despite all the spice it never becomes spicy. See a pattern emerging? This beer is balanced. It is a bit of everything (malt, spice, fruit) but not too much of anything. The only one thing it seems to be missing is an indication of its alcohol strength.

Because the term 'grand cru' is merely a designation and not an actual style classification, I'm not exactly confident rating it. I otherwise wouldn't care about style guidelines, this is a great beer according to me and I don't care what anybody or anything else says about it. But without anything to compare it to I'm finding it a lot harder to evaluate.

This wasn't as 'Belgian' as I expected but it was every bit as good as I anticipated. I certainly wouldn't have minded more if only I had the bigger sized bottle, next time around I'll be sure to splurge for the caged 750ml. My only critique of the beer would be a name change, I know from tasting so myself that Allagash is capable of brewing better beers than this.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch #5, Sampled February 2004
A rich aroma of port, rum, and raisin escapes from my glass as pour this brilliantly clear, amber-copper beer. It is topped by a prodigious tan head that is fueled by a highly active carbonation (I am having difficulty getting to the beer in my tulip glass because of the carbonation) There are some soft spicy notes in the aroma, but it is dominated by the fruity, port, rum notes that where mentioned earlier. It smells quite sweet and reminds me of fresh grapes. The taste fulfills the promise that was given in the nose. The beer is sweet, fruity, and has a hint of spice notes. This is a light bodied brew. The alcohol is evident in the finish, though this is in no way distracting. The beer reminds me of fresh sweet succulent grapes. I am not sure why, but it does. This is pretty good, thoug my attraction to this beer dimineshes with time. At first it is awesome, but the taste fades with time a bit; the beer lack staying power.

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Photo of Zorro
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #15 lots of cork and apple scent when the cork is pulled.

In the glass I have a slightly hazy copper colored beer with a quite strong darker shade of tan head.

The smell begins with sweet fruit, peaches, pears and apples. The next level I can perceive is roses and spices coriander, pepper and rosemary. Orange is quite strong in the beer like a witbier.

The taste begins malty and mild on the tongue with a bit of herbal bitterness and a vanilla aftertaste. Not as strongly flavored as I had hoped from the smell, malty and herbal with a good amount of bitterness. Nice tastes of oak and rose petals.

Good mouthfeel.

Not a bad Belgian style ale and an enjoyable one it certainly can be called drinkable in every sense of the word. Personally I like a bit rawer and more aggressive flavor.

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Photo of John_M
3.86/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at The Drafting Room today. Have had the beer on several occasions, but not in a while.

The beer pours a honey amber color with a touch of red. There is decent head retention and good lacing. On the nose I get nothing. Not sure if this was due to the smoker next to me, but no matter what I did, the most I got was some very light sweet malt. On the palate, as always, this beer was delicious. I would describe what I get as some light honey, some light citrus, superimposed with some underlying spice (all spice and nutmeg mostly). The beer has actually a fairly light mouthfeel, and the abv. is completely disguised.

I don't know. This beer didn't really wow me or turn me on today, but it was a nice beer nonetheless... but I've had better from Allagash.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, batch #13 poured into a snifter

A: Cloudy, dark amber color with large tan head that leaves a little lacing.
S: Very rich aroma, fruity (citrusy, grapefruit), spicy (a little cinnamon), yeast
T/M: Highly carbonated, yeasty, not as spicy as aroma suggested, again some citrus, light caramel, not very bitter, very refreshing with dry finish
D: Very easy to drink and can imagine enjoying this in summer as well.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.46/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at The Bruery Provisions,

A: Pours a deep amber colour with a full white head, leaving good lace.

S: Banana, sweet malt, not particularly aromatic though.

T: The banana esters come through in the flavour with a hint of pear and sugar cane. Sweet malt flavour overall, a tad cloying at times.

M: Medium-bodied, very smooth, soft carbonation.

O: A solid beer from Allagash. Very low ABV for the style, but still feels bigger. Worth a shot.

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Photo of Derek
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #14.

A: Copper-bronze with a slight haze, fluffy off-white head, good retention, excellent lacing.

S: Big yeasty aroma, spicy, tropical and dark fruit, caramel, toffee, brown sugar.

T: Yeasty (slight earthyness), modest spicing (I thought it was just from the yeast), pleasant fruityness, biscuity grain, light caramel, slightly tart, light bitterness.

M: Light to moderate body is very well-attenuated and smooth, with a dry finish. Moderate carbonation.

D: Very drinkable.

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Photo of weeare138
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber orange with a frothy white head that lasts for more than a minute. Beautiful rings of lacing from this batch of suds.
Smells of coriander, orange peel, pepper and fruit.
Tastes of the same smell with a spicey bite. A tad bit of candy sugar involved in the mix helps to balance the sweetness and spiciness making this an admiral, yet acquired taste.
Mouthfeel is good. Nice carbonation and very smooth and dry with the spiciness and sweetness resonating throughout the mouth and lingering on the roof of mouth. Superb!
Would be more drinkable if the avb wasn't apparent but a few of these babies will calm you down for the night.

Finger licking good!

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Photo of jzeilinger
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice, ruby/gold color with beautiful, tight carbonation and a creamy, single layered head.

S - Some citrus, spices, herbs, spices, and bready malt.

T - Dominated by herbs, spices, and bread. The overall taste is somewhat tart and sour in flavor. Honey, apples, pears, and a grassy earth touch to add to the layers of flavor. Has a Belgian yeast presence as well.

M - Somewhat thick, and a heavier side of medium body.

D - A nice sipper and something that's different and welcoming for a change.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from it's 750ml bottle that is marked Batch #10. Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a light tan head. Smell is absolutely delightful. Notes of citrus, spices and yeast are all present in the nose. Taste is dry and crisp with orange, spices and yeast that ends peppery. Overall a wonderful brew from Allagash that is highly recommended, especially if you love Belgian Strong Pale Ale's like I do.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark, clear sunset orange color with a slight off tan head.

S: Fresh citrus is on the nose with a touch of hop spiciness, cinnamon and dried fruit.

T: Flavor is very clean and well balanced with a moderately sweet palate malt and spice wise. Theres some citrus undertones, fresh woody hints, and a touch of alcohol upon warming of the tongue along with some fruit (apples) and light toasted caramel. Hopping is spicy and leaves a dry citrus peel fade.

M: A smooth mouthful and carbonation very nice feel.

D: Very good drinkability, and alcohol is pretty well hidden.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lightly cloudy orange amber colour, with a good frothy head of off-white bubbles. Little carbonation or lacing present. Looks pretty good.

Spicy citrus on the nose - rather reminiscent of Grand Marnier. There's a deep sweetness, like treacle or black caramel, but with light fruity characters over the top. Under this is a brandy/liqueur character which just deepens the aroma and adds an extra dimension. Nice.

Spicy on the palate too, hints of clove, pepper and allspice, but with an undeniable sweetness underlying it all. Finish is long and drawn out, with a lingering alcohol heat - it's a pleasant character, but means it takes some time to sip your way through it. Palate is quite dry by the end. Mouthfeel is slick and smooth. Just great.

Once again Allagash shows that they can knock swords with the Belgians, the fathers of these styles. This is a very tasty Belgian Strong, loaded with character, and an excellent approximation of the classic examples.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a chalice)
Batch #19
A- This beer pours a golden autumn orange hue that is slightly hazy with a thick spongy light tan head that sticks to the side of the glass in small clouds. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles that swirl around the beer on their way to the surface.

S- The smell of slight sweet fruity yeast has some hints of club soda and clove followed by a soft apple pulp note that increases as the beer warms.

T- The mellow caramel malt flavor blends with the floral fruity yeast and a soft white wheat dough note. There is a clove spice flavor that has other old dry spice flavors to it. the finish is a soft green Noble hop flavor that turns more pine resin as it warms. There is a hoppy bitter snap at the finish that is enhanced with a carbonic acid dryness.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slight fusel hint when it is pretty warm. A tight fizz finish boost the hop bite a bit.

D- This beer starts off with mostly yeasty flavor and some malt flavors but as it warms the hops start to step up and balance out this beer more. It has some good complexity but the yeast and spice flavors taste just a bit off and flat. I don't think age would help much with this beer but I could be wrong if the yeast were still in the bottle.

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Photo of akorsak
3.57/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am drinking a 750 mL C&C bottle (Batch 12), served slightly below room temperature in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Appearance: The ale has a nice bright orange color. When held to light, lighter reds appear. It pours with a big head that dissapates and leaves no trace of any lace. The ale does not have any visible sediment.

Smell: Pepper and spices jump out in the nose. The spices leave a floral scent (not hop flowers, mind you). It raises expectations for the taste.

Taste: The taste does not live up to the expectation in the smell. It tastes a little flat, as though the spices don't quite come through. The pepper carries through into the taste, providing a nice counterpunch to the relatively smooth malt character. There is not much hop presence here either, definitely a let down coming from the smell.

Mouthfeel: The ale sits well on the mouth, the spices are fairly muted preventing an overpowering of the tastebuds. If only there was a little more character...

Drinkability: A very drinkable ale, it comes SOOO close to being excellent. Instead, it has to settle for being pretty good.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper colored with a nice full tan head, nice active carbonation throughout, and decent clumpy lace. Wit-like coriander spice aroma is dominant with orange peel and light maltiness to round it out. Spice flavors and smooth malt flavors. It's almost like they mixed their Wit and Dubbel together - Yummy. Medium bodied and creamy with a light warming sensation.

Label states: "Beer brewed with spices" & 7.2 % ABV

Batch #4 (Cellared for a good while - maybe 2 years..?)
Tasted: 02/19/04

($5.49 / 25.4 oz / 750 ml Brown Champagne Style bottle - corked and caged)

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Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving size is a 12 ounce bottle. Served in a chalice, the beer pours an orange/amber color with a half inch off-white head. It smells like herbs, spices, orange, cloves, and yeast. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some grassy hops and apricot that I can taste. Body is medium, and the beer is smooth, creamy and a little bit dry. Drinkability is pretty good, I think it's easy to drink. The alcohol is a little bit noticable, but it's not bad at all. I like this beer a lot, I guess I'll have to wait until next winter to pick up some more of this. Not a bad choice in my opinion.

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Allagash Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 647 ratings.
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