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

poured into a snifter,this beer is a deep hazy amber with a nice persistent head.nose is yeast spiciness,medicinal phenols,and a bit of citrus.taste is yeasty spice,herbal phenols,a bit of bready sweet malt,fruity esters,with a dry and slightly warming alcoholic finish.carbonation is high with a slightly higher than medium bodied mouthfeel. overall a great beer.each sip invites the next.

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Photo of mwa423
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of the botte, it is a hazy copper color that is very hazy and clears up a good bit in the first couple minutes.

The smell is belgian spice, alcohol, nutmeg, and malt.

The taste is not what I usually expect out of the style, there is some belgian spice, and some sour cherry notes that really hit on the aftertaste. The malt is exceptionally strong, and there is very little yeast flavor.

M/D - The mouthfeel is a bit rich. Right now I am in the mood for all of the malt but it doesn't fit the style well. I would liken this as closer to a barleywine but I think this will be a big winner or a big loser person to person

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Photo of jrallen34
2.23/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

It darks dark clay red with a big creamy, long lasting light tan head and great lacing.

It smells sour like tea, and hints of hops and citrus.

Things were off to a good start and I had high hopes, then I drank it. Horrible.

There is light tea taste, overall its a very simple soft taste with lots of taste. There are hints of nutmeg and cinammon as well.

A very poor effort.

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Photo of DannyS
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A - Crystal clear dark orange amber with a hefty pillow of creamy white head on top that retains excellently and leaves a web of frothy lacing that falls loosely.

S - Spicy and yeasty on the nose, with a strong alcohol presence that mellows out as the beer has time to breathe.

T - Slightly woody, spicy, yeasty. A lot maltier than, say, Duvel, but with more pronounced alcohol. floral hops and candy sugar round out the flavor profile well, with little to no bitterness. Finishes clean and slightly dry.

M - Medium weight with peppy carbonation to add lots of levity, with the head donating a mask of creaminess on the palate.

D - he alcohol only really hits on the first few sips, almost like a test to see if one can bear the booze to enjoy the true flavors of the brew. Drunken ideas aside, it's really drinkable despite the hefty ABV. I polished off the 750ml myself, though I definitely am feeling the buzz.

Overall - I acquired this one in a trade, which is kind of a disappointment now, because I realize I can't find this gem anywhere near me, despite seeing Allagash beers around Queens regularly. If I had constant access to this one, It'd be hard to resist.

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Photo of grub
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

got this one in a trade with MuenchenerKindl. thanks tom!

12oz bottle. sampled july 10/09.

pours hazy dark orange with a small dense cream coloured head. the head quickly drops to a ring around the glass and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is good. alcohol. grain. white bread and cracker. light caramel and butterscotch. belgian spice. orange peel and light citrus. bit of floral character too.

taste is nice. light alcohol. grain. white bread and cracker. orange peel. bit of light belgian spice. very low bitterness level. a gentle floral component, but most of the hop character has faded with time in the cellar. i rather enjoy the mellow spice and bready character though.

mouthfeel is good. medium-light body. smooth, well integrated medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. excellent balance. it's definitely changed compared to a fresh BSPA, but i think i like it better this way. the alcohol is less present, and the spicy and floral notes take more of a back seat. i think i might have to pick up some more of this to sample fresh, and a few others to stash away and forget about for a while.

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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 Trappissed
4.46/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This looks like an amazing beer. A nice fluffy head and a healthy dose of carbonation makes it look very inviting. Semi-hazy and bronze/copper in color. Smells like apple and spices. Taste is excellent. Candied fruits with just a touch of tartness. Caramel maltiness. Just a hint of yeast as well. Carbonation is a little high, but it works very well for this beer.

This is easily one of the best beers I've had in this style. Definitely on par with top-notch Belgians I've tried. Very smooth and drinkable. Not even a question that I would get this again in the future. Not much else to say here; I need to try more Allagash brews.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Light brown/orange that is unfiltered, non-transparent, with average lacing and head.

S - Very light aroma with citrus/fruit notes up front. A little yeast and malt scent finishes.

T - Quite complex...starts off kind of bland but immediately opens up with flavors of spices, fruits, and wild yeast. There is a predominant fruit after taste with a slight tartness.

M/D - Very light body with minimum carbonation. It finishes clean and semi-dry but very smooth on the palate.

One of the best offerings from Allagash. High in alcohol but hides it well with all the complex flavors. Highly recommended.

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Photo of roblowther
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml corked and caged. Poured into a chalice glass, it is light copper with a thin head that leaves a hint of lacing. Smells of sugar, bubblegum, and anise. Taste is peppery, phenolic, and a tad woody. Very balanced and very good! The mouthfeel is well-carbonated, very bubbly, and with a nice slickness to back it up. Perfect! Very, very drinkable. The alcohol hides itself and the sweet up front is balanced by the dry finish. Wow. I think I'm in love. Really this time, not like the time I got hammered and that ugly chick was on the stool next to me...

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Photo of Drew966
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Allagash Grand Cru pours an orangeish color with a white head from a brown 750 ml corked and caged bottle. The aroma is fruity, orange being most prominent. The flavor is nicely fruity too, orange stands out the most as well, there is a bit of malt that is noticeable, but hops are virtually nowhere to be found. This is a very nice version of a Belgian ale. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a hazy copper-ruby color. Nice creamy off-white head. Visible slow carbonation, but little movement on top.

Smell: Fruity aroma with dates, pears, apples, and maybe a bit of bananas. Nice yeast and malty tones too.

Taste: Nice malty taste with a bit of sweetness, but very little complexity. Just a tad bit of apple at the finish. Slightly bitter aftertaste (not the most pleasant, but not bad).

Mouthfeel: Really smooth with light tingly carbonation, especially towards the finish. Medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Easy to drink, no obvious hints of alcohol.

A nice beer, but it falls down in the taste. Granted, it isn't bad, but it is such a let-down after the nice aromas. Certainly worth giving a try if you enjoy Belgian styled beers, but I don't think it merits being a regular.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ML into a snifter/ Batch #16

P: Gold from the bottle, and sits a crimson & orange sunshine-infused deep amber in the glass. Off-white head is beautiful! It's tall, healthy, thick & creamy like a dallop of froth on top. Excellent retention, finally settling to a thick sheet on top, but not before leaving massively chunky strings of lace in its wake.

A: Toasted malts, bananas, apples, pears, cloves, yeast, and some herbal-like hops.

T: Hmmm...nice and fruity BSPA! Ripe bananas, apples, and pears swim about in a pool of cloves and nutmeg, while the lightly toasted malt bill supports it all. Floral, almost herbal-like hops lay underneath. All of it really melds nicely together, while the yeast comes out in the finish. Good complexity & depth to this authentic feeling brew. Nicely done!

M & D: Medium-full bodied, slick & rich, crisp & smooth with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, with more than enough flavor to keep me coming back.

Notes: This is a damn fine example of the style from an American brewery. Every Allagash I've had has been quite good, and quite authentic. The malty deliciousness with great fruit flavors and spice really tickles my fancy. I loved this one! Highly recommended

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Photo of prototypic
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This one's very hazy and a nice copper color with orange highlights. It's topped with a vanilla colored head that barely stands a finger tall. It receded quickly and left a light lacing on the glass.

Smell: It's very sweet and sugary smelling up front. There's a lot of fruit aromas just leaping out of the glass. There's an array of orange, peach, and light pineapple. There's a nice mix of spices. Clove and pepper are most noteable, but there's most certainly a few more there. They're not distinct enough for this nose to identify them though. The illustrious Belgian yeast is also present. Allagash does a wonderful job giving an appearance of authentic origin. Alcohol is not noted at all. Very well done here, guys.

Taste: This is wonderful beer. It is sweet and fruity at first. It's not as sweet as it smells. But, that's far from a bad thing. Peach and very light orange and pinepple flavors are noted. It's a very nice fruity element. Clove and pepper (among other) spices are somewhat restrained, but effective. They complement the fruit flavors well and add quite a bit of depth to it. It has an excellent Belgian yeast flavor. If I didn't know better, I'd have thought this was an authentic BSPA. Alcohol is masked very well and is not noticeable. It finishes sweet and a little spicy.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It features a lighter medium body with relatively light carbonation. It's smooth, but would be a little better if it were a tad thicker. Very close call though. Drinkability is very high. It's very deep and flavorful. Goes down very easy. At 7.2%, it's not too intimidating. I'm really enjoying this one and could easily handle more.

Allagash makes excellent beer. They have an uncanny knack for doing a tremendous job with Belgian styles. Only a handful of American brewers have that ability. Grand Cru is all-around excellent beer. I'd like a little more thickness, but not much. I was really close to pulling the "4.5" trigger on feel. If you run across Grand Cru, pick it up. It's excellent.

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

Batch# 20. Winter Release 2008/2009. Corked 750 into my Great Divide glass, which is the same as the one Allagash brands.

In short, like mix between a Saison and a Dubbel.

Thick and bubbly. Some ceramy sweetness like a Dubbel or
Tripel. Wonderful dry and spicy finish, which helps make it very drinkable.

I predict a Saison yeast.

Recommended. I'd like to try it on tap.

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Photo of ballewblake
3.59/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Huge thick bone white head. Very tight bubbles in the foam, along with lots of carbonation bubbles in the body. Body is dark, mahogany, translucent. Not much of a 'Belgian Strong Pale', from apperance and taste alone I was thinking more of a Belgian Strong Dark. Lacing is thick on the glass, spreads out into spaced bubbles. Nose is of apples, sour, pear maybe. Sweet flavors, but nothing stands out. Great mouth feel, good balance. An okay brew, not the most inspirational Allagash. I'd think someone just getting into beer would find more interest in this one. Gate-way belgian-style?

After looking at some of the other reviews, I'm wondering if I got a different brew in the bottle, this is a dark beer... Batch reads #20.

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

A nice orange colored body with a slightly off-white head that has ok retention and leaves a few thin rings of lacing behind.

Smell is sweet and fruity, with a touch of spiciness.

A good tasting beer here. Fruity but not overly so. Some apricots and peaches are definitely in there. Some pale malts are noticeable and just a touch of peppery spiciness.

Mouthfeel is on the lower side of medium bodied with appropriate conversation.

This is, all around, a solid, good beer. The drinkability is no different, it is also good.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Bottle into hotel juice glass after an evening at Ebenezer's. Deeper than golden, hazy, 1 finger whie head fades to ring, some lacing. SMELLS of corriander, anise, yeasty, bready. TASTE is like the nose, spicy, bready, yeasty, a bit hoppy. Smooth, with clean finish. FEELING includes some fiz, light/medium body, clean finish. OVERALL it is a smooth, clean, easy drinker.

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Photo of spointon
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from a 750ml corked and caged brown bottle into my Allagash tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a slightly clouded deep gold with orange/amber highlights. The foamy white head rose a good 2" and slowly settled to a 1/4" cap. Some sticky lace down the glass.

S= Short pop of sweet malt under a nice blend of fruity esters, funky yeast, and some spices I can't quite identify.

T= Bakery /biscuity malt up front with a nice mix of fruity esters (orange,lemon) and chalky yeast-funk. Spicy blend possibly containing clove and allspice were faint but there. Finish was medicinal, dry, and with a bit of alcohol.

MF= Medium bodied with a spritzy effervescent carbonation level. Nice and crisp.

D= I didn't know what to expect of this beer other than I love other Allagash beers so it must be worth a try. Well, needless to say I was quite inpressed with the aroma and flavor and found this to be quite drinkable. I'll definitly be having more soon!

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours a cloudy, deep honey-gold, hints of orange, with a fairly fizzy off-white head.

Nose is yeasty, with some apricot and maybe a bit of honey, coriander comes through clearly, some fruity esters.

Taste is really nice - pears, apples, apricots, honey sweetness, dry, cinnamon and nutmeg and some orange zest, a bit metallic.

Finish is yeasty, a bit peppery, dry. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, with a light, spritzy carbonation. Really nice beer, though the odd metallic taste does drop a point or two.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Reddish-brown mahogany, beautiful highlights in the brighter part of the room. Great head retention with a hell of a lot of lacing.

S - Caramel and something stronger, like bacon. Smell really hard, it's in there.

T - Really good - Ripe fruit on the way in, goes back to your throat and gets very citrusy, with a really smooth finish.

M - Great carbonation balanced off by creamy after-finish.

D - I would most definitely order another.

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Photo of scifan
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a goblet. Nice copper hue to it with a finger head that forms a small film within a few minutes leaving minimal lacing.
Smells nice. Good belgian yeast aromas, nice fruity smells with some citrusy notes.
Nice yeast flavors, with a nice spiciness to it. Picking up some orange peel and corriander. Has a sweet caramel malty finish very nice. No noticeable hop flavor.
Nice carbonation in the mouth maybe a little too much.
All in all very drinkable beer don't think I'll have any problems finishing this bottle.

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Photo of surfer4life
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my goblet.

A - Dark Copper pour with a head that was an inch high for a few minutes but then receded to a small film after a few sips. Minimal Lacing.

S - Hops hit the nose first, followed by some nuttiness. Hints of vinegar and raisins.

T - Pine Cones and Almonds. The label claims spices and I can't quite place which ones. It doesn't seem to be anything sweet. I would almost say oregano. Something close to it. Carmel Sweetness on the finish. Very small taste of alchol throughout.

M - High Carbonation, leaves the mouth crisp and clean, wanting more.

D - I'd say this is very drinkable. As it's not my favorite style, I would probably not search it out, but wouldn't pass on it if offered.

All in all, a solid 4 across the board.

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Photo of CReilly
3.32/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Allagash Grand Cru:

App: Thick off white head dissipated over time over a Glowing orange body.

Aroma: Funky yeast with subtle sweet malt and nice citrus notes. low hop aroma. Additionally i picked up a pleasant tart cherry aroma.

Taste: Bitey Hops roll off the palate blend with subtle alcohol presence, some slight yeasty flavor and a peppery/spicey background with no discernable character. Bitterness lingers near the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a somewhat misleading dryness near the end.

Overall pretty taste

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Photo of damienblack
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pumpkin-aley orange-brown, looks kind of like this year's Fluxus. Hazy, looks like it will be a spicy brew. Thin head that quickly dissipated, leaves some lacing around the glass in a neat pattern, but the rest quickly dissipates. Smells like the Allagash house yeast, not much distinct about it to me from some of their other similar styled brews, that and spices dominates. Fairly pleasant nevertheless.

First impression: leaves a definite sour/slightly bitter aftertaste that I'm not too fond of. Not a sweet sour, or a tart sour, but kind of a vinegaric sour. (EDIT: as the beer warms, this flavor fades away. Turns into more of that floral feeling I describe later). The spicing makes up for it, though. Definitely has that Allagash taste to it, it doesn't really seem to have a breadiness to it, not much in the way of heartiness. A medium-bodied feel all the way through. More of a hop presence than I would expect, not bitter though, more of a pine presence. A little nutty there at the end, too. Also has a floral presence, someone else said jasmine, I have no idea what jasmine tastes like (except Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, mmm) but we'll go with that. A little thin in the middle where I think it should be warming. The spicing kicks in in the middle though, and carries it along on the palate. Tastes slick and soapy, the beer slides right off the palate, but the flavor remains. Some good (spices yay), some bad (vinegaric, boo). Very drinkable, goes down like candy (that's what she said!) Overall, everything is pretty balanced, as it gradually warms, all these different parts add to a complex, delicate, delicious harmony. Not a bad way to drink off the cold winter months. Not my favorite brew, nor my favorite Allagash brew (FOUR, so far!) but I'd probably seek this out again (might grab some more to last a while before Julio's is out!) and would definitely drink this again. Overall solid, good but not outstanding. That's good enough for me.

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