Allagash Grand Cru | Allagash Brewing Company

Allagash Grand CruAllagash Grand Cru
Liked This Beer
4.08 w/ 650 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 650 |  Reviews: 458
Photo of xgrigorix
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Twelve ounce brown twist cap bottle - no dates.

Glowing auburn, slight chill haze. Topped by a thin off white head.

Nose is soft, orangey, & filled with warm spiciness.

Soft & sweet malt, gives way to a muted orange fruitiness, & notes of cinnamon, allspice, & anise. Smooth, medium bodied, & easy carbonation.

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Photo of 99bottles
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is good stuff. I found some in March while in NJ, and at $6.99 for a six pack, I thought I was dreaming. I brought it back and elected to pour it in a bordeaux glass, because my glass selection was limited. Oh, man. It pours a beautiful reddish brown, and immeadiately a wonderful sweet banana, orange, pear, lemon, sugarcane, brandy, jeez, walnut...I can't even say.. smell washes over. It has a nice little tan head, that sits happily above its rich body. It had a suprising mouthfeel. Thinner than I expected given the smell of it. The taste is remarkable. Smooth, slick little hops peak through the rich malts and esters. The body is great! If it was any thicker, I wouldn't have enjoyed it so much ( or finished the 6 pack). It's wonderful and I reccommend getting your hands on it at any cost. I'm glad I caught it sort of pre-aged as i'm sure it was bottled in the fall. I'd like to have it from a well kept bomber someday. Absolutely great.

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Photo of ark57
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a light, glowing amber in color. The aroma has a lot of hop character to it. The body is smooth, full and malty sweet with orange notes. The finish is spicy and bitter. This is a well done beer that has good complexities and is very tasty. I would like to see what it is like in a year from now.

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Photo of stirgy
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent beer – slightly hazy, as per the style, orangey gold in color with a low carbonation. There is a beautiful hop aroma of fruits and pine radiating from the thin white head, along side a sweet and spicy candy maltiness. The taste is medium light in body and yields some pleasant flavors, including a hoppy grapefruit sweetness and hints of candy spice. A very well balance of spice, sweet and bitterness. Alcohol is buried under the flavor. Very flavorful and a wonderful Grand Cru. Actually, one of the best in recent memory.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.53/5  rDev +11%
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 Gueuzedude
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
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 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 Foxman
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a deep golden amber, hazy and honey-like. There's a quick light tan head that swells, then ebbs just as fast with little retention, ending with rapidly dwindling wisps of foam. There's sparse, dotty lacing.

The nose is citrus tangy and spicy. A melange of clove, allspice, and maybe even nutmeg, spin over an underlying malty sweetness, along with a mild, yeast-driven sourness.

Upon tasting, the blend of spices jump forward first, but do not overpower the gentle sweetness of the malt. There's a distant and fleeting caramel note swinging through ephemerally. A mild citrus fruit dryness strolls to the finish with a fetching and balancing yeast/biscuit sourness. Overall, the flavor comes across as warm and inviting, delivering mostly on the promise of the fine aroma.

It's medium bodied, and coats with a creamy texture, and leaves a dry sour/bitter component of hops tingle at the finish.

To my knowledge, this is my first Maine beer, and it will not be my last, if this is what I have to look forward to. The fruit and spice elements swirl aptly about a mildly sweet malt presence, and the yeast imparts an appealing, mitigating sourness. As balanced and enjoyable as that sounds here in print, it's even better on the palate. The fire was crackling, and a light snow was falling, and with no thought, one leads to another, with the moderate ABV and spice warming me well and good. It seems to me I should be looking to Maine for more than just L.L. Bean and lobster.

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Photo of lou91
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great looking beer with small tight bubbles, Belgian lace and a glowing orange/amber color. Rich, tart, subtly sweet and a nice clove undertone. This is a well made Belgian style beer with the right balance of sugar, malt, crisp clean hop flavors with a well hidden alcohol kick. It warms great making this a solid product – bought it at Bev’mo in Albany.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle

Cane and brown sugar on the nose, but much more. Grand cru is rich with spice, hop, malt, and yeast of the highest order. The taste is a bit thin, but only because the nose is so great. Suprisingly, it finishes with exceptional complexity climaxing in an opus of dried apricots and candied fruit. Most impressive is how this brew, for all its spicing, holds its own as beer. The spices manage to relate to the ingredients and operate symbiotically. It's as if the brewers added what had always been missing to belgian pales instead of taking the general style and trying to make it better.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.82/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Allagash Grand Cru batch no. 7, Appearance: Cloudy orange amber brown tone with a nice sized tan caramel colored head leaves behind belgian style lacing in specks spread randomly. Aroma: Christmas is in the air piney hops rich but soft malts coat the senses this is one great smelling beer almost like a pine air freshener but in a good way, just too good. Taste: A wave of piney spiced flavor bringing the pale malts out in the sweetness excellent candy like tasting brew puts an instant smile on your face. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied fluffy carbonatin very nice feeling . Drinkability: Very nice easy as all hell to put down simply amazing Christmas ale I have had this on tap but this is by far one of the best beers I have tasted this holiday season.

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Photo of twilight
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Belgian goblet.

Pours a hazy golden brown color with a ring of foam around the edges that leaves very little lacing. Nice mysterious color. The aroma is fruity, typical of these kinds of beers, but with a slight tinge of spices. The initial sip left me disappointed, but then- whoa! There's this beautiful fullness as the carbonation gives way and the brew spreads across one's tongue. Nice, not as fruity as expected, but still, very, very nice.

It's a bit too carbonated, and darker than some other BSPA's but the complexity of the spice make this a recommended beer for mulling over the taste.

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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 CRJMellor
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle
Batch #6

Pours copper with golden colors, medium head that dies quickly very little lace. Aroma of raisins, prunes, licorice, candy sugar, little coriander, some yeast and orange peel. Taste is malt front with a yeasty and spicy middle (coriander) a light sweetness on the finish. Very subtle and complex tastes that make you pay attention. Lively mouthfeel and warming glow upon finish. Little heavy-handed to be highly drinkable but very good

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

12 ounce bottle.
Appearance: Hazy, bright amber-orange pour. Fizzy, churning, off-white head recedes to a whispy, swirling and dollopy broken cap and edge ring. Constant champagne-like stream of bubble from the bottom of the glass.
Smell: Sweet caramel malt, bready/musty yeast, peppery clove, allspice, coriander, orange/lemon peel. Hints of candied dark fruits and a whiff of alcohol.
Taste & Mouthfeel: More full bodied than it would appear. Lush, sweet malt and tart/bready yeast at the start. Top is creamy, tight carbonation frothy/fluffy with peppery notes. Finish is dry with floral and citrus hops allowing dark fruit and spices to linger in the tangy aftertaste. Nice balance of texture and taste extremes.
Drinkability: Very drinkable. Light yet rich and warming.

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

Sampled from the 750 bottle. Since Ive only ever had Hoegaarden Grand Cru before I can't stack this up against much but without a doubt its a damn good beer.

Color is a spicy looking red heud orange with a glob of a white head. Aroma truly is explosive (as a past BA reported) and numerous fruit and floral notes bombard the senses. Flavors match the tastes. If you smell, you taste it. Its all there--the general spicy flavors mixed with the fruity ones. Might I add that its damn quenching too.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A solid, bright crimson, color, an enormous, full, fluffy, lacey head, loaded with bubbles..looks good so far...
Aroma: oooo, very nice! Light, airy, loaded with citrus, yeast and uplifting thing in the nose, very lively and enticing. You just want to keep it up to your nose, knowing this happy occasion should not be interurrupted...feels darker, fruitier later on, and that's very nice as well. Mmmm, a constant happiness abides in this aroma, and it never wanes.
Taste: hops grab the palate at first, then fade, and the palate is washed with a complex, incredible melange of flavors. A lush fruit factor is at the heart, incredibly integrated, a magnificent cocktail, with a tasty spicy kick riding on top. Somehow this is mellow, and terrifically full-flavored all at the same time. Full-bodied, but not a tiny bit thick, with a long, luxurious finish that resides softly on the plate, but never ends the delivery of joy.
As I close in on draining this bottle, I'm still reaching for proper words to encapture it's utter sublimity. And, still, more thoughts arise, as more flavors jut out, for I swear I'm tasting a touch of chocolate now. Is this a tripel mixed with a wit, and doused in a touch of tripel? Whatever it is, it's fan-diddly-tastic!

This is a re-review, a year and a couple days after my first scribblings, which I now refute. And perhaps the aging of this sample, from Batch #5, did something to enhance it's overpowering appeal.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Unfortunately, I don't have as sophisticated (or prominent) taste buds like many of my fellow B.A.'s, so I can't claim to have tasted the wealth of different flavors that others have. What I will say is, if you like Allagash, you'll like this. Kind of a dark version of their triple. The taste is somewhat similar, with some spice and sweetness added. (Nowhere near as spicy as the Anchor Christmas, however). Easy to drink, warming, and crisp. Not overly sweet, and I did not notice the ABV in the taste (but I did in the effect!). An excellent all-around beer, serves as a real nice seasonal. I have yet to have an Allagash that I didn't enjoy a great deal.

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Photo of Gavage
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
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 Boilermaker88
4.39/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received a 12oz bottle courtesy of frank4sail, whom I was paired with for the holiday beer exchange. This Grand Cru had a hazy apple cider color with a small off-white cap of a head and deposited some splotchy lace in the glass.
A sniff revealed a complex array of aromas to sort through: lemon zest, clove, coriander, nutmeg, tart apples, bready malt, and alcohol all played out in the nose for a sweet-and-sour smell. The taste was every bit as complex. Fruity sweetness in the form of green apples, plums, and citrus (lemon & orange) made a dash across the palate, chased by a yeasty maltiness. In pursuit were a variety of spices; coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, a touch of pepper and light cloves. Bringing up the rear in this relay-race of flavors were a subdued bitterness and a modest warming alcohol bite. The feel was full, coating the tongue, and dry.
This offering from Allagash is truly a fantastic beer, very easy to drink. I'll definitely have to locate and sample Allagash's dubbel and triple after this treat.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #7. Served in the 750 mL corked bottle into the St. Bernardus goblet. The color is amber, with a nice coating of white head. The smell is a nice, sweet yeastiness. The taste is a very nice fruitiness, leaning towards the drier side. Mouthfeel is quite nice. Drinkability-wise, could definitely have quite a few.

A nice Belgian-style beer. Not too sweet, not too dry, but a good amount of sweetness to make this quite an interesting little brew. Quite good, and I'll certainly be awaiting the next release.

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Photo of Crosling
4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yes! Yes! Yes! I have been craving this beer for the past few weeks and finally decided to pick one up. This ale is sitting in front of me right now looking so extravagent and so beautiful in a tulip glass. Pours with a golden hue and a monstrous perfect frothy belgian head. The head is not dense at all which seems perfect for the occasion. A impenetrable layer of lacing clings to the side of the glass. Could perhaps be the best lace I have ever seen on a beer. Looks like the inside of an erupting oceanic volcano when help up to the light. A feast for the eyes!

The nose on the ale definately improved as the ale warmed which was expected but this dramatically improved. Red licorice was the most apparent scent in the nose. A suddle smokiness, leather, honey, rich malts, alcohol, light fruits, sour fruits and spices also came streaming through my nostrils. The aroma was descent but definately the low point in this one.

Colossal flavor! Sour cherries, raspberries, caramel, cinnamon, ripe red apples, red licorice, yeast, wet blueberries dipped in sugar, plums, clove, and alcohol with a tart undertone that is hard to notice but apparent. Very smooth and heavy in the mouth. A nice hop bite on the back of the tongue with a lingering perfect plum finish. I feel like I am missing a lot of flavors here too. The flavors are so intricate and there are so many of them that it is hard to identify all of them.

A very well put together beer. I hope to see this in the top 50 someday.

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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 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.

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

An amber colored brew with a small off-white head. The aroma is fruity with a big blast of spices. Cinnamon and clove are the leaders in a pack of in your face spice that makes it hard to lift your nose from the edge of the glass. I picked up a bit of smokiness.

The flavor is started off with big fruitiness. Spices come in next in a big way. This beer is not lacking flavor. I really enjoyed the smoky flavor that I got out of it. I think it was just how the spices came in that gave it that smoky flavor, but it was very nice. There are lots of citrus kicks and heaps of cloves in there. It has some roasty flavors as well, and finishes you off with a toasted aftertaste. Complex, oh yeah! This is a very nice offering from Allagash.

Note: I believe this bottle sat for about 1 year since I bought it.

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Allagash Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86% out of 100 with 650 ratings
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