Allagash Grand Cru | Allagash Brewing Company

649 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

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Ratings: 649 |  Reviews: 458
Photo of ybnorml
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is a slightly cloudy amber. The head looks like a milkshake nice and thick and leaves a decent lace. A citrus lemon peel aroma rises from the glass. The taste is full of spices and herbs. It is almost like eating food, like sausage or meat pie. Good even finish. Definitely a beer to drink slowly and savor.

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Photo of vitesse
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served in 12 oz. bottle. not aged.

a very interesting beer.
appareance is orange/amber. barely hazy. smallish tan head. nice lace on the glass. smell is of spices: cloves, coriandar, citrus.
taste is very unique. really balanced between light biscuity maltiness, citrusy hops, spicy coriander flavoring and sourness in the aftertaste. very thoroughly flavored.
slightly astringent with some alcohol presence.
mouthfeel is very carbonated and effervescent. very high drinkability -- almost duvel-like "alcohol creep" that sneaks up on you. watch out.

a must-try beer. one of the best belgian-styled beers i've ever had.

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Photo of Darkale
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy dark-butterscotch body probably would have been clear if I had poured it with more care. Bone-colored head is thick and resilient with excellent lacing.

Aroma is light and fresh. Sweetness is high in the nose, slightly spicy but not quite deep enough for me to discern exactly which spice I'm smelling.

Rich and full in the mouth. Chewy and sweet. Subtly spicy, with a deep sweetness like dark brown sugar.

This is a tremendous holiday beer. One of my new favorites.

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Photo of Weissenheimer
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For lunch on the day after Thanksgiving I pulled out some left over turkey and stuffing and popped the cork on a bottle of Allagash Grand Cru. It poured a deep, reddish caramel with a nice pillowy head. The scent was very complex, inviting, balanced, and not at all cloying like so many spiced ales. I spent a long time trying to parse that scent, but a few minutes of sniffing yielded little beyond a suspicion that anise was present. By that time I had also become impressed with the head; it wasn't going anywhere. As I sipped it left lots of foamy, spattered arcs on the glass.

The taste was as beautifully complex as the scent. Creamy and spicy with some caramel malt up front, it dared me to nail it down any further than that. I believe I tasted a little orange peel and possibly some cinnamon and cloves, and definitely caught some citrus toward the end. I may not be all that good at parsing out tastes yet, but to me this beer's inscrutability speaks volumes. It is smooth, spicy, and incredibly balanced. Beyond that the taste is largely a mystery to me, and I'm very happy with that.

By the time I neared the end of my glass I was admiring how well this beer paired with the leftovers. My sister makes a killer stuffing with, among many other things, some nicely spiced sausage. At first I thought I was imagining things when I tasted some pepperiness in the beer, but the delightful way in which it linked up with the spices in the sausage dispelled all doubt.

As usual, I'm very impressed with Allagash on this one.

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Photo of crookedhalo
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy, glden orange color with a thick light-tan colored head that last for a bit. Aromas of blood orange rind, malt, and a mixture of light spices, I picked up on the obvious of some of them; coriander. Malty sweet with smooth spices rounding out a quality Grand Cru replication. Nicely effervescent and drinkable (to the extent that one likes spiced beers.).

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Photo of freed
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Batch #5 and have been sitting on it. Thanksgiving with some of my wine snob family seemed like a good time to break it out. The pop of the cork got their attention.

The pour was somewhat wild, and a turbulent pour left a big dollop of foam on top. As it settled, the foam left nice lacing, and some spots so big that dust would have settled on them.

The aroma is wonderfully offensive. Pungent old farm, livestock, and wet blanket finishing with a hint of ripe apples. When I exclaimed about the smell, people were surprised.

The taste is amazing. I feel no shame in sharing it will family. Rich, sweet, malty, and deep. Its a pleasant mixture of orchard sweetness, malt sweetness, and malt dryness. The yeast offers its own additions to the mix, a nice funky bready.

Though this is a stellar beer, you can't, and don't want to drink that much of it. Splitting the 22 was ample for 3 people, though I could have probably done with one myself over the course of a meal.

Happy thanksgiving indeed!

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Photo of waughbrew
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A deep orange with a thin white head in an Allagash wide tulip glass. Very clear. (is it keg conditioned?) Nothing really leaps out in the aroma, just a myriad of subtleties. Orange peel, clove, some lightly toasted malts. Flavor is a similar balance of many things, nothing overpowering. A small amount of toffee flavor is snuck in there. Feel and drinkability are absolutely perfect - smooth and very slightly creamy, with small bubbles that caress your mouth. This is a polished beer, a real work of art that forgoes the trend of extreme flavors in favor of a complex mix of subtle ones.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A twist off brown bottle. Fresh clean hop yeasty sweet bread nose. Hazy cloudy dark golden color with a beautiful thick dense white head. Malty rich corriander spice taste with a touch of cinnamon and walnut in the finish. Smooth rich dense mouth. The toung is lift stinging with spice and malt. There is also a layer of grassy peat hop flavor that comes out more as the beer warms. A wonderfully complex treat. Before you know it, it is gone. A comfort beer... nice!

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

Cloudy, coppery, almost cidery in appearance. Head left quickly, but minimal residue remained that presented bubble of different sizes. Aroma was an excellent spicy, appley, malty combination that was excellent. Taste was equally a balance of spice, malt and some fruitiness. Smooth for a high abv, with a nice dry feeling on the palate with a pleasant bitterness in the aftertaste. Nicely drinkable for the high alcohol content.

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Photo of bmills1608
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A handsome, deep amber color, a little hazy. Head was on the small side. On the nice was "Belgian" style spice. I often have trouble breaking down these spices, so I will describe them as "Belgian style and leave it at that. Some definite fruit in the aroma as well, raspberries, peaches? and also a big malt presence as well.

Taste is rich and slick malt and heaps of ripe fruits (plums and raisins). Middle palette gets quite sweet and is bursting with chewy malts. Very interesting mix of flavors and very drinkable. Finishes with lingering sweetness, sticky malt and a touch of hop bitterness.

Overall - I really liked this beer. Excellent mixture of fruits, malts and spice and extremely drinkable.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
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 ViveLaChouffe
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden reddish-brown. Very little head but very lacy. Smells fantastic. Spicy, malty, sour. Hints of fuit/apple.

Tastes of malt and yeasty. Spicy and warming. Smooth and full mouthfeel. Sour and spicy aftertaste.

This is a damn good brew for winter. Not as good as on draft but still outstanding. This has quickly become one of my favorites.

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Photo of HossMcGraw
3.51/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Miles better than their Double offering. This has hints in the flavor that are comparable with the Double, but it seems like they got it right with this one. Huge white head, Deep golden/burgundy color, Taste is complex. Dark fruit, Belgian yeast, pine, and actually, pretty hoppy which is an interesting twist. Mouthfeel is good, (very carbonated), but I wouldn't really want to drink more than one of these in a sitting, and it's definitely something I'd need to be in the mood for.

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Photo of Mustard
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Stubby, 12oz. brown bottle; no "best by" or "bottled on" date; no ABV %; purchased as part of a ten beer "Winter Brew" (vel sim.) sampler pack from the Cost Plus on Santa Monica and Westwood for $14.99.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark honey-brown hue; hints of red; somewhat hazy; smallish, off-white head; little in the way of lacing or head retention.

Aroma: Modestly of sweet malt, toffee and orange rind; just a whit phenolic.

Taste: Slight sweet upfront; toasty, biscuit malt backbone; piney, hop spiciness in the finish; firm notes of toffee, figs and candied fruit; secondary flavor characteristics include those of yeast, nutmeg and coriander.

Notes: Damn, I'm sorry drank this -- now I'm just pissed I can't get this regularly; seven thumbs up.

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

Batch # 6.

Deep golden-orange color that's absolutely beautiful. Steady stream of carbonation present under natural light with an ample, retaining cream hued head. Nose is spicy with additional notes of sweetness including marshmallow and caramel. Sweet malt, green raisins and cinnamon also make their presence known. Nose, however, is somewhat restrained overall. Taste is an onslaught of a variety of flavors. At first, dark fruit, allspice, cinnamon, tangy citrus, yeast and malt are all prevalent with a mild hop bitterness present on the finish. A mild alcoholic bite also appears, but the alcohol content is well-masked overall. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and quite elegant overall. This is certainly a sipping delight, and quite easy drinking at that. This beer is quite age-worthy, as some time in the cellar would help to incorporate its complexities even further. Allagash does a wonderful job crafting Belgian-style brews.

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

I know this may sound funny, but the first thing I thought of when I opened this one, was fresh paint. I don't know why, but I think it smells like fresh paint. Anyways, it's definately a good beer for a cold night. It's got some spices in it that warm you from your stomach upwards. It's a murky amber color with a cream colored head. The head started off strong and went down to a laceing. I could also taste some hints of citrus in it. I like it and it's cheap, so that makes it even better!

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Photo of UnionMade
3.13/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer arrives looking a slightly hazy reddish orange color. A thick white head tops it, diminishing into a thin, frothy haze coating the beer. Good retention, lasting all the way through the glass, leaving some large blobs of lace.
Aroma is very sweet, big and phenolic. Big belgian maltiness, with plenty of candi sugar and esters. Hints of fig, plum, apple, pear, and peach. A very sweet caramel aroma to the malt. No hops to speak of, just sweet and malty as hell. The alcohol is completely hidden.
The flavor starts with a rich caramel maltiness. Medium to full bodied, with a sparkly, bouncy carbonation, carrying the flavor across your tongue. Tons of candi sugar and estery sweetness take up the middle, with huge estery pear, apple, fig, raisin and kiwi flavors. Almost overwhelming on the first sip or two. A light sourness in the finish, with a bit of alcohol as you swallow. A lingering candi sugar aftertaste, kind of saccharine and a bit cloying.
A big, complex beer. A little too sweet for my tastes, and not quite up to par with an authentic belgian grand cru. A great beer, but something seems to be missing.

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
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 dmarch
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy reddish-copper color with a large, well-retained, white head. Aroma is of orange peel and spices. The taste is of apples covered in the very intriguing spices. I'm probably wrong, but the spices I taste are cinnamon, cloves, and coriander. This is without a doubt, a very interesting beer and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of jeffboo
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Even though it finished # 4 of 4 in a grand tasting, this is still a delicious brew and highly recommended. It is dark amber in color with a nice thick, white head. A spicy aroma of fruit, cinnamon, and yeast. It was medium to full bodied holding a lightly plumy flavor balanced with cinnamon,vanilla,black pepper, and yeast. A nice spicy finish to a smooth brew.

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Photo of WaltTrombone
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, for my milestone 50th review, I went with the consensus on the forum, and decided to review the Allagash Grand Cru. Batch #4 (Also a blatant attempt to suck up to JohnnyP and bennybrew!) It poured with a dark red/ coppery body, and a fluffy tan head. The aroma was mild, with malt, mild hops, cloves and a hint of coriander. The taste was complex, with malt, raisin, clove, ginger, caramel, burgundy wine, nutmeg, and mayhaps a hint of ginger. All this was overlaid with a mild hoppiness. The mouthfeel was smooth, with a slight oiliness. It finished with hops, grapefruit, and a hint of malty sweetness. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, this was a beer worthy of milestone status!!!!

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Photo of taez555
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, tasted it in July 2003.

This beer poured a very big white head with a translucent, golden amber/red body.

The nose was beautiful. A cornicopia of fruits and spices. Cherry, strawberry, grapes, apples, cinnamon. Rich sweet malt smells. Actually it almost smelled a bit like that redhot candy.

The taste was just as inviting. A very belgian white ale taste almost. Medium bodied. Very malty and fruity. Raisons, apples, nutmeg, cinnamon. A smooth even bitterness that sat nicely with the spice. I could actually detect some very soft roasted nuttyness in the background. But basically a nice belgian white taste mixed with a christmas like cinnamon apple flavor.

Overall an amazing find. It really caught me off guard, especially in July. I can deffinatly see sitting around a fire in the winter sipping this beer. A great winter beer one that I'll deffinatly be on the lookout for during the holiday season.

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Photo of marburg
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. Each sip was so dramatically different with this beer. Impressively complex. Amber in the truist hardened-sap form. Rocky head looks like the surface of the moon. Varied aromas all hover around a fruity theme -- estery, orange spicy, citrusy, peachy. As it warms a bit more, the peachy/tropical fruits come out a bit more. A little gummy in the nose. A surprisingly dry, phenolic taste that encompasses so much of the flavor. Briefly sweet and almost smokey in its dryness. A distinct movement into a peppery alcohol phase. I think I could have used a little more alcohol and candy-ish sweetness in this beer; the phenolic variety (e.g., a little plastic, a little smoke) was just a bit awkward. Still a good one.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle.

This Grand Cru poured a lovely dark red colour with a huge frothy head. This bottle was from batch #5 and oh boy was this a good batch of this stuff.

The aromas were of spice, belgian candy sugar and yeast, malt, dark fruits, and even more spice! The taste was a very spicy, yeasty, wheaty combination of belgian greatness. I can't believe that the Allagash brewery is in Maine and not Brussels!

The mouthfeel was very full and refreshing and the drinkability was excellent as well. This is one classy brew from the folks at Allagash.

Cheers to Tavernjef for the fresh sample!


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Photo of rastaman
3.23/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orange peel amd canola oil coupled with a medicinal flavour, a bit band-aidy aswell as having the sweet start, but a relatively dry finish, with some pepper. A bit "surgical" (thanks Fil for that analysis). Still, another very flavourful beer, relatively soft mouthfeel, with some late sharpness.

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Allagash Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 649 ratings.
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