Grand Cru | Allagash Brewing Company

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Grand CruGrand Cru
650 Ratings
Grand CruGrand Cru

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Grand Cru is brewed with a touch of peated malt and spiced with coriander, sweet orange peel and a hint of anise. It is deep golden in color, full bodied and has hints of smoke and licorice in the taste and aroma. The malty, warming finish is perfect for colder weather.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-23-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 650 |  Reviews: 458
Photo of rastaman
3.23/5  rDev -20.8%
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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Photo of Stubbie1
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very nice brew! It pours a light brown/dark yellow with a thick off white head. The head gives way to a lace that wont stop hanging around! The aroma is deep roasted malt with waves of coffee and caramel notes floating over the malt. There are also hints of spices floating around. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and coriander to name a few of the spices that shows up in this beer. The taste matches the aroma, roasted malt with a light hint of coffee at the end and a slight bittersweet finish mixed with the spice. This is a nice medium body brew and very easy to drink. Watch out for the 7.8%!
This Allagash kicks ass!

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Photo of beerguy101
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Large bottle from Batch 5. Light amber color. Large foamy head. Aroma is malt, figs and caramel. Medium bodied Belgian Ale. Malts are bready and slightly sweet. Hops are floral and a touch citrusy. Well balanced. Typical Belgian spices, clove and coriander with a touch of nutmeg, ginger, brown sugar and oranges. A very tasty beer. Mouthfeel is full and round, Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby-orange color with a thick, rocky, creamy tan head. The aroma is fruity, herbal, with a bit of malt. The flavor is malty, and herbal, with a fruity, spicy hop bitterness. It is full in body with a drying finish. A pretty smooth beer for its strength.

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Photo of philipt
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a special personal importance to me.

This beer is a quite clear copper in color with a minimal, off-white head. The majority of the yeast remained in the bottle. Smells malty with definite hints of various spices. Flavor is sweet, malty, and spiced - coriander, pepper, citrus flavor. Not too hoppy in general and I certainly do not notice the alcohol while drinking.

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Photo of purplehops
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Grand Cru pours a rosewood brown with a frothy light tan head that leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma is coriander, orange, grains of paradise, mace, allspice, alcohol, candi sugar, dried fruit, and floral hop and yeast aromas. You can sniff this in a glass all night long and not name all the aromas present. Taste starts with a bubbly dose of carbonation on the tip of your tongue followed by warm and inviting malt and roasted grain flavors. Spice flavors of mace, coriander, clove, cinnamon, and pepper come next followed by some fruit and alcohol notes. The finish becomes a bit more fruity with flavors of orange, passion fruit, and grapefruit balanced with the malt, spice, and alcohol flavors. Aftertaste is along lasting dry desire for more and then a bit more to boot. Mouthfeel is dancing carbonation on the tongue with a creamy richness in the back of the mouth and a medium-heavy body.
Overall Grand Cru is a joy to drink. It has a refreshing quality about it that makes it an anytime anyplace beer. The complexity of its flavors and aroma make it fit with formal dinners or just sitting around the yard. Another product from Allagash that leaves you with a smile.

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Photo of Loki
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled in a 12 oz. bottle

Poured a dark honey orange color with a good 1 1/2 inch head that fades to a 1/8 inch covering. Left good lacing throughout the session.

Spices dominate this nose of coriander, white pepper, anise, orange peel, and subtle honey.

Taste was much the same with the spice immediately upfront, then coriander, orange cream, and an honey and wheat finish.

Great brew and a benchmark Grand Cru IMHO.

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Photo of aracauna
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Deep, clear red. Heavy carbonation builds strong, lasting head. Not sure what the dominant spice here is but it's something they use in Sweetwater Festive Ale. Maple, molasses is a bit heavy. The strong carbonation makes for cottony mouthfeel I dislike. It gets a little too sweet as it warms, so this may be a better beer at a little cooler than cellar temp. The sweetness and the mouthfeel hurt drinkability a bit.

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

Batch #5 750mm Bottle. Great appearance as with all of Alagash's ales. Classic large frothy head atop a slightly cloudy golden body. Outstanding flavor and smooth on the palate. Slightly spicy with notes of fruit and a sweet alcohol sensation. Overall great ale and an absolute pleasure.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What else could it be for #250 but a tribute to the two greatest brewing countries on earth – an American interpretation of a Belgian style. I’d heard good things about Allagash, but this was the first beer of theirs I’d had the chance to try. Lovely 750ml bottle with a wire-wrapped cork that explodes with the pent-up carbonation. The beer itself is a hazy amber, with a moderately sized, fairly creamy head. Ah, that Grand Cru aroma. Toasty malt, some nice cinnamon and coriander spices, yeast, and some very mild fruit. The beer is decadently creamy in the mouth, very smooth. Flavor starts of candi-sugar sweet, with the toasted malts developing mid-palate along with something like passionfruit. More cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness toward the end, enough so to make up for the lack of much in the way of noticeable hops. The beer leaves an aftertaste which is very husky and surprisingly pleasant. Seamlessly blended and very tasty.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been saving this short stubby bottle as the last beer I drink from the mixed case the most generous NeroFiddled bestowed upon me.

It pours out, heavily carbonated, a thin white head atop ruby amber liquid. Smells of dried herbs, spices, alcohol, and cherries. Flavors of dark fruits, yeast, bread are present, with a mild hop bite and a touch of alcohol in the finish. A very tasty ale indeed, though I wanted a fuller mouthfeel. It seemed a tad thin, but that was its only downfall. Another great beer from Allagash.

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Photo of nomad
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured an opaque light rum color with a good bubbly head colored just a touch tan. Scored with varying sized bubbles, it was very soft looking and was so on the lips. Had plenty of lace that was slow enough in dissipation.

Ah, a great nose of maple syrup and baking spices exploded, backed by notes of apples, currants, cedar. The turn on all of this was amazing. Taste was mainly crisp and tart, primarily of a light malt and light fruit (a soft flavor of cooked apples), and a burnt hoppiness that turned into a burnt bitterness toward the back of my mouth. Its base was a sour taste covered in a light cream.

The watery aspect to the sour made it slightly refreshing and very inviting. Dry finish from the hops and the sour begged me back, though it could be lighter and have more of a malt and spice presence in taste. Slightly active mouthfeel left a thin and clean watery feel on the tip of the tongue. Overall, damn tasty, like christmas sugar and spice, clear w/o yeast more earthy w/ yeast – good both ways. Easily a wintertime favorite in the New England.

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Photo of Gusler
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This big old bad boy pours an unclouded mahogany with a head that is Titanic in size, creamy in texture, light tan in color as it dissipates the resultant lace a silky covering upon the glass. Do I detect yeast, yes I do, caramel, sweet, fresh and clean, maybe a bit plummish, and even a nice hop floral aroma, a complex nose to be sure. Front is sweet, malt laden and the top middling in the feel to the palate; finish has a distinct hop spiciness, the acidity delectable and the aftertaste quite dry and long lasting, another keeper from this most spectacular brewery.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great example of a winter ale. Pours a hazy amber/orange color with a thin light beige head. Thin but very sticky lacing. Welcoming aroma of spices and malt. Medium-bodied, not to spicy and not too sweet. Flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, malt and caramel lingering around. Finish is lightly hopped and a little fruity (apple and/or apricot, it was hard to pinpoint). I liked this easy-drinking seasonal.

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

12oz bottle.
Pours a hazy medium amber, with a large, big-bubbled, white head, mostly diminishes to leave some good lacing. Aroma is yeasty and spicy (clove, nutmeg, cinnamon). Flavor starts slightly fruity sweet, turns to the spices in the middle, and ends with a peppery spiciness and pretty dry. Medium body, dry ending, very lively carbonation.

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Photo of StevieW
4.92/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big 750ml brown bottle. Cork and cage. Batch # 5. Opened with a loud sharp "pop". Murky deep carmel brown color. Glowing with hints of light gold around the edges. Beautiful, pillowly soft and creamy tan head. Covers the body of the beer perfectly and clings to the glass. Visually stunning.
Aromas that are matched by no other beer, that I have experienced. Smooth soft spices, pepper, cinnamon, earthy nutmeg and tart fresh brabdy soaked orange peels to finish.
The first taste was striking. Soft, subtle combinations of the above mentioned flavors all sitting perfectly on a sweet carmel malt backbone. The end is a softly presented shot of moderate hops. Candied apples, rum soaked raisans just whisper by. Hop stickyness lingers. Again the taste and smell of this one, is clearly stunning. Nothing like it. Perfection, IMO.
Smooth, so smooth creamy medium bodied feel. Perfectly balanced. Yeasty sediment settles into the bottom of the glass. Earthy full flavors explode. A great winter belgian made by the good people of Maine. One of the best I have had in any category. Seek this out, please.

P.S. I need to go to confession after reading the LongBeachBum's review. Wow !

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had heard about her, but we never met. However, after having been introduced to me by BA Murph, my confidence grew & after an introduction of only a few days, I had lured her back to Long Beach, all the way from Maine as well.

Running my hands up & down her reflective brown dress, I cuddled her, then fondled & lightly teased her zipper-cork. But she was having none of it. I had to grip & tug harder, she liked that, but still fought against my advances. Eventually as I worked her more, she gave in with an orgasmic expulsion of air that burst forth from her mouth as her unzipped cork gave me access to the flesh of her gorgeous body. But it was still partially hidden. I was so desperate to see her naked.

She moaned as her heartbeat raised. I carefully & slowly slipped her out of her brown dress with ease, she offered no resistance whatsoever as I disrobed her. Now she was mine. Her body writhed with uninhibited freedom as her brown dress was removed. She could no longer tease me from behind her camisole & she showed me all she had. She is stunning.

She revealed her smooth maple syrup colored body, it had no blemishes & her tulip hour glass curves just made her look better. Her head was upright at first, displaying her fine head of dirty blonde hair that sat high atop her head. As I brought her closer to my lips her head fell back, slowly releasing her hair down her back. I had to smell her hair, I always do – it had remnants of the spicy clove shampoo she used, but it also had a natural pheromonic fruity odor.

She tasted good. Damn Good. She sighed constantly as I tasted her body. Her malty stiff backbone twisted & turned as she offered me her hoppy chest sprinkled with black pepper. Her fruity middle begged to be savored. I work my way down to a slightly, but not unpleasant, yeasty third quarter. Her dark fruity back end just made me tingle all over. I'm loosing control.

Her mouth is so soft, slightly sweet, yet decadent & inviting. She feels good on your lips. She swells with delight as you work her body in your mouth. She has it all; Looks, Beauty & Class. Her Pedigree is obvious in the way she moves & handles herself.

Batch #4: My lust was at last fulfilled, I had expunged my deepest desires & had her. The deed was done.

I lay back & reflect on the whole satisfying incident. The catch is SO much better than the chase. A very mature Grand Cru, I always had a soft spot for attractive older women.

And I fancy having her again. Well, in a few minutes anyway.

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Photo of Maestro
3.42/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a cloudy, amber color. The head was thick and lasting. The nose was great. Losts of fruity and spicey notes. A nutty, spicey taste contols this beer. The spices are a little overwhelming and give this beer a bizarre taste. The mouthfeel is just plain awkward. As far as drinkability goes, its not great but strong enough to have another.

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Photo of Scooter77
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber/mahogany color with a thick creamy froth that hangs around until the last drop is gone. It leaves a beautiful lace on the glass, which seems to hang on for dear life. Wonderful aromas of sweet citrus fruit and spicy clove erupt from the glass. At first taste, a zip of spicy clove attacks my taste buds, quickly followed by raid of malt, citrus, and hops, finally finished by the sweet mellowness of honey and licorice. This is such a well-balanced and great tasting brew. This beer is yet another exceptional product from the Allagash Company.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice rich reddish - light brown color with a super thick foamy head that was fun to watch grow in the glass. Nice floral hop and spice aroma with lots of good caramel malts. Smooth mix of hops, spice, sweet, caramel flavors that are full and rich. A little strong at first but gets better as it sits. A nice sweet spice goes well with the nice hop balance. Good smooth feel with good spiceyness and caramel soothness. One excellent Grand.

Way to go Maine, besides the scenery I have good reason to visit.

Very, very, exceptional stuff, recommendation is high.

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Photo of PatandDavid
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was another outstanding discovery we made in Maine...when they say spicey, they mean it, but boy, it's so understated!

So many beers can be so overwhelming and try too hard, but this beer was just so smooth...dark mahogany, nice head. A full, rich flavor with that hint of sweet spice.

I could make this a session beer, it's that good, but felt that due to the alcohol content, I couldn't give it a five.

Very, very, good, highly recommended.


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

The label said "made with spices" but the spices were not overpowering. Poured a nice amber hue with good carbonation. Although it had a "light" ABV of 7.2, it did give me a nice glow as I drank the bottle. Great balance of hops, not gamey. An excellent beer.

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Photo of longpondbeerman
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fine brew. A medium off-white head faded to a thin foamy lace which only served to highlight the slightly clouded reddish-amber color. It has a muted fruity smell with a hint of maple, but the high alcohol content (7.8%) is neverthless distinct. The first drink was a delightful experience as the texture of this spicy ale was thicker than I expected with almost a buttery smoothness and just a hint of carbonation The taste is consistent; that is, it does not shift much from first blush to aftertaste, and there is a strong woodsy overtone. Loved it. Hats off to another exciting ale from my home state of Maine!

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

Mmmm! What a fantastic nose of bubblegum, juicy watermelon, freshly tapped maple sap, crushed coriander seeds, banana cupcakes with orange buttercreme icing and hay. I'm almost content to sniff this beer only, but no, that would be silly. Starts maple--the real stuff, no corn syrup with maple flavoring garbage--and is quickly awash in an alcoholic whitecap that morphs into a mild bitterness riding a magic spice carpet that flutters across the buds in an exuberant fashion fit for analogies of hot tubs or backyard hosedowns. As warm as Nana's quilt on a snow-day.

Those Mainards can make some brew, eh?

Thanks Venom!

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

This beer poured a dark amber color and formed a medium bubbly white lace that left latticed lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation was present. An aroma of malt and floral elements were present. A flavor of malt and caramel was present. The finish was a touch astrigent yet buttery, which was different.

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