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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 458 | Ratings: 647
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

 1,467 characters

Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked this up for dinner, had chicken and rosemary and the spices in the beer seemed to compliment the rosemary quite nicely.

750ml bottle with no freshness date only batch 15 printed on the label, poured slowly (as it says to on the side of the bottle) into an oversized wine glass.

A: This is a great looking beer. Period. When properly decanted it pours a rich and clear amber and copper with a two to three inch thick and creamy head. Tight and coarse bubbles stick around for about half the glass then fade into a thin swirling cap. Great lacing all the way down the glass.

S: Smells almost as good as it looks. A nice heathly yeast character comes as soon as you start pouring. In the glass the beer takes on a much fruitier character with hints of lemony spice, apricots, plums and a thick bready crust. I think I'm in heaven.

T/MF: I know I'm in heaven. This stuff is great. Hits the mouth smooth and creamy and doesn't relent. The beer slides across the tongue and comes buzzing forth with rich fruit flavors, lemon and plum with a decent hop juicyness then as it warms further the yeast comes in and ties everthing together with a perfectly sized clove spiciness. A terrfically balanced beer that tastes as good as it smeels and looks fantastic. Not overly bubbly so all the flavors come through but has just enough to spread flavor all over the place. Just a soild beer all around.

D: Tastes great and not too heavy for a Belgian Pale Ale that is made for American pallates. Like other reviews have said before "a great starter Belgian styled beer" as this one I'd say relies more on the hop juicyness than on the yeast that traditional Belgians use. Still to taste is hard to beat and the abv is low enough to make this a highly drinkable beer. I had nearly the entire bottle myself and was begging for more at the end.

 1,847 characters

Photo of TexIndy
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #14. Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into my Delirium Tremens glass. Poured slowly as bottle advised but still got a pretty good head and carbonation. Was a nice rich cooper color - clear. The aroma was heavenly with yeast, citrus and lots of spice. Definitely gets you excited to try. The taste was also exceptional. Has a incredible well balanced mix of malt, spices and alcohol. It's 7.2% ABV and a Strong Pale Ale but you never taste the alcohol like some other BSPA's - I'm looking at you Delirium. The mouthfeel was also nice and solid with a creamy texture. Highly, highly recommend - you must try this one. It's a winter seasonal so get at least 2 now. One to drink right away and another to age till fall. (4.5, HR, T, Y)

 748 characters

Photo of BeerAngel
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours slightly hazed amber orange with a 2 finger off-white head that sticks around. A whiff reveals very nice fruit and spices with light yeast. Smells very nice! The taste consists of more spices that are very pronounced and also has a fruity, yeasty, and light alcohol flavors that taper into a slightly dry tail. Again, very nice! A highly complex Belgian Style Ale that is light to medium bodied and it leaves you wanting more. Wonderful! Thanks again Beerluvr for this experience! Cheers!

 494 characters

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!

 467 characters

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

Labled as "Batch # 10."

Appearance: Dark, cloudy orange to red with an off-white head. Very creamy head with excellent retention.

Smell: Malty sweet, fruity aroma. Light candy sugar aroma with a hint of strawberry.

Taste: Rich maltiness with a fruity overtone. This beer is mostly malty. The malt profile is strong and very well defined. Rich, slightly biscuity and bready malt flavor. A bit of light sea spray flavor along with sea weed and moss. Citrusy with a sour note to it along with some floral notes on the end of the flavor. Lightly hopped with floral notes and a clean sandy ending. Subtle and hardly noticeable spiciness in the middle to end. A bit of cinnamon and allspice along with apple.

Mouthfeel: Very clean and malty makes it soft on the palate. Wonderfully smooth and agreeable. No offensive flavors biting at the mouth. Well carbonated but not overly carbonated.

Drinkability: This beer is beautiful and complex. I will gladly buy another bottle of it. No harsh or offensive flavors, just good beer. I really like the spicines balances with the big malty base. Compliments to the brewer.

 1,122 characters

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

*Batch #10

Appearance: Glowing chill-hazed orange gold with a super dense, massive, slightly off-white head. Nice carbonation. Nice period.

Smell: Very saison-like rainwater/barnyard yeast spice. Honeyed vanilla, candied fruit, fresh melon, floral gardenias, cakebread. Sounds like a circus, but it's all very subtle and seamless. Very soft, but quite tasty.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Mild yeast spice? From Allagash? There is a god! Mildly tangy, sweet citrus, honeydew and cantalope, vanilla wafer, with a touch of bittering hops at the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, very soft and full.

Drinkability: Awesome. The label describes this as gentle, and it really is; the beer's a cool breeze. Very Fantome-like spicing and spirit -- that's good. Tremendous balance, favor and subtlety. My favorite Allagash beer by leaps and bounds. Truely wonderful beer.

 871 characters

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.

 444 characters

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

The beer poured into the chalice clear deep amber with an off-white and tall head which lasted to coat the glass.

The aroma was malty with deep complexity of spices, coriander and orange peels most notably. The malt portion of the aroma contained caramel and toffee and a slight diacetyl which did not detract.

The flavor was well achieved with maltiness in check with bittering. The most prominent flavor was a hint of chocolate and the other flavors were restrained and well blended from aging. The citrus peel was also present in the flavor, but the coriander was muted. The beer had a sweetness that was well balanced by the peels and hop bittering.

The finish was just dry with lasting malty fruit impression and dry cirtus flavors lasting long into the aftertaste. The body was just above medium and well done. This beer was easily consumed and well executed. No alcohol presence emerged and the spices and citrus flavors were extremely well executed. Wish I had another bottle.

750 ml corked and bailed bottle. Batch 3, 7.2% ABV. This one must have came out in 2002 and I need to clean out the fridge.

 1,120 characters

Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice amber brown color clouded by yeast, with a big head of beige foam that shrinks quite a bit, but leaves lots of lace.
The smell of this beer is full of spices and some orangey citrus with some grassiness in the background.
Great flavor with good amount of malt sweetness, spicy cloves and some orange fruitiness with a little yeastiness. Zippy mouthfeel with a good bit of carbonation, yet has a kind of creaminess after the initial bubbly sting. Warming alcohol noticeable after a few sips, this is another gret Belgian from Allagash. I'll be saving a few of these while they are available to try later and see how they age.

 631 characters

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

12 oz bottle pours cloudy orange-amber with a nice bubbly off white head that lasts, leaves a sticky lacing in my glass. Spicy clove and fruity aromas, sweet pear, melon and spicy pepper flavors, medium body with a crisp, carbonated mouthfeel, spicy finish, wow this is phenomenal.

 281 characters

Photo of doho95fu
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the second brew I have had from Allagash, and I think this brewery is doing it right. Something about the beers just make me feel that they are fresh. The Grand Cru was a deep copper beer with a creamy medium-thick head. The smell was of fruit, yeast and honey and the taste was not too far afield which the same flavors represented. There were some currant hints which left a port-like aftertaste as well. The taste was just "smooth". Very drinkable and interesting brew.

 480 characters

Photo of Skidz
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #10

Pours out golden amber and sits bright amber in the glass with a massive creamy off-white head. Fades to a thick skimming across the surface and abundant lacings to boot.

Smells of bright tropical fruits and citrus zest, toasty malts and caramel. Faint yeasty protrusions deliver hints of doughiness.

Tastes mildly sweet up front with vibrant fruitiness across the board, bringing in oranges, mangoes, starfruit, passion fruit and nectarines. Hops produce a firm bitterness to acompany the fruitiness and delivers a mild piney flavor as well. Caramel is found throughout the lightly toasted malty core. Finishes just as it began, with intense fruits and moderate hop bitterness.

Effervescent and wildly soft to the touch, airy carbonation and a medium-light body.

Highly drinkable and unexplainably delicious. Interesting cross-continental creation, delivering the desireable Belgian-Abbey style flavors with a spark of Pacific NW hops infusions. Game on.

 980 characters

Photo of joezak5
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter; clear crisp coppery gold; three finger dusty white thick head with great retention and unreal sipping lacing.

Smell: Apples and festive spice... nutmeg, allspice, cloves, citrus peel... it's like a festive yeasty apple cider

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp with champagne-like carbonation.

Taste: Festive and complex... slightly yeasty and nicely cidery... appley at the start and citrusy at the finish, sweet in the mouth and nicely dry at the finish.

Drinkability: A party in a bottle... very drinkable and yet complex and one to savor. Bring a few when invited over...

 612 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch #5.

Aroma is wit-reminiscent for me. Malted wheat, curacao and corriander. Maybe nutmeg or cinamon. Very nice. Slightly turbid brown tone. A tightly packed beige head sits on top. It becomes a rimming in a minute, except for a thin filmy island in the middle that remains for the duration. The tastes are so subtle and intricate it will be hard for me to nail them all down. The spicing seems to be orange curacao and cinamon. I think I get some wheat tones (like a wit, not like a weizen). A subdued bitterness comes from either the hops or possibly a bitter orange element. Some slight bready, yeasty tones add another layer of complexity. The body is light. The carbonation is fairly low. This is so damn drinkable. I can't believe it's close to 8% a/v. No signs of alcohol whatsoever. I need to be careful not to can this 750 in 10 minutes. Lovely belgian. My favorite Allagash product so far. (I've also had White, Double and Dubbel Reserve.) The Trippel Reserve is set to fall soon.

I'd love to try this side by side with the Allagash White to try and decipher the differences.

 1,096 characters

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)

 571 characters

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.

 590 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

 566 characters

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

A: It poured with a rich, frothy off white colored head that settled from two fingers to a light coating over the top of the beer within minutes. As I progressed into the bottle the head left a fine laced ring around the glass reminiscent of the delicate lace work found in tourist shops across Belgium. The beer resting in the glass was a vibrant copper hue with a deep burnt orange tint. This is a pretty beer that has an appearance that promises a rich flavor. Its slight opaqueness supports the impression that this is a beer to be reckoned with.

S: It has a complex aroma that includes light pale malts, a hint of spices, and a rich blend of fruits (including oranges, peaches, plums and Jonathan apples). There is a hint of candy and nutmeg that complements fruits and great the nose as it approaches the glass.

T: Awesome. I did not expect the smoothness and mellow blend of malts, yeast and hops. The sweetness of the malts is well balanced by the tang of bitterness influenced by the hops. Neither the malts nor the hops dominate and neither surrenders yielding a well balanced experience…my tongue was happy from the first to the last sip.

M: Low carbonation and medium body. Clean and crisp with no bitterness in the aftertaste.

D: This is a very refreshing drink that would complement a fine lightly grilled salmon served on a hot summer day. It is smooth and creamy without being too filling. The low ABV makes this a beer you can enjoy from early in the evening until well into the night.

Comment: This is a fun beer that is a pleasure to drink and joy to experience. For newbie’s to the Belgium Strong Ale school this is a good first experience that will leave anyone with a sense of discretion and a love a beer eager to try another and to experience other domestic and imports form this great class of beers.

 1,846 characters

Photo of BenZ
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We just opened a bottle of batch #4. Cellared since at least mid '06, unsure when it was purchased.

At first glance and smell, doesn't seem all that unique. Almost like an older English BW in color, aroma and carbonation level.

The early observations leave one expecting a simple, overly sweet beer. The aroma does hint at some kind of fruitiness.

The first sip starts out pleasant; thinner than expected. The lack of syrupiness really helps the drinkability. There is a tiny amount of bitterness which helps balance the sweetness. The first (and most obvious) flavor that then comes out is grapes. This is a very unique flavor. There is a slight tartness, as well. Finally, there is a taste I'm not sure how to describe. I remember it from older geuezes, but it't not the funk or the sourness; maybe it's just the taste of age.

Anyways, saw reviews on batch #4 from 2002, so this beer is probably at least 6 years old. It has held up GREAT!!

 946 characters

Photo of 99bottles
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

 953 characters

Photo of ericj551
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Allagash Grand Cru pours hazy light copper with a thin but lasting head. The aroma is sweet and spicy with some sharp yeastiness. The flavor is sweet and malty upfront followed by bitterness with a slight astringent quality. The beer is nice and fruity with plenty of esters from the yeast. The spices are there but not dominant, maybe some corriander and orange peel or a bit of clove.

 386 characters

Photo of JackStraw22
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy golden orange body, a half inch of off-white head, but the head didn't stay around long.

Smell: Wow, incredibly spicy. A fruitier spice than I'm used to in most Belgians. A bit sour too, but pleasant. Yeasty and malty.

Taste/Feel: Damn, that's the stuff. Goes down like a champ, and very smooth. The strong pale ales are usually more dry than I like, but this is nice. Near perfect blend of malty sweetness, spiciness, and bitterness. I wish I had found this sooner and there was more left at the beer store!

Great brew, don't miss it.

 563 characters

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

Presentation: Brown 750 ml magnum with “Batch #1” on the label. A blurb about the beer, pairing suggestions as directions on how to pour the beer on the side.

Appearance: Mildly hazed sunset amber with a big and fast frothing light tan head, rocky and dense the head sticks in large clumps.

Smell: Clovey allspice, anise, orange peel, herbal medicinal phenolic, slight alcoholic esters, candied fruit and a powdery yeast make up the aroma.

Taste: Aggressive carbonation, crisp and flowing with a well textured mouth feel. Dry toasted biscuity malt character, goes a touch husk in the finish. Spicy palate with lots of clovey allspice, orange peel, mild medicinal phenols and a peppery end. Hops are nearly negligible though would be in the way if they were too noticeable. Fruity with a candied fruit flavour, deceivingly mild alcoholic esters and a powdery almost musty yeast lingers in the after taste.

Notes: This one gets quite dry the longer it ages and the alcohol seems to mellow out a bit also which makes for a perfect summer time brew even though this is a winter seasonal. Next time it comes around or if you see it on the shelf buy a few and cellar them for a few or several months.

 1,218 characters

Photo of DagFishHead
4.5/5  rDev +10%
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.

 778 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.