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 asabreed
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden hued brown and orange, nice sticky white lace rimming the edge and spotting my wine glass. Beautiful color all around

Smell: Lemon / orange zest, grass, yeast, spices -- one of the best amalgam's from a US Belgian-style as far as smell goes in my opinion, lots of stuff going on, dig deep

Taste: Wonderful. Spices are balanced with the citrus flavors, aftertaste is damn near perfect. Carbonation level is on the lighter side, but it's purposeful and balances the flavors nicely Make sure this isn't ice cold, though, of course. I let it sit out for about 20 minutes after it was in the fridge (I just picked a 6 pack up from a market; otherwise I would've had it in the cellar).

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, but lighter because this clearly isn't a heavy beer. If every beer had a mouthfeel like this I wouldn't complain.

Drinkability: This year's is 7.2% and not 7.8%, so I don't know what's going on with that. Either way, I think it'd be good for both summer and winter -- it just depends on your setting. Too fine a beer to make a session out of, though, in my opinion.

Allagash does it again. Please keep making more and trying new things -- this is a fine beer!

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

Poured a hazy bright copper color with a creamy thick head that had great retention and good lacing.

Smell was dominated by the spices, nutmeg, cinnoman, and ginger all seemed present along with a bit of yeast odor coming through.

Taste was great, a mixture of tasty fruits and all those spices mixing together nicely, lots layers of flavors here, apricots, peaches, plums, ginger, and nutmeg to name a few. Still is not overly sweet and finishes with a nice mild bitter flavor.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy with a very dry finish.

Drinkability is great on this excellent brew, it would seem more fitting around the holiday season with all those spices, but will gladly enjoy this one year round!

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

I love the beers from these guys, and this one hit the spot as well. It's a deep golden little feller that sports a generous fluffy pillow of head and plenty of lace as well. The aromas are much like the wit beer with coriander and citrus. In fact, this is for me, a Winter version of the wit. It is a beefed up, spiked and fatter version of the wit indeed. What I like about this brew is that it is ever so gulpable in the same way the wit is, but it warms the soul real quick and reminds the drinker that it is indeed....Winter. This beer is perfect fireside-delicious

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

Batch #15.

Hazy, glowing reddish amber, with a finger of dense egg shell head. Nice lace.

Some lambicesque aromas - lemon, raspberry and rhubarb tartness with a bit of locker room funk. Also some grassy hops, sugar, dough, fruit. Unexpected, and very nice.

Tastes mainly of toast, sugar, grassy hops, and something like singed fruit, like some mixed berries and peaches judiciously torched. A touch of acidity, but less than suggested by the nose. Touch of coriander. Some orange zest in the otherwise grassy hop bitterness. Well balanced, with moderate sweetness fading to total dryness in a long hoppy, spicy finish.

With plenty of swirling, the beer has a rich full-bodied mouthfeel without fizziness. Very drinkable, par for the style.

Clearly seems inspired by Duvel, especially the character of the hops, but then it goes way off on its own (including the gorgeous color). Great beer, and original.

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

Well, my 750ml bottle says the ABV is 7.2% not 7.8 as listed above. Oh well, why sweat the little stuff?

Pours a hazy, unfiltered dark orange with a big, fluffy off-white head. Not quite creamy but close, it lasts forever but leaves very little lace at all.
Smell is spice (pepper and clove) up front, fruit follows with malt and hops makes a slight appearance late, kind of hiding around the edges. Spice dominates.
Taste is spice (pepper, clove and a hint of pine in the aftertaste) strong but not overpowering, indeterminent fruit, roasted malt, light alcohol presence and hops. Hops are light and mostly in the finish.
Mouthfeel is rich and creamy with light effervescence all over and a full body.
Drinkability is exceedingly high. Smooth and easily quaffed. Fairly well balanced (spice just a little too much, hops a little under-represented), a nice complexity but could use a few more layers to the flavor. Still, highly recommended and a truly fine brew.

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Photo of Scooter77
4.5/5  rDev +10%
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 Hibernator
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a single of the Allagash Grand Cru while in Maine.

I had this out of a 12 oz brown short bottle and served in an Allagash tulip glass.

Pours a vibrant hazy orangish amber color with a nice fluffy head on top. Spotted sticky lacings cling all over the glass.

Nice aroma of spices, Belgian yeast and citrusy accents (oranges, limes and lemons).

Cloves and Belgian yeast presence on the tongue. Major citrus attack of clean oranges and limes welcome the palate. Creamy and smooth finish. There are some fruit sweet notes that blend together very well with a spicy backdrop. The interesting thing about this beer is that it has a dry quality, yet it also has a juicy citrus twang.

Another incredible beer from Allagash brewery in Portland, Maine. Recommended.

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

Well this is one fine beer.

Nice browned amber with a white-tan head that isn't going anywhere. Large smell of carmel malt mixed with candi sugar laced through with a smell of orange and corriander. The taste explodes and then lingers. Starting with a large malt that gives up its sweetness and fades back to the citrus tones. The body is very solid and holds up well. Great beer, give me more, winter spring or fall.

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

12oz twist cap bottle. near the bottom, the glass is molded with "02 07". poured into tulip.

hazy amber w copper orange tint. nice head gradually fades to wispy layer and ring. leaves behind a nice web of lace.

fruity citrus zest aroma and clove spice, maybe anise. faint yeast behind toasted malts and caramel. in fact, the maltiness in the aroma reminds me of some of the better IPA/DIPA's i've enjoyed.

palate hits w immediate spice and malt, w orange zest nuances. malt is sweet and caramelized, almost giving honey-like and maltose qualities. balanced w smooth bitterness from somewhat grassy, faintly citrus hops.

quite smooth, gentle to moderate carbonation gives even more body.

very enjoyable. like the southampton grand cru, this is more on the caramelized, malty and fruity side of the spectrum than a duvel, so one might want to keep that in mind and not have their expectations thrown off. (NOTE 11/2010 - when originally reviewed, this was categorized as a BSPA.)

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

Murky, deep caramel color with orange highlights, a nice thick head that clings to the glass, this beer is visually stimulating. Pine, spice and fruit aromas lead you into the taste which hints at maple, malts and citrus.

I eagerly await this beers arrival every winter and have for the past 7 years. One of my favorites!!

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Photo of Crosling
4.49/5  rDev +9.8%
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 goochpunch
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch #14

Pours a slightly hazed dried apricot with a 1/2" head that maintains well and leaves web-like lacing with each sip. Aroma is very bready and nutty with a hint of grain and some yeast spiciness. Taste again, is malty, almost chewy, with some coriander, stone fruits, and yeasty phenols. Finishes kind of dry. No taste of alcohol. I get some flowery flavors in there as well, along with some critrus hops. Mouthfeel is soft, fluffy, and with a nearly perfect carbonation. This is a quick one to go down and filled with flavor. I love it. Goes well with black-eye peas, turnip greens, and cornbread.

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Photo of dannyvee
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

$4.50 on tap @ anam cara. served in the allagash goblet.
the appearance was a deep orange w/ a nice little white head. subtle aromas of orange and spice (by no means overpowering).
taste was very smooth, banana notes...gentle carbonation and pretty full body.
i generally shy away from "spiced" beers, but i loved this one. perfect for a cold, snowy boston night.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #10. Into an Ommegang chalice, pours a beautiful golden amber around the edges to a deep amber in the thick of it, all kinds of carbonation being released from below, rising toward the thick, smooth sheet of foamy head atop, with light lacing in streaks and arcs here and there. Quite lovely. The aroma is light and fleeting, but what hints I get are making me even the more stoked for the taste. Floral notes mix in with light grassy hop notes, some nice yeastiness. I like it, just want more.

And then with the taste, which is quite simply fantastic. Just like the aroma, hops take center stage, floral and grassy, with an understated sweetness, some great Belgian spices and again some yeast, very delicious. The mouth is above medium, kind of fully light, with pretty good carbonation, and handles the higher ABV very well. In all, this is a very good beer. I want it again.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet, this Cru (batch #3) had a lovely, dark copper color with red overtones. A tan head of about 1.5" was easily produced, eventually thinning to a lasting 1/4" layer. Belgian lacing was quite nice. The nose was a pleasing blend of fruit and spices, with a spicy sharpness quite evident. Body was middle of the road, and the carbonation gave the mouthfeel a bubbly creaminess on the tongue. Flavor, too, was a well-crafted mix of fruit and spices, with a somewhat dry finish, and a gratifying aftertaste. I enjoyed this bier quite a bit (it's a Maine bier, after all, right JohnnyP?!).

overall: 4.55
appearance: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of purplehops
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
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 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 gciccarelli
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into Chimay glass.

Appearance - Pours a medium, almost bright orange, more vibrant than the typical pale ale color. Creates small head that goes away quickly, typical to others of the style. Leaves heavy lacing.

Smell - Citrus, spice, small alcohol backdrop. Also a slight hint of malt at the end. Excellent.

Taste - Very, very tasty. Get a faint citrus taste with a lot of spice. Malts catch up at the end. Also a bit of hops. Very good "wintery" taste...

Mouthfeel - Very similar to other Belgians, like Chimay. Very carbonated.

Drinkability - Could easily drink a ton of this. Very, very refreshing and tasty.

An excellent beer from Allagash. Is great in the cold winter months but I could see it being refreshing during the summer as well. Highly reccomended.

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

Orange/copper beer with a fluffy white head that drops over time leaving quite a bit of lace behind.

Smell is a perfectly balanced citrus, toast, dough and caramel with layers of spice all around.

Taste is very much the same. This is another example of me enjoying the beer too much to actually spend time reviewing it correctly. Sorry about that, but that also is an indication of how good the beer is, so hopefully it is of benefit to you.

Yet again, Allagash has thought this beer through and made a Belgian that you never would suspect was American. Very enjoyable.

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

This was a fine pick-up, the Grand Cru. I was impressed from the get-go with this 12-oz version. The pour produced a thin white head atop a lovely, cloudy dark orange body. The smell and taste present much to ponder--fruits such as orange, hints of pineapple and apricot, and berry I believe; a decent but not too prominent malty taste--exquisite.

Moderate carbonation and smooth texture produce an enviable mouthfeel, and this beer is eminently drinkable. This was a great pick, and worth grabbing several more. Delightful Warmer.

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

12 oz. served in a snifter. Pours a golden orange with a half-inch head that leaves some lacing. Smells like pepper, coriander, oranges, hops, and some alcohol. The body is smooth right off the bat, thick and malty with spices, pepper, fruitiness, and a low hop presence. The spices meld with the beer flavors wonderfully. It's like a beefed-up version of their witbier - very tasty and quite drinkable. Hard to put down.

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

Lightly gauzy, coppery pumpkin orange with electric amber highlights. The head is French vanilla in color, displays a cobbled surface and is sticky enough to deposit thin, soapy sheets and arching ribbons of lace as it ever so slowly recedes.

The nose is wonderfully aromatic and is reminiscent of oranges, peaches and apricots in heavy syrup with sprinklings of clove, ginger and tamed white pepper. It's a near perfect recreation of a world class Belgian pale ale without the funky yeastiness. I've grown to love the aroma of Belgian yeast, but this beer is plenty complex and nuanced without it.

Grand Cru is a fantastic version of the style. For starters, it isn't as viscous or as sweet as anticipated. It's more light in the mouth with an understated sweetness that, frankly, improves drinkability. The level of spiciness is just about perfect, merging with the ripe orchard fruitiness like hand in glove. The carbonation is nearly unnoticed and the alcohol is... what alcohol?

Given the seamless interplay of sweet-bitter, sweet-dry, fruity-spicy and the velvety (yet angelically light) mouthfeel, this is one well-crafted beer and is my favorite Allagash offering to date. If Grand Cru is less a specific style than an appellation to be bestowed upon a brewery's proudest achievement, then this beer is aptly named.

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