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Allagash Grand Cru | Allagash Brewing Company

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Allagash Grand CruAllagash Grand Cru
651 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 651 |  Reviews: 458
Photo of Bighuge
4.57/5  rDev +12%
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.

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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 waughbrew
4.53/5  rDev +11%
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 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 dnichols
4.53/5  rDev +11%
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.

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Photo of BenZ
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
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!!

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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 ericj551
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of JackStraw22
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

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Photo of Bizoneill
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

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 asabreed
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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 +10.3%
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 beer64nut
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

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 EBeckett3
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of bashiba
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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 matjack85
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of pknyc
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of jmann40
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of slowdaddy
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of yossarian14
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of JTomczak
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of moulefrite
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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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Allagash Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 651 ratings
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