Gritstone Premium Ale
Niagara Brewing Company

Gritstone Premium AleGritstone Premium Ale
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Pale Ale - English
3.49 | pDev: 13.75%
Niagara Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada
Retired (no longer brewed)
Gritstone Premium AleGritstone Premium Ale
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Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 31 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cratez
cratez from Canada

3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Six-pack purchased from The Beer Store. Packaged on August 21st of this year, so still pretty fresh. 341ml bottle.

Pours a dark, golden amber with two fingers of frothy white head that mellows to a thick ring. Spotted lacing on the glass. Smell is sweet caramel malt, cereal grains, and mild, earthy hops. Taste is similar with toffee, caramel, and fig up front, some starchy and grainy malt flavours in the body, and a spicy but subdued hop bitterness to finish. Definitely an amber ale in the Canuck tradition, as the hops provide flavour and spice but are not as pronounced as American varieties. There's also a very subtle boozy taste that surprised me for a 5.5% beer. Mouthfeel is smooth and medium-bodied with a crisp, clean aftertaste.

Overall, a true session brew with a uniquely Canadian character. This beer falls somewhere in between an American Amber Ale and English Pale Ale, and yet it also reminds me of Creemore Springs Lager. Great balance between sweet malty flavours and earthy hop tang. I quaffed this in under 30 minutes and could easily drink it for the rest of the night. Good stuff.

Oct 30, 2009
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Quej from Canada

2.24/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Light reddish brown with lots of fluffy white head, but no visible carbonation.
S - Very little smell, only hints of roasted malts and the peculiar whiff of garbage complete with coffee grounds and rotten fruit.
T - Some small tastes of caramel and burned barley. Slight bitterness and again the coppery taste of old pennies.
M - Quite tingly and rough and almost numbing.
D - The peculiar tastes make me almost curious enough to try it again. Almost.

Mar 02, 2008
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drinkininthewood from Canada

3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a brown 341ml twist off bottle into a pint glass.
Pkg on 01.23.07.

A- Pretty nice copper/amber color. Frothy head settles down and proceeds to lace nicely around the glass.

S- lots of roasted malts, hints of floral hops, bread, a little citrus.
Pretty nice.

T- Sweet but not too sweet. Nice roasted malts, some caramel, a little toffee, and the slightest hint of citrus with nice grassy hops to add some pretty good balance to the beer.

M- silky smooth, medium bodied, with excellent carbonation.

D- very good and would pair nicely with red meats.

Overall this is my first try at any of the Niagara Brewing Company beers.
I really enjoyed this beer and look forward to trying the lager sometime.
Worth a try for sure.

May 17, 2007
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BrewSomerville from Canada

3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

The aroma was mostly malty but it didn't punk the hops for it's lunch money.

It looks very enticing, with a nice lofty head and a beautiful dark red-ish brown colour. Ok head retention, and left some lace.

Flavour of roated malts. Some sweetness to it. Nice hop character, balances it out. Some citrus flavour.

Mouthfeel wasn't what I expected after looking at the head, size of bubbles, etc. I thought it was going to be more full bodied than it turned out to be.

Overall, I like it and I will drink it again...perhaps with some steak, yeah I think it would go well with a steak.

May 03, 2007
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headlessparrot from Canada

3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

After a pleasant experience with Niagara Brewing's superb lager, I decided to take a shot with their Gritstone Premium Ale, the "best ale in Canada" as voted by CBC Marketplace. I didn't find it to be quite that.

Pours from an industry standard bottle (with a neat foil cover) into my glass an unusual colour, somewhere between ruby-copper-orange-brown and just plain bright red. it's topped by two fingers of white-ish head - a little soapy looking - that dissapate after a few moments, but do leave considerably thick lacing and does still leave a ring of about one-half finger for most of the drink.

Smell is different, I think, and a little all over the place. Very grainy, first of all, with some citrus-grassy hopping that's gentle, but still a little off (in a manner that's difficult to describe). Some bready, biscuity malt follows, with perhaps caramal, dark fruits, and just a touch of dark chocolate. There's a weird tart/tangy 'zing' though that I don't know what to make of.

Taste is interesting and pretty good, but not so much so that I'll be returning to this ale again and again. Begins rather malty - biscuity, just a touch of caramal - and a touch sweet, but is quickly balanced by an indistinct hoppiness (grass? leaves?). A touch of dark fruit, but the whole flavour is tied together with a sour/tart yeastiness that is not particularly pleasant. Finishes rather dry (quite, quite dry) and faintly bitter, but the yeasty tang sits in your mouth and is just... unpleasant. It gets more unbearable as the beer warms, too.

Mouthfeel isn't great. Visible carbonation; this brew is definitely a touch overcarbonated, and the body itself is just too thick and gritty for a standard pale ale. Drinkability is also a little dissapointing. The thick, gritty body and the unusual tart-sour yeasty aftertaste makes more than (at most) two of these a dangerous prospect. Finishing even one feels a bit like a chore right now.

I admire NBC for trying to make a good Pale Ale, but this is not it. If they could figure out a way to subdue that really off flavour, I'd be pleased, because this is otherwise a rather good brew (malty, faintly hoppy, dark fruits), but as is, its worth little more than a quick try (and in my case, dismissal). Drinkable, and I wouldn't turn it down, but I probably won't buy it again.

Aug 04, 2006
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

3.13/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I split a bottle of this brew with Stopper. I am pouring at room temp into a pint glass. The beer is a bit of a gusher. Aroma is fruity green apple and a bit of tartness. Pours a clear amber with a huge beige frothy head that recedes to a sturdy surface layer. First sip reveals average body and fine fizzy carbonation. Flavor is sweet toffee and some green apple and caramel, generally sweet overall. The beer may not have aged well or been treated great, but I think it was still drinkable and not a total bomb.

Jun 19, 2006
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CAMRAhardliner from Canada

3.16/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I havent tried this since Moosehead took over NBC. Lets hope it hasnt suffered.

It pours a striking red color, very bright and lighter than I remember. The head is diminutive but leaves excellent lace swathes. The aroma is caramel, grains, some chocolate and a yeast tartness. The taste is malty, with dark fruit, chocolate, husky grains and light hop bitterness. In the background a tart, sourish slightly buttery yeast taste emerges. Ive noticed this in other Niagara beers. Off yeast flavors become more prominent as the beer warms. The mouthfeel is thick and almost soapy (I cant describe it, its a yeast thing).

This isnt that good of a beer. It looks great but the off yeast flavors (tart, almost cidery) really affect drinkability. Im not going to seek this out again. I remember it being pretty mediocre, I even remember the funky yeast.

Oct 12, 2005
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oberon from North Carolina

3.24/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Olde Angel INN in Niagra on the Lake,came to the table a deep amber with almost no head to speak of at all looked like it could have been flat.Big caramel malt aromas and biscuit not much hop presence maybe a slight herballness but its faint,flavors are also dominated byt biscuity malt and carmale with a touch of roastiness,hops nowhere really to be found.I could have swore I was drinking an amber/red ale but it is labeled a pale ale,hmm.

May 27, 2005
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TerryW from Canada

3.05/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Nice deep amber colour with a good sized head. Head gives it up quickly, no lace to speak of.

Noticeable hops and malt in the aroma alongside a hint of spice, some graininess. Quite thin bodied, bit of a hop bite, not too much else. Better than your average micro but not especially remarkable.

Apr 20, 2005
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pootz from Canada

3.42/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Now that the Moosehead-run NF Brewey has Deleted Olde Jack ale and Reconfigured their Pale ale as a Conner's clone I thought I'd give Griststone a whirl.

Pours a red-copper with a decent cap, good lacing. light carbonation. Musty sweet malt aroma with citrus hop notes. Mouth feel is slick with the sweet biscuit malts dominating...a bit of smokey burnt treacle then a rather fast finish that becomes citrusy and bitter.

A good sturdy micro ale with its own character

Feb 16, 2005
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mattcrill from Ohio

3.01/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Prince of Wales Hotel lounge in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Appearance: brick red fading to copper edges. No distinct head to speak of but I think that has to due with the waiter's pour and not due to the actual beer itself. Still, thin and white but hard to truly assess so will give this beer the benefit of the doubt.

Smell: creamed corn and wheat bread. Disturbingly sweet. Not knowing much about this beer (and not getting any help from the wait staff) I figured this was some type of old ale or brown ale based on all the given characteristics.

Taste: Biscuity and malty. Pretty sweet with no hop presence AT ALL. Tastes like apple cider as it warms. It leaves a pronounced sweet aftertaste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: watery and thin. The aftertaste sticks with you but doesn't do much for you when you are actually sipping on the beer.

Drinkability: Easily quaffable. Could have made this a session had I cared to.

Notes: APA? Are you kidding me? It was a decent beer but WAY off for the style. This beer was one dimensional and not very complex. It was all about malts. I haven't had many APA's but the ones I've had have not been malt monsters.

A confusing beer.

Nov 16, 2004
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baiser from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper colour, on the brown side. Moderate head after a hard pour, but a nice and thin layer of foam sitting atop for the entire time.

Big aroma of sweet malt and floral hops. Taste was good. Great balance between a strong malt flavour with a dry bitterness at the back. Hops are spicy, oily and the best part of this beer. Similar to their pale ale, but better because of the hops. Also a biscuit, bready flavour. Crisp mouthfeel, a good session beer.

Oct 22, 2004
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ecoboy from Rhode Island

4.1/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An opportunity for a rich malty pale (it's an amber pale, which to me implies that "less hop, more malt" thing that it's got in spades) is welcome in Canada where I got the sample.

An attack much like a brown with a big mouthful of sweet malt. Lighter than brown mouthfeel and more assertive alcohol presence than a brown though tags it as an amber pale. Malty aroma of sweet warm cake. Lots of flavor, and yet a dry finish. Rounder, palate-pleasing mouthfeelthan a basic amber pale. Balanced, with some subtle notes. Recommended for folks looking for something assertive in Ontario.

Aug 25, 2004
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Sammy from Canada

3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Some aroma, lots of lacing, overall average. Malty bsicuit sweet but bitterness there too, in the finish. English style yes. Spicy hops, and that's the aroma. On-tap at Fort York Brew Fest 2004. Session ale? Would not buy a six-pack, but a decent microbrew.

Aug 08, 2004
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DrJay from Texas

3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber colour with a thin off-white head. Spicy nose with a bit of caramel. Good body with medium to mild carbonation. Fruity flavour with some spiciness and malt sweetness. Hop bitterness at the end gives it a clean finish. Definitely an enjoyable beer.

Jun 17, 2004
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RBorsato from Virginia

4.44/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown with a low light brown head, low carbonation, and small floaters. Big malt aroma and flavor: toasty and roasty, Oktoberfest-ish with a chewy malt flavor that's very nice. Nutty and spicy with light fruitiness. Medium bodied and chewy rich finish.

A wonderful complex suprise ! A Dark Ale in my book; not a Pale Ale at all.

(11.5 oz / 341 ml)

Jan 16, 2004
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packetknife from Idaho

3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber, very still, very clear. Dense white head that held all the way down. Smells of burnt caramel or something like a riesen. Sweet on the tip of the tongue that is quickly overrun by a good light hoppiness. Progresses into a malty finish and aftertaste. Feels quirky/acidic and is quite drinkable.

Nov 08, 2003
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marburg from Michigan

3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quite literally crystal clear and amber-brown in color. Fairly miniscule head though quite light and textured. Not a terribly complex aroma. Malt, malt, and more malt. Tiny hints of caramel candies. A pretty straightforward English-style flavor, kind of nondescript, that leans heavily on the bready malts. Easy drinking but nothing that sparked even a single imaginative thought.

Oct 23, 2003
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Shaw from Florida

4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gritstone pours a beautiful dark amber color with a short head that disappears.

It has a nice malty smell without any hop aroma. The taste is quite malty, but smooths out at the end with little aftertaste. No noticable hops at all, but they must be in there to counter the malt in the swallow. Gritstone is a pleasing Canadian ale.

Sep 09, 2003
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Gusler from Arizona

3.06/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a scintillatingly clear mahogany color; the head modest in size, frothy in texture and a nice light tan color, as it dissipates the lace left behind forms a concealing sheet upon the glass. Nose is mostly malt, sweet, fresh and clean, pleasant enough as aroma's go, with the start malt laden and somewhat sweet, the top skeletal in feel. Finish has a minimal carbonation with the hops spicy and persistent till the somewhat bitter end. A drinkable beer, not a bad beer, not a good beer, I’d say average fits bill.

Aug 12, 2003
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BierManVA from Virginia

3.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a Pale Ale?

The smell and taste saved this beer for me. I was not impressed by any other atributes. Dead head, hoppy. Reddish brown in color.

One or two with the right meal may be just fine.

Wouldn't turn it down or hunt it out. This could be an excellent bier to cook with.


Aug 03, 2003
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Shiloh from Canada

4.33/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark offering with a high and thick crown..has a lot of glass cling going for it..medium body and a yeasty scent..
The taste is refreshing , crisp and certainly leans towards the malts with a slight hoppy finish...
Not a session brew but a good choice for dining...

Feb 19, 2003
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Bcant from Michigan

3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good amber color with a small head made of small white bubbles. Malty bouquet and a fairly sweet flavor but it leaves an after taste of mostly hops. Quite drinkable with a good flavor, Gritstone is a good sturdy ale but lakes the uniqueness or perfection of style to be a great ale.

Feb 12, 2003
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Ahhdball from Ohio

3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I liked this one a lot. Great looking amber craft with a decent size head on it. "Extra-hoppy" and very low malt to it. Low sweet and higher on the bitterness scale. Great smooth finish to it. Easily one of the best Pales I've tried.

Wonderful beer!

Jan 20, 2003
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy deep auburn (or rusett brown) with a creamy off-white head that holds well, drops to a nice creamy collar and leaves some lace throughout the glass. The aroma is nutty and slightly sweet - which is very nice - but there's also an odd note (peppery, vegetal) that distracts. I don't find it to be a defect, just odd. The body is light with a soft and smooth, lightly creamy mouthfeel from a very fine and restrained carbonation. Very nice. The flavor mimics the aroma with a very softly sweet and nutty maltiness that's well balanced by the gently peppery character (which I can only surmise comes from the yeast) and a light bitterness. The flavor simply fades away into nothingness in a short and dry finish. An interesting, enjoyable, and highly quaffable beer in the English tradition. I would really like to try this cask-conditioned where the yeast might show more of its character.

Dec 30, 2002
Gritstone Premium Ale from Niagara Brewing Company
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 31 ratings