Grand Cru | Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu

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Grand CruGrand Cru
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
400 Ratings
Grand CruGrand Cru
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu
Belgium
val-dieu.com

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-02-2006

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,845
Reviews:
170
Ratings:
400
pDev:
10.82%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
70
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 400 |  Reviews: 170
Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour black, with not a thick body, virtually no head, I think this one 5 years old. Still good mouthfeel conistency. Spicey aroma. Taste of cocoa and licorice predominately, still very nice with supper. Rich aged taste, not your coriander. Sweetish spice.

 255 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, dark fruit, and slight spice aromas. Taste is much the same with fruity and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i had this on tap recently and wasnt very impressed, it definitely didnt live up to the ratings here. a thin murky brown beer without very much head after the initial pour and a real lazy look about it for a belgian specialty brew. the nose is good, darker than some quads, more chocolate notes than dried fruit, although suggestions of dates and raisins are surely here. i smell alcohol and brown sugar, and less belgian yeast than i had anticipated. it tastes kind of old, not exactly oxidized, but tired, like it had been in the keg or the line too long, or had been subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations. feels and tastes flat to me, and the belgian yeast seems fatigued as well, some clove spice, but still a lot of sweetness and less fruitiness than many quads have. cocoa for sure, some odd cherry quality, a bitterness to finish with the sweet, molasses, wet wood, and slight maple. it tastes good, but it lacks the depth and invigorating feel of the best examples of the style. id like to try this fresher, or in the bottle, i bet its a much better beer, but in this instance, my first beer from these guys is well below what i had expected from it. they cant all be great, but i suspect time and distance from the brewery are at fault rather than a lackluster beer. until next time...

edit: just had a carefully cellared bottle of this from 2009, and it was an entirely different experience. mellow belgian yeast, dark specialty malts, tons of dried fruit, and none of the oxidation and staleness of my draft experience from earlier this year. highly recommended in the bottle, and with the age on it, its delightful. editing some scores to line up with this second, vastly superior experience!

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Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Knapp85
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a deep amber/brown color with a tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer was a little sour ot funky... It worried me a little bit, I was expected a sweet malty aroma and I got something that reminded me of a Wild Ale. The taste however completely made up for the aroma. The sweet malt and candy like flavors that a quality Quad has were in there and very pronounced. The beer tastes sweet with minimal bitterness. The mouthfeel was pretty good, it was moderately thick feeling with a low carbonation to it. Overall I enjoyed it, the smell still doesn't please me but the beer in general is quite good.

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Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of t0rin0
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my favorite quadrupel (of the 13 I've tried). It pours a dark brown color that is pretty clear. The head is white and thick and sticky, pretty cool for a Belgian beer.

The smell is mostly of raisin and plum but there are other sweet smells coming out as well. There is also some yeast to be smelled when its been sitting in the pint glass for a couple minutes. Alcohol doesn't make itself noticeable until the temp rises.

The taste is wonderfully strong and sweet. No hop flavor as usual but theres plenty of yeast and fruit flavor. Tons of malty goodness. Some small amounts of spices noticeable but not so much in the taste, more in the mouthfeel of the beer. Just a wonderful flavor all around. Everything balances nicely and no one flavor dominates the rest. Not the most complex beer in the world but thats alright, sometimes (like in this case) simpler is better.

Medium/heavy body. Its not really that viscous but once it hits the tongue it really coats everything nicely. Very drinkable, if it were cheaper I would buy a ton of this stuff.

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Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is slightly hazy brownish amber in color. It poured with a finger high off white head that gradually died down, consistently leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of dark fruits are present in the nose - plums seem to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste has lots of flavors of dark fruits along with a moderate amount of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: While you can tell that this is a strong beer from the sweetness, it hides its alcohol very well from the taste. This is exactly how I like my quads - with lots of fruits and a good amount of sweetness.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, best before Jan 2014. I had no idea that this was a Quad - otherwise I might have gotten to it much sooner upon its arrival in Alberta a while back. It possesses a crappy, unmovable Champagne-style cork, which at least gives my recently idle corkscrew something to do - silver linings!

This beer pours a hazy, fine sediment-strewn dark copper-amber hue, with three ambitious fingers of puffy, shiny, thinly foamy ecru head, which leaves a few dense, sudsy instances of hanging curtain lace around the glass as it duly melts away.

It smells of dark, complex sour fruit - plums and bruised banana, mostly - earthy yeast, light caramel malt, a bit of astringent woodiness, a touch of brewer's sugar, mild nutty chocolate, and a musty, somewhat dank hoppiness. The taste is a fair bit sweeter than let on by the nose, with a steadily subtle caramel/toffee malt, some nicely muddled black/brown fruit - again led by overripe bananas and saucy prunes - bittersweet chocolate, mild clove and faint white pepper spice, ethereal Belgian yeast, and a dull hum of moderately musty, dusty, earthy hops.

The carbonation is average, with a bit of lifting pep, and nothing more, the body an almost hefty, but that's a-ok, medium weight, with a dulcet, understatedly creamy smoothness. It finishes on the sweet side, but in a oh-so moderated manner - fruit, malt, yeast, and a conspicuously absolute absence of booze warming.

While maybe not on a totally even par with the Rocheforts and Westvleterens of this focused little world, Val-Dieu's Grand Cru (I just love saying that, for some reason) still comes off as a serious player, in both flavour and otherworldly complexity. I still can't inwardly reconcile how they sneaked a 21-proof ABV offering past me so cleanly, so additional kudos for that.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautifully balanced, powerfully complex and highly spiced; yet the ale has a delicate side that makes it approachable and way more drinkable than a beer of this stature should. But that's the seductive nature and the charm of authentic abbey ale.

Lighter in its tone than many Belgian darker, stronger ale- its finesse dark honey hue shows even in the beer's appearance. Lightly creamy in its froth, a slowly smoldering white cap builds on the beer and retains with a daintiness and subtlety that laces the glass quite intricately.

Its medley of fruit and spice dances in the nose with a back and forth of apples, clove, dates, black pepper, plum, fennel, cherry, coriander, raisin and white pepper. Its balanced scent is supported with the scent of brown sugar dominance but also pulled candy. Even its rounded alcohol spice plays out in its scent like spiced rum and vinous acidity.

To taste, fresh fruitcake comes to mind as all those bready-sweet tastes play out on the early palate like coffee-cake or rum-cake. In the middle, fruit flavors pile on with those savory pitted fruits, dark fruits, stone fruits and with a pep of rose wine to boot. Mildly spicy with pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove- these flavors are delicate and supportive, seeming to arrive via its yeasty backdrop. Finishing with spicy rum and wine, the complexity of the ale keeps building as it reveals more and more flavors as it warms.

Medium-full on the mouth, the beer's sweetness is pulled from the tongue by its soft but racy carbonation. Creamy and yet semi-dry, the beer ushers in a steady procession toward a malty-dry finish with spicy warmth and lingering fruit in aftertaste.

Val Dieu shows why the legacy of Belgian ale will live on and in the highest of quality possible. Its a unique recipe but is also true to form. Its taste is simply divine.

 1,842 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cork had a date of 03/09

A - Poured out a semi-opaque, very dark burgandy color with a tan, bubbly, four-finger head. It left some soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of cherry and raisin. Also, malty and spicy aromas. Alcohol was also present in the nose.

T - It tasted of dried fruit and sweet malt. The spiciness increased as it warmed up.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to heavy-bodied beer with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a very good Quad. Only drawback is that it became very heavy by the end.

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into chalice, best before 4/2015. Pours fairly cloudy deep reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, cherry, pear, apple, light banana, dark candi sugar, clove, pepper, light caramel, toast, brown bread, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and bready/candi sugar malt sweetness; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, cherry, pear, apple, light banana, clove, pepper, dark candi sugar, light caramel, toast, brown bread, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Good amount earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, cherry, pear, apple, light banana, clove, pepper, dark candi sugar, light caramel, toast, brown bread, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and bready/candi sugar malt sweetness; with an awesome malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and fairly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding quadrupel style! All around fantastic complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and bready/candi sugar malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a classic Belgian head that sheets the chalice with lace; nice retenttion, too

Smell: Plum-sweet aroma, with cherry, licorice and bubblegum influences

Taste: Opens with bubblegum, although not quite that sweet and then expands into a range of interesting fruity flavors, predominately plum, but also cherry, strawberry, green apple and pear; after the swallow, the darker influences emerge, with fig, licorice and a hint of tobacco

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body and creamy; could stand to be a tad thicker; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Great example of the style; I often see the other Val Dieus around, but this should be more widely available

 697 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a full foamy head with good retention and great lacing. Aroma consists of sweet malt with some candi sugar and some dry fruit characteristics. Taste is also a well balance mix between rich Belgian malt with notes of candi sugar and some dry fruits such as raisins and plums. Full body with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well done and some thing that I would have on a regular basis.

 448 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Murky brown color with tan head. Aroma has some tart fruits, toasted malt in the background and some brown sugar. Taste is quite yeasty with fermented fruits, some spices, brown sugar and an earthy bitterness on the finish. Medium plus body, medium carbonation, well hidden alcohol. This beer has all kinds of flavors: tart fruits, sweet sugar and bitter hops but the combination is not very harmonious.

 403 characters

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

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Grand Cru from Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 400 ratings