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RATINGS: 1036   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.85   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 318   ABV: 10.6%
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Bottle conditioned.
AleSmith Grand Cru really needs to be tasted to be truly appreciated. Toasty, caramelly flavors, as well as flavors imparted by the Belgian yeast strain, predominate over a tapestry of subtle nuances. Winner of the blue ribbon at the 1999 California State Fair, it is a thing of beauty. It is available in 750 ml. champagne bottles. Appearance: Crystal clear (when served properly), with a toast-brown color. Flavor: Starts with the tangy flavor of our championship Belgian yeast, then fades to a medium-light flavor of vanilla, caramel and chocolate. Finishes dry and well-balanced with a slightly toasty flavor. Aroma: Vanilla and chocolate aromas predominate, along with the Belgian yeast characteristics. Mouthfeel (body/texture): Clean and crisp, medium-bodied. Warmth from the high alcohol content makes it feel like a fine wine.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Gorbalev (2917) - Ontario, CANADA - SEP 5, 2005
Bottle shared with HogTownHarry, blankboy, jerc & gregclow - courtesy of HogTownHarry. Tried directly after an Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru. Dark brown pour, small tan head. Aroma is disappointing - some malt, lots of alcohol, some spice, but certainly pretty tame. Full bodied. Lots of dark malt and spice, this is thick and strong stuff. Not complex at all, but the taste described is substantial. This one needs some time to age before it earns its 99% rating in my opinion. Still pretty fun to try now though, it also suffered in comparison to the previous beer noted.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
GregClow (2881) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - SEP 4, 2005
Bottle shared with HogTownHarry, blankboy, jerc & tupalev - courtesy of HogTownHarry. Ruby-brown colour, small beige head. Aroma is warm and sweet, lots of malt and brown sugar, with a floral background. Flavour has an interesting sweet & sour character, with some sharp edges. Definately needs some aging, but it’s obviously a very well made beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
pineypower (2504) - Pine Barrens, New Jersey, USA - AUG 30, 2005
Was excited to give this one a try, given the other Alesmith brews I’ve had. Pours out almost a clear ruby red with a brownish tinge. The aroma is sweet with some notes of malt. The taste is subtle at first then hits you. A nice complex range of flavors with notes of malt, caramel and some slight chocolate.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
blankboy (6030) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 29, 2005
Bottle shared with HogTownHarry, GregClow, jerc & tupalev -- courtesy of HogTownHarry. Vintage 2005? Pours a cloudy amber with a small light-brown head. The sweet aroma and flavour is slightly sour and consists of caramel malt, alcohol, sugar, spices and very little hops. Reminds me of a Sour Brown Ale. I really liked it but much prefer the AleSmith IPA. Perhaps this one needs to be aged a while before trying it again?

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
elektrogeist (158) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - AUG 27, 2005
750ml bottle, 2003 Grand cru 2 years old-we’ll see if the aging has done it well. Why does alesmith use stupid green colored bottles and not dark brown smoked bottles? oh well.. Sweet, slightly sour brandy tastes in this. Many other tastes, a good complex tasting brew for discerning beer drinkers.. quite tasty. The smell actually matches the taste of this as well too. Leaves a very pleasant taste in the mouth too. Definitely a brew worth trying if you come across it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
HogTownHarry (6064) - Toronto (Harbourfront), Ontario, CANADA - AUG 25, 2005
UPDATED: MAR 29, 2008 Bottle (750ml) - Shared with blankboy, GregClow, jerc and tupalev - courtesy of yours truly. Actually, courtesy of my sister’s trip to San Diego a few weeks ago - I assume the bottle is pretty fresh - purchased at a BevMo store. Poured a murky red-brown (guess we didn’t pour it properly?) with a minimal straw coloured head. Aroma of several sharp sweet candyish malts, definitely alcohol, pine/spruce resin, moss, some flowery notes, some sourness evolves on warming. Flavour is very spicy - also mossy, alcoholic, roast caramel malts, a bit of hops, starts a bit molasses sweet and finishes spicy. Mouthfeel is complex, decent body, sticky. A very enjoyable ale, possibly down-checked a bit as it was sampled immediately after the more mature Abbaye des Roc Grand Cru - I have another bottle, I will put it down for at least two years and revisit this one. Thank you, Carol! (my sis)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
jercraigs (7790) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 25, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 19, 2010 2010-11-13. Ruby brown body with a modest tan head that fades. 3+ Flavour is lovely, sweet base of malt, dark sugary notes, dark fruity accents and just a kiss of balancing bitterness. 7+ Aroma is moderately alcoholic, with sweet fruity character. 7+ Smooth average plus bodied palate. Rather enjoyable. I had originally said that it needed some rounding out when young, but my memory of it is that it was just a littler richer all around when fresh. 7/4/7/3/16 - 3.7 2007 Vintage Bottle shared by HogTownHarry

August 2005. Unknown vintage (2004/2005?) thanks Harry’s Sister! Brown body, small khaki head. Sweet malt with some interesting fruitiness in the aroma. Flavour of alcoholic candy sugar, dry fruitiness with not quite brown sugar, very very mild sour quality to the sugary notes. Medium to full bodied. More pronounced flavours than the Abbaye De Rocs Grand Cru sampled prior but it lacks the well rounded character of its predecessor. 8/3/8/4/16

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
heemer77 (5099) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - AUG 20, 2005
JPDIPSO was very generous in giving me a bottle to try. Thanks again. From a 2003 vintage 750 ml bottle. The body is a dark ruby that approches amber. The smells that invite you in are more fruit than anything else. Apples and cherries come to play along with caramel and a hint of subtle cinnamon. The taste is caramel, apples and cinnamon. There is also a little bit of bubblegum that keeps this interesting. This is a winner.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
WISEGUY572 (1373) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 20, 2005
UPDATED: JUL 28, 2010 Not what I expected, but nice enough. Somehow I was expecting something like Chimay Blue. This is big and dark, but not as big and not as dark. Brown with almost no head, slight lacing. Taste of malt, chocolate, dried fruits, and spices. A little to hot with alcohol, and little too syruppy because of the lack of carbonation, a little too sweet for balance. I always like to look at other reviews, and to compare this to Westvleteren 12 as a previous reviewer has done seems almost sacrilegeous. Its an adequate beer, nothing more. Try an Ommegang is you want a good American brown Belgian, not this.// OK maybe I was a bit harsh 5 years ago ... and maybe not. Seems pretty intense, pretty simple, and not enough going on for me to want the 10.5+% alcohol.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
fordest (1972) - Santee/San Diego, California, USA - AUG 15, 2005
Bottle. Toast brown is a good adjective for the color. Head dissapated quickly, but still left nice lacing. The aroma was outstanding. Peaches, Raisins, and other dark fruits, caramel too. Flavors were caramel, and vanilla. Then comes the malty middle, with a nice finish that is very hot alcohol. Dry finish too. Good stuff.

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