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RATINGS: 1029   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 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
heemer77 (5098) - 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 (1964) - 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.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Cletus (6354) - Connecticut, USA - AUG 12, 2005
2003 Bottle courtesy of saarlander:

Pours brown and murky with a small tan head into an etched tulip glass that continued to give off bubbles and provided excellent lacing throughout the drinking experience. Smells of nuts, raisins, brown sugar, allspice and a touch of bananas. Tastes of licorice, celery, nuts, and plums with some woody elements shining through. Whiskey-like mouthfeel and a warming alcohol finish. I can see why this is a big holiday beer.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
ChillCoat (1029) - Concord, California, USA - AUG 2, 2005
Bottled. Pours a dark mahogany color with a bit a of a bubbly white head. Wonderful caramel aroma. Sweet flavor with candi, prunes, banana, chocolate, coffee, oak, and a bit of spivce. Alcohol warmth kicks in towards the end. Drinks like a fine port.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
trokini (1025) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 29, 2005
UPDATED: APR 17, 2007 Reddish-brown color, with a sweet malty smell. Malty sweet, almost like bread pudding, but a dry finish. Alcoholic warmth is very noticeable. Have never been a big fan of Belgian Strong Ales, but this beer may change my mind.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
timmy300 (203) - bloomington, Illinois, USA - JUL 21, 2005

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
RateandPillage (426) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JUL 18, 2005
Sampled at brewery. Aroma of yeast, bread, and holiday type spices like clove and cinnamon. Flavor of toasted malt, dark fruits, and just lots of malt. Lots of complexity in the flavor, with a smoothness on the palate. Alcohol warmth is disguised well. Very nice.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - JUL 7, 2005
Courtesy of Pailhead via Wohlfs. Medium to dark brown with mahogany highlights. no head. aroma is all sweet malt with some alcohol. Flavor the same but weaker. Don’t know if this beer lives on reputation or we had a bad bottle. But dissapointed nonetheless.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Ray1975 (251) - Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA - JUN 30, 2005
2003 bottled.. Poured a dark redish brown with little to no head.. Aroma was very sweet with raisins, plums, clove, yeast and bread.. Flavor follows suit with a sweet kick of raisins, plums some citrus and a nice alcohol finish.. Medium to thick mouthfeel..

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