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RATINGS: 1026   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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
elnadeau (786) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - MAR 2, 2004
2003 Vintage: Shared this at a Stuffed Sandwich Ratebeer gathering 2/04. Pours a beautiful dark cherry color, aroma of sweet dark fruit, bread and alcohol. Nicely complex with caramel, cherries, chocolate but lighter bodied that I expected and very smooth. A world-class creation.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
matta (1140) - Tampa, Florida, USA - FEB 28, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 29, 2004 Enormous Thanks extended to Mr. EyeDrinkAle for hooking me up with the platinum West Coast brew!

Rating # 400
Vintage 2003 - Pours with very little head; but a cream colored ring of frothy bubbles does rest atop the dark tawny mahogany body. The aroma is thick with sweet and fruity malts. Long intense notes of plums, apricots, toffee, caramel, and molasses come to light with each intoxicating breath.
Deep woody oak notes are abundant in the flavor! It’s slightly toasty, a small hint of smoky wood chips. Exceptionally fruity flavor; large submissions of dates, plums, caramelized & sautéed sweet red apples, large hints of brown sugar; but still, I pick up on that smoky fresh molasses presence! Some spicy notations as well; clove, sage, and black pepper are most noted. With the small exception of not being as sweet, this Grand Cru very much resembles an aged Port! Rather yeasty, but going with theme, it’s like a freshly baked pumpernickel bread yeastiness, toasty and refined.
The palate is full and syrupy, I would like more effervescence from this beer though. This Ale just seems a tad bit stagnant for it’s style, so a fractional loss of points here. The finish is warming, sticky, fruity, and sweet: it’s like a Christmas fruit basket of dried dates and apricots and figs….. all those delicious dark fruits.
An amazingly complex and enjoyable drink….. A great selection for my 400th rating!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
beerslayer (753) - New Jersey, USA - FEB 23, 2004
This is a great Belgian Strong Ale. Sweet, caramel, wine, and roasty malt flavor. Finishes dry, crisp, and creamy.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
aracauna (3039) - Georgia, USA - FEB 23, 2004
The body is a very dark red there's not a lot of head, but there's enough. There are lots of fruity esters and a warmth to the malt. It's a bit alcoholic, but not overpowering, although it does give it a bit of a bourbon undertone. I was a bit underwhelmed by the beer, though.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Suttree (5041) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - FEB 22, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 24, 2004 Dark brown, bourbon and caramel aroma - throw in some smoke, as well. Malty sweet tasting , of course, but also some smoke in the flavor, as well. Nice, but seems a bit too sweet for my taste. Sampled at Ratebeer Southeastern Gathering, Atlanta, 2004.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
wunderbier (1434) - Tampere, FINLAND - FEB 22, 2004
UPDATED: JUL 23, 2007 Slightly hazy deep amber-ruby-brown hue. Medium, tan, creamy, frothy head. Caramel, brown & candi sugars, cherries, walnuts, perfume, white pepper, lightly alcohol, cookie, dark bread. Moderately to heavily sweet, lightly acidic flavor. Moderately sweet, moderately acidic, lightly bitter finish. Medium-full body, oily texture, lively carbonation.

Sample glass, RateBeer Southeastern Gathering. Brown sugar and lots of dark fruits. Hints of alcohol also. Deep brown color. Sweet and slightly acidic throughout. Medium body, velvety texture, soft carbonation. The bottom line is: kind of thin for the amount of flavor in here.

2003 bottle. Butterscotch, cherry and vanilla are all quite strong. Semi-carbonated, oily, medium-full body. Very much a sipping beer and still damn good.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
skaughty (643) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - FEB 22, 2004
UPDATED: DEC 21, 2004 Re-rate
A second bottle (this one with some more age) reveals a mellower malt-centric treat. The vanilla and caramel play together like one of those bullseye candies with the white sugar center. The only thing lacking is any fruit or vinous element <P> This Grand Cru has the appearance of good bourbon with a nice toffee flavor. Body not too full, and quite dry but finish was pure alcohol heat. I couldn’t pick up the typical maltinesss or dark fruit characteristic of a Belgian Ale. I expected more, but still thoroughly enjoyed it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Shag (2584) - Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA - FEB 22, 2004
Fantastic! Another Alesmith winner heya. Dark brownish red appearance with a large head. Aroma is cherries and nuts. Smooth taste with cherries and other dark fruits. Some alchol in the finish. Great stuff!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
harlequinn (2744) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - FEB 22, 2004
This is an incredibly complex and tasty ale. The pour is dark brown and murky. Lots of creamy goodness, toffee and figs, with cinnamon and vanilla. Very smooth and medium-bodied. A must try.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - FEB 16, 2004
750 ml bottle. Dark cherry-walnut wood color, little head. Caramel maltiness emerges first, to gradually be replaced with alcohol-laden sweet cherries. Very creamy and soft, with vanilla-bourbon characteristics on the tongue, really almost as much a barley wine as a Belgian strong to my tongue. Low carbonation and dry, quick finish. A bit of a letdown, this was my first Alesmith; but really, its very good and I just had very high expectations.

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