RATINGS: 383   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.57/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 375   ABV: 12.5%
67% ale brewed with agave nectar and aged in oak barrels, 33% ale brewed with agave nectar. (Released in 500ml cork/cage bottles at brewpub, on May 10, 2009, later rebranded as Grand Cru)

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Nische (2229) - Stockholm, SWEDEN - JUN 21, 2015
The pour is a light golden color with some haze. The aroma is light and citrus with some of the booziness coming through. The agave comes through together with nice fruity notes, vanilla and sugar. Quite easy for the abv.

ChadPolenz (1817) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 17, 2015
There are certain combinations you’d assume would automatically equate to not just a winning formula, but a triumphant formula. Complex Belgian style + bourbon barrel aging would be an example of what I mean, especially in the form of North Coast Grand Cru. And while this is a good, somewhat unique strong Belgian beer, it’s not especially great despite the barrel aging. Not that it’s bad – it’s good – but this beer should be fantastic.

I poured a 500ml bottle into a tulip glass. There was no bottling or vintage date. Thanks for the folks at North Coast Brewing for this bottle!

Appearance: Extremely cloudy light orange/copper hue with no visible carbonation. Pours to a small, white, soapy head which fizzles away quickly and completely.

Smell: Significant bourbon character as soon as the cork is popped, though the beer itself is more in line with a traditional Belgian tripel or any kind of strong golden ale. Plenty of banana and clove esters with the agave nectar present as well.

Taste: What separates this beer from others of the general style is that it’s a Belgian strong pale ale brewed with agave nectar. That gives the beer a significant juicy and fruity flavor akin to tropical fruit juice concentrate. In fact, it’s one of the sweetest Belgian-style brews I can recall having. Big banana and tropical fruit flavors up front with underlying notes of butterscotch (not diacetyl) and vanilla through the middle and significant bourbon and wood flavors on the finish. The alcohol is very prominent from start to finish and actually distracts a bit from the base palette. Still, the banana and clove flavors from the yeast are a nice counter balance.

Drinkability: Weighing in at 12.9% ABV, North Coast Grand Cru is definitely a hefty brew. For better or worse, it does not drink like that, though. The carbonation dies down quickly, leaving a body that is tepid, calm, and chewy. Oddly enough, there is no cloying sensation and it leave a rather disappointingly clean aftertaste. The alcohol also imparts significant heat and lingers in the throat after each swig – not unlike that from capsaicin (chile peppers). A sipper to be sure.

Score: 7/10

Sdaniel90 (1080) - Mexico City, MEXICO - JUN 9, 2015
Bottle 500ml. Dirty murky amber/copper with a minimal head. Typical sour aromas, though the tartness is well controlled. Medium to robust bodied with moderate to fizzy carbonation. Very dry with low astringent, but an impressive smoked and alcohol character. Not like a Belgian sour at all, way heavier and more complex.

574deadzone (1419) - North Central, Indiana, USA - APR 29, 2015
As "Grand Cru," vague idea of age (2011-2012ish?). Listed at 12.9% ABV and aged in oak bourbon barrels. Gusher, like a Champagne bottle, which is a little disturbing. Once it settles, the pour is a hazy golden orange with a fair amount of fine floating sediment and a fizzy eggshell head that settles to a scant ring and does not lace, though some alcohol film not quite turning to legs is present on a swirl. Nose involves rich sweet malt, vegetal agave notes, some tropical pineapple, cane sugar, woodiness, vanilla, stone fruit (peach) and coconut. Very sweet, lightly tart, somewhat bitter. Full bodied, slippery, viscous, soft yet prickly, with a warm twangy herbal drying finish. Full disclosure: this beer is not for me on the grounds of the agave alone. I unfortunately ruined tequila for myself at a young age by drinking quantities of swill and suffering the obvious negative side-effects (puking 90% of the time I drank it and blacking out in people’s bathrooms and a kitchen sink once), so that agave flavor takes me back to a bad place. That said, the combination of horrifying veggie-agave flavor with the overbearing sweetness and questionable age of this beer pushed this to borderline disgusting and undrinkable for me. My rating will no doubt be an outlier, but I will never try this again and would never recommend it to anyone, even at fire-sale prices.

tdtm82 (1701) - Essex, ENGLAND - MAR 31, 2015
Bottle; thanks to the superb generosity of my friend madmitch76, shared with staff at Alehouse, Chelmsford, 31st March 2015. Shit loads of cedar on aroma, reminiscent of Thomas O’Hardy. Sugar and caramel. Very rich. Taste is sugar, marzepan, cedar, caramel and alcohol. Fantastic. Exactly what I want from a good old bottle. Completely blown away by how clean and how interesting this beer is. Great work.

BiiruBierBeer (1049) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - MAR 20, 2015
Smell is odd and hard to describe. Kind of malty? Taste is caramel, malt, and general ale. Hides the ABV pretty well.

Lilja (3159) - Malmö, SWEDEN - MAR 15, 2015
Flaska från SB. 2013 vintage. Smak och doft av torkad frukt, äpple, persika, röda bär med toner av trä, bourbonfat och vanij. Agavesötma, fruktig, fin syrlighet, komplexa smaker som sammanflätas på ett angenämt sätt. Lättsam att dricka trots sina 12%. Bästa ölet denna kväll.

Vignale (3825) - Malmö, SWEDEN - MAR 13, 2015
Flaska från SB. 2013 vintage. Söt, fruktig och med en lite fin syrlighet som ger ölen en lätthet som är ovanlig för en 12%s fatlagrad pjäs. Lätt borbountouch, stora komplexa maltig smaker med vanilj, fat, torkad frukt, lite kokos och en fin fruktighet med lite persika och röda bär. Fantastiskt gott.

PattyBat (84) - - JAN 30, 2015
Cork and cage into snifter. Smells a little of honey, hints of Bourbon, and some funk. Tastes a little bit of peach, just a perfect amount of Bourbon, sweetness, with a taste of carrot left on the tongue. Incredible and unique beer.

Travlr (24717) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - DEC 23, 2014
Draft at Churchkey. Hazy golden yellow color, medium white head. Aroma of vanilla, summer fruit, light dust. Taste is lightly funky summer fruit. Nice.

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