According to AleSmith, their Grand Cru is:
Our other famous Belgian-style offering is our Grand Cru. As with Horny Devil, it is fermented using yeast which originated in a Trappist monastery in Belgium. A darker type of Belgian candi sugar gives it more color and a richer complexity of flavor, consistent with the Belgian style.
So, yeah. I got this beer in a trade with a guy named Jay, who reviews all sorts of beer and places to get beer at Hedonist Beer Jive. Jay's been good enough to send me plenty o' beer for reviews.
This is my first AleSmith beer. The IPA gets rave reviews on ratebeer. Other than that, I'm not sure. Just another California brewery trying to outdo all the great Indiana and Michigan breweries I have access to. But this Grand Cru is mighty nice.
Unlike the photo, it pours a dark brown with reddish hues. It smells of molasses, caramel and dark fruit. Tastes this way, as well, with hints of licorice and chocolate. It reminds me a lot of the Chimay Blue I had the first time, around Thanksgiving 2007. I've had the blue other times, but it wasn't as good as this beer.
It's definitely a sipper at 10.5% ABV, and while my wife could tell it was strong, I could only taste it in the finish. According to the Stan Hieronymous book, Brew Like a Monk, Belgian ales should aid in digestion, and this one was carbonated enough, but not fizzy, to do just that.
I drank this one in a goblet, and it was a nice beer to look at. Check out the surface lacing in the photo as well as the nice lacing ring around the side of the glass. Very nice.
Thank you, Jay. And thank you, AleSmith!