Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grand Cru Abbey Ale - New Belgium Brewing

            For a fuller background on New Belgium Brewing, check out my earlier posts on Brett Beer and Shift Pale Ale, for now though let’s focus on their Grand Cru Abbey Ale.

On the bottle, New Belgium says:

“For every 1,000 batches at New Belgium, we brew an Abbey Grand Cru as our brewed tribute to Abbey, our first and most decorated beer.  Being our 20th Anniversary we’re sharing this bottle-conditioned mahogany beauty.  To you and Abbey Grand Cru!”

                On Beeradvocate, Abbey Grand Cru currently has a score of 89 with a 94 from the Bros.  Over at ratebeer it has a 98 Overall and a 99 for style.

They say:

Before there was New Belgium Brewing, there was Abbey Ale. It was the first beer of home brewer and New Belgium co-founder, Jeff Lebesch. So the love brews deep for Abbey Grand Cru.

To date, Abbey Ale has garnered no less than 16 medals at the Great American Beer Festival 7 of those being Gold. Take that award-winning recipe, precisely increase the hops, malt and fermentation time, and the result is a Grand Cru worth collecting. And that s exactly what many of us at New Belgium, as well as a growing number of fans, have done.

By saving it for a few years, Abbey Grand Cru will continue to improve and age deliciously. Optimal storage is a cool (40-55°), dark place where the bottles can remain undisturbed. But lest we forget, it is a great beer and great beers deserve to be enjoyed. Best served at cellar temperature in a wide-mouthed glass. Toast to the monk s virtue and have a heavenly experience.
Just the facts Ma'am...

Birthdate -
November, 1991
Calories -
Hops -
Willamette, Target, Liberty
Malts -
Pale, Chocolate, Carapils, C-80, Munich
Body -
Medium - Full
Aroma -
Notes of dried dark fruits -raisin, plum, date, grape fig and cherry. Some woody notes and lots of banana. Some gentle red wine notes.
Mouthfeel -
Full mouthfeel, creamy and rounded but the additional alcohol gives it a nice spicy warm wine-like finish.
Flavor -
Strong alcoholic warmth, yeasty bread and caramel, candied sugar and red wine. Hints of chocolate, dark fruits, and some dry oaky aged biscuit malt notes.
Visual -
 Deep mahogany with hints of cranberry red, creamy dense head with strong lacing

I say:
                Grand Cru Abbey Ale pours dark mahogany with ruby red highlights and has a rocky off-white head with moderate retention (fades after a few minutes) and leaves, prominent off-white lacing in the glass.  It is a good looking beer.  The aromas coming off Abbey Grand Cru are extremely complex and decidedly Belgian in variety.  It starts with plum and raisin notes, a hint of banana, followed by sweet malts, dates, figs and caramelized sugar.  The aroma is amazing!

                Grand Cru begins smooth, with flavors that mirror the aroma.  Starting with dates, plums and caramelized candi sugar, it has hints of chocolate and breadiness on the back end.  There is a slight alcohol warmth, highlighting Grand Cru’s 9.5% ABV and a semi-dry finish.  It is medium to full-bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.

                Grand Cru Abbey Ale is an excellent beer and I am looking forward to finishing my remaining bottles.  If you can find it at a liquor store near you, pick up a bottle or two, or three; this is an excellent beer that should age well for years to come.

                That’s all for today, check back later this week, Wednesday or Thursday, for another review.

                Happy Drinking!!

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