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Notes about Avery The Beast Grand Cru Batch #2 2004
This is a brew you probably can't get ahold of anymore, but wouldn't you like to know what it tastes like anyway?

I've always loved the concept of a Grand Cru Ale because it's not really a style. It's a designation of quality. If you brew a Grand Cru it can be any style at all. Grand Cru simply means it's right up there among your best. But there's nothing that says you can't use it to designate an American adjunct lager. Fortunately I haven't heard of that happening yet, so when I think of Grand Cru I minimally expect something bigger and badder than the rest of the lineup at any given brewery. With a name like 'The Beast' to compliment the 'Grand Cru' designation there can be little doubt that at Avery the designation Grand Cru still means exactly what I think it means.

Original review on June 3 2006

Sight: Sparkling red with thin head

Smell: Spices, toast and smoke, bourbon, port, and vegetable notes.

Taste: Huge, spicy, everything, too much to mention, hyper-sweet but balanced by the other intense flavors including alcohol and hop bitterness.

Body: Full, rich, syrupy with appropriate carbonation, not too little.

This was amazing with an old crusty chunk of stilton. The hop flavors actually combined with the ugly moldy dark brown rind to create a little miracle inside my face. Too much alcohol to drink it alone though.

New review Sunday Feb 14 2010

Sight: Rust Brown and cloudy (turned out to be chill haze) thin head with snowflakes not quite lace

Smell: Honey, molasses, slight teriyaki, hazelnut, spice (cinnamon, pepper, ginger, clove), orange peel, lemon, alcohol, gingerbread, kumquat and tropical flowers.

Taste: Unified, Balanced, much more difficult to define flavors than smells, sweet still rides into bitter.

And it still goes well with a slice of stilton, but the muted hops actually made this beer fall short in the cheese pairing this time around. It’s much more difficult to taste everything as separate, but strangely, it’s not as unified as I’d expect, and the individual notes are more readily apparent on the nose - a real paradox of aging.

There are still notes that peek out, mostly the alcohol. This is still very enjoyable after all this time. A taste of crystalized ginger makes it taste more like when it was young.

We started the tasting with a Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. This was mainly because I wanted something with a lot of caramel and brown sugar notes to transition into The Beast. It was a great transition and was great to return to and get some perspective after sipping The Beast for a while.

DFH's India Brown Ale is a cross between a Scotch Ale, IPA and American Brown Ale - 7.2% ABV and 50 IBU

It didn't go quite as well with an old crusty slice of stilton as it used to. It has certainly become more refined and balanced and thus needs somewhat more subtlety in food pairings.

But it's still a beast so the stilton wasn't totally wrong. The white mold on the salami worked a little better. In this picture you can see the brown chill haze.


Here you'll notice the head is more of a thin film. When it settles you can stir it up a bit, but you'll never get too much more than what you see here.

By the time I took this photo the beer was nearing room temperature and starting to clear the chill haze.


Much later in the evening, The Beast is once again crystal clear.
This video is taken from the Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale information page.



--Thomas Ale Johnson