Notes about Avery The Beast Grand Cru Batch #2 2004
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.
--Thomas Ale Johnson