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Altbier - Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

83 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 83
Hads: 120
Avg: 3.5
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 5
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's visit their website
Kentucky, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  4.19% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SheepNutz on 07-30-2001

Altbier, literally translated as “Old Style” beer, is a classic German ale. BBC Altbier is brewed with additions of Munich, wheat, caramel, and chocolate malts creating a delicate, but flavorful malt profile. This delicious amber colored session beer is balanced with additions of tradtional spicy German hops creating a light and floral bouquet to compliment its complex malt profile.

28.6 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 83 | Hads: 120
Photo of russpowell
4.32/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the airport in Cincinati

Pours caramel/copper with a 1" tan head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Nice malty nose with hints of hops

T: Nice rich malt flavor followed by caramel notes. Finished with a a nice herbal hop bite & some oakyness

MF: Medium bodied with great balance & good carbonation

Drinks really easy. a good american take on a style that I loved over in Germany. Easily the best of the BBC beer I tried

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Photo of Brent
4.24/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

German style amber ale. Nice amber color. Aroma is mild and sweet, but flavor is not as sweet. Moderate hops bittering with somewhat dry, tangy/sour finish. Well balanced and clean.

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Photo of BeerAngel
4.2/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours clear burnt orange/amber color with a modest head that shrinks rapidly down to a long laster thin layer covering the top of this brew like a blanket.

The aroma reveals a hint of roasted malts with a nice earthy grain with just a slight musty smell that is present in a complimentary way.

The taste is a repeat with the roastiness punching through in a more pronounced fashion and sliding into the hints of earthy grass and slight hoppiness nestled in the background.

This is a light bodied beer that is spot on IMHO. It finishes with a very minute dryness in the end of each swallow.

This beer is a very easy drinker and one I wish I could get my hands on down here in the hot state of Texas. This would be my summer beer of choice on scorcher days.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.15/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a pint glass. It pours a deep amber color with two fingers of head. There is lots of sticky lace left on the glass. The smell is both hoppy and malty, a very good balance. Some caramel aromas come out. The taste is malty and a little bit sweet at first, with bits of toffee. There is a good dose of hops on a nice crisp finish. The mouthfeel is very thick and smooth for the style. The drinkability is fantastic. This is one altbier I could sip on all day.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.15/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a clear amber with ruby highlights, forming a rocky light-beige head with excellent retention and nice lacing. Carbonation is very gentle. Aroma is very mild...a hint of tobacco, clean ferment, a bit of red apple, and a suggestion of green hops and husky crystal malt with swirling. Mouthfeel is very mild and very smooth with a medium-light body. The taste is also very mild..starting with an earthy/herbal hoppiness, crisp water, clean ferment, a light amber malt body, hints of astringent tobacco, followed by a subtle and clean fruitiness towards the semi-husken, slightly spicy and earthy wet finish. Suggestion of green hay creeps in towards the middle. Absent off-flavors, remarkably clean and crisp.

VERY easy to drink, this goes down like water but is a wholesome quality altbier. I was pleasantly surprised by this, not expecting much for an American-brewed Altbier. Light and refreshing. Nice.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appealing appearance, lovely bright crimson color, adequately sized, brief off-white head of foam.
Aroma, soft, mild, yet sweet and fruity, hoppy and lively.
Taste: yum, is what I first exclaim, and I sing it again with every sip! Light fruity taste, bits of apricots, peach, etcetera, ultimately drying out in the finish.
Body's about medium, finish is fruity, yet dry and lingers on, but beyond all that it's just delcious, regardless of adhering to this style or that!
i can drink a million of these, just like any you-name-it pale ale!
Yum, i just caught myself saying again, yum, and damn it, I'm just gonna continue to sat that, no matter what. Don't know if this qualifies as an altbier, but damnit, it's a good beer, and that's all I care for, pallies.
Light/medium bodied, medium, fruity finish, excellent taste, supreme drinkability, sam-ooo--ooo-ooth'ah!

Big thanksy-McGee to Sheepnutz for the bottle!

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Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh 12 oz bottle pours a clear, bronze body topped by two fingers of creamy offwhite head. Retention is fair, and some patchy chains of lace are left on the glass as it quickly empties. Aroma begins with spicy hops, as caramel and toffee notes quickly emerge. The nose is finished by a fruity note of dried apricots. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a silky and tingly carbonation level that is ideal. Taste is quite good, with mild black peppery hops, toffee maltiness, and a hint of ripe pears. Slightly drying noble hops appear toward the finish. Easy drinking, well balanced, and a decent American effort at a somewhat obscure German style. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of CaskofFlyingDog
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow this is a neat beer.

Appearance: Dark copper body with a creamy kahki head that goes to pee bubbles and mild lacing.

Smell: Creamy, caramelly, unexplainable. It's one of the best smelling beers I've smelt!

Taste: Yep, it's an altbier heh. It's a bit sour, tea-like, and creamy.

Mouthfeel: It's sticky and a tad prickly on the tounge.

Drinkability: Wow it's good. I had some Spaten last night and I must say I think I like this better (ducks). I could definitely drink a shit ton of this and not get tired of it. It seems to be fitting with any occasion too. I was quite surprised by this one.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amber in color with copious amounts of carbonation bubbling up toward the surface throughout. Nice white head on top, maybe an inch and a half before settling down to coat the inside of the glass for a minute. Interesting aroma, mix of grains, light bready malts, and a touch of a grassy, herbal hoppiness. Nothing crazy here but nicely balanced. Same could be said for the flavor, nice pale taste, light bready notes balancing a herbal sort of hop. Lightly sweet with a decent amount of carbonation

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sweet and fruity malt scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts. There is a nice hop aroma as well. The taste is good. It has a sweet malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry and bitter. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking altbier. It has excellent flavor and aroma.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice amber orange with a creamy 1" head that slowly falls to reveal some intricate lacing on the way down. Nose has a mix of caramel, dark fruit and spiciness. Some raisins lurk in the background along with the hops. Nice.

Nutty caramel fruity maltiness as I begin to imbibe. There's a mellow spicy, herbal hoppiness that accentuates the flavor of the beer quite nicely. Robust and creamy on the way down with just a slight twang of bitterness....good brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth profile that goes down easy. A drinkable beer by my standards and one I could see as being a good crossover for the macro drinkers. A solid altbier from a great Kentucky brewery!

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Photo of zerk
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep copper/light amber, with a thin white head. Aroma is a pleasant mix of caramel, pears, and some light hay notes. Flavor begins somewhat sweet, with light fruit and bready malt notes that give way to a nice balancing herbal bitterness. This is a subtle but very tasty beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. All in all, quite a nice effort!

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Photo of LuckySevens82
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of kmpitz2
Pours a reddish orange with a small white head. Retention is kind of lousy, but the collar isn't so bad. A collection of loose bubbles tops this one for the most part.
Smell is pretty fruity (strawberries?, green apples), sweet caramel malts, and what seems to be rye. A slightly grainy aroma that you don't get too often in a beer, but it's still pretty nice. Noble hops round out the aroma.
Taste is sweet up front, followed by fruit (green apples, some grapes, still strawberries?), Caramel and noble hops round this one out. There still seems to be a bit of rye character to this one, which is really kind of nice.
Mouthfeel is good, not slick, carbonation is good.
Overall, a pretty good example of the style. Certainly easy drinking, and pretty darn enjoyable.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer of the month club selection (Thanks Cindy, for the gift!). Into a mug glass, this beer is a nice reddish amber color, but with hardly any head on it. Pleasant caramel malt nose, with a light dusting of hops. Clean but interesting malt flavor: caramel, with some toasty melanoidens; followed by a moderate bitterness and light but yummy hop flavor. Yeast character is fairly neutral with just a touch of fruitiness, but otherwise with a clean, malty finish. Light bodied, maybe a touch watery.

Nothing that special here, but it's a really good drinking beer. Simple, clean flavors, perfect for session drinking.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.89/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap @ Bluegrass Brewing tasting room

Pours a hazy copper color, nearly amber, with a loose head, which dissipates rather quickly, leaving just a little ring. There's a little lacing, but not much. Looks about average I'd say. The smell is primarily of maltiness - very sticky and sweet - munich malt I'd guess, but fairly dry in the smell. Nice minty hop presence, kind of slight, but still there behind the sweet caramel smells, with maybe a touch of chocolate. I don't know if I just love the noble hops on top of the sticky malt body, but this one tastes great. A nice malty backbone - caramel, butterscotch almost, nice and bready, a bit toasty. And then a beautiful minty hop presence that sticks to you and kind of washes down with a hint of lime. Low bitterness, almost no esters. This one is nicely balanced, malty, hoppy - but not American hoppy. There are both subtleties and very obvious tastes here, that are all pleasant. There's a kind of sharp bite of carbonation, maybe a bit much, accentuated by the hops. Nice body, not huge, kind of walks the line between thin and full. Maybe a tad on the thin side of medium. A good drink. Nice flavors, not too high on the ABV. Overall, a bit challenging, interesting, simple and enjoyable in varying degrees and phases. This would probably be my choice if I returned.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity... Best before Dec04. Oops.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a big old 1 3/4" of beige head over the clear dark amber brew, with various feathery floaties. Head is heavy and frothy, and the meringue look stays for quite some time, leaving foamy bits of lacing randomly. Aroma is lightly of grains and a tad of nuttiness. Taste is lightly nutty medium malts, with a clean, crisp finish. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, and the drinkability is good as well. Nice stab at an alt, would probably even be better fresher (duh).

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Photo of chaunur
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at the 4th st. location. Nice clear amber color with a 1/2" light tan head. The head stayed with the beer leaving well defined rings.

Very little aroma but what was there was a pleasant roasted malt smell, not overpowering. A smooth flavorful beer with a primarly roasted malt flavor and a good hop presence, noticable but not bitter.

Overall a very drinkable beer, went very well with my Angus burger.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decanted cool into my DFH shaped pint. Picked this up at the Class six.
A - A dark amber/honeyed brown w/ an inch of fluffy creamy pale head that musters a moderate amount of lace. The lace sticks well and the bead is pin sized. Rings of lace are still holding on as the last swallows are taken.

S - Very woody almost bark-like w/ its earthiness. Faintly grainy malt w/ a rich roasted barley aroma and subtle caramel odors.

M - A mildly bitter grain touch w/ toasted notes and mild sweetness and moderate carbonation, the ale finishes relatively dry.

T - Very flavorful from the get-go, a dry husky malt note blends well w/ an herbal hop flavor. The caramel malt is there, but used in moderation an most of the malt is roasted barley w/ a kind of nutty wheat flavor that is toasted w/ a light biscuit quality. Slightly vegetal as it warms w/ a cooked pea flavor that has no negligible impact on the overal flavor. and the yeast seems to become spicier late in the review.

D - A very nice beer, I must have been served the bitter by mistake at the brewpub. None of the fruitiness and a very nice malty flavor w/ bready touches and a dry texture that makes it easy to return to. I consider this a fine Alt and it is highly quaffable.

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Photo of jkrich
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrived at the table in a shaker pint glass. Bright clear amber with red hightlights and a creamy small white head.

Aroma was dominated by sweet malts with hints of hop aroma.

Very mellow and slightly sweet with caramel highlights. Not much hop flavor but enough to keep the ale balanced. It complimented the dinner nicely.

Medium bodied with moderate amount of carbonation. It coated the palette with mild malty sweetness.

Overall, a very good alt or amber ale. It more balanced than the American pale ale from this brewery. I noticed the brewery packages this now as an "amber" ale instead of an "alt" like had for several years.

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Photo of Xadoor
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear amber colour into the glass with a slight tan head. Aroma is light but with some faint frutiness (perhaps apricot). Flavour starts with a bread like maltiness and ends with a bit of a pepper dryness. Low carbonation with a good mouthfell. Don't get a chance to drink an Alt very often and it was a nice change.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Mellow Mushroom, Lexington KY. The tap offers a smoother, less sweet, mellower flavor and texture with more subtle aromas. This all leads to easy drinking. The caramel and bready / yeasty flavors are all still there, just melded together much better. Textrue is smooth and nearly velvety, while thinning in the end to let the German hops crispen the brew up. Finishes wil a clean, mild hop bitterness and caramel flavor. A very good session beer, and goes real well with the hummus appetizer.Much of what I expect from an Altbier is really ramped up in this one.

7-22-05 Bottle (4,4,4,4.5,4)
Much of what I expect from an Altbier is really ramped up in this one. It looks a brilliantly clear copper and golden and pours an over-carbonated white loose head that faded, but laced well. Smells malty, toasty and caramelly. Alcoholic phenols penetrate the nose. Tastes slightly roasty and malty. Nice frutiness like ripe pears and, to a lesser extent, peaches. Spices float in the background: nutmeg and corriander. American hops add to the spice and to the flavor. Sweet alcohol chases you through the body and into the finish. The finish is clean, crisp, and dry. A bit mouth coating: like butter? This is a bold Alt. What do yo expect from an American Micro? A whimpy beer? Not here!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bronzed orange capped by a pastel tangerine head that appears to be somewhat sticky and should leave some nice lace... but doesn't. The only saving grace is that the head lasts for a bit and never drops lower than a thick disk.

The nose is both interesting and complex. It contains quite a few elements that I'm not sure that I can identity accurately. The basics are caramel malt, fruity-floral hops and a subdued spice that I won't even guess at. I'd like the aroma to be a wee bit more aromatic, but it's nice all the same.

The flavor is more generously toasted malty than the nose let on and contains the very same fruity hops and spice. Each mouthful starts out sweet and finishes clean and dry with a more pronounced nutty grain flavor on the back end. Different, interesting and enjoyable.

No complaints about the mouthfeel; it's smooth, creamy and perfectly carbonated. This is my third BBC beer and it's readily apparent that these guys know what they're doing. One big indicator of quality for me is body/mouthfeel and this brewery passes that test with flying colors.

Bluegrass Altbier is my first altbier and I found it to be delicious and some kind of drinkable. Is there any style that Bluegrass Brewing Company doesn't do well? Thanks to SheepNutz for the bottle. Now I wish that we'd done a bigger trade.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at a slightly chilled temperature, this Altbier pours a pretty copper color; clean looking along with a slight thinning surface layer that dissipates quickly but has nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is of slight caramel along with some roasted malts or coffee tones. Some wheat or yeast and some grains are also noted here. It actually reminded me of teaberry overall (maybe a little spice also to add to that description).

Taking a sip, I notice a very sweet toffee flavor along with some coffee and chocolate on my palete. A rather sweet brew, with a nice slightly bitter finish with some slight hops. Pretty decent.

Medium carbonation with a light refreshing body, no alcohol really noticed here, but nice balance throughout the tasting. thumbs up!

Overall, a very easy brew to drink. Not heavy, but refreshing!

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Photo of bditty187
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tawny-coppery-amber in hue, slightly hazy but some animation is noticeable racing towards the head, which reached a finger in height. The compact bubbles of the white head hung together well, in other words the retention was very good. A small, tight cap lasted the entire consumption. Impressive. Subsequent lacing was spotty and it didn’t cling well. The nose is pleasantly malty, as expected for the style. There is also an airy, grassiness that is mainly at the front. The malt imparts a touch of toffee and a very weak suggestion of peat and nuts. I realize neither of the latter two are typical for an Altbier. Honestly the bouquet seems more a kin to a Märzen and a Scottish Ale mixed. Whatever, I like it, it is inviting with modest potency. The palate immediately tells me it is German. However it is also very clean like a lager. Odd. The grassy hops with a slightly herbal hint and only modest bitterness say “German.” The hoppiness is good but the malt makes this beer work with its slightly sweet beginning and long toffee flavors in the middle. At the finish the beer dries out substantially. This works. The finish is muddled, just a bit, mainly because it becomes tacky and too sweet. But, overall, the palate is straightforward and tasty, if not overly complex. This is a good, clean, German Ale. Medium in body and modest carbonation helps produce a good mouthfeel. This is plenty drinkable, likeable as well. It is worthy a try. Thanks SheepNutz!

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I love altbiers and I love Kentucky, my home state, so I'm excited for this one.

Pours out a a slightly hazy deep red-brown coppery color. Thin, meringue head that fades a little more quickly than I would have preferred.

Smell is malty, slightly fruity, with notes of caramel and toffee. Hoppiness is minimal.

Taste is pretty good: apples, peach, and pears are all in there, slight walnut flavor, a hint of raw, toasted grain, and a tiny hop bite on the dry finish. Fruitiness is crisp and clean, mouthfeel is snappy and light.

Overall: Not a superb alt, but a pretty nice one. Worth trying if you want some local Kentucky flavor.

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Altbier from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
80 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.