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Altbier - French Broad Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

48 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 48
Hads: 56
Avg: 3.43
pDev: 19.53%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
French Broad Brewing Co. visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ChainGangGuy on 02-05-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 48 | Hads: 56
Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this at Barley's in Asheville

Poured copper/chestnut with a finger of sand colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Bready with caramel & a bit of herbal hops

T: Caramel, a bit of husky grains &leafy hops up front. More core caramel & biscuitty malt as this warms. Finishes dry, fairly sweet & slightly grainy

MF: Medium bodied, semi smooth & nice balance

This drank so easy, great take on an under loved style..

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Photo of taylorhamrick
4.37/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had a 22oz bottle on 1/9/09.

The color is copper with a bit of amber. The head is kind of thin with loose bubbles, but there's good retention and lacing. Sort of hazy but I can see to the other side. The smell is very clean and nice. You get the noble hop smell, kind of minty and earth, but backed up well with sweetness. The smell is kind of raw and unprocessed. The taste is immediately caramelly sweetness. I couldn't figure out the sweetness at first. I went through raisins and cane sugar and malty sweetness, but landed on caramel. Not much of the bready or biscuity taste. You can also find a good hop taste. Like the minty flavor of Perle and other noble hop flavors. It hits the tongue oddly at first, but is well balanced and finishes cleanly. Not thin at all. A great rush of carbonation helps to deliver the sweet and hoppy taste. It caught up to me by the end, but I found myself wanting more. Really a good beer, and at 5.5%, I would not be embarrassed to have another.

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Photo of drseamus
4.35/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to craytonic for this extra.

A: I got some good head from this French Broad. Seriously though, this dark amber bodied beer has a nice white head that lasts a long time.

S: Interesting malty aroma. It's almost a raw malt aroma with a lot of the grain character. I might smell a touch of hop but I can't quite tell.

T: Nice crisp malt flavor. Decent bitterness behind it but certainly a malt driven beer. Some hop aftertaste. Compares nicely with alt beer right from Dusseldorf.

M: Medium bodied with some carbonation and good crispness.

D: Pretty damn good beer in an under appreciated style. They've done themselves proud on this beer.

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Photo of drperm
4.28/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Brewgrass '08

Appearance: Copper-color. "Looks the way beer should look."

Aroma: A perfect blend of hops and malt, it could be a bit more aromatic for my likes.

Taste: I'm not sure if this is close-on stylistically, but I hope it is! I dig this beer. A harmonious blend of malt and hops, not too sweet at all. There's a nice hop follow-through at the end.

Palate: Perfectly dry and fizzy.

Overall: A wonderful session ale.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

ot to try this one on tap at Barleys this evening, always a treat to try new locals. Poured a very nice orange amber with lots of visisble carbonation and amazing clarity. A big three inch fluffy white pilow head on top faded quickly leaving behind just a hint of lace. The aroma was very malty. Lots of cereal and bread smells, along with a touch of banana. The flavor was light and very good. Lots of grains and bready like flavors, bit very nice balance, with a touch of banana of pear like fruit and a hint of spice as well. A nice strong finish left the mouth ddry and begging for another sip. The carbonation was great and mixed with a smooth subtle feel made this extremmely drinkable. Overall a very nice offering and definitly a quality session beer. I would look forward to trying this one again in the future.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.15/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber in color with some bronze, orange, and golden highlights. Head slowly rises and holds a stickiness at the top. Smells like a honey-nut toast. Smells good.
While there is nothing particulary exciting our outstanding in the flavor, it is a very good beer. Very balanced with a heavy toasty malt flavor and some leafy, earthy hops in the background. I'm not sure if earthy is a flavor but that's what it taste like to me.
Mouthfeel is very well done. Silky smooth while not being too light or too heavy. This beer really suprised me. I'll be going back for more. Great beer for watching some football with the warmth of a woodstove on a cold wet Sunday evening.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.13/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer marks number 500 in my repertoire.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle (the label lists lots of pertinent information: 9.1 SRM, 13.2 degrees Plato O.G., 26 IBUs and 5.5% ABV) into a Stange, this North Carolinian Alt shows a nice, mostly clear burnished copper hue with a full two fingers of rocky beige foam that sticks around for the duration and holds on hard to the walls of the glass, leaving gorgeous stained glass-like lace along with fat splotches as it fades.

Mild fruity esters show themselves in the nose along with some restrained herbal and grass-like hop notes. A bit of caramel malt aroma shows itself as the beer warms a bit.

A medium-light body with a moderate carbonation brings with it a rather dry, bitter palate of slightly herbaceous hop notes laid upon a rich malty base of grainy, biscuity notes with some fruity esters filling in around the edges and a touch of caramel coming through as the beer warms, finishing very dry with a lingering flavor of grain and noble hops.

A nice, clean, well-formed example of a Düsseldorf-style Altbier. Mostly clean, this could use a bit less malt character in the finish, and perhaps a touch less estery character on the palate; still, overall, a superb representation of an oft-overlooked yet wonderfully flavorful old-world style.

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Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice to see more French Broad stuff here in the triad.Poured a clear rich bronze with a large frothy off white head atop that left broken lace as it settled slowly.Aromas of caramel and brown sugar with underlying toastiness,a German iron-like aroma shows through as well.Well balanced on the palate,flavors start out with a sweeter hard toffee and biscuit flavor melding into a somewhat earthy and herbal finish.A very nice alt here,flavors a well rounded and its very drinkable.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.1/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've enjoyed everything I've had to drink from North Carolina's own French Broad Brewery so far. I had a bomber of this in my posession once upon a time, but in a mad scramble to fill an outbound trade box, I had to sacrifice my only bottle to the (worthy) cause. I was glad to see that the first was well-received, and am now extra-glad to have another vessel in my greedy hands and a clean pint willibecher glass standing by. Let's get it on!

French Broad's Altbier glows orange-amber with tones of fading crimson at the heart and a sparkle of sun-gold at the periphery, and sports a thick glossy cap of mottled ivory foam. A smattering of haze diffuses direct drinking-lamp light, softening and warming the drink's flickering-firelight appearance. The bubbles atop the drink settle in a reasonable time, resting at a lumpy, sticky, sponge-like sheet that deposits broken rings and fine-bubbled wisps of lacing onto the glass.

The smell is dark caramel-candy sweet with a sprinkle of oily toasted nuts and a sizzling dash of spicy hops. The aroma is rich and grainy with a sweet grassy note of drying hay, and a persistent sugary vanilla wafer cookie note that morphs into a vague but luscious whiff of fresh-baked banana-pudding.

The taste is laden with rich bready grain and Munich-malty candy-like sweetness. Savory, dark toasted-nut maltiness provides a touch of oily richness, and a mild, pleasant earthy dryness reluctantly claims ownership of both the finish and the aftertaste. The net yield of the shapeshifting sweet/nutty/dry profile is superb balance and a beer that is toasty, nuance-laden, and fun to drink.

The drink is medium-bodied with a perfectly-proportioned spritz of carbonation, and lends itself to high quaffability. Though I'm not thoroughly vetted on the Altbier style, I'll go so far as to say that this particular example is mellow, delicious, and one truly fine drinker.

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Photo of drunkboxer1
4.07/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours light rusty brown. Smells very sweet. Amber malts dominate the flavor profile as well. There's a good flowery presence, maybe some earthyness from the hops. Easy to drink. French Broad takes care to make their beers to style, and they like to avoid the hamfisted hop chucking that a lot of American micros tend to lean on. Very good drinkable beer for malt lovers, although I think I prefer their ESB to this.

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Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: low off-white head over a deep, aged copper colored beer suspending a thin haze, retention is light but the complex color is very attractive

s: malty Munich gives aromas of concentrated fruit and grain toasted just beyond the point of caramelization, perhaps red and green apples, light sour aroma found in some other Munich heavy beers adds a raw, rustic character, love the sour/sweet interplay

m: light-medium carbonation carries the medium bodied beer across the tongue well

t: toasty Munich malts seem dominant, pretty malty as the color would indicate but balanced with a lighter lager malt, fruity grain juice and a touch of sour hold my interest, delicately balanced hops lack much flavor but provide a mild bitterness, cleans up quickly - as any true lager should

d: an easy-drinking Alt

was surprised to see this in Virginia...bomber from Grape & Gourmet, Virginia Beach

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Photo of mntlover
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lightly hazy copper color with some light brown mixed in. Nice khaki head falls to scum that leades some decent lace behind on my glass.

Aroma is nice soft malts very relaxing and pleasant caramel with hints of nuts peeking out. Some light hops would say blend of herbal and floral.

Taste is like the nose nice caramel, earthy notes along with nuttiness and hints of smoke. Very nice malty treat with light floral hop finish. Not overly complex just enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is soft mellow carbonation on a medium body.

Drinkability is good as a hop head its nice to have a malty treat now and then. If you can i would recommend trying this one.

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Photo of aubuc1
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler (end of it, a little flat) in to a pint glass.

Brown/amber pour with little head (there was at the beginning of the growler)

Herbal/wheaty smell with malt in the background

Crisp bicuity taste with a very german presence

A little tingly from carbonation, but light feel despite appearances

Very easy to drink, and a great beer from French Broad. This was my first beer from them.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bonfire orange with a warm, bronze-like glow when backlit with radiant morning sunshine. This is beautiful beer! Atop the fiery liquid sits two fingers of French vanilla colored foam that melts in attractive fashion and is festooning the glass with thick sheets of lace.

The aroma has plenty of power and is dominated by toasted-nutty-earthy malt. I haven't had enough altbier to claim that this one hits all of its style marks, but it smells good, so it gets a good score. Hey, this reviewing stuff is pretty easy.

Altbier reminds me of a less sweet Oktoberfest. It's sorta subtle, which doesn't impress right off the bat, but let's see what the final 20 ounces have to say for themselves. Even though it doesn't stack up favorably to the Uerige alts, nothing else that I've had does either.

There's a fair amount of malt present for the 5.5% ABV. The malt bill is probably mostly pale with a little Munich and/or Vienna for that toasted bread and baked nut vibe. The underlying sweetness is perfectly complemented by a hint of leafy (probably German) hoppiness. This is one smooth, drinkable brew. Unfortunately, the next highest flavor score (4.0) is juuust out of reach. Edit: no it isn't.

The mouthfeel is the most obvious indicator that FBBC knows what the hell they're doing. It's at least medium in heft and has a supple smoothness that is some kind of enjoyable. Kudos all around. And thanks to cvstrickland for sending it my way.

Now that the final third of the bomber has arrived, I've been able to take off my 'big beer' blinders and appreciate this well-crafted ale for what it is. With some beer of this style, I feel like asking the brewers to Control-Alt(bier)-Delete. Not so French Broad Altbier. It's a keeper.

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Photo of everetends
3.98/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been eyeing these French Broad bombers since they started showing up in Atlanta. Decided to pick up a sampler of a few bombers since the price is pretty damned affordable (4to 5 bucks a bomber). Not bad at all if you ask me. Lets pour and enjoy.

A: Pours a nice and light honey like brown in color. Held to the light, its more of a honey yellow color coming out. This beer is hazy, but its a light haze. Nice and steady carbonation in here, but it is on the light side of the carbonation realm. Got a good finger of pretty white head. This falls to 1/4 finger or so, but it still has the ability to throw up some stringy lace on the glass. It has a very nice look and is very appetizing.

S: Uh . . . I am a little thrown because it is much lighter than I expected in the department. It starts off with some light malts and lots of earthy grains. This is very grassy for sure. Then you get some light fruit coming out in the form of maybe some apple and pear. Light herbal goodness rounds this off. Still somehow with all this in here, I really had to investigate to get it out of this beer. Everything except for a couple exceptions is very subdued and light.

T: Much better and this is actually quite tasty. Getting the fruits first and foremost. Really nice apple notes come out with a light fruity sweetness and also some light sour notes. Pear and plum mingle in here as well with the apple. Then you get the malts. Malts are pretty German, very earthy with just a touch of caramel. Has a bit of herbal and grassy hops presence and it works very well in the mix. Still it has that nice German yeast and grainy goodness that I look for. Very nice and I was torn in giving this a higher score here.

M: Light side of medium in body. Has a nice medium carbonation that adds a nice refreshing quality to this beer. The combination of the body and carbonation makes for a very easy drinker. ABV is not an issue at all and is absolutely hidden. Finishes just oh so lightly dry. Aftertaste is that apple and some lightly sweet malts.

D: Very much so. This was far easier drinking than I expected. It just glides across the palate and is so refreshing. This beer is actually a great warm weather beer due to its quenching ability. Very nice introduction to this brewery and it was nice to see that they had the balls to tackle a style that very few breweries take a crack at. Although its not as dynamic as some Alts I have had in the past, it was a joy to drink. Good stuff.

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Photo of MMAJYK
3.97/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Light copper with gold highlights. Brilliantly clear. Head is 1/4", soft, but disappearing quickly.

S. Caramel malt, toast crusts, moderate fruity esters, and low herbal hops.

T. Pleasantly malty with bread and caramel tastes. Midstream bitterness is light to moderate. Flavors round out slightly dry and with light fruity esters.

M. Thin to medium in the mouth with high carbonation. Very prickly on the tongue with a slight touch of astringency.

D. Very drinkable beer. Light and crisp, but also shows moderate malt intensity. I could easily drink a bomber by myself on this hot summer day.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.95/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured clear copper color with an average fizzy off-white head that was mostly lasting with good lacing. Moderate toasted malt and earthy aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture and soft carbonation. Moderate bittersweet flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration. A good drinkable beer.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.9/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber into a beer mug.

Nice label on this bottle as it pours a brilliant, copper-colored body. Perfect clarity, and a modest carbonation level supplies an effervescent khaki head that was initially an inch+ in height. Nice aroma on this alt--a solid backbone of caramel and pilsner-esque malt gradually give way to a soft floral hoppiness and hints of fresh grass clippings. Brown sugar and raisins come to mind when the nose digs a bit deeper.

The flavor doesn't exactly knock my socks off, but it doesn't leave me disappointed, either. A sharp, floral, grassy hop note cuts straight to the palate leaving a nice bitterness behind; background is a well-crafted blend of crystal and caramel malts. Some citrus lingers on the finish, as does a bit of residual malty sweetness. Mouthfeel is nearly perfect, with a refreshingly light and crisp body. The carbonation level is perfect, spicing up the palate and making it notice the more subtle yeast and malt flavors. Overall, another great offering from French Broad that fits nicely into the style category and leaves me wanting more.

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Photo of beer2day
3.88/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours red with gold tints. Nice one-finger head with decent retention and thick chunky lacing.

Nose is all yeast and malt. Very bready. Slightly nutty, even. Sweet as well.

Sweetness carries over in to the taste. That hits first. Nutty flavor. Lots of malt body.

Very easy drinker. Look forward to trying this on tap.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.85/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is yeasty, malty, and just a little dusty. It pours a clear orange amber with a fairly thick, fine-bubbled head that hangs around for a bit and leaves a fair amount of lacing. Flavor is malty, a little yeasty, slightly sour and a snip bitter. There are hints of tart citrus and wood. Texture is smooth and edgy, leaving a nice fizz behind on the tongue as well as a hint of lemon.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.83/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria in Asheville, NC.

Appearance: Clear, dark amber body with small white head.

Smell: Pronounced bready malt aroma with some yeast notes and maybe, just maybe a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Bready, sweet malt flavor. Noticeably yeasty. There might be some fruitiness lurking in here, but let's not say things we can't take back. Very, very light bitterness clears away for a clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite bready, but definitely a nice beer and a good session candidate.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.8/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Medium honey, not much head, reduces to ring fast, some cling lace.

S - Slight sour tangy barny smell.

T - Taste follows smell. Tart, a little 'off' barn like, malty undertone.

M - Medium to light body. A little thin for me.

D - VERY easy to drink. Not much effort to drink. Could drink more.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at The Pit in Raleigh. Poured a light brown with a red tinge to it. No head and essentially flat. But that's the style too. Nose was not as heavy on the malts as I was expecting and I got a strong whiff of just plain water.

Flavor was sweet bread and malts. I could pick out a bit of the yeast too coming through the bread flavors. Just a slight hop presence to balance out the malts. Some fruity flavors too but I could not place them. Light mouthfeel which is pretty spot-on for the style. Nice palate pleaser and does not overwhelm.

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Photo of Tiklmelmo
3.64/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from Secret Santa 09. Served in a pint glass at refrigerator temp (~38F)

A - Cloudy burnt orange with moderate to low head. Some lacing.

S - The first thing that strikes me about this beer is a very unexpected barnyard funk / brett nose. Some light malt and pears as well. I could be way off but this REALLY strikes me as having Brettanomyces in it based on the nose.

T - Again, tart, funky, slightly sour barnyard giving way to bready malt and hints of banana and pears. Definitely not what I was expecting from an altbier, but quite tasty.

M - Quite dry, moderate carbonation. Not getting any of the sweetness mentioned in other reviews at all.

D - Again, not what I was expecting at all, but very drinkable, if you enjoy the funkiness.

I'm wondering if this bottle / batch didn't inadvertently get infected with some Brettanomyces, as the nose and taste both realllly strike me as a wild ale. However, if this did get accidentally infected (or if I'm hallucinating and this is what they were going for), then they got lucky and it worked out pretty well. Definitely not characteristic of the style, but I like it.

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Photo of merlin48
3.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber pours a hazy orange body with a small offwhite head. Faint wispy lacing. Aroma of spicy hops and green apples. Light medium body is moderately carbonated. Taste has a hint of Munich malt nuttiness to balance a spicy hop bitterness. A sour green apple note is present all the way through, which helps drinkability but seems badly out of place. Enjoyable alt.

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Altbier from French Broad Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.