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Balt Altbier - Union Craft Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Balt AltbierBalt Altbier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

149 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 149
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 9.71%
Wants: 3
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Union Craft Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: yourefragile on 07-05-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 149 | Reviews: 30
Reviews by Swift989:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Mongrel
3.74/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - amber with a short, sudsy off-white head.

S - smells sweet and a little chalky with a faint whiff of banana.

T - tastes like an intriguing mix between an amber lager and a Belgian witbier. Sweet and a little syrupy with caramel malts at first, but hints of Belgian spice follow - vanilla, clove mainly. Also a touch of tart apple.

Mouthfeel is medium and a little syrupy for a second, but turns soft and slightly chalky, which is another interesting element of this beer and another strange tie between an amber lager and Belgian.

Overall, an interesting, easy-drinking amber ale that could sub in nicely for more boring party beers like Yuengling or Blue Moon.

Photo of tone77
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is malty, a bit sweet. Taste is caramel, malts, some sweetness, very easy drinking, considerably dry at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer worth checking out.

Photo of tugdriver7
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Ever since Frankenheim was pulled from the US market, I have been searching for an American craft "alt" that was as authentic and drinkable as an original German. A tall order indeed. And there have been a few come close. This one comes the closest so far. Balt Alt has the same lighter body, subtle carbonation, rich roasted malt flavor (without being too sweet), and a slight hops bitterness--particularly in the aftertaste, rendering the whole extremely drinkable. Best of all, it's fresh where I live but comes in cans so a glass pour can be almost as good as a tap. Very enjoyable.

Photo of fourstringer
4.21/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the can into a pint glass with a moderately aggressive hand. This is a hometown beer for sure - the brewery is only a few miles from my house. No perceivable date on the can.

A: Nice dark amber-brown with 1/2 finger of off-white head. Down to a light coating at 2 minutes. Light lacing.

S: Solid, nutty malt with some sweetness. Traces of toffee, dried fruit. Toasted notes with subtle touches of bread.

T: Nutty and malty with a nice bitterness that is present both immediately and throughout. Fairly classic german hop profile. Semi-dry finish. There is definitely some sweetness, but it is not the focal point IMO. Well balanced. Probably a bit more hop bitterness than the typical altbier, but it works. Great flavors of nuts, toasted malt, light toffee, indistinct fruit.

M: Moderate to low carbonation with a moderate body. Fitting for the style. Smooth. Well done.

O: Aside from their "Hampden on Rye" collaboration with Brewer's Art, this is my favorite Union offering. Excellent execution of a traditional style with a subtle American twist. Drinks really well. I particularly enjoy the nuttiness of this brew. Good out of the can, too. Buy it if you see it, for sure.

Prost!

Photo of smakawhat
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into a stange glass.

A real nice chestnut brown body, and even ruby red along the edges for the body. Faint cola carbonation and fast rising, a large three finger head, tan in color, with soapy retention is made off the pour. Settles to a soapy collar and a nice deep red presentation.

Light yeast and some caramel toasty warmth. Slightly clove spicy and dry, with a touch of caramel. Fairly basic and solid.

Light bodied palate comes with the matching nose. Sharp caramel and toast, but with a slightly tinny finish though unfortunately. Dryness is not as pronounced on the nose as compared to the flavor profile. Some good sticky quality but there's a faint metallic twinge to this particularly in the finish. Mild sticky yeast, but with a lighter feel.

Overall it's alright, but could be better.

Photo of jlindros
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another one from this brewery which I enjoyed when I visited the brewery last year. Thanks to itsme_timd (Reddit) for this one.

Pours a huge creamy thick rich head that rises up to 3 fingers and I have to stop pouring, and it fades semi slowly with nice fizzy bubbles popping, and nice soapy lacing, very hazy dark maroon like slight chestnut colored beer.

Nose brings some dusty brown malts, toasty, light toasted bread and grain, mild brown sugar and caramel, into a mild grassy slight earthy herbal hop aroma, as well as a mild toffee nutty creamy brown malt.

taste starts with more brown malts, toasty and quite creamy too, little oats, mild coffee milk and maybe lactose, with a little nutty slight toffee like flavor, with some sweetness as well, a little brown sugar coffee milk flavor. Some milk grassy earthy herbal hops but not a lot, mild to fair bitterness. Finish is fairly bitter as it dries, it gets a little dried lactose like feel, more earthy slight herbal hops lingering.

Mouth is med bod, creamy, lighter on the carb though which doesn't help the creamy feel.

Overall... as a beer it's pretty nice, more like a creamy brown ale, as an alt-bier, I don't think it really gets there, and lacking on the carbonation esp for a canned beer. But it's still drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of woodychandler
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Good Lord! I CANnot remember who provided me with this beer in furtherance of Thee CANQuest (TM). EDIT: It was the venerable tone77, my local, in-person trader! Yay! Credit where credit is due, I always say.

From the CAN: "Old World Old School"; "A Brewing Tradition"; "Start a New Tradition Recycle This CAN"; "This German-style Altbier is our nod to an old world, old school ale. The word "Alt" is German for "old", and refers to the traditional style of brewing before lager yeast was discovered. Balt is a dark, copper colored brew with a creamy head, a gentle bitterness and a clean, dry finish. Prost, Hon!"

Ah, the Baltimorons! I had never heard them referred to as such until my first encounter with John Waters. As a movie buff, I was elated to finally meet the man and he was up to his billing. I toast the master of schlock with this beer.

I had my CAN glass at the ready and directly following the Crack!, I instituted an inverted Glug. This resulted in a massive two-plus fingers of dense, light-tan head with great retention. The ex-Old Lady did not dig when I would pour this way, but since we are no longer together, I really don't care what she thinks. Color was more deep-brown than coppery (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a musky scent, kind of an anise, chocolate and caramel, but heavy. Put some of this in an atomizer, spray it behind your earlobes and stand by, ladies! Mouthfeel was medium, but the tastes of milk chocolate and caramel were immediate and obvious on the tongue. The finish gave it a minty character that was undoubtedly from the hops. This seemed bigger than its advertised 5.5% ABV, but that was no problem for me. This was quite good, but too much on the sweet side for me.

Photo of cyclonece09
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a growler into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours dark red with a small white head. Smells of caramel, dark roasted grain, and slight berry. Tastes of slight grassy hop flavor with a nice fruit and dark roasted grain backbone. Beer is carbonated well and very drinkable for a medium body. Overall, a very good beer.

Photo of everythingiszen
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Delicious. Got me into the Alt style. Toasty. Will always order it if it's on tap or in a can.

Photo of NumberNone
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brownish amber color with a good bubbly ivory-colored head with decent carbonation.

S: Malt, caramel, hops, dark fruit, brown sugar, slight wheat, bread/biscuit, touch of floral.

T: Toasty malt, slight hops, burnt caramel, cherry, bread/biscuit, slight spice.

M: Mostly smooth on the palate with a good touch of bitterness near the end.

O: A nice tasting, malty altbier with good flavors of bread/biscuit, dark fruit, and brown sugar. Somewhat reminiscent of Brewer's Art Resurrection, though with a bit more dark fruit and a touch more bitterness, and more of a lagery wheat feel. Quite drinkable. Nice version of a not often seen style. Brewed right around the corner from where I grew up.

Photo of JednoPivoProsim
3.27/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 FL OZ can into a pint glass (no Altbier glass on hand).

Appearance: Pours a thick caramel colored body with a thick, yet not dense, head. Looks like a thick iced tea or loosely carbonated soda.

Smell: Caramel aroma with a nice scent of German Noble hops.

Taste: More like a brown ale than the crisp Altbier flavor I remember. Nutty, caramel, and a touch of chocolate malt.

Mouthfeel: Very, almost too, thick for an Altbier.

Overall: Just not enough to style from the plethora of Altbiers I enjoyed so much outside of Duesseldorf 20 years ago. Again, much more like a nutty brown ale than a true crisp Alt. I feel like Fordham's Copper Ale was much more on point.

Photo of bluehende
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nothing wrong with this beer. My big objection is how light it feels.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nice coppery color. Small tight head. Nice aroma-good balance between malt and a good hop presence. Sort of metallic and soapy. Solid, malty flavor with a nice bitterness. Somewhat grainy and a tad earthy. Lasting hop bite. Some sweetness in there. Decent mouthfeel. A very nice beer in all. First offering I have had from these folks. A tad pricey I am seeing more and more 10 and 11 dollar six packs and it leaves me less likely to try something new. Worth having for sure though!

Photo of Theheroguy
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reminds me of an English pale ale. It is earthy and little sweet. Hops are on the back end.

Overall it is a very subtle and smooth very well balanced. That being said taste wise it isn't really exceptional. If you're a real fan of the style I'd try it but for someone like me I think $10 a six pack is just a bit too much for this.

Photo of Jack_Frost79
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I did not like the taste of this beer. I am supposed to justify my rating as an outlier. I just don't think it is very good.

Photo of Reemer686
3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm new to the altbier style but this is a tasty low ABV beer

Photo of Slatetank
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

12oz can into a willybecker chilled

The color is dark toffee with auburn bronze hue and light haze with thick cream of 2 1/2 fingers w/ web-like lace and fine bead. The smell is very herbal with hops and almost pine-like aroma with slight caramel from the malt with lightly nutty tinge and slight fruity yeast accent. The feel is nice with bitterness level and moderate carbonation w/ light malt body and dry finish with low alcohol in the mix.

The taste has a mild hop flavor up front wiht light spice from the yeast and nutty toasted grain flavor in the malt profile with woody accent and mild yeast creaminess in the taste which is supported by the caramel sweetness in the background with toasted flavor and mildly spicy yeast in the finish. Overall this is a decent alt, pretty drinkable for the style.

Photo of thezach
3.51/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: A burnt copper, thin head that fades quickly, little to no head.

S: I feel like I pick up a touch of a minty herbal aroma. Definitely a touch of roast and grain in there too. Otherwise, it's pretty darn clean. Got a bit of a lager thing going on here. In a good way.

T: Very clean and surprisingly bitter. Light on the malt, but enough to keep me drinking it

M: Clean and well-carbed. A bit of body from some caramel malts, which definitely become more prominent as the beer warms. I has a pretty dry finish with a lingering hop bitterness.

O: This tastes pretty on point for the style, and one that I've rarely seen around. A refreshing break from the pales and IPAs and a good one to share with a friend who is more partial to the malt. Very easy to drink, and the clean finish and lingering bitterness really fill this one out.

Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark ruby-tinted brown with two finger head and lace patches on top of an aroma of strong malts, mostly some roasted and bready malts, a graininess as well, and touches of sweet malt like caramel and toffee and I get a touch of hops. Beer is smooth, medium-bodied, there is a good amount of sweetness to it as I get caramel and some other sugary goodness, a little balance from roasted malts and bitter hops but it's not evenly matched. Finishes dry and is a good sipping beer that I enjoyed but not really complex and a little off key.

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

Wow!! Where did this come from? I stopped at "Mothers" with my daughter for some wings and a beer. I order a Pilsner Urquell...because I haven't had a PU on tap for awhile. I suggest she try the Balt because I like the brewery, and thought she might like it. She's a porter fan, and alt was the closest thing they had.
She LOVED it...so I thought I'd better try it. OMG...what a great beer. I mean great beer.
The aroma was a rich woody caramel scented alt like my favorites from Uriege in Dusseldorf. I mean where T-H- did this come from. The taste was full and rich of the German malts you would expect. The mouth feel was smooth ( after a letting it get closer to a decent drinking temperature). Ok...don't believe me, but I thought I had a fresh glass of "Sticke".
I'm sure this will be distributed as just another beer..."alt" style...blah, blah, blah.
But this is serious, special beer. Altbier is a wonderful German beer that we don't often hear about because of their wonderful lagers, pilsners and wheat beers we expect. Union craft has "crafted" real altbier that should be compared and considered against the best.
Ok...now I'm buying it in cans and taking with me across country. Let's see what San Diego, NY and Colorado say...I bet they say send me more!

Note to DIM...you're right...on all counts!

Photo of yourefragile
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Metropolitan.

Pours a clear dark mahogany ruby with a retentive creamy head and light lacing. Robust, rich aroma of roast malt, caramel, smoke, and berry. Medium soft body, light carbonation, creamy smooth texture. Rich malt flavor, caramel, toffee and chocolate with light earthy hops in the finish. Excellent flavor and balance, this was a treat.

Photo of BurpingtonDC
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a standard pint

A - carmel, dark maple color with a tan creamy three-fingered head that recedes quickly. persistent lacing of moderate degree.

S - Here I will have to admit my naiveté about AltBier, but I'm underwhelmed by the nose. mostly soapy, malt and toast scent.

T - Toast, Malt and bitters

M - small bubbled, light carbonation. Slight sweetness and moderate weight on the tongue.

O - I've only tried a few ales of this style, but this one seems to be a pretty good one. Not my thing but an enjoyable brew. Good enough that I want to try some of Unions others. I live 5 minutes from the brewery so I think I check 'em out!

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Balt pours a brownish color with a nice long lasting lacing head. There is a doughy bready aroma; like dry bread. The taste is very dry, and has a very nice creamy roasted oat taste. Nice body, and very nice strong flavors. Overall its a nice dry, thick, roasted oat beer.

Photo of DIM
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a: Chill hazed chestnut brown with golden edges; pours with relatively short lived head.

s: Sweet bread and toasted nuts, traces of grape and leafy hops.

t: Very much malt forward, black bread and strong roasted nuttiness with sweet grapes. Fairly strong lingering hop tingle.

m: Smooth and crisp, surprisingly full bodied.

o: Not a style I know well at all. Looking back over my reviews, of the few I have tried my favorites seem to be bigger, extreme examples. I need to try more traditional examples, this is damn good.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer is amber to copper with crimson highlights and a quarter inch of tan head. The aroma brings sweet breads, malt, toffee, ripe dark fruits. A bit of pine and hop character emerge in the flavor. Sweet and malty, with nots of plum and fig. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Pretty good.

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Balt Altbier from Union Craft Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.