Scruffy's Smoked Alt - Cedar Creek Brewery

Not Rated.
Scruffy's Smoked AltScruffy's Smoked Alt

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

17 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 17
Hads: 81
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 6
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cedar Creek Brewery visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mora2000 on 10-13-2012

Our goal is to have a very drinkable beer with a nice smoked quality that will pair well with food and be something a little different. We blend a good amount of German Rauch malt, that is smoked with beachwood, with a US two-row malt, Crystal 40, Crystal 120 and a bit of Pale Chocolate Malt. We use enough US Magnum & Willamette hops to balance the malty sweetness of the German Alt yeast used to ferment the beer. That leaves moderately smokey notes that comes through mostly in the flavor that is balanced with the slight fruity flavor that the Alt yeast will give you. A very session-able smoked ale with enough bitterness to balance the other flavors.
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Reviews: 17 | Hads: 81
Reviews by GMB:
Photo of GMB
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 4

I've been looking forward to trying Scruffy's Smoked Alt since I picked it up last week. Smoked Altbier ("Alt") is a great idea. A traditional Alt's flavor profile--nutty, toasted malts in front, supported by muted fruity, dry, crisp hoppy flavors-- should complement smoked malty flavors nicely. I'm expecting flavors like hickory-smoked cashews and almonds and citrus-marinated barbecued meats.

A standard pour yields a dark amber brew and a very tall (3+ fingers) head of foam. The head is tall, but not viscous. Its fizzy body disappears too quickly, but does leave behind some patches (not rings) of fizzy lace on the sides of the glass. Bubbles are medium in size and evenly dispersed in the body.

The nose is as complex as some of the better rauchbiers/smoked beers I've had. Smoked aromas are present, but don't overpower. I appreciate toasted caramel, seared bacon, maple, and very mild notes of citrus.

The taste more or less follows the nose. Caramel, dark toffee, and roasted almonds and cashews up front, smoked meat in the middle. The smoked meats continue into the back end, where they're met with some bitter citrus-rind flavors and lingering bitterness. Think charred pork belly and orange rind slowly smoked over oak chips. Unfortunately, these intriguing flavors are let down entirely by the beer's watery mouthfeel and fizzy, sometimes abrasive froth. The beer was nearly flat by the last few sips of this 16 oz. can. Darn.

On the whole, Scruffy's Smoked Alt is an excellent smoked beer. It incorporates smokey flavors into what is ultimately a crisp, drinkable ale. The can tells us that the brewers have aimed to create a smoke beer that can be enjoyed with food. I can understand why. The flavor of most rauchbier/smoked beers is so bold that any attempt to pair the beers with food ends up futile. The smokiness in Scruffy's Smoked Alt is subdued enough that the beer should pair well with acidic and rich items. (1,941 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of woodychandler
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

This is another CAN sent to me by the mighty JenRay to futher The CANQuest (TM), but which got bogged down by the need for an approved picture. All is now well and so I CAN proceed without futher ado.

From the CAN: "Brewed in East Texas"; "Our goal is to have a very drinkable session Alt that will pair well with food and be something a little different. We start with a good amount of German Rauch malt, which is smoked with beechwood. Then we throw in US two-row malt, Crystal 40, Crystal 120 and a bit of Pale Chocolate Malt. Add enough US Magnum and Willamette hops to balance the malty sweetness of the German Alt yeast we use in fermentation, and you've got a tasty treat. Th moderately smoky notes are balanced with the slight fruity flavor imparted by the Alt yeast. A great accompaniment to barbecue or a campfire breakfast, this one is sure to be as legendary as Scruffy himself!

Upon CANduting the Crack!, there was a loud offgassing, as though Scruffy might have been eating beans to go with his beer. No, instead, it should have been my clue that it was highly carbonated and therefore might be subject to foaming. I proceeded with my usual abandon, however, and my glass quickly filled with dense, tawny foam and began an overflow until I hurriedly backed off. Having learned my lesson, I resumed the pour once things had calmed down and had a chance to settle. I still ended up with three fingers of rocky head. Color was a slightly hazy Deep Amber/Light Copper (SRM = 13, thank you to the brewery for providing that info on the CAN). Nose was smoky, but not as intense as I might have liked. It had a smoked Gouda cheese-like odor, which may not make it a good fit for some people. For me, it was great! I broke out the cheese and crackers and took my first sip. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, kind of dense, but not quite to the point of being thick. The taste was nice, slightly bitter (35 IBUs), with a smokiness that was at the low end for me, but probably at most people's upper limit. I have to admit that I did not perceive the fruity esters that the CAN mentioned. It just struck me as a smoky beer with a moderate bitterness. Finish left me with a smoky flavor in my mouth and in my sinuses. Believe me, I get it when people say that they are not fans of the style! I just look at it as more for me and those of us who do like it. I would not want a steady diet of it, either. This was my second Smoked Beer today and I was now looking forward to something else. (2,490 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.14/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A smoked alt? Intriguing. Curious to see if this delivers. 16 fl oz silver aluminum can acquired at an HEB Grocery and served into a Spaten stange at low altitude in Austin, TX. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; the idea of a smoked altbier is appealing. IBU: 35. OG: 12.5 plato. SRM: 13. Reviewed as a smoked alt due to the name and label; I don't subscribe to the "smoked beer" classification currently ascribed by beeradvocate.

Served cold - straight from me fridge.

A: No bubble show forms.

Pours a 5 finger wide head of faint khaki colour. Okay thickness. Subpar cream. Uneven lacing clings to the glass' sides as it recedes; this has "legs." Head retention is good - ~ 5 minutes - though this may be explained by its overcarbonation.

Body colour is a clear somewhat dark copper. Transparent and translucent. Average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's within style conventions but far from unique or special. No obvious flaws. Darker than most altbiere I've seen.

Sm: Has a guiding, subtle beech smoke character that I'm really digging. Not overwhelmingly smokey, but not noncommittally so either. Lovely caramalt and beechwood notes. I do pick up some chocolate malt when I look for it. Amber/alt malts with a vague fruitiness - plum and dates. Cleanly fermented; I'd attribute that to the alt yeast. Hopping is minimal in presence and vaguely fruity in character.

No overt yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

An intriguing aroma of average strength.

The smokiness seems ideal for what they're going for and is definitely a highlight.

T: Smokiness is nuanced and well integrated, not overbearing or overwhelming; this isn't just a gimmick beer, it does hybridize smoked malt with the altbier style pretty well. The body is comprised of clean barley, German altbier malts, a dash of caramalt, and a hint of chocolate malt. Lightly nutty. The malty build overall is darker than you'd expect for an altbier. Lightly toasty and bready. Smokiness is present throughout, guiding the flavour profile and lending it a natural cohesion. The smokiness isn't meaty or pork-redolent like most rauchbiere; there're no bacon notes. It does evoke beechwood.

Too bitter, but I applaud the experimentation and consider this a minor success at hybridizing the two styles involved. It's decently balanced and has interesting complexity. Not the most subtle alt out there, but considering they used smoked malts it's pretty impressive. Above average intensity and slightly above average depth of flavour for the style. Average flavour duration.

No yeast character, hop character, or alcohol comes through.

It could really use some work in terms of the nut flavours; I want far more complexity.

Mf: Unrefreshing. A bit overcarbonated. Has an unnatural smoothness. Okay body and thickness. Wet. Suits the flavour profile well for the most part. Has an interesting presence on the palate for an alt.

Not oily, astringent, wet, gushed, hot, boozy, buttery, or harsh.

Dr: Certainly drinkable; I'll enjoy finishing this can. I always applaud experimentation, and while I do prefer traditional versions of the style, I was surprised how much I liked this. I'll have my eye on Cedar Creek in the future, and while I wouldn't recommend this to friends, I do think it's worth trying, if only because it's almost a unique beer. I dig the premise and expect to see more smoked altbiere going forward. It's easily an above average beer. Might be a good beer for newcomers to rauchbiere if they're trying to ease their way towards traditional examples of the style.

C+

*
01.31.15: Truncated 2nd impressions:

A: Healthy head takes up 80% of the glass. The colour is a conventional alt amber-copper, and has some appealing deep hues. Great retention.

Sm: Amber malt backbone is showcased well, but the smokiness is surprisingly restrained. Copper malts, light soapy hop notes, pine, biscuit malt, baked bread, and odd notes of cheese/cheese fermentables.

I like the subtle smokiness and concomitant spiciness (which almost evokes rye), but it doesn't seem like much of an altbier and this aroma doesn't suggest a clean drinkable crisp fresh beer. Suggests a dry brew via crackery malt/starchy saison-like notes.

T/Mf: Breadier than an alt should be, sans the crisp clean presentation it needs. A dragging scratchy feel on the palate coupled with a starchy taste and harsh smokiness makes it difficult to drink; each sip extinguishes the palate. It's not imbalanced, though, and I dig the toasty amber malt backbone. The premise of a smoked alt is a good one but the execution isn't there. Needs a deeper taste and more refreshing feel.

O: Not as drinkable as an alt should be, and by no means traditional, but nevertheless above average. It's nice to see more alts in the U.S., but I'll stick to traditional offerings. This does have nice toasted characteristics and employs smoke in any interesting way, but it's by no means a world-class example of the style.

C+ (4,998 characters)

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of Mora2000
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Untapped Festival.

The beer pours an amber-brown color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of smoke in it, as well as a hint of toffee. The flavor is more of the same. The meaty smoke really comes through strongly, with some toffee and caramel, as well as some earth from the hops. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. (342 characters)

Photo of amaximus167
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of jheezee
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of dvmin98
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Magery
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Sazz9
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Westyn
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Photo of PATAKACHANGOLOCO
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can poured into oversized tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark cloudy amber with a massive off white head. The head is coarse with lots of air pockets and recedes somewhat quickly. Very minimal lacing left behind.

S - Campfire aroma with lots of smoked beechwood. I get a little sweet malt along with this but not much else.

T - The taste is much the same as the aroma. Loads of smoked beechwood, semi-sweet malts, and a moderate bitterness. Slightly nutty but the smoke overpowers most flavors. Very reminiscent of a rauchbier.

M - Somewhat thin body with moderate carbonation. Nothing special, but nothing offputting.

O - I wasn't sure what to expect from a smoked alt, but this is decently good. It's pretty much a rauchbier with almost overpowering campfire smoke from the beechwood. More balance and a thicker mouthfeel would have made this a lot better. (863 characters)

Photo of Shafaegalo
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of jerefreakinmiah
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16 oz tallboy pours a lightly hazed amber color with a large, un-moving cap of tan head. Great looking beer, but appears to be a tad overcarbed.

Nose ranks about a 5/10 on the smoke-o-meter. Still allows the caramel and toast aromas from the malt to shine through. Plenty going on here and the sweet/smoke interplay is pretty cool.

Taste is well done on the smoke, just enough to satisfy rauchbier fans but not too intense as to scare away someone who has not tried a smoked beer before. The malts are perfectly done for my tastes, lightly toasty but stays more biscuity with a bit of caramel. Kiss of hops rounds things out nicely. The smoke is not intense, but it does have a nice 'meaty' flavor. I could drink alot of this and is another solid offering from Cedar Creek. Im impressed with all three offerings they have put out. (832 characters)

Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%

This one pours a nice umber to ocher color that has a thin and light white head that has a decent lacing down the side.

The nose is a softer smoked malt with some bread notes and hints of coriander, apples, camphor and a nice subtle hops.

The taste is spectacular and wonderfully balanced with notes of smoke floating on dry malt, that has rich bready undertones and some medicinal flavors that are actually quite good.

The mouthfeel is rich and just right.

Overall an exceptionally good beer. (499 characters)

Photo of jkn09
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Pegasus
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear deep copper in color, with a massive, coarse, and extraordinarily persistent white head. Small streams of fine, slow-rising bubbles drift lazily to the surface, Chunky, patchy lacing lines the glass walls. Thick, patchy and coarse lacing adorns the glass walls.

Aroma: Deep aroma of smoked malt, verging on Liquid Smoke (TM), and smoke moderately toasted malt. The smoke aroma dominates.

Taste: Prominent smoke flavor dominates the opening, to the extent that the Alt characteristics are washed out. The Magnum and Williamette hops shine, but the maltiness of the Alt style is largely absent, although there is a mild nuttiness, somewhat like smoked pecans. Finishes with a long, lingering smoke and earth note.

Mouth feel: Smooth and soft, but seems a bit thin.

Drinkability/notes: Would pair well with deeply smoked brisket or sausage on a cool, dark autumn day. Otherwise, its OK, I do not regret it, but certainly not something I'll look for.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard sixteen-ounce aluminum can, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice. (1,075 characters)

Photo of deac83
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of ilikebeer03
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of JohnBender
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of greenspointexas
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Photo of deadliest
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Wayne17
3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

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Scruffy's Smoked Alt from Cedar Creek Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.