GestAlt - The Tap Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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34 Reviews
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Reviews: 34
Hads: 47
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 14.99%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Tap Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Patrick on 11-24-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 34 | Hads: 47
Photo of Elric14
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A friend brought a few 22oz Bombers of Haverhill Brewery's Gestalt over one night on a whim. It turned out to be a great surprise! A few weeks later I finally got around to review this German Alt.

The appearance was a Clear, deep brown/reddish/brown; slightly redder than a typical brown beer bottle. After being poured from the 22oz Bomber into a tulip glass, it had a slightly tan head that dissipated quickly.

At the outset, the beer was too cold to discern an aroma, my fault for not taking it out soon enough. As it warmed, I smelled hints of grain, sweet malt, raisins, and floral hops. Only after it warmed to room temperature, could I smell hints of alcohol.

The initial taste was grainy, but in a good way, like fresh multi-grain bread, with hints of iced coffee, and floral hops. As it lingered on the palate, the Hallertau and Spalt hop presence became apparent, and the dry hoppy finish left me wanting another sip.

The mouth feel was crisp, medium bodied with a long dry finish.

This beer has the great dinkibilty of a craft session beer. I believe the first time I tasted this beer, I blew through 6 bombers in 3 hours. After reviewing tonight, I am down to 1 bottle; I will have to visit Haverhill Brewery soon to pick up some more.

Update: Purchased a 1/2 barrel on 12/21 and nothing but raves from friends and family.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle acquired at The Tap Brewery in Haverhill. Bottled Nov 09 and sampled December 30, 2009. The pour is an attractive brown with a thin head but excellent clarity. The aroma is an inviting sweet and nutty combination with something toasted in the background and a hint of caramel. Complex but pleasing. The mouthfeel is smooth and of medium texture. The taste has a sweet bitterness to it with a vague background of hops. Overall a very mild beer with a slight punch at 6.6% ABV. A very nicely done beer. I wish I bought another.

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Photo of mynie
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Damn! That is a crisp and refreshing goddamn beer, right there. That's like--damn! Damn! Is that what these is supposed to have been tasting like all this goddamn time?

This is the best kind of malt-dominant beer, where everything is crisp and lightly sweet, floral and biscuity, and all around Germanic. Like, not in the linguistic sense, but it the sense that it tastes like the best kind of complex crystal malt, like you're having a piece of toast and some chocolate and some sunshine all at once.

This is a medium strength malty beer, so you can forgive the BA horde for their 3.7ishes. It's really an exceptionally well-done, amazingly crisp, outrageously drinkable alt. Buy it.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a tasting glass.

The color is a clear deep reddish/brown with some nice light brown head and some slight laving

The smell is a bit grainy with some sweet malt flavor. There is a slight floral hop and fruit flavor.

The taste is again grainy with some coffee flavor that also has a sugar flavor as well. Some slight hop flavor that comes out and leaves a bit of a bitter flavor on the palette.

The feel of this beer is medium bodied and feel pretty dry. It goes down pretty well with a nice crisp feel and is pretty refreshing.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served out of a 20oz bottle into a stange.

A-clear mahogany/garnet body, tan head

S-rich, fruity, malted milk ball, floral end

T-sweet, malty almost entirely throughout, distictive German malt flavor (fruity), faint floral hop flavor at the end

M-full, slick

D-really good representative of an often bastardized style.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep translucent chestnut color. Tan head that is full and falls slowly. Some lacing.
Smells earthy with a hint of bitter hops.
Taste is lightly malty, earthy with a little fruit and some nuttiness. Bitter aftertaste with a bit of spiciness too.
Very nice mouthfeel. Smooth with fine carbonation - creamy. Medium body.
Overall a tasty and very pleasant brew.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Bukowski’s in Boston.

Pours a clear amber-brownish color with a cream-colored head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of grainy caramel malts with hints of breadiness and good amounts of earthy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Moderately dry caramel malts with hints of deeper toasted malts up front are joined quickly by moderately bitter earthy and leafy hops. The flavor dries out further midway through the sip as the hop influence grows, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a good beer for the style, though nothing really stood out. Worth a shot.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear caramel color with a rather thin head that leaves a few strands behind

Smell: Brown bread and caramel, with a hint of raisiny fruit

Taste: Opens with the brown bread and caramel flavors but adds the fruity character of an alt by mid-palate, with hints of raisin and coffee; the fruity elements persist, after the swallow, and are joined by a bit of grassy hop flavors, though this beer is more about the malt than the hops

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not may domestic brewers tackle the style, but Haverill's attempt is rather impressive

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Photo of indiapaleale
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour - dark brown and chestnut in color with little clarity. The head is dish soap like and only about a half inch in depth.

Aroma - lots of toasty notes, yeasty, grainy, malty, molasses with a dose of cream. A couple more whiffs and some of those noble hops show up to join the aroma party.

Taste - big dose of toasty, biscuity, bread crusty maltiness. It finishes crisp and tidy with plenty of noble hop bitterness (almost metallic or mineral-like) to balance out the maltiness upfront. Rather light bodied and very flavorful.

Overall - solid drinkability, well-balanced between sweet and bitter and quite tasty. Not an easy style to reproduce and this one was very well done.

Would I buy more of it? - not sure. I'd like to try a few others that they put out first.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bomber poured into a pilsner glass. A medium brown color, a little hazed, with a small tan head. A bit of lacing.
Caramel malt aroma, some fruit.
Pretty malty taste, sweet. Fruity, apple and cherry. A kiss of hops at the end.
Nice enough beer. Not overly exciting, but still quite drinkable.

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Photo of kamoore63
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

NOTE: Although they call this a "brown ale" by " I judged it more as a German altbier.

Appearance: Pours very nicely with a nice off-white head that lingers, especially round the edges of the glass. Bubbles present obvious evidence of carbonation. In spite of the name, the color is more like an amber or red ale with deep copper tones. It's actually on the darker side for an altbier. (Perhaps this is why they decided to refer to it as a brown ale?)

Aroma: Well-rounded and sweet with malt dominant. I picked up a very subtle suggestion of cloves. All in all a very nice aroma.

Taste: Nicely balanced with more bitterness than one might expect from the rather sweet aroma.

Mouthful: Somewhat over-carbonated but generally decent mouthfeel. Medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable. Recommended

Additional thoughts on beer at

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Photo of mdfb79
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Had on 3/6/10 at a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a nice reddish brown color with little head and carbonation.

s - Smells of toasted malts, as well as sweet fruits and maybe a little hops.

t - Tastes of both toasted and sweet malts. Also maybe a little fruit.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonatioin. Pretty smooth.

d - Overall I thought this was a decent brown ale. I liked the toasted malt taste and the mouth feel and would try it again.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz into cervoise. From notes

This beer pours a nice dark brown with decent 1.5 fingers off-whitish head. Good sticky lacing. Nose is mainly biscuity malts with some minor pine and sweet caramel mixed in. Taste focused on the toffee and caramel malts but wasn't as sweet as was suggested by the nose. The drying biscuit-ness is in there too and I picked up a nice hazelnut, maybe even some pecan, in there. Great! Mouthfeel was medium to upper thin, slightly tacky. This beer is quite refreshing and I would most definitely love to have this one again, great beer for an uncommon style (for me at least)

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Photo of sophisticated
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is my least favorite part of this beverage. Its murky in a way thats a bit unappealing to me. It is brown but with some hints of amber. There was a tiny white head that immediately fizzled out. The smell, however, instantly stood out. Apples, grapes, clean grassy hops, sweet malts. I like! The taste is very balanced. Sweet malts, fruit (apples, grapes), nuts, some bitter hops. It's a pleasant taste that is very drinkable. I could go for a bit more carbonation. Overall, this is a nice, refreshing, easy-going, balanced beverage.

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Photo of DrJay
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear chestnut with a tight beige cap. The head thinned quickly to a collar, leaving some transient, spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of brown malts, a bit earthy, slight caramel, faint hops - mild but nice. Sturdy bitterness with herbal hop character that lingered. Clean maltiness with some caramel, cereal, toast. Subtle chocolate and bready malts, a bit of roast, as it warmed. A hint of fruit. Lowish carbonation, smooth and refined texture. Medium bodied with some dryness. I quite enjoyed it. I liked the malt character - it had some depth, but wasn't overwhelming. If anything, the bitterness was a little on the high side, but that's a minor gripe.

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Photo of smcolw
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Excellent coating lace. Good initial head that settles into a single layer of bubbles. Dark amber color, light brown.

Mild crystal malt aroma.

Chocolate and crystal malt flavors. Reasonably dry, but there's caramel tone to the swallow. Modest hop in the aftertaste, but the tale of the flavor is the complexity of the grain. The body is light, but creamy. Proper carbonation. Interestingly, there's a touch of coffee in the finish.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a bomber at Whole Foods Dedham for $3.99. Poured into a standard pint glass. Very light tan colored body, with a thin whispy white head. Smell had a bit of pine-cone and pumpernickel to it. Taste was not my favorite, but I give it extra points for uniqueness. It had the malt body of a brown ale with the hops of a pale ale. Well done in the flavor department. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, but it had a nice crispness to it like a fine lager. The aftertaste almost reminded me of a lambic's tartness. Easy beer to drink, but not sure if I'd make this a session one. An intriguing beer, and I can see why this beer has won awards.

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Photo of corby112
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber received in a recent trade. Thanks again Alec! Bottled 4/11.

Pours a very dark copper/chestnut brown color that's almost completely opaque with dark golden ruby/mahogany edges and a one finger frothy off-white head. Good retention, only slowly fading into a thick lasting ring that leaves spots of soapy lacing behind.

Earthy, floral aroma with hints of piny, grassy hops countered by lots of sweet malt. Hints of caramel, rye, toffee and hazelnut counter the dank, oily hops.

Medium bodied but fuller than expected with a nice balance of grassy, earthy hops and sweet malt. The floral, piny hops provide a nice amount of dry bitterness that lingers throughout over the sweet malt profile into a crisp, spicy finish. As the beer warms the toasted malt backbone becomes more prominent with hints of caramel, toffee, chocolate, rye and biscuit.

Overall this beer isn't overly complex but it's excellently balanced, flavorful and very quaffable. I'm usually not a fan of American breweries attempting German styles but this one is pretty good. I would probably drink this often if it was local to me.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub the afternoon of Night of the Funk 2010.

Pours a nice brown color with a decent head, though it doesn't have much in the way of retention. The nose is okay. In reality, there are some nice notes there but you have to dig really deep to find them. There's a bit of light malt plus some earthy hops.

The taste is much better with some dry bready malt and a nice earthy hop presence. An ever slight floral character as well. Pretty light beer with a nice bitterness. Drinks well enough and is a solid representation of the style.

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Photo of tpd975
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nutty brown hue with a small creamy colored head. No retention and a few spots of lace.

S: Aromas of light roast, nuts, and caramel.

T: Thin and mild. The roast is there along with hints of caramel. Hints of pure grain and a dash of hops.

M: On thinner side of body.

D: Light and drinkable, light on taste.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.57/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a very thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, maple, honey, nuts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a hearty but not too heavy malt character that is followed by sweet flavors of maple, nuts, honey and caramel. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth but a little watery, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, there are certainly several other beers in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed a bottle of this at Winchester Wine and Spirits this evening. The beer comes out a nice chestnut color, with not too much in the way of heading. The aroma is mostly of coffee, caramel, and butterscotch. More of the caramel in the taste, along with some wheat and grain, however there is a bit of a metallic taste that throws it off somewhat. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, as it should be for a brew like this. Drinkability is hindered a bit by that metal taste, though I think that may be a result of too much age on this beer, which should be enjoyed fresh. Recommended if under those circumstances. Cheers

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Photo of GregPearson33
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark copper brown with a thin, dark cream head that receeded to the sides of the glass after about 30 seconds.

Smell/Taste/Drinkability: I think these are all pretty interconnected for this beer. Although I served this around 40 degrees, I still thought it had surprisingly little aroma. What little roasted nutty malt smell I could discern was pretty much what it tasted like.

Overall I think it's a little thin, but then again that made for great drinkability. It's well carbonated and goes down smooth and satisfying.

Pairing this with a meal of some grilled veggie sandwiches and its great - not too overpowering but still something dark to add to the mix. Not excellent, but a solid brew.

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Photo of turnstile
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle purchased at a Whole Foods in Dedham, MA.

Appearance: Chestnut brown with copper highlights; pours with almost no head - just a slight film and a ring of bubbles. No lacing.

Smell: Malt-forward aroma with nutty notes. A hint of caramel, candy-like sweetness. Hop aroma is minimal.

Taste: Malty and slightly grassy with an earthy edge. Faint bitterness in the finish, with bready malt lingering.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium, and on the flat side.

Overall: Great as a thirst quencher, but nothing to rave about.

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Photo of KarlosT
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Seems like a basic brown ale. Ok. Flavors were pretty basic ... nothing over the top, either positively or negatively. I would definitely enjoy drinking this beer with a meal, but not so much by itself.

I've been to the Tap several times (the pub associated w/ the Haverhill Brewery). Worth a stop should you find yourself in Haverhill Ma (north of Boston).

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GestAlt from The Tap Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.