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Phil's Existential Alt (Brewer's Share) - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Not Rated.
Phil's Existential Alt (Brewer's Share)Phil's Existential Alt (Brewer's Share)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

50 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 50
Hads: 130
Avg: 3.7
pDev: 21.35%
Wants: 5
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: RedDiamond on 10-24-2008

"According to Phil [Roche, brewer and beer developer], a generous amount of Munich and Vienna malts give this beer its copper color and toasty-caramel aroma. German noble hops provide complimentary bitterness and a clean, dry finish. The beer has been cold-conditioned for six weeks and goes down smooth."

43 IBU

Originally a pub-only beer, Re-released in April 2012 as part of the Brewer's Share series.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 50 | Hads: 130
Photo of stevoj
3.69/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

My first altbier, that’s not from Dusseldorf. And you can’t tell, it’s that good. Nice mellow bitterness and roast grain flavor, nut brown color with thin beige head. Aroma is malty, burnt toast. Very tasty.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Brilliant deep amber to garnet chestnut. 1-2” tannish off-white foam collar, excellent lace
S: malt, kettle sugars, traces of grain and grain spice.
T: some cola, light banana, fruit, kettle sugars, dry finish with a lingering bitterness.
F: Creamy, medium to just shy of medium full body
O: The malt and hops are in a close balance for a dry, clean alt.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Massive, slightly coarse cream-colored head adorns a modestly hazy orange-brown body. The retention is fairly good. The lacing is complex, resembling an archipelago encircling the glass wall. The carbonation is modest and slow-rising.

Aroma: Rich aroma of scorched caramel and roasted nuts. Grassy hops are prominent in the aroma.

Taste: The taste beings with abundant and distinct Munich and Vienna malts, with darkly roasted grains and burnt caramel quite prominent. Roasted nut flavors soon appear, as with the aroma. Later in the taste, grassy and earthy hops appear, and vie with the malts for dominance. Finishes with a lingering earthy hop note.

Mouth feel: Full, smooth, soft, pleasant, with just a hint of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Pleasant and drinkable, a decent example of the style, a slightly higher ABV, say of 6 to 6.5 percent would be welcome.

Presentation: Packaged in a twenty-two ounce brown glass bomber with a pry-off crown, served in New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of Garcia
3.12/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Bomber on a spigelau glass.

A - looks beautiful. Nice copper color.
S- slightly nutty, but extremely weak. Had to really look for it.
T - slightly nutty flavor. I was hoping for a lot more taste. 43 IBU? Where are they?
M - it's okay. Nothing to write home about. Lacking a litte.

O- expected a tad more.

Edit: had to run an errand and came back to this beer considerably warmer. I can now taste the Munich malt (might be caramunich) and it improved incredibly. Tastes grainy malty. Improved considerably.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Paid only 6 bucks for the bomber. Poured into my Samuel Adams Perfect Pint.

A - A deep chestnut brow with just a 1/4 inch of head that settles to a lace ring. Slow bubble patterns on this one.
S - Wow this beer smells wonderful! Toasted grains, hazelnuts and caramel malts highlight. Smell is very authentic and doesn't smell boozy.
T - Pretty much what I expected all the toasted grains and hazelnuts showed up but my palate kind of wanted more sweet malts.
M - Still it is quite balanced and easy to drink. Sort of chewy and medium bodied also.

Overall a very tasty authentic to German tasting Altbier. A home run for the price as well.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.22/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

"This certifies that you are the rightful owner of one (1) Brewer's Share of the Initial Pub Offering of Full Sail Brewing Company's release: ALT a.k.a. Phil's Existential Alt, a copper=colored, cold-conditioned small batch beer concocted by our own Phil Roche, generously imbued with Munich and Vienna malts and German Noble hops." Brewed in the style of an Altbier, this one time brew is likely long gone from stores.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a becker pint glass. Served north of 56º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a golden-caramel had of a frothy cream consistency over a medium hazy caramel body. Retention is above average. Appearance is overall nice for the style. 3.75

(Smell) Aromas of sweet Munich and Vienna malts, yeast and grain esters and some mild buttery notes. Potency is medium. 3.5

(Taste) Lots of harsh grain, yeast funk and pure ethanol up front, light bready german malt sweetness in the back, faded and thin. A very dry, harsh finish without much bitterness flavor to account for it. This is not a very easy beer to drink, likely a decent recipe muddied with time. 3

(Mouthfeel) Medium-thick with a slick oiliness. Carbonation doesn't do much to remedy this beer, it's overall too flat for the style, and with the flavors coming off as strong and distorted as they currently are, a lack of carbonation could only be a bad thing. Body is medium for an Altbier, medium overall. 3

(Overall) This beer is far gone, always check your dates prior to purchasing. Drinkable, but barely so, time has given the yeast too much power over this style of usual simple and elegant balance, and what is left is a dry, grainy and boozy beverage that lacks flavor and balance. Probably fine at one time, be sure to pass this beer up if you see it in any bottle shop like I have. 3.25

Full Sail Brewery's
Brewer's Share: Phil's Existential Alt

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Photo of Daktyls
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a stange-like glass.
Enjoy-by date is 06-16-12. Yikes, picked this up only a few weeks ago, didn't noticed the date in the store.

Anyhow, on to the review:

A: Pours a dark copper-brown color with a one fingered of light tan head that dissipates to a fine lacing around the glass and on top of the beer.

S: Aroma is very muted, there's a slight amount of earthiness, a little nuttiness, but not a whole lot else.

T: There's some flavor! Toasted caramel notes abound with a light hoppiness and some nut- flavors on the finish with some hints of toffee and malt. Not much else that I can pick up on.

M: Light on the tongue with a mild amount of carbonation.

O: Overall, a decent beer, I think the aging of this particular one may not have been a good thing for it, but either way, still worth a try.

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Photo of beergoot
3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Enjoy by date: 08 2013 108

Dark copper body with a thick, creamy head riding atop; sticky rings of lacing. Very pleasant roasted malt aroma with hints of hazelnuts and dark caramel. Good grainy sweetness with a touch of esters in the background; fine hop bitterness, especially at the finish. Thin bodied; crisp and dry finish.

The beer starts out with promise, including the taste, but it soon loses much of its appeal. Overall, the malt flavors seem weaker with each mouthful and the body comes across more watery. One is left with a slightly over-bitter ale flavor. I hoped for better, and it's drinkable, but falls flat in the long run.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Transcribed from notes dtd Su, 14 July 2013

I had problems with my wireless internet, really with my home land line which I use for wireless internet and so the day became old-school pen-and-ink time as I really did not want to try and write my review through my phone. Needless to say, when my carrier tells me that they only have a skeleton staff on weekends and the problem will be fixed by 1900 h. on Monday, they are getting 86'd!

I am dubious about this being a retired limited release as Full Sail only recently arrived in PA and I bought this shortly thereafter.

From the bottle: "Independent Employee-Owned"; "Number 47-C 5143"; "Brewer's Share"; "This certifies that YOU are the rightful owner of ONE (1) Brewer's Share of the INITIAL PUB OFFERING of Full Sail Brewing Company's release: ALT a.k.a. PHIL'S EXISTENTIAL ALT, a copper-colored cold-conditioned small batch beer concocted by our own Phil Roche, generously imbued with Munich and Vienna malts and German Noble hops."; "Featured Brewer: Phil Roche Four times a year we hand the keys to our massively talented brewers and let them throw down. Whoever comes up with the most insanely delicious new brew gets to share it with the entire brew-geekosphere. It's something we call Brewer's Share. Now you're probably wondering what is so darn existential about Phil's Alt. According to Phil, 'Altbier is German and the only thing ancient Germans thought more about than their existence was brew. Early myths contain some 200 verses about the creation of the world, but twice that many about making brew!'"; "Phil's Charity: Phil has chosen to support Friends of the Children, a non-profit that provides Portland's most-at-risk children with intensive and long-term mentors. Visit www.friendsofthechildren.org".

My pour created two fingers of dense, foamy, light-tan head with good retention. Color was a deep-copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a lightly molasses-like sweetness. Mouthfeel was medium with a molasses-like flavor on the tongue. Definitely not malty, but not bitter, either. It landed somewhere in the middle ground of the two flavors. Finish definitely had the grassiness of "German Noble hops", which I read as Hallertau. Once more, I was glad that Full Sail has come to PA.

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Photo of hreb
3.06/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle best before 08 2013. Pours a beautiful deep red color in pint glass with a rapidly falling head. I can't detect any aroma at all. Flavor is pretty neutral as well, with a delicate graininess of raw barley. Very balanced, but not very flavorful. According to BA's notes this was brewed once in 2012. Maybe this bottle is just too old (though it's an alt, so aging ought to be permitted). Since it's before the best buy date I consider it fair game to review. Drinkable but unimpressive.

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Photo of mjurney
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep amber color, looks clear. Lots of fine bubble rising up. Thick eggshell color head.

Ripe black cherries, caramel, toasted, spicy hops.

Hop forward, mainly spicy and herbal, a little leafy. Deep caramel malts, toasted, bread crust. Some dark fruit note. Finish is bitter, dry and crisp. Medium bodied, smooth, dry.

It's very good beer.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.81/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best by date of 08 2013 094, which I am not sure how to decipher, best guess is by March of 2013?

Appearance - crimson amber color with eggshell white head

Smell - caramel, honey, cherry

Taste - caramel, toasted malt, hint of cherry, hops

Mouthfeel - slight sweetness upfront, ample carbonation, heavier side of medium bodied, bold hop bitterness on the finish, dry on the finish as well

Overall - a good beer that is worthy of a re-visit

Price Point - $4.75/22 oz. bottle

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Photo of utopiajane
3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured dark amber, copper with a tall head of off white foam that really didn't want to fall. Great retention and lacing like cloud patterns in the glass. Left a layer on top that finally fell off to a thick cap. Clear and bubbles up bombing from the bottom. Nice looking dark beer. Nose is herbal with caramel malt. Grainy with a little spice. Malt is sweet and full and offers a little toast. Taste is biscuit and burnt sugar. Grain and toffee sweetness alongside a sturdy bitter. Roasted malt, toast with an herbal, lingering dry finish. It's sticky, it's not quite chewy. Long on the palate but not only from bitterness. The grain tastes of earth and has it's own perfume. Drinks as clear as it looks and it even tastes dark.

This is a very amenable beer with a forthcoming and friendly malt character together with a stately hop bitter.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal-clear dark amber with a thinnish head. Some caramel in the nose with herbal noble hops being the strongest aroma here. Flavor is CLEAN: something that a lot of US brewers fail to do with alts. Nice caramel, biscuit malts with a little toast (I'd hope for a little less toast still). Nice herbal, grassy noble hop flavors with a sturdy bitterness and dryness in the end. Mouthfeel has some prickly carbonation. Not too sticky nor slick nor heavy. Overall, this isn't the best altbier I've had, but it's one of the very few and rare examples of a US microbrewery actually making an alt instead of labeling a messy, estery, toasty mess an "altbier." Seriously, I'm tired of US breweries making generic dark amber ales and calling them altbier.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, caramel, and grassy hop aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but there is a somewhat harsh hop bitterness in the flavor.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a finger of head on a dark amber colored body. Looks great.
It smells old (it is an altbier after all). Seriously, it has a good barnyard/hay and earth smell to it.
It's fairly complex for an alt with some mild maltiness to start, then some hop spice and finishes with a bit of burnt wood.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
I haven't tasted many, but this is the best altbier I've had.

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Photo of barczar
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear medium brown with copper highlights and a foamy one inch light khaki head that dissipates slowly, leaving lines of lacing.

Bready, lightly toasted malt a hint of citrus, and floral hops are initially evident in the aroma, with a bit of sweet caramel surfacing later.

Flavor is malt-dominant, with nuances of toasted breadcrust forming the backbone, and a touch of caramel sweetness lingering throughout. There's a back-palate note of lemon that adds intrigue into the lightly roasty, slightly bitter finish.

Body is moderate, if not a touch on the heavy side, with moderate carbonation, and a bit of a citrus bite.

Overall, a great, sessionable brew. Malt character is complex enough to be interesting. Expected a little more floral flavor from the hops, and perhaps not so much citrus.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a fairly clear orange-red with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet bready and caramel malts with grains, lager yeast, light floral hops, and some light fruity esters.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet bready and caramel malts with some fruity esters and grains. Through the middle, some light floral hops come through with some biscuity malts and some lager yeast. The finish is a mix of sweet bready malts with some floral hops, fruity esters, and lager yeast.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice Altbier with good yeast character and smoothness.

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Photo of mactrail
3.13/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark amber with a modest foam. Lots of lacing along the glass. A pleasant sudsy mouthfeel.

Dark and bitterish flavors lurking. Tangy with hints of caramel. Seems more interesting with a few sips, but it ends up as a lightweight oddity. The Altbier style seems to be a tricky one. This is light, with a hint of butter, and a bitter aftertaste. In between it's a grainy brew that tastes like a Pale Ale with some rye. Some odd spoiled fruit and that bitterness without any hint of hops.

From the 22 oz bottle bought at Pinkie's in San Angelo, Texas. The "enjoy by" date is missing.

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Photo of KajII
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Kölsch/Altbier Glass]

The pour was a clear caramel brown with a large (2-3 finger) off white pillowy head that was mostly lasting, finally receding to a large cap with excellent streaky lacing.

The aroma was nice and enticing with a toasted sweet grain malt, light floral hops and a mild doughy yeast and had hints of caramel, honey and a slight fruity ester.

The taste was good and malty with a nice caramel sweetness in the beginning, and then took on a mild fruity hoppiness with a slight bitterness creeping in at the end. The flavor hung on for a good duration proceeding the swallow with a mild citrus peel bitterness lingering for a little while longer.

Mouthfeel was a few steps above light in body with a smooth creamy texture and a somewhat mild carbonation.

Overall probably the best Altbier I have tasted to date, it was malty-sweet with a good hoppiness and a great drinkability. There is not much more one could ask for within this style...


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Photo of woemad
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased at Yoke’s on Foothills Drive in Spokane for $3.99. According to the label, this is best by June 16, 2012. Oops. Guess that’s why it was on sale.

Poured a very dark copper color, with a good-sized, bubbly beige head. When held up to light, the beer takes on a slightly reddish hue. Lots of lace left on the sides of nonic-style pint glass.

Nutty in the nose, along with a mild, floral hop scent. There’s some bready malts as well. Smells not unlike Alt’s I’ve had in Germany, which is not a bad thing at all.

At first it definitely seems like a more malty than hoppy tasting beer, which is what an Alt is supposed to taste like. It begins with a complimentary blend of sweet maltiness and mildly bitter hop flavor. The hop bitterness, although restrained enough to be in harmony with the malts, is greater than a typical German example of the style. In the fadeout the hops become a little more dominant, providing a subtly dry ending.

Medium bodied, with a very slightly oily yet prickly mouthfeel.

This tastes like a really great blend of Germany and America – a beer that is mainy German, stylistically, but brewed with a little bit more hoppiness on account of it being brewed by a brewery from the hop crazy Pacific Northwest. I hope to see this one brewed again, for although the age didn’t seem to harm this beer, I’d still like to try a fresh one.

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Photo of patpbr
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle. The label has got a lot going on.
A nice dark copper color For altbier. The scent is both of carmeal and malts. Taste has a toasted character to it and mostly malt, somewhat nutty? . I found a bit of a hop taste. its light and easy to drink. Not a bad choice for 3.99

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic pint glass on 9/4/12

Deep copper and rust hue with tobacco brown highlights. Smooth, one thumb head is long lasting. Overall retention is great. Lace, other other hand, if few and far between (probably because the foam keeps itself as mostly unified mass).

The aroma has a great deal of complexities: dark bread, caramel, figs, raisins, apple butter, herbal hops, leafy hops, orange marmalade and orange peel. Faint hints of cinnamon. This is a dense aroma for a beer with a modest abv.

A mild to modest hop presence of grass and herbal leaves leads of with a subtle bitterness on the peripheries. Candied fruits, caramel, spiced bread and tangy dark fruits fill out the flavor, pushing the hops along to the finish.

The feel is a slick, somewhat sticky medium and is largely left without intrusion of carbonation that is on the low side of the spectrum. Finishes dry with mild lingering residuals.

I'm glad I picked up a bottle of this. Strong throughout and enjoyable to sip on. Good bargain, too.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber from "Lifesource" Salem. $4.79 Nice deep amber/brown body with a slight haze,and a thick creamy quarter inch eggshell white head atop. Malty,bready,nutty slightly toasted aromas. All of the above inn the taste..plus a semi bitter after taste that works well. Nice rounded mouthfeel . Good drinkable beer

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Photo of jlindros
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light fluffy 1/2 finger head with lots of sticky lacing, quite clear cranberry auburn reddish color.

Nose has some light reddish malts, little caramel and red candy, little toasty even, hint toffee. Hops bring a bit earthy hop, little grassy and slight herbal hops, slight ester like earthiness with some fruity aromas, little cherry apple like.

Taste starts with caramel reddish malts again, chewy reddish Munich like malts, some caramel and toffee, little sweetness. Then hops, little spicy, earthy, and quite herbal, and chewy hops. Bitterness is fairly strong but not overly. Slight phenols come through with a bit of fruit again. Finish is dry and quite bitter, long earthy spicy and slightly herbal lingering finish, little sticky sweet malts but mostly dry.

Mouth is med bod, decent carb.

Overall OK, not bad, but not great.

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Phil's Existential Alt (Brewer's Share) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
84 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.