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Ad Astra Ale - Free State Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Ad Astra AleAd Astra Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

213 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 213
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 9
Gots: 42 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co. visit their website
Kansas, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-14-2002

This ale is the first brewed in Kansas since pioneering days. The name "Ad Astra comes from the Kansas State Motto - Ad Astra per Aspera, Latin words meaning "To the Stars through Difficulties". We've blended Pale, Caramel, and Munich malts for a rich amber beer. The hops balance this malty sweetness, and we've chosen Northern brewer and Fuggles hops for their flavor.

24 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 213 | Reviews: 57
Reviews by bdoolittle:
More User Reviews:
Photo of tjthresh
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Re-Rate: I have a keg at my home now. Fresher than before. Bumped the aroma, flavor, and overall up 1 point. This is a much better product than is served at Old Chicago.
As Astra is a pretty good session beer. Not a lot there to overwhelm, but enough to make it interesting. Dark red to brown in color, served with no head. Aromas of backed goods, and some brown sugar. Light sweet toasted flavor with decent bitterness. Light inthe body.

Photo of Soonami
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ad Astra Ale is a beer I got from a Reddit Secret Santa gift. It is a nice looking reddish brown beer with just a little lace of rocky head. The beer smells darkly toasty like pumpernickel bread and also a little sweet caramel malt. The beer is a little fruity, very nicely malty and accented with good german hoppy bittering. This is a good beer with a nice aftertaste that I definitely enjoyed.

Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.34/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Nice rich red amber colorado with a head that quickly leaves.

Smell - Lots and lots of malts. Sweet bitter finish.

Taste - again you get a lot of the malts you smelled with a nice bready finish.

Mouthfeel - leaves a nice sweet taste in your mouth.

Overall - glad I got to try it

Photo of Brenden
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one's a red-brown-orange color, translucent at about the exact point between transparent and opaque, with a soft but firm off-white head roughly half a finger high. It holds up pretty well and drops down a mixture of patches and spotting.
Malt-forward, this presents some toasty, honey-like and caramel notes with earth and grains as well as a balance from notes of young wood and herbal leaf.
The flavor is likewise malty and almost nutty, a little bit of not savory but meaty sort of an element present along with earth, leaf and herb with a touch of black pepper. Underneath is a soft sweetness like the flesh of ripe white fruits. It finishes dry as the leafy hops linger nicely.
The medium body has both crispness and smoothness to it, though it leans light and the soft carbonation keeps up at the end of the session slightly less than it began.

Photo of ZebedeeDuBois
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on draft from my local craft bar.

It is a deep reddish brown, with clarity. The head doesn't last long. It smells and tastes malty, and reminds me of a marzen style beer. It drinks smoothly and cleanly, excellent for accompanying food. A definite favorite.

Photo of KansasNate
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This copper hued ale was the first to be brewed in Kansas since the wild west days. This is an easy drinking beer, with a slight sweet edge that is balanced nicely with the hops. Perhaps too easy drinking on a monday night with $1.75 pints on tap. This is excellent beer.

Photo of dbossman
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruby brown; clear and bubbly with a thin quickly dissipating head; leaves a faint film with nice lacing

S: Sweet caramel malts; tea leaves and lemon juice linger on the back end

T: Nice subtly sweet maltiness rich with caramel and wet grains; backed by lemon and tea; lingering pleasant aftertaste

F: Good even mouth feel; even a bit of sediment left on tongue that is pleasant

D: Very nice, drinkable beer; first beer from Free State but hopefully not the last

Photo of midwestbrewers
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours kind of copperish with a 2 finger head. Nice and frothy head with little lacing though.

S: Immediately your nose is rushed with sweet malts. Not much if any hop characteristics.

T: The taste is very malty and sort of sweet. Maybe a little hop bite on the back but very lack-luster.

This is an OK beer. Too sweet and malty for me. The lack of any hop character is a downer for me. Great beer but not in the category for me. Very smooth and goes down easy is a plus though. Great beer Free State Brewing!!!

Photo of russpowell
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes,

Pours an effervescent amber with brown/tan head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Toasty malt, leafy hops & pears

T: Follows the nose, along with grassy & peppery notes up front. Pear note dominate as this warms. Finishes crisp & fruitty

MF: Light/medium body with firm carbonation, decent balance

Drinks easy enough, but nothing special as Alts go

Photo of Kegatron
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. This is from a selection of Free State Brewing beers send to me by JeepCop. Thanks Dale!

Pours a clear coppery amber, with a ½ finger of off-white head. This retains with a thin creamy film that stays frothy when swirled leaving back some nice looking foamy swathes of lacing. The aroma is floral and leafy smelling, with some green citrus flavors that mingle with sticky caramel malts and a fairly prominent deep roasted feel that fills the back of the nose. This is decent, if maybe a little too heavy on the roast at times.

The taste is similar to the nose, with a mix of caramel, toast, and bitter citric fruit that gives the overall profile a bit of a green tangy feel. There is some darkness to the flavors but they seem less pronounced than in they were in the aroma. Leftover hops linger on the tail-end with some lingering dryness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a smooth easy crispness in the mouth that definitely helps keeps this quite drinkable.

This was quite an interesting beer, with some characteristics keeping this closer to traditional Amber Ale and then others finding their over more over to the Altbier category. It never really seems to find it's footing in the middle of the two. That being said though, this is by no means a bad beer in any way and just seems a little confused. There is still more than enough flavor and drinkibility for you to take a chance on it. Worth a look.

Photo of bditty187
3.04/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, dark reddish/slightly bronzy hue, served with a thick off-white head, excellent retention, laced well. Clean nose… there was a slight dull maltiness… disappointing, mute invitation. Moderately flavorsome palate, the maltiness is the focal point, accomplished, the hops play a minor supporting rule, they do add a touch of bitterness. Some caramel and nut hints too. Nicely balanced if not too soft. Modest carbonation. The finish is clean… decent enough to drink. Not really that impressive of an offering… try something else.

Photo of jaycount
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden appearance. Clean fresh looking white head. Good ale. Not alot of extra flavors thrown in, but a good taste of hops. Earthy, hoppy, malty taste. Average mouthfeel, not alot of carbonation. Very sessionable.

Will be in my normal rotation as long as I can keep getting it around town.

Photo of DevAJ
2.49/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It looks nice, but I'm starting to think that maybe I got a bad one or it's expired (picked up in a build your own six pack). The smell is very metallic. The taste is of burnt malt, but then the aftertaste is slightly metallic as well. I am a little disappointed as I was actually looking forward to this one after finding out the style.

Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my cousin for breaking out a surprise growler of this at the family smörgåsbord. Into my new Free State pint glass (also courtesy of my cousin) this poured a nice bright amber color, good clarity, with a generous cap of puffy offwhite foam. The lace was sticky and stayed around for awhile.

Aroma was mainly malty with mild multigrain and sunflower seed notes. Flavor was similarly bready with some light sweetness that finished dry. There were some notes of earthy hop as it came to room temperature. The body was light for an alt, but this rendered it very drinkable. I drank my half of the growler no problem. Free State is on my radar, hope to visit the brewpub someday.

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

Appearance: It has a transparent brown body with a thick sandy head. A bit more tha average carbonation to the body.

Smell: It has a fruity hop aroma.

Taste: A bit yeast spicy at first then it is toffee like and then it finishes with mild grapefruit bitterness and roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Dry and sweet brought together in a medium body.

Overall: It was a bit more complex that I thought it would be. I liked it and if I was reaching for something out of my norm I would drink it again.

Photo of marc77
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark orange / copper in color and very clear. Impressive, thick and sticky head. Nutty, lightly roasted malt aroma, w/ a mild green and floral Hallertauer nose. Toasted and dark caramel malt flavors are accompanied by moderate hop bitterness. The medium body and fairly high carbonation make this brew quite effervescent and refreshing. The finish is quite dry and tannic, but in a pleasant way. Ad Astra is an all around very drinkable beer and a fine example of a style that isn't brewed enough.

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.17/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug.

The beer is a light mahogany/ruby color. A cream colored head dissipates quickly but leaves decent lacing. The beer smells toasty, nutty, and malty. The taste is an exercise in thinking. It tastes malty in a nut brown way, but there is a touch of cherry tartness. Maybe a faint hop finish. The beer is medium bodied.

Overall, I like it. I just may not have this one very often. It's an easy-drinking beer, and well crafted from this brewery.

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

This is a solid (if not particularly memorable) local beer from Lawrence, Kanasas. This is a rather dark beer with a small fuzzy head, and, as advertised, a great balance between malts and hops. The malts will hit you first--smooth, coffee-flavored, full-bodied. Then come the grainy, spicy hops. The flavor is rather pronounced but neither element is very strong. Great beer.

Photo of Thorpe429
2.88/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes. On tap in August 2009.

Pours a moderate brown color with a slight rusty tint. Short white head. The nose brigs some fruits and lift caramel plus a small amount of hops. Bad news underneath though. Just like other beers here, we were unfortunate to get somethig bad going on, as the taste here was quite buttery as well. Luckily this hadn't pervaded other aspects of the beer all that much. It's too bad as I really enjoyed their barleywine and that had no off flavors at all. Maybe we just happened to catch a bad time either with brewing or bad lines. It was at the brewpub though, so either way I have to say that it's on them.

Photo of jmbranum
4.43/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought at The Library in Manhattan, Kansas, enjoyed at home in Oklahoma City.

Pours a brown liquid with a huge, huge, super-smooth fluffy tan head. Excellent bready-aroma.

Flavor is interesting. Lots of roasted notes, some brown bread, a tiny bit of caramel but that is offset by the bitterness and a little bit of acidic prickle. Some coffee. Lingering bitterness with some slight hint of chocolate.

Very smooth. Reminds me just a little bit of a nitro-can Guinness, but this is much better.

Yet another superior Kansas beer. I'm becoming quite the fan of KS beers I must admit.

Photo of Beer_Borg
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber color, small head which dissipated quickly

S: Moderate, nutty/sweet aroma

T: moderate hoppy flavor to nutty notes. At first it finishes so clean there is almost no aftertaste but as you continue it leaves a subtle bitterness.

M: Not quite crisp, more of a carbonated feel

O: Overall not a bad ale but not remarkable

Photo of sulldaddy
3.24/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into a pint glass. A gift from my friend Ragingbull.
The beer pours a clear beautiful mahogany color with ruby highlights and a 1 cm creamy beige head. The foam receds slowly to a sturdy surface layer with very tight lattice on the sides of the glass. Very appealing looks.
Aroma is caramel and some grainy malt with a bit of spicy and grassy hops in the background, but this is a malt driven nose.
First sip reveals an average bodied beer with very fine yet tingly carbonation.
Flavor is grainy and husky malt with a touch of toffee. I also get a little bit of grassy hop but the beer finishes with an almost tangy malt hit, more like a wheat twang than caramel. The finishing flavor is a little weird as it is out of balance with the rest of the beer.
No hint of any booze on this one and the beer drinks very smooth and easy.
I like the beer overall but the flavor on the finish is a little strange.

Photo of karst
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear deep copper with a persistant 3 finger head that persists.

Aroma of nutty malt and Hallertauer hops.

Flavors of crystal 60 and toasted nutty malts balanced by moderate IBUs

Medium body, active carbonation and unfermentable dextrins yield a satisfying mouthfeel with a dry finish from hops. Ad Astra is an excellent Alt bier a style that I have began to delve into.

Most drinkable!

Photo of WunderLlama
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams pint glass

A: Pours a reddish brown caramel with a small foamy cap that quickly settles down. Faint lacings on the glass

S: Fresh beer with a nice scent of hops. Very appealing.

T: Fresh smooth start with a hint of spice finish.

M: Medium to medium light body with small bit of carbonation

O: A nice , drinkable beer that would be great on a hot day. A nice well crafted beer.

Photo of Reaper16
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on-tap at Flying Saucer: Kansas City, MO, into a pint glass

Pours a muddy brown color with definite inflections of ruby. The head was eggshell white and only about .5 fingers in size (but its a bar pour into a pint glass, that's kind of the norm). Lacing was solid.

Ad Astra has a very malty nose. Caramel malt for sure and some toastiness to boot. Lots of dry smells too; leafy smells. Tobacco grows stronger in the nose as the beer warms and there is some tea leaf aroma there as well.

This beer is hard to contextualize and figure out. I mean that in a completely good way. After you get acclimated to the the rush of sweet malt flavors you can pick up some distant orange peel. There is a spiciness that hints at flowers and fruit... its kind of like potpourri in a way. The leafy tobacco and oolong tea flavors show up on the palate. This is pretty tasty.

All of that craziness of flavor is held together by a mouthfeel that isn't really noticeable. Personally, I often enjoy when a beer's mouthfeel doesn't stick out in your mind. It is a workmanlike feel, effective but not splashy. The interesting flavors make for a very drinkable alitbier. This is sessionable for sure.

Free State is an impressive little brewery that is slowly but surly expanding. Their Ad Astra ale is one of their oldest offering but it holds up as a worthy part of their lineup.

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Ad Astra Ale from Free State Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 213 ratings.