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Ad Astra Ale - Free State Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Ad Astra AleAd Astra Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

57 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 57
Hads: 230
Avg: 3.68
pDev: 22.55%
Wants: 9
Gots: 55 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 230
Photo of DevAJ
2.49/5  rDev -32.3%
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.

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Photo of maxpower
2.63/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Deep clear amber color, nice white lasting head, malty bready aroma. Light and sweet caremel malt flavor, some light hop flavor stand out in a clean dry finish, light body and a thin, watery mouthfeel, a good one for microswill drinkers just to bland for me.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.88/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

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Photo of emmasdad
2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks Dan (and Ratman) for sharing this one last night. Although I sincerly appreciate it, I did not enjoy it. Poured a dark amber color with a little bit of head on top. Aromas of cardboard, nuts and caramel. Medium bodied, with flavors of cardboard, roasted nuts and caramel malt. Kind of sad, maybe this one sat for a while.

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Photo of bditty187
3.04/5  rDev -17.4%
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.

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Photo of birchstick
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an amberish copper with a creamy white head on it. Smells of toasts malts with a bit of nut character. The taste is close to the nose with a nice toasted malt but deviates from the aroma in that it has a stronggrassy hop bitterness. I don't lnow if it my palate or this brewery but I am getting a lot of grass hop on their beers. As Ith their other beers, I really enjoy the story behind the name and appreciate the effOrt put into the beer but it isn't one I would necessarily go out of my way for. Worth a try, though?, definitely.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.24/5  rDev -12%
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.

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Photo of mdcrouser
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper-tinted brown pour, with a faint light white head, lacy fingers scratching their way down the glass.

Bready malt dominates, leaving little else to the imagination. Smells alot like a brewery, actually.

Highly bready - caramel, woodsy, pumpernickel, with only an allusion of citrus - grapefruit, orange.

Crisp and hearty, with ample carbonation.

Not a great beer, but I certainly could drink a lot of them.

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Photo of midwestbrewers
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
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!!!

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Photo of russpowell
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
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

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Photo of Beer_Borg
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
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

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Photo of beernut7
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This American amber ale possesses a deep amber color with no head. The very insignificant aroma is slightly of malt. A nice smooth heavier body supports a sharp malt sweetness and a lingering bitterness. The sweetness becomes a bit harsh toward the bottom of the glass, but a latent fruity spice helps to curb it some.

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Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.34/5  rDev -9.2%
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

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Photo of Rio
3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed as on tap since the growler was filled from a tap. Nice brown ½ gallon growler with Free State Brewery logo on the front, and a bit of history about Free State and brewing in Kansas on the back.

Poured a deep brownish color with a nice head with good retention. Bit of maltiness to the smell, but all in all, not that impressive. Main flavor seems to be the maltiness, with a bit of hoppiness and perhaps a flavor of nuts under it. Decent bit of carbonation to it, but otherwise nothing distinctive in the feel.

A good beer, Free State's first, and I believe possibly the first beer brewed in Kansas after it became legal again. A good one to try, and probably try again, but not really that outstanding.

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Photo of Deuane
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Copper with a medium off-white head that left moderate lace.

S-Muted aroma of peppery hops and a bit of spiciness.

T-Roasty malts and a bit of hop spice. Overall rather dull though.

M-Medium-light body with a nice sharp crispness.

D-Not a bad beer but this one was a bit too boring for me. I found nothing exceptional about it. A good "training wheels" craft beer

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Photo of AmyfaceNYC
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

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Photo of acelin
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

Pours a nut brown with no lacing, and barely a head. Nothing amazing here, but doesn't look nasty.

Smells of malt, molasses slightly, nutty tones.

The malts make a good display here, with rich nutty sugary flavors. Maybe a little light roast coffee. Slightly bitter from the hops.

Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability is wonderful.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of tronester
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep dark brownish red with a creamy tan head. Smell is a bit of dark fruit and freshly cut hay. Taste is initially some munich malt sweetness, followed by a cinnamony, rye bread middle, and a slightly tart, earthy finish. Mouthfeel is rich, cask like carbonation. Overall a good beer. Not too often you find an altbier in the USA.

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Photo of Soonami
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of Goliath
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber in color with one inch of yellowed head sitting on top. Good retention and some nice lacing.

Nice aroma with caramel and a little hop spiciness.

Flavors are nice, with caramel and chocolate. A slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is fairly high with good flavors.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer shared by my cousin in his man cave, served in appropriate glassware even. Thanks. At the time of this review, this is #34 on the "Top Beers - Altbier" list on beeradvocate.com.

Beer is dark brown, hazy, tan head, small and medium bubbles. Some lacing. Looks good.

Aroma is very malty and sweet with a nice yeastiness.

Beer is medium in body and strong. It has a nice finish to it but not my favorite alt I've had. A little roasty on the back end. Eh. I might have it again.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

907th Review on BA
Bottle to Pint
12 oz

Purchased from: On the Rocks, Lawrence, KS

App- A dark dark amber with a 1-1/2 finger head. A bit of an off white color with some good cling all the way down the glass. Falls to a ring of pond bubbles.

Smell- A bit thick malts and a touch of heavy cream on the nose. A bit earthy with some grainy notes as well.

Taste- Much like the nose but has some coffee and more grain taste to it. It's tasty but more spicy malty than would be expected.

Mouth- A medium body and a medium carbonation level. A bit of malty caramel with a touch of that heavy cream and spice.

Drink- It's good. I liked it, but needs to even out with some pop behind it.

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Photo of Dope
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A fairly dark brown pour with a very light tan head. Head is dense and retains very well. Lots of thick lacing on the glass.

S: Sweet caramel, toasted malt and some earthtones. A touch of dark fruit? Chocolate as it warms.

T: Toasted malt mixed with some caramel and chocolate. Earthy aftertaste.

M: Pretty light, to be expected for a 5.6% ABV beer.

O: Honestly not bad, a pretty simple and malty beer. Drinkable and inoffensive.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Ad Astra Ale from Free State Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.