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Ad Astra Ale - Free State Brewing Co.

Ad Astra AleAd Astra Ale

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139 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 139
Reviews: 50
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 10.57%

Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co. visit their website
Kansas, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 139 | Reviews: 50 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MTNboy


3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-26-2012 05:35:11 | More by MTNboy
Photo of birchstick


3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-08-2011 03:36:34 | More by birchstick
Photo of Thorpe429


2.85/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2010 20:26:29 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of duhbled


4.28/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my favorite at the local water hole. The poor is full with a nice 1/2 inch head that is creamy white. The smell is rather intoxicating itself but the mouthfeel is smooth and it goes down glass after glass. The taste is slightly sweet and fruity, usually reminding me of plum. It carries a good amount of kick and after 5 I feel like I want one more. It has the right balance between hoppiness and yeast which makes this Altbier a pure delight.

Serving type: on-tap

08-24-2010 17:06:36 | More by duhbled
Photo of Reaper16


3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-27-2010 05:37:04 | More by Reaper16
Photo of ZebedeeDuBois


3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2010 18:36:10 | More by ZebedeeDuBois
Photo of Deuane


3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
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

Serving type: on-tap

07-21-2008 12:11:12 | More by Deuane
Photo of zeff80


3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this several times at the Free State, however, this review comes from The Brick Oven in Topeka.

A - Poured a copper color with a foamy, off-white, two-finger head that left some nice lace.

S - It smelled of hops and bittersweet malt.

T - This tasted quite hoppy and had a smooth roasted malt flavor.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good alt and yet another good brew from the Free State Brewery.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2008 02:29:45 | More by zeff80
Photo of Boto


3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught: Mine poured a clear amber color that was tinged with red. It had a bit of an off-white head that left a decent amount of lacing down the glass. The aroma was a bit weak, while still nice. It was somewhat malty and a bit grassy. The taste was much better. A decent maly body without any real sweetness. A bit of a roastiness to it with a hint of coffee. A fair amount of biterness to it. This is really a decent brew.

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2006 00:30:45 | More by Boto
Photo of karst


4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

04-09-2006 02:14:39 | More by karst
Photo of Mebuzzard


4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served warmer than I would have liked.
Head was missing in the beer, but the color was nice. Medium red/brown, good glow
Aroma of hops, lemon and roasted malt. Molasses a bit.
Taste was a good balance of malt and hops, citurs and nut. Good finish, wanted more

Serving type: on-tap

01-30-2006 20:14:23 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of tjthresh


3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-26-2005 13:12:18 | More by tjthresh
Photo of Dansting


4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draught at Old Chicago in Overland Park, Kansas. Excellent altbier. Pleasant malty aroma and flavor, with nice, rich dark reddish-brown color. Light head that disappears rather quickly. Nice orange aftertaste to go along with initial terrific flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2005 13:57:58 | More by Dansting
Photo of KansasNate


4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2005 00:30:45 | More by KansasNate
Photo of Rio


3.43/5  rDev -7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2004 04:12:00 | More by Rio
Photo of bditty187


3.05/5  rDev -17.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2003 01:19:57 | More by bditty187
Photo of maxpower


2.63/5  rDev -28.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2003 17:54:28 | More by maxpower
Photo of beernut7


3.3/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-13-2002 13:02:18 | More by beernut7
Photo of boilermakerbrew


4.5/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep copper color in the body with a fairly good sized, 3 finger head. Body is almost completely translucent, despite the darker color. Retention and lacing are very good on the light tan head.

S- Starts off with huge caramel malts right off the bat. The scent quickly turns darker and displays some milk chocolate scents as well. Throughout the smell, there is a fair amount of sweetness underlying the caramel and chocolate scents.

T- Surprisingly dark in flavor, just like the scent was. Starts with a dull, only slightly sweet caramel flavor. Chocolate flavors creep in and darken the drink's flavor and up the sweetness a little bit. Slight brown sugar sweetness peeks in before the caramel malt returns to prominence to end the drink.

M- This beer is smooth as silk with low to medium carbonation levels. Incredibly smooth and easy to drink.

Overall, I think there is one way to describe this beer; an awesome American take on a German style that might beat the native Germans in terms of a smooth drinking lager.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2014 00:59:39 | More by boilermakerbrew
Photo of scomstock55


3.96/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

the beer poured ruby red/brownish. The head was thin and not too hearty as is disappeared quickly. It did maintain a little head to the finish but the lacing was scant. The taste was somewhat bready with a hint of molasses. Mouthfeel was really nice..very crisp with a medium amount of carbonation. Overall, a very good beer for a hot day. I wouldnt have a problem drinking a few of these!.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2013 19:40:42 | More by scomstock55
Photo of WunderLlama


3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2013 03:41:44 | More by WunderLlama
Photo of acelin


3.48/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 03:13:50 | More by acelin
Photo of UnkleFester


3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a deep amber, a little over a fingers worth of off-white head that doesn't stay not much lacing with this one.

S: Biscuit malt, earthy hops and molasses on the nose.

T: Much like the nose with a hint of spice towards the finish.

M: Light to medium body with a light amount of carbonation, has a smooth and creamy finish.

O: Another solid beer from Free State this one doesn't do anything mind-blowing but is still a very well crafted beer and a good representation of the style.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2012 03:26:54 | More by UnkleFester
Photo of drabmuh


3.58/5  rDev -3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2012 15:46:16 | More by drabmuh
Photo of JuicesFlowing


4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a 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.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2012 23:53:20 | More by JuicesFlowing
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Ad Astra Ale from Free State Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.