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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 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 emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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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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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 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 Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev +8.7%
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

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Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, brown color. 6/4 inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of slight earthy malt, slight caramel malt, hops, slight sweet malt, and a hint of citrus. Fits the style of an Altbier. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of citrus, hint of grass, slight earthy malt, hint of caramel, and a hint of honey. Overall, good appearance, aroma, feel, and blend.

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Photo of beertunes
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought back by a friend after a recent trip to Kansas. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a deep, rich ruby-brown color without much head, likely due to transportation factors.

The aromas were full, rich, earthy and malty, with hint of fruit ( plum? cherry?). The taste built upon the foundation set, being smoothly full and malty, just slightly sweet, without a noticeable fruit taste, and a pleasant hop tang on the finish.

The body was full and well rounded, not heavy and very smooth. Drinkability was great, if available to me, this would be a regular quaff. Overall, a wonderful beer that makes me want to visit Kansas.

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Photo of Brenden
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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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 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 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 Boto
3.76/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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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 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 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 marc77
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.91/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a beautiful deep amber pour with a half inch of head. smells of floral hops, caramel sweetness and honey. tastes of chocolate, cherry, caramel.. really sweet! light body crossing over to medium body with moderate carbonation. very easy to go down, very tasty, and very enjoyable overall.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.17/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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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 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 BeerWithMike
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampling on 2/15/15. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a "Free State Brewery" pint glass.

This 'Altbier' (German for 'old style') style brew pours a pretty copper-amber in color with close to a finger of a off-white foamy head. Some 'ring-like' lacing is seen when sipped that sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of mostly nutty roasted malts. Pretty much is said for the taste as well with good very light bitter finish that doesn't last too long. Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Overall a tasty brew.

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