Brewer's Alley 1634 Ale
Brewer's Alley Restaurant & Brewery

Brewer's Alley 1634 AleBrewer's Alley 1634 Ale
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Rye Beer
Ranked #258
Ranked #41,986
3.57 | pDev: 14.01%
Brewer's Alley Restaurant & Brewery
Maryland, United States
Brewer's Alley 1634 AleBrewer's Alley 1634 Ale
Notes: "1634 Ale" was created by Tom Flores, master brewer at Brewer's Alley, following research of historic recipes and raw materials available in centuries past. "We used ingredients that would have been found in the austere conditions of early colonial Maryland," said Flores of his rye-based ale recipe that also includes malted wheat, molasses and caraway. Flores says caramel and dark malts round out the flavor of the "lighter bodied ale."
Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 80 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jmdrpi
3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, no date

Light brown in color, white head. Aroma is herbal, spicy, bready. Taste is balanced, not overly sweet, finishes drier. Medium bodied.

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Photo of AngusOg
3.56/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Obviously I'm no expert, but I could see this being a fairly accurate interpretation of a historical style. I could definitely see sitting at a tavern back in the day drinking one of these out of my tankard. All the same, makes me glad I live in the modern world of beer today. Just not really my thing. The best way to describe the taste is, like a piece of rye bread dipped into a moderately strong light ale. A fun beer to try, and I'm glad I got the chance, but I'm also really glad I only had a single and not an entire six-pack of it.

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Deep chestnut red, quite clear nearly crystal but slightly opaque but allows good head viewing from the bottom. The head only manages a simple tan two finger tall presence, and keeps a simple collar.

Very spiced dry notes, rye and caraway, surprisnngly not as sweet as I thought it would be, or much hint of molasses. Pretty solid, a bit neutral and one dimensional with no idea of what might be coming.

Palate does take the rye angle very noticeably. Pumperknickle dry, watery malt depth, and a big amount of tannic dryness on the aftertaste. Palate of rye tannic grain, watery bread, moderate bready sweetness that washes a little quick on the swallow. Not a lot of molasses character here, but not really complaining.

I am usually not a big fan of rye beer, but this is at least drinkable and not horrible to choke down.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Finger of off-white head, just a touch of head, amber color. Looks fine. Nose is a bit of dirty malt. Flavor is caramel malt, light spiciness, maybe a touch of prunes or raisins. Body is okay - a bit watery, thinner than I might like. This one is just okay; not bad for a small brewery with a somewhat unique brew, but not a whole lot going on, either.

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Photo of BenWashburn
3.59/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

The key with this one is not to drink it too cold. Of course, that's the key to a lot of complex beers. Keep it English pub temperature (56 degrees) and the flavors come forward some. Wish it had just a touch more molasses.

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Photo of biegaman
3.73/5  rDev +4.5%

True to historic form though 1634 Ale endeavors to be, it's doubtful that Cecil Calvert, the second Lord of Baltimore, would ever have seen an ale this clear and light (relatively speaking). The butterscotch coloured beer is a little murky, sure, but far from opaque and demonstrates excellent chestnut highlighting. Its head is modest but would be abundant by 17th century standards.

1634 Ale has the smell of a modern Eastern-European bakery: fresh-baked rye bread and caraway seed abounds. There's also subtly sweet notes of toffee and maple syrup. It doesn't rank high on the aromatic scale but is still a respectable medium and thus far delivers on what's billed.

The taste, too, features those things promised on the label - molasses, rye, caraway - albeit at safe levels not likely to turn away the general drinking public. There's no doubt Brewer's Alley have toned down the keystone ingredients to suit modern palates. Interesting though the flavour profile may be, it's not terribly impressionable all things considered.

That being said, I'm pleased with the restrained sweetness and, even more so, the lingering (however subtle) presence of caraway and rye - it's enough to remind me of a good spiced pumpernickel loaf, one of my favourite styles of bread. Indeed, if ever there was a beer to pair with breakfast this makes a strong candidate for creamed cheese bagels or bacon and eggs.

1634 Ale may not be every bit as unique as I'd hoped, but it's still a distinct and highly enjoyable offering that is well worth picking up if you're in that part of the country. It also makes a great beer to share with friends accustomed to the standard swill lagers; this is definitely the kind of beer that can open eyes, broadened tastes, and turn people onto craft beers.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours reddish black with a decent size off brown head. Smells of sweet grain, a tad of fruitiness. Tastes of watery sugar, kinda like an adjunct, but with a little more flavor. Beer is light bodied, drinkable, lightly carbonated. Overall an above average beer.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This has an almost sherry like appearance as the color is clean light and cognac brown with only a collar of fizzy film.

The nose holds a strong alcohol scent that needs to disappated before it subsides to a rye, barley and chocolate malt.

The flavor has a lot of diversity with a black licorice, pumpernickle, rye and barley malt an then a spicy peppercorn.

The feel is a bit abrasive with a spiky carbonation in the throat but it's not too off putting.

I found this to be a different and interesting beer that is a good example of a Rye.

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Photo of DKHNOVA
4.27/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I liked this quite a bit. The molasses and spices were enough to make it interesting, but without being too much. The taste was complex and had a good development from first sip to aftertaste. Worth a try. Something I'd like to have from time to time, but not every week.

There was initially the possibility that this was going to be a limited production for a temporary period ( ) but it's still around three years later.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.22/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a beer mug.

A: Pours a slightly reddish copper color. There are tiny little yeast particles in the body, but don't hurt the clarity too much. The head is pretty poor, a one finger eggshell color that fades to a light collar in no time flat, but leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Caramel, toffee, faint wheat, brown sugar, molasses, and a little bit of spice. The rye isn't particularly evident in the aroma.

T: Sweet and lightly nutty to start, before finishing with a touch of savory spice and rye. The initial flavors are stronger than the finishing ones, but the balance between sweet and savory is pulled off decently. Not an intense or terribly interesting beer, but easy to drink.

M: Textured well enough, but it's a little chalkier than I prefer. The dryness the rye malt imparts is a nice touch that aids drinkability. Carbonation is medium.

O: Decent, no more, no less. Basically the kind of beer you either A) buy to fill out a mixed six pack with, or B) get at a bar because you don't want to have Fat Tire for the 439th time. It's different and drinkable enough to be worth a shot.

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Photo of Beer_Runner
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap in a starndard pint glass.
Served too cold to get the optimum aroma and taste.

A: The head disapated almost immediately into a thin beige ring around the side of the glass. The beer is a dark copper and almost opaque.

S: A very mild aroma of a sweet molassas.

M: A medium body, and very smooth with very little carbonation and a clean finish.

T: Begins with a rye malt and little spice with some molassas sweetness. The second part has some mild floral hops complimented by the caraway.

O: Overall, this is very much a rye beer. The molassas sweetness is an very nice addition to the rye. Also, the caraway really compliments the mild hops in this beer. It is a very interesting blend of flavors.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - pleasant coloring of brown copper and moderately dark yet clear. Minimal head.

Smell - lots of malt, molasses, brown sugar scents.

Taste - Very light yet flavorful. Well balance of malts, flavoring and slight crispness in finish. Not much hop presence but well balanced.

Mouthfeel - a tad watery

Overall - this is one of the better brewer's alley beers I've sampled from the local Frederick establishment. This one is pretty good.

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Photo of nimrod979
3.05/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewpub. Murky copper color with a small white head... Leaves a tiny bit of lacing.
Light malty aroma. Taste is sweet malts and molasses, Rye grains. Smooth and Slightly creamy. Small bitterness shows in the finish. Overall not bad, probably Brewers' most unique offering.

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Photo of silver7447
3.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Less than a fingers width of head after pouring and minimal lacing clinging to the glass. However the reddish hues which pervade over the amber base color are quite alluring.

S- Not much to speak of here. After really shoving my nose in the glass I picked up on some subtle spiced notes. Quite possible the caraway spice could be the culprit.

T- The beer lacks significant flavor upfront, but explodes with molasses and spices as it hits the back of your mouth. It almost has a nutty note that lingers. The flavor is refreshing, but would by no means be considered bold.

M- The carbonation is quite noticeable, even before any flavor. It persists throughout the entire sip of beer, but not in an overwhelming manner.

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Photo of Rschis16
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice brown color reminiscent of the molasses brewed with this one. Good clarity and a small to medium sized head after an aggressive pour. Dissapates slowly. Molasses and caraway seeds are absolutely present in the aroma, as well as a small amount of hop backing. Pleasant, but almost burnt smelling.

Medium to light body, with flavors that are faintly sweet and light in the taste. Rye and caraway are present in the slight spiciness, with the molasses providing a sweet reminder that its there too. Its hard to pick which one of these flavors stands out more, but I think the spice wins out slightly. Nothing about this beer jumps out and grabs you except for the easy drinkability combined with a flavorful beer. You know its very solid for what it is, and if the mouthfeel weren't as clean and almost refreshing, it might stand out more. Maybe a bit more creaminess in the finish and this beer would work exceedingly well. That said, this is a good beer and its no wonder they were out of it on a busy Saturday night at the restaurant. Quite delicious and easy going, I'm glad I bought a sixer of it later.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another thanks to brees6221 for the bottle in a trade.

12oz bottle poured into my Deschutes Snifter.

Appearance - Clear, reddish amber, small tan head, that dissipates quickly to the edges.
No lacing at all.

Smell - Raisins, sweet fruit.

Taste - Molasses, spices, and old fruit.

Drinkability - Slick and oily, low carbonation.

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Photo of obrendano
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

new to this brewery, and will probably come back for more

A - 1634 pours with a very short lived fizzy head. beer is dark amber colored and clear

S - nice toasty malt nose to this, a little yeast to back it up

T - semi dark malt front gives way to a roasty toasty finish that saved this beer. not nearly as harsh as most ryes. a welcome change from the barley world. slight twinges of hop is noticeable throughout various sips, but this is rye malt through and through.

M - nothing out of this world, but solid. slightly sticky and smooth

D - no true complaints here, this is a good one from a Maryland brewery, which means it gets double support from me

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.56/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Date: 7 March 2011
Glass: 5oz pilsner
Type: On-tap

Drank on tap at Brewer's Alley in Frederick, MD. Taken from notes:

Appearance: Copper-orange in color, runny lacing, no head.

Smell: Aroma of light molasses, lightly-toasted malts.

Taste: Lots of rye flavor, pils malts, way too lightly-hopped.

Mouthfeel: Heavy rye between tastes.

Drinkability: Excellent session beer at a bar with a great basic malty taste.

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Photo of Ryanm1
4.35/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was bought in a bottle and poured into a glass. Frederick, MD has several breweries and this beer isn't that well known but should be.

To my knowledge you can't find this beer sold per case, only by six pack. Dark copper in color. Not hoppy. Slightly sweet in taste due to the fact that it is brewed with molasses. Also, states that malted rye and malted wheat are added much like the original beers of the colony.

Bottle says it is brewed with caraway "natural" flavor which is slightly present in the taste.

Much more surprising and likable than I would have expected. Definite recommendation if you are in the Maryland area and see it on tab or in the bottle.

Very crisp for an Ale. Goes down easily.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Last beer of the afternoon at Brewer's Alley, unfortunately for me it was my least favorite, and I love rye beers.

Beer is served in a shaker pint again. Beer is brown and mostly clear, although it is quite dark. Forms a broken thin white head of small bubbles. Carbonation is low and there is no lacing.

Beer has a mild / lagerish aroma with a hint of sulfur in it.

Moderate bodied, mild spice I guess it could be caraway seeds. Beer is sweet up front, overall its a little boring. There is low levels of carbonation on the palate but the flavors don't carry through the beer. Oh well. Most of their beers are good.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.55/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass at about 50 degrees.

A: poured clear orange/brown color with no head or lacing

S: aroma was heavily molasses with some notes of plum and smoke

T: flavor consisted of molasses with hints of raisin, toast, and pine

M: medium well balanced mouthfeel, best part of the beer

D: filling, warming feeling from pour to finish, not a session beer

Overall an average beer, matched well with a few chunks of Jarlsberg Swiss, tolerable on its own.

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Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the brewpub. A rye ale celebrating Maryland's 375th anniversary.

A: The ale is dark, a woody brown hue that is opaque, ruddy like a solid brown ale. A half finger of off-white head, little lace, hung out for a spell.

S: The nose has a strong caramel malt presence that is paired up with a rich burnt sugar and rye aroma. The rye is faint, lending an almost smokey mystic to the ale, but it is definitely there.

T: The rich caramel malt stands out immediately, warming with each sip. Molasses doesn't add much flavor but its heft is evident early on, beefing up an otherwise mild ale. Wheat tries to counteract the molasses but fails to. Rye waits until the last third of each sip to come through. At first is seems smoky before the caraway and rye leave their bready, spicy mark. The complexity of the ale, I really like that.

M: The mouthfeel is bold without being big. Caramel and molasses up front, followed by rye and caraway late in each sip. An interesting throwback of an ale.

D: The ale is heavy but not strong, complex with a pleasant mildness. A ale worthy of Maryland, My Maryland.

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Photo of therica
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= light copper evident of the rye, decent head dissipating quickly to mild rimming and lacing during consumption.

S= definitely rye, a malty bready scent, toasty whiffs, mild hops florals.

T= remniscent of a Belgian Dubel in some ways, slightly dry, a nice grassy taste with rye easy to find, caraway, the wheat is far less apparent and more of a background.

M= dry, green grassy, very nice.

D= very nice and drinkable. Currently my winter "non-dark" go-to favorite.

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Photo of blackie
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pint glass serving, nice khaki head, maple syrup amber beer, decent retention

s: body features caramel and a good deal of rye, raw sugars, subtle molasses, light caraway influence, smells rich but balanced for such a light-natured beer, like it

m: first sip leaves my mouth with a subtle numbness - and a quick google reveals that caraway is indeed an anesthetic (cool), the effect actually builds and it becomes very noticeable, lively medium carbonation, light-medium body

t: malt-centric body with spicy rye and a really interesting flavor from the caraway, some caramel, rye bread, brown sugar, hop influence mild - relies just as much on the spice for balance, while the malted wheat keeps it from becoming weighed down while retaining lots of flavor

d: a solid, unique beer

brewed to commemorate Maryland's 375th anniversary, single from Ye Olde Spirit Shop, Frederick, MD

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Photo of jgasparine
4.09/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- An agressive pour from the bottle yielded a 1/2" cream colored head, which quickly evaporated to a haze layer. The body was an aged oil-rubbed copper brown, *slightly** hazy, with a couple of tiny bubble trains working up the sides of the glass.

S- BIG sweet bready malts are dominant on the nose, with lesser molasses and spicy notes... there's almost a faint aroma of burnt candy sugar lingering in there too, but no evidence of any obvious hops. Very interesting, and very nice!

T- A good replicate of the nose... the sweet malts and burnt sugar flavors are balanced by a mild spiciness. Again, there is no apparent hop character here, but this is very good nonetheless.

M- Medium body... the brew could benefit from a bigger backbone; a few more unattenuated sugars. There is a nice bounty of fine carbonation in there, and it works well.

D- Wow, this beer is very drinkable. Different and drinkable. My expectations for it were vastly exceeded... I could easily drink this all night!

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Brewer's Alley 1634 Ale from Brewer's Alley Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 80 ratings