Alt Route
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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3.57 | pDev: 12.04%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Collaboration with Victory Brewing

Brewers are notorious for refusing to take the easy path. Instead, we lead with our hearts and pursue our passions no matter how difficult the road ahead. Alt Route is a tribute to this stubborn spirit that drove us to dodge the status quo and found breweries. Together we chased the siren song of beer with this revamped take on an antique beer style.

Like us, Victory is one of the few brewers with an allegiance to whole-cone hops. They do extensive work with hop flavor, especially focusing on clever and delicious single-hop beers highlighting the same hop grown in different regions. They too share our roots in home brewing and never lost their passion for working with new beers and styles solely for the joy of making something new.
Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 1,200 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nothing speaks to brewery stubbornness and unwillingness to follow the beaten path than making an altbier in this day and age. It, like the brown ale category, falls into the "kind of boring/mundane" descriptors from many craft beer enthusiasts.

Pours a darker SRM than I was expecting for an alt, this one comes in firmly dark brown and red. Good 3/4" off white head on the top, nice retention. Aroma like most alts is fairly quiet. Some toasted toffee like malt notes with very mild dark fruit.

Taste is a malty, lightly sweet, brown malt, toffee, unsweetened and very restrained caramel impressions. Bready. Bitterness is higher than expected (and probably therefore for style as well). It was kind of a weird beer to pick off the breweries known for whole cone hops, like you think it would be something like a pale ale used to show off said hops. Either way, decent beer that might bring some hopheads of yesteryear to consider trying an alt.

Apr 24, 2017
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macrosmatic from Florida

3.77/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from (long-standing) notes. Consumed in late 2014. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Cigar City Brewing pint glass.

A: Pours a dark amber, and nearly clear. Forms a finger's worth of off-white head with good retention. Low amount of visible carbonation.

S: Rich maltiness with a light toasty character. A bit of noble hops, and a mild tinny character.

T: Toasted malts with slight toffee character up front, then a significant hop bitterness - resinous and grassy with lesser floral notes. There's still a touch of the tinniness on the palate, but it isn't obnoxious. After the swallow, there's a lingering bitterness and a dry, highly attenuated finish.

M: A lighter body than the appearance suggested, but not watery. Good carbonation sensation, and low alcohol presence.

O: An enjoyable enough beer, and easy to drink. Nothing that I'd seek out again, but a decent example of an underrepresented style.

Feb 08, 2017
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 6/3/14; drank 7/11/14 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Clear purple/brown hue.

HUGE egg shell head (careful pouring!); frothy lace.

Candy sugar, mild citrus & leather nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Malt sweetness, oak, smoke & leather; pickle as it warms. Not a bad session brew.

Nov 10, 2016
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stakem from Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. The brew appears a chestnut to brown color with a khaki head. Smells of bready malt, toffee, biscuits and bread. Slight herbal note also thrown in to the nose. The taste is dry bready malt, slightly buttery and has a lasting herbal bitterness. This is medium in body with modest carbonation. A decent brew with more clingy bitterness than I was expecting.

Oct 02, 2015
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Goblinmunkey7 from Massachusetts

3.29/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear orange-copper with an off-white/super light khaki head. Retention is minimal leaving a small creamy cap. Minimal to non-existent lacing.

Smell: Caramelized malts and then some. Deeply bready. Cooked malt. Brown bread. A touch of generic dark fruit as well. Mild hoppiness with some leafy and mild citrus notes. Ever so slightly toasted with some roasted sweetness. A bit of grain and husk. A touch of dirt. Mostly a clean bready sweetness.

Taste: A bit more bitterness. Some solid earth and leafy herbal notes. A touch of grass. Sweet toasted brown bread. Solidly roasted. Cooked and caramelized malt. A touch of pine. Some cereal grain coupled with almost raw malt. A hint of spiciness that almost says rye but not quite. Herbal and earthy hop element. Small hint of alcohol in the back. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Ever so slightly astringent with a touch of slick creaminess upfront.

Overall: You could take this road from time to time.

Let those whole cone hops sing. Seriously, it's an ode to the whole cone and it shows. Tons of hop flavor without the overbearing bitterness. Perhaps a bit too hoppy to style, but that's not a bad thing nowadays.

May 17, 2015
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feloniousmonk from Minnesota

3.74/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America Alt Route Altbier, brewed in collaboration with Victory Brewing Company. 6.6% alc by vol. 50 IBU.

Dusky, dark, rich auburn-hued, under a lush, off-white head. Looking great.

Aroma: malt, grain, mineral, nut. Clean, keen and serene and classically alt. Mild hops.

Taste: malt is king at first, rich and chocolatey, nutty, totally tasty. Full-bodied, with a long finish. This has all the hallmarks of a classic alt. Mmm. Not too much else to say, it is exactly what it is. And it is good.

Let's read more: "This take on a German alter is anchored by a layered, slightly sweet malt body supported by citrusy hop flavor and aroma." Yeah, I didn't get any citrusy anything. Well, maybe some. Okay, yeah, I get it now.

Wait, there's more! "Brewers are notorious for refusing to take the easy path. Alt Route is a tribute to this stubborn spirit that drove us to dodge the status quo and build breweries of our own. Together we chased the siren song of beer with this revamped take on an antique beer style."

Okay, now I get the "revamped" aspect, it's the use of distinctly American hops instead of classically German ones. Not sure why I didn't get them at first gander. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

Apr 08, 2015
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SaltofOH from Ohio

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

Bottle, forgot to look at date, but it was right after these came out. Drank on October 25-2014. Rated to Northern German Altbier standard.

Appearance: Pours a rich brown, slightly cloudy, with 1/5 fingers tan, frothy head. Outstanding lacing and retention.

Aroma: active yeast; fruity; not a Belgian yeastiness, not English either. Malty. [Admittedly, not to style, but I like the way this smells].

Taste: Clean, slightly hoppy (bitter) arrival. Malty but light; strong, clean bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Mid-to-light.

Overall: Excellent; malty and clean bittering. Could drink this all day. The best of a brown ale and a German lager together. Would buy a sixer if readily available. [My first Altbier.]

Apr 05, 2015
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fx20736 from New York

3.99/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bought in the Beer Camp 12 pack awhile ago. Served in a pint at cellar temp.

Look: Dark amber, white head, great lacing.

Smell: earthy, funky

Taste: earthy, a touch of spice

Feel: slightly thin

Overall: good beer

Mar 14, 2015
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Jadjunk from Georgia

3.36/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

"Brewers are notorious for refusing to take the easy path. Alt Route is a tribute to this stubborn spirit that drove us to dodge the status quo and build breweries of our own. Together we chased the siren song of beer with this revamped take on an antique beer style." Brewed in the style of a German Altbier, available in single 12 oz bottles as part of the Beer Camp Across America 2015 Variety Pack and available on limited draft. Brewed in collaboration with Victory Brewing Company.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a Sierra Nevada tulip glass. Served above 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a caramel cream head of a foamy frothed consistency over a caramel syrup body with ample lively carbonation bubbles and high clarity. Retention is very good and lacing is light and streaked. 4

(Smell) Malt aromas of biscuity and bready malts with a soft caramel graininess, some earthy and nutty aromas, a soft dried fruit profile of raisin and date and a mild hop aroma of earthy, spicy hops. Potency is mild/medium. 3.5

(Taste) Dry malt flavors of German biscuit and grain malt, notes of unsweetened caramel and delicate fruit syrups, some faint molasses. The sweetness is very subdued in the flavor profile making a beer light in malt flavor but much bolder in hop flavors, with notes of earthy, spicy and fruity hops and a moderate bitterness. Somewhat imbalanced, but nonetheless drinkable. 3.25

(Mouthfeel) The texture is smooth, lightly slick, very dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a medium frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is shy of medium for the style, medium overall. Balance is mildly earthy bitter and grainy over sweet. Alcohol presence is low and there are no notable off characters. 3.25

(Overall) A promising ale but the lack of sweetness drags down the drinkability, generating a beer that comes off as imbalanced and irritably dry. While I've had a few Altbiers before, I haven't had any of them come off quite as mild in body and taste before. Despite the lack of sweetness, the remaining flavors are enjoyable if not per the style guidelines, it is fairly hoppy for a traditional German ale. Drinkable, but curiously mild on the malt profile, especially for a traditional German style that is usually brimming with depth of flavor. 3.25

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s
Alt Route Altbier (With Victory Brewing Company)

Feb 24, 2015
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CHickman from New York

3.79/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany brown with reddish hues that makes it seem cloudy and a thick 1 finger tan head that was full of bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving excellent foamy lacing, rings as it went down and it left a layer on top.

Smelled bready and like caramel and toffee up front, with grains, metallic yeast, light cracker, nutty and then some more wet wheat bread that has a slight sweetness. Light hops round out the German profile that almost begs you to throw this back outdoors on a chilly afternoon as the sun is setting.

Tastes sweeter with some brown sugar and leafy floral hops that have a peat moss flavor mixed with toffee and caramel. The characteristics of the nose follow suit with wheat bread, toasted grains, metallic yeast, light cracker, nuts, some dark fruit like a red grape or cherry, and peppery spices and tea leaf similar to dry floral hops. The brew is more malty, but the hops and spices add just enough balance to keep it complex and interesting.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery, with mild carbonation, a sweet bready driver, and a slightly bitter finish that trails off bready with notes of caramel and syrup.

After the beer is finished the display of rings along the glass is very impressive, and since this is a style I don’t have often so I will appreciate it for what it is and deem this a pretty tasty altbier. It reminded me of October drinking outside and made the German in me proud.

Feb 23, 2015
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Mitchster from Michigan

4.41/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brewed with Pilsner, Munich, Caramel, Carafa III, bittered with Summit, finished with Liberty, Mt. Hood
OG=14.0P, 50 IBU, FG=2.2P, 6.6% ABV.

Pours out to a brilliantly clear deep chestnut, forming a large whipped mousse-like yellow head with beautifully retention and solid sticky sheets of lace. Moderately carbonated. The nose is really nice, nutty, with a touch of brown roast, caramel, slightly bready, clean...Reminds a touch of Eliot Ness, A vienna lager, closely related to Alts. The mouthfeel is smooth with a medium dense body and a dry finish. The taste is wonderful. Complex, crisp, clean, with a beautiful balance between nuts, wood, a clean herbal bitterness, malt body, toast in the finish and a pleasing dryness. Wonderfully balanced. No off flavors or aromas.

This is a great beer. It's a touch more bitter than most alts, but thats part of the appeal. I would gladly purchase this again. Well worth a try.

Feb 19, 2015
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had picked up most of this series as singles at The Friendly Greek and then put them in my reefer awaiting review. The backlog at Chez Woody is phenomenal and so I am now getting around to them.

From the bottle: "This take on a German Altbier is anchored by a layered, slightly sweet malt body supported by citrusy hop flavor and aroma."; "Brewed in Collaboration with Victory Brewing Company"; "Brewers are notorious for refusing to take the easy path. Alt Route is a tribute to this stubborn spirit that drove us to dodge the status quo and build breweries of our own. Together we chased the siren song of beer with this revamped take on an antique beer style."; "We brew in Chico, CA, and Mills River, NC, to bring you the finest quality beer."

Once again, with (unintentionally) aged beers, a light hand is probably best, following the Pop!ping of the cap. The bartender's trick netted me a finger of dense, light-brown head with reasonable retention. Color was Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a pronounced caramel malty sweetness along with a pleasant earthiness. Noble hops, perhaps? Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, more dense than the last one, but without the prickly carbonation. The taste had a molasses-like bittersweetness along with that earthy quality that I noted on the nose. I was getting some lacing along the sides of my glass as I drank, but no evidence of lees. Had they filtered this one? Finish was semi-dry, more earthy than bitter and a nice addition to the day.

Feb 16, 2015
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

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

A - Looks good deep shade of chestnut brown, clear, with a 1/4 inch of head that sticks around for a bit. Good lacing.
S - Mostly smells good not very sugary with some sweet malts, mild hops, and a lingering bit of caramel.
T - Hops and malts are pretty balanced rather sweet caramel notes with a touch of dry hopping. Not sure why some are saying "super hoppy" it's pretty good.
M - Smooth medium bodied brew easy to quaff. Good.

Overall its a decent take on the style and a decent idea by Victory. Enjoyable.

Jan 26, 2015
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TheSSG from Illinois

3.26/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a soapy, tan head that collapses into a nice, half finger. Caramel, toasted malt, and floral hops. Copper, burnt-umber color. Starts with a surprising hop bitterness; citrus and toasted malt. Bitterness quickly builds into a citrus rind flavor which lingers. Finish is lingering citrus rind bitterness and a touch of toasted malt.

This isn't too bad. I'm not a huge fan of Alts, but this one is super hoppy. I don't think I'm a fan of the citrus rind lingering bitterness on top of toasted malt.

Jan 19, 2015
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angrybabboon from Massachusetts

3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 1/12/15

A: Pours darker than expected, a dark amber with burnt copper, shades of light brown at its core - lightly hazy - medium-sized, off-white head, fades to a few wisps and small collar, leaves some spots of lacing

S: Chewy malts and some hoppiness strongly reminiscent of a beer from Victory (not surprising) - caramel and amber grains, bread, bread crust, toasty biscuits, and maybe some crackers - caramel and hints of molasses - lightly nutty - leafy hops with some light fruitiness - earthy

T: Earthy bread with a hoppy flair - caramel and amber malts, multigrain bread, bread crust, and cooked biscuits - caramelized malts, caramel, toffee - light sweetness is balanced by an undertone of earthiness - lightly fruity - some citrus zest and pine, leafy hops - low bitterness, finishes clean

M: Medium body, smooth, low carbonation

O: Malt Route

This is definitely worth trying. The malt profile is quite nice, as it's kind of like a light barleywine. It's true to the style, except for the hops, which feel a little out of place. A little too leafy and earthy for my taste.

Jan 12, 2015
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

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

Russet brown body with a small, soapy, off-white head of broken bubbles. Aromas of dark malts, grain, brown bread, fruity esters, yeast. Similar flavor, with the addition of a mild hop character. Bready with a hint of bitterness. Sweet brown breads. Decent.

Dec 30, 2014
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BeerDawgs from Georgia

3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 6/3/14

L - Amber red with little clarity, 1 full finger of head and lace that sticks atop the brew and all over the glass on the way down

S - Not getting much aroma, and I am not sick. When I stick my nose way down into the glass some soft floral aroma and sugar smells

T - The taste totally redeems this brew! Slight sweetness up front and a bold hop finish. Well balanced and smooth.

F - Full bodied, medium carbonation

O -An enjoyable beer for sure

Dec 05, 2014
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KTCamm from New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

11/5...BCAA 5/12...pours dark amber, reddish brown, lid of foam and some lacing. Sweet caramel malt nose. Bready and toffee too. Punchy hop bitter starts out and slides into a tighter and lighter sweet malt. Bitter in the background grinds. Better than a typical alt, chewy, good buzz.

Nov 26, 2014
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ClePaul from Ohio

4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Look 8/10
Smell 17/20
Taste 34/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 18/20

Overall 86/100

A very tasty and a touch toasty altbier. Very smooth and has a super slippery light texture. This is the first of the beer camp pack that I actually can say I enjoy drinking. very smooth, although there isn't a ton of taste, its much more about the texture of this one~

Nov 09, 2014
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timontheroad from Colorado

3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown with a half inch head after a very aggressive pour. Aroma was pretty muted, with only a slight bit of bready sweet malt notes, and just a touch of some grassy bits, although this is probably due it it's age. The taste is a little more pronounced, with a bit of roasty malt flavors and some citrusy fruity tastes. The mouthfeel was medium to light-bodied, with some nice lingering bitterness that stays on the palate. Pretty tasty, but just OK, not great.

Oct 31, 2014
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Fatehunter from Oregon

2.7/5  rDev -24.4%

Pours a thin head on a slightly hazy straw colored body.
The aroma is faint; grains and mild fruit.
The taste is a nice mixture of ripe dark fruits, a moderate dose of lemon bitterness and finishes with a long bitter note.
The texture is crisp.
Alt is a tough style but it a good beer.

Oct 26, 2014
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BucannonXC5 from California

3.57/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Type: 12-oz.bottle
Glass: Karl Strauss pint glass
From: Albertsons in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $25.99 for the variety Beer Camp Across America 12-pack
Purchased: Oct. 17, 2014
Consumed: Oct. 24, 2014
Misc.: Collaboration with Victory Brewing Company; Packaged June 3, 2014 at 8:56 p.m.

Poured a dark red, mahogany, semi-clear color with two fingers of khaki white, rocky head. Lots of bubbles streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. Above average-to-good l uneven layered lacing on the sides of the glass. Great foamy retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled plum, fig, prunes, raisins, caramel, toffee, hazel, light vanilla, faint espresso, menthol, honey and sugary sweet malts. Reminded me of the Anderson Valley Boont amber beer I had recently. (Smell - 3.50)

Tasted more nuttier and roastier than the nose. Got roasty nuts, caramel, hazel, toffee, plum, fig, honey, prunes, raisins, light menthol, purple grape and faint black cherry. (Taste - 3.50)

Medium body. Creamy-to-oily texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 3.75)

A pretty decent altbier. It had its moments for sure. (Overall - 3.50)

3.57 | 81 | B

Oct 25, 2014
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Florida9 from Illinois

3.44/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A darker shade of chestnut brown in color. Forms a modest light tan colored head. Some light lacing. Aroma is off - heavily toasted with notes of caramel. Taste is more of the same: lots of toasted malts with a mild spicy-rye-like character all mixed with a bit of bitter citrus zest. Medium bodied. Appropriate carbonation. Dirty bitterness.
A decent beer at best.

Oct 24, 2014
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Flounder57 from Massachusetts

3.59/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a puffy layer. It is a dark copper color with good clarity and vision of tiny bubbles coming up through the glass. Frothy lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Toasted bread, caramel, earthy, raisins, and banana.

Taste: Burnt toast, cracker, caramel, earthy, banana, and raisin. Some bitterness in the rear too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium bodied, medium carbonation, slight bitterness, and chewy.

Overall: Nice altbier. A traditional style that is good to see breweries make every once in a while.

Oct 19, 2014
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BWED from Colorado

3.77/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a craft tumbler

A- Brown, amber and clear. Well filtered. Head is light tan and very dense. Half inch. Little bits of lacing.

S- First off is a malty sweetness, caramel, and fruit, dark, maybe a bit of raisin. Hop character is a bit earthy, and a slight citrus.

T- More hop forward. A bit citrusy and earthy. Malt is toasty and sweet.

M- Nice wet drink. Body is medium light. The finish is suprisingly well balanced. The sweetness and hop bitterness mellow each other out. Slightly dry finish.

O- Not bad. Really drinkable. Like the balance of hops and malt, along with the nuance of flavors from cold aging.

Oct 16, 2014
Alt Route from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 1200 ratings