Avalanche Ale | Breckenridge Brewery

453 Reviews
Read the review
Avalanche AleAvalanche Ale

Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery
Colorado, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
That's what makes our Avalanche amber ale such a treat. We blend pale and caramel malts — and just a kiss of bittering hops — to create a refreshing-but-flavorful, anytime beer. Aromas of pale grains, a semi-sweet middle and a clean-as-Colorado snow finish make this our best-selling beer.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-16-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 453 | Ratings: 1,307
Photo of Suds
3.72/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer is a clear, light amber colored beer with a beautiful white head. The aroma is pleasant...malty, with a light spicy hop scent in the background. The taste is similar...malt, a touch of fruit, and a light hopiness. It's not an aggressive beer, but is rather a straightforward, approachable, and very drinkable beer. This reminds me of many brews from 20 years ago, solid and drinkable, but not overly creative.

 423 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.64/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Notebook entry from craft beer expo last year.

Appearance : 2 finger head, amber/honey colored, 50% opacity.

Smell : Oaky, slight rotten lemon, an off-putting wheat note. Unmistakably amber with toasted malts.

Taste : Light, easy drinking...some wheat and red ale flavors in there, slight oak and char.

Feel : Light to medium bodied, creamy, ends semi-dry.

Overall : A bit of sour funk is the off-putting factor here, otherwise it goes down easy for an amber ale.

 473 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A - Pours a cloudy amber with a one-finger white head. The head recedes quickly leaving some light spotty lacing.

S - Aroma is light caramel malts and some breadiness.

T - The taste starts with sweet caramel malts upfront with some biscuit and hazelnut. The finish has some light earthy hops.

M - Light body with medium carbonation. Watery mouthfeel with a crisp finish.

O - A decent sessionable Amber.

 406 characters

Photo of stevoj
3.06/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Some wonderful toffee and caramel flavors in this beer, coming out more as it warms. The best part of this beer was its taste. Normal amber body with soft airy off-white head.

 175 characters

Photo of Weisenbeer
2.74/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Unfortunately, really disappointed with this and this brewer generally. Uninspired, thin on flavor, and a big letdown. They indicate this is their flagship beer. Ouch. Really wanted to like, just didn't. :-(

 210 characters

Photo of Brian_L-2056
4.23/5  rDev +31%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love this brew! Pours an amber golden color with a thin white head. Initial taste is very mild, kinda like a Belgium ale, mild caramel nutty aftertaste. This is a very tasty drinkable beer, the best one I've had for a while. Would definitely buy a 6-pack

 258 characters

Photo of SitkaSteve
3.28/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a hazy amber to ruddy red color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within less than a minute. Light speckled lacing stuck nicely around the glass.
The smell started off with some caramel malts and then a sly amount of nuts sneak in to blend nicely.
The taste was malty sweet through the caramel. The nutty part blends around it and a light bitter citrus hops try to make a small presence.
The mouthfeel sat about a light on the body with a decent sessionability about it. Carbonation runs fairly tame.
Overall, I don't mind it. It seems to fit the style. Its just nothing over the top.

 655 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

15 Ju1 15
On-Tap 16 oz. (The Ale House)

Pours a nice clean/clear amber color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, which does leave some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, nice touch of caramel. The taste is malty, very nice caramel note. Medium body. Overall a tasty brew.

 305 characters

Photo of ordybill
3.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a malt and wheat/grass smell, not bad.
Appearance- this beer pours a clear golden copper color with a thick white head.
Taste- Big malt flavor up front up the after / finishing taste is rather empty.
Palate- A medium bodied beer with heavy carbonation.
Overall- An average beer

 334 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.52/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Truncated notes:

A: Head fills ~80% of the glass. Frothy enough, with fair thickness and fullness. Decent complexion. Not real creamy. Could be softer-looking. Leaves uneven light lacing on the sides of the glass. Retention is superb - ~7-9 minutes.

Body is a vibrant copper (NOT an amber). Clear and translucent, with no visible yeasty muck or hop sediment.

Overall, it looks more like a pale than an amber.

Sm: Aroma brings wheat, pale malt, floral hops, and dominant amber malts (which carry a hint of toastiness). I find no caramalt. A biteen bready.

Aromatic intensity is average.

T: Amber malts, toastiness, mild floral hop character, and pale malts. Shallow and somewhat insipid, with a middling balance. Not gestalt, unique, special, complex, subtle, or nuanced.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with fair carbonation and an unrefreshing feel. Medium-bodied. Somewhat stale, actually.

Generic in its execution. Meh. There's no harmony of texture to taste.

O: Drinkable but middling. A very generic amber from Breckenridge. I'll be sticking to their vanilla porter going forward.

Low C-

 1,090 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.41/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #74 (Mar 2013):

Understandable that this brew is light in size, but more is expected from a name like that—it's like naming a Chihuahua Zeus … forget the name, we guess. So we have a sessionable Amber Ale, one without much of a punch aside from a slight toasted malt character. Even the hops are pretty damn modest. A decent brew, nothing more.

STYLE: American Amber Ale
ABV: 4.4%

LOOK: Reddish copper, thin head

SMELL: Mild caramel, dried hay, mildly fruit, bready, faint hazelnut

TASTE: Light crispness, lighter body, wet, thin graininess, toasted bread crust, nutty, mineral, mild hopping, grass, apple skin; dry, toasty finish

 691 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.88/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, deep, dark, amber, mahogany color with an eighth of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice aromas of bready, toasted malt up front, imparting notes of biscuity, cereal-like aromas, followed by some caramel and brown sugar, spices of black pepper and coriander, and a touch of vinegary-like corn or rice adjunct-like aromas.

Taste: Really, really good, with strong flavors of bready, toasted malt up front, imparting notes of biscuits, cereal and sourdough bread. Next comes strong flavors of caramel and brown sugar-like sweetness and some black pepper. Finally, the beer finishes with a touch of floral, piney, slightly bitter hops. Thankfully, there are none of the vinegary-like corn or rice adjunct-like flavors that are present in the aroma. Great beer!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and nicely effervescent as there is some good carbonation present. With an ABV of 4.4%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: What a nice beer! Malty, slightly sweet, easy to drink. Another great beer from Colorado, and another great beer from Breckenridge. While not quite as good a New Belgium’s Fat Tire, I could easily drink this all day, and be very happy!

 1,345 characters

Photo of bmeehan
3.45/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The beer pours a gorgeous shade of deep reddish brown with the perfect head, but that's where the beauty really ends. The taste is very average a little bitter for such a timid beer, and you don't feel like you'll really remember drinking it after you're done. Solid, but not really anything special.

 300 characters

Photo of PA-hunter
3.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 4.4% abv

Appearance- Medium amber color and and slighty cloudy. Two finger head that dissipates fast.

Smell- Caramel malts throughout with an earthy crispness.

Taste- Grains come through heavy, followed by the sweet malt which is not as pronounced as in the smell. The herbal hop finish comes in at the end with a touch of bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Light in body, dry finish.

Overall- A decent amber ale that is fairly light and nothing too big or memorable as far as flavor goes. Still not bad; easy drinking.

 544 characters

Photo of dcscientist
3.94/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many people don't think this beer is that good, but I don't understand why. It's a great warm-weather or session beer. Light and ambery but not too pale, nice clear color, crisp taste. Nothing too adventurous, but great to have around in the cooler.

 252 characters

Photo of Webbey
4/5  rDev +23.8%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to glass.

Appearance: A beautiful copper/amber color with no cloudiness. Great clarity.

Smell: Very malt filled smell with just a hint of hops.

Taste: I really enjoy this one. Your basic Amber Ale. Barely any bitterness at all but not overwhelmingly sweet. A good balance. Very smooth and no flavors that really slap you in the face. This would be a great summer drinking beer and you could drink MANY in one sitting.

Mouthfeel: Very lightly carbonated. Not too much up front sweetness. Malt character shines through in the middle and the finish.

Overall: I really enjoy this beer even though it is considered just OK. An easy drinker. Great session ale. Flavor is very basic so I'll just give it a 4 (although I enjoy basic in many beers).

 773 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Deep true copper to orange amber body. Fairly clear, with virtually no carbonation present. Head is a fluffy light tan consistency and about three fingers tall.

Very light toasted grains, and small caramel presence on the nose. Not much going on but pretty much what an amber should be but seems very quiet on the aroma front.

Palate matches much of the nose but also it's buried flavor. Quite a watery palate and a matching almost faint taffy watery candy sticky quality. Small toast and grains with also faint caramel adding in the mix. Slightly soapy tasting as well.

Overall it's a session amber, and one without much flavor, but it doesn't bring much else to the table other than it's easy drinking and refreshing. No major complaints but nothing too crazy either, sort of a slightly better Fat Tire vein here.

 867 characters

Photo of mjurney
3.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber color, clear. Good amount of carbonation rising to the top. Thin head.

Caramel malts, some herbal hops, very crisp.

Caramel malts, a little toasted. Fruity ester. Hop bitterness is moderate, floral-spicy, a little tea-like. Finish is crisp and dry. Body is light towards medium, very smooth, crisp, clean, refreshing.

It's a good beer.

 391 characters

Photo of Cozuma
4.04/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Caramel clear color with a barely off-white head that's thin and fades to a ring,

S: Caramel dominates the palate with faint apple or a good crisp jicama comes in lightly in the background, mildly floral as well.

T: Again caramel definitely dominates but the light tang of the apple mentioned earlier comes in late and the beer finishes clean.

M: Full bodied beer that has a creamy oily feel to it with a good gulp.

O: A nice amber ale that would be pretty easy to clean out a cooler full. Probably would pair well with a good juicy steak or some kind of smoked meat. Big thanks to KW for sharing this one with me.

 622 characters

Photo of alphagnome
3.28/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper color body with a thin, white head. Minimal lacing. Crazy carbonation.

Damp grains and light honey notes. Light sweetness. Rather blah.

Lightly toasted malts. Grainy. Fresh biscuits. Earthy hop presence towards the end but is inoffensive.

Smooth and light. Semi-sweet finish. Crisp.

Nothing special here. It's easy to drink and inoffensive. I wouldn't run out trying to find this one, but on a hot summer day, this could be a fine grilling companion.

 522 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This poured the obligatory amber hue but had a clean filtered clearness. The head was fizzy and shallow, fluttering away quickly.

The aroma holds nice but subtle toasted grains with a mild caramel sweetness and a tinge of hop bitterness.

The flavor holds the same toasted grain held by the nose. The grains are biscuity, lightly toasted with a caramel malt sweetness. There is some bitterness from the hops but for the most part the toasty grains finish the flavor.

The feel is quite impressive with a velvety smoothness and a water like drinkability without being watery.

The 4 pct ABV gives this away as the malt required to amp up the flavor is not there and it is simply too weak.

 688 characters

Photo of ThisLadyLovesBeer
3.53/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I like this amber ale. Not overly carbonated, nice color, doesn't leave a bitter taste in the mouth, and very drinkable. It doesn't have much of a foamy head, but that's okay. I think it's true to its kind and would not be impossible to enjoy more than one in a sitting. Also doesn't need food to appease the palate, although it would accompany a nice pizza or deli sandwich, steak or chicken dish with no problem. Would buy again.

 431 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, slight caramel, and fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and slight fruit flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of toasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that is easy to drink but it seems fairly watery and lacking all around.

 538 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle at reefer temp into a goblet.
Aroma slightly malty.
Head small (2 cm), off-white, creamy, mostly diminishing.
Lacing OK
Body light amber, clear - no chill haze
Initial flavor slightly malty and lager-ish.
Ends with slight malt bitterness - no diacetyl, no hops.
Light to medium body watery.
Carbonation soft.

Overall, drinkable for me but not enough - not enough malt, not enough hops, not enough alcohol - just too light and undecided.

 444 characters

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. It's been a long time coming since I last had a bottle of this, so I figured it was time to revisit it. My bottle is a bit different than the one pictured and says Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Style Ale. Expectations are about average; I don't remember it being great or anything.

Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours a light coppery amber with nice clarity and some fine sediment floating topside. Two fingers of creamy fluffy off-white head. Looks pretty nice actually, for what it is.

S - Smell isn't bad either. Light biscuit malts, honey, toasted grains, a hint of earthy nuttiness. Not a terribly powerful aroma, but it hits it's mark.

T - Taste is comprised of sweet grains, honeyed biscuit malt, some earthy nuttiness, coppery metallics, mildly herbal, some sweet tea leaf flavor, and some crisp green apple.

M - Feel ends crisp, grainy, and herbal. A semi-dry end.

Overall, this surprisingly exceeded my expectations. Crisp, refreshing, flavorful, and sessionable with a low 4.40% abv. I would definitely have it again.

Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Style Ale ---3.5/5

 1,156 characters

Avalanche Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
3.23 out of 5 based on 1,307 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.