Avalanche Ale | Breckenridge Brewery

453 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 453 | Ratings: 1,307
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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Photo of Triklino
3.42/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Poured into a standard pint glass, very little head to be had. Pours a fairly deep amber with a hue of red.

Smell - The first thing that struck me was the smell, It has a sweet malt scent that makes the mouth water. Mainly chocolate, with some hints of caramel.

Taste - First sip was tasty, malty up front with a taste of chocolate that fades quick into a barely noticeable hop finish. The finish is way more watery than hoppy, which is disappointing, not a very complex beer start to finish.

Mouthfeel - Light on the mouth and palette, it lacks a little bit of body that I felt the beer could have benefited from. It finishes clean and leaves a slightly refreshing, watery aftertaste.

Overall - This is by no means a bad beer, and I feel like for what it was crafted as, it does the job well. It is a lighter beer with craft beer taste, it's just a shame that it couldn't escape the light beer feel.

Would I drink this again? If it's on tap I'd definitely give it another shot, however there are other beers akin to this one I'd rather buy.

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Photo of Westlake1
4.34/5  rDev +34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Avalanche is a great Amber with a clean, refreshing taste. I was very surprised to find it at the local grocery chain in the Cleveland area. Even though it has traveled through many states, it tastes almost as fresh as having one in Breckenridge. This is my favorite among Colorado beers.

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A - a cloudy fusion of apple butter and liptons powdered tea. Soft beige head that falls a bit too quickly. Minor fine bubbled lacing.

S - yeasty frosty. Sour undertones some malts some hops.

T / M - initially sweet and frothy but initial joy fades too quickly. Strong beginning but a weak slightly watery finish. Hop balance is good. And no off flavors. A solidly constructed beer.

D - overall pleasant. Not award winning but great for any occasion.

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Photo of bmwats
3.24/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Amber hue. Pours a half finger, bubbly, white head. Disappears quickly. Plenty of rising effervescence and pockets of carbonation clinging to the sides of the glass. Pretty fair beer ring lacing.

S: Butterscotch, buttered toast, and wood chips.

T: Bitter acetyl, hickory wood, and citrus pith.

M: Hearty feel. Comes across a little bitter and pungent, but not in a positive way.

D: Session style.

Atmosphere is okay. Decent head, and fair lacing. Buttery, bready, woody nose. Bitter wood chips and citrus pith overshadow the bready malt grains. Overall, this is a decent quaff.

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Photo of LXIXME
2.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Small to maybe medium off white head quickly settles to a quarter inch or less of semi-frothy head above a clear bronze-caramel colored beer.

Very light caramelized grain malts aroma.

Light tasting caramel grain malts is about all there is going on with this light tasting amber.

Almost a wet aftertaste with just a tad of the caramel malts sticking around with this lighter side medium bodied beer.

Not a bad tasting amber beer, just not enough of the taste it has, if the taste of this beer were more pronounced it might actually be a pretty good drink.

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Photo of spoony
3.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From an undated 355 ml bottle into a nonic.

A-An aggressive pour produces nearly a finger of light-tan head that dissipates quickly into a collar. No lacing. The brew is medium-amber in color with a bit of chill haze. No carbonation is visible. Pretty unremarkable.

S-The smell is a mundane mixture of barley, husk, some caramel sweetness, and a bit of grassy bitterness. Unfortunately, I smell a fair bit of metallic grain and a slightly sulfuric note.

T-The taste is also on the sweet side with grainy barley, some caramel sweetness, and lightly floral, bitter hops on the finish. The metallic taste is lessened a bit from the smell, but this is still not an appetizing brew.

M-The feel is pretty typical for this style with moderate body and soft, passive carbonation.

O-This is a pretty mediocre effort. The hops are nearly non-existent and the malts are not terribly interesting. I don't know if my bottle was too old, but I could not get over the grainy, metallic note that I detected on my first whiff. The barley and grains do provide flavor versus a BMC brew, but I don't know if that flavor is worth partaking in.

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Photo of Kevin60
2.75/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a dark amber color. Cloudy with minimal visibility through the pint glass. Absolutely no foam when slow poured from a bottle into the pint glass. Slight bubbling around the edges of the glass.

Smell - Sub par aroma. Smell is very generic with slightly floral hints.

Taste - Bitter throughout the whole drink. Starts more bitter and then eventually opens to some floral hints and again finishes with a hint of bitterness in the after taste. Aftertaste only lasts a minimal amount of time. Tastes almost like a generic Miller Light or Bud Light.

Mouthfeel - Carbonated. Too carbonated for my taste in beer.

Overall - SLIGHT upgrade from generic Miller Light and Bud. Generic looking, sub-par smell with a bitter taste throughout with minimal floral and caramel hints. Stick with the Miller and save yourself a couple of bucks. Would not buy again.

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Photo of BeerDocT
3.12/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured the can into a chilled tulip glass.

Appearance 3.0: Light amber color. Small head dissipated into characteristic CO2 swirls on top.

Smell 3.5: Very nice bouquet. Hints of biscuit malt, barley and a slight bubblegum smell.

Taste 3.0: Front is a dry barley taste. Middle is basically gone. Nothing there. Finish is slightly hoppy: think Kent Goldings type hoppy, though. That's right: more "mossy" flavor and not biting at all. Finish is more malt and barley. Dry throughout and would probably go well with food.

Mouthfeel: 3.0: OK level of carbonation and is clearly 100% CO2.

Overall 3.0: Good, basic beer. Nothing special. Reminiscent of another Colorado brewery's famous beer (namely New Belgium's Fat Tire), this is an OK beer, but certainly nothing extraordinary.

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Photo of matjack85
3.24/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I bought this at Binny's as part of a build-your-own six pack for $9.99, making it $1.67 for a single 12oz bottle. No freshness date.

Pours a clear amber/red color with just a half-finger of white head, but despite the small head it left a decent amount of lacing.

Hardly any smell to this. You have to swirl it around in the glass pretty hard to coax a little malt, sweet caramel, and floral hops out of it.

More caramel malt than anything else, making it a tad sweet. Hops are more floral than bitter as it only has 19 IBU's to it. Not really much to this but it's still tasty in a simple kind of way.

Very thin body, almost watery, with moderate carbonation.

Nothing stands out but there's nothing bad either. Very drinkable.

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Photo of MickeyD
3.52/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this from a 12oz bottle into a clean pint glass.

Appearance: Light golden brown, no bubbles, head was small, a little less than a finger and dissipated quickly.

Smell: very mild caramel with a balanced floral hop smell.

Taste: a little malty and slightly floral hops, caramel is very mild as is the hops.

Mouth feel: thin and smooth, leaves a good aftertaste of fruity caramel, little carbonation

Overall: This is a good brew but is very mild. It seems typical for the style. It reminds me of a slightly more robust American pilsner. Might buy again if I want something light and smooth but a little more robust than a wheat type beer.

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