Altbier | French Broad Brewing Co.

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57 Ratings

Brewed by:
French Broad Brewing Co.
North Carolina, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ChainGangGuy on 02-05-2008

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 57 |  Reviews: 48
Reviews by kkipple:
Photo of kkipple
3.47/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big 22oz bomber bought at the brewery in late late July '09. Should be fresh, right?

Overall not a bad take on the Alt style. Looks good, a hazy amber-gold, foamy head. Smells good, grassy and toasty, caramel malts that certainly seem German. Well put together. Taste is decent, with a noticable amount of DMS (cooked corn) present that really hurts the brew. Otherwise, you get fine German malts, toasty and slightly nutty, sweet, noble hops, and a pleasing bitter note. Finish is clean except for that darn DMS again, and the whole thing is mild and enjoyable - but could be so much better. A good recipe in need of some tweaking. I'll get it again in a few months and see if it has changed.

Bottom line: Try French Broad Altbier if you get the chance, but don't go out of your way to get it.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice to see more French Broad stuff here in the triad.Poured a clear rich bronze with a large frothy off white head atop that left broken lace as it settled slowly.Aromas of caramel and brown sugar with underlying toastiness,a German iron-like aroma shows through as well.Well balanced on the palate,flavors start out with a sweeter hard toffee and biscuit flavor melding into a somewhat earthy and herbal finish.A very nice alt here,flavors a well rounded and its very drinkable.

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Photo of merlin48
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber pours a hazy orange body with a small offwhite head. Faint wispy lacing. Aroma of spicy hops and green apples. Light medium body is moderately carbonated. Taste has a hint of Munich malt nuttiness to balance a spicy hop bitterness. A sour green apple note is present all the way through, which helps drinkability but seems badly out of place. Enjoyable alt.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a low ball glass)
A- This beer pours a very hazy caramel orange body with a thin wisp of head and some white floaties swirling around the glass. There is a slow carbonation of big bubbles gliding up the side of the glass.
S- This beer has a light malt aroma with a raw grain note and some barnyard hints to it.
T- The dry caramel malt flavor has soft peach stone woodiness to it and some biscuit malt flavors come though as the beer warms. The soft piggy barnyard flavor is the finish with a very light hop lingering after the finish. As the beer warms the piggy flavor takes on more of a grain husky flavor. M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a tight fizzy prick in the finish and no alcohol heat.
D- This beer has a lot of grainy flavors with not much depth to the malt or hops. There are some hints of funk that I haven't every tasted in a Alt and they might be just off flavors but they do add some depth.

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Photo of whitekiboko
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this at Barley's in Asheville

Poured copper/chestnut with a finger of sand colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Bready with caramel & a bit of herbal hops

T: Caramel, a bit of husky grains &leafy hops up front. More core caramel & biscuitty malt as this warms. Finishes dry, fairly sweet & slightly grainy

MF: Medium bodied, semi smooth & nice balance

This drank so easy, great take on an under loved style..

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Photo of MMAJYK
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Light copper with gold highlights. Brilliantly clear. Head is 1/4", soft, but disappearing quickly.

S. Caramel malt, toast crusts, moderate fruity esters, and low herbal hops.

T. Pleasantly malty with bread and caramel tastes. Midstream bitterness is light to moderate. Flavors round out slightly dry and with light fruity esters.

M. Thin to medium in the mouth with high carbonation. Very prickly on the tongue with a slight touch of astringency.

D. Very drinkable beer. Light and crisp, but also shows moderate malt intensity. I could easily drink a bomber by myself on this hot summer day.

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Photo of alleykatking
2.11/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from 22oz bottle. This one gushed galore!

A- Poured a coppery light orange color. Three finger light tan head that shows medium retention. Light streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- This smells a little sour with a crap ton of yeast in the front of it. Light cereal grains and some metallic hints as well. Don't think this is what it was suppose to smell like but I don't question it at this point in time.

T- A little sour in the front of this with some light bready toasted malts. The sourness picks up and takes it to the finish. It's not a bad thing but it's not what this beer should be like which I found out that many other people ran into this problem like mine. I personally like it but this is not to the style at all.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is very high due to the infection I would think. Sourness runs from the palate to the aftertaste. There is a light alcohol drying on the palate. Flavors are one sided and not blended at all. Off flavor galore.

D- This beer was infected and could have been something more flavor wise than what it was. The sourness I enjoyed a lot to be honest but it was not suppose to be there so I graded it lower because of that.

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Photo of jaredtp
4/5  rDev +15.9%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

ot to try this one on tap at Barleys this evening, always a treat to try new locals. Poured a very nice orange amber with lots of visisble carbonation and amazing clarity. A big three inch fluffy white pilow head on top faded quickly leaving behind just a hint of lace. The aroma was very malty. Lots of cereal and bread smells, along with a touch of banana. The flavor was light and very good. Lots of grains and bready like flavors, bit very nice balance, with a touch of banana of pear like fruit and a hint of spice as well. A nice strong finish left the mouth ddry and begging for another sip. The carbonation was great and mixed with a smooth subtle feel made this extremmely drinkable. Overall a very nice offering and definitly a quality session beer. I would look forward to trying this one again in the future.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber in color with some bronze, orange, and golden highlights. Head slowly rises and holds a stickiness at the top. Smells like a honey-nut toast. Smells good.
While there is nothing particulary exciting our outstanding in the flavor, it is a very good beer. Very balanced with a heavy toasty malt flavor and some leafy, earthy hops in the background. I'm not sure if earthy is a flavor but that's what it taste like to me.
Mouthfeel is very well done. Silky smooth while not being too light or too heavy. This beer really suprised me. I'll be going back for more. Great beer for watching some football with the warmth of a woodstove on a cold wet Sunday evening.

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Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: low off-white head over a deep, aged copper colored beer suspending a thin haze, retention is light but the complex color is very attractive

s: malty Munich gives aromas of concentrated fruit and grain toasted just beyond the point of caramelization, perhaps red and green apples, light sour aroma found in some other Munich heavy beers adds a raw, rustic character, love the sour/sweet interplay

m: light-medium carbonation carries the medium bodied beer across the tongue well

t: toasty Munich malts seem dominant, pretty malty as the color would indicate but balanced with a lighter lager malt, fruity grain juice and a touch of sour hold my interest, delicately balanced hops lack much flavor but provide a mild bitterness, cleans up quickly - as any true lager should

d: an easy-drinking Alt

was surprised to see this in Virginia...bomber from Grape & Gourmet, Virginia Beach

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Photo of CBlack85
2.56/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Olde Mecklenburge Stange.

Pours a clear golden copper color. A moderately aggressive pour produces a monster 4-5 finger tan head that has good retention and leaves light spotty lacing.

Nose is fairly big and bold with lots of bready malt character. There is also a slightly off putting sour/tart aroma.

Unfortunately the dominant flavor is sour apples, my guess is that the beer is infected. There are also some bready malts present, but not enough to overcome the tart sour apple. Beer is medium bodied and overly carbonated (probably due to the infection that has lead to the green apple flavor)

I would like to try this beer again, hopefully I can find a bottle that does not seem to be infrected.

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Photo of mntlover
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lightly hazy copper color with some light brown mixed in. Nice khaki head falls to scum that leades some decent lace behind on my glass.

Aroma is nice soft malts very relaxing and pleasant caramel with hints of nuts peeking out. Some light hops would say blend of herbal and floral.

Taste is like the nose nice caramel, earthy notes along with nuttiness and hints of smoke. Very nice malty treat with light floral hop finish. Not overly complex just enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is soft mellow carbonation on a medium body.

Drinkability is good as a hop head its nice to have a malty treat now and then. If you can i would recommend trying this one.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.13/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer marks number 500 in my repertoire.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle (the label lists lots of pertinent information: 9.1 SRM, 13.2 degrees Plato O.G., 26 IBUs and 5.5% ABV) into a Stange, this North Carolinian Alt shows a nice, mostly clear burnished copper hue with a full two fingers of rocky beige foam that sticks around for the duration and holds on hard to the walls of the glass, leaving gorgeous stained glass-like lace along with fat splotches as it fades.

Mild fruity esters show themselves in the nose along with some restrained herbal and grass-like hop notes. A bit of caramel malt aroma shows itself as the beer warms a bit.

A medium-light body with a moderate carbonation brings with it a rather dry, bitter palate of slightly herbaceous hop notes laid upon a rich malty base of grainy, biscuity notes with some fruity esters filling in around the edges and a touch of caramel coming through as the beer warms, finishing very dry with a lingering flavor of grain and noble hops.

A nice, clean, well-formed example of a Düsseldorf-style Altbier. Mostly clean, this could use a bit less malt character in the finish, and perhaps a touch less estery character on the palate; still, overall, a superb representation of an oft-overlooked yet wonderfully flavorful old-world style.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
2.5/5  rDev -27.5%

Photo of littleg
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured a cooper color with a one-finger, off white, head that dissipated quickly into a small ring of bubbles around the glass and a filmy layer of head.
Smell: Not very appealing on the nose with a grassy, sour aroma.

A very mild ale. True to style but one dimensional. Very thin mouthfeel and easy drinkability. A very non-offensive beer. Would most likely not purchase this one again but wouldn't turn one down if offered.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of lincoln44
1.76/5  rDev -49%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Picked up a bottle of this while passing through Charlotte, NC. I am a fan of Altbier and had high hopes. I have seen reviews without mention of green apple/sour notes and those with. I must have gotten the same bad batch. I have not dumped a beer in a very long time but the bottle I had was awful.

A- appeared very cloudy, copper in color and very carbonated. I'm guessing the extra carbonation came from bacteria that continued to ferment the beer while producing the sour notes.

S-Sour, malty, and sweet of munich malts.

T-Sour with an overwhelming pungency of green apple.

M-Tart on the palate, medium body with an over carbonated bite

D- I would hold off until the bad batch has left the shelves. I really want to try this one again as a good Alt is hard to find in my region.

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Photo of drperm
4.28/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Brewgrass '08

Appearance: Copper-color. "Looks the way beer should look."

Aroma: A perfect blend of hops and malt, it could be a bit more aromatic for my likes.

Taste: I'm not sure if this is close-on stylistically, but I hope it is! I dig this beer. A harmonious blend of malt and hops, not too sweet at all. There's a nice hop follow-through at the end.

Palate: Perfectly dry and fizzy.

Overall: A wonderful session ale.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've enjoyed everything I've had to drink from North Carolina's own French Broad Brewery so far. I had a bomber of this in my posession once upon a time, but in a mad scramble to fill an outbound trade box, I had to sacrifice my only bottle to the (worthy) cause. I was glad to see that the first was well-received, and am now extra-glad to have another vessel in my greedy hands and a clean pint willibecher glass standing by. Let's get it on!

French Broad's Altbier glows orange-amber with tones of fading crimson at the heart and a sparkle of sun-gold at the periphery, and sports a thick glossy cap of mottled ivory foam. A smattering of haze diffuses direct drinking-lamp light, softening and warming the drink's flickering-firelight appearance. The bubbles atop the drink settle in a reasonable time, resting at a lumpy, sticky, sponge-like sheet that deposits broken rings and fine-bubbled wisps of lacing onto the glass.

The smell is dark caramel-candy sweet with a sprinkle of oily toasted nuts and a sizzling dash of spicy hops. The aroma is rich and grainy with a sweet grassy note of drying hay, and a persistent sugary vanilla wafer cookie note that morphs into a vague but luscious whiff of fresh-baked banana-pudding.

The taste is laden with rich bready grain and Munich-malty candy-like sweetness. Savory, dark toasted-nut maltiness provides a touch of oily richness, and a mild, pleasant earthy dryness reluctantly claims ownership of both the finish and the aftertaste. The net yield of the shapeshifting sweet/nutty/dry profile is superb balance and a beer that is toasty, nuance-laden, and fun to drink.

The drink is medium-bodied with a perfectly-proportioned spritz of carbonation, and lends itself to high quaffability. Though I'm not thoroughly vetted on the Altbier style, I'll go so far as to say that this particular example is mellow, delicious, and one truly fine drinker.

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Photo of JayQue
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not the most exciting style in the world, but this beer is certainly worthwhile. Pours a slightly hazy light amber/amber-golden color with a decent size white head. Better than average retention and some lacing.

Smell is fairly weak. Some maltiness. Taste is better than average. A fresh grassiness, bready malts and a slight bitterness in the finish. The malty taste is pronounced. This is not a weak watery beer. Mouthfeel is crisp and rich enough for the style.

Drinkability is good. Would make a good session beer. The flavor is worth while and it goes down nice and easy.

I read that some people got infected, skunky bottles of this one. I am happy to say I didn't have that experience.l

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Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of Tiklmelmo
3.64/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from Secret Santa 09. Served in a pint glass at refrigerator temp (~38F)

A - Cloudy burnt orange with moderate to low head. Some lacing.

S - The first thing that strikes me about this beer is a very unexpected barnyard funk / brett nose. Some light malt and pears as well. I could be way off but this REALLY strikes me as having Brettanomyces in it based on the nose.

T - Again, tart, funky, slightly sour barnyard giving way to bready malt and hints of banana and pears. Definitely not what I was expecting from an altbier, but quite tasty.

M - Quite dry, moderate carbonation. Not getting any of the sweetness mentioned in other reviews at all.

D - Again, not what I was expecting at all, but very drinkable, if you enjoy the funkiness.

I'm wondering if this bottle / batch didn't inadvertently get infected with some Brettanomyces, as the nose and taste both realllly strike me as a wild ale. However, if this did get accidentally infected (or if I'm hallucinating and this is what they were going for), then they got lucky and it worked out pretty well. Definitely not characteristic of the style, but I like it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This Altbier starts with a bright orange-copper color, froathy short head of stark white foam. No lacing but the beer has a bright and fresh appearance- very inviting.

Soft caramel malts of Vienna and Pilsner give medium dominance to the nose. Light earthy hops give a subtle herbal balance to the aroma.

Traditional German malts also lead the flavors. Elegant and smooth tastes of caramels, lightly toasted grains (bread crust) and light fruity apples and pears. Smooth as if cold conditioned as with Marzens.

Very smooth and with a graham cracker malty crispness. Creamy sweet up front but lightly dry and minty in the finish.

A very nice beer with great drinkability. Thanks Ding!

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Altbier from French Broad Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 57 ratings