Altbier | French Broad Brewing Co.

48 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 57
Photo of CurtisLoew
2.42/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a light amber, orange color. Bronze glow through the light. Big white head. Nice looking beer.

Smell is strange. Smells like a flemish sour. I offered my friend a glass, and he commented on it smelling like a pretty good sour before I told him what it was. Fruity smell. Sweet fruits.

Tastes like spices, cloves, bready, sweet. Lots of green apple/sour. None of that awesome rum-soaked fruit or toffee I get from other Alt's.

Mouthfeel is pretty thin.

Overall, very disappointed. I really enjoy Alt's, but this was just a sour mess of a beer. Reminds me of an infected brown ale I once drank.

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Photo of mdfb79
2.66/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From 03/25/11 notes. Thanks to nmann08 for sharing this one.

a - Pours a murky dark golden color with one finger of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of yeast, bready malts, grain, and sour lemon which is odd.

t - Tastes of sour lemon and citrus, malts, grain, bready malts. More sour and tart than the smell, but not in a very enjoyable, or probably intended, way.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

o - Not sure what happened to this one but didn't really seem to smell or taste quite like an altbier should with that sourness. Looking at other people's reviews I don't think this was infected, I just think that's how the beer is. Wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of alleykatking
2.11/5  rDev -38.7%
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 Cyberkedi
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is yeasty, malty, and just a little dusty. It pours a clear orange amber with a fairly thick, fine-bubbled head that hangs around for a bit and leaves a fair amount of lacing. Flavor is malty, a little yeasty, slightly sour and a snip bitter. There are hints of tart citrus and wood. Texture is smooth and edgy, leaving a nice fizz behind on the tongue as well as a hint of lemon.

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Photo of jpro
2.14/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Part of a Bruisin' Ales haul. 22oz bomber poured into a shaker pint...

A: Well, an incredible pfffttt greeted me upon popping the cap on this one; pours a slightly cloudy copper orange, with a HUGE light beige head. Gusher / wild yeast alert!!

S: Light grains and earthy yeast; slightly metallic nose; nothing much going on here.

T: Big time yeast fruitiness and not much else; some dry bitterness on the finish; sweet; lack of any real flavor and what's there is off; possible yeast contamination has taken most of the flavor from this one, leaving it tasting like, well, yeast.

M: Light bodied and incredibly high carbonation; excessively tingly.

D: Not good; virtually zero character here; watery; comparable to a botched homebrew.

Hopefully this is just a bad bottle / batch and this isn't the norm.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours amber with a short head that fades to nothing. Smells a bit like bran and stone, as well as tangerine and lime. Interesting fruit and grain combo with some stony bitterness. Not the most balanced or full beer in the world, but an interesting take on the style with some unique flavors, and definitely drinkable.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was an extra from mikesgroove, much appreciated. The beer is light copper orange with a huge pillowy head and spotty islands of lace. The aroma surprised me with some sour notes I didn't expect from an altbier, although now that I've looked into it I found that other people have complained about possible infection with some batch (possibly mine). Beneath the funk I get some light malts but really the barnyard takes the lead (which I like, I guess masochistically).

The beer is a little tart upfront, probably unintended, with nice toasty malt flavors that probably would be really good for the style if not for the infection. Lingering funkiness that, while nice, probably isn't what I'd want in Dusseldorf. Medium carbonation and easy drinking except for the sour bite.

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Photo of evilkalla
2.61/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Serving: Bomber into a tall lager glass.

A: Copper with an inch of fully developed head. Left gobs of lacing on the side of the glass.

S: A thick, bready, yeasty smell.

T: On the drier side, with a slightly tart, sour yeasty taste. Some of the other reviews noted this as well, and suggested that this batch might have been infected. I agree on this fact as well.

D: The sour flavor of this beer is not very good in my opinion. Wondering if it was intentional, or if it there was a defect at the brewery? This one is going down the drain.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.95/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured clear copper color with an average fizzy off-white head that was mostly lasting with good lacing. Moderate toasted malt and earthy aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture and soft carbonation. Moderate bittersweet flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration. A good drinkable beer.

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Photo of CBlack85
2.56/5  rDev -25.6%
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 Wasatch
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to Rbald42 for this one.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice golden copper color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, tart, with some caramel. The taste is mostly tart/sour, with some malts. Medium body.
Barely Drinkable, not a good rendition of the style.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.2/5  rDev -7%
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 BEERchitect
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
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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Photo of drunkboxer1
4.07/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours light rusty brown. Smells very sweet. Amber malts dominate the flavor profile as well. There's a good flowery presence, maybe some earthyness from the hops. Easy to drink. French Broad takes care to make their beers to style, and they like to avoid the hamfisted hop chucking that a lot of American micros tend to lean on. Very good drinkable beer for malt lovers, although I think I prefer their ESB to this.

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Photo of littleg
3/5  rDev -12.8%
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 Tiklmelmo
3.64/5  rDev +5.8%
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 brentk56
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: I have seen some gushers but this beer takes the cake, creating a huge mess all over the kitchen counter and floor - by the time things settled down, half the bottle was lost; what remains pours a cloudy amber color with a surprisingly modest head that left very little lace - imagine that!

Smell: Caramel spice cake with a hint of grassy hops

Taste: Caramel spice cake, up front, with a developing stone fruit character by mid-palate; after the swallow, the caramel sweetness tends to dominate

Mouthfeel: Medium body but too fizzy

Drinkability: Two bottles on the same day from French Broad and one a bigger gusher than the other; just not very happy with this brewery right now and, while this beer is a decent drinker, it is a bit too sweet

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Photo of wcudwight
4.15/5  rDev +20.6%
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 wisrarebeer
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle, a bit of sediment on bottom
A: nice copper color, a bit hazy, (chill haze?), great rocky head with tiny bubbles
S: very, very good, roasty-toasty malts, strong malt backbone
T: decent, but a bit thin overall, easy drinking, no off flavors, good taste overall with nice balance between sweet malt and underlying bitterness but more malt than anything, biggest problem I keep going back to is that it tastes very thin
M: decent enough but doesn't really stay with you because it tastes watered down
D: OK, but not something I'd probably buy again

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Photo of srandycarter
3.8/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Medium honey, not much head, reduces to ring fast, some cling lace.

S - Slight sour tangy barny smell.

T - Taste follows smell. Tart, a little 'off' barn like, malty undertone.

M - Medium to light body. A little thin for me.

D - VERY easy to drink. Not much effort to drink. Could drink more.

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Photo of JayQue
3.51/5  rDev +2%
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 maximum12
1.76/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Well, through the efforts of a kindly BA I had four bottles of French Broad - this is the last survivor. Two were very good, the third full of diacetyl, & this one - has also turned. 50% ain't too good unless you're vying for a batting crown.

Murky orange with a thin head & active carbonation. Smell gives the first warning - smells like a wild ale. Not an altbier trait, huh?

This altbier is clearly contaminated. The taste is full of tart tang, with a dull, gunmetal aftertaste that doesn't lend much to the experience.

Disappointing. After their kolsch, which is one of the better of the style I've ever had, two straight bad bottles. Too bad. Clearly this brewery can make beer, but I wouldn't risk much in picking up more of this brewery.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As soon as I opened this beer it exploded with foam all over the counter and floor. This one took awhile to pour because of the foam. Pours a burnt rusty amber. Little lacing. Smells of toasted malts, caramel, and a metallic twang. The mouth is a little thin and wet. I think this beer lost some of the carbonation bite with the foam spillover. Nice balance with some bitter hops on the front, and finishes sweet and creamy. Some slight mineral in the flavor as well. This was good, and I will seek this style out more and more.

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Photo of MMAJYK
3.97/5  rDev +15.4%
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 beer2day
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours red with gold tints. Nice one-finger head with decent retention and thick chunky lacing.

Nose is all yeast and malt. Very bready. Slightly nutty, even. Sweet as well.

Sweetness carries over in to the taste. That hits first. Nutty flavor. Lots of malt body.

Very easy drinker. Look forward to trying this on tap.

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Altbier from French Broad Brewing Co.
3.44 out of 5 based on 57 ratings.
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