Altbier | French Broad Brewing Co.

57 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 57 |  Reviews: 48
Photo of lincoln44
1.76/5  rDev -48.8%
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 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 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 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 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 nick76
2.44/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The aroma is sweet and medicinal with couch syrup, cardboard, floral hops, and malt. The appearance is deep amber with a huge head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is thin. Overall I don't like this. Not recommended under any circumstances.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
2.5/5  rDev -27.3%

Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -27.3%

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 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 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 whitekiboko
3/5  rDev -12.8%

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 nmann08
3/5  rDev -12.8%

Photo of MetlGuy
3.13/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was given this at an Altbier tasting. The color was a nice copper, right in style with a creamy head. The aroma smelled of noble hops with a hint of malt backbone. The flavor had some strange taste. I could not place it, but it was almost vegetable. The body was lacking.

Not overly impressed.

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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 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.

 787 characters

Photo of herrburgess
3.25/5  rDev -5.5%

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 atsprings
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber bought from the brewery at a surprisingly lower price than I've ever seen their beers sold for in Raleigh, here's to beating price gouging! Poured into a Duvel snifter a crisp copper with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is some caramel and brown malts with a touch of Earthy hops. The taste is an almost bock-like malt bite with a slight noble hop presence. The beer is light and crisp with low carbonation. This is a decent interpretation of the style, but I don't think I see myself trying this one again.

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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 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 kkipple
3.47/5  rDev +0.9%
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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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 RBorsato
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

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