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 nmann08
3/5  rDev -12.8%

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 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 oberon
4.1/5  rDev +19.2%
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 ygtbsm94
2.5/5  rDev -27.3%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria in Asheville, NC.

Appearance: Clear, dark amber body with small white head.

Smell: Pronounced bready malt aroma with some yeast notes and maybe, just maybe a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Bready, sweet malt flavor. Noticeably yeasty. There might be some fruitiness lurking in here, but let's not say things we can't take back. Very, very light bitterness clears away for a clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite bready, but definitely a nice beer and a good session candidate.

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Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +27.9%
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 BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bonfire orange with a warm, bronze-like glow when backlit with radiant morning sunshine. This is beautiful beer! Atop the fiery liquid sits two fingers of French vanilla colored foam that melts in attractive fashion and is festooning the glass with thick sheets of lace.

The aroma has plenty of power and is dominated by toasted-nutty-earthy malt. I haven't had enough altbier to claim that this one hits all of its style marks, but it smells good, so it gets a good score. Hey, this reviewing stuff is pretty easy.

Altbier reminds me of a less sweet Oktoberfest. It's sorta subtle, which doesn't impress right off the bat, but let's see what the final 20 ounces have to say for themselves. Even though it doesn't stack up favorably to the Uerige alts, nothing else that I've had does either.

There's a fair amount of malt present for the 5.5% ABV. The malt bill is probably mostly pale with a little Munich and/or Vienna for that toasted bread and baked nut vibe. The underlying sweetness is perfectly complemented by a hint of leafy (probably German) hoppiness. This is one smooth, drinkable brew. Unfortunately, the next highest flavor score (4.0) is juuust out of reach. Edit: no it isn't.

The mouthfeel is the most obvious indicator that FBBC knows what the hell they're doing. It's at least medium in heft and has a supple smoothness that is some kind of enjoyable. Kudos all around. And thanks to cvstrickland for sending it my way.

Now that the final third of the bomber has arrived, I've been able to take off my 'big beer' blinders and appreciate this well-crafted ale for what it is. With some beer of this style, I feel like asking the brewers to Control-Alt(bier)-Delete. Not so French Broad Altbier. It's a keeper.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +22.1%
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 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 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 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%

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 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 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 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 jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -27.3%

Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +16.3%
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 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 merlin48
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
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 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 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 wagenvolks
3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber into a beer mug.

Nice label on this bottle as it pours a brilliant, copper-colored body. Perfect clarity, and a modest carbonation level supplies an effervescent khaki head that was initially an inch+ in height. Nice aroma on this alt--a solid backbone of caramel and pilsner-esque malt gradually give way to a soft floral hoppiness and hints of fresh grass clippings. Brown sugar and raisins come to mind when the nose digs a bit deeper.

The flavor doesn't exactly knock my socks off, but it doesn't leave me disappointed, either. A sharp, floral, grassy hop note cuts straight to the palate leaving a nice bitterness behind; background is a well-crafted blend of crystal and caramel malts. Some citrus lingers on the finish, as does a bit of residual malty sweetness. Mouthfeel is nearly perfect, with a refreshingly light and crisp body. The carbonation level is perfect, spicing up the palate and making it notice the more subtle yeast and malt flavors. Overall, another great offering from French Broad that fits nicely into the style category and leaves me wanting more.

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