Original Schlüssel
Hausbrauerei Zum Schlüssel

Original SchlüsselOriginal Schlüssel
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Altbier
Ranked #9
ABV:
5%
Score:
89
Ranked #8,413
Avg:
4.06 | pDev: 11.33%
Reviews:
31
Ratings:
69
From:
Hausbrauerei Zum Schlüssel
 
Germany
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  22
Gots
  5
SCORE
89
Very Good
Original SchlüsselOriginal Schlüssel
Notes:
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 69 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of KooVee
KooVee from Finland

4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

5l keg, 1m old. (Did not drink it in one go while reviewing)

Ruby shade of clear mahogany, fine foam that quite quickly subsides.

Nose is very definite münchener malt, accompanied by a hint of caramel and dark chocolate.

Taste takes the nutty, toasted münchener to the front, but also pulls along some pleasant subtle hop bitterness to settle on the sides of one's tongue. Mouthfeel is perfect for drinkability. Just a bit of bitter chocolate in the aftertaste, and a mouthwatering silky roundness to the nutty finish, spreading across one's tongue.

A classic example of the style, eminently drinkable. In some ways a bit like a very good (and strong) dark mild, without the fruitiness.

Dec 28, 2019
Photo of safaricook
safaricook from Netherlands

3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

What a beautiful head this gave in my Stange glass!
Aroma and flavors were deep with roast, nuts, smoke, burnt sourdough bread and butter. Not certain if I enjoyed all of it though
goes down nicely
Interesting expressive Alt.

May 19, 2018
Photo of Snowcrash000
Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany coloration with a large, creamy head. Smells of bready, caramel malt and earthy, grassy hops, with hints of toffee and citrus. Taste follows the nose exactly, with a very nice balance of bready, caramel malt and earthy, grassy hops and notes of toffee, citrus and grains. Finishes with a mild bitterness. Smooth mouthfeel with a Light/medium body and medium/lively carbonation.

What makes this special is the perfect balance between malt and hops making it both very drinkable and somewhat complex. Quite possibly my favorite traditional Alt beer.

May 14, 2018
Photo of DJ-Hophead
DJ-Hophead from England

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap @ Schlussel Brauhaus, Dusseldorf - Pours light brown with a large white foamy head. Nice lacing. Aroma - yeasty/malty front, roasty notes in the middle, leading to light crisp bitter finish. Solid alt bier.

Feb 25, 2017
Photo of drmeto
drmeto from Germany

3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

L:
-pours a clear copper with a medium,foamy,offwhite head
-medium carbonation
S:
caramel,spicy,nutty,plums,cinnamon
T:
-caramel,spicy,plums,grassy,nutty
-low to medium bitterniss for the style
F:
-medium carbonation
-light body
O:
Very good Altbier.Noticeably sweeter than other Examples

Jan 04, 2017
Photo of aleigator
aleigator from Germany

4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazelnut brown, clear color, with some ember sparks to it. Offers up a very stable, huge, froth head, coating the glass for the whole time.

Smells of an intriguing blend of toffee malts, leafy, herbal hops and a faint, skunky yeast reminiscence. An utmost rustic, whole grain bread appearance forms the fusion of those different aromas, completed by malt enhanced straw.

Has a very soft, almost silk mouthfeel from the beginning till the end, making this an easy drinker, also due to its refreshing, light body. This still provides more taste than your typical Lager, as for its profound hop punch, making this perfect to go with rich meals.

Way less maltier than the beer's color indicated, certainly the malts lay out the foundation in this, while they produce a unique wooden dryness, once the hops appear. Garden herbs, straw, and grass get coated up by toffee malts and a hint of bakers chocolate. Finishes very clean, soft, with fresh yeast lending a light tartness to caramel malts.

A perfect example for this style, producing a fairly dry, yet malt driven beer, benefitting from a world class, long time established balance.

Apr 23, 2016
Photo of skipxtracer
skipxtracer from New York

3.49/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brauhaus in the old town of Dusseldorf is swankier feeling than most. The alt bier here is very different than all of the others I tried in the town. It is less bitter than some and has an almost coffee taste from the malts. As usual, nice copper color and very little aroma.

Sep 26, 2015
Photo of Smakawhat
Smakawhat from Maryland

4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pils style glass. Best before Dec 11th 2014.

Deep mahogany red, and hints of lighter brown toward the edges and bottom. Even with the darkness there is exceptional clarity in this beer throughout. The head is a booming, and thick whipped up large light creme color, and leaves lots of ring and spider web lacing. The retention forms a big cap and island in the middle. Great looking beer.

What a unique and impressive aroma, if a little simple and small. Great clove sweetness with a sense of nutmeg and hazelnut milk chocolate going with it. Wow never had an aroma on an alt like this before ever and it's really nice. Very enjoyable.

The palate brings the goods. The chocolate notes really come out on this, and just fill with a great nutty dryness that takes over on the finish. Controlled tannic nut and dry finish, with more clove and dry brown spices. The sweetness hinted on the nose is almost gone as some malt thickness comes and takes over with a husky and dry ripping grain action. A little bit of light body even for an alt, but it all carries very well still regardless.

This is unlike any other altbier I have ever had, with the chocolate angle being a big surprise.

Oct 11, 2014
Photo of MarkoNm
MarkoNm from Slovenia

2.46/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear light brown color, topped with a decent tan colored head. Retention is pretty decent too.
The aroma is surprisingly weak. Truthfully, all I could pick up were some laty notes.
The taste is quite neutral, but it develops a somewhat bittery feel.
Drinkable, enjoyable, but... a bit more taste perhaps.

Apr 21, 2014
Photo of dwren89
dwren89 from Virginia

4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: copper brown, foamy white head, decent clarity

Aroma: toasty malt aroma, but overall quite restrained in aroma (less than Uerige, about same as Schumacher)

Taste: strong toasty malt character with hints of nuts and a minuscule hint of dark fruit (much more subtle than Uerige), flowery noble hop bitterness to curtail malt sweetness, sweet malt finish

Mouthfeel: thicker than either Schumacher or Uerige, more like an strong ale than lager in mouthfeel, biting moderate-high carbonation, medium-full body

Overall Impression: A heartier, darker, and nuttier version of the Altbier style exhibiting lager like clarity, crispness, and carbonation, but certainly an ale-like mouthfeel and flavor profile. More filling than Schumacher, but less fruity than Uerige, Schlossel exhibit it's own interpretation of the altbier style.

Jun 12, 2013
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73 from Rhode Island

3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My second alt brewery visit on 4/11/2013. First of two served in a .2l stange. Pours a mahogany hue with a latte-like, half inch cream-colored head embedded with tiny craters. Nose smells primarily like wort. Taste follows nose - a bit thin and watery. Hops bittering comes out at the finish and is both earthy and subtle. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a carbonation just shy of lively, with a crisp, slightly dry finish. Overall, a nice altbier that is a bit less hoppy than Uerige's offering.

May 12, 2013
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ from Wisconsin

3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Schlussel itself, on to the beer:

Here's an alt with a lighter cola brown color and an inch thick of head which retains itself well and leaves thicks rings of lace around. The aroma is filled with bread dough, bread crust, and a touch of vague fruit. Something different happens in the taste; sure, the crusty bread and toffee notes are common per style, but this one brings a noticable spicy hop note , making it hoppier than the other alts that I tried in Dusseldorf. It's medium bodied, with a modest crisp snap in the finish.

A little different, but still a damn good alt to cloth yourself from cold weather.

May 08, 2013
Photo of foles
foles from Australia

4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed over and over again on the Dusseldorf Altstadt.

Light, rich munich maltiness, with a nice firm bitterness. Brown colour. Uniquely hoppy from spalt hops on he nose. Dry malty profile on the palate. Some graininess, and a touch of spalt flavour - however the balance of hop character appears to be in the aroma.

A true classic alt - but very unique amongst alts at the same time.

Oct 31, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Often though of as an amber ale with German lager character, this hybrid of a beer has the smooth drinkability of well malted German lagers and with the toasty notes of a dunkel. But this beer balances toward hoppy bitterness like no other.

Pouring a deep amber, taking on rust-like colors, the beer shows near brilliant clarity, slightly off white foam that forms a delicate yet sturdy foam stance. Light on lace and moderate with retention, comparisons to lighter dunkels do come to mind.

Muted aromas of toast with faint caramel, grain, and malt deliver a clean and well attenuated scent that leaves the nose wanting more.

Flavors fare much more vividly. Bread crust, walnuts, scorched caramel, and a hint of date or fig come to mind before the initial flavors fall off and the hop bitterness sets in. With basically no hop aroma and faint herbal flavor, the bitterness seems remarkably high in the finish as the other malt flavors disipate, all leading to a very clean, crisp finish with mild grain and earthy bitterness.

Medium creaminess early is short lived, transcending the beer to a quick and abrupt bitterness with light grassy harshness and mild watering.

A very drinkable beer with a lot of character for a lighter beer especially up front. But the terse finish makes the beer clean yet tearse.

Jun 17, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero from Illinois

3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another Alt provided by Ethan.

A - Brownish color beer that you can see through. Has a white head that didn't stay for long and left some spots on the side.

S - Smells very malty, with some caramel notes and earthy tones. A little heavier than the other alts we have had.

T - A lot of malt, some caramel and spices, and a little earthy bitterness. There is a bit of a fruity sweetness to this.

M - Smooth, medium bodied, active carbonation.

O - Pretty solid, not as easy of a drinker as the other alts, but had a lot going on.

Jun 04, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki from Canada (ON)

3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

50cl swingtop, again provided by Ethan. Served in a Hill Farmstead tulip. Best before July 8th, 2012.

A - Quick-dissolving off-white foam settles to a thin ring and a few stray bubbles. Very dark altbier, with more brown and less copper-amber, although still transparent.

S - This is more caramel heavy, although the toasted grains are still present in the periphery. Some fruity esters are imparted by the ale yeast, and there is a hint of nuttiness as well.

T - This is less sweet than the other alts we had next to it, and had more of a heavy bread flavor. It actually felt more bock-like in some ways to me. Again, nuts and toasted malt are also present.

M - Smooth texture, medium-light body, crisp medium-high carbonation. and a nice clean finish.

D - Even though it's only a tad more alcohol than the other alts the heavier flavor profile and higher carbonation made it a tad less easy to drink. It was definitely the most complex in flavor profile, but it least fits my preferences for the style. Still, well worth trying if you are in Düsseldorf and want to do a survey of the style.

May 15, 2011
Photo of stcules
stcules from Italy

3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper color, very clean and limpid. Two fingers of a beautiful foam, that left a lot of laces.
Malty smell, with a light caramel, and a bit of grassy hop.
Malty taste, too, and light caramel again, then the hop bitterness, not very long, but good.
Light body, great drinkability.

Feb 12, 2011
Photo of crnipeter
crnipeter from Slovenia

4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one is a bit over the best before date but was quickly proven to be good nonetheless. 500 ml, BB 22.October 2010, into tulip. A vigorous pour creates deep amber to bronze body with good clarity, topped by thick firm off-white head with excellent retention that clings to the walls and, although slowly subsides, virtually never dies. The nose is rich malt with caramel and toasty notes, peppery spiciness that probably originates from noble hops, fruity esters of plum and raisins.
Flavor starts with prominent hoppy bitterness counterbalanced by crisp, well attenuated malt. Fruity esters are virtually absent, slightly nutty finish is quite dry allowing hoppy bitterness to persist into the aftertaste. Medium bodied, soft carbonated with slight astringency.

In short: a sessional lagered ale with assertive hoppy bitterness and a good dosage of attenuated malt.

Jan 05, 2011
Photo of dasenebler
dasenebler from Maine

4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

.5L swing-top. Best by 1/14/11.

Pours a crystal clear dark copper with a great two-finger head. Retains with a thick ring and excellent lacing.

Aroma is muffled, but there are hints of hops, light fruit and yeast.

The flavor is solid, with a nice toasty and nutty malt complexity. Finish is lightly bitter and redolent of dark bread crusts. Hop flavor could be improved. Mouthfeel is medium-light, creamy and smoothly carbonated. A great session beer, but not nearly as drinkable as the on-tap version.

This is an very good altbier, but this bottle version (purchased at the brauhaus, I might add) is somehow inferior to the fresh, on-tap variety, which seemed more delicate and more drinkable.

Nov 06, 2010
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison from Ohio

3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at the Schlüssel brewpub/restaurant in Dusseldorf, served in short glasses that magically replace as they empty. The beer is a light tan color, clear, with a few fingers of white foam. The aroma is fairly neutral, the dominant impression is of sweet malts, a little nutty or caramel. Same in the taste, I think this is a very approachable beer style for anybody, just not flavorful enough to make it too special for me.

This is a style that I've tried several times in the USA and always finished feeling underwhelmed. Similar to Kolsch in that aspect (although this is darker and maltier than Kolsch), it seems to be a subtle style. Maybe similar to Kolsch I'll one day really start to like it and identify it with the city it comes from.

Oct 28, 2010
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a two finger high off white head that slowly died down and faded away. A very slight amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There is a light aroma of malts with hints of caramel and hops in the nose. A very slight amount of sweetness is perceptible.
T: There is a very good balance between the malt and hops although the hop flavors are slightly stronger, which results in a slight amount of bitterness in the overall taste.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a very light amount of carbonation. There is some crispness and a very light amount of carbonation.
D: The beer isn't difficult to drink and is quite sessionable.

Oct 22, 2010
Photo of bark
bark from Sweden

4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The colour is warm amber; the liquid is clear. The gigantic foam sinks slowly to a very airy uneven three finger head. Lots of thick lacing occurs.

The smell is hoppy and a little bitter. Lots of flavours; some yeast, apricots, fresh dark bread, chalk, hay and a touch of peanuts.

The taste got both lots of malty flavours of bread and roasted nuts, but also a fine somewhat dry and fruity raw bitterness. Notes of hay, camomile, chalk and other minerals. The aftertaste cog a clean slowly growing bitterness, some minerals, dry malty flavours with hints of dandelion and salad. The finish is dry and bitter.

Strong carbonation, small bubbles, smooth liquid.

Fresh, complex, raw, balanced and highly drinkable. I feel an urge to go to Düsseldorf. Hell, it is just a 12 hour drive.

Oct 21, 2010
Photo of MetlGuy
MetlGuy from South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Orangey copper color, light head

S - Light malt odor

T - balanced between maltiness and bitterness.

M - Smooth and full; not a thin mouthfeel at all

D - Quite drinkable. I quaffed a few at the bar on several ocasions.

Serving type: from the tap in Muelheim an der Ruhr

May 19, 2009
Photo of TKempe
TKempe from Netherlands

4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light brown to amber in colour with a strong and very dense white head on top. Great lace.

The nose integrates a delicate touch of hops into a lovely bouquet of fruity aroma's (pear mainly), grainy, dry malt and a peppery note. A very well-balanced nose, covering anything from fruity to spicy with a raw edge to it.

There's a bit more maltiness to the taste, resulting in a salty and grainy finish and a chewy mouthfeel. Hops are constantly present in the background and form a perfect interplay with a big yet modest fruity note. A trace of yeast and a little roasty bitterness on the side. Aftertaste is a bitter and also clean, very satisfying.

Soft carbonation and a medium-light body.

Apr 24, 2009
Photo of wl0307
wl0307 from England

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the BSF bar, GBBF08, London. At 5%abv., coming in a 500ml swing-top brown bottle; BB 05/09/08, served lightly-chilled in a Kölsch stange.

A: dark amber to light copper in colour, topped with a pretty tight and thick white fluffy head, on top of natural and mild streams of fine carbonation.
S: given a swirl, an understated but deep-running flow of hoppiness expands, consisting of faint orangey-citrusness, pears, tea-stems, a super-fine note of dried dates, resting on a light bedrock of caramel-nutty malts that has a beautifully-pure and gristy focus, just like a great German bier should be. Overall, fruity and integrated.
T: an exceptional, complex fruity swallow with a citric kick upfront blends well with a mild caramely+toasty maltiness in the middle - fine and understated in flavour, then slowly engulfed by an extensive wave of toasted nuts, faintly raisiny sweetness, and tea-leafy bitterness that lingers elegantly at the back of palate... A decent kickback of sourness (of a well-lagered bier) skirts the otherwise mildly chewy, herbal and slightly woody bitter finish.
M&D: refreshing on the mouthfeel, full of soothing microscopic carbonation, while the body is just moderate to render a most easy-drinking experience. The finishing touch could've been more bitter to make it a truly quaffable Alt. Other than that, this fares as a really decent and well-made Altbier in my book!

Aug 29, 2008
Original Schlüssel from Hausbrauerei Zum Schlüssel
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 69 ratings