Balt Altbier
Union Craft Brewing Company

Balt AltbierBalt Altbier
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Style:
Altbier
Ranked #42
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
85
Ranked #27,431
Avg:
3.8 | pDev: 10%
Reviews:
39
Ratings:
196
From:
Union Craft Brewing Company
 
Maryland, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  7
Gots
  43
SCORE
85
Very Good
Balt AltbierBalt Altbier
Notes: A Brewing Tradition

This German-style Altbier is our nod to an old world, old school ale. The word “Alt” is German for “old”, and refers to the traditional style of brewing before lager yeast was discovered. Balt is a dark, copper colored brew with a creamy head, a gentle bitterness and a clean, dry finish. Prost Hon!

BITTERNESS (IBU): 45
COLOR: Copper/Amber
MALT: Pilsner, Munich,Cara Munich, Carafa
HOPS: Perle,Tettnang
YEAST: German Alt
Reviews: 39 | Ratings: 196 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the can, it pours a solid amber with a nice thick off-white head. Pleasant scent of toasted malt and caramel. Taste is similar, with a nice light bitterness. Yum!

Dec 14, 2017
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MrOH from Maryland

4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear light brown, quickly receding white head.
Smells like toast and caramel
Tastes really toasty! A bit of caramel, and what I can best describe as a grape-like fruitiness. Crisp bitterness at the end
Medium bodied with a clean finish
Easy drinker for the fall

Nov 26, 2017
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pdumler from Virginia

3.44/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

L: Light Brown/orange. 1.5 finger head, solid lace that fades away shortly.
S: caramel, bready aroma with a touch of walnut. Smells nice, like a nice fall day
T: very similar to smell which is great. Nice tingle on the tongue with a small bit of hops but mainly a strong malt with a bready taste.
F: solid carbonation with a crisp finish. Medium body and smooth through the mouth.
O: Great altbier out of a can. Would recommend.

Apr 22, 2017
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BJB13 from Maryland

3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 11/07/17 stamped on bottom of can.
12 oz. can poured into a nonic pint.

Look- Cloudy, deep caramel color just like apple cider. A little more than 1 finger of off white, foamy head with some slick lacing that diminished but hung around.
Smell- Bready, caramel malts with a hint of hops.
Taste- Similar to smell, bready then slightly bitter and a little sweet. Balanced and dry with a quick clean finish. Refreshing.
Feel- Crisp, light to medium bodied. Good carbonation but not too much. Just a bit of bite but otherwise smooth.
Overall- I've only had a few different Altbiers but this one so far, is my favorite. It seems to be within the style guidelines and is easy to drink. Since it is in a can this may be my go to boat beer this spring.

Feb 28, 2017
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a tulip

L: Pour is a cloudy golden brown color. 1.5 fingers of foamy white head. Falls fast with spotty lacing.

S: Caramel malts and bread... barely noticeable hop presence. Earthy.

T/F: Follows the smell. Caramel malt and dark bread... very earthy/nutty. Faint plum... not much in the way of fruit. Surprisingly bitter towards the finish. Noble hops. Finish is mild. Well carbonated.

O: Not a style I'm a huge fan of but not a bad beer. Glad I tried it in a sampler but not one I'd seek out again.

Jan 24, 2017
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mynie from Maryland

4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Alts are one of those styles I could never really get behind. But, hey, it's late and I can't sleep and this was included in a mixed sixer, so salut...

Pours alty. A bit darker and more opaque than most other alts that I've had--Union really seems reluctant to filter their beers, for whatever reason. Not bad looking, though.

Smells of thick, caramel malt and then a little bit of generic grain and nobel hops. Firm yeast, and the caramel is very big. Good.

Tastes like it smells: caramel and toffee to start, some lightly bright hops and peat in the middle, and then a finish of caramel. Very nice maltiness, and very full body for a beer of its size.

Aug 01, 2016
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farrago from New Jersey

3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Unremarkable head, a little under a finger of light tan foam which sizzles off at a rapid clip, the lacing has close to no stickiness. The liquid is a mildly gauzy brown that gets closer to yellow than orange, credibly strong number of bubbles dispersed throughout. The nose has a briskly stiffening amount of bread and yeast, peppery too with more herbaceousness than expected as well, cola, milk chocolate and grilled nut accents bring needed smoothness, apricot, peach and pear fruit in moderation, not dominated by its sweeter elements, tactful staying power in the nostrils, not overpowering in any manner. Medium-bodied, much more going on in the mouth in terms of cocoa, mocha, toffee with a roasted edge as well. Mineral water, quinine and sour breads bring it back towards balance and becomes increasingly grassy and tarry towards the end, almost mushroomy. The carbonation is not strong but lends a consistent prickle. Less fruit presence here, vague apricot or cherry. Sure, it’s a little muddled and might lack fresh directness but it has sufficient flavor and softness to make it a non-critical pleasure choice.

Feb 17, 2016
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maximum12 from Minnesota

3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Lucular for this undated 12 oz. can that been hiding in the fridge since it’s arrival. I had the pleasure of having Kolsch in Cologne, but not Altbier in Dusseldorf. I intend to fix that, someday.

Pour is lighter than expected, dark orange, plenty of carbonation. Nose is dominated by chestnuts roasting on an open fire, bit of grain leafs. Leaves. They have leaves, right? Not bad.

Balt is creamier than A Cherry Berry suicide. Lovely dark malts, enough nuts to - is that a squirrel I hear chewing through the wall? The middle rolls in with sweet malts, slight roast, & a slight earthy bitterness. Slight spice on the end, though it’s the nutmeat that sticks with you.

This seems like a good beer for an early October night out on the deck with a dead cow smoking on the grill. Simple & direct. Good, solid beer.

Jan 16, 2016
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delta490 from Virginia

3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an almost crystal clear medium-dark copper. The head is a fizzy light tan that has barely any retention. The aroma is malty, bready and a little sweet. The taste is also malty, with similar qualities to the aroma. There's a slightly metallic quality on the finish after the first sip but it eventually disappears. The body is lighter and easy drinking with just a hint of carbonation.

Dec 06, 2015
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Undated can at 42 degrees into shaker
$ 1.86/12 oz can ($ 0.155/oz) at Craft Shack, Elkton, MD
Aroma of malt, fades
Head large (5.5 cm, aggressive pour), tan, frothy/fizzy, rapidly diminishing to five mm ring and layer
Lacing - none
Body – medium amber, clear
Flavor – begins malty with a slightly salty bite; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 3.5, Flavor 3.5, Palate 4, Overall 3.75

Dec 02, 2015
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stevoj from Idaho

2.64/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

On tap at City Tap House, DC. Kind of weak on the normal alt characters. Taste was more sweet than nutty, body a bit thin. Cola colored, underwhelming

Oct 28, 2015
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear chestnut with a frothy, two-fingered head that leaves a few shards around

Smell: Caramel, stone fruit and nut tones

Taste: Caramel with some fruit and nut flavors building, perhaps a hint of chocolate; slightly grainy in the mid-palate with some herbal tones; the finish is on the sweeter side with a touch of toast

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: It has been a while since I have had an Alt and this is a pretty darn good example; in the quest for hops, sours and big stouts, sometimes the little things get overlooked

Thanks, singlespeed, for the opportunity

Jun 05, 2015
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ThisWangsChung from Maryland

3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz can into a teku glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark copper color. The head is a finger high and off-white in shade. Its retention is quite poor, unfortunately. About the only thing really notable about the head is that small patches of lacing are left on the glass. (3.25)

Smell: Fairly spicy. I have no idea how fresh this can is (note to Union Craft: start dating your cans!), but there seems to be some nice notes of pine, grass, and spice. Malts provide toasted and earthy qualities along side more standard-issue caramel (the latter appears more vividly as it warms up). Nothing too eventful, but it works. (3.25)

Taste: It does seem hoppier than the norm, judging from the moderate bitterness at first. Grassiness will give way to some maltiness appears near the back end, including notes of caramel, bread, toast...and a somewhat clashing smokiness. With a few more sips, it'll balance out - it doesn't become exciting, just balanced. (3)

Mouthfeel: Fairly crisp, without too much maltiness lingering post-swallow. Still, the sweetness does give it some body, and the light prickle from the carbonation makes it relatively easy to drink. (3.25)

Overall: Not bad. Not my favorite beer from these guys, but this will do in a pinch. Still, I can't help but feel this should have been fresher - then again, without a dated can, how will I know? (3)

3.09/5: Pretty uneventful in general

Jan 03, 2015
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Big_V from Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

A-dark caramel about 1 finger head
S-mostly pine,grass,and earthly notes
T-getting some hps up front followed by an piney bitterness. Finishes kind of sweet with the malts.
M-light and smooth mouthful, med body and carbonation
O-not bad pinic beer. Could see myself knocking some down after mowing the lawn.

Nov 22, 2014
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

im pretty sure this won a medal this year at gabf, but i wasnt all that impressed. its basically an american amber ale with a moderate german character to its grain bill, really nothing too unique or distinctive about it, save that its a little dryer than most, and still has that nice rich body. nothing bad about it at all though, in fact, its a relatively solid example of the style, which i suppose is what these beers are judged on at such events, so maybe i shouldnt be surprised. i guess i just figure that a beer that can win a medal out of so many entries, must be absolutely delicious, and while this is decent, its not medal worthy to me. it lacks depth and its carbonation is a bit light for me, so the beer gets tired as it drinks. im sure its nice from the can though, and we dont have many alts in cans around, so thats a nice touch too. my first beer from these guys.

Oct 05, 2014
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev 0%

12oz can into a willybecker chilled

The color is dark toffee with auburn bronze hue and light haze with thick cream of 2 1/2 fingers w/ web-like lace and fine bead. The smell is very herbal with hops and almost pine-like aroma with slight caramel from the malt with lightly nutty tinge and slight fruity yeast accent. The feel is nice with bitterness level and moderate carbonation w/ light malt body and dry finish with low alcohol in the mix.

The taste has a mild hop flavor up front wiht light spice from the yeast and nutty toasted grain flavor in the malt profile with woody accent and mild yeast creaminess in the taste which is supported by the caramel sweetness in the background with toasted flavor and mildly spicy yeast in the finish. Overall this is a decent alt, pretty drinkable for the style.

Sep 17, 2014
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JednoPivoProsim from Maryland

3.27/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 FL OZ can into a pint glass (no Altbier glass on hand).

Appearance: Pours a thick caramel colored body with a thick, yet not dense, head. Looks like a thick iced tea or loosely carbonated soda.

Smell: Caramel aroma with a nice scent of German Noble hops.

Taste: More like a brown ale than the crisp Altbier flavor I remember. Nutty, caramel, and a touch of chocolate malt.

Mouthfeel: Very, almost too, thick for an Altbier.

Overall: Just not enough to style from the plethora of Altbiers I enjoyed so much outside of Duesseldorf 20 years ago. Again, much more like a nutty brown ale than a true crisp Alt. I feel like Fordham's Copper Ale was much more on point.

Jul 12, 2014
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vette2006c5r from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Balt pours a brownish color with a nice long lasting lacing head. There is a doughy bready aroma; like dry bread. The taste is very dry, and has a very nice creamy roasted oat taste. Nice body, and very nice strong flavors. Overall its a nice dry, thick, roasted oat beer.

Jul 05, 2014
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clayrock81 from Florida

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark ruby-tinted brown with two finger head and lace patches on top of an aroma of strong malts, mostly some roasted and bready malts, a graininess as well, and touches of sweet malt like caramel and toffee and I get a touch of hops. Beer is smooth, medium-bodied, there is a good amount of sweetness to it as I get caramel and some other sugary goodness, a little balance from roasted malts and bitter hops but it's not evenly matched. Finishes dry and is a good sipping beer that I enjoyed but not really complex and a little off key.

Feb 23, 2014
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another one from this brewery which I enjoyed when I visited the brewery last year. Thanks to itsme_timd (Reddit) for this one.

Pours a huge creamy thick rich head that rises up to 3 fingers and I have to stop pouring, and it fades semi slowly with nice fizzy bubbles popping, and nice soapy lacing, very hazy dark maroon like slight chestnut colored beer.

Nose brings some dusty brown malts, toasty, light toasted bread and grain, mild brown sugar and caramel, into a mild grassy slight earthy herbal hop aroma, as well as a mild toffee nutty creamy brown malt.

taste starts with more brown malts, toasty and quite creamy too, little oats, mild coffee milk and maybe lactose, with a little nutty slight toffee like flavor, with some sweetness as well, a little brown sugar coffee milk flavor. Some milk grassy earthy herbal hops but not a lot, mild to fair bitterness. Finish is fairly bitter as it dries, it gets a little dried lactose like feel, more earthy slight herbal hops lingering.

Mouth is med bod, creamy, lighter on the carb though which doesn't help the creamy feel.

Overall... as a beer it's pretty nice, more like a creamy brown ale, as an alt-bier, I don't think it really gets there, and lacking on the carbonation esp for a canned beer. But it's still drinkable and enjoyable.

Jan 31, 2014
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Mongrel from Maryland

3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - amber with a short, sudsy off-white head.

S - smells sweet and a little chalky with a faint whiff of banana.

T - tastes like an intriguing mix between an amber lager and a Belgian witbier. Sweet and a little syrupy with caramel malts at first, but hints of Belgian spice follow - vanilla, clove mainly. Also a touch of tart apple.

Mouthfeel is medium and a little syrupy for a second, but turns soft and slightly chalky, which is another interesting element of this beer and another strange tie between an amber lager and Belgian.

Overall, an interesting, easy-drinking amber ale that could sub in nicely for more boring party beers like Yuengling or Blue Moon.

Jan 21, 2014
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jjboesen from Maryland

3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dussledorf comes to Baltimore in a can. Once poured from the can, this altbier opens with a heavy froth that fills the entire mug. It takes time settling. The body is a semi-translucent copper liguid lightly populated with carbonation bubbles. The nose detects a mild whiff of apple and banana while the palate is dappled with sweet motes of toasted malt with a weak supplement of apple at the end. The mouthfeel is a litle bready with some crispiness bringing up the rear. While it does have a bit more carbonation than I like, this alt makes for a pleasant quaff anytime of the year. While, I woul'nt cancel a trip to Dusseldorf because of it. Balt Alt is a decent expression of the style.

This is the second beer I have had from this brewer; I look forward to more. Baltimore is definitely rising as far as beer is concered.

Nov 25, 2013
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Good Lord! I CANnot remember who provided me with this beer in furtherance of Thee CANQuest (TM). EDIT: It was the venerable tone77, my local, in-person trader! Yay! Credit where credit is due, I always say.

From the CAN: "Old World Old School"; "A Brewing Tradition"; "Start a New Tradition Recycle This CAN"; "This German-style Altbier is our nod to an old world, old school ale. The word "Alt" is German for "old", and refers to the traditional style of brewing before lager yeast was discovered. Balt is a dark, copper colored brew with a creamy head, a gentle bitterness and a clean, dry finish. Prost, Hon!"

Ah, the Baltimorons! I had never heard them referred to as such until my first encounter with John Waters. As a movie buff, I was elated to finally meet the man and he was up to his billing. I toast the master of schlock with this beer.

I had my CAN glass at the ready and directly following the Crack!, I instituted an inverted Glug. This resulted in a massive two-plus fingers of dense, light-tan head with great retention. The ex-Old Lady did not dig when I would pour this way, but since we are no longer together, I really don't care what she thinks. Color was more deep-brown than coppery (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a musky scent, kind of an anise, chocolate and caramel, but heavy. Put some of this in an atomizer, spray it behind your earlobes and stand by, ladies! Mouthfeel was medium, but the tastes of milk chocolate and caramel were immediate and obvious on the tongue. The finish gave it a minty character that was undoubtedly from the hops. This seemed bigger than its advertised 5.5% ABV, but that was no problem for me. This was quite good, but too much on the sweet side for me.

Nov 10, 2013
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fourstringer from Maryland

4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the can into a pint glass with a moderately aggressive hand. This is a hometown beer for sure - the brewery is only a few miles from my house. No perceivable date on the can.

A: Nice dark amber-brown with 1/2 finger of off-white head. Down to a light coating at 2 minutes. Light lacing.

S: Solid, nutty malt with some sweetness. Traces of toffee, dried fruit. Toasted notes with subtle touches of bread.

T: Nutty and malty with a nice bitterness that is present both immediately and throughout. Fairly classic german hop profile. Semi-dry finish. There is definitely some sweetness, but it is not the focal point IMO. Well balanced. Probably a bit more hop bitterness than the typical altbier, but it works. Great flavors of nuts, toasted malt, light toffee, indistinct fruit.

M: Moderate to low carbonation with a moderate body. Fitting for the style. Smooth. Well done.

O: Aside from their "Hampden on Rye" collaboration with Brewer's Art, this is my favorite Union offering. Excellent execution of a traditional style with a subtle American twist. Drinks really well. I particularly enjoy the nuttiness of this brew. Good out of the can, too. Buy it if you see it, for sure.

Prost!

Oct 20, 2013
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth from Maryland

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow!! Where did this come from? I stopped at "Mothers" with my daughter for some wings and a beer. I order a Pilsner Urquell...because I haven't had a PU on tap for awhile. I suggest she try the Balt because I like the brewery, and thought she might like it. She's a porter fan, and alt was the closest thing they had.
She LOVED it...so I thought I'd better try it. OMG...what a great beer. I mean great beer.
The aroma was a rich woody caramel scented alt like my favorites from Uriege in Dusseldorf. I mean where T-H- did this come from. The taste was full and rich of the German malts you would expect. The mouth feel was smooth ( after a letting it get closer to a decent drinking temperature). Ok...don't believe me, but I thought I had a fresh glass of "Sticke".
I'm sure this will be distributed as just another beer..."alt" style...blah, blah, blah.
But this is serious, special beer. Altbier is a wonderful German beer that we don't often hear about because of their wonderful lagers, pilsners and wheat beers we expect. Union craft has "crafted" real altbier that should be compared and considered against the best.
Ok...now I'm buying it in cans and taking with me across country. Let's see what San Diego, NY and Colorado say...I bet they say send me more!

Note to DIM...you're right...on all counts!

Oct 10, 2013
Balt Altbier from Union Craft Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 196 ratings