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Scruffy's Smoked Alt | Cedar Creek Brewery

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Scruffy's Smoked AltScruffy's Smoked Alt
BA SCORE
3.63/5
Good
88 Ratings
Scruffy's Smoked AltScruffy's Smoked Alt
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Cedar Creek Brewery
Texas, United States
cedarcreekbrewery.com

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our goal is to have a very drinkable beer with a nice smoked quality that will pair well with food and be something a little different. We blend a good amount of German Rauch malt, that is smoked with beachwood, with a US two-row malt, Crystal 40, Crystal 120 and a bit of Pale Chocolate Malt. We use enough US Magnum & Willamette hops to balance the malty sweetness of the German Alt yeast used to ferment the beer. That leaves moderately smokey notes that comes through mostly in the flavor that is balanced with the slight fruity flavor that the Alt yeast will give you. A very session-able smoked ale with enough bitterness to balance the other flavors.

Added by Mora2000 on 10-13-2012

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#33,808
Reviews:
19
Ratings:
88
pDev:
17.36%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
14
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 88 |  Reviews: 19
Photo of vinny21bal
2/5  rDev -44.9%

Photo of Lagerquestrian
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of nick0909
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of dvmin98
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of ilikebeer03
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of jkn09
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of HardTarget
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Finger of head drops to a thin halo of off white foam on a deceptively pretty glass. Almost opaque brown shows a deep glow and clarity when back lit. It looks viscous, hefty.

Smell: The idea with an Alt is an ale that is treated like a Lager, and held longer to age out. I should clear off all the musty fruity edges aged off of it, giving a clean smooth flavor. Then, these guys decide, let's smoke it. So, a lot that is supposed to go on actually does. The smoke is a about a 4 of 10 in intensity, full but not the only thing going on.

Taste: Full malty character, some mild oak that may be from the smoke. There is just a bit of pear, maybe a light grape skin, but it is just one note in the smoke, malt, yeast chord. The finish is a bit chalky.

Mouthfeel: A bit watery, a low carb level coupled with a light body. There's enough that it's not cask, just a bit flat.

Overall: Damn Scruffy! Some deep philosophical brewing statement you go going on here. Technically well executed, the concept works only if you end up liking it or not. The flavor is different, another cousin in the beer style family. I'm warming up to it, I like what's going on with each flavor. I'd put it up there with Buried Hatchet.
Recommended.

 1,239 characters

Photo of obrike
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of greenspointexas
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of deac83
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Orange-tan with a monster head that slowly dropped down and left nice sticky clumps of lacing.

Aroma has a fairly smoky start, with a good maltiness expected from an altbier, perhaps some barbeque when you've got a beercan chicken and bacon wrapped jalapenos going on a crisp fall day, and... this might sound strange, but I'm getting a touch of root beer too. .

Flavor is more pronounced on the smoke, but doesn't totally diverge from the altbier profile. A touch of nuttiness and some pleasant maltiness cling to the base beer underneath the smokiness.

As I drink it, I find the body a tad thinner and quite a bit more carbonated than what's probably optimal for this beer. New formulations should adjust and improve on the body.

Overall tho, it's an enjoyable beer which I'm happy to say, I have three more tall-boys of in the fridge. I'll try more cedar creek beers.

 875 characters

Photo of RandyPuckett
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can poured into oversized tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark cloudy amber with a massive off white head. The head is coarse with lots of air pockets and recedes somewhat quickly. Very minimal lacing left behind.

S - Campfire aroma with lots of smoked beechwood. I get a little sweet malt along with this but not much else.

T - The taste is much the same as the aroma. Loads of smoked beechwood, semi-sweet malts, and a moderate bitterness. Slightly nutty but the smoke overpowers most flavors. Very reminiscent of a rauchbier.

M - Somewhat thin body with moderate carbonation. Nothing special, but nothing offputting.

O - I wasn't sure what to expect from a smoked alt, but this is decently good. It's pretty much a rauchbier with almost overpowering campfire smoke from the beechwood. More balance and a thicker mouthfeel would have made this a lot better.

 863 characters

Photo of brandon911
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of videofrog
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of Atlas1
3.34/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Honestly, I bought this four-pack solely because it was a style I'd never heard of before. Not many smoked alts on the market.

Poured into a large glass mug, Scruffy's is a nice copper color with a big two-finger head on top. NIce looking, but nothing special here. No lace to mention. The nose on this beer is huge, which is why I gave it high marks. I think it accomplishes what it sets out to do. Big and smoky, it's sort of like walking into a smokehouse or a barbeque pit. Very woody. There may be some other scents hidden in there as well, but they seem to be overpowered by the smoke. Taste follows suit, with lots of smokiness here too. Some hint of chocolate, dark cherry (unusual for an alt). It's fruitier than most alts I've had. Mouthfeel is crisp and thin.

This is an interesting beer. Rauchbier in style, but the alt partnership is a weird one. It's definitely more rauhbier than alt. I'm glad I've tried it, but unless I'm really in need of a smoky beer in the future, I can't see myself revisiting this too much very often. Not a bad fall/winter beer, though.

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Photo of Canti4341
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of kojevergas
3.14/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A smoked alt? Intriguing. Curious to see if this delivers. 16 fl oz silver aluminum can acquired at an HEB Grocery and served into a Spaten stange at low altitude in Austin, TX. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; the idea of a smoked altbier is appealing. IBU: 35. OG: 12.5 plato. SRM: 13. Reviewed as a smoked alt due to the name and label; I don't subscribe to the "smoked beer" classification currently ascribed by beeradvocate.

Served cold - straight from me fridge.

A: No bubble show forms.

Pours a 5 finger wide head of faint khaki colour. Okay thickness. Subpar cream. Uneven lacing clings to the glass' sides as it recedes; this has "legs." Head retention is good - ~ 5 minutes - though this may be explained by its overcarbonation.

Body colour is a clear somewhat dark copper. Transparent and translucent. Average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's within style conventions but far from unique or special. No obvious flaws. Darker than most altbiere I've seen.

Sm: Has a guiding, subtle beech smoke character that I'm really digging. Not overwhelmingly smokey, but not noncommittally so either. Lovely caramalt and beechwood notes. I do pick up some chocolate malt when I look for it. Amber/alt malts with a vague fruitiness - plum and dates. Cleanly fermented; I'd attribute that to the alt yeast. Hopping is minimal in presence and vaguely fruity in character.

No overt yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

An intriguing aroma of average strength.

The smokiness seems ideal for what they're going for and is definitely a highlight.

T: Smokiness is nuanced and well integrated, not overbearing or overwhelming; this isn't just a gimmick beer, it does hybridize smoked malt with the altbier style pretty well. The body is comprised of clean barley, German altbier malts, a dash of caramalt, and a hint of chocolate malt. Lightly nutty. The malty build overall is darker than you'd expect for an altbier. Lightly toasty and bready. Smokiness is present throughout, guiding the flavour profile and lending it a natural cohesion. The smokiness isn't meaty or pork-redolent like most rauchbiere; there're no bacon notes. It does evoke beechwood.

Too bitter, but I applaud the experimentation and consider this a minor success at hybridizing the two styles involved. It's decently balanced and has interesting complexity. Not the most subtle alt out there, but considering they used smoked malts it's pretty impressive. Above average intensity and slightly above average depth of flavour for the style. Average flavour duration.

No yeast character, hop character, or alcohol comes through.

It could really use some work in terms of the nut flavours; I want far more complexity.

Mf: Unrefreshing. A bit overcarbonated. Has an unnatural smoothness. Okay body and thickness. Wet. Suits the flavour profile well for the most part. Has an interesting presence on the palate for an alt.

Not oily, astringent, wet, gushed, hot, boozy, buttery, or harsh.

Dr: Certainly drinkable; I'll enjoy finishing this can. I always applaud experimentation, and while I do prefer traditional versions of the style, I was surprised how much I liked this. I'll have my eye on Cedar Creek in the future, and while I wouldn't recommend this to friends, I do think it's worth trying, if only because it's almost a unique beer. I dig the premise and expect to see more smoked altbiere going forward. It's easily an above average beer. Might be a good beer for newcomers to rauchbiere if they're trying to ease their way towards traditional examples of the style.

C+

*
01.31.15: Truncated 2nd impressions:

A: Healthy head takes up 80% of the glass. The colour is a conventional alt amber-copper, and has some appealing deep hues. Great retention.

Sm: Amber malt backbone is showcased well, but the smokiness is surprisingly restrained. Copper malts, light soapy hop notes, pine, biscuit malt, baked bread, and odd notes of cheese/cheese fermentables.

I like the subtle smokiness and concomitant spiciness (which almost evokes rye), but it doesn't seem like much of an altbier and this aroma doesn't suggest a clean drinkable crisp fresh beer. Suggests a dry brew via crackery malt/starchy saison-like notes.

T/Mf: Breadier than an alt should be, sans the crisp clean presentation it needs. A dragging scratchy feel on the palate coupled with a starchy taste and harsh smokiness makes it difficult to drink; each sip extinguishes the palate. It's not imbalanced, though, and I dig the toasty amber malt backbone. The premise of a smoked alt is a good one but the execution isn't there. Needs a deeper taste and more refreshing feel.

O: Not as drinkable as an alt should be, and by no means traditional, but nevertheless above average. It's nice to see more alts in the U.S., but I'll stick to traditional offerings. This does have nice toasted characteristics and employs smoke in any interesting way, but it's by no means a world-class example of the style.

C+

 4,998 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of GMB
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 4

I've been looking forward to trying Scruffy's Smoked Alt since I picked it up last week. Smoked Altbier ("Alt") is a great idea. A traditional Alt's flavor profile--nutty, toasted malts in front, supported by muted fruity, dry, crisp hoppy flavors-- should complement smoked malty flavors nicely. I'm expecting flavors like hickory-smoked cashews and almonds and citrus-marinated barbecued meats.

A standard pour yields a dark amber brew and a very tall (3+ fingers) head of foam. The head is tall, but not viscous. Its fizzy body disappears too quickly, but does leave behind some patches (not rings) of fizzy lace on the sides of the glass. Bubbles are medium in size and evenly dispersed in the body.

The nose is as complex as some of the better rauchbiers/smoked beers I've had. Smoked aromas are present, but don't overpower. I appreciate toasted caramel, seared bacon, maple, and very mild notes of citrus.

The taste more or less follows the nose. Caramel, dark toffee, and roasted almonds and cashews up front, smoked meat in the middle. The smoked meats continue into the back end, where they're met with some bitter citrus-rind flavors and lingering bitterness. Think charred pork belly and orange rind slowly smoked over oak chips. Unfortunately, these intriguing flavors are let down entirely by the beer's watery mouthfeel and fizzy, sometimes abrasive froth. The beer was nearly flat by the last few sips of this 16 oz. can. Darn.

On the whole, Scruffy's Smoked Alt is an excellent smoked beer. It incorporates smokey flavors into what is ultimately a crisp, drinkable ale. The can tells us that the brewers have aimed to create a smoke beer that can be enjoyed with food. I can understand why. The flavor of most rauchbier/smoked beers is so bold that any attempt to pair the beers with food ends up futile. The smokiness in Scruffy's Smoked Alt is subdued enough that the beer should pair well with acidic and rich items.

 1,941 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Weisseguy1
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Jame515
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of calcutron
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.08/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16 oz tallboy pours a lightly hazed amber color with a large, un-moving cap of tan head. Great looking beer, but appears to be a tad overcarbed.

Nose ranks about a 5/10 on the smoke-o-meter. Still allows the caramel and toast aromas from the malt to shine through. Plenty going on here and the sweet/smoke interplay is pretty cool.

Taste is well done on the smoke, just enough to satisfy rauchbier fans but not too intense as to scare away someone who has not tried a smoked beer before. The malts are perfectly done for my tastes, lightly toasty but stays more biscuity with a bit of caramel. Kiss of hops rounds things out nicely. The smoke is not intense, but it does have a nice 'meaty' flavor. I could drink alot of this and is another solid offering from Cedar Creek. Im impressed with all three offerings they have put out.

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Scruffy's Smoked Alt from Cedar Creek Brewery
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 88 ratings
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