Speak Softly and Carry a Big Sticke Alt | Columbus Brewing Company

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5 Ratings

Brewed by:
Columbus Brewing Company
Ohio, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by prototypic on 11-05-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 5 |  Reviews: 4
Photo of MbpBugeye
2.98/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Im a little bit late to the party for this months Hop Odyssey, but I finally got my growler filled.

November brings us a pretty creative idea, a style seldom seen in American craft and certainly a first time attempt from CBC. Altbiers arent supposed to be hoppy, but then again, neither are Hefewiezens and Hungry, Hungry Hefe turned out ok.

A- This is a pretty foamy one, but the foam is very manageable. The head is very compact and rises up to the perfect size. Retention in my Perfect Pint is about as good as anyone could ask for and the lacing is nothing short of beautiful. It surpasses ringlets and leaves a steady coating of froth on the glass. The beer is a clean, toasted copper. Lots of bubbles are seen rushing up from the depths to fuel that sticky cap.

S- CBC never makes a beer that doesnt smell darn good. Hops are always handled exquisitely. This is no exception, but calling the aroma hop forward would be an ill conceived notion. Right off the bat the nose is dominated by a blunt, toasted cracker malt bouquet. There is lots of butteriness and whole grain smells. Swirling a little releases the hop aromas that make this beer part of the Hop Odyssey. Herbal tea-like hops abound with a juicy citrus sub-dominance.

T- This stuff is kinda weird. I dont think Ive ever had a traditional Sticke before, and I meant to track some down before giving this beer a try. Regardless, things just arent coming together for me with this beer. There is a huge toasted grain malt base. Notions of pretzel dough, club crackers, and whole grain toast are brought to mind. This is all fine, if preferred in a small dose but then the hops come crashing into everything. A largely grapefruit citrus hop bill brings an abrupt bitterness with a lingering hop oil finish. It is these lingering oils that ruin it for me. There is a slight medicinal bitterness that tries to stick around.

M- Carbonation and body are about spot on. Its smooth enough but not heavy on the stomach. A slick feeling is left over in the mouth, which is a mildly negative thing but it doesnt spoil much.

D- Eh, I dont hate this but Im not rushing to finish my growler. This is my least favorite of the series. A noble attempt at a rare style and I commend them for that. I think it just isnt one that benefits from larger doses of hops.

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Photo of Adamostella
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of Ryan011235
3.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass at the brewpub on 11/4/10

Deep copper color with dull brown hues mixed in. It's quite clear despite the depth of color. Poured 1/8th inch head, with only a thin film for retention. On the other hand, lacing is very solid, especially at the beginning.

Hoppy aroma of the citric variety. No surprise there, right? Grapefruit & a touch of lemon. Fairly dense; notes of pine, too. Juicy, sweet overtones. Some toasted malts on the back; notions of dark bread & a ghost note of sugar (maybe brown sugar). The juiciness of the hops becomes more appreciable with warmth; then, halfway through the glass, the citrus vanishes. A few stray wisps of raisins manifest toward the end of the glass.

The nose, as it turns out, is an unassuming precursor to the flavor profile; while the hops aren't all that aggressive in the big picture, I didn't expect them, for some reason, to be so bitter. Indeed, there is a prominent, almost sharp, piney bitterness that lasts from start to finish. Perhaps I'm most surprised that the citric flavors are downplayed, all but enveloped in the dry pine. Malts offer a suitably dry backdrop, too. Toasted dark bread lacking any sort of sweetness on the back half, though there seems to be a spot of dark, sugary sweetness upfront.

SSCBSA is a shade above medium body. Carbonation is upwards of moderate; quite prickly upfront, mellowing toward the finish. Finishes dry with a slightly coating feel. Faint citrus flavors creep back in & linger with pine tar.

This is a weird beer. It tastes pretty good & is fully enjoyable but no beer comes to mind (especially in the Hop Odyssey) that requires so much reconsidering throughout; the nose alone had drastic changes. By the end of the pint I'm also wondering if some rye is in there. An interesting beer that doesn't fly as high or far as it could.

55 IBU, 6.5% ABV

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Photo of prototypic
3.7/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ahhh. November. Time for beer #11 in the Hop Odyssey series. Let me introduce you to 'Speak Softly and Carry a Big Sticke Alt.' That's right, it's a Sticke Alt, a bigger, bolder version of an Altbier. 'Sticke' means secret. Make of all that what you will, but it's an interesting backdrop.

Speak Softly pours an attractive copper/bronze color. It's clear, and backlighting shows very nice crimson highlights. A soft, tan head caps the top. It rises to maybe a finger before retreating to a surface cover. It holds firm there for a bit (perhaps in part to my Sam Adams glass). Lacing was moderate, and a little sticky.

The nose is pretty good, but is a little light on aromatics. More strength would be a positive thing. It starts out with a bit of toasted and caramel malt. The toasted variety smells stronger. It has a slightly sweet smell to it. Light yeast is noted. Hops are very much in play. Smells like noble hops to me. They're floral and even a little spicy. Alcohol is buried.

The flavor is a step up, but just barely. I'm still waiting on my tenths of points button. The malt base is nice and toasty with just a hint of sweet caramel. Hops add a nice blend of floral and spicy flavors. They complement the malts nicely. They definitely seem like noble hops, and are fairly light in the bitterness department. Yeast is definitely there, and adds a bready flavor. Alcohol is nowhere to be found. Pretty good stuff. Straight forward and uncomplicated, but good.

The body is definitely on the lighter side. Carbonation is dialed down nicely. It doesn't have enough body to attain a really smooth feel, but it's not bad. Drinkability is pretty good. There's no question this stuff goes down easily. I like the flavor, but the strong toasty aspect grows somewhat tiresome after a glass. It's fairly friendly at 6.5%, but there's no way this entire growler is going down tonight.

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Sticke Alt is probably my least favorite release in the Hop Odyssey series. It's still good beer, and is a testament to how good this series has been. My experience with Altbiers has been limited, but this one's good. The strong toasted flavor tends to be a little much for me after a glass or two, but it is enjoyable. It could use a little more strength on the nose, and maybe a little more body. That's about it. Definitely worth checking out. Go grab a pint!

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Photo of ne0m00re
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

02/13/11- Had this one at the Studio 35 tasting with Zoolander.
A: Light brown and copper with a sticky white head.
S: Very earthy and woody with a caramelized roasted walnuts quality. Good.
T: Just like eating old rye bread, with a mushroom earthy whiskey alcohol character. Very woody. Good.
M: Crisp, nice.
D: Good.

This is an interesting one. It's a solid beer.

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Speak Softly and Carry a Big Sticke Alt from Columbus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.39 out of 5 with 5 ratings