Longshot Derf's Secret Alt | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

very good
132 Reviews
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Longshot Derf's Secret AltLongshot Derf's Secret Alt

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by AmericanGothic on 03-16-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 261
Photo of FlatRabbitRed
5/5  rDev +33%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the very best beer I have ever had, I bought four cases of this years longshot winners just to enjoy this delightfull little fluid!

Now you may be saying that is fine but what level of beer drinker am I anyway, well I have been drinking beer for fourty years, and I started trying to drink different styles thirty five years ago. I have had somewhere over a thousand different beers over my lifetime, and this one is my all time favorite!

Rich, bold, malty sweet, caramel coffee, tangy toasty delight!

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.92/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Loved this beer. Derf is a great beer with an awesome name to it. Taste very strong.Smells like heaven mouthful is the same as taste and appearance not to thick. Poured this beer into a pint glass which has been very trusty to me the since i started reviewing at this site

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.48/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - caramel brown pour, a sticky light mocha head crests at about a finger. Lots of lacy residue.

Aroma - big, sweet caramel and malt. Reminds me of a barleywine but with more grain presence.

Taste - chewy, robust grains mixed with light citrus and raisiny flavor. A nice twangy syrupy bite, like a tangy orange. Mellow abv warming. Finishes lightly bitter and slowly but increasingly dry. Some delicious Kahlua-like notes as it warms.

Mouthfeel - very smooth for feeling so crisp in the mouth. Big, weighty beer, great fit for this one.

Overall - an ideal fall beer for the fireside, though a few too many will feel like a hammer to the head tomorrow. Too bad there's only two per sixer, I'd by a dozen of these.

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Photo of nickfl
4.47/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - The beer pours with half a finger of white foam on top of a medium brown body with perfect clarity. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves only traces of lace in its wake.

S - A brown, malty aroma with notes of brown sugar, caramel, and toasted bread.

T - Dark brown sugar and caramel up front. Some dark toffee and a bit of cinnamon in the middle. Spicy hop notes come out in the finish with fairly strong bitterness to balance the sweet toffee.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Really nicely done, this is a bit over the top compared to any other Alt, (sticke or otherwise) that I have had, but it works really well. The malt is thick and flavorful but never becomes cloying and the hops are there to keep things balanced while also providing a little bit of spicy character. One of the better long shot beers.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber orange with some ruby red. Lots of rising bubbles and a big four finger off white head with good retention. Lots of lace on the glass.

Smell: Sweet mildly roasty malts with lots of caramel and toffee. Hints of brown sugar. Also picking up some hints of citrus hops with notes of grapefruit and orange peel. Some hints of dark raisins and plum in the background with a hint of alcohol. Smells sweet and bready but balanced.

Taste: A very nice combination of bready malts, hops, and dark fruit. Sweet bready malts that are lightly roasted with big notes of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Midway comes some balancing citrus hops with notes of orange and grapefruit. There is also a good presence of dark fruits with notes of booze soaked raisins, figs, and plum. Sort of tastes like a cross between a Doppelbock and a dark Belgian ale.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Very creamy and chewy. Very smooth for the big body and high ABV.

Overall: A very good take on an Alt. Bready and sweet but balanced and complex with the presence of hops and dark fruit.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got a bottle of Derf's Secret Alt in Samuel Adams Longshot six pack last week for $10.99 at The Lager Mill. This idea of this beer is pretty intriguing, I have never seen an Altbier even close to as strong as this one is, and it seems pretty weird that an Altbier is the strongest beer in the six pack and not the RIS, but I am very interested in trying it so lets see how it goes. It had a best buy date of August 2012. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label is pretty much the same as the other ones just a different face to represent the home brewer that came up with this beer, it looks ok. It poured a dark amber/copper color that had pretty good clarity and had a little over four fingers worth of fluffy off white/light tan head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left lots of lacing. I was really impressed with the way this beer looked, nice color and great head, I normally don't get a big head on a beer that is this strong, I really like it.

S- The aroma is complex. It starts out with some medium roasted malts that have a good amount of sweetness to them and impart a light toasted aroma, following that is some caramel and toffee aromas. After that I get some sweet molasses and brown sugar aromas that are followed by a pretty noticeable amount of dark fruits, plums, raisins, and black cherrys stick out the most and there is also some light citrus fruit aromas like grapefruit. At the end I get some more sweet and bready malts with a light alcohol aroma. I really ike the aroma, it's fragrant and complex, it for sure doesn't smell like the average Altbier.

T- The taste seems to be a little similar to the aroma. The first thing that I pick up is a nice amount of lightly roasted malts that impart a nice bready and biscuity flavors with a slight bit of brown bread, it's not nearly as sweet as the aroma and they also impart some nice caramel, toffee, and brown sugar flavors. After that some of those citrus fruits come through that i assume come from some citrus hops, I get some grapefruit and pineapple. Next comes all those dark fruits that I got in the aroma with the raisins and plums sticking out the most. There a little bit of alcohol on the finish that lets you know your drinking a big beer, but it isn't that overpowering or overwhelming for being 9.30%. I get a low amount of bitterness on the finish with a malty dark fruit aftertaste with a slight bit of alcohol. I really like the flavor of this beer it's really complex and I don't think I have ever had a beer that mixed dark fruit flavors with citrus fruit flavors, really unique to say the least.

M- Pretty smooth, a little chewy and creamy, on the lighter side of being full bodied and it had a perfect amount of medium carbonation, The mouthfeel was really different for an Altbier but I thought that it suited this beer nicely.

Overall I thought that this was pretty damn good beer and while not a true to style Altbier it is for sure one of the most interesting and complex ones I have ever had, it's pretty bold to take an Altbier to this level and I like that. For how strong this Altbier is it has pretty good drinkability and with the alcohol not showing up too much it went down faster then I expected, even so one is probably enough for me but if I was in the mood I think I could drink another one as long as I din't have shit to do in the morning. What I liked most about this beer was how different and unique it was and how complex it was, there were lots of nice flavors and aromas going on that blended well together and citrus fruits followed by dark fruits was pretty unique and enjoyable. There wasn't anything that I didn't like or would change about this beer, ok maybe I would change it's name, an epic beer like this needs an epic name. I would for sure buy this beer again and I am really thinking about getting another six pack so I can age a couple of these and see how they develop with time. I think just about everybody should try this beer, it's that good. So far this was my favorite from the 2012 Longshot series but I haven't had the RIS yet. This was one well made beer that you can tell that a lot of thought, time, and effort went into this beer and it really comes through in every aspect, I would be thrilled if they made this beer a seasonal but I doubt that will eve happen. Great work Fred, you made one kick ass beer that is the most unique Altbier I have ever had, no wonder why you were one of this years winners, what I would give for you to be my neighbor and let me try some of your home brews, if their half way as good as this one was I would be one happy man, your going places dude. Keep showcasing the Homebrewers Samuel Adams, it a really awesome thing you are doing.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep, deep brown color though very clear. Reminds me of a piece of antigue furniture in color. Heavy coppery color. Nice, sweet malt aroma. Faint, faint whisper of alcohol. Sticky, toffeeish smell. Big solid malt flavor. Just a huge malt bomb. Slight bite to it. Great caramel/toffee flavors. Killer mouthfeel-the sticky malt just fades right into a gummy/sticky sweetness. 9%? Where? I had not a clue about this beer. A great, great alt if you ask me-maybe a double or imperial alt but a killer brew for me.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsener (don't have a stange)- pours a pretty clear brownish red (mahogany) with a creamy one finger tan head, decent retention, moderately sticky lacing. Slight layer of foam remains down to the bitter end.

Smell is a noseful- nice big center of bready dark malt with some prune and yeast notes.

Taste is consistent with smell and adds to it- lots of bready dark malt throughout, prune and yeast in the middle, a little alcohol spiciness towards the end, and a sweet finish (I taste banana). I'm not really tasting any citrus hops at the end as Sam Adams describes. Big malt-fest.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, light to moderate carbonation. The presence of the alcohol is a little bit distracting. This is a very fine brew and I'm proud to support homebrewers (as I am one!). Wish more Sam Adams were like these.

Update: After eating some pizza, I smell some banana as well as taste. Go figure.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled in large ale glass

A: great big head, foamy; dark dark amber, nearly black
S: strong caramel, toasted grains, malt
T: amazing flavors; complex and sweet; the booze comes out in spades; raisins and dates are strong; hops are present, but play an excellent second-string to the other flavors
M: thick and viscous, almost like syrup; boy this needs to lighten up

I love it.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep mahogany/ruby red with a thick three finger head that lingers and hangs onto the sides of the glass as it dissapates. Great clarity for a beer this dark.

S- Dark amber honey... Smith Bros. Honey cough drops, licorice, sweet malt, caramel/cinnamon buns, sour cherry, some spicy pepper notes and some banana yeastiness. Really cool with amazing depth!

T- Thick, rich and sweet honey. Lots of malt sweetness, tons of licorice, dried cherries, Really nice caramel, toffee and honey cough drops. Nice bready yeast notes. No real trace of hops, but this is all about the malt bill.

M- Thick and sticky. The alcohol hides nicely behind the caramel and honey sweetness. Not much in the way of pop on the tongue... it just kind of glides and surrounds the mouth in sugary sweetness.

O- This one is all about the sweetness and honey! Note an everyday drinker, but really glad I finally tried it. Really amazing depth... with each breath, you pick up something different in the backround.

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Photo of BDIMike
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light brown color, dark red when held to the light. There is a good amount of carbonation that creates a medium sized cream colored head that laces throughout the drink.
Smell is very nice. A strong malt base of caramel and toffee giving the beer a sweetness to the smell. A nice orange and grapefruit hop aroma as well, even with a bit of a good alcohol smell.
Taste is very good. Strong malts dominate the drink with caramel and sweet toffee tastes. A bit of hops gives it a slight balance, but I enjoy a warm alcohol taste that lingers on the tongue.
Mouthfeel is very nice. A very silky smooth feel on the tongue that slips right down.
Drinkability is great on this beer. I was shocked at the complexity of the taste of this beer. I wish Sam Adams would find a way to make this a year round beer because it is fantastic. Get this beer while you have a chance.

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Photo of TechTriumph
4.23/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes on 03/24/12:
Best by: August 2012; Poured in a pint glass.

A - Two inches of off-white billowy head with excellent retention; Clear appearance with a mahogany color; Nice patches of lacing left behind

S - Light aroma overall, but pleasant with notes of caramel, sweet raspberry-like fruits, a bit of chocolate, and light spicy/herbal and citrus hops

T - Big, malty, and fairly sweet taste here comprised of big time caramel, a bit of toasted bread, sugar cane, and nutty/earthy flavors with just a bit of alcohol; Very mild bitterness in the back end of the taste with a touch of herbal/spicy and leafy hops

M - Super smooth mouthfeel that leaves a light syrupy coat on the tongue; Low carbonation; Between medium and full bodied; Leaves the mouth pretty dry and a bit sticky

O - It's a shame that there's only two of these from the Longshot six pack as I could really go for a few more. As expected, the taste has a huge malt presence with quite a bit of caramel and sugars, though the sweetness is tasty and not overdone. The mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth and while there isn't a big presence of hops, they come through enough to stay true to the Sticke Altbier style. Overall, I think this beer is a great candidate to be added to the Sam Adams seasonal lineup, especially for a style that seems under-represented.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From long shot mix pack

A- Pours a dark brown ruby with a one finger head that dissipates quickly to a thin lace

S - candied sugar, bananas, yeast, nuts, dark fruit

T - Malts and dark fruit hit first, with a just hint of alcohol. Some bitterness balanced with some hops on the back end.

M - Carbonation is solid, mouthfeel is also good, chewy at times. Great balance.

O- This is a very tasty beer, and although it seems light in the hop category, it is well balanced. Goes down fast for a 9.3%. Recommended.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams tasting glass.

A- Deep garnet/brown with a nice two-finger high head of light tan foam, finely carbonated.

S- Malty and lightly spicy in the nose. Bready malt aromas too...smells great.

T- Fruity and nicely hoppy flavors, nice mingling of the sweet/bitter components...pleasant hop finish.

M- This is a heavyweight for sure, with all that malt packed in it it's very full-bodied. The soft carbonation reinforces that.

O- I'm really liking this one, great complexity in the flavor and I love the body of this one.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Bright clear mahogany with a frothy tan head leaving a quarter inch of foam behind.

S - Bready and caramel malts, candied fruit, toffee, dried fruits.

T - Rich toffee and caramel, multigrain bread, dried fruits, light yeast flavor, nutty with just a touch of booze.

M - Medium body, smooth and creamy with just a bit of alcohol warmth.

D - Stands up to the Uerige versions if not maybe a touch better. Drank this one fairly warm and the complexity really comes out.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a fairly clear mahogany-brown color with a finger of frothy tannish head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some thick lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet bready malts with a bit caramelized malts, some grapefruit and citrus hops, a bit of dark fruit, and some yeast.

T - Starts off with some sweet bready malts with some grapefruit and citrus hops and just a touch of bitterness. Through the middle, some light caramelized malt flavor comes through with some dark fruit and biscuit. The finish is a mix of sweet bready malts, with some caramelized and dark fruit sweetness and a bit of yeast and booze.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and slightly thick with a warming and sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. The 9.3% abv is fairly well hidden and the beer very nicely balanced from start to end.

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Photo of ZAP
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Reddish brown colored...tan lace

S-Dark fruits(blackberries, plums) and bready malts...a unique candyish note too of sweet raspberries..

T-Similar to the aroma...dark fruits..bready malt....sweet but not cloying....some berry like fruitiness..

M-Full bodied....rich....smooth....no hints of the surprisingly high ABV.

O-Quality effort here. Not a beer style you see too often either which adds to its appeal.

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Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Until a few minutes ago I had no idea this beer was this big.Poured into a becker a deep rich well defined amber with a tightly formed slight off white 1/2 finger head.Fruit abounds in the nose along with some roasted nut wich is more apparent as it warms,sweet alcohol as well.Unlike any Sticke Alt I have had with it's intense fruitiness and warming alcohol but I like it,some peppery/leafy hops play a bigger role as the beer warms with again a bigger alcohol presence.Fred did a great job on this beer...again like no Alt I have had but it's great.

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Photo of russpowell
4.14/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent brown with 3 fingers of tan head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Bready, caramel notes, plus woody hops

T: Brown bread, toffee, booze & leafy hops up front, with some orange peel up front. Brown sugar, more citrus to include grapefruit & toffee as this warms. Finishes with major malt backbone dryness/sweetness & some grapefruittty & woody hops

MF: Chewy, subtle carbonation, boney dryness

A legit dopple sticke, better than any of the bottled versions I had from Dusseldorf (albeit all had to travel far & God knows how old they were...). Kudos to Fred for picking out a very underrepresented beer style putting his stamp on it with an American flair! Drinks fairly easy considering the ABV

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Photo of Zachtheporter
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a glass mug.

A- Pours a deep dark brown with a light slightly tan white head that dissipates soon after being poured. Has a very healthy looking ring of foam around the edges and when swirled it clings to the side before leaving a layer of lacing.

S- Smell is very rich. Has a vary nice complex aroma that is somewhat fruity and malty. Smells strongly of caramel covered dark and spicy fruits. Thee are also some deeply embedded cocoa notes.

T- The taste is very similar to a very well aged brown ale. Heavily malty and very rich with some strong caramel and toffee flavors as well as some slight coffee and espresso notes. Added to this mix of malts is an underlying fruity spiciness that tastes somewhat like dark fruits. Very nice and complex.

M- Heavier mouthfeel with a rich body and medium carbonation. Has a very nice chewiness to it as well.

O- A very nice alt. Reminds me quite a bit of an old ale or strong ale. Definitely a sipper and very rich but thats the kind of thing I personally look for in a beer. Definitely a killer knockout of a beer.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – Pours a deep brown color with a slight reddish hue. Upon pouring there is a giant off white head. The head is composed of big bubbles, but yet has quite a persistence and lasts for some time. Over time it fades and leaves some very nice lacing.

Smell – The aroma is big in malt and sweetness. The malt is mainly roasty in nature with nice biscuity aromas mixed in. For the sweetness, it is composed largely of a toffee aroma with some lighter dark fruit aromas mixed in.

Taste – A heavy sweet malt favor meets the tongue. It is a bit of roasted malt with some sweet cherry bread. Toward the middle the fruit flavors of some cherry and even a little citrus work their way in mixing well with the nice roasty malt flavor. These flavors persist to the end and finish off the taste by mixing with a light boozy flavor that leaves a very nice warming sweet flavor in the mouth.

Mouthfeel –The body of this beer is quite creamy and thick. You can almost chew this one. The carbonation level is just below average and helps to accentuate the nice thick, chewy, creamy body. Mixing the wonderful body and nice carbonation level with the warming feeling that the alcohol brings it makes for an overall very enjoyable mouthfeel.

Overall – This was a nice brew. A nice thick body with some strong sweeter flavors. A very nice sipper with great flavors and a nice feel.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a New Belgium goblet.

I love the Sticke Alt style--brewed it a few times myself and wish more American brewers would attempt it. Let's see how this Longshot fares. Great-looking pour. The head crackles as it dwindles to a thin veil of khaki foam and ring of bubbles. Beneath, the body is a vivid tawny red hue when held to the light. A deep chestnut brown otherwise. The aroma is...a bit like hop and alcohol perfume. Quite fragrant, with a sweet malty character that suggests molasses, while the hybrid ale yeast throws off some intense fruity notes of fig and plum. Maybe a quick whiff of nail polish, but it's not too noticeable.

Yum...that's tasty. I can see why this recipe won! Chewy, sticky-sweet malts add a backbone of sweetbread and caramel, while yeasty fruit esters of browned apple flesh and a leafy hop bitterness balance it all nicely. The alcohol is present, but not at all distracting, and warms the back of the palate nicely with each sip. Body is medium-thick, but finishes clean and crisp like an Altbier should. Overall, an excellent interpretation of the style. Prost!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red body, excellent clarity, topped by two fingers of loosely whipped oatmeal colored foam.

Nutty, bready aroma up front, with a fruity background and a touch of alcoholic licorice.

Very sweet beginning, which stands its ground for some time. Layer of fruit follows. Alcohol punch and slow warming.

Firm medium mouthfeel flows the flavors well.

Well done in a style not often seen in he US.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a Cola colored brown with ruby red highlights. Has a short tan head that leaves a creamy topping and spotty lacing. Moderate-heavy carbonation and excellent clarity.

N: Chocolate covered banana, caramelized brown sugar and honey.

T: Molasses, banana, caramelized brown sugar and fig upfront. Mid-palate brings in biscuity bread, chocolate banana, prune juice and sweet honey. Finishes with some earth, hints of bitter dark chocolate, a dab of pleasant booze and perhaps some hay.

M: Full bodied, velvety and incredibly smooth.

O: Big, sugary and candy-like with a lot of caramel, honey, banana and some dark fruit. The alcohol is well hidden in this one and surprisingly smooth for 9.3%. This is a nicely done Sticke Alt and a quality entree into the Longshot series.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a deep brown with a medium off-white head, some thick lace.

S: Lots of sweet toffee malt, hint of chocolate, red apple peel, some brown sugar, malt dominant.

T: Has some doppelbock like heavy malt, but with a clear ale fruitiness. Plum and date, with some molasses, malt heavy as with the nose.

M: Full-bodied, lush, soft carbonation, full feeling in the mouth, prickly carbonation.

O: Like a Sticke Alt on steriods, doesn't have the great minerality of the good Dusseldorf examples, but a tasty beverage and a well made beer.

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Longshot Derf's Secret Alt from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.76 out of 5 based on 261 ratings.
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