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

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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: 260
Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.69/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Part of the Longshot 2012 six-pack - $9.99 at Total Wine & More in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, very dark amber-red body with a tallish, foamy, off-white head. A little smear here and there of lace.

Smell: Lightly sweetish, spicy, boozy nose with notes of dates and figs and citrus peel tossed into cooking brown sugar and grain spirits.

Taste: Bread crusts, brown sugar, and a little layer of molasses. Moderately sweet in a syrupy way. Slight grapefruit with a bite of chewing gum. Spicy hops but there're also some pops of clove buds. Medium-light bitterness. Ends with a kick of hot alcohol on the drying, malty finish. Singe of alcohol even well beyond the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: The secret in the Secret Alt is not the conspicuous alcohol presence, it's how this thing made it into the Longshot pack.

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Photo of allengarvin
2.73/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a very dark alt, with with a bit of a reddish-gold tint when held to the light. Nose is unusually fruity, with ripe apricot notes, together with some sharp hints of alcohol. Taste: really sweet taste with a lot of yeasty fruitiness. I'd probably have identified this as aiming for a Belgian style in a blind taste test. The other notable is the hot alcohol notes. Way too strong for an alt, even the reserve sticke type, and it doesn't hit any of the points typical of the style. Not a pleasant drink at all. Puzzling how this one made it into the lineup.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
2.75/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ba Review #172
Served On: 06/07/2012
Glassware: Samuel Adams Perfect Pint
Labeled ABV: 9.3%
Date/ Code: -

This was from the 2011 winners of the Sam Adams Longshot Contest.

Look: Poured a deep dark reddish copper color. Small tan head. Zero carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Nose was of booze, rich dark fruits, and a slight biscuit.

Taste: Upfront was some serious alcohol heat. Then some very pungent dark fruits. Then more booze. A slight sour note kicked in at the finish.

As a home brewer myself, I do appreciate what was accomplished here. I just can't say that I find the brew very enjoyable. Perhaps with some age would mellow out the harshness.

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Photo of greenjeff4141
2.81/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a dark mahogany brown with a large amount of head.

S: Smells of rum and bread pudding, cinnamon, raisins and a faint waft of alcohol.

T: Bitterness up front, sugar and rum, a bit medicinal, and the alcohol follows it up strongly. A bitter reminder of hops stays on the back of the tongue. The smell is much nicer than the flavor.

M: A good deal of carbonation and a big richness to it.

Overall I think the alcohol and the bitterness are a bit too strong and the flavor suffers from it. It's one to be sipped and have only one. I wish the flavor matched the wonderful smells.

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Photo of RichardMNixon
2.96/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into a seidel.

A: Beautiful ruby-red body with thin brownish head.

S: Sweet malt and honey with a touch of alcohol. Not a very strong scent.

T: The orange flavor they mention is there but accompanied by a strong medicinal flavor that's hard to get past.

M: Strong point of the beer. Smooth and thick leaving a tart aftertaste.

O: Not something I'd buy a 6-pack of. The Dunkel that came with this one in the Longshot pack was better but I don't have notes for it.

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Photo of AdamBear
2.98/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-dark amber with no head. Cream colored around the edges

S-smells like cinnamon and molasses. Strong and syrupy scent. Not too great. 

T-comes in with a really bitter taste of dark grains, winter spices, pumpernickel, and a little bit of hops. Definitely tastes more like a winter warmer than any other style. Matching after-taste with a touch of caramel.

M-bitter. Medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-it tastes so amateur. I imagine that the original recipe for this tasted much better but it fell apart while in the hands of Sam Adams. It's not terrible at all, but I was glad when I didn't have to drink more.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a very dark cherry red, albeit rather clear. The head is two fingers and tan, and fades quickly

S- nice roasted malt aroma...caramel sweetness also comes through

T- overly, OVERLY sweet. The caramel taste is overbearing. There's a faint taste of alcohol in the back-end as well

M- body actually seems very thin. Huh.

O- looks nice...smells nice...but the taste is way too over the top. It's just too much

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Photo of Beejay
3.12/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A lacquered cherry wood color in body. Clear, with 2 fingers of tan head.

S: Sweet caramel, and molasses. Some raisins and burnt bread, along with some alcohol. Something in the background that I can't quite put my finger on. Something a little heavy, almost metallic, but. .. not.

T: Brown sugar, and molasses. Very sweet. There is a nice earthy hop flavor right at the front. But the finish is all sweet, almost cloyingly so. Brown sugar, and cooked caramel, with perhaps a touch of licorice.

M: Fairly heavy and thick feel, the carbonation is plentiful, and lightens the body a touch. Definitely leaves a residue after the sip.

O: Overall good, and the alcohol isn't as present int he taste as it is in the aroma. Still, nothing fantastic. Good, just not great, and the sweetness is almost overbearing.

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Photo of YouSkeete
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with an orange hue. one finger pale white head with weak retention. Roasted toffee, caramel, coriander, orange and grapefruit are big in the aroma. Lots of thick malt and and yeast character. Wild mash of dark plum-like sugared fruits, roasted toffee, dark chocolate and orange peel with some hints of coffee and molases on the first sip. Quite boozy with a rich, hearty overall body. Mildly sour, fruity and sugary finish.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in a Sam Adams glass)
A- This beer pours a dense glowing garnet body with a light tan head of thick foam that last a good bit.

S- The slight sweet malt aroma has a soft dry hop finish.

T- The toffee note has a slight sweet green nougat hop note in the finish with a fruity hint and sweet malt note lingering. The sweet taste grows cloying as the beer opens.

M- The medium-full mouthfeel is creamy with a tight fizz and a soft alcohol heat warmth.

O- This beer is a bit thick like milk and the melanodin flavor is the strongest malt flavor with not a lot of grain character or hops for the alcohol level.

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Photo of bum732
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

S: Very caramel malt, some banana, rum soaked bread, smells very sweet, cream soda.

L: Crystal clear dark red, white head that dissipates quickly. Some lacing.

T: Very sweet malt with a citric backbone. Some breadiness, but very caramally, almost burnt caramel. Some toasted malt in the finish, drying really well. Quite a hop bite, somewhat harsh. I don't think it works with this beer.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation. Alcohol barely present.

Not bad, hops clash with the other flavors quite a bit. Better as it warms, but nothing special.

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Photo of fank2788
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a pint glass
Dark slightly murky brown with a very sticky off white head in the glass. Sweet bread and brown sugar smell with a touch of citrus hops and a bit of a boozy character. The taste is very sweet upfront. Molasses, dark bready malt, brown sugar and alcohol are all evident in the taste. The alcohol definitely carries throughout this one and leaves a hot finish. Carbonation is lively but there is just too much unrestrained alcohol in this one, the whole second half of the sip is dominated by drying, stinging booze character that is a bit over the top. Overall I cant rate this very high it's just a bit too unbalanced. It would be ok for this beer to be so strong if only it was better masked by some real malt or hop character. Not one of my favorites but cheers to Fred on his Longshot win.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.21/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$11.99 for a mixed 6'er @ Bevco. 9.3% ABV. No specs or ingredients per the bottle or website. Pours out to a sparkingly clear deep amber, forming a nice creamy whipped tan head with excellent retention and solid sheets of lace. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma opens with syrupy sweet malts, earthy hops, tons of caramel and toffee and suggestions of cola. The mouthfeel is syrupy with a dense body. The taste is a recap of the aroma. Very malty but also very sweet with moderate bittering and tons of caramel and toffee and a lingering bitterness in the finish. Interesting subtle notes of cloves, cola and bubblegum as well. There are some higher alcohols about halfway through. Earthy aftertaste. Boozy. Lots of caramelization in the kettle here.

Hrmmm. Alte's have never been my cup of tea. If I'm going to drink a beer this big (Sticke Alte), I'd rather have a barleywine, which to my tastes is a more refined style of the same type beer. I wouldn't buy this again. Hopefully the other long-shots are better. Disappointing.

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Photo of tophers
3.27/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Very pleasant aroma...sweet, bready.

Taste is toasty with a significant amount of melanodins. Don't taste much of any hop flavor or bitterness. Strong alcohol profile and even more noticeable in the aftertaste.

Medium-heavy body with moderate amount of carbonation.

This beer was just to overwhelmingly alcoholic in taste for me.

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Photo of Amalak
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A. Clear, deep red color to it. Some bubbles. A decent foamy head.

S. Really intense malty some cherry scent.

T. Very thick taste. Cherry. It actually tastes like a Sam Adams with a bit of cherry.

M. Syrupy. Malty. Smooth.

O. It's a good brew. If I had this as a homebrew, I'd be quite happy. Not willing to pay money for it though, as its just solid but nothing special.

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Photo of Dodt
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

picked up the long shot case thought i would give the alt , the first review of the three. nice cola color with a tan head. smell is a blend of sugar and a muted citrus. taste wise the high octane alcohol is part of the charm the other flavors of toffee and coca. glad sam adams is open to letting the little guy have there brew hit the nations shelves , can't wait to try the other two in this case.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Strong, malty aroma has a firm and somewhat sugary overtone of horehound and molasses. It pours a clear, dark, bubbly cola brown with a very thick, fine-bubbled, pale tan head that leaves some good lacing. Flavor has a malty core and strong notes of brown sugar and horehound, heavy on the sweetness - maybe a tad or two too heavy. The undertone of hop bitterness and the alcohol nip do not quite balance the sweetness. Subtle citrus hints come through as well. Texture has decent body and fizz, and is a bit sticky. Good one, but next time maybe ease up on the sugar?

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.32/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From: Friar Tuck's in Savoy, IL
Date: Best by August 2012
Glass: Standard US pint glass

Derf's Secret Alt is a homebrew take on the altbier style, with Sam Adams producing this homebrew with higher than necessary ethanol and a slightly cloying sweetness that starts to become a bit tiresome after a while. The flavors are substantial brown sugar, caramel, and date, with a bit of banana, some cough syrup, and plenty of ethanol. In general, this came out a fairly average version of the style, relative to the Uerige version that has deeper depth of flavor and less alcohol.

Pours a 2cm head of dark tan foam, composed of medium to small-sized bubbles, which eventually settles to a thin ring of foam around the glass and a few wispy islands atop the body. Lacing is minimal to nonexistent. The body is a very dark amber brown, nearly black out of light, with luminescence bringing out burnt orange, red, and brown hues. Carbonation is visible through the transparent body, but it is slow and sluggish.

Aromas are rich with minerals, some brown sugar, overripe bananas, caramel, dates, figs, and ethanol. In short, brown sugar sweet with some dried, brown fruit and alcohol.

Front of the palate is of brown sugar, caramel, date sweetness, and a bit of cough syrup. Mid-palate features banana and brown sugar flavors, with plenty of ethanol vying for space. Back of palate is more deep brown sugar sweetness, a bit of dates, some cough syrup, and slightly harsh ethanol. Lingering finish of brown sugar, cough syrup, and ethanol; rather cloying at times.

Beer is heavy to medium-heavy bodied, with fairly low carbonation levels. This results in the beer sitting too long on the palate, resulting in a slightly placid, but smooth, mouthfeel. Ethanol is readily noticeable in burning on the palate, on the back of the throat, and in the nostrils. At times, it can be distracting. Finish is dry, with residual stickiness across the lips from the residual sugars.

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Photo of barczar
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with a solid one inch cream head that leaves substantial lacing.

Toasted malt, bread dough, and a hint of floral hops comprise the aroma.

Flavor is odd. There's a bit of underlying fruitiness reminiscent of high fermentation temperatures, some toasted caramel malt sweetness, with a touch of roasted malt bitterness. It's fairly soapy.

Body is somewhat syrupy, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Overall, disappointing for Longshot brew. Tastes like a homebrew I'd make, fermenting high.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.34/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

reviewed from old notes.
12oz bottle poured into a lager glass.

A: Burnt sienna color, good clarity. Creamy tan head retains well. Foamy lacing.

S: Bready and crusty. Toast. Hints of dark caramel and molasses. Soft grassy and floral hopping. Very clean. Simple and muted nose.

T: Crust. Nutty, brown cocoa. Molasses and caramel. Hints of currant and raspberry. Spicy alcohol. Sweet. Dry herbal hops stay in the background. Nutty, cocoa, caramel finish.

M: Large in body. Thick and chewy. Syrupy. Full and very rich. Low carbonation.

O: A very large beer that sits heavily on the palate. Rather one-dimensional and too simplistic.

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Photo of gtermi
3.36/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: This is a very nice looking beer. It has a brown body with a tint of amber. The head is white and thin and slowly fades to night but a ring around the glass.

S: Oh man it smells to me like they made beer and added a bit of vodka to it. There is also a bit of malt, but the alcohol really dominates the whole nose.

T: The flavor is sort of weak to me. There is a nice alcohol, some sweet malt flavors and a bit of caramel.

M: It has a bit of crispness on the back of the throat and tip of tongue. Also leavesa full feeling in my mouth.

O: This is not a bad beer, but not great. It's very nice for a Homebrew for sure, but nothing too great.

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Photo of ToddT
3.37/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear deep amber with some ruby highlights and a good sized off white head. Head fades slowly and leaves some spotty lace on the glass.

S- Roasted malts, caramel, toffee, and hints of candied plums.

T- Bready notes of roasted malt, caramel sweetness, candied sugar, and a slightly medicinal aftertast at the finish. The finish is dry with some alcohol heat.

M- More that medium but not quite full bodied, carbonation is medium. Some sugars begin to build up on the palate as it warms and the medicinal notes at the finish become slightly off putting.

O- Could use a few tweaks here and there, a little too sweet and there are some out of balance hop notes in it, but it is a good attempt and a not often represented style. The 9.3% ABV shows up at the finish too, some barrel aging or just cellaring this for a short time might tame some of this.

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Photo of prototypic
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Derf’s Secret Alt pours a darker mahogany color. Looks very clear. Backlighting reveals some cherry or burgundy highlights. A tan head covers it and rises to about a finger and a half in height. It’s rather slow to dissipate and leaves a sticky, moderate lacing clinging to the glass. Not bad at all.

The nose is just okay. Pretty average to be honest. It’s not all that aromatic. Needs more strength. It starts out with a yeast scent. It’s at the forefront throughout. There are some dark fruit notes – fig and a little raisin. It definitely smells malty and sugary sweet. Alcohol is very prominent. Much moreso than I expected. It doesn’t smell bad necessarily. Not good though. Needs more substance and less booze.

The flavor is a little better than the nose. Enough to warrant a score bump. It is definitely brown malt and brown sugar up front. Yeast is strong throughout. Dark fruit flavors of raisin and fig are flavorful. It is a bit acidic and spicy. Clove seems to emerge every now and then. There are some interesting hoppy notes that emerge about halfway through. They taste like citric grapefruit. It’s an okay flavor, but doesn’t work extremely well. Alcohol is strong and boozy. It’s a bit warm, as well. Finishes yeasty and boozy.

The body is medium. Carbonation is relatively light and soft. It does feel smooth. Pretty good feel. Nevertheless, the harshness of the alcohol slows consumption a good bit. It’s a slow sipper for sure.

Derf’s Secret Alt is an alright beer. It’s not bad, but it could use a bit of a tune up. Frankly, the alcohol is just too darn strong. If that were toned down a bit, I suspect it’d be improved quite a bit. If you can tolerate that and hang in there, it’s alright. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Man, these Longshot bottle portrait sketches keep getting a little freakier-looking every year! 12 oz bottle pours a decently clear crimson color with a large cap of creamy, dense off-white head. Very nice looking beverage. Good retention and lacing too.

Nose is very nutty-caramel with a fair dose of tropical alcohol and ripe fruit. Smells pretty good...smooth and malt/yeast/fruit aromas flow together well.

Taste is a smooth interplay of choco-toffee malt with a hint of toast and plenty of yeasty, nutty undertones. I was really surprised to see this one was 9+%...it drinks very well and the body is full but not overly sweet. Undercarbonation is a bit of a problem and the beer lacks a clean hop bite on the finish. It definitely has a homebrew type of feel to it, but I can think of plenty commercial beers that are not as good. I don’t think it would age well, but was enjoyable for a mix pack…I might even buy another lonshot pack this season because of this and the RIS.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from Sam Adams Long Shot Home Brewing Contest Six Pack.

A- Pours a dark amber/copper color, very thin whispy head, below average carbonation. Very similar in appearance to the Dark Night in Munich except a little bit more of a reddish color and less carbonation.

S- Yeasty caramel malts, hints of hops, not too aromatic.

T- Yeasty caramel malts with a slightly spicey hop flavor. Finishes a little bit spicey and bitter.

M- Medium bodied, average carbonation, abv very well hidden.

O- This was my last beer of the Longshot 6-Pack and definitely my least favorite of the 3 beers. This beer wasn't bad for it's style, but it was a little bit too spicey and bitter for my liking. The abv was very well hidden at the surprising 9.3%. I probably wouldn't buy this beer by itself again, however it is a decent beer at a decent price and goes well with the other beers in the 6-pack. I wouldn't highly recommend this beer in itself, however I would recommend trying the 6-pack. It has a good variety of all quality home-brewed beers. I look forward to next years Longshot 6-pack!

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Longshot Derf's Secret Alt from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.76 out of 5 based on 260 ratings.
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