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: 260
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 dfillius
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass
A: Moderate pour yields 1/3 finger of tan head with good retention. Chill hazy brown with slight red.
S: Caramel, some citrus - orange julius.
T: Sweet with slightly hoppy finish. Delicious. A bit too hot/alcoholly for it to achieve greatness. Finish is bready.
M: Bright up front. Chewy center, pleasantly warm finish but a tad breathy on the ethanol.
O: Drinkable despite the strength. I'd order a second. I'm glad I drank it, but I won't bu again.

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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 tdm168
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brown with a very large, thick, brown head that has great retention

S - light caramel, doughy, citrusy

T - malty, doughy, caramel, bitter some faint citrus, very faint pine; spicy alcohol finish when the beer warms

M - medium bodied, well carbonated, warming alcohol

This is an enjoyable, malty offering. Just a tad more balance from the hops would make this a really good beer. I enjoyed it. If it were slightly more hoppy and the alcohol was more subtle, I would buy a few more bottles.

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Photo of Bung
3.61/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. Best by August, but it's a big beer so no problem. Fairly dark amber pour, thin layer of off white.

Aroma, some caramel and citrus. A bit too much orange liqueur. It's a bit boozy.

Taste, not as boozy. Some citrus, caramel, grape at first. Much stronger biscuity-bread, toast and some nice chocolate and molasses.

Medium bodied, nice and creamy. Maybe just a little warm, a sipper.

Actually pretty nice, an "amateur" version of the Uerige brews.

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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 BucBasil
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 12oz bottle into an extra large pilsner glass.

Appearance is dark reddish cola brown with some light coming in at the bottom. Somewhat hazy. Head was amazing looking, light tan and sticks around a while.

Smell is much lighter than I imagined. Light bready sweetness with a citrusy twang in the the back. Some caramel.

Taste/Feel: Creamy and velvety smooth. Slight cocoa in the back somehow, bready, with a hint of sweetness. Toffee? This is really interesting.

Great beer, but a little much.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes.

Amber pour with a medium creamy head, not much lacing. Smell had a rather juicy sweentess much like a watermelon jolly rancher, caramelly malt and some orange hop elements as well. Taste was caramel and chocolates, dried dark fruits..plums and cherries, and molasses. Medium body that holds together well. Decently carbonated, somewhat creamy. Somewhat sweeet, but enough bitterness so the finish is clean. Enjoyed it.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a globe glass, showing a clear crimson with a light cap of foam. Retention is a bit brief but not too far afield.

Aroma is quite malt forward with caramel apple and some brown sugar notes. Bit of chocolate spice and a light hop profile initially, expanding with warming. More of a complex German lager at times.

Flavor is complex yet balanced with warming. Caramel and brown sugar arise again, clean on the finish and with a pleasant carbonation level. Aroma grows on you while the sweetness beats you down a bit. But at 9.3% that's not unexpected.

In the end a solid yet unusual take on the style. Sweet and strong, malty and hoppy. A bit tiring by the bottom of the glass.

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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 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 TTAmod
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle with Aug best by date poured into pint.

A: Dark, but clear, brown with a one finger tan head that keeps up most awhile.

S: Nose is mostly dark esters and caramel.

T: It's big...it's sweet...and it's alcoholic. It's a huge malt bomb that onslaughts the taste buds with caramel, plum, and pineapple nut bread. There is the slightest hint of hops on the back end to help battle the almost cloying sweetness.

M: Appropriately thick and creamy. Goes down easy enough, though. There is a hint of alcohol in the taste, but not bad for over 9%.

O: For a homebrewer, this is a highly complex and intricate brew. It's big, but not TOO unbalanced. I think a bit more of a hop bite would do wonders here. I don't know whether or not this guy will ever read this, but I think a nice dose of Saaz would be sublime.

Still very, very good, though. Kudos.

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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 womencantsail
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is dark amber in color with an off-white head. Toasted malt with a surprising hoppiness, mostly citrus peel. There’s a nice sweetness to the nose and quite a bit of white grape, which I seem to get in most alts. Some caramel and toffee maltiness, maybe a bit of chocolate, too. The flavor is a bit boozy, unfortunately. Some citrus hop flavor, a lot of toasted malt, white grape, and toffee sweetness are also present. The booze really lasts throughout the entire sip.

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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 williamjbauer
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled served in a pint glass

A - garnet amber hazy with 1 finger khaki bubbly head with moderate retention and good lacing

S - sweet caramel malts, dark fruits, a lot of booze

T - sweeter than maple syrup, this caramel sweetness hit you hard and lasts till the break of dawn. The caramel and molasses malts dominate and never seem to diminish. The dark fruits and citrus hop notes chime in ever so briefly and are overwhelmed by brash warming booze that almost ruin the experience rather than complementing it. Great effort with malt however.

M - medium light body with low carbonation and a ton of warming etoh. Sticky.

O - tastes like a barley wine but has the embodiement of caramel malt all the way. A good spring and winter beer or a dessert brew.

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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 beagle75
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a becker glass.

A: Clear, dark amber color with one finger of diminishing parchment-tinted foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Heavy caramel and spirituous dark fruit dominate. Booziness becomes more obvious as the beer warms.

T: Begins sweet, with intense dark fruit and bready Munich malt. Acidity is mild but distinctly citric into the middle where malt becomes more roasted. The finish is very spirituous and fruity, remaining sweet throughout.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: A strong ale to rival Belgian quads and English barleywines; this alt is a very big beer with an origin grounded in experimentation. Flavors are focused and they resonate well on the palate. The only limiting feature of this beer's appeal is its over-9% abv. All sides considered, this one is good enough and strong enough to see the inside of a barrel.

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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 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 Jason
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

LOOK: Clear and bright tawny hue, ample suds

SMELL: Brown bread, leafy, dried plums, alcohol, faintly peppery, earthy, toast, grassy

TASTE: Sweet, slightly thick, bready, toasty, treacle, sharp alcohol, warming, mild twang, floral, dried grassy finish

Decent Double Altbier, I had expected this beer to open up a bit more. Sweetness was a bit much, after taste fades pretty quick. Worth a shot.

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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 rodney45
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark hardwood coloring with a large and long lasting head that is a cinnamon infused whip cream color.

S: Big malty aroma, slight hints of vanilla, Munich and crystal malt.

T: Sweet up front with a touch of cocoa, vanilla, walnut and nutmeg. Secondary profile is all crystal malt, with undercurrents of plum and coriander. It has a non dry finish with faint wisps of coffee and light noble hops.

Ml: Very creamy and smooth. Low bitterness and low carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this altbier, it reminded me of a strong ale, or a Belgian quad. This was quite a beer, and was on tier with any European dopple ive tried in a while. Good attempt by BBC and their longshot winner.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a DFH snifter.

A firm pour yields just a faint ring of foam. Dark brown in color. Aroma is very malty, sweet, with toffee undertone, and a hint of sour apple fruitiness.

First sip is tremendously viscous, with a syrupy sweetness. This is a huge malt bomb, for sure. Bitterness is present, but any real hop flavors take a back seat to the huge body of this beer. I still pick up some apple-like flavors, along with molassas and maple.

I think this is another quality beer from the Longshot line. You really have to been in the mood for a big, sweet, beer such as this, but it is done very nicely.

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