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

Pours a beautiful dark amber to chestnut, with light tan head. Nose is fresh and assertive with toasted bread crust, dark nuts, and a whiff of candied citrus. Palate offers a whollop of flavor with chewy figs, brown bread, cherry syrup, and an overall medicinal quality. Alcohol warmth is noted but reasonably tamed when cold/fist poured. Finish is long and malty sweet. Booze shows its face as it warms.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a dark, blood-amber coloring with a thin ring of film around the edge of the surface. Aromas of nut, caramel, banana, and a slight boozey highlight. Very layered sweetness on the nose. Flavors are rich, with a heavy banana bread character followed quickly by vanilla and molasses sweetness. Very light citrus spicings throughout. Sweet, dark aftertaste rich in vanilla and caramel, with a roasty quality. The finish avoids cloying impressively, with a dark, sweet feel. Good brew.

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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appears to be a dark mahogany until backlit, then it has a dark crimson glint to it. Ample head of creamy foam, receding to a cirrus skim across the surface. Sheets of lace adhere to the opposite side of the glass.

Dried fruit and nuts in the aroma as it warms up a bit, almond and walnut with some dried cherry or figs. Big on the malty and yeasty notes, slight sweetness present. Caramel sauce.

Pretty smooth and creamy, the abv begins to make itself known slightly but it's not distracting. Rich caramel toffee, dried fruit, and a savory nuttiness round things out. Better than the Uerige beers, imho.

To be honest, the first time I tried this it wasn't too exciting, but letting it sit and warm up seems to make all the difference.

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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 Bierman9
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I grabbed the Longshot 6-pack today at Ayottes ($8.99) and have opted to start with the 2 bottles of the Altbier. While standing in line in Portsmouth for Kate Day, I chatted with an older gentleman in front of me. He said that this bier was made by his son (Fred Hessler). So there ya go...!! ;-)

I poured one into a nonic imperial pint glass... It is a clear, deep copper color, with ample carbo slowly bubbling topside. The head is very fine and thin, a light beige layer of foam with a touch of lace. The aroma is quite pronounced, with plenty of caramel malt coming forth, suggesting a good level of sweetness. The body is solidly medium, perhaps a bit more, and it feels quite smooth going down.

The flavor does, indeed, have a healthy dose of malty sweetness, though it never gets cloying. The palate detects some toffee (and a hint of molasses and brown sugar) in the mix as well. The hopping offsets the malt quite well, with some florality balancing things fairly nicely. It is a bit hot, too, reminding me a little of a rum-soaked fruitcake. All in all, a solid bier. This Longshot 6-pack could be a keeper (Sticke Alt, Muncih Dunkel and Imperial Stout). We'll see... Prosit!!

4.05/5 rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


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

is this an alt or a double sticke ... ? eh...

fills my DFH bubble glass to perfection, head right up to the top on a normal pour, one solid fat thumb of head, clean and clear mahogany color, a good amount of carbonation is filtering up through the brew keeping the head from pulling a titanic, good looking, nice lacing throughout the session.

dry bready yeasty maltiness, hay but not barnyard funk type.. maybe dry grass is more appropriate of a description, some notes of caramel sweeten the pot, smells a touch like the inside of a wet barrel.

taste etc...
mild and smooth, some underlying sweetness, yeast character is quite apparent, really mellow hops give just a tinge of bitterness, the malts really show up later on in the show and hold up the ABV, well, screw that, they mask the ABV nearly completely. I had to double check the ABV rating here.. are you kiddin' me ?

if I had a gun to my head I might swear this is a german import. it's very good, maybe not my favorite style but this one hits the bulls eye - kudos!

music - ty tabor : naomis solar pumpkin

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

A: This poured a clear dark mahogany with moderate thick tan head.
S: It smelled like honey wheat bread and nutty malt, with some creamy yeast.
T: It tasted like bitter copper hops and sweet honey wheat bread, with some creamy yeast and nutty malt. It had a surprisingly bitter aftertaste.
M: It was thick and creamy with some carbonation. Very full body.
D: This was a nice clean brew with an enjoyable scent and taste. It had huge body with a fairly smooth finish and well hidden alcohol, so it was pretty easy to drink. Good beer with a unique and strong interpretation of a classic style. Worth a try.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on March 30, 2012. The color is a handsome mahogany amber with a significant off-white head that settles down a bit. Beautiful clarity. On thoe nose there is an array of malts, dark fruits, syrup, and an alcohol bitterness edging into the picture. The body is above medium to near bold. The taste begins sweet and malty but then there is this explosion of pungent bitterness taking over. It reminded me more of an English Strong Ale but the Alt characteristics were present to make it more than applicable to the style.

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Photo of obrike
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a single at HEB for 1.99.

Dark ruby...really liked the color on this one. Gave a hard pour into my 512 pint glass and the head nearly overflowed. Quite creamy, receeded fairly quickly but left a nice sticky lacing. Very pretty beer.

Getting some sugary candy malt on first sniff, maybe a bit of cinnamon, and booze. Likey!

Taste follows, just not quite as pronounced. A nice taste of dark fruit...doppelbock-esque. A nice smooth sipper. The problem is, this is way too drinkable...a very dangerous beer at 9.3. You can taste the heat but it's hard to put down. I think after having the Imp stout single and now this, I need to shell out for the sixer of this Longshot if I see it.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in a stange. Pours a mahogany hue with a semi-hazy clarity and a frothy, one inch tan-colored head. Head eventually settles into a consistent, creamy skim - textured swaths of lacing coat the edges of the glass during the tasting. Nose expresses light fruity esters in the foreground followed by toasted malts and a suggestion of caramel in the background. Taste follows nose; however, a distinct booziness seems to brighten the flavors (almost a little too much). Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a lively carbonation and a slightly sticky/oily consistency. There is also some residual alcohol heat evident on this one. Overall, I'm not particularly familiar with this style, having only had a few, but I thought this seems to be more or less spot on, if not a little on the boozy side. A nice example of a style you don't often see produced domestically.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark garnet red color with a sticky lacing ring and barely to no carbonation.

S - Candied figs, plums, roasted toffee. The aroma reminds me of some barley wines that I've had in the past. Sweet, sugary, and malty in the nose with a little bit of booze effervescence.

T - Very malty throughout with dark fruit, mostly plums and candy figs. Mainly sweet throughout with a small amount of grapefruit bitterness and orange sweetness buried really down in there. The finish leaves a coating of toffee, grapefruit, and oranges in the mouth.

M - Thick and full bodied, sticky, viscous, and alcohol warming in the throat.

O - Always enjoyed the creativity of the Longshot series. If Sam Adams were to bottle this one outside of the Longshot competition, I would buy it.

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Photo of Jadjunk
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

"Fred wanted to go big or go home with his homebrew and decided to brew a unique Sticke Alt. This full-bodied ale has a big, malty character balanced by subtle orange and grapefruit notes from the hops. With a light amber color, this brew has a sweet finish." Brewed in the style of an Altbier/Sticke. Available as part of the Samuel Adams Longshot Homebrew competition pack 2012- a one-time brew. Date on bottle is ticked at August 2012. Hopefully the age on this bottle helped settle the flavors out a bit.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pilsner glass. Served north of 53º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a copper brown cream toned head of a frothy consistency. Lacing is thin but consistent. Body color is a deep reddish-brown with mild carbonation and high clarity. Retention is slightly above average, thickening as it settles to a creamy layer. Decent appearance for the style, but just a notch short of my expectations for head quality. 3.75

(Smell) Aroma is sharp notes of bready roasted caramel malts, toffee notes, hints of licorice and molasses, mild spicy husked grains and a subtle but balancing herbal and fruity hop presence. Alcohol presence is quite strong and the overall aroma is very potent. The aroma is just what I'm looking for in terms of strength, gruff and potency and the diversity and balance of the flavors are also substantial for the style. Despite a general lack of grapefruit and orange notes (as per the label), I have very few issues with the way this beer smells and am anxious to see if the flavor matches aromatic first impressions. 4.25

(Taste) Caramel and sweet raisin bread malt front with a medium graininess is balanced with a sweet molasses and mild spicy and floral hop finish. The balance is a notch sweet, not like the aroma but not disappointing. Yeast profile is very bready but also slick and sticky- some notes of clove is an expected German yeast characteristic. Citrus rind and spicy grain bitterness is most prevalent in the finish, which in general is a touch sweet but clean with a nod to spicy licorice and a nip of soothing alcohol. Sweet candied flavors were most prevalent in the mouth, with raisins, dates, thick molasses and licorice leading the way, it's like a trip to a traditional candy store, yet not so overblown by sugary delight. Despite a slight lack in balance and some sharp flavors which would be potentially off-putting to some, it's personally an enjoyable flavor. 4

(Mouthfeel) Medium+ thickness with a slick, bready texture and a low, mild carbonation. Body is medium+ for the style and high overall. Some minor grainy texture doesn't hamper drinkability much, and alcohol, despite being above medium presence in the beer, isn't overpowering and compliments the heavy body well. Carbonation, while limited, is nearly perfect for the style, although I wouldn't mind a touch more spritely action to damper the sweetness, it isn't far off from ideal. 3.75

(Overall) As far as Altbiers and Sticke beers go, this is a solid take on the style. A touch sweet and husky, but the flavors are deep and there's a great amount of yeast character to balance and make this a filling, complex and enjoyable beer. The reviews seem divided, but some age on this bottle didn't hurt a thing. Many thanks to Fred Hessler for crafting this not-so-commonly-available German beer style. It's unfortunate that the citrusy fruits didn't make much of an appearance, but the malt character and yeast did a fine job. I wouldn't suggest that it's necessarily smooth; it's perhaps a touch more abrasive and stocky in alcohol and flavor, but if you like the bold and flavorful German ales, it's certainly worth a try! 4

Boston Beer Company's
Longshot Derf's Secret Alt

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Photo of sprucetip
4.01/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good clarity, mahogany with nice ruby highlights, modest off-white head doesn't last long and leaves no significant lacing.

Mainly caramel malty sweetness up front. With some effort I find some yeasty notes with a faint bit of funk to it, and similarly faint banana like fruitiness. I feel just the tiniest bit of heat from the high alcohol content. I can't say with any certainty that I detect any hops in this beer. Still, it is pleasant and I suspect pretty well to style, though I haven't had all that many alt biers.

Caramel and malty sweetness, a little bit grainy, mild hop bitterness, a tinge of alcohol, and a vaguely fruity yeasty influence. The hopping adds some subtle earthy flavor at most. Well balanced and fairly complex.

Maybe a little low in carbonation, but not by much. Gentle warming, rich full body and just a little bit of bitterness in the finish.

I don't know the style really well, but this seems to hit it pretty well from what I recall. Tasty, smooth, balanced and with some complexity. Booze is very well hidden. I like it and will have some more. Beats the crap out of most Sam Adams beers. They should hire this guy.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a medium brown color with a huge off-white/tan head. The aroma is toffee and biscuit malt, with a sugary smell that resembles Bazooka bubblegum. The flavor has a lot of malt sweetness, with some strong toffee and caramel notes. There is also a lot of sugary sweetness, with the bubblegum notes once again present. The alcohol is well hidden and it is very hard to tell that the beer is more than 9 percent. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a clear dark brown-red. Some bubbling activity clings to the glass but settles down. A tan head grows to just over a finger tall and drops some good lacing down the sides.
This one is bigger than I expected. It almost reminds me of something like a dubbel sans the Belgian yeast. Dark malts form a backbone over an almost candy sugar sweetness, with lots of dark fruits and caramel coming out. As it warms, a touch of citrus comes out underneath, further distinguishing it. Alcohol is certainly noticeable but works in a similar way to a highly alcoholic Belgian as well, integrating and adding warmth without being too hot or giving off fusel or rubbing alcohol notes. The mainstays are the dark fruits/caramel combo with the almost smoky dark malts presence, getting a little heavier after starting off more toasty.
This beer sustains a crispness through the sip along with a moderate smoothness in a medium body. Carbonation is at a low-medium level.

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Photo of jjchristiano
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jim woudn't have bottled it as a Longshot if it wasn't a real nice beer. I have enjoyed all of the Longshot selections over the years. It's too bad that they are so hard to find though. I had an order in with my beer shop for 5 weeks before they got any. Anyway, this is a great barleywine type beer at 9.3% ABV. Nice buzz after one bottle and it is nice and malty with barely a hint of any hop bittering. I like the sweet finish that hides the alcohol. Reminds me of the Harpoon Leviathan series. I hope Fred (Hessler) the homebrewer can get this one out in the market permanently as I would buy it. But you aren't drinking more than two of these in one sitting.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear dark amber color. The head is an inch in height, and recedes slowly into a nice cap of foam. The aroma is of toffee, caramel, and hints of cocoa. The taste is bold with a ton of caramel and toffee. It finishes with a significant amount of cocoa powder that lingers form a while. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a chewy texture, and moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a nice flavorful beer that I could drink again. However, it lacks the complexity I look for when I want to drink a big beer. I would have liked to see more depth in the malt character.

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Photo of gordavidson
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clear ruby red liquid with a thin and creamy light brown head.

S- Some caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit, cider, flowers, and candy. Unique, aromatic, and intriguing.

T- Brown sugar, fruit, alcohol, cider, and a bit of a candy sweetness on the finish.

M- The body is nice and syrupy and the carbonation is light. There is a definite alcohol warmth on the finish.

O- A unique beer that I was glad to find in the Longshot six pack. A bit sweet and boost but overall, it is a tasty pick.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

A: Pours a deep, translucent copper color with 1/2 finger of pale tan head. Good retention and lace.

S: Bubblegum and a little banana. Bit of a doppelbock impression, though it's an ale.

T: More bubblegum and banana. Flavors are rich and deep. Bit of metal on the finish hurts the overall impression, but it fades somewhat after the first few sips.

M: Medium body, smooth and creamy.

O: A nice beer. Always like the creativity and variety of the Longshot series. I just wish the metal weren't there.

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Photo of bump8628
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's nice to see a fairly obscure style in the Longshot pack. Deep amber, thin ecru head that sticks adequately. Lots of dark fruits, rye bread, orangy hops. Sweeter than the style should be. The alcohol is hidden well. I wont' say too much more about this beer. It's really good, but not what I think of when I think double/sticke alt. Not enough hop bitterness. Honestly, it makes a great English Barleywine. Glad I had the chance to try it.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with a decent sized cream colored head that dissipates rather quickly. Pretty good aroma. Dark fruits a plenty (plum) with a dose of toast also and a slight hint of chocolate. The taste is malty with a touch of sweetness and a pretty big booze finish. Bready and brown sugar goodness. Nice warmth in the tummy. Mouthfeel is somewhat cabonated but it's a decent chewy, yet creamy, ale. I know some have complained of the higher abv, but it works for me. A full bodied beer and though the alcohol is higher, a nice beer rep'ing this style. Well done Derf!

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Photo of BB1313
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a clear dark brown with lots of ruby red hues. Really nice off-white head and nice retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are full of caramel malts, a touch of chocolate, and a touch of oak and maple. Flavors match the nose, flavorful and spicy. Hops are noticeable in the flavors, giving it a bite. There's a subtle fruitiness, I'm picking up some orange peel and grapefruit rind, but it's subtle. The malts clearly dominate. More tasty maple in the flavors. There's a touch of heat, but for the most part the alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is great. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied. The carbonation is right on and makes this a very smooth and creamy drink. I like it, nice beer. I could go for another.

This is a really good example of a "Sticke". Other examples I've had were very boozy and unbalanced. This one is balanced, clean, and drinks well. Props to Fred Hessler.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, honey, maple, bourbon, spices, some fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of bourbon, caramel, spices, honey, maple and seems very barleywine-like. Then a hearty malt character comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, well-disguised strong kick, good representation of style, this is a solid stronger beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of Tone
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of pale malt, sweet malt, slight hop, hint of roasted malt, citrus, hint of spice (clove?), and a hint of syrup. Fits the style of an Altbier. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight pale malt, citrus, hint of hops, slight yeast, slight spice, and a hint of wheat. Overall, good aroma, body, blend, and complexity.

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Photo of gregy55902
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sam Adams is decent and some of their beers are good (utopias!), so I decided to pick up a mixed Longshot 6pack including this beer, the imperial stout, and the Munich lager. Poured the Derf's into an XL snifter.

A - Pours a very dark mahogany into the glass. An aggressive pour yields one finger of off-white head that quickly recedes leaving a few patches of bubbles.

S - I admit I am not well versed in the style, but we find a nice malt profile with some caramel and spice notes. It actually reminds me of scotch ales (wee heavys). A bit of hops add some floral notes. It is a bit sweet though.

T - Follows the nose. Not too complex, but good. Caramel malt, bready malt, a hint of black pepper and dark fruit.

M - Lightly carbonated. Alcohol is there but not overpowering.

O - Good maltbier with some faint wee-heavy characteristics. It's not going to blow you away with complexity, but it's worth a shot.

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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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