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

very good
132 Reviews
Read the review
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.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 261
Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I needed to catch up on some beer revies so I chose Fathers Day to take care of a couple of reviews. This is my second. I am not overly familiar with the Alt style, but I did read the description according to the brothers, and have had some of the style. Here is my take on this Longshot:

Pours dark and deep amber with large overtones of brown and mohagony (sp?). Light tan head forms but leaves the party and has wispy, ring-around-the-glass remnants. Pox of lacing.

Aroma is hugely malty, like a doppelbock, but with more spiciness and less caramel. Kind of like an old ale of sorts. Bready, dark fruits like figs and raisins, brandy, turbinado sugar.

I normally go for the hoppy beers but this one was satisfactory. Very chewy on the tongue; thick and viscous. Dark fruity in flavor with loads of bread, hints of caramel, and doses of toffee.

Some warm raisin bread would go great with this beer. A sipper for sure due to the thick body, but the abv was hidden fairly well. A perfect winter warmer; tough to drink in the summer. Got this in a mix sixer and this sixer may be the best Sam Adams has put out for the Longshot series.

 1,140 characters

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.

 853 characters

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.

 508 characters

Photo of Onenote81
3.52/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a rusty amber. A thick finger-width beige head on top. Aromas of alcohol, caramel, gingerbread. Firm mouthfeel with a slick finish. Flavors of sweet candy malts - toffee, caramel, brown sugar, syrup. Decent beer, but a little on the sweet side, so not one I could revisit often.

 322 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before 8/2012.

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Thick foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is super malty with some caramel and toast aromas. Taste is of hearty malt, toasted caramel, and some slight citrus zest hop flavors. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. I am also picking up a slight metallic flavor. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with only a slightly crisp and medium to full bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but this one smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

 642 characters

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.

 741 characters

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.

 653 characters

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.

 871 characters

Photo of imasloth
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark maroonish amber with light white head that was quickly gone. No lacing.

S- Tart and malt with just a touch of sweetness.

T- Malt with light tartness and same sweetness. Candy-like ... Smarties? Licorice nibs?

M- Light to medium-bodied, nondescript until finish when it is dry and tart.

O- Nice but not super-special.

 329 characters

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

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

This beer pours out a deep red-copper color with two fingers of fluffy, light tan head. The aroma is strong on the sweet malts. There's a bit of caramel in there, but it's mostly just sweet. This is just a big, sweet beer in general. Big, sweet malts hit first, and really just keep on going through. There's some apparent alcohol, as well as some citrus hops that try their best to shine through the malt assault. For it's credit, there isn't too much of an overwhelming sweet aftertaste, it's gone very quickly, especially for how strong it comes on.

The mouthfeel is actually kinda strange. It goes on feeling a bit heavy at first, but it completely yields from the mouth quickly, leaving just a slight bit of a drying sensation. The drinkability is alright, considering the sweetness and the ABV. Overall, this was an interesting Altbier. I've only had one other Altbier, and that was not of the Sticke variety. There's a big difference there!

 1,007 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a one-finger, off-white head. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled floral with some strong sweet malt aromas.

T - It tasted very sweet and malty with caramel and toffee flavors. Some mild bitterness with some boozy alcohol.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied brew with a somewhat sticky finish.

O - This is an okay alt. I could use a little more balance in my altbier.

 452 characters

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.

 860 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: thin head on a clear deep amber body.

S: fairly boozy with caramel malts and a sour and terpentine note.

T: caramel malts, banana tropical fruit, mollasses, medicinal grape and cherry notes, slightly boozy.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: little too boozy for the style but I think that is the point of this one.

 337 characters

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?

 568 characters

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

Clear toffee colored body with minimal head.

Slighty boozy smell with a medicinal cherry note. There's a phenolic yeasty finish to the scent.

The taste is very boozy with a hint if cherry, banana, and toasty malt.

Mouthfeel has an astringent burn and warm finish in the throat.

It's an ok beer that's a tad bit boozy.

 325 characters

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.

 512 characters

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.

 966 characters

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.

 663 characters

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.

 400 characters

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.

 581 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from drabmuh. Thanks Matt.

The beer is copper colored with amber / ruby highlights and a half inch of tan head. The aroma offers candy, sugar, malt - smells sweet. The flavor brings sweet malt, candied fruit, and booze. A bit hot and sweet for my tastes, but I suppose the style calls for this, at least to a certain degree. Some plum and raisin characteristics emerge more as the beer is allowed to warm. Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Overall, this was pretty good.

 488 characters

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.

 462 characters

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.

 987 characters

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.

 555 characters

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.

 1,092 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.