Altbier | Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's

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Brewed by:
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Kentucky, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.19%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Altbier, literally translated as “Old Style” beer, is a classic German ale. BBC Altbier is brewed with additions of Munich, wheat, caramel, and chocolate malts creating a delicate, but flavorful malt profile. This delicious amber colored session beer is balanced with additions of tradtional spicy German hops creating a light and floral bouquet to compliment its complex malt profile.

28.6 IBU

Added by SheepNutz on 07-30-2001

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Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 123
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Good clarity to the amber and red colored brew, 1/4" white head and impressive lace job.

Noble like hops in here, more than average. Has a spice rye like feel to it. Caramel. Toffee.

Not bad actually, if you like your beer a tad malty, but not heavy, old school.

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Photo of Retroman40
3.7/5  rDev +6%

Consumed on tap at the brewery/restaurant.

Hazy amber/brownish color with a tan head that gives way to decent lacing. Both the smell and tastes are a good combination of malt and floral hops. Very refreshing. The finish is neither dry nor sweet. The mouthfeel is good as is the carbonation level. Overall this is a great beer to have with hot wings (which I did) and with the lower ABV it is an excellent session beer.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap into a shaker glass at the brewpub

A- Poured a dark amber color with frothy head that left lots of droppy lace

S- Some sweet caramel maltiness and some grains

T- Some big sweet caramel malt notes, some breadiness, some fruitiness, and grains

M- Pretty smooth medium carbonation, refreshing

O- A very drinkable amber ale that was refreshing and paired well with my food at the brewpub

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amber in color with copious amounts of carbonation bubbling up toward the surface throughout. Nice white head on top, maybe an inch and a half before settling down to coat the inside of the glass for a minute. Interesting aroma, mix of grains, light bready malts, and a touch of a grassy, herbal hoppiness. Nothing crazy here but nicely balanced. Same could be said for the flavor, nice pale taste, light bready notes balancing a herbal sort of hop. Lightly sweet with a decent amount of carbonation

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Photo of Chaney
3.1/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had this on tap over at BBC.

A: Brown/gold, with a mild 1/8 finger head that retained nicely. Fairly clear in consistency.

S: Mild puff of bread and caramel, but even then, I really had to search for it.

T: Bready, with very bleached out sweetness (which admittedly is not uncommon for this style), but with an extremely watery finish.

M: Once again, thin and watery, with no lacing whatsoever,

O: I'm glad I tried it, but I didn't really dig this one.

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Photo of dmfrench
2.97/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thin and slightly adjuncty Alt.

A: Deep clear gold body with a small, fleeting white head

S: Feint adjuncty pils type malt, very feint earthy hopping. Slight spice and cream.

T: Light slightly creamy dry pils type malt with a bit more butter and a lighter dusty hopping.

M. One foot firmly planted on the watery side.

O: Pretty boring, though this style's not exactly a stunner to begin with.

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Photo of jlandis
3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a slightly hazy red orange with no head whatsoever. The nose is sweet and spicy with rich malts, subtle hops and a just enough spice to keep it interesting. The flavor is a bit of a let down coming off of that aroma. The body is thin and watery with simple bready malt and faint hops.

This is a nice refreshing beer. From the nose I expected to be blasted in the body, but the flavors are nice and clean. If this were available in Pennsylvania I would probably pick up more. And at around 4% this is one I could drink all night.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured clear brown color with an average fizzy off-white head that was mostly lasting with good lacing. Moderate roasted malt and tart citrus aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture and soft carbonation. Medium bittersweet flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration. My expectations where met.

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Photo of jkrich
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrived at the table in a shaker pint glass. Bright clear amber with red hightlights and a creamy small white head.

Aroma was dominated by sweet malts with hints of hop aroma.

Very mellow and slightly sweet with caramel highlights. Not much hop flavor but enough to keep the ale balanced. It complimented the dinner nicely.

Medium bodied with moderate amount of carbonation. It coated the palette with mild malty sweetness.

Overall, a very good alt or amber ale. It more balanced than the American pale ale from this brewery. I noticed the brewery packages this now as an "amber" ale instead of an "alt" like had for several years.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.89/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap @ Bluegrass Brewing tasting room

Pours a hazy copper color, nearly amber, with a loose head, which dissipates rather quickly, leaving just a little ring. There's a little lacing, but not much. Looks about average I'd say. The smell is primarily of maltiness - very sticky and sweet - munich malt I'd guess, but fairly dry in the smell. Nice minty hop presence, kind of slight, but still there behind the sweet caramel smells, with maybe a touch of chocolate. I don't know if I just love the noble hops on top of the sticky malt body, but this one tastes great. A nice malty backbone - caramel, butterscotch almost, nice and bready, a bit toasty. And then a beautiful minty hop presence that sticks to you and kind of washes down with a hint of lime. Low bitterness, almost no esters. This one is nicely balanced, malty, hoppy - but not American hoppy. There are both subtleties and very obvious tastes here, that are all pleasant. There's a kind of sharp bite of carbonation, maybe a bit much, accentuated by the hops. Nice body, not huge, kind of walks the line between thin and full. Maybe a tad on the thin side of medium. A good drink. Nice flavors, not too high on the ABV. Overall, a bit challenging, interesting, simple and enjoyable in varying degrees and phases. This would probably be my choice if I returned.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.42/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Copper color with a a white foam head and active but small bubbles of prickle. Some wheat in the nose that blends with the malts in the way that hops usually does. This is an interesting way of creating balance. Malty flavor with a smooth attack and clean finish. Simple, but fair beer. This beer reminds me more of German food than German beer.

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Photo of chaunur
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at the 4th st. location. Nice clear amber color with a 1/2" light tan head. The head stayed with the beer leaving well defined rings.

Very little aroma but what was there was a pleasant roasted malt smell, not overpowering. A smooth flavorful beer with a primarly roasted malt flavor and a good hop presence, noticable but not bitter.

Overall a very drinkable beer, went very well with my Angus burger.

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Photo of hopdog
3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Bottle was notched BB D 07.

Poured a medium amber color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of roast, chocolate, earthy, and toasted caramel. Tastes of caramel, light chocolate in the background, and some citrus.

Notes from 02/19/08.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
2.53/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I choose to interpret this beer's award of a medal at the 1996 GABF as a sign of the improving quality of American brewing, and not as a sign of meaninglessness for these awards. In short, I didn't find this beer to be all that commendable.

Aroma was a sort of brass colored tan with minimal head. Aroma was virtually non-existent. Flavor was thin, and the predominant characteristic was an ash-tray like flavor. Mouthfeel was thin.

I wouldn't recommend this, and in fact I resent the Microbrew of the Month people a bit for sending it to me.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer of the month club selection (Thanks Cindy, for the gift!). Into a mug glass, this beer is a nice reddish amber color, but with hardly any head on it. Pleasant caramel malt nose, with a light dusting of hops. Clean but interesting malt flavor: caramel, with some toasty melanoidens; followed by a moderate bitterness and light but yummy hop flavor. Yeast character is fairly neutral with just a touch of fruitiness, but otherwise with a clean, malty finish. Light bodied, maybe a touch watery.

Nothing that special here, but it's a really good drinking beer. Simple, clean flavors, perfect for session drinking.

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Photo of Domingo
3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Man...did someone say "roasted"?
I've only had 2 beers from BBC, but this one and the Porter both have a nearly overpowering roasty character.
It's a pretty standard copper to brown color with a moderate sized head.
Smells grainy and a little malty.
The taste however just tastes like roasted grain, nuts, and a little coffee. In the finish I can finally pick up some graham cracker-like malt flavor, but it's faint. Faint hops in the finish, too. Stylistically, this doesn't come across as an Alt or really even much of an American amber either.
Mouthfeel's appropriate, although it's a little thicker than I expected.
I'm just not sure about this one. Too much roasted character ends up muting the other flavors.
Not bad or undrinkable, not something I'd seek out again.

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Photo of kinger
3.42/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Solid amber ale brewed in the old style. Pours a good looking light amber color with an ample head. Decent aroma of sweet malts countered by a bit of dry rye. Smooth and easy, very drinkable. Good flavors of sweet and toasted malts with a faint noble hop bitterness. A nice ale that could get you through the night.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.32/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the newly re-labeled "BBC Amber Ale" bottle. Bottled May/June 2008.

A - Coppery in color with almost no head. Thin layer of off-white foam on the top. Light lacing.

S - A rather aromatic brew of a caramel maltiness, citrusy hop, and a little spice.

T - Very very malty and sweet. A strong caramel maltiness up front with just a hint of hop bitterness. A little funk in it as well.

M/D - Medium bodied but a little flat. A decent beer, but nothing great.

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Photo of becktone
3.79/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Eye: Hazy light brown in appearance. Head is off tan in color, small with poor retention and minimal lacing. Head could definitely use some work. I also would've thought It'd be clearer, perhaps some chill haze?

Nose: Very rich sweet malt aroma...great! Smells like I've a handful of Munich malt in my hands, smells rich like unfermented wort....molasses I don't think that they get any maltier than this. Yeast character is clean. Not much to hops, but I don't expect it from this style.

Tongue: Nice malty flavor here. Its important to note, that unlike British ales this one has no diacetyl....I'm not a fan of that in beer, even if its supposed to be there. I just don't like the way it tastes. This is a brew with just pure malt sweetness and nothing else to get in the way of the character that the barley provides. Slight chocolate notes, definitely some nutty notes. Overall just a sweet malt flavor that is long lasting. No coffee or caramel or toffee flavors here. Slight toasted grain flavor. The beer is nicely balanced between the malt characters and bitterness...I'm not only getting some hop bitterness(felt, with a dry type character) but also some slight roasted grain bitterness, some of that grainy flavor-though its mixed well with sweet malt flavors-help to balance the sweet malt flavors(could be my mind playing tricks on me, but I did detect something in the background, very subtle though). All in all a very nicely balanced beer.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Medium body with appropriate carbonation for the style. Lower levels of carbonation allow this beer's malt character to shine, in my opinion without giving it a soda type of feel. Carbonation is fine and lightly dances in minute small groupings of bubbles on the tongue. This is an easy beer to drink, goes great with a medieval themed novel or movie-makes you feel even more involved in what you are watching/reading. This is one I recommend...a great offering from a local brewery. I'd like to explore this style more before coming back to it though.

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Photo of BDIMike
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber color with a thin white head that retains fairly well.
Smell is very strong of wheat and a slight bit of caramel malts and hops at the end.
The taste is mainly a lot of grain tastes. There is some bran, cereal and wheat tastes to this beer. A tad bit of hops as well.
Mouthfeel is nice. A good smooth thickness.
Drinkability is nice. A smooth beer, but not incredibly exciting. I would not say this beer was bad, but there was nothing about it that excited me.

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Photo of Seanibus
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an clear amber with a nice head. Good looking beer. Displays a distinctive herbal aroma. The flavor is light, malty, though strangely lacking in hop character. The moutfeel is nice, viscous with a good sting of carbonation. I wish this beer was more exciting, but it is not bad for an alt.

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Photo of argock
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass

A: Hazy light brown with short fizzy head which wihers away to a thin rim of bubbles. Scant lacing.

S: Faint sweet malts with even fainter hops

T: A bit light but tasty enough with sweet pale and caramel malts followed up with a mild but appropriate earthy and floral hops contribution.

M: A bit thin and watery with barely any aftertaste.

D: Easy enough to drink but a little disappointing -- I really like this style, but it is not readily available.

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Photo of Spidey13
3.41/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

BBC Altbier pours a very slightly hazy light brown with a fluffy off-white head that leaves just a touch of lacing while drinking. There is a good amount of grassy hops on the nose, with some underlying caramel, sulfur, and soap.

The taste is very light, starting with a bit ofsweetness up front. A pop of bitterness in the middle is followed by a balanced sweet/bitter light aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a bit watery with a low amount of carbonation.

Though not a beer that will blow your mind, the light and balanced flavors make this a nice session beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decanted cool into my DFH shaped pint. Picked this up at the Class six.
A - A dark amber/honeyed brown w/ an inch of fluffy creamy pale head that musters a moderate amount of lace. The lace sticks well and the bead is pin sized. Rings of lace are still holding on as the last swallows are taken.

S - Very woody almost bark-like w/ its earthiness. Faintly grainy malt w/ a rich roasted barley aroma and subtle caramel odors.

M - A mildly bitter grain touch w/ toasted notes and mild sweetness and moderate carbonation, the ale finishes relatively dry.

T - Very flavorful from the get-go, a dry husky malt note blends well w/ an herbal hop flavor. The caramel malt is there, but used in moderation an most of the malt is roasted barley w/ a kind of nutty wheat flavor that is toasted w/ a light biscuit quality. Slightly vegetal as it warms w/ a cooked pea flavor that has no negligible impact on the overal flavor. and the yeast seems to become spicier late in the review.

D - A very nice beer, I must have been served the bitter by mistake at the brewpub. None of the fruitiness and a very nice malty flavor w/ bready touches and a dry texture that makes it easy to return to. I consider this a fine Alt and it is highly quaffable.

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Photo of tmitch75
2.93/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at the Brewery's tap house in Theater Square in Louisville.

Reddish color with minimal head. Very faint bready smell, not much there at all.

Taste is pretty mediocre, a slight sweetness up front with almost no hops.

Mouthfeel was decent, medium-bodied, with good carbonation.

A passable beer with no single glaring problem. It just looks, smells, and tastes mediocre. It is an easy drinker.

Tasted 3/3/08.

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Altbier from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
3.49 out of 5 based on 123 ratings.
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