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

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123 Ratings

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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 123 |  Reviews: 84
Photo of chaunur
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
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 -0.9%
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 -27.3%
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 +12.1%
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 -7.2%
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 -1.7%
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 -4.6%
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 +8.9%
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 +2%
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%
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 -5.2%
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%
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 +11.5%
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 -15.8%
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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Photo of wagenvolks
3.47/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

Pours a clear, amber body with a half inch bone-colored head that's well retained thanks to a decent carbonation level. Aroma is laced with caramel malts, wheat, raisins, and a touch of German hops.

The taste is decent: bran, cereal malts with a pinch of wheat and organic grain. It does a decent job of emulating the German altbier style. Mouthfeel is overcarbonated and packs a lasting bitterness that does little to complement the flavor. Overall, there's not much in the way of excitement for this beer. I'd have to say "Pass" if I ever came across it again.

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Photo of cameraman
3.32/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A medium copper color, with a quater inch white head, that slowly dissolves away. The scent of malt strikes the nose at first, followed by a light grassy fragrance, then a citrusy lemon scent at the end. The taste is strong and malty, with growing mild bitterness coming in halfway. There is a metallic taste at the end, but only lingers there for a short amount of time. The feel is a little chewy at the front, it then blend to a very consistant medium bodied feel. There is a tingle from carbonation, but nothing to put one off. This beer could be very good session beer selection, very solid in flavor and aroma. When I am at the BBC brewpub, this is a good go to beer.

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Photo of JamesS
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice amber color with a bit of head and almost no lacing. Nice scent, a bit malty with a little floral, but not very strong. Nice taste, too, a good malty beer (I got honey overtones, but that may be the smoothness). It is one of the smoothest beers I've ever had. Very good, very tasty. I would drink more, and will hopefully be able to try it in May when I'm in Louisville.

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Photo of kenito799
3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, purchased from the fridge by the entrance to BBC on S. 4th St, Louisville. Best by date: March 2008; drank October 2007.

Really loved this on tap, and brought home a bottle to compare. The lack of freshness was striking and really took this beer down a notch. While the adherence to the dry, toasty altbier style was excellent, there was less crispness, less life, the taste was a touch stale. Certainly well within the best by date, BBC does better by this style with a fresh pour. There is also the issue of the fluorescently lit fridge, despite the brown bottle, which may have prematurely aged this sample. See my other reviews of BBC beers...this bottle was the least flawed so far.

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Photo of mobyfann
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Paid $6.99 for a 6-pack...

The beer pours out a brown-amber color with a medium sized head that fizzles down after 10-15 minutes. The aroma is a hint of malt and nothing more.

The taste reminds me of a classic bock beer. A little sweet with a mild malt flavor. Medium carbonation is a little annoying to both the taste and on the mouth. However, there is just enough of a head (at least 30 minutes in) to balance out the carbonation with a smooth texture. It is drinkable, not a session unless you like a mild malt and sweetness on the moderate side...

Final Thought: I like it, a solid showing from BBC... I just wish more American brewers experimented and produced the Altbier style, because it is an interesting concoction.

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Photo of IPAcraig
2.69/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

While watching LSU vs. MS State...

I poured this beer into my Yazoo Hefeweizen pint glass which has a picture of the Yazoo brew with a GABF gold medal haging around the WEizen glass. Sadly the beer I am having now will not garner such honors.

Best Before Date: DEC 2007

After a vigourous pour there was barely a 1/2 finger head showing. It didnt last long at all. The beers pours a murky rusty amber. No lacing.

The aroma was faint but not off putting. It had hints of malt sweetness.

The taste was ok. Sweet munich malt present that is nice. It finishes with a weird earthy lingering bitterness that doesnt seem quite appropriate.

Despite virtually no carbonation, it has a very light mouthfeel. It is very crisp, bordering on "lagerish". This does not help the flaor of the beer at all.

I dont want to have this beer again. It is not overly offputting, but it is still hard to finish. It doesnt seem to be a very well constructed beer; not much flavor and slightly muddled.

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Photo of Gavage
2.79/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: hazy orange in color with a 1/4" head that disappears quickly. No lacing developed.

Smell: no aroma detected even with my nose almost hitting the liquid surface.

Taste: mild grainy malt profile, caramel candy, hints of fruit sweetness and a mild bitterness made up a bland altbier. This was very low in alcohol at 4.2% ABV.

Mouthfeel: smooth from start to finish. Very brief caramel aftertaste. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: if you want a true altbier, you'll need to look elsewhere. This is a light version of one which some may enjoy. Very easy to drink but little flavor makes it dull.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Mellow Mushroom, Lexington KY. The tap offers a smoother, less sweet, mellower flavor and texture with more subtle aromas. This all leads to easy drinking. The caramel and bready / yeasty flavors are all still there, just melded together much better. Textrue is smooth and nearly velvety, while thinning in the end to let the German hops crispen the brew up. Finishes wil a clean, mild hop bitterness and caramel flavor. A very good session beer, and goes real well with the hummus appetizer.Much of what I expect from an Altbier is really ramped up in this one.

7-22-05 Bottle (4,4,4,4.5,4)
Much of what I expect from an Altbier is really ramped up in this one. It looks a brilliantly clear copper and golden and pours an over-carbonated white loose head that faded, but laced well. Smells malty, toasty and caramelly. Alcoholic phenols penetrate the nose. Tastes slightly roasty and malty. Nice frutiness like ripe pears and, to a lesser extent, peaches. Spices float in the background: nutmeg and corriander. American hops add to the spice and to the flavor. Sweet alcohol chases you through the body and into the finish. The finish is clean, crisp, and dry. A bit mouth coating: like butter? This is a bold Alt. What do yo expect from an American Micro? A whimpy beer? Not here!

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Photo of MDekker
3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent copper color with a nice off-white head. Decent lacing and retention. Smells of caramel, pine and a creamy coffee. Upon tasting, nothing much stood out. It has some soapy malt taste, some non-descript flavors in the middle, and a mild bitter finish. I can't place much of anything. It's not bad, really, but it's nothing real remarkable. It's fine in the mouth, too - maybe a little watery. Goes down easily, for the most part, but nothing is drawing me back to it. So, two thumbs in the middle!

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Photo of ndekke39
3.18/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a mixed six-pack of BBC beers from my brother for Christmas. The Altbier says it's best by April 2007. Pours a slightly hazy golden color, with a very small white head. Little to no retention on it. Smells like a classic Pilsner... bread, simple grains, touch of hops, wood, a little musty. Tastes very crisp, with a nice malty aftertaste. A touch of hoppy bitterness. A little chemically in the middle. Overall, could be a little stronger. Mouthfeel has some nice fizz on the front of the tongue, a tad watery in the back. Overall, a very easy beer to drink, nice example of the style.

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Photo of mjc410
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a weizen glass! at the Cincinnati airport. The beer put up a two-finger light tan head that fell slowly to surface lace. The body had a translucent golden-amber appearance. The nose was spicy, with herbal hops and slightly sweet toasted caramel malt. The taste was toasted, a bit metallic, but not estery - this beer was very lager-like, and reminded me of Brooklyn's O-Fest. It had a sweet finish, and little bitterness. The mouth was medium, and there was a lot of tingly carbonation. An easy beer, with nice body.

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Altbier from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Beer rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 123 ratings