Schell's Schmaltz's Alt | August Schell Brewing Company

very good
116 Reviews
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Schell's Schmaltz's AltSchell's Schmaltz's Alt

Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
One of Warren's favorite pastimes back in the 30's was a trip to the city dump to shoot rats–so much that it was a common date for him and his wife-to-be, Casey. The manager of the city dump was John Schmaltz–hence the nickname "Schmaltz" Marti. We hope you enjoy our Schmaltz's Alt, a creamy smooth dark alt brewed even better than before.

Added by kbub6f on 11-05-2001

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Reviews: 116 | Ratings: 193
Photo of bsp77
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into a Summit pint glass - seems inappropriate to drink Schell's from a Summit glass, oh well.

Appearance: Reddish-brown with persistent thin head; very little lacing.

Smell: Noble hops, metallic, dark fruits, smells good but a little faint.

Taste: Somewhat similar to smell. Reminds me of a roasty brown ale crossed with a Vienna Lager, but with a higher level of hops. Metallic bitterness, especially in the aftertaste, and the bitterness becomes more apparent after continued sipping.

Feel: This is the most interesting part of the beer. Smooth and clean like a lager, but creamier like many ales. Very little familiarity with Altbiers, but this makes sense as it is essentially a lagered ale. Medium bodied with a decent level of carbonation - almost spritzy. Ultimately, I am left with creamy but spritzy - very unique, a little strange, but mostly good.

Drinkability: Easy drinking but flavorful.

This will be worth revisiting every late winter.

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Photo of Fatduck
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a straight walled glass, provides a big tan head that fades very rapidly, before I can take my first sip the head is down to just a layer, nice lace.

Something strange in the smell, I can't place it, but its good, complex. Something dark and roasted.

Taste is very good, but again, I cant place it. These crazy german lagers, I just can't discribe them very well.

Here's the deal. This is one of the better Schell's beers. Its great. Dark and roasted, but light and easy to drink.

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Photo of sholland119
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra in trade from kittywamp. Thanks, Kathryn.

A-Pours a hazy medium brown with a thin tan head. Not much lacing.

S-Sweet caramel and roasted malt with a bit of figginess.

T-Roasted malt dominates the taste, with some sweet malt in the finish.

M-Medium bodied with a very nice creaminess.

D-A very nice sessionable dark beer from Schell.


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Photo of bakeller
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

A: dark brown with a reddish hue when held up to the light. Pours with a half finger light brown head that disappears quickly.

N: Not very aromatic. All I really get is faint roasted malt and an earthy smell.

T: Roasted malt with a slight caramel character. Has a hoppy finish

M: Light and crisp, goes down smooth. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D: While there is not much to the taste, you could drink this all night because of the light body and crisp, smooth mouth-feel.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Dark brown beer, clear with ruby highlighting. Dark tan head, minimal retention.

S-Light aromas of roasted, bready malt, perhaps a hint of caramel. Clean and devoid of estery aromas.

T-Caramel and chocolate malts, followed by a slight roast. Hop bitterness is minimal but present, perhaps should have been slightly more assertive. Finishes dry, clean, crisp, showing off the clean alt characteristic.

M-Almost creamy with its medium-high carbonation. Body feels medium light, dry.

D-I've loved this beer for quite some time now. It's an interesting beer, very drinkable and very enjoyable.

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Photo of beerkittycat
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is clear brown with a frothy tan head. Aroma hits you with some bready malts along with some cocoa, raisins, toast, caramel, and faint flowery hop aroma. Flavor much the same as aroma but here I taste a little smoke in the background. Malts are fairly sweet but this beer is clean and well-attenuated. The higher carbonation scrubs your palate and leaves you thirsting for more. A nice dark lager that isn't heavy or sweet. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of Buebie
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip. 2 fingers of off white head, leave decent thin rings of lace. A nice little cap of retention sits atop the beer.
Darker in color, glowing a redish mahogony when held to light.

Purfumy dark fruit aroma with a touch of red grapes, chocoalte and alot of malt. Faint wiff of alcahol at the nose, and a little bit of dryed hay like aroma.

Smooth carbonated mouthfeel.
This starts out with a brown sugery sweetness, becoming more dry at the swallow, with almost a candy sugar likeness, dry and crisp with a clean finish.
Flavors of chocolate grains, bready carmalised sugar flavors, hints of rye. Quite the malt bomb.
This is a great sessionable beer.

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Photo of KeefD
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish brown color with a decent tan colored head that falls slowly leaving some good, chunky lacing. Nuttiness and cocoa in the aroma with just a hint of citrusy hops in the background. Flavor is of some toasted malts, lightly bready, and the slightest hints of nuts, fruit and cocoa powder. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but it's light on the carbonation and goes down super smooth. This is a nice alt, but there are many other great ones out there. It's very easy to drink and a very good dark(er) session beer for the winter into spring time, although spring is far away from us here in MN.

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Photo of LordofTime25
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours so dark brown color that you can't see through. It has a thin quickly disappearing head.

Smells of dark rich malts and maybe a some chocolate in there.

This tastes of strong dark roasted malts and some chocalte.

Smooth and Creamy in the mouth! Very Nice!

Very drinkable, but I drank alot these and gave me a killer hangover like most dark beers!

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Photo of tempest
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Code 051509, I'm guessing that a drink before date.

Pours a clear brown with a short off-white head. Smells of darkly toasted toasted bread. The hops come out in the aftertaste with a spicy blend of herb and citrus behind dry bready cocoa and nuts. Overall, very tasty and drinkable. Worth picking up for a different sort of alt.

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Photo of mothman
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is a dark mocha brown. Thin light tan head the fizzles down quickly.

Smell is of dry roasted malts and slight hints of chocolate. Taste is very similiar, very malty. Hints of dark chocolate also.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Goes down nice.

This is an easy to drink beer for it being dark. Also, it only has 5.1% so you can enjoy a few of these.

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Photo of schellsbeer
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I love you Schmaltz's Alt.


Are you a Stout? Are you a Porter? Are you my best friend? Maybe.

This is one of the best beers that Schell's makes. Fantastic. I just wish it was brewed all year long and it came in 12 packs.

It reminds me of what a good old grandpa would drink. Maybe that's why I like the picture on the bottle. If there was a beer that I would like to share with my grandfather who has long since left this earth, this is the beer that I would choose. It is a beer that is done right.

Meant for those long cold nights on the lake fishing for panfish and perch on the the pontoon (sp). Grandpa would always take us out in the early evening and we would return when it was pitch black....just like this beer.

Thanks Schells for bringing this wonderful beer back. I really appreciate it. Great style and great beer.

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Photo of demcorhip
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up earlier this year and finally getting around to reviewing a bottle. Almost looks like a porter or schwarzbier, it is a very dark brown that only lets some light through the edges. A half finger pale tan head formed on the pour then dissipated.

A rich malty aroma rises to greet my nose with some clean, earthy and mildly floral hop notes. Hazelnuts and treacle are the main malt aromas.

Hazelnut, toffee and treacle are the main flavours as well, a slight metallic twinge appears and fits in nicely before the mildly bitter, earthy and floral hops show up.

Almost medium bodied, quite smooth and slightly creamy. Nicely balanced between the malt and hops.

This is a very tasty and drinkable brew. Recommended for fans of the style as well as english brown ales. Schell's is impressing me with their good beer which sells for a great price. Sessionable, and would be nice to have a few on cool summer's eve or a typical fall evening. Will be revisint this brew as well as sampling other offerings from this brewery.

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Photo of Greggy
4.6/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a thick 2+ finger head that is very fluffy and very slowly recedes. Nice lacing is present. The body is a very dark brown with amber hues. Light sedimentation is present.

S- Big notes of gooey carmamel and toasted sweetbreads. Also some nice floral notes that meld with the bready sweetness brilliantly. There is, deep down, also some very light toasted grains and biscuit which is almost dark chocolate like.

T- Notes of dark fruits (raisin, prune) and some nice caramel notes as well as dark chocolates and a solid biscuit note. The beer finishes dry with residual notes of hop oil and biscuit.

M- Velvety smooth mouthfeel and a great finish. The carbonation is light and works great.

D- What a great beer and at 5.1%, I'd be crazy to not call this sessionable. Great job Schells.

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Photo of brewdoc75
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've never had an alt before. Time to give one a try for a solid local brewery.

Pours a beautiful dark mahogany color in my glass. A creamy off white head sits atop. As the light shines through you see shades of ruby. The aroma was pleasant but not overly powerful. Some malty sweetness, toffee, caramel and a slight fruitiness. The flavor is definitely in favor of the malts with some mild sweetness. Toasy breadiness in the end. There was a strong caramel presence and some slight fruitiness. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy, so very nice.

Overall a pretty good beer. Not exactly what I was in the mood for. I may pick this up in doppelbock season. It seemed kind of bockish, but not quite as powerful. This beer didn't make me want to seek an alt out, but I'd give one a try if I saw it.

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Photo of happygnome
3.54/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours a nice very dark black color reminiscent of a stout but it does show dark mahogany colors when held to the light, the head is about a half inch high but it comes down fairly quickly leaving a good amound of lacing
s: nice toasty caramel malts with sweet notes like reminiscent of honey also there is a certain breadiness to this that makes it a little more inviting because the sweetness is not overwhelming
t: toasted caramle malts followed by a little bitterness, maybe citrusy sweet bitter taste and then the finish is creamy and a little sweet
m: medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation

overall, i really enjoyed this brew and may buy it again in the future

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Photo of hardy008
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark brown, almost black in color. After being poured it leaves a two finger foamy head which stays and leaves a nice lace on the side of the glass.

Smell - Malt and caramel with chocolate.

Taste - Caramel and malt with coffee and bitter chocolate, quite good.

Mouthfeel - Smooth medium bodied and creamy.

Drinkablity - very drinkable. It would be easy to drink several bottles of this. Well made.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Toasted pecan brown with orange accents. When backlit with bright sunshine, the beer is dark garnet with scarlet highlights. The chocolate milkshake colored head is whipped frothy and is sticky enough to grace the glass with quite a bit of sudsy lace. Schmaltz's (is a good looking) Alt.

Unfortuanately, the aroma is metallic more than anything else. Patience is rewarded with a hint of cocoa powder and a certain earthiness. Here's hoping the flavor is better or this will be a long 12 ounces. Note: a significant improvement by the bottom of the glass has been duly rewarded.

Nice comeback on the taste buds. As far as I can determine (given my less than abundant altbier experience) Schmaltz's Alt fits the style guidelines to a 'T'. It tastes like a brown ale in some respects, yet it has a certain altbier quality that I'm at a loss to nail down precisely.

Cocoa and less-than-sweet caramel lead the way, with overripe apples and figs following close behind. I'm surprised at the fruitiness and not a bit surprised at the earthy-herbal hoppiness. This is pretty good beer, but it doesn't quite deserve the next highest flavor score. It's very close, though.

Although the mouthfeel is no more than light-medium in heft, it's impressively, expansively creamy. What more could one ask for in a relatively low gravity ale?

It's great that August Schell decided to bring back Schmaltz's Alt as part of their Brewer's Select series because it's one of their best beers. Too bad more craft brewers don't try their hand at this style. A sixer every winter isn't out of the question at all.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown color. The head is light tan in color, creamy, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of caramel, cream, vanilla, and a mild spicy hop note. The taste is maltier than the aroma, and the hops aren't noticable. Th mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, this is a nice beer. I could easily drink this again.

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Photo of morimech
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with a substantial off-white head that slowly recedes to a thin cap. Thick lacing is left down the glass.

The first thing I noticed in the smell was the roasted malt but as it warmed a thick caramel and fruity aroma dominated.

The taste is surprisingly sweet. The caramel and dark fruit are upfront being backed up by a roasted, slightly smokey malt flavor. I would of prefered the malt to be more pronounced and the sweetness cut back. But it still is a very nice tasting beer. No hint of alcohol. It has a medium body and a creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is slightly out of whack by being heavily carbonated for the style. I would buy this again.

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Photo of kimcgolf
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle to an opaque dark brown with medium tan head that lingers well and leaves okay lacing. Nose is malty roasted nuts with hints of smoked wood, and the mouthfeel of this medium bodied beer is full and sweet. Flavor accentuates the sweet malty roasted nuts of the nose, and the finish of medium duration and slightly warming.

Alcohol could have been a tad higher for a winter warmer, but an oll round decent beer.

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Photo of umustdrink
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black, completely opaque color. When held to light it shows a deep dark mahogany around the edges. Head is dark white and settles to a thick film. Lacing is above average.

S - Rich caramel aroma dominates the nose. Bready and creamy toasted malts and hints of vanilla and honey.

T - Taste is bitter and sweet. Mostly toasted malts and with slightly less caramel flavor than in the smell. Finish is a sweet, creamy malt.

M - Consistency is in between thin and medium, carbonation is slightly higher than I would have liked.

D - Pretty great tasting beer and smells nice too. One of the best I've tasted from Schell's.

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Photo of drpimento
3.17/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a huge, thick, rich, foamy, light tan, luscious, textured head and lots of lace. Odd aroma and flavor of Bavarian weisse beer. Otherwise pretty good beer.Opaque brownish black. Very soft flavors and body. Very good carbonation. Could be a session beer.

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

Quite dark, not quite see through, some red and brown at the edges. Thin tan head. Dark cherries in the aroma, roasted malts, earthy hops. The taste has some creamy roasted malt, milk chocolatey, a little black licorice. The hops are there but not too strong, they give some tangy and citrusy hints, but also stay a bit earthy and grassy.

Verdict: one of my favorites from Schells, a very sessionable yet dark and creamy beer. A bit dark for an alt, but thats a good spin on it for Schells.

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Photo of afinepilsner
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle

Schmaltz's Alt was a dark red-brown color with a large light tan head. The head had good retention and left rings of lace in the glass. The aroma was sweet dark malt and a little roasty. The taste was dark malt with a light bitterness, chocolate, roasted grain, and a touch fruity with a dry finish. It was medium-full in body with nice carbonation and creamy mouthfeel. Drinkability was good. It's a good beer that I will definately have again.

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Schell's Schmaltz's Alt from August Schell Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 193 ratings.
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