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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
115 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 115 | Ratings: 190
Photo of roadhouse
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

Pours a clear deep brown color with lots of rising carbonation that forms a once inch off-white head on top. Moderate lacing left on the glass.

Aroma is very malty, lots of caramel, dark fruits - raisins and cherries, a slight roasted character. Very much like a bock. I like it.

Taste is sweet and caramelly up front with light dark fruit coming out in the middle again, raisins come to mind. Some bready malt then towards the finish there are some herbal hops and a bit of a toffee flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very smooth and creamy as the label claims. Great feel and drinkable to boot.

My second beer from Schell's and I am impressed again. Very sessionable beer that I wish was available to me.

 745 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Tiny head with a bold black body.

Roasted bready malts dominate the smell. I don't get a lot of nuance.

Just like the smell, the taste is incredibly subtle. And yet this is a very enjoyable beer. Mouthfeel is outrageously light, and carbonation low. This is not an exciting beer, but it's a pretty damn solid one.

 317 characters

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

Brown color with a nice frothy head ,roasty malty caremel aroma, , taste of chocolate and caremel, a very balanced Alt, not bad, very good for the style, at $5.99 a sixer I would buy this one agian, great price for a decent beer.

 229 characters

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.

 606 characters

Photo of jimmah120
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with no date. had the 6-pack sampler, which is really cool. more breweries should do it.

look is darkish, with a lot of sudsy foam. smell is cooked corn, grain, barnyard. taste is toasted grain, sweet amber malt.

good for what it is, a very malty brew with light herbal hops.

 289 characters

Photo of meathookjones
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears dark brown with a tan foamy head that left some light speckling of lace as it was consumed. Aroma is sweet with ripe fruits and caramel. Some nuttiness comes out after it warmed a bit as well. The flavor starts with some sweet caramel over fruit and light grains. Notes of light bitterness and nuts come through before the sweet fruit finish. Creamy smooth body makes this go down very easily. A solid very drinkable version of the style that I could see myself drinking more of.

 487 characters

Photo of dbossman
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Beautiful dark brown with a slight reddish tint; head is thin--though foamy at first--but steady and lacing is gorgeous

S: Very bready with some faint dark fruits and toffee but mostly bread--some slightly burnt malts and a bit subdued but the bready aroma does get more complex as the drinking progresses

T: Roasted malts and quite bready--not as sweet as I imagined--it actually finishes surprisingly dry; some dark fruits, coffee, and toffee in end but mostly bread

F: A touch thin but still a decent amount of creamy texture

O: A nice interpretation of the style and a great bready beer that you can drink a few of

 625 characters

Photo of Tballz420
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew is a black colored liquid, some red hues when held to light, with a small tan head on top. The scent is dank chocolate malts. The taste of this guy is roasted/chocolate malt,soome fruit tones, nice bitter hop bite, medium mouthfeel, creamy. I would have almost thought this was a stout if it had a thicker feel to it. Good beer.

 338 characters

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.

 694 characters

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

Into a pint glass, pours a nearly black dark brown with ruby tones, good off-white head and thick, sticky lacing. Aroma is malty and nutty, kind of some brown sugar, mild hops, and faint alcohol. Taste is a smooth, creamy walk of caramel malts, thickish nutty, roasted, chocolate malt tones, mild hop bittering for balance, and a cool but warming alcohol finish. Good body, good flavor... nothing fantastic, just an overall good beer.

 434 characters

Photo of kbub6f
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big, dense, tan head is noisy, but slow. There's some spotty lacing. The beer is dark coffee brown. The toffee in the nose is slathered with butter and sugar. Toffee in the front, with some coffee and a bit of chocolate. The thick, fruity, malty, toffee middle turns dark for the bitter chocolate finish. That butter from the nose comes back in the aftertaste, where some fruit shows up again. Excellent. Thanks to feloniousmonk for sharing.

 443 characters

Photo of Strix
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky orangish-brown, decent initial head, no lacing.

Pleasant bready smell, with caramel malt.

Caramel malt, bready notes, and earthy hops. Flavor is pretty decent, and on par for the style.

Suffers from a somewhat thin mouthfeel.

This was passable, but not really notable.

 278 characters

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

Got this from dragomni (thanks!)

Nice dark amber with red-edges pour. Smells like toffee and malt, and tastes about the same. I really enjoyed the subtle caramel taste behind everything. Nothing outstanding overall, but I certainly wouldn't turn it down again.

 261 characters

Photo of BeerBuilder
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours to a deep brown color with an off-white head. Leaves a nice lace-work when sipped down. The nose is one of roasted malt. The taste is rich, malty, roasty, with hints of chocolate. The malt flavors are nicely balanced by the hop flavor and bitterness. Unfortunately in the bottle I tasted I detected a metallic flavor in the finish. This was a medium-full bodied beer, big and malty; overall a tastey beer.

 411 characters

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

Pours very dark with a hint of red. Nice tan head falls slow to a minimal one. Thin lacing.

Roasted malt aroma with a slight tinny character.

Nice roasted flavor to this beer. Nice malts with a hint of chocolate.

Ends slightly bitter. Medium bodied to mildly full in the mouth.

Decent beer by Schell's.

 310 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle. Schmaltz's Alt pours out a dark brown color topped with a small head. The aroma is chocolatey. The flavor is not what I expected, but still somewhat nice: chocolatey, buttery, and a bit acidic. Some fruity flavors appear at the middle, most notably apple and plum. There is a very light hoppiness. Not as sweet as some alts. Mouthfeel is creamy, just as the label claims. Overall, a very enjoyable beer.

 420 characters

Photo of Chaz
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, clear cola brown in color, topped with a medium-tan colored head. Lacing is good, and the carbonation is evident in the glass.

Malty-sweet nose, and a with a fairly neutral yeast profile. Some light cocoa/chocolate malt notes, but no hops presence in the modern day "WOW! Dig those crazy hops, man!" sense. Nope, this one is a very, very subtle and malty brew all around as I recall.

Scrubbing carbonation punctuates the first couple of moments of the first sip, followed by a touch of sweet toffee on top of a lighter biscuit malt character. A tiny bit of a smokiness and sharp-bitterness from the mid-palate to the end, and a bit dry in the finish, too. "Minerally".

Yep, this one is as subtle as I recall it being. Last year's batch had a bit more of a sweet malt character (and notes of anise!), but at any rate it's a beer which has always exhibited a nice range of flavors typical of the dark (or at least darker) malts which are used. And the malt is absolutely a focus more than the hops. But there are SOME hops in here, so it's not a total 'malt bomb', after all!

As it warms there's a little more smokiness, a bit more roundness to the (malt character) in the flavor profile, and something dairy-like, in the yeast. So again: by no means is this one very plain and simple, but instead very subtle and engaging.

I have sampled a range of (fresh) imports over the years, and there is quite a range in terms of how the different breweries interpret Germany's native "Brown Ale" style. The least interesting to me are those which are either too sweet or too light and crisp!

The most interesting (to me) are those Altbiers which possess malt and hop bitterness in good balance, and Schmaltz's Alt is very much in keeping with these. While it may not be the very best example of an Altbier, it is certainly a sentimental favorite, and one I look forward to each year.

Served chilled in a goblet. Best By: August 20, 2016

 1,968 characters

Photo of JamesMN
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance: Slightly murky hazelnut color with a frothy light brown head.

Aroma: Bready malt with hints of toffee. Some yeast but quite a clean aroma overall.

Taste: Starts with some bread and lots of caramel malt flavor. Real light on bitterness with no placeable hop flavor. Disappointed in the finish and aftertaste which give a really metallic tinge like sucking on a penny along with the flavor of blue cheese. It's unfortunate because the lead up to the finish is pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Just above medium in body which is quite an accomplishment for a 5.1% ABV beer. Low carbonation and a bit cloying in its dryness. Average drinkability.

Final Thoughts: Definitely ruined by the aftertaste. I have a hard time believing there was anything wrong with the bottle though because the rest of the sixer was consumed by my friends who didn't seem to take issue with its flavor. Would I drink it again? Maybe, at the brewery.

 927 characters

Photo of proc
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An interesting beer, but not very complex. Pours out to a amber, almost brown color. Somewhat sweet with a light hop presence on the finish. I honestly can say I liked it but wished it were a little more flavorful. The Schell Brewery is a nice thing for the folks in Minnesota and the Midwest to have around.

 308 characters

Photo of steveh
4.34/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been quite a while since I've had some of this fresh -- a good choice for beer 500 in my BA portfolio.

Bottled on 06/05/15 -- not too shabby.

A -- Pours a very dark, clear ruby-brown with a firm, dense, long-lasting light tan head. Seems a bit dark for an Alt -- even if the Schell's site calls this a "double" Alt.

S -- Rich, dark bread crust aroma with light vanilla character. No real hops to note, but no off roastiness or strong fruit esters either. Very nice.

T -- Bready to light, bittersweet chocolate character that finishes clean with a light, balanced hop spiciness. There is the vaguest dark cherry character in the finish and aftertaste, but it's not so overwhelming as to be a fault. There's a light bitterness in the aftertaste that *could* be from roasted malt, or it could be from hops. Also a light nuttiness in the aftertaste, but malt is king with this beer.

F -- Medium bodied and very smooth.

O -- A terrific rendition of the style without becoming just another U.S. Brown Ale. I need to remember this beer whenever I'm in the Schell distribution radius, it's quite nice.

 1,106 characters

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.

 466 characters

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

I had this alliterative alt in the closest thing I have to a stange glass.

Appearance- This dark chocolate colored body has barely enough room to allow slim, ruby highlights through. The filmy, soapy head got to almost a finger in width and has decent retention. The foam is a sandy brown in color.

Smell- The buttery malt that comes through coincides with a faint grassy hop. There is even a sweet toffee and vanilla scent present. It may be soft, but the scents are very complimentary.

Taste- Something about this drink gives it a tangy tinge. The flavors are very malty and have hints of cherry, roasted malt, and some nuttiness.The finish has an earthy character and grassy hop feel.

Mouth feel- This medium bodied alt has great carbonation that allows the beer to just slide over the tongue. The creaminess factor is pretty impressive. I wish it stuck a little more to the cheeks and extended the flavor profiles.

Overall- This alt has a nice balance of sweet and roasted malts, that does not let either get too out of hand. The balance also allows for a tangy note to come through that adds a nice touch.

I think that this balance could also be interpreted as making the beer too muddled, and I do agree that some of these flavors could be more pronounced than they are. Schmaltz's Alt shows, once again, Schell's really knows how to craft solid beers.

 1,366 characters

Photo of frank4sail
2.38/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Slight smell of musty shoe leather. Slight pale tan head. Deep dark purple color. Flat plainish malt taste that is not interesting at all.. there is a slightly sour burnt kettle finish to the taste as well. Shockingly tranparent mouth as well. not one i think is very drinkable...

 280 characters

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

served into a nonic glass from a 12oz brown bottle crimped cap.

Chestnut brown,1" light tan head,staying to 1/2' throughout beer.
A complex malty nose that was carmelly,roasty,nutty,chocolaty.Spicy and a bit fruity.Chocolate aromas dominated as the beer warmed a very inviting aroma.
The taste was very malty and complex.Malty tastes of chocolate,carmell, nutty and roasty.The finish was clean,sharp with a spicy smooth bitterness,with a lingering chocolate taste.
A medium body with a light mouthfeel,slightly cloying,a bit of dryness,enough to make the mouth water.
Very drinkable,refreshing.tasty and enjoyable.Been drinking this beer for over 20 years,never disappointing,saying a lot anymore.

 704 characters

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.

 797 characters

Schell's Schmaltz's Alt from August Schell Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 190 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!