Barrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt | August Schell Brewing Company

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Barrel Aged Schmaltz's AltBarrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt
Very Good
45 Ratings
Barrel Aged Schmaltz's AltBarrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt

Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jera1350 on 05-06-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 39
Reviews by Schmaltzy:
Photo of Schmaltzy
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown with golden ruby hues with small tan head around the outside of the glass.

S- Swirl in the glass reveals a nice light caramel and cherry scent followed by a nice light vanilla/floral scents, light tannic scents followed by a nice dry oakiness.

T- Wow I like the pinot barrels being used on a low ABV alt beer like this, they are both light and complement eachother well. Very similar to the smell with a nice pinot grape/cherry flavor followed by some light malt with vanilla oaky finish. Really nice, I know some people say that this should be a bigger beer but this is very nice and enjoyable as both styles, alt and pinot noir, are light and very drinkable.

M- Very nice and easy to drink with lots of flavors hiding in this beer, a delight to have. Light body with ample carbonation.

D- Nice and easy, the alt and pinot barrels do eachother well complementing eachother nicely, glad to be getting more of this beer soon.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up the last bomber from Princeton Liquors for $10. This proved to be a great after-dinner drink. It reminded me of a smooth old ale, but with a lighter body. My only complaint was that there was a creamy off-note that tasted a bit like minor oxidation. Otherwise there was a slight berry liquor flavor and smooth caramel malts that all finished with a dry, tart tang. This is certainly one of Schell's more interesting beer and worth checking out for yourself.

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Photo of dbossman
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep brown with a golden amber tint; this looks like thin motor oil; a nice head that dissipateds rather quickly to a thin, tan film; beautiful lacing that fades a bit too quickly

S: Sweet caramel and raisins on top of a sweet bready malt quality, but this also has a strong, deep red wine aroma--lots of dark fruits and grapes as well as a smokey oak quality; a tad boozy

T: This is pretty subdued and thin but a pleasant grainy and wine quality does persist; a bit of a peaty oaky quality but mostly grains with dark fruits--grapes, raisins, cherries, etc.

F: Not much carbonation and a bit thin but the beer does manage to coat the mouth fairly well

O: The wine and thinness become a bit grating after a while; this beer does have complexity and it grows on you as you drink but it's a sipper and one you will want to share

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Photo of kenito799
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber. Rare tasting.
Pours a clear dark brown, at 1 inch you can read through it. Foamy tan head recedes, active carbonation.

Aroma is clean and fresh, toasty, consistent with a good alt.

I love this style and this is a great one. The crisp clean toastiness is wonderfully refreshing. There is a slightly tangy tart apply quality, perhaps that hint of fruit is imparted by the red wine barrels. It is a lovely effect. Great session beer!

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Photo of morimech
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish brown color with one inch of head that had very good retention. Curtains of lacing is left on the glass. Pleasant subtle of chocolate, oak, and wine. Smells like Schmatlz Alt with just a faint hint of well intregrated wine. The two really seem to belong together. The flavor does not live up to the aroma however. The wine flavor is the major player here with the Alt adding hints of chocolate and caramel. The flavors work together but is just too muted to garner higher scores. Maybe low ABV beers are not the best choice to be barrel aged. Light bodied and nicely carbonated. Good texture and a pleasant drinker. A nice low ABV beer that I wish I could give high drinkability but the "bang for your buck" component fails. Poor value.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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

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Photo of bigbeers84
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of mdwalsh
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours really quite dark red-brown, almost black. Still has a very nice 2.5 finger head with a very smooth cap, though it's a little airy underneath and fading fast, but leaves an alright lace. Looks like maybe some Active carb, but hard to tell.

S: Smells like many other alts I've had, just a little funky. The pinot barrels come through for sure. Mostly malty, though some German hops can be noticed as a spicy undertone. Decently aromatic, but not overwhelming.

T: The taste is very interesting. It (duh) tastes like an aged ale, but one that would normally be to light to age, but it's still very good. It seems like maybe some of the structure has broken down? A mild oaky-winey taste is there and it's nice. My beer is VERY cold (well, relative to how I usually drink beer) but it's super refreshing and good. It's a little acidic.

M: Very light and smooth actually, but each sip seems to change. Sometimes it feels a little thin, other times the body really comes out. It makes it fun to drink.

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Photo of theCoder
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of LaCoursiere
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle with a date of 09/19/10.

A - Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Poured dark brown w/ a dark red hue. It had a 1/2 finger khaki head that dissipated quickly to a thin collar that remained. The clarity of the beer could be seen by holding to the light.

S - Fruits of cherry and grape. The oak notes are there kind of mixing with the fruit to smell kind or like port wine. Slightly smoked malt peeks through the fruits.

T - Dark fruity wine notes up front that fade to roasted and slightly smoky malts. The oak characters peaks through at different points depending on the sip. Faint molasses and brown sugar sweet notes from the malts are present in the middle.

M - Medium bodied with light carbonation and a dry, slightly chalky finish. No alcohol presence.

O/D - I was lucky to find this still on the shelf several days ago. Excellent brew from Schell's. I can say this is my favorite from them thus far. The smoke and wine flavors work very well together. Sometimes I tasted more wine and sometimes I tasted more smoke. Quite a fun tasting experience.

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Photo of caskstrength
2.56/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I was excited to try this one. Local brewery trying to mix it up a bit, wine barrel aging of a longstanding local favorite.

Pours a bit thin, brown that lets some light through. Nice white head, good carbonation.

Smell is...weak. Not much to pull me in. Swirled it, tried a few times. Looking for the barrel, looking for some rich and inviting smells. Not finding it.

Immediately tart, acidic and thin on the tongue. Some muted chocolate and malt, but nothing with depth.
Needed more body and flavor and ABV to pick up the barrel and run with it. Instead fell flat on its face. Sourness from the barrel more than depth. Fizzy carbonation. Not really a pleasant drinking experience.

Sorry Schells. I really wanted to like this.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Mohagany colored beer with no real head and nothing left on the sides as far as stick goes.

S - I'm not a huge fan of Altbiers, but this does have some other stuff going on in there. Some hops, a bit of vinous influence. It is a little fruity as well.

T - Sweet malts, wine influence on it, and a little fruity. There are some darker, chocolate notes that I was not anticipating from this beer, as well as some vanilla and generic barrel taste.

M - Medium bodied with some active carbonation bite.

O - Not bad, it's a little above average and has some unusual things going on for an Altbier, but nothing I would really seek out or drink again.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle into tulip.

S: Sweet caramel aroma and a hint of raisin and rum.

A: Small creamy off-white head that quickly dissipates leaving no lacing and a thin bubbly cover. Dark brown body, almost opaque and just a slight purple tone along the edges.

T: Slight sour notes over a subdued caramel malt backbone. Little hop bitterness, but sour has some staying power.

M: Smooth and creamy. Light to medium body, light to medium carbonation.

D: Very sessionable brew. Goes down easy with or without food. Delicious!

O: Good beer, but room for improvement. I'll be looking forward to the next release. Best beer I've had from the brewery.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

Thanks to VDubb86 for sharing this BIFed bottle!

I don't believe I've tried a barrel-aged alt before, so here's to another BA tick (nickd would be so proud...)! It pours a deep ruby-brown topped by over a finger of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises musty red grapes, plum, orange peel, soap, buttery caramel, and some light oak. The taste holds notes of figs, raisins, plums, and red grapes. From then, it delves into a weak red table wine, disregarding all that preceded it. Allowing it to warm up a bit allowed the wine to consume all else, resulting in a sort of weak port. This is truly odd, but not altogether off-putting. The body is a straight medium with a very light moderate carbonation. Overall, this is quite the oddball brew, but with every sip I feel I must go for yet another very soon, if for no other reason than to see what lies beyond the next taste.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.36/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a fairly impressive tan head.

S: The nose is somewhat underwhelming with some light maltiness giving off some caramel sweetness and a bit of bread. Maybe a hint of oak, vanilla, or wine, but not too much going on.

T: A slight tartness to this, which I was definitely not expecting. Just a touch of grape flavor along with some other miscellaneous fruits. Maybe a bit of earthiness, but could just be the wood.

M: The body is definitely on the thin side. I don't usually think of 5% altbiers going into barrels, so perhaps this was a bit ambitious.

D: I was not very impressed with this beer. It did not have anything that was outright terrible about it, but I did not find anything that kept me interested.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.59/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a deep cola-brown hue, and is topped with a modicum of micro-bubble and some encircling lace. The aroma is fruity and somewhat sweet; it reminds me quite a bit of Rodenbach. The flavor is, again, in Flemish sour territory. Raisin-y maltiness is prevalently featured, as are light balsamic notes. Wood flavor is very slight. The feel is medium-bodied, and more quenching than dry. It's not what I expected (though I hardly knew what to expect); overall, it is pleasantly surprising.

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Photo of doucmehu
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of mnstorm99
4.77/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The first from Schell's Stag Series, and this one excited me as Smaltz is possibly my favorite offering from them already.

Nice brown pour with a smallish light tan head that goes away, just never completely and leaves a nice lace down the glass.

Aroma is mostly grassy hops with a hint of roasted chocolate malts and very inviting.

Taste is where this one is at where the chocolate gives way to subtle dark fruits and a touch of vanilla. This one doesn't end there as there is a nice level of bitterness from the hops. Then as this one goes down the pinot barrels show their contribution and call you to ask for more.

Mouthfeel is a great balance and not too thin or vicious and a nice level of carbonation has been reached. Drinkability is beyond perfect on this one and there really isn't much else to say about it.

Schell's Stag Series has gotten off to a roaring start and may have set the bar too high on this one.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra from Scoobydank, much to the chagrin of Alex. Thanks, Bill! I didn't know Schell had barrels!

Pouring dark brown, this beer has great clarity. With reddish brown highlights, this beer is capped by a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and lacing. Quite beautiful. The nose is dominated by the barrel character. Vanilla, coconut are present, completely masking the base beer, which admittedly, I have no exposure. The only part of the base alt that appears is a bready, dark caramel malt character. No hops are noticeable. A little toffee appears as it warms up. In fact, it really comes to life, with a great red wine complexity with a little dark fruit, some cocoa and a rich vinous character, but then again, it's all barrel and not much base beer.

If the nose was dominated by the barrel, the palate is more so. Opening with just a ton of vanilla and coconut, there's a lot of barrel character on this one (minus the boozy heat, which is very nice). While there's the potential for these flavors to complement the malt character of an aged alt, there's a touch too much here, the caramel and dark fruit character are whelmed by the barrel. Wine character is low too, the only thing that hints to its presence is a touch of dark fruit character. As it warms up, the wine does come through a lot more. The malt does linger on the finish, with a pleasant blend of toffee, caramel and a little creme brulee. Tannins are low, practically non-existent. Light in body with moderate carbonation, this is decent on the palate. While the ABV makes this shockingly easy to drink, this could just be so much better as it has immense potential. Nevertheless, an excellent first attempt, one that grew on me the more I drank of it.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pleased to be able to give this one a go.
Batch #1 of the series pleases me too.
No Tom Collins glassware, so used a large 20 oz beer glass with a narrower based and wider mouth. Let's give it a go.
Light and soft fizz upon opening. Pours very dark with a delicious looking dense tan creamy head. Very clear with deep dark garnet color in light (otherwise looks close to black). Heavy malt notes with chocolate most prominent and mild fruit. Soft familiar yeast notes.
Right away a fruity tartness/sourness is noted and that must be the barrel aging impact. It's present from start to finish and initially, when the beer is colder, it masks the malt flavors. In time the malt flavors begin to show, slowly at first, but never quite to the balancing of the flavors. In time a mild chocolate flavor appears.
Somewhat light body, but smooth for its size and carbonated nicely.
This drinks very easily. Intense enough to enjoyed more slowly, but not so big to get through the bottle without complications. Subtle and nuanced, but ultimately too difficult to pull out the malt character. More in the sour beer category than as listed.
Enjoyed while watching Casablanca with my youngest. :)

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Photo of brentk56
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a coffee color with a rocky beige head that leaves clumps of foam behind

Smell: While the aroma smells like a cross between red wine and beer, I cannot say that it is particularly appealing

Taste: Fortunately, the taste is far better than the smell; opens with a brown bread backbone upon which there are red wine grape and chocolate flavors that are nicely layered with the tartness of the grapes and the sweetness of the chocolate; after the swallow, the flavors merge together nicely, with the wine flavors coming out a bit on top

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A fascinating brew which marries the wine and beer elements in a way that is very different from any other attempts to incorporate wine barrels into the beer making art

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Photo of GringoKid
3/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of wisrarebeer
2.95/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

$10.49 for a 22 oz. bottle.

A: deep, dark mahogany color, very little head
S: mild nose, some roasted malt with hints of barrel aging but not much else
T: nice ale but really not much with respect to barrel aging, well-made beer but not much of anything for standing out
M: somewhat disappointing, thin, watery mouthfeel
O: very disappointed, I was expecting more from the barrel aging

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An interesting Beer for sure... Pours reddish with a bit of head. Very clear. Smells like wine and malt. A lot of red wine on the nose. Tastes like a malty red wine... Vry weird. A bit thin but well carbonated. Not really all that flavourful. Not something i would drink again

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.67/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark ruby color with a thick light tan head. Retention is low, but lacing is awesome.

On the nose malt is dominant with toasty notes, dark fruit, and roasted grain. There is just a hint of woodiness in the backround as hops lend some piney, floral aromas.

Flavors are immense, yet very balanced. Toast, caramel, and some dried friut character mingle with just a hint of oak and vinous quality. Hops are bittering, but just enough to even the flavor with hints of cedar and spice.

This beer is medium to full bodied and flavors dance around on the palate for quite some time. Complex, but very easy to drink. Excellent Product!

Schmaltz's Alt was always at the top on my favorite Schell's beers list, and this one rises even further above. I had been anticipating the release of this beer for some time now, and it was well worth the wait. Now it's time to acquire some more.

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Barrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt from August Schell Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 45 ratings