Barrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt
August Schell Brewing Company

Barrel Aged Schmaltz's AltBarrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt
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German Altbier
3.97 | pDev: 13.35%
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Barrel Aged Schmaltz's AltBarrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt
Reviews: 39 | Ratings: 45 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by garymuchow:
Photo of garymuchow
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Schell's Stag Series Barrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt, Beer Aged in Red Wine Barrels, Limited Release Batch No. 1.

Dark brown color, ruby highlights around the edges, smallish beige head.

Aroma: clean, lightly malty, slightly tannin-y, revealing something of the barrel in the nose. A little caramel and toffee, some touches of cocoa. Sweet, and well-rounded.

Let's see how she tastes...Mmm, the pinot jumps right out, berries and plump grapes keeping up and hanging around with the malt.

This is an incredibly unique brew. When so many others do the bourbon barrel stout thing, along comes the traditional German brewery do wine barrel up an alt, of all the things in the world. I've always like Schmaltz' Alt, now here it is, spritzed up with the juice of the vine.

Lightly tart and gritty, nice texture, wonderful mouthfeel, ...I can feel the simple, malty pleasures of the alt underneath, spruced up with the pleasures of the barrel. Grapes and grains, together in perfect harmony...mmmm, this is good.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Roasted chestnut with sunny Sunkist edges. The pour produced a good-sized crown of pale caramel colored foam that has a bubbly surface and looks like it wants to hang around for a spell. Lace is pretty nice and so is the overall appearance.

The nose is too subdued. Essentially none of the dark malts are noted... nor is much else. Even though it's probably nothing more than the power of suggestion, a lightly tangy red wine essense is appreciated. This offering is the standard Schmaltz's Alt that was aged in barrels that had previously held pinot noir.

It isn't overpowering, or even prominent, but there's a definite red grape quality to this brew that matches the medium-dark malts pretty well. It isn't quite enough, though, to turn an above-average (3.5) altbier into a solidly good (4.0) altbier.

ASBC's BASA needs more POP! on the palate, which could easily be achieved with a more focused hoppiness. Specifics include brown bread with a thin layer of fruit jam, miniscule amounts of dark caramel and nuts... and a splash of red wine. More power and more definition would easily add a half-point to the taste score, because it's almost there already.

The mouthfeel is a disappointment. It's a little too thin and the carbonation gives it almost no lift or volume. More malt and better bubbles would fix it right up.

In the end, Barrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt is slightly better beer than Schmaltz's Alt by virtue of having been barrel-aged. Unfortunately, time in the wood has impacted the mouthfeel negatively, as it often does. This is batch #1 in the new Stag Series.

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Photo of brentk56
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
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 tempest
4.05/5  rDev +2%
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 scoobybrew
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - thick tan head that settles into a lacing, clear dark ruby color, leaves a nice lacing as it drains

S - dark grains and an almost grape-like scent that blends together nicely

T - smooth dark roasted grain flavor with a touch of wood-like character on the finish; hop bitterness is nearly undetectable but does not finish sweet at all, very balanced; touch of roast on the finish and some faint tannins; esters are very restrained

M - medium body, moderate carbonation

D - This is a very interesting and intriguing beer. For their 1st limited release Schell has come up with something familiar but different, not to mention tasty. I'd pick up another bottle if I get the opportunity.

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Photo of kenito799
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
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 mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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 morimech
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
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 MasterSki
2.91/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle shared with Jason and Mike at Stub and Herb's. Served in a pint glass.

A - Pours with a half-finger of off-white foam that settles to a thick ring and partial cap. Transparent when held to the light, with a dark ruby hue.

S - Not much of the red wine mentioned on the bottle - mostly just vanilla and barrel notes instead. Some vinous and apple malt character.

T - Taste is very grape-heavy and filled with malt sweetness. Again, not very much red wine or barrel character. Generic beer aftertaste.

M - Medium carbonation zing, smooth medium body, and no alcohol (not that there should be any at 5.1%).

D - Even splitting this three ways, it was tough to finish. A rare tick, but not a good one. Didn't seem like it was in the barrel for very long.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
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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Photo of DefenCorps
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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 mnstorm99
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
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 mothman
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #1100. Figured this would be a good one to do considering it's Schell's big anniversary and a 'milestone' for me.

Poured into Bruery Snifter

Pours ½ finger of creamy beige head. Fades down, leaving some rings. Color is a dark dark brown.

Aroma: Notes of licorice, cherries, plums, toffee, and caramel up front. There is some oak showing with slight wine notes, maybe some grapes. Pretty decent alt.

Taste: The wine notes are right up front with this beer providing a very slight sour flavor. It does has a nice oak profile as well with some hints of vanilla. Then the malts come in. Lots of caramel malts here. Some dark fruits as well. Cherries, raisins, licorice all show. Very rich and malty.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and smooth. A lighter bodied, but at 5.1% I wouldn't expect it to be too big. A decent amount of carbonation as well. Ends a bit dry with malt flavors.

Overall, I think this beer is good. It is an awesome alt and really represents the style well with some addition flavors from the barrels. Pretty drinkable as well since it isn't very big, yet it still has a great amount of flavors.

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Photo of brewdoc75
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with mahogany and ruby hues. Soft, light, off-white head on top.

S: Dark fruits, plums and fig mostly. Some cola aromas too. Just a hint of pinot noir in the end. Not terribly aromatic overall, but some nice aromas.

T: Lots of dark fruit flavors at first, with more of that plum and fig that was in the aroma. This is followed by some faint chocolate flavors. The wine is more present in the flavor, with some dark cherry and earthiness. I get a hint of vanilla in the end. The hops are just barely there and provide a pleasant, herbal bitterness. Some cola like aftertaste at the end. Very complex for such a lower abv beer.

M: light-medium bodied. Quite dry. Finishes crisp and tart. Good carbonation.

D: A very flavorful beer. Quite unique. Reminds me of a dubbel in some aspects, except for the lack of belgian yeast character. Very enjoyable overall. I want another.

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Photo of jera1350
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the Schell's website:
For the Stag Series first release, we took our Schmaltz's Alt and aged it for six months in French-oak, Pinot Noir wine barrels. This beer is dark, ruby-brown in color with a creamy tan head. It smells of dark cherries, vanilla and chocolate. The taste has an initial, slightly tart, dark cherry flavor which gives way to sweet malty chocolate body with a nice mellow vanilla oak flavor in the background.

Pours into a Duvel Tulip a deep ruby hued black with a nice creamy head on top. The tan head leaves some nice lace.

Quite complex nose. Sweet roasted malt, caramel, toffee. Dark fruit like dates, plum and raisin. Subtle red wine like oaky scent as well.

Mirrors the nose pretty well. The complexity is perfect. It's not in your face, bold and brazen. The malt is there with compliments of grapes and oak, chocolate, vanilla, sour cherry and blackberry. A medium sweetness that isn't overdone. Mild alcohol presence that adds some warmth.

Medium bodied and creamy smooth. A little red wine like warmth as well.

This is the most subtle barrel aged beer I've had, but it works splendidly. It's unlike other barrel aged beers and lends to outstanding drinkability. I commend what Schell's has done and look forward to the other beers in the series.

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Photo of hardy008
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown and ruby colors with a beautiful tan two finger head which has nice retention. Smells of chocolate, vanilla, and tart cherries.

The flavor is also chocolate, vanilla, and dark cherries. Somewhat sweet, balanced by tart cherries. Creamy, and smooth. Very easy to drink. Nice carbonation, and light to medium bodied. I love the idea of a low abv beer being aged in Pinot Noir wine barrels.

I think August Schell's produced a winner here. So many barrel aged beers have high abv, and are too similar to each other. This is a unique, and subtle barrel aged beer. I am glad that August Schell decided to take on this challenge.

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Photo of Fitzgerald
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into the Schells 150 anniversary glass that was free with the purchase of a 22oz bottle of barrel aged Schmaltzs Alt. The color is a dark ruby mahogany with a slight tan head.

S- A very dark fruit scent almost like a sherry.

T- Very smooth with dark fruit taste figs, cherries almost like a belgian sour ale. You can also taste the red wine barrel aging coming through.

MF- Smooth almost an oily feel, no carbonation very warm feel for low alcohol.

D- What a great beer very complex with all different scents and flavors coming through low alcohol so the bomber is just right.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.36/5  rDev -15.4%
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 wisrarebeer
2.95/5  rDev -25.7%
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 jjanega08
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A= The pour is a dark brown color. When held to the light it's a bright bright amber. The head is a light brown color and rises to two fingers high falling to a half finger and staying there. The lacing is beautiful and sticky along the side of the glass.

S= Nice caramelly malts to it leading to a great sweetness. There is a little bready and biscuity malt as well. The barrel is very very very light on this one but it is noticable with a small amount of wood and a little wine sweetness.

T= Very nice. There is such subtle notes of the barrel as well as the beer underneath. Just a slight woody grapey note to it. The beer compliments it soooo well with the right amount of caramelly sweetness and a ever so slight bitterness. Really a lot of complexity for such a small beer.

M= This beers mouth is a little different. It's got a real good smooth character and perhaps some tannins to it?

D= Wonderful. This is an awesome beer. Barrel aged without being a super high alcohol beer. The subtle flavors of this beer are beautiful. I'll buy as much of this as I can before it dryes up even at the high price point.

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Photo of caskstrength
2.56/5  rDev -35.5%
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 mdwalsh
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
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 TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
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 DanOLeary
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: A bright and full nose of red cherries with just a hint of oak following that up. Some dark fruits are also noted. ABV is not stated on the bottle but there is a moderate among of alcohol spice coming off the beer as well. A bit of chocolate is just barely noticeable. No hop aroma.

Appearance: Black body with clear ruby highlights along the edges and top. Head poured about one finger of tan large bubbles, but faded quickly to a trace of a ring along the outside.

Flavor: Light caramel blended with some plum and roasted malt. Sweet chocolate works its way in as well toward the middle where hop bitterness makes a showing ever so slightly. Finish is very clean with a touch of malt sugars left behind for sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Light body with light carbonation. It's either the roast or barrel aging that give a sense of dryness on the palate right in the middle, then the beer ends very crisp and dry. Light visit from hop bitterness in the finish.

Overall: Surprisingly light flavors coming off this beer, especially when you consider the relatively complex aroma. The dark fruit and light cherry character is very nice in the nose, but doesn't fully transcend to the flavor. A nice beer to enjoy on a cool Autumn evening, but still an easy drinking ale.

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Barrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt from August Schell Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 45 ratings