Barrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt | August Schell Brewing Company

very good
45 Ratings
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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.

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Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 39
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 mothman
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
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 BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
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 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 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 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 feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
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 MasterSki
2.91/5  rDev -26.1%
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 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 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 jrallen34
3.12/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle consumed at Stub during Darkness weekend...A dark brown with amber on the sides, a half finger of light head but light carbonation...A light aroma red wine, wood and a touch of hops, the combo sounds ok, just nothing great...The taste is bland, dark fruits on the back, light hops. The feel is so light, less than water that it really distracts the beer. Aging an alt beer was not a good idea, this beer is a light mess not worth drinking and the wood doesn't improve it.

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

Huge thanks to LaCoursiere for this bottle:

A: Pours a deep mahogany. A very rich brown/red with a beautiful ½ finger tan head. Some nice lacing at first, but that fades quickly as I drink.

S: The beer smells of wood, raisins, plums, smoke and sour. I also get a little bit of molasses in the nose. The red wine ageing is detectable too. I’m excited to try this.

T: Initial hit is malty sweetness with a lot of flavor from the wine barrels. After the initial notes fade I pick up on the smoke and wood, followed by the some more red wine aging (mostly fruity and sour). This is a really interesting beer. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything quite like it.

M: The mouthfeel is great. It’s not light, not too heavy. Nothing too thin and nothing too chewy/sticky. Fantastic.

O: I’m really diggin’ on this beer. It has a great look, and a wonderful nose. The taste is something that I’ve never experienced before. I wouldn’t want to drink this all the time, but I’d keep coming back to it when I’m in the mood for it.

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Photo of jera1350
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
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 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 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 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 bigbeers84
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

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 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 hardy008
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
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 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 jjanega08
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
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 doucmehu
5/5  rDev +26.9%

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 Vdubb86
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

Thanks to Lenny1203 for this beer

Pours a super dark amber color with an ecru foam on the surface. There are aromatic notes of oak, red grapes, plums, and brown sugar. The taste is malty up front and finishes more oaked. The flavors are muddled together, but not wholly bad. There are distinct tannins from grapes in this beer. The mouthfeel is a tad bit astringent and way too watery for my liking. It still drinks pretty well, but I must admit it's not one of my favorite beers.

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Barrel Aged Schmaltz's Alt from August Schell Brewing Company
3.94 out of 5 based on 45 ratings.
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