Schwelmer Alt
Privatbrauerei Schwelm

Schwelmer AltSchwelmer Alt
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3.67 | pDev: 12.81%
Privatbrauerei Schwelm
Retired (no longer brewed)
Schwelmer AltSchwelmer Alt
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Reviews: 111 | Ratings: 116 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

2.81/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Presentation: As with all the Schwelmer brews, this too arrives in a rather cool looking Half-Litre [1 Pt 0.9 fl.oz.] brown glass bottle which has a vertical neck label covering the steel wire which holds the red & white plastic flip top in place. Front label is partly generic in nature and looks like the other offerings from Schwelm. Labeled as “Alt – the unique hoppy Altbier, brewed in accordance with the Rheinheitsgebot of 1516”. The back label says Best Before End “88 10 57”….I’m still trying very hard to work this Calendar coding out. No listed strength.

Appearance: Shining pellucid chestnut body with a vociferous creamy tan colored head. Middling carbonation offers up some feedback when the glass is tilted but not much to shout about.

Nose: Damp wood mixes with a wet Pine chopping board sniff. Malty aromas mingle with soiled jeans. Strange.

Taste: Soil laden fading malts have a light nutty feel. Lightweight flavors are hard to break out. Feels about as German as the French Resistance. I’m afraid I just didn’t get much from this Alt. To me it tastes more like an average ‘run-of-the-mill’ weak nutty brown ale. Sehr Forgetful, Ya!?

Mouthfeel: Light feel it flitters around like a cheap Kite in a strong wind. Weak and thin at times. It fails in the Mouthfeel completely.

Drinkability: Average drinker but it gets very boring….very quickly…..I almost left the last third of this one...

Overall: The last of the four Schwelmers that I picked up from Hollingshead Deli in Orange, CA, all cost $2.69 each. Nothing earth shattering about this one, as with the Bernstein it looks much better than it tastes…..I won’t be trying this one again, but at least I have another reusable flip-top bottle for my Home-Brewing pals.

Sep 06, 2005
More User Reviews:
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 16.9 oz brown swing top bottle with a “Best Before End” freshness date on the back label.

Appearance: The frothy sea foam like head leaves a thick trail of lace on the glass, deep wood stained brown shows some clarity.

Smell: Toasted malt, vaguely sweet … ghost like fruitiness with a hint of hops.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Exceptionally smooth with a moderate carbonation and creamy malty body. A twang of fermented malt with in the toasted grain character, hops are modest yet show a good balance. The finish is a jumbled complex mess; nutty, smoke?, yeasty.

Drinkability & Notes: Quite the enjoyable brew, have not quaffed an Alt like this for some while. Seemed to go great with some Teriyaki Chicken and Crab Rangoon.

Nov 23, 2004
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger off-white white head that vanishes quickly to a ring leaving traces of lace. Cloudy amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Sweet toffee nose. Flavor is sweet toffee that is balanced by the hops. Clean finish. $1.90 for a 330ml swing-top bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME.

Aug 23, 2007
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John from New York

3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

0.33L (11.2 oz.) stubby bottle. Schwelmer Alt pours a crystal clear ruby/brown. Head is tan in color, creamy and dense with moderate lacing. Aroma is caramelized grains and toasted nuts along with an odd semi-metallic, hard water-like note. Flavors are of soft sweet wort, caramel, multi-grain bread and subdued spicy, earthy hops. Metallic notes soften but the body also weakens as it warms. Not a bad brew but probably not something I'll go back to. Of the Schwelmer Alt, Bernstein and Pils, the Pils is the clear standout.

Dec 20, 2004
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Bighuge from Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear burgandy tone. Medium sized biege head. Retention is good as is the lace. Rings of droopy lace are left in moderate quantities. Not much carbonation noted from the appearance. Nice aroma of almonds, toffee and caramel. Nicely pronounced. Nice flavor. Walnuts and toffee. Nougat and caramel. Nice dry finish. Just a little buttery. Overall, good though. Mouthfeel is agreeable. Drinkability, quite good. This is a solid alt.

Dec 17, 2005
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maxpower from Missouri

3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cool swing top bottle pours a clear dark brown with a huge foamy light brown head that leaves lots of sticky lacing in my glass. Dark fruit and caramel aromas, nutty caramel and woody flavors, light bodied with a kind of watery mouthfeel, finishes a bit sour.

Jan 25, 2005
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cokes from Wisconsin

4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Darkish cherrywood with a large-pocked beige lace.
Caramelized cherries and tree bark aroma.
Begins with a steadfast, toasted caramel maltiness that splinters into walnut skin and red grape. Underlying sweet apple notions, which seems to be a common thread in the Schwelmer beers. Gains heft in the midesection with a bready sense that suggests pumpernickel. Clean and briskly lagered later on. Hops have a good deal of bitterness in the steely, herbal pangs.
Roughly medium in body, if slightly less. Moderate carbonation. A drinker, for certain.
This is a good rendition. Although not quite Uerige or Moosejaw good, but along those same lines.

Nov 19, 2004
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aracauna from Georgia

3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Oddly, I think I prefer the pils over this one. Very dark brown, but perfectly clear. The head builds easily and is slow to fade. Nutty, slightly hoppy aroma is followed by a flavor full of nuts, wood and a bit of cherry. This would be quite tasty except that the bitterness at the end is a bit awkward and mixes with a slightly sour aftertaste that keeps it from being as enjoyable as it could be.

Nov 18, 2004
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Suds from Missouri

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This sure isn’t a bad looking beer. Poured from a half-liter swing-top bottle, it’s a deep, dark brown color with a towering rocky head. Lots of lace from this one. The aroma is serious caramel, slightly malty, and a little hops. Taste is grainy and a little bready. Initially there’s a moderate sweetness, but the beer starts to dry out in the mid-taste. Medium body and fairly drinkable. There’s a nicely balanced hop finish as well. Overall, it’s a fairly good Alt.

Jan 08, 2005
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PatandDavid from Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a treat. Started off well with a nice big pop when I let loose on the swing top. Pour looked just like root beer in color and head. In fact the cream colored head has lasted and left lace in my glass. Aroma is of typical German malt (read: brown bread). Taste is also very pleasant, small carbonation hits the tongue, the malt is low. Metallic notes and fruitiness in the towards the end, also some hop bitterness in the finish. Still pretty smooth, and at that abv, you can make a sesseion of them. Nice to see another German Alt available on our shores, keep 'em coming.

Oct 05, 2004
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Schwelmer's Alt pours an almost black body that reveals it's true deep-ruby stained mahogany color when held to the light. The creamy khaki-colored head drops shortly but leaves some nice lace in its wake.

Sweet malt with a darkly caramelish and roasty edge resides in the nose along with a whisp of floral hops.

The flavor is much as the nose suggests, with a very well-balanced, but straightforward maltiness. There's a touch of dark malt acidity, some welcome nuttiness, and some sublime leafy hop flavors, but nothing else. It fades from the pallet just as easily as it entered, leaving behind a mild trace of nuts, smoke (residue from the roastiness), and floral and grassy hops.

The body is medium with dextrinous malt, and its gentle carbonation leaves it remarkably smooth across the palate.

Interestingly, as Schwelm was once a mining center, this beer is quite similar in many ways to the dark milds of northern England where miners enjoyed a darker, but not necessarily fuller beer at the end of the day. It's not what you'd expect of a Dusseldorfer alt at all, but it's still quite enjoyable.

May 28, 2006
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Lupe from New York

3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A big frothy tan foam sits atop the brown liquid. Reddish hues appear when held to the light, along some clarity. Thick sheets of lace cling to the glass. Very nice.

Mild aroma with toasted malt and hints of sweetness, fruit, and hops.

Flavors of toasted grain, fresh bread, and a touch of brown sugar. Mild fruit and the perfect amount of hops for balance. Finish is where the complexity lies, with some yeastiness, nuts, a little roasted malt, and spicy & herbal hops.

Light in body and fairly thin on the tongue. Smooth and lightly carbonated. Lacks a bit in flavor, but enjoyable and very drinkable. Good session beer that won't get in the way.

Mar 21, 2008
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WanderingFool from Massachusetts

3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Schwelmer Alt pours a clear dark brown color. Reminded me of a flat coca cola. The foamy light tan head dissolved quickly to a thin ring around the surface of the beer. An aroma of nuts, roasted malt and grassy hops greets you before each sip.

This light to medium bodied beer has a nice mellow carbonation that brings out the malty flavor. Each sip is rather dry with mainy roasted malt and nuts with some fruity grape notes mixed in. It finishes with a slightly bitter grassy hop taste leaving behind some malt and grape flavors.

I thought this beer was well balanced and had a nice flavor. Although, it seemed rather average for its style. I still think it would go great with a burger.

Oct 10, 2005
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yen157 from New Jersey

3.24/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tawny port brown, topped by a fairly chunky, creamy head. Aroma is of malt, pretty big on the Munich. There is a hint of milk chocolate and some dark fruitiness. Considering the aroma it is relatively light in flavor in the mouth. Big, toasty malt flavor comes across as a little oxidized. Hopping is nice, slight vegetal flavor and lingering bitterness. Aftertaste is a little nutty, but this is neutralized by a metallic, hard water flavor that is pervasive throughout this brew. Also, there is a slightly tart quality that seems to come out as it warms. Body is pretty light, and carbonation is fine but intense.

Oct 11, 2004
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feloniousmonk from Minnesota

3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear and sepia-toned, a clean caramel, with a rocky, bumpy, thick slab of foam resting on top, leaving lace.

Roasty malt in the nose, sweetness abounds, nuts and toffee, with a neat hoppiness. A kind and pleasant aroma.

Slides easily on the palate, and glides happily off. Very pleasing taste, mild and sweet, nicely balanced maltiness...light, happy fruitiness...very clean, crisp, a lightly hoppy brown ale, to these lips.

Not having had too many other authentic alts, this does seem to stack up to what I recall of the Tuetonic varieties I've been able to taste. Medium bodied, with a sweet taste that finishes dryly.

Not bad. Not fantastic, but a fine beer, indeed.

Sep 26, 2005
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lackenhauser from Maryland

3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep chestnut color with a great tan head on top. Great looking beer, really. Moderate malt aroma. Slight caramel smell to it. Malty flavor with a decent nutty flavor. There is a whisper of smokiness in it for me. Good mouthfeel. Very good beer. I could see drinking bucketloads of this on a nice sunny day.

Jun 24, 2007
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tavernjef from Minnesota

3.81/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark cherrywood auburn color when up to a strong light, nealy black in shadow with an immense puffy cap of light sandy brown, finely foamed froth. Cap slowly levels off and down to a good amount of skim and collaring. Lacing glazes the glass in webby curtains.

Aroma is stiff and bready with light touch of cocoa powder.

Taste is mild yet firm with not a whole lot going on unfortunately. Semi sweet. Clean with a fluffy coating. Big on bready flavors mostly but it doesn't last long. A little brief on the buds with this one. Has some light hints to sunflower seeds, cocoa, and toasted grains. Finish has a bit of subdued and muddled smokeyness and earthy yeast under the last remainders of toasty stuff. Lots of pretty decent bread tones though.

Feel is smooth and fairly fluffy with an easy carbonation to slurp down but lacks some depth. Its lighter then medium in body with a weak-ended front but picks up some as it finishes.

A good enough drinker, pleasing if not all together simple.

Oct 13, 2005
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DrainBamage from Michigan

4.77/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brownish amber color with a nice lace of head. Smell has fruity and malty aromas. Taste is fruity but very complex also. It's lightly carbonated and goes down extra smooth with a slight bitterness towards the end. The hops and malts are perfectly balance. The is one fine brew and I can't imagine and Altbier getting much better than this.

Jan 07, 2008
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ElGordo from Oregon

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty garnet color topped by a half-inch of tan head. Aroma of sweet, bready malt with notes of stone fruit (plum, maybe?). Palate is nice, sweet, and a bit fruity. Bready, biscuity caramel malt is complemented by some light fruity hops and a hint of German lager yeast. Medium body and good carbonation carry the flavor well. A nice, flavorful offering, and perhaps the first true German alt I've had.

Apr 28, 2006
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WesWes from New York

3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a translucent dark brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades. The aroma is good. It has a dry, yet malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with some hops as well; excelllent balance. The taste is decent. It has a weak and watery flavor that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with bitter hops and a dry finish. It goes down easy and finishes with hops in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. It has a watery feel that takes away from the mouthfeel. This is a good drinking alt. . It has good aroma and decent flavor.

Oct 28, 2004
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ybnorml from Rhode Island

3.06/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color is a very dark amber with avery nice foamy beige head. There is a distinct carmel aroma, but nothing else. A watery mouthfeel. None ot the carmel promised in the aroma. Only a light non descript sweetness followed by an easy bitterness with a dry finish.

Oct 28, 2004
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woemad from Washington

3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Half liter swingtop bottle purchased at Jim’s Homebrew in Spokane for $3.35. The label refers to it as “the unique hoppy altbier.” “Best before end: 88 10 57.” WTF?

Pours a dark amber/garnet color with a big, off-white sudsy head. When held to the light, the beer takes on a more ruby-ish tinge. A small neglige of foam was left at the top of my pintglass, perched above spotty lace remnants.

Smells like…apples. That is the first impression. There is also a mild, sweet caramel scent. As it warmed, it took on a slightly nutty scent and the apple scent receded somewhat. Not bad, but nothing too impressive, either.

The initial taste reminded me again of apples, but it was accompanied by a caramel sweetness that balanced better with the apples than the smell. The finish is dry, metallic and slightly hoppy. At no other point does this come close to living up to the label’s statement that this is “the unique hoppy altbier.”

This seems slightly flat in the mouthfeel, though there’s enough carbonation still there that you know this is probably what the brewer was aiming at. I’ve had too few authentic Alts to know if this is characteristic of the style or not.

This is an okay beer, but it’s nothing to write home about. I bought it as a curiosity, not least because of the cool bottle. While I don’t regret it, I doubt I will feel a need to seek it out again.

Jul 04, 2006
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fattychubs from North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was brought back from Germany from a good friend.

Beer pours a medium brown with amber highlights and a full frothy tan head. Has a nutty brown aroma slightly sweet, but also a lot of bitter hop on the nose. Taste starts with burnt malt, a slight sweetness then turns very hoppy. The end is bitter with a very slight acidic metal taste. Body is slightly thin on the overall taste.

Pretty enjoyable overall, glad I got to try it.

Jul 13, 2003
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

2.97/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Plucier: Poured a clear deep brown color alt with a small foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of light roasted malt with some light toffee. Taste is also dominated by some light roasted toffee notes. Body is really average with some medium carbonation. I’m not sure I am totally getting the style since I don’t encounter it often enough but I thought this example was generally boring.

Aug 14, 2007
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Boilermaker88 from California

3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark root beer color with a frothy whitish head. Nice durability on the head with etchings of sheet lace left behind. No kidding, it looks like a root beer.
Smell: lots of toasted malt and caramel sugars; not much in the way of hops aromas.
Taste: sweetly malty initially with mild fruitiness. More toasty malt and a touch of earthiness than anything else. Herbal hops bittering rises as each pull is swallowed. Finishes with an off-putting metallic bite at the back of the roof of the mouth.
Feel: medium and prickly with a thinning, almost watery ending.
Drinkability: overall, I found this alt to be a bit of a let-down after my positive experiences with Schwelm's hefeweizen and pils. The metallic taste still hasn't left my mouth and that's a deal-killer for me. I'll pass on this one from now on.

Jun 06, 2005
Schwelmer Alt from Privatbrauerei Schwelm
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 116 ratings