Schwelmer Alt | Privatbrauerei Schwelm

116 Ratings
Read the review
Schwelmer AltSchwelmer Alt

Brewed by:
Privatbrauerei Schwelm

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 07-13-2003

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 116 |  Reviews: 111
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.04/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed on 9/5/08. Bottle. Pours a dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma of raisin, dark fruits, some cardboard. Yep, this tastes like the other Schwelmer beers even though it's a different style. Cardboard and stale wheat. Blech.
4/4/3/3/10 (2.4/5)

 252 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
2.2/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

now on-tap at eli's in middletown..

appearance can best be described as a second-day pour from a half closed cola bottle. dark, clear, with big fat bubbles and no head. scent is a faint roasted malt.. taste is very obtuse. lots of overripe banana, malt, and sharp clove with a tang finish. looks like coke, tastes something like dr. pepper. mouthfeel is nice and light but drinkability is limited due to its shocking spice. not a winner in my book.. bad keg?

 461 characters

Photo of brentk56
2.6/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a medium brown body with a prodigious head that leaves wafts of lacing all over the place

Smell: Musty, smokey odor; smells like dirty clothes in a dorm room closet

Taste: Starts out with raisin bread flavor; after the swallow, a phenolic bitterness kicks in that muddles to the finish in a smokey bitter mess

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good carbonation

Drinkability: Very disappointing; I enjoy the altbier style but this just doesn't cut it

 475 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.64/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Darkest bronze with a considerable burnt orange influence when backlit. The sandstone colored crown is nicely rumpled bumpy and has a great deal of stickiness that results in an impressive array of delicate lace. As far as I can tell, this is what an altbier should look like.

The nose is less than good. It's earthy and musty and spicy, a combination that doesn't add up to anything that I care to smell more than is necessary for this review. Let's throw 'woody' in there as well. The flavor profile had better do a '180' or I won't like Schwelmer Alt any more than I liked Bernstein or Pils.

The taste buds are definitely well-occupied, but it isn't with a great altbier. The word 'clash' comes to mind as I continue to drink. Each mouthful delivers a sweet and phenolically sour brown maltiness coupled with stale tobacco and a firm smack of bitter peanut skins and grassy hops. I'm having a hard time wrapping my palate around this one.

The woodiness that was noted in the aroma is still present. I don't know if this beer spend time barrel aging, but it sure tastes like it. Too bad it didn't add anything of interest (just the opposite, in fact) to the flavor profile. I have nothing else of value to add. The weird combination of flavors and flavor sensations just isn't to my liking.

Even though I'd like more bubbles to add a little excitement to the proceedings, the mouthfeel is otherwise acceptable for the style. It's on the light side, but then that's where a low-ABV alt should weigh in.

If I hadn't had the less than stellar Schwelmer Bernstein and Schwelmer Pils, I might have suspected a bad (or an old) bottle. Try as I might, I can't decipher 'best before end 88 10 83'. It looks like only Schwelmer Weizen is worthy of a repeat purchase.

 1,774 characters

Photo of kimcgolf
2.67/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Corked bottle opens with a big pop...good start, and an aroma of malty chocolate. Pours to a dark brown with hints of red, thick tan head that lingers awhile, and decent lacing. Unfortunately, the beer goes downhill after this. Flavor is okay, more malt and hint of chocolate, but a very thin body and watery finish makes this a less enjoyable beer at the end than at the beginning.

 382 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
2.68/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Has a nice deep ruby/ medium clear brown. But no bublles and no head. Only a 16th of an inch after the pour. The first snikks are very acidty and battery head liek. But they bring some darker malts to the nose. A little. The taste jas some stale malts, but a good , yet light bitterness.

 287 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.81/5  rDev -23.8%
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.

 1,770 characters

Photo of jwc215
2.96/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Swing-top bottle with a cryptic freshness date, poured into a stange glass:

Pours light-to-medium brown with a thick, creamy tan head that descends to a lasting thin cover. Some broken rings of lacing stick to the glass.

The smell is earthy/woody, musty, slightly nutty. Vague sweet grain and fruitiness barely peek through.

The taste is earthy and woody - a hoppy alt as it indicates on the label - but in a rather bland way. A musty character gives me the impression of moss-covered wood. After the effervescent carbonation and mustiness settle, a malt/fruity sweetness balances it out (especially in second half of bottle), but the flat woody/earthy notes stay ahead. Dry, bland finish.

Light in body, a blandness lingers on the palate.

Despite the disappointment, it does have a certain smoothness, especially as it warms that gives it a certain drinkability (for the one bottle, but wouldn't rush for more). Well, I wasn't crazy about the Bernstein - which this has a certain similarity too.. and this was even blander...I would stick with the weizen of the three offerings I've had from this brewery. Overall- a disappointing alt from Germany - expected better...

 1,184 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.97/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

 411 characters

Photo of dasenebler
2.99/5  rDev -19%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

.5L Bügelflasche, best before 8/17/2011.

Pours a nice and clear ruby-brown, but the head is like a cola.

The aroma has some nice toasted malts at first, with a faint mineral/metallic character in the background.

The flavor is okay, but just a bit flat in my opinion. It's very simple, with crusty bread flavors and the slightest bit of toffee if you really dig deep. The finish is drying and off in some way. The mouthfeel is soda-like, though the carbonation stays soft.

Nothing special here. Maybe this bottle is a bit past its prime (expires in two months), but I don't see this being much better fresh.

 611 characters

Photo of ybnorml
3.06/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

 264 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

04/19/06- Purchased at Corti Bros. in Sacramento, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz stubby bottle. No freshness info listed. Poured into my Sebastopol Brewery pint glass.

Appearance- Pretty dark pour with some cherry colored highlights. Full fairly creamy white head with nice hardened sticky lace left upon the finish.

Smell- Really nice dark and sweet scent. Kinda like a doppelbock mixed with and old ale. Lots of caramel, toffee, dark roasted malt and maybe even dare I say some dark fruits.

Taste- Damn, I so wanted to like this beer after the scent. This is one of the first beers where the scent was fantastic and the taste was below average. Very large metallic taste that covers up all that could be good in this beer. You can sense some dark fruit, a bit of caramel and toffee and even a decent hop bite. But it all stays covered up by this metal flavor. Damn!

Mouthfeel- Pretty high carbonation level. Very cola like.

Drinkability- I don't think I got a bad bottle. Wish I did though. Don't be fooled by the scent on this one. I've had a few altbiers and none of them tasted like this.

 1,106 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.11/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

.5 Liter Flip top Bottle.

Pours a clear chestnut brown brew with a tan head, looks very tasty.

Smell is crackers and wheat malt, and a bit fruity. There is also a scent in here that is salty and similar to Gose.

Taste is drier than expected. Lots of toasted malt and a sharp bitter snap in the finish. Mildly sweet bit the fruitiness seems to have gone missing.

Mouthfeel is OK.

An OK beer but Alaskan Amber beats it. It don't think Alt is a beer style that travels all that well. I LOVED the Schwelmer Hefe Weizen but I don't like this one nearly as well.

 571 characters

Photo of mmmbeer
3.16/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Half-liter swingtop, with a best-by date of 88.10.69, which doesn't make any sense no matter how you look at it. It opens with a loud "POP!" and pours a chestnut hue with medium carbonation and a fluffy, two finger, light tan head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is grainy, with toasted and caramel malts, fruits?, paper?, and some sweetness that is a bit too prevalent. It tastes essentially the same, with spicy, leafy?, and freshly-cut-hay hops that leave a mild bitterness on top of a light body that leaves light finish. Overall not a bad brew, just not that great. Balanced, yes, but they need to beef up the both the malts and hops.

 642 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out as a reddish brown color with a tan colored head that was pretty thin. The aromas were of a lot of grains and malt. There isn't a whole lot of hops on the nose or much else. Perhaps a little spice but that's about it. The taste is mostly dry malt, some fresh leaves some other flavors of nature in there. The mouthfeel is medium, It's drinkable and worth trying again. I was better than I expected.

 419 characters

Photo of theopholis
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Body is a very clear, light-to-medium brown/amber with a thick, creamy tan head that slowly falls s to a lasting thin cover. Some broken rings of lacing stick to the glass.

Smell- The smell is earthy/woody, slightly nutty. A sweet, grainy aroma with just enough bittering hops.

Taste- A so-so blend of malt, malt sweetness and bittering hops. Some graininess in there. Also getting some earth, woody flavors in the background. Somebody else mentioned impressions of a moss-covered wood. I would have to agree. A vaguely harsh hop taste in the very end.

Mouthfeel- Medium body (for style). Good CO2 level. Again, for style.

Drinkability- Worth a try, but it ain't great.

 685 characters

Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ahh the Schwelmer Alt. A nice solid Alt Bier if you are in the mood for a good German beir. YA! This beer has a good malty base and mild carbonation indicative of the German Alt style. I really enjoyed this beer after a hard day at work. I appreciated this beer as a good solid representative of its style. A smooth and flat beer of the German Alt style of beers.

 363 characters

Photo of aracauna
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

 398 characters

Photo of yen157
3.24/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

 615 characters

Photo of magictrokini
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark copper with a medium tan head. Lots of caramel and bread in the aroma. Flavor was dense with caramel and malt, with a bitter end. No hops, mostly sour apple. Some fruitiness, with a heavier than expected mouthfeel. Its okay, but not worth doing again.

 265 characters

Photo of John
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

 525 characters

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.3/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

 818 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.31/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz swing-top bottle from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" beige head above the dark copper brew. Good foamy bits of lacing from a head that just isn't moving. Aroma is light, of caramel malts and slight hops notes. Taste is initially of full caramel malts, fading to a slight fruit tang, and then ends with a mess of somewhat metallic bitterness. Mouthfeel and drinkability are are affected by the end of each mouthful, unfortunately, since it was nice until then. Potential, yes. Follow-through, no.

 548 characters

Photo of woemad
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

 1,395 characters

Photo of Drew966
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Schwelmer Alt pours a dark brown with ruby highlights and a thick tan head. Smells like a malted milk ball. Malt predominates in the flavor, some metallic flavor briefly as well. I don't know much about altbiers, I've had a couple but I'm not really conversant with the style. Overall this beer is okay, I probably wont buy it again, but it is worth a try, you may like it more than I did.

 389 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Schwelmer Alt from Privatbrauerei Schwelm
3.69 out of 5 based on 116 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.