Alt | New Glarus Brewing Company

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158 Ratings

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: German Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bitterbill on 11-09-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 158 |  Reviews: 124
Reviews by Beertracker:
Photo of Beertracker
4/5  rDev -1.2%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Duff27
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thin tan head on a clear dark orange beer. Decent to good head retention with a little lacing.

Definite spice, alittle oxidation.

Hops are there but a little subdued. Real sweet aftertaste. Well hiddden alcohol!

Still carbonated nicely with a medium to medium thin mouthfeel.

Held up pretty well. Second venture into the Alt style, this being the best thusfar. This is the second time TATURBO has pulled this out, glad I reviewed it this time...thanks for helping the NG tickathon Chris.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had to hide the BA rating real quick 'cause I'm not sure where it's gonna go and I don't wanna be influenced by it.

OMFG only three more days after

Thanks be to great and excellent cohort in beer trading GraniteSkunk for the fine extra. Prost, mein freunde!!!

The basics: No idea on price (though I suspect it's hefty) and 9.5% ABV (nice)...

The beer looks good, a tasty yet cloudy amber with an orange hue...Nice three fingers of persistent head, yet a decided lack of lacing. Above average but towing the line, so to speak...

I'm in one of those moods, ya know...A mood wherein I like to picture what woman this beer reminds me of. So far it's very cute, yet not as stunning as many others. Methinks it will be one of those that surprises ya in the end...

Ahh, the aromas are wonderful...I get a lot of caramel malt, heaps of it, in fact. A nice strong sweetness also, that must be from the Turbinado sugar. The aromas meld well, and there are other things going on, such that I get things like roses and lavender in there also. It's compelling. Riding on top of all this is also a plethora ("Would you say I have a PLETHORA of balloons?") of berry notes: raspberry and blueberry being alpha amongst them. Very excellent...

This beer is striking me as the Robin Wright of ales: Compelling and beautiful, with a mysterious intrigue hiding beneath the surface...

The flavor is off the chain...It's very big and uber-malty. Lots of caramel malt smacks you around. The alcohol is VERY apparent, however...So much so some will be turned off by it. The oaked aspect is subdued rather than forefront, and lends it a wonderful characteristic. Kind of like drinking in Germany out of a wooden flagon...The beer evolves as it warms, such that the bigger malt flavors take the place of the alcohol...I still get a touch of raspberry in there also. Maybe I'm crazy, but that's what I get. Wonderfully made beer, and complex enough for a second round to really pull all the nuances out. Great beer and definitely worth tracking down.

What I like most: The wonderfully complex and inviting flavor profile.

What I like least: The strong alcohol notes when it's cold.

Verdict: Fantastic and unique, worth tracking down in every sense of the word.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. III Issue I:

Big bubbled lace shows the sugar in this beer; the head retention is unharmed. Tawny color, a little hazy as well. Sweet bready malt in the nose; some cider-ish aromas from the sugar and complexity, yet they don't overwhelm. Big creamy smoothness rolls around in the medium body. Maltly all around with biscuit and bread crust written all over it. Modest yet firm herbal hop flavor flexes a small bitterness. Slightly oaky and yeasty as well, some apple skin and dry wood add amazing depth to this beer. The finish turns very dry with lots of clean grain and wood tones for the taste buds to sort out.

Not so pure, as the addition of sugar disses the passé German Purity Law. But you know we love a little bit of defiance when it comes to breweries and their beer. Fermented in oak and bottle conditioned, a beer geek's fantasy in a bottle.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a deep copper orange hue with a half inch of bubbly off white head on top. The brew has great clarity. Aromas of toasted bread and caramelized fruits. Toffee and oak tones lead into some spicy, herbal hop notes.

First sip brings big sweet caramel and toffee malt flavors along with woody oak accents. Lots of fruity flavors flow throughout the brew. Spicy, herbal hops weave themselves in but can't really stand up to the sweetness of the brew. Finishes off with toasted bread and lingering toffee and oak flavors.

Mouthfeel is big, smooth and creamy...carbonation bursts out with each sip. Goes down easily and is an interesting twist on an Alt. Another tasty brew from New Glarus, glad I picked some up.

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Photo of badbeer
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber color with a an off-white head that retains quite well and leaves a good lacing around the glass. Brown sugar, clove, a touch of all spice, gingerbread cookie, and almost seems to have a bourbon note in the aroma. Ginger, sugar cookie, clove, spice, and caramel in the taste. Higher than medium carbonation, with less than medium body. Almost seems like a Belgian style beer. It will be interesting to see how this ages.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a footed strange)

A- This beer pours a slightly dense but crystal clear orange body with a thick creamy beige head that last for a good bit. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles that race to the surface.

S- This beer has a clean smell with light caramel malt notes and a hop hint in the finish. There is a light wet oak note that comes through as the beer warms a bit.

T- The big caramel malt flavor has a crisp carbonic acid note to it with a light oaky sweetness that leads to a bigger more vanilla oak and buttery as the beer warms. The finish has a nice snap that taste of green hops.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a tight fizzy finish that enhances the hops.

D- This is a nice but big session beer. The hops are a big player with the support of oak and hops in the background.

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Photo of ZombPumpkin
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of nicnut45
3.31/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a transparent hazy golden brown. Had about 3 fingers worth of an off white head. Settles to about an 1/8 inch of foam. Good retention.

Smell: Apple on the first whiff. Various fruits.

Taste: Has a musty sweetness to it. This beer is very fruity with an alcohol twang right after the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, moderate carbonation, quite smooth I would say too.

This beer is smooth but has some unusaul flavors im not used to. I dont think I would ever but it again.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Has a reddish-orange glow more akin to a double IPA or a sunnier looking barleywine. Long-lasting creamy head is made of very tight and tiny bubbles.

The nose is unique for the style, and overall just fantastic. I'm guessing it's the hops imparting a fruitiness to this beer. Real apple cider, a unique maltiness that reminds more of Bigfoot or other barleywines than anything else. Could that be the raw Turbinado sugar noted on the label? Even the alcohol lends a boozy dimension to the aroma. So I'm guessing this is a big-alcohol alt and a different take on the style.

And the flavor says: errr, yes, it is quite a different alt--and an appreciated one--but I'm not sure it's great. The fruitiness has a flatness, probably as its up against a really woody flavor that works to shut it down; it's more like the acrid character of fresh-cut wood and not the old, used barrel stuff. I could be wrong. The alcohol lays into the apple, tobacco and wood flavors pretty well, not dominating but certainly adding it's own little bit of oomph to one very unusual flavor. Sour/tart in the finish.

Texture has some stick, despite being fairly light of body, weight-wise. Ample carbonation is a gentle caress, like zillions of near-microscopic bubbles massaging and scouring your tongue. Interesting.

Well, New Glarus is an amazing brewery, and more and more they're reminding me of Dogfish Head in their will to throw rules and confines to the wind. And in another way this reminds of a barrel-aged Hair Of The Dog old ale, in its new woodiness and in the characteristics that remind more of old ales than alts. Despite having a completely unique character that you really should try to track down just for fun, it's not their greatest experiment, even though I'm very glad to have tried it.

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Photo of cokes
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a misty, darkened, peachy brass with a solid rise of moderately sticky sand-colored suds.
The nose is interesting, if a bit out of norm for a alt (and that will be a recurring theme). Stewed apples sprinkled with cinnamon. Grape, and darker raisin notes. A touch of oak, and them some toffee nougats. And then some booze vapors.
The sugar is immediately perceived with something denser than brown sugar, but sparser than caramel. Cooked apple fruitiness again, and minus any real tartness at this point. Light impressions of spiciness arrive, mostly in the clove and cinnamon ginger realm. There is not a real definitive malt foot print here, even though it is on the sweet side at first. The second half sees the oak emerge through the phantoms of spice, and thoroughly drys it, abetting the stripping, sometimes sourish, alcohol fumes. A dab of herbal hops can be identified the eddies of ethanol, but is otherwise unimportant.
The mouthfeel is thinner than expected, mostly due the notable ABV and the extensive use of sugar.
Some rest should do this good....hopefully.
This is something of a wildcard if not downright weird. It's almost unrecognizable as an altbier or sticke alt or any close variant of the style. It's absolutely well-crafted and clean as a whistle and definitely in the Winter Warmer vein (and, I think, that's was half the intent, and scores considerably higher when judged as such, as I enjoy this a good deal more than my overall score would indicate).
Nevertheless, it's pretty cool to grab a sixer or more of this a $7 a pop, even at the local gas station. I never thought I'd see the day that the PDQ down the road had a 9% Altbier on its shelves.

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Photo of dancinwillie
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour is very active, almost got away from me, but I pulled back at just the right time. Color is a medium red, close to the shade of the label. Big head fizzles away within 2 minutes, leaving no lacing behind.

Big sweet malt aroma. I was smelling this the second the beer hit the bottom of the glass. Cherry tartness has got my mouth watering. A pronounced oak flavor coming on strong has me reading the bottle story too. I try not to believe the hype, but I've been waiting for this moment.

First sip is a bit of a melange. Boozy in a whiskey sort of way, followed rapid fire by oak flavors, and a hint of the cherry from the nose. I give it some time to sink in. Second try, same flavors, but I was ready for the bastards this time around. They didn't catch me off guard so easily. I'm thinking what I associated with whiskey, was just the oak itself. Still a bit of that cherry flavor, I don't know the taste of turbinado from memory, but whatever this beer has in it, it's working real well. The hops are there, but they know their place. A little spiciness comes through, but this is a malt forward beer all the way.

High carbonation let's this Alt do a dance all over my tongue. Full bodied sensual dancing. A very sexy beer. Even more so as it warms in the glass, and in my belly.

Overall this is a highly drinkable brew, despite the alleged 9% ABV. Not a session per se, but a couple here and there would be a nice way to spend a cold Wisconsin evening. I want to get a year or two on these and see where they end up as well.


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Photo of dirtylou
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz single, another highly toured brew from the best brewery in Wisconsin

appearance: poured into an imperial pint glass, rich amber body, fairly clear, foamy beige cap and nice retention

smell: big sweet nose, caramel, apple and spice, rich and nutty

taste: this is a very nice beer - sweet juicy red apple, cinnamon/ginger and other spice, sweet caramel and nutty notes...the alcohol is well hidden and there is a minimal metallic touch compared to other alt's.

mouthfeel: creamy full body, sweet and chewy

drinkability: lovely

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Photo of prototypic
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ThomasHardy for this thoughtful extra. Very nice surprise, Brady. Thanks.

Alt is very clear and a nice caramel color. It has a nice bronze tint to it. It's topped with a very generous, slightly off-white head that easily stands two and a half fingers tall. It was slow to completely dissipate, but left a rather thin lacing behind. All in all, pretty good looking stuff.

The nose is good, but isn't a standout. It's sweet smelling and full of caramel malt. There's some fruity undertones (apple and pear) that further its sweet aroma, but work nicely with its malty base. Yeast is rather prominent in the nose. It's slightly biscuity, but not bad by any means. Alcohol is noted and is more pronounced than expected. I didn't know this was over 9%, but I have no trouble believing that after smelling it. It's not quite boozy, but it's there. Oak or wood chips emerge on the tail. That's a nice touch that drives it up a notch.

The first sip reveals a slightly sweet flavor. Caramel malt is noted, but isn't all that strong in flavor. A little apple and pear are complementary, but don't seem to add any sweetness. The big surprise here is the strong oak flavor. It's very prominent and really has a strong positive impact on the flavor. I like that quite a bit. A little spice flavor creeps. It tastes mostly like cinnamon, but it's subtle. It's slightly yeasty and there's a little alcohol here. It's not quite warm and doesn't offend at all. I'm a little on the fence here. There's no question that this is good stuff. But, it's just not quite deep enough to earn a higher score. It's not far. I really like the oak flavor. If some of the other flavors were just a little stronger, it might be a different story.

Alt has a light body that leans medium. It feels just a little too thin. Carbonation is relatively light. I wouldn't characterize it as smooth. Needs a little more body. Drinkability is good overall. Alt is good beer, but it's not quite great beer. At 9.5%, it's strong, but isn't too intimidating. I'm enjoying it, but a single bottle will do.

New Glarus has an excellent lineup of beer. This one's very good, but doesn't make their 'A' list. It's an interesting beer for me. What I liked so much about it initially (the strong oak flavor) is probably the very thing that masks some of the other flavors and keeps it from being an excellent beer. I suppose I don't always end up where I start. That being said, it is more than a solid beer that's worth checking out if you have the opportunity. Thanks, Brady.

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Photo of Gonzoillini
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of kkrez
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of kenito799
3.18/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a mini-pilsener glass.

Medium rosy amber brew with tan head that recedes to a ring.

Caramel malt hits the nose. On the palate there is a surprising heaviness, sweetness, cooked caramelized effect that does not remind me of alts I have tried in the past...I expect a dry, pleasing toastiness. Therefore the fine NG brewers are creating a different beast here, another style of alt, perhaps. The heaviness leaves this beer less enjoyable an drinkable for me, so I sadly proclaim my opinion that this is one of the weker NG offerings. They set the bar very high though, being one of teh best breweries in the country.

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Photo of russpowell
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from Beertracker, cheers Jeff!

Pours an effervescent copper with 1 thumb+ of cream colored head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Breadyness, apricot, & cherry

T: Cherry, cakeyness & slight smokeyness & dryness. Nice mix of honey & apricots as this warms, vanilla, & oakyness as well. Finishes dry with caramel & hints of shortbread with cherries on top.

MF: Medium bodied, soft carbonation & decent balance

Drinks fairly easy for the ABV, this a nice take on the dopplesticke IMO

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Three fingers of off white head with good lacing and retention. Rich amber body with orange tints. Attractive!

S - Big amber malts and esters in the nose. Pear, herbs (mint?), and grassy/spicy hops round out the aroma. Defiantly a sweeter aroma than most Alts I have had in the past.

T - The entry was interesting: a very herbal caramel malt profile, with spice from the hops hitting my mouth right away. Hops to balance out the beer, but not too much more. Alcohol is present and prickly. Lingering flavor that reminds me of Wintergreen gum.

M - Mid body and crispness. Standard. If anything, a little too crisp...

D - An interesting example for sure. The malts themselves seemed dead on. I felt that the herbal quality, though present in most Alts I've had, were a bit extreme in this beer, and muddled some of the other qualities of the beer. The hops lent nice spice, but I would have actually liked to have seem more bittering hops used. Not a bad beer, interesting, but I would grab a Uerige over this 9 times out of 10...

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Photo of MMAJYK
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to tpd275 for this one!

A. Bright bronze color-very clear. Head is very full and soft with great retention.

S. Nutty and malty sweet. Tropical fruits, apples, and light toast. The hops present a perfume like aroma.

T. Wow...this beer is amazingly complex. Green apples, spicy yeast characteristics, sweet rich honey malt, grain, and floral hops and booze in the aftertaste.

M. Medium mouthfeel and high carbonation.

D. While this is not a style I know very well, I can tell this beer is well made. Balanced perfectly and amazingly complex. I could easily sip on this again if given the opportunity.

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not for the first time and not for the last time, a big thanks goes out to zimmerbloke for sending me another delight. I knew nothing about this 12 ounce bottle until I opened it tonight and took one sniff. Oh my. I had to find out more. The label says that this has a three hour boil of caramel malts and turbinado, is open fermented, and aged on oak. A little research tells me that this is over two years old and contains an ABV over 9%. This is no ordinary Alt beer here. A review is definitely in order. Split with my wife into our matching pair of Portsmouth snifters. On to my thoughts.

A: The turbinado reference is appropriate here... Melted to be exact with a nice clarity. A finger of dusty white head dissipates to a spotty cap. We've actually got some nice unexpected legs here. Off to a nice start. I can't find any reason to dock any points. 5/5

S: As nice as this looks, the smell is where I really start to take note. Sugary dates initially come to mind. The brown alcohol is totally unrestrained and plays lead guitar to the sweet dried fruits rhythm pacing. Staying on the 4 piece band theme, the drums keeping time in the background would have to be the acidic twang that seems to be the New Glarus signature. The bass player would be the faint vanilla hue that is interesting in this beer, and similarly hidden in the background of a band. I still see no need to dock any points. 5/5

T: The copious amount of fermentables gives off a pure caramel sweetness that is highlighted by some cinnamon-like spiciness from the biting wood and kissed by the same vanilla found in the nose. An interesting extra flavor I had a hell of a hard time putting a finger on, just revealed itself to me as grape seed... Very interesting. I'm having a hard time picking out any other flavor characteristics but the ones it does have are well integrated and in wonderful balance. It should be noted that the alcohol from the aroma is minimal on the taste buds. 4.5/5

M: Smooth, crisp, and full-bodied? That's a rare feat for a beer to accomplish, but this one does just that. 5/5

D: This bad boy is immensely drinkable. Bring it back as an "Unplugged" beer at the very least Mr. Carey. You've got a real winner here and given a little hype, this would have beer geeks falling all over themselves to get a hold of. I do believe this beer seals the deal for me. New Glarus is my favorite brewery in America... Its not even a contest anymore. 5/5

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Photo of marcobrau
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whoa...lots of carb; as in a glass full. This slowly settles down leaving sticky foam forming a rocky head. Boozy aroma mixed with the tingle of ethanol in the nostrils. This character fades after a bit and a complicated spiciness emerges mixed in with oak. Incredibly smooth caramel flavor and toffee flavor, but the sugary sweetness is kept in check by the hops. Juicy up front with a dry finish that has a tawny fade to it. Viscous, yet dry enough in the end. A tartness nips at the sides of my tongues as this warms up. A hot flash of alcohol burns a bit in the throat, but the warming sensation is welcomed this time of year. I can't seem to find out how strong this beer is, but I'd guess around eight percent alcohol by volume. If I'm correct, this drinks a lot easier than it should - Dopplesticke, anyone? Like others, I would like to see how this ages.

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Photo of brewbucker
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium copper with a smallish head and medium carbonation. This beer is starting to confuse me. I bought a 6 pack and the first three bottles had caramel flavors with hints of oak, smoke, and light hops. The bottle I am drinking right now has a bourbon influence. Hey.. It sure works for me. A surprising little treat. I do not doubt the rumored 9% abv either. I really warmed up after a couple. Overall a real nice treat from New Glarus. Time to pick up a case or two as it should age fairly well.

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Photo of datamike
1.48/5  rDev -63.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Wow, not only is this NOT a traditional Alt in any sense, it's a horrible beer period.

Shoe polish, sweet malt, and a whiff of hop bitterness in the nose.

Huge phenols and solvent in the taste. Drink your wife's nail polish remover - it's probably cheaper and tastes largely the same. Seriously. I am saving the remaining bottles for a "Flawed Beers Seminar" I am leading for a BJCP exam prep course.

Appearance is good for style - clear, copper, good head retention.

This simply isn't an alt according to the style guidelines. More concerning though is that this is not a clean beer period. The solvent harshness make this beer undrinkable.

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Alt from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 158 ratings