Ad Astra Ale | Free State Brewing Co.

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Ad Astra AleAd Astra Ale

Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co.
Kansas, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This ale is the first brewed in Kansas since pioneering days. The name "Ad Astra comes from the Kansas State Motto - Ad Astra per Aspera, Latin words meaning "To the Stars through Difficulties". We've blended Pale, Caramel, and Munich malts for a rich amber beer. The hops balance this malty sweetness, and we've chosen Northern brewer and Fuggles hops for their flavor.

24 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-14-2002

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Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 270
Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep copper color in the body with a fairly good sized, 3 finger head. Body is almost completely translucent, despite the darker color. Retention and lacing are very good on the light tan head.

S- Starts off with huge caramel malts right off the bat. The scent quickly turns darker and displays some milk chocolate scents as well. Throughout the smell, there is a fair amount of sweetness underlying the caramel and chocolate scents.

T- Surprisingly dark in flavor, just like the scent was. Starts with a dull, only slightly sweet caramel flavor. Chocolate flavors creep in and darken the drink's flavor and up the sweetness a little bit. Slight brown sugar sweetness peeks in before the caramel malt returns to prominence to end the drink.

M- This beer is smooth as silk with low to medium carbonation levels. Incredibly smooth and easy to drink.

Overall, I think there is one way to describe this beer; an awesome American take on a German style that might beat the native Germans in terms of a smooth drinking lager.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.43/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought at The Library in Manhattan, Kansas, enjoyed at home in Oklahoma City.

Pours a brown liquid with a huge, huge, super-smooth fluffy tan head. Excellent bready-aroma.

Flavor is interesting. Lots of roasted notes, some brown bread, a tiny bit of caramel but that is offset by the bitterness and a little bit of acidic prickle. Some coffee. Lingering bitterness with some slight hint of chocolate.

Very smooth. Reminds me just a little bit of a nitro-can Guinness, but this is much better.

Yet another superior Kansas beer. I'm becoming quite the fan of KS beers I must admit.

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Photo of hopflyer
4.37/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Unknown bottle date

Pours deep ruby and amber color with one finger head. Crystal clear and somewhat lively bubbles rising. Looks really nice and even leaves some decent lacing.

Nose is blend of lager like yeast and hints of coffee and toffee. Peaty, grassy, and floral hops. Maybe a little bit of seasoned wood. Smells like it's going to have a lot going on.

First sip is primarily sweet with very light caramel followed by grassy hop notes and then a bit of metallic-like bitterness. Continuing into it opens up a little bit of lemon and orange rind. Not bursting with citrus but very laid back compliment to the sweet malts. Metallic flavors fade away.

Fairly light bodied and the carbonation is a bit fizzy on the palate and tongue. Very easy to drink and finishes pretty clean. Little in the way of aftertaste.

Pretty impressed with this beer. Many different flavors all blending well together and it's very easy to drink. Got this in a beer of the month club gift so not sure I'm able to pick this up in my parts but I'd definitely have this again. Under rated IMO.

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Photo of KansasNate
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This copper hued ale was the first to be brewed in Kansas since the wild west days. This is an easy drinking beer, with a slight sweet edge that is balanced nicely with the hops. Perhaps too easy drinking on a monday night with $1.75 pints on tap. This is excellent beer.

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Photo of Dansting
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draught at Old Chicago in Overland Park, Kansas. Excellent altbier. Pleasant malty aroma and flavor, with nice, rich dark reddish-brown color. Light head that disappears rather quickly. Nice orange aftertaste to go along with initial terrific flavor.

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Photo of duhbled
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my favorite at the local water hole. The poor is full with a nice 1/2 inch head that is creamy white. The smell is rather intoxicating itself but the mouthfeel is smooth and it goes down glass after glass. The taste is slightly sweet and fruity, usually reminding me of plum. It carries a good amount of kick and after 5 I feel like I want one more. It has the right balance between hoppiness and yeast which makes this Altbier a pure delight.

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Photo of SafeAtFirst
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic pint glass. The appearance of this beer is a deep clear ruby/amber color with a slightly off-white head. There is not a lot of aroma - some light roasted malts and earth are all I can pick up. The flavor is much better a good toasty malt base with just enough hop bitterness and carbonation to wash it all away and send me back in for another sip, perfectly balanced.

Overall this is one of my "go-to" beers at Free State. It's a real smooth, easy drinking, award winning beer.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug.

The beer is a light mahogany/ruby color. A cream colored head dissipates quickly but leaves decent lacing. The beer smells toasty, nutty, and malty. The taste is an exercise in thinking. It tastes malty in a nut brown way, but there is a touch of cherry tartness. Maybe a faint hop finish. The beer is medium bodied.

Overall, I like it. I just may not have this one very often. It's an easy-drinking beer, and well crafted from this brewery.

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Photo of JEdmund
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Plumb colored; small head, which quickly dissipates.

Inviting fruity aroma, berries, caramel, and just a touch of earthy hops (Northern Brewer and Fuggles)

Taste & Body
Well balanced, leaning towards hoppy; opens slightly sweet and malty, finishes nicely with complex flavors of both fruity yeast, caramel, bitter hops, and ending dry; light body and good texture with the perfect level of carbonation

It's a good choice and recipe for a house beer. Different enough not to be just another amber ale in the portfolio.

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Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my cousin for breaking out a surprise growler of this at the family smörgåsbord. Into my new Free State pint glass (also courtesy of my cousin) this poured a nice bright amber color, good clarity, with a generous cap of puffy offwhite foam. The lace was sticky and stayed around for awhile.

Aroma was mainly malty with mild multigrain and sunflower seed notes. Flavor was similarly bready with some light sweetness that finished dry. There were some notes of earthy hop as it came to room temperature. The body was light for an alt, but this rendered it very drinkable. I drank my half of the growler no problem. Free State is on my radar, hope to visit the brewpub someday.

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Photo of dbossman
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruby brown; clear and bubbly with a thin quickly dissipating head; leaves a faint film with nice lacing

S: Sweet caramel malts; tea leaves and lemon juice linger on the back end

T: Nice subtly sweet maltiness rich with caramel and wet grains; backed by lemon and tea; lingering pleasant aftertaste

F: Good even mouth feel; even a bit of sediment left on tongue that is pleasant

D: Very nice, drinkable beer; first beer from Free State but hopefully not the last

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Photo of marc77
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark orange / copper in color and very clear. Impressive, thick and sticky head. Nutty, lightly roasted malt aroma, w/ a mild green and floral Hallertauer nose. Toasted and dark caramel malt flavors are accompanied by moderate hop bitterness. The medium body and fairly high carbonation make this brew quite effervescent and refreshing. The finish is quite dry and tannic, but in a pleasant way. Ad Astra is an all around very drinkable beer and a fine example of a style that isn't brewed enough.

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Photo of karst
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear deep copper with a persistant 3 finger head that persists.

Aroma of nutty malt and Hallertauer hops.

Flavors of crystal 60 and toasted nutty malts balanced by moderate IBUs

Medium body, active carbonation and unfermentable dextrins yield a satisfying mouthfeel with a dry finish from hops. Ad Astra is an excellent Alt bier a style that I have began to delve into.

Most drinkable!

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Photo of ranger7
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love a good Altbier. Definitely a pleasant surprise from KS. Picked up a six pack.
L: Clear amber with nice white head.
S: Malty and yeasty.
T: Balanced. Malt edge with nice aftertaste.
F: Medium and smooth.
O: Would have again. Great with food (pizza) or without.

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Photo of jaycount
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden appearance. Clean fresh looking white head. Good ale. Not alot of extra flavors thrown in, but a good taste of hops. Earthy, hoppy, malty taste. Average mouthfeel, not alot of carbonation. Very sessionable.

Will be in my normal rotation as long as I can keep getting it around town.

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Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, brown color. 6/4 inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of slight earthy malt, slight caramel malt, hops, slight sweet malt, and a hint of citrus. Fits the style of an Altbier. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of citrus, hint of grass, slight earthy malt, hint of caramel, and a hint of honey. Overall, good appearance, aroma, feel, and blend.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served warmer than I would have liked.
Head was missing in the beer, but the color was nice. Medium red/brown, good glow
Aroma of hops, lemon and roasted malt. Molasses a bit.
Taste was a good balance of malt and hops, citurs and nut. Good finish, wanted more

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Photo of BeerIsArTT
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this 12 oz. bottle from my Stella Artois glass that I got from a bar in Chicago on my 21st Birthday.

A: Deep red, almost blood red color, translucent with a yellow/creme colored head that sets nicely upon medium thick lacing, with creamy appearance. Gorgeous looking beer.

S: Medium roasted malt with a hint of hop resin, mild floral aroma punctuated by a slight smell of alcohol, pleasant and satisfying aroma.

T: Light, airy maltiness with a slight tinge of alcohol dryness, finishes with a nice hint of floral hoppiness and a clean hay zest.

M: Rich malty texture with a crisp/dry finish. Starts strong and full bodied, finishes with a nice smoothness, but the alcohol leaves my mouth slightly dry and wanting more to quench my thirst.

D: Very drinkable, for the smooth and fine quality of the malt, a good medium bodied ale with a hefty malt flavor and a light balance of floral hops. This is one of the most popular beers in Lawrence, and it is obvious why. I can only hope Freestate goes national soon.

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Photo of scomstock55
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

the beer poured ruby red/brownish. The head was thin and not too hearty as is disappeared quickly. It did maintain a little head to the finish but the lacing was scant. The taste was somewhat bready with a hint of molasses. Mouthfeel was really nice..very crisp with a medium amount of carbonation. Overall, a very good beer for a hot day. I wouldnt have a problem drinking a few of these!.

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Photo of beertunes
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought back by a friend after a recent trip to Kansas. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a deep, rich ruby-brown color without much head, likely due to transportation factors.

The aromas were full, rich, earthy and malty, with hint of fruit ( plum? cherry?). The taste built upon the foundation set, being smoothly full and malty, just slightly sweet, without a noticeable fruit taste, and a pleasant hop tang on the finish.

The body was full and well rounded, not heavy and very smooth. Drinkability was great, if available to me, this would be a regular quaff. Overall, a wonderful beer that makes me want to visit Kansas.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brick red with a single finger light tan head that fades fast and leaves spotty lace.
The aroma is toffee, spicy and fruity.
Toffee leads the taste with caramel and spice notes, a bit of dark fruit and a long lasting bitter finish.
The mouthfeel is medium and smooth.
Very good.

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Photo of ABabbidge
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Small head that leaves a little bit of lacing. Body is a dark copper color.

S: Malty and some sweetness, maybe a touch of honey.

T&F: Very malty and toffee-like up front. Dark fruity finish. Some bitterness in the aftertaste but doesn't linger very long. Moderate carbonation and body.

O: Fairly simple and easy drinking beer. I would have another.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a beautiful deep amber pour with a half inch of head. smells of floral hops, caramel sweetness and honey. tastes of chocolate, cherry, caramel.. really sweet! light body crossing over to medium body with moderate carbonation. very easy to go down, very tasty, and very enjoyable overall.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Lovely Amber color fairly clear with an off white head.

Nice molasses malt aroma.

Definitely an amber lager like taste. Not overly complex basically malt and lager yeast but the sum of the parts is very good.

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Photo of nicdub
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- dark amber in color, like coke with cherry in it. noticeable carbonation. 1 finger off-white head that quickly recedes. no lacing. translucent.

S - Biscuit malt, caramel, molasses, medium to rich on the nose

T - Biscuit malt again, not too robust, but just right. medium body. aftertaste is more of the original taste and the smell. a nice well balanced brew. masked hops and alcohol add depth.

M - Nice carbonation, medium body, not quite "fluffy" but well balanced nonetheless. Really crisp and smooth.

D - Not a true session beer for me. 3 would be about right. CAn't knock it too much though.

O- This is a nice fall/winter beer. I really like this and it would be good as a dinner pairing as well, with a burger or steak, or BBQ. A nice example of the "altbier" style.

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Ad Astra Ale from Free State Brewing Co.
3.7 out of 5 based on 270 ratings.
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