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: 69 | Ratings: 271
Photo of Suds
3.44/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a clear and very dark color. The head is a creamy tan color and the aroma is a little malty, with toffee and cracker...the taste is drier than I was expecting, with some malt and roasted notes. A little caramel. The finish is, again, dry. Just moderate

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Photo of Harrison8
3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich bloody-burgundy with a finger of khaki head. Head foams up nicely, leaving a solid ring of foam around the top of the beer. Lacing is strewn around the glass after each gulp. Aroma brings about a barrage of lighthearted malts in the form of toasted and slightly bready notes. Earthy hops sit right below. Flavor profile opens up wonderfully, with notes of toasted and breaded malts, and earthy hops yet again. Caramel and toffee notes peak out ever so slightly at the height of the flavor profile. Mouth feel has a slight bit of grain to it, otherwise the carbonation adds some texture. It has a smooth, fairly crisp, medium-thin consistency. Overall, a solid beer. It focuses on a select few notes, and delivers well. It's easy to gulp with its thinner feel, and tasty flavor.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of brentk56
3.81/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: The copper color of the liquid is piercingly clear and the two fingered head complements the look; a lot of splashy lacing left behind

Smell: Stong caramel tones with earthy hops underneath

Taste: Caramel forward, with a touch of molasses adding depth; earthy hops add some bitterness, through the middle; the finish is on the sweet side

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not sure why this is considered to be an Altbier, although Munich malts are in the grist; tastes more like an Amber Ale to me; decent, if you like the style

Thanks, jmueller216, for the opportunity

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Photo of DrMullet
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark copper with long lasting lacing.
Smell is caramel hops with a hint of dark fruit and chocolate.
Taste is roasted malts with a faint chocolate finish.

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Photo of ABabbidge
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
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 Kholsten
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice beer. I am no expert but it's very drinkable and is not a one and done type beer.
Beautiful color. Pairs great with food. Not a strong alcohol taste. The price is even more attractive.

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Photo of scotorum
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75


The last of four different sampled from the new beer club shipment. We don't get this Kansas brewery's products in my state.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams English nonick.

a: Clear copper with a two inch thick offwhite head which receded to thick even surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Fruit notes, mainly pear.

t: Follows the nose over a medium toffee malt base. Light hop bite follows in the back of the throat. Sweet to slightly bitter finish.

m: Medium, good body and heavy carbonation tingle.

o: A fine representative of the style, initially more fruit-prominent than some and less malt driven as well, but nicely balanced, easy drinking and enjoyable.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
3.94/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Eamonn-Cummings3
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
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 The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a chestnut colored body with reddish copper tinges. The head is 2 fingers and pillowy, popcorn colored and holds good retention. 1/4 finger left after several minutes.

The malt is apparent in the nose but so are the hops. I'm getting a bit of nut, grapefruit, roast barley, and squishes of lemon.

Hops kick out first with a slight metallic quality, but a nice bready malt rush comes in to balance things out. The metallic presence remains throughout the tasting but isn't overwhelming to the degree of degrading the beer. Slight tomato presence also keeps things interesting.

Feel is super creamy and medium bodied in every sense, just barely bordering of heavily bodied. It tapers off to a carbonated quisp and leaves a zing and slight alcohol burn on the back of the throat.

Ad Astra Ale is a fair Amber worthy of a try. It could use a few revisions and recipe tweaks, but it's not half bad for its price per bottle.

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Photo of hopflyer
4.37/5  rDev +18.4%
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 jmd1978
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nose of malt, honey, and caramel. Small head with the pour. Taste of malt and Carmel. Bits of pepper. Decent beer. Good transition beer to get off of Busch and Budweiser

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Photo of ranger7
4.06/5  rDev +10%
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 DevAJ
2.49/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It looks nice, but I'm starting to think that maybe I got a bad one or it's expired (picked up in a build your own six pack). The smell is very metallic. The taste is of burnt malt, but then the aftertaste is slightly metallic as well. I am a little disappointed as I was actually looking forward to this one after finding out the style.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampling on 2/15/15. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a "Free State Brewery" pint glass.

This 'Altbier' (German for 'old style') style brew pours a pretty copper-amber in color with close to a finger of a off-white foamy head. Some 'ring-like' lacing is seen when sipped that sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of mostly nutty roasted malts. Pretty much is said for the taste as well with good very light bitter finish that doesn't last too long. Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Overall a tasty brew.

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Photo of Beer_Borg
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber color, small head which dissipated quickly

S: Moderate, nutty/sweet aroma

T: moderate hoppy flavor to nutty notes. At first it finishes so clean there is almost no aftertaste but as you continue it leaves a subtle bitterness.

M: Not quite crisp, more of a carbonated feel

O: Overall not a bad ale but not remarkable

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Photo of Brenden
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one's a red-brown-orange color, translucent at about the exact point between transparent and opaque, with a soft but firm off-white head roughly half a finger high. It holds up pretty well and drops down a mixture of patches and spotting.
Malt-forward, this presents some toasty, honey-like and caramel notes with earth and grains as well as a balance from notes of young wood and herbal leaf.
The flavor is likewise malty and almost nutty, a little bit of not savory but meaty sort of an element present along with earth, leaf and herb with a touch of black pepper. Underneath is a soft sweetness like the flesh of ripe white fruits. It finishes dry as the leafy hops linger nicely.
The medium body has both crispness and smoothness to it, though it leans light and the soft carbonation keeps up at the end of the session slightly less than it began.

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Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.34/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Nice rich red amber colorado with a head that quickly leaves.

Smell - Lots and lots of malts. Sweet bitter finish.

Taste - again you get a lot of the malts you smelled with a nice bready finish.

Mouthfeel - leaves a nice sweet taste in your mouth.

Overall - glad I got to try it

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Photo of AmyfaceNYC
3.47/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a solid (if not particularly memorable) local beer from Lawrence, Kanasas. This is a rather dark beer with a small fuzzy head, and, as advertised, a great balance between malts and hops. The malts will hit you first--smooth, coffee-flavored, full-bodied. Then come the grainy, spicy hops. The flavor is rather pronounced but neither element is very strong. Great beer.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.5/5  rDev +22%
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 scomstock55
3.95/5  rDev +7%
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 WunderLlama
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams pint glass

A: Pours a reddish brown caramel with a small foamy cap that quickly settles down. Faint lacings on the glass

S: Fresh beer with a nice scent of hops. Very appealing.

T: Fresh smooth start with a hint of spice finish.

M: Medium to medium light body with small bit of carbonation

O: A nice , drinkable beer that would be great on a hot day. A nice well crafted beer.

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Photo of Groenebeor
3.47/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

Pours a nut brown with no lacing, and barely a head. Nothing amazing here, but doesn't look nasty.

Smells of malt, molasses slightly, nutty tones.

The malts make a good display here, with rich nutty sugary flavors. Maybe a little light roast coffee. Slightly bitter from the hops.

Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability is wonderful.

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Photo of UnkleFester
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a deep amber, a little over a fingers worth of off-white head that doesn't stay not much lacing with this one.

S: Biscuit malt, earthy hops and molasses on the nose.

T: Much like the nose with a hint of spice towards the finish.

M: Light to medium body with a light amount of carbonation, has a smooth and creamy finish.

O: Another solid beer from Free State this one doesn't do anything mind-blowing but is still a very well crafted beer and a good representation of the style.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer shared by my cousin in his man cave, served in appropriate glassware even. Thanks. At the time of this review, this is #34 on the "Top Beers - Altbier" list on

Beer is dark brown, hazy, tan head, small and medium bubbles. Some lacing. Looks good.

Aroma is very malty and sweet with a nice yeastiness.

Beer is medium in body and strong. It has a nice finish to it but not my favorite alt I've had. A little roasty on the back end. Eh. I might have it again.

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Ad Astra Ale from Free State Brewing Co.
3.69 out of 5 based on 271 ratings.
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