Groundhog Altbier | Straub Brewery

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Groundhog AltbierGroundhog Altbier
59 Ratings
Groundhog AltbierGroundhog Altbier

Brewed by:
Straub Brewery
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: German Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-06-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 59 |  Reviews: 25
Reviews by nukem5:
Photo of nukem5
3.53/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a medium amber color with a nice big foamy cap , rich and creamy clinging nicely to walls of glass, very nice pour and very appetizing.

S: Heavy grain bill loads this one up, there is a few notes of hoppiness to this beer but just hints scattered here and there. Lots of toasted malts some caramel.

T: Taste is immediately grainy with a light floral hop taste in the back end, mild and refreshing.

M: Mouthfeel on this one is light and refreshing for a "dark beer" this is very crisp like a lighter lager would be not to heavy great for a session beer.

O: Overall a very good experience drinking this one and cant wait to drink a few pints more. According to a distributor in my area they claim it is the same as Straub Dark and side by side would also point to this . good beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of woodychandler
3.74/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Today is a big day for us Pennsylvanians! It is Groundhog Day (H, 02 Feb 2017) & Bill Murray is headed to Punxsutawney, along with Andie MacDowell & Chris Elliot to cover the event for WPXI-TV in Pixburgh. Locally, Octorara Orphie is standing by in southern Lancaster County, where I reside & Gus the Groundhog is busy hawking lottery tickets. I well remember the first time that I saw "Groundhog Day" - it was in Ventura, CA & I was on my first date with the beauteous Linda Lou. I had a colleague at one point from Punxy named Tonya & she enjoyed being called "PunxaTonya". The Grey Lodge in Philly is doing Hawai'ian shirts and special beers to mark the occasion, to be followed by a puppet show recreation (!) later in the day for those unable to make the live viewing. Like I said, it's a big day! How am I going to celebrate? Well, I am beginning with an annual brew from St. Mary's in PA's Northern Tier.

From the bottle: "2017 Altbier"; "The perfect warmer against the winter cold, copper in color with a pronounced malt flavor, brewed with German-style hops for a firm, bitter edge, and fermented with authentic German Ale yeast."; "In Pennsylvania, a groundhog has been predicting the weather for almost as many years as Straub has been brewing! Our founder[,] Peter Straub[,] began brewing in 1872 in the German settlement of St. Mary's, PA. Enjoy this Groundhog Altbier in honor of our rich histories!" For the record, Groundhog Day was established in 1887 by Clymer H. Freas of the local newspaper, the Punxsutawney Spirit.

The Weather Channel is reporting that there is light snow in Punxy, so I am going to make it rain beer into my glass, following the Pop! of the cap. I actually saw a brief pseudo-cascade as the result of my pour so I backed off to watch in fascination as it formed three-plus fingers of dense, rocky, PunxaTawny (sorry) head with great retention. Color was Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity and NO shadows! Nose was rich and malty, just as advertised. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste, while sweet and malty, was not as cloying as the nose had led me to expect. Instead, it was held in check by a grassy/hay-like bitterness from the hops as well as a nuttiness form either/both the yeast & the malt. Finish was closer to semi-dry than to semi-sweet & it would make a nice accompaniment to a cold morning up on Gobbler's Knob.

 2,392 characters

Photo of Hutchmo
3.83/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jason
3.18/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Clear brownish brassy hue, minimal lacing but it stay around. Mildly dank nose mixed with a deep bready maltiness. Dried grassy palate, earthy with a thick herbal tone from the hops. Smooth and grainy, sort of odd all around with a dank noble hopiness.

Was hoping for a bit more balance though not all that bad.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
1.25/5  rDev -60.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Wow, fizzy yellow pale straw color with an overcarbonated thin fleeting white head leaves some lacing but minimal. Aroma: Watered down Straub astringent grainy profile wow this beer sucks touch of grassy hops and sweetness. Taste: I am a big fan of Straub however they took Straub a classic good all around American light lager and turned into a lite beer with astringencies among the watery grain and pseudo hop character it would be nice to at least see an amber Yeungling knockoff instead of watered down Straub. Disappointment for they make a good regular beer. Mouthfeel: Seltzer water don't even go near this overcarbonated fizzy yellow beer. Drinkability: Blah, give me something worth my time gave this one a shot due to my liking for Straub but I regret that yes you could probably drink quite a few of these it's like water. In short they might as well start bottling Punxsutawney Phil's piss.

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Photo of brother_rebus
3.14/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Photo of geodonnokepyo
3.72/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tdm168
3.75/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of NeroFiddled
2.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

96 calories, 7.6 grams of carbohydrates, 1.1 grams of protein, and 0 fat. This is obviously just Straub beer with a fair percentage of water added to thin it a bit, and reduce calories. The label is cute. I'd suggest that at least it's in brown glass now, but I'm fairly sure they use pre-isomerized hop extract from a can so it doesn't even matter (and the Light is bottled in brown American "Heritage" bottles anyway). But it's not bad. I've had worse light beers... it's just that the Straub beer is so much better. This loses the malt character and mouthfeel that made the original so nice. The aroma is reduced to a generic "beer" smell; the flavor loses that "on the brink of sweetness" character and becomes almost just carbonated "malty" water; and the finish leaves nothing but a touch of dryness. An OK beer for hunting or fishing, but not quite up to the backyard BBQ level! Punxsutawney Pete would be disappointed... at least they could have added something for color!

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Photo of slasich
3.14/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of tone77
3.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Since this has not been reviewed in several years I am wondering if this batch is using the same recipe or a new one. Anyway it tastes nothing like some of the older reviews IMO. Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is very grainy, some malts. Taste is crisp, grains, light hops, a touch of nutiness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of BergBeer
3.53/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Psg5062
2.57/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
2.52/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Ba#290. Straub is slowly stepping up thier game. Although this beer still reeks of corn adjunct and skunk. Seems very similar to thier retired Peter Straub Special Dark lager. It's a step up.

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Photo of bret717
3.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Smakawhat
3.86/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a stange glass.

This is a really nice looking brew from the pour. Real nice even chestnut brown out of the bottle slick and thick, but then hits and fills with a gorgeous shimmering blood red body, and with lots of clarity. THe head is creamy tan, slightly soapy, but with a nice three finger head and simple retention. Super fine carbonation rising up as well. Looks great in a stange, and great looking beer.

Some nice sticky yeast, and a hint of good clove spice. Some nice malt caramel a little and good balance. So far pretty surprising.

Real interesting palate. Good mix of mineral carbonation and caramel sweetness. Crackling toasty brown grains on the finish with a fun crispness to match. Finishes very clean, almost a faint hint of licorice with a minor warmth. The mouthfeel sort of gives to pilsner light crispness strangely which doesn't give much to the caramel malt sensing depth and flavor.

Real easy drinking altbier, quite a surprise consider much of the negative reviews, drinks very easily as well.

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Photo of Yellolab2010
3.56/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.27/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.75 A: Clear copper color. Two fingers of creamy/frothy beige head. Retention is about average and a half finger of lacing is left.

3.5 S: Dry, dusty graininess with grassy and earthy notes. Caramel meshes well with toastiness.

3.0 T: While I wasn't sure if there were adjuncts in here based on the nose, the taste is a dead giveaway. Grainy, grassy, earthy, and bready. Again caramel and toastiness with a light nuttiness.

3.5 M: Lighter medium to medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lightly creamy and smooth enough.

3.25 D: It's not such a bad beer, but it's not a good one either.

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Photo of MKrauss
2.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of Lupe
1.89/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Quite possibly the lightest colored beer I've ever seen. About the same shade as green tea. Small fizzy head quickly disappears.

Not much of an aroma at all, and the same for flavor. It doesn't taste bad, it just doesn't have a taste. Maybe a little corn sweetness can be pulled out, but I'm not getting much.

Super light and fizzy. Since it's practically seltzer it goes down easy, but seltzer comes in flavors. At least the graphic is cool.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.55/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not sure how "Gateway Grill" Got this in 3 months later than Groundhog day but I picked it up since I like amber lagers.

A - Much darker than the domestic version with a 1/4 inch of head that quickly turns to a lace ring.

S - Moderate grassy hops, mild caramel like malt and a touch of grainy goodness. Lets see the taste.

T - A touch hoppier than again domestic offerings. Wish I knew the ABV. Overall it starts with a grainy taste then quickly to caramel and a hoppy finish. Overall an impressive offering from Straub.

M - Medium bodied but not hard to drink.

Overall I kind of wish I had or even seen this sooner since I would easily pick this up over a case of Yuengling lager

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Photo of Tbrookchris
5/5  rDev +56.7%

Photo of Chackman151
3.58/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Foam
2.58/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A thin watered down take on this German style .
It seems to be more about cashing in on the Groundhog Day festivities than an attempt at a proper altbier .
I grabbed a couple singles to try and glad I didn't buy any more than that .
Thin , watery ...
Don't waste your time .
Straub's Maibock is their best venture into German styles ... this one falls flat on its face ...

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Photo of MattyMcGovern
2.5/5  rDev -21.6%

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Groundhog Altbier from Straub Brewery
Beer rating: 3.19 out of 5 with 59 ratings