Secret AleNovember 1, 2005
Southhampton Publick House
Available: NY, NJ, CT, PA, MA, RI
Secret Ale is a special version of the classic Düsseldorf-style alt beer. A few times a year, Düsseldorf brewpubs make a stronger version of alt known as “sticke”—or secret—hence the name of Secret Ale.
Alcohol (wt.): n/a
Alcohol (vol.): 5.0
Original Gravity: 12 plato
Final gravity: n/a
Malts used: domestic two-row, German Munich, wheat and color malts
Hops used: imported
Based on the Alt bier style of Dusseldorf, this deep copper-colored beer has a big malt loaf and peppery hop aroma with a hint of tangy orange fruit. Biscuity malt, tart fruit and spicy hops dominate the mouth while the finish is finely balanced between juicy malt, tart fruit and bitter hops. The bitterness will come as shock to a Dusseldorf drinker but this a rich and complex beer. As the Beatles sang: “Secret… do you wanna know a secret?”
- Roger Protz
What a secret! With a wonderful head, great sound, color and bouquet. The hop balance is especially satisfying. An invitation to imbibe; and "balance" is definitely the key here. The hops keep begging the drinker to have just a bit more. The secret is satisfaction. The satisfaction is in the balance. But I still like the more-than-friendly hops!
- Fred Eckhardt
The alt beer style deserves better recognition, and few breweries in the U.S. are producing the style properly. Kudos to Southampton on both accounts. Light caramel foundation, with hints of molasses and dates along with a dusting of cocoa powder. The beer turns dry mid-palate and remains so, enhancing the beer’s quaffability, with emerging notes of plum and apple. Firm, hoppy finish. The secret’s out.
- John Hansell
Roger Protz is the author of Complete Guide to World Beer and 300 Beers to Try Before You Die. He is a respected beer authority and editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.
Fred Eckhardt lives, writes about and drinks beer in Portland, OR. He is the author of The Essentials of Beer Style and Saké.
John Hansell is an equal-opportunity drinker. He writes about beer, wine and spirits. He is the creator, publisher & editor of Malt Advocate, a magazine for the whisky enthusiast.
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