Sunday, August 21, 2011

Steel Reserve 211

I should've reviewed this beer 311 episodes ago so the numbers would've matched up. Anyway, you probably saw I recently attempted the "40oz Chug Challenge" where I swilled some Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor. But from what I understand that's the bunny hill compared to some "high gravity" malt liquors like Steel Reserve 211. So I decided not to wait another year and a half to drink a malt liquor, but rather a few days. This particular episode is a "throwback" to some reviews I shot in very early days of Chad'z Beer Reviews where I would sit on the couch and drink a trash beer while eating pizza. How would doing this ritual work out using High Gravity malt liquor instead of a light macro adjunct lager? Watch and find out.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (643) - Albany, USA - AUG 19, 2011
I poured a 24oz can into a 1-liter boot stein.

Appearance: Butterscotch hue, extremely carbonated, forms a large, fluffy soapy, bright white head that mostly dissipates but does leave a little bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Pretty generic adjunct lager scent of corn, cardboard and grain. Nothing obnoxious or sour. Surprisingly mild considering it’s a high gravity malt liquor.

Taste: I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how bad Steel Reserve 211 was NOT. The first few swigs are quite sweet with a distinct caramel and butterscotch taste. Of course, that’s just the first half. The second half is by-the-book malt liquor sourness of corn water and cardboard. Drank cold it’s actually not a bad beer at all, but once it warms the alcohol and overall malt liquor qualities begin to dominate. The flavor from the second half of dry rubbing alcohol begins to emerge right from the get-go, although the sucker-like flavors do grow a bit stronger. It’s a battle across your palate, and a distracting, annoying one at that. If this beer were a little lower in adjunct (and thusly alcohol), it’d be average, maybe even decent. As it stands, it’s not terrible - merely mediocre.

Mouthfeel: Thin, crisp, and very fizzy. Slight pasty aftertaste.

Drinkability: For a cheap lager with a heavy anchor of 8.1% ABV, the booze does not really show up in the palate except in the finish as rubbing alcohol-like taste and sensation. The high carbonation doesn’t help much either - even poured into a glass the bubbles still tear up the tongue and carbonation gets stuck in the throat after every swig. Drinking a 24oz can gave me a healthy buzz, although I’m sure an entire 40oz bottle would have the average drinker hammered.

Overall, Steel Reserve 211 is the best malt liquor I’ve ever had.... but that’s not saying much.

Grade: 4/10

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