Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top 10 WORST Beers of 2011


If you saw my Top 10 BEST Beers of 2011 you know that this has been a good year for me as far as my experience with beer. In fact, the beers that made this year's "worst of" list aren't nearly as bad as some I reviewed in 2009 and 2010. Most of them aren't so much bad as they are tolerable, although the #1 worst beer is the absolute WORST beer I've ever had IN MY LIFE!! Yuck!

Beginning in 2012 I'm making a conscience effort to cut back on the number of beers I review. Also, I'm going to avoid as many "ho hum" and "trash" beers as much as possible. So there's a chance there may not be a "worst of" list for 2012, but that remains to be seen.

In order for a beer to qualify for this list it had to have been a beer I reviewed for the first time ever in calendar year 2011. For a better explanation of why these products are so bad, please watch the individual reviews, as these clips are only meant to be overly succinct re-caps.


#10 Lake Placid Ubu Ale

I’m not sure what the brewers are going for with this beer. The palate is fairly mild during the first half with slight soda-like sweetness. Second half finishes with sour tang and alcohol bite. Very bitter flavor as soon as I swallow, followed by slightly tannic, astringent aftertaste that lingers momentarily. Palate has some wine-like dryness to it, but thankfully it doesn’t last.

Aside from the brief soda sweetness, there’s just not much to enjoy about this palate. No chocolate, caramel, or toffee - just a generic strong beer palate. Sourness is hard to get over and akin to spoiled milk. I’ve had this beer several times and each time I picked up this component - so this taste is intentional, but why?


Since I’m nearly a decade too late in reviewing this particular beer, I think it goes without saying that Foster’s is not truly an Australian imported beer, but a Canadian brew of an Australian recipe based on a generic American-style lager. This isn’t to say that Foster’s is a bad beer, but it’s not a very good one either. It’s basically a light beer with more weight and taste.

I have no problem with a beer with a flat taste, because sometimes you just want something easy to drink. Foster’s is extremely reminiscent of our current king of mass-market lagers, but actually has a cleaner taste. The problem is this beer should be drunk at very cold temperatures otherwise its acetaldehyde component becomes noticeable (it’s almost a green apple taste aka acetaldehyde ). Since the beer is pretty flat, it’s best consumed as a partner to dinner or snack foods (i.e. while watching “Monday Night Football”).

VIDEO REVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mehnyqu0oe0

#8 Alexander Keith's Nova Scotia Style Pale Ale

Alexander Keith's is a Canadian quasi-craft brewery that was acquired by the Anheuser Busch-InBev machine fairly recently. Now the world's biggest brewery conglomerate wants to start making their beers for American audiences. Having tried three of their authentic Canadian brews which were mediocre, I totally understand AB-InBev thinking these beers would appeal to American drinkers.

Looks like a lager and tastes like a lager. Crisp, effervescent body with cheap grain flavor. No adjuncts present, but not much of anything else, either. The faintest trace of citrus and flowers, but only if you really pay attention. The weakest, mildest pale ale I’ve ever had. Overall, probably the worst pale ale I’ve ever had - not so much due to any repulsiveness - but due to an extreme lack of quality and genuine flavor.


The first swig is the test to see if you can get past this beer. The sourness from the skunk hits you in the finish like a ton of bricks. But what’s interesting is that only the first swig is so Heineken-like, and after that it’s more like a generic pale lager. There’s noticeable toasted corn and perhaps some rice to impart a subtle sweetness. Otherwise it’s by-the-book macro fizzy yellow lager "taste" all the way. I use "taste" lightly because this beer is much more bland than it is bad-tasting. There’s noticeable wateriness to the palate. I could see drinking this straight from the bottle with a lime wedge like Corona - which is exactly how I think this beer is intended to be drank.


Although this product has been around for a while I haven’t tried it until now, and I figured it was going to be Bud Light plus a lime aftertaste, but the opposite is true. From beginning to end this beer is essentially lime soda. It’s actually quite remarkable how lime-forward the palate is and how sweet it tastes. Being able to obscure the cardboard flavor of rice and corn is quite an accomplishment. Not that the lime taste is anything organic or natural (I don’t care what the label says). This tastes like any soda made with high fructose corn syrup and lime flavoring. I bet you could give this to a child and they’d think it was a soda. Once it begins to significantly warm the core Bud Light palate begins to emerge on the second half. It’s a slightly sour taste of corn water and cardboard. It’s at least tolerable all the way through, but there’s really nothing to enjoy about this beer - that is unless you’re the world’s biggest fan of lime flavoring.


If you were born after 1970 you’re probably hip enough to know that Milwaukee’s Best is referred to as "The Beast" and for good reason. There are plenty of cheap macro adjunct lagers out there and plenty of malt liquors, but this beer seems to be in its own class of swill. There’s just not enough hops to truly be a pale lager, but the ABV is much too low to be a malt liquor - so what is it, exactly?

Lame - that’s what it is.

I realize I’m beating a dead horse here and probably regurgitating jokes and insults that have been used to describe Milwaukee’s Best over the years, but let’s get through this. It’s a bland, neutral-tasting lager up front. More watery than beer. The second half is where all the nastiness comes from - boiled corn water with a touch of expired, cheap grain. There’s a definite metallic and cardboard taste as well. Fortunately, it finishes quite clean with little aftertaste and just a slightly pasty sensation. It’s more accurately described as tolerable than horrible, but I wouldn’t argue with anyone who called it bad.


I get caramel, butterscotch, coffee, and dark chocolate tastes. Now, you would think that would make for a tasty beer, right? Unfortunately not. Mostly it tastes like all those flavors - but sour, old and flat. There’s a dry, biscuity malt backbone I suppose, but it does nothing to carry these flavors. Just a few sips into it and I’m seriously disliking this beer.

What’s also interesting is that even though the palate is borderline foul, it’s also quite mild. This could be a great beer if there was more emphasis on one or two flavors rather than an entire palate.
Overall, an unimpressive beer and a challenge to drink.

VIDEO REVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kukPALCJ05w

#3 Gordon's Finest Gold

Like every other cheap European pale lager only stronger and with rubbing alcohol. I never understood the appeal of those beers that taste like wet rubber gloves - why someone would want to imperialize that style blows my mind. This is basically like drinking corn syrup mixed with carbonated rubbing alcohol. Its sour, tangy, grainy and just all around unpleasant. I’ve had worse, though, and this beer is at least drinkable - but just barely.


Have you ever had a beer that was so bad you just had to chalk it up to the bottle being spoiled or the tap being dirty? That’s how most drinkers are likely to react to Stoudt’s Oktoberfest. However, I have had this on tap and again from the bottle and the tastes were the same. A fellow "BeerTuber" also reviewed this and hated it, so I’m quite convinced that this beer tastes the way it’s meant to taste.

And that taste isn’t too bad up front. The first half is mild, slightly sweet generic Oktoberfest flavor with minor toffee notes and dry biscuity maltiness. Then it turns on a dime into something sour, spoiled and astringent. It’s not just hop bitterness, and this certainly isn’t brewed with "Brett" or other such sour-inducing yeast. This is supposed to be a traditional Oktoberfest, but it tastes like an economy lager that’s gone bad. It’s a sharp, scraping sour sensation. It’s repulsive to say the least. And what’s interesting is that there’s no presence of adjuncts, either. I’ve had tastier malt liquors.

VIDEO REVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7oJYBoYAbE

#1 Budweiser & Clamato Chelada

I didn’t think it was possible to find a beer worse than Bud Light and Clamato Chelada, but I finally found it - the Budweiser version of the same beer. I really do not understand the appeal to these drinks at all. Their entire premise is like something the drunkest, highest person in the world would come up with - take tomato juice and add clam broth to it, then infuse it with salt and lime and add Budweiser to make it alcoholic. The result is a beer that tastes like ocean water with tomato flavoring. I do realize this beer and others like it are aimed at a very specific, niche audience (mostly Hispanics), but considering how it actually tastes - who could possibly find this appealing?

The best way to describe the flavor would be the aftertaste of vomited Spaghetti-O’s chased with a glass of saltwater from the dirtiest possible fish tank. The taste here is simply vile. I’m not sure what’s worse - the bile-like flavor, the saltwater flavor or the fish feces flavor. They all combine to form one potent palate of swill to the nth power. The ironic part is if it had actually tasted like Budweiser it would be an improvement of massive exponential powers. I think this is the worst-tasting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.