El Steinber Dark Lager - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
El Steinber Dark LagerEl Steinber Dark Lager

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BA SCORE
80
good

158 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 158
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 12.22%
Wants: 7
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Euro Dark Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mdfb79 on 07-26-2012

Midnight Wheat malt gives this complex lager its dark brown color while additions of roasted Indio-Hispano® blue corn create both a lighter body and unique, toasty flavor. German Pilsner malt and Saaz hops round out this dark lager producing a crisp, clean finish and smooth drinkability that is perfect for any occasion.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 158 | Reviews: 43
Photo of MikeC144
2.5/5  rDev -29%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was not bad

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley "El Steinber Dark Lager"
16 oz. can, no apparent freshness dating
$2.99 @ Total Wine & More #901, Tampa, FL

I don't really have a lot to say about this beer. Anderson Valley makes some incredible beers but this is not one of them; it's just a solidly made, high quality, drinkable dunkelbier.

It pours a clear deep mahogany brown body beneath creamy head of light tan that holds well and leaves some very nice lacing. The nose it gently caramelish (mainly dark caramel), nutty, and lightly toasty. The flavor adds some more golden caramel to it, a hint of light fruitiness, and a touch of dusty chocolate as well, backed by some leafy and herbal hops. It's got a very firm bitterness to it and it finishes dry with a bit of crushed granite, some bakers chocolate, and more leafy hops.

Photo of neenerzig
4.11/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My good buddy Jon Passow, who as of a few months ago became the Manager of Barrel Room Operations at Anderson Valley sent me this in a package from northern, CA. Poured out of a 16 oz can into one of my mugs, this beer pours a clear, very dark amber/brown color with some deep yes bright amber highlights when held up to the light. Has a slightly off white head about 2/3 to 3/4 inch thick when first poured that eventually settles to nice thick white ring lining the inside of the glass along with lots of big swirls of foam covering the beer's surface and very nice lacing here too. Aromas of roasted caramel sweetness with some nuts and a bit of corn. I was informed by Passow that blue corn is indeed one of the ingredients used in the beer. Smell is rounded out with a mild aroma of minerally, earthy hops. Has a slightly toasted, caramel and slightly biscuity/bready malt sweetness that gives way to a darker malt profile with subtle hints of nutty and chocolate notes that gives way to a definite blue corn presence. I really like how the blue corn is used here in addition to the malted barely. The corn definitely adds something unique. The flavors are rounded out with nits of earthy hops that add a little bit of bitterness which balances out the overall flavor profile very nicely. Has a slightly crisp and prickly, but also smooth, frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. I am very glad I got to try this, as my friend Passows told me he is pretty sure that this is not one of Anderson Valley's beers that gets distributed here in Ohio.

Eric

Photo of arizcards
3.56/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 16oz can from Total Wine back in early July for $2.49. Received at TW on 4/1/14 so presumably canned within 6 weeks. Oh well, not the freshest.

Beer pour brown with a soap bubble tan head that is hanging around.

Nose is mostly sweet.

Taste is a roasted sweetness balanced by a decent hop finish. Not overly crisp and clean but pretty tasty.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It looks like beer for a stein, but this dark lager is not going in on. It's going inside an Eisenbahn Dunkel glass. From a 16 ounce tallboy, on to the beer:

Nearly two fingers thick of foam sitting on top this amber brown beer. Reddish hues are visible in the beer's color too. The retention of the head is quite good as well. The aroma is decent, sweet with a dry malty aroma, a whisper of noble hops, and husk.

From a relatively low intensity aroma, the taste cranks it up a notch. Sweet like caramel with some hay notes, some grassy hoppiness action, and a chocolate covered raisin finish. Not too sweet. As for its mouthfeel, it hits towards a lighter-medium body.

Solid overall dark lager, which is a style uncommon to expect from an American craft brewer.

Photo of MerkinMan
3.96/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I hate when people smack their lips when tasting beer. Why do they do it? Does it make them taste more?

A: Dark copper and very clear. Billow off-white head that is quite persistent.

s: A bit corny with some caramel and toasty notes. Very low earthy hop aroma, and nothing in the way of yeast or fermentation byproduct scents. Clean, as you may say.

T: Corn grainy sweetness with a toasty back -- nice. Finish has a slight metallic edge to it that I think may be from chocolate malt. Some bitterness from dark malts as well. Hop bitterness is in balance with the malt, and the finish is more bitter than sweet (once the (very)slight metallic favor subsides). No esters or phenols -- it's a lager, duh.

MF: Medium light bodied with effervescent carbonation. Pleasantly prickly on the tongue with slight creaminess and no alcohol heat.

O: This is a very drinkable beer with a couple slight rough edges, but nothing that would prevent me from drinking many more. Quite enjoyable. Corn sweetness and bitterness level makes this very enjoyable.

Photo of biboergosum
3.71/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz glass at Beer Revolution.

This beer appears a clear, bronze-tinted chestnut brown colour, with a thin cap of wispy off-white head, which leaves loosely webbed lace around the glass as things duly sink away.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, toasted nuts, a mineral flintiness, and very mild earthy, weedy hops. The taste is lightly toasted bready caramel malt, ethereal earthy nuts, a hint of dry cocoa, and musty, leafy hops. Simple, but in a good way.

The carbonation is rather active in its tight frothiness, the body on the light side of medium weight, and a tad mealy, but generally smooth. It finishes mostly dry, the roasted graininess and oily nuttiness calling home to say they'll be late for dinner.

A decent enough dark lager, with more than a few Munich Dunkel notes to recommend it by. Perhaps a tad plain, but that's a positive aspect in this realm, where off-flavours and unwelcome phenols tend to lurk. Worthy of a round or two over dark wooden tables.

Photo of vkv822
3.72/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz : mug

Pours a clear, dark mahogany red with a thick, foamy off white head.

Grassy, lightly spicy hops, lightly sweet caramel, bready malts.

Medium+, smooth body from the wheat malts. Foamy carbonation.

A well done dark lager. Easy drinking, but still quite flavorful.

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 16-oz. can
Glass: Manzanita pint glass
From: Bine & Vine Bottle Shop in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $2.49
Purchased: Jan. 29, 2014
Consumed: Jan. 31, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a caramel reddish semi-clear color with two fingers of frothy khaki tan head. Semi-circular lacing along the sides with some sporadic spots. Great retention on the top all the way down.

Smelled dark lager notes. Got boozy corn, hay, cereal, bread, nuts, toffee, slight chocolate, light caramel and honey.

Initial taste was much darker than the smell. Got dark chocolate, roasted nuts, toffee and caramel, mixed with grass, hay, corn and cereal. A bit earthy and gritty.

Medium body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Lively-to-fizzy carbonation. Abrupt finish.

Not too bad, but nothing extraordinary about this one.

Photo of cbutova
3.02/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

A- Can poured to a glass for the review. Dark, dark brown body that almost reaches black with a one finger, light tan head. The foamy, frothy cap has pretty nice retention and eventually falls to a thick ring. Lacing is a mix of large blankets and drizzled webs.

S- Very mild and actually reminds me of an English Mild in a way. Fruity yeast, apples, raisins and nutty dark toasted malts. Something metallic?

T- Yeasty and malty for the most part. Fruity yeast hints like apple, figs and raisin come to mind as well as the standard bread notes. Malts form a base but aren't as deep as say a Brown Ale. Malts have a roasty bitterness and are toasted and have a somewhat sweet crystal malt feel. Hops give off hints of herbal and spicy qualities. Something metallic again.

MF- Light bodied but has a fairly creamy, foamy feel when agitated on the palate. Carbonation at a moderately high level. Finishes with some hop and roasty bitterness.

A strong roast bitterness but not necessarily a deep roast malt feel with a light yeast character. Just doesn't blend together all that well for me with the flavor switching from yeast to roast to a metallic off flavor (very small but comes out nonetheless).

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip glass.

The beer is a dark cola color with a ruby tint coming through in the light. A cream colored head recedes to a thick film while splotches and foamy lines of lacing appear on the glass randomly.

The aroma is coated with a subtle sweetness of vanilla or caramel while the center is toasted grains and malts.

The taste also starts out with a nice sweetness, almost lulling the taste buds to sleep. Roasted barley and malts hold up the body.

Mouthfeel is bright and clean if not a little thin.

Overall, I was expecting more from a stellar brewery. This beer is certainly drinkable, sessionable, but lacking a real knockout punch of flavor.

Photo of tone77
3.29/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A big thanks to the legendary woodychandler for this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a cola color with a 1 inch head. Smell is very mild, some light roasted malts are detected. Taste is also kind of light, some roasted malts, a touch of smoke, really not a whole lot going on. Feels medium/full in the mouth and overall is pretty much a mediocre beer.

Photo of Clydesdale
3.71/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a surprisingly dark brown; this is darker than many porters. I'm not complaining, but I was expecting something closer to an amber lager this. The light brown head is tall and reasonably dense, with a frothy texture. Retention is good, and lacing is scattered but prominent.

S: Mild malt sweetness and toasted aromas. Very faint roasty and cocoa notes. Firmer notes of dark and dried fruit and leather add depth and complexity. There is a bit of an herbal/grassy hop aroma as well.

T: Mildly sweet, with firm toasty and moderate roasty malt flavor up front. Mild notes of plum, raisin, and leather lend a European feel. Hop bitterness is medium, and balances the rest of the beer well. Grassy/herbal flavor is most prominent, but here the hops are mostly adding bitterness.

M: Medium-firm body. Carbonation is moderately active. The finish is dry, with some roasty feel.

O: This is a nice dark lager. It's a bit surprising to see this coming from California, but Anderson Valley did a good job of capturing a well-rounded, drinkable version of a somewhat unpopular style.

Photo of jlindros
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Do love craft beer in cans, and this brewery has some good beers and some bad ones.

Pours an OK fizzy bubbly foamy head that fades semi quickly after hitting 2 fingers but with the air and fizz it's like an artificial head, just a touch of wispy lacing, dark but very clear root beer brown colored.

Nose is so-so, some darker malts but not much, a little dry black malt, touch acrid and some metallic like aromas, some dark crystal malts and a little syrupy mess, faint cocoa dust, some lager aromas but not a very clean lager.

Taste starts with dark creamy like malts, more dark crystal malts, little caramel and syrupy, light black malt, dry powdered cocoa, into some fruity flavors a little fig like somehow, fruity lager characters, a light metallic twing too, and some mild warm lager fermentation characters but not sulfury at least. Mild spicy bitterness, little earthy and fair bitterness. finish is dry but sticky, bit syrupy, bit more earthy spicy hops and fair bitterness, more cola syrup and caramel.

Mouth is med bod, decent carb, little syrupy.

Overall meh, not the best schwarzbier, lager seemed a little too warm, some metallic notes, decent dark malts, overall just not the best put together beer.

Photo of watermelon
4.09/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can poured into a pint glass.

A: Poured a dark brown with shades of red when held up to the light. Tan head that left medium lacing.

S: Scent of toasted chocolate and malt. Some bread scents as well as a hint of corn.

T: More toasted malts,much less chocolate in the taste then in the nose.

M: Great mouth feel creamy carbonation that goes down at about the perfect speed. This isn't a beer I would want to slam. Perfect amount of body for the style

O: Ive probably had about 50 of these, Im writing this review as I drink my last one. This is a great beer. I could see myself returning to this over and over again, its perfectly balanced and makes for an awesome everyday beer. I really cant recommend this enough.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.81/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a finger and half of head on a dark brown body.
The aroma is grain and lemon.
The taste is cream, malty sweetness and grapefruit bitter in a wonderful blend.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
Overall an enjoyable beer with some great flavor.

Photo of jpro
3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

16oz can into a dimpled stein. Got a 4-pack from the Northbridge Pig during their store closing sale...

A: Dark brown; maybe some highlights of ruby and copper on the edges; light khaki, foamy, two-finger head forms on the pour; and few sugary patches of lace at the top of the mug, but not much beyond that as the retention has diminished.

S: Bread crust and toast; light chocolate notes; a touch of clove and slight metallic tinge; wheat (?).

T: Bready; lightly fruity (lager?); tastes kind of like a dunkelweizen mixed with a schwarzbier; was hoping for more of a Munich dunkel lager... Oh well - it’s not bad, just not necessarily a crisp and clean lager.

M: Light-medium feel and high carbonation; has a nice texture.

O: Again - not exactly what I was hoping for... an interesting (head scratcher) beer, especially from AVBC. Good - perhaps better as dark summer beer, but definitely not great.

Photo of woodychandler
3.99/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I was SO glad to find this in the cooler at The Foodery (Northern Liberties) as I had co-hosted a talk in Pittsburgh alongside Tony Knipling in which this was one of the featured beers, but we drank them all and I could not find another for inclusion in The CANQuest (TM). Grrr.

From the CAN: "Bahl Hornin' since 1987".

What CAN you do when a beer foams through the opening right after the Crack? NOT an inverted Glug, I assure you! I allowed things to settle in until two fingers of dense, deep-tan head had formed, evincing good retention. I had poured it into my Anderson Valley CAN glass, which is pretty darn cool. Color was a deep, dark brown (SRM = > 34, < 44) with NE-quality clarity and ruby highlights. Nose had notes of milk chocolate and a light smokiness. Mouthfeel was medium and the the taste was very chocolaty, more sweet than I might have preferred, but not bad. Beautiful lacing began to appear as I drank from the glass. Finish was silky smooth and I was halfway through it before it even registered how quickly that I was drinking. Good stuff and worth a shot if this is your style of beer. For me, I'm going back to an IPA.

Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque deep russet brown color with a huge and super sticky 3 finger lightly tanned head. Nose mildly kilned barley and modest earthy and noble hopping.

Light body but full feeling in the mouth. Prickly and brisk carbonation but the beer holds up to it. Typical of something akin to a negro modelo but definitely more roast character a bit more complexity and body. Lightly roasted malt up front, dry grains along the mid palate and balancing faint hop bitterness, roast character lingers, subtle notes of coffee and toffee. Pairing oddly really well with garlic pesto right now, brings out the more sublte flavors. Pretty good.

Photo of Zorro
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Clear brown colored brew with a small to medium sized khaki colored head.

Smells lightly of coca powder and a sweet herbal hop. Grass and light smoke with a little hay. Faint chocolate brownie scent.

Starts out slightly sweet with a chocolate and tobacco leaf flavor. Mild bitterness and a slight metallic flavor. Mild toasted grain flavor. Little bit of charcoal taste. Smooth flavor but I'm not picking up much hop.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a good beer. Not something I will likely buy again though. The beer just doesn't wow me.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.51/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear very dark amber in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation and some golden amber + garnet red highlights. The beer has a two finger tall creamy beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer along with a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of sweet toasted malts with some lighter aromas of roasted malts.

T: Similar to the smell, the flavor of this beer is all malts - moderate to strong flavors of sweet toasted malts with light to moderate amounts of roasted malts and just a hint of caramel + grainy sweetness. No bitterness is present but overall the flavor is not overly sweet.

M: Light bodied with a moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: Not amazing but easy to drink and pairs very well with some lamb sausages off the grill. There is a little more subtly to the flavor and aroma of this beer but I can appreciate it.

Photo of Kegatron
3.29/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

16oz can. Deep clear amber with a rocky off-white head. This retains with a smooth froth that rings the sides of the glass with sticky lace. The aroma is a nice mix of sweet and roasty (maybe even smoky) with a tinge of green citrus and floral accents on the edges. The taste has a crisp green hop bite, surrounded by a combination of malt sweetness and lingering roast. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a tight creaminess to the carbonation, yet this remains very smooth. This was decent. It could have used a bit more of a push from the malts but it’s still pretty drinkable.

Photo of Lemke10
3.24/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

16oz can poured into chilled glass. The color is a medium brown with a foamy beige head. The aroma has a nice malt smell to it. The texture is ok with a heavy malt taste. I didn't know what to expect from this beer but the taste was pretty unique. Not really a fan of the overall flavor but I'm sure others would like it.

Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Color is brownish amber in the wine glass with a really nice head, even on the last pour from the tall can. Pleasant sudsy mouthfeel.

A satisfying gulp of darkish beer. Some roasted malt, a little caramel, and a bit of a tang. A faint hint of the tart burnt malt at the end and maybe a whisper of butter. Very light body but that cascade of carbonation is quite refreshing. Just the barest hint of hop flavor, but a decent rasp of hops at the end.

Not a bad brew from a brewery I'm not very fond of. If only there were some actual Mexican beers as drinkable as this. From the 16 oz can purchased at Bine & Vine in San Diego.

Photo of AnalogReigns
4.09/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a fine example of what a first class brewery can do with a classic old-European style. You'd think an Anderson Valley beer would be all hops...but of course, European Dark Lager isn't supposed to be an American strong ale, or a black IPA...rather it is balanced with an appreciation for the maltster's art.

Appearance is excellent, with tight lacing all the way down the glass. Slight foam stays all the way down. Nice brown, transparent beer with no haze.

The aroma of this beer reminds me of a local German style brewery on brewing days...a lovely roasted malt smell, with barely a hint of hops.

Taste & mouthfeel is subdued--EXACTLY as a Euro-dark lager should be. As a matter of fact, here's an excellent description of El Steinber:

A classic Münchner Dunkel should have chocolate-like, roast
malt, bread-like or biscuit-like aroma that comes from the use of
Munich dark malt. .... This beer does not offer an
overly sweet impression, but rather a mild balance between malt
sweetness and hop character. Hop bitterness is medium low to
medium. Noble-type hop flavor and aroma should be very low to
low. It has a low to medium-low mouthfeel. Diacetyl should not
be perceived. Ale-like fruity esters should not be perceived.

This is from the Brewer's Association "Beer Style Guidelines" and El Steinber hits "European-Style Dark/Münchner Dunkel Lager" description RIGHT on the mark.

Many craft beer folk will NOT appreciate this beer, since its flavor is so subdued, subtle, and simple--very unlike most American style hoppy ales. Still, this is a classic, spartan, super high quality beer--to be appreciated by those with cultivated tastes.

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El Steinber Dark Lager from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 158 ratings.