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El Steinber Dark Lager - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
El Steinber Dark LagerEl Steinber Dark Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

44 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 44
Hads: 162
Avg: 3.51
pDev: 23.08%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 44 | Hads: 162
Photo of Guden
2.77/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Was hoping this would be more like a Vienna lager, Munich dunkel, or Czech cerny, instead it's a dark brown, lightly corn flavored beer. While very similar to the summer and winter solstice beers, without the spice there's nothing to keep it interesting or even worth another sip.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.94/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

5.5% according to my can's label. 16 fl oz orange and blue aluminum can acquired a few days ago at a local SoCal beer store and served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery.

Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a four finger grey-white (ecru for the pretentious) colour head of decent cream and thickness and good (~4+) minute retention. Body colour is a clear translucent dark amber. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Lacing is thin and inconsistent. Not unique or special, but generally appealing for the style.

Sm: Amber malts, caramalts, and minimal floral hop character. Boring and bland. Generic. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. Clean. Average strength.

T/Mf: Some vague smoky character - perhaps smoked malt? Amber malts. Caramalts. Clean and crisp. Smooth and wet. Overcarbonated. Decent thickness. Okay presence on the palate. Bland and boring. Unrefreshing. I'm not big on this one. Not very balanced. Badly built. No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

Dr: A surprisingly mediocre dark lager from an otherwise solid brewery. This forgettable brew should be left on the shelf. Drinkable but pedestrian. Anderson Valley is capable of far better.

High C

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Photo of metter98
2.95/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beer Authority, New York, NY

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber brown in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down but left a very thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are sweet aromas of malt extracts in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of syrup extracts and toasted malts along with slight hints of sweetness.
M: It feels light-bodied and very thin on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The thin and watery nature of this beer makes it taste somewhat like a Mexican Munich Dunkel Lager.

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Photo of cbutova
3.02/5  rDev -14%
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).

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Photo of TheRealBigC
3.04/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer left a ridiculous amount of lacing on the glass. It was like a sheet. Unfortunately, the taste didn't stack up to the apparent thickness of the beer. I realize that adjuncts were used in it to make it a bit lighter, but I don't think that did the beer any real favors. It was easy to drink, no doubt, but it wasn't particularly enjoyable. In some regards it tasted like an improved formula for Dos Equis. I don't regret trying it, but AV is way better than this.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

5.5% ABV per the label.

Pours a clear dark copper with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, char, and slight nutty aromas. Taste is much the same with toast and slight metallic flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty poor beer with a metallic flavor that lingers in the mouth and is quite unpleasant.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.11/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From 07/11/12 notes. Had this on tap at Idle Hands on the LES in New York. Served in a pint glass.

a - Pours an almost black, dark brown color with one inch of medium tan head and low carbonation evident. Looks pretty good.

s - Smells of roasted malts, grains, bready malts, toasted malts. Not a ton going on; not bad, but pretty average.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, grains, bready malts, light fruit, and toasted malts. Again, pretty bland and average.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. A tiny bit undercarbonated, but easy to drink.

o - Overall a pretty average beer. Not much going on except some roasted malts; probably wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Well it looks like a dark lager deep hazelnut brown with just a 1/4 inch of head that pulls back to a thick lace ring.
S - Soft skunky lager tones, some bread, and a touch of caramel malts.
T - A touch more yeasty than I expected, very dry but almost like Yingz with some skunky lager yeast, some bready malts, a touch of acidic and some caramel sweet malts.
M - Light to medium, easy enough to drink but drier than I wanted.

Overall this is quite a fail on Anderson valley, I expected a dark lager with chocolate tones and sweet malts and got a dry bitter lager. Skip it if you can.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.19/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

On tap at the Village Tavern in Geneseo, NY.

Light brown, small head. Not bad, not great. A bit of a watery finish, with a nice roast and nuttiness up front. It's slightly metallic too, which is not great.

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Photo of Lemke10
3.24/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of beertunes
3.27/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a very nice very dark amber/medium brown with 3/4 inch of khaki colored head that had very good retention and light medium lacing.

The aroma was mostly solid malt, with some easy hops in the background. The taste was pretty similar, decent base malts, some slightly tangy hops, and a bit of lingering grain on the finish.

The body was smooth and easy, as is typical for the style. Drinkability was good, 16oz can was gone quickly, and I see myself grabbing more in the future. Overall, a pretty good beer, not quite up with the best examples of the style, but certainly worth a shot if you see it.

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Photo of jpro
3.28/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.29/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of tone77
3.29/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of Zorro
3.35/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.36/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into a beer stein. Pours with a massive sandy-brown head. It appears nearly black, but when held to the light is actually a clear, extremely dark mahogany.

Medium body and mostly firm feel, though a bit thinner than the best lagers. The beer has a nice, clean toffee-like malty flavor up front and a slight spicy note at mid-palate that carries through to the finish. Unfortunately, the beer lacks the malty ``chewiness'' one finds in the best examples. Still, a nice easy-drinking, sessionable lager in the European tradition that accompanies just about any meal.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.36/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz can poured into glass.

A: Pours a dark brown color with a thick off white head that left rings of sticky lace down the glass.
S: Mild notes of dry cracked grains and a lager yeast. Bready overall.
T: Toast, lots of caramel, mild sugary molasses, brown sugar, and cracked grains. Finish is lightly sweet and the aftertaste is that of mashed grains and bready lager yeast.
M: Light body, fuzzy carbonation, soft, light mouthfeel. Drinkable.
O:Pretty drinkable and fairly flavorful. No where near as good as Death and Taxes, but it's tough to beat Moonlight. Cheers!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pounder can picked up at Bier Thirty in Bown tonight for about $2.25... Poured into my slim tulip produces an abundant 3 finger tannish head atop a clear walnut brew.... the head dies back pretty quickly but leaves good lacing.

For the lion's share, the nose shows toasty malts... but there is a "tinny/metallic" quality that I am picking up on pretty heavily... it dissipates with warmth, but is no doubt there.

Flavor is better, but still a mild metallic element remains.. more though the malts shine very clean... no real hoppiness to come into play.. dark toast is the big player on the finish.

Body is light/medium and a pretty abundant carbonation...

Decent beer (and I love dark lagers), but the tinny quality is pretty off-putting.

Overall, this is a nice beer for peeps that appreciate dark lagers. Otherwise, they will pan it. I like it a lot.


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Photo of shand
3.44/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

El Steinber, for what it's worth, is a spot-on American craft version of a Euro Dark Lager that's not in a green bottle. It nails the taste of the Euro imports I've had, from the nice maltiness, right down to a slight metallic aftertaste. It'd be better if they lost that characteristic aftertaste, but it's still a good beer that's highly drinkable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.47/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.51/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of jlindros
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

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Photo of verge
3.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Saw this 16 oz tall can at Total Wine & More in Brea, CA. Snagged one cause it looked interesting! No description on the can.

Poured it gently into a pilsner glass...exploded with head anyway! I had to slurp the head off of it a few times to get it to fit in the glass. Otherwise, a clear dark brown, reminiscent of a Newcastle-ish color.

Smelled kinda mild, like a nondescript German dark lager...not like a Schwarzbier though. Just malty and mellow. Nothing too noticeable here.

Once I tasted it, it was not as expected. Sure, the typical qualities are there - dark malts but with a crisp finish - but there is also a very slight lingering hop aftertaste, and after swallowing there is also a hint of creamy chocolate, even...peanut butter? Am I off my rocker? Overall, tasty. Subdued but balanced.

Mouthfeel is light and creamy just like lots of lagers that you've had before.

Interesting overall beer. Definitely sessionable. In fact, if I could find a sixer of this, I would take it to the next poker night or NHL playoff watch party. As a standalone, not going to blow you away. An interesting choice for Anderson Valley, but at the same time, you can see why they did it.

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El Steinber Dark Lager from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.