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Grain Belt Premium - August Schell Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Grain Belt PremiumGrain Belt Premium

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

439 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 439
Reviews: 173
rAvg: 3.26
pDev: 18.4%
Wants: 11
Gots: 26 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Adjunct Lager |  4.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Although the Grain Belt Premium recipe has changed hands over the years, one thing has remained the same–its legendary unique taste. And now that Premium is in the capable hands of a brewery with an even longer tradition than Grain Belt–the August Schell Brewery–may you rest assured that the flavor and heritage of Premium will live on forever.

(Beer added by: TastyTaste on 07-04-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 439 | Reviews: 173 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zjungleist
2.53/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this one night on my recent trip to the twin cities. Light yellow in color with a white head. As for taste and smell, there is not much you can say about this beer that you couldnt say about PBR or Hamm's. However, I would say that Grain Belt wins by a nose. There was a little bit of canned corn in the smell, and a slightly metalic taste. The mouthfeel was wet and bubbly. I think that freshness played a factor in it's moderate drinkability. I woudln't really got for this stuff after it had been shipped 2 or 3 states away. This beer served it's purpose, and I can't really complain about that.

zjungleist, Sep 14, 2006
Photo of CharlesDarwin
2.38/5  rDev -27%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Originally reviewed September 17, 2005. On tap at the Big Lake Brewfest. Aroma is a light dusting of grain bin over stale malt. Pour of clear yellow. Flavor starts with a surprsing run of decent malt flavor, but then quickly fades into something a little skunky. Finishes extremely clean.

CharlesDarwin, Aug 13, 2006
Photo of supercolter
3.98/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok so this is one of those beers you can drink all night and not be full. Appearance is decent for the style 1.5 finger head and some decent lacing. Taste and smell are very similar, malt and some dark fruit, possibley plum. Mouthfeel is above average, some nice carbonation that doesn't inhibit your drinking ability.

supercolter, Aug 06, 2006
Photo of jdhilt
1.88/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a 12oz bottle at the Doolittle American Grill ($3.50) Alexandria, Mn. Pours with two finger white head that goes slowly leaving a good lace. Clear pale amber color. Light carbonation and light bodied. Wet stainless steel nose. Starts with a hoppy citrusy flavor but weak, finish is clean since there is not much here. Good lawn mower beer.

jdhilt, Jun 14, 2006
Photo of EvilKeith
3.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From notes taken on 05/26/06 visit to The Cove and Gander's Club, Devils Lake, North Dakota.

Poured into the glass a crystal clear, almost glowing, pale golden color. Head was a finger of white sudsy foam that quickly faded to a halo. Lacing was spotty.

The smell was sweet adjuncts, raw grains, grassy, lightly hopped and faintly skunky (sulphur).

Taste was sweet (corn), grainy and semi-metallic.

Light bodied. Fairly active carbonation. Light thin mouthfeel.

Like most macros, I found this one to be very easy to drink, despite the inherent sweetness.

A little research taught me that this stuff had been brewed for a lot of years in Minnesota. Several years ago the brewery shut down. Recently a new owner began production again much to the joy of many of the folks in Minnesota.
Call it an icon, call it tradition. It's a Minnesota staple. Who am I to argue?

EvilKeith, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of russpowell
2.8/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The very 1st beer I had in N. Dakota at a bar at the cedar inn (cavaleir (SP??))

Pours light yellow with some head, a little head retention & no lacing

Smell Corny

Taste: Grainy, sweet & slightly fruitty. Finishes grainy slighlty sweet

MF: Thin & astringent

Easy to drink one, if you drink fast, otherwise, be warned! run o the mill macroswill from a regional brewer

russpowell, Jun 03, 2006
Photo of MeLikeBeer
2.38/5  rDev -27%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I have to attest that this beer is probably more impressive to Minnesotans (or Midwesterners) than anyone else...for myself it's impressive because I drank it in college. That being said:

Appearance is a translucent, yellow color...carbonated bubbles infuse the glass. Light head.
Smells slighty fruity with just a hint of (read: little) hops.
Tastes wheaty and smooth...light malt flavor...sweet.

Very easy on the palate and a good beer to seek out at the end of the night..if you've already shocked your tastebuds with good beer.

MeLikeBeer, May 27, 2006
Photo of dfried
3.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Premium is not going to impress anyone. It is your average american domestic pilsner, that actually is a bit sweeter, especailly out of a keg. BUT, I love this beer. It is local, it tastes better than the average domestic, and for some reason I seem to be able to drink this all night long and not make a fool of myself (much easier said than done). If there is not something decent on tap at a bar, this is the first thing I order. I have much more than respect for this beer, simply because it has treated me so well for so long.

dfried, May 09, 2006
Photo of hanco005
3.38/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought a 6 pack of these for a friend that was visiting about a month ago. He only drank 5 so I decided to drink and review the last one. A local brew for me. 12 oz bottle, with 05294 and 8784 on it, poured into a pint glass

A—pours pale yellow, clear with ½ inch foamy white head, slowly fades to a thin sheet, light lacing is produced

S—a bit tart and sour, wheat, slightly floral, straw

T—combo of grains, can’t really pick them out individually…tastes similar to some macros but with more flavor, not bad, but not really good either

M—lightly carbonated and bodied, crisp

D—not bad. I would drink this over a macro, maybe in the summer because it is so light and maybe because it is local. Easily drinkable.

hanco005, Mar 14, 2006
Photo of PatYoda
3.05/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A friend of mine brought this back from Minnesota. Apparently it's a popular macro up there. This certainly isn't bad for what it is.

Pours yellow with a small white head. Smell is some sweet malts, maybe some corn, and surprisingly some Earthy floral hops as well. Taste mimics the smell pretty well. There is a nice refreshing bitterness. The mouthfeel is watery, as expected, but it has a small amount of body. Nothing here inhibits drinkability in any way. I would take this over the big three any day.

PatYoda, Jan 10, 2006
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer came a darker clear yellow with a thin film of head. Smells of lemons, roses (seriously) and corn. tastes of sticky candy-like wheat malt with a good pairing of citrus. There was also an odd hamburger-like flavor that came through that wasn’t entirely un-pleasant. Mouth feel is very thick with a light carbonation. This is an extremely drinkable beer that gives little resistance to the palate with a pretty good flavor and a nice body.

DarkerTheBetter, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of hero27
2.3/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Macro color, macro taste..but I'll try to keep an open mind on the much talked-about "Grain-Belt". Let's go with the facts..it is a straw-yellow color...no head, no lace. The aroma is nothing but rice..grainy, grassy herbal smell with a hint of corn thrown in there. The taste comes down to a combination of very mild grainy malts and possibly good dishwater. Thin mouthfeel. Slides down as easy as corn-flavored water...remarkably, that's what I found out this is. Thank god this was the "Premium" grain belt..I'd hate to taste what the sub-par grain belt tastes like.

hero27, Nov 09, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.68/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is not a bad macro; poured out to a solid golden color with a nice foamy white head. Looks like the beer you see Holmer drinking on the Simpson's. Aroma of malt and sweetness, with some cooked grain. Not bad. Flavor was rather good, I must say; bread, corn, malt and a touch of sweetness toward the finish was very nice. Mouthfeel was OK, but nothing amazing. A decent level of drinkability, this is an oldie, but a goodie. Wish we had it here in the Motor City. Beats the hell outta any other macro around here.

Frozensoul327, Nov 01, 2005
Photo of icefisherman
4.13/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

this beer is a little hard to find in bars but fairly easy to get at booze stores all over the city it looks like beer always a plus in my book it smells like any other mass produced beer but with a small difference not sure what it is but i like it taste like beer once again a plus still it is sweeter then most other beers and it is verry drinkable i could drink it all day long

icefisherman, Oct 29, 2005
Photo of ryantupy
3.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have gotten this numerous times on tap usually to go with a sweeter desert since this is a rather sweet beer. It pours a pale yellow with lots of tiny bubbles racing to the top. It lacks carbonation but its lack adds to the sweetness and smoothness of this beer. Primarily it smells malty to be specific malt sweetness. It tastes of malt sweetness aswell with very little hop character to be noticed. However despite this beers failure to be unique and different it does go down as an enjoyable beer that is quite drinkable with a sweeter plate of food or desert.

ryantupy, Oct 18, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sun-faded straw with colorless accents at the edges of the glass. This is one of the palest beers that I've seen in quite some time. The brilliant white head is chock full of character. It's semi-stiff with a geological surface and is sticky enough so that fingers of foam maintain contact with the glass as it falls. Nice lace display too.

I have to stop approaching some styles of beer with preconceived notions. I expected Grain Belt Premium to smell like hundreds of other macro lagers, but it's considerably better. There's an enjoyable untoasted graininess that's complemented by a (gasp!) floral hoppiness. Not floral in the Saaz, et al sense, but floral nevertheless.

This is good beer in a 'let's not get carried away' kind of way. The fact that it has easily exceeded my expectations probably accounts for most of my enthusiasm. The flavor profile obediently follows the nose. It's still pleasantly grain-like (so it's aptly named) with an unmistakable hop flavor, yet almost no bitterness.

It's also on the sweet side, which almost makes it taste like a scaled down version of a malt liquor; which I tend to like more than macro lagers anyway. Call me crazy, but I can even pick up some lightly sweetened banana notes. Even though complexity isn't a word that comes to mind, my interest is still high as I approach the final few ounces. Try that with just about any other macro lager in the known world.

The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium and has an expansive softness that is its defining characteristic. The finish is brief and contributes to an easy drinkability. I have to bump the appearance score up a half point since my glass is virtually covered with lace, the most I've ever seen for a beer of this style.

Grain Belt has two strikes against it right off the bat: the name and the clear glass bottle. Ultimately, though, they matter not. I do like the label and the cap; they ooze old school cool. This is one of the better (microbrewed) macro lagers in existence. Like anything else, it has its time and its place. I could see myself buying at least a few sixers every summer if it ever makes its way this far south.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 23, 2005
Photo of mynie
3.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Never had the old stuff, but I have seen the neon signs and that has to count for something.

Light macro yellow pour is saved by a very nice head that sticks around forever.

Nice sweet grain smell. Like high life taken up a notch. Uber American Pilsner.

Tastes very much like it smells. Nothing fancy, but its as solid as an old fashioned macro can get.

Hats off to Schell for making this wonderfully drinkable affordably priced brew.

mynie, Aug 08, 2005
Photo of tavernjef
3.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ahhh...the bottle favored much better...thank goodness. Although, still not the same as it was back in the day.

Same straw gold color with a pale like effervescence. Cap much smaller then what the tap had, of course the tap was overly carbonated creating much more action, which made it look great, but made the rest of it worse. Lacing in small patchy strings.

Aroma fares about the same unfortunately, very subdued, pale, dull corn-like sweetness with a peculiar bread must lightly bringing some rain soaked carpet.

Taste is decent enough with some corn sweetness and plain barley malt breadyness. Mainly sweet, dulled with a smidgeonly small hint to some Pilsner-like hopping adding a whisp of floral detection underneath.

Feel is light/medium bodied with a favorable creamy sweetness. Not a whole lot of adjunct activity here but eludes to it more so in the finish once the light breads and small hops float off. Low and even carbonation with a weaker, paled down version of what Schell's offers in there own lager beer.

Hands down, way better then the tapped version I had earlier, but still not what the old belt was. Quite sad indeed.

tavernjef, Jul 03, 2005
Photo of mentor
3.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Wow! I've heard so much about this from old timers. Here's my chance. Pours a one-finger white (mildly yellow) head of large bubbles over a crystal clear faint golden liquid. Smells of noble hops and faintly of malt sweet. My guess would be Hallertauer hops or maybe Saaz. Not tinny enough to be Saaz, IMO. Tastes clean and malty. Some hop floral is present, but almost no hop bitter. Yeah, thin malt with mild hop floral, and that's about it. Perhaps a hint of munich malt in the form of the chalky dry I associate with munich. Pretty easy drinking. I can see why this was such a hit many years ago before craft beers came out. Doesn't hold a candle to craft beer, but it's a touch better than macro-swill. Light body (not super light, just light) and moderate, but sharp carbonation.

mentor, Jun 28, 2005
Photo of bnuttz
2.98/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear and crisp golden color. Quick fading foamy white head. Smells of corn and grains, very sweet. Taste is sweet, pretty much all sweet grains, no noticable hops. This is a smooth drinking macro, not bad at all. The sweetness can get to you. And unfortunately a night of grain belts leaves me feeling like crap the next morning.

bnuttz, May 26, 2005
Photo of Bighuge
3.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear yellow. Not much carbonation noticeable. Frothy white head with good retention and lace abilities. Decent sweet aroma. Mostly malt sweetness, but also corn and adjuncts. The taste is unique compared to other macros. Less adjunct-like sweetness and more maltiness. And even a little hops to boot. This would be one of my favorite macros. Right up there with Mich. Golden Lager.

Give me a Desert Island and an endless supply of ...

Wait, nevermind that last comment.

Props to the Big Man for setting me up with a bunch of his leftovers from his "Macro Madness." ZAP, you do indeed rule. Except on the hardcourt.

Bighuge, Apr 26, 2005
Photo of alexgash
4.28/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my all-time favorite beers. Granted, a lot of my love for this beer comes from the fact that it is what my Dad drank when I was younger and I distinctly remember fetching these beers for him and sometimes getting a sip. In addition, this was my staple session/party beer in college. I was and still am proud to drink this and I am very happy that Schell's revived it (smart profit move on their part too!). Anyway, pours a very clear, light yellow straw with a cottony fluff of cloud-white head that sticks around and even laces the glass. Aroma is mild, but nice; lightly sweet, crisp, honeyish malts, and some lemony hop notes. Smells refreshing! Crisp, light malty sweetness up front with whiffs of corn--good corn (fine, I'm obviously biased about this beer, but I don't care). Light hop bitterness has a hint of citrus in it and takes it into the finish. Light bodied and refreshing. A great summer party beer. Takes me back to my college days everytime! Thank you Grainbelt!

alexgash, Feb 18, 2005
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This my Dad's beer, ...always a few cases in the house, the fridge well stocked, no other beer would do. They even ordered it special for him at the local watering hole, though I still can't figure out how no-one else in the Anoka VFW Hall shared his taste. I remember sitting at the bar with him, as a kid, while he drank it. Those were the days, eh?

I never liked it, and it's ominpresence in the household was part of the reason I never drank beer until I was about 22. When all that surrounded me was Miller, Leinenkugel's, and Grain Belt, and they all smelled bad, I just stayed away. Years later, I discovered imported ales and craft brew micros...now that I was drinking beer, I decided to try Dad's beer, and figure out why he liked it.

I still didn't like it, and couldn't figure out why he found it so satisfying. But, that's the kind of man he was, he stuck with what he knew, and never went too far from his comfort zone.
Time to revisit it again, especially since I hear it's a better beer, under Schell's hand...

Transparent, pale yellow appearance, huge, fluffy white cap atop, active. bubbling carbonation.

Smells sweeter than i remember, less sickly. Very grainy, rather spare and thin, but not at all unpleasant. The typical average American lager aroma.
Taste: wet. and empty, ..but not bad. Really, I think it's been over a decade since I last poured one of these down my throat, and it was an unhappy experience. That was under the Minnesota Brewing Company, who weren't looking to make a quality product at the time. Schell seems to have re-created GB, "the friendly beer", as a smooth, untroubling, and, let us not forget, cheap lager that actually doesn't taste bad.

Finishes rather sweetly, slides leisurely off the palate. Very light in body, a bit too watery for my tastes, and extremely lean on flavor. But, it does what it needs to, for the style and satisfies it's target market.

Got to hand it to the guys at August Schell for keeping Minnesota brewing history going, and putting out a decent brew at the same time.

This one's for you, Dad. If it's true that "in Heaven there is no beer", no offense, but I hope you're in a better place than that....

feloniousmonk, Feb 18, 2005
Photo of assurbanipaul
3/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very pale yellow with a fizzy white head. Aroma is light with traces of sulphur and sweet light malt and fruit. Laces fairly well for an adjunct lager.

Taste is light and sweet, not corn but elements of apple and pear. No off-flavors but quite sweet with a faint maltiness. Mouthfeel is light and fizzy, not much substance. Much sweeter than I like my lagers but not bad overall. Thanks to TastyTaste for this sample.

assurbanipaul, Feb 14, 2005
Photo of Southernbrew
2.98/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The first of seven received in a trade from Tastytaste.

Pours a very pale straw color, good sized head though. Leaves some decent lacing.

Aroma is straight corn. Takes me back to my Iowa living days.

Light bodied, some sweetness, some graininess. Not really that much to say about it.

Decent adjunct lager. I would drink this if it were a toss up between BMC and this, but wouldn't seek it out.

Thanks to Tastytaste for the sample.

Southernbrew, Feb 07, 2005
Grain Belt Premium from August Schell Brewing Company
75 out of 100 based on 439 ratings.