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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.

456 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 456
Reviews: 175
rAvg: 3.27
pDev: 18.65%
Wants: 11
Gots: 34 | FT: 2
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: 456 | Reviews: 175 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hanco005
3.38/5  rDev +3.4%
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 -6.7%
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 +11.6%
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 -29.7%
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 +12.5%
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 +26.3%
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 +13.1%
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%
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%
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 +4.9%
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 +0.9%
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 -8.9%
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 +2.4%
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 +30.9%
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 +6.4%
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 -8.3%
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 -8.9%
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
Photo of Redrover
3.33/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this one at the Thunderbird Resort’s bar in International Falls. Seemed like an appropriate setting to me. 12 oz clear glass bottle with a cool retro label. I did not check for freshness dating..

Beer pours a light gold with a decent but quickly collapsing head. Just a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Not much in the way of smell. I picked up some grain and a little sweet smell.

The taste is on the sweeter side of the spectrum. I’m not sure if its from the malts or the “grains” but it was enjoyable in a simple non-complex way. I did not notice hardly any hops. I’m not sure, but I would guess the IBU rating on this beer is no more than 8 or 9.

The mouthfeel was a little thin, but I liked how there was a little creaminess. Drinkability is decent and I had several at one sitting. It was very easy to pair with the walleye I had for dinner. This is another solid regional lager from the Midwest and I would compare it favorably to Point, Lenies, etc

Redrover, Jun 16, 2004
Photo of garymuchow
3.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

See disclaimer by Zap.
I'll admit a fondness for this based on history and parochialism. That could also be taken into consideration when reviewing this review.
Having said that, this is a very attractive looking beer. Clear gold. Big full white head that has good stamina and lots of white lacing as drink. As good for appearance as an Am. lager can be.
In both aroma and taste the corn adjuncts become eversomore present as it warms, therefore I encourage drinking whilst cold. Otherwise aroma is light and fresh even slightly fruity. Taste is mild malt, but not much else. No hop presence in flavor and only slight bitterness.
Feel is that of a very easy drinker. Mild to moderate carbonation for style. And it has a soft fluffy feel.
I like it for what it is. Especially good for cold summer thirst quencher.

garymuchow, May 01, 2004
Photo of TeamSeinfeld
3.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Grain Belt Premium has a lot of history in the twin cities, too bad it is not made here anymore. Schell's took over but they still do a good job. The old Premium had one of the most distinctive tastes ever, very very sweet. It was great out of a bottle but when out of a can it tasted like the can. I've only had the new premium out of a bottle and it is much more watered down. Even with the new watered down taste, this beer is not a mass consumption beer even though countless of us students at the U of M think it will be. Take my advice don't get plowed off it or you will spend the night in the bathroom.

TeamSeinfeld, Apr 20, 2004
Photo of Tballz420
3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brew is a pale gold color, small white head on top. The scent is sweet malt. The taste of this brew is on the malty side, sweet taste, corny. Not a great brew by any means, but if youre going for a macro style beer with some decent flavor, this could be a good one to try. Comprable to high life.

Tballz420, Apr 05, 2004
Photo of grynder33
1.95/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Clear light gold color, small head, terrible old corn aroma, very light corn taste, just a touch of malt sweetness. I guess you can tell its not a light, but I would take any Miller product over this. The third worst beer I've ever tasted. From the past reviews I'll assume its better when its fresher.

grynder33, Apr 04, 2004
Photo of JeffreyG
3.33/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, this is a beer that certainly has some history in the twin cities. I'm glad that Schell's was able to purchase the brand, keeping it in the state. I also beleive they have improved the quality of Premium. It seems much more consistent, and while it remains an adjunct beer I beleive the former brewer was using even more than the classic recipie called for. Schell's commitment to excellence certainly shows. All in all, this isn't a beer that would win a lot of fans on this site, but it stands up favorably to similar american pale lagers. If you beleive in supporting a local brewery this is a fine choice. It is what it is.

JeffreyG, Feb 23, 2004
Photo of bditty187
2.55/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear yellow hue, sad in color really, there was no animation, the head was white, the height never reached a fourth of a finger before it faded to a soapy collar before disappearing entirely. No subsequent lace either. The nose had minimal potency, slightly sweet, not so much from malt but from adjuncts. It is not really worth smelling. I was surprised at how bad the palate was, awfully sweet, like cream corn, slightly grainy, like cereal and as a whole it is borderline unpleasant. I’d say the sweetness is almost cloying. This has the taste of a cheap American industrial lager and it makes no point to pretend otherwise. There is no malt influence, no hops bitterness or flavor either. In fact some hops would have been a welcomed addition to cut the sweetness. But that is not what this beer is about. There are minimal flavors that are favorable. Medium-light body, firm carbonation, overall it has a good mouthfeel, but I had a difficult time getting past the taste. One (clear) bottle was enough for me, I’m glad I tried it, I’m glad I reviewed it, I’m glad I didn’t buy a six-pack to do so. Otherwise there would have been five beers poured down the drain. Not recommended, as this is a poor example of the style.

bditty187, Jan 19, 2004
Photo of jwilli7122
2.68/5  rDev -18%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This is about the clearest beer i've ever seen. Smells sweet but like alchohol. Taste's pretty sweet...slightly fruity/citrusy- and sometimes it can taste like somebody spiked it with a pinch of vodka or something. It's not all that unpleasant though, and it doesn't seem potent at all. dont let it get flat, it needs some fiz.

I actually liked this much better when I had it out of a can (or maybe that was the "old" grainbelt?) It also seemed to work better in the summertime. In any case it's OK for the price.

jwilli7122, Dec 20, 2003
Grain Belt Premium from August Schell Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 456 ratings.