Texas Tornado | Great Grains Brewery, Inc.

17 Ratings
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Texas TornadoTexas Tornado

Brewed by:
Great Grains Brewery, Inc.
Texas, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 3.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 04-27-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 17 |  Reviews: 17
Reviews by Pegasus:
Photo of Pegasus
1.29/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a hazy dark brown with little carbonation - resembling iced tea. Very little carbonation, thick lace does a good job of coating the glass walls. I bought this beer without troubling myself to read the reviews first - big mistake. BeerAngel is correct, this beer smells like vanilla ice cream and also caramel. I have never before encountered a beer that smelled like an ice cream soda. Taste begins with a mild sting of carbonation, tea-like flavors and a pronounced sour note. Towards the middle slightly sweet flavors assert themselves, finish has a distinct vinegar note. I must conclude that there is something seriously amiss with this beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
1.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12 oz brown twist-off no freshness date.

Appearance: Turbid reddish brown with a very thin and short lived lace.

Smell: Sour astringent grain and nutty yeast aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Mildly insipid malt flavour is hard tagged by a sourness brought on by the grain as well as the yeast. Weak crispness is a slick medium body. Hops are present but linger with a cheesy flavour.

Notes: Just awful, extremely problematic and not recommended at all.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
2.5/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A rough pour barely brings up a thin surface covering over its hazy amber body; and what is present at that point drops quickly to a thin collar that leaves no lace. The nose is fruity with a citrusy side over some caramelish wort and some very mild acetone. The body is light-medium and smooth, as might be expected due to it's very fine, low-level carbonation. However, it's very much like a cask ale - which is nice if that's what was intended. It's berry-like fruitiness is perceived up-front followed immediately by it's almost extract-like and worty caramelish malt. Mild acetone and a light acidity unfortunately appear mid-palate; then thankfully disappear leaving only some residual bitterness; a touch of sharp, tangy fruit; and some mild astringency.

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Photo of CRJMellor
1.83/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

trbeer provided this "sample" at our recent GR gathering.
Poured a cloudy orange/amber color with minor head, evident chill haze and some other problems with beer.
Aroma was completely vacant. There was a hint of hops and malt here but it was so far hidden behind a strange kind of minerally water smell that its hard to call this a beer aroma. Had a sort of musty smell, does not bode well.
Flavor was not awful it was not at all. This was closer to water than beer. Very light hint of pale malt and some grain and corn but it also tasted as if the bottles were not cleaned properly before bottling.
Mouthfeel was awkward at best, awful at worst. Strange viscous mouthfeel leaves a sort of film in the mouth that is very odd.
Drinkability is low. I'm not going to insult anybody who makes beer but this one is not good. I really wonder if there is a problem with the bottling set-up here.

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Photo of MJR
1.31/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz. bottle.

Pours a murky, turbid amber with some orange around the edges. A head doesn't ever form, just an encircling, pathetic ring of bubbles. The aroma is...interesting. I detect some DMS, as well as a strong plastic/vinyl pool toy smell. Some burnt cardboard too. Buried underneath these numerous flaws is a hint of fruitiness that reassures me that this is supposed to be a beer. The flavor starts out with some fruitiness and a bit of spice, but soon goes downhill. All of the flaws from the aroma bum-rush the show and completely take over. Ends with a medicinal, ashtray-like character, along with a dry, astringent mouthfeel.

I can't take anymore...down the drain it goes...

Thanks for Marc77 and TXHops for the bottle. Such a sick and twisted present...

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Photo of charlesw
1.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured a light amberish, a bit on the opaque side (cloudy). Smallish creamy head that is quickly gone. Yeast sediment in the bottle (explains the cloud, eh?).
Smells, oh, you know... A bit malty, earthy...
Tastes, well, um... I don't know, I don't really like big commercial lager so if I say that it tastes like big commercial lager, well, there you go. It was just weak and it tasted awfully light and just a bit off. Ah well - live and learn!

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Photo of marc77
2.75/5  rDev +44%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Light amber hue, w/ a light haze. Thin, but tight ring of bubbles leaves isolated foam aggregates. Mellow, citrusy, grapefruit tinged Cascade hop nose, with pedestrian light caramel notes in aroma. Mild berryish fruitiness. Perhaps I got one of the good bottles, but although prosaic, there's nothing off aromawise in my bottle. Token caramel malt sweetness is perceived upfront, then is ensued by mild hop bitterness, and light white flour processed breadiness. A sourish, lactic note emerges mid palate, but is understated enough not to ruin the experience. (I've had worse Bells...) Lightly bodied, and watery in mouthfeel. Cascade hop flavor is pronounced, due to the dearth of malt character. Finishes slightly tart, with a tang of grain tannins. Was I lucky? This pale ale had its flaws, but certainly wasn't outright infected as others have experienced. I did detect a fledgling Lactobacillus twang, and I suspect if this brew were left at room or cellar temp for a while (mine was in the fridge during storage) this beer could become quite acidic... Thanks to TXhops for the brew. Did I get a "good" one?

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Photo of aracauna
1.85/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This has got the same funky yeasty flavor of the Balcones Fault Pale Malt whithout any of the body to back it up. Leaves a bad aftertaste. Not good. I can actually see the other guy saying it was watered down with pickle juice, but watered down with watered down pickle juice. It's got a lot of flavor, but it's a bad flavor.

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Photo of tang214
3.04/5  rDev +59.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a yellowish amber color with very light cloudiness and not much of a soapy head. It has a nice hoppy fragrance with almost a honey aroma. The taste is nothing special, although I did have my hopes up. The bitterness is good but the rest is very watery and not enough malts to complement the hops. It is okay in the mouth but you can hardly feel it go down when you swallow. This is an okay ale but I may not ever get it unless there is no other reasonable choice. I hope the rest from Great Grains Brewery, in my home town, are better than this.

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Photo of TXHops
1.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Just like my review of Pale Malt, I think it's not right to go into a lengthy dissertation on the merits and demerits of this beer as there's clearly something wrong at the brewery. All of the Great Grains beers have an intense sourness to them that's more than just poor judgment being exercised in the brewery's stylistic interpretation. Tornado seems to suffer the worst from this infection problem of all the GG beers I've tried. The green apple flavor that lends the beer an "interesting" tartness when it's really fresh (like the day I bought some off the brewery delivery truck) turned into an overwhelming acid bath for my mouth after about 3 or 4 days of rest in the refrigerator. I didn't pick up pickles like Beerangel and Aracauna did, but I can understand the vinegar association. It's really too bad that my only local microbrewery makes tainted beer...

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Photo of kbub6f
2.86/5  rDev +49.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First, a disclaimer. I've done all of the Great Grains (Hill Country, Yellow Rose) beers several times, bought from different locations, different seasons, different years. They have all suffered from the trademark Great Grains sour apples infection. But I've become accustomed enough that I started to detect some decent flavors underneath. Maybe some day I'll get a clean bottle without the infection. Maybe this is the bottle.

Head is thin and small, but it's there. It's off-white and foamy. What's this? The beer is mostly clear! It's an orangey-amber. The smell is kind of rotten sweet, with some roasty grains, but no hint of sour apples. Perseverance has paid off: the front is bitter, roasty and a little fruity. The middle is thin, but tasty. It's somewhat milky and there is some darkish malt that hints at milk chocolate with warmer temperatures. Finish is quite hoppy bitter (yes, hops!) with more roasty nuts.

Ok, so this isn't a great beer. It's really not even what I'd call a good beer. But if you're lucky enough to get an uninfected sample, there are some nice tastes in there. And you have to appreciate a brewery that does an equipment cleaning every five years or so. I wonder if this review will knock the Tornado out of the bottom 50....

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Photo of HardTarget
1.57/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Aroma: A fruity malt nose, notes of peach?
Appearance: On the edge of amber, closer to a dark yellow. Clear, poured with a mild head that retreated to a small collar.
Flavor: Ugh, get it away! Cooked corn taste follows a dirty water front.
Mouthfeel: Water.
Overall Impression: None of the malt in the nose comes through in the taste. It’s more of a hop water gone bad. As for suggestions on improvement, start over? Well, up the malt, change the yeast, or at least increase the pitch, and maybe look at increasing the boil time or temp.
Try this one only if you need reminding how good your other beers really are.

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Photo of BeerAngel
1.88/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Latest Revew (11/30/2002):
Okay, now I know what Texas Tornado is supposed to taste like. Apparently, my first experience was a soured bottle. Now for the new review: Pours a clear copper/amber color with a medium sized off-white head. The smell is overtaken with mostly green apple aromas with an odd sweetness. The taste is a dry hop with green apples again and a weird partly sour partly tart background with a lightly dry bitter end. This re-review, is not going to change the #'s very much, but this time around it was drinkable. Strange brew.

*Another note: I've contacted this brewery about the sourness that people are getting with a direct link to Texas Tornado reviews and one other of their beers, and although I wasn't exactly pointing out positive notes on their beers, I was sincere and expressed concern. They NEVER responded at all.

First Review (10/21/2002)
Pours a semi-cloudy caramel color with a very small white head. It smells like vanilla icecream!?! Holy cow, this is awful. It is like pickled vanilla icecream. This is terrible...WTF! Sorry fellow BA's...I can't finish this one! Down the drain! YUCK!

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Photo of assurbanipaul
1.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I suppose it was inevitable that I would pick up one of these locals and I tried not to let infamy and preconceived notions color the sampling. Sadly, disappointingly, they did not.

Pours a cloudy light amber with a thin, malty head. Yeast floating in suspension, residue left at bottom of the bottle. Aroma is of peat, malt, smoke and a little citrus forced into it.

Taste is solid malts with some smokiness to it. Dry and flat with a slight taste of cigarette ash. Acidic with a very mild sour citrus (orange rind) that comes out as it warms along with some plastic flavors. Watery mouthfeel.

It's not undrinkable but it is one of the worst flavor profiles I've ever come across. It tastes more like a homebrew kit gone bad than an actual commercial product. If this is the best to come out of Great Grains, their operation is in serious trouble and I don't know how they stay in business.

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Photo of Morris729
1.64/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The Great Grains Brewery website proudly proclaims Texas Tornado to be their “flagship beer.” Makes me a bit scared to try their other brews because I would rather wear a crotch-less speedo to a pool party at Ricky Martin’s house than drink another one of these. It does have a decent appearance as it pours a dark brown amber color with a thick and creamy off-white head, but that’s where the positives end. It’s got a strange sickly-sweet smell and a taste that’s all over the place with some initial touches of sweetness followed by an acidic sour taste. And, the more you drink of it, the worse it gets! Whoever created this beer recipe needs to destroy it immediately!

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Photo of Dogbrick
1.79/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Dark amber with a thick but quikly dissipating light beige head. Slightly sour and fruity aroma. Insanely carbonated body that was literally hard to swallow on the first drink. The flavor is really unimpressive, with a weird mix of grain, cardboard and fruit. The finish is lightly yeasty. I didn't like this one.

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Photo of kindestcut
1.34/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

It is hard to imagine that a beer so vilified could be as bad as the reviews. But it isn't just the reviews that have made the Tornado a legend, it's also the constant bitch slap it receives. Can the truth be as bad as the legend?

In a word...yes.

The Tornado, which purports to be an English-style pale ale (did they just pick this at random?), pours a golden amber. The head is minimal. I would say it looks nice if I didn't carry some pretty heavy preconceived notions here. My first thought was that it looked "normal." If a beer ever deserved credit for any characteristic, I'd say the Tornado does here. However, like quicksand, black ice and train crossings, danger lurks just beneath the surface.

I have been thinking hard but can't come up with adjectives strong enough to describe how incredible toxic this beer is. For example, when a beer tastes as bad as it smells, well, that's a bad sign...and it's true here. The aroma is sour. I can't detect malt. I can't feel my fingers. I think there are hops hiding behind the oil refinery. There is an evident mustiness, like the smell of an old attic. I think this beer was brewed using discarded memories.

As for the flavor, well, it is beyond reprehensible. The sourness of aroma translates to an acidity of taste. The aftertaste is reminiscent of a rotten orange soaked in vinegar. I was very brave, I thought, by drinking half of this bottle before dumping it down the drain.

There are very few things today that live up to the hype. I have been disappointed too often with the bang to buck ratio of nearly everything. However, it is safe to say that while this is perhaps the Turkish prison of beers, it should meet everyone’s expectations. As such, if you value your eyesight, be afraid...be very afraid.

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Texas Tornado from Great Grains Brewery, Inc.
1.91 out of 5 based on 17 ratings.
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