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El Steinber Dark Lager | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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El Steinber Dark LagerEl Steinber Dark Lager

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Euro Dark Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by mdfb79 on 07-26-2012

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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 164
Photo of AnalogReigns
4.09/5  rDev +16.9%
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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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.19/5  rDev -8.9%
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 scottfrie
3.36/5  rDev -4%
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 shand
3.44/5  rDev -1.7%
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 beertunes
3.27/5  rDev -6.6%
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 mattkoon
3.59/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

pours a really nice clear brown with a deep redness. thick head with a good bit of nice lacing. smell has a slight caramel to it, with a little maltiness. taste is all malt with a little hoppiness. comes across pretty light for such a dark brew. over all this is a pretty solid beer. i definitely wouldnt be opposed to trying more beers from anderson valley.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.74/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a clear but dark auburn/ruby brown with a light tan w finger head. Good retention, leaving a fair layer of suds across the top. Good lacing and with good stick.

Smell - Malt aroma lands somewhere between toffee and caramel. Like most corn-added brews, the corn aroma gets more noticeable as it warms.

Taste - Follows the nose. Toffee and caramel sweetness is most prevalent. Light notes of corn. Faint roasted notes; again, hits more noticeably once the beer has warmed. Hops hit near the finish with a mild spice and grassy bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with tingly carbonation. Crisp, semi-dry finish.

Overall - This beer's got some nice things going for it, in fact it might be the best Euro dark lager style beer I've come across. This is a beer, in can form, I'd bring with me to the river. That said, it's not a style that really grabs me. I'd rather go with a nice ESB, even without that crisp lager edge.

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Photo of avalon07
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a can to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was an inch of creamy, off white, long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: Not a whole lot of smell, but some traces of malt and caramel.

T: Tasted of toasted malt, caramel, and a little nutty quality. A decent enough flavor, but it won't exactly wow you.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a sharp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Considering that the Euro Dark Lager isn't exactly the greatest or most complex style, El Steinber is a pretty good version of it. Oddly drinkable.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
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 UCLABrewN84
3.05/5  rDev -12.9%
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 flagmantho
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz tall can into a pint glass. Can says this is 5.5% ABV.

Appearance: rich brown hue with a haze-free body and a strong effervescence. Head is nearly two fingers of pillowy tan foam. Looks good!

Smell: lightly grainy malt with a hint of sweetness. The corn in the brew is also highly evident; there's definitely a corn-pop character here. It's not over the top, but I don't think it adds anything good to this beer's overall aroma profile.

Taste: moderately malty with a little bit of chocolatey character and a mild but slightly spicy hop character. The corn is way more subdued here than in the aroma. The bitterness that comes in at the end is surprisingly strong and really clings to the palate in the aftertaste. It has its positives, but the flavors are kind of messy and don't necessarily go together well. Not bad, but I feel like it could be cleaned up a bit.

Mouthfeel: light body but a very good level of carbonation, yielding a surprisingly robust creaminess. Good stuff.

Overall: this beer really doesn't grab me. The lingering aftertaste and the relatively strong corn aroma are not pluses in my book. However, there is some pleasure to be had drinking this beer; it could just be cleaner.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.67/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a can of Anderson Valley's El Steinber Dark Lager last week for $2.59 at The Lager Mill. Anderson Valley seems to be a pretty solid brewery so I decided to give their Dark Lager a try, i'm in the mood for something dark, but not strong and this seems like a good choice, so lets see how it goes. No visible canning date, but it just showed up so I think it's fairly fresh. Poured from a 16oz can into an imperial pint glass.

A- The can looks pretty good, what's not to like about a bear with antlers wearing a poncho, it's fairly eye catching. It poured a nice and fairly clear darker brown color that took on some ruby/mahogany like colors when held to the light with three fingers worth of tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some nice lacing behind. This was a good looking beer that looked fairly true to style.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with a good amount of malts that have a pretty grainy aroma to them along with some caramel and lightly roasted aromas. Up next comes a lighter nutty aroma with a slight metallic aromas towards the end. The aroma was just ok, I thought it was a little bland and it could have been just a little more complex.

T- The taste seems to somewhat like the aroma but not as bland, it starts off with a lower amount of sweetness followed by a good amount of malts that impart a grainy, caramel malt, and a medium roasted flavor that was a little on the lighter side and it stuck out nicely. Up next comes a slight chocolate, nutty and smokey flavor that adds a little complexity and it's followed by some earthy hops that impart a lighter amount of medium bitterness with a roasty and malty aftertaste. This was a pretty nice tasting beer, that was fairly true to style.

M- Pretty smooth, clean, fairly crisp, on the thicker side of being lighter bodied, with a good amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was pretty good, it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and a good example of the style, it had some nice roasty flavors with some crisp and clean lager flavors, it fulfilled my craving for this style. This beer had pretty good drinkability, it was pretty smooth, crisp, clean, and the flavors did a nice job at holding my attention, I could drink a few of these on a cool summer night, I think it's fairly sessionable. What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance and the mouthfeel, they were pretty good and the taste was pretty nice also, it's pretty much what I want from the style. What I liked the least about this beer was the aroma, it was pretty bland and it didn't get me too excited to drink this beer, I think the aroma could use a little work. I would buy this beer again when in the mood for a Black Lager, it's got just about everything that I look for in the style and I would recommend it to anyone who likes the style and it might make a for good introduction to dark beers. All in all i was pretty happy with this beer, it really hit the spot on this warm spring night and I know I will be drinking a few more of these this summer, good job guys this is one solid beer.

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Photo of verge
3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
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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Photo of kojevergas
2.94/5  rDev -16%
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 JohnGalt1
3.42/5  rDev -2.3%
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 ChainGangGuy
4.1/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 ounce pint - $6.50 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Passed across the bar a clear, dark brown-hued body with a half inch of head the color of dusty ivory. Fine, slim lacing on the way down.

Smell: El Steinber leans malty, with notes of toasted bread crusts, lightly roasted malt, and cocoa. Slender hoppiness. Small touch of fruit.

Taste: Dark, liberally toasted bread crusts atop subtle pils malts housing tastes of cocoa powder and a restrained roastiness. Sensible sweetness. Turns a bit nutty as it warms. A little raisin fruitiness. Minor hint of herb and spice, with a low bitterness from the German hops. Nicely malty, nutty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Works fairly well as a easy-going, easy-drinking dark lager.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
3.04/5  rDev -13.1%
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 deadonhisfeet
3.36/5  rDev -4%
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 metter98
2.95/5  rDev -15.7%
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 mdfb79
3.11/5  rDev -11.1%
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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El Steinber Dark Lager from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.5 out of 5 based on 164 ratings.
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