Tarnation California-Style Lager | Baxter Brewing Co.

33 Reviews
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Tarnation California-Style LagerTarnation California-Style Lager

Brewed by:
Baxter Brewing Co.
Maine, United States

Style: California Common / Steam Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BEERMILER12 on 03-04-2014

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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 228
Photo of Wiffler27
4.4/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a dark amber with a thick white head.

smells like sweet malt and not much else. very plain aroma.

taste is fantastic. a full flavored malt-bodied lager. malt forward and full of it. great taste, very clean and plain but one of the best tasting lagers i've ever had. goes down smooth, easy drinking. great full bodied lager.

overall this is my first california common/ steam beer but i like it. it has a full body and pure taste. could easily be a pale ale. a great beer overall. Baxter brewing has made a great variety pack.

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Photo of Alexmc2
4.38/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours an absolutely crystal clear golden amber with two finger head. Smell is of lager yeast and toasted malt. Great lacing in the glass. Initial caramel malt sweetness finishing just a tad drier than the initial taste. Good carbonation level, very pleasant. Great beer, in a style that is so often overlooked.

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Photo of jdauria
4.21/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Big fan of the Common/Steam style, and this is a great addition to the very small field. Light golden amber color which was a little lighter than I expected. Aroma was pure Steam beer, the minty, woody Northern Brewer hops were easily picked up was the nice biscuit like malt backbone. The taste was a home run, a nice fruity malt flavor from fermenting at ale temps with just enough of the hops coming through to balance the beer perfectly. Overall, in my opinion, this gives Anchor Steam a run for it's money. This will be a staple in my beer fridge!

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Photo of Oldejoe
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looks. Slightly reddish golden hues, with a thin head.
Smell. Fresh slightly hoppy, slightly peachy? Nothing clear cut for me.
Taste. Mild gingery, malty start with a mildly dry hoppy finish.
Feel. Sparkley at the start, somewhat dry at the finish, medium light weight to the mouth feel.
Overall. Nice summer beer, especially if you need a break from all the IPAs

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-Pours a light, clear orange. White head that wisps away over time. Soft lacing. Was expecting it to be more yellow but I enjoy this color.

S-Lively lager yeast. Mostly malty besides that. A hint of floral hops. Very good representation of the Common Beer, at least in the nose.

T-Pretty tasty and vibrant. The flavor pops. Tangy lager yeast with some caramel. Bread crust maltiness. Light, floral hops in the back.

M-Quite drinkable. Well carbonated. Would be an easy beer to session.

O-Common Beer's have never been my cup of tea but this one is different. I've only had a few of the style butt his one is probably my favorite.

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Photo of Etan
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%

A: Nice amber orange with a dirty white head.

S: Light caramel maltiness, yeasty in the nose.

T: Taste is toasted malt, dry yeast, bit of green bitterness. A "malty" lager on first blush but it's quite dry compared to other amber lagers.

M: Light-bodied, creamy, crisp carb.

O: Definitely grew on me. Nice to have a sweeter lager that's not overly sweet.

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Photo of horshack7
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass is a slightly hazy amber colored beer with a thick off white and rocky head that leaves behind thick lacing as it thins out.

Aroma: Heavy grapefruit mixed in simple syrup, biscuity, twinges of butter. A light dryness lingers in the nose.

Taste: Crispness in the front with grapefruit and piney notes. Biscuty buttery texture on the palate and alight dry finish.

Notes: Very well brewed great dryness as well as a good balance between hoppiness and sweetness. Cheers.

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Photo of illpass78
3.79/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had a pint on draft at Borealis in Portland, Maine.

Appearance: Pours a neat clear amber with a fluffy white, or maybe off-white, head. Carbonation heavy. Leaves some nice lacing. Looks like an amber lager; king of like a Yuengling to my eyes.

Aroma: Smells clean and crisp with some nice floral hops in the background.

Taste: Nice easy-drinking lager. Tastes sweet and malty with some nice hop bitterness. Some biscuit and bread-like character in there; maybe a slight bit of toffee. Slightly complex but eminently quaffable.

Mouthfeel: Easy on the palate with a nice hoppy finish.

Overall: Baxter seems to have phased out Amber Road in favor of this brew. I dug Amber Road a lot but this is a really good beer and will probably appeal to a broader audience. I had one with a grilled cheese on a sunny day and it was, as we say in Maine, of the finest kind.

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Photo of cbutova
3.79/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- 12oz can poured to a pint glass with a lightly hazed, pale amber body. A cap rises to the top of the beer with a thick, creamy texture. The head reaches about two fingers with great retention and reaches ring status after quite some time. Lacing covers most of the glass in webs and sheets.

S- The aroma consists of a moderate dose of Northern Brewer hops, light toasted caramel grains and some light fruits. The hops are woody, earthy and herbal like mint just a bit.

T- Moderate hop flavors from the style signature Northern Brewer varietal. Overall they are earthy, herbal, floral and somewhat minty. Malts match the hop strength with light caramel, toasted, sweetness and a hint of nutty grains. Light apple fruits on the back end.

MF- Light, crisp body that has a fairly creamy texture when agitated. Carbonation is at a high end level supporting the flavors present. Low-medium bitterness on the palate in the finish.

A nice balance is found between the earthy hops and toasted caramel grains. Very crisp and one that can be quaffed. Nice to see someone brewing a Steam Beer in New England.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a shaker pint, the beer is a crystal-clear, copper coloring, with a steady flow of carbonation, and a bubbly, fluffy, clingy, off-white head. Nose of toasted grains, subtle toffee sweetness, and roasted notes throughout. Flavors are roasted caramel sweetness forward, with an underlying hops bitterness and roasted character. Richly sweet throughout, on a slick, mid-body. The aftertaste is roasted, as well, with a sweet caramel characteristic, and some nutty notes mixed in. Clean, smooth finish. More body than what I would expect from the style, but damn tasty and drinkable.

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Photo of jimboothdesigns
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a nice redish amber with a nice fine 2 plus finger head. Very nice smell and taste. Reminds me of an Octoberfest. Has a smooth malty taste and has a slight hop bitterness in the end. Not too sweet.

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Photo of smcolw
3.71/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Chunky white head. Copper amber color and clear. Plenty of ring lace with a couple clumpy areas.

Caramel aroma from the toasted malt. Low hop nose.

The taste is better balanced--the hop is far more pronounced. Dry finish but with a caramel overtone. The aftertaste is biting and bitter, but not long lasting. Full body but the carbonation is high as well.

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Photo of ManapuaMan
3.69/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Crisp, refreshing lager with a little more hops and way more malt that separates it from the pack. An enjoyable beer to pluck from the cooler and down on a summer day but not one I would seek out.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz. can into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.

The color is a hazy orange/ amber with three fingers of foamy head and some thick lacing.

The smell has a slight fruity flavor that is just teasing a fruity pebbles aroma. It's like sticking your nose in the box before putting some into a bowl. There is a whipped cream aroma that is coming off the head as well mixed a slight malty aroma that braces the back of the aroma.

The taste is a bit lactic at first with a slight zing of carbonation and cream flavor. The malts come out after letting out a slight biscuit flavor that is a tad dry but also filled with a quick buttery flavor that gives into a tangy fruit flavor and finally a twang of bitterness at the end.

The feel of this beer is smooth with a medium body that goes down easy. There is some hop aftertaste that hides until the end and makes things feel bigger than before.

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Photo of Beric
3.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving: August 2016
Served: From the can

Another bad can design from Baxter. I wanted to like this beer more than I actually did- this ended up just being a regular old beer. Nicely drinkable for sure, but there were enough hops in it to give it a pinch of awkward bitterness and flavor. Nonetheless, a beer that has its place and one I certainly didn't mind, but not one I would seek out.

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Photo of jlindros
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Interesting Steam Lager from a can. Could be interesting, esp for a hot summer day like today. Bottom has a code on it, but no legible date, that's just as annoying as nothing.

Pours a huge frothy head that forces me to stop pouring early, hits 2+ fingers but fades back fairly quickly at least, decent spotty lacing, a clear but sediment laden nectar orange color, plumb of bubbles streaming up.

Nose is fairly steam-esque, a light doughy lager malt, light golden malts and toastiness, light and aromatic malts, with a little grassy hop kick to it, and a bit of a crisp slightly fruity lager note.

Taste brings more of the same, a coppery like malt, little toasty and doughy, with some almost but not quite grainy lager malts, mild straw, etc. That starts to wane as big hops kick in, mostly grassy and leafy, little herbal earthy as well, quite bitter dominating over the light crisp lager underneath. Finish is dry and crisp but big bitter grassy almost spicy hops, little herbal and earthy still, long lingering bitter finish.

Mouth is med to a bit lighter bod, nice carb.

Overall not bad, I do like the malt base, and aroma is decent, but the hops turn up a bit too much on the taste for a nice lager, at least in this case it just overpowers it, something like American Darling they go well as the lager and malts are stronger and they balance, this just goes a little overboard on the hops. Still a nice crisp enjoyable summer lager.

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Photo of u2carew
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can

A) Pours with a two finger head. Tight and creamy foam. Bronze colored body, nearly clear.
S) Subtle hints of caramel, citrus and pine. Not overly aromatic.
T) Pleasant malty notes. Slightly astringent grainy taste. Some fruity tones-apple with a grapefruit rind finish.
M) Crisp carbonation. Medium-light body.
O) A decent brew. I'd drink another one.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.61/5  rDev -0.3%

On-tap 3/23/2014 at British Beer Company, in Walpole, MA served in a nonic pint glass.

A: The beer is a light golden brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains lager yeast, caramelized malts, some hops and some citrus.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of lager yeast and a hearty malt character. Then some mildly sweet flavors of caramel and citrus come in. The hops presence is strong and floral and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, it’s a solid beer but there are better choices within the style.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. can marked 03-31-14. Whether that is a canning date or an expiration date is unclear but I sampled it on April 19, 2014.

Handsome looking medium amber-copper color with a lingering cream colored head and good clarity.

The aroma has some caramel malt elements and a clean crisp hop character like a standard lager but beyond that it is fairly non-descriptive.

Medium, smooth body.

The taste has a bit more character than the nose with the same caramel maltiness but a decent bitter and dry finish. Drinkable for certain.

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Photo of tone77
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A thanks to the founding father of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 12
oz. can. Has a bronze/orange color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of caramel, a bit of hops. Taste is malts, hops are present, some caramel, but not as pronounced as in the smell. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall a smooth and refreshing beer that was consumed quickly on this warm summer night.

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Photo of rangerman21
3.56/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- Light amber with a white head and decent lacing
S- Slight note of hops
T- Balanced with a nice taste of hops at the end
F- Just about right
O- Nice and balanced. The nice hop finish makes it very drinkable.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #88 (May 2014):

Grainy, Biscuit, Level

This is what we need, more and more craft brewers coming out with extremely drinkable lagers. Baxter throws down with this tasty California Common that retains an impeccable balance. Not your typical lager but certainly worth a visit or few.

STYLE: California Common | ABV: 5.3% | AVAILABILITY: Year-round

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Photo of Brackh
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Pours a brownish color with little head. Very faint smell. A decent little lager. Malty and an easy finish. Nothing spectacular here. Overall good though.

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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This California common style lager pours a slightly brownish orange color with a fairly large foamy white head. The smell is very mild, but has some faint malt and yeast scents. The flavor is pretty basic with grains and yeast coming through and a slightly bitter piney hop aftertaste. The finish is quite dry. The body is on the light end of medium. There’s not a whole lot to say about this one. It’s a pretty standard lager, nothing offensive, but nothing too interesting either, definitely not as good as Anchor Steam. Maybe not the worst beer in the Baxter summer variety pack that I got, but not the best either.

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Photo of Maxwell
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

The beer pours a creamy, very light amber/rich golden color with a silky, off-white head of medium-sized bubbles. In body, the beer is clean and translucent, with just a slight haze from the beer’s rich coloring. Bubbles are a constant fixture within the beer, and punch towards the surface with quite a lot of tenacity, keeping the head rocky at about a fourth of a finger’s width. The head leaves some nice fluffy lacing as it moves down the glass. On the nose, the beer smells of caramel, cream corn, slight cider, herbal hops, and a finish of sweet bread. The cream corn is a little strong in the nose, but not off-putting. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet with a bitter back finish that balances out the beer. There is a little earthiness in the beer, adding slight complexity, but really this is a simple sweet and bitter beer. In flavor, it tastes of cream corn, crackers, soft caramel, and very faint watermelon. These flavors slide into a finish of herbal and grassy bitter hops that blend and mellow the sweetness, leaving a slight metallic twinge on the finish and aftertaste. Again, the DMS seems a little high in the initial sip, though it’s nicely drinkable and inoffensive. As you drink more of the beer, the bitters tend to grow and provide a nice bite that covers up much of the cream corn character. In the mouth, the beer feels light bodied with just a little gelling. The carbonation is fluffy and full, and the mouthfeel is silky (nearly syrupy) with a nice little crispness on the finish. After the beer leaves, the mouth is left slightly wet, but fairly neutral, making it perfect for another sip. From the can I detect little to know change in the drinking experience, aside from the slight metallic bite, which is actually quite pleasant in this particular beer. Overall, the beer is refreshing and simple. The DMS is a little high, but still manageable, and the flavors are all inoffensive. I’d place this a step above the Adjunct Lagers. It’s easy to drink, refreshing, and mild in flavor. Not a bad beer, but not amazing either. A nice, simple (almost) session lager.

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Tarnation California-Style Lager from Baxter Brewing Co.
3.62 out of 5 based on 228 ratings.
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