Steel Reserve 211 (High Gravity) | Steel Brewing Company

1,211 Ratings
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Steel Reserve 211 (High Gravity)Steel Reserve 211 (High Gravity)

Brewed by:
Steel Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Malt Liquor

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed in different abv. versions: 6.0%, 7.3%, 8.1%, & reports of a 8.9%. In a few counties/states, a 3.2% version is also available.

Added by Todd on 09-13-2001

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Ratings: 1,211 |  Reviews: 563
Photo of Wasatch
2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a nice yellow color, nice carbonation, little fizzy white head, with minimal sticky lacing left behind. The nose is kinda sweet, ricy/corny. The taste is sweet, kinda malty, ricy. Medium body, with a slight bitter finish. Not Drinkable, not bad, but still....

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Photo of Ruffio
1.81/5  rDev -27%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Its been a while since I had one of these, but the nostalgia factor is certainly there. Certainly not my favorite drink by any means, but it has served its purpose in the past. First thing that stands out is the lack of carbonation. This quality really allows the drinker to down cans at top speed. This helps since the taste of the beer is excessively sweet and not something you'd want to take your time to enjoy. That being said, the moderate presence of hops in the flavor keep it from becoming sickly sweet. The drinkability of this beer is actually fairly decent for a malt liquor owing to its smoothness going down. The presence of alcohol is fairly strong in both smell and taste, but for a beer of it's type, Its fair to say drinkers of malt liquor wont be complaining at this aspect. The price is also very inexpensive and combined with high gravity, the only decent points of the drink.

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Photo of argounova3
2.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz silver can with lots of words on it, probably designed to tempt literary types like myself. I waffled on glassware but eventually poured this into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Very clear pale amber (more appetizing than the usual pale yellow of American macro light (or lite) beers. There was a nice foamy head right after the pour (maybe this won't be so bad after all!) that disappeared in record time (bummer). "Lacing" is probably not an appropriate word for the seven bubbles left floating around the edge of the glass. Some champagne-like bubbles running up the center of the glass but I'm not impressed.

Smell: The first thing I got when I popped the can open was a faintly skunky smell, but I'm going to try not to hold this against the beer. The poor thing sat in a hot minivan for two days before I got to bring it home and refrigerate it for a few hours. Not much malt and zero hop aroma. Then comes the alcohol, which is when I actually read the can and raise my eyebrows at the 8.1% ALC./VOL. Once I find the alcohol it's hard to smell anything else.

Taste: Mouthfeel is slightly more carbonated than it looks. A little sweet and a little corny, but I'm still looking for some hoppy something. No luck on the hops front despite the can's claim of "select hops for extra gravity." The alcohol taste isn't as strong as I'd expected from the smell, but the aftertaste (I just can't bring myself to call it a finish) is surprisingly clean compared to most malt liquors (not that I'm an expert). Maybe the alcohol is burning off the badness? I was a little worried about the last sip of this because this was starting to warm up a little and sometimes I can't handle the last swig of an extraordinary beer, but I just went for it and (for better or worse) the last drink was bracing but not much worse than the first one.

Conclusions: I would actually be willing to try this one again, it wasn't horrible and maybe one that was properly stored wouldn't have that off-putting cloud of skunk that escaped as soon as I opened the can. There's not much in the way of flavor, but I'd say that about 90% of the beers you can find in a convenience store. It's drinkable for a malt liquor, doesn't have the vomitty aftertaste of Coors and hopefully wouldn't give me the sniffles like Budweiser does. I'll stick to finer beers when they're available, but if I ever need to pack a whole bunch of ethanol into as few calories and dollars as I can stand, I'll reach for a case of Steel Reserve.

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Photo of DollarCan
2.31/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Steel Reserve 211 is a great choice if you want an inexpensive beer that will pack a punch. If you're looking for a good tasting beer to sit back and enjoy this will not be the one. That being said, this may not be a bad choice for a tailgate party. First of all it is cheap (less than 6 bucks for the 12-pack) and has a high ABV% to get the job done quicker for less money. If you're having a family party with good food, you may want to stick with the traditional beer choice.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.48/5  rDev +40.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A highly rated example of the style, I thought I'd compare it to some strong european counterparts.

appearance; yellow color with a so, so, white, spritzy head. Moderate dissipation and a bit of lacing. Impressive for the style.

smell; not so good. Some sweet malts and corn + much alcohol. Rather cheap, yet above a lot of examples of this style.

taste; a bit of cereal, malt sweetness upfront with some foul, sour hops. Finishes with a warm spicy alcohol, turns a bit sweet with only the slightest bitters. Crap but amazing for malt liquor. Good representative of the style.

mouthfeel; Pretty smooth, some light fizz in the mouth, leaving a warm alcoholic finish. Not at all repulsive.

drinkability; really alcoholic and the aftertaste reminds of this. Still, quite an easy drink. Really quite good for a malt liqour and the alcohol taste that does come through, is actually a bit warm and pleasant.

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Photo of beerprovedwright
3.19/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pure white frothy head of two fingers, leaving some lace with moderate cling. Color matches a 4 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell of cooked grain, some veggies, and the burn of alcohol. Taste is sweet corn, malt, and maybe they floated a hop over the top of the kettle. Mouthfeel is average, better than tap water, but not quite the cream or even half and half. Tasty enough to drink while grilling out, or raking leaves.

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Photo of mattjv
2.61/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aaah Steel Reserve - It is what it is, this beverage is purpose- brewed for intoxication at bargain basement prices. After enjoying many college nights out with the help of ole' Steely a proper review was in order. Found myself with a few leftover cans during winter break, so I jumped on the rare opportunity to review this entirely sober.

Pours a golden color, few shades darker than a macro lager. Thin white head crackles like soda but sticks around just a little longer than your average Pepsi product. Smell is mainly thick, heavy sweetness, with a strong solvent alcohol presence and notes of overcooked vegetables.

Light body, moderate carbonation does what it can to offset the thick, cloying malt sweetness. Strong corn presence err.. complements? the sweetness. Speaking of overcooked vegetables, they are just as prominent on the taste. Hop presence mainly consists of grass clippings and vegetables, specifically that gross over-steamed cafeteria broccoli that is colored similar to the shade army tanks are painted with. Alcohol spice comes out swinging and stings the back of the throat on the way down. Alcohol warms the throat, slightly metallic aftertaste. Is that what the name came from?

Drinkability? I have drained many a 40 of this when money is tight, so quite high. It's thick and sticky and packs quite a wallop, but I'd take a 40 of this over 6 cans of BMC light any day.

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Photo of alleykatking
1.62/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from 24oz can.

A- Pours a pale straw yellow color. Half finger white head that shows poor retention. There is light streaks of lace on the sides of the glass.

S- Light grainy aroma is making up most of this. Sweeter malts in the middle of the aroma. Alcohol is mixed up in the middle and last throughout the entire rest of the aroma. Lemony aroma towards the backing which seemed out of place yet still good for malt liquor.

T- Super sickly sweet on the begining taste. The corn flavor mixes well with the metallic or as well as a malt liquor could. Alcohol comes in over the top and is very medicinal. Actually medicinal isn't the word I'm looking for it's just super rubbing alcohol style flavoring.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is high but good for the style. Sickly sweet and high alcohol left on the palate. High alcohol left in the aftertaste with nothing else..maybe some metallic like corn flavoring. Balance? Nope. Off flavors are all over with the alcohol and metallic. Medium high drying on the palate from the alcohol.

D- This beer is gross. I don't know if I like this at all. A 40oz would be way to much to drink. The alcohol is off putting even for a malt liquor. I'm not ever going to try this one ever again.

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Photo of hardy008
1.28/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Light gold with a small white head which vanishes quickly, leaving no lacing. The aroma has grain and alcohol. Not impressive.

The taste has grain and alcohol. Somewhat acidic, and very unpleasant. Light bodied, average carbonation. Cheap, low quality swill. Don't bother with this one.

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Photo of JayS2629
1.52/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A- Pale clear yellow with thin white head, litle retention, and foamy lace.

S- Grainy, sweet malts, booze is strong, corn, honey and hint of lemon.

T- Very sweet but overpowered by booze, alcohol taste. Very raw alcohol and corn tastes, with honey, and metallic notes. Hard to swallow. Medicine like.

M- Thick, creamy, grainy, and warming burn.

D- Wow! Not even a sipper. Overpowered with raw alcohol taste and corn. The honey and lemon hints just add to a medicine taste. Thick, burning, and hard to swallow. Won't buy ever.

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Photo of richkrull
1.9/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Steel Reserve is pretty rough overall. I shudder when I pull this beer from my mystery beer machine. That being said, I guess it tastes about the same as most malt liquor. If you're looking to get messed up, this would probably get the job done, but I wouldn't recommend it for anything else.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.37/5  rDev +35.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

After a better than expected experience with Olde English I thought I'd make a dash to the store for a reference point before letting this style drift back into the deep confines of my gray matter. Poured into a pint glass, the Reserve pours a similar golden straw with a finger of not quite so long lived foam. Lacing is present but lighter as well and manages to keep a surface cap.

Nose is grainy and slightly sweet with a touch of fruitiness and some yeast as well. Flavor is coarse and grainy in texture with some lemony hop notes. Expands with warming to offer an almost Belgian like quality to the yeast notes.

Citric malt notes in flavor, this beer finishes dry and with a thinner body than the 800, yet still offers a hint of creaminess thanks to a good level of carbonation. Drinks well for its heft.

The American Malt Liquor is surely an under appreciated style given my experience this evening. Yet it does offer some insight as to what it actually costs to make, package and distribute a beer.

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Photo of AustinBeerLvr
2.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Twenty four ounce can poured into a large pint glass. A few sips straight from the can.

I have had very limited experience with American Malt Liquors, as to estimation, they are pretty much simply a quick, cheap way to get intoxicated. That said, they do have their place, but this one has a very sweet alcoholic taste that after several sips, gets harder and harder to put down the rest of the glass. Strong taste of corn, fruitiness, and a bit of malt, but above all, a very potent alcohol flavor makes itself present in the nose and taste. Moutfheel is actually kind of thick for the style, with little carbonation and almost overwhelming sweet, thick mouthfeel. Overall, I seriously doubt I'll ever buy this one again, as it seems to be nothing more than a cheap way to get intoxicated. Don't get me wrong, I believe malts have their place, but this one is just too damn sweet and overpowering to be even somewhat drinkable.

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
1.9/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: There is a small head that disseminates quickly. Its got a nice clear yellow color. I'm definitely impressed. The last malt I tried "Olde English" lacked these qualities.

Smell: Bright floral notes with a solid wheat backing. Like all malt liquors I get lots from the yeast because the hops are bland.

Taste: I can't believe how sweet this beer is It taste like bananas soaked in everclear It's very relient on sugar as an ingredient. Don't be fooled by this beer though. I think the sugar is an ingredient for a hangover. That's why so many people end up sending this beer back to the toilet from which it came at the end of the night.

Mouthfeel: Its medium bodied. Not as watery as many macro lagers but it isn't good and it taste terrible in the throat. The bittersweet characterstics make we want to swallow this one and get it over with.

Drinkability: This is only good for getting wasted when you are broke. Then again save your money.

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Photo of LanceW
2.35/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

My local market carries these for 4 for 5 bux for 24 oz cans. I picked a couple up and drank them. OMG I thought I was back in college or something. I was soo drunk soo quick. I ended up drink 2 of those cans one night and it I did the math... It was like drinking 8 domestic beers.

I would not recommend this to anyone other than someone whom is looking to get a quick buzz or looking to get trashed quick.

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Photo of gskitt
2.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I recieved a bottle free as a give away promotion. They gave me a t-shirt as well. I guess that should have been a hint of things to come.
This is the first beer I have reviewed that I flat out did not like. Nothing about it was appealing to me, the color, scent and taste were all the same level of blandness. I would not reccomend this beer.

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Photo of mountsnow1010
1/5  rDev -59.7%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is my benchmark for all ones.
I had four sips of this and thought I was going to puke.
Looks and smells as awful as it tastes. Tastes like metal, mold, grease, and gasoline. I am assuming I somehow had a contaminated can or batch or something, or maybe I just hate this beer way more than others do.

Not drinkable at all.

This beer's taste and smell is seared into my memory. The one positive experience I have from this is that I will forever know what all 1's is for my palate.

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Photo of jera1350
2.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Light gold color with a decent head of white suds that is pretty thick, but shrinks down within a minute or two. No lacing.

Getting some pale malt sweetness with some notes of banana and lemon. Not too bad.

Pretty big sweetness with notes of honey. Picking up some crisp hops as well along with some pear and apple. The alcohol is pretty evident in the finish and does not blend in particularly well.

Kind of a strange mouthfeel. It's slick and thick up front and then some carbonation emerges in the middle to open things up. It's almost like a hard liquor on the rocks feel.

Overall, this beer is not what I was expecting. I was really expecting a mess, but with the exception of the alcohol taste and mouthfeel, this beer is not half bad. Has to be a great representation of the style.

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Photo of BrewMaven
3.33/5  rDev +34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've always been curious to how this would stand up against it's competition, Colt 45 and Old English 800 to name two.

Pours a pretty, clear light amber and has a nice slightly off white head that dropped to a sparse cover after a minute or so. The quickly vanishing head is the only reason this didn't get an even higher appearance score..the champagne like bubbles are just lovely! lol.

Smells of slightly sweet malt and grain.

Taste is surprisingly and substantially better than the aformentioned Colt and Old E. Yes it's still dominated by adjuncty grain but has none of the putridness of Old E and very very little of the raw alcohol flavor I've always tasted in Colt 45. Budweiser is blown away by this in my opinion.

Very clean semi dry finish...(Was that a slight hint of hops?) with an expectedly thin mouthfeel.

Would pair pretty good with a snack tray or burgers.

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Photo of flavorshark
1.83/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

So many bad decisions stemmed from this beer, but like they say, what you did drunk is what you deeply wanted to do. So I deeply want to drink bad "high-gravity" beers.

Scent is of alcohol and maybe corn syrup. Taste is no different save for a piercing, nearly emetic metal something. What is this? No idea, but the FDA should look into it.

This is the sort of drink you choke down if you're looking to rub up against a warm body and don't want to remember. At the risk of being banned, I'll wonder out loud what he Bros were thinking on this one.

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Photo of weizenbob
2.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

I've never actually had malt liquor before and I have to admit that I'm a bit intimidated by 24 ounces of 8.1% ABV bargain beer. Why am I subjecting myself to this? Anyway this 24 ounce can was partially poured into a mug. A thick two-finger head forms quickly and just as quickly settles down to about a half-finger. The color is a surprisingly dark caramel shade. So far, not too shabby.

This beer reeks of adjunct grains, which actually isn't a bad thing. It smells malty and sweet, yet still thin. Okay enough stalling; it's time to take the plunge.

The first sip of this is a slap in the face. Alcohol hits hard in the mouth but it's attached to a lot of sweetness. Still, it's not really enough sweetness in my opinion. The alcohol takes center stage, and anything else in this brew is just a supporting character. I keep trying to analyze other flavors in the brew but I keep coming back to the alcohol, how it tastes up front, how it coats the back of the mouth, how it burns a little bit going down. The beer is pretty watery, and to its credit, it leaves no lingering aftertaste. It's like a ninja in that respect. However, I am beginning to nootice that I'm getting that fire breething sensation in my nose as I exhale. Also, the room is gettting a litle bit bluru

the moutfeel is not really bad. I poor the rest of the can to the mug. I poor the rest of the can to mug. beer is medium body, very sweet lots of alcohol. starting to not be taste this anymore. feels good in mouf.

suddenly sleepy have hard time finish can. hard time seeee moontor wile tiping not be keeeep dreenkng fer sur not be drink more this... spinnneeeeng take more sipp most gonee think sik why ggg

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Photo of HURTemHIZZY
2.14/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

I used to drink this shit in college pretty much every night. It's no wonder I did so shitty.

Looks better than the average malt liquor. Clear, crisp golden amber with a very thin pure white head that dissipates quickly. No lacing. Smell is alcohol, cooked veggies, uhhh.... Something else that I can't describe... Maybe veggies cooked in alcohol? Or cooked veggies which then sat around in a vat of alcohol? Something along those lines... Do they age their veggies in alcohol?

Taste is along the same lines. Noticeable corn, cooked veggies, and a big time alcohol wave that isn't all that pleasant. Tons of sweetness from the malt - At least the malt bill is noticeable! I honestly don't know how I used to drink this so much. I did make it through the bottle though, so it could be worse. Actually, it's better than a lot of other malt liquors, so I think my issue is just with the style in general. Im no longer a man... Fuck you craft beer!

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Photo of SDtastentune
2.5/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Well, Drank this one just to try a malt, Compared to my usual.

A - Clear golden fizzy pissy with lots of head that dissipates quickly.

S - I don't care for it, stale bread or some kind of flour malty crap.

T - Dry malts & alcohol, mixed with bread of some sort. Kinda sour & rough.

M - Fizzy, malty & overall no likable, almost disgusting & ever foul.

D - I guess its pound-able, after a few good beers but not even. Please never let me buy this again. Should of got another ABA at the place I went, totally not worth it. I think I'm going to pour it down the drain, but no its beer.

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Photo of prototypic
2.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2009

Ahhh yes. For my 1000th review, I found it somewhat irresistible to tackle the legendary Steel Reserve.

Steel Reserve pours a pale yellow color. It's very clear. Backlighting gives it a distinct yellow color. A foamy white head tops it. It stands about a finger and a half tall and falls relatively quickly. ABV? Perhaps. Lacing was a little sticky, but very light. Meh. Not exciting.

The nose is below average. It's very weak, and doesn't feature much in terms of aromatics at all. It's earthy and grainy throughout. There's definitely a corn scent that's prominent. Alcohol is noticeable, but isn't overwhelming. That pretty much wraps it up. Not much to smell here.

The flavor is a little better actually. This isn't the pungent beast I anticipated. Is it good? Absolutely not. But it's far from the worst beer I've ever had. It kicks off with a strong corn flavor. It should come as no surprise that that flavor lingers throughout. There are some earthy and grainy flavors that aren't altogether bad. I'm getting a tad bit of sweet malt. It does a decent job of holding things together. Alcohol is definitely there, but this is a malt liquor after all. What'd you expect? Finishes a little sweet and corn-y (no pun intended).

Steel Reserve has a body that's on the light side of medium. Carbonation is active. While it doesn't feel smooth, it doesn't have a bad feel. Drinkability is below average. Eh. The flavor's alright, but there's not enough here to really draw you in. It's not a disaster, but I'm not enjoying it. Finish the can? Eh. We'll see about that.

I really anticipated Steel Reserve to be a huge disaster. Honestly, it's not. I picked this for my 1000th review as a joke. But this is nowhere close to being the worst beer I've ever had. Truth. It's not good. Definitely lacking in aromatics, flavor, and just about everything else. But...if the Malt Liquor mood strikes, I can honestly say that Steel Reserve isn't a terrible choice.

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Photo of connery89
2.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A very thick golden color
A Nice sweet, decently strong malty smell
Strong alcoholy metallic taste that can seem to overwhelm (or burn) your taste buds
fairly mediocre body, very carbonated. Can definately dry out your mouth.
The drinkability of this beer is really dependant on your plans for the night. Definately not a sipping beer. Its not the best beer to grab for if you have important plans that day. But it can be a very fun beer to start your night off with.

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Steel Reserve 211 (High Gravity) from Steel Brewing Company
2.48 out of 5 based on 1,211 ratings.
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