Brew Masters Private Reserve | Anheuser-Busch

BA SCORE
81
good
120 Ratings
Brew Masters Private ReserveBrew Masters Private Reserve
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anheuser-Busch
Missouri, United States
anheuser-busch.com

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Decades ago, Budweiser brewmasters started a tradition. During the holidays, they'd collect the purest liquid from the brewing kettles; pre-sparged, first wort. This first stock - unusually smooth and rich despite its robust alcohol - was reserved for A-B friends and family, until now. Note from the brewers: this an all-malt beer; NO rice or corn. Imported hops. 20 Plato. It's also a completely different recipe than Budweiser.

Added by yen157 on 11-13-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
120
Reviews:
104
Avg:
3.49
pDev:
17.48%
 
 
Wants:
5
Gots:
3
For Trade:
0
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Ratings: 120 |  Reviews: 104
Photo of Citadel82
4.2/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased this brew just so I could review it for my weekly column in the Atlantic Highlands Herald. At $10.99 a bottle I knew I was taking a chance and that my money may have been better spent on a smaller brewers offering that was more likely to be tasty and of good quality. With 1.5 liters of brew at 8.5% alcohol I knew that this was a brew to share. My chance arrived in the form of a beer swap at a friend's home. His wife was hosting a cookie swap so a beer swap was the perfect pairing. The invite and plan were simple and the result was suprising. The invite said bring a Case of your favorite lager and leave with an assortment. I was expecting nothing but BMC but was rewarded to see that at least some folks are starting to get into the differences between stylesin particular pale ales versus lager and the term "lawn mower beer" was used by many to describe Corona and similar offerings. This was a hopeful sign and it was into this mix that I pacelled ot a 5 ounce sample to eight willing guinea pigs. The consensus was that it was "unexpected" and from some quite "tasty" . Most were quite surprised that it was an AB product. I was one of those.

Poured a clear light amber with a thin short-lived white head. Sparse carbonation. Little evident lacing. (Cannot vouch for Glass being Beer Clean however so don't let this put you off.)

Aroma was balance of sweet malt and floral hops. No skunky, funky, adjunct smell evident and no alcohol either. The aroma improved as the brew warmed and oxidized. Aroma becoming a richer malt and more complex hops.

Taste was balanced and a little sweet at first. Again as the beer warmed it became more balanced and more complex. There were caramel notes and some biscuity and doughy notes there was a little fruit and a little yeast. There is a relatively brief hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel was surprisngly light with a slickness that stuck to your tongue and palate. I would say it it is a medium bodied brew.

This was a tasty and drinkable beer. I intend to buy a couple bottles and lay them down to see how it matures.

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Photo of granger10
3.11/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear golden color with copper tinges throughout. Nice foamy white head reduces to a thin lacing above the liquid. Aroma has notes of grain malts and a clean yeasty note. I'm getting a bit of citric flavors in there and maybe a bit of honey. Flavor is similar to Budweiser but just more intense and full bodied with malts. And it doesn't leave you with that rice taste on the finish. Really thick in body but more effervescent than I thought. No adjunct flavor in there and really clean. But after a glass I became rather bored with the offering and the beer itself doesn't have any truly appealing qualities. Not really sessionable but not a sipper either, it kind of lies in some gray zone of beerdom. Decent but nothing great.

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Photo of beerphilosopher
4.1/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wide mouth tulip-style glass from a huge quart-size dark abber bottle with a flip top that's really very cool looking. Great packaging, if you ask me.

A - Bright golden with lots of effervescence. Tall, two-finger white head that dissipates pretty fast. Minimal lacing left behind. Certainly a richer color than a typical Bud.

S - Not at all what I expected. While it's a little "Bud-like," it's more ... dare I say this ... like a decent belgian beer. It's got that malty, yeasty character that it characteristic of a Belgian. Reminds me a little of a Duvel knock-off. I say this knowing that the mere suggestion that a BUd product is like a Belgian is tantamount to beer heresy. Still, I stand by my assessment.

T - Again, this beer is surprising me. Good malty body with a very discernable yeast backbone. Like a baked bread or pie. Not a lot of hop attitude here, but a very, very respectable malt beer. Slightly spicy, sweet, and smooth, yet not cloying.

M - Very clean and crisp ... now that is not so suprising. Fairly light and smooth. Finishes easy.

D - This beer is very drinkable, especially since the 8.5 abv is well hidden. I'd like to taste test this one with a few of my discerning beer buddies. I'd put money on it that they wouldn't know this was a Bud product in a million years. I'm truly impressed with this one ... I love it when a beer exceeds my expectations in almost every regard. Doesn't happen often. And it's even less likely that it would be a Bud offering ... way to go Augustus!

Try this one and swallow your "beer pride." If you can allow yourself to admit that Budweiser can produce a quality beer, you might just like this one. It's a shame it's a "once a year" beer.

Hmmm ... anyone ever tried to cellar this? (assuming you could get it several years ago?) At 8.5 I recon it's right on the edge of feasibility?

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Photo of hero27
1.76/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

1qt. 14.5 fl oz swing-top bottle. Fancy labeling and description written on the back.

Darker than Budweiser, with a bit better head retention, but still left nearly nothing for lace. Aroma is heavy on grainy malt, and the noble hops mixed with the dusty, corn malt actually create a somewhat offensive smell. The sweet malts in this do absolutely nothing for my tastebuds, other than make them question my reasoning for submitting them to such torture. It's only (somewhat) redeeming characteristic is the somewhat thick, malty profile this disarray of flavors rests upon. Other than that, this is a huge disappointment, even by Anheuser-Busch standards.

This was $12 that could have been much better spent. Me and two other BAs could barely finish the huge 1qt. 14.5 fl oz bottle. Wouldn't hurt my feelings a bit if A-B kept this "private" again..it'd be doing the beer-drinking public a favor.

* I've actually had a couple comments made to me about my low review for this beer, mentioning how people are giving it bad reviews just because it's an A-B product...however, i did review this with an open mind and was actually really looking forward to trying it. Sadly, I was very dissapointed...I couldn't really care less who who makes it (whether it be Anheuser-Busch or Three Floyds). For $12 a bottle, this is a huge rip-off in my opinion. Just my $.02 *

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Photo of HardTarget
3.01/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle Inspection: Brew Masters Private Reserve 2005 By Budweiser; 1 quart 14.5 fluid ounces black as night dark brown glass bottle with a plastic plug swing top. Many thanks to Pegasus for providing the sample.

Aroma: Very mild, almost non-existent nose. What I got was sweet, but that’s really all.

Appearance: Slightly more golden than average macro-lagers, fine carbonation bubbles gave a nice Champaign appearance. Good half finger of head, but no lace.

Flavor: Slight corn and apple notes in a clean lager flavor. Alcohol peeks through fairly prominently.

Mouthfeel: Creamy texture, very nice thickness and good firm carbonation level. The highlight of the beer in my opinion.

Overall Impression: Not bad, but not great. The alcohol is the most noted taste. As a malt liquor it’s not bad, but it’s no celebration in my book.

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Photo of Suds
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seeing this one in the beer store, I thought, ‘what the hell’. It pours a crystal-clear golden color with considerable head. There’s genuine lace, and the brew is notably attractive. The aroma is grain and alcohol in prominence, followed by continental hoppiness and bread-like notes. The taste is alcohol and a little sweetness. There’s a nice malt undertone and considerable slickness. The finish has an attractive hop bitterness that provides some balance. Alcohol isn’t hidden, however, and affects the finish. All in all, this is a drinkable and quite enjoyable brew. It’s a lot better than I’d expected. Kudos to (I can’t believe I’m writing this) A-B for this one. I really enjoyed it.

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

Nice looking 1.5L flip top bottle pours a clear copper color with a nice creamy off white head that leaves some lacing in my glass. Flowery honey and pear aromas, fruity caremel, honey and apple flavors. Full bodied with a full and somewhat slick mouthfeel, finishes on the dry side. Alcohol well hidden, suprisingly drinkable, as much as I hate to admit it, this is not that bad.

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Photo of ypsifly
3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Big ass flip top bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

Clear gold with lots of carbonation that supports a tall white head. Decent retention with some lace.

Smells grainy with some generic sweet malts, corn, and ghostly hops.

The taste follows along the same lines as the nose, but the sweets are kicked up a hair. The hops register in the finish, but there is nowhere near enough of them. On the up side, the alcohol doesn't register, and it does have a decent mouthfeel. Some dextrins, but not bad at all.

I paid $13.99 for some "high brow" malt liquor. Won't happen again...but hey...its no Steel Reserve or any of that shit.

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Photo of bigbubba
2.78/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It looks like regular Bud, with a bit more head, and a bit of lacing. While popping the top there was a cheap beer smell, once poured it had almost no aroma. The taste is definitely better than Bud. It is more like Bud Ice if I remember my college days. Definitely a step up from a macro beer, but for the price I could have had 6 bottles or a couple bombers of a really good beer.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear light golden with an off-white, tall and moussy head which fell very slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity with a strong banana ester when first opened that faded to a more refined note, thought still full of esters and a nice malt backbone that came off as slightly sweet.

The flavor was malty with a light estery flavor of banana, as was present in the aroma. The beer contained a light bit of hop flavor and was malty with a light caramel malt flavor.

The finish was just working toward dry with a bit of hop bittering as the flavor drifted off to dreamland. The body was medium and the carbonation was a bit on the low side for an AB product. This was the most drinkable malt liquor ever. Not being devoid of flavor was a real plus. The alcohol in the beer was present in the warming after consumption.

1.5 liter mamouth size flip top bottle (1 quart 14.5 oz). 05OCT06 on bottle. $12 at Sams in Durham.

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Photo of ADR
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear bronze-ish-gold color, nice mousse-like head of almost an inch in height (a big contrast to Michelob Celebrate). Admirable lacing, good patterns on the glass. Light caramel aroma, slightly detergent notes. Medium mouthfeel -- a feel of slickness with light coating qualities, carbonation is subtle, not too gassy, pretty well-done. Subtle malt flavors, some maple, sugary with light aspects of caramel and a slight tobacco bittering. Clean presentation from the beginning to the end. Alcohol is fairly well-hidden. Just a dusting of dried hops, but I wouldn't ask for a large hop impression in a beer that's leaning in an attenuated pale malt Bock direction. This beer is attractive, interesting, and quite drinkable, it doesn't deserve any derision based on its brewer. Better than Michelob Celebrate in many ways.

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Photo of juzy
2.59/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Got this at Sam's Club for $10.

It poured golden and creamy with an off-white, lingering head.
The aroma was bizarre for me; sugary, like cotton-candy with some roasted corn, as it warmed further it took on that trademark Bud aroma, whatever that is.

First sip is sweet but not all from malts. The malt sweetness is understated, overpowered by the sweetness from, I'm guessing, corn. Something bitter keeps hitting the back-sides of my tongue; some sort of hop profile? Whatever it is, I don't care for it. This flavor lingers, unfortunately. Over-all there isn't much flavor from start to finish.

I find the mouthfeel enjoyable; medium bodied, good carbonation, not too fizzy. But drinkability? forget it, I can't imagine having another glass of this.

If there was such a think as a Double Budweiser, this would be it at 8%. I guess I thought AB could do better. I was hoping they could do better, sort of to prove myself wrong about them and all other macro brewers. On the plus side, I have a great flip top bottle that will come in handy when we make our homemade Christmas egg nog.

I wouldn't recommend this unless you are looking for some nice flip-tops for your homebrews for $10 a piece. I think you'd pay that or more at a homebrew shop. In fact, I've never seen bottles of this size at our homebrew store.

If there were such a thing as a double Budweiser, this would be it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.96/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Release 2006:
I seemed to enjoy this years brew better than last years. This brew tasted just like classic Budweizer, but heavier, sweeter, and more alcoholic. Still with the heavy emphasis on rice and adjuncts that I find distracting. The beer would be better with a focus on the adjunct / malt balance, but...ooh well. The beer starts off with a malt-liquor sweetness, graininess, vegitol, and bite, but not all that bad. However, the beer wears on me quickly, leaving more vegitol and grain qualities than malt or hops. I'll probably keep buying this beer every year, and criticizing it as well.

Release 2005:
I appreciate Anheuser Busch for releasing this crafty brew to the public. However, I still do not prefer it. The color is a charming dark straw color with a viscous, oily texture. Carbonation is right on target, as opposed to many of their other products. This one smells typical of cereal based lagers. It picks up on a noticable grain and vegetable aroma with light hints of noble hops, bread, and alcohol. Tastes similar of a grainy, corn-like flavor that becomes a bit distracting. There are some nausiating flavors that remind me of baking soda. The body is, as promised, heavy and creamy for a lager. High marks on smoothness and roundness. Finishes bodly viscous with a grain and cereal sweetness that mellows into the aftertaste. I'm glad that I tried this, but it's probably the last one I'll drink for a while.

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Photo of BeerBob
3.08/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Brew Masters Private Reserve 2005 By Budweiser pours a clear dark golden amber from a 1 quart 14.5 fluid ounces black as night dark brown glass bottle with a plastic plug swing top.

Head went to over two fingers before turning rocky and then disappearing to a smooth glassy surface, no foam, no lace... no nothing.

Nose is a pleasant bitter hops, some grain husk, and just a whiff or two of alcohol. Palate is a hops bitter at first, then migrates to a sweet adjunct, followed by the bight of carbonation.

Aftertaste is a persistent, sticky, and drying bitter.


12/09/2005

Bottle number two, Some lace, with a well defined ring. Palate is a nice smooth hops bitter, with a lesser adjunct, and with a well balanced bitter.

Nice... Brew Masters Private Reserve 2005 By Budweiser, delivers!

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Photo of Stubbie1
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep gold color with a thick white head. The foam slowly fades and produces a thin lace until the end of the glass. Aroma of green grapes and honey. A bit sweet, and a slight twang of grass. But as much as I hate to say, there is that typical AB aroma mixed in. Maybe it is me but who knows, Taste is smooth and has a touch of the green grapes and malt. Missing hops, but not a bad beer . The 8+_% is nicely hidden and this beer is crisp and fresh. Overall not bad.

Now AB has a hint of what a real beer drinker likes. If and I do mean IF they change their ways……..

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Photo of mightymalt97
2.92/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If this is to be a"holiday brew" from AB then they missed the mark.
It is a souped up version Budweiser. It has great color, big time grainy sweetness but not in the way of hops . A bit of a dissapoinment I expected something like their Christmas beer from 1995. But as usual they have to go with the tatse that fits the masses of uneducated beer drinks.

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Photo of ghurux86
4.02/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

alright it's been awhile since i've reviewed a beer but here goes. i honestly think the new "craft" beers from ab are definitely decent. let's start.

appearance: pours a dark yellow golden color. head is decent but doesn't linger long and leaves no lacing.

smell: typical ab smell...lol....smells sweet, like rice and corn, but it also exhibits some hop aroma which is quite pleasing

taste: for 8.5% not bad. a hint of malt. some hops and rice. and a little alcohol heat.

mouthfeel: In my opinion, a little watery, good carbonation. ovearall pretty good.

drinkability i would buy it again but definitely not a session beer due to the high abv.

a pretty good offering from ab. definitely one of the best i've tried from the company

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Photo of jonnylieberman
3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My Father got his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis. One of his friends was a chemist employed by Bud. Every year around the holidays, he would show up at parties with bottles of either this stuff, or the predecessor to Private Reserve. My father spoke so fondly of it, explaining that once a year Bud would, "scrape their barrels" and produce a really special holiday beer. This was back in the early 60s and in America at least, nobody knew how beer was made. Now we know that this is simply an all first-runnings brew.

As a child though, I think it was the story of this brew that led me to fall in love with beer. A special beer? How cool is that? To my mind, really, really cool. Intriguing, mysterious and weel, fundamentally human. I've been hooked ever since.

Appearance: Cool swing-top 1.5L bottle. Whoa! Is this sucker pretty. I'm not sure that I have ever seen a beer this strong and this clear. 8.5% percent alcohol and I can see to the other side. Truly, remarkable clarity. Good, deep golden color and a pretty darn good head, too.

Smells like: Not bad at all. Bud typically has that crap-American cheap lager scent that reminds me of waking up in backyards circa 10th grade. Private Reserve however, is much better. More refined. I suppose it is only the smell of husk and rice, but overall, quite pleasing.

Taste: Memo to Bud – hops, use them. I have a feeling that they simply scaled up the recipe for regular bud, not taking into account that as wort gravity rises, hop utilization falls. Man -- cloying!! And too bad, too, because otherwise this beer tastes pretty good. Crisp and clean and all their regular marketing propaganda, and except for the moment you realize you probably just caught diabetes, not a bad beer. But serious now – more bittering hops.

Mouthfeel: Interesting – not fizzy enough, really. The body was so light and delicate that the initial smoothness gives way to shock as the uber, uber sweet blast hits you mid palate. More CO2 would have helped.

Overall: A neat beer, but ultimately not one I would purchase again. Products like this represent what small brewers have always feared -- Bud/Mill/Coors wake up and decide to produce beers with actual flavor, for not only are the giants the best brewers in the world (Remember, they choose to make a flavorless product), but they have a lock on distribution. Getting back to Private reserve, the lack of focus and cloyingness is not good. And what are they trying to make? Maybe if some Melanoiden reactions were happening, this beer could work as a strong Maibock? Who knows.

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Photo of 2ndstage
3.98/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant golden color. A tight light foam top that clings to the glass fairly well. Hop presense is light but there. Nice aromas of fruit and malt. Very clean taste as well. Slight sweetness in the finish with a light lingering alcohol burn. Way too drinkable but nice for someone like Budweiser to try out.

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Photo of yen157
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Frothy white head that hangs in there for some time with some stickiness. Very clear, rich golden in color. Lightly sweet malt, some ripe frutiness, and spicy hops round out the nose. Full bodied with fine carbonation. Slightly sweet and peppery, while it’s not exactly something to savor, it hides its 8.5% alcohol VERY well. Kinda like a light bock. Einbecker Hellerbock comes to mind. Hops contribute a fair bitterness as well, though not nearly enough to counter the sweet.

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Brew Masters Private Reserve from Anheuser-Busch
3.49 out of 5 based on 120 ratings.
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