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Brew Masters Private Reserve | Anheuser-Busch

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BA SCORE
3.48/5
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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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
104
Ratings:
120
pDev:
17.53%
Bros Score:
4
 
 
Wants:
5
Gots:
3
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 120 |  Reviews: 104
Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured orange/golden yellow with a 2-inch head that became, and remained a nice lace.
The smell was of caramel with hints of alcohol coming through.
The taste was thick and rich. It tasted of caramel, and the alcohol came through but didn't overwhelm the taste. Very malty.
The mouthfeel was a tad bit sticky, but the flavor of malty caramel did linger and was balanced by a watery texture that made it drinkable and refreshing to a degree.
The bottom line - I wish that "Bud" tasted like this. It is a bit too thick (malty) to have on a regular basis, or as a "session" beer, but certainly worthwhile as a special "treat". A good brew!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.12/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear golden-amber body. Full, frothy white head. The head retention and lacing could be better, but with 8.5% alcohol combating that it's to be expected.

Smell: Loaded with malt character. It's rich and grainy with a little bit of a toasty and nutty side - like Munich malt. Sweetish notes are present but not candyish (cookie dough, cake, melted white chocolate, waffles sans syrup). Some hops are present but fairly indistinguishable. They come and they go, a little bit floral, very mildly grassy, and ever so slightly spicy. A suggestion of alcohol is present but never really shows itself.

Taste: As found in the nose. The sweetish and nutty (almond, macadamia) malt dominates, but it is smeared with herbal, floral, and gently grassy and spicy hops. It's bitterness lies just above balancing, and at first it teeters back and forth between sweetish malt and drying hop bitterness and alcohol. As you progress through the glass, however, the alcohol will overcome your palate and it becomes more focused - but in a tunnel-vision kind of way, meaning that you're not really seeing all that's there.

Mouthfeel: Dextrinous but not overly full, it falls somewhere in the medium-full bodied range. Alcohol helps to balance that somewhat, and it's very-fine bubbled, somewhat restrained carbonation leaves it quite smooth across the palate.

Drinkability: This is an engaging beer that requires your attention upfront; satiates you with its richness; and then numbs you with its hidden alcohol. Beyond one serving it starts to build on the palate with a combination of dull residual malt, alcohol, and herbal/spicy hops. The initial tastes, although somewhat widespread in character, are better than the more alcohol-focused palate that appears later on. So it becomes a hedonistic question of 'would you want another one?'

Overall: If there was a stronger hop presence here this could be a classic! With just a little more in the nose, and a nice dollop in the flavor, it could move into the realm of a blonde doppelbock. Nice. Enjoyable. But limited.

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Photo of nmyers
3.67/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

By far the best Bud product I have ever tasted. Why can't all Budwisers taste this good. I am still surprised that an Anheuser-Busch product could taste like this. Anheuser-Busch should really consider making this there new Budwiser. Then they would truly be the king of beers.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer came in the big ‘ol 46 oz bottle and poured a dull, slightly orange straw color. There was initially a tall even bubbled light head, but it fell to a small ring in no time.

Smells of biscuits and bread dough with a slight hint of red licorice, cherries and banana. There was a slight bittering hop in the background wrapped around a slight alcohol.

The flavor started with an oaky light honey malt but picked up a surprisingly strong nutty sweetness. Fortunately a nice sting of hops intervened and balanced this right out. Sadly, this sting lingers on into the finish along with a little brown sugar and hazelnut.

The mouth feel is light but dense with a pleasant light carbonation.

Not too bad, but a little on the sweet side. But for a big ass bottle for $7, I may very well pick one up again.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As previously stated, it came well packaged.

Appearance: Pours a clear deep golden color with a half-inch head of thick creamy white bubbles. There are quite a few bubbles rising in an effort to maintain the head. It seems to be working as there is still a layer of foam on top of the beer over a minute after the pour.

Aroma: There is more of a floral aroma to this beer than I have experienced with other AB products. It has a defined fruity component to the aromatic profile as well. As the beer warms a tad and I get deeper into it, there seems to be a bit of a dry grainy almost wheat-like aroma coming out. The 8.5%ABV is not noticeable in the nose at all.

Taste: The flavor is malt driven, but there is enough hops to keep it from being cloying...but that is about it. There is some floral hops noticeable in the first part of the flavor, but that is when the malts take over and run the show. There is a noticeable medium weight edge to the flavor that hints to the strength, but the actual content is pretty well hidden for the most part. The finish is pretty sweet, and ends with a slightly syrupy slickness that coats the throat to protect it from noticing the alcohol.

Opinion: Well, this is no doubt the best offering I have tried from AB. I tried their nasty high ABV Michelob concoction that tastes like cream soda with alcohol in it. I got to sample this from Jimmy Paige's bottle at a home-brewers get-together, so I knew that it didn't suck. I was already feeling pretty good by the time this came around, so I wanted to go back and try it again with a fresh perspective. I still don't think that it sucks, but it isn't the greatest either. If I were to drink a high ABV light lager, it would probably be Avery's Kaiser. This beer is OK, and one that I wouldn't toss away if it came my way again, but I seriously doubt that I will ever buy another bottle unless it is for a gift or special occasion.

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Photo of taez555
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 quart 14.5 fluid ounces, are you kidding? That's 46.5 ounces? At 8.5% alcohol, that's some serious beer. To start with, love the box it comes in, not to mention the cool swing-top bottle. Definitely a cool presentation.

This beer poured a bright orange/yellow body with a decent white head.

Nose is rather subdued for such a big beer. Sort of a mild sugary caramel and candy like malt. There's a slight sting from the bigger alcohol but for the most part very mellow.

Taste is light to medium bodied. MIld fresh malt, very light caramel and sweet dough flavors dominate. A very mild bitterness gives this beer just enough balance without ever showing a true "bitter" quality. A little bit of sting from the alcohol as well as some nice warming touches. The finish is what really says "budweiser", I'm not sure how else to describe it as if it's a cop out, but it has this strong lingering macro taste in the finish that lingers for some time.

Honestly I'm amazed someone made a beer this big without making it BIG. Light body and little flavor outside of your typical bud. I really wanted to like this beer, I didn't even mind the $13 price tag, but really it's just a novelty that seems intended for Bud drinkers who want something fancy to drink around the holidays and not a beer for the Craft brew market.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
2.7/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bought this for $11.99 at Randazzo's in Stafford CT. 2005 batch, their last bottle. Huge-ass bottle, I almost didn't get it, but then I said "what the hell."

Poured into my glass with a three finger head that left a lot of lace. The beer was deep yellow, and clear. Not a lot of carbonation evident.

Aroma was malty and a little fruity, with hints of vanilla and oak... but mostly it reminded me of a malt liquor.

Taste was medium bodied malts, slightly bitter, a touch of sweetness, and light touches of vanilla and oak. However, the Budweiser taste was foremost... you could tell it came from the same brew kettles. I don't know if it's the vessels, the yeast, or where they lager it, but it was like a macro malt liquor. Very disappointing.

Mouthfeel... divorced from the flavor, it wasn't too bad. Good consistency, not syrupy.

Drinkability... well, I drank most of the bottle myself, yesterday, over the course of the day. But it wasn't easy... it wasn't that palatable, and at that price, overall it wasn't worth it.

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Photo of Prufrock
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

very large bottle poured into a pilsner.

bright gold with an inch of off-white foamy head.

strong vanilla in the aroma, along with some sugary, cakey malts. nice fresh aroma.

smooth, buttery mouthfeel. rich, malty flavors beg for a little more hop balance, which hurts the drinkability (given the bottle size, it needs to be drinkable). clean finish. a distinctive and solid brew, if somewhat straightforward.

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Photo of arguemaniac
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was skeptical since this was an A-B product and it did have some flaws: the alcohol was not hidden very well and its bite was pretty rough. Also, it was a bit on sweet side, but not too much.

Despite those flaws, I have to say it was pretty good. A smooth, satisfying maltiness contributes to an overall rich flavor, plus a nice hop bitterness that balances fairly well. All in all, very tasty and, despite the alcohol bite, very drinkable. It may have been a bit pricey (though I got it as a Christmas gift) but I had little problem finishing off the huge bottle this stuff comes in. Recommended.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Funky large cardboard box, heavy on black and cream with gold and red highlights, inside which hides a rather cool looking bottle. A large 46.5 fluid ounce white swing top bottle which has a vertical neck label covering the steel swing mechanism. I have to say that the main label is a very attractive and colorful Victorian style affair. Nice packaging, a little over the top if anything.

Appearance: Filtered Tripel looks, shining golden body with an unblemished thick white head that settles neatly with some minor dimples. Streamer laden at first but that soon fades. Lovely scattered lacing had an organized randomness about it. Good looks but the head faded a little too quickly.

Nose: Weird how the nose simply did not exist at first, it took a while but after the first few sips and the broken head the nose relished a soft caramel and sweet toasted malts, fruity in the middle with a light ester like finish that had an acetone soaked Pear Drop aspect to it. Nice but strange.

Taste: Nice hoppy entrance, now that’s a surprise for an AB product!! Hints of Banana and fruits but they are low key and background support to the gently toasted malts and sweet caramel feel. I still get the fruity hoppy feel, but the hops are sweet in a fruity way. Ending was dry and short lived. Delivers a nice change of pace.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a fading carbonation, I noted that as I worked through this sample that the conditioning dropped pretty quickly though which made the last part exhibit the 8.5% to a greater warming degree.

Drinkability: For a malt liquor I found this one to be surprisingly quaffable in a polymorphic way - not exactly a session brew, it started great but died a little towards the end when it became a sipper, best of both Worlds I guess.

Overall: Well I managed to pick this sample up at my local Ralph’s for just $6 high up and actually on top of the beer cabinet. The “Sale” price was stuck next to the original price tag of $14.95……fecking how much!?!? I have no idea where this came from, maybe the Supermarket had a couple of these with their regular AB delivery and I just happened to drop by the last one which simply wasn’t selling…..at nearly $15 that is no surprise, so they stuck a Sale ticket on it to shift it.

A decent enough brew, interesting for a Malt Liquor and far better than the laughably disgusting Michelob Celebrate. Nothing here warrants a slamming because of its industrial source. However, I cannot help but feel that at the original sticker price of nearly $15, I would have popped for a Cantillon any day, even at $6 I only picked it up because I fancied having a full bottle sample to review (previously I had tried a small sample at Naja’s and enjoyed it).

A good effort, but definitely *not* worth the money.

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Photo of scruffwhor
2.76/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one quart 14.5 oz bottle was given to me as an x-mas present.
I must note the bottle itself looks very nice and eye catching.

Appearance- Pours a quick fading bright white head. No film left on the beers surface or the inside of the glass. The color was a clear, medium amber to tan color mixed with some sparse lacing.

Smell- Reminds me of the bronze rods we sell at work, mixed with some America rye bread and alcohol.

Taste- Starts out a smooth barley, but then bakes itself into a kaiser roll bread and water flavor. You are then subjected to a hint of metal and alcohol. The alcohol is not repelling, but more than I wanted. But at the same time, not surprised I could taste it so well.

Mouthfeel- The palate is warmed with the alcohol flavor. Their is the easily recognizable macro carbonation that would be more refreshing if not for the taste.

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Photo of Manosbeeroffate
2.12/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Found this at South End Market sitting by itself waiting to be purchased so I felt bad and bought, giving it a fair shot. What do I think of it?

Pours a golden color, a little darker than your typical macro. Smells a bit like corn syrup, very sweet. Taste is also quite sweet with a little grainy taste also, mouthfeel is thin. Easy drinkability. But overall i am not impressed. The packaging is really nice and I like the bottle but the product? If this is the best that A-B can do I feel bad for them. This is not bashing them cause they are a big company, I've had some crappy micros and Belgians before. But this is not impressive to me at all. It's a slightly sweeter Budweiser. If they sold this on a mass scale it would sell well to their regular clientel and anyone else who likes macros in general. I've had worse beer, but if this is A-B's best, well guys you need to do a little more work.

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Photo of Hhawk06
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Split this one with a good pal, beer advocate Franchise. Clearly, the presentation pre-pour is impressive; contained in a limited edition box and stored in a huge swing-top bottle. In the least, it fuels the anticipation.

The beer poured golden but darkish in color, but not dark golden, if that makes sense. The head is solid, finely beaded and about a finger and a half in depth. The ensuing lace is also adequate. The nose is very fresh smelling, as the noble hops shine through. The body is medium-to-heavy with a liquidy smooth mouthfeel; there is very little carbonation to be seen. The taste is very hard to pinpoint, but it mostly consists of a sugarcane sweetness and a floral background. Clearly, the malt presence in this "American all malt lager" is first and foremost. It finishes smooth and sweet, with a cotton candy taste co-existing with an appropriate floral bouquet. Words really can't describe the true complexity to this beer. Although its a bit rough in the drinkability aspect, it remains a very good beer and worth seeking out.

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Photo of CJfromPhilly
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange-amber with a fluffy, foamy head that settles into a light lacing due to the high abv. Aroma is of vanilla & caramel, reminds me of a Troegenator Doppelbock, even though they're 2 different styles of beer. Taste is much like the aroma, caramel & vanilla, malty, a pinch of hops with a hint of alcohol that gets MUCH stronger as the beer warms. Very nice, full mouthfeel. This is the kind of beer A-B should have been brewing all along!! IMHO, it's much more (and much better) than the "Budweiser on steroids" description that it's been getting here, and I believe that some of the lower ratings are more a case of hating on Anheuser-Busch than a true reflection of what this brew has to offer. A-B deserves the bashing it gets for dumbing-down American beer, but it also deserves praise for this wonderful example of what it can produce when it's brewers are permitted to toss aside the corporate formula, and make a "real" beer!!

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Photo of PeatReek
2.75/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

[EBF review series continues (from notes!)...]

OK, notwithstanding the proviso in the style description that this is an "all-malt" beer without any corn or rice, it basically tasted like a thicker Budweiser with some aroma hops tossed in. It was certainly thicker and maltier than the commercial product, but still had a certain bluntness that makes commercial Bud so unappealing. The late (dry?) hop addition did make a nice contribution however, adding a prominent spicy hop aroma and flavor. Probably still wouldn't buy it if I saw it on a supermarket shelf.

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Photo of slap
3.46/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an oversized bottle that was in a box. Between the very dark bottle and the box there was no way for this beer to be affected by light.

I chose a pilsner glass it poured a nice golden amber color with a good sized white head. The beer beneath the head is a very clear with carbonation bubbles rising in the glass.

The smell is quite different than I remember from my "Bud" days. It's very sweet, not a fruit sweet but maybe sugar of some kind.

The first taste is mild, there are no wild flavors with this brew. It's like a refined, "Grown and Sexy Bud." The flavor is good, the ABV is well hidden. The finish is sweet, again I'm thinking of sugar and not fruit. Maybe it's the 100% malt I read this beer contains.

The mouthfeel is smooth. I can see this beer going down very easily, which might not be a good thing on considering the ABV.

Drinkabilty is high. It's a mild tasting beer and goes down smooth and quick.

Overall, this is the best AB product I've tasted. That said I wouldn't run out and buy it again. It's fairly pricey and for the money I believe there are better brews available. However I wouldn't turn this down if I was offered a glass, unlike other AB products.

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Photo of Franchise
4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared this huge bottle with fellow BA Hhawk06. This malt lager pours a golden blonde that leaves a thick white lace and some stickiness that a "regular" budweiser could only dream of making. Upon opening the bottle the malty sweetness vanilla, baked brown sugar, cooked white sugar, angel food cake all come to mind it is amazingly complex.

The body is clear and vibrant, very nice some slight carbonation bubbles can be seen through the lager. The aroma is light and fruity, some mild hop presence is definatly in the nose. The taste on the palate is fresh, clean, as if it was poured right from the tap amazing.

Some slight carbonation refreshes the palate, the lager starts smooth with a sweet malt charachter of cake, sugar, and moves to a small bitter hop aspect. This beer is great, fresh and clean. If only they can brew some more like this.

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Photo of murphysbleachers
4.11/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this over the weekend, not sure what happened to my notes...but from memory.
Very cool giant flip top bottle into a pint glass:
Apearance: Looked like a Bud with a much deeper golden color and great head retention. Extra half point for the bottle.
Smell: Alcohol and sweetness. Vaguely recall some plum or nut too.
Taste: A very light fruitiness, rich honey sweetness, malt, and a bit of alcohol combined to dance on my tongue. Some subtle and complex stuff going on.
Mouthfeel: Coated the tongue a bit.
Drinkability: Finished the bottle with a friend and was looking for more after it was gone. The best beer I've ever had from Bud, Miller or Coors. Even better since it was free from my distributer.

I'll be editing this review if I ever find my notes.

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Photo of WesWes
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a golden color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sweet smelling pale malt aroma that is rich and a bit fruity. It has a slight hop aroma in the background, but nothing too pronounced. The taste is decent. It has a rich pale malt flavor that goes down slow and warms on the finish. It's smooth with a slightly bitter, musty lager aftertaste. The mouthfeel is decent also. It is a full bodied beer with a little less than adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good brew. I like the concept and appreciate the effort that AB is taking to create something unique for the consumer and/or BA.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The cream of the crop according to the label. This is the top of the barrel. I had to give this huge magnum bottle a try even if it is a pretty penny. Highly filtered golden color, although this is quite a few shades darker than a typical bud.

Head forms quite a fizzy layer but fades to a thin lace in no time. Tons of carbonation in all sizes. Malted taste adds a nice twist to this brew that I've never noticed before. Grain and rice are still evident and there is a large fruity backbone. Some sweetness, maybe its just plain ol' sugar but it does have a touch of a candied background. Finishes very clean. All spice on the backside of every swig.

Notes: I liked it. It is basically the grand cru of budweiser. I'd be a happy employee if I could get this often.

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Photo of ism
3.36/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very clear, light copper-wheat yellow, topped with a two-finger frothy cream-white head, leaving moderate lacing. Dominated by earthy malt in the nose, biscuit/breadlike, with a bit of fruit -- apples and just a hint of orange citrus. Little carbonation, medium-full body, smooth, and richly malt. Goes down with a bit of anise-like spice, and a slight bitterness peeks out in the finish. Dominated by malt, and could use a lot more hoppage to offset the singlemindedness, but a quality brew.

Definitely good for the once-a-year it's intended for, but not more.

-- re-review:

Second verse, same as the first. I am adjusting the taste score +0.5 after taking in several other lagers as a baseline. This packs more malts, and the spices are a bit more evident, making it slightly more complex. Still boring in the long run, but worth it.

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Photo of HopHeadKen
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to DonOfBeer for sharing this with me; these are big bottles, easily shared among several. This beer gives me new respect for the brewers at A-B.

Pours Clear rich yellow orange with big creamy white head that has some staying power, the head took several minutes to dissapate in my glass.
You can see from the richness of color that this is NOT 'yellow beer'

Smell was faintly sweet malty with fruity hop overtones

Taste was sweet and malty, richer than I expected with a nice alcohol warmth on the back end.

Mouthfeel was full and moderately viscous.

Glad to have had this beer, I might start looking for it as a seasonal.
Would drink it again if I had the chance.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Big fluffy head with excellent retention in the sniffer glass. Golden orange in color with visible light carbonation.

Smell: Earthy hop nose with a thin malty scent.

Taste: Crisp and thin malt profile, alcohol is sharp and noticable. Earthy and sandy malt with drips of toffee and a bitter hop ending.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and more full than most lagers. Nice texture.

Drinkability: Quaffable but does not stand out from other beers. The sharp alcohol flavor is a bit much.

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Photo of Chadbrew
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice packaging, big flip top bottle and sharp labeling.
It appears slightly darker than normal Bud and the head is big, like two fingers big. Solid carbonation that leaves a little lacing. It smells malty with a corn-like presence, I can detect little to no hops in the nose. It tastes very much like it smells and is lacking enough hops to offset the sweetness of the grains. Better than Bud mind you but an extra bit of hops would have made a huge difference for the better. It was nice to share with everyone at Christmas nonetheless. Cheers!

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Photo of BierManVA
3.59/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I certainly have to give A-B an A for packaging. This is a beautiful bottle and label.

The bier pours with a very large head that settles somewhat quickly with little or no lace. Smell is of solid malt. I detect little else in the way of florals. Some alcoholic phenols present. Color is dark gold.

This bier is very malty but not at all too sweet. I detect little in the way of hops although there is a slight bitter aftertaste. Slightly dry as well.

This is in no way a bad bier and I have to commend A-B on it. If they were to make this their flagship brand, I think most bier snobs would cut them a break.

John

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Brew Masters Private Reserve from Anheuser-Busch
Beer rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 120 ratings
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