Grain Belt Premium | August Schell Brewing Company

198 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Grain Belt PremiumGrain Belt Premium

Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Although the Grain Belt Premium recipe has changed hands over the years, one thing has remained the same–its legendary unique taste. And now that Premium is in the capable hands of a brewery with an even longer tradition than Grain Belt–the August Schell Brewery–may you rest assured that the flavor and heritage of Premium will live on forever.

Added by TastyTaste on 07-04-2003

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 198 | Ratings: 557
Photo of StonedTrippin
2.87/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

even as an adjunct lager, this isnt all that great, despite the devoted loyalty of the folks who live where its made, which is apparently now wisconsin? anyway, the folks of the twin cities insisted i put a few of these back before i went off on a craft beer diversion, so i obliged them. clear bottle is never a good sign, but its got a nice bone white head on it, and obviously a lot of carbonation, i have no problem with anything so far really. the nose is sweet for what it is, corny and rich, oddly stale, and a little beany and off putting. smells almost fruity, like warmer fermented than it should have been, but this is a lager, so i dont get it. the flavor is straight fake blueberry. its way out of place, and a definite off flavor in a beer like this, but for whatever reason, i dont hate it. its better than metallic, its better than skunked, and its a lot better than flavorless. i see the appeal i suppose, but it sits weird in the gut and is still cheap swill by any standard. interesting this is made by schell, i had no idea they did this kind of thing. i thought those heady berliners were their only game. looks like this is a lot like ac golden inside of coors, maybe they have a craft division or something, but the schell berliner beers are landmarks in experimenting with the style, and i absolutely love them all. this is a let down, even more so in that context, but i suppose with some pond hockey i could knock back a few of these...

 1,462 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.76/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this at Captain Mike's in Kenosha, WI.

Pours a clear gold, with steady streams of visible carbonation. About one finger of white foam, that settles to a thin ring.

Aroma didn't grab me, it was a little bland and adjuncty. Raw grains, corn, a touch of sulfur that blows off after a minute.

Surprisingly tasty flavors of apple and bready malt, with a little honey on the back end. A dry and clean aftertaste is what sets it apart from other lawnmower beers. Carbonation is steady and even, and gives it a light feeling. The clean finish makes it palatable and easy to session, no doubt.

 596 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a pale gold color with a one-finger head. Highly carbonated and leaves no lacing.

S - It smelled of corn and grains.

T - It tastes of corn. It also has a bready quality and some hints of clove. Somewhat sweet, too.

M - It is crisp and dry. A light-bodied beer.

D - It doesn't look very good but the taste is just good. Also, the classic look is great.

 370 characters

Photo of mothman
3.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. No freshness date.

This beer is very popular from where I live, so I figured I would give it a chance.

Pours a fizzy head that doesn't last too long. Color is a clear straw yellow.

It is definitely a light beer that doesn't pour much of a head. There really is no presence of hops. Just a big grain flavor with some corn.

Mouthfeel is crisp with a lighter bodied. Higher amount of carbonation.

Overall this beer doesn't have much going on, but it is a local favorite. It doesn't cost that much which is nice and you can drink a few without filling up.

 583 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Acquired via trade from MilwaukeeCrusher, so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

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

S: The aroma contains light caramelized malts, lager yeast, grain and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of grain, lager yeast and adjuncts. Then some light malt sweetness follows. The hops presence is very mild but decent for the style. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

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

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a decent poundable beer if you’re looking for a better version of a macro.

 844 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sun-faded straw with colorless accents at the edges of the glass. This is one of the palest beers that I've seen in quite some time. The brilliant white head is chock full of character. It's semi-stiff with a geological surface and is sticky enough so that fingers of foam maintain contact with the glass as it falls. Nice lace display too.

I have to stop approaching some styles of beer with preconceived notions. I expected Grain Belt Premium to smell like hundreds of other macro lagers, but it's considerably better. There's an enjoyable untoasted graininess that's complemented by a (gasp!) floral hoppiness. Not floral in the Saaz, et al sense, but floral nevertheless.

This is good beer in a 'let's not get carried away' kind of way. The fact that it has easily exceeded my expectations probably accounts for most of my enthusiasm. The flavor profile obediently follows the nose. It's still pleasantly grain-like (so it's aptly named) with an unmistakable hop flavor, yet almost no bitterness.

It's also on the sweet side, which almost makes it taste like a scaled down version of a malt liquor; which I tend to like more than macro lagers anyway. Call me crazy, but I can even pick up some lightly sweetened banana notes. Even though complexity isn't a word that comes to mind, my interest is still high as I approach the final few ounces. Try that with just about any other macro lager in the known world.

The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium and has an expansive softness that is its defining characteristic. The finish is brief and contributes to an easy drinkability. I have to bump the appearance score up a half point since my glass is virtually covered with lace, the most I've ever seen for a beer of this style.

Grain Belt has two strikes against it right off the bat: the name and the clear glass bottle. Ultimately, though, they matter not. I do like the label and the cap; they ooze old school cool. This is one of the better (microbrewed) macro lagers in existence. Like anything else, it has its time and its place. I could see myself buying at least a few sixers every summer if it ever makes its way this far south.

 2,169 characters

Photo of russpowell
2.78/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The very 1st beer I had in N. Dakota at a bar at the cedar inn (cavaleir (SP??))

Pours light yellow with some head, a little head retention & no lacing

Smell Corny

Taste: Grainy, sweet & slightly fruitty. Finishes grainy slighlty sweet

MF: Thin & astringent

Easy to drink one, if you drink fast, otherwise, be warned! run o the mill macroswill from a regional brewer

 381 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this one as part of a trade and honestly thought it was a joke, but I had never ad it so that was enough for me to give it a whirl. Served as cold as possible and poured into a pint glass this one was consumed on 10/20/2009.
The pour was bout what I would have expected, bright golden hey colored with a huge white fizzy head on top that quickly faded leaving behind nearly nothing in its wake. Aroma of grain, light notes of corn and bready malts then proceeded to take over. Not terrible really, did not have that musky and cardboard like aroma I have come to see from a few. Crisp and clean flavor for sure, I actually found myself enjoying a touch of this one. Clean taste of grain and bready malts. Light corn aftertaste and only the slightest bit of hops coming through enough to dry off the palate and ready it for the next go round.
Overall I actually really liked this, for the style I thought it held up quite well and I would not mind having it again.

 978 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.11/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The CANQuest (TM) has wanted to glug this one off for a while. I CANnot tell you why I became fascinated by Grain Belt, but I was excited to try some on both occasions that I was in Minneapolis, but both times, it was in bottle form. CAN you dig it?

My pour produced two fingers' worth of rocky, bone-white head with decent retention which also produced a good bit of lacing as it fell. Color was a deep golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity. Liquid sunshine in a glass! Nose was the standard for the style - a slight lager sweetness upstaged by odd scents, in this case including a grapiness. Mouthfeel was medium and it was not as bad in the mouth as I was girding myself for. It was a typical AAL with the usual lager sweetness accompanied by cereal flavors. Finish was likewise passable, but somehow my fascination may have also passed.

 841 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.34/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A buddy brought a 12pck of cans back with him from a recent trip to Minnesota. Beer poured a golden clear with thin white head. The smell and taste were a nice balance of malt, grain, and hop. The mouthfeel was light in body with good carbonation. Overall this is a good beer.

 276 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.46/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap into a shaker pint at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis.

Presented with a golden straw body color, a bit of cola carbonation, and a faint fleeting bleach white head with a very small collar. Decent looking for an AAL, but not that great either.

Aroma is a bit better than the average bear. Small sense of corn sweet character, but with tinges of honey a bit as well if ever so slightly. Good crispness to match.

Palate makes a solid impression for what it is. Soft grain feel, but also a bit of hinting buttery slickness, perhaps a touch of diacetyl but not very large at least. Sweet mix of popcorn like quality. Even an interesting possibly fruity ester like finish that makes the beer quite interesting in the aftertaste.

A very different AAL in the vein out there. Certainly memorable too and drinkable.

 824 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.34/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours straw yellow as seen through the glass. A fizzy white head leaves lacing.

The smell is clean. Smells like a typical adjunct lager - perhaps even a bit cleaner.

The taste is clean overall...there is a hint of blueberry for some reason. Finishes crisp and clean.

An easy-drinking, inexpensive "lawn mower" beer.

 318 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This my Dad's beer, ...always a few cases in the house, the fridge well stocked, no other beer would do. They even ordered it special for him at the local watering hole, though I still can't figure out how no-one else in the Anoka VFW Hall shared his taste. I remember sitting at the bar with him, as a kid, while he drank it. Those were the days, eh?

I never liked it, and it's ominpresence in the household was part of the reason I never drank beer until I was about 22. When all that surrounded me was Miller, Leinenkugel's, and Grain Belt, and they all smelled bad, I just stayed away. Years later, I discovered imported ales and craft brew that I was drinking beer, I decided to try Dad's beer, and figure out why he liked it.

I still didn't like it, and couldn't figure out why he found it so satisfying. But, that's the kind of man he was, he stuck with what he knew, and never went too far from his comfort zone.
Time to revisit it again, especially since I hear it's a better beer, under Schell's hand...

Transparent, pale yellow appearance, huge, fluffy white cap atop, active. bubbling carbonation.

Smells sweeter than i remember, less sickly. Very grainy, rather spare and thin, but not at all unpleasant. The typical average American lager aroma.
Taste: wet. and empty, ..but not bad. Really, I think it's been over a decade since I last poured one of these down my throat, and it was an unhappy experience. That was under the Minnesota Brewing Company, who weren't looking to make a quality product at the time. Schell seems to have re-created GB, "the friendly beer", as a smooth, untroubling, and, let us not forget, cheap lager that actually doesn't taste bad.

Finishes rather sweetly, slides leisurely off the palate. Very light in body, a bit too watery for my tastes, and extremely lean on flavor. But, it does what it needs to, for the style and satisfies it's target market.

Got to hand it to the guys at August Schell for keeping Minnesota brewing history going, and putting out a decent brew at the same time.

This one's for you, Dad. If it's true that "in Heaven there is no beer", no offense, but I hope you're in a better place than that....

 2,204 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.34/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at Sally's in Minneapolis while watching UFC with Jason and Mike. Served in a plastic cup (I guess things get rowdy).

A - Served with a finger of white foam that settles to a partial cap with some big bubbles, leaving behind glass-coating lace. Transparent golden straw color.

S - Grain, light metallic notes, maybe some faint lemony hops. Actually smells like something, which is a plus for the style, however it's not overly appealing.

T - Taste is better with some fruity notes, honey, grain, and less a faint hint of hop bitterness. It's not overly strong, even when it warmed up, and it doesn't have that yeasty aftertaste that many other adjunct lagers have.

M - Medium-high carbonation, but not harsh or burning. Smooth medium body, surprisingly creamy.

D - If I hadn't been so full of beer, various snacks and meals, and who knows what else, this would have been a little easier to drink. However, it was much better than the equivalently priced Miller Lite.

 987 characters

Photo of Tone
3.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, yellow color. 1/4 inch head of a white color. Decent retention and good lacing. Smells of adjunct, yeast, and pale malt. Fits the style of an American Adjunct Lager. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of yeast, pale malt, adjunct, and a hint of hops. Overall, a slightly better than average adjunct lager.

 357 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.72/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours light golden with a one inch white head in my pint glass. Many carbonation bubbles streaming up from the pint floor. Some lacing present.

S- Grain, straw. Slight lemon zest.

T- See above. Add a speck of honey. Normally with this style of beer the after taste is just "off-putting" to me but this one isn't bad at all.

M- Carbonation is spot on.

D/O- My first experience with this beer was last night after hearing from a couple friends from MN how great of a drinkable beer it was. I'd have to agree. Drinkability is top notch. Perhaps the best adjunct lager I've ever had.

 586 characters

Photo of tempest
3.47/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Blue Nile. Appears a clear, brilliant gold with no head. I think this beer is really an example of how to make the most out of adjunct beer. Yes, it tastes like corn. In fact, it tastes a lot like corn. But unlike Miller Light (another corn-y beer in my mind), Grain Belt is smooth with subtle bready malts. I mean, unless you don't like corn-flavored beer (and that's understandable), this is a great lawnmower beer. Macro beer at its best.

 455 characters

Photo of tone77
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to woodychandler for yet another canned beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of malts, some corn, slightly sweet. Taste is crisp, malty, a touch of sweetness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a good beer to have on a hot day.

 290 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.65/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very light, almost clear, straw hue with a two finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a very clean grain, a very mild and benign sweetness and a gentle flowery hop.

The taste was light and unoffensive. No overly sweet notes that are detectable in many, if not most, macro lagers. A crisp grain and balancing hop made for a suprisingly good character.

The mouthfeel was light with some nice soft edges.

Overall a very drinkable and enjoyable macro lager. I was very suprised by this beer, considering the classic generic beer packaging. I only wish I could get these in NY. Thanks to mac56 for the sample.

 667 characters

Photo of John_M
2.04/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Another local gem furnished by my very gracious and good natured hosts.

Yes, well, this one pours a pretty solid gold color, showing considerable carbonation, and fairly decent head retention and lacing. On the nose, this is really a pretty bad beer (the light version is every bit as "good" IMHO). I get considerable sweet, creamed corn and seltzer water. It's really not working for me guys. The flavor profile replicates the nose very closely, but on the palate the sweet creamed corn flavor actually works pretty well. However, there's some odd flavor on the finish that I can't quite put my finger on, except to say it ain't real attractive. It's something of a sweet corn meets tin metal flavor. Otherwise, the seltzer water flavor really dominates in this beer, and the CO2 gas really seems to dominate the more I drink of this crap. Mouthfeel is all light, watery, weakly sour macro swill, though it doesn't finish too badly. Drinkability would normally be OK I guess, except the flavor profile is so poor, I can't imagine ever wanting to drink more than a single serving.

Bottom line... there's little to commend in this basically light, watery, oddly flavored swill. Sure, there are worse beers out there (I'm looking at you Inbev-AB), but that's hardly an excuse for this crap. Given a choice, I'd probably save myself the calories and drink the equally swill like premium light. This is pretty bad...

 1,415 characters

Photo of jdhilt
1.91/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a 12oz bottle at the Doolittle American Grill ($3.50) Alexandria, Mn. Pours with two finger white head that goes slowly leaving a good lace. Clear pale amber color. Light carbonation and light bodied. Wet stainless steel nose. Starts with a hoppy citrusy flavor but weak, finish is clean since there is not much here. Good lawn mower beer.

 349 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
2.43/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ugly beer colored yellow in a clear bottle. Aroma was stale grain.

Taste had some corn sweetness but was otherwise run of the mill adjunct lager stuff. Lots of carbonation, some grittiness. Can't believe the hipsters haven't pushed this more. Its the same vein as PBR or whatnot.

 286 characters

Photo of pat61
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Brilliantly clear straw to yellow, off-white quickly dissipating head leaves some delicate lacing.
S: grainy, no hops, a little apple, some corn sweetness, no appreciable malt aroma.
T: Tastes thin, grainy with corn-grain sweetness, no hops, and slight apple, faintly malty. Low hops make it lean to the malt, a light white bread or white flour tortilla after taste.
F: less highly carbonated than some, no carbonation bight, smooth, a little slickness on the tongue, refreshing and dull.
O: bland, low flavor, lower carbonation makes it less interesting than better standard American lagers.

 598 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear yellow. Not much carbonation noticeable. Frothy white head with good retention and lace abilities. Decent sweet aroma. Mostly malt sweetness, but also corn and adjuncts. The taste is unique compared to other macros. Less adjunct-like sweetness and more maltiness. And even a little hops to boot. This would be one of my favorite macros. Right up there with Mich. Golden Lager.

Give me a Desert Island and an endless supply of ...

Wait, nevermind that last comment.

Props to the Big Man for setting me up with a bunch of his leftovers from his "Macro Madness." ZAP, you do indeed rule. Except on the hardcourt.

 626 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.38/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wizz colored yellow, like you've been working out heavily or smoking 2 packs a day. Good head, large bubbles. Aroma was of a grain belt or elevator, or maybe I'm just projecting that out of the name. Smelled kinda like old beer.

Taste, pretty bland, mild sweetness, almost nonexistant hopping or malt character. Fractional bitterness. When I think 'grain' I don't think corn, but that seems what its all about. Mild, inoffensive.

I think a lot of people just dig this beer for the old school, retroness of it, its like PBR, but for the working man who doesn't smell and dress like hipster shit. My homie from MN swore by this stuff in school. Wasn't bad. Wouldn't be buying it anytime soon other, but it does belong in that cool class of adjunct beer like Blatz, Schlitz, Rhinelander etc. . .

 796 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Grain Belt Premium from August Schell Brewing Company
3.28 out of 5 based on 557 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.