Schaefer | F & M Schaefer Brewing Co.

265 Ratings
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Brewed by:
F & M Schaefer Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by stirgy on 08-21-2001

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Ratings: 265 |  Reviews: 128
Photo of acurtis
2/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of spycow
2/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of djrn2
2.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of kojevergas
2.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

How many beers currently on the market have as much history as Schaefer? Unfortunately, that rich history led to it being brewed by Pabst, ripping it from the Brooklyn beer scene. Still, some brands acquired by Pabst (e.g. Ballantine) remain impressive (at least for their price), so I'm optimistic going in.

A 12 pack cost me $10.49 plus tax and deposit at a beer distributor in NYC. The box is pretty nondescript, relying on its now diluted brand instead of playing up the retro vibe. Still, there's an old-timey straightforwardness to the (lack of) marketing that endears me to it, evoking a sort of "your grandfather's brand" vibe.

The can is just as nondescript, its only graphic design flourish the placement of the beer's name inside a red oval. "America's oldest lager beer" (I guess Yuengling's lawyers are looking the other way on this one). "Established in the United States 1842." 12 fl oz format. Standard pull-tab.

APPEARANCE: Clean depleted copper body. Off-white fizzy head. Retention is poor given the ABV - maybe 1 minute.

Dull and sad in appearance, lacking any vibrance or life. But it's filtered and yeast-free.

AROMA: Corn adjunct. Pils malts. 2-row barley. A hint of syrupy sweetness.

Corn dominates. Some grassy hop aromatics or some graininess would be nice; this bends a bit too sweet, suggesting an imbalanced brew. Still, the aroma suggests it has more body than your standard thin watery adjunct lager, so I guess....I'm hopeful?

Aromatic intensity is low. No off-notes are detectable, nor is any overt booze.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Syrupy sweet throughout, though it does hit on a blip of graininess right on the finish that's a little more dry. Elsewise, it's medium-bodied, syrupy, overly thick and lumpy for an adjunct lager, and unrefreshing. Smooth and wet until the finish. Overcarbonated, though not as egregiously so as many adjunct lagers.

It's inoffensive in terms of taste, but that requires you to get past the syrupy sticky mouthfeel (which is a tall order). Not grainy enough, with sweet corn adjunct leading the pack (and the rest of the dogs in that pack are all tired sick hounds: stale 2-row, generic pale malt). Water is minerally and seems a bit hard for an adjunct lager.

No real hop flavours whatsoever; I search for the usual blip of grassy hop flavour but it's absent.

I'll take a watery thin body over a syrupy sticky one like this 9 times out of 10. To say this is simple and shallow is an understatement; it's one of the most neutral beers on the market...and therein may lie (or have lay) its appeal. It's drinkable and dull, not demanding one's attention. I guess it wouldn't distract from food, and might pair well with spicy Mexican food that would blast your palate with chili heat anyway.

OVERALL: Giving credit where it's due, there are no off-flavours here; it's not metallic, I find no DMS/diacetyl/brettanomyces/acetaldehyde, and the alcohol isn't overt. In that sense, "inoffensive" may be the biggest compliment I can give it. But inasmuch as budget macrolagers go, I'd opine most drinkers are better off going with Rolling Rock, Miller High Life, or the like (assuming one wouldn't cross into budget ale territory with Ballantine, Gennesee, or the like). I'm impressed Pabst can brew this consistently on the scale they do, but it's far from amongst the best beers in the style.

I tip my hat to the brand's history, but this won't attract casual drinkers or discerning drinkers, and is best left on shelves to let the brand continue dying its slow death.


2nd impression:


 3,606 characters

Photo of zeff80
2.75/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, bubbly, straw-yellow color with a small, white, fizzy, one-finger head. No lace.

S - It smelled of grains and corn. Not much else there.

T - It tasted of grain, light caramel malt and some corn. Some bitterness, maybe from some hops. Not offensive tasting but not great, either.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light bodied beer that is pretty easy drinking.

D - Not too bad for the style. Cheap and easy drinking. It works in a pinch.

 461 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.15/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A retro classic! It pours a clear yellowish-gold with a creamy white head that holds OK and keeps a nice collar and whispy surface foamy throughout the glass. The nose displays a lightly sweet and grainy malt with a light note of corn and a touch of sulphur. There are no noticeable hops. It's light bodied, smooth, and lightly creamy in the mouth. The flavor offers a lightly sweet malt with a touch of corn-like flavor. Some non-distinct hops float along the surface. It finishes short and drying with a touch of residual sweetness. An enjoyable and refreshing basic American-style lager.

 590 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.12/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz. can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light yellow color with a medium white head that fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of light malt, corn and other adjuncts with a slight touch of hops.

T: The taste is of grain, corn and the typical light macro sweetness and adjunct bite. There’s very little hops presence. After-taste is sweet. Not much to it, but there isn’t much to expect from the style.

M: A little smooth and a little crisp, light-to-medium body, medium-to-heavy carbonation, the finish is a bit slick.

D: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not filling at all, even within the style it’s not a very good beer. There are several other inexpensive beers that I would pick first.

 765 characters

Photo of Jason
2.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 16 oz can shinning a gold and red label with a white back ground, boast that it is America's oldest lager beer. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pale yellow with a quick forming and quick disappearing head that leaves nothing in its trail not even a thin lace, looks like apple juice or something else.

Smell: Watered down astringent grain with a weird aspartame artificial sweet aroma, otherwise a clean nose.

Taste: Light bodied with a lost crispness from an overly effervescent carbonation during the pouring perhaps due to that this beer should be consumed out of the can. Thin malt mouth feel and very little to the flavour other than some residual sweetness and vague graininess. A relatively dry brew, some odd cloying sweetness that seems mutated or engineered comes through. Hops are shallow and very light in the bitterness though just enough to balance the meek malt character. Slight cheap lager twang associated with canned beers is in the after taste but all in all it is a pretty clean one.

Notes: A chug-a-lug style beer, produced in mass quantities to be consumed in mass quantities. Not my mug of beer but its similarities to all of the other mass produced beers keep it popular in some areas around the country still.

 1,260 characters

Photo of paulish
3.5/5  rDev +30.6%

Photo of woodychandler
2.94/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

CAN you believe that this was a beer that I drank in my youth? I CAN!

My current jacket has a Schaefer patch on the back at the 9 o'clock position to Three Floyds Alpha King, so it is quite visible. I was sitting at IHLNC on Saturday night when this woman tentatively comes up to me, taps me on the shoulder and meekly asks if she could look at my jacket since she and her companions were cowed by the "biker at the bar". Hey, I'll be the first to admit that the tats, the beard, and the jacket might be off-putting, but I never thought of myself as scary. When I looked over, one of her mates was a colleague of mine. Ha! Once she got over her fear, she spontaneously broke out in song, singing their famous jingle about "having more than one". It took me back to my early years as a teenage drinker and Schaefer was one that we routinely consumed.

The pour created a finger of bone-white head with low retention. It was like it got tired of standing around and decided to simply sit down. It sat atop a golden-yellow beer with NE-quality clarity. The nose had a cereal/grain-y quality which I have slowly come to recognize in these beers. I do not get upset about it, but it CAN taint my pleasant memories. Mouthfeel was very fizzy with a slight cereal taste on the tongue. I actually liked the action of the CO2 as a palate cleanser. Finish was mild, slightly sweet, mostly unobtrusive. It is a lawnmower beer, to be sure. Other than that, I would probably relegate it to the Pleasant Memories file.

 1,505 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
2.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of InspectorBob
2.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of rolltide8425
2.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of Billolick
2.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

in a can, after I mowed the lawn this morning. Pours yellow and big bubble nasty, corn in the nose. Very light body, medium carbonation. Faint notes of malt and some sort of bitterness, but very little. This stuff is a bad waste of water, but when youre hot and thirsty, it does hit the spot and go down easy. Barely beer.

 322 characters

Photo of dvmin98
1.75/5  rDev -34.7%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
2/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of jwc215
2.36/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours straw yellow with a fluffy white head that starts out well enough but soon collapses in a typical macro lager fashion.

The smell is some sweetness and husk. Clean overall, though.

The taste is of some sweetness and a touch of husk. Not much of anything, really. Clean and pretty inoffensive. Finishes with a watery crispness.

Typical light body for the style. Pretty fizzy, but not overly so for the style.

A cheap lawnmower beer, and will do as such, I suppose. It is what it is.

 490 characters

Photo of Tone
2.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear yellow color. 1/2 inch head with good retention and slight lacing. Smells of adjunct in lager. Fits the style. Tastes of adjunct in a weak lager. Of the weaker lagers I've had this one is the smoothest and best combination of taste and easy of drinking (still no saying much). A crisp body with average carbonation. Overall, still not a real good beer, but if you're going to drink the style this one is worth a try.

 430 characters

Photo of Wasatch
2.48/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice pale yellow color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is sweet, with some malt notes, slight hop note. The taste is sweet, with some malt/hop notes. Light body. Drinkable, but not by much.

 265 characters

Photo of tone77
2.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from ma 16 oz. can. Has a pale yellow color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is surprisingly sweet, some hints of corn. Taste is missing for the most part. Very watery with a small amount of beer flavor. Feels watery in the mouth. Drinkability is decent, good for beer games. Overall there is not much to like about this one.

 327 characters

Photo of drabmuh
2.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A second episode of bad beer Thursdays with America's Oldest Lager beer -- in a can. Picked this up at the corner for 89 cents...89 cents? Yeah I want to try it.

Beer is yellow and clear with a big head and a lot of lacing, carbonation low to moderate.

Aroma is weak and mildly sweet.

Beer is light in body and light in flavor. There is about 20 IBUs in this beer and that's good otherwise is grainy water. This is not very good at all, but I guess it doesn't taste BAD, but that's not something to aspire to be. It is cheaper than water though...

 550 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
2/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of tempest
3.03/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had a can for $3 at Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem. It poured a clear gold with a tall white head. There wasn't much to say about this beer. It's generally clean and inoffensive, with just a light caramel malt taste. It had a little of that dry, adjunct lager bite, but it was fine for washing down a pork sandwich.

 307 characters

Photo of plaid75
2.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a light straw colored hue, with a 2 finger soapy foamy head. There was little in the way of retention and lacing.

The smell was mostly corn, with a slight sweetness.

The taste was a non-distinct macro adjunct coarseness. Some background sweetness, but for the most part dry.

The mouthfeel was okay as long as the beer was cold.

Overall an average American premium. Nothing special. Drinkable.

 412 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
1.75/5  rDev -34.7%

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Schaefer from F & M Schaefer Brewing Co.
2.68 out of 5 based on 265 ratings.
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