Steam Engine Lager
Steamworks Brewing Co.

Steam Engine LagerSteam Engine Lager
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
California Common / Steam Beer
Ranked #62
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
79
Ranked #46,364
Avg:
3.42 | pDev: 16.67%
Reviews:
97
Ratings:
134
From:
Steamworks Brewing Co.
 
Colorado, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  7
Gots
  6
SCORE
79
Okay
Steam Engine LagerSteam Engine Lager
Notes:
Reviews: 97 | Ratings: 134 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by woodychandler:
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.03/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yet another CAN! CAN you believe the way they keep coming to me?

From the CAN: "Arguably The Best Ameri[CAN] Style Amber Lager in the World."

I got a finger of quickly dissipating light-tan head with low retention. Nose had a healthy mix of hops and malt with the hops gaining a slight upper hand. Color was a slightly hazy orangish-amber. Mouthfeel was medium with a good bit of malty sweetness on the tongue. Finish was more malty than bitter but not overwhelmingly so. I found it a bit too sweet for my taste, but others might really like it. I simply feel that my cooler full of CANs at the beach could be better filled.

Nov 01, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of Todd
Todd from California

3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Sep 09, 2013
Photo of ZAP
ZAP from Minnesota

4.86/5  rDev +42.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An outstanding highly drinkable California Common.

The characteristics that jump out at me are the toasty malts and caramel notes...both on the aroma and the taste...both are fantastic.

Has a bit of a woody or rustic hop dimension that complements rather than exerts itself.

Also some real mild but sweet fruitiness (Think baked apple pie filling mixing in a little with the caramel) on the aroma and taste.

Not as clear as it should be..

I find this beer fascinating and spot on for the style. Light side of medium bodied...carbonation is firm

Perhaps I have had too many old and outdated Anchor Steams lately but this one blows it out of the water based on what I have had recently...also better than the Flat Earth California Common.

To top things off this is from a can. I can't think of a better beer to have at BBQ's, while fishing or on the golf course. Great session beer with character.

I think this is my first beer from this Brewery and I have never heard of it before..I hope their other beers can match this one..

Jun 17, 2008
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge from Minnesota

3.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before July, 08.

Appearance: Perfectly clear bronze. Thin bubbly off white head. Lace is left in patches sporadically.

Aroma: Light toasted malt notes and some grain as well.

Flavor/MF: Clean malt profile. Slight toasted qualities and slight caramel. But nothing really stands out. Clean yeastiness as well, as to be expected. A bit of a honeyed nuttiness on the aftertaste. This has the potential to be pretty good. But as is, it is not all that bold or complex or unique. Decent enough though, and definitely not flawed. The medium full body adds some girth to this beer.

Drinkability: Solid beer overall. I could drink some of these. But I expect a little bit more of this style.

Apr 04, 2008
Photo of htomsirveaux
htomsirveaux from Texas

3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried 10 Apr 2008.

Medium sized copper color head. Minimal carbonation, almost flat. Clear dull copper color. Aroma of caramel, resin and cinnamon. Starts lightly caramel sweet. Becomes moderately sour, finishes the same. Medium body, medium alcohol.

Aroma is the highlight of this one.

Mar 02, 2009
Photo of cokes
cokes from Wisconsin

3.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Amber colored with a short beige head that quickly relocates itself to the edges of the glass.
Husky grain, and honey roasted nut aroma, with traces of peppery, grassy hops.
Begins with that same mutli-grain huskiness. Sweetens a bit with toffee and bruised red apples. A dab of peanut butter hits midway, along with an awkward brown paper oxidized note. It finishes with a low level, dead leaf, peppery hoppiness.
Flattish of both body and feel. The CO2 burns itself out quickly. Texturally, its pretty lifeless.
I'm rating it a bit on a curve, because the carbonation issue is dooming. What's here seems alright, but its a bit hard to tell.

Sep 15, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill from Wyoming

1.6/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Purchased at Wilbur's Liquors in Ft Collins as part of a mixed 6 Pack.

It pours from 12oz can a very nice clear deep amber with a very large head of billowy foam that shrinks slowly leaving a fine broken layer.

The smell is very floral and borders on chemical-like. Not a good nose in my book.

The taste on first sip has some caramel malt that is semi sweet and. there's something odd here....after the swallow, I smack my mouth and I get a really foul taste. Tastes like..umm...ashes???
Yucky yuck. I've taken about 3 mothfulls and that's gonna do it for me. The rest is going down the drain. :^( As a side note, the can has these numbers on it: 6 04 04 A 1 B A. If this was canned in 2004 asw the numbers may suggest than...it's sad that this one was still in circulation but I have to say, I've been to Wilbur's many times and this last visit was the first occasion that I saw this beer. Anywho, I can't recommend this one from the experience I'm having...

Jul 11, 2007
Photo of Gusler
Gusler from Arizona

3.92/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer departs the 12 ounce bottle a reddish amber color with the head bright white and creamy, the size about three fingers, as it slowly diminishes, the lace forms a fine curtain to drape the glass. Nose has a nice malt sweet aroma, crisp and clean, also has just a touch of fresh dirt, start is malt laden, somewhat sweet with a touch of tartness at the back, top is moderate in feel. Finish has a spiny acidity, the hops delectably spicy and the semi-sweet and dry aftertaste lingers long, have had this in the can & bottle, both taste the same to my palate.

Oct 23, 2007
Photo of HardTarget
HardTarget from Texas

2.75/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle Inspection: New to Texas, marked best by J 08 (sampled F 08- classic dumping of old product on a new market) also marked Bay, which I assume means it was brewed in the Bayfield CA brewery. No abv, but "Arguably the best American Style Amber Lager in the World"

Aroma: Sweet malt nose, lightly grape, lightly bready, almost a dopplebock nose.

Appearance: Perfectly clear slightly dark amber glass that struggles to hold a collar with only a trace of cover that gives up some lacing.

Flavor: A light dopplebock taste too! That's to say the flavor is malt driven, no hop notes but sweetness is far from cloying. The mild black grape flavor is there (esters are a no no in a lager, no?) but it's not unpleasant, in fact it's one of the few flavor characteristics there.

Mouthfeel: Light body, weak carbonation that ends up being a bit lifeless.

Overall Impression: Lager characteristics come out, mild flavor, clean finish, but there just isn't a lot to get excited about here. An easy drinking beer that would make a decent session and one to lure non-craft beer drinkers over. Glad I tried it, but I doubt I'll be back.

Feb 13, 2008
Photo of WesWes
WesWes from New York

3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a 1/2" offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sweet crystal malt scent along with a nice nutty, roasted aroma. The taste is decent. It has a dry roasted flavor with a nutty, sweet caramel finish. It's a bit thin in the finish with some lingering roasted flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tastey beer, although I feel they got a bit off track with the style.

Oct 09, 2008
Photo of Padron4KM
Padron4KM from Arizona

1.74/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz can, from a sample six pack. No freshness date.

Clear amber, with a two finger short lived head.

Faint aroma of caramel, and and even lighter citrus aroma.

Flavor is slight burnt sugar with a mildly bitter finish.

Not very interesting.
Their spiel is that they are a bridge from macro swill to micros. I think that bridge is washed out.

Sep 02, 2006
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude from Arizona

3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best by Date October 2006, Sampled September 2006
Pours with a brilliantly clear, reddish amber color. It is topped by a frothy, large bubbled, initially two-finger thick, pale amber tinged tan colored head that sticks around for a bit. The aroma is sweet with notes of caramelized malt, a touch of fruit and some herbal hop notes. The fruit character reminds me a bit of berries, and I think that it is at least partially hop derived. In addition to the caramel malt character there is a toasty grain like note that reminds me of sweet smelling fresh bread.

The taste has a certain sweetness to it, but it is well balanced by some hop character. The hop character in question is both a flavor component (herbal notes and that same berry-like note) as well as a balancing bitterness that flows throughout the flavor of this brew. This beer is really quite fruity tasting; I think it is combination of the sweet caramelized malt notes and the specific hops used. The beer is just a touch thin in the palate, it certainly makes it easy drinking, but somehow the body of this brew does not live up to (or better yet, accentuate) the flavors in this brew. I really do like the spicy herbal hop notes. Parts of this beer is similar in character to and remind me of a fresh Sam Adams lager, like I haven't had in about 8 years.

Purchased at: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Sep 17, 2006
Photo of indiapaleale
indiapaleale from Maine

3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour - dark auburn in appearance with some lighter shades of orange and yellow being struck by the light. Rather thin head that fades to a ring of white inside the glass.

Aroma - sweet and malty. Sort of reminds me of visiting a brewery on brew day and smelling all those grains being steeped. Also some hints of bread dough and a little bit of lemon or lime zest.

Taste - one sip and it's clear this is a solid lager. Very crisp and balanced. Flavors like honey and caramel stand out on the tongue along with some biscuity flavors. Some faint hop characteristics come into play in the finish.

Overall - well put together lager. Everything seems to be in order and from beginning to end it works well. Very drinkable and quite tasty. Is it possibly the "best American-style Amber Lager in the world?" I don't think we're qualified to make that call but it's certainly a beer worth trying.

Would I buy more of it? - I'd like to try this fresh from the tap at the brewpub out in Durango! Perhaps I'll pick up some cans to go.

Jun 12, 2011
Photo of Beaver13
Beaver13 from Colorado

2.83/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a reddish amber with a fizzy head that quickly goes down to a ring.

The aroma is grainy/corny malts, a little DMS, some sweet caramel, and some spicy hops.

The flavor is slightly sweet watery malts, some cherry and oak with a little spiciness at the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied but watery.

Overall, very similar to the Dillon Dam Straight Lager. It seemed pretty pedestrian. I liked the Dillon sample a tad better.

Aug 30, 2005
Photo of slyke
slyke from Minnesota

3.06/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Steam Engine Lager from Steamworks Brewing Co. pours a clear amber color with a half-inch of head that falls to a thin cap after the first couple of sips.

There is only a little bit of sweetness in the aroma of this beer.

The taste has only slight hoppiness (mostly in the aftertaste) with sweet malt forming the bulk of this taste. Some biscuit-like qualities from the malt.

Mouthfeel light to medium bodied with only a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability is okay for this beer. There is nothing that grabs me - nothing objectionable either. I think it would be a good beer with typical pub grub.

May 10, 2009
Photo of seedee17
seedee17 from Colorado

3.28/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber color with a little chill haze, lingering thin head
S: Caramel aroma, a little toasty malt and a hint of alcohol
T: Mild flavor all around, not too much going on except a little fruityness and a slightly bitter finish
M: The carbonation is really nice, beer is slightly viscous
D: A really inoffensive beer all around, nothing really to get excited about, but an easy drinker.

Oct 29, 2006
Photo of allengarvin
allengarvin from Texas

2.95/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

New canned beer here in Dallas... into a Chimay glass, it pours a light mahogany color with a thinnest of heads on top. The aroma is very faint, just a light dusting of hops. Hmm, flavor is bland, with a light caramel and no hops to speak of, a very watery body...

The canned form of this beer is very inferior to the bottle (which is not great, but at least is drinkable).

Oct 27, 2008
Photo of 67cuda
67cuda from Colorado

4.13/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice reddish amber color, with a small white head. It smells sweet and hoppy, with a little bit of malt in the background. the taste is nice and crisp, with the malt showing just a bit, and the bite from the hops is good but not overwhelming. The mouthfeel is nice and balanced, much like the taste, quite good. I found this to be a very drinkable beer from a brewery that is fast becoming one of my favorites, at least if their other beers are as good as this and their Colorado K├Âlsch!

Oct 19, 2005
Photo of gbontrag
gbontrag from Colorado

4.28/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Fine-bubbled froth that holds well enough to make your acquaintance. It's a thin coffee color that's alive with carbonation tails.

Soapy suds aroma, beechwood, and cherries.

It's dry and crisp with a touch of vanilla, wild cherry-elderberry; puff of smoke and a dash of dry herbs. Wow! This is one helluva a delicious lager. "Lager?" I said to myself. Now, I say, "lager, and damn good." this deserves the recognition they advertise on their bottle.

Aug 17, 2005
Photo of rowew
rowew from Colorado

3.13/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz longneck bottle. Label is a bit cluttered with a description, plus all pictures of the four awards they have won. Best by date and month notched on the side.

Appearance: Pours a dark red-orange color with a thin head.

Smell: A bit of caramel, and sweet malt.

Taste: Smooth and balanced, but not overly exciting. A bit of malt sweetness in the start, and just a touch of hops at the finish, this one is a bit lacking in flavor.

Overall impression: Not bad, but certainly not the most interesting beer I have tried. It's drinkability is the best thing it has going for it, but it wasn't interesting enough to keep me coming back for more.

Apr 13, 2006
Photo of benito
benito from Oregon

3.31/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Steamworks's version of a steam beer has won a ton of awards in the past few years; thanks to that, they've come up with the curious slogan "Arguably the best American-style amber lager in the World." There are enough qualifications on their for any legalist, and, thankfully, they even leave room for dissent.

It is a pale copper with a thin, persistent, and creamy head and lots of carbonation. The bouquet is muted--a hint of honey and nothing more. It has a strong caramel flavor matched by earthy, woody hops; the mintiness that I associate with Northern Brewer hops (and Anchor Steam) is missing, and I wish the length of flavor were a little greater. The hint of honey is a nice touch. It has a smooth, well-balanced and easy-to-drink feel. The spritziness of the finish distinguishes this from being some sort of generic "red beer," and keeps it squarely in style.

Overall, this is a fine and somewhat unenthralling steam beer. I do love to see a brewery stake its flagship brew on an unfairly minor style; unfortunately, it doesn't come close to touching Anchor Steam.

Dec 26, 2007
Photo of Risser09
Risser09 from Pennsylvania

3.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner - fridge - best by may 2009

Appearance: Pours a transparent copper color with lots of flowing carbonation. The head rises 1" with it's eggshell color and diminishes readily, with no lace left behind.

Smell: Sharp lemon hop aroma is met with lager yeast and caramel malts. Cherry and apple make the nose into a fruity one.

Taste: Bitterness is abundant with some pine and lemon flavors. They make way for caramel malts and nutty almond. The lager yeast gives quite a bite to the beer. It's spicy with pepper notes.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, a tiny bit of sweetness, spicy and some lingering alcohol in the finish. This beer really goes after the palate with vigor.

Drinkability: A good lager, and a welcomed change of pace from the ale-ridden beer scene. A refreshing dinker that you could session.

Jul 01, 2009
Photo of Domingo
Domingo from Colorado

3.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark golden color. A little head is present, but not too much.
Smells unoffensive, but nothing special. A little bitter hops, but I doubt I could blind choose it instead of a macro.
Flavor's a tiny bit sweet at first, but then turns to a huskyness and finishes dry with the hops. Reminds me of a Yuengling to be honest. It's got a little more flavor, but it's a little thicker, too. As it warms the flavor comes through more, but it loses some drinkability.
This brew goes down VERY easy when served cool. Compare it to a macro, or the earlier mentioned Yuengling...which is a good thing. A lager like this should go down easy, and it does.
I don't really thing this is a world beater, but it's a pretty good quencher.
It's a style I like for a day to day beer and I have no problem going back to this one. The only real issue is that it's more expensive than comparable beers like Yuengling or Karl Strauss Amber.

Mar 24, 2007
Photo of FightingEntropy
FightingEntropy from Minnesota

2.95/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This light copper beer pours with very little head, but what's there is white with small bubbles. Light malty nose but little else, but nothing off. Sharp initial taste, acidic almost, and then malt. Very light in the mouth, watery, disappears on the back of the tongue. Not dry--the beer just drops off. Light and relatively smooth, but nothing to drive to Durango for.

Jul 04, 2008
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou from District of Columbia

3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can, obtained in the under a hundred bif

appearance: poured into a ND soccer pint glass, cloudy amber body with a minimalistic beige cap and little retention...a very placid appearance

smell: rustic malts, caramel, tart red apple, a little metallic, a touch of honey and a slight nutty characteristic

taste: classic lager malts, metallic notes, caramel and apple, a touch nutty. Overall, pretty flat and dull flavors but an easy drinker on a football saturday

mouthfeel: flat and medium-light bodied

drinkability: fine

Sep 20, 2008
Steam Engine Lager from Steamworks Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 134 ratings