Steelback Premium Beer

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old faithful
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Steelback Premium Beer

Postby old faithful » Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:13 pm

I bought two large cans of this, one was a red can, the other buff-coloured with the name Chain on it (referring to the claimed locked-in quality). Both contain 5.5% ABV with no indication of style (lager, ale, etc.). So I can't tell if these are the same beer with different labelling or different beers (until I taste the second can). I tried the red can first. First, it has a somewhat darkish colour for a mainstream-style beer. Second, it is quite low in carbonation, which made it go well with a meal. The taste struck me as quite different from regular Canadian-made beer, it doesn't have the adjunct-influenced sugary taste of big brewer lager; rather, it was caramel-like but not in a microbeer-like way. It wasn't bad at all but isn't likely to appeal to the committed micro beer fan. It may convert people who like, say, the Rickard's line of beers or one of the milder-tasting imports (e.g., Bass Ale to which it bears some resemblance).

Gary
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Postby JerCraigs » Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:19 pm

:SIGH:

Faithful, I have no words...


On an interesting note, packaging in cans would let us determine if the problem that lead the Steelback being one of the leaders on Ratebeer's top 50 worst beers in the WORLD list, was the bottles rather than what came inside them.
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tupalev
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Postby tupalev » Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:00 am

For reference:

http://www.ratebeer.com/Beer/steelback-red/37408/

http://www.ratebeer.com/Beer/steelback-chain/32780/

Faithful, someone mentioned a while ago you seem to like just about every beer. It is hard to argue with that based on this review.
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Belgian
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Postby Belgian » Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:14 am

I'm sure the man is no fool, and we're all aware of the RateBeer rankings.

At the same time rather than just hop on the 'Steelback is Swill" bandwagon, Old Faithful offers very mitigated support of these 'mainstream style' beers RELATIVE TO the mega-sellers most people kick back and rave about. The relativity of his comments is what qualifies them, and I would not consider say Rickards to be a glowing comparison.

Anyway since we're being slavish about RateBeer-stats, did you ever consider the accuracy of the inherent assumption - I mean Steelback might be rated lower than molson ex, coors, bud, blue etc. because those established brands seem to have artificially high ratings based on a trillion uncritical people actually buying those beers & lavishly praising them with stupid high numbers?

By contrast - Steelback has very little volume sales and a larger balance of the ratings seems to be craft-oriented drinkers who try everything obscure. Does this not weigh the ratings in a way tipping the percentile off-balance?

Be it resolved that: Steelback might actually not be in the Bottom 50 were it rated on equal terms with all horrible beers. (Takes the fun out of it huh?.)

Look, I like you guys but razzing on Old Faithful for freely expressing the slightest hint of relative, objective support makes me want to ask you to "chill out, dudes!" Take off theRateBeer blinders once in a while - Steelback may still be lousy compared to good craft beers, but the opinion censoring is uncalled for I think. Let's be civil and objective if we can.
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tupalev
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Postby tupalev » Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:35 am

Awesome - I mentioned to a few others privately that it would take approx 2-3 hours after my post before someone slammed ratebeer to some degree. Thanks for coming through for me.

I posted the links to show a) exactly which beers Old Faithful was talking about, as he was not sure and b) that yes, God forbid, people think they're pretty crap. Last time I checked this was an opinionated forum. Old Faithful posted his; I posted these links to provide an alternative view, especially as I have never tried these specific gems.

Belgian, you need to chill. Old Faithful has posted a lot of positive reviews on beers a good majority of people on this board do not care for. Being a smart chap, I'm sure he expects some discussion. Steelback raises a little more ire than normal because the owner has come off as not giving a shit about the quality of the beer. Lending support to someone like that, even insinuated support, will always piss people off.

One last thing, if you read some of the reviews (and don't miss some of the Steelback plants in there as well!), you will see a common theme - most find something seriously wrong with this beer across all the brands. Some of the folks more knowledgeable than me have pointed out a possible yeast problem or some sort of flaw in the brewing process (or something like that). That is the reason this company gets trashed (and yes, there are the bandwagon jumpers for sure). I think you'll find most boring inoffensive lagers get boring inoffensive ratings.

And looking back, I'm not sure where you see Gary getting slammed. I see two posts that didn't agree and were a little exasperated, that's all.

Jeff
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Postby old faithful » Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:37 am

Thanks and I don't mind the razing by the way, but all I am trying to do is objectively describe a beer and its market. I mean, no commercial beer sold in Canada is "bad" (unless it is not in the condition intended by the brewer, e.g., oxidised), it is all potable drink and will appeal to different markets. In the group I tried the Steelback with, two people really liked it. As Belgian said, I implied it won't satisfy probably many microbeer palates, and of course I love micro beer, so likely I won't buy this again but I just can't view it as saying this beer or that is "bad". Were that not so, why are people buying beers by the millions of gallons I think is "bad", like Blue or Blue Light? It is because it isn't bad, it is what it is.

Gary
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Postby JerCraigs » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:30 pm

O.F., you have made it clear that such criticisms roll off your back pretty lightly, and I'm sure no one is intending to attack you personally regardless of how divergent their views are to yours, and I'm pretty sure most people on the site have similar dispositions towards the sometimes pointed discussions we have here.

The distinction is that while Blue or Canadian and other Molbatts products are usually inoffensive, the critique is usually their LACK of flavour rather than presence of bad flavours.

Steelback however, has frequently been downright horrible. Filthy. Not all of their products are like that, some of my Ratebeer ratings for their products have been relatively uneventful. But their releases of Tango, Chain, and some others have in the past been completely and utterly without redemption.

That may have changed... who knows, I am not sure how many brave souls are willing to give it a second chance.
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Postby old faithful » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:40 pm

I'm sorry but what I tasted last night was a commercial-style beer, a somewhat caramelised (maybe from pasteurisation) not over-carbonated lager and that's all. I have (believe me) drunk some bad beers in 30 years of sampling: some were yeast-infected, some were oxidised, some were skunked, some were just bad. The Steelback I had last night was none of these. Given a choice between it and, say, a tinned Northern European lager such as we find at LCBO I'd take the Steelback. I haven't tasted any other Steelback before this one so I can't comment on what went before. Sure I won't drink this very often but I see it in the range of beers like Rickard's or some of the mass-market U.K. imports (Newcastle Brown, say). By the way I don't agree mass Canadian lager does not have a defined taste, I think it does, but it is one that is not (as I see it) a traditional beer palate, due mostly to the use of extract and moderate hopping. We are all of us looking for the perfect beer... I came pretty close in Montreal with the Xmas amber of 3 Brasseurs. It reminded me of some great English and Belgian ales, the best attributes of each. But I still enjoyed my pint of Molson Ex at the airport before I left, what can I say..

Gary
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Postby Steve Spong » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:47 pm

While Faithful's defense of Steelback is somewhat troubling, the guy in the following link is even more troubling - his admiration for Arrogant Bastard and Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout notwithstanding:

http://www.ratebeer.com/View-User-539-1-4.htm
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Postby Blankboy » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:07 pm

Steve Spong wrote:While Faithful's defense of Steelback is somewhat troubling, the guy in the following link is even more troubling - his admiration for Arrogant Bastard and Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout notwithstanding:

http://www.ratebeer.com/View-User-539-1-4.htm


Well I think we can EASILY dismiss anyone who gives Labatt Blue a 5 out of 5 and writes:

"This is without a doubt my favorite pilsner and at the top of my list overall. Plus they have good commercials. Wow, Canadian beer is good, EH?"

The man obviously burned his tastebuds off as a child.
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tupalev
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Postby tupalev » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:30 pm

You do indeed meet all sorts in this crazy beer world...
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Postby Steve Spong » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:33 pm

I don't know, I think that some of his other reviews are quite persuasive and compelling:

Old Milwaukee: "Good shit, white trash, the epitome of good beer. Nothing better than coming home to a fridge full of this stuff after a long day of slacking off."

Keystone Premium: "Great white trash brew. This ranks up at the top. I have never found it in South Dakota. I drank it during a camping trip in Montana. I would drink this anyday in my wife beater T shirt on the porch of the trailer."

Kirin Ichiban: "Piss yellow, no head. When I first tried this stuff I thought I had a cold and couldn't taste. So I had my roommate try it and he thought it was tasteless as well. Then my other roommate bought some to try and he told me it tasted horrible so I tasted a swig and holy crap, I must have had a cold the first time I tried it cause it tasted worse than a rotten cod fish wrapped in a shitty diaper. Its enough to gag a maggot."

Old English 800: "lamest, wack attempt for wannabe malt liquor drinkers to get their intake of OE. A fruit beer, no, a fruit's beer yeah. Even the lamest of drinkers from my neighborhood wont drink this bitch-beer."

The only thing I wonder is if this guy is for real. His grasp and use of the English language is right up there with Churchill.
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Postby tupalev » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:01 pm

These yahoos do pop up on ratebeer from time to time. The difference with this guy is that he spent more than 1 day on the site and has taken the time to rate 312 different beers :o . We truly are a better community for having input like this...
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Postby Belgian » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:17 pm

tupalev wrote:Awesome - I mentioned to a few others privately that it would take approx 2-3 hours after my post before someone slammed ratebeer to some degree.

Belgian, you need to chill.
Jeff


Alright, I can chill. Was I really being adversarial? I just found the ratebeer trumpeting a bit irrelevant to OF's comments in this case, not necessarily an attack but then is it really on point. I did think OF made a few balanced points avoiding the "easy shots" at Steelback, and that takes something more. Credibility is more than consensus.

And pointing out there may be useless "5/5" ratings for Bud is not slamming RateBeer at all. It is constructing an argument. You can construct an argument that is essentially positive.
Last edited by Belgian on Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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old faithful
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Postby old faithful » Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:26 pm

A really bad beer is one fortunately you don't find too often these days. In the early days of the craft beer movement, many of the beers were bad. That was because the people making them did not know always what they were doing. Rarely did I drink a beer using malt extract I liked, to me they all had a tell-tale chemical-like taste that was off-putting. Maybe the extract today (the ingredient) is better. Many of the all-malt beers were bad, too, sometimes they were oxidised (still sometimes a problem with bottled beer), sometimes yeast-infected, sometimes too sweet, sometimes with a raw herbal "catnip" like taste that revealed a clumsy hand with hops, and sometimes they were none of the above but just did not taste right to me. So I know what bad beer is like. Then there are commercial beers, and some micro, that are sometimes not that good. Recently I had a Coors Light on a plane that had a rubberized-like taste, maybe it was too old.

Another definition of bad is a beer made and sold as the brewer intends, but that doesn't please. This is a subjective definition of bad and therefore I hesitate to call bad a beer that millions of people like and approve. I can't say a Hershey bar is bad because some expensive European all-cocoa or 80% cocoa or whatever chocolate bar is better - they are different products appealing to different markets. Sometimes a Hershey bar or Oh Henry is just right and sometimes a draught Molson Export is, too.

I'll try the Chain version of Steelback Premium later and report my thoughts.

Gary

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