I don't know what possessed me to buy this, but being driven by a wicked combination of intense self-loathing, alcoholic gluttony and outright curiosity I decided that I had to have it. Lately I've been going through a kind of 'adventure consumables' phase. I won't detail my other exploits here but I will admit that they were unpleasant, with not one that I'd willingly return to. An imaginary line had been drawn in the sand, this can of Steel Reserve was to be my next conquest.
Staring at the giant silver can I'm reminded not slightly of Coors Light, which while not my favorite still has a generally enjoyable purpose. The contents of this container probably have a purpose too, but the only things that come to mind are a cruel form of torture and maybe de-greaser, given the high alcohol concentration (8.10 percent!). Unfortunately for me, however, Coors Light this isn't and keen to back down from a challenge I'm not.
The first thing anyone is likely to notice about a beer is the smell, and this one had little to offer along those lines other than the overwhelming smell of alcohol. That's right, alcohol. Like what you put on cuts and scrapes if you're a tough or mean son of a bitch, depending on whether you're treating yourself or the very unlucky kid that you must hate. If you've made it that far, you might as well give it a taste, which I unfortunately did. A lot of big beer brewers will at least attempt to cover up the high gravity with extra hops or some roasted chocolate or molasses flavors. Apparently the kind folks who brew Steel Reserve think that sort of nonsense is for pussies. What you'll taste is alcohol, and lots of it. The kind of alcohol that will put hair on your chest. The sweetness of the malts only seems to bring out the overpowering alcohol and with hardly any hop character to speak of this turns out to be a very burley, mean-spirited bastard of a beer. And not in a good way.
Whether you're using it as first aid for a gunshot wound or to treat a downswing from your bipolar disorder, despite tasting perfectly awful this beer does get at least one thing right: it will most assuredly get you window-licking drunk if you've got the palette to finish it. And the only way that is likely to happen is due to the ABV: by the time you down half the can, you probably won't really care what it tastes like any more. Bravo.