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Apr 15, 2008 08:10 AM

Worst Beer Ever?

I generally enjoy almost any beer. I stay away from Bud,Coors, and Miller, I just don't get anything out of them. But as one of the only beers I've ever truly despised, Old Speckled Hen has got to be it. I drank it as a requirement for my local bar's 'mug club'. Wow, that is nasty swill. I've heard it is popular across the pond, but yuck! Anyone agree with that or have your own despised brew, I'm curious to know.

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  1. I love it, and any of the English pale ales/bitter ales are fantastic to me.

    Was the OSH on draft?

    1. I had high hopes when I tasted Sam Adams Triple Bock, but it was the first beer I could not finish. It was like drinking syrupy Kikkoman. Worst beer I ever had. The second beer I could not finish was the result of my first attempt at homebrewing, which was vomit inducing.

      20 Replies
      1. re: jtpeters

        Many years ago, my brother-in-law, a beer salesman, brought us a 4pack (I think) of Triple Bock to try. He said it was "an after dinner liquore, but kind of a beer". On Fridays at my job, we'd bring in "interesting" or "oddball" beers to try after 5:00. Everyone equated this "beer" to Quaker State, but worse. I hear it's expensive now, but I wouldn't pay a dollar a bottle. Just awful.

        1. re: jtpeters

          Sam Adams Triple Bock is meant to be aged and enjoyed like a Cognac, not a beer. It is only beer in name because it is made from Barley malt. I don't know why they named it this way, but I have had it, and it is not bad. You drink it in a snifter after a good meal. It is in this way you will see its full potential.

          1. re: EX500rider

            All beer is made from barley malt. What is it that you think beer is made from?

            1. re: BeeRich

              Perhaps he meant that although SA Triple Bock is made with beer ingredients and beer procedures, the resulting brew is very unlike what most people associate with beer and is best consumed with a tad more ritual than is usually accorded "beer".
              Can't say I disagree with him. Like a good barleywine, it's a brew to savor and not chug. I have to agree with him that while SA Triple Bock called beer, it is really something more.

              1. re: BeeRich

                Ex500 didn't say beer is not made from barley malt. But, of course, beer doesn't have to be made from barley malt.

                1. re: BeeRich

                  SOME barley malt in the crap beers, cut with corn and other junk that makes it swill...

                  1. re: sneaker

                    Many renowned Belgian beers use adjuncts.

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      It's unfortunate that there's been so much marketing spin about adjuncts in beer.

                      1. re: Josh

                        All the reinheistegebot marketing surely had an impact, but recently much of it seems to be coming from people who should know better - US craft brewers.

                        1. re: LStaff

                          Yeah, that's what I was referring to. Certain craft brewers like to boast about lack of adjunct usage, which is dumb considering that anyone wanting to brew some of the higher-alcohol Belgian styles will need to employ adjuncts to get there.

                          1. re: Josh

                            ...not to mention many of the best British brews. White sugar has long been used in both the UK and Belgium as an adjunct in great beers. Not to mention the various spices brewers in Belgium and elsewhere make extensive use of to make some of the world's best.

                            1. re: Ernie Diamond

                              And even a trappist brewery uses all kinds of non-traditional ingredients.


                  2. re: BeeRich

                    Maize, rice, potato starch and sugar to name a few as for beers on the hand pump they can go off but i really don't like Carlsberg Special

                  3. re: EX500rider

                    no, it is a beer because of HOW IT IS MADE. It is named "this way" because that is what it is. you like it more? you think it's special? awesome. enjoy it. but it is what it is.

                    1. re: thew

                      I agree. "Beer" can be a lot of different things and take a lot of different forms based on the individual interpretation of the brewer.

                      The Triple Bock is an extraordinarily well made beer that pushes the envelope.

                      As a side note (and slightly off the original topic) It's so odd to me how it has become fashionable in some quarters to hate on Sam Adams, especially since they are now evidently one of the largest American brewing companies. They make some terrific beers however, in many ways surpassing the so called "craft" brewers. The reality is that SA is as much a "craft" brewery as any out there, despite their phenomenal growth.

                      1. re: The Professor

                        Ehhhh, not sure how much I agree. Sam Adams makes *some* beers that are good, but they make some really abysmal ones. I don't think noticing that has anything to do with fashion. Cherry Wheat is *not* a good beer, nor is their Summer Ale, their Cranberry Lambic, their Blackberry Wit, etc. etc. I like their Boston lager, that's a pretty decent beer. But I think most of their releases are average at best.

                        I also don't get what you mean by saying that they surpass other craft breweries. If you look at who's winning medals in blind tasting competition at events like World Beer Cup and GABF, by and large it's the smaller craft breweries.

                        1. re: Josh

                          No need to agree!
                          That's what makes the world (and the forums) go round. Whether any beer is good or bad is a matter of opinion. One person may hate a particular beer and say it isn't well made, another will kvell over it and praise the craft involved.

                          I suppose I did make a pretty broad and generalized statement, but did so only to make the important point that Sam Adams is as much a "craft" brewery as any brewery 1/20th its size (or smaller). They may not make as many alcoholic hop bombs as is the current tiresome fad of other so called 'craft' breweries, but many of SA's products are well above 'average'.

                          It's all relative anyway to individual taste. Plenty to choose from these days, that's for certain.

                          1. re: Josh

                            Agree - their specialty beers that come in the sampler seem amateurish. Their Black Lager was horrible - it tasted like my first attempt at a homebrewed porter. I love Sam Adams - it's my go-to beer when in places without interesting beer selections, and it's eminently drinkable. But their niche beers are typically bad. They had a couple of holiday brews and summer brews I liked, though!

                          2. re: The Professor

                            Jim Koch and his Boston Beer Co. has been ruffling the feathers of many (macro brewers, the big imports, craft brewers and craft beer drinkers) ever since he came along - nearly a decade after the beginning of the "craft beer era" in the US (which I date from New Albion's start). The list is rather long of BBC's "controversies"- some based on Koch's "hucksteristic" marketing, his sometimes "broad" generalizations and re-writing of US beer history, etc. AND some of it is just typical sniping within a very competitive industry.

                            I keep meaning (threatening?) to make up an impartial list of them all but I've found that just NOTING the subjects of those events often puts me into the "Sam Adam haters" category (why, it's enough to make me search the beer fridge for a bottle of SA Imperial Pilsner...).

                            Such a list would include things like the early GABF "Consumer Preference Poll", the co-opting of the "Boston Beer Co." name and history, the history of the previous generations' Koch's breweries and beers, the BL "recipe in the attic" vs Joseph Owades', the Oregon Originals line, the attacks on Heineken and Euro imports (and then exporting SABL), the attacks on other craft brewers, the "shock jock" episode, contract brewing, Hardcore Cider and Twisted Tea, claims re: the former Haffenreffer brewery, the Schoenling brewery purchase/contracts, numerous lawsuits, the definition of "craft" beer by the Brewers Association, etc., etc. etc.

                            So, rather than "fashionable", I'd say that "hate on Sam Adams" is closer to a tradition in the craft beer world <g> - with it's #1 position only adding to the mix rather than simply causing it.

                            1. re: JessKidden

                              Good answer.
                              Tradition indeed...I do remember reading about some of these controversies early on. They mainly made me chuckle. Too bad Matt Reich wasn't as aggressive, especially given that he was really first to the party and also had a very good product.

                              But really, all I can say is "whatever". Koch happened to have a good flagship beer (even if it came from Joe Owades' attic rather than grandpa's...I suspect that the truth is actually somewhere in the middle); and ultimately JK and his marketing folks managed to pull off quite a trick (though again, in all fairness, they did have something decent to back it up).
                              None of the controversey really matters in the end...I like his beer. I like it quite a bit.
                              And I like that it is widely available. When travelling, my first beer is _always_ the _local_ choice. But my second beer depends on my reaction to the first...and if that is a negative, these days SA is generally nearby to save the day if need be.

                    2. Tsingtao Lite - shoulda known there was a reason the grocery store was selling it for $1.95 a six.
                      Absolutely vile and putrid.

                      1. What particular flavor(s) didn't you like in OSH?


                        1. It can be hard to discern when a beer is bad due to spoilage or brewing errors, or when it's simply a bad recipe. For me, I'd probably rank Sam Adams Cherry Wheat as one of the most unpleasant beer experiences I've had. I thought it tasted like carbonated cough syrup. I have tried it more than once, and that was how it tasted each and every time, which leads me to conclude that the recipe for it just isn't to my liking.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Josh

                            I had a cranberry wheat beer at a brewpub that tasted like Children's Tylenol.

                            Never went back.