HOME > Chowhound > Beer >

Best Beer Value (High Malt, Low Hop, Low Adjunct)

scott123 Sep 20, 2012 07:03 PM

I'm looking for the most malt with the least adjunct at the best price. I love the maltiness/rich body of Anchor Steam, but the price tag is a little high.

If a macro can bring me down to $5, I'm willing to work with some adjunct, but I'd really like to find something with some body. Can I get body in a $5/six beer? In high school (1980s), I drank bud, and I might be willing to take a walk down memory lane, but, before I go that route, I want to exhaust all my options.

Yuengling seems to be one of the more affordable beers, and, from what I understand, it might be adjunct free, but, for some reason, it's never really done it for me.

In the past, I've enjoyed Sam Adams quite a bit, but I'd like to trim that price tag a couple dollars as well.

My favorite beer of all time was the cask conditioned real ale I had in England, but I never found anything that came close to that on this side of the Atlantic.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Jim Dorsch RE: scott123 Sep 20, 2012 07:13 PM

    AB makes some Michelob beers that are sort of crafty, at pretty reasonable prices. For example: http://www.michelob.com/ExploreAmberB...

    Looks like they've trimmed down the line, however, as it used to include pale ale and some others.

    1. JessKidden RE: scott123 Sep 21, 2012 02:21 AM

      > Yuengling seems to be one of the more affordable beers, and, from what I understand,
      > it might be adjunct free

      Yuengling's quite opened about using "corn grits for light body" in their beers: http://www.yuengling.com/process/

      1. n
        niquejim RE: scott123 Sep 21, 2012 10:30 AM

        You should really think about trying to make some yourself. It is not that difficult to get a fair approximation of English bitters at home. After the initial investment it really can save money if you're willing to have a basic setup

        1. Chinon00 RE: scott123 Sep 21, 2012 05:32 PM

          A quality six pack for $5 is impossible. You can get a quality growler fill for under $10 at Whole Foods and some English four packs there for around $8. The larger craft brewpubs probably will do cheaper growler fills as well. But again $5 for a six of rich malty low to no adjunct beer isn't possible.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chinon00
            JAB RE: Chinon00 Sep 22, 2012 11:14 AM

            Whole Foods does growler fills?

            1. re: JAB
              Jim Dorsch RE: JAB Sep 22, 2012 05:09 PM

              Depends on the area and local laws. I read a while back that Sunoco was testing out growlers, and also noted that a drug store in Brooklyn was built with a growler station not too long ago.

              1. re: JAB
                Chinon00 RE: JAB Sep 22, 2012 06:12 PM

                I'm in Philly and both WFs that I've been to in Plymouth Meeting and and Devon do growler fills. Not sure about other areas or states.

                1. re: Chinon00
                  Beachowolfe RE: Chinon00 Oct 3, 2012 07:29 PM

                  Is having growler fills at the grocery store worth having to live in Philadelphia?

                  growler phills*

            2. Tripeler RE: scott123 Sep 21, 2012 07:36 PM

              Trader Joes usually offers the best beers for the lowest prices. Or, it you really like malt richness, go for Steel Reserve, an 8% alcohol monster that is cheap when on sale.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Tripeler
                The Professor RE: Tripeler Sep 21, 2012 08:10 PM

                I don't think I would characterize Steel Reserve as 'malty' ...from what I understand, it's made with something on the order of 40% corn (and possibly more).
                It's just hopped at a very low level.

                1. re: The Professor
                  Tripeler RE: The Professor Sep 22, 2012 08:15 PM

                  I haven't had it in years, but I think it was reasonably hopped considering the gravity. And I am not sure it is possible to brew on the order of 40% corn. From what I recall, there was a whole lot of malt in it, albeit very cheap tasting barley malt. I dubbed it the poor man's Duvel.

                  1. re: Tripeler
                    JessKidden RE: Tripeler Sep 23, 2012 02:52 AM

                    > And I am not sure it is possible to brew on the order of 40% corn.

                    "Although some brewers would hesitate to use more than 30% adjunct (on an extract basis), most U.S. brewers are probably closer to a level of 40% with some very successful brewers using a rate as high as 50%."

                    --- The Practical Brewer, Master Brewers' Assoc. of the Americas (2d. Ed. 1977)

                    ....thus even predating Steel Reserve, which was one of Wessinger's McKenzie River Corp's beers before Miller bought their brands.

                    1. re: JessKidden
                      Tripeler RE: JessKidden Sep 23, 2012 03:39 AM

                      Wow, who'd have thunk? I do know that rice has a limit; going over 20% runs a strong risk of tartness or sourness.

                      1. re: Tripeler
                        JessKidden RE: Tripeler Sep 23, 2012 06:19 AM

                        > I do know that rice has a limit; going over 20% runs a strong risk of tartness or sourness.

                        It's generally said (not sure if the brewery itself ever stated it recently) that AB's Budweiser is 70/30 malt to rice ratio and, before returning to an all-malt recipe a few years ago, Michelob was said to be 80/20.

                        Coors once used rice as it's primary adjunct (they also used some corn starch) for their former flagship, now referred to Coors Banquet. They even had their own rice strain with which they supplied their contracted farmers in CA. I'd imagine that very "light" beer was probably over 70/30 or higher, as well. Today, MillerCoors just says "cereal grains" for the adjunct in Banquet, IIRC..

                        1. re: JessKidden
                          Tripeler RE: JessKidden Sep 23, 2012 07:15 AM

                          Interesting discussion, but rather off -topic. What sort of beer would you suggest for the OP to try? Should be all-malt, with good richness. I suggested Steel Reserve as an extremely high-gravity example of cheap beer, though adjuncts abound in it.

                          1. re: JessKidden
                            LStaff RE: JessKidden Oct 5, 2012 08:36 AM

                            Quick calculations done on a Bud plant tour in NH where they gave the amount of barley and rice used in each batch came out to almost 40% rice for Budweiser.

                  2. re: Tripeler
                    Kenji RE: Tripeler Sep 25, 2012 06:25 AM

                    Trader Joe's sells a "Josephsbrau" line of beers at $5.99 a six-pack. They're made by Gordon Biersch. The lineup includes a pilsner, marzen, pale bock and -- my favorite, though I wish the malt base were drier -- a dark wheat. I deem these beers efficient but unexciting examples of their respective styles. They're free of rice and corn, and the price is obviously good.

                  3. i
                    Idyllwild RE: scott123 Sep 21, 2012 09:19 PM

                    Look for Full Sail Session Lager, it's a bit above your target price but not much, and pretty tasty. They also brew a Black Session Lager that's quite good, if you're open to a dark beer.

                    1. Josh RE: scott123 Sep 22, 2012 06:00 AM

                      Drink fewer beers. Problem solved.

                      1. c
                        Chowrin RE: scott123 Sep 23, 2012 05:37 AM

                        Troeginator retails for a decent price (~$10/six pack). and at double the ABV, you're getting a deal.

                        1. l
                          LStaff RE: scott123 Oct 5, 2012 08:46 AM

                          Look at Costco for deals on a case - once in a while they have some german imports for good prices. My local has Hofbrau Oktoberfest now. Also I can't imagine the Kirkland brand (brewed by gordon biersch on west coast and FX Matt's on the east coast) being very hoppy.

                          As far as craft beers and import lagers, the best deals are usually in the 12 pack format. St. Pauli Girl can be widely found at around $12 /12 pack on a regular basis - it is quite malty - but enough bitterness to balance.

                          1. b
                            bjm01843 RE: scott123 May 1, 2014 03:31 PM

                            Here's my trick.... I blend together 1 bottle of Corona beer and 1 bottle of Malta beverage.. It's the most malty beer you'll ever get.. The taste is superb...Bobbio

                            1. Tripeler RE: scott123 May 1, 2014 06:08 PM

                              If you want a lot of body at a low price, give Steel Reserve a try. When I had it in 2005 it tasted fairly malty, but with 8% alcohol it likely had a fair amount of adjuncts. It's in with the malt liquors in most places.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Tripeler
                                SP1 RE: Tripeler May 2, 2014 06:02 AM

                                Because it IS malt liquor.

                                Steel Reserve has little to no body, it's a thin, watery, high alcohol beverage sold only for people looking for the cheapest beer buzz they can get.

                                1. re: SP1
                                  Tripeler RE: SP1 May 2, 2014 07:19 AM

                                  I found it had plenty of body. And, it seemed to me far from thin and watery. Not elegant malt flavour by any means, but it seemed to be brewed with a fair amount of pale malt. Anyway, for what little it costs, I think it would be worth trying for the OP.

                                  1. re: Tripeler
                                    SP1 RE: Tripeler May 6, 2014 10:11 AM

                                    Steel Reserve is most assuredly not brewed with a large percetage of malt. I'd suspect it is around 40% adjunct, as that is really the only way to obtain the high ABV and keep the cost sooo low.

                                    1. re: SP1
                                      Tripeler RE: SP1 May 6, 2014 05:22 PM

                                      Still, it is cheap and was sufficiently malty when I had it years ago. Worth a try is my opinion.

                                      1. re: Tripeler
                                        Jim Leff RE: Tripeler May 9, 2014 09:58 AM

                                        A "58" (out of 100) on BeerAdvocate.com!


                                        1. re: Jim Leff
                                          Tripeler RE: Jim Leff May 9, 2014 04:58 PM

                                          Apparently it has its adherents. Still, not a delicious beer by any means, but gets the job done.

                              Show Hidden Posts