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Cultural Democracy: The 7 Best And Worst Beers According To The Layman's Palate

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Cultural Democracy: The 7 Best And Worst Beers According To The Layman's Palate

RateBeer.com welcomes anyone, literally anyone, equipped with basic adjectives to indulge their inner connoisseur. Here, the gamut of global critics dump their unfiltered judgment of any and every beer.

Some are kind, some are not, and the brunt of condemnation is directed toward the Anheuser Busch Inbev NV (ADR) (NYSE: BUD) portfolio, whose highest-ranked brew, the Bass Pale Ale, earns a mediocre 3.11 stars. The Shock Top, Best Damn, Michelob and Budweiser lines prove equally average.

Meanwhile, industry rivals Boston Beer Company Inc (NYSE: SAM), Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ) and Craft Brew Alliance Inc (NASDAQ: BREW) boast more favorable appraisals.

With little influence over its ratings, or, as some suggest, in an effort to gain a competitive edge through access to consumer data, Anheuser-Busch took a stake in RateBeer.com in June.

Here are the seven beers it seeks to topple ━ and seven of the industry’s worst from which it seeks to dissociate.

The Good

7. AleSmith Speedway Stout: Bourbon Barrel Aged

  • Score: 4.35
  • Brewer: AleSmith Brewing Company, California
  • Most vivid review: “Very solid body with an extremely complex flavour pattern: burned malts, dried fruits, coffee and oaky bourbon. Quite a bitter finish. A grand Oaked Imperial Stout, but I’ve had them even better.”

6. Russian River Pliny The Younger

  • Score: 4.35
  • Brewer: Russian River Brewing, California
  • Most vivid review: “Aroma of pine cones and white pepper. Taste is bitter throughout, some citrus, decent balance.”

5. Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout: Bourbon Barrel Aged

  • Score: 4.35
  • Brewer: Three Floyds Brewing Company, Indiana
  • Most vivid review: “Dark ruby brown with no head. Aroma of roasted chestnuts and cherry liqueur. Flavor of chocolate covered brandied cherries.”

4. Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout: Double Barrel Aged

  • Score: 4.40
  • Brewer: Cigar City Brewing, Florida
  • Most vivid review: “Palate is smooth with fine carbonation. Rich dark malt and dark chocolate. Big toasted coconut. Very light chilli itch. Mellow rum soaked dark fruits. Touch of limey/appley spice. Viscous and slightly spicy finish.”

3. Toppling Goliath Mornin’ Delight

  • Score: 4.41
  • Brewer: Toppling Goliath, Iowa
  • Most vivid review: “Taste comprises chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit rinds, raisins, light spice, toffee fudge. Full bodied, oily feel, warming alcohol in the close. Solid impy, well balanced, drinks below the ABV, good coffee hit.”

2. Westvleteren 12 (XII)

  • Score: 4.43
  • Brewer: Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus, Belgium
  • Most vivid review: “A very complex dark, malty, fruity beer with floral notes. Amazing aroma and flavor fruit, yeast, citrus, alcohol, spices, oak, vanilla, the list goes on and on as flavors change. The best Trappist beer I have ever tasted.”

1. Toppling Goliath Kentucky Brunch

  • Score: 4.52
  • Brewer: Toppling Goliath, Iowa
  • Most vivid review: “Palate is smooth and airy but still has a little body. Very fine carbonation. Smooth and rich dark malts. Lovely dark malt cream and rich chocolate fudge. Mellow but well flavoured coffee. Touch of maple. Mild dark fruits and fruity mellow bourbon. Trace of licorice. Smooth dry finish. Yeah ━ worth the hype, this is a special Impy.”

The Bad

7. Dark Horse Lambeak Wants Blood Orange

  • Score: 1.15
  • Brewer: Dark Horse Brewing Company, Michigan
  • Most vivid review: “Taste is just uber acidic. More than vinegar. Very difficult to swallow, it feels like it could really hurt you. Overall, I can see the potential as a salad dressing and would probably rate this 4+ on ratevinegar.com, but as a beer is just a disgrace.”

6. Camo Genuine Ale

  • Score: 1.12
  • Brewer: Camo Beer Company, Nevada
  • Most vivid review: “Sweetish, harsh flavor of corn, rubbing alcohol, diesel, and the tears of sentient apples.”

5. Michelob Ultra

  • Score: 1.12
  • Brewer: Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Missouri
  • Most vivid review: “Perhaps the vaguest shade of yellow can be found in the icy, fizzy water. There’s unpleasant notes of pineapple and boiled vegetables. Extremely watery with sharp, stinging mouthfeel and absolutely no bitterness. Aggressively empty.”

4. Sleeman Clear

  • Score: 1.11
  • Brewer: Sleeman Brewing & Malting Co. (Sapporo)
  • Most vivid review: “Very wet and artificial-tasting….It’s like creamy water with the aftertaste of peanuts.”

3. Milwaukee’s Most vivid Premium

  • Score: 1.10
  • Brewer: Miller Brewing Company, Molson Coors Brewing Co (NYSE: TAP), Wisconsin
  • Most vivid review: “Not much flavour, except a hint of lightly salted boiled vegetables.”

2. Natural Ice

  • Score: 1.09
  • Brewer: Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Missouri
  • Most vivid review: “This beer smells like Nebraska. Corn, corn, and more corn. And then some offensive aromas of alcohol, urine, and grass....This stuff is probably the worst of the adjunct lagers. At least most of them are not so blatantly offensive.”

1. Natural Light

  • Score: 1.06
  • Brewer: Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Missouri
  • Most vivid review: “I bought this at a gas station and used it as a palate cleanser in between beers. You know, something watery and bland that you can drink with smoked Polish mountain cheese and help freshen up the palate. It certainly won't make any other impact. Makes Coors Light look like Dark Lord.”

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