Steel Reserve Review

steel reserve

Shit-faced drunk for less than $3. That’s probably the easiest way to sum up the genius that is Steel Reserve. I can imagine the birth of this wonderful high-gravity lager right now.

“Hey boss?…What is it Johnson? Boss I have a great idea for a new beer…..Ok Johnson, I’m listening. Let’s make a lager and let it ferment for 28 days until it has an alcohol content so high that only the most seasoned drinkers can handle it.” The boss ponders this, slams his fist on the desk and bellows, “Goddammit Johnson! That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day! I’m making you Vice President of Cool.

I’m just guessing that’s how it went down. I have no clue how the beer got it’s name. What I do know is that drinking a beer with an alcohol content of 8.1% is not for amateurs. As seasoned as I am, I can still only imbibe 4-5 16oz cans of this stuff in one night without feeling like I just went through a session of chemotherapy the next morning.

The aroma, as well as the taste, is very strong and pungent. They both definitely take some getting used to. A good way to get around the strong taste is to drink it extremely cold in an extremely cold mug. If you can do this, you’ll be on the receiving end of one of the fastest and cheapest drunks money can buy. However, much like its cousin, napalm, you have to be very careful when drinking Steel Reserve. It comes with a set of rules. Just like a Mogwai. Don’t buy any more than you know you can handle, don’t drink all that you buy and buy an equal amount of Gatorade to drink before you go to bed. The normal thing for hard core Steel Reserve drinkers to do when they get drunk is to drink until they pass out. Steel Reserve will fuck up your entire weekend if you try to pull that crap on some random Friday night. Drink an entire 12 pack of this stuff and you’ll wake up on the liver transplant waiting list.

Steel Reserve is definitely a double-edged sword. Plan ahead and be careful and it will serve you well. Abuse it, and it will chop your head off and flush it down a toilet.

You can find Steel Reserve at any store. $1.35 will get you a 24 oz can, or you can pony up $2.69 for a four pack of 16oz tall boys. Stay away from the 12 packs. Trust me. The temptation to drink the whole thing is to great for a person in the depths of a Steel Reserve binge to resist. Oh, and 222 calories per 12 oz serving is probably another good reason to limit your intake.


  1. Gulp says

    The thing about Steel Reserve isn’t the 8.1 ABV, it’s the cheap ‘n nasty ingredients. Drinking the same amount of alcohol you are more likely to have a hangover on Steel Reserve.

    It also has a nasty CORN taste to it, along with some spice I can’t put a finger on that is common in beer but not as much of it. I have to agree to drink it very, VERY cold. Until recently I could find 24 oz cans 2-for-$2.50 or 1-for-$1.50, but the price went up a few weeks ago and I don’t remember what it is now, maybe 2-for-$2.80 and 1-for-$1.60.

    Anyway, I prefer something similar but a LOT smoother at only slightly higher price. Hurricane High Gravity /24oz can is $1.69 each.

    However, some of you guys seem to be lightweights. 3, 16 oz cans getting you tore up for $3? A typical american beer is about 5% ABV, so Steel Reserve is 1.6X as potent. 3 x 16oz beers is 4 “drink” beers x 1.6 = quivalent of only 6.4 (12 oz. budweisers or whatever). Yes it’s enough to get all but a pretty large fellow (well over 200 lb) illegally intoxicated in most if not all US states, but hardly drunk enough that you realize it yourself.

    By lightweight above I didn’t mean wimpy, I meant you don’t weigh much so it doesn’t take as much alcohol to get a buzz.

  2. 211 Lover says

    Been drinking Steel Reserve since 2001. This stuff is pretty much all I drink. My gf thinks its disgusting, but she likes Pinot. I get in McLean, VA for $2.49 a 40oz at 7-11 or $7 a 12pk of 12oz’ers at Total Wine. Either way, it is the best way to get “that” kind of buzz. Just the sight of the 211 makes me happy. As I’ve been drinking it for a decade, it seems like normal beer to me now, but it is probably not for amateurs or light drinkers. 2x40oz and I’m straight. I must say, it does not make for a good chaser after chugging a bit of vodka…ugh!!

    Stay thirsty my friends

  3. sarah says

    I drank 211 for many years and it is definitly not a beer for light beer drinkers. although it is not as heavy and strong as a german or belgun brew it will assuredly get the job done on a budget. if you have the choice between 211 and hurricane then 211 is the safeest bet because earthquake is overwhelmingly sweet. even as a woman I love the taste of 211.

  4. says

    Steel Reserves are fantastic stuff, i just started drinking them, i am a Malt Liquor drinker mainly, Olde English, Miller High Life 40 ounce, and i’ll get stone cold drunk on spirits like Whiskey or Rum, another my faves is Hennessy, these motherfuckers rocked my world when i tried them, only one gets you right at the edge, doin sums dumb crazy shit like walking around lyka maniac or saying some dope azz shit 2 yourself, and the second, blasts your as into the high gravity zone, then anymore you guzzle rubs it in for more hours as long as you stick to 3-5 its alright, anymore than that gives me heartburn. I gotta say, i luv my mothafucken Steel Reserves bitch.


  5. Michael D. says

    Steel Reserve in a beautiful 24 ounce can is eye catching. At first it would seem a typical cheap malt liquor due to its advertised 8.1% alocohol volume. This is beer at its best. It deserves a better name than malt liquor. Served ice cold, it is plenty flavorful and doesn’t smack you with rubbing alcohol taste. It goes down extremely hard warm though.

    The buzz will creep up on you so moderation is key until you get used to it. This comes from a former case of miller lite a day drinker. Four of these cans pacify me and I can be productive the next day. A great elixer for sleep remedy and cheaper than Ambien. It actually tastes good in comparison with other higher ABV beers. Great for cookouts or just hangin in the garage on a Saturday afternoon. Price, availability , and palatable taste gives Steel Reserve a thumbs up here in northwest Indiana. Drink it cold, and enjoy. It pairs well with grilled fare.

  6. Drunken Mailman says

    Yah Steel Reserve! .97 for a 24 over. Just finished one, now on to 2 Bud Ice 24 Ozers total damage plus 2 bags of spicy peanuts 4 bucks and change. Great end to a good work day, the Stanley Cup is in LA tonight bitches!

  7. Rick says

    Drinking my 2nd 211 24 right now. No, not for a Boston Lager drinker, or a beer sipper, it’s a “hey, let’s get drunk” cheap beer. An aquired taste, most will say “it’s ok”, but go ahead and drink a few? Most shudder away. Pussy Bud and Coors light drinkers…. I’m 57 and know what pre-prohibition beer should taste like, I researched it for 4 years. This is somewhat close, but has too much corn/rice taste. Very little hops taste, no yeasty aftertaste, but pre-beer war 8% and they must have brewed it good somehow! This is a quickie fix until someone can say this is what beer tasted like in 1916!!! Anyone got an idea?

  8. Aaron says

    this shit has ruine my life i was able to drink a 4 pack and be good nice buzz but then got to use to it needed 2 4 pack was up 2 a 12 pack of it and a tall can really messed up my life i flipped my truck 4 times almost to my death because i was to messed up to reconize what i was doing but only my fault but this shit will make you black out just be careful you will wake up in jail if not careful sucks really bad i wont ever dronk 211 ever again even though its my beer of taste got to get and stay away from this shit

  9. Drunkaholicca says

    The author isn’t such a seasoned drinker. I use Steel Reserve when i need to take a break from drinking straight Gin or Whiskey. I’ve got four 40 oz bottles and i’ll knock out all four plus a chase it with some 10mg Ltabs. But yes, my liver is blacker than Wesley Snipes. This is definitely a drink for degenerate alcoholics. ;-D

  10. ItsAllEthanolGuys says

    I hear talk about expensive drinks versus cheaper varieties and how the “drunkenness” feeling will differ. Unless the expensive brands that some of yall speak of have psychotropic compounds mixed into the brew that either enhance ethanol’s effect on the brain or serve as a piggy back, the feeling between cheap and expensive drinks will ultimately be the same. And by the time your drunk, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyways.

  11. Stinkybloomers says

    Im polishing off a couple cans of SR211 right now. But if you guys want a real quick fuckup sesh. Knock down a couple cans of Four Loko. That shit is fucking insane. First time i drank it i didnt respect it enough. Big mistake. I drank 2 of them fairly quickly. And at double the size and double the strength of a regular 12oz, 6% bottle of beer,its like drinking 4 bottles. So i had the euivalent of 8 bottles of 6% beer in under 2 hours. I think the main thing that caused me to black out and fall asleep in the bathtub for 3 hours was the fact that i hit the vodka/coke mixes right after it. I use 20oz pint glasses,1/4 filled with vodka,topped up with coke and ice. Four of those later and ……… Well, the combination royally fucked me up.
    There was talk of banning four loko but all that ended up happening was they came out with an 8% version in a smaller can, which the sell alongside the 12% can. ( fair enough, the makers are not responsible for what people drink so why the fuck should it be banned?)
    So in short, if you want to get fucked up and fall asleep in the bathtub,give it a try, if not, show it some respect !!
    I think the main reason to dri it fairly quick is because it tastes like absolute gash once it gets warm,so you need to drink it cold, LOL !!

  12. jack says

    MD 20-20.

    I think they call it an enriched wine. You’ll find bums love the stuff.
    Tasty as cough syrup, and a nice bubbely buzz.

  13. jack says

    Also they reformulated four-loco. It was chock full of uppers to get you into a walking dead state. Even hardcore alcoholics died from it.

  14. cedman says

    12 years of drinking, I have finally caught on to Steel Reserve. I even remember back in the day when I had nightly Heineken money to spend, a friend would be just 2 cans of Steel and would be set for the night. I have to admit that when I tasted it for the first time, I thought it was disgusting…Now-a-days, I love it! But then I guess if I’m ever on a budget and I’m pretty much broke except for my last few dollars, I’d be happy with almost anything that’s gonna help me cope with being broke and get me “chocolate wasted” quickly. I have had earthquake and though I literally only had a couple dollars, I tried it out. GROSS!!!! Even though I admit to still drinking it…I needed it that day, and yet, 1 can consumed withint 30 minutes put me in the weirdest state of oblivion, plus it left me the next day craving, and I mean absolutely craving more alcohol, something to get rid of that particular effect. I’d reserve Earthquake for something like beer pong! Steel Reserve on the other hand can have a nice permanent spot next to the ketchup.

  15. Jeff says

    I drink 2 24-oz Steel Reserves a day. I work hard, then I come home and drink. I’m so damn used to alcohol,though (because I do this daily), that I dont’ really notice much on the first beer. It’s about halfway through the second beer that I notice a good buzz. And I drink quickly. In about 25 minutes I’m done with both of them. They are the 8.1% kind. Usually when I’m done I feel pretty damn good. I can’t live without my daily 2 Steel Reserves.

  16. Jason says

    Your stories of European beer make me crazy with envy. However, here we are, faced with the reality of what is available to us where we actually live. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld: “You go into the weekend with the beer that you have, not the beer you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Amen.

  17. RobertG says

    Ok gentlemen, I appreciate the schooling, but I must remind you that we americans live in the U.S., and so we cannot drink the beers found in your local stores. If we did live in Europe, this article would not exist. We are stuck here, living under a government elected by people who think we need a nanny telling us what we can put in our bodies. Thus, 8.1% alcohol seems awesome.

  18. Heavy says

    I love this stuff. Im a big guy 6’2 and about 300lbs it takes a lot for me to get buzzed I drank a 30 rack of keystone(piss) a few weeks ago and barley felt it. This is my favorite beer. Not because I like the taste which I prefer over light beers. But because I can get 2 40s for $5. I did that last weekend. Thought I was going to have to drink both. Not feeling much I stood up from my chair and damn nere fell on my head. 211 is amazing. I’m bout ready to go grab $10 worth in a few!!

  19. says

    All you people are fuckin retarded, 211 lager might not be the tastiest beer of all but this shit is really cheap and is worth every penny…. This is true american shit right here…The only reason you don’t agree is because you’re a rich foreigner…ALL I GOTTA SAY IS 211 LAGER IS THA SHIZZNIZZ!!!!

  20. texas man says

    Steel reserve is a good cheap beer to keep you buzzed or drunk if you know how to drink. To me and my brother-both drinkers- we know. Steel reserve is for men if you cant hang thrn your not a real knowledgeable drinker.

  21. Liz Reynolds says

    One thing is for sure…if you’re fistin’ a Steel Reserve tall boy, you’re the real deal. You know you’ve got a real deal alcoholic in your presence when see one of these!

  22. gyber says

    I finally read that someone else believes there is something else in Steele Reserve that enhances what you are feeling, besides alcohol. It is similar to Four Loco before its composition was changed. Does anyone know what else is in Steele Reserve besides just being a lager? My man, who can drink a 12 pack of ice beer tall boys and remains normal but happy; drinks only four Steele Reserve and turns into a fucking lunatic-emotional-strongman mess. Anyone give?

  23. Jerome says

    I could drink a whole bottle of whiskey or scotch for $18-$40. However, drink two 40oz. Reserves at 2.49 each and you will wake up the next morning, still fucked up. The steel rocks.

  24. says

    Love Duece 11’s . Its an aquired taste. Been drinkin them since middle school. Grab six tall cans after work to get jus right.,Best part 6 dollas nd 42 cent.,no hang over…..

  25. Andrew Anderson says

    Steel Reserve is amazing stuff, I drink it all the time. I didn’t know it had a bad rep until I started reading about it online. I think it tastes great, far better than most of the tasteless watery American beers. The only other American beer I like is PBR, but I prefer Steel Reserve. Where I live in Texas you can get a 40 for $1.85. That’s just ridiculous. If booze was that cheap in the UK no one would go to work. For all the people saying you can get stronger Belgian beers etc, yes, but they are about £6.00 ($9.00) a pint. You can get two and a half pints of Steel Reserve for just over a pound. It’s unbelievable!

  26. Scratch'n'Biff says

    Steel 211 has been a favorite ghetto beer of mine since I first discovered malt liquor. It bears repeating because so many people just don’t get it: Steel is about gettin’ hammered on the cheap above all else. It’s doesn’t pretend to be the strongest and it certainly isn’t the best-tasting, but it does serve its intended purpose well, and better than a lot of other malt liquors IMO. Hurricane has the same ABV and tastes better, but puts me to sleep. St. Ides has 0.1% more ABV, but tastes 25% worse.

    I’m going out tomorrow to get some Steel…and maybe a few Lokos.

  27. Mark N says

    Great Blog. Steel Reserve is a charismatic serpent I enjoy with a good squirt of lemon juice, beer chasers, and a steady dose of respect for the hammer that will remind me that last night I danced with the devil one waltz too many.

  28. steven says

    Ok… getting a little tired of the horseshit I keep reading. First and for most to the English twat upstairs, I get it you got beer that can go 40% abv which is basically 80 proof beer, that’s great but you’re dumb ass is dodging the point. IT’S expensive as hell and not everyone has your euros and your pounds to afford it we have cheap ass American currency here which while isn’t a bad currency it’s not what it used to be. Then to the brewer I read about claiming 211 is an insult to beer, dude it may very well be taste wise,but once again we are just looking to get drunk on pocket change we are not asking for fucking wine and craft beer and high dollar shit we just want to get drunk, so bitch please if your so damn smart go and brew some cheap ass beer then and get rich instead of totally dodging the point of this posting which is getting drunk on a low budget. I personally get pretty hammered after having two whole cans of this shit and when you think about it you don’t pay a whole lot. The only deals I’ve seen better are a small bottle of heaven hills whiskey, taste like shit but it’s under $5 and it’s a fairly strong 80 proof which gets you quite drunk after only a fourth or a fifth of it for most people. I say most because there’s still people who drink shit that’s much stronger then that but to the average college student, that’ll get you drunk as a skunk. Then there is club 400 which is another real cheap whiskey, aristocrat vodka, and beam eight star whiskey which all of them are all under $5 though I’ll admit if you can’t handle the taste you probably shouldn’t be drinking anyways because they all taste bad just some taste worse then others, well unless you include drinks like bailey’s and wine but that crap is expensive. So with that statement please stop insulting an otherwise potent drink that you pay so little for. I’ve had many fond memories with this beer and it may taste wretched at times but I’m far from caring when I’m drunk off my ass and my wallet is still pretty full.

  29. Spartacus says

    I weep for humanity. I’ll bet all your daddies (or the usual suspects) are very proud of you.

  30. Sot100001 says


    1 @ Liter rot-gut vodka = $9 = 13.2oz. ethanol.
    3 @ 24oz. Steel 211 = $4.50 = 5.76oz. ethanol.

    $13.50 = 18.9oz. ethanol

    Vodka on the rocks w/ “beer” chaser.
    Alcoholism is fun!?!

  31. kelly c says

    My only question and I love steel reserve is what is in the steel reserve blackberry that tastes so yummy, gets you equally as tanked as the original, costs the same, but and this is the kicker, makes some normal functions crazy colors and a burn in your throat that feels like the power of a thousand sons!! I have been having about 3 of them usually but thinking there is something in them really bad for the whole f’in digestion system. Been trying to look up ingredients but couldn’t find them. I love the flavor of the blackberry. Its beer flavored with fruit that doesn’t sweetly suck. Anyone know the content of SRB?

  32. joshua says

    I drink a 40 and 2 cans every night I have been drinking 211 since they came out it is not for light drinkers it will mess you up

  33. says

    Steel reserve is always my go to beer for a good buzz accompanied by a cheap price. My theory has always been I drink for the buzz not for the taste, which by the way, sr doesn’t taste too bad when chilled. But I catch a good strong buzz from a 4 pack 16oz and at about $3 a pack I can’t complain. A lot of dudes whom I talk to about it complain about the taste….I guess the makers of bud light should start serving tampons and chocolate for those guys, just sayin.

  34. thirsty jo says

    I’ve been drinking 211 for years cuz you get more bang for you buck! I always hear people talk about how bad it tastes and or you couldn’t. Pay me to drink that beer type shit but if you ask me I think it puts hair on your balls. I drink 6 16 oz cans a day its the only thing that levitates me other beers are just too weak!

  35. terry says

    Started drinking it when in the Marines. Got my wife hooked on it. Now when ever we have any in the house its a race to finish them before the other does. Talking like 11 40oz a friday and saturday

  36. erica says

    I have to say I love 211. Started drinking when
    I met t the man my life.. We enjoy it-211 40oz every evening. Okay I drink one. He drinks like 3 or 4. But the taste of regular beer tastes like bear water. but let’s be honest the calories are not good for the wasteline.

  37. bsw says

    I’m a huge fan of the 211. I like all beers, but when I’m strapped for cash or want to get my buzz on quick, I will always go for Steel Reserve. I agree that if you’re a cheap drunk (i.e. get drunk fast, on not much alcohol) or can’t stand the taste of a strong beer these are probably not for you. But I love ‘em! I’m a bigger guy – 230lb – and I can get just about where I want to be w/ 2 40’s, sometimes 2x and another tallboy. I find as I get older my hangovers are a bit more severe, but no more than if I were to take down a fifth of liquor or 3-4 bottles of wine. Nothing water and Advil can’t fix – or another Steel Reserve!


  38. Chester the Molester says

    Im still drinking Steelies despite being over $4 a 4-pack now.
    Back when I was Probly 14 they we $1.85. We’d scrape together 5 bucks and have the local bum pick up 2 4-packs and a pack of smokes. He’d get a couple beers and a few cigs and me an my buddies would get fucked up every afternoon..
    Those were the days.

  39. says

    Been drinking 911’s for years and everyone I know thinks I’m nuts…lately I’ve been buying 2 24th 911’s and 1 peach Four Loco each night – $5.00- and mixing them… now that is a tasty and also kicking cocktail!!,

  40. DJG says

    I done Drank all over the World and had a bit of everything in the World and there is nothing like Steel Reserve.
    They put some Chemical in it besides Alcohol and i would like to know what that is.Nothing puts me in a Coma after 2, or 3 40’s like that.It is Poison and should be taken off the Market.I heard it was designed to kill the lower end of Society that would Drink it and it seems to be True.It’s amazingly Cheap in the “Hoods” and bad parts of Town where I worked and would buy it.. Even a Bud 24Oz Can is more that a Steel 40,why is that.The Steel is like the Cheapest thing in the Store.

  41. drankmeister says

    Steel reserve has been my friend,my companion,unwavering and unrelenting….. All for 4.50 a four pack(we have an alcohol problem in new mexico and beer is expensive) I love the taste of steel…it does the job on a budget

  42. says

    I like Steel Reserve and the beer reviews that people do about it so much, that I created a YouTube channel to celebrate how funny it makes you feel!


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