Berliner Lager - Jack's Abby Brewing

Not Rated.
Berliner LagerBerliner Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

205 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 205
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 11.73%
Wants: 4
Gots: 19 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Jack's Abby Brewing visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Berliner Weissbier |  3.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ThatsThatDude on 07-16-2014

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 205 | Reviews: 25
Reviews by MNBeerGeek:
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Photo of biegaman
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jack's Abby Berliner Lager has a remarkable appearance. Near colourless, it's a straw-like complexion that is as pale as Champagne - and it also has the bubbles to match! Seriously, put it in the proper glass and no one would know it wasn't actually sparkling white wine. The extremely light tone is accompanied by a milky haziness. A simply remarkable sight.

Head retention may be nil but those fizzy bubbles refuse to quit; this is a very effervescent beer. Indeed, in more ways than one - sharp lactic tartness pierces through the nostrils with soft wheat grain notes and a gentle flowery hoppiness there to patch them back up. A mild Brettanomyces presence ensures it smells as unique and vivacious as it looks.

No one can claim to truly understand the word 'refreshing' until they've tried a Berliner Weiss (especially on a warm, sunny day). Prickly carbonation, spiky acidity, and a toppling tartness ripple over the palate in a quenching wheat-enveloped wave. A fairly plump breadiness blunts some of the sourness but the presence of Lactobacillus is still razor-sharp.

I understand why it's customary for many Berliners to enjoy this beer sweetened with fruity or herbal syrups. It's a good combo. But me I love sourness for what it is: the tongue-curling lemon juice flavour, the Sahara-like dryness that completely dehydrates any aftertaste, and the way it leaves your palate puckering yet yearning for more. Such wonderful sensations are products of nature, not man.

Still, brewing a Berliner Weiss takes a few special steps which require skilled hands - obviously Jack's Abby is more than adept. For reasons entirely unclear to me, the style has yet to catch on and sightings can be few and far between. As result, it's become a sort of sacred treat I reserve for those days so sunny you're happy just to be alive. And indeed this one fit the bill.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Bottle: Poured a lightly hazy blonde color berliner weisse with a nice white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of tart notes is a bit one-dimensional. Taste is also dominated by simple tart notes with light wheat malt also noticeable. Body is light with good carbonation. Easy drinking Berliner with limited amount of complexity.

Photo of logicalparadox
4/5  rDev +6.7%

A: Poured from a .5 L bottle into a pub glass. Head quickly fades (like a soda) with almost no retention or lacing. Looks flat in the glass after a while. Very light in color--about as light as it gets. Like lemon juice. Even if you swish up all the yeast from the bottle conditioning, it gets cloudier, but actually whitens the brew.

S: Nice nose. Refreshing, with lots of citrus and especially lemon. Slight hints of yeast and wheat. Smells really fresh and clean.

T: Tasty, tangy, and thirst quenching. Very light in flavor. Some hints of coriander, but none was added to the brew that I know of. Wheat is subdued and this is one crisp, tasty lager. Moderately tart, with a sourness that reminds one of a gose.

M: Very light bodied and juicy. Goes down very easy. Lack of head is a detriment, but the carbonation is there--light, but prickly. Again... like a soda. Not that this is a bad thing.

I imagine this is the mutant offspring of a German hefeweizen and an exceptionally light pilsner. There are reasons to be underwhelmed here: being both headless and body-less, lacking in dimension and complexity. But there's also so much to love: the crisp, lemony, wheat-kissed, joy that is as refreshing and delicious as it is lacking in depth and character. A great choice in summer or for pairing with lighter fare.

I haven't had many Berliner weissbiers, but I dig this. Sour beers are trendy right now and so much focus (and some pretension) is being given to Belgian examples that it's a really nice change of pace to embrace Germany's sour styles. Not my favorite of the bunch, but one I wouldn't hesitate to grab when available.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.9/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased from Nathaniel Square Corner Store.

Pours a milky murky golden yellow, with a very small film-like head, and not much lacing.

Smells mildly sour and tart, with some wheat bitterness and grass.

The taste is similar, but not nearly as tart or sour as I would've hoped. It's also a bit watery. There's a very small amount of lactic acid, some sour wheat flavors, a bit of wheat bitterness, and some grassiness. Very little hop or malt flavor, just sorta watery, as I said.

Light bodied, with a fairly crisp mouthfeel. This one isn't all that drinkable, due to the taste.

A miss from Jack's Abby, unfortunately.

Photo of angrybabboon
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 2/14/15

A: Pours hazy and very, very pale - light straw with some gold - medium sized head that fades rapidly, leaves virtually no cap, nearly nonexistent lacing, very unusual for Jack's Abby but not really weird considering the style

S: Mild wheat and tart aromas - soft, light wheat and some pale grains - clean funk, decidedly tart, with some hints of sour - lightly lactic, lightly acidic with some hints of lemon - not the most complex Berliner, but not bad

T: Tart, funky, and lightly sour, yet very clean - moderate level of tart, with some lemony flavors, lactic and vaguely acidic light sourness - not particularly potent in funk, but what's here is nice - wheat flavors are also mild, with soft wheat flavors and some pale malts - finishes mostly clean, which is interesting

M: Light body, low carbonation, very crisp and clean

O: Setting the stage?

I bought this last summer and forgot about it in my closet, but I do not think the passage of time would make this any less tart, funky, or complex. It's very good for what it is, but it's very basic. I mean that quite literally, as I could see this acting as a base for other funky offerings.

Photo of gameface23
2.5/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Nowhere near sour enough for a Berliner Weiss. It was an ok beer, but not a Berliner.

Photo of PicoPapa
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at New York Pizza. Pours a cloudy light straw color with very little head. Zero lacing. Very tart aroma of lemon, wheat, and lime. The taste is sour lemon, wheat, funk, and maybe a hint of pepper. Finishes with a nice tartness. Light and crisp mouthfeel. Very drinkable thanks in part to the low ABV, obviously. Very interesting twist on an existing style but that is what Jack's Abby does well so it is not surprising. Overall, good summer brew I'll look for again.

Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a smaller fizzy head that rises a bit but disappears almost instantly, typical for a berlinner, very hazy lemony watery almost straw colored.

Nose brings a big soured wheat note, toasted soured malt like wheat, some yeast kick, yeast itself as well, like a raw sour dough, a bit funky with all that, some lactic acid, lemony tart notes, dry bready notes, effervescent.

Taste starts quite sour, again that sour dough raw bread dough, creamy soured wheat, little grainy and toasty as well, and even a hint of a honey, actually increasing taste of honey in the background interestingly. Nice tartness with a lemon peel tart flavor, not big lemon but a bit, some lactic acid again that even tingles a bit, mild grainy funk, with a touch of a yeasty note. Finish is a bit flemmy, more lactic acid lingering, mild lemon zest, soured wheat and raw sour dough again, but finish doesn't lingering.

Mouth is lighter bod, decent carb not as effervescently carbonated as it seemed it would be, mild tingly and sticky lactic acid.

Overall pretty nice, not quite what I expected but still refreshing and enjoyable for a nice summer beer.

Photo of brettski66
4.79/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Delicious, refreshing. A great all-day crusher.

Photo of PatrickKellyCT
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Highly carbonated, somewhat sour but not overwhelming. Refreshing, but nothing too special. Nose is mostly subtle sour funk - taste is a wheat bear with a touch of sour lemon/lemongrass.

Decent beer. Enjoyable on a summer day.

Photo of smcolw
3.51/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Whitish straw color. Very cloudy. Little head but it dies out completely. No lace.

It smells like raw oatmeal. A bit grainy. Mildly sour.

More sour on the tongue. Very, very spritzy, but the body is decent. The aftertaste is tart but not overly so.

Photo of nmann08
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a bottle, pours a light pale yellow, a little cloudy, with a small ring of white head around the edges of the glass.

The nose is straw and rustic with a little funk, lemon, and citrus acid. This smells pretty basic and simple.

The flavor is equally as simple and non-complex. Lots of lemon, a little wheat and some fruit, good tart, but not overpowering. It is pretty crisp and clean on the finish, smooth, but the crispness leads it to fall a bit thin on the palate.

Good, not great.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Drum Hill liquors.
Hazy pale straw color with a huge bubbly white head that shows some surprising retention. Lemony tart aroma with plenty of bready pilsner malt to back it up. The flavor is tart but not overly so and still lets some of the pilsner and lager character through. Light bits of fruity flavors come through the edges. Medium to light body with a moderate to high level of carbonation. Damn that is light tart and refreshing, and man did that glass get empty quickly!

Photo of jdejoannis
2.72/5  rDev -27.5%

Indeed, very sour. I don't much care for these. Slight green tint

Photo of utopiajane
4.24/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours the color of pale straw and with a slight haze and a one finger head of fizzy white foam that falls off fast. The nose is tart with a bit of lactic sour, perhaps a hint of something lemony a bit of hop floral and a hint of malt. The wheat scent is hard to miss and I personally love it in a beer. Smells like the color of sunshine, golden. The taste is perfect. A slightly sharp bite of acidity greets the palate with all the tartness of a lemon that has been slightly sweetened by the wheat malt presence. The malt in this one is a gentlemanly compliment like in a ballet where the man stands tall yet firm while the girl dances beautifully around him. Sour, tart and a bit of pucker. No hop bitterness. Light body ,clean dry finish. Perfect beer for a hot day.

Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Thin and light with a slightly skunky overtone, and wonderfully sour.

Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Bottled 7/11/14

A: Pours a cloudy very pale straw. Small and soda-like white head that fizzes out almost as fast as I can pour it. Zero lacing, zero head retention.

S: Very wheaty. Very lightly tart but mostly smells like a typical german wheat beer (kinda like a hefe but not the same yeast aroma). Actually, if I had to place it, it's like a witbier without the spices. Actually mildly sweet, a grainy type of sweetness.

T: Well, definitely tart in flavor. Wheaty up front and throughout but with a light tartness everywhere. Kind of a lactic tartness I guess? Very simple brew (3.5%, duh) but plenty sharp and crisp flavors. Tartness sometimes takes on a lemony quality. Combined with the light wheaty malt it really makes this beer crisp.

M: Light bodied, mildly tart and crisp. Clean.

O: Interesting berliner. Hard to place it, it doesn't taste like your typical berliner at all but it's very crisp, clean and drinkable at the same time. Simple and light of course but I really enjoyed it. Nice balancy of sweet grains and light tartness.

Photo of brureview
4.19/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a lemon color with a 1/2 F head in a Orval trappist glass.

Mild lemon-wheat aroma.

The mouth feel is very tart.

The beer has an excellent taste: pronounced lemon, finished by a sour tartness.

Overall- an excellent beer. glassware is important for this beer- a wider mouth glass works well.

There is lots of beer, especially in a 3.5% beer.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Vermont Brewfest

A-Looks like a pretty standard Berliner. Milky yellow.

S-Tart, wheaty, a bit spicy. Barny and zesty. Smells to style.

T-I tried many Berliners at this Fest and this one I remember being one of the best. The tartness level is set correctly for my taste buds. It's also got straw and wheat with lemons.

M-Light, light, light. Crisp. Refreshing. A tasty sample on a hot day.

O-I love Jack's Abby and this was further proof that they are likely to stand out in any crowd of beers.

Photo of mdfb79
3.99/5  rDev +6.4%

From 09/18/14 notes. 16oz. pour of this in a pint glass at Stoddard's Pub in Boston, MA.

Pours a hazy pale yellow color with one inch of bright white head and moderate carbonation evident. Lots of lemon, lightly tart citrus, floral hops, some sour, bready malts. Taste has tropical notes and fruits to it as well. Light body and moderate carbonation. Crisp and easy to drink.

Overall I found this one tasty. It does not have any funk and almost no tartness, but it is a refreshing and tasty lighter beer. Worth checking out but don't expect it to be too tart or funky.

Photo of kscaldef
3/5  rDev -20%

One of the better sours I've had from JA, but that's not saying much. Drinkable, but definitely has a bit of that lacto-bile thing going on. Might be a good candidate for the traditional syrup treatment.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

every time i have a beer from these guys, it forces me to think about what styles really mean. their ability to lager everything and add that new element to beers we thought we knew everything about is special, and almost always successful. i love these guys, i seek their beer out, and i learn something every time i have one. the berliner braun blew my mind, and this is close to that. always though the ale yeast was part of its very complexion, but this shows that the souring can benefit from a slow cold fermentation without declining in intensity. its like a normal berliner in many ways, but less juvenile, more refined, and about average in the pucker department. hazy very pale straw colored brew with a dainty white head. nose and taste of tart green apple and white wheat. light lemon pucker in the finish but it isnt sour. not sure i could definitely pick this out as a lager not knowing, the sour overpowers the lager yeast flavor, and because of that, the finish isnt all that quick. still, knowing what it is allows me to look for and then find its differences, and appreciate them. more power to these guys, redefining the lager game yet again, i love it.

Photo of fredmugs
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I thought I would appreciate this style more now that I like sours but it's still not my thing.

Photo of Horbar
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very gose-like. Tart and refreshing with good salinity. If the finish didn't fall so flat it would be better.

Photo of mynie
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Berliners are kind of popular in America now. The first one I remember that was really good was from New Glarus. It was nearly as thick as Weinstephaner’s Hefe, which is perfectly thick, only the NG beer was soured wonderfully by lacto. The result was like a wheat milkshake that was also a citrus soda. It was fabulous and completely different. After trying something like that, it’s no wonder other brewers would want to try to emulate it.

Traditional Berliners are not as sour as New Glarus’. They were traditionally only lightly soured and then flavor would be added in pubs. There’s Red Syrup (raspberry) and Green Syrup (woodruff). Michael Jackson’s first edition of the World Guide to Beer showed all three colors lined up like a traffic signal. It was cool, and it seeing it made me realize how differently Americans had interpreted the style. There was a booth at the recent American Craft Beer Fest, in Boston, that actually had the syrups on hand. I drunkenly explained how cool that was, how I’d just read about it in an old book. The woman running the booth said that no one ever used them, and she disappointed, on a personal level, that I requested the woodruff.

So… Jack’s Abby. Their Berliner seems remarkably traditional, at least as I understand the style to traditionally exist. Lightly sour up front, leading to a middle that’s like a combination between a Shock-Tart-Flavored American Berliner and a nice, traditional municher, with lights nodes of cereal against sunshine and hay. The finish is fabulous, really shows off their brewing acumen. Zero esters. Delicious dryness.

Berliner Lager from Jack's Abby Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 205 ratings.