1516 Bavarian Lager - Okanagan Spring Brewery

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1516 Bavarian Lager1516 Bavarian Lager

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39 Reviews
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Reviews: 39
Hads: 107
Avg: 3.34
pDev: 14.97%
Wants: 1
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Okanagan Spring Brewery visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: canadianbarman on 04-13-2003

The decree states that only four ingredients can be used when making beer: barley, hops, yeast and water. The result is a lager with a crisp finish and a rich golden colour.
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 107
Photo of Sammy
2.73/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at C'est's What Spring Festival. Light yellow body with noticeble white foam, and lace. Lagerish mouthfeel. Skunkish, and in the taste. Sourness in finsish and sugary.Grassy hops, fairly weak helles.Surprisingly drinkable at all for what it is.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle. I used to drink a lot of this back in the 90s, so it's always interesting to revisit an old standby on this site now.

This beer pours a crystal clear, pale golden yellow hue, with two fingers of puffy, thinly foamy off-white head, which settles at a lazy, even pace, leaving some decent bonsai tree profile lace around the glass.

It smells of grainy, lightly biscuity pale malt, a certain soup cracker character hard to shake, with a bit of hard water minerality, and very subtle earthy, leafy noble hops. The flavour starts with a decent bit of floral hop bite, before soon becoming awash in a bready, crackery, and yeasty pale malt graininess; a few more earthy, weedy hops play pile-on nearly after the fact.

The carbonation is moderate for the most part, if a tad fizzy here and there, the body an adequate medium weight for the style, and generally quite smooth. It finishes off-dry, the varied bready malt carrying through, with a surprisingly peppy, edgy dry floral hoppiness along for the ride.

A fairly pleasant, if a little tame, example of the style. I do now recall tiring of its one-dimensionality when sessioning it all those years ago, post-university, but overall it's a decent enough go-to, when you just want a well-made lager of Canadian provenance.

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Photo of biegaman
3.66/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bumble bee yellow with steady streams of carbonation in place of black stripes. Not to say there aren't stripes, there are many all plastered down the glass in pursuit of the white head that is sinking according to the alarmingly fast pace in which the beer is being consumed. 'Helles' translates to 'light' and indeed this clear bodied beer personifies its classification.

Quintessential to a true Bavarian lager is a good dosing of prototypical German hops - I'm happy to read Okanagan went with two traditional noble varieties: Hallertau and Saaz (even though the latter are grown in Bohemia, part of the modern day Czech Republic). Unfortunately, I don't actually smell all that much of them. This bottle is scarcely three months old so I doubt they could have faded that much.

Then again, this is a Munich Helles and not a pilsner so it's not meant to be hoppy, it's meant to be malty. In that regard I'm not disappointed in the least. These slightly sweet, almost grainy malts are just as quenching as they are tasty, if not more. Assertive bitterness, clean water and sufficient carbonation combine for a very enjoyably drinkable pale lager.

The number 1516 in the name of the beer corresponds to the year in which Germany enacted the Reinheitsgebot (known in English as the "Beer Purity Law"). This legislation dictated that a beer could only be made from the basic ingredients of water, barley, and hops. (Note that yeast wasn't discovered responsible for fermentation until the 19th century).

It's only appropriate then that I read on the label that this is unpasteurized and contains no preservatives (the "all natural" statement I find a little dubious). More importantly, however, I don't actually taste any of the extracts or adjuncts that are so prominent in mainstream beers (including German ones) that have bastardized pale lagers.

German Munich Helles don't really travel all that well. Part of this is specific to the style itself, but much of it has to do with the fact that most commercial examples that make it over here are so ridden with preservatives that they really taste like a ghost of their unpasteurized self. It's good to know now that some Canadian brewers have started to fill the gap.

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Photo of Derek
3.33/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, golden-yellow, white head, good retention, excellent lacing.

S: Floral hops with a light breadyness.

T: Nice hopping: herbal, lemon grass, light spiciness; slightly bready with a modest bitterness. It's got the flavours of the true Munich Helles, but they're fairly subtle.

M: Light to moderate body and carbonation; smooth.

D: A decent drinker.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.8/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into pint glass 3/11/11

A clear straw yellow with just a few bubbles but produces a two finger bone white head that leaves a few partial rings of lace

S biscuit, with a little lemon with some grassy hops and hay

T a little grainy but still pretty nice, not as much noble hop flavor as the nose but still pretty decent

M crisp and clean, light and refreshing could use just a little more carbonation

O perhaps better suited for a hot summer day but I found this pretty east to drink and I'm sure I'll drink it again seeing how I can smell the brewery from moms house

I guess I liked this one more then the average BA, for style I thought it was pretty good, I consider this a macro at this point but its miles ahead of the other mass produced brews

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Photo of canucklehead
2.91/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a beer you will find everywhere in vancouver; restaurants, bars etc. It scares no one and also challenges no one. The beer pours yellow gold with a nice head. The nose is pretty well non-existent. The taste is fairly crisp lager with a slightly sweet finish. It has one hand in the Old World but still tastes a bit like Molson Canadian. Not bad but order the pale ale instead if Ok Springs is the only choice.

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Photo of bobsy
3.58/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In my fairly limited experience this tastes like a fairly traditional munich helles, with a soft malty profile and floral hopping.

Pours a clear yellow with a nice white head and great lace. Rounded malty aroma with a dose of herbal hops thrown in, along with some grassiness. Soft malty flavour and mouthfeel with a nice hop balance, again in the form of herbal, floral tones.

I'm not a huge helles fan, but I can appreciate a decent thirst quencher, and I think this is one. I liked okanagan's baltic porter too, so it looks like they do some good things out there.

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Photo of BigBry
3.95/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard 341 ml brown bottle, name obviously referring to the German Purity Law of 1516 (back label panel explains this. Pours clear golden hue, lots of carbonation. Malty smell, with grass or hay and light hops aroma that is kind of flowery. Nice maltiness and slight hoppy finish. Crisp lager taste, light and smooth, goes down easy. Well balanced, nothing special but my favorite session beer.

2015 - Tried on-tap while in Vancouver. Refreshing, good tasting lager. Still no complaints

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.65/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I scoffed at this lager when it first came out, mostly due to the heavy-breathing-down-your-neck marketing campaign that endorsed it at every beer store I frequented. Plus I have issues with that 'ole purity law of 1516, so a beer marketed around it was enough of a garlic wreath to keep me away.

However it's been a very hot August, yes, even up here in the frozen Great White North, and it is lager season after all. Picked up a cold case of this to tide me over while the warm bottles of Belgians I bought along with it had time to chill. And it's not bad stuff.

Enough of the personal essay, let's get down to business. This 1516 poured out of it's 341 ml brown bottle a refreshing clear golden hue, but the erruption of bubbles I mistook for a head fell back immediately. Has a crisp hay/malt smell to it, light flowery hops rounding it off. Flavour is the light average of a crisp lager, a decent balance and it goes down smooth. However not much else going on to make it stand out either. This is a decent enough lager, I'd buy it again for another patio/barbecuing session, especially in mixed company (macro drinkers, non-beer drinkers, and beer snobs alike) but I'd reserve it for hot weather refreshment, by no means would I make it a standard of mine. Still, I'd buy this hands down over any macro on the market.

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Photo of pootz
3.42/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light all malt beer. Seems styled on a light Dortmunder recipe...pours a light yellow, small white rocky head. Light malty nose over citrus-cidery notes. Light bodied malty lager with some nice cider and herbal hop tones, crisp finish...light malt after taste...a nice light all malt lager but really not all that distinct.Still it is light years ahead of the corn and rice swill from Mol-Coor-batt's

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.45/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A Canadian Munich Helles? Yes please! Haven't had any of these in a long time, and that was just Lowenbrau.

1516 pours a light golden-straw colour with a thin head that doesn't last particularly long. An island of patchy foam in the center is fed by a stream of bubbles from the bottom of the glass. Smell is a little muted but pleasant; barley and grass. This is what a lager is supposed to look and smell like.

Very refreshing taste. Some sweet barley malt flavour and a slight banana note is followed up by gentle Saaz hoppiness. Leafy and floral with a bitter, yeasty finish that lingers for a few seconds after swallowing. There's a lot going on, but none of it is especially unique - I hate to say that though because it's very well-made, all things said. Carbonation prickles the tongue and gives the beer an appropriately crisp, clean taste; rather light bodied.

Above average almost across the board, with no real weaknesses but no particular strengths either. If you are a fan of Munich Helles, or if you just want to try a pale lager that tastes the way pale lagers are supposed to taste, this is worth a try.

[Updated Nov. 8 2013]

I had another two bottles of this last night, courtesy of a brewery sampler. It's a decent homage to classic German lagers and is every bit as easy to session as a Munich lager is supposed to be, but coming back to it years later I find myself slightly less enamoured. A respectable selection, but both Spaten and Lowenbrau are available everywhere, dirt cheap, and significantly to slightly better.

Final Grade: 3.45, a decent B-.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I had yet to encounter this one on tap in this city, so figured I'd take the plunge and enjoy a 20 oz. pint. This style is a bit of a rarity when it comes to what western Canadian micros usually tackle and as an unabashed Lowenbrau fan I was intrigued. A pleasant goldenrod brassy color with a few white bubbles, this brew smells like good old prairie pilsener malt with a moderate dose of noble hop green spiciness. Popcorn and cracker malts and a little toast buttress some sour green fruit (gooseberry?) and crabapple notes, some cooked corn DMS flavor, and a little green vegetation from the hops. Not particularly assertive in the latter regard, however. Is that diacetyl as well? This one is quite sweet and sour in the finish, with a fair degree of carbonation. The final assessment? This actually reminds me a bit of a kolsch or even certain Czech pilseners in terms of the malt flavor profile and the presence of subtle fruit flavors that yield a rather cidery character. Still falls within style guidelines I suppose. I prefer the European examples I have tried.

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Photo of kjyost
2.66/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Purchased as part of a 'Craft' mixed pack by the brewery

Pours very pale straw yellow, almost pilsner-like in its lightness. White head, not lasting nor lacing. Aromas are grassy without any major hop. Body of the beer is light and fairly crisp with light flavours of cooked vegetables and malt. At times I felt like I could have been drinking a Bud. That is not a compliment.

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Photo of leaddog
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a clear straw gold with a finger width of bubbly white head. Lots of bubbles present.

Smell - Barley, yeast, apple/pear, sweet smelling.

Taste - Barley and grains with a crisp apple tartness at the finish. Clean flavour kept simple, not overly complex.

Mouthfeel - Light-to-medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp and dry.

Overall - An easy drinking Bavarian Lager by Okanagan Spring. Clean, crisp, a very simple brew that doesn't try to over-complicate flavour. Could easily be a session brew.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.47/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341 ml bottle served cold into a pint glass. Part of gift pack for birthday present.

Appearance - clear pale golden color with small half finger of foam. Minimal bubbles in the bottle and poor retention.

Smell - rich malts and a slight floral aspect. Not a lot else but there doesn't need to be.

Taste - bright and clear tasting, nice malt presence and a slight hop bitterness throughout. Pretty well constructed.

Mouthfeel - clean with moderate carbonation and a light body.

Overall - a good beer from this tasters pack, definitely the lone winner in my mind. A nice Canadian option of an under represented style.

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Photo of elricorico
3.73/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear pale golden colour with a three finger head from an aggressive pour. The head receded fairly quickly, but left some sticky lacing on the glass.

The smell is grassy and grainy. Not a whole bunch to say about it. It isn't strong, but it is notable.

Taste is light but nice, with a grainy, bready flavour up front, and a crisp, faintly bitter finish. Aftertaste is a touch grassy. Put together it makes a good impression.

Mouthfeel is light in body and smooth in carbonation.

As far as lagers go, this is a good one. Easy drinking and the flavour has a freshness to it. A bunch of these in a cooler on a hot summer day, and you wouldn't hear me complaining.

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Photo of Shadman
3.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bavarian beer in the Okanogan..cool!

Good looking Helles Lager, that pale urine yellow color and a nice head and good lacing. Smells of malt and an almost vegetal smell.
Nice crisp smooth balance between the malts and the slight spicy/ slightly citrus hops. Carbonation felt just about right IMO.
Thinking this beer might make a nice introductory Helles Lager for my friends who still reside in Macro-lagerland

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Photo of mrmanning
2.06/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On tap at Player's Athletic Lager Co. in London, ON- A deep golden pour topped with a frothy white cap. Nice lace and retention. Nose of creamed corn, butter, burnt sugar, yuck. Tastes of sweet churned butter, corn, vegetal hops. Buttery finish. Whet the hell is this?

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Photo of Noxious26
3.04/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

341ml brown twist-off bottle poured in a pint glass. Came in a 12-pack sampler.

Pale gold and clear. Bright white head is 1/4 inch on the pour but quickly recedes to a thin cap. Hardly any lacing to speak of.

Biscuity malt on the nose. Somewhat sweet with a hint of bananas. Noble hop undertones.

Light, sweet malt off the start and joined by a bit of a banana flavour. Blends smoothly into a noble hop finish. A little noble hop aftertaste, but not too strong and doesn't hang around.

Light-medium body with moderate carbonation. Perhaps a little thin.

An interesting take on the style. The banana notes remind me of a hefeweizen, but this definitely isn't a hefe. Almost like they tried to make a bavarian lager with hefe yeast, but didn't bottle condition it.

All-in-all not a bad beer. Nothing to write home about, but considering Okanagan Springs was purchased by Sleeman's and isn't really a true craft brewery anymore, this is pretty decent.

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Photo of ChrisCage
3.01/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- This is a clean, clear looking golden color that appears to have plenty of carbonation, as it aggressively rises to the top. The head isn't spectacular at first, but I have to say that what is there retains very well, settling to a creamy looking foam layer overseeing the liquid underneath. Modest lacing clings to the side of the glass, and does slowly slip back into the beer itself. Overall, an above average looking brew.

S- I think the aromas are subdued in this one, as it is mainly comprised of weak malts and dry grain. There is a faint hop bitterness at the end. Although these are familiar characteristics of a macro, there is no adjunct present and it is definitely sweeter due to the malt....it just doesn't stand out aroma wise.

T- The flavors follow the aromas closely, however, the bitterness is more astringent, and the grain profile is more prominent, providing a dryness that reminds me of the windblown, dusty prairie farms that our barley comes from...down to Earth flavor but alright I guess, with little to no aftertaste.

M- This beer is actually quite palate drying....it's too clean for the style in my opinion. The carbonation is brisk and helps scrub the palate very clean in preparation for the next swig.
Crisp and refreshing, this isn't bad at all....just not what I expected here.

O- I find this to be a nice drinkable beer....is there better out there....yes there is. With that said, this is another good brew that is suitable more for warm weather, although I think I'd quite enjoy this throughout an evening, due to the lite body this has. This isn't the best offering by Okanagan Spring, but I still think this is worthy of trying out, and is definitely better than an everyday macro.

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Photo of Bunman3
3.6/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a very solid choice when it comes to selecting a sessionable, tasty lager. It is light, crisp, and has just enough wheat/malt flavour to make it interesting. If I want to grab a sixer of beer for a social function, this is one of my "go to" beers. When Spring brewery first started, Spring Lager was a staple of my visits to Kelowna. I love the fact that they are still brewing quality beer.

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Photo of aquatonex
3.4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A Helles in Calgary? Alright...

Pours a good golden color with a foamy head. Some lacing as well. A bit light in the nose, snappy hops and a little maltiness. Taste follows with light flavors (light bready malt and a little bit o hops), would have appreciated a bit more pronounced flavors but that's OK. The balance is pretty decent, keeps it pretty drinkable. Another easy drinker.

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Photo of CrazyMike
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light golden appearance with thick head. The Smell is light, but picked up malt with a small amount of hops.

The taste is sweet and malty, has a medicinal touch to it. Light bodied with nice carbonation, easy to drink but not to watery. Aftertaste is dry and a bit bitter.

Overall, this is a refreshing beer, would be good for in the summer. Would recommend this.

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Photo of Converge
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into a 16oz pint glass.

A - Big, billowy white head. Dark, but transparent yellow color. Good head retention, foamy white lacing.

S - Barley malt, light hops, marijuana, and a bit of strawberries. Pretty clean and inviting for the most part.

T - It just tastes great. Not really complex in any way, but very nice. Toasty barley malt, honey biscuit, slight fruitiness, and some weedy hops linger in the finish. Nothing special, bust tasty, clean and refreshing.

M - Crisp carbonation, light-to-medium body.

D - Excellent beer for a hot day. This a lager done the right way, with an actual hop presence to it. As a side note, not so great after it warms up. Really good overall though.

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Photo of Cwrw
3.9/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Okanagan Spring has recently redone all their labels and introduced two new beers, a Munich Dark, and a Helles. This, the 1516, tastes quite similar to the Helles, so we will see if they both continue to exist.

1516 is a typical, but healthy and attractive looking pale lager. Light browns and golden straw, light honey colours. The head is definitely better than average, however. It poured with a perfect amount of head, neither overdone nor underdone. Off-white, thick, but fairly ephemeral, as it dissipates to a thin layer, the lace leaving thin serpentine patches. On a sweltering day, the appearance screams "drink me." The aroma is grainy, lightly toasted, with subtle tart milkiness like so many German lagers. Hops are well balanced, with some delicate spiciness and grass. Again, very German aroma, fittingly enough. The taste is brisk, refreshing, and thirst quenching. Good caramel malt up front, with a definite hop burst on the finish, leaving the mouth with a balanced, not overly sweet or dry feel. The freshness of the toasted malt is superb in this beer, roasted to perfection, a true credit to barley. Light butterscotch and even subtle lemon in the taste. The mouthfeel is high carbonation, light to medium bodied, and invigoratingly quenching. The drinkability, being neither offensive, strong, or heavy, is very good: an ideal summer brew; not to indicate, however, that this has little taste--on the contrary it is very flavourful. This is one beer I buy quite consistently; if I go out to buy a "six-pack" for a hot summer day, this usually is the standard. A credit to its name, 1516 is a natural refreshing German-style lager.

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1516 Bavarian Lager from Okanagan Spring Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.