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Went to Italy on vacation, had epiphany on German beer

Discussion in 'Germany' started by boddhitree, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. “2nd-rate ingredients.” That is indeed a plausible explanation. Another potential ‘answer’ is process; perhaps they have a mashing regime that creates these less than ideal flavors but results in cost savings?

    Regardless of whether it is ingredients, process or even a combination of both it is indeed disappointing that a brewer who has gone through all of that training is producing such a sub-par product (what I would consider calling “bad” based upon mjtierney2 posting of “Blech”).

    I am not a naïve individual; I recognize that business is business whether that business of located in Germany or elsewhere. It just seems that producing beers like Oettinger Kellerbier seems to be at odds with the beer culture of Germany (or more precisely my understanding of the beer culture of Germany).

    This is particularly puzzling to me since I have consumed US megabrewery beers that while they are not my favorite beers since they are essentially tasteless I would not consider them “bad” or use the word “Blech” to describe them. When I drink a Budweiser my biggest source of disappointment is a lack of flavor but I would never think “Blech” while finishing that beer.

    Crusader likes this.
  2. Similarly, it seems to me that producing harshly grainy, overly estery, and/or mega hoppy (to cover up the harsh graininess and/or cut the esters) "German-style" beers would be at odds with a culture purporting to be about "craft." Perhaps we're starting to find more common ground here? ;) One major remaining difference, however, is that a crate (10 l) of the beer you are referring to costs the same as 22 oz. of that which I am referring to. Talk about needing to win the lottery!
  3. “Similarly, it seems to me that producing harshly grainy, overly estery, and/or mega hoppy (to cover up the harsh graininess and/or cut the esters) "German-style" beers would be at odds with a culture purporting to be about "craft." Well, the German style beers that I drink do not sound anything like what you detail in that sentence. You and I have corresponded on this topic ad nauseam. I have no doubt that there are US craft breweries that produce beers that are “harshly grainy, overly estery, ,,,” but I personally have not drank those beers. The vast majority of the beer I drink is homebrewed beer but I do selectively purchase commercial beers from breweries such as: Victory, Sly Fox, Troegs, Stoudt’s, Trumer, etc. and numerous high quality brewpubs near me (Triumph, Manayunk, Iron Hill, etc.) In none of these beers have I personally experienced “harshly grainy, overly estery, ,,,”

    “Perhaps we're starting to find more common ground here? “ Well, that would indeed be a good thing overall! However I suspect that when you state” More and more I think you and I must be living in alternate universes” this seems like a tough goal to achieve.

    “One major remaining difference is that a crate (10 l) of the beer you are referring to costs the same as 22 oz. of that which I am referring to.Talk about needing to win the lottery!” Yeah, I do hope to win the lottery someday! In the meantime I ‘get by’ by drinking homebrewed beers: a Classic American Pilsner that will be drinkable next week; a Bohemian Pilsner that I will be bottling next week, a Kolsch that I will be drinking in 1-2 months, etc.


    P.S One of the commercial beers I am enjoying presently is a six-pack of Victory St. Victorious Doppelbock:

    “St. Victorious
    From the tradition started by the monks of St. Francis of Paula in 1634 comes this warming beer of rich heritage. A dark, rich lager of sublime complexity and character, St. Victorious is created from multiple German malts. Laborious decoction mashing yields the choicest elements of the malt. Long, cold aging mellows the strong temperament of this subtle beer. Celebrate the end of winter with a warming draft of St. Victorious Doppelbock!


    Malts: 2 row German malt, including Beech smoked malt

    Hops: German whole flowers
  4. Aw, c'mon man. That was WEEKS ago. Our positions haven't gotten ANY closer since then? (even if you were tasting Weyermann malt in Victory's beers instead of the much cheaper Bamberger Malz ;) )

    See...I, too, 'get by' on homebrew. More common ground.
  5. “See...I, too, 'get by' on homebrew. More common ground.”

    Baby steps brother, baby steps!:)

    herrburgess likes this.
  6. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    Not to break up the budding bromance (;)) , but here is my overview of tonight's Oettinger, the Schwarzbier:


    I must say that after my last Oettinger beer, I went into this with reservations that bordered on fearful. I am happy to admit that their Schwarzbier is not the least bit bad. "Recommended" might be too strong of an adjective, but definitely one that I could drink. There are better Schwarzbiers to be had for sure, but having seen the bottom (hopefully), I can honestly say this one isn't there. The off-putting graininess, if present, was at least well hidden. While the Kellerbier was in the 1.5 to 2.0 range, I'd give this a 2.5 to 3.0 score. Maybe like a C+ grade. You can all subtract €0.36 from the bill.

    Tomorrow night: The Urtyp Hell.
    boddhitree likes this.
  7. Roasted/chocolate malt is pretty good at hiding flaws, too. And, I have to admit, the look of that beer in the Willibecher is pretty appetizing. Or maybe it just reminds me of Schlenkerla ;)
  8. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    The glasses were a great investment. After this little incident:


    ...I decided to go to a restaurant supply store nearby and I picked up two wheat beer glasses, two Willibechers, and two footed pilsner glasses for a song. I still need a ceramic/earthenware mug for the collection and then I'll be a happy man. But I love having the right glass for the right beer. Maybe I've just been in Germany too long.
    boddhitree and herrburgess like this.
  9. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (640) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    Keep up your research! Without the pics, these posts reporting on beer would be rather dull, eh? And I'm happy you've been able to document this so your kids will believe you when they're older.

    I have to report that yesterday Stahlsturm dropped by my apartment at 8:45 AM:mad:. That's too early for me when the first English class to teach was at 11 am. But, he brought beer! A full case of beer from Regensburg and the surrounding area! :) That made getting up worth it, eh? I didn't take a picture of him, for I didn't know if he wants to keep his identity a secret...hahahaha ;) , but I have to say his "accent" in German is full-bore Bayerisch. Love it. However, I got a pic of the beer he left behind...
    [​IMG]Thank you Stahlsturm!!!:D
    I'll do my best to report on each and every one. He gave me only one of each, so that's a lot to look forward to.
    Finally, I gave him a case of my homebrewed beer. He didn't want anything to do with an IPA :( , so I had to load up on the others, and... I had to laugh how he "lovingly" put the case in his car, so much so that I took a pic of it.
    Notice anything interesting here?
  10. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (430) California Nov 3, 2005

    Now THERE is a generous and thoughtful BA. And plenty of plop-bottles for homebrew afterwards.

    The only true love is between beer drinkers.
  11. steveh

    steveh Champion (850) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Motoring safety at its best? ;)
  12. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (640) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    I gave him the Bügelverschlußpflaschen (plop top bottles). He regretted giving me ONLY 2 in return. I believe the contents of each bottle will make up for my loss of Bügelverschlußpflaschen. When I order beer online in Germany, I focus only beers contained in Bügelverschlußpflaschen.

    Also notice the sheet of paper outlining which bottle contains which beer. I use colored white board markers only to identify my beers.
  13. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    That's nice work outta Stahlsturm! I have a case of beer on its way, and the Hermes guy invariably shows up at 8:45 am, so I'll know how you feel soon. I'm looking forward to your report. I have 20 of the same beer coming so I won't have as much to contribute as you, but I will definitely post something. And I still have that last Oettinger to work through...
  14. “And I still have that last Oettinger to work through...” All I have to say is that you da man! And thanks for ‘taking one for the team’!

    Gutes_Bier likes this.
  15. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    That last Oettinger...

    So I was wrong in referring to it earlier as an "Urtyp Hell". It is just an "Urtyp" and underneath that it says, "Das besondere Exportbier". So I guess they consider it an Export. Instead, it actually has the clear copper color that I normally associate more with a Märzen. Anway, "Das besondere Exportbier" is "nicht besoders gut", although just about anything is better than that Kellerbier. This might be along the lines of their Schwarzbier, where the flavors are not great but not overpoweringly terrible, either.

    Thus my official review: 2.5/5, Not Overpoweringly Terrible.

    And thank God that is over with.
  16. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (430) California Nov 3, 2005

    Interesting timing - I was thinking the other day about my Weltenburger Helles and thought about the term "Export" which I am more used to, having lived in Frankfurt and hearing how Binding Export is/was Bauarbeiterbier (I am outing myself once again, but at the time I preferred the Export to the pilsner). Maybe one of you guys can shed light on the topic and knows what the difference is between helles & export....
  17. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    Not 100% certain, but I think an Export is simply a Helles with higher alcohol content.
  18. As far as I know the difference is pretty much what mjtierney2 said, Export is usually not much of a difference in colour and/or hop aromas compares to a Helles/Pils. Alcohol content is usually 5,5 to 6% abv, being 1% above Helles/Pils average. In my opinion the taste does not differ much in most commercial examples compared to Helles/Pils of the same brewery, there may be a stronger malty sweetness apparent, but that's it.
    In some parts of (southern) Germany Export is frowned upon, because its history is connected with the area of the Ruhrgebiet (a part of NRW), and having the image of "Bauarbeiterbier"...
  19. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    The story I've read is that the Dortmund breweries made a higher % alcohol beer for export to The Netherlands, hence the name. The coal miners (and Bauarbeiters, I guess) of the region said, "hey, quit shipping the good stuff out, we'll drink it here!" and thus the (Dortmunder) Export beer style was born. No idea if that's true, just what I've read.
    boddhitree likes this.
  20. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    Henninger's Kaiser Pils after dinner tonight, purchased on a whim from a beer store I had never visited before. Oof. The streak continues. I am really going to appreciate those smoked beers when they arrive...
  21. “No idea if that's true, just what I've read.”

    Hmmm, utilizing second sources. This does not bode well for you! Welcome to my world!!;)

  22. I need help here since I don’t speak German. Is “Oof” German for “Blech”?

  23. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I have a proprietary Bad Beer Flavor Wheel that I work off of. Descriptors include "Oof", "Blech", "...uh...", "I probably shouldn't finish this", "I think I'm going to be sick", and "Kind of reminds me of Lausitzer's Porter". Among others.

    boddhitree likes this.
  24. I am sorry to hear about the Lausitzer Porter ‘event’. I doubt that it is available to you but I would highly recommend Shiner Black Bohemian Lager ; a Schwartbier made by a regional brewery from Shiner, Texas (a small town of 2,069). I visited Spoetzl Brewery in the fall of 2012 and I was told that the majority of the people are of Czech descent with Germans being a very close second. The Shiner Black Bohemian Lager is very, very tasty!

  25. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (430) California Nov 3, 2005

    I am betting that his "beef" is with the few German breweries who are making an attempt at English/US styles, rather than looking for interpretations from US brewers doing German styles states-side.
  26. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (430) Germany Mar 21, 2005

  27. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (430) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    The difference has to do with the German Biersteuer. Export has higher Stammwurze and thus,is taxed higher.
  28. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (430) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    I, at that point, had already driven 350 km so it didn't feel quite that early to me anymore :p
  29. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,030) Colorado Apr 23, 2005

    After doing some asking around here and reading some articles, that seems to be the case in Bavaria. They don't seem to have any real ties to the Dortmund name, but are instead just an export-strength helles.
    I guess the Dortmunder beers have different roots (coal miners and trade routes) but essentially ended up being similar, but hoppier thanks to their geographic location.
    These days export, maerzen, and spezial beers are interchangeable in many instances.
    That's one of those instances where you can divide German beer into 50 styles or 10 depending on what you're looking to prove.
    steveh and boddhitree like this.
  30. Found this on "The Local"
    Germany's biggest beer company - Bavarian brewery Oettinger – has begun producing beer free from genetically modified ingredients, it was reported on Monday.
    Soon Oettinger bottles will bear the “GM free” symbol, as production using the new ingredients begins straight away Der Spiegel magazine reported on Monday.​

    The move was in response to requests made by consumers for more transparency from the brewery, owner and CEO Dirk Kollmar said.

    He added that the brewery considered it an extension of Germany's 1516 Rheinheitsgebot or beer purity law, which denotes beer can only be made from water, hops, malt and yeast.

    Oettinger is an unusual brewery in that it does not belong to the beer industry's umbrella organisation. This means that it can bypass intermediary traders and sell beer very cheaply. But this also means often forgoing expensive marketing and PR.

    Industry experts said on Monday that Oettinger's switch to non-GM could well prove to higher-end brewers that cheaper brands could brew under a seemingly more upmarket “purity law plus”.

    The Local
  31. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I don't mean to necro a thread, but I think if I post a USA Trip Report separately it could get moved out of the Germany Forum, and I'd prefer it to stay here. So here it is, my USA Trip Report:

    We flew into Dulles and stayed in DC overnight before flying on into Asheville, NC the next day. Trying to stave off jet lag, I walk to the nearest Subway for dinner, and pass a Gas 'N Go that has a "beer corner". I curse myself about halfway into my walk for forgetting to bring a shopping bag before remembering that in America, they give you a bag when you buy stuff. America. So great. I stop in to Beer Corner and laugh with joy at the selection. DFH, Sam Adams, Lagunitas, Bells, other local and non-local goodies...already happy to be home. I wanted something local but had to pass as I couldn't commit to a 6er and didn't feel like asking them if I could take singles. I end up with a bomber of Stone's Arrogant Bastard. Despite living on the West Coast for 4 years, I have never tried this beer. It was awesomely delicious. A good old fashioned hoppy American ale. Loved it.


    In Asheville, my father in law brought down from NY some Chimay Red, Duvel, Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, Black Toad Beer, and some American Dunkel Hef that I can't remember the name of but didn't particulary love. For my part, I tried to purchase a sampling of the local scene. I bought a Sierra Nevada Torpedo* (awesome, though I couldn't really tell the difference between this and Arrogant Bastard), a French Broad 13 Rebels ESB (OK), a Highland Black Mocha Stout (drank immediately after the Samuel Smith's and didn't quite stand up), and a Pisgah Pale Ale at the airport on my way out of town (I remember liking it, but I couldn't finish it because I had to board). Probably others that I'm forgetting.


    Back in DC, I had some Yeungling with my brothers, a few Sierra Nevada Pale Ales, and a surprisingly disappointing Bell's Two Hearted. I've been wanting to try this beer for some time now, and ordered it eagerly off the dinner menu. Something soapy about it that I just couldn't dig. It was OK, and I finished it, but I had really high expectations for this and was let down.

    Perhaps I simply started getting into the ABIPA territory while in the good ol' USA, but I was actually very happy to be headed back to Germany, beer-wise. No epiphanies, no envy**. I picked up a TAP 7 and a Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier from the Getränkemarkt and happily enjoyed the Schneider Weisse tonight, although I was quickly reminded of the crushingly disappointing selection at my local beer store.

    Cheers Prost all, it's good to be back.

    * - I know they're not local yet, but close enough.
    ** - maybe a little eny
    JackHorzempa and boddhitree like this.
  32. Ruination was one that gave me an (D)IPA headache. Glad that didn't happen to you...and that you were able to indulge your hop craving. Also glad that you're enjoying being back in the Vaterland. I have had a couple of friends supply me with some Heady Topper and KBS in the past couple of weeks, and, while well-crafted and solid, these beers were hardly epiphanic. As U2 said back in the early 1990s when the West was opening up to the "culture starved" Eastern Bloc: Achtung, Baby! Prost.
    Gutes_Bier likes this.
  33. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (640) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    BTW... I found Sierra Nevada's Torpedo Extra IPA at the FFM downtown Galleria Kaufhof last week! Now for sale for about 3.99€/bottle. Expensive? Yep. Worth it? Every damn cent. It was a flavor impossible to find in Germany, harsh, in your face bitterness and citrusy flavors. Worth every cent! I also bought a Fuller's London Porter (but at 2.99€/bottle) and remembered why I still this my absolute favorite style, hands down, and that my next brew will be a clone of this of Samuel Smith's Porter, which they also have for sale. Another beer I've come to love that's available in Galleria Kaufhof is St. Austell's Proper Job, an excellent hoppy Cornish take on an IPA from the Brit. outfit, but not as in your face as an American version.

    Anyway, glad to hear your trip to the USA was fruitful and flavorful. Loved your reviews of the beers! And the pics were great. They made the post come alive. I still envy the selection of beers from all around the world. However, you've convinced me that there are A LOT of beers from Germany not available in the USA that are outstanding, of course Pax Bräu and other bayrische beers I reviewed here. But as you can see from my report from Kaufhof, things are starting to improve, eh?

    Funny how the Another Bloody IPA has caught on, eh? :)
    Gutes_Bier likes this.
  34. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    Proper Job is delicious! The Kaufhof doesn't have them, but there is an English goods store nearby that sometimes has beer like Proper Job, Fullers Porter, and Sam Smith's Imperial Stout. It's good to pop in there every once in a while but I do kinda hate paying €3,00 for a bottle of beer. Seeing a Torpedo in FFM's Kaufhof is a really good sign, though. Let's hope it catches on.
  35. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I'm happy to report that I had no headaches! I wouldn't mind trying a Heady Topper or two just to see how it compares to Pliny the Elder, which is a beer I just love. Not as sure about KBS, although I'd try any beer once I guess. Is it a sweet stout? I try to tread pretty carefully when it comes to sweet beers.
  36. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,030) Colorado Apr 23, 2005

    KBS is an oddball because the barrel/whiskey character makes it somewhat sweet. Normal Founder's Breakfast Stout is relatively dry because of the coffee and the softer body, but KBS is definitely on the sweeter end of things.
    Gutes_Bier likes this.
  37. My wife was drinking some of my homebrewed Koelsch at the same time I was having the KBS. I told her to try a sip of the KBS, which American beer geeks consider one of the very best beers in the world. So she did. Her response: it tastes like sweet coffee. More of the Starbucks-ification of U.S. craft beer....
  38. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,030) Colorado Apr 23, 2005

    LOL...while I'll admit to thinking KBS is a little overrated (I still think it's pretty good, although not as good as the non-barreled FBS), the scene over here does tend to be very trend-heavy.
    At the same time, that's probably no different than giving a typical American craft drinker an Augustiner helles and getting the response "it's like a better version of Bud." ;)
    If I were going to give someone with a German palate an American beer, I'd probably go with a well designed and not overblown IPA. Something like Jai Alai, Sweetwater IPA, HopDevil, Odell IPA, Union Jack, etc.
    While certainly different, I think you'd probably see at least a disguised appreciation for some of those.
  39. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Advocate (515) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    I should amend my statement to say it's sweet stouts that I generally am wary of. I enjoy dopplebocks and quads and the like, but for some reason my brain thinks stouts need to be dry.
  40. So, no review of Yuengling Lager!?!;)

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