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What is that "pale lager" flavor?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by fox227, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Savant (425) Texas Nov 21, 2008

    Supports the notion that it's chill haze, because most decent beer bars don't keep taps cold enough to produce chill haze. I have only noticed it in bottles. Most of the time I get Prima Pils it's bottled. Not as common on tap in Texas.
  2. acevenom

    acevenom Advocate (545) Louisiana Oct 7, 2011

    I know you never said corn, but I felt it was something that needed mentioning on the subject of DMS, which is often incorrectly associated with the creamed corn flavor in beer. My only reference do lagering allowing DMS to fade comes from a BeerSmith article from last year.
  3. So, what does account for the creamed corn flavor? I found it in abundance in this year's Pumking.
  4. acevenom

    acevenom Advocate (545) Louisiana Oct 7, 2011

    That would be DMS and certainly not corn (which isn't used in Pumking anyway). You're not usually going to notice this in a more robust beer because there are enough things there to cover those off flavors. This really isn't the case in a helles where such a thing would be much more noticeable. I've never had Pumking because Southern Tier doesn't distribute here, but I would have to think it was just a bad batch you had.
  5. I think mainly due to any out gassing, it will fade. You can reduce H2S in finished beer by carbonating and then purging the keg, and the volatile sulfur compound are stripped.

    This was a nice write up.
    http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Dimethyl_sulfides
  6. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Right -- when corn is used in a beer it seems to come out as more of a corn tortilla character, at least in my experience. On top of that, the DMS character is often so mild in a well-brewed beer that it's hardly noticeable until you look for it.

    Another thing that's been discussed lately is that DMS can also impart a sort of "sea-breeze" character to the nose of a beer. I know it sounds odd, but I had noticed it before I'd read about it and all I could describe it as was a "watery" character. When I saw the discussion about it I said, "Yes -- that's what I'm smelling!"
  7. a well made pale lager is a thing of beauty. Ask Augustiner and Weihenstephaner how they do it. Oh and dont forget New Glarus, Olde Mecklengburg, Great Lakes, and Thirsty Dog too.
    herrburgess likes this.
  8. crossovert

    crossovert Champion (765) Illinois Mar 29, 2009

    I doubt new belgium is using low-quality malt and I think you are thinking of 6-row barley, not 2-row.
  9. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    I think HerrB is comparing the 2-row in its quality to Pilsner or Munich. When 2 row is used in the likes of a light lager it tends to fall short -- yes, even in SN's Summerfest. It's good drinking, but it just falls short of a Pilsner brewed with the right ingredients.
    herrburgess likes this.
  10. crossovert

    crossovert Champion (765) Illinois Mar 29, 2009

    I don't think there is that substantial of a difference between Briess or BestMalz or Schill etc in quality. Otherwise craft breweries wouldn't use american 2-row barley. 6-row barley is typically used for pale lagers in the US. Also the mash ph/temps/time have a ton to do with the malt profile.
  11. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Well, I don't think it's a bad barley (as much as said so when I said SN Summer is highly drinkable) and it's good in certain recipes, but it just doesn't match a well-made Pilsner or Helles.

    And there's certainly this -- decoction mashes being pretty time and attention intensive. Though I'd think SN is all about that detail, but their Pilsner is still more grainy than bready.
  12. Starkbier

    Starkbier Savant (260) Maryland Sep 19, 2002

    Funny the discussion about 2 row malz, all the Pils malz I get from Bamberg is 2 row!

    Haze in bottles is due to protein based polyphenol chill haze and not yeast. Higher hopped beers have more haze producing compounds.
  13. crossovert

    crossovert Champion (765) Illinois Mar 29, 2009

    Decoction mashing is more going to affect color and body than the taste. And at any rate I don't think that 2 row is the explanation for the OP. I would lean towards the brewing process and adjuncts used.
  14. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Yes, it's 2 Row... but it's Bamberg 2 Row.

    Of course, it's also all in how you use it.
  15. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    I believe it adds a lot more to flavor than you suspect, especially that bready malt character so common in lighter German lagers (EKU Pils being about the best example I can think of).

    From John Palmer:
    All depending on just what flavor that is he's trying to describe.
  16. The argument is not about 2-row in general, but rather U.S. 2-row vs. German and, more specifically in my own experience, Weyermann pilsner malt. I strongly disagree with the assertion that malts like Schill are of equal quality to Weyermann; matter of fact I just made a SMaSH Koelsch using the same mash schedule and procedure but using Schill pilsner malt instead of Weyermann, as my buddy made the mistake of simply ordering "German Pilsner malt" from the homebrew supply place. The harsh graininess of the Schill is immediately evident when compared with the last batch brewed with the Weyermann. I will admit that I haven't done the necessary research to claim much authority on saying what exact grains may or may not be contributing to that husky, grainy harshness I pick up in U.S. brewed craft lagers. The few times I've thrown the question out in a thread where, say, the Victory rep/employee has chimed in haven't received a response. If anyone else knows, I'd love to hear more from a more authoritative source.
    Pegli likes this.
  17. crossovert

    crossovert Champion (765) Illinois Mar 29, 2009

    Most of it is ph/temps/times/water/grain ratios.
  18. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    That's pretty telling.
  19. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    As HerrB points out, I still don't think you'll get the same character from US 2 Row as you would with German or Czech 2 Row -- even if you brewed exactly the same way.
  20. crossovert

    crossovert Champion (765) Illinois Mar 29, 2009

    No you don't exactly the same character, I am mainly pointing out that there isn't a substantial quality difference, nor is the difference that drastic overall, you still can pull similar flavors out of 2 row american barley as you can german, canadian, english, etc. It is mainly up to the mashing method. And yes Weyermann is a top-tier malting company, but im sure a good amount of English, American, Canadain lagers use it as well as German companies using other brands.
  21. As stated, I find a very substantial difference between Schill and Weyermann, not to mention between American 2-row pale (which I've also used) and Weyermann. As I quoted from Palmer earlier, the way the malt is kilned/toasted plays a big role here. When I did the Weyermann tour this summer, the only area they prohibited photos in was in the kilning areas, as they obviously have some proprietary technology/knowledge there. Still, this is admittedly circumstantial, and I'd love to hear from someone who works commercially on such things -- or perhaps from Jesskidden ;)
  22. “The few times I've thrown the question out in a thread where, say, the Victory rep/employee has chimed in haven't received a response. If anyone else knows, I'd love to hear more from a more authoritative source.”

    Scott, you are the Bamberg authority. Didn’t Starkbier (Jim Busch?) answer your question in the above post?

    “ …all the Pils malz I get from Bamberg is 2 row!”

    Isn’t Weyermann the only Malting Company in Bamberg?

    It seems to me that Victory brews their Pilsner beers with Weyermann Pilsner malt.

    Cheers!

    Jack
  23. crossovert

    crossovert Champion (765) Illinois Mar 29, 2009

    Good for Weyermann. But I don't think Weyermann answers the OP's question. And Weyermann isn't essential to producing a lager that someone would enjoy or not enjoy. That is up to the mashing process and adjuncts used more than likely.
  24. Nope. Weyermann is not the only maltings in Bamberg.
  25. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (305) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    I'm with these guys...American 2-Row is the Wonder Bread of base malts
  26. crossovert

    crossovert Champion (765) Illinois Mar 29, 2009

    honestly I think people are confusing 2-row with 6-row.
  27. I get these characteristics from 2-row. I think it's a combination of lower-quality malt, lagering times that are too short to clear out the graininess, and a sharpness from either residual yeasts and/or proteins that contribute a harsh graininess to poorly made lagers (to get back to the OP's question)
    Pegli likes this.
  28. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Not at all -- as was mentioned above, the Bamberg malt is 2 row. I just won't agree that you get the same character from US 2 row as you do from German or Czech 2 row -- Drinkability is one thing, but when you want that good breadiness in a light (or even amber) German-style lager, US 2 row doesn't deliver.

    Stand a SN Summer next to a Jever -- or even a Trumer and you can taste the difference in flavor I'm talking about. If Trumer is actually using US 2 row as a base to their (US-brewed) Pilsner, then we know that it's process more than ingredients.
    Pegli likes this.

  29. Needless to say but you know more about Bamberg than I do.

    I still stand by my statement: “It seems to me that Victory brews their Pilsner beers with Weyermann Pilsner malt.”

    Cheers!
  30. crossovert

    crossovert Champion (765) Illinois Mar 29, 2009

    I guarantee you can, are they exactly the same? No but if you mash it properly you can achieve similar characteristic.
    To get back to the OP, he either is drinking alot of lagers produced with adjunct or that notion of crappy american lagers is just in his head. I don't think you can pick 5 random american lagers and get the flavor you described from all of them.
  31. And if Victory is using 100% Weyermann then I (at least) know that the slight bite I'm picking up there may be from the process and/or hopping.
  32. Remember that there are the variety of barley used - the Czechs are the Hanna/Hanka varieties. The German varieties summed up in the pdf you can find here. There are many spider charts showing the different sensory charactoristics.
    http://www.braugerstengemeinschaft.de/braugerstengemeinschaft/index.php?StoryID=20

    Then there is the malster and what they do. I used to like Durst Malz for Pilsners, and could get some nice dry ones with that. The local sources no longer have that, so I use Weyermann.

    You get a different flavor between the Weyermann Pils malt and the Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian malt. Both are nominally Pils malt.

    Agreed that the mash procedures have a big impact. I have gone to a looser mash thichness for my German style beers, even if I don't decoct.
  33. Some details on Trumer Pils:

    · “The German Pilsner malt is the same one used at the Austrian brewery”
    · They conduct a ‘special’ malting technique known as endosperm mashing

    An interesting ‘mix’ of ingredients and process.

    Cheers!
  34. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    So the question is, why wouldn't SN "mash properly?" Trumer is doing it right down the road from them.

    Still not buying it -- I'll paraphrase Kirby Nelson (formerly) of Capital who talked about trying to brew his Blonde Bock and Maibock to get the same flavors he tasted in Germany -- after working hard with his brewing methods and being disappointed he realized that it wasn't his methods as much as the malts (US) he was using and that he was getting the best results he could with the ingredients he had.

    Oh sure, mix up the variables even more! ;)
  35. They do infusion mashes for the ales.

    They have large silos with NA 2-row, and stock one crystal malt. They could feed the mill with bags of grain, but that would be tough for a 100 or 200 barrel batch. Don't know if they are now using Weyermann super sacks.

    To add to everything - the yeast used can have a big influence on how malty the beer turns out.
  36. Starkbier

    Starkbier Savant (260) Maryland Sep 19, 2002

    Actually most of our malt is from the other Bamberg Maltster, Bamberger Malz.

    You guys are missing the basic issue - there are many varieties of Barley types that are used to make brewers malt. In the US the varieties used are different than those used in Germany. Also maltsters like those in Bamberg buy from a large number of relatively small and local barley growers, each tractor load of raw barely is tested on the spot for protein levels and rejected if out of spec. Other maltsters in Germany buy from much larger and more homogeneous farmers and hence get a different spec/blend. To this you add the individual malting and kilning techniques but I would argue that the genetic strains of brewers barley is the big difference as is the protein levels which do vary year to year. This is why larger maltsters blend over years to smooth out the seasonal changes in malt - most brewers want lower protein malts which give better haze stability.

    Lastly, decoction mashing is more rare every year, especially in Germany where energy costs are much higher. A decocted beer also has less colloidal stability in the package.

    Cheers, Jim
  37. “Actually most of our malt is from the other Bamberg Maltster, Bamberger Malz.”

    Doh! My guess was wrong!!

    Now Scott is going to accuse me of being from an alternative dimension universe!:(

    Cheers!
  38. Actually that was precisely my point: US varieties are different -- I suspect they may even be GMO -- than German varieties, and the latter are generally qualitatively better than the former.

    At Weyermann they said that they buy not only from smaller, local Franconian barley growers, but also from larger places around the East German city of Chemnitz. Matthias Trum from Schlenkerla even told me that most German maltings now buy from Scandinavia and Ukraine. Regardless, I suspect that the genetic makeup -- if not all of the local characteristics -- are more or less the same among these (though I'd question the Ukrainian stuff).

    Obviously a lot comes down to the individual malting techniques. Going back to Palmer's quote, this could be the source of the flavors I and others are picking up.
  39. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Ditto.

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