Portland Lager | Bull Jagger Brewing Company

27 Reviews
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Portland LagerPortland Lager

Brewed by:
Bull Jagger Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Portland Lager is a crisp golden, premium lager modeled after the traditional Helles beers of Bavaria. This original recipe follows the German Purity Laws of 1516 and use only the finest water, malt, hops and yeast. Portland Lager™ is handcrafted in small batches and aged to perfection. The result is a quaffable ‘micro-lager’ of the highest quality.

Added by Bowdoinbeerboy on 10-23-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 42
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #61 (Feb 2012):

LOOK: Dirty golden, lots of foam

SMELL: Grainy, yeast, fresh-cut hay, ripe pears, faint lemon, flora, rustic

TASTE: Crisp, medium bodied, herbal hop, grainy, malt sweetness, leafy, grassy, nutty

More of a Kellerbier than a Helles, given the overall rawness. Regardless, a solid and highly quaffable lager from the New England area. Now all we need are some authentic German brats and pretzels. Ja!

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

From the 25 fl. oz bottle. Sampled on December 16, 2012.

It pours like a lager with a pale yellow-light amber tone and a fizzy white head. Carbonation is active throughout.

The aroma tends to be a little yeasty but it most definitely has the German biscuit malt character that is expected from a Helles Lager. The hops bring up the rear with a clean crispiness.

The body is light and a little acidic.

The taste has a bready, biscuit malty character at the start but it does not take long before the moderate hop bitterness kicks in to bring the tasting experience to a clean conclusion. Not a bad lager from this fledgling brewery.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Tully's in Wells, Maine. Pours a slightly hazy body with about a half inch of off white head. Smells bready with slight fruity notes. Tastes bready with notes of apple and lemon grass. No flavor is overly robust. Everything is balanced and subdued. Very drinkable. Tastes great and is an easy drinker. What more could you ask for?

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Photo of Boto
3.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle: This one pours a Slightly hazy golden color. There was quite a bit of a big white head on it that doesn’t linger long or leave any lacing. Lighter aroma to this one, though not bad. Some grainy and grassy notes. Possibly a hint of breadiness and yeastiness also. The taste is not bad. More towards a medium body. Some grains, malts, hint of earthiness and a touch of bitterness. A decent enough lager. Probably not worth the price charged for it, however.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.21/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$5.49 for a 16.9 oz bottle

A: poured with an incredible meringue-type head, golden straw color, almost too much CO2
S: medium nose, herbal hops indicative of dry hopping
T: clean, crisp, lager, could use a bit more earthy malt but very good, subdued hops
M: clean, crisp, very, very sessionable and drinkable

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Photo of jbear725
2.52/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is my second time having this beer. Had a bottle from the original release and wasn't impressed. Giving it another shot.

Pours a slightly orange light amber color, not a pale straw yellow like I was expecting. It's slightly hazy as well, again not what I'd expect in a Helles.

Smells mildly bread-y and has a pine and earthy hop aroma.

Taste is not what I would expect. Too many hops for the style and they come across pine, mild citrus and very grassy and raw. Has a good malt backbone but not a rich crisp grain flavor I would expect. Malt tastes more like a pale ale than Pilsner and seems like it has too much of a Munich malt flavor leaning more towards an Octoberfest than a Helles.

Mouthfeel is decent.

Overall I'm not a fan and don't consider this a very good Helles. The color and appearance is just too dark and the over use of hops is a turn off. Just can't get past the grassy raw hop flavors going on to make this enjoyable. The price is way too high for a mediocre to average beer.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.05/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one a bunch now, finally getting around to giving it props. The original beer from Bull Jager, this one pours a crisp bright gold color with a white head, nice and fluffy for a lager. Lots of character in the aroma with lots of bread, dough, yeast, milk and honey, and some dusty hops. Crisp and drinkable yet with a nice sturdy body and some stand up flavor to this lager. I like it. Had this on draught recently and liked it even more than the bottled version. Looking forward to drinking lots of this in the summer.

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Photo of beerbiatchMD
4.03/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Novare Res 2/11/12, reviewed from notes taken on iPhone. 16 oz pint glass.

A: yellow opaque, thickish looking for a lager, there is a half finger of white head, good lacing.

S: fruity, yeasty, and hint of citrus hop and great sweet malt background.

T: nicely balanced. Beginning is refreshing fruity sweet, pear and grapefruit, minimal biterness, very refreshing. Finishes with smoothly with a bit of hop bite.

M: Crisp, refreshing, good carbonation.

O: Wow, this is a fantastic lager. At least as good as Brooklyn lager in my opinion (which is very good). It's pretty complex for a lighter beer and very easy drinking. I'll definitely be picking this one up in bottles.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Will pour a five+ finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Hazy, pale amber color, some yeast left in bottle. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Hay nose, sweet hay and bread flavor. $5.80 for a 500ml bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Into a pilsener:

A: murky pale yellow colored body with a small white foamy head and a decent amount of carbonation seen rising, lacing is kinda thick and leaves spotty rings down the glass

S: some wheat, grains and bready malts

T: sweet wheat and breadiness

M: light to medium with a fair amount of carbonation hitting the tongue and mouth, fairly sessionable, no aftertaste, sweet finish

O: a decent MHL, but its nothing to go out of my way for

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Photo of mdfb79
2.6/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

From 01/07/12 notes. Thanks to joepaid for sending this one my way. 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a murky pale yellow color with two fingers of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of wheat, grains, and bready malts. Not bad at all, but quite bland. Pretty average.

t - Tastes of wheat, grains, sweet corn, bready malts, and light vegetables. Not very good at all; oddly sweet. Major step down from the nose.

m - Light to medium body and low carbonation. Easy to drink for what I'm guessing is a lower ABV lager.

o - Overall a below average lager. Nose is a bit bland, and the taste is oddly sweet. Wasn't a big fan of this one, wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.82/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I met up with the brewery in VT over Thanksgiving in Windsor and we exchanged some beers in the parking lot. Good to see another brewery come out of Portland, especially 3 in the same industrial complex. 16.9 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a minimal head and has a ring of foam at the top of the glass. A golden straw yellow with some haziness, but still very clear. Carbonation is coming up slowly through the glass. Some nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank too.

Smell: I am picking up some yeasty, grassy, and bready malts.

Taste: Same bready malts and some bitterness and spicines from the hops. Very ineresting for a lager, but very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, well carbonated, full bodied. For the most part, this beer was easy to drink once the bitterness from the hops wore down. Also, the beer was a little chewy too.

Overall: This is a good brew from the newest brewery out of Portland. I wonder what Tom has in the works for his next batch. Beer is still in it's infacy stage and could use some refining. Looking for more of this when we go up to OOB next time around.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks Mike, beer served in a snifter. Beer is yellow, clear with a thin white head, low retention, some lacing, moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is yeasty and bland.

Beer is light in body and sweet on the finish, a mild aftertaste makes the beer less desirable. Not a great lager for sure, just an average one.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.59/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Part of Blind BIF 6. Thanks to Brez07. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a clear light golden color with a thin white head and just a touch of lacing. The nose brings forward some sweetness and a bit of a creamed corn character, leading me to think this could be a blonde or a cream ale. A bit of grain and some light hop bitterness through the finish. Could be a less-than-hoppy APA. Quite grainy. Slightly-bitter aftertaste. Light body. Not a huge fan.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent straw color, good sized white fluffy head, fades at a decent rate, no lacing on the glass.

Smell has a sweet malt aroma, light fruitiness with a bit of citrus, mild hop presence.

Taste is light and crisp, starts out with sweet malt, a subtle hop bitterness sticks around for a decent while, a bit slick and buttery, a bit more full bodied than expected, finishes slightly dry and with a touch of fruit.

A decent first beer from Maine's newest brewery, sticking to the German Purity Laws does happen too often in the States so it can be a bit refreshing though predictable in flavor.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from svosie, so a big “Thank You” goes out to her. Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a pilsner glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains lager yeast, light caramelized malts and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a lot of breadiness from the lager yeast and a hearty but not too heavy malt character. Then a mild malt sweetness comes in along with a decent hops presence for the style creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice solid beer to pound for a long time.

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Photo of Jayli
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Courtesy of svosie so a big THANK YOU goes out to her!
Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a crystal clear light copper color with a 3 finger of big sudsy, bone white head. Nice head retention, leaves spotty chunks of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is grain, nice grassy, earthy presence, and a touch of spicing.

T: Taste starts nice with big grassy notes, a strong yet complimenting pale malt and grain presence comes through. A touch of light spicing, more earthiness, and a bit of floral hops.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium to high carbonation, crisp and clean body with a drier finish.

O: Goes down easy, tasty, not too filling, not much of a kick, nice representation of style. This is a solid offering worth sitting with for a bit of time.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.91/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium gold with a big thick head. Some slight lace, but head retention is terrific.

Some grassy and sweet malt aromas, some leafy herbal notes.

I like the balance of this one. Slight sweetness in the malt up front; maybe grassy, maybe a touch of sweet butter, a little spicy grain. It is immediately pushed out by toasted husk bitterness and a pure but not overbearing bitter flavor. The grassy sweet comes up again but the bitter is always there. Finishes crisp and bitter.

Medium bodied, good carbonation.

I liked this one. Fairly smooth and restrained in the right areas. They took the bitter right to the limit and nailed it. This is a very drinkable brew. Clean and flavorful.

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Photo of johnnnniee
2.59/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On cask at Nerax North
Pours a solid golden color with a minimal white head. Smells overwhelmingly of butter and butterscotch with bits of bread and toffee. I think I find some earthy hops. Taste is a harsh buttery mess, I have trouble with most of the glass. Medium to light body, light level of carbonation, with a slick mouthfeel. Wow in a cask this beer doesn't work. Maybe this beer is to young and hasn't had time to lose that diacytl in the lagering process. I'd be interested in trying a bottled version to compare, but I didn't enjoy the cask.

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Photo of dasenebler
1.94/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

11/11/2011: Classy looking 16.9oz bottle. No dates or codes, but this stuff just came out a few weeks ago so it must be fresh.

Pours an unfiltered orange-gold, way too dark and murky for a Helles. The head is at least very nice, as is the lacing.

Aroma is pretty good, with grassy hops and a touch of lemon.

The flavor is bitter and tea-like, and it tastes almost like it was scorched (sort of a husky, burnt malt flavor). Too much hops for a Helles, and no balance really. Some redeeming biscuity malt flavors, but man, this does not taste like the style in the least. Has more in common with a Pale Ale (and not a very good one at that) than a German lager. Vague vegetable flavor on the finish. The mouthfeel is at least pretty nice, with a medium body and fluffy carbonation.

I lived in Germany for two years and drank a lot of good, traditional beer. If Bull Jagger was trying to create a Munich Helles as good as you can get in Germany, then they failed miserably. If they were trying to make a drinkable beer, then they failed tragically.

Update, February 2012: This beer is still the same, i.e., really awful.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this past weekend at Tully's. A very likeable beer.

I poured this into an imperial pint glass because it held the entire bottle. Hazy gold color with a small white head.

Very bready/malty. Grassy hops. A little bit of peppery tickle in my nose.

Big malt taste, some toffee. Grassy hops with a nice lingering bitterness.

Crisp. Fuller bodied than I would have thought.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. The color is light golden with a touch of haze. there is a nice small white head; about a quarter of an inch that retains nicely.

The aroma is mostly sweet corn-like malt with maybe a touch of pineapple (not to be confused with pineapple hops).

The taste starts out with the same malt sweetness indicated in the aroma, but quickly turns to a bitter twang in the finish. At first sip I was a little put off, but the more I drink the more I like the balance.

This is light, crisp and drinkable.

This is a welcome addition to Maine. I wish this was available in six-packs though, I feel that it is more marketable to "Joe Six-pack." and I would love to bring it to parties, event, etc. in that format.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked a bottle of this up at Oak Hill Beverage today and popped it right into the fridge. There's no date on the bottle, but since this beer premiered on shelves earlier this week, I know it's fresh. Being the new brewery in the Riverside Industrial Park, I'm pouring this beer into a logo pint glass of their neighbor Allagash.

The beer is translucent yellow with some orange tones. Plenty of carbonation bubbles cling to the sides of my glass. The head is egg shell colored and about a finger thick. It has settled down to a modest layer of foam that caps the liquid. Swirling the beer coats the glass with a tiny film and some patchy foam.

The aroma has some fruity and grassy hops. Some pale and grainy malts are also present.

This lager has a solid flavor profile. A slight sweetness has hints of toffee. The hops are grassy and provide a basic level of bitterness that compliments the style nicely. A good balance of the sweet and bitter flavors linger on after I swallow; they provide a earthiness that is a nice ending.

This beer certainly has a fuller body than any mass produced lager that comes in a can. A good level of carbonation plays games on my tongue and really foams up if I swish the beer around in my mouth. The coating is a little stickier than I'd like, as are my lips, but this is a minor complaint.

I enjoy this beer. I hope it succeeds, as Southern Maine breweries who make golden beers exclusively don't have the best track record (any remember Sparhawk or Growstown?). Brewing in accordance to the German Purity Law is an admirable goal. I'm excited to see what else Bull Jagger can create. There are some fine products coming out of the Riverton Industrial Park; Portland Lager fits in with them nicely.

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Photo of Brez07
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

0.5L bottle poured into a pint glass. Just released last week

A: Pours ever so slightly hazy, burnt yellow/orange in color. Leaves a modest 1/2 white head with some retained throughout the glass

S: Nice aroma of semi-sweet malt, yeast and straw. Subtle floral and citrus presence from the hops

T: Lightly sweetened malt starts this off, with some bitterness following. So nice to be able to still get some of hops coming through in this. Some fruitiness. Finishes with a straw/hay flavor, dry with a bite of bitterness

M: Carbonation seems spot on, elevating the flavors but overbearing. Medium bodied. Crisp up front, smooth finish

D: So this is what a good lager (helles) tastes like. Don't drink much of this style, mostly due to lack of quality available in my market. Can't wait to see what these guys come out with next

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Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Drazzamatazz for this great beer. Cheers buddy!

Appearance – Pours a hazy golden color into a tulip. About a finger of white head that dissipates quickly leaving slight lacing.

Smell – Sweet malts, yeast, hints of hops. As the beer warms just a hint of orange citrus.

Taste – Slight bitterness up front that goes away almost immediately to a crisp orange citrus mixed with sweet malts. Slight caramel and yeast.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, decent carbonation.

Overall – A solid and quaffable lager.

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Portland Lager from Bull Jagger Brewing Company
3.41 out of 5 based on 42 ratings.
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