1516 Bavarian Lager | Okanagan Spring Brewery

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127 Ratings
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1516 Bavarian Lager1516 Bavarian Lager
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Okanagan Spring Brewery
British Columbia, Canada
okspring.com

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by canadianbarman on 04-13-2003

BEER STATS
Ratings:
127
Reviews:
45
Avg:
3.34
pDev:
14.97%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
14
For Trade:
0
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Ratings: 127 |  Reviews: 45
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.

 251 characters

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.

 1,287 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.15/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of olradetbalder
2/5  rDev -40.1%

Photo of flagmantho
3.08/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Poured from 500mL can into a dimpled mug.

Appearance: light golden hue with a very light effervescence and a finger of frothy white foam that leaves a decent lace. Stylistically very appropriate.

Smell: mild and sweet with a dash of a plasticy tinge. It's a bit more like an AAL than a Munich helles; that said, it's not terrible. Just not great.

Taste: mildly sweet and a big grainy, with a dash of corn element. Bitterness is almost zero. More than the aroma, the flavor is more AAL than Munich helles. Just not a huge fan.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a huge carbonation and a thin but thorough creaminess. It's actually not bad at all.

Overall: this beer is definitely thirst-quenching, but it's not brilliant in any way.

 740 characters

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.

 359 characters

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.

 2,230 characters

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

 776 characters

Photo of petermethot
2.75/5  rDev -17.7%

Photo of andrenaline
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of bumchilly25
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of schopenhauerale
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Kmat10
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%

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.

 417 characters

Photo of newbeeraday
2.75/5  rDev -17.7%

Photo of ZachT
3.72/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

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 Spaten is available everywhere, dirt cheap, and significantly to slightly better (depending on their relative freshness).

Final Grade: 3.45, a decent B-.

 1,600 characters

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

 491 characters

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.

 569 characters

Photo of yancot
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack
3/5  rDev -10.2%

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.

 1,330 characters

Photo of chickenm
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Vylo
4.37/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of heerboth
2/5  rDev -40.1%

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1516 Bavarian Lager from Okanagan Spring Brewery
3.34 out of 5 based on 127 ratings.
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