Holzar-Bier | Der HirschBrau/Privatbrauerei Höss

172 Ratings

Brewed by:
Der HirschBrau/Privatbrauerei Höss

Style: Munich Dunkel Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-29-2002

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Ratings: 172 |  Reviews: 110
Photo of biegaman
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Holzar-Bier looks dark, but it's not the least hostile to light. Its submissively clear body allows highlights to run-a-muck of its supposedly dusky complexion, trumping the raisin-y tone with near glittering flashes of tawny, ruby and a bottom-laying golden kindling. Its head is hardly more than a mist but manages to mark the glass with tiny sudsy scratches.

The aroma is faintly - but pleasantly - sweet. It is something like a cognac or sherry reduction, a sugar-rich concentrate with dark fruit intonations and a certain earthiness gained from musty, resiny hops. And, distinct to the style, there's also the impression of grains toasting in an oven which adds some volume as well as sumptuous bready notes.

That taste of toasty, dark, grainy, wholesome bread crusts runs over this thing like the bulls of Pamplona. Dark fruits and Skor bar trail behind and, having passed over the palate last, linger there the longest. There's more of those resiny notes too. But none of this is as rich as it sounds, however, because the flavours are diluted by a few parts water.

Which, despite thinning out flavours that might otherwise be decadent, does at the same time make the beer that much more easily quaffed. The sweetness never becomes cloying and disappears faster than a cheap friend ducking out when the check comes. And the unconventional aftertaste of prunes doesn't distract much from its clean lager character.

I decided to open Holzar-Bier tonight because its label has a guy out in the snow chopping wood and I, in the midst of snowy, sub-freezing temperatures, have opted to light a fireplace. Turns out the beer is just as suited to the occasion as the label. Then again, a crisp and flavourful lager like this is appropriate for any time of the year.

Pretty much all German lagers are engineered for easy drinking, Munich Dunkels are no exception. In that regard, this get's its job done. As far as being 'characterized by depth and complexity' as the guidelines call for, this leaves something to be desired. In other words, Holzar-Bier is good for drinking, not savoring. Buyers bare that in mind.

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Photo of liamt07
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the LCBO, part of a giftpack. 500ml swingtop into a pint glass.

Poured a clear burgundy/brown, with a lofty and dense off-white head. Sticky lace, moderate retention. Nose of light honey sweetness, nuts, woodiness and some fruit esters. Taste is similar, earthy and spicy hops here, something that I guess I perceive as a general 'woodiness.' Toffee malt as well. Good smooth mouthfeel, medium low carbonation. Nice drink.

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Photo of slitherySOB
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Some of the beers I got from this brewery have the ceramic flipup bottle, seen in Grolsch. I know it's a tad gimmicky, but I like it, and am giving a 1/2 point in appearance extra not only for the bottlecap, but also the labels. They are quite beautiful. Anyways, on to the beer.
Pours a dark amber colour with a head that's actually a bit too thick at first, and then rather sneakily diminishes down to nothing. The lace, however, is quite mesmerizing. It slowly creeps down the glass, changing shape. A bit silly, but it's quite fascinating to watch. Bit of an earthy smell. Plenty of grains, and a touch of honey and molasses. Bit biscuity as well. Taste is essentially similar to smell, with some caramel and grassiness in the end. For some reason, this reminds me a little bit of honey oatmeal. I wonder, did they add oats to this beer? It does have a similar smoothness I come to expect from oatmeal stouts. Very creamy, smooth and light bodied. I like Dunkel lagers, and believe they make a great session beer. They may not have strong, bold flavours, but they have good flavours. I would drink this again. I would even seek this out again. Another beer from this brewery that did not disappoint.

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Photo of Viggo
3.21/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle from LCBO pacl.

Pours a clear dark orange, some very dark amber, a touch of brown and some red, thick slightly off white head forms and settles down to a thick layer and ring around the glass, some lace chunks stick.

Smell is very sweet and malty, a bit of honey and caramel, quite nutty, some toast and biscuit, a bit of raisin, some grassy hops, cheerios, quite clean, not bad but bland.

Taste is similar, sweet and malty, caramel, very light nuttiness and some biscuit, oats, lightly fruity with some raisin notes, bit of grass, sweet finish.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, feels a little thin. Similar to their other beers in that they're solid and drinkable but just not exciting at all.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Light brown in colour. Medium carbonation. Half finger off white head.

S - Mild. Maltiness and caramel come through.

T - Malty, sweet, nice maltiness, some nuttiness.

M - Light mouthfeel. Good carbonation.

D - Really high. Nice beer. Not overly complex in any way but it would be a great session beer.

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Photo of TerryW
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clear chestnut brown under a moderate head that settles to a complete film and gives up lace most of the way.

Grainy nose, sweet malts, some grassy hops. Simple, not overpowering. Thin-bodied, grassy hops with a gentle malt finish. Some lingering bitterness.

Overall a very gentle profile, crisp in character. Decent, but a little too much on the light side for me.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

The writing on the bottle is all in German, and the Website doesn't help much either, because it is also all German. But none of that matters, because I was concerned with the beer, not what anyone had to say about it. This came from the Der Hirschbrau gift pack that is available right now at the LCBO. And now that I have had this, and all three that come in the pack, I can confidently tell you that this pack is worth your while. You will get a fresh and crisp German Helles Lager, a rich and creamy Doppel Bock, and this, a clean Munich Dunkel.

A Munich Dukel is one of Germany's oldest and most favorite beers, and I know exactly why. Munich Dunkels show all the clean, silky, and fresh malty flavors of a well matured lager, but they are brewed with a portion of darker malts contributing a warming caramel and roast character to the beer that is not normally found in a pale lager. This certainly is not pale, but it is definitely not heavy. A Munich Dunkel will be light on its feet, but will also be able to play with the big boys.

The Holzar Bier came in a 500ml swing-top bottle at 5.2% abv, which is right in the middle of the style's range. This is a really versatile style of beer because of the range of qualities that it possesses. This is a lager, don't mistake it for an ale. So it has been cold matured for a long period of time letting the yeast subtly morph this beer into a clean and easy drinking beer. This is the big difference between and ale and a lager, subtlety. Ale yeast will impart big characteristics to the beer, where a lager yeast lets the malt do the talking, leaving you with a typically clean and fresh beer.

I opened the Holzar cool around 8C (45F) and poured it gently into a tall pint glass. A glowing brown beer flowed easily out of the bottle with a silky consistency building rich foam instntly as it hit the bottom of the glass. I had to slow my pour abruptly at the top as the head was building slowly after the fact. By the time I thought I had finished the pour the head was just getting ready to erupt. So after a bit of an overspill I was left with 2 solid inches of dense, but very fluffy eggshell foam that was hinted amber brown. The beer glistened cleanly briming with golden browns, deep amber and caramel shades, with dark orange and mahogany peering through a transparent and very pretty beer. It shone with dark copper and the creamy and foamy cap of head really finished it off well.

The nose is, as the style dictates, immaculately clean. Its is soft with gentle pale malt aromas and whiffs of soft earthy and herbal hops. Thats about it really. It is superbly clean and fresh, but does have a few hints of toast and caramel that fade in the pack. Really though, its a pale malt aroma that comes though as baked bread and cookies. Very nice, and very soothing.

Drinking the Holzar is perfect, this beer fits the style so well it hurts. Smooth and elegant pale malts and Munich malts sweep in showing warming dough flavors, oatmeal cookies, and fresh, soft and gentle roast. Munich malts are lightly kilned, and show a hint of caramel character that floats in lightly in this beer. Overall it is massively clean though, and any sense of caramel sweetness is very soft and plays behind a general pale malt sensation.

Into the back of the beer glows an earthy hops flavor that adds a touch of bitter and a helpful quenching character. The beer is not close to sugary, sticky or sweet, so the hops can, like the malts, can remain soft. The mouthfeel is generously carbonated, but remains relatively silky with a classic lagered feeling. The finish too is perfect for a lager - clean and tight with a fresh hop end that touches pale malts.

Really the Holzar is light and clean, and you shouldn't expect it to hit you with any big flavors, that is just not its purpose. But it does come to the party with perfectly delicate flavors that give it far more character than a pilsner, or your typical pale lager. This is a great session beer, and would pair excellently with sausages, roast pork or turkey, all sorts of pub fare, or fried foods.

Pics at: http://definitionale.com/2010/11/19/tasting-the-der-hirschbrau-holzar-bier/

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Photo of jmkoscie
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 500 ml bottle into a Pilsner Glass

A: Poured a clear reddish brown with light carbonation present. Thin white head which quickly dispersed.

S: Toasted malt scents with slight herbal hops background.

T: Initial flavor is somewhat sweet quickly followed by a strong toasted malt flavor matching the smell, subtle hops flavor finishing crisp with little to no aftertaste.

M: Smooth feel that quickly coats the palate and goes down easily.

D: Well definitely purchase more if available.

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Photo of MattyV
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought this in a three-pack because I enjoyed their dopplebock, and what homebrewer doesn't like swing-tops?

Pours a reddish cola colour with an off-white head that shows average retention and minor lacing.

The nose is mostly toasty malt with a hint of floral hops. The taste is sweet and malty, lightly coats the mouth. Toasted/caramel malt with hints of molasses. Very little hop character. Finish is moderately dry considering the sweet flavours.

Lighter-bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, quite pleasant. Not too familiar with the style, but I found this one rather enjoyable.

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Photo of mintjellie
3.59/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rather ruddy shade of brown in colour. It's small off-white head is poorly retained and doesn't lace. Mild toasty aroma with subtle floral notes. Smells pretty nice, but its very restrained. The flavour is sweet and malty. Nice caramelized flavour with a little bit of bread crust and some spicy hop character behind it all. It may not be a very bold beer, but the flavour is there. Light bodied and finely carbonated, yet rich and smooth on the palate at the same time. It tastes fairly pleasant, but its really the mouthfeel that keeps you coming back for me. Decent.

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Photo of kwjd
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this as part of a 3 bottle pack from the Control Board in Ontario. Pours an amber-brown colour with thick white head, but without much lacing. Smells of sweet caramel with a very mild grassy hop presence. Flavour is quite sweet, almost no bitterness to balance it out. Smooth carbonation level. A nice enough lager, but would prefer a bit more bitterness to it.

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Photo of cpanossian
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

0.5L swing top bottle bought at a gas station in Germnay.
Light cola brown color. Light metallic nose. Sweet malty wort taste, but not thick. Quick fizzy head that disappears quickly. Pretty basic pretty delicious. Could be consumed in bulk - like a German session beer.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown-red with stiff cream white head that's proud of the glass. Nose is roasted chestnuts and stewed apples. Caramel and compote malts with mild spice hops, stale tang throughout. Light, fizzy, no cling.

RB calls this a Keller, which would makes sense, as there's some mustiness going on here. Regardless, still not much to it. Not impressed by this brewer overall.

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Photo of jwc215
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml swing-top bottle:

Pours medium brown with dark coppery hues. A thin bubbly off-white head struggles to stay alive, but does so in the form of a slowly vanishing wide patch. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of caramel, a touch of honey and some floral notes.

The taste is sweet - caramel and honey - with a slight touch of tart and some tea-like spicing to give it a bitterish touch that fades and leaves a mostly sweet finish. Sweet, but not too sticky.

It has a medium-ish, crisp, smooth body.

I expected it to lean sweet, per the style, but there's a honey-ish sweetness in this one that limits drinkability for me, though I did enjoy the bottle well-enough. A solid, sweet, dunkel lager, though nothing great - it does have some balance - might be better fresher (? - no freshness date).

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep, clear copper-cola color. The medium sized head has a light brownish-tan tint and a modestly dense, foamy texture. Retention is middling, with a few rings of decent lacing.

S: A toasty/bready, malty aroma up front. A fairly robust earthy/nutty note is also present, along with a standard herbal/musty German hop presence.

T: Moderately sweet, toasted bread maltiness. Earthy and nutty, with lesser notes of caramel. A balanced hop bitterness arrives with herbal/spicy flavor.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation is perky and fairly crisp. A refreshing, spicy dryness into the finish.

D: Not particularly exciting, but a very tasty drinker. Mouthfeel and drinkability are strong suits, and this is a beer that adds up to more than its individual parts. Recommended to anyone who enjoys dark lagers.

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Photo of Domingo
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the Burger Bar in Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas).
Pours a deep brown color with a head that gets big fast, but settles down to a normal sheen just a quickly.
Toasty sweet dark bready flavors with a hint of chocolate and molasses. Flavor starts sweet bun finishes dry.
Easy drinking and generally pretty tasty.
Not the best dunkel, nor the worst. Just a good example that's right in the middle of the pack. Still with so few making it to the US, this is definitely a good bet for anyone who likes the style and doesn't have the ability to fly to Bavaria every time they want one!

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Photo of alkemy
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this at the local Brat maker. I've had it on other occasions, but threw the bottle away without even seeing who made the stuff. Had a darkish amber color with a finger (at most) of head after a pretty weak pour. I did get the hint of grape, but it was merely a hint. Mostly just a bready, honey sweetness. It just doesn't do much for me, but when the wife tries to bring home a new beer for me to try, I can't complain too much.

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Photo of atis
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear dark brown with large tan head with excellent retention that lasts till the end of the glass, patchy downsliding lacing. Aroma is mild toasty sweet malt.

Taste is similar to aroma - nice dark and bready malt, hints of caramel perhaps and some bittery chocolate with medium-dry finish. Mouthfeel is smooth medium with less than average carbonation.

Overall, nicely done. Especially I liked that that the flavour was not as sweet as the nose suggested.

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Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark amber/coppery color with dark golden orange hues when held to a light source and a 2 finger fizzy foam head that quickly fades into a thin ring.

Earthy hoppy aroma with some roasted maltiness, caramel, toffee and hazelnut. Also, I'm picking up a bit of champagne yeast and dark fruit.

Roasted malt flavor with a lot of earthy hops of front and a lot of smooth caramel, toffee, hazelnut and chocolate notes. Surprisingly hoppy for a German beer with a good amount of bready yeast. Very drinkable without being watered down. Subtle clove spiciness and a refreshing champagne effervescence. Slightly dry finish.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a reddish brown with virtually no head. A little light tan ring is all I get.
S - Big rich dark malt, caramel, bready.
T - The taste really just follows the nose. A pretty tasty dunkel.
M/F - Medium bodied beer. The carbonation is super low which I expected based on no real head when pouring. It is a very smooth brew with fine carbonation (What is there).
D - This is a tasty brew and I assume that my bottle wasn't really the best one so with a little imagination (and carbonation) this would be a worthy brew to enjoy.

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Photo of Namako
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I attended a week-long meeting in Sonthofen just a few months back, and a tour of this brewery was offered as part of the package. While I was there, I sampled 6-8 of their styles, but I bought a 12-pack of this brew, as it was easily my favorite. I'm pretty partial to Munich dunkels, bocks and dopplebocks, and I'm always looking for the next BEST example of the style! This hit the nail on the head that day... though I have since found another (Kupfer Spezialbier from Winklerbrau in Lengenfeld).

Appearance - Dark brown with ruby tints. Wonderful off-white, fluffy head that leaves a delicate, albeit brief, lacing.

Smell - Sweet, slightly roasted malts with some caramel undertones.

Taste - Follows the nose pretty well. The sweetness is followed by a roasted malt with some caramel. Not overly complex, but certainly tasty.

Mouthfeel - Medium, tending to light, with nice carbonation.

Drinkability - This is a very drinkable brew. Not overly complex, so it doesn't overpower the palate after downing one; I could easily drink several of these very easily.

Overall, I would highly recommend sampling this brew, if you can find it. Good example of the style, with simple but abundant flavors.

Serving type: bottle, 0.5 liter flip-top

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.51/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - This one pours a light root-beer brown from its cool swing top bottle, and creates a thin eggshell head that doesn't stick around for long. Lots of bubbles are stuck all around the glass up and down its entire height. I've never really seen this before in a beer... it goes even further to give it a root beer soda pop look. This is pretty clear, and has a bit of a purple cast to it in the light.

S - Ahhh. Crisp and clean dark malt notes jump out of the glass. Tootsie rolls, light chocolate cake, and whipped chocolate mousse. These are the lightly chocolaty-without-being-overly-sweet notes that I love in this style, and I would like to think that I definitely could have pegged this style in a blind nosing.

T - Again, tootsie rolls and whipped chocolate mousse on chocolate icecream. Maybe with a few sprinkles. I know that I'm really harping on the chocolate here, but this isn't heavy and rich like a doppelbock. Its much more understated. There are some herbal-grassy components on the finish, along with a touch of wood-ash and metallic mineral notes.

M - Light bodied and crisp. This is a beer with a pilsener body and doppelbock aspirations. Crisp and very clean with a refreshing and cooling temperament.

D - Though I prefer the smokier Schwarzbeirs (very similar styles.... except Munich Dunkels are crisper and cleaner), this is a great brew to have when you need a good thirst quencher but also want something a little darker and malty than a spicy German Pils or hoppy pale ale. This is far from the best example of the style (which can be sorta boring anyway), but it ain't al bad.

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Photo of CWiggins
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Sam's Quik Stop in Durham for under $3. I've had the Doppelbock from this brewer, and although I found it average at best, I love their bottles! Their brews just appeared at Sam's this week, and I picked this one up to try for no particular reason.

It pours a dark brown with only a mildly fizzy head of cola-like foam. Very nice color, with blends of dark brown and deep reds; I didn't expect this, as I hadn't yet determined the style of this beer. (I assumed this may be traditional Bavarian lager, simply because the label was so lightly colored.) Aromas of dark malts and sweet brown sugar, light air of dark ripe fruit, and bread dominate the nose. The flavor is certainly not too big; it's mainly of dark sweet flavors reminiscent of rich bread, turbinado sugar, and mild fruits. Overall, I'd describe the flavor and mouthfeel as lean, but that's true of most lagers. Very drinkable, but with enough complexity to make it interesting.

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Photo of farrago
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pleasingly whipped up froth of a head, thin yet aggressively popping bubbles all over. A moderately deep brown sits in the middle of the glass, further out yellow wins out over any orange hues. Presents a sweet and soft profile in the nose without any truly overt malt notes, you get pumpernickel bread, rye, dried molasses, green apple to pear to red cherry fruit, brazil and hazelnuts, overall it's stripped down to an indistinguishable, if still correct, core. In the mouth it's Medium-bodied with a good degree of fluidity that knows when to slow down given its lack of flash. The carbonation is crisp and feels more like a higher quantity of smaller pinpricks than foam. Caramel, brown sugar, molasses flavors appear sans true sweetness. The same pumpernickel to rye bread profile exists here, more bready and doughy than grainy. The mineral water element evokes a splash of lemon peel. It seems intent on pleasing in the most self-effacing manner possible, a beer to be consumed heartily by local men with big hands and messy plates of food. As if you can smell the beer stains permeating the walls and floors of the Biergärten.

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pilsener glass. Had a brown color and a somewhat clear consistency. There was a good half inch of creamy head and some good lacing.

S: Not an overwhelming smell, but nice. Malt, a little hops and some sugary element.

T: Flavor consisted of toasted malt, maybe a little caramel and some hops. A fairly well executed taste.

M: A good amount of carbonation and a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: On the whole, this is a drinkable beer. It didn't blow me away by any means, but it's a well made beer.

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Holzar-Bier from Der HirschBrau/Privatbrauerei Höss
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 172 ratings
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