Bayernbiere Bought and Drunk

Discussion in 'Germany' started by boddhitree, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I agree with you as to the first question, but to the second question I would posit that the product they produce and offer might present itself well under certain circumstances but not under different circumstances. One could say the same for other product categories, fresh fruit vs pasteurized fruit juice for example. And it is of course up to the brewery and the exporter to understand this and to be conscientious about this. But the solution to a problem will depend on what is percieved to be the problem, if the problem is a lack of quality control then what is the solution to that problem (increased processing?)? If the problem is unrealistic expectations about shelf life and shelf stability of the beer, then what is the solution? I'm not arguing that the consumer should buy subpar products, I'm saying that it's the responsibility of the producer and distributor to understand the product they are selling, but I also think that it is worth keeping in mind the different market dynamics of a product's home market and its export market. If the beers weren't as fragile, would they not be different beers I wonder,more akin to the larger volume producers' products, which have have much better shelf stability (or quality control). Yet these beers also offer something which those products do not, which makes them desirable. I can't help but think that the properties which make them desirable are in conflict with the demands which are placed on shelf stability of larger producers' products, and so there is a trade off that I as a consumer feel as though I must be aware of here. But those are my personal musings of course
    drtth and JackHorzempa like this.
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Patrik, I agree with you here. If the European brewery is of the opinion that their beers are 'fragile' and would not present them well in export markets they have a number of options, for example:
    • Don't sell their beer in export markets
    • Improve their products so they will taste well in the export market
    There is a 'shit ton' of old European beers at my local beer retailers. That is just the way the export market is here. One example of how one brewery 'deals' with this situation is that Jever uses a 15 month best by date on their bottles. In my opinion a 15 month best by duration for a Pale Lager is crazy!:astonished:


    P.S. An example of a brewery that is even a worst offender than Jever is Ayinger since they refuse to put dates on their bottles. In the recent past I decided to no longer purchase Ayinger bottled beers since there are no dates on them.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  3. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I would rather see efforts being made by the brewery in tandem with the importer of making sure the beer is fresh and in good health when it is put infront of the consumer. But if that isn't an option, or the last chain in the link breaks (i.e there is a lack of sales/insufficient sales) then the alternative of not selling at all would be preferable from my perspective as a consumer (not to the brewery of course which loses out on exports). This month there was a limited release of Mahr's Bräu Ungespundet which I skipped completely since I remember what the beer was like when it was sold here last summer in a similar limited release. The beer was several months old and tasted old too, it was a completely different beer from the Mahr's U I bought via biershop bayern which tasted really fresh and distinctive. So if that is the beer the brewery and importer are okay with selling over here I wont be buying it and it may as well not exist (however briefly) in the Swedish beer market as far as I am concerned.

    Both of the examples you mention, crazily long shelf lives and even lack of a shelf life (which to me as a Swede is mind boggling) are certainly deplorable. But the breweries obviously feel that as long as the beer pours out crystal clear and doesn't referment in the bottle all is well.
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  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    FWIW that is my 'strategy' as well. When it comes to drinking European style lagers my personal strategy is to brew my own or purchase locally (Philadelphia area) brewed European style lagers. I am fortunate that there are a plethora of local breweries that produce high quality European Lagers. Some have been doing so for 20+ years (Sly Fox, Victory, Stoudts,...). In a couple of months Victory will be canning their Czech Pilsner (Hip Czech) for the first time (coincident with the NHL season); I am looking forward to that beer release. There are an ever growing numbers of more recently opened small, local breweries making high quality European lagers (Root Down. Saint Benjamins, Tired Hands, ...). I am all for more European Lagers being exported if I can obtain them fresh. I was able to purchase a fresh 4-pack of canned Schlenkerla Helles a number of months ago. I have my fingers crossed that I will be fortunate with the other lagers that B. United is (or will be) canning.


    P.S. I am looking forward to trying a new beer from Yuengling called Yuengling Pilsner that has just been released in my area a few weeks ago.
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  5. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    That sounds like a good strategy and one I would pursue were I in a similar marketplace (and if I felt the local offerings were delivering the quality and flavor that I want from my favorite lager beer styles). I haven't had a single Pennsylvania lager beer that I can recall, so I can only imagine the variety you have access to.

    I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts on the Yuengling beer Jack.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I will be discussing it in an upcoming NBS thread and I will tag you. Needless to say but I have to buy some first.:flushed:

    Crusader likes this.
  7. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,397) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I’m curious as to what stabilizer is used, can you tell us?

    Some of these breweries being talked about are small when compared to larger US craft breweries. Mahr’s makes about 20,000 hectoliters a year, which is ~17,000 bbl.
    Crusader likes this.
  8. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    It's listed as E405 on the label, i.e propylene glycol alginate.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
  9. rkat32

    rkat32 Initiate (154) Oct 5, 2007 Michigan

    Opa's Liebling Kellerbier from Braumanufaktur Hertl. Picked up this bottle at Die Bierothek Bamberg and enjoyed it last month. My notes read: "Best before 31/10/18. Fresh-baked white breat, touch of Munich malt sweetness, balanced, quenching, quaffable. Old man beer of the best kind."

    Worth seeking out if you're looking for a change-of-pace Zwickel. I would purchase again if I had regular access to it. Prost!

  10. boddhitree

    boddhitree Zealot (512) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I just checked out their homepage. Surprisingly, Hertl doesn't make a single Pils/Weizen/Normalbier. Good for them. Yet they do make lots of other interesting styles. Their hometown of Thüngfeld seems to be on the A3 Autobahn almost dead in the middle between Würzburg and Bamberg. Thanks @rkat32 for making me aware of this brewery near where I live. I'll keep an eye out for them, maybe even order direct off their website.
    AlcahueteJ, rkat32 and herrburgess like this.
  11. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,133) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Local good beer bar put Schlenkerla Märzen on tap. Bar tender says it's not easy to get, so it won't be a regular.

    Poured into an 8 or 10 ounce snifter (a little surprised that they didn't have glassware, but since it won't be regular they probably didn't try). The Märzen looked as dark as the Ür Bock in the snifter and proved difficult to get a good nose.

    Beer was much smoother and softer than the bottled Märzen and the smoked character was bigger and more astringent, but there was a nice malt sweetness after the smoke and thru the finish. I can't compare back to the Schlenkerla I had in Bamberg proper, but when the bar tender said it was an "acquired taste," I told him I'd already acquired it. :wink:

    I may go back for another, but $8.60 for the snifter is pretty freaking steep.
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  12. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (275) Nov 3, 2005 California

    @steveh Especially considering the half liter bottle is and has been available in stores for some time now. The draft per oz pour cost is not THAT much more than a typical import, too bad your bar guy is gouging due to scarcity.
    steveh likes this.
  13. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (883) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

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  14. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,133) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

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  15. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Currently drinking Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel Unfiltriert which apparently was a beer brewed for their 140th jubilee, though the specs are the same as the original dunkel as well as the claim about the five different malts and the double mash. So it's their dunkel minus the filtration I guess. Going by the best before date this could be from august 2018, but I'm hoping that the other code is a julian date of 346th day of 2018 which would put the bottling date in december.

    The beer doesn't taste old at least. The color of the beer is more reddish brown than I expected, I was expecting the color of Celebrator pretty much. The aroma has a predominant roasted malt smell but is otherwise clean. The roasted aroma carries over into a predominantly roasted malt flavor combined with some sweetness and a mild but balancing hop bitterness which doesn't stand out. It reminds me a good deal of Carnegie Porter which has the same kind of roasted aroma and flavor only Carnegie is sweeter with a more noticable bitterness than the Ayinger. They most likely have pilsner malt, munich malt and a strongly roasted coloring malt in common, aside from the two other malts in Ayinger.

    My first impression is that it could be a bit richer, the strong roastedness makes it feel a bit one note, but I'm sure that during an evening drinking these the flavor would develop with the sweetness building by the glass up to a point, at which point the sweetness and bitterness reach an equilibrium. That has been my experience at least with similar types of beer. I wish there was a stronger flavor from the Munich malt which is undoubtedly in there, but I'm not sure if there's an issue with the percentage of munich malt in the grist or if the issue is the percentage of roasted malt. I would suspect the latter, and that it is easy to overwhelm even a sizable amount of munich malt when using darker roasted malts.
  16. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (116) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    This post from the 2018 Oktoberfest Release thread seems to indicate that it was bottled on the 346th day (based on response from Ayinger representative):

    That said, many German brewers give their beers a one-year best by/drink by date...
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  17. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Thank alot for pointing me to the thread. I had tried searching for information on their date coding but the search came up empty. Good on the importer for going with the tail end of the jubilee bottling.
    grantcty likes this.
  18. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (38) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    Is there any information on if the Unfiltriert will be making its way to North America?

    Then again, their normal Dunkel is very difficult to find to start with...which is a shame, as I think it's the best Dunkel out there.
    keithmurray likes this.
  19. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,133) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    And their "normal" Dunkel is also called Altbaierisch Dunkel so I can see very confused distributors and customers.
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    If you are seeking a German brewed Dunkel that is available in the US permit me to suggest Hofbrauhaus Freising Dunkel. I discussed this beer in yesterday’s New Beer Sunday thread:

    One of my favorite beer styles (but they can be hard to find)

    Last December I discussed two beers from a ‘new’ brewery to the US: Hofbrauhaus Freising. Now, this brewery is not exactly new since it was founded in 1160 but it is new to the US:

    “Hofbrauhaus Freising to Begin US Distribution - Jul. 8, 2018”

    I have not heard about this brewery before so here is a snippet from the press release:

    “Founded in 1160, the Hofbrauhaus Freising brewery is among the world’s oldest breweries. Located in the “Cathedral City” of Freising, Germany, the brewery sits in the heart of Bavaria.

    Hofbrauhaus Freising beers are superbly brewed according to Bavarian Purity Laws, using only premium ingredients (no preservatives) from the surrounding Alps and Hallertau regions. Hofbrauhaus Freising is one of only a select few breweries to be designated as a “Slow Brewer”, which guarantees a quality brewing process that ensures maximum flavor and freshness.”

    I can only guess at what “slow brewer” means – maybe they lager for a long(er) time?

    Today I will be discussing Hofbrauhaus Freising Dunkel. While I am a fan of the Dunkel beer style it would seem that others aren’t since there are not a lot of these beers available. Sly Fox in the past had a year-round beer which was a Dunkel (Sly Fox Dunkel) but they stopped producing it due to slow sales. I will occasionally see this beer on draft at the Sly Fox brewpub and I will get a pint (or two) when I see it.

    Let’s learn more about the Hofbrauhaus Freising Dunkel from their website:

    “Dunkel Export

    Truly Bavarian. Our Dunkel Premium has an irresistibly malty flavour and light tones of caramel. Very tasty, very refreshing.
    • Type: bottom-fermented
    • Alcohol: 5.2 % vol.
    • Original wort: 12°”
    My personal preference of the Dunkel (Munich Dunkel) beer style is that it has a depth of malt flavor from the use of Munich Malt and just a tiny hint of flavor from dehusked specialty malt. Some breweries choose to use some crystal malt in these beers which is not a preferred aspect for me.

    Let’s see how Hofbrauhaus Freising chose to brew their Dunkel.

    Served in my Spiegelau Lager Glasses:


    A deep mahogany color with a garnet hue. There is a two finger tan head.


    Mostly dark bread crust but there is some caramel as well.


    The flavor to large measure follows the nose. There is a notable dark bready flavor and some caramel. There are subtle hop flavors of herbal/spicy in the background. This beer has a low-medium bitterness.


    A light/medium body, a aubtle aspect of softness and an off-dry finish.


    I really enjoyed drinking this beer! The flavor is predominantly malty: mostly bready (dark bread) but some caramel as well. The hop flavors of herbal/spicy is very subdued.. This beer is very good – excellent.

    Cheers to Hofbrauhaus Freising for brewing this Dunkel!

    P.S. A domestically brewed Dunkel that I am a BIG fan of is Von Trapp Dunkel.

    boddhitree and Crusader like this.
  21. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,196) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    It's just another meaningless "quality seal" that seems to be inspired by the Slow Food craze that is currently sweeping across Germany. Nothing more but marketing bullshit that is designed to make the people giving out the seal rich, just like with all of these.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  22. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,133) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Well, it was marketing that failed on me; I bought 4 of the Freising labels because it was new to my area and based my opinions of the beers on my taste buds. Never mind that my taste buds happen to agree with the "bullshit;" HB Freising makes some good beer.
  23. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (38) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    I’ll keep my eye out for HB Freising, but I doubt with the weird distribution in DC if I can find it. I know there isn’t Von Trapp here (but it’s skips onto Virginia).
  24. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,196) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    I wasn't talking about the beer, I was talking about the "quality seal". I'm fairly sure their beer was just as good before that bullshit seal came along.
  25. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Reading a bit about slow brewing on their website it sounds like they're pretty serious about their certification if one is to believe that they actually recieve information about their criteria from the breweries they certify. The English nomenclature might make them sound less serious, but I guess the term "bierpolizei" doesn't have the same ring to it these days :stuck_out_tongue:.

    Some points about what they require of the breweries:

    Cannot use high gravity brewing
    Cannot ferment bottom fermented beers above 12C
    Cannot use continuous fermentation
    Cannot use isomerized hop extract or tetra alphaacids
    Cannot use clarifiers like isinglass, gelatine or irish moss
    Cannot use foam stabilizers
    Cannot use antioxidants

    It seems like the idea is to reduce as much as possible the adoption of modern processing aids and processes, which I think makes alot of sense. I can appreciate a brewery that works according to older systems of production, and I can also appreciate an organization which tries to reign in a process of ever increasing efficiency that puts the old working methods at risk, and which can help to highlight those breweries which do hold on to those older methods and who deserve the recognition. Whether or not one prefers the actual taste of the product is of course a different question, but regardless of whether you do or not, I don't think that knowing that a brewery lives up to a particular standard is a bad thing, and if you do enjoy the taste of the beers produced, I would think that knowing that the brewery lives up to those standards would increase one's appreciation of that brewery.
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  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Patrik, do you have any idea what this means?

  27. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    It is the concept of having a continuous stream of wort which is fermented continuously and then drawn from, instead of fermenting the beer in batches.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  28. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,196) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    Yeah, but most of those breweries were probably already doing most of that as part of their tradtional brewing ethic anyway long before that seal came along. It's just a marketing tool.
  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,133) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    What I was saying is that no matter what marketing gimmick may have been used, it was wasted on me -- I didn't even see it. Not terribly effective (in a positive or negative manner) -- no matter how lame it may be.
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Hmm, I have heard of this before.

    Are you aware of any commercial breweries that do this?

  31. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Yes it is a marketing tool, but a part of marketing is providing or conveying information, about your process and about your products, what defines you. As a consumer I appreciate marketing in the form of information, whether I find it on a brewery's own website, recieve it when asking the brewery itself via their contact information, or via a third party organization, or even legislation and regulations, that can provide me with additional information.

    I am also aware that just because one brewery promotes a certain marketing seal that conveys their adherence to various standards, doesn't mean that another brewery which does not use the marketing seal does not. I think one benefit of a seal like this is that the brewery itself doesn't have to focus on what they do not do in their own marketing, they can focus on what they actually do instead ("this is how we brew our beer"). But that marketing might leave out things, or not touch on topics, which as a beer-interested beer drinker I might want answered (and which the brewery might take for granted, or assume to be uninteresting or of no marketing value, being too technical, or complicated for a layman to understand), and here is where a seal with a particular set of standards can come in handy, information-wise, for those who want to know.

    At the same time I fully support breweries being transparent on their own, independently, and I also appreciate any effort made to inform me as a beer drinker about their process. It is not an either or proposition I think, the way I see it information about these things will always be piecemeal, never complete, or cover every angle, so any additional degree of information is a net positive in my book.

    The two examples I have come across would be DB breweries in New Zealand way back when, and I recall reading something about Carling attempting something similar in one of their breweries (@jesskidden might know more about that particular story). In other words, I cannot recall off the top of my head a modern example of the practise.
    #3991 Crusader, Feb 11, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  32. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,388) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Yeah, that was in the current Ft. Worth TX brewery operated by MillerCoors:
    The History Of Carling Black Label Beer In The USA

    Miller renovated the brewery (which, I guess, meant adding a standard brewhouse?) and --- maybe it's urban legend?--- but supposedly the failure of Carling's system, it was later found, was due to an incorrectly installed valve*.

    * EDIT - OTOH - The 1.7M member Baptist General Convention of Texas in 1967, however, noting the closing gave “...praise and glory to our Lord for the circumstances and factors in the failing” of the Carling brewery – so maybe the pipefitter who screwed up the valve installation was scapegoated!
    #3992 jesskidden, Feb 11, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  33. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,133) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I smell sabotage! :grin:
  34. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (255) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Ah yes that sounds familiar. It does sound like the goal of that kind of process is to speed up the process, maybe by the continued action of the yeast, not allowing the yeast to settle and by continually bringing in new wort into the mix. In the sense of wanting to maintain a vigorous fermentation maybe Schlitz's use of "Accurate Balanced Fermentation" filled a similar purpose. It sounds like the idea was to agitate the yeast during fermentation to maintain fermentation. I believe that's what is refered to by the slow brewing page as "rührgährung" ("stir fermentation"), which they also do not allow to be used. And to tie this together with the continuous fermentation process, which as it seems might not have caught on, why even mention it on their page?

    Here is a video from Alfa Laval showing a new process for pumping the yeast through a recirculating loop during fermentation with the help of a pumping/recirculating action performed by agitators placed in the fermentors (again with the idea being to speed up the process). The concept was being tested out by Carlsberg Denmark and Royal Unibrew. This sounds alot like what Schlitz was tinkering with back in the day. My point being that just because an idea or concept of achieving increased efficiency didn't catch on immediately, does not mean it will not be adopted in the future, or remain ignored by a brewing industry which is faced by ever continuing/increasing competitive pressures, cost increases and potential sales declines.

    So having a guardian of sorts which promotes those breweries which do not go along with this development, and high lighting the comparative "slowness" of their process (which put them at a disadvantage in competition against more efficient firms more willing to adopt the latest methods of production), might not be such a bad idea.
    #3994 Crusader, Feb 11, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  35. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,388) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    It gets even stranger becoming one of those "lemon into lemonade" stories, (with likely some nice tax benefits for Miller). In 1967, as Miller rips out the CF system and installs a traditional brewhouse, they donate the equipment (said to be worth $1M in 1967 dollars), consisting of “stainless steel tanks, pumps, centrifuges and filters, as well as the electronic control panel", to the Wadley Research Center and the Blood Bank of Dallas to produce L-asparaginase, an enzyme which destroys leukemia cells.
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  36. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,196) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    That's exactly it, I contacted Ayinger about this recently.
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  37. jeebeel

    jeebeel Initiate (160) Jun 17, 2003 Texas

    Please let us know what you hear from the brewery - thank you.
  38. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,196) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    I just asked them how long they set their best by dates for so that I can figure out the bottling date and they simply replied to me that the L-code is a julian date and how it works.

    However, this is by no means used consistently by other breweries, unfortunately. For example, I just looked at another bottle today with the code L19134, which is obviously impossible...
  39. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,196) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    Oh, and by the way, does anyone know how long Mahrs Bräu set their best by dates for? They haven't replied to me yet.