Germany Fernseh-Pils-a-thon 2013

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Gutes_Bier, May 7, 2013.

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  1. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Coincidentally, a bit of a discussion broke out in another thread (http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/favorite-german-breweries-outside-of-bavaria.87193/) about various "Fernseher Pils". I say "coincidentally" because I happen to have been doing a Fernseh-Pils taste-a-thon recently in an attempt to form a conclusive opinion on these beers, but I haven't been able to find the inspiration to write up my results. Now I have the inspiration, but I kind of forgot the results. To the best of my recollection, here we go:

    Jever - I can see why Jack H. is a fan. Jever has a very nice, clean, malty finish. However...skunk on the nose. Not significant, but present, and I couldn't get past it. I decided it wouldn't be fair to review a skunked beer for the competition, so sadly Jever was disqualified. First beer purchased for the test, by the way. An inauspicious start.
    Radeberger - I actually thought I purchased a Konig, but when I got it home I found it was a Radeberger. Happy accident, though, as this was my overall favorite of the Fernseh-Pils I tried. 1st prize. Bonus points for reminding me of Dresden.
    Bitburger - "Bitte ein Bit!" Sadly I kinda forgot my opinion. I think I liked it? 2nd prize, edging out....
    Konig Pilsener - "Heute Ein Konig" indeed. 3rd prize, mostly for being inoffensive.
    Warsteiner Herb - Not the regular Warsteiner, but an extra hopped one. Not bad. Not great. 4th prize.
    Becks - Had during the Champions League Semi-Finals while in a hotel lobby. Becks confuses me. I had one on a flight to Rome that really hit the spot, but the one I had during the Fußball was pretty terrible. I had a second one, just to make sure. Opinion confirmed. Not sure if it was stale, or bad lines, or what, but this wasn't a good beer on this night.
    Hasseroder - "Männer wissen warum." So warum denn? Weil es billig ist. Was cheap. Tasted cheap. Last place.

    Honorable Mention - I added two local(-ish) beers that didn't qualify because they are not Fernseherbiere, Rothaus and Alpirsbacher.

    Alpirsbacher - a Pils for the American hop-head. This beer is all hop. When the hop taste fades, there's nothing left. Still, as an American, I did like this beer quite a bit.
    Rothaus Tannenzäpfle - probably the overall winner if included. A very good, balanced pils. Delicious indeed, and a beer I'm lucky to have regular access to.

    As always, YMMV.

    Cheers!
     
  2. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    What? No Wernesgrüner? :grinning:

    I have to say, I received fresh EKU Pils as part of a beer-of-the-month club shipment. I thought it was delish -- expensive as hell over here (just like Jever), but outstanding. Probably not in the Fernseher category, I suppose.
     
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  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,784) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Yeah, Jever does kind of piss me off with those damn green bottles. One of my strategies when purchasing Jever is that I sometimes purchase that beer by the case (which is the principle way that beer is sold in Pennsylvania) since the case is fully closed (which protects the beer from light). My local beer distributor has Jever in stock but that batch was brewed in early October. So, those beers are 7 months old at this point. Having those beers being 6+ months old is typical (for me) but I have difficulty buying beers that old. Jever is not too expensive for me; about $40 a case.

    Cheers!
     
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  4. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,005) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    My list -- although some I haven't had in a while (at least not at their freshest) -- would probably be:

    Jever
    Koenig
    Bitburger
    Wernesgruener
    Radeberger
    Hasseroeder
    Becks

    Tannenzaepfle is in a different class IMO (though a good, fresh Jever provides a nice herb contrast to TZ's beautiful balance of sweet pilsner malt and hop bitterness (which is very different from being herb)).
     
  5. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Help me out here folks - I thought that Tannenzäpfle is/was more of a helles, so I checked online. Rothaus webpage shows BOTH TZ and a pilsner. Any ideas? Same beer?
     
  6. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Sorry, now answering my own question. From the webpage

    Beim Rothaus Pils 0,5 l und Rothaus Pils Tannenzäpfle 0,33 l handelt es sich um das gleiche Bier. Um das deutlich zu machen tragen beide Füllungen den Namen Rothaus Pils.

    Immer wieder erreichen uns Schreiben, in denen unsere Kunden zwischen Rothaus Pils und Rothaus Pils Tannenzäpfle Geschmacksunterschiede feststellen. Wir haben sogar schon Beurteilungen von professionellen Bierbrauern oder Biertestern erhalten, die zwar beide Abfüllungen loben, jedoch geschmackliche Unterschiede feststellen.

    Wie diese Geschmacksunterschiede entstehen, können wir Ihnen leider nicht erklären. Allerdings beobachten wir das Phänomen bei unseren anderen 0,33l Bieren, dem Rothaus Hefe Weizen Zäpfle und dem Rothaus Märzen Export Eiszäpfle, ebenfalls. Obwohl wir auch hier die gleichen Biere in die 0,5 und 0,33 l Flaschen füllen.

    Learned something new today.
     
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  7. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,005) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Funny. When I was at friends' in Moenchengladbach over Xmas, a neighbor came over who only drank Bitburger "Stubbis," as he swore they tasted far better than the normal bottles:

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    The retailers and brewers love Stubbi's because there are only 20x0.33 in a case. I like them because you think you really have a beer in your hand. Very manly.
     
  9. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,005) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I was too busy putting away the stash of Fuechschen, Uerige, Schluessel, Schumacher, and Bolten my buddy had stocked up on prior to my arrival to worry about the Stubbis. :wink:
     
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  10. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I didn't realize Wernersgrüner was a Fernseh-Pils until recently and I just couldn't bring myself to purchase a bottle. I have never seen a TV ad for EKU Pils, so you are correct, it would not have qualified by my very strict guidelines. If I see it, though, I'll pick one up.
     
  11. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I haven't seen Wernersgrüner ever advertised on TV, but they are sadly owned by Bitburger Getränkegruppe since 2002. The fact that it's sold in Aldi is another strike against it.

    However, the term Fernsehbier doesn't just mean they're advertised on TV; rather, it's a way of referring to beers owned by conglomerates, who DO advertised heavily on TV. Bitburg is one of those. Another is Kulmbacher, who owns EKU, making it also a Fernsehbier simply by being own by one of the worst offenders of TV advertising.
     
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  12. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I can confirm Wernergrüner is advertised on TV. I've seen them quite a bit lately so I'm guessing it was during the Bundesliga Wrap-Up daily sports show. Did not know that about EKU, but honestly I don't see them much around here anyway.
     
  13. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Sorry if I missed this somewhere else, but how do you rank the Düsseldorfer Alts? And how was that Füchschen Christmas beer, did you have a chance to try it?
     
  14. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Thank you MJ for your supreme sacrifice and then writing about your trip to hell and back. Now it's my turn to venture into that deep, dark hole known as Fernsehbiere, of which I'm willing to risk life and soul for y'all, so you don't have to.

    The standard disclaimer applies: do NOT do this at home, risking your taste buds' sanity is only for us experts who have decent beer to fall back on and pull us out of this peril.

    I didn't have much to do today and I went out to get a beer to soak some Bratwürstchen in, and standing in the kiosk, I thought... am I up to the challenge like MJ was? Looking into the cooler of the only thing open in almost all of Germany on a Sunday :angry:, Fernsehbiere leered at me, challenging me, telling me I was not strong enough to their withstand their wretchedness, that I was too much a Sissy now that I was a "Beer Advocate" for the real gritty stuff, Fernsehbiere. My pride and curiosity piqued, I reached in, pulled the cold bottles out and paid without once wincing or displaying a sense of irony. Did I need to explain this to the woman at the kiosk? Why would he buy 3 different brands at once? Is he crazy or simply can't make up his mind, or worse, is... ambivalent about beers? Luckily, I escaped with nothing more than a "thank you."

    Here's the line up, challenging my taste buds to see if they can even find a difference between them.
    [​IMG]
    Below is the same line up, same order, but in the glass. Don't they look intimidating?
    [​IMG]
    Now from above, same order... and you can see I labeled them below, then mixed them up to make it somewhat a blind test. Unfortunately, Binding lost it's foam almost immediately.
    [​IMG]
    Finally, the results, with my taste buds and integrity intact.
    [​IMG]
    I am not too proud to accept any award you wish to give me for bravery beyond the normal call of duty, an experience as harrowing and thrilling as it was educational.
     
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  15. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Any more info necessary?
     
  16. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I think it's a fun exercise to do this sort of thing from time to time. I'm debating a Münchner Helles-A-Thon (sorry Stahlsturm!) but I think I already know which one will win for me (Spaten, sorry again Stahlsturm!). I like that you included Frankfurt's own Binding. I was thinking of throwing some locals in my test and probably should have. Would have been a good excuse to try an Eichbaum.
     
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  17. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Yes, you didn't provide any tasting profiles... if there were any to provide. :grinning:
     
  18. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Wasn't the written note in the pic enough?
     
  19. digita7693

    digita7693 Disciple (394) Jan 19, 2010 Germany
    Beer Trader

    my favorite was usually Rothaus, I enjoyed Jever from time to time as well as Veltins.
     
  20. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Sorry, missed that... but the brevity speaks volumes! :wink:
     
  21. WhatANicePub

    WhatANicePub Initiate (178) Jul 1, 2009 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    What brands do Kulmbacher advertise on TV? You're not thinking of Krombacher are you?
     
  22. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    You're right... oops. However, their brands, such as Mönchshof, Kapuziner, EKU can be found in most supermarkets, which though not on TV, makes it a mass market beer.
     
  23. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    It's been a while since I was active in the FFM beer biz, but I know that the Mönchshof beers were growing quite well - the 16x0.5L case of flip top bottles was a breath of fresh air in the Hessen markets, and I for one drank more than my fill out in the Garten (...in 2008). Maybe they have simply found more fans?
     
  24. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Wouldn't the real challenge be to try those infernal made up names that are sold in discounters as their "house brands" like "Grafenwalder", "Falkenfelser" or "Karlskrone"...?
     
  25. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    You have give me challenge even I might not be to survive! Karlskrone is Aldi's "generic," the other's... would have to hunt down.
     
  26. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I know, I'm such a sadist, aren't I ? :grinning:
     
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  27. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Have you had Lidl's Perlenbacher Pils brand? The 3.5% version they sell here is actually quite nice imo, and I can't imagine it getting worse with a 4.9% or so abv.
     
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,784) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Tony, I was searching for the word "unremarkable".

    Prost!
     
  29. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    "unremarkable" is the best descriptor for all those beers!
     
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  30. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Please, don't make me do it... I'll do anything to avoid that fate, Mr. Herr Stahlsturm. :(
     
  31. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    One thing I noticed a while back with Jever is that they list hop extracts ahead of hops on the list of ingredients (water, barley malt, hops extract, hops). Afaik it's a EU wide law that you have to state the ingredients in the order of importance/percentage. Bitburger meanwhile lists their ingredients as water, barey malt, hops, hop extract.

    I wonder at what point hop extracts took over hops in the ingredient list for Jever, I seem to recall it being in the reverse order not too long ago, but I might be mistaken (or else I should have made note of it earlier since I always check the list of ingredients).
     
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  32. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    You are correct.
     
  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,784) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Patrik, I personally was unaware that Jever used hop extract to brew Jever Pilsner. I don’t recall “hop extract” being listed on the labels of the Jever Pilsner that are exported to the US.

    I did a quick web search; below is a posting by Martin Brungard from another beer forum:

    “PS: Jever is now made with a stabilized hop extract and cannot be skunked even though it is packaged in a green bottle.
    __________________
    Martin Brungard, P.E. D.WRE
    Carmel, IN
    BJCP National
    Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)”

    Cheers!
     
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  34. LBerges

    LBerges Initiate (0) Feb 14, 2010 Germany

    For those who like figures.
    Breweries that have pils as a major style, mhl = million hektoliters (all styles)l. Figures are mostlyl from 2011, without export. The Pils share is between 50% and 99%, mostly > 90%
    • Oettinger 6,21 mhl not on TV
    • Krombacher 5,39 mhl
    • Bitburger 4,03 mhl
    • Beck’s 2,75 mhl ABinbev
    • Warsteiner 2,72 mhl
    • Hasseröder 2,71 mhl ABinbev
    • Veltins 2,69 mhl
    • Radeberger 1,96 mhl
    • König 1,29 mhl Bitburger group
    • Jever 1,09 mhl Radeberger group
    • Sternburg 1,08 mhl Radeberger group
    • Holsten 0,95 mhl Carlsberg brand
    • Rothaus 0,80 mhl est.
    • Paderborner 0,80 mhl est. Warsteiner 2nd line
    • Wernesgrüner0,74 mhl Bitburger group
    • Freiberger 0,70 mhl est. Radeberger group
    • Lübzer 0,67 mhl Carlsberg brand #2
    • Licher 0,6 mhl est Bitburger group
    • Fürstenberg 0,6 mhl est BHI group
    • Einbecker 0,6 mhl est
    • Flensburger 0,53 mhl smallest brew on TV
    Oettinger to Jever, Rothaus and Flensburger have a nation-wide distribution. Others are strong regional brand, which do not advertise on TV
     
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  35. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Great list on what to avoid :relaxed:
     
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  36. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Just found out that we now have Flensburger in our portfolio. Needless to say, I requested a few samples to remind of what a Norddeutsche (Fernseh)bier tastes like. Plop.
     
  37. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,005) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    And here's what Norddeutsche (Fernseh)Humor looks like:

     
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  38. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Nice hessich dialekt - sounds of my 2nd home.
     
  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,784) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Please report back when you taste your first sample. I wonder if Flensburger Pils is ‘suffering’ from IBU drop like what appears to be happening with Jever Pils.

    Cheers!
     
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  40. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Just *plopped* my first 0.33 liter Flensburger in years.

    As my palate has certainly changed to accommodate West-coast brews, it's hard to say if the IBUs have been reduced, but it's still a very nice, hop-forward pilsner. Almost-perfect bittering level, and a nice noble hop aroma, it reminded me of former days. It clocks in at *only* 4.8% ABV, for some reason I seem to remember it being stronger. Maybe this is an export version, or my memory is simply fading.

    Flensburger brings back great memories, so Fernsehbier or not, my heart will always flutter when I hear that *plop*.
     
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