Introduction to German Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BigIronH, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. BigIronH

    BigIronH Poo-Bah (1,598) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Absolutely. That’s exactly why I’m here.
     
    jonphisher and Bitterbill like this.
  2. BigIronH

    BigIronH Poo-Bah (1,598) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve had quite a bit of Old Nation stuff. I wouldn’t mind heading to Lansing for that alone. I didn’t know they did German stuff though, I was just familiar with the IPA’s which obviously they’re pretty well known for.
     
    PapaGoose03, Junior and Bitterbill like this.
  3. honkey

    honkey Disciple (349) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Trader

    I believe if I took my fermenters and cut the tops off them, the beer would taste nearly identical to the way my beers taste now. But when you buy an open top fermenter, they're normally wider shallower vessels for the same volume and that with a wider, shallower vessel, the beer is significantly different. It sounds like Bill is describing traditional open fermenters with their shallow, wide dimensions.

    When we do shallow fermentation, it's in a closed vessel that I allow to build pressure and I use that to mimic the effect of a tall fermenter. It I let it ferment with normal blowoff to atmospheric pressure, I believe the result would be basically the same as open fermentation. Theoretically, we trap more sulfur by spunding, but in practice I haven't seen that to be the case.
     
  4. honkey

    honkey Disciple (349) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Trader

    We toured Augustiner Salzburg. However, they didn't show off the open fermenters. We saw the ground floor of the fermenters from which you can't see the tops. I assumed they were closed because they were pretty narrow. They did show off all their other traditional brewing methods and, while fascinating, I thought their beers were pretty bad and that was a widely held consensus among my classmates. I actually recently asked our class if anyone remembered some things from that brewery and the comments were pretty funny with one of them describing the beer as tasting like pretzels. I just remember them having a very creamy mouthfeel that I associated with being dispensed from casks. That was probably the most memorable brewery that I've ever toured though... They used aluminum lagering tanks that they fumigated with formaldehyde, they used coolships for the first stage of chilling followed by an open frame heat exchanger with ice water running through it, they pressed their own filter pads since they used their original filter press, and they lined their own casks.

    Edit to add- I said "recently" and when I went back to find the post I noticed it was actually 4 years ago that I asked the question... I guess I'm getting old!
     
  5. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,628) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    That's the only way to describe Horrocks, and I can't emphasize the "plus much more" part enough. And Lansing is double what I have in Battle Creek!
     
    Bitterbill and Junior like this.
  6. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,628) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    I'm traveling in No. VA right now and had a good Maibock this afternoon (pale) at a 'mountain top' brewery with an easterly view where you could almost see DC from 40 miles away. (Bear Chase Brewing) I I wish I could find more.

    My local German-inspired brewery, Territorial, doesn't release theirs until Mothers Day, but I can hold my breath that long. :grin:
     
    #246 PapaGoose03, May 3, 2021
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
    Bitterbill and AlcahueteJ like this.
  7. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,776) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Nooooo - Don't trade just for the sake of trying German beer. At least not yet. By doing that, you're just adding to the cost of the beer... perhaps significantly. You're also exposing the beer to more transit conditions.

    This is all you need to get started (keep in mind that nothing below is gospel, some is hearsay and anything can change):

    Some German beers have clear dates on them. Keep in mind that some are written as DAY/MONTH/YEAR rather than MONTH/DAY/YEAR. Look for #s higher than 12 to be sure on the format. More often than not, a clear date (rather than a code) on a German beer will be the brewer's "best by" date rather than a packaging date. German brewers will not put a short shelf life date on an export, so when in doubt, assume that the best by date is 1 year after packaging. Some are less (Rothaus uses 6 months), some are more (Jever uses 15 months).

    Codes will generally tell you packaging dates. They can be confusing but aren't difficult once you get used to them. Plan on using your phone in the store. Here's how to crack some popular ones:

    (when a #=year, the # is the last number of the year, for example: 1=2021... if the code uses two numbers, it's the last two numbers of the year, for example: 21=2021)

    (when 3#s=day of year, the number is the ___ day of the year, for example: the 263rd day of 2020 was Sept 19, the 045th day of 2021 was Feb 14)

    Hofbrau:
    first 3#s=day of year
    last letter=year (T=2020, U=2021)

    Ayinger:
    first #=year
    last 3#s=day of year

    Schneider:
    first 2#s=year
    last 3#s=day of year

    Andechs:
    first 3#s=day of year
    last #=year

    Augustiner:
    first 3#s=day of year
    6th and 7th #s=year

    Weihenstephan (bottles):
    first #=last number of day
    middle 2#s=week of year (works like day of year)
    last #=year
     
    #247 zid, May 3, 2021
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2021
  8. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Aspirant (229) Jan 8, 2015 California

    Copied and pasted into my Notes that I can access from my phone. Thanks.
     
  9. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,776) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I wrote them in such a way that they are very brief but still make sense to me. Others might find it more helpful to rewrite them in a way that makes more sense to them.
     
  10. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,776) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Hofbrau is much clearer like this:
    first 3#s=day of year
    last letter=year (T=2020, U=2021)

    @deanzaZZR @jonphisher @BigIronH
     
  11. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,776) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    @FBarber - Would you mind editing my original post but leaving these posts for the paper trail for those who already read it?
     
  12. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,903) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Look at the impression section here. I have no idea what it looks like. I just had some beer there in the Keller.

    https://www.salzburg.info/en/travel-info/infos/brewery-augustiner-brau_az_12138
     
  13. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (165) Mar 16, 2018 Tennessee

    *Looks at my own avatar picture* Yikes.

    I guess I figured that the ceramic mugs impacted the taste there. I also once had Weihenstephaner Helles in a liter mug, poured from two bottles, and found the taste muted compared to glass. You're right though, the atmosphere is certainly memorable, more memorable than the drink itself perhaps!
     
    Junior likes this.
  14. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (600) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    I'll look forward to that.
     
    PapaGoose03, BigIronH, Junior and 2 others like this.
  15. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (600) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Just being realistic.
     
    BigIronH and Bitterbill like this.
  16. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,224) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society

    I was referring to the casks that you mentioned. Hence the What?
     
  17. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (600) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Sorry.

    Both amazing beers. Pretty Things did the best cask I've had in the US.
     
    BigIronH, Bitterbill and steveh like this.
  18. officerbill

    officerbill Savant (968) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    100+ beers a week?
    [​IMG]
     
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,613) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    And at 100+ beers a week the plumbing of that house will be seriously tested! :wink:

    Unless he has a:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers!
     
  20. honkey

    honkey Disciple (349) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Trader

    To me, that was one of the rare instances where it didn't matter to me that I didn't care for the beer... I'd go back in a heartbeat.
     
  21. BigIronH

    BigIronH Poo-Bah (1,598) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Lol I don’t try 100 a week but there’s definitely that many I want to try.
     
    officerbill likes this.
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,613) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    [​IMG]
     
  23. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,776) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    @Bitterbill - Filling in the blanks just in case... Pretty Things brewed a bunch of recreations of historical recipes with Ron's input. It wasn't a cask from the 19th century. :wink:
     
  24. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,558) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,941) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    ...and ends after 100 beers in one week...
     
    officerbill and Bitterbill like this.
  26. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (4,737) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    You gotta love some of these beer shop workers...saw Weihenstepher Dark hefe show up at a place know for old beer on their shelves.....Dude said it just came in...looking at the dates it looked 5 years old based on my memory on how to decipher their code...I did not have my secret German Beer decoder ring on me....talked to the dude who helped me buy a rum the other day and seemed to know his shit on high end rums (My first dabble)...anyhow he went on to tell me that German beers hold up better because they are darker and higher alcohol....I said "Maybe in some cases but this is not one of them"...I told him I don't care....I'll plunk the $4 down for the bottle and if it is bad no worries but he might want to talk to his distributor....I get the impression that is not going to happen...Later I figured out the code and it was only a year old....drinkable...tough to find it fresh of course but I was a bit worried with my initial read of five years old...I won't buy any more but it was ok..
     
  27. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,224) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society

    Unlike others, I would not suggest a Hefeweizen. The cloves and bananas could be off putting to the untrained palate. Shrugs.
     
  28. SSGCujo

    SSGCujo Disciple (340) Jul 12, 2016 Wisconsin

    Where do you start? I would with a Helles or a Munich Lager. These beers are around from Weihenstephen, Tucher, Hacker-Pschorr and Paulander. I would then try the Unfiltered Lagers/Zwickl beers. Then go to the Hefeweizens and Pilsners. There's so much to choose from. You can't go wrong with any good German beer!
     
    BigIronH and jonphisher like this.
  29. DiUr

    DiUr Aspirant (217) Aug 14, 2014 Spain

    Oh, wait...:wink:

    [​IMG]
     
    BigIronH, zid, Bitterbill and 2 others like this.
  30. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,569) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Coincidence that this thread was rejuvenated, I'm having a Dovetail Lager (Helles?) right now at a small pub near me.

    Maybe served a little cold, but quite the nice light lager.

    Somewhat grainy and nutty, but has a nice herbal hop balance and very clean and refreshing.
     
    ChicagoJ, AlcahueteJ, zid and 2 others like this.
  31. Spaten454

    Spaten454 Disciple (385) Aug 23, 2012 Texas
    Trader

    Start with doppelbocks, they're the best.
     
    miwestcoaster likes this.
  32. SSGCujo

    SSGCujo Disciple (340) Jul 12, 2016 Wisconsin

    Wow! A Schneider that's not a Weissbier! I love Schneider weiss! My favorite weissbier. It's crazy how many german breweries have a large portfolio in Europe, but only export some of it to the US. I've been to some large breweries in Germany, and some smaller ones. I just heard from the importer/distributor in my area that Tucher is pulling out of the US. Which really sucks! They make a good weizen and helles.
     
    HopHunterCL likes this.
  33. BigIronH

    BigIronH Poo-Bah (1,598) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    It actually was the first traditional German style I ended up trying and I enjoyed it albeit a bit spicy.
     
  34. BigIronH

    BigIronH Poo-Bah (1,598) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    I obtained a Dovetail Maibock in a trade last week and found it delightful. Actually one of the best beers I’ve had in a while.
     
  35. scott27

    scott27 Initiate (98) Dec 31, 2008 Maryland

    It may have already been mentioned, but I would highly recommend the Weihenstephaner Helles, now available in 4 packs of cans. To me, this is a perfectly made beer, pours crystal clear, is sessionable at just under 5%, and most importantly tastes so fresh and clean.
     
  36. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,569) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Be aware that there are 2 Helles beers from Weihenstephaner these days -- I don't believe the "Original" is available in cans.

    There's been discussion over whether the new Helles doesn't stand up to the Original, and I haven't tried the new one yet, but I can't imagine it isn't a good drinker being from Weihenstephaner.

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/weihenstephan-cans.653646/
     
  37. scott27

    scott27 Initiate (98) Dec 31, 2008 Maryland

    That’s true, and I had briefly checked out that thread. I’ll just say that these cans are tasting so nice and fresh that it probably wouldn’t sway me either way. I have drank a fair amount of the Original over the years, and while I feel like they taste quite similar, I wouldn’t be surprised either way if they were different brews, or otherwise the same thing. I may do a side by side at some point for fun though! Cheers!
     
  38. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,569) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    I think @AlcahueteJ did that within that thread, but multiple perspectives are always welcome.

    I just wish I could find that new Helles somewhere.
     
  39. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,941) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Yup, definitely different beers. And by “definitely” I mean they are, not my opinion.

    One is 5.1% the other is 4.8%, but beyond that, they tweaked the recipe.

    https://www.brewbound.com/news/weihenstephan-to-release-cans-in-2021/

    “Weihenstephaner Helles was first introduced in May 2020 to Germany after a full year of preparation to fine tune the recipe for release. Winning Gold at the European Beer Star awards in Fall 2020, Weihenstephaner Helles is a 4.8% ABV Session Helles Lager that is an easy drinker with full flavor. Brewed with Bavarian malting barley and aroma hops from the Hallertau. A crowd pleaser with a light body and clean crisp finish, that will make you want to crush another.”

    Yup that I did! @zid did an even more thorough blind tasting than me as well.

    Both our side by sides are in this thread.

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/whats-the-difference-share-your-side-by-side.653775/
     
  40. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,569) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    BigIronH, AlcahueteJ and Bitterbill like this.