Pilsners!

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by NardiByNature, Apr 15, 2012.

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  1. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Since skunkiness is a fault from a beer being light struck, not a byproduct of any fresh hopping in a recipe, I have to question what this reviewer really knows about the style(s).

    http://beeradvocate.com/articles/527
     
  2. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,353) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

     
  3. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,443) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    "Is that by any chance the FOAM pilsner"

    Don't know what they were calling it, know that it was the one that won the WBC gold. They make a lot of different beers in their pilot brewery, and many are on tap at the Taproom in Chico.
     
  4. Tut

    Tut Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2004 New York

    Glad you pointed this out. I still maintain Prima is overhopped for a pilsner. Again, Victory's Braumeister pilsner series is an excellent example of the style and I much prefer it to the far better known and more widely distributed Prima. I also prefer Stoudt's Pils over Prima. As for wine critic Eric Asimov saying Prima is the "best in the world" - that just exposes his lack of familiarity with German and Czech pilsners, especially the majority that aren't exported over here. Stick to your wines, Eric.
     
  5. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,836) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    I don't drink a ton of this kinda style, really once in a blue moon, but Dortmunder Gold is very good, and hopped up or not Prima is also good stuff.
     
  6. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,353) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    You brought him up, not me. :-)

    Even if Eric knew A LOT about beer and pilsners, that would be a pretty stupid thing for him to say. However, he is the food and wine guru for the New York times for God's sake, and so of course is an expert on all things involving food and drink.

    That being said, I share your feelings about Prima and Victory's Braumeister pils. Doesn't mean I don't think prima is still pretty good, but I do find it to be a bit on the hoppy side, and so typically not what I'm looking for whenever I'm in the mood for a good pils (on the other hand, whenever I see a Victory Braumeister pils on a drink menu, I buy it).
     
  7. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,001) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Get outta my head! I completely agree, I've had the Braumeister a few times on draft, it's sublime. Had a Stoudt's on draft as well last month, it's incredibly drinkable, which should be a main characteristic of a pilsner. This is where Prima falls short. I feel the hop bitterness becomes overbearing as more than a few. Don't get me wrong, great beer, just not exactly what I'm looking for in a pilsner.
     
  8. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (6,959) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland
    Society

    Don't even get me started on the whisk(e)y naming debate that Eric started in the Times... :wink:

    I think I still prefer Prima to the Braumeister versions that I've had, but they are all quite enjoyable, would definitly want to try the other hop varieties that have been made (if they still exist).
     
  9. Boitnott

    Boitnott Initiate (0) Sep 20, 2010 North Carolina

    I am surprised that only one other person said Mamas Little Yella... I vote for that and Victory Prima
     
  10. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Defender (612) Nov 6, 2007 California

    You need to get your hands on Sierra Nevada Pilsner. Good enough to beat the Germans at the World Beer Cup a couple years ago. There are a lot of mediocre American pilasters, but probably no more than mediocre German pilasters. The difference is that the German ones are generally well-brewed, but just uniformly bland, while the American ones may have some stylistic flaws but try to be unique and have more character.
     
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  11. crossovert

    crossovert Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2009 Illinois

    Which SA pilsener? And the second part of your statement is completely false in regards to both german and american brews. Most German pilseners are not uniformly bland.
     
  12. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I don't believe that most US micros that take on the brewing of a Pilsner style beer are looking to be "unique." (other than Three Floyds, maybe) Those with a unique side get that from being, well -- off.

    That said (and as I concurred in another thread) SN's Summertime is a damn fine rendition of the style by a US brewery.
     
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  13. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Defender (612) Nov 6, 2007 California

    It's just called "pilsner" form what I've seen and has been randomly on tap for a couple years now. I didn't mean to say that most German pils are bland, I was specifically referring to the mediocre ones and why they aren't that great, versus missing the style mark which is what brings down a lot of American versions. I've had plenty of great pils in Germany. It is thre that German brewing has become more uniform in recent times though. I've heard that 95% of German lager is now brewed with the same yeast strain, and this is from a German yeast supplier, so I trust their figure. And bitterness has decreased in pilsners in Germany as well. What you then have is a domination of a less bitter, more uniform style of beer that is getting closer and closer to mass market lager in the rest of the world. There are still many, many breweries that are not going down this path, but the ones that make most of the beer are.
     
  14. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,092) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry

    Source please.
     
  15. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,001) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Do you mean Summerfest, or this other pilsner by Sierra Nevada others have mentioned in this thread?
     
  16. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,443) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I think he is right. The most widely used strain is the 34/70 from what I read. If that is used by most of the big breweries, it could be that high. Just like in the USA, about 45-50% of the beer is made with the AB strain of lager yeast. Just saying.

    Most brewers after WW2 studied under Narziss at Weihenstefan, and 34/70 was his favorite yeast. From the OCB article on German Pilsner.
     
  17. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,092) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry

    In the same way that 95% of the beer consumed in the US is from BMC, perhaps 95% of the beer *consumed* in Germany is brewed with this yeast (i.e., Warsteiner, Oettinger, Krombacher, etc. use 34/70. EDIT: now that I think about it, this can't be the case either, as 20+% of the beer consumed in Bavaria is Weizen...not to mention the folks from Koeln and Duesseldorf that consume almost exclusively Koelsch/Alt). But to suggest that the hundreds of idiosyncratic Franconian brewers use 34/70 is a dubious claim at best. I only know of a few brewers in the Bamberg area that studied at Weihenstephan (and, believe me, they will announce it if they do). EDIT2: maybe 95% of the pilsners...but he said lagers.
     
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  18. crossovert

    crossovert Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2009 Illinois

    Nobody is mention Beck's or Warsteiner or Bitburger as shining German examples. I wouldn't even consider Beck's a pilsener at this point.
     
  19. strictly4DK

    strictly4DK Initiate (0) Mar 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Ahhh yes, I stand corrected. I do remember seeing Kolsch on the label. I always mistake it for a Pilsner because the firm bitterness reminds me of a German Pilsner.
     
  20. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Considering it started life as a Dortmunder, I never understood why they recently started marketing it as a "Pilsner." I probably answered my own question there: marketing.
     
  21. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Defender (612) Nov 6, 2007 California

    One of my professors at Doemens Academy (who a also supply yeast for the brewing industry) went on about it one time when he got pissy about the modern uniformity of German lagers.
     
  22. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,092) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry

    I can see how someone might say this about the mass-produced -- and even the Big 6 Munich -- lagers, but lagers in Franconia are anything but "uniform." Still seriously doubt the veracity of that statement.
     
  23. crossovert

    crossovert Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2009 Illinois

    And yet a good HP Edelhell form the cask is totally worth it, but the big 6 don't really have a good stable of pilseners, they are all good but not great.
     
  24. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Yeah, SN Summer Fest -- Summertime is the Goose Island K├Âlsch.
     
  25. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    But even Spaten and Paulaner Helles and Oktoberfest have distinctive flavor differences. Malt? Hops? Yeast?

    I can understand a statement saying that today's lager yeasts are derivative of the Weiehnstephaner yeast from years ago, but I can't see calling it the same yeast after so many generations.
     
  26. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,092) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry

    In my experience brewing with 34/70, it is a very clean-finishing yeast that seems to "get out of the way" of the balance that a brewer is trying to achieve between malt and hops, so the claim isn't totally outlandish when talking about the Big 6 or mass-produced lagers/pilsners. I also know that Augustiner, e.g., has its own maltings (and ferments partially in open vessels, pitches its barrels, etc.), which would certainly account for differences in taste there. Dunno so much about Spaten vs. Paulaner vs. HP vs. HB, etc. And, yes, I totally agree that those original strains probably still resemble the original, but can not be exactly the same. Considering the source quoted above, it sounds like a "besserwisserische Herr Prof. Dr." talking about things he knows less about than he thinks; I certainly came across plenty of those during my time studying and working at German universities.
     
  27. FatSalad

    FatSalad Initiate (0) Apr 19, 2012

    if a beer is imported from Germany, how close to the bottling date can you actually receive them? also, is the freshness crusade as critical with pilsners as it is for an IPA? i ask, because i typically drink american pilsners because i've always assumed the german ones were likely old, just based on shipping logistics. thanks
     
  28. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I would say more so for the Pilsner as it is such a light, delicate, clean beer. An IPA can have so many esters and characters from yeast to hops to fermentation that it would be more difficult to tell, or seem more gradual, as/when it ages.
     
  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Try a Spaten and Paulaner Helles side-by-side, there's a definite flavor difference (and H-P tastes very similar to Paulaner). It's more subtle with the Helles, but when Okto season rolls around try the Paulaner and Spaten side-by-side. There's something (again, could be anything from malts to yeast) that definitely separates the two.

    Never tried it with the HB or Augustiner Helles and the other 3, but that might have to be my next project.
     
  30. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,092) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry

    I've pretty much given up on bottled Paulaner here in the U.S. Their Helles and Pils both have a harsh grainy character (I also find this in the HP beers here Stateside, which is odd because in Munich the Hacker-Pschorr beers tasted delicious). If anyone can enlighten me as to why these beers might exhibit such characteristics I'd certainly be grateful.

    Anyhow, back to the OP (somewhat): I would not recommend Paulaner Pils as a good representation.
     
  31. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,001) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I bought Weihenstephan Original and Hefeweizen bottled in March of 2012 this month. I would say this is the exception to the rule though. Find a solid liquor store that you trust and develop a relationship with the owner. A great craft-centric liquor store should be able to tell you when they come in fresh.
     
  32. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,001) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Not sure if this applies, but there's a very distinct difference in the Ayinger Oktoberfest.
     
  33. crossovert

    crossovert Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2009 Illinois

    disagree, while pilseners should be consumed fresh they are far less dependent on the hops.
     
  34. crossovert

    crossovert Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2009 Illinois

    I think Paulaner Helles reminds me of an American produced helles moreso than the others.
     
  35. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    That's exactly the character I'm thinking of -- the maltiness comes thru, but there's just something harsh in the background that keeps the beer from being clean.

    Is it how the Paulaner Brewing methods take to Pasteurization? Don't know, but as you said -- both beers are delish at the source.
     
  36. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Well, let's put it this way -- I've saved a lot of IPAs over the years and consumed them far beyond their "freshness" dates and thought them to be still enjoyable. (mistakenly) Done that with some lighter lagers (Pils, Helles) and haven't had the same experience.
     
  37. crossovert

    crossovert Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2009 Illinois

    Well it depends on the style of ipa. A west coast dry ipa isn't going to taste as good even after a month. I don't feel pilseners deteriorate as quickly, mainly because of the hops, the key to a west coast ipa is the hops, when you lose that the beer is compromised, even in a delicate pils there isn't as much of an emphasis on the hops and the malt and yeast generally hold up enough and the beer doesn't turn into an overly sweet malt bomb. At any rate neither of the styles should be consumed more than say 8 months after they are brewed.
     
  38. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    The first time you have a stale Pilsner you'll think twice about that -- they may not turn sickly sweet, but they get musty and flat. But yeah, 8 months is pushing a Pilsner. Had year-old IPAs that still keep me interested.
     
  39. crossovert

    crossovert Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2009 Illinois

    I will agree to disagree, unless you are making a specific ipa that will hold up (you cold do the same with a pilsener) then I can see that. But if you had a 8 month old Warsteiner vs an 8 month old pliny the warsteiner would be much closer to its original state.
     
  40. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,213) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Hmm? And not call it an Imperial Pilsner?
     
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