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What is your favorite lager style?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by offthelevel_bytheplumb, Sep 13, 2013.


What is your favorite lager style?

  1. Dortmunder/Helles

  2. Pilsner

  3. Oktoberfest

  4. Vienna

  5. Dunkel

  6. American Red/Amber

  7. Bock

  8. Doppelbock

  9. Eisbock

  10. AAL/Malt Liquor

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  1. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,301) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Top fermented, then lagered. Hybrid beers according to some. Tasty according to me. ;-)
  2. marquis

    marquis Crusader (739) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    All lagers were top fermented once.Bottom fermenting yeast strains came a couple of centuries later.
    herrburgess likes this.
  3. beerluvr

    beerluvr Meyvn (1,162) Jan 2, 2001 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Pilsner...Czech Pilsner to be specific. Nothing like a cold crisp & hoppy Pilsner, think "Pilsner Urquell" back when it was fermented in wood tanks. Magic.
    herrburgess and Providence like this.
  4. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,121) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    Tough choices, but I voted Dopplebock
  5. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,301) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    If you go back far enough, no hops! Things change and evolve we all know that.

    There are scientists claiming that bottom fermenting 'lager'yeast was a hybrid with a strain of yeast from Patagonia, how that yeasts DNA got to Bavaria is not known. Some think it came on some wood from the New World.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  6. marquis

    marquis Crusader (739) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    I understand that bottom fermenting strains had appeared by the 15th century which make it unlikely they came from the Americas but this may be open to question.There's been plenty of time since for things to happen.
    Either way, bottom fermentation was the result of low temperature conditions and it's a pity that it has become in many people's mind the definition of a lager.If you define something then you're stuck with the outcome , and if the definition was flawed to begin with some things won't make sense.
  7. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I love both German and Czech pils. They do taste different to me though and I can't put my finger on why that is. What do you think the differences are?
    utopiajane likes this.
  8. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I wish I could have tried that. Sounds so good!
  9. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I am by no means an expert on this stuff, but I always thought they were widely considered ales (although they certainly seem very "lager like")? Are they examples of lager yeast strains fermented at higher temps?

    Lager, ale, either way, I love both alts and Kolsch!
  10. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Both (but more often with Alt than with Koelsch) are referred to in German as "obergaerige Lagerbiere," or "top-fermenting lagers."
    Providence likes this.
  11. marquis

    marquis Crusader (739) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

  12. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,386) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    ChipMurray and Providence like this.
  13. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,469) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I have the same issue--I definitely perceive a difference in the two styles, but it's hard to put my finger on it. I think a big part of it is mouthfeel. The German varieties tend to come off a bit creamier, with some bready sweetness, whereas the Czech versions I've had are all somewhat thin and prickly, with more pronounced bitterness.

    But the number of different kinds of each I've had is probably not expansive enough to make broad declarations about the style.
    Providence likes this.
  14. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,301) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    "The water they use is soft giving the beer more heavier weight and lower in carbonation." That is made from whole cloth, not in the BJCP guidelines.

    The water does have low mineral content. That gives a rounded bitterness that does not linger - low sulfates.
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,017) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Jesse, I can provide a personal answer from my homebrewing perspective: The primary differences between a German Pilsner and a Bohemian Pilsner are:

    · Hops: A Bohemian Pilsner is ‘defined’ by the utilization of Saaz hops. Some German Pilsners may have Saaz as a finishing hops but just as likely they could utilize some other Nobel hop as a finishing hop (e.g., Hallertau Mittelfruh, Tettnanger, Spalt).

    · Finishing gravity/mouthfeel: Bohemian Pilsners typically have a higher finishing gravity and consequently a bit more mouthfeel.

    When I homebrew my Bohemian Pilsners I generously utilize Saaz hops for my late hopping and I make sure that I have a fairly high final gravity (e.g., about 1.015 - 1.016).

    KarlHungus and Providence like this.
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,017) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The brewing of Kolsch beers in Cologne (Koln) is defined by the Kolsch Konvention: “a light-colored, highly fermented, strongly hopped, bright, top fermented Vollbier."

    There is only mention of the beer being top fermented and no mention of lagering in the definition of a Kolsch beer by the Kolsch Konvention.
    KarlHungus and Providence like this.
  17. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    *Also note that there is no mention of yeast in the original Reinheitsgebot. Therefore all German beers are neither lagers nor ales.
    Dupage25 likes this.
  18. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (2,727) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Two months ago, I would have said Oktoberfest. Then I tried CCB's Hotter than Helles lager. Now I've switched allegiance.

    Still love Oktoberfest beers, though.
  19. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    No Keller Bier / Zwickel Bier option?? Monchsambacher Lagerbier may be my all time favorite beer period.
    Providence and herrburgess like this.
  20. zrbeer1579

    zrbeer1579 Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2012 Illinois

    I think Kölsch and Altbier are German ales, as they are listed on this site.
  21. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Zealot (579) Nov 6, 2007 California

    The lager thing with kolsch is I think, often overstated as a backlash to the "it's an ale" crowd. My experience is that German brewers consider it a top-fermenting beer and that's pretty much that. They don't use "ale" because that's an english term and style to them, which is essentially synonymous with pale ale or bitter. The Germans would put alt and kolsch on a separate list, otherwise it would essentially just be any German beer that isn't a wheat beer, and that's not how they see it.
  22. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I generally agree with this. However, with Altbier the mentions of it being an "obergaeriges Lagerbier" are much more prevalent -- and that beer follows more or less the same fermentation processes as Koelsch. Maybe the Koelsch brewers don't use the term as frequently in order to avoid being associated in any way with Duesseldorf and Alt!
  23. Hefewiseman

    Hefewiseman Disciple (397) Sep 6, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    India Pale Lager, Baltic Porter, Schwartzbier
  24. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Had the opportunity to have my first Zwickel not that long ago. It was excellent.
    sergeantstogie and herrburgess like this.
  25. marquis

    marquis Crusader (739) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    It's what comes from making a definition out of something which is only mostly true.Ales are top fermented therefore the reasoning goes that all top fermented beers are ales , mirror that with lagers even though that conflicts with what's understood in their countries of origin.Ale and lager have deeper and wider connotations than simply the yeast action.
    herrburgess likes this.
  26. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    Do you use a wood stick or a metal pipe or what?
    Steimie likes this.
  27. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Zealot (579) Nov 6, 2007 California

    Maybe I was a bit too quick to separate the two but in this context, I think we have to realize that "lager" is referring to the process, basically saying "this is a top-fermeting beer that is lagered." My German brewing reference groups styles into top and bottom-fermenting groups, and then top-fermenting German beers into wheat beers, berlinerweisse, alt, and koelsch. Ale, porter, stout, and Belgian top-fermenting beers all get separate sections in the top-fermenting section as well.
    herrburgess likes this.
  28. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Zealot (579) Nov 6, 2007 California

    I think you are essentially onto the problem. Once you define "lager" as only a bottom-fermenting beer, you are partly missing the native understanding of the term. It's just that this is such a foreign concept at least to most in the US at this point. The lager/ale dichotomy has become so prevalent for the most part because it's the simplest way to teach inexperienced drinkers and homebrewers about different styles of beer. That it isn't really accurate in some cases is problematic, but the language has shifted and it's going to be hard to turn that around except with those willing to really become educated on brewing and beer styles, which is likely a very small amount of overall drinkers.
    zid and herrburgess like this.
  29. TdLJg

    TdLJg Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2011 Connecticut

    Hacker Pschorr is Brilliance!!! Spaten...not so much.
  30. creepinjeeper

    creepinjeeper Champion (840) Nov 8, 2012 Missouri
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Great Lakes is quite solid, indeed! I am a fan of their Eliot Ness Vienna style lager. I'll have to try their DG.
    ChipMurray likes this.
  31. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    "Rediscovered" the Spaten Ur-Maerzen a couple of years ago after overlooking it for a while. For me that beer remains (as originally judged by Michael Jackson back in the day) the exemplar of the style and as close to world-class as any Maerzen on the market.
  32. BulletsOverHamburgers

    BulletsOverHamburgers Initiate (0) Jul 9, 2013 Virginia

    Bocks, followed by Kellerbier
  33. Woodman70

    Woodman70 Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2013 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I have Victory- Prima Pils, New Glarus -Hometown Blonde and Edel pils in my fridge...all very good german style Pils
    Beric likes this.
  34. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,953) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I believe just the opposite... to a point. To me the Spaten Okto nails the flavor characters to a T. You have to find it fresh... something that hasn't been easy around me this year, but the fresh stuff I've found is terrific.

    The Hacker-Pschorr (and its twin, Paulaner) are very good, but just come across a little to dry to my palate -- doesn't mean I don't drink 'em.

    If you have them side-by-side you can definitely tell that they use different maltsters. The Spaten has a richer melanoidin character to me.
    TongoRad likes this.
  35. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,953) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Love the Hometown to style, the Edel Pils seems lacking in hop character and falls into the Helles category for me -- albeit, a very good Helles.
    Woodman70 likes this.
  36. TheFightingMongooses

    TheFightingMongooses Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2012 New Jersey

    I voted Pils because I love the delicate balance between the biscuit malt and herbal/floral hops. Recently however, I have been getting into Oktoberfests, specifically Paulaner Wiesn. In past years I have always found this style to be underwhelming, but Wiesn definitely changed my mind about that...what an awesome beer!
  37. Beric

    Beric Champion (896) Jun 1, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I'll have to try the New Glarus stuff. Too bad they distribute only in Wisconsin! Thankfully I have family there.

    In other news- I tried the Left Hand Oktoberfest today, since a lot of people have been commenting about those, and I found it almost to be too hoppy based on what I recall of Oktoberfests I've had in the past. Granted, my Märzen experience is lacking a bit (only had 4), but I don't recall any having any noticeable hop character like the Left Hand one I had today.
  38. LambicKing

    LambicKing Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Germany

    I like them all, really. Huge fan of Jack's Abby beers, Prima Pils and a few other pilsners...and the occasional rauchbier, doppelbock or helles. I just recently fell in love with Tipo Pils...what a freaking amazing beer.
  39. Dupage25

    Dupage25 Aspirant (279) Jul 4, 2013 Antarctica

    Smoked bock or smoked helles, then doppelbock, then probably pilsner.

    Though if someone made a classic Czech pilsner and then lightly dry-hopped it with Citra, that would probably immediately be my favorite.
  40. Sneers

    Sneers Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Märzen for me, hands down, with Czech pils not terribly far behind.
    Pegli likes this.
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