What’s the Difference? Share your Side-by-Side (2022)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cjgiant, Jan 2, 2022.

  1. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,989) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I'm doing a simple comparison between the old imported Stella vs the new domestically brewed version.
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    Cut to the chase: it's noticeably different and not for the better.

    The import has a deeper spicy hop presence and bitter bite. Neither has much malt flavor, although what is there is bready and nice, but there's a pop to the import that is lacking in the domestic. It's coming across to me like a water profile difference, too soft in the US version.

    It's still a clean and drinkable beer but also bordering on bland. Maybe they know what they're doing and it'll appeal to the average beer drinker, but they're lying if they say they haven't made any changes.
     
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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,560) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Michael, Juicy/Hazy IPA is not my favorite beer style but I really enjoy drinking Workhorse NEIPA; very tasty for my palate.

    The two brewers at Workhorse are:

    Nate Olewine who has the title of VP of Brewing Operations (or so I have been told). Nate is formerly of Victory Brewing and prior to Workhorse, Devil's Backbone. I have been told he was instrumental in formulating Devils Backbone Vienna Lager (GABF Gold Medal 2016) and IMO the Workhorse Vienna Lager is comparable to the Devils Backbone Vienna Lager (same recipe?). You can read a bit more about Nate:

    https://breweriesinpa.com/meet-the-brewer-nate-olewine-of-workhorse-brewing-company/

    The head brewer at Workhorse now is Steve Bischoff, formerly from Sly Fox and more recently at Root Down. While at Root Down, Steve won a couple of GABF medals.

    Workhorse won a GABF medals last year for a Gose.

    I have enjoyed a number of Workhorse brands with a recently brewed Baltic Porter being another example which comes to mind. Having stated that other brands do not exactly 'resonate' for me. For example while I recognize their Vienna Lager is an extremely well brewed beer to that style it is not something I would order on a regular basis (just a personal style preference sort of thing).

    Cheers!
     
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  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,560) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I am uncertain whether I would agree to "they know what they are doing" but I could certainly envision the aspect of "bland" being more appealing to the folks who mostly drink AAL beers.

    Cheers!
     
  4. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,989) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Thanks, I really appreciate the background information. I've only tried their lagers but they seem to lack that 'suffig' quality.
     
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  5. Spade

    Spade Disciple (311) Mar 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I really wanted to try their baltic porter but it was a bit too pricey. The over-priced 4-packs of pounders really needs to go away, across the market.
     
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  6. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,989) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    After finishing the 25 oz can I'll give them credit for this: it got better and the flavor built as I drank it. "Bordering" on bland still applies, but it's another step in the right direction. :wink:
     
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  7. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,007) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
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    I like these reviews like this of beer(s) I know by BAs I've "known" for years. I appreciate every post in this thread, but who can't say that some interest them more than others.

    I have two questions, the first: were the beers about equivalent in age? The second is in two parts: have you had the beers separately before? and if so, did you have an idea what you expected from that?

     
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  8. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,007) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
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    Interesting to me given DB Vienna was the local version of Sam Adams at places around northern Virginia that weren't all in on craft beer but wanted to offer something craft/"local" - even before the buyout.

    One of my newer true locals, Settle Down Easy, has (still, presumably) a brewer that once brewed at Heavy Seas. They made a one off (very sadly) pale ale that was on tap when we first visited that I loved. One of the owners told me they started more or less with Heavy Seas' Loose Cannon's malt profile and adjusted the hops to create the beer. A case of use what you know and try to update and hopefully improve upon it, I would guess.
     
    #168 cjgiant, Jun 5, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2022
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  9. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,989) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    No, the can was about 8 months fresher. I even mentally went into it knowing that it had an advantage, but the import's hops still kicked it's butt. I suppose you could deduce that all things being equal there would have been even more of a difference.

    This was my first time with the domestic version but since there has been some talk that it wasn't the same I was expecting some differences. In a perfect world I would have had someone assist with a triangle test, but that hasn't happened in the past month so I just decided to go it alone today. :wink::grin:
     
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,560) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    If you are a Juicy/Hazy IPA fan I would recommend the Workhorse NEIPA to you.

    I am more of a fan of 'regular' (or West Coast if you prefer that terminology) IPAs but I do not like the Workhorse West Coast IPA. In contrast my wife really likes that beer and will order pint after pint of that beer when we go to the Workhorse taproom.

    We all have our unique palates and preferences in what we enjoy in a given beer style.

    Cheers!
     
  11. snaotheus

    snaotheus Poo-Bah (6,108) Oct 6, 2008 Washington
    Society Trader

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    My terrible memory is working in my favor here and allowing this pairing to be somewhat blind. I've had a ton of Bodhizafa, but I remember recently thinking, "This looks a lot clearer than I remember it being..." and this'll be my fourth Wanderjack, and I have no recollection of its clarity, despite tasting it the first time and reviewing it just a couple days ago.

    Blue Squirrel = BS, Other Beer = OB.

    BS is hazier and lighter in color, a light pale orange. OB is clear, dark gold. OB has a denser, creamier head, but at least right now (a few minutes after pouring), they have very similar levels of head. OB's clarity reveals a ton of active carbonation; BS has a little bit if I put a light behind it.

    BS is tropical and resinous, deep pine in the nose. OB is more citrus forward with a little melon, maybe a little bubble gum. Definitely some dankness in OB.

    Taste...OB is orangey citrus zest, orange zest bitterness in the finish. Moderate honey sweetness. BS has way more vegetation, definitely more tropical, has a little bit of a grain sweetness, dry pithy finish.

    Mouthfeel: BS is creamy with a slight grittiness. OB is thinner, smoother.

    Overall, I like them both a lot, but I think I like OB better. I also think OB is Bodhi.

    Reveal: I am wrong. BS is Bodhi, and OB is Wanderjack.

    It is now time for me to re-assess my self worth...while drinking two delicious beers.
     
  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,560) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I posted the below earlier this morning in the NBW thread:

    Do you prefer it in the can!?!

    Last month I started a thread asking: Are there some beer brands you prefer in the bottle vs. cans?

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/commun...ands-you-prefer-in-the-bottle-vs-cans.666904/

    In that spirit I will today be drinking the same beer Saison Dupont from both a can (a new drinking experience for me) and a bottle.

    There are differing stories on the bottle vs. can labeling:

    Bottle: “Brewed at one of Europe’s last farmhouse breweries, Saison Dupont is a 4-star, world classic example of the Belgian Saison style. Blond in color with a big rocky head. Saison Dupont is dry and refreshing. Great with all grilled foods.”

    Can: “Brewed at one of Europe’s last farmhouse breweries. A classic example of the Belgian Saison style. Golden blond in color with a thick creamy head. Dry, yet refreshing, leaving you wanting more – sip after sip.”

    Different but essentially the same.

    If you want to read more about the Saison beer style and Saison Dupont:

    https://www.morebeer.com/articles/Saison_Beer

    Before I start the drinking aspect, I will first discuss a few topics which may be ‘confounders’ to this side-by-side tasting:

    Age of the beer

    The bottle has a date of L21143A. My Little Orphan Annie decoder doesn’t completely work with the Saison Dupont secret code. The best I know is this beer was bottled in 2021 from the “21” portion of the code.

    The can has a date of L21476C which means this beer was canned sometime in 2021.

    Beer storage conditions & handling

    I can report that both of these beers were stored in my basement/cellar after I purchased them but what conditions they experienced during the long supply chain from Belgium to my local beer retailers is a mystery to me. I think it is fair to say they would have been subjected to differing conditions. How resilient is Saison Dupont to high temperature exposure/storage and rough transport?

    Bottle/can conditioning

    I know from past knowledge/experience that Brasserie Dupont conducts a bottle conditioning process for their bottled products. In the bottle conditioning process the beer undergoes a secondary fermentation within the bottle to achieve carbonation. Since an actual secondary fermentation occurs within the bottle other sensory qualities could be expected beyond just the carbonation aspect.

    All that is stated on the can is “Unfiltered” which I suppose could imply they can condition this beer? Or maybe it just means that did not filter this beer prior to canning?

    One thing I will be attuned to when tasting these two beers is whether I can perceive a difference in the beer’s mouthfeel. When I homebrew my beers I choose to bottle condition since this provide a superior mouthfeel for my palate; a result of the secondary fermentation I discussed above.


    Whew, that’s a fair bit a ‘jibber-jabber’ which is making me thirsty but before I really get into it, I will ask my lovely wife to help me with conducting a triangle taste test of these two beers. As a reminder the purpose of the triangle taste test is to pour the same beer into two cups and the other beer in the third cup and see if the taste tester can determine the ‘odd man’ out. In the below photograph two of the cups were marked with A on the bottom and one with B on the bottom. I normally would use small opaque plastic cups but since this is the same beer I will use small glasses this time but with instructions to my wife to ‘fix’ the glasses to ensure they have similar head appearances (thanks to Chris (@zid) for the suggestion here). Will I be able to distinguish one Saison Dupont from the other via blind taste test? Will mouthfeel differences exhibit itself in these small glass pours?

    [​IMG]

    A took some sniffs of the three beers. The beer in the middle had a very similar aroma to the other two glasses but there was a bit ‘more’ to this beer. That was an indication to be that the middle beer was the ‘odd’ beer but I figured tasting would be more definitive here. Boy, I was mistaken here since all three beers tasted very similarly to me. I stuck with my initial ‘reaction’ from sniffing and said to my wife: the middle beer is the ‘odd’ beer to which she replied “correct”. She then went further and asked: “So, which beer is which” and I very confidently (which I wasn’t) responded: “The middle beer is the bottled beer”. And she replied: “correct”.

    I have conducted this triangle test a number of times in the past and so far I have been “correct” every time. I probably just jinxed myself for my next triangle taste test.

    I will conduct the side-by-side non-blind so here we go!

    Appearance

    Can: Golden colored, very slightly hazy with a white head

    Bottle: Ditto

    Aroma

    Can: A combination of spicy (phenols) and fruity (esters).

    Bottle: Ditto to above but with what I will describe as being a bit more complexity (perhaps just a bit more intensity to the aromas?).

    Taste:

    Can: The flavor follows the nose with a pleasant combination of spicy (phenols) and fruity (esters) flavors. There is low-moderate bitterness.

    Bottle: Ditto

    Mouthfeel

    Can: Medium body with a dry finish.

    Bottle: Medium body, with a softer mouthfeel in comparison to the canned version, with a dry finish.

    Overall

    Can: Very good – excellent.

    Bottle: Ditto

    These two beers taste very much the same but there are some differences in other sensory qualities as detailed above. Given that I had these two beers in a side-by-side tasting the subtle difference of the two are more evident with a personal preference towards the bottled version but I will have no difficulty whatsoever in consuming the remaining three cans of the four-pack I purchased.

    I discussed above my wondering on whether the canned version of Saison Dupont is canned conditioned I decided to take one more step: pour the last ½ ounce (or so) of the two beers into a small glass to see if I can detect yeast sediment. Below are two photos of this exercise with the first photo just of the bottle’s last bit of beer and the second of the can’s last bit of beer (and the bottle’s for additional reference). I am uncertain how well this appears in the photos but the bottle’s last portion is decidedly murky while in contrast the can’s is only slightly hazy. Is this an ‘acid test’ situation? I don’t know, but I will state with some confidence that both from the sensory evaluation and the visual appearance of the dregs that the canned version of Saison Dupont is not can conditioned.

    Cheers!

    @KOP_Beer_OUtlet @rotsaruch @RobH

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  13. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (585) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    It's good that you emphasize personal preferences. Preferences can be within a style as well as between styles. "Quality" is only a preliminary indication of potential satisfaction.
     
  14. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,007) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
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    Ok, I bought a handful of beers from the soon to be closed Hair of the Dog (unconfirmed date is in about 2 weeks). I can’t bring them all home, so I’m gonna do a side-by-side threeway with a variety of Adams. The first comparison is regular Adam from this year (pretty sure, Batch 102 for the record) and a barrel aged version released this year - Cherry Adam from the Wood (shortened to Cherry Adam for this post)
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    As I stated in an old review of Matt that I recently looked up, being excited for HotD still beers isn’t easy if you start at looks. A light puff of carbonation escaped as I opened each beer, though regular Adam is the only one that half-heartedly showed its trapped gas escaping.

    As I poured then, Cherry Adam had a more ruby hue to its dark brown body. Luckily I paid attention to which was which, though, because as I set them aside to start typing, they seem closer in color. One other note, regular Adam is visibly clearer in makeup.

    On the nose, regular Adam has an earthy molasses, date, a vaguely rich port-like aroma. Cherry Adam has, relatively, a sour ale vibe to it. Cherry… yeah, I get it, but the molasses and date come through. It’s almost more like a sherry vs port influence sniffing these together.

    Regular Adam brings leather and tobacco on the earthy side more than expected from the sweeter impression from the nose. A bit of dark, woody tea comes through as well. Definitely heavy on “bass notes” relative to the Cherry Adam, where the acidic fruit notes are forced into more of a tang by the base/bass beer, but bring a lighter, more melodic flavor. The barrel is present but not forceful, but seems to me to add to the leavening of the beer.

    It’s a bit of a surprise, but this is a case where I could see someone liking one of these offerings but not the other. It’s a fairly distinct change when cherries are added along with some barrel aging. I think my old ratings fit with my feelings today - I enjoy Cherry Adam more, barely.

    Oh, did I mention a three-way? Well, I don’t want to be a tease (but also am trying to be respectful of your time reading my meanderings), so I offer up the other Adam that HotD offered to go, 2021 Cherry Adam from the Wood:
    [​IMG]

    First off, there was actually a bit of sustained livelihood from this year old bottling. There’s actually some bubbles trying to form a ring around the surface of the beer. The older beer does have a light effervescence and a tad more tartness than the newer version; to put it another way, the 2022 Cherry Adam seems more like regular Adam vis-a-vis “bass notes” than the 2021. There’s an impression of vinegar (way less acidic, though) that I don’t take as spoilage but more like how a true Balsamic or Sherry vinegar has an umami note. That said, I wouldn’t want much more of it in the beer.

    So, in the end, I’ve got my hands on the 2022 Cherry Adam more than the others in my three-way, but am mostly happy this experience is even possible for a guy like me :wink:
     
    #174 cjgiant, Jun 13, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2022
  15. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,384) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
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    Have you had their Black Lager? I bought a 4 pack of that in early 2021 and was impressed. I was on the lookout for it again this year, but missed it.
     
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  16. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,989) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    I haven't seen it either year, but would definitely have been interested. I bet that we only see a limited number of their brews up here. Plus, out of the 4 regular stores where I shop only one carries them at all. :slight_frown:
     
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  17. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,007) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
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    Ok, a brief(?) experiment in malts and hops. I admit I did a quick check of the hops only and thought I could focus only on the difference between Strata and Simcoe, but then as I poured I recognized the difference in the colors of Ocelot's Jacks & Jokers and Kings & Queens as seen in the pictures be While both use 2-row malt (probably predominantly), turns out the latter uses Munich while the other uses oat malt and Carapils; I am a bit surprised there is no oat (or wheat) listed for Kings and Queens as it is just as hazy as Jacks & Jokers.
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    On the nose, the Simcoe and Carapils featuring Jacks & Jokers has a white sandwich bread and mildly tropical but definitely tangy fruity nose. Differentiated by its inclusion of Munich and Strata, Kings & Queens doesn't have as interesting a nose. Of course I'm not sure that's purely the fault of the ingredients, but its a less powerful aroma overall. A little sweeter fruit note with a breakfast bread vibe giving a vague impression of a fruit Danish.

    Jacks & Jokers has a honey to even slightly sugary sweet malt note, while Kings & Queens has a more definitive crusty bread flavor profile, with a bit of honey in the finish. A bit of citrus and a slightly reedy bitterness balance out K&Q's malt side, while tropical fruit and a hint of sweet grapefruit burst forth from J&J's sweeter opening.

    There are threads of similarity in the hop profiles, which isn't surprising since they share two hops (Citra and Amarillo) - I would categorize it as a mix of citrus rinds with a slightly pithy lean and a dusting of pine straw.

    [​IMG]
    I'm pretty sure the order the hops are listed on the can aren't governed to mean anything. As such, I'm not sure the fact the hops popped out of the lighter malted brew is purely due to the malt bill. Kings & Queens is exactly two weeks older than the 6/1 canned Jacks & Jokers, so that cant explain it all, either.

    Obviously I am going on information I know to be woefully incomplete, but I do believe most of what I am sensing as differences in aromas and flavors is due more to the malt choices than the swap of a hop between the two beers.

    The GF says she likes Jacks & Jokers a little better, but they taste pretty similar to her.
     
  18. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (4,537) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    I've been meaning to do this one for a while, but would like to focus on the differences in flavor profile here instead of reviewing them all in depth, which I already did individually. Unfortunately, I have no idea if these are all of a similar age, which may render a comparitive tasting moot, but here we are. I'm also a bit bummed that I have to use different glasses, but I only own two chalices.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, I've enjoyed the W12 the most, which is the most well-balanced of the three to me, with a slightly better body and mouthfeel as well, although a bit weaker in the nose. It's not as spicy as the other two, with a richer chocolate and toffee character, distinct licorice and subtle dark and estery fruit. There's a certain "softness" to the flavor profile here that's very appealing, with a very harmonious, subtle balance.

    The Rochefort is the most rich of all three, but also being a bit too boozy for my personal taste. The dark fruit stands out the most here, which brings rum-soaked raisins to mind in combination with the certain booziness and christmas cake with the spices, which also stand out here, although the estery fruit is a little bit more subdued. Despite a light bitterness, it's probably the sweetest of the lot, with a certain brown sugar note.

    The Abt 12 has a noticeably different malt profile to me, being just a bit more toasted and grainy, although still having that bready, caramel malt character as well. It's not as rich in dark fruit, with the estery fruit and spice, especially banana, standing out a bit more here, with the spice being especially distinct. It feels noticeably weaker in body and mouthfeel compared to the other two as well. There's also a certain, light floral hop presence to this, which I'm not that keen on.

    While the W12 is my favorite, it's just not suitable for everyday drinking, which got me to ask myself which one I would actually prefer between the Rochefort and Abt 12. A much more difficult question than I had anticipated, as I've rated the Rochefort much higher than the Abt 12 in the past.

    While it's much richer in both body and flavor profile, it's also a bit too sweet and boozy for my taste, although I really like those strong dark fruit and spice notes, with a bit of chocolate as well. There's also just a hint of hop bitterness to this, balancing out the sweetness somewhat, although I'm really not too keen on that brown sugar note.

    The Abt 12 may not be as rich, but does seem better balanced, not being as sweet and boozy, with some subtle floral, bitter hops, but not as much chocolate, toffee and dark fruit. I'm not too keen on the malt profile and focus on the estery over dark fruit notes, but I do like the distinct spices and light bitterness, which work together very well here.

    EDIT: I blended Rochefort 10 and Abt 12 roughly 2:1 and though it made for a much more enjoyable drinking experience than each on their own. I then added a splash of W12, which made it even better. Yay for home blending.
     
  19. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,007) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
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    Of course no one is expecting perfection here, and if so I’ve failed every time.

    I liked your various tacks on what it takes to “win” a side-by-side as it totally plays into the concept of, “what beer do I want right now?” It’s never always my highest rated beer.
     
  20. LesDewitt4beer

    LesDewitt4beer Meyvn (1,228) Jan 25, 2021 Minnesota
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    Yuengling Traditional Lager Can vs Bottle. Tasting notes and having fun. No pours. Drinking directly from the can & bottle. I've had it on tap in many places going back to the 1980's. Cheers Advocates!
    The Scoop:
    Smell is the same, tastes are close to one another...fairly light, but the feel & finish are different. Bottle is EZ drinkin, EZ to tip, goes down like a $20 hooker. Can is slightly more of a sipper and I get more of the bitterness that dwells in the aft portion of the finish. Yes, indeed. The bottle mouthfeel is wetter, lightly creamy and seems easier to slug back than the can version which seems to be a bit more resinous and has a linger. I really like both quite a bit. One of the simple pleasures of life that is availible to us. I just have to occasionally drive a few hundred miles away from home to find it and when I see it fresh...BOOM! Always enjoyable. Cheers!
    [​IMG]
     
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  21. ShutUpLiver

    ShutUpLiver Initiate (166) Nov 29, 2020 Missouri
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    Have wanted to do this side-by-side for a couple weeks. Melvin Keller Pils vs Civil Life Czech Style Pilsner.

    Both beers have a similar level of clarity in the glass. The Melvin had a lot more carbonation and head retention than the Civil Life, which was more amber in color. On the nose the Melvin is more dry and grassy, with a little floral note as it warms up in the glass, whereas Civil Life is more about the sweet malt, biscuit, and raisin bread aromas. The palate flavors for both beers is actually pretty similar, mostly hay, wheat, and moderate hop bitterness coming in on the backend, though the Civil Life is more round, creamy, and a tad richer in mouthfeel. Both very enjoyable.
     
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,560) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Makes sense to me, the Melvin reads more like a German Pilsner while the Civil Life reads more like its style (Bohemian Pilsner/Czech Pale Lager):

    [​IMG]
     
  23. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,384) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
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    cross-posted from the Kölsch tasting thread:

    Side by side of the two German imports I was able to find - Gaffel Kölsch and Reissdorf Kölsch. 330ml bottle of the former, 500ml bottle of the latter. Gaffel is dated BB 01.27.2023 so assuming a year BB date, its about 6 months old. The date code on Reissdorf is T31257D - anyone know what the hell format that is supposed to be?

    They are almost identical in look, except that the head on Reissdorf is a little denser. Both have very good head retention as I drink them. Aroma of both are mostly grainy pale malt. Gaffel has a touch of earthy grassy component, Reissdorf a touch fruity. Reissdorf taste is milder, a touch sweet, and longer soft finish. Gaffel is drier, a little more herbal, and some mineralness, a bit of white grape in the finish. Both drink pretty easy. Overall I enjoy the Reissdorf more.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. ShutUpLiver

    ShutUpLiver Initiate (166) Nov 29, 2020 Missouri
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    I’m at Urban Chestnut, comparing the Forest Park Pilsner (a “pre-Prohibition” pilsner) with the Masterly Pilsner.

    The Forest Park Pilsner is pretty mute on the nose and very light in body, almost has the profile of an American lager. The Masterly is more medium-bodied, rounder on the palate, and hop-forward. There’s also much more complexity with citrus peel, wheat, and fresh-cut grass notes. The Forest Park pilsner is very crushable and enjoyable in its own right, but the Masterly appears to be more consistent with its style of a German pilsner.
     
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,560) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Did you perceive any hop flavor in this beer?

    Cheers!
     
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  26. ShutUpLiver

    ShutUpLiver Initiate (166) Nov 29, 2020 Missouri
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    Not much.
     
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  27. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,007) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
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    I decided to follow up my side-by-sides from the Kölsch tasting with an American style face-off involving my local Fair Winds and closer to national brewer Schlafly. In the tasting, I enjoyed Schlafly Kölsch more than Gaffel and less than Reissdorf, but never compared it to Fair Winds Quayside Kölsch.

    In the looks, what I observed for the tasting holds up here in that Fair Wind's Kölsch's head does not hold up while Schlafly's does. Schlafly's body color hasn't unexpectedly lightened in a week, so it's no shock that Quayside is the lighter colored beer here.
    [​IMG]

    Fair Winds' beer seems to have lighter scents, but a light grassy hop note is coming through in an appealing way. This counters the "somewhat spicy hops" I got last weekend. I'm getting more of the orchard fruit and white wine in Schlafly which isn't working as well for me as Fair Winds' brew.

    On the taste, the malt has a light toast in Shclafly's beer and it plays into the profile whereas the malt in Quayside Kölsch seem light and are easily brushed aside by fairly light bitter hop notes. There's some white wine like notes in the middle that tie these beers, but like their noses, Schlafly leans to the fruity side and Quayside leans to the grassy side.

    The can of Quayside Kölsch is dated a month and a half fresher than Schlafly. I am liking Quayside a bit more in this sitting as it weighs a bit less on my palate today, and has a bit of bitterness that cleans up each sip a little better. Both make it a little more refreshing on a day where that is what I am desiring.
     
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  28. ESHBG

    ESHBG Devotee (421) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Another PA(ish) Pilsner showdown! I've had both many times but not side by side:

    Troegs Sunshine Pilsner - 4.5%, bottle, BB 08/31/22.

    Sixpoint The Crisp Pilz - 5.4%, can, BB 11/16/22 (I am digging the rebrand too).

    Troegs pours a nice light yellow with a slight haze and a generous head, strong carbonation. Smell is some grass and sweet malts and I can definitely pick out the Hersbrucker hops amongst the Saaz. Taste is nice with some grassiness, a light cracker, some sweet in there and it ends dryly and a bit hoppy; a bit of an almost skunky smell and taste also, but not in a bad way.

    Sixpoint pours a clear light yellow with a generous head that lingers for a while, strong carbonation. Smell is interesting and there's sweet malts mixed in with a strong hops aroma. Taste is nice, definitely a Pilsner and it almost reminds me of original Prima Pils when it was really hoppy, some yeast in there also (very faint). Clean tasting and it ends the opposite of the Troegs and on a nice sweet but balanced note.

    Picking a winner was tougher than I thought that it would be but I'm going to give the nod to Troegs because it was more complex (even with the lower ABV) and kept its flavors as it warmed where the SP definitely mellowed and become a little muted as it warmed. Both are great beers, though, and I would drink either anytime. Budmo!
     
  29. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,007) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
    Society

    In searching for beers at one of the city’s highly regarded bottle shops, I ran into these two JW Lees, and decided to see if I could tell the difference. One is aged in Sherry casks, the other in Port.

    Luckily, in trying to get a good picture, I confused which glass held which. As such, I will never know if my guess, should I proffer one, is right.

    [​IMG]
    One glass seems a tad darker and a little more cloudy, which would make me ran towards that as the port barrel. The darker beer also seems to be holding a slightly thicker ring, though both are quite thin.

    In checking the aroma, there’s a raisin and leather in that glass which isn’t present in the other, further solidifying my thoughts. The other is more grape juice and white raisin vs prune and fig, though it also has a leathery note that seems inherent to the base of the beers.

    At first blush, the two are more similar in taste than nose. There’s a longer, drawn out, slightly bitter leather note in the darker beer, but that’s all I noticed in the first sips. The lighter colored beer seems slightly lighter in feel for some reason, could be psychological.

    Further sips reveal the flavors do have similarities to their aromas, though the differences still seem a tad less than perceived via the nose. There’s a hint of bakers chocolate in the darker beer, and just a generally more fruity vibe to the lighter brew.

    In this sitting, I’m liking the slightly more refreshing lighter glass more - presumably the sherry cask version. There’s just a little bit more complexity in the darker beer, but it’s not drawing me as much, and generally a “more complex” beer does that.

    The GF likes the sherry cask more (I didn’t mix up her pours), although I failed to keep any of the dregs of the port cask from finding her vessel. I did pour the bottom of the sherry bottle into a separate glass, and it does taste more like the lighter-colored beer, so I’m fairly confident that I discerned which is which.
     
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  30. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,989) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I recently came upon two Euro cheapies that were new to me, so I figured that it would be fun to do a little blind comparison. The third one, Zywiec, I'm familiar with, but how would the other two compare? These are all priced similarly, about $5 a pack of 500ml cans.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    1- good malt depth, Graham cracker and honey, nice pop. Good snap of hops, spice flavor. Very tasty!

    2- too neutral, nothing stands out. Bread crust plus toasted cornbread malt flavor. Barely any hops. Drinkable but not memorable.

    3- slightly favors hops, with some lemon peel and spice. Malt character is bready. Moderate bitterness. Tasty but could use more depth in everything.

    #1 wins in a clear rout.
    [​IMG]

    Zywiec
    Brunonia
    Cobitzer

    In order of preference. And I was very pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the Zywiec!
     
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  31. augustgarage

    augustgarage Poo-Bah (2,274) May 20, 2007 California
    Society

    I used to pick up a bottle or three of their baltic porter every week - definitely recommend it.
     
  32. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,989) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    A couple of weeks ago the beer manager at my local store saw me picking up the last 500ml bottle and struck up a conversation. He said that it's hard to keep in stock, and some people will get 6 plus bottles at a time. At $1.99 each I told him that they are very smart customers :sunglasses:. The value is really through the roof.
     
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  33. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,078) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I was shocked by how much I liked the sherry barrel version of that beer. I think it's my favorite version. I bought multiple bottles even though it's well above my normal $/oz tolerance
     
  34. Rug

    Rug Poo-Bah (1,888) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I did this same side-by-side with 2016 vintages last year! I'd definitely say your guess of which beer is which is correct. Though personally, I strongly preferred the port cask version. It just added another dimension to the beer
     
  35. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,007) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
    Society

    Thanks for a level of confirmation. I sort of expected to like the port more (as I did when I compared similarly finished Glenmorangie Scotches). Unlike the spirit battle results, I could see the possibility of having a different preference if I redid this tasting,
     
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  36. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,007) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
    Society

    Ok, time for iteration… like 5 or 6 of this side-by-side. My pure enjoyment top five beer Backwoods Bastard vs a rare treat Wulver that has oft vanquished my favorite beer when put under the comparison microscope.

    In this instance, Backwoods is nearing a year old and I can’t tell the age of Wulver, purchased recently though not from a place I can speak to their inventory management.
    [​IMG]

    First thing I can tell is that Backwoods kicks ass is appearance based nearly entirely on head production and retention. Aromas show a tang from Wulver, and while it’s more expressive because of this, it’s not in the trajectory expected.

    Cherry tang atop a beer that shows a nice barrel influence sums up my first sips of Wulver. A more distinct beer comes from Backwoods, mainly because there’s a level of carbonation with which Wulver seems unconcerned.

    Backwoods drives towards the earth, Wulver seems to drive towards the trees with its tang and near tartness (I’m leaning towards a hint more age, relatively, but that’s pure conjecture).

    Backwoods seem more composed, but also restrained or muted. My experience says the date of this BB has it nearing the end of its more expressive days, and I’ve no reason to change my mind here. That said, it’s still a solid beer - just a good notch below where I’d rate it at its peak.

    As to the comparison, Wulver seems to have skewed off the charts, barely. Interestingly, there is a level of complexity under the main notes. The tang in this bottle is just too forward to be ignored, though.

    So do I choose the still completely enjoyable but muted complexity of Backwoods or the interesting notes of Wulver that I have to make an effort to notice?

    Tonight, Founder’s beer gains a win, which I think still leaves it at least one side-by-side behind it’s always welcome competitor.

    The GF liked the Bastard more as well, and agreed with my assessment when she returned my inquiry. Maybe not the most ideal comparison for either beers, but we all have what we have in our beer stash, good or bad or meh. Cheers!!
     
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