08 March 2010

The bad Germans

Last week was Bad German beer week, inadvertantly, as I suffered through three lagers I picked up recently on the mistaken assumption that they might taste nice. No such luck. All three are from the Weissenoher brewery in Bavaria.

Benedikiter Pils begins innocently, with a big fluffy head on top of a light-looking pale body. In fact, it's really quite heavily textured with only a light fizz to it. The flavour is somewhat concentrated as well. Intense, in fact. It's very bitter, clumsily so, and is full of that big plasticky taste which Barry has led me to associate with hop extract, even though hop extract is not listed as an ingredient. The finish has an unsettling note of stale cigarette smoke. In fairness, the bottle I had wasn't exacty fresh, with only six weeks before expiration, but I don't believe that all of these pungent tastes developed with age: I'd say they're meant to be there. If you're looking for a clean and refreshing pils, this is one to keep at arm's length.

I expected better things of Kloster-Sud Spezial, probably because the name put me in mind of the excellent Pinkus Müller Special. Again, it looks lovely -- a beautiful shade of red-gold -- but the taste is an absolute clanger. The first warning is a musty smell, which comes through in the flavour as a waxy staleness, with almost a note of honey when combined with the massive overly-sweet malt base. This 5.4% ABV lager is heavy, doughy and generally no fun at all to drink.

I've no idea why I thought Eucharius was a wheat beer -- I didn't even read the label before I poured it -- but that's the reason for the inappropriate glassware on the left there. It is, in fact, a märzen, one of the deep amber-coloured ones. It has a lot in common with its Weissenoher brethern, having the same stale nose and plastic waxy flavour. But it's lighter than the Spezial and much more easy-going than either. More manageable, but still not what I'd call enjoyable: where the intense bitter notes have been removed there's nothing but wateriness replacing them.

A disappointing bunch, all in all. Brewed for palates rather different from mine, I suspect.


  1. I have to say I concur with you there I did not like any of them either, particularly the Marzen which I was looking forward to tasting, very dissapointing.

  2. I can empathise. I've not tried any of these three, but it reads a familiar story. Although stale cigarettes is a new one! I'll have to try that out of morbid curiosity.

    Being too lazy to look it up, do you know what regions these beers were from?

  3. Forchheim. Forchheim all.

  4. I recognise the "plasticky" taste you talk about, but I didn't know it was linked to hop extract. I'll have to read up on that now.

    The plasticky taste is one of the main things that puts me off some of these beers.

  5. Hmm, that might be my fault. I find that if I get that taste, it's mostly, but not always, in beers that use hop extract. So this has somehow become ingrained in my brain, and it keeps popping up in my own tasting notes. Then again, there are beers that I'm surprised to find use hop extract, so mabe it depend what extract or how heavy haded the brewer is using them :)