Archive for July, 2011

BJCP: Light Lagers 1D and 1E


In an effort to expand on the “education” part of my “Beer Reviews, Education and Nonsense” motto, I am starting a new series of posts that will focus on beer styles.  It is my intention to write a paragraph description about each category (there are 23 categories) and each sub-category (generally there are 2 to 4 but sometimes more for each category) that will give you an overview of each style. Each description will describe the general aromas, colors and tastes you could expect to taste if you drank a beer from that style.

Admittedly, I am writing this series for self-growth and as a study guide for the beer judge certification exam and Certified Cicerone exam I will be taking later this fall. However, I thought maybe you would be interested in learning more about the specific beer styles.  I will be starting at the beginning of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) and I will examine and describe each style (even the ones I don’t like).

If you are an overachiever OR if I am not moving fast enough for you OR if you find that my descriptions are not in-depth enough for you AND you just want to geek-out some more, then please go to www.bjcp.org.  There you will find all the beer geek information you can handle!

This week I will be describing subcategories 1D and 1E of light lagers, BJCP style #1.  These two subcategories aren’t dominated by American macro-brews like 1A, 1B or 1C, in fact, you would have a hard time finding a comercial American example of a Munich Helles or a Dortmunder Export. In general the two subcategories are characterized by crystal clear, straw colored beer with low to mid alcohol, more pronounced hop and malt flavor, meium-light body and refreshing.

Style 1D: Munich Helles

This style is a medium-bodied, malt showcase beer.  Because this is a German beer there are no adjuncts used in brewing and the all malt recipe produces a smooth beer that is more filling. The flavor is malt driven meaning that the hops play a supporting role by balancing the grainy sweetness.  There will be a subtle spicy hop aroma and flavor but no fruity esters from the yeast hiding under the malt.  The beer will pour a pale gold and crystal clear with a medium lasting creamy white head, again resulting from the all malt recipe.  A medium carbonation ensures the smooth malt flavor shines through without a carbonic bite.

Information courtesy http://www.bjcp.org

Vital Statistics:                 OG: 1.045 – 1.051

IBUs: 16 – 22                    FG: 1.008 – 1.012

SRM: 3 – 5                      ABV: 4.7 – 5.4%

Commercial Examples: Weihenstephaner Original, Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Gold, Bürgerbräu Wolznacher Hell Naturtrüb, Mahr’s Hell, Paulaner Premium Lager, Spaten Premium Lager, Stoudt’s Gold Lager

 

Style 1E: Dortmunder Export

Dortmunder Exports are characterized by their balance. Everything from its color and aroma to its mouthfeel and flavor is in balance.  This medium-bodied beer pours crystal clear, light to deep gold in color and produces a long lasting head.  A sweet malty aroma is void of any fruity esters but a light noble hop –herbal or spicy – aroma balances it.  The initial malt sweetness is balanced by a crisp medium carbonation and a light hop bitterness that lingers after each drink.

As a side note, export is a beer strength category.  If you see export on any beer it generally means that the beer has a higher alcohol content –to provide extra stability in shipping the beer long distances- and many times it is charged a higher tax in its home country.


Information courtesy http://www.bjcp.org

Vital Statistics:                 OG: 1.048 – 1.056

IBUs: 23 – 30                    FG: 1.010 – 1.015

SRM: 4 – 6                      ABV: 4.8 – 6.0%

Information courtesy http://www.bjcp.org

Vital Statistics:                 OG: 1.048 – 1.056

IBUs: 23 – 30                    FG: 1.010 – 1.015

SRM: 4 – 6                      ABV: 4.8 – 6.0%

Commercial Examples: DAB Export, Dortmunder Union Export, Dortmunder Kronen, Ayinger Jahrhundert, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, Barrel House Duveneck’s Dortmunder, Bell’s Lager, Dominion Lager, Gordon Biersch Golden Export, Flensburger Gold

Bolded beers are my personal recommendations.


food.pairing: Speedway Stout


I love imperial stouts but when it comes to food there isn’t much that can stand up to their flavor intensity.  So when you are pairing food with an imperial stout think big.  These beers will have lots of roasty/smoky/coffee notes that make them perfect matches for smoked meats or veggies as well as dense chocolate or coffee deserts.  But don’t be afraid to serve this beer AS dessert. It has everything you need in a desert: bittersweet chocolate notes, a hint of coffee and a wonderful warming sensation.

Speedway Stout Food Pairing

Alesmith Speedway Stout

Alesmith Speedway Stout

perfect.pint: Pilsner


In an effort to expand on the “education” part of my “Beer Reviews, Education and Nonsense” motto, I am continuing my series of posts that will focus on beer glassware.  Specifically, I will be talking about the glass’s shape and why that particular glass is an
appropriate vessel for a specific beer style.

 Pilsner Glass

 

Pilsner

This glass is designed specifically to showcase the clarity of pale colored beers specifically lagers.  These glasses are commonly found in two different sizes (8oz and 12oz) but their geometries are similar. The narrow shape of the glass allows the drinker to see through the beer and enjoy the cascade of bubbles lazily drifting up from the bottom of the glass.  If you are looking for a new pilsner glass look for one that has an etching at the bottom.  The etching will increase the amount of bubbles rising from the bottom and all those tiny bubbles will be releasing small amounts of aroma long after the initial pour. The slight taper at the top of the glass is much smaller than the average pint glass and so it can facilitate a dense head if poured correctly.  These glasses are a little thicker than most and this helps to keep lagers at their optimum serving temperatures longer. Pilsner glasses also have a taper towards the bottom which creates a thicker and relatively heavy “foot” for the glass to stand on.  This foot increases the stability of the glass and dresses up its appearance.

breweriana.coasters


In an effort to expand on the “nonsense” part of my “Beer Reviews, Education and Nonsense” motto, I am continuing my series of posts that will focus on breweriana.  There will be larger categories such as beer coasters, beer signs, and beer posters, etc.  However, beer movies, beer commercials or anything else beer related can and probably will be included.

Today, I will continue with beer coasters.  I have quite a collection of beer coasters as I am sure you do.  They make great souvenirs because  they are light, they fit easily into our pockets or carry-on bags and they are free! But even more than that, I think coasters are perfect souvenirs because that little piece of chipboard can remind us of a particular drinking session.

I found this gem in a box of miscellaneous coasters I received for Christmas a few years ago.  I didn’t think much of it until I was looking through them to find coasters for this blog series.  Turns out beer wasn’t the only thing willkommen in Munich that year.

Munich 1972

Front

I love the green felt hat and I want to get one next time I am in Germany, however, I think I will pass on the feather duster.

Munchen

Back

food.pairings: Pairing Categories


food pairings

In an effort to expand on the “education” part of my “Beer Reviews, Education and Nonsense” motto, I am continuing my beer and food pairing series.  Specifically, I will be focusing on particular beer styles and discussing why certain types of food pair well with that style.  The great thing about writing about beer and food pairings is that they can be very subjective and are a matter of personal preference. In short, there is no one right answer. I love all kinds of food and I love all kinds of beer so I will be writing with an all inclusive attitude.  If you are a little pickier about your food and beer then I encourage you to comment on the posts and make your own suggestions. Remember, there is no one right answer.

Before we start talking specifics, it is important to understand some basic concepts and this week I will introduce basic pairing categories. Beer and food pairings will likely fall into three different categories: complementary flavor pairings, contrasting flavor pairings and complex flavor pairings.

Complementary flavor pairings occur when the beer and food share a similar taste profile and build upon each other to create a more intense flavor. An example of a complementary food pairing would be pairing an American wheat ale with Buratta cheese. The subtle hops, fruity esters and creamy texture of the beer enhance the cream filled Buratta’s texture and flavors.

Contrasting flavor parings occur when the beer and food flavors work against each other and keep any one flavor profile from dominating.  A good example of a contrasting flavor pairing is hoppy flavor pale ale with savory foods like pizza or burgers. The hops and the carbonation cut through the grease and cleanse and refresh the palate.

Complex flavor parings happens when the beer complements and contrasts with the food.  A good example of complex flavor pairings would be pairing an American amber ale with a spicy meat chili.  The contrasting malty amber ale will tamp back the spices while the toasty malt accentuates the browned meat. The is example is all the more complex because the carbonation will cut through the chili spices and savory oils and lift them off your tongue refreshing your palate before the next bite.

homebrew.label: Razbeery Wheat


A few are good, some are OK, most are BAD and all are my homebrew labels! Let me know what you think, or better yet let me know what you think of the beer, even if you haven’t had it.

Raspberry wheat

I made this beer for a sorority reunion.  I think I used 5 or 6 pounds of raspberries in a five gallon batch.  Yep, that is a lot of berries. It turned out to be standard fruit beer. I know I “borrowed” the print from somewhere but I used Photoshop (one of my first Photoshop attempts) to spell out “Razbeery wheat” and grunge it up a bit.

BJCP Light Lagers: (1A, 1B, 1C)


In an effort to expand on the “education” part of my “Beer Reviews, Education and Nonsense” motto, I am starting a new series of posts that will focus on beer styles.  It is my intention to write a paragraph description about each category (there are 23 categories) and each sub-category (generally there are 2 to 4 but sometimes more for each category) that will give you an overview of each style. Each description will describe the general aromas, colors and tastes you could expect to taste if you drank a beer from that style.

Admittedly, I am writing this series for self-growth and as a study guide for the beer judge certification exam and Certified Cicerone exam I will be taking later this fall. However, I thought maybe you would be interested in learning more about the specific beer styles.  I will be starting at the beginning of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) and I will examine and describe each style (even the ones I don’t like).

If you are an overachiever OR if I am not moving fast enough for you OR if you find that my descriptions are not in-depth enough for you and you just want to geek-out some more then please go to www.bjcp.org.  There you will find all the information you can handle!

This week I will be describing three of the five sub categories of light lagers -BJCP style #1.  Even though this style has some outstanding craft and import examples it is dominated by American macro-brewers.  In general the first three subcategories are characterized by crystal clear, straw colored beer with low to mid alcohol, light body and refreshing.

Style 1A: Lite American Lager

It probably comes as no surprise that this is a Budmiloors love fest. The beers in this category have very little hop or malt aroma.  When poured into a glass there may be a white frothy head but it quickly dissipates.  The color ranges from pale straw to light yellow.  There may be a slight corn-like sweetness present from the use of adjunct grains – corn or rice.  The adjuncts also lighten the body and dry out the finish for a “refreshing or thirst quenching” quality.  Lite American lagers are highly carbonated which produces a “carbonic bite” and adds to the light finish and perceived bitterness.  Because these beers are generally lower in alcohol and calories they may seem watery.

Information courtesy http://www.bjcp.org

Vital Statistics:                 OG: 1.028 – 1.040

IBUs: 8 – 12                      FG: 0.998 – 1.008

SRM: 2 – 3                      ABV: 2.8 – 4.2%

 Commercial Examples: Bitburger Light, Sam Adams Light, Heineken Premium Light, Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light, Baltika #1 Light, Old Milwaukee Light, Amstel Light

Style 1B: Standard American Lager

There is very little difference between Lite American Lagers and Standard American Lagers.  There is still very little hop or malt aroma, the white frothy head will dissipate quickly and adjuncts are still used to lighten the body and dry out the finish. Standard American lagers are also highly carbonated which increases the perceived bitterness and thirst quenching ability.

Standard American Lagers vary slightly from each other in the malty to bitterness ratio but most are balanced to appeal to the broadest range of drinkers. These beers are the big brothers to the lite lagers.  They can have a slightly higher bitterness and they can be slightly darker ranging from pale straw to a medium yellow.  These beers light to light-medium in body and are also slightly higher in alcohol.

Information courtesy http://www.bjcp.org

Vital Statistics:                 OG: 1.040 – 1.050

IBUs: 8 – 15                      FG: 1.004 – 1.010       

SRM: 2 – 4                      ABV: 4.2 – 5.3%

Commercial Examples: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller High Life, Budweiser, Baltika #3 Classic, Kirin Lager, Grain Belt Premium Lager, Molson Golden, Labatt Blue, Coors Original, Foster’s Lager

 

Style 1C: Premium American Lager

Premium American lagers are similar to Lite and Standard American lagers but the major difference is in the ratio of malt used to brew these beers.  Adjuncts may be used but at smaller quantities and this increases the body and darkens the beer slightly – pale straw to golden.  The increased malt proportions mean the beer will also need more hops to balance the beer’s sweetness so these beers will have an increased hop aroma (herbal or floral) and an increased bitterness.  Even with a higher bitterness level, you may perceive these beers to be maltier because the hops are used only to “cut” the malt sweetness and not make it bitter and do nothing to tamp back the malt flavor.  These beers are still highly carbonated and refreshing but the increased malt proportion increases the body and makes these beers a little more filling.

Information courtesy http://www.bjcp.org

Vital Statistics:                 OG: 1.046 – 1.056

IBUs: 15 – 25                    FG: 1.008 – 1.012       

SRM: 2 – 6                      ABV: 4.6 – 6%

Commercial Examples: Full Sail Session Premium Lager, Miller Genuine Draft, Corona Extra, Michelob, Coors Extra Gold, Birra Moretti, Heineken, Beck’s, Stella Artois, Red Stripe, Singha

Bolded beers are my personal recommendations.

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