74 / 100
Tried on-tap at The Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a very faintly hazed, deep golden colour, with a beautifully heady ice-cream cap of foam that stays solid and sculpted. Body is light, and the carbonation is pretty coarse. Looks the business for the style though, perhaps a little more haze would seal the deal.
Nose is classic Kellerbier. Big noble hops with a slight nutty note from the grains, which gives a completely savoury note. It turns slightly grassy with the entrance of the yeast presence, which gives a slightly rubbery or almost meaty aroma. It's what it should be though, classic and spot on for the style.
Taste is similar, with a slight metallic edge. There's still lots of organic, green hop notes, and a brassy tilt to the grain note. Yeastiness is still noticeable, giving it a warm, fusty flavour which works well.
Feel is quite light, but with a slightly over-boisterous carbonation. This makes it a little bloating as it goes on.
Overall though, it's a pretty riproaring Keller. It's a style that requires some thought and attention—it's not going to just wow you like an IPA, but when done well can genuinely earn a place in the pantheon.
72 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a deep orange colour, with gorgeous foamy head: pillowy, marshmallowy and uneven. Gorgeous lacing and density. Bit of cloudiness. Yeah looks about as good as a lager can get, yet not entirely sure it's in line with style, so I have to give it a qualified score.
Smells very grainy. Sweet. Big cereal note with oatmeal husks and a touch of honey sweetness. Touch bready. Smells a bit headachey, nothing special too, yet alright. It's in line with style but it takes some getting used to.
Taste is fairly standard. Big grain character throughout, fairly pure and unadulterated with barley grain, touch of honey, and oatmeal. Good pure beer grain character though, without any adjunct hanging off it. Some noble hop bitterness on the back, subtly grassy. Slightly sweet overall though and could use a bit more cleansing earlier. Still, a pretty clean, very decent and polite lager. Nothing extraordinary but pure beer flavours well made.
Decent body actually; bitty on the back but not very drying. Full, grainy.
Yeah for a lager it's full of character. Quite meaty, grainy, sweet. But crisp in the final analysis and quite drinkable.
80 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's at Alexandria.
Pours a very clear golden hue with a thick, solid and majestic head of pure white. Lacing forms in pleasant streaks and bumps down the glass. Carbonation fine and refined. It looks excellent: everything a good pilsner should.
Clean, leafy hop character, slightly herbal, slightly medicinal, with a scheming sweetness underneath. Grainy characters come through when swirled, becoming more and more prominent as it warms slightly. Faint citrus comes across too, in a sweet-dry character like lemonade powder.
Palate is clean, crisp and extremely pleasant. Light metallic hop presence on the entry, which develops into a clean crisp vector through the centre, always connected to the grain German malt basis. Finish is clean, with a clinging proper pilsner bitterness: distinguishing it beautifully from the more mundane forms of pale lagers. Crispness on the back makes it light and drinkable, extremely sessionable and refreshing.
Feel is light and crisp with a zestiness, but not an overt effervescence. Love it.
Overall, this is a shit-hot beer. So well crafted, plenty of character, but drinkable and refreshing as hell. If I ever feel myself doubting the greatness that can be exhibited by a pale lager, I'll revisit this one right here. Superb stuff.
84 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Steve's Cool Booze in Kingsford.
Pours a lovely, long hazed golden yellow colour, a heller weizenbock indeed. Head is a frothy, slightly creamy white, but surprisingly lacks some persistence. Body is quite light, but it holds very fine carbonation when tilted. Looks good overall.
Nose is very potent, and full of phenolics and esters. Big banana and bubblegum, with a pungent pear character coming through strongly as well. Some pepper, but not a huge amount of spice: very minimal clove, for example. There's also a slight vegetative, or herbal character to it, it reminds me a little of lavender: it's not a character I believe I've smelled in a wheat beer before, but it goes nicely. Overall, it's really big, and very flavoursome.
Taste is also good, and surprisingly smooth and creamy. More of those pear characters, which become a bit more like pear skin towards the back as they meld with a little booziness. Clean phenols through the centre of the palate and a slight bite of heat on the back, moderated solvent and a suggestion of earth. Despite all of this, it's quite smooth, and maintaining the illusion of sweetness without being too thick or chewy. It's quite a masterfully done thing.
Overall, yes: this is excellent stuff, a timely reminder of how good Weihenstephaner are. I love experimentation, and crazy craft formulations, but we should always remember the more traditional extreme beers. This is a fine example of how to make something big and exciting, but also keep everything in balance. Love it.
74 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours with exceptionally large amounts of carbonation: swirling, frothing anarchy inside my weizen glass. This promotes a ridiculous head of fluffy, meringue white that sits in puffy insolence over the top of the glass. Body has all the clarity you expect, but this seems more to be about the head. Indeed, the carbonation seems to force it ever higher, meaning that after a few minutes where I though it had settled down, it pushed over the edge of the glass. Very vibrant in any case.
Although banana is the expected dominant character here, I get pear, pear and more pear. Fresh sharp skin characters and a slight metallic twang, possibly from the wheat. It mingles with a faint peppery yeasty character, perhaps the clove spice playing against the pear. It's sharper and brighter than a typical hefeweizen nose, and has a uniqueness all to itself. Great stuff.
Taste is light and pleasant, but perhaps scoured of character a little more than the nose suggested. Here there's a light, sweet grain character and a faint smoothed bitterness towards the back, reminiscent of that metallic character on the nose. The fruitiness sticks around the edges, but doesn't really provide any depth or complexity. It leaves a touch of pear skin on the finish. It's fine, really, but I was hoping this could blow my conceptions of Kristals out of the water.
Feel is good. Despite the overt carbonation, it's rather soft on the palate, with a light cushioning of bubbles on the back.
Overall, there's no doubting this is a well-crafted and well-made beer. It's also a very good Kristalweizen, a style which I feel is often overlooked. Of the ones I've tried, I think Schneider's is better, but this makes a very worthy stablemate to Weihenstephaner's other excellent beers.
83 / 100
Always having been a huge fan of Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, it shocked me to realise I'd never reviewed their dunkel. Well, that's something that needs rectifying... Served in my half-litre Franziskaner weizen glass.
Pours a lovely deep and cloudy orange-brown colour, which glistens and shines in the light. A beautiful colour for a dunkelweizen. Head is a thick and boisterous frothy of yellow-tinged white, that foams and crackles its way down to half a centimetre of film by the end, and leaves a bit of separated lacing. Carbonation is strong and boisterous, although looks like there's enough body to give it some trouble. It's a truly magnificent looking dunkelweizen.
Nose is redolent with delicious weizen characters, giving the classic banana and spice aromas. But it's also broadened with sweet caramel, brown sugar and banana bread, that give this wonderfully refined character and deepen the experience. Spice comes through with prickly clove and biting fresh pepper and ozone. Great nose. Just wonderful.
Taste is also good, although it's mellower than it might have been. The spiciness on the nose disappears here, although the languid, sweet toffee characters come through more prominently. Hint of banana through the centre, and there's a long, lingering back palate that gives off an odd freshness like lightly chlorinated water. Feel is light and fluid - whatever body the malty caramel may have suggested is a little absent.
A lovely beer, and an excellent dunkelweizen. As good as it is, I still feel that while the Weihenstephaner Hefe makes me think it's the peerless pinnacle of the art, this dunkel makes me think there may be another better one out there.
But maybe only one.
69 / 100
Pours a pleasant deep reddish brown with a full and frothy boisterous German head of off-white foam. Lacing is pock-marked and speckled down the inside of the glass. Pretty still in the glass, however, leaving it flat and heavy. Looks good though.
Nose is full of German yeast character with a slight whiff of roasted cereal. Quite bright and roasty, dark but leavened, and with a refreshing twinge of noble hop coming through giving a slight greenness. Nice.
Taste is similar. That very constructed and clear German palate. Nice malt on the front, with a good grain mesh behind it holding it up. Dry finish, with a surprisingly lingering back of light roasted goodness. Feel is clear and crisp.
Nice brew. Very clear and clean and very classically German. It must be, I've mentioned "German" in every paragraph of this review. A good exemplar of the style. Light and subtle in places, but with loads of character in others.
76 / 100
Gorgeous pour, rich red-tinged black colour with a vivacious, piquant head that bounces and froths all around the glass before settling into a very thick beige crown. There is slow but populous bubbling in the brew, not much lace around but it's sticky as hell. An exciting-looking beer.
Nose is a rich, complex and poignant affair. First note is kind of nutty, with an organic, charcoal edge which gives way to a slightly tart mélange of fresh fruit aromas - plummy and cherry-y. Lots of cinnamon and chocolate behind there as well, it's sweet and dark and just blossoming with goodness. Again, I'm excited by the smell.
Taste is intriguing, with a nice blend of flavours. Raisins and dates with aspects of oak and some cocoa. An odd fruit juice flavour is a bit of a spoiler, makes the mid-palate seem a bit insipid, whereas the fruit on the front is dark and complex. Finish is a pleasant bitterness, roasted without being burnt, and like a well-roasted chocolate coffee bean. There is, tragically, not much more to it - very pleasant, but doesn't have the raw charismatic power and intricacy of the nose. This isn't helped by a bland, slightly thin feel, which for the most part is bad but picks up on the back thanks to a spirited, spiritous, kick of alcomohol, which isn't burning but gives it a slight nudge.
Aaaargh! The agony of admitting that such a great-looking, great-smelling beer from these master German brewers, could be a letdown on taste! It's a lovely brew, it just tastes and feels thin, and the nose promised so much more. I don't want to denigrate this great brew any further, so I'll finish by pointing out that it is extremely drinkable.
79 / 100
O....K... My understanding of 'weizenbock' just took a light beating. Pours a pale golden colour with haze, strong carbonation and decent head, retaining well. Leaves some very sticky, but thin, lace behind. Looks different to what I expected - well, lighter. Apart from that looks very nice.
Smells very banana and clovey... Lots of sweet and spice on it. Slight plum character as well, hint of vanilla and toffee. Smell is nice, complex and sweet. Like a sweeter version of the hefeweizen.
Taste is interesting, with a distinct spice coming through from the start, big flavour of clove with cinnamon as well. Has a tasty 'banilla' character as well with a light, quite tropical fruit sweetness, blended with a hint of a young red wine astringency. Slight tart melon character on the back, and a delicious peppery bitterness just on the very back palate, with a pleasant but slightly astringent hoppy phenol just clipping off the finish. Actually, has a lot of phenolic character throughout, thanks mainly to the particular sweet and spicy balance.
Mouthfeel is deliciously sticky, with a lot of foam from the haze adding texture to the palate. This is another excellent - although very different - weizenbock. Rich, challenging flavours, with an excellent balance achieved through, basically, a lot of everything. Lots of malt and funk-ay yeast, with some nice German hopping. Definitely an interesting drop, keeps you focused from start to finish.
72 / 100
Pours a rich red-brown scorched earth colour with a nice beige head, nice and sticky with very pleasant sticky lacing. Lots of carbonation, but slow and migratory. Looks like a star show, and everything else about it is also very nice.
Nose is a sour, unripe fruit affair, although overridden by a malty, caramel sweetness. Has aromas of fig, berry and some compost funk. A light floral character with hints of tree bark, and a bitter chestnut character. Initial impulse is to dislike but overall it's an enticing smell thanks to that overriding sweetness. Interesting, anyway.
Taste is very pleasant, with a caramelised fruit sweetness underlying an earthy, organic bitterness, with a lightly roasted coffee character just hinting itself. An element of vegetable matter in there, with a slight funk, while finish has a slight nutty character to it and leaves the palate with a nice aftertaste, maybe a bit sweet and yet a very light ashiness.
Mouthfeel is a little thin but it carries itself well, certainly a lot of lagery tingle in there; the carbonation I saw doesn't disappoint.
This is a very pleasant beer, with nice organic flavours achieving a good balance between the sweet, the sour and the bitter. Not quite quaffing quality, but an extremely pleasant sipping beer, and I'd say a good one to share with mates.
57 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour, quite a lagery colour, with furious bubbling promoting a really excellent white head of medium sized bubbles. Sinks slowly but surely and doesn't leave much lace, although a tilt gives a better impression: thin but nice. Looks like a decent beer.
Interesting nose, definitely weizeny with a distinct banana character backing up behind some pleasant peppery spice. Hints of parsley and basil and a little vinegar. Not as complex as some, but hits the right notes.
Taste is not quite as thick as the nose, flavours dance around but never really hit you with any power. Hints of banana, clove and cinnamon on the front, stewed apple on the back with maybe a light spicy sprinkle. Sweetness is a bit overpowering, largely due to the lack of spice. I guess it's the filtering of the yeast that lowers the spice impact, but it also lowers the gravity of the finish. Trickle out to a tame - if pleasant - aftertaste with a whisper of pepper and a mild bittersweet texture.
Feel is pleasant enough, but feels a bit flat. A bit more tingle might add more life to the palate. This is pretty much what I could expect. It's a good beer, watered down. All the flavours are there but they're meek and subdued. Having said that, because the impact is lowered it's extremely drinkable.
I'm maybe being a bit harsh by comparing this to the hefeweizen, because they're obviously meant to be different, but I just feel this can't escape the shadow of the bigger, better beer. This is probably more of a chugging beer than its big brother, but I just prefer the more full-flavoured one.
Pours lighter than I would have expected, brown-orange colour. Head is off-white and quite humble. About half an inch of it maybe, but retains well. Bead coming from one source in the corner but is quite strong nevertheless. Lacing is lovely, cradling sheet around the edge. Looks nicht sehr dunkel, bitte quite good anyway.
Smells very wheaty, but at the same time quite chocolatey. Very interesting, really; spicey with a clove-and-herb kind of character but balanced with a soft chocolatey aroma, very sweet and with a hint of molasses. No hops, almost a rosewater character for some reason. Not a very powerful nose but extremely pleasant.
Taste is actually quite spicy, and while there are hints of that sweet, chocolatey nose, they're mostly absent here. The stronger, bitey weizen flavour is tempered by a darker malt that provides a sweetness but doesn't let the weizen esters fly and bloom quite as freely. Taste is actually quite phenolic, with a tart soda kind of character, a big gulp of ginger and a hint of eucalyptus. I tried this immediately following the hefeweißbier and this flavour is darker, but if they were pieces of music I'd say this one were simply transposed lower, as a lot of the notes are the same, it just registers lower.
Still has a nice spicy finish, and the mouthfeel is reasonably interesting, but it's a bit too tangy as a complement to the sweeter malt. As with the Hefeweißbier, a bit too bitey to be greatly drinkable.
77 / 100
Pours a hazy, yellow colour with enormous white head and good, busy carbonation bead. Head sinks slowly and evenly across the top, but sticks around impressively for the most part. Clings to the glass when tilted, but doesn't leave huge amounts of lacing. Quite exemplary wheat beer.
Very spicy nose with a huge clove hit. Hints around the edge of coriander, banana and a very metallic, chemical aroma. Mostly that sweet but spicy aroma though. Again, exemplaring. Reviewing this now having drunk it so often in the past makes me realise that I've unconsciously spent years reviewing weizens against this one. This just embodies hefe smell.
Taste has far more banana character on it than the nose. Taste is sweet and light with a threshed wheat kind of character followed by a long, tangy banana flavour for most of the palate with hints of basil, coriander and oregano. The back is a nice spicey brush of the tastebuds with a strong clove character and hints of fresh cut grass.
Mouthfeel is quite tingly and almost bitey thanks to the beer's apparent acidity. Otherwise feels slightly thin, I suppose it's appropriate but I think there's enough flavour to expect a thicker body. Overall, while it's beautifully complex and rich in flavour, the sensation it gives me is ever-so-slightly offputting because it is quite tart, like unrripe fruit, and slightly bitey, rendering it not quite quaffable. But it's a prime example of the joy that wheat can produce, and a fine, fine piece of brewing art.
56 / 100
Pours a pale golden with lots of little sediment floaties, head is snowy with visibly large bubbles towards the top. Leaves a very nice, sticky film of lacing around the edges. Slow bead runs through the glass. Looks refreshing and interesting.
Nose is disappointingly lax, with a lot of the things I don't like about lagers being prominent. A strong whiff of bread yeast mixed with honey. A distinct graininess like puffed rice on there as well, smells like it might give you gas. Getting over the initial disappointment though it's not too bad, but certainly nothing special.
Taste is very grainy, with a long wheaty, ricey king of texture to the palate. There is a slight caramel sweetness on the middle and then cut off by a subtle hoppiness that's quite difficult to detect. Hops are very German in their earthy acidity. I would guess Hallertauer is at least used, if not on its own. I have to bear two things in mind here: one, that this beer is past the best before date on the bottle (by 2 days); and two, this is a style designed for quaffing while singing and dancing to an oom-pah band. On both counts, it scores quite well. I don't think the flavour is greatly diminished by being old, although the hop profile may have flattened a bit. It's also quite enjoyable for downing.
Unfortunately a bit sweet for me, but it's cleaned up by the end, there's a minimum of yeast and it has a soft, velvety mouthfeel to boot. Not my ideal quaffer because it's a smidgeon heavy on malt, but at 5.8% it's a decent party beer. Bring on the bratwürst!
Pours a very light cloudy yellow gold with a thick and happy head of white bubbles. Lots of lacing, and lots of very fine carbonation. Looks great; I only wish I were sipping it in a gigantic beer tent in Munich.
Lots of bready notes on the nose - huge yeast characters, wet grain, a little honey, and some organic floral notes. Almost an oxidised wet cardboard character as well, but that's probably giving too negative a connotation. It's quite pleasant.
Quite clean on the palate, an initial sweet floral honey character, clarified by a light phenolic bitterness on the back palate. Surprisingly smooth - I would have expected more of a sharp crisp character to it. The back note of acetone, still with that light honey fragrance lasts for a long time. It lingers a little too long to my mind.
It's a reasonably drinkable beer - goes down easily, although the flavours jangle a little in the mouth, leaving me unsure as to whether they really fit together that well. Still, it's smooth enough, and presumably easy to quaff from litre steins. That's what we're really after, right?
Very pale yellow colour with a rocky, loose-bubbled head of white foam. Not much retention or lacing. Some bead, racing through the very thin looking body. Can't say it looks terribly appealing.
Metallic, funky yeast aromas on the nose. Definite notes of barnyard, bread yeast and rotting grains. Really quite offensive. Can't say I like this at all.
Taste is very flat - a thin, watery sugar character with a late belt of fungus encrusted metal. Very weak, unpleasant and offensive, bordering on undrinkable. Mouthfeel woefully thin and flat.
Quite certainly a very unappealing and unpleasant beer. Devoid of all but the most offensive characters, leaving it like a rasp across an open wound.
I can only say that either this bottle was off, out of date, poorly stored or brewed under license by unhygienic fishmongers. I can't understand how my review is so out of whack with the general opinion, but truly the bottle I had was appallingly bad.
Pours a pale golden with steady carbonation feeding a nice fluffy head. Dissipates slowly to leave a nice sticky lacing film around the edge. Clear and transparent. A good looking pils.
Nose is very nutty with a fair amount of spicy hoppiness - saaz maybe. A bit of unwelcome yeast aroma but it's not overwhelming. Could use a bit more complexity, needs more hops maybe.
Taste is a bit weak and watery, again with a bit of an unwelcome sticky yeast. A few hops on the front palate. The finish is a bit dry and bitter which is good but the main palate is not tasty enough to impress. It's decent drinking but I'd expect more from Weihenstephaner. Could use more bittering hops and aroma hops, really. Just a bit flavourless and the yeast seeps through too much. Mouthfeel is fizzy and overcarbonated.
Pale appearance, not weizen-pale but not English-ale gold. Pours with a very generous, slightly off-white head, but that dissipates very quickly. Slow bead of carbonation. Slight lacing. Nice, but not great.
Slightly rich, earthy hop aroma and a slightly sticky honey at the back. A bit of sticky yeast lingers. Standard lagery nose really, fairly aromatic without being pleasant. In fact it's unpleasant.
A fair amount of honey throughout the palate, not really desired. Slight yeasty/hoppy bitterness on the back, a bit of a sticky mouthfeel; body is quite thick and slow, with very little carbonation upon drinking. This is overly sticky, and quite unpleasant. When I'm drinking a lager I expect some sort of gas. Having said that, the palate is not very nice, yes, but it's fairly well balanced. This is drinkable enough and it's what I would expect given the style.
75 / 100
Pours a deep ruddy brown colour, with an initial light foam head of yellow-white bubbles. Fair amount of carbonation, and after a while the head gives up and just leaves a light ring of foam around the collar. Minimal lacing. Colour is good, but the head is disappointing.
Pleasant rich and sweet characters on the nose - honey, malt extract, a little rum, and a grassy, vegetative or light phenol character. It's not huge, but there's lots of pleasant characters in there - a very good example of a strong German bock.
Taste is a lot better, with an excellent dark richness on the front, some toasted dryness on the back. Lots of malt - a huge amount, in fact - leaves this feeling quite heavy right up until midway through the palate, when the roasted characters tilt their head and make a dry plateau. This leaves my palate ready for the next sip. Mouthfeel is a tad too carbonated to my mind - that's probably a stylistic thing, but I really think a smoother or creamier feel would help, especially with the heavy malt sweetness that is predominant.
Ultimately, the beer is exceptionally drinkable. No mean feat for a beer weighing in at 7.4% - there's not a hint of it on the palate, although the rich heavy character intimates that something is going on here. A big beer, and a very good doppelbock - an exemplar of the style.
81 / 100
Pours a creamy caramel brown with a thick frothy off-white head. I poured the yeast in with it for the full hefe character, so it was quite cloudy. Not a bad thing at all in my book.
Fantastic rich and aromatic nose. Smells like sweet tomatoes with citrus fruit, herbs, a touch of cloves and bananas. There's a siltiness in there, even. Overall, there's layer after layer. A very nice nose.
Sweet initial flavour flettens out to a savoury taste of bread, finishing with a frefreshing bitter tang. A wonderful hefe. It's really pleasant and refreshing. It has a great deal of rich complexity for something with a relatively standard ABV. The advantage of that is that is supremely drinkable.
An excellent beer, one of the best hefes, and probably one of the best wheat beers.