The ability to accurately describe "it" would sure be helful though. If you just write "lacking that German "IT" flavor and aroma" I'm afraid you'll tune up a lot of brewers. Recognizing IT is only 1/25 of the job.
This is the closest I can articulate. Sorry, I really wish I could do better. Terms are so subjective. And I do wonder if there's a genetic element to it (after seeing years of threads of folks who know what it means, and folks who don't). I liken it to the ability to smell asparagus in your urine. Some folks can, some can't.
The 5 elements of “it” in German light lagers.
1) Aroma and first impressions
It: Fresh malt and hop aroma – sign of good things to come. Very clean, slightly sweet but refreshing
Not it: No aroma. Metallic, plastic, organic off aroma coming from the glass. Or overwhelming, cloying malt aroma, or strong, pungent hop aroma overwhelming the malt.
2) Getting intimate - First Taste
It: the “it” we refer to – fresh grain, depth of character and bright notes of a fresh field of grain and flowers. Sometimes spicy, particularly with Czech and East German Pilsners. But clean and balanced with the malt. Sometimes a minerally, salty impression from East German examples.
Not it: Dull, single dimension of malt. It’s there, but not light, fresh and rich. Overwhelming hoppiness as either flavor or strong bitterness.
3) Balance of character
It: the overall impression is of balance between malt, bitterness and hop flavor. Often floral, slightly sweet, and grainy. Rich, bright grainy flavor.
Not it: Dull and flat, one dimension maltiness. Like old malt or darker malt that is heavy on the palate. Or muddy, overly complex flavors as from too many malts.
It: Clean, crisp mouthfeel. Refreshing and you want to take another sip. Clears out quickly.
Not it: Either thick and sweet or dry, puckering and thin.
5) Finish - Ahhhhh
It: briefly lingering malt flavor and aroma. If you lightly exhale your breath and sniff, you get fresh malt graininess, a bit of hop aroma, and depth of aging character, slight lingering note of sulfur.
Not it: Cloying sweetness or astringent dryness, almost bitter. Lingering hop bitterness that hangs in your mouth for a long time. Yeast bite.