Author Topic: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles  (Read 26991 times)

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #135 on: November 13, 2015, 12:35:03 AM »

As near as I can tell from this thread, "IT" would not fit as an element of describing beer in Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, or Mouthfeel. "IT" might go under Overall Impression as an intangible. But it sounds to me that to describe "IT" you need a new category called Mindfeel. "Tastes like drinking beer in Munich" is an example description that, to me, pretty much sums up that this indescribable "IT" you guys are talking about only exists in the minds of a handfull of people who love going to Germany, and talking about that they have been to Germany. I can just about guarantee that I will never know what "IT" is because I will never find myself drinking beer in Germany. So there is zero reason for me to care whether or not my beer has "IT" in it, because I wouldn't know "IT" if "IT" was there.

But, for those who have been to Munich, and who want to recreate that mindfeel, cool. What better way to get your beer-geek on?

For the record- I don't think you have to go to Germany or anywhere other than the where you live. You know a good beer when you have it- no matter where your feet are planted!


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Agreed. But to be able to say that a beer tastes like drinking a beer in Munich...

is a lot like saying star wars was awesome in the theater.....true, but very enjoyable on my high def TV also!
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
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O'Fest

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #136 on: November 13, 2015, 12:37:06 AM »
Little bit of my IT. Thick creamy head, persists all the way to the last sip. Aroma of malt and noble hops. Rich malt taste balanced with noble hops, that finishes very dry and crisp.





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Awesome looking beer. Is that your pils ?

yes..the batch after the one i sent you that really turned out as the best i've ever made.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #137 on: November 13, 2015, 12:39:32 AM »
Nope- no dead ringers here. I've been using the coined phrase IT somewhat tongue and cheek . To me IT just means those things you really like about a certain beer, that you strive or want to produce for yourself.\]


Yeah, I meant the 'guess mine didn't have IT' tongue in cheek, too.  ;)   I agree with you - we know a good beer when we smell and taste it. We all have high standards for our beers - when I really nail what I'm after, that's IT to me. Hard to do, though. BTW, that pils must be damn good - the ones of yours I've tried were killer.
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Offline germanbrew

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #138 on: November 13, 2015, 12:45:17 AM »
I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.

See my post directly above. I am pretty certain that at the very least rabeb, germanbrew, and I have done side-by-sides at home and can pick out "it" blindly simply by the aroma alone.

Yes, I always keep German lagers of the same style of mine that I'm drinking, to compare.  "It" is not in the slightest way related to actually being in Germany.  But I think it's more than mindful.  I first detected the flavor in beers I drank in Germany (where I became aware of it, which was really as much about me learning about beer as being in Germany), but imported beers that I drink in the US have it, too. 

I agree, too, that "it" is likely comprised of a combination of factors, not just some additive added (though wouldn't that be funny if it was.  "it" in a bottle). 

Hmmm, yeah, we're kind of at an impass, but it's very fascinating to see a wide range of responses from folks who clearly can identify with each other, and others who have no idea.  It would be fun to get in a room and sample beers together.  I wonder if the 'it'-knowers could better articulate it via everyone sampling. 

I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.  It's really no different than describing a nice barrel aged Chardonnay.  In that case a little oaky, some vanilla, that 'tank' aged character, alcohol.  This is no different, just distinct in German beers. 


Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #139 on: November 13, 2015, 12:48:11 AM »
Nope- no dead ringers here. I've been using the coined phrase IT somewhat tongue and cheek . To me IT just means those things you really like about a certain beer, that you strive or want to produce for yourself.\]


Yeah, I meant the 'guess mine didn't have IT' tongue in cheek, too.  ;)   I agree with you - we know a good beer when we smell and taste it. We all have high standards for our beers - when I really nail what I'm after, that's IT to me. Hard to do, though. BTW, that pils must be damn good - the ones of yours I've tried were killer.

that's the beauty in this craft -right?  I've drank enough beers around this world to know what i like and what i don't like. since becoming a brewer, i now have the potential ability to recreate something similar to my favorites. but if a guy hands me a one of his beers and says"this is the best damn thing I've ever made and its exactly what I want it to be"- I'd never try to convince him otherwise. that's his right, his feelings about it, so good for ya and carry on-even if I don't agree or might change something if i brewed it.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #140 on: November 13, 2015, 12:50:43 AM »
I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.

See my post directly above. I am pretty certain that at the very least rabeb, germanbrew, and I have done side-by-sides at home and can pick out "it" blindly simply by the aroma alone.

Yes, I always keep German lagers of the same style of mine that I'm drinking, to compare.  "It" is not in the slightest way related to actually being in Germany.  But I think it's more than mindful.  I first detected the flavor in beers I drank in Germany (where I became aware of it, which was really as much about me learning about beer as being in Germany), but imported beers that I drink in the US have it, too. 

I agree, too, that "it" is likely comprised of a combination of factors, not just some additive added (though wouldn't that be funny if it was.  "it" in a bottle). 

Hmmm, yeah, we're kind of at an impass, but it's very fascinating to see a wide range of responses from folks who clearly can identify with each other, and others who have no idea.  It would be fun to get in a room and sample beers together.  I wonder if the 'it'-knowers could better articulate it via everyone sampling. 

I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.  It's really no different than describing a nice barrel aged Chardonnay.  In that case a little oaky, some vanilla, that 'tank' aged character, alcohol.  This is no different, just distinct in German beers.

please don't take my use of the work mystical as negative or intended to offed or demean. I just simply mean there is a very clear and definite understanding of what you[and others] want, like, and hope to achieve...and that's ok- I get that.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #141 on: November 13, 2015, 12:51:46 AM »
Nope- no dead ringers here. I've been using the coined phrase IT somewhat tongue and cheek . To me IT just means those things you really like about a certain beer, that you strive or want to produce for yourself.\]


Yeah, I meant the 'guess mine didn't have IT' tongue in cheek, too.  ;)   I agree with you - we know a good beer when we smell and taste it. We all have high standards for our beers - when I really nail what I'm after, that's IT to me. Hard to do, though. BTW, that pils must be damn good - the ones of yours I've tried were killer.

that's the beauty in this craft -right?  I've drank enough beers around this world to know what i like and what i don't like. since becoming a brewer, i now have the potential ability to recreate something similar to my favorites. but if a guy hands me a one of his beers and says"this is the best damn thing I've ever made and its exactly what I want it to be"- I'd never try to convince him otherwise. that's his right, his feelings about it, so good for ya and carry on-even if I don't agree or might change something if i brewed it.

Exactly.
Jon H.

Offline germanbrew

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #142 on: November 13, 2015, 12:55:35 AM »
I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.

See my post directly above. I am pretty certain that at the very least rabeb, germanbrew, and I have done side-by-sides at home and can pick out "it" blindly simply by the aroma alone.

Yes, I always keep German lagers of the same style of mine that I'm drinking, to compare.  "It" is not in the slightest way related to actually being in Germany.  But I think it's more than mindful.  I first detected the flavor in beers I drank in Germany (where I became aware of it, which was really as much about me learning about beer as being in Germany), but imported beers that I drink in the US have it, too. 

I agree, too, that "it" is likely comprised of a combination of factors, not just some additive added (though wouldn't that be funny if it was.  "it" in a bottle). 

Hmmm, yeah, we're kind of at an impass, but it's very fascinating to see a wide range of responses from folks who clearly can identify with each other, and others who have no idea.  It would be fun to get in a room and sample beers together.  I wonder if the 'it'-knowers could better articulate it via everyone sampling. 

I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.  It's really no different than describing a nice barrel aged Chardonnay.  In that case a little oaky, some vanilla, that 'tank' aged character, alcohol.  This is no different, just distinct in German beers.

please don't take my use of the work mystical as negative or intended to offed or demean. I just simply mean there is a very clear and definite understanding of what you[and others] want, like, and hope to achieve...and that's ok- I get that.

Yep, agreed.  I get wound up myself thinking it's 'mystical' sometimes, because it seems to be so hard to reproduce. 

It's funny, I'm a decent brewer and can nail a lot of styles and recipes pretty well.  Even some German styles, but Helles and Pilsners have been particularly elusive to really get right.  I can brew nice ones, but...for practical explanations...comparing with commercial versions mind land short.  But anyhow, thanks guys for your understanding and emotional support for us OCD German beer brewers. :)


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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #143 on: November 13, 2015, 01:00:07 AM »
It's hard to say something constructive here without sounding like your taking a jab or poking fun but I'll try.

Take North American Trappist/Belgian Abbey style beers prior to the Candi Syrup revolution. There was an approach that used large, complex grain bills to replicate beers that often contained 2 malts and some syrup. It was the case of inadvertently making something more difficult than it had to be. Now you can consistently taste beers that give the originals a run for their money at the very least and best them given the best examples. I'm not saying this directed at the German beer crowd at all, but it is a case where vast improvements and results were obtained by dramatically simplifying the ingredients and process to a certain degree.

Striving for perfection in anything is difficult when your approaching your goal asymptotically. Great expenditures in effort offer only small bits of improvement. Without insulting anyone's efforts or goals, could it be that your making certain aspects of the process too difficult? Are you overlooking something simple?

Again, grain of salt here, as I am not a lager guy as of yet.

Offline germanbrew

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #144 on: November 13, 2015, 01:00:52 AM »
I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.

Yes, that's "it". It is a very distinct perfume of "freshness" - fresh grain, fresh flowers.

And this is one of my concerns.  That it's all about super fresh ingredients somehow that we can't get.  Because a good example, even if in bottle for more than 6 months, tastes like the barley and hops were growing in the field the day before, then suddenly became beer...oh, and throw in some sulfur and process notes. 

Oh, I know, here's another descriptor.  It's true about German bread and sausage, too.   It's very 'honest' tasting, as in you can taste every ingredient and step of the process distinctly, but it's overall presentation as a whole is very harmonious.  That said when describing German Pils malt, Noble hops, lager yeast and lager fermentation.  But the distinctness of the ingredients of these beers are flavors that I like.  The way they are individually identifiable in the beer, but part of a whole, is really nice.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #145 on: November 13, 2015, 01:02:11 AM »
Jim, we probably sound crazy. Bryan has never been to Germany, but he knows what "it" is.

To 14% percent of the population, cilantro tastes like soap. Fortunately, I'm not one of them.

Between 22% and 50% of the population have a gene which causes them to be able to smell "asparagus urine". I am one of those people, and it's the weirdest smell ever. It's not like anything else, and it's really difficult to explain to people who can't pick up on it.

While most people can taste diacetyl in extremely large amounts, only an estimated 25% of the population can taste it in the amounts that it typically occurs in beer as a fault. The same goes for DMS.

I could go on and on with phenols, acetaldehyde, and a host of other chemical compounds. The fact is that there are a number of us who seem to be able to pick up on a certain character that exists in a lot of German lagers. As I previously stated, I have non-brewer relatives who know little about beer but can still pick up on the flavor enough to know when a beer doesn't have it. I didn't describe "it" to them - I just realized that any beer without "it" does not taste "right" to them.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #146 on: November 13, 2015, 01:04:30 AM »
I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.

Yes, that's "it". It is a very distinct perfume of "freshness" - fresh grain, fresh flowers.

And this is one of my concerns.  That it's all about super fresh ingredients somehow that we can't get.  Because a good example, even if in bottle for more than 6 months, tastes like the barley and hops were growing in the field the day before, then suddenly became beer...oh, and throw in some sulfur and process notes. 

Oh, I know, here's another descriptor.  It's true about German bread and sausage, too.   It's very 'honest' tasting, as in you can taste every ingredient and step of the process distinctly, but it's overall presentation as a whole is very harmonious.  That said when describing German Pils malt, Noble hops, lager yeast and lager fermentation.  But the distinctness of the ingredients of these beers are flavors that I like.  The way they are individually identifiable in the beer, but part of a whole, is really nice.

likely more true and accurate then we realize.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #147 on: November 13, 2015, 01:06:31 AM »
The trouble is that if a thing can not be described, there is no way of knowing what we're talking about, so how do you know if people can or can not detect it? At some point the discussion turns into a type of a mystic séance.

At times, this thread reminds me of Ed Meese and porn.  I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it!

However, unless these guys are having us on - and I don't think they are - they're chasing something ethereal with the hopes of catching it.

Good luck to them.
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rabeb25

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #148 on: November 13, 2015, 01:08:16 AM »
Simple answer. Go grab a 4 pack of Urqell in cans, and tell us what YOU taste.

Offline germanbrew

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #149 on: November 13, 2015, 01:08:34 AM »
It's hard to say something constructive here without sounding like your taking a jab or poking fun but I'll try.

Take North American Trappist/Belgian Abbey style beers prior to the Candi Syrup revolution. There was an approach that used large, complex grain bills to replicate beers that often contained 2 malts and some syrup. It was the case of inadvertently making something more difficult than it had to be. Now you can consistently taste beers that give the originals a run for their money at the very least and best them given the best examples. I'm not saying this directed at the German beer crowd at all, but it is a case where vast improvements and results were obtained by dramatically simplifying the ingredients and process to a certain degree.

Striving for perfection in anything is difficult when your approaching your goal asymptotically. Great expenditures in effort offer only small bits of improvement. Without insulting anyone's efforts or goals, could it be that your making certain aspects of the process too difficult? Are you overlooking something simple?

Again, grain of salt here, as I am not a lager guy as of yet.

Absolutely valid point, very much so.  And, the simpler I can make this process, the better, as far as I'm concerned (one reason I don't do decoctions - I don't think it's the answer, and I really don't want them to be a dependency).   I started off simple and have been additively increasing complexity in the things I try.  If something doesn't make a difference, I tweak other aspects, to see what they do, step back, and go back to basics.  Sometime, I think some not obvious relationship can be found where two things may interplay with each other...thus the complexity sets in.  So then I'll go back and brew something simple and see how that does. 

But totally, we're always thinking we're missing something simple.  And to the point that maybe it's something German breweries do that they don't even realize or think about.  Something so obvious, we're missing the forest for the trees.

Derek, I think we'll get you sucked in. :)  As Ron Smith, who does the Germany and Belgium tours (each country every other year) always tells me when I scoff at Belgian beer...Belgian and German beers are more in common in many ways than different.  I really need to get to Belgium.  I'd guess they most/all have 'it' as well, just taken in a different direction.