Author Topic: The importance of making a story to sell beer, I mean the importance of place  (Read 2479 times)

Offline dilluh98

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Saw this and had a chuckle:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/strange-land-brewery/the-importance-of-place/1188058711258100

I'd bet that many of the pilsners that have come out within the last year are probably brewed with ale/hybrid yeast as a way to push product quicker (not saying this is a bad practice, per se). I haven't tried this one yet but the requirement to craft a story cracks me up sometimes. Calling it "top fermented" makes it sound fancy. Kind of like Guinness's recent "nitrogen infused" IPA.   ;D

Offline BrodyR

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Yea.. that's goofy.

Offline chezteth

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It's like an infomercial for beer. I'd be interested to try it if I ever get the chance.

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Offline dilluh98

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I'll give it a go and report back. Honestly, there's a good chance that several other pilsners from around Austin are hybrid/ale yeast considering how fast new pilsners are popping up within the past year or so. Strangeland may just be the first to admit to the practice. Haven't been super impressed with much of the rest of Strangeland's line so we'll see.

Offline blair.streit

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I can't see the Facebook link (don't have an account), but if they're saying that Strangeland is brewing their Pils with Ale yeast that's interesting.

I had a taste of their Pils (made with Barke pils malt) at their taproom and is was pretty good. There was a subtle flavor I couldn't quite place that I wasn't a fan of. I chalked it up to "yeast character" that I didn't love, but it wasn't particularly off-putting and I thought the beer was pretty drinkable, so I set out to buy some at retail. That was about 6 months ago.

Since I liked the Pils I had on draft, I bought a 6-pack of their Dubbel at Whole Foods. It was so new that they had "temporary" labels stuck on blank silver cans. I got such a horrible off flavor that I couldn't even finish the first one I opened.

I originally assumed that this off flavor must be autolysis (they're trying to can condition these beers so I figured that would cause some "growing pains"; a few people I talked to confirmed that but said that later packaging runs did not have this issue). Every month or two I've bought another 6-pack of one of their beers, but I keep finding that same flavor (same flavor exists in cans of Pils and Dubbel). At this point I've pretty much given up.

A couple of days ago I actually poured a can of their Dubbel into a glass and confirmed the taste was still there (that 6 pack has been in my fridge untouched for a couple of weeks). Then I poured it into a glass and left it to settle overnight. I expected to see a huge slug of yeast at the bottom, but to my surprise there wasn't too much there.

At this point I'm not sure if what I'm tasting is actually autolysis or some other odd yeast-derived flavor, but I'd characterize it in the neighborhood of salty/meaty. If it's phenolic or ester-derived, it's so over the top that I'm completely confusing it with something else. In fact, I'd love to hear what other people think when they taste it.

EDIT: Oops it's not Barke, it's Wyermann Bohemian

« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 05:17:16 AM by blair.streit »

Offline Village Taphouse

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This is timely.  I was just in Austin a month ago and go back next week to get my freshman longhorn set up for his freshman year.  I will look for this beer while there next week.  I don't really care about the story and I don't mind it one way or the other.  I personally would not want to produce what amounts to a blonde ale with an American hop and call it a pilsner.  I make plenty of blonde ales and I call them blonde ales.  I really have no issue with anyone putting ingredients together to make a beer but I have an issue when someone uses 2-row and then Summit and Columbus hops and calls it a Kolsch.  I find it misleading.  Most people who drink this pseudo-pilsner won't know what top-fermented means and they won't know that using Sterling hops in a pilsner is unusual.  All that said, I always applaud and celebrate good beer and go by the slogan "good beer is good beer".  Just call it what it is!  :D

EDIT:  I was having a discussion with some of my local homebrewers about making a beer where everything about it pointed to "pilsner" except the yeast (one brewer doesn't have the ability to ferment that cool and wanted something pilsnery).  I said that if you used good malt and noble hops and got the water composition right and everything else was done properly... you could use a healthy blob of WLP001 or 1056 and make a very nice beer if it fermented on the cool side (60 or so).  When beers like this are made with lager yeast, a lot of the flavor comes from that yeast and 1056 or WLP001 are just not going to create those flavors but they will make a decent and drinkable beer that you could hand to the uninitiated and they would enjoy it. 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 07:55:49 PM by Village Taphouse »

Offline HoosierBrew

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I personally would not want to produce what amounts to a blonde ale with an American hop and call it a pilsner.  I make plenty of blonde ales and I call them blonde ales.  I really have no issue with anyone putting ingredients together to make a beer but I have an issue when someone uses 2-row and then Summit and Columbus hops and calls it a Kolsch.  I find it misleading.  Most people who drink this pseudo-pilsner won't know what top-fermented means



Couldn't agree more. Call it what it is. It's misleading.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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This is timely.  I was just in Austin a month ago and go back next week to get my freshman longhorn set up for his freshman year.  I will look for this beer while there next week.  I don't really care about the story and I don't mind it one way or the other.  I personally would not want to produce what amounts to a blonde ale with an American hop and call it a pilsner.  I make plenty of blonde ales and I call them blonde ales.  I really have no issue with anyone putting ingredients together to make a beer but I have an issue when someone uses 2-row and then Summit and Columbus hops and calls it a Kolsch.  I find it misleading.  Most people who drink this pseudo-pilsner won't know what top-fermented means and they won't know that using Sterling hops in a pilsner is unusual.  All that said, I always applaud and celebrate good beer and go by the slogan "good beer is good beer".  Just call it what it is!  :D

EDIT:  I was having a discussion with some of my local homebrewers about making a beer where everything about it pointed to "pilsner" except the yeast (one brewer doesn't have the ability to ferment that cool and wanted something pilsnery).  I said that if you used good malt and noble hops and got the water composition right and everything else was done properly... you could use a healthy blob of WLP001 or 1056 and make a very nice beer if it fermented on the cool side (60 or so).  When beers like this are made with lager yeast, a lot of the flavor comes from that yeast and 1056 or WLP001 are just not going to create those flavors but they will make a decent and drinkable beer that you could hand to the uninitiated and they would enjoy it.
August Schell makes a nice tasting Pils that is all Sterling. It at least tasted nice to me, and the head Brewer confirmed what I had read, all Sterling. They do make some good lagers.

I suspect they are using Wyeat 1007 for the linked beer.

Edit - Ken, have you had Hans Pils from Real Ale? Or Live Oak Pilz? I like both of those in TX.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 08:22:46 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline blair.streit

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Edit - Ken, have you had Hans Pils from Real Ale? Or Live Oak Pilz? I like both of those in TX.
I'm a fan of both of these too. I keep a 6-pack of Hans' around at all times, as it's a good beer for a hot day.

Offline Village Taphouse

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I haven't tried either of those but I certainly would try them and be open-minded.  I also have no issue with Sterling or any other non-pils hop (Liberty, Crystal, Mt. Hood, Santiam, Glacier, Styrian Golding, Vanguard, Ultra, etc) being used in a gold lager but I just have an issue with a beer being called something but it's not made in the traditional way.  If I made a pilsner with Mt. Hood and Crystal (which I would envision being delicious) along with Barke Pils, some 2124, etc. I might just called it an American Pilsner because I used American hops.  I remember making beers like this when I was a new brewer and a number of people gave me static because my recipe was not really for a pilsner and I don't really want to be judgmental.  I just don't want to make something and call it something completely different.  I do understand that marketing comes into play and homebrewers don't have to worry about it.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 08:46:38 PM by Village Taphouse »

Offline blair.streit

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If you get a chance, try some of this on tap and try it in the can. I'd be really interested to see what other beer nerds think is going on there (I'm a bit perplexed).

Offline Village Taphouse

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Any places that you know of that carry it?  When I was in town last month it was only for about 36 hours or so and the lack of Uber in Austin hampered my mobility a little bit.  I ended up trying Luchesa Lager and Austin Amber at the airport waiting for my flight and at a restaurant I think I tried something called Fireman 4 or something (a blonde ale of sorts... tasted like it may have used an off-the-map yeast... I detected a very subtle funk) and that was about it which was discouraging.  The heat index on the days I was there were 111° and 118° so I was looking for "refreshing" at that point.  Cheers.

EDIT:  Does anyone think that the "historical european top-fermenting yeast--commonly referred to as "ale" yeast--which is capable of fermenting at relatively low temperatures." is either 2565 or 1007?  I could see either of them working to make a nice beer but I'm not sure that I would call the resulting beer "pilsnery".
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 09:28:11 PM by Village Taphouse »

Offline dilluh98

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For those without the Facebooks:

[A note from Strange Land Brewery]

What does it mean to celebrate your place? This past May we introduced the newest member of our beer family, The Austinite Pilz. It’s a top-fermented, can-conditioned pilsner made in the historic tradition of original pilsners.
We begin with a single malt (Weyermann® Bohemian Pilsner Malt), which is a lager-style base malt produced from the Czech barley varieties Bojo and Tolar. The Czech-grown grain is processed specifically for "Bohemian" characteristics to impart a full body, golden-blond color, and complex maltiness to the finished brew. It's perfect for authentic Bohemian pilsners and Belgian ales. Then we add a single hop, Sterling, which is an American form of the Czech Saaz hop. And finally, we add an historical european top-fermenting yeast--commonly referred to as "ale" yeast--which is capable of fermenting at relatively low temperatures.

Beer Less Traveled

Coming to terms with making a pilsner wasn’t easy for us. Our commitment as a brewery is to produce “Beer Less Traveled”. This means we’re adamantly seeking styles that represent the road less traveled--beers that have either lost their unique identity or are commonly overlooked. And a pilsner can hardly be described as unique or overlooked in today’s modern beer landscape. However, we did uncover something interesting.

A Pilsner We Can Be Proud Of

Because the pilsner is such a common style, our research began in the late 13th Century in Pilsen--a city in Bohemia in the then-Austrian Empire. We learned that historically pilsners were, in fact, top-fermented beers produced in Pilsen, but that in 1842, Pilsner Urquell introduced the world’s first lagered pilsner which instantly became an enormous success. Modern brewing techniques and the advent of refrigeration further advanced the lager’s popularity so much so that today, a top-fermented pilsner is hard to find.
While we appreciate a finely crafted lager, our commitment is to honor the beer less traveled. Because pilsners have rarely been produced with ale yeast for almost two centuries, we knew we’d found a beer we can honestly celebrate.

Place Matters

Then and now, pilsners pay homage to their place of origin. Place matters. The importance of a place inflicts its gravity upon us. It becomes the setting of our lives. To ignore our current place is to ignore our lives. At Strange Land we wholeheartedly believe that the nature of being grounded and fully present in our specific context is to truly celebrate life, so we created the Austinite--a pilsner that celebrates our place. Place matters. Austin matters. And therefore, we present The Austinite Pilz--our historical yet postmodern tribute to our place.

Offline dilluh98

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Edit - Ken, have you had Hans Pils from Real Ale? Or Live Oak Pilz? I like both of those in TX.
I'm a fan of both of these too. I keep a 6-pack of Hans' around at all times, as it's a good beer for a hot day.

Hans Pils is decent. Live Oak Pilz is better, IMO (and I would bet my house they don't use an ale strain for that beer). Someone mentioned Fireman's 4 which is a blonde ale from Real Ale... that is one of my most hated Austin beers that people seem to think is good. I'd rather drink PBR and it'd be a coin flip between Fireman's and Shiner Bock (bleck). It is sweet beyond cloying and I can confirm every draft, bottle or can of it has the "very subtle funk." Not a quality beer at all.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 09:51:25 PM by dilluh98 »

Offline dilluh98

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At this point I'm not sure if what I'm tasting is actually autolysis or some other odd yeast-derived flavor, but I'd characterize it in the neighborhood of salty/meaty. If it's phenolic or ester-derived, it's so over the top that I'm completely confusing it with something else. In fact, I'd love to hear what other people think when they taste it.

I've had nothing but bad experiences with their ploughshare saison out of the can. Muted and muddy is all I can say. If you get one thing right on a saison it should at least be dry. It wasn't.