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Budvar, aged @ the source

This is copied/stolen from th eRoger Prtz Beer pages site, "The premium 12 degree version of the golden lager - 5 per cent ABV - is the one widely exported and is famously lagered or cold-conditioned for 90 days".

Does Plzen stil aged their beer this long? Do any so called micro Pils do this? I have yet to have an American Pils that comes close to Budvar or Plzen.....

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  1. You're right.
    There are no American Pils that come close. Maybe one or two micros that are in the DISTANT ballpark, but none that truly compare when you get right down to it.
    I doubt that any of the micro ones age long enough...that seems to be a major shortcoming of micro products in general.

    6 Replies
    1. re: The Professor

      Originally most micros made ales, justfor that reason. Now that some are making Pils, they ought to do it right.

      1. re: MOREKASHA

        What's your opinion of Lagunitas Pils?

      2. re: The Professor

        I certainly can't speak to all of the thousands of 'micro brews' in the USA, but here in San Diego we often encounter local brews that have been aged for a year or more (or part of the blend has been aged that long), sometimes in oak barrels.
        Are you speaking of pils in particular? Can't say how long those are aged, not that many made here anyway. But in general, brewers around here are certainly not afraid to age their beers.

        1. re: juantanamera

          The current thing for wood/barrell aged beers is a whole 'nother animal. Usually, those are limited edition, rare type of beers. What I'm aiming at the a day to day type of thing. The aging for a trad Czech Pils doesn't add the same wood finish. If I am correct it's more of an aging thing and softens the beer out than impart any woodiness or oilyness to it (Dof fish Palo Santo). Jim, I've had the Lagunitas Pils and it doesn't have those softness or floweryness that I expect from a good Czech Pils, or at least a fresh or bottle conditioned Czech Pils.

          1. re: juantanamera

            As morekasha points out, those barrel aged brews will generally be $pecial beer$, not everyday beers (some of them are indeed quite good, too).
            Most American breweries seem to age about 30 days (and some brewpubs have even been known to brew, ferment, filter, and serve a batch of beer in a week or 10 days...although the taste usually reflects that kind of rush job).
            Some ales can be a bit forgiving with regard to aging time (though they still benefit from aging), but good lager/pilsener beer probably should get at least 60 days or more (Perfection Beer, one of the late, great, Horlacher brewery's brands, was aged 9 months. It was a very good beer which was not priced in the stratosphere despite the extra attention to its manufacture).

            Of course, there are so many variables at play...tank space, economics of scale and volume...and very often, finding that middle ground between what is traditional and ideal and what the public will minimally accept or has come to expect. (With regard to that, let's face it...both the micro and brewpub segments often cover their shortcomings by proclaiming flaws to be part of the ''style", in some cases actually succeeding in 'educating' the consumer to accept and even embrace what is actually a sometimes lesser quality product. It seems as though they are succeeding in that as well. Rather amusing, actually.)

            1. re: The Professor

              Yes, barrel aged beers are still something of a specialty, but I was thinking, for example, of Port Brewing Company's Old Viscosity, a beer which includes a significant portion of barrel aged beer, and is pretty regularly available at a reasonable price.
              In conversations with local brewers, I've learned that many of them are willing to hold at least some of there beers for extended periods of time. Perhaps, since I tend to seek out unusual or small production beers, my observations do not apply to U. S. craft brews in general.

        2. For what its worth Id say Victory's Prima Pils ranks up there with any top quality Pilsner on earth. Yes I include the great Pilsners of Czech and Germany in that. It certainly blows away any American pilsner, micro or macro. Now granted PP is a fairly extreme version of a German style Pilsner with loads of noble hopping and a sharp crisp peppery snap. I realize this is fundamentally different from the softer more perfumy Saaz hop soft water style developed in Plzen and what I wouldnt give to be able to sample a FRESH Pilsner Urquell straight from the brewery. But the notion that "no American Pils comes close" is a statement Id have to disagree with most certainly.

          And Im not sure how long Victory conditions their beers but seeing as how they are in one of the few states with a strong German tradition of brewing lagers and they may be the best of the bunch there, I wouldnt be surprised if they adhere to the longer Old World lagering styles rather then rushing it through and marketing away the flaws especially since Bill Covaleski is a German trained lager beer brewer.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Insidious Rex

            Jeez, I keep on hearing how good Victory is. I don't get it. Let's face it, it's easier and cheaper to make ales and quick pils then to di it the tradtional way. I understand it completeely. I just wish we could call these New Worlds Pils something else. I loved Sierra Nevada pale bock, however it's only made in limited amounts. While not a Pils, it was stored for a bit andis lucious. If Sierra can't getthe return on that beer, who can?

          2. Ok, two points:

            1) I can't name more than a handful of American micro-brewed Czech Pils. And of the ones that I've had like Lagunitas, Sly Fox Charles Bridge, I agree they really don't come close to many of those I've had from the Czech Republic.

            2) I (we) have access to many examples of German pils here in the States (e.g. Jever, Paulaner, Radeberger, Dinkel Acher, Warsteiner, Bitburger, Weltenburger). I however, as a German pils fan, am as eager to drink our versions such as Victory Prima, Stoudt's Pils, Sly Fox Pikeland, Victory Braumeister Pils, as often as these (and do).

            Whether or not American versions are "lagered" for 90 days or 30 days I don't know. Good question though.

            Thanks

            1. http://www.beer-pages.com/2009/04/wor...

              If the above is the article that you are referencing then we should all be worried.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chinon00

                Truly bad news. Budvar & Staropramen are stoll good, consistenatly. Plzen, not so much. I am very sad.

                1. re: MOREKASHA

                  What about Zatec? I'm enjoying their bright lager right now.

              2. Aging a 5% pils for 90 days is not the be-all end-all requirement for a quality pils. Probably their low flocculating yeast that requires them to do this so they don't have to filter -which would strip flavor. Who knows, maybe at 60 days it tastes even better (due to fresher hop flavor), but just doesn't look quite as clear.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LStaff

                  speaking of which, I'm pretty happy with a good keller pils.