Re-tasting some German summer Weisses
What better summer undertaking than a blind tasting of some German weisse beers? So it's 101 F outside and I gather up a few of my past favorites for an impromptu tasting. Focused on hefe-weisses this time: Ayinger, Paulaner, and Weihenstephaner... All 3 tasted blind.
Brew #1: First notes are "very pleasant... light creamy texture... nothing particularly memorable, though pleasant. definitely summer material..."
Brew #2: "A little drier and punchier than Brew 1... not crazy about the taste... In comparison it brings out very slight lemony notes in Brew 1..."
Brew #3: "Mild clove notes up front..."
Concluding notes: Brew #2 is decidedly least favorite. 1 and 3 are about a tie, neither seems great... slight edge to 1 perhaps....
Now check the codes....
Brew 1: Ayinger
Brew 2: Paulaner
Brew 3: Weihenstephaner
What I found interesting about this is that in years past these have consistently been 3 of my favorite hefe-weisses. But a lot of that tasting was on draft at one of the (world's frankly) best german pubs... These were from bottles... I'm surprised at least one of them didn't really stand out...
.... to be continued. Intend to continue this with some more hefes, some Urs, some Kristalls...
Round 2: Konig Ludwig vs. Schneider, also tasted heads-up blind as above.
Brew #1: Medium-dry... tasty, nothing not to like...
Brew #2: About similar dryness... a little more taste complexity...
Concluding notes; Both of these come off as more "quintessential" hefe-weizen than the previous 3. Narrowly prefer Brew #2.
Brew #1: Schneider Hefe-Weizen
Brew #2: Konig Ludwig Weissbier
This is an interesting palate-checker because for years one of my favorite H-W's in the bottle has been Konig-Ludwig (also very good on tap)... but it's always had a very distinct flavor profile of banana and clove... I recall pointing that out at a blind tasting several years ago and friends of mine picked up on it immediately...
But I'm really not getting it at this tasting... it's almost like the recipe has been slightly altered... Either that or I'm serving it too cold and the flavors are a bit locked-up, will let it warm up a bit and re-sample... Any other K-L fans out there?
Now on to some dark weisse.... Ayinger vs. Weihenstephaner...
Brew #1: "Okay,m fair... something "funny" about the taste of this... just not loving it"
Brew #2: "Definitely better, more interesting flavors... But not great on its own right... just a solid 'fair to okay'..."
This was overwhelming for Brew 2....
Brew 1: Weihenstephaner Ur-Weisse (Dunkel Weizen)
Brew 2: Ayinger (Dunkel Weisse)
This is a great series of Weiss tastings. I find that generally Ayinger has a bit more soul than the others, though Weihenstephan certainly has good yeast and the right pedigree. It may be that Ayinger has a better feel for working with wheat malt. Anyway, thank you for these reviews.
Kind of hard to have a true comparison unless you know you are comparing beers of similar age. Many bottled import hefeweizens are pasteurized, so that will account for the differences you perceive from what you experienced in Germany.
Over the years my favorite bottled hefeweizen has been Hacker Pschorr - good balance of phenolics and esters with a chewy mouthfeel -but I don't touch them beyond 6 months from bottle date (many are dated to be good for a year).
On tap, Julius Echter or Weihenstephaner are my go to choices.
For blonde weizenbock - Weihenstephaner Vitus is a marvelous beer and a good price at around $3.50 for a .5 liter.