Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hallertau Imperial Pilsner

excuse the cellphone shot, I seem to have left my camera in Tampa

The Beer:
Hallertau Imperial Pilsner
The Brewery: Boston Beer Company of Boston, Massachusetts
The Style: Strong Lager
ABV: 8.8%
Brewer's Description: Yes, we're a little obsessed with hops. Every autumn for over twenty years, Jim Koch has traveled to one of the oldest hop-growing regions in the world, the Hallertau region of Bavaria in Germany, to hand-select Noble Bavarian hops, including the Hallertau Mittelfrueh variety. This special variety is considered to be one of the best in the world, prized for its unique taste and aroma. Samuel Adams® Hallertau Imperial Pilsner is a celebration of these extraordinary hops. This beer is one of the hoppiest in the world, without being overly bitter. With the first sip, you will experience an explosion of some of the world's finest hops. And we mean “explosion” in a good way. Brewed as a showcase for the hops, this bold brew highlights the spicy, citrus flavors and aromas of the Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops that are abundant in the recipe. The intense hops flavor is balanced with the slight sweetness from the malt. The brew remains pleasantly well-balanced from beginning to end, due to the quality of the hops, and continues to always be, well, "hoppy," providing hop lovers with an amazing beer drinking experience.
Available in 12oz. bottles.

Color: Dark cloudy yellow with a small white head that quickly dissipates and leaves lace behind.
Aroma: surprisingly fruity: white grapes, tangerines, and black currants with hints of vanilla and lemon grass. Some pungent, spicy herbal notes and sweet pale malts.
Taste/Mouthfeel: Some sweet malts initially. Flavors are not as complex as the aromas. Some light lemon notes and minor fruit. Very nice, stinging carbonation. Alcohol is very well masked.
Finish: The finish is long, dry, bitter, and delightful. Earthy dry resins linger on the back of the tongue and sides of the palate. The sweetness of the malts is obliterated by the hops backing up the finish.
Notes: A small, sterile font on the bottom of the label reads "ALE". This could be a frivolous government regulation or an indication that this beer actually uses top-fermenting ale yeast rather than bottom-fermenting lager yeast (as all true pilsners do). I found this interesting in that this beer is similar in many ways to a big IPA. The caramel notes and aromatic hops are missing but the finish is distinctively IPA. This is also incredibly fruity for a pilsner.

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this beer. I usually do not enjoy noble hops (such as Hallertau and Saaz) when used in massive quantities, but Boston Beer Company has done something interesting with the Hallertau strain in this brew. The last Imperial Pilsner I drank was from the Odell brewing company. I found it to be entirely too sweet and to have an odd, overpowering, almost oregano-like herbalness to it. This brew manages to downplay the sweetness and avoid the heavy herbal notes in favor of fruits and pleasing bitterness.

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