Tag Archive: Dortmunder


Donzoko: Northern Helles (England: Dortmunder: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Very large mounded yellow/white head that leaves suds.

Nose: Wheat fields. Lime zest. Fresh lemon. Subtle kiwi. Lightly peppery.

Body: Solid. Slightly peppery. Watered caramel. Earthy. Lactic notes. Slightly cloying. Slight fuller caramel notes. Slight kiwi.

Finish: Good bitterness. Light charring. Earthy notes. Bitter caramel? (Is there such a thing?). Lactic touch. Peppery. Dried fudge. Slight lime and kiwi.

Conclusion: Contrary to what the can says this doesn’t look hazy on the eye to me, and I would not describe it as refreshing to drink. Doesn’t mean it is bad, but it definitely isn’t what I expected from the description on the can.

On the nose it is fairly light, with a soft, inviting citrus take to it. The body is then an utter surprise – pretty thick feeling, earthy, heavy and with a slight cloying lactic touch. The lactic touch helps with an unusual mouthfeel which I would say is one of the more interesting elements of the beer.

Oddly the hop flavours feel close to what I would expect from an earthy British bitter rather than a helles lager. There is similarly a slight watery caramel touch that calls to a British bitter. In fact, I feel that trying this blind, and by which I mean blindfolded, and so I couldn’t see the gold colour and large head, I may even mistake it for a bitter.

OK, not quite that close to a bitter – the mouthfeel is drier up front even if it becomes heavy at the back. Also underneath everything there is a slight green fruit freshness which I would not associate with a Bitter – but you get my point, this is a non standard helles.

So it is different, but is it good? It’s, well, average. Solid, heavy flavours, but gets a tad dry and wearing in everything over time. Despite its unusual character it doesn’t really benefit from examination over time, and lacks the refreshing character to be sessionable or thirst quenching.

Not bad, just not one I would really pick to return to.

Background: Been meaning to grab and do more notes on lagers, they are easy to overlook, rarely coming with fancy eye-catching labels or odd twists. Not tried anything from Donzoko before and they seem to have a range of lagers, so thought I would give this – their mainstay – a go. Another one from Independent Spirit. I was going to list this as just Helles but Ratebeer lists this as Helles – Dortmunder Export. I did a bit of googling and after a while concluded that sounded about right. I’ve still not had many Dortmunders, so am not 100% but seemed to be around the style guidelines. Went with X-Ray Specs: Germ Free Generation for music backing this – as you can probably guess I’ve been poking around in early punk bands again.

Nils Oscar: God Lager (Sweden: Dortmunder: 5.3% ABV)

Visual: Pale gold, very small amount of carbonation. Moderate white bubbled head.

Nose: Dusty. Chestnuts. Slight sour twang. Some malt.

Body: Sweet syrup. Pineapple juice. Light bitterness. Banana. Smooth texture, but a slight thickness backing it.

Finish: Banana. Custard sweetness. Light popcorn character. Light pineapple. Shortbread. Light bitterness and nuttiness.

Conclusion:  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this one. It’s got a pretty good buzz around it, but I try to not get over excited on lager styles as I’ve tried too many hyped up ones that just failed to push the envelope.

This does follow the trend. Don’t get me wrong, it is tasty, but suffers slightly for being built up too much.  By itself it has just the right mix of smooth to thickness in the texture combined with a banana like sweetness and a few fruit edges. Definitely set well to drink on a hot day in the sun. Of course I live in Britain so the whole sun thing may be a tad unlikely. But hypothetically it’s a good idea.

This doesn’t do much to define or redefine the style but it is pretty proficient. Very light in bitterness but it keeps that touch needed. Very nice use of low carbonation, none of that annoying bloating fizz(Seriously, in my youth that fizz made me feel sicker than the alcohol did. Damn cheap piss water). A very competent Dortmunder

Not a beer to shake expectations, but if you chuck out your Budweiser and  replace it with this you will be doing yourself a favour.  A good beer for general summer drinking.

Background: I’ve seen this around for a while, and it turned up in “1001 beers you must try before you die”, so I grabbed this from Waitrose recently along with the previously drunk Goose Island IPA.  Lager isn’t one that has a good reputation, possibly due to so many cheap mass market pieces of piss.  I have tried some absolute belters in recent months though, so its time to look again at this much maligned set of beers. This particular one is of the Dortmunder style, not one I have drunk a vast amount of so I will have to build my knowledge by drinking more. Oh the pain. This incidentally may be my first review from Sweden, I will have to check.

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