Tag Archive: Germany


Paulaner: Oktoberfest (Germany: Oktoberfest Marzen: 6% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Moderate small bubbled carbonation. Large white mounded head.

Nose: Cake sponge. Vanilla. Soft citrus. Orange zest. Dry toffee. Slight sulphur.

Body: Bready. Moderate bitterness. Cake sponge. Palma violets. Fresh dough. Slight oily bitterness. Slight sulphur. Light toffee. Peppery.

Finish: Peppery. Moderate bitterness. Light charring. Moderate hop character. Palma violets. Slight orange. Bready.

Conclusion: This is a breadier, heavier Oktoberfest beer. It starts out fairly gentle, with soft citrus notes in the aroma and a restrained sweetness, but as you put your head down to start sipping you find something very different.

The body is bready and peppery with a moderate bitterness that, while not as heavy as some German Pils, is still higher than the average German lager and gives some heft to it. The body is so slick, and just a bit oily that this higher bitterness never feels harsh, just like a bitter velvet wrapped kick.

There is a gentle toffee touch, and that familiar noble hop palma violet like touch which show a bit more varied influence from the malt and the hops, but in general it is solidly bready, bitter and a bit peppery at its core.

It has just the slightest sulphurous touch around the edges, which is pretty unusual here, and it adds to the weightier character this beer brings. Despite that this is still very obviously a lager, it isn’t trying to pretend to be something else – it has a generally clean feel, not highly carbonated thankfully, and has a slight oily sheen that is very much a clean lager oily style rather than the heavier stickier style you tend to get in an ale.

This isn’t one of my favourite beers, it feels like an odd compromise between the sulphur touch and weight of an ale and the clean character if a lager and the two seem to weaken each other, but, with that said.- I do like the bitterness it brings. When you have that nice bitterness and hop character combined with the more easy drinking lager character it makes for something that still has a home with me

Not 100% for me, but I still kind of dig it.

Background: So, another Oktoberfest beer, and another of the official big six. After many years of it being fairly hard to find a good range of Oktoberfest beers I am feeling spoiled this year. This is my third tasting note of one of the big six, and fourth I have actually tried. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, who have had a decent amount in. I actually have a Paulaner glass amongst the many and varied glassware so I pulled it out for the occasion. I went back to Jack Of Jill: Clear Heart, Grey Flowers for backing music, still a favourite album that goes from melodic to screams in a heartbeat and has such great gothic punk influenced tunes.

Insel: Swimmer’s Saison (Germany: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear caramel brown touched body. Lots of small bubbled carbonation in the body and a thin off white head.

Nose: Fruity esters. Slight sulphur. Sugared lemons. Orange skin. Brown bread. Sage.

Body: Iced tea. Wet charring. Touch of brown sugar. Orange skin. Touch of chalk. Lime touch. Hard fruit sweets. Sugared water. Wet teabags.

Finish: Orange skin. Brown sugar. Dirty water. Wet teabags. Herbal. Sage.

Conclusion: Saisons have been fairly varied in style in my experience. Some have been these lovely fresh and hoppy bitter things, Some have been earthy, spicy and rustic, some have been oddly textured in an almost steam beer way, some have been slightly sour. Absolutely none have been anything like this low abv take.

On the nose it is fairly interesting – it is fairly fruity in a citrus way, with a touch of sage savoury spice, which is a reasonable call to the more herbal saisons. Behind that is a fairly neutral bready backing, but it still has enough interesting there that I had hope.

The body is, by comparison, a bit watery. It feels like sugared water meets brown sugar and then has had a teabag dunked a few times into the the resulting mix, but not enough to add any real layered flavour.

The fruity, interesting notes are still there, but the base behind it feels like empty wet air. While the breadiness of the aroma wasn’t exciting it was solid and gave a strong base from the other notes to work from, while here the more interesting notes get lost in the beer’s watery depths.

This coasts through the beer into the finish, where a pleasant orange character sits over a dirty sugar water emptiness once more. It isn’t that the beer is vile, but fairly empty for the most part, so the better notes end up falling flat and the beer as a whole feels muddied and unfocussed.

It is an unusual low abv beer, but still shows the teabag and iced tea notes clearly that are the bane of the low alcohol style and doesn’t push anything heavy enough to offset them.

While I appreciate a different style choice for a low abv beer, this doesn’t do much with it at all.


Background: This was the second Insel beer I bought from light drinks, and I think, the last beer I have from that batch to do notes on. This is well reputed, but after being disappointed with their similarly well received wet hopped pilsner I was more nervous coming to this one. Was surprised to see a low alcohol Saison, not a common pick for low abv beer, but I’m always happy to see experimentation. I will admit, while it adds nothing to the beer, the paper wrapped bottles do make this look fairly fancy. Went back to Ritualz – CDR for music while drinking. Been a while since I put that on and it is lovely evocative dark electronic tunes so thought it was time to give another spin as fine background music for drinking.

Veltins: Pilsner Alkohol Free (German: Low Alcohol: 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Clear pale yellow. Large mounded white head. Very small amounts of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Clean. Slight fresh sour dough. Low amounts of bready hop character and bitterness. Soft vanilla yogurt.

Body: Vanilla toffee to yogurt. Clean. Hop oils. Light chalk touch. Low hop character and bitterness with gentle hop prickle. Slight frothy to sherberty feel with a lemon touch of flavour. Touch of greenery.

Finish: Toffee. Crushed mint leaves to peppermint. Light chalk. Jiff lemon. Vanilla.

Conclusion: This is very gentle, very smooth, with little in the way of rough edges. It’s got a moderate toffee and vanilla led flavour, and enough of that that thankfully the gentle character doesn’t make it an empty beer.

There isn’t much bitterness to this for a German pils – there is generally a very low amount of hop feel and such, though the hops do impart a gentle oiliness that definitely helps the beer.

The only rough edge to this, and kind of but not exactly a low alcohol tell, is the slight chalkiness. However while it is something that shows up in low alcohol beers it is not that harsh, nor exactly unusual in standard abv lagers so I can’t complain too much.

There isn’t a lot to examine here – it is gently sweet vanilla toffee to a slightly more neutral vanilla yogurt character. There is some restrained hop expression, and with that added you now have 90% of the experience of drinking this beer covered. That said, as a gentle drinking, sweeter end of the lager scale beer, this does do the job.

Considering the utter lack of any alcohol in this, the higher end malt styled sweetness is actually quite impressive, even if the beer is gentle overall. Doubly so when you take into account that this can’t lean on the hops to cover up the holes as many of the more showy low alcohol beers do.

So, not a special beer, but a well done low abv take on a gentle drinking sweet lager, and I can respect that.

Background: Yet another one from the Light Drinks batch I ordered of low to no alcohol beer. This one however is familiar to me. This is one of my Dads favourite low alcohol beers, so I decided it was time for me to give it a go and get a set of notes out of it. I was surprised to see I have never actually done notes on the standard Veltins on this blog. Something I overlooked. I must get on that one day. Not much else to add – went back to Garbage: No Gods, No Masters for background music. No I have still not picked up any Rammstein to act as backing music for German beers. I definitely should change that.

Spaten: Oktoberfestbier (Germany: Oktoberfest Marzen: 5.9% ABV)

Visual: Clear pale yellow. Some small bubbled carbonation mid body and a surprisingly small white bubbled head.

Nose: Slightly gritty hop bitterness. Quite clean overall. Palma violets. Cake sponge.

Body: Vanilla. Toffee and caramel. Slight oily character and good bitterness. Cake sponge. Very light greenery. Touch of sweet raspberry.

Finish: Palma violets. Green grapes. Hop oils. Good bitterness. Slight fluffy hop character. Sweet raspberry yogurt chunks.

Conclusion: You know, while I wouldn’t say I have given Oktobetfest beers grief here on this site, I would say I have underappreciated them in my writing.

Some of that comes from the fact that I have not always been drinking and doing notes on the best examples of the style. Some of it comes from the notes that I did in my earlier days where I had less appreciation for the finer points of the varied lager styles.

Anyway, I am enjoying this. The body uses a surprisingly thick mouthfeel, with good but not excessive bitterness, a reasonable oiliness and a range of sweeter and fruitier notes that are quite unexpected.

The sweetness here was a lot more than I expected, slightly toffee and caramel in way that gives a slight extra weight of flavour to match the extra mouthfeel. This then seeps out into a fruity and sweet raspberry yogurt chunks that gives a bright end to the beer. I both really like this, and can’t have too much of it. The thickness makes it a comparatively heavy and slow drinking beer.

Though with that said it thankfully never gets too sweet. The bitterness and oily character, while not heavy, does the job just enough to balance it flavour wise. So the flavour is good, but it can’t hide the impressive weight that makes it slow drinking despite the not too huge abv.

It’s a nice range of flavour and experiences, with the bitterness and hop character always bubbling along underneath even when the sweeter notes are ascendant. This is not a favourite beer, but probably my best experience with an Oktoberfest so far, and still pretty darn good with that.

Background: I think this is my first encounter with Spaten. It is, at the very least my first set of notes from them. With that out of the way Oktoberfest is here! Ok, technically it is not, Oktoberfest is cancelled due to covid, which makes sense, but the time for Oktoberfest beers is here! Which is predominantly in September despite what you would think from the name. Spaten is one of the official six of Oktoberfest – the others being Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau and Paulaner. Of which Hofbrau is the only one I have done notes on. I really should pay more attention to beers from such a big event. Anyway, to try and set things right I grabbed this from Independent Spirit. I don’t have much German music so went with Bad Religion: The Gray Race as backing music for this as it has a German language version of Punk Rock Song on it. Yes it is a loose tie, sue me. I really should have at least one Rammstein album I could use for such things. I’ll add that to my to do list.

Insel: Skipper’s Wet Hopped Pilsner (Germany: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Slightly hazy banana yellow body with toffee hints. Massive yellow white mounded head. Some very small bubbles in the body.

Nose: Very herbal. Greenery. Sage and onions. Slight vanilla. Very slightly oily.

Body: Charring. Herbal. Charred bitterness to gunpowder tea. Slight sulphur and smoke.

Finish: Gunpowder tea. Greenery. Dill leaves. Very herbal. Sage and onion. Charred bitterness. Paprika.

Conclusion: Ok, I know that it says wet hopped in the name, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this damn evident. This has greenery, sulphur and high bitterness to a level I would have expected in a moderate wet hopped IPA, so it is a bit of a surprise seeing this level of intensity in a lager.

So, this is still a lager, but quite thick feeling and sticky. A lot heavier that your standard clean pilsner, and with an even higher level of charred bitterness than I see from even the more hop forward pils.

Initially I found it too harsh, and I say that as a lover of hugely bitter IPAs. I am an utter fiend for the bitter hops normally. This, however had bitterness in a very gunpowder tea, charred and heavy way with very dry bitterness. Thankfully the thicker body to the lager I mentioned gives a lot to work with that bitterness so it makes it manageable.

Apart from that bitterness, this beer is also super herbal. Intense amounts of greenery themed spiciness that sticks around for a very long time. On that note, I am amused that since herb means bitter in German (or so google translate tells me) the back of the bottle lists herb/bitter as one of the flavour poles and is marked very high in that, inadvertently being more true than it ever intended as this is both super herbal and super bitter. So, they managed to sum up both of the main poles of this beer with just one entry. Very efficient.

This is so very different. I’ve seen very few lagers anywhere close to this, and absolutely no low alcohol beers like this. It feels like someone half and halfed a wet hopped IPA and a super bitter pils then just dumped a ton of herbs in it.

For me, it is too herbal for me to want it as a general drinking beer, but I am fascinated by it. Really well made, very different, just another one that is not 100% for me.

Background: So first time I read this breweries’ name I misread it as “Incel” which gave me pause. Thankfully I was wrong. Anyway I had heard very good things about this wet hopped pilsner, and it has won a bunch of beer awards that I was too lazy to look up. It may even have been some of the awards that actually mean something. Anyway, I put in an order of low abv beers from Light Drinks. We are blessed with a bunch of websites that sell a huge range of low abv beers these days, and this seemed to have a bunch I wanted to try so I gave them a go. Went back to Berried Alive: Fuego as background music for this, some intense stuff against the low abv. Though it turns out not low bitterness.

Paulaner: Weissbier Non-Alcoholic (Germany: Low alcohol: 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy banana yellow body. Huge mounded white head. Lots of small bubble carbonation, but hard to make out in the cloudy body.

Nose: Dried beef slices. Crisp. Brown bread. Vanilla. Cinnamon.

Body: Vanilla. Iced tea. Light fudge. Light banoffee. Cinnamon. Thick mouthfeel. Custard.

Finish: Orange zest. Cardboard bitterness. Malt chocolate. Dried beef slices. Custard. Wheat. Teabags.

Conclusion: Dried beef slices? Dried beef slices notes in a weisse? I’m as shocked as you are, but yep, there it is. Not a heavy note but there is a savoury, kind of meaty thing that hangs around the beer. Straight up, that isn’t the best note to have – but let’s put that to one side for now, look at the rest of the beer, and then we can come back to it.

So, the beer is fairly thick, giving a good texture with quite a sweet set of toffee and custard notes, even a hint of banoffee that calls to the banana notes you would expect from a weisse, just in a more dessert way. This applies to a low of the notes – the spice comes across more cinnamon than cloves or the more savoury spice of a lot of weisse beers. It isn’t bad, just sweeter and more easy going than expected.

The low alcohol is visible, as is often the case, in iced tea like notes mid body and dry teabags in the finish. Despite them managing a good texture with what malt they had, there is no hiding that this is an alcohol free beer.

So, looping back to the start and bringing that dried beef slices back into the conversation. It is still the same – just this dry, savoury note that seems to hand around the beer. With the fairly big sweetness it doesn’t manage to intrude too much – a flaw definitely – but not more so than those evident low alcohol tells. Just something to be aware of.

It is pleasant enough, but has a lot of non beery characteristics. It does the job if it is what is available, but is far from my main choice for low abv drinking.

Background: I don’t think I’ve ever tried the alcohol version of Paulaner Weisse so I can’t make any comparison between the two, but the beers I have tried of theirs have been very enjoyable. So, anyway, I saw this as part of the low alcohol selection at Beercraft, and decided to grab it for a try. Not much else to add apart from the fact I went with a bit of a mix of erock tunes on youtube as backing sounds. Found his most recent take on Mortal Kombat Meets Metal and fell down a bit of a rabbit hole of his music.

Kaiserdom: Pink Grapefruit (Germany: Low Alcohol: 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Deep toffee yellow brown colour, with a red to pink hue that shifts depending on how the light hits it. Large, loose bubbled white head.

Nose: Slight malt toffee. Malt chocolate. Very clear pink grapefruit.

Body: Sweet pink grapefruit. Mild strawberry. Vanilla toffee.

Finish: Chocolate cream. Pink grapefruit. White sugar. Chocolate fudge. Strawberry. Slightly chalky.

Conclusion: Ok, first up, this isn’t fancy. This isn’t complex. It is sweetened pink grapefruit for the most part, which is not exactly unexpected when it makes up 50% odd of the actual drink. Despite the amount of grapefruit it is not particularly tart for most of the beer, just slightly fresh. It isn’t very beer like for the most part either – with the beer character mainly coming through in a thicker mouthfeel than you would expect from pink grapefruit on its own. I’m guessing the beer is also part of what is responsible for offsetting the tarter notes you would expect from the grapefruit, but that is mainly a guess.

There is a soft vanilla to toffee character to this, which is, oddly, better expressed in this that their low alcohol hefe weizen. Go figure. Though admittedly that is a low bar to clear. There are some other notes that seem to come out from where the beer and fruit juice mix. The oddest element is a more malt chocolate character that, while rare, is not what you would expect. Less surprising but still unusual is a strawberry kind of note that is hinted at. Between them the two poke their way out at the high and low end of the beer.

As a simple shandy/radler/whatever the heck we call this, it relies on the pink grapefruit which meshes well to cover up the flaws of the base low alcohol beer and the beer adds a nice feel to the pink grapefruit. However, with that said, this is basically pink grapefruit juice that has been sweetened and mellowed. Thankfully I really like pink grapefruit and so this is for me.

Your entire enjoyment will come down to the simple question of – Do you like pink grapefruit? Is so, then this is that but with a different texture. If you are happy with basically that and just a little more then you will enjoy this as bright fun.

It is nothing more than that, but still better than the actual pure low alcohol beers they made.

Background: I wasn’t planning on doing notes on this, I grabbed a can of this at the same time I grabbed the other Kaiserdom low alcohol beers I did notes on, for something light to throw into the mix. Anyway, turned out I actually enjoyed it more than the actual dedicated beers, so decided to grab another to do notes on to reward it. Yes I can be strange some times. Grabbed from Independent Spirit like the others. I went with Svalbard: It’s Hard To Have Hope as backing music.

Kaiserdom: Hefe-Weissbier: Alcohol Free (Germany: Low Alcohol: 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy light yellow with lots of small bubbled carbonation in the body. A medium sized, small bubbled white head.

Nose: Mild mustard on crusty white bread.

Body: Peppery. Wet cardboard. Wheat flakes. Light charring. Orange skin. Lemon cakes. Slight sulphur. Moderate bitterness.

Finish: Peppery. Orange skin. Wheat fields. Slight charring. Very mild mustard.

Conclusion: Ok, first up, this has cleared the incredibly low bar of being better than their low alcohol lager.

Achievement unlocked!

It has a reasonable amount of grip to the texture, with a wheaty mouthfeel. There are some hints of citrus in mild orange and lemon ways, so it is doing some work here.

It is however, still kind of dull. Sorry.

It’s got mainly a peppery thing going on, along with some bitterness and charring. It is very basic, with some unpleasant wet cardboard and sulphur in there as well.

So, with that out of the way, what I am going to concentrate on is the fact that it has (Admittedly very mild) mustard on crusty bread note to the aroma. What even is that? I mean, nothing in the aroma is pushed heavily so it is just a faint impression and hard to get a grip on, but it feels like it is there.

The fact that this is the most interesting part of the beer is pretty damning then.

I mean it is possible my mind is so bored with this it just started making up things to hold my attention.

Ok, now I’m starting to note it in the finish, my mind must just be messing with me here.

So anyway, kind of dull. You may have got that already.

Conclusion:I grabbed a couple of different Kaiserdom zero abv beers when I was in Independent Spirit recently. I’m always on the lookout for good low to zero alcohol beers to tide me over dry days. I have already done notes on the lager, the less said about that the better, but I was hoping this weisse take would be better. I’ve seen a wide variety of low alcohol takes on a weisse, and they seem to vary in how they approach the style more than most other low abv beers, so I was hoping this would be at least interesting to examine. Not much else to add, went with Miracle Of Sound’s great metal album “Metal Up” For backing music. That way if the beer was rubbish at least I had good tunes.

Kaiserdom: Lager Beer: Alcohol Free (Germany: Low Alcohol. 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellow gold. Large white mounded head of loose bubbles. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Wet cardboard. Soft banana. Creamy lime. Vanilla. Low bitterness.

Body: Wet cardboard. Slightly sulphurous. Charred bitterness. Sour-dough. Slight chalk.

Finish: Slight charring and bitterness. Wet. Sulphur. Sour dough.

Conclusion: This is so “meh”, just sub par in most elements and in general mildly, though not offensively, bad.

Unlike that start to the notes, the start to this beer is actually not too bad. It looks like a larger, being fairly bright in colour and clear, with a good sized and robust head. Beyond clearing that very low bar it also had a passable aroma. While it opens with less pleasant wet cardboard, it also brings some soft fruit notes around it which hold some promise. So, not the worst way to kick off.

The body is, well, to put it bluntly, fairly shit. Still wet cardboard, but now matched with vaguely sulphurous elements, and, at best, it can be described as sour dough like. The sulphurous element means that it doesn’t refresh like a cleaner lager would. Worse still, it doesn’t give an extra flavour to make you want to take your time with it and examine it if it isn’t going the refreshing lager route. It has no way to look at it where it works.

The finish continues to be sulphurous and charred, and in general just stuffy feeling. So, it isn’t actively terrible, it just tastes like what uncomfortable feels like is the best way I can describe it.

So, not enjoyable, and nothing actively going for it. Even the aroma which is the best element barely passes ok and that is the only bit that manages that.

In this time of amazing low alcohol beers there is no excuse for one like this.

Background: This is a fairly simple story, saw a bunch of canned low alcohol beers at Independent Spirit from Kaiserdom, a German brewery I had not tried yet. Needed some low alcohol, or this case no alcohol, beers for a few days dry, so grabbed some and decided to do notes on them. Ta dah! Decided to do the lager one first, see how they manage the basics before trying the more fancy beers. Music wise Garbage had just released No Gods, No Masters, so as a huge fan of them from the 90s I picked it up and put it on while drinking. Pretty impressed so far.

Rothaus: Hefeweizen: Alkoholfrei (Germany: Low alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Ripe banana. Huge yellow to white bubbled head. Quite bit of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Cinnamon. Carrot and coriander. Cloves. Paprika. Soft lemon.

Body: Peppery bitterness. Vanilla. Shreddies. Mild toffee. Slightly watery. Lime. Bready bitterness.

Finish: Wheaty. Milky. Peppery bitterness. Soft lemon and lime. Flour. Slight ginger. Brown sugar. Cloves.

Conclusion: When I popped this open and poured it out I was shortly after hoping that this to be a low abv weisse to compete with the recently drunk Maisels. The colour on the eye was spot on, the aroma was more spice led but very discernibly weisse like. In fact the aroma just rolled off the glass, with soft lemon pushing its way out from under the spice.

Very nice.

The body is, well, lighter. Initially a bit watery but builds up pretty quickly to an average, if not notable weight over time. Here the more spice led character seems less impressive as it only has a faint bready character backing it up. Now, it is still some nice spice range, especially leading out into some gentle ginger like notes in the finish, but without Maisel’s style weight, or a more distinct set of flavours main body to back it up, it ends up feeling nondescript.

The finish is, oddly similarly to the Maisel, better than the body. The nondescript sweetness mid body gains a brown sugar character, and a soft citrus backing comes out giving something for the spice to work with.

Overall it uses the spice well but is too reliant on them doing the work, and doesn’t have the weight to pull that off.

Mediocre but not terrible.

Background: After the Maisel’s low alcohol weisse went down so well, I saw this at BeerCraft as part of their large low abv selection, so thought I would grab a bottles and see if it could compare well, or even top that beer. Rothaus looks really familiar for some reason but I don’t think I’ve ever done notes on them before. Went back to Korn: See You On The Other Side for backing music, something a bit heavier and rough edged.

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