Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Couple of Dark Germans

Continuing my month of dark beers, last night I reached into my little cellar and pulled out a couple of bottles from Germany, Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel and Thurn und Taxis Dunkle Weisse. As you can see the German theme continued with the glass I used, a Beck's Vier glass which the landlord of the Bull and Castle in Dublin gave us last Monday and Mrs Velkyal packed in her back successfully to get it back to Prague in one piece, despite my naysaying.

Weltenbuger Kloster claim to be the oldest monastery brewery in the world, having been established in 1050 (or ten to eleven as it's sometimes called), though I very much doubt that the Barock Dunkel bears any major resemblance to whatever the monks were churning out then. This poured a very alluring ruby colour, with a big fluffy tan head and lots and lots of carbonation - which I wondered if it had anything to do with the glass, as there were streams of bubbles coming up from the pattern on the glass bottom. At first the nose worried me as it bore a resemblance to the detergenty smell from the dark lager I bought from U Valšů - which still ranks as the worst beer I have ever drunk, but eventually it gave way to a predominantly ginger spiciness. Tastewise this was really nothing special, lightly malty but with a thin body it was quite disappointing to be frank - perhaps I like big beers too much these days?

I have become something of a fan of dunkel weisse beers, and enjoyed several dark Erdingers when Pivovarský klub had it on tap in place of the very nice Primátor Weizen, so I was looking forward to the Thurn und Taxis. It poured a cloudy brown, almost like gingerbread. with a slighty off-white head which was huge! Again there were loads of bubbles rising from the little patch on the bottom of the glass, as you can see from the video below (I wonder how many people just shook their heads at me making a video of bubbles in a beer glass). The nose was laden with cloves and other wintery spices, such as ginger and even a trace of nutmeg - I was getting excited at the prospect of this one, winter is my favourite time of year! The beer has a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness, with neither overpowering the other - reminding me of slightly burnt toffee as well as bananas flambeed in rum, it was very nice, but about half way down it lost some of its zest and was in fact somewhat dull to finish off, a bit of an anti-climax really.

The only way I can think of to sum up these two beers was that they were nothing special, although in the case of the Weltenburger even that is being slightly generous. Ah well.


  1. Never naysay a wife who is willing to carry beer glasses for you! :D

    I'm not a big fan of those glasses with the nucleation sites etched into them, and thos eBeck'S Vier glasses seem way over-etched. It's a bit unnatural as it forced the bubbles to form, and I always reckoned it makes the beer look pretty, but it goes flat quicker. Well, for a Weissbier it'll be overkill as those mothers are loaded with C02 :D

    I did have a lovely one though from a short-lived set of beers issued by Guinness under the St. James's Gate brand that had the name etched into the bottom of the glass. It got broke :(

  2. Perhaps the flat quicker thing would explain why I didn't particularly enjoy the Weltenburger Kloster - will have to buy another bottle and try again. Ah shame.

  3. I rather like those laser-etched nucleation sites for some reason. I'll use my Duvel tulip (even for non-Belgian beers) with the stylized 'D' at the bottom to help intensify the aroma with the head formation. But Adeptus makes a good point about beers already loaded with carbonation; seems like it might have minimal effect. I just thought the small etching helped funnel the bubbles to concentrate them.

    And here I was, thinking I was upping the ante and being a smart beer nerd by doing that. I guess I'll leave the research for the science nerds on this one.


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