Posts Tagged ‘Erdinger Weissbräu’

Beer Review: Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel

21 August, 2008

YESTERDAY’S Erdinger Weißbier from the German brewery Erdinger Weissbräu was excellent. So I’m even more looking forward to it’s darker, even more premium looking cousin; Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel.

First impressions are that it looks so much better than. With the labels matching the colour of the bottle this time, it looks classy. And a little foreboding.

Again, I’m almost totally lost with the language. So, if you can translate anything, do please leave a message in the comments at the end of this post. For the time being, you’ll have to put up with my clumsy attempts and translating the words that happen to look a little like their English counterparts.

Erdinger Weisbier Dunkel front of neck label

The neck label, this time, says “Dunkel”. I’m going to guess that “Dunkel” translates to “Dark”. Is that right?

Erdinger Weisbier Dunkel shoulder label

The little label on the shoulder is identical to that on regular Weißbier. Saying something about fine ingredients. I think.

And just like the labels above it, the big front label sticks to the Weißbier formula. Apart from being coloured almost entirely black. Obviously.

Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel front label

Nevertheless, it looks good. In fact, it’s even easier to see the Erdinger Weissbräu logo thanks to this colour scheme. And you can’t escape how much they’ve put wheat and hops in the centre stage. They are everywhere. Not just propping up the roundel either side of it. But prominently, right in the centre of it too. No other beer or rural brewery imagery here. Just wheat and hops. From “Bayern”.

They do leave off some of the details that were on the front label of regular Weißbier however. One of the dates is missing. As is the signature. And the all important bottle size and alcoholic volume. Looks like we’ll be turning to the back label for those titbits.

The back label helpfully answers some of the mysteries surrounding this dark coloured “Dunkel” wheat beer. That said, it’s still a hard to read block of multi-lingual text. But that’s what you get from enjoying imported beers.

Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel back label

And what do you know, my attempted translation seems to be right! The open the back label by describing it as “Wheat Beer ‘Dark’”. Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel is a dark wheat beer. Whatever that turns out to be. This will be the first that I’ve tried.

Looking through the block of text, I look for more answers. First to turn up is the alcoholic volume. This weighs in at 5.6% volume, very slightly more than its cousin. Like its cousin, the bottle is the ever-popular half-a-litre. And it was made by “Erdinger Weissbräu Werner Brombach GmbH” in Erding, Germany.

Where it does differ is in the ingredients. The water, the wheat malt, the barley malt, the hops and the yeast are the same. But it must be the addition of roasted malt that makes this “Dunkel”. And if memory serves, which it usually doesn’t, that’s an ingredient you normally see in stouts and dark ales. Which would explain a lot.

Lastly, the web address they give is the same as before. www.erdinger.de will take you to their German website. But if you’re reading this in English, you’ll probably prefer their English language version at www.erdinger.com.

That’s it. All that remains is to open this bottle; to very very very carefully pour the contents into an enormous glass and try to answer some questions. Namely, is this tastier than regular Erdinger Weißbier? And will be indifference to stouty drinks ruin it? You know the drill by now.

The head was much more controllable. Amazingly, it all went in, in one go. No pausing between pours this time. The head falls away quite quickly too. At this stage, it’s now a layer of from about half-an-inch thick, with a surprising amount of glass empty at the top. The colour of the drink itself is no real surprise. That is to say, it’s completely black.

The smell is no big surprise either. It smells mainly of roasted malt with a hint of the wheat and barley. If you’ve had a dark ale or stout before, it will immediately remind you of that. That’s what it doing to me right now. I think it smells delicious. But it could put off the lager drinkers out there.

A couple of gulps in, and first impressions are that this is seriously rich and strong. That could be because I’ve hardly had any stouts or dark ales to compare it with. Or it could really be because it’s rich and strong. The best thing to do is leave your own thoughts on the matter if you’ve tried this drink, in the comments at the end of the post.

So we’ve established that I think it tastes rich and strong. But what does it actually taste of? To my untrained palate, I would say that the first taste is malty. Not all that pronounced though. And I must be getting used to it already because it no longer feels as strong. It could also be the wheatiness evening out the taste. The taste of wheat is harder to find this time, but I’d say it’s there. Hiding behind, and evening out that initial maltiness. After that, you get a nice, mildly tingly hoppy bitter aftertaste.

About half-way through now, and I seem to have gotten used to the richness amazingly fast. Maybe that’s the benefit of having done so many of these posts. Or maybe Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel has a taste that is simply easy to get used to after the initial shock. Either way, half-way through, I’m finding it balanced, smooth and easy to drink.

What am I enjoying about Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel? In short, lots. The tastes and flavours have grown on me. It tastes malty and wheaty and a little bit hoppy. And, once you get used to it, they’re not overwhelming or too strong. I could be wrong, but it feels like each ingredient is balancing out the flavour. So I’m going to say that it tastes well balanced without one flavour dominating. Because that’s not something I’ve seen before, I’ll also give it brownie points for having character and distinctiveness. Ultimately, it’s rich, smooth and quite drinkable.

What don’t I like about it? It’s just possible that all the things I just wrote about it, are because I’ve become used to strong flavours. In which case, it won’t be all that accessible and easy to drink for lager fans. Or girls. Indeed, even if my mind isn’t playing tricks on me, there’s little chance that the strong-ish tastes will be everyone’s cup of tea. It made me burp a little, so it is mildly gassy. And at £1.75 pence from just one shop on Bethnal Green Road, it’s expensive and hard to find. Stout and dark ale fans might be better off then, choosing a home grown ale or stout. I hear that there’s a popular Irish brand out there for example.

Where does all this leave Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel overall? Well I enjoyed it. But that could be because I’ve become used to strong flavours. It had a taste and flavours that were strong, but easy to get used to and ultimately very, very drinkable.

In the bigger picture, I would have to say go for regular Erdinger Weißbier. It’s even easier to drink and a little more interesting, even if it does lack the dimension of taste that Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel has. Unless of course, you love stout. In which case you’ll thoroughly enjoy sampling this. But probably go back to Guinness or Dragon Stout or your favourite dark ale when you realise how expensive this it.

Rating: 4.1

Have you tried Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel? Can you translate anything written on the bottle? What reputation does it have in Germany?

Leave your translations, corrections, opinions, thoughts and recommendations in the small boxes below please.

Beer Review: Erdinger Weißbier

20 August, 2008

Erdinger Weißbier is an interesting looking German bottle I’ve wanted to try for a long time. But, my last attempted review was foiled by Tesco ending their stocking of the bottle days before I could buy one. Now, a little food shop on Bethnal Green Road has filled the gap and stepped in. Let’s see if it was worth the wait.

Erdinger Weisbier bottle

First impressions are that this will be the quickest look at the labels ever. That’s because it’s almost all written in German. That means the closest I can come to talking about what it says, will be admittedly iffy translations from the few words that resemble English ones. Still, that never stopped me before. So here we go. Oh, and if you can offer up any translations, do please leave a comment at the end of this post. Thank you.

Erdinger Weisbier neck label

The neck label is in a striking “V” shape. I could be wrong, and usually am, but it looks as though the name of the brewery is “Erdinger Weissbräu”. And that it is from “Bayern”. Is that right?

Erdinger Weisbier shoulder label

There’s a separate little label on the shoulder of the conventional, brown coloured bottle too. It could be talking about fine ingredients. But I can’t be sure. Can anyone offer up a translation?

Erdinger Weisbier front label

The front label looks good. In a formal, restaurant menu kind of way. There’s a signature from… someone. At the top, there’s a year given of 1516. And at the bottom, we’re told, I think, that Erdinger Weissbräu has been a private brewery since 1886.

Erdinger Weisbier back label

From the crowded block of multi-lingual text on the back label, I can, amazingly, find a few English words. They describe it as “Wheatbeer”. Which is excellent news as there aren’t nearly enough on the market. It’s also, apparently, a live beer, as the two words “bottle fermentation” make it onto the label.

This 50 centilitre bottle has a somewhat above average 5.3% alcoholic volume. Which is another thing I like about it. The full name of the German brewer behind Erdinger Weißbier is, apparently, the memorable “Erdinger Weissbräu Werner Brombach GmbH”.

It also has a satisfyingly complete list of ingredients. Which makes a change from the two-ingredient summary stuck onto most bottles. This one mentions water, wheat malt, barley malt, hops and yeast. At this point, my mouth is watering with the thought of Hoegaarden‘s magnificent taste. Just how similar this turns out to be, I’m looking forward to finding out.

Lastly, there’s a web address on the back label. www.erdinger.de takes you to their noisy German language website. A quick look around however, leads us to www.erdinger.com, their noisy English language website.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to opening this bottle and sampling the, hopefully delicious contents within. Expectations are high then, as I attempt to pour what is surely to have a gargantuan head.

Erdinger Weisbier poured

A colossal head is exactly what I got. Even my biggest glass couldn’t contain it. As I write, there’s still about a quarter of the bottle left to be poured, and the thick layer of foam is only slowly turning into liquid beer. It does look fantastic though. And cloudy. Which is outstanding. If quite normal for a live wheat beer.

The smell is equally unusual. Compared to regular beers and lagers. The smell of wheat is probably fairly normal for a wheat beer. You can also smell some malted barley. I can hardly wait to see how it tastes.

A couple of gulps in, and my taste buds receive more or less what they were expecting. It tastes mostly of malted wheat and barley with a mildly hoppy aftertaste. None of which are very strong. You won’t be overwhelmed with strong flavours here. Nor will you be struggling to find them. I’d call it moderately strongly flavoured.

There is much that I’m enjoying about Erdinger Weißbier. The flavours and taste are very good indeed. The lagers that fill our shops make it feel like you’re drinking flavoured, carbonated water. But not this. Erdinger Weißbier has the sort of meaty full-body that is strong but not too strong. In the same sort of way that makes British ales or quality European beers so tasty.

What’s more, that taste and those flavours make it more drinkable than you might think. If you only drink lager, you’re probably thinking “that sounds like too much flavour”. But is isn’t. I’m about two-thirds of the way through now, and each gulp has been as easy as blinking.

What else do I like about Erdinger Weißbier? Well, it scores points for having character and being somewhat unique. How can something be somewhat unique? I know, there are probably other wheat beers out there that are probably similar to this. But I haven’t found them on the shelves of UK shops and supermarkets. And I’ve been looking for them.

What don’t I like about Erdinger Weißbier? At £1.75 pence from the shop where I bought it, it’s on the expensive side. I found myself burping more than usual, so it’s on the gassy side too.

Then there’s the flipside to the taste. I liked the blend of wheat, barley and hops, but it’s not what you’d call crisp and refreshing. It doesn’t feel particularly sophisticated either. There isn’t the same complexity of flavours as you might find in an ale for example. It also won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Where does this leave Erdinger Weißbier overall? With this opinion: a very good German wheat beer. I’ve really enjoyed this bottle. It’s a tiny bit like Hoegaarden, but without the myriad of different flavours. This though, to my untrained palate, is sold, quality, German wheat beer.

Definitely recommended for wheat beer fans. Recommended for fans of interesting European beers and ales. And recommended for lager drinkers who would benefit from a beer with flavour.

Rating: 4.15

Have you tried Erdinger Weißbier? What did you think of it? And can you help translate anything on the bottle?

If so, leave your corrections, translations, opinions and recommendations in the comments boxes here.

And check my next post for a review of another bottle in the Erdinger range.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers

%d bloggers like this: