Pilsner Urquell & Great Lakes Dortmunder side by side in the name of science

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Silver_Is_Money, Mar 4, 2021.

  1. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

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    #1 Silver_Is_Money, Mar 4, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
    Twas side by side I just drank them, albeit strictly in the name of science. As for color, to my eyes the Pilsner Urquell lager was yellow/orange and ~5.0 to 5.5 SRM (quite noticeably dark in color for a Pilsner), and the Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold lager was an orange/red ~7.5 to 8 SRM (which may be on the dark side for a Dortmunder in the Export class?).

    My expectation going in was that the lower 30 IBU's of the Dortmunder, in conjunction with it's exceptionally high level of mineralization (presumed, whereby to be in proper line with the nature of the style) would, when tasted side by side with the nigh on mineral free Urquell, weighing in at 40 IBU's, have a pronouncedly more crisp and hoppy expression. But what I found was that it was the Urquell which easily exhibited noticeably more of both crispness and hoppiness. The Dortmunder Gold, which I had anticipated would dominate, was subdued and rather sweet (and to my consternation, rather dull and lacking) by comparison. If anyone tells you that mineral free water subdues hop expression, they don't know what they are saying. The Urquell was far and away way more hoppy. And if anyone tells you that brewing mineral free expresses maltiness and mouthfeel, whereas brewing mineral rich expresses crispness and dryness and hoppiness, I noticed precisely the opposite.

    I vastly preferred the Urquell, and this also ran counter to my expectations going in. Oddly, neither beer poured with much of a head, and neither exhibited the pronounced and lasting lacing I've come to expect from respectable home brew.

    Lastly, a few years ago Pilsner Urquell finally got the message and went to amber bottles. But many (including me) have faulted them for using a pale/light colored amber. That must have changed, as my wife and I could not see any shade or darkness difference between the Dortmunder bottles amber and the Urquell bottles amber when held up to a light. So It appears that Urquell has finally completely fixed this problem.
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    #2 Trialben, Mar 4, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
    Not sure where you live but I've got to mention the beer is always best drank at its country of Origin.
    Pilsner Urquell is on my brewery bucket list of the "one day tour" I'd love to front up and drink right from the well.

    Take into consideration a beer isn't going to taste as fresh as it did after travelling half way around the world (which most do for me living in Aus) :). Drink local ;);) right from the patio bar lol!

    I agree beer in clear glass bottles is a no no it's puzzling to me why big breweries do it. FILTRATION comes to mind lager being lightly hopped seems to be the safest to seeing as it's the hop compounds that do the skunking.

    Cheers would love to see the side by side photo too if you have one .
     
  3. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

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    No photos were taken. I'm close enough to the Great Lakes Brewing Company to do their dinner tours and drink at their bar. All of which I've done a few times. That's why I'm shocked that Pilsner Urquell was so much better tasting than my beloved Dortmunder Gold.

    The "best if drank by" date on my bottle of Dortmunder was April 7, 2021. I didn't notice any dating on the Urquell bottle.

    Urquell bottles have transitioned over the years from green to sort of a pale amber to what now appears to be a more normal amber.
     
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  4. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    This is a good description of a beer that past it's prime. As they age and oxidize they become dull and sweet. Oxidation doesn't always taste like "cardboard", when it first creeps in it makes what once was a crisp beer fall flat. Malt and hops are muddled and the beer starts to become sweet, bitterness is more rounded. A good by date of 4/7/21 seems a little old.
    This beer must have been fresh. It doesn't always happen, but once in a while you get a fresh beer from Europe in the US. They are wonderful and as a home brewer, a bit discouraging. Why can't I brew beer like this? I can get Bitburger fresh in cans and it is crisp and crushable. I love that sh!+.

    As far as the water goes, I agree with you. Water has been over emphasized to some extent. It can become a rabbit hole at the expense of ignoring other problems with the beer. When in doubt, brew with soft water. Some of my crispiest beers were made with soft water.
     
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  5. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Active Member

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    #5 Silver_Is_Money, Mar 4, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
    I agree on the freshness date, as it was down to only about one month of "expected" freshness remaining. I nabbed it only a few days ago as a variety 12 pack of Great Lakes brews at our most local ALDI. I wonder if ALDI gets hand me downs of the bottled Great Lakes beers that are closing in on expiration? I think you pegged it as to being a freshness issue.

    10-4 on the water. The best tasting beers I've brewed were from an artesian spring water that is very low in mineralization. Bummer that I moved and I'm now about 50 miles each way from this water source (which is "Cherry Knoll Natural Spring Water" in Amherst, Ohio). But Dortmunder supposedly wouldn't be Dortmunder if it wasn't mineral rich.

    PS: Cherry Knoll Natural Spring Water recently had their artesian spring water analyzed at:
    Ca++ = 32 mg/L
    Mg++ = 4.3 mg/L
    Na+ = 8 mg/L
    Cl- = 17 mg/L
    SO4-- = 13 mg/L
    Bicarb = 92 mg/L
    Alkalinity (as CaCO3) = 74 mg/L

    For the benefit of those close to it, Cherry Knoll's home page: www.watercompanyamherst.com
     
  6. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Man, I love it when I can happen upon a fresh delivery of Pilsner Urquell! Super delicious. I have been able to get Trumer Pilsner here the past few months and it's delicious also.
     
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  7. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    You may be jealous, but my 2018 European trip included Munich and the breweries there, and then Plsn and Prague.
    The guy who organized our trip had us in the PU cellars with a brewmaster drinking out of the lagering vessels..............
    They built this room down there, and poured the unfinished beer into these copper vessels and brought them into us!

    I’m not in the photo (I took the picture) but I swear I was there!!!!!!! 4CDCEA25-4AE4-41F0-82E7-109398A0F534.jpeg
     
  8. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    That’s awesome! I can only pretend not be jealous.
     
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  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    It's uncommon for any Pilsner or any good Lager, for that matter, to exhibit pronounced head or lacing. The whole point of a lighter, drier beer that's been lagered and cleared substantially is that it doesn't have the dextrines from the mash and doesn't keep the proteins that ales might contain for head retention. The best lagers will keep a thin head that may be pretty much just a ring around the edge of the surface. Absolutely no heading at all can be a sign of excess diacetyl or secondary diacetyl-producing infection but as long as there's a little something, it's just to style. :)
     
  10. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps, just remember your sample size n=1.
     
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  11. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    I only know pilsner urquell in cans.
    And I think it's an OK beer.
    It's actually normally only for sale in the cheap type supermarkets in the Netherlands. Don't ask me why.
    I think my favourite lager there is "hertog Jan"
     

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