Wednesday, October 17, 2007

99 Bottles of Beer on the Blog - Samuel Adams Hallertauer Imperial Pilsner

Just by looking at the name, you get the sense that Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner is going to be about the hops. The word "Hallertauer" refers to a variety of German hop - famous for its spicy, herbal flavor and great aroma. It is one of the four "Noble hops" (the others being Spalt, Tettnang and Saaz), grown in Germany and prized for their classical flavor.

Pop one of these bottles open ($9.99 for a 4-pack at Gomer's Midtown), and you'll earn your "hop head" stripes. You'll smell the hops as it pours, slightly hazy, with a golden straw color. By appearance, it's a pretty typical pilsner style lager, with nothing more than a slight haziness to tip you off that there's an explosion waiting in the glass.

Most great beers are balanced - this is not one of them. There's a decent amount of malt and body there, but it is overwhelmed by the hop bitterness and flavor. The bitterness lingers on the back of your tongue after you swallow, and burns on the way down your throat. Part of the burn may be the 8.8% alcohol - this is a warming beer fit for a winter evening, though it looks more like a lawnmower beer.

Note the glass in the picture - it's a special Samuel Adams glass the brewery sent me and other members of the American Homebrewers Association. It's designed to gather hop aroma in the swollen top section of the glass. Despite its growth into a size that can scarcely be called a craft brewery anymore, Samuel Adams deserves kudos for keeping in touch with its roots in the homebrewing arena.

The choice of Hallertauer hops for a pilsner is slightly nontraditional. Pilsners are famous for Saaz hops - Hallertauers usually go into German lagers. Regardless, the spicy flavor of the Hallertauer makes a great beer. It would be fascinating if they would make varieties of the beer with the other 3 noble hop varieties . . .

If you like hops, this is a beer you'll love. If you pefer a malty beer, or even a balanced beer, you'll want something much less aggressively hopped.

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Blogger A Librarian said...

Yippy. Another beer blog. So when is your next beer tasting....or happy hour (I'm not picky)

10/17/2007 9:22 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Attendees at the blogger Halloween party, 10/26, location available by email, will get to taste some of my beer.

10/17/2007 9:25 PM  
Blogger Bull E. Vard said...

Ohh, wonderful hoppy beer, how do I love thee. Man, that looks good right about now.

10/18/2007 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since your a smart person.

Why did Turkey go to Iraq?

10/18/2007 4:36 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Probably not to get Samuel Adams Hallertauer Imperial Pilsner.

Next question?

10/18/2007 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Faceless person with a 12 pack said...

As a hophead, I have to agree that this is a well crafted beer.

10/22/2007 2:40 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

i heart hops, and this one was a beer i'll have to split with somebody, next time i drink it. yowza!

10/23/2007 12:45 PM  
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12/26/2009 9:49 AM  

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