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frenzal rhomb
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This is hands down my favorite beer ever. Problem is, it's seasonal but the good news it comes out April 1st. Its brewed in Harrisburg and only shipped in a three hour radius but if you can get it, try it. Just don't take mine.

Edited by frenzal rhomb
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That's it? Just that? How about a review, if yer gonna plug it! What sort of Pilsner? German style, Czech..... or a light tasteless American? Hops? European nobles like Saaz, Halertauer (never could spell that one) and/or Tettnanger? The fact that it's a Pilsner says something, but not much. It's a lager, but how light/dark? (Yes, there are pilsners, loosely described, that are not light golden ambers). Some can be sort of malty, although not so traditionally. More info! A review! :D

Edited by Rovers
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That's it? Just that? How about a review, if yer gonna plug it! What sort of Pilsner? German style, Czech..... or a light tasteless American? Hops? European nobles like Saaz, Halertauer (never could spell that one)  and/or Tettnanger? The fact that it's a Pilsner says something, but not much. It's a lager, but how light/dark? (Yes, there are pilsners, loosely described, that are not light golden ambers). Some can be sort of malty, although not so traditionally. More info! A review!  :D

 

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It's the best beer I've ever tasted it. That's it. If you really need the vital statistics, go to Troegs.com and click on the link. I really don't want to discuss it like a wine coneussoiur (if there is such a word).

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Well, since I am indeed a beer snob, allow me....

 

http://www.troegs.com/sunshinepils.htm

 

This is a big pilsner.... which I prefer, in a big way. Although they don't list the actual SRM, which is a color scale for beer, it is clearly a darker styled pilsner. I might prefer another barley over thier choice of crystal for malty sweetness, any pilsner with an IBU of 45 is a hoppy beer, and needs the sweetness of the crystal malt to keep it balanced. They use traditional hops, european nobles, Saaz and Mittlefrau Hallertauer. Very tastey, delicate hops, both in smoothness and aroma.

The Hallertaur hops are a traditional German variey of hop, spicy, with a slight flowery prescense. Sazz are a Czech variety, and the mother of Czech pilsners, where the style was developed. They are also spicy, but with an earthy quality.

 

So, this is an unusual beer, for a commercial variety, a pilsner with both Czech and German hops.

 

To be honest, frenzal, knowing what goes into a beer you love will help you also select others you might like. I know squat about wine, unlike 'ol Twiley, but being a brewer, one learns to use the ingredients one likes. This is a beer I would go well out of my way to try. Why? Because I know, or have a pretty good idea of what it will taste like already.

 

With wines, it's the year, the quality of grape that is used, how the harvest and growing season went, that tends to make it a great one. Yes, some varieties of grapesand how they are blended, and the use of various fermanting vessels contribute, to the final product, but it's really the grapes that make a wine very good or not. Beer is a different animal. There are all sorts of barley's that can be used, and they are all kilned differently, and using them in combination dictates how the beer will be, dark, light, roasted coffee or chocolate flavored, and everything in between.

 

Hops and which ones are used have a hugh impact on the beer. An American IPA uses Cascades, typically, which are citrussy, and almost grapefruit like. An English IPA, even using the same malt recipe would taste completely different, based on the hops used.

 

OK, I know I'm preaching..... but identifying this stuff would allow you to try other beers in the same style, without wasting money on blind experimentation. Simply put, look for a heavy, or amber colored pilsner, that uses at least one of these two hops. You just might find a similar brew you like just as well, that isn't seasonal.

 

Unfortunatley, I am not set up to brew lagers, but I can get close to this beer with an ale yeast, and I think I will brew a version of it this spring. I'd be happy to send you some brew, if I do get to brew a batch of it. Hmmm....beer!

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Well, since I am indeed a beer snob, allow me....

 

http://www.troegs.com/sunshinepils.htm

 

This is a big pilsner.... which I prefer, in a big way. Although they don't list the actual SRM, which is a color scale for beer, it is clearly a darker styled pilsner. I might prefer another barley over thier choice of crystal for malty sweetness, any pilsner with an IBU of 45 is a hoppy beer, and needs the sweetness of the crystal malt to keep it balanced. They use traditional hops, european nobles, Saaz and Mittlefrau Hallertauer. Very tastey, delicate hops, both in smoothness and aroma.

The Hallertaur hops are a traditional German variey of hop, spicy, with a slight flowery prescense. Sazz are a Czech variety, and the mother of Czech pilsners, where the style was developed. They are also spicy, but with an earthy quality.

 

So, this is an unusual beer, for a commercial variety,  a pilsner with both Czech and German hops.

 

To be honest, frenzal, knowing what goes into a beer you love will help you also select others you might like. I know squat about wine, unlike 'ol Twiley, but being a brewer, one learns to use the ingredients one likes. This is a beer I would go well out of my way to try. Why? Because I know, or have a pretty good idea of what it will taste like already.

 

With wines, it's the year, the quality of grape that is used, how the harvest and growing season went, that tends to make it a great one. Yes, some varieties of grapesand how they are blended, and the use of various fermanting vessels contribute, to the final product, but it's really the grapes that make a wine very good or not.  Beer is a different animal. There are all sorts of barley's that can be used, and they are all kilned differently, and using them in combination dictates how the beer will be, dark, light, roasted coffee or chocolate flavored, and everything in between.

 

Hops and which ones are used have a hugh impact on the beer. An American IPA uses Cascades, typically, which are citrussy, and almost grapefruit like. An English IPA, even using the same malt recipe would taste completely different, based on the hops used.

 

OK, I know I'm preaching..... but identifying this stuff would allow you to try other beers in the same style, without wasting money on blind experimentation. Simply put, look for a heavy, or amber colored pilsner, that uses at least one of these two hops. You just might find a similar brew you like just as well, that isn't seasonal.

 

Unfortunatley, I am not set up to brew lagers, but I can get close to this beer with an ale yeast, and I think I will brew a version of it this spring. I'd be happy to send you some brew, if I do get to brew a batch of it. Hmmm....beer!

 

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I can appreciate that. I just don't wantto think too much about it, I want to enjoy it. Now since you are much more knowledgeable than myself, what would you suggest I drink when this stuff is not available due to the seasonality of it?

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Hmmm... a challenge! Well, like I said, this is an unusaul brew. I cut and pasted this from the BJCP Vienna pilsner style guidelines as commercial examples of Vienna pilsners, which is the style this beer would probably best fit into.

 

Great Lakes Eliot Ness (unusual in its 6.2% strength and 35 IBUs), Gösser Dark, Noche Buena, Negra Modelo, Samuel Adams Vienna Style Lager, Old Dominion Aviator Amber Lager, Gordon Biersch Vienna Lager, Capital Wisconsin Amber

 

Of these, the only one I've tried is the Negra Modelo, but I was not impressed with it. I dont even see this Sam Adams on thier website. Thier regular Boston lager would be a lighter version of your beer, using only german hops though, The Hallertauer and tettnanger varieties. The most interesting, and promising of these is the Great Lakes Eliot Ness Amber lager. High in IBU's (the amount of hop bitterness) for the style, at 35, is still 10 IBU's short of this favotie of yours.

 

IBU's only tell part of the story behind the hop presence in a beer though. Hops added at the end of the boil will not greatly affect the bitterness, or IBU rating, but will rather add aroma instead. Breweries will rarely give away thier recipes however, so that remains a mystery until it's tasted. This Eliot Ness says it uses noble hops, so that should mean it uses the hops I've mentioned here. This is a year round brew for them, so this is the one I'd try to track down. I've never seen it here in NY though, you are alot closer, and might have some luck finding it.

 

I wish Chester would chime in here.... he knows quite a bit about commercial varieties, but isnt a brewer.

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Hmmm... a challenge! Well, like I said, this is an unusaul brew. I cut and pasted this from the BJCP Vienna pilsner style guidelines as commercial examples of Vienna pilsners, which is the style this beer would probably best fit into.

 

Great Lakes Eliot Ness (unusual in its 6.2% strength and 35 IBUs), Gösser Dark, Noche Buena, Negra Modelo, Samuel Adams Vienna Style Lager, Old Dominion Aviator Amber Lager, Gordon Biersch Vienna Lager, Capital Wisconsin Amber

 

Of these, the only one I've tried is the Negra Modelo, but I was not impressed with it. I dont even see this Sam Adams on thier website. Thier regular Boston lager would be a lighter version of your beer, using only german hops though, The Hallertauer and tettnanger varieties. The most interesting, and promising of these is the Great Lakes Eliot Ness Amber lager. High in IBU's (the amount of hop bitterness) for the style, at 35, is still 10 IBU's short of this favotie of yours.

 

IBU's only tell part of the story behind the hop presence in a beer though. Hops added at the end of the boil will not greatly affect the bitterness, or IBU rating, but will rather add aroma instead. Breweries will rarely give away thier recipes however, so that remains a mystery until it's tasted. This Eliot Ness says it uses noble hops, so that should mean it uses the hops I've mentioned here.  This is a year round brew for them, so this is the one I'd try to track down. I've never seen it here in NY though, you are alot closer, and might have some luck finding it.

 

I wish Chester would chime in here.... he knows quite a bit about commercial varieties, but isnt a brewer.

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Geez, I didn't realize it was this complicated. I've been drinking Saranac Pale Ale to pass the time but it is swill compared to what I like. I will take your suggestion of Great Lakes Eliot Ness Amber into consideration to get me to April (if I can find it). Thanks for the help.

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The Saranac Pale Ale is actually a decent American pale ale. It uses Cascade hops, which are distincly American, and are used in 90% of the American Pale Ales and IPA (India Pale Ales) . It is a citrusy, grapefruity sort of hop. Fat Tire, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Saranac's IPA all use Cascade hops. If you are interested to learn a bit of the differences between hop varieties, try an American Pale ale next to an English Bitter. The barley grain bill between these two styles wont be very different, but the hops used will be.

 

The English Bitter and IPA's use, generally, East Kent Goldings and Fuggle hop varieties. The American Pale ales and IPA's will use the Cascades, and other hops in the Cascade family like Centennial. Bass is an English Pale ale, but does not have the hop presence of thier American counter parts, so an English Bitter, or Best Bitter makes for a better comparison.

 

Based on the brews you like, I think you will like the English Bitters. The hops used are not as mellow as the German noble hops, but are smoother than cascades, which are sort of the AC/DC hard rock version of hops. Ales, in general have a fruity sort of finish, which comes from the yeast strain that is used, some yeasts are fruitier than others.

 

Since you like lagers, which are cleaner crisper tasting beers than ales are, keep an eye out for any of the German lagers... Octoberfests, Maibocks, marzen Bocks...especially a good MaiBock! Like I said, this brew of yours is fairly unique, it's rare for any lager to be so heavilly hopped. You might be interested, or might not be, in Micheal Jackson's (no, a differnt one) book, the Beer Hunter. It's written for people just like you, not interested in the why's, just how to find beers in a style you might like. This guy is quite famous in beer geek circles, and although I dont have his book in my library, I've read excerpts, and most folks rave about how good it is.

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The Saranac Pale Ale is actually a decent American pale ale. It uses Cascade hops, which are distincly American, and are used in 90% of the American Pale Ales and IPA (India Pale Ales) . It is a citrusy, grapefruity sort of hop. Fat Tire, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Saranac's IPA all use Cascade hops. If you are interested to learn a bit of the differences between hop varieties, try an American Pale ale next to an English Bitter. The barley grain bill between these two styles wont be very different, but the hops used will be.

 

The English Bitter and IPA's use, generally, East Kent Goldings and Fuggle hop varieties. The American Pale ales and IPA's will use the Cascades, and other hops in the Cascade family like Centennial. Bass is an English Pale ale, but does not have the hop presence of thier American counter parts, so an English Bitter, or Best Bitter makes for a better comparison.

 

Based on the brews you like, I think you will like the English Bitters. The hops used are not as mellow as the German noble hops, but are smoother than cascades, which are sort of the AC/DC hard rock version of hops. Ales, in general have a fruity sort of finish, which comes from the yeast strain that is used, some yeasts are fruitier than others.

 

Since you like lagers, which are cleaner crisper tasting beers than ales are, keep an eye out for any of the German lagers... Octoberfests, Maibocks, marzen Bocks...especially a good MaiBock! Like I said, this brew of yours is fairly unique, it's rare for any lager to be so heavilly hopped. You might be interested, or might not be, in Micheal Jackson's (no, a differnt one) book, the Beer Hunter. It's written for people just like you, not interested in the why's, just how to find beers in a style you might like. This guy is quite famous in beer geek circles, and although I dont have his book in my library, I've read excerpts, and most folks rave about how good it is.

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Wow, thanks for taking me to school. Anyway, I would like to try your brew (I'm 35) so I guess its legal to ship. If your outside of the Harrisburg area, and can't get it, I would trade you some Sunshine Pils for whatever you make.

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I'm still in a recovery mode from surgery, so exactly when I can brew is up in the air. When I do boil up a batch, it's 20 gallons, large by most homebrewing standards. I ship the stuff UPS, labeled as "Yeast samples". It takes from 4 to 6 weeks for most ales to age, lagers, which require carefully monitored refridgeration I am not set up for and they take a bit more time. So, it would be three months at the earliest i'd have anything drinkable. just thought I'd let you know, but I'd be happy to send you some.

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I'm still in a recovery mode from surgery, so exactly when I can brew is up in the air. When I do boil up a batch, it's 20 gallons, large by most homebrewing standards. I ship the stuff UPS, labeled as "Yeast samples". It takes from 4 to 6 weeks for most ales to age, lagers, which require carefully monitored refridgeration I am not set up for and they take a bit more time. So, it would be three months at the earliest i'd have anything drinkable. just thought I'd let you know, but I'd be happy to send you some.

 

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Sympathy. Just had my knee scoped. Let me know when you're back at it. Good luck, get well.

Edited by frenzal rhomb
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Frenzal,

You're from the Allentown area right? If so, you might be interested in checking out the book and the cook series in Philly. I believe that it is in April. We used to go the the tutored beer tastings by Michael Jackson at U of Penn. After the tasting, they have a sample session that lets you try many different brews. Also, the local micros, like stoudts, were well represented. Always a good time. Enjoy. :D

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Frenzal,

You're from the Allentown area right?  If so, you might be interested in checking out the book and the cook series in Philly.  I believe that it is in April.  We used to go the the tutored beer tastings by Michael Jackson at U of Penn.  After the tasting, they have a sample session that lets you try many different brews.  Also, the local micros, like stoudts, were well represented.  Always a good time.  Enjoy.  :D

 

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You are correct. April is a tough month schedule wise, but if I can get away I will check it out. I should be in the Philly area (April 16) for the Bouncing Souls show, so if its that weekend, maybe I can make a day of ut. Thanks.

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