Thursday, May 17, 2012

Zero Gravity Munich Helles

I first sampled American Flatbread's Munich Helles during a German-themed brew tour through Burlington Brew Tours ( Although I didn't take notes at the time I knew I would be back at it a week later. The style was originally created at the Spaten brewery in 1895 to compete with Pilsner-style lagers.

Alcohol Content: 4.7%
IBU: ?
Malts: German (Pilsner base malt) - unspecified
Hops: German (Noble hops) - unspecified

Price: $3/ Half; $5/ Full
Medium: Tall pilsner glass

Aroma: Grainy pilsner base and largely sweet malty aroma dominates. Fermentation seems clean enough for a lager although I detected a moderate amount of green apple aroma from acetaldehyde - ok for style. I was searching for an optional DMS character (creamed corn aroma) but I found none. Hop spiciness from noble hops was more present than in the flavor.
Appearance: Lots of thick lacing combines with a strong, frothy white head and great clarity to exemplify this golden-type lager well. It should be noted that a large amount of condensation quickly formed around the outside of the glass, creating a frosted glass appearance. After wiping it down I found the brilliant clarity I was looking for in the style. Strong, effervescent carbonation.
Flavor: Malty pilsner sweetness with a strong grainy profile best represents each step of the tasting. Although the focus is on malts, it was perhaps too sweet for style and my liking. With each subsequent sip, I found the hop bitterness to be high but still maintaining its support role. The malts shine through in the aftertaste. Moderately high carbonation aids in finishing the beer crisp, but again I found it to be just shy of being able to sweep any lingering sweetness of the tongue.
Mouthfeel: High carbonation gives a perception of creaminess while staying moderately thin and light. I sampled it outside in the sun which created for what I thought was an appropriate setting. Some cloying sweetness in the finish and aftertaste. I would have liked to see a drier finish to help make it that super crisp, refreshing session beer.
Overall Impression: Very drinkable in style but I was looking for more of a crisper finish. The bitterness never really cleans the palate or helps dry out the lingering malty sweetness. The body and mouthfeel add a pleasant character but for a moderately thin beer I was surprised to feel full after having one. Perhaps this is from the malty sweetness more than anything - hop heads lookout!

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