LAGERS are the most popular beer in the world. Golden colored, made from bottom fermenting yeast, cold slow fermentation and cold maturation, lagers turn out to be drier, cleaner and mellower in taste than Ales. Lagers are well carbonated and can be light to medium in body being aged from one to three months. Pilsners, Dortmunders, Bocks, and Double-Bocks are all made from bottom fermenting yeast and therefore are Lagers.
Pilsners, clear, pale to golden-hued with a mild hop aroma and a crisp taste, were the first Lagers ever brewed. The name comes from the classic Lager Pilsner Urquell that originated in 1842 in the Czech Republic town of Pilsen. A classic Pilsner is medium in body and carbonation with a head almost like soft ice cream above the rim of the glass. Pilsners are also sometimes spelled Pilsener depending on the brewer and the country of origin.
Lagers, it’s a bit redundant but it’s both a style and type of beer. While people are familiar with the fact that Pilsners are Lagers, there are many Lagers that are not Pilsners, or Dortmunders or Double-Bocks.. All Pilsners are Lagers, and all Bocks are Lagers, but not all Lagers are Bocks or Pilsners.
Dortmunders full-bodied, moderately hopped brews which are less dry than a Pilsner.
Bock is a German term for a strong beer. In Germany it may be golden, tawny or dark brown but outside Germany a bock is usually dark. Bock beers are best served in autumn, late winter or spring, depending upon the country.
South German-style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier has the aroma and flavor that is decidedly fruity and phenolic. The phenolic characteristics are often described as clove or nutmeg like and can be smoky or even vanilla like. Banana like esters are often present. These beers are made with at least 50 percent malted wheat and low hop rates. Hop flavor and aroma are absent. Weissbier is well attenuated and very highly carbonated yet its relatively high starting gravity and alcohol content make it a medium to full-bodied beer. The color is very pale to pale amber. Because yeast is present, the beer will have yeast flavor and a characteristically fuller mouthfeel and may be appropriately very cloudy.
German-style Kolsch is warm fermented and aged at cold temperatures. Kolsch is characterized by a golden to straw color and slightly dry, subtly sweet softness on the palate, yet crisp. Good, dense head retention is desirable. A light fruitiness may be apparent, but is not necessary for this style. Caramel character should not be evident. The body is light to medium-light. This beer has low hop flavor and aroma with medium bitterness.
Traditional German-style Bocks are made with all malt and are strong malty medium to full bodied; bottom-fermented beers with moderate hope bitterness that should increase proportionately with the starting gravity. Hop flavor should be low and hop aroma should be very low. Bocks can range in color from deep copper to dark brown.
German-style Pilseners are very light straw or golden in color and well hopped. Hop bitterness is high. Noble-style hope aroma and flavor are moderate and quite obvious. It is a well-attenuated, medium-bodied beer but a malty residual sweetness can be perceived in aroma and flavor. Its head should be dense and rich.