Saturday, June 20, 2009

Schneider Weisse Original


4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 18, 2010
I’ve encountered many different wheat beers and while I would say I’m a fan of the style, it’s rare for a hefeweizen to impress me as much as Schneider Weisse Original did. This is a beer that is not only delicious, but easily drinkable. If the majority of beer drinkers knew of this winning combination this beer would rival any American macro lager in sales.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA


Depending on who you ask, the proper way to pour an unfiltered wheat beer varies. According to the brewer’s website, Schneider Weisse should be poured fairly conservatively into a titled glass until about ¼ of the liquid remains in the bottle. At which point you should vigorously roll the bottle to stir up the yeast which has settled to the bottom and pour the remaining beer into your glass. This is exactly how I poured my bomber and the result was a perfect glass of beer.

This is by far the darkest hefeweizen I have ever seen. With a body of pure brown which is also extremely hazy, Schneider’s appearance might actually be unattractive to some. I didn’t see any sediment floating in the glass but plenty of carbonation was definitely noticeable. The head was white, thick and fluffy and almost creamy like whipped marshmallow (I wish I had a spoon for it alone!). It did not leave much lacing on the glass, though.

The aroma was a strong bouquet of malts with notes of spices such as nutmeg, clove, and possibly vanilla. It was very sweet-smelling, but with a bit of a kick.

TASTE

Authentic German wheat beers are often very spicy and Schneider Weisse Original is certainly no exception. Upon my first taste I noticed a great combination of nutmeg and clove. What differentiates this beer from others is the strong sweet component it utilizes. I noticed a distinct flavor of vanilla and what I would call a “banana bread” taste (many hefes have a banana flavor, but this tastes more like banana bread – honestly!)

What’s so interesting about this beer is the palate is evenly-divided and well-balanced between its sweet and spicy components. The initial mouthfeel is sweet and delectable with a juicy-like richness of flavor (especially vanilla and caramel). As it finishes, the spices are released en masse giving the beer a bit of a kick. Clove, nutmeg, banana and possibly cinnamon make themselves known in the finish.

And yet there is still an unmistakable light and watery composition to the body so as to make the overall palate surprisingly mild. The flavor here is quite a work of art.

FINISH

The mouthfeel is soft, thick, and a bit watery making this beer very drinker-friendly. It finishes smooth and clean with next to no aftertaste at all.

BODY

When I’m reviewing beer I usually wait until I’ve finished my first bottle before I decide if and how soon I’d like to move on to another one. In the case of Schneider Weisse Original I really wanted a second when I was only halfway done with my first. Not only is it tasty and smooth, but at 5.4% ABV it’s a perfectly average body that lends itself to sessioning.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Honestly, it’s difficult to list any flaws for Schneider Weisse Original, although I’m not sure I would go so far as to call it a perfect beer. It’s delicious, smooth and fairly light in body, which all adds up to a high ranking. I wouldn’t put it on my personal favorites list, but I can honestly say this is an outstanding beer and highly recommend it.

Grade: 9/10