Friday, September 30, 2011

Warsteiner Premium Dunkel (2011 original review)

Even though it's not technically October and this isn't technically an Oktoberfest bier, I thought it was quite appropos to review a German dunkel lager - Warsteiner Premium Dunkel as request by Actually I think he meant just regular Warsteiner lager, but I didn't want to do two German helles lagers in the same month. Besides, I don't review dunkel lagers that often - it's time to change it up. I'm not usually a lager fan or a German non-wheat beer fan so how would this beer rate?

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (644) - Albany, USA - SEP 29, 2011
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into an Oktoberfest mug.

Appearance: Pretty shade of chocolate brown with orange/red tones. Crystal-clear. Forms an average size beige sudsy/frothy head which retains and laces well.

Smell: Even though this is packaged in a brown bottle there is a definite skunkiness to the nose. Not nearly as bad as a Heineken, but a sourness that seems out of place for sure. A close inspection reveals a generic lager smell and hints of roasted malt and coffee.

Taste: Dark lagers are, in my mind, similar to black IPAs - they mess with your head because your eyes see something dark but your mouth tastes something light. Warsteiner Premium Dunkel definitely fits that bill - looks like a high-quality beer; smells like a green bottle macro pilsner, and tastes like a standard German lager but with more refinement.

The entire first half and even most of the finish consists of a mild, familiar palate. It’s that taste of lagers that conform to the Bavarian Purity Law but don’t have anything substantial or original to them. A light cereal, milled grained taste and mild bitterness. Just as it finishes all the flavor rushes in at once. It’s a pleasant taste of iced coffee, dark chocolate and generic lager all at once. These flavors combine for a simultaneously bitter and sweet palate, yet quite mild overall. The skunked aroma is apparent in the palate - bringing down what should be a good or even excellent beer to one that’s just plain okay.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter end of medium bodied. Thicker than your average lager and not quite as fizzy, although carbonation is noticeable.

Drinkability: Though technically a lager, Warsteiner Premium Dunkel doesn’t drink like your average macro lager. Much smoother with a palate of genuine flavor. The sourness in the nose and aftertaste take some time to tolerate, though. The 4.8% ABV is totally accurate and this would make a great session beer if you could get it on tap or in cans.

Overall, I wanted to like and rate Warsteiner Premium Dunkel a little higher than I am, because it is a tasty, drinkable beer - but with flaws that are a little distracting.
Grade: 6/10

NOTE: See my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here:

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