Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The great lager beer test

It was the Norwegian beer blogger Lars Garshol who started it all. He did a blind test of pale lagers available in Norwegian supermarkets. The results surprised him, and they also started a very interesting thread on a Norwegian beer forum. Various posts from beer lovers and beer bloggers showed that many did not recognise certain beers they generally knew well. In other cases posts showed that people had prejudice towards certain beers or breweries, and that a beer tasted much better than they had thought in advance. The beer forum had a software update this Summer and due to no backup of data all these posts are unfortunately lost.

I have also done the blind test, and it was really interesting to see my results. Lars Garshol had used five different pale lagers in his test. I forgot to buy Grans pilsner, so I ended up with pale lagers from the Czech Bernard brewery and from the Norwegian Aass, Hansa and Ringnes breweries. All beers were served at the same temperature in the same kind of beer glasses.

The first beer out was a pale lager with some carbonation and a small head. I felt some apple in the nose. Otherwise there was nearly no aromas. In the mouth there was apple, yeast and a touch of hops in the finish. This was a boring lager that I thought was Aass.

The second beer also had a pale colour. It had some carbonation and a large head. In the nose there was some malts. In the mouth I felt malts and a touch of pears. This was an average lager that I felt was better than beer number 1. I thought that this was brewed by Ringnes.

The third beer had a nose of dried flowers and some butter. In the glass it had some carbonation and a small head, but it was a little bit darker than the other beers. This beer had a fuller body and a malty taste before a partly bitter finish. I felt this was the best beer so far, and I thought that it was the Bernard lager.

The fourth beer was paler than beer number 3. There was some carbonation, but it had a small sized head. In the nose I felt malts and some hops. In the nose the malts took the lead, but it had a boring finish that called for some hoppy bitterness. Still, this was a nice pale lager although I preferred the third beer. I believed that this beer was brewed by Hansa.

Then it was the moment of truth. I had recognized both Bernard and Aass in the test, but I had thought that Hansa was Ringnes and vice versa. The result sheet from this blind test thus looks like this:

1: Bernard. 2: Ringnes. 3: Hansa. 4: Aass

Blind tests are good tests, and I will call all beer bloggers to do more of them. Perhaps you will find out that not all pale lagers taste the same, and that one of the lagers brewed by a large brewery actually tastes better than you believed? It is also a way of checking out beer prejudices and a good challenge for the palate.

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