Mar 24, 2014

Posted by in Bavaria | Comments Off on What are the beers served at the Strong Beer Festival?

What are the beers served at the Strong Beer Festival?

What are the beers served at the Strong Beer Festival?

A wag might say “the clue’s in the name, silly”: strong beer festival = strong beer. Yet while that’s certainly true, what exactly does “strong” mean in this context? And what are the beers called? After all, it would be a shame to get all the way to Munich and be sat there in lederhosen or dirndl at the Starkbierfest completely unable to order, wouldn’t it? So why not avoid that embarrassment and join us on a whistle-stop tour through the strong beers of Munich?

As a rule of thumb, you can bet your last tankard that a Bavarian strong beer from Munich will have a high proportion of wort, the mash that comes from barley and is the basic component of beer: while an average Bavarian lager will have around 7% wort, a strong beer starts at around 16%. This is what makes a strong beer malty and sweet. And then of course there’s the other percentage that everyone’s interested in: yes, the booziness. Munich strong beers tend to clock in at above 7% in this category, which is maybe why they almost all have ominous-sounding names which end in “-ator”.

Like that doppelbock king of strong beer, Salvator. Served at the Nockherberg brewery during the festivities, this brew has 18.3% wort and 7.9% party juice, making it a perfectly balanced strong beer: i.e. it’s not to be taken lightly, but it won’t have you wetting your lederhosen or seeing double straight away.


The (inappropriately named?) “saviour” beer: Paulaner’s Salvator

In the hallowed Löwenbräu beer hall, meanwhile, the strong beer season sees them making a claim to the top spot with their double bock Triumphator. Nevertheless, tipping the scales at an average 18.2% wort and 7.6% booze, this is no knock-out fighter.

If you’re nevertheless worried alcohol contents as high as this might soon have you needing a nap on the benches, why not try Animator? (Disclaimer: This name may not actually represent any real animating or tonic qualities in said beverage) With record-breaking maltiness (19.3% wort) and a serious 8.1% by-volume number, this effort by Hacker-Pschorr is Munich’s strongest readily-available beer-hall brew. Prost!

Worried? Well, you could always slip into things lightly with Maximator: despite the name, the 7.5% alcohol content makes Augustiner’s effort easily digestible.

If you’re already so drunk that you think you’re wearing four, not two haferlschuhe with those lederhosen, then it’s time to start praying: yes, to St. Jakobus. Who knows? With his light 7.6% blond beer (the only on tap at the Starkbierfest), he might just save you: truly, a blond angel.

We always save the best to last, though: Giesinger Sternhagel, which – with its 9.5% party-percentage – would have a claim to being the Strong Beer Festivals strongest beer if only the wort levels were also public knowledge. And if only it wereon sale anywhere except the brewery itself (probably best it isn’t widely served, though…)

Then again: who cares about exact worting, hopping, and yeast pitching when the beer is this good – and this strong? Prost! And again…

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