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Port Brewing Panzer Imperial Pilsner
Written by Tom
What do you think of when you hear the beer style known as Pilsner? Some might think of the watered down macro brewery rendition, others Pilsner Urquell, or even a light grain that imparts a bready sweetness. Well, whatever comes to mind just realize that I’m currently diving into an extreme Pils that has got my palate saying, “blitzkrieg!”
Port offers up a seasonal release that urges old WWII German tank operators to hang up their uniforms and head to CA to catch a wave. In the process, they can enjoy a nice German pilsner which is far from typical. This brew comes in at a hefty 9% ABV and uses a variety for German and Czech hops for bittering and dry-hopping. To the boil is added Hallertau, Tettnang and Saaz while the fermenting beer gets a second heap of Tettnang and Saaz hops to create a big hoppy lager.
The appearance is similar to that of a regular pils with the exception that it has some haziness to it and is a deeper straw gold color. The head retention is a continuous film as it is well carbonated with a constant stream of bubbles (the head took some time to form as it looked like the bubbles were moving through a thicker liquid).
What hit my nose was a dank, pungent, herbal earthy hop character. In addition, there were notes of lemon, grass/hay, an alcoholic warmth, and sweet (almost candied) malt note. After a couple sips a started to pick up a on a floral component I attributed to the interplay between the malt sweetness and herbal hops.
The original gravity was 1.080 which is .020-.030 points above a standard pils. As you can probably infer, this beer was pretty sweet and somewhat cloying. Since the malts are lighter in flavor and the hops are not citrus enough to drown out the abv, the dominate taste is that of higher alcohol. It still maintains a lighter mouthfeel, but the sugars needed to make a 9% beer do not allow for a crisp and clean finish as common for a Pils. The hops play a major part in this beer and Port uses the varieties well, but I think they should incorporate a hops that lends a slight fruity/citrus quality (make it a San Diego style Pils).
Overall, I’d say this was an interesting brew…one to try and maybe save for the right occasion. Not sure I’m a fan of high alcoholic Pilsners and that aspect detracted a little from this beer’s true potential. Not my favorite of the line up Port Brewing offers.