Daily Archives: November 30, 2010

Guest Beer: Lagunitas Czech Pils

Here’s descriptors for another guest beer we’ve tasted on our panel. Again, panelists do not know what these samples are until after the descriptive profiling session is complete.

Lagunitas Czech Pilsner. I tried to get a little information about this beer from their website, but all I found was a strange diatribe which reminded of the essays that Stone Brewing puts on their bottles. So I’ll just copy BeerAdvocate.com’s description of a Czech Pilsner:

The birth of Pilsner beer can be traced back to its namesake, the ancient city of Plzen (or Pilsen) which is situated in the western half of the Czech Republic in what was once Czechoslovakia and previously part of the of Bohemian Kingdom. Pilsner beer was first brewed back in the 1840’s when the citizens, brewers and maltsters of Plzen formed a brewer’s guild and called it the People’s Brewery of Pilsen.

The Czech Pilsner, or sometimes known as the Bohemian Pilsner, is light straw to golden color and crystal clear. Hops are very prevalent usually with a spicy bitterness and or a spicy floral flavor and aroma, notably one of the defining characteristics of the Saaz hop. Smooth and crisp with a clean malty palate, many are grassy. Some of the originals will show some archaic yeast characteristics similar to very mild buttery or fusel (rose like alcohol) flavors and aromas.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.5-5.5%

Our panel’s terms for this beer:

Lager sulfur
Ethyl butyrate
Clean finish
Light body
Low hop aroma

Aside from the oxidized and slightly skunky notes, this beer wasn’t terrible. It seemed to lack some of the spicy hop characters common in Czech Pilsners, but it did have that grainy/cereal-type flavors common in European-styled lagers. It’s BeerAdvocate grade is a B, but when it’s in good shape I might give it a bit higher grade.


Glycosides: The Hidden Flavors

One of the aspects of beer flavor that has interested me the most are what are called “glycosides”. The reason they are so interesting to me is because it seems they add a whole new level of complexity to hop flavors beyond the traditionally accepted sources such as hydrocarbons, oxygenated compounds, and sulfur-containing compounds. Glycosides are compounds which contain two parts: a sugar component which is in its cyclic (ring) form, and another component attached to the sugar at the number 1 (or “glycosidic” carbon). Some of these companion molecules can also be sugars, so sucrose, being a 2-sugar molecule (disaccharide) made of one glucose unit and one fructose unit attached through the appropriate carbon, is an example of one of these types of glycosides. The glycosides which appear to influence beer flavor are found in hops and have aromatic compounds bonded to the carbohydrates. In their combined state, the glycosides have no flavor; no sweetness and no aroma. However, once this glycosidic bond is broken the aromatic compound is free to volatilize into the headspace of the beer and ultimately into your nose.

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