Brauerei Hofstetten – Heller Bock Saphir

I made a statement about beer that I’m quite serious about when it comes to reviewing: I need to invest myself more in the foreign market.  It seems to be to far too tempting to fully go all out on the American market of beer.  It’s easier to find information about the different beers you’re drinking, and you hear a lot more about things people are trying from the different beer markets near them.  Thus, this week when I ended up at the beer store I really searched for a few brews from foreign markets I would like to have.  I ended up purchasing 6 different beers, but only one of them managed to be a foreign beer.  I guess I still need some work on branching out.  I also really needed to find some 12 0z bottles for during the week reviews.  So, I allowed some of that to steal my focus on beers from the foreign market.

Once again it’s really hard to find much of any information on this brewery.  Brauerei Hofstetten is a brewery that comes out of Austria.  I think the name may in fact give that away.  Thus, looking up any information on the actual brewery is pretty difficult.  I don’t speak the language.  This beer is classified as either a maibock or helles bock.  The way the internet sets it up, it seems as if this is essentially the same style of brew.  Bock beers are typically darker with heavy alcohol involved.  The maibock, however, tends to be a slightly different type of bock.  It has a much lighter color, some fairly significant hop character, and it still has some higher amount of alcohol to it.  I’m not sure that you would call this particular maibock really high on alcohol.  It is 7.4% ABV, but it certainly tries to have that big hop flavor.  The note on the front of the bottle that actually got me pick this one up states that it was dry-hopped with saphir hops for over 8 weeks.  The saphir hop is one I’m not particularly knowledgable about.  A little search tells me that saphir hops are refined and sweet with some mild clean citrus and hints of tangerine.  They also seem to be used mostly in german style beers.  While I bought this one on a whim, I was hoping I picked something surprisingly good.

This beer pours out a rich golden color with some clear hints of orange in the mix.  There is a moderate white head that develops on top of the beer, but it doesn’t seem to really last all that long.  There is some nice light lacing that you get with a swirl of the glass; however, there is a ton of ample sticky residue on the side of the glass as well.  The beer has a very hazy quality to it, but you can still see some of the very light carbonation in the liquid.

The smell is certainly dominated by the hops.  I get a lot of citrusy grapefruit and pineapple smells.  I’m now wondering if it was actually just tangerine, but I know I’m not real familiar with the smell of tangerine, so I could be somewhat mistaken.  Some of the sweet malts are there as well, but they tend to sit back a little bit.  The actual florally pine aroma is hidden behind the more citrus qualities; however, they come out with a very clean earthy aroma.

The taste intros with some light sweet malts.  The malts are quickly paired well with some big pineapple flavors.  Interestingly, I swear I tasted a very light little hint of vanilla, but it may have mixed strangely with something I was eating at that moment.  The ample hops come in with a lot of floral qualities.  The pine starts to develop a little bit on the back half of the hop flavoring; however, the mostly floral hops don’t hit like an IPA at all.  They aren’t so piney.  There is plenty of grapefruit flavoring with some real earthy grass feel toward the ending.  The ending has a lot of very strong residual floral hops while also being quite crisp and clean.

The overall mouthfeel of the brew is quite crisp and clean throughout almost the entire tasting.  There is a lot of carbonation at the start of the beer with some very light syrup near the end.  The hops are really pleasant and clean tasting.  It’s interesting knowing that this was dry-hopped for nearly two months.  I would have thought it would have a far bigger IPA feel to it.

In a little over a year this is only the second maibock I’ve reviewed on here.  The first one I wasn’t a fan of at all; however, this one seems to be a little more on the positive side.  I really like the use of the saphir hops here.  If you happen to see this one around you should certainly pick it up. It wasn’t only $5, so you won’t be breaking the bank on it.

Teacher Grade: B

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1 Comment

  1. 7.4% is pretty high, in German terms. Most Doppelbocks tend to be in the 8% neighborhood. About the only ones that get higher are the eisbocks which are ice distiled to increase the flavor/alcohol concentration. If you see it, try the Schneider Hopfenweise. It’s a dry hopped, pale wheat doppelbock.


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