Beer Profile: Hacker-Pschorr’s Sternweisse

Reviewed by Tom Becham

I tried a beer last night that was very interesting.

It was Hacker-Pschorr’s Sternweisse. Hacker-Pschorr is known as one of Germany’s most traditional breweries (which is saying something). It’s now part of the Spaten brewing empire, but maintains its own recipes and labels. I was anxious to try their Sternweisse (which is “white star” in German), an older version of a hefeweizen.

Unfortunately, when I got the bottle home, I noticed that it had been produced in June of 2008. Fresh is best for lagers and wheat beers, so I knew that however this beer fared, it would not be as good as it would be from a newer bottle.

As I poured the Sternweisse into my half-liter mug, I noticed a large, billowy head with fine white bubbles. The color was fascinating; it was a darker brownish-gold in the center, and a paler medium gold at the edges. This probably resulted from the use of a darker malted barley and unmalted wheat, which was more common in wheat beers from centuries past.

The aroma had lost something in long storage, but was still redolent of the cloves, banana and even toffee that is typical of darker hefe’s.

The mouthfeel was rich, smooth, soothing and creamy, and the flavor was textbook hefeweizen. Nothing too unusual, the tastes matching quite well with the aromas. A simple hefe, but an extremely well-executed one. I’m left wondering how good it would have been had it been fresher.

I’d drink it again, and would encourage my readers to do so if they get the opportunity.

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