Weihenstephaner Vitus

Oktoberfest may have wrapped up in Germany, but we’re just getting into the swing of things in Australia…this weekend should be eventful! To help honour this time of celebration, I present my second German beer: Weihenstephaner Vitus (which is also beer number 80 off my epic list).

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The bottle says:
Just like the Erdinger Dunkel from last week, I can’t garner much info from the labels as they are all written in German. I may need to purchase a ‘German for Dummies’ book to prevent this language hurdle in the future. Anyway, a quick search of the net reveals these tasty facts:
– ‘Vitus’ is a saint, and I believe the beer is named after him, although I have no idea why. His picture appears on the neck of the bottle holding a book, a chicken and some grass…whether or not this has anything to do with the beer is beyond me.
– ‘Weizenbock’: “Weizen’ is German for wheat; “Bock” is a style of strong lager traditionally brewed in Germany. Therefore “Weizenbock” should mean strong wheat beer; Vitus clocks in at 7.7%ABV, so it ticks that box.
– Weihenstephaner is (arguably) the oldest continuously run brewery in the world! So once again I’m drinking history…

First Half:
I served the beer in my Erdinger glass (I’m sure Erdinger won’t mind a competeing product gracing their glassware. Right?). The head is big, white and fluffy. It’s also very light in texture and it disappears surprisingly quickly. The body of the beer is a pale gold colour and just a little hazy, with heaps of carbonation sparkling through the haze.
As soon as the beer is poured I can smell some sort of sweet, tart fruit…I think its raspberry…yeah, definitely raspberry. Once the head dissipates a savoury clove smell becomes more apparent, but the raspberry is still strong. The flavour follows the nose; I’m surprised by just how much sweetness there is. This is followed by some herbal, almost smoky bitterness that feels like it evaporates from the tongue. The aftertaste feels like your tongue is coated by a thin layer of alcohol, which adds to the evaporative mouth feel. The carbonation is lively and seems to remove all the very strong flavours rather quickly, encouraging the next mouthful…I’m happy to oblige.

Second Half:
The second half of the glass doesn’t change much from the first. I must admit though that I’m not giving the drink much of a chance to warm up…it is very drinkable. The alcohol is becoming more obvious (in more ways than one) and the malty/spicy flavours are also growing in strength. Nevertheless, the raspberry flavour is still the star, although now it is partnered by granny smith apples. At least I think it is; there’s a good chance that the alcohol is affecting both my palate and my judgement.

Final Thoughts:
I like this beer a lot. It’s very refreshing, with the fruit flavours lasting right until the final drop and a crisp effervescence that cleanses the palate and says “more please”. Unfortunately this drinkability may also be the beers downfall; I’m not sure a beer that’s so easy to drink should be 7.7%ABV. This equates to 3 standard drinks per bottle, and I fear this will have an adverse affect on how sessionable the brew can be. As far as flavour is concerned I would love to have another bottle or two; however this would mean drinking 6 – 9 standard drinks in a relatively short amount of time, which isn’t the most responsible way to enjoy this drink. Fun though 😉

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