To me, there's a really distinctive flavor in Warsteiner Premium Verum. I get a ton of it in Warsteiner, a fair bit in Beck's, and a bit in Pilsner Urquell. I'm quite sure the thing I'm tasting is malt-related, not hop-related. The BJCP description of 2A German Pilsner makes me think that "graham cracker" is perhaps the thing I'm smelling/tasting, but I'm really not sure. Perhaps it's just a malty sweetness.

I've hoped for the same flavor to show up in my homebrews, but it hasn't yet. I've made a few batches with just Gambrinus pilsner malt, but haven't been able to get my hands on any other pilsner malts.

If anyone thinks they know the taste I'm referring to, how would you describe it? And secondarily, how would you achieve it?

5 Answers 5


I know the flavor you are speaking of. I think you are only going to get there with a quality imported pilsner malt from europe/germany. I don't think I've ever experienced that graham quality from a domestic (US) pilsner malt. I am not experienced with Gambrinus Malts beyond honey malt. Being that they are in north america, I suspect that's why you aren't getting that distinctive flavor you are looking for. My Weyermann pils malt gets me there when its super fresh.

  • Thanks! I'll have to see if I can get some Weyermann pils!
    – Jeff Roe
    Commented May 8, 2011 at 3:50

Its probably a combination of things too. Alongside fresh quality malt as brewchez says, it might be melanoidens in the beer that come from decoctions or speciality malts. I'm also guessing a good quality healthy dose of lager yeast is contributing to the flavor. I get some awesome "honey"-like notes from some German Pilsners (Schwelmer(sp?) and Flensburgher(sp?) specifically) that I'm thinking are yeast-related.

Maybe throw in some Melanoiden malt or some extra Munich if you still aren't getting that flavor from just the Pils malt itself. I made a straight Pilsner with fresh Weyerman Pils and S-189 (which is like the US-05 of lager yeasts) and while that beer was delicious, it was totally "clean" and didn't have much of a malt profile at all.


I think know exactly the flavor you're talking about. A friend and I have also have been searching for this "nutty", biscuity flavor for years without success. I've tried adding Melanoidin malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, doing a decoction, using Barke's Pilsner malt, slightly roasting Pilsner malt, etc. Not even close. It's not the melanoidin. I think it must be a very special blend of several specially prepared German malts that we have no access to.


Dark munich with vienna + caramunich and 2oz melanoiden malt. Then only clean bittering hops (like Magnum) and finally i got this flavor in my vienna lager. I don't know if this makes any difference, but the beer was fermented with Wyeast Munich Lager.

  • Sounds interesting. Is your recipe anywhere, like on hopville.com? If I can get a similar flavor I'll be happy, but it doesn't seem like it's what's Warsteiner is doing -- that beer is so light I wouldn't think it has anything like dark Munich in it.
    – Jeff Roe
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 21:07
  • This autumn i'll be chasing this flavor in light lagers with munich malt. Recipe for vienna lager is there -> hopville.com/recipe/609707/vienna-lager-recipes/donauinsel
    – zgoda
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 13:17

After extensive research, I've finally found the "missing ingredient". All along I thought it had something to do with the malts used, but it's not exactly that, although malts are important (try using Barke's Pilsner malt). The most distinctive ingredient in many German beers, and which affects the flavour of the malt, is - sauergut. It's like acid malt, but has much more flavour. Using acid malt won't get you there, but using sauergut will. Sauergut takes about 3-5 days to make. It has a somewhat sour, orange-like flavour. Now that I know the flavour, I can easily detect it in many German beers. Hacker-Schorr is a perfect example.

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