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RATINGS: 147   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.13/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 15   EST. CALORIES: 225   ABV: 7.5%
Grand Teton Brewing Company has been brewing bold, flavorful beers and serving them from large, beautiful bottles as part of its Cellar Reserve Series since March 2004.

We’ve always intended these beers to be wonderful fresh but also to be “cellarable”--to improve with months or even years of proper storage. Over the years we’ve been happiest cellaring our strong malty beers. That’s made selecting styles for our summer Cellar Reserve releases a challenge, since the best beers for cellaring are not always the best beers to enjoy on a hot summer’s day.

In Berliner Weisse we think we’ve found the perfect style for our summer Cellar Reserve. This north German wheat beer is traditionally brewed and released very fresh. It has a light body from the wheat and refreshingly tart acidity that make it a perfect summer thirst-quencher. Its lemony tartness is provided by a secondary fermentation with lactobacillus, the same microorganism that’s responsible for yogurt’s tang. That tartness increases and improves with age, so the people of Berlin are known to buy extra bottles to bury in their gardens for two years or more.

As usual with our Cellar Reserves, we’ve taken a traditional style and added our own twist. In this case we’ve tripled the strength over the traditional beer, which should only increase its aging potential. For the primary fermentation we used a traditional Bavarian hefeweizen yeast that produces soft notes of banana and clove. We followed that with lactobacillus and six months in conditioning to create a complex fruity acidity that compliments the soft sweet malt tones and a unique ale that is both fulfilling and refreshing.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
JPDurden24 (1673) - Chandler, Arizona, USA - AUG 16, 2012
Supposed to be a Berliner, but lacks any acidic bite. It’s a decent beer with some yeast and spicey notes. But missing some things to make it taste as detailed.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
marcus (9148) - Sacramento, California, USA - AUG 13, 2012
On tap at Kupro’s, Sacramento. Pours cloudy golden with a thin off-white head and a sourish fruity aroma. There is a slightly sour apricot flavor with a dry tart finish. Very refreshing and easy to drink.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
drowland (7887) - Georgia, USA - AUG 10, 2012
8/10/12. 750mL bottle. Lightly hazy golden pour with a nice fluffy off-white head. Light chalky aroma with touches of tropical fruit and tartness. Overly sweet fruity flavor with barely light tartness. Too sweet and not enough tart. Eh.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
anders37 (23044) - Malmö, SWEDEN - AUG 9, 2012
Brewster’s (Sheraton Four Points LAX), Los angeles, CA. Pours a hazy yellow color with a whit ehead. Has a fruity tart citrus aroma. Fruity malty tart citrus flavor. Has a fruity malty tart sour citrus finish.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 7/20
daknole (10872) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - AUG 7, 2012
I am sorry but this just isn’t a berliner. Just a sweet and overly spiced wheat beer. Not one single iota of tartness or lactic anything. Its would be ok if in the wheat beer category.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
douglas88 (8412) - Portland, Oregon, USA - AUG 7, 2012
Bottle thanks to Dallas. Pours a deep yellow color with a small white head. An Imperial Berliner Weiss? A fruity nose with some earthy malts and pepper. The flavor doesn’t come across as tart but zingy with some lemon, dust, banana, very odd. The Hefe yeast has taken over here a bit. Quite big. OK.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
northropfrye (3250) - Steinbach, Manitoba, CANADA - AUG 6, 2012
It doesn’t bother me so much if a beer doesn’t match a style perfectly. If I like I really could care less about rating to style, so it’s true this isn’t a definitive example of Berliner Weisse style, but it’s a decent beer nevertheless. It is what it is. Has the appearance of an IPA, orange with off white head. Aroma of herbs, grass, yeast. Taste is lemony, backed with banana cream pie. Nice.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
cards04 (2648) - Steinbach, Manitoba, CANADA - AUG 5, 2012
Pours a dark hazy golden. As it sits a bit, bigger aromas and flavours come through. Lemon, banana, apple, peach, strawberry. Nice fruity notes. Some grainy flavours. Nice.

   AROMA 2/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 3/20
Broke4Beer (9) - denver, Colorado, USA - AUG 5, 2012 does not count
I’m not sure what Grand Teton was thinking when they brewed this beer and then called it a Berliner Weiss. To be honest, I knew I was in trouble when I saw that it was coming in at 7.5% abv. Berliner usually have no more than 3.0% abv, with 1809 being a notable exception that tops the chart and defines the style. So needless to say, I had no idea what to expect when I poured the beer into a glass. Initially it smelled vaguely of some sort of Belgian golden/farmhouse/saison. It also had a note of acidity and a little barnyard funkiness. Somehow, this combination didn’t work quite as well as it may sound like it could. It mostly just amounted to being vaguely Belgian-y and weirdly infected smelling. The taste was no better. In fact, dare I say the taste is worse. There is no subtlety whatsoever, and the beer is sweet with a slight vinegar-y flavor, spicy from whatever Belgian yeast they threw in to try and develop flavor, and weirdly buttery from the yeast. It’s like it was balanced in exactly all the wrong ways. Acidity, sweet, spicy, and buttery. Just gross. But I could even excuse nastiness, if the attempt to understand and brew to style was sincere. It’s clear that they didn’t even try. This exactly what needs to be removed from the craft beer industry, as it puts our reputation on the line.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 8/20
ChainGangGuy (4803) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - AUG 5, 2012
22 ounce bottle - $8.99 at Sam’s Beer & More in Lexington, South Carolina.

Appearance: Dark golden body, moderately clouded, with a brief but unyielding, not-quite-fizzy, white head.

Smell: All of the wheat malt aroma you would expect from a big wheat beer, with notes of clove, sugar-laced bananas, florals, and tired lemons.

Taste: Sweet with plenty viscous, creamy malted wheat flavor. Slight perceived honey taste, with a growing banana character. Pinch of clove. Low citrusy hint. Lightly acidic, very little tartness -- not nearly enough to cut through the rich wheatiness (if it weren’t for the carbonation, this would be even more of a mess). Closes out nearly as sweet and wheaty as it started.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-high carbonation.

Overall: I cannot tell you h--actually, I suppose I can tell you. I was very excited to purchase a Berliner Weisse. I was very disappointed to learn it was anything but. For a few minutes I tried to pretend it was a Belgian golden ale loaded with wheat. No dice.

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