… or a Bad Bottle of Warsteiner Dunkel …
I’ve had Warsteiner Dunkel before. I really enjoyed it. There was a richness and depth to the flavor that I did not expect at the time, but a flavor I found … yummy.
I was at the store today. I opted to pick up a 6 of the Warsteiner because a) it had been awhile, b) I like darker and heavier beers this time of year, and c) it and I were there. The experience was a little like calling that girl who, while you never formally were an item nor wanted to be, you could call up on short order and have better than decent odds of having a good time.
This evening I cracked open a bottle and took it for a pour. It was good. Rich & dark, but not opaque in the glass. The dunkel had a finger’s worth of head with some lacing left on the side of the glass.
I stuck my nose into the glass and took a big old whiff and …
D’ohhhhhhh (a Homer Simpson D’oh! with a slow exhalation of disappointment). The beer was a bit off. I could smell a hint of sulphur. Not Satan-level sulphur, not even left-in-the-back-of-the-girlfriend’s-Pontiac-on-a-warm-spring-day Red Stripe.
I’ve been told, and where I’m wrong Neal and Jeff and the rest of the team will correct me in my erroneous ways, that Austrian, German, and Dutch lagers typically have more compounds that react negatively to light and heat than do the average British, American, or Canadian offerings. This reaction typically leads to “skunking”, or an increase in sulphur compounds in the brew. Once a beer is skunked, I’m not aware of a remedy. However, I’ve been known to hang onto off beers for a spell to use in cooking.
When I parboil ribs, pork or especially beef, or if I’m doing up beer brats with peppers and onions, I’ll use the skunked beer. In the case of the peppers and onions, the onions have many of the same compounds. The brats will already be seasoned heavily. Parboiling the ribs, when I do it, is typically the first step. A dry rub and grilling is yet to come. The beer is meant to add some flavor and, with the heat, help soften up the connective tissue in the meat. Normally the meat I get is of good quality so I don’t have to resort to the stock pot.
If the beer is cover-your-nose-awful, the only cure is to dispose of it. Down the drain is one option, but if you have a compost pile or backyard garden or a lawn use it there. ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ and all that.
The other good news is that I’ve opened another of the Warsteiner. This one is not skunked. I am pleased.