The world of German beer is confusing to say the least.
When you think you have it figured out, you find out a bunch of new things. Helles, dunkel, weisse, keller, swarz, pils, heffe… What the hell?! At first I thought it was like different names for basically the same thing, like dunkel or swarz meant dark beer, and weisse and heffe white beer. But it is not the same. Not from what I have tasted. Again I have to stress I have not done any research on this, I am speaking from experience.
I cannot distinguish between dunkel and keller beer, but from what I can tell swarz beer is the really dark beer. Dunkel is lighter (when you put the glass of dunkel to the sun, you can see through it, with swarz you basically can`t) than swarz. Swarz beer has a little burnt like taste, as like some ingredient in it has been left on the stove too long. From this comes the specific bitter (after)taste. Dunkel is more caramel like and easier on the tongue. As I said, quite confusing.
There are so many beer brands here, it is ridiculous. So I try to narrow it down a little bit. So I do it like this – I buy something from Bayreuth and some beers from surrounding towns (e.g. Kulmbach, Bamberg etc.). And of course so I couldn`t get past the main Bavarian city – Muenchen (Munich) and the brand beer that is so like my wife’s name –
But which one do I choose? I went for the strongest beer Paulaner has, because most of the beer here is around 4,9 to 5,5 % alcohol by volume. The one we tried has 7,9 % abv. The colour of the beer is something between dark brown and dark red. Even the foam of the beer is slightly coloured. It smells like any other dark beer, but the taste is rather strong, very bitter, but not repulsive, not by far. It is actually kind of dangerous. When drinking a beer strong as this, you come to expect a taste like something between a beer and a wine. Those beers I never liked. But this one is very beer-like, so you could never tell, it is so strong. Not until you drink it and you start to feel it.
Be careful with this one. Breweries from Munich are not kidding around!