Einbecker Brauherren Historic Pilsner Unfiltered

Review Date 2/25/2024 By John Staradumsky


I was so looking forward to my can of Einbecker Brauherren Historic Pilsner Unfiltered. This beer is, as the label says, unfiltered from the lagering tank, making it a Kellerbier/Zwickel in style. In my experience, such beers have a heartier, meatier texture from the lack of filtration that I really enjoy. Then too, I love any beer from Brauerei Einbeck, makers of the original bock beer. So this one was a natural for me.

We don’t get Einbecker beers here in Georgia, but I saw the unfiltered Brauherren at Half Time, and a can went right into my cart. I waitied patiently for my box to arrive a week later (filled, of course, with assorted other goodies as well). It arrived on a Friday, as they usually do, and the following Sunday I popped my can open to enjoy it.

Except…I didn’t enjoy it. Sadly, my can was vinegar. I knew it was bad after I poured and sniffed the nose, and a sip confirmed my suspicion. I took a gander at the label and saw the dreaded words:


Ugh. I will say that I have never, ever had an infected bottle or can of German beer in all my 42 years of drinking German beer. So what happened here? The beer was brewed in Germany but not packaged there; instead it was shipped in tanks to OEC in Connecticut and canned there. This is, unfortunately, the second infected beer I have had from OEC, the other being their Oak Lagered Doppelbock. Infection in packaged beers is the result of an unclean canning or bottling line. Bacteria on the line is introduced to the beer as it is packaged and as a result you get…vinegar.

Some beer enthusiasts feel you should not pass judgement on a spoiled beer, but I disagree-with a qualification. Old beer that has oxidized is not the brewer’s fault, so I agree there. I would never rate down a beer for being oxidized (wet cardboard flavors). That’s the fault of the distributor or retailer if they do not store the beer properly, or even the consumer if they do the same, or keep it too long.

Other defects can be more directly attributable to the brewer. Vinegar or phenolic (band-aid) flavors are a result of infection. For draft beer, this can be a result of dirty tap lines, and that of course would not be the brewer’s fault at a bar or restaurant. Skunky flavors are a result of beer being light-struck. This does not apply to canned beer, but bottled beer can become skunked if it is displayed in direct sunlight. Green and clear glass should not be used for beer because neither provides the protection against this that brown glass does, though brown glass does not guarantee a beer cannot become skunked.

I emailed OEC about my bad can of Einbecker Historic Pilsner and in all fairness to them, they are replacing with a can of the filtered Brauherren (they are out of the unfiltered). More on that when my can arrives.   

I could not find this beer listed on the Einbecker website but I did find this on the website of the importer, B. United:

Brighter and more expressive than its filtered counterpart. Rich and bready in the nose, challah-like. The hops show a lot more depth on the nose with zesty lemon-lime and contrasting herbal/earthy noble hop character. On the palate it is bigger and rounder, with a bit more perceived sweetness. The malt comes off on the palate as cracker-y, supporting that noble hop top-note throughout. The finish is zippy and super crisp despite the beer's pillowy demeanor upfront; a bright minerality combines with an edgy, elevated bitterness and prickly carbonation to help keep everything balanced. There’s also this gritty kellerbier character in the mid-palate and finish which is fantastic (always hard to describe this character)…

Einbecker Brauherren Historic Pilsner Unfiltered has an alcohol content of 4.9% by volume and I paid $4.99 for my can from Half Time. This is the only pricing that I have. Total Wine sells the filtered version for $14.99 a 4-pack. My can has no freshness dating.

Einbecker Brauherren Historic Pilsner Unfiltered pours to a pale golden color with a moderate head of fluffy foam and a nose of crisp malt and …vinegar. Oh no. Taking a sip, the beer is crisp biscuity malty up front and laced with…vinegar. I get some grassy bitter hops at the last, but of course the vinegar ruins the experience.

This is such a shame because, as I said, I was so looking forward to this. I have rated this one star due to the infection because the beer is undrinkable and others should know they may get the same. Would I buy it again though? I might, on the chance of getting a good sample, and because the canner and importer are making good on this for me.

Glad I tried it?  T

Would I rebuy it??


*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned