Black Star Beer: Bottle vs. Can

One of the more interesting things to me about the Black Star Beer I received is that it comes in both bottles and cans (and you all know I’ve been following the canned craft beer movement)—and since they sent me both versions, I figured it was a good opportunity to do another side-by-side tasting like I did with Moose Drool. In this case I didn’t literally drink them concurrently—first taking a sip of one then another—but I opened the bottle first, and then the can.

Black Star Beer, bottled versionBut like the Moose Drool review, I’ll list each review attribute together to compare the versions.

Black Star Beer was first produced by Great Northern Brewing Company in 1995 out of Whitefish, Montana. It’s a “double-hopped (dry-hopped) golden lager based on traditional European Pilsner beers made with both Bavarian Mittelfrüh and Czech Saaz hops and two rwo malting barley.”

It was discontinued in 2002 and went on “hiatus”; they’ve now re-introduced the beer this year and are pushing it hard in the market—shortly after receiving my PR package, I saw a shipment had arrived at the local Whole Foods.

According to the press release, Black Star is being brewed (again) at the Great Northern facility in Montana, as well as in Milwaukee—where the beers I had were brewed (according to the labels).

Appearance:

Bottle: Deep gold (coppery) and very clear; head broke quickly, leaving a bare skiff on top.

Can: Lighter gold—more honey-colored—with a more substantial head that stuck around longer.

Black Star Beer, canned versionSmell:

Bottle: Malty and minerally with grassy hops; touches of sweet corn.

Can: Much lighter aroma, almost none—though there seems to be an initial metallic note (possibly from the edge of the can opening during the pour).

Taste:

Bottle: Clean with a nice slightly-caramel amber malt toastiness. Biscuit. Low hopping.

Can: Lightly malty with toasty bread crust flavors. Little to no hops.

Mouthfeel:

Bottle: Clean and crisp and light-bodied with a slight brisk edge.

Can: Clean with brisk finish—cleaner than the bottled version.

Overall:

Bottle: Nice and toasty for a light lager, drinkable and flavorful.

Can: Despite metallic (can residue?) note on the nose, this is I think a bit cleaner though with not as much maltiness—still pretty good.

If I had to put a style label on it, I’d probably call it a “light Vienna lager.”

On BeerAdvocate, five reviews so far have garnered an overall grade of C-. On RateBeer, it scores 2.34 out of 5, and is in their 17th percentile (but 89th percentile for the “Pale Lager” style).

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