7C. Kellerbier

Appearance

Reflects base style. Typically can be somewhat hazy or cloudy, and likely a little darker in appearance than the base style.

Aroma

Reflects base style. Typically has additional yeast character, with byproducts not frequently found in well-lagered German beers (such as diacetyl, sulfur, and acetaldehyde).

Flavor

Reflects base style. Typically has additional yeast character, with some byproducts not frequently found in well-lagered German beers (such as diacetyl, sulfur, and acetaldehyde), although not at objectionable levels.

Mouthfeel

Reflects base style. Has a bit more body and creamy texture due to yeast in suspension, and may have a slight slickness if diacetyl is present. May have a lower carbonation than the base style.

Comments

Young, unfiltered, unpasteurized versions of the traditional German beer styles, traditionally served on tap from the lagering vessel. The name literally means “cellar beer” – implying a beer served straight from the lagering cellar. Since this serving method can be applied to a wide range of beers, the style is somewhat hard to pin down. However, there are several common variants that can be described and used as templates for other versions. Sometimes described as Naturtrüb or naturally cloudy. Also sometimes called Zwickelbier, after the name of the tap used to sample from a lagering tank.

History

Originally, Kellerbier referred to any Lager beer being matured in the caves or cellars under the brewery. In the 19th century, Kellerbier was a strong, aged beer meant to last the summer (Sommerbier), stored in rock cellars and served straight from them. But when refrigeration began to be used, the term shifted to describing special beers that were served young, directly from the cellar or lagering vessel. Today some breweries use the term purely for marketing purposes to make their beers appear special. While a kellerbier is sometimes considered more of a serving style than a beer style, the serving technique is still predominately used with certain styles in certain regions (such as Helles around the Munich area, or a Märzen in the Franconia region).

Entry Instructions

The entrant must specify whether the entry is a Pale Kellerbier (based on Helles) or an Amber Kellerbier (based on Märzen). The entrant may specify another type of Kellerbier based on other base styles such as Pils, Bock, Schwarzbier, but should supply a style description for judges.

7C. Kellerbier: Amber Kellerbier

The original style of Kellerbier from the Franconia area of Germany. A much older style compared to the relatively more recent pale Helles-Style Kellerbier that is popular in the Munich area today.

Overall Impression

A young, unfiltered, and unpasteurized beer that is between a Helles and Märzen in color, spicier in the hops with greater attenuation. Interpretations range in color and balance, but remain in the drinkable 4.8% ABV neighborhood. Balance ranges from the dry, spicy and pale-colored interpretations by St. Georgen and Löwenbräu of Buttenheim, to darker and maltier interpretations in the Fränkische Schweiz. This style is above all a method of producing simple drinkable beers for neighbors out of local ingredients to be served fresh. Balance with a focus on drinkability and digestibility is important.

Appearance

Moderately cloudy to clear depending on age, but never extremely cloudy or murky. Gold to deep reddish-amber color. Off-white, creamy head. When served on cask, can have low carbonation and very low head.

Aroma

Moderate intensity of German malt, typically rich, bready, somewhat toasty, with light bread crust notes. Moderately-low to moderate spicy peppery hop aroma. Very low to low diacetyl, occasionally low to moderately-low sulfur and very low green apple or other yeast-derived notes. Caramel, biscuity, or roasted malt aroma is inappropriate.

Flavor

Initial malt flavor may suggest sweetness, but finish is moderately dry to dry, and slightly bitter. Distinctive and complex maltiness often includes a bready-toasty aspect. Hop bitterness is moderate to moderately high, and spicy or herbal hop flavor is low to moderately high. Balance can be either on the malt or hop side, but the finish is not sweet. Noticeable caramel or roasted malt flavors are inappropriate. Very low to low diacetyl. Possible very low green apple or other yeast-derived notes. Smooth, malty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel

Medium body, with a creamy texture and medium carbonation. Fully fermented, without a sweet or cloying impression.

Comments

The best examples of Amber Kellerbier are served only on tap at many of the small Franconia area breweries (as this is a beer best served fresh and the serving style being an important part of the style). Bottled versions are not likely to have the freshness, hop character and young beer notes exhibited by the draft versions.

History

This was the classic, historical style before it was adapted in other areas. This original, older style of Kellerbier would have simply been beer served from local taverns that did not lager long enough to drop bright. Many breweries in Franconia would use some of this young beer during the summer months, for festivals such as the Annafest (est. 1840) in July in Forchheim, where it was traditional to drink directly from the lagering vessels.

Characteristic Ingredients

Grist varies, although traditional German versions emphasized Franconian pale and color malt. The notion of elegance is derived from the high-quality local ingredients, particularly the malts. Spalt or other typically spicy local hops are most common. Frugal Franconian brewers rarely used decoction brewing due to the cost of energy.

Style Comparison

Most commonly, this style is a young, unfiltered, unpasteurized, hoppier version of Munich Helles or Märzen. Fränkische Schweiz versions can edge up to dark amber or brown.

Vital Statistics

IBU

25 - 40

SRM

7 - 17

OG

1.048 - 1.054

FG

1.012 - 1.016

ABV

4.8% - 5.4%

Commercial Examples

Local Greif, Eichhorn, Nederkeller, Hebendanz. Bottled Buttenheimer Kaiserdom Kellerbier, Kulmbacher Monchshof Kellerbier, Leikeim Kellerbier, Löwenbräu Kellerbier, Mahr’s Kellerbier, St. Georgen Kellerbier, Tucher Kellerbier Naturtrub.

7C. Kellerbier: Pale Kellerbier

A very common seasonal summer beer brewed by many of the Munich area breweries and served in the beer gardens, where they are very popular.

Overall Impression

A young, fresh Helles, so while still a malty, fully-attenuated Pils malt showcase, the hop character (aroma, flavor and bitterness) is more pronounced, and the beer is cloudy, often with some level of diacetyl, and possibly has some green apple and/or other yeast-derived notes. As with the traditional Helles, the Keller version is still a beer intended to be drunk by the liter, so overall it should remain a light, refreshing, easy drinking golden lager.

Appearance

Slight haze to moderately cloudy, but never extremely cloudy or murky. Medium yellow to pale gold color. Creamy white head with good persistence. When served on cask, can have low carbonation and very low head.

Aroma

Moderately-low to moderately-high spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma. Very low to moderate diacetyl, possible very low green apple or other yeast derived notes. Pleasantly grainy-sweet, clean malt aroma, with possible low background note of DMS.

Flavor

Moderately malty with a rounded, grainy-sweet profile. Low to moderately-high spicy, floral, or herbal hop flavor, with a moderate hop bitterness that can linger. Finish is crisp and dry, but the aftertaste remains malty. Very low to moderate diacetyl, which should always remain at a pleasant, drinkable level that balances somewhat with the other characteristics of the beer; overwhelming diacetyl is not appropriate. Possible very low green apple or other yeast derived notes, and possible low background note of DMS.

Mouthfeel

Medium body. Low to medium carbonation. Depending on the level of yeast in suspension, it may assist in creating a slightly creamy texture. A slight slickness on the tongue may be present from the diacetyl.

Comments

Most Pale Kellerbiers are young, unfiltered, unpasteurized versions of Munich Helles beer, although Pils or a different, custom golden lager beer designed specifically for serving young could also be used. The best examples are served only on tap at many of the Munich area breweries. Bottled versions are not likely to have the freshness, hop character and young beer notes exhibited by the draft versions.

History

Modern adaptation from the traditional Franconian style, using Helles instead of Märzen. Today, a popular summer seasonal beer.

Characteristic Ingredients

Pilsner malt, German hops, German lager yeast; same as a Munich Helles.

Style Comparison

Most commonly, a young, unfiltered and unpasteurized version of a Munich Helles, though it can be a young, unfiltered and unpasteurized version of other golden German lagers, such as a Pilsner or a seasonal golden lager made specifically for serving young.

Vital Statistics

IBU

20 - 35

SRM

3 - 7

OG

1.045 - 1.051

FG

1.008 - 1.012

ABV

4.7% - 5.4%

Commercial Examples

Local Paulaner, Paulaner Brauhaus, Hofbrau, Tegernseer Tal. Bottled Ayinger Kellerbier, Hacker-Pschorr Munchner Kellerbier Anno 1417, Hofbrau Munchner Sommer Naturtrub, Wolnzacher Hell Naturtrüb.

8. Dark European Lager

This category contains German vollbier lagers darker than amber-brown color.

8A. Munich Dunkel

Overall Impression

Characterized by depth, richness and complexity typical of darker Munich malts with the accompanying Maillard products. Deeply bready-toasty, often with chocolate-like flavors in the freshest examples, but never harsh, roasty, or astringent; a decidedly malt-balanced beer, yet still easily drinkable.

Appearance

Deep copper to dark brown, often with a red or garnet tint. Creamy, light to medium tan head. Usually clear, although murky unfiltered versions exist.

Aroma

Rich, elegant, deep malt sweetness, typically like bread crusts (often toasted bread crusts). Hints of chocolate, nuts, caramel, and/or toffee are also acceptable, with fresh traditional versions often showing higher levels of chocolate. Clean fermentation profile. A slight spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma is acceptable.

Flavor

Dominated by the soft, rich, and complex flavor of darker Munich malts, usually with overtones reminiscent of toasted bread crusts, but without a burnt-harsh-grainy toastiness. The palate can be moderately malty, although it should not be overwhelming or cloyingly sweet. Mild caramel, toast or nuttiness may be present. Very fresh examples often have a pleasant malty-chocolate character that isn’t roasty or sweet. Burnt or bitter flavors from roasted malts are inappropriate, as are pronounced caramel flavors from crystal malt. Hop bitterness is moderately low but perceptible, with the balance tipped firmly towards maltiness. Hop flavor is low to none; if noted, should reflect floral, spicy, or herbal German-type varieties. Aftertaste remains malty, although the hop bitterness may become more apparent in the medium-dry finish. Clean fermentation profile and lager character.

Mouthfeel

Medium to medium-full body, providing a soft and dextrinous mouthfeel without being heavy or cloying. Moderate carbonation. The use of continental Munich-type malts should provide a richness, not a harsh or biting astringency.

Comments

Unfiltered versions from Germany can taste like liquid bread, with a yeasty, earthy richness not found in exported filtered examples.

History

The classic brown lager style of Munich which developed as a darker, more malt-accented beer than other regional lagers. While originating in Munich, the style became popular throughout Bavaria (especially Franconia). Franconian versions are often darker and more bitter.

Characteristic Ingredients

Grist is traditionally made up of German Munich malt (up to 100% in some cases) with the remainder German Pilsner malt. Small amounts of crystal malt can add dextrins and color but should not introduce excessive residual sweetness. Slight additions of roasted malts (such as Carafa or chocolate) may be used to improve color but should not add strong flavors. Traditional German hop varieties and German lager yeast strains should be used. Often decoction mashed (up to a triple decoction) to enhance the malt flavors and create the depth of color.

Style Comparison

Not as intense in maltiness as a bock (and thus more drinkable in quantity). Lacking the more roasted flavors (and often hop bitterness) of a schwarzbier. Richer, more malt-centric, and less hoppy than a Czech Dark Lager.

Vital Statistics

IBU

18 - 28

SRM

14 - 28

OG

1.048 - 1.056

FG

1.010 - 1.016

ABV

4.5% - 5.6%

Commercial Examples

Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel, Chuckanut Dunkel Lager, Ettaler Kloster Dunkel, Hacker-Pschorr Alt Munich Dark, Weltenburger Kloster Barock-Dunkel.
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