Make Your Best…

It’s one thing to fol­low a beer recipe, but it’s an en­tirely dif­fer­ent beast to know the whys and hows and every­thing in be­tween for the type of beer you’re brew­ing.

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - The Mash - By Josh Weik­ert


Keller­bier merges the best of Bri­tish cask ale with Ger­man malts and hops in a unique lager style. It has an atyp­i­cal fla­vor pro­file that, de­pend­ing on your fin­ish­ing steps, can rep­re­sent it­self as a kind of Ger­man ESB or a Con­ti­nen­tal IPA.

Style: Strictly speak­ing, Keller­biers are cold-fer­mented and are gen­er­ally served young and un­fil­tered. Many are also served with low lev­els of resid­ual CO2, hav­ing been ma­tured in vented casks. Keller­bier is es­sen­tially an am­ber lager that dif­fers from Ok­to­ber­fest in the rel­a­tive in­ten­sity of its bit­ter­ing, fla­vor, and aroma hops char­ac­ter. It is also unique in that a touch of ac­etalde­hyde and other “green” beer fla­vors are not nec­es­sar­ily con­sid­ered a fault.

In­gre­di­ents: There’s a trick to this style in that you want a rich, ob­vi­ous malt-for­ward char­ac­ter and a nice am­ber color, but you don’t want any caramel or roasty fla­vors. To get a nice, bready, non-caramel malt char­ac­ter, I use Vi­enna and Pil­sner as a base, in a 2:1 ra­tio. To deepen the color (with­out adding roast) and the fla­vor (with­out adding caramel) I add trace amounts of Carafa II and Me­lanoidin malt.

In hop­ping, the goal is about 35 IBUS and medium-high lev­els of hops fla­vor and aroma. To get there, I use a 1:1 blend of Haller­tau (for a healthy dose of flo­ral hops fla­vor) and North­ern Brewer (for a wild, dry-bark note).

For yeast, I like a true lager strain to avoid the im­pres­sion of sweet­ness that es­ters can im­part.

Process: Mash and boil as usual. Pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to your late-hops tim­ing— you want to en­sure a no­tice­able level of hops fla­vor and aroma, so if you’ll be do­ing a whirlpool, be sure to fac­tor that time in. You want 30 min­utes of con­tact time on the fla­vor hops and 10 on the aroma hops.

Pitch the yeast and hold at 50°F (10°C) for the first five days, then start in­creas­ing the tem­per­a­ture. Once you reach ter­mi­nal grav­ity, pack­age it up! For Keller­bier you want that bit of yeasty breadi­ness, “young” fla­vor, and maybe a hint of that “green” beer fla­vor.

I serve this beer at just less than one vol­ume of CO2. The re­sult should be an em­i­nently drink­able am­ber lager that has a soft, rounded mouth­feel and a ton of light-malt fla­vor, ac­cen­tu­ated by flo­ral-spicy hops fla­vor and aroma. It’s a unique beer, and I highly rec­om­mend try­ing it this way at least once!

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