Was Ist Das?

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Brewing Traditions: Franconia -

New to old-fash­ioned Fran­co­nian lager brew­ing? Here, we ex­plain a few things.

Cool­ship: A big cop­per tray that was used for cool­ing hot wort by ex­pos­ing it to the air. Chill­ing tech­nol­ogy has long since moved on, but a few cool­ships are still in use. Out­side of one re­gion in Bel­gium, a cool­ship was not used to cre­ate acidic beers—not in­ten­tion­ally, any­way. De­coc­tion: A mash­ing scheme still used by many tra­di­tional Ger­man brew­ers and vir­tu­ally all Czech brew­ers. The ba­sic idea is to take a por­tion of the mash and steadily bring it a boil, then re­turn it to the rest of the mash to raise the tem­per­a­ture. This helps the brewer to hit a few ideal mash tem­per­a­tures while also—and this is key—get­ting added fla­vor and color from the Mail­lard re­ac­tions as well as greater foam sta­bil­ity. Malt mod­i­fi­ca­tion: Most mod­ern malts are “well-mod­i­fied,” which means they’re ready for con­ver­sion in a sim­ple in­fu­sion mash. How­ever, many tra­di­tional Euro­pean brew­ers still swear by rel­a­tively less-mod­i­fied malts that ben­e­fit from mul­ti­step in­fu­sions or de­coc­tion mash­ing. Mod­i­fi­ca­tion is not a short­cut but rather a dif­fer­ent road to a dif­fer­ent des­ti­na­tion. Holz­fass: Sim­ply, a wooden bar­rel. In some parts of Ger­many—namely, Bavaria and the Rhine re­gion—brew­ers may fill these bar­rels with fin­ished beer, which is then served via grav­ity through a spigot. The bar­rels are lined with in­ert pitch that does not af­fect fla­vor. It’s part nos­tal­gia, part show, but there is some ben­e­fit: the method tends to knock out some CO2 for a softer, richer taste that suits fresh, sub­tler beer beau­ti­fully. Keller­bier: Tra­di­tion­ally, beer from kellers—mean­ing, in Fran­co­nia, the beer gar­dens that in­evitably sprouted atop the lager­ing cel­lars. (No doubt the beer was fresher there.) Fol­low style guide­lines if you must, but do not treat them as fact: Keller­biers across Fran­co­nia can be golden or dark, sweet or bit­ter, or any­thing in be­tween— and these days brew­ers across Ger­man use the K-word for un­fil­tered any­thing.

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