Synthesizing kellerbier recipes from a few of Upper Franconia’s most respected small breweries, here is our stab at a credible homebrew version. This is essentially a SMASH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beer complicated only by decoction mashing and lagering.
Batch size: 5.5 gallons (21 liters) Brewhouse efficiency: 75% OG: 1.049 FG: 1.008 IBUS: 35 ABV: 5.3%
9.5 lb (4.3 kg) German/bohemian Pilsner malt
0.63 oz (18 g) Perle [8% AA] at 60 minutes 0.63 oz (18 g) Perle at 30 minutes 0.63 oz (18 g) Perle at 15 minutes 0.63 oz (18 g) Perle at flame-out or whirlpool
Saflager W-34/70, Wyeast 2206, White Labs WLP820, or similar.
Mash in at 122°F (50°C); rest for 15 minutes. Move about one-third of the mash—the thickest parts—to a kettle; steadily raise the temperature to 158°F (70°C) and hold it there for 10 minutes. Then steadily raise the decoction to boiling and boil for 15 minutes. Return the decoction to the main mash, which should bring the overall temperature to about 155–160°F (68–71°C). (Don’t worry if you miss these temperatures by a bit; people once did this without thermometers. We promise, it all works out in the end.) Rest for 40 minutes, then again take about one-third of the mash, steadily raise the temperature, and boil for 10 minutes. Return this decoction to the main mash to bring the overall temperature to about 167°F (75°C), then mash out.
Boil for 90 minutes following the hops schedule. Afterward, chill to 53°F (12°C), pitch the yeast, and ferment for one week. Lager at about 37°F (3°C) for six weeks.
Optionally, substitute some punchy German aroma hops such as Mandarina Bavaria for the Perle addition at flame-out.