Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

Lagers on cask

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Providence, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. jesskidden

    jesskidden Champion (810) New Jersey Aug 10, 2005 Subscriber

    Geo. Ehret didn't think so:
    fmccormi and herrburgess like this.
  2. I thought this verbiage was noteworthy:

    “The professed object of this manipulation is cleanliness; but it (pitch) doubtless communicates a peculiar flavour to the beer, which, however, is liked, and consequently required, by the customers of those brewers."
    "The Art of Brewing" by David Booth, 1834, page 29.”

    Did you notice any peculiar flavors while drinking German lager from wood casks? Does Mahr's U taste different from a wood cask vs. a steel cask?

  3. Permit me to regal you with a story. My first cask lager was a Franconian Lager (brewery unknown) at a local beer bar (Teresa’s Next Door) a few years ago (3-4 years ago). The Firkin was on stillage at the end of the bar. As I walked to the firkin the owner on the bar (Andy) and the local beer store owner (Matt of The Beeryard) were standing right next to the firkin with beers in hand:

    Me: “Oh boy, the beer is in a wooden cask!”

    Andy (with a big smile on his face): “No, it is just a rubber covering with a wood grain look”

    He noticed the look of disappointment on my face.

    Me: “Well, what is the cask ‘really’ made of”?

    Andy: “I am pretty sure that there is stainless steel in there just coated with a rubber covering”

    So, I was bummed that I couldn’t experience beer from a wood cask but the Franconian Lager on cask was tasty nonetheless!

  4. Yes, those exist. I think the one I saw a guy load into his station wagon in front of Im Fushchen was plastic coated SS - this was maybe 8 or 10 years back. Uerige still has wooden casks as far as I know.
  5. Have you notices a "peculiar flavor" in the beers from wood casks (as compared to SS casks)?

  6. Not really. Some say they can get a piney note in the back ground. It must be subtle.

    Edit - Bells has some wooden fermenters from the old Stroh's brewery that the Stroh family had in storage. Those are made from cedar. Larry Bell stated that they will need some TLC when reassembled, and they are looking into what new products are available to coat the inside with vs pitch from the old days. Looking forward to a Bells Bohemian.
  7. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

    In one way yes, another no.

    Bayerischer Anstich is what the Germans call gravity-served beer. It doesn't matter what the containers made of - metal, steel or plastic.
  8. Thanks to Ron and Jeff!

    I suspected that the beer (taste wise) would be the same it you got it from a wood cask or a non-wood cask. I gotta admit that those wood casks do indeed look sexy!

  9. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

    They do look really cool.
  10. azorie

    azorie Champion (770) Florida Mar 18, 2006

    I totally hear yea, I kid allot. Its good to Not spend more than you have. Kids yea they are great but there like pets they are dependents. lol. congratz on the baby.
    Providence likes this.
  11. Aren't most carbonated/conditioned before they go into the wooden casks though? I beleive this to be the case at Uerige anyway.

    I've had some cask conditioned lagers from Germany at NERAX and they were spectacular. But I have also had some undercarbonated cask lagers (from US brewers) that tasted like day old bud keg after it was hand pumped due to lack of carbonation.
  12. That sound like nothing more than poor cellarmanship. I've never heard of pre-carbonating before casking.Not sure it would work anyway.
  13. People tend to talk about "cask" when talking about German lagers served by gravity. These are not cask-conditioned in the British sense. They are transferred from the lagering vessel at very low temperature, so there is enough CO2 in solution in the beer for it to be nice and frothy when served.

    If you speak to British brewers you may be surprised to find out how many supposedly cask-conditioned ales actually also acquire the greater part of their carbonation in a tank before they ever reach a cask.
    patto1ro and jesskidden like this.
  14. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    In order to ensure the beer is nice and frothy, the 100- and 200-liter (and possibly the smaller) wooden kegs at Augustiner get a good sloshing around both on their way to being tapped as well as when they are initially placed up on the inclined bar for serving before tapping. Made a quick video of it last summer but it's likely too low-quality to post here. Going to give it a shot anyway....

    EDIT: Love the way he tosses the wooden hammer up on top of the keg and gets it to stand on end. Awesome. And yes, those first two Mass went to me and my buddy...and yes, they were delicious.

  15. Nice video – and, of course, shows handling that would be disastrous if the beer did have a British-style yeast sediment.
  16. tai4ji2x

    tai4ji2x Advocate (665) Massachusetts Aug 10, 2007 Beer Trader

    supposedly not the case with kellerbier, zwickel and some landbiers though.

  17. I am glad that you and your buddy manned up and drank some Maßkrug beers vs. the wimpy Seidla crap!;)
  18. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    For all of you who wonder why I go on at such length about Bamberg and surroundings, watch the above...and the other 2 parts.

    And, yes, Kellerbier is both "alive" through Krausening (what you're seeing in the video) and unfiltered. When served by gravity it's most often cloudy...perhaps from the residual yeasts getting stirred up before/during serving.

    Awesome find with that video. Thanks for posting.

  19. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    You should watch the other videos to see the difference between a wimpy U.S. beer geek "cellar" and a true cellar. Makes sense why so many people drink 4 oz samples from snifters here. ;) Prost!
  20. Brother, I am just having a bit of fun with you (reference the other thread in the Germany forum concerning Bamburg/Schlenkerla).:)

    Na Zdrowie!
  21. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    All good. Just returning the favor. And indulging my nostomania with those excellent videos. Prost!
  22. What makes Zwickel unique? I just recently heard the term/name and am curious.
  23. “nostomania”, hmmm, there is that word again.

    It reminds me of a joke where the punch line is : “I am not sure what your problem is but I bet it is hard to pronounce!”;)

  24. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    Zwickel, Zoigl, Keller are all used to describe unfiltered lagers, many of which are fermented using the methods described in the video.
    Providence likes this.
  25. tai4ji2x

    tai4ji2x Advocate (665) Massachusetts Aug 10, 2007 Beer Trader

    from my understanding, keller and zwickel are a spectrum or loose grouping of unfiltered lagers, put into casks and cellared while still fermenting ("zwickel" or "zoigl" refers to the spigot tapped into the cask for sampling and serving). i've heard that zwickel tends to be lower alc or gravity, fermented quicker (within a week), and always highly effervescent. keller is cellared for more than a week, sometimes several, and is weaker in carbonation.
    Providence likes this.
  26. Awesome. I saw a tap list for a place recently that had Zwickel, it sounds like the type of brew that'd be right up my alley. Thanks.
  27. tai4ji2x

    tai4ji2x Advocate (665) Massachusetts Aug 10, 2007 Beer Trader

    the last two sentences in my previous post are mostly just hearsay btw. i personally have not found much difference between beers labeled as one or the other.

  28. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    Generally this may be true, but there is honestly so much variation among these beers (from dark to light to fairly clear, from fizzy to flat, from very cloudy to hoppy to malty) it serves no real purpose to differentiate except in which area primarily uses which term (Zoigl in the Oberpfalz, Keller in Franconia, Zwickel/Zwickl elsewhere). Bottom line is, anywhere you see this available fresh, grab some and enjoy!
    tai4ji2x likes this.
  29. fmccormi

    fmccormi Champion (890) Florida Oct 24, 2010 Beer Trader

    I had Brooklyn Brewery's kellerbier (Gold Standard Export Kellerbier), and I thought it was actually really, really damn good: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/45/80564/?ba=fmccormi

    Really would like to try some other versions now, because I found that one to be rather enlightening, frankly. Great stuff.
  30. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    The Brooklyn stuff is, indeed, very good and resembles any number of lighter German Kellerbier...except that it costs about 5x as much. (I paid $19.00 for a growler. Ouch!)
    fmccormi likes this.
  31. Oh yeah! I had that beer at Beervana in Cranston, RI back in October. I loved it!
    fmccormi likes this.
  32. fmccormi

    fmccormi Champion (890) Florida Oct 24, 2010 Beer Trader

    Ooh, yeah that is steep . . . I paid maybe $8 for a 750ml growler fill? Something like that. Still, I enjoyed it quite a bit and it turned me on to another facet of the world of lagers.

    Any recommendations for alternatives that I might have an easier time finding?
    Providence likes this.
  33. Finding Kellerbiers in the US can be challenging.

    A brewpub in the Philly area (with three locations) makes an excellent Kellerbier they call Aldstadt Lager. It is not a regular offering but they make it several times a year. This beer is an homage by one of their brewers to the beer he drank at Wagner Brau in Franconia. Since this is a brewpub offering this would be difficult for you to get.

    Southampton makes a summer seasonal that they call Keller Pils. When they started making this beer (3 years ago?) the idea was they would change up the Noble hop that they use in making this beer. They have also changed up the malt bill as well. Below is something I wrote up in a beermail:

    “I found the 2010 Southampton Keller Pils to be more similar to a Pilsner: golden in color and with a noticeable hop presence. The 2011 Southampton Keller Pils was more like a Franconian Kellerbier; amber in color with more bready/malty taste to it. I am a big fan of hoppy Pilsners so I enjoyed the 2010 version a bit more but I did appreciate the ‘balance’ that the 2011 version had. I look forward to trying the 2012 version to see what that tastes like.”

    So, I had my first 2102 Southampton Keller Pils last night. It is very golden in color like a Pilsner (similar to the 2010 version). It has a subtle but noticeable hop aroma along with a grainy/bready aroma. The taste is grainy/bready with some hop flavor as well. This year’s version is the ‘best’ Keller Pils from a balance and integration of malts and hops. From my perspective this could very well be the ‘poster child’ for what a Keller Pils should be."

    I have been able to find Mahr’s beers on cask in the past. They would serve this via gravity from firkins. The Mahr’s Ungespundet-hefetrüb is very tasty on cask.

    I recently bought a bottle of Furst Wallerstein Zwickel at a Total Wine & More store. Below is something I wrote in a past thread:

    So, I popped open my bottle of Furst Wallerstein Zwickel. It is a large bottle (500 ml) so I had to get my biggest beer glass for this. It poured a nice tawny color and it had the unmistakable smell of a Franconian Kellerbier; a very pleasant combination of bready malt, subtle hops and some ‘yeasty’ smell. I haven’t even taken a sip and I thought to myself: this is going to be very good. My first sip realized my expectation; this beer is very, very good. I could describe the taste/flavors in my own words but your words fit the bill appropriately:

    “The aroma is both lightly bread-malty & lightly hoppy, so they were right on the aroma hops, probably Tettnanger, Hersbrücker or another noble hop. The taste is both malty and lightly noble-hoppy, nothing terribly wowing, but really, really easy to drink. There's no one flavor that overpowers, and they blend together very well! Also the mouthfeel is neither too thick or too thin, maybe exactly in the Goldilocks zone needed to make a very süffige (pleasant to drink, drinkable), creamy beer. Damn, I'm usually not a Pils fan, but this is maltier than a Pils and less hoppy than, too. But then again, the warmer it gets, the bitterer the aftertaste. I can really dig this beer.”

    And I agree with others: The Brooklyn Gold Standard Export Kellerbier is indeed a very good beer. I was lucky to find it on draft at the end of the summer of 2012; I suspect it was one of the last kegs available.

    fmccormi and Providence like this.
  34. ryan1788a5

    ryan1788a5 Advocate (525) Massachusetts Nov 27, 2009 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Jack's Abby here in MA has been getting casks of their lagers out to some of the better beer bars.
  35. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

    There's no better sight than a barrel being rolled in, put on the counter and tapped. Whether it's in Munich or Düsseldorf or Salzburg. Better entertainment than any TV.
    herrburgess likes this.
  36. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    I suppose St. Georgenbrau Keller would be my suggestion: not necessarily because it's my favorite (though it is definitely one of my favorites), but because it seems to hold up a LOT better than, say, Mahr's Ungespundet (every one of those I've had here doesn't even remotely resemble the original when fresh...they've just all been in really bad shape). Don't know how available, say, a 1612er Zwickl from HB Traunstein or a Moenchsambacher would be for you, but if you can find them fresh, those are both quite good.
  37. I was expecting you to chip in about Zoigl. You seemed pretty taken by it :)
  38. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    I, for one, have begun to understand Ron's reticence on these things. I know that the last thing I want is for this world-class beer culture and its products to go the route of Cantillon (despite the fact that wholly deserve to...and that I can't seem to keep my mouth shut!).
  39. I know just what you mean. I spend summer in Norfolk and in the 60s it was totally unspoilt , quiet and unique. Then an article in a national newspaper called it "Britain's best kept secret" and before long it was infested with Londoners who totally changed the whole character of the place.
    Keeping on topic, this is pretty well what happened to Boddington's , a well loved exceptionally bitter brew became almost not worth drinking.
  40. Doh! I forgot about Urban Chestnut Zwickel. Urban Chestnut is registered for sale in my home state of Pennsylvania but it is not really distributed. I have had a couple of pints of this Zwickel as a ‘promotion’ during Philly Beer Week; it is a very, very tasty beer!

    Below is a good write-up on this beer from another thread:

    “Not German, but definitely German in flavor and style; try to get ahold of (likely through trade) of Urban Chestnut's Zwickel...around $8.00 a 4-pk of pint bottles in St. Louis, so you shouldn't have to trade an arm and a leg for it. New brewery that does some traditional German stuff as well as some experimental brews. The Zwickel showcases everything that's great about traditional German lagers.”

    fmccormi likes this.