Kellerbier (Cellarbeer) or Zwickelbier

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Mosant, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. Ferdinand

    Ferdinand Initiate (0) Oct 20, 2015 Germany

    All that being said- I have to admit I know not too much about the US farmhouse ale style, but I'd say those 2 Kellerbiers you had are in a different "style" and for me are difficult to compare to each other, being a great example of how useless the term "Kellerbier" as a "style" really is.[/QUOTE]

    Lurchus - Farmhouse is just as useless as Kellerbier - which is probably why the two kellerbiers could taste different but still remind me of Farmhouse in general. From what I can tell, neither farmhouse nor Kellerbier represent definable styles with a coherent, codified method.
  2. Lurchus

    Lurchus Aspirant (247) Jan 19, 2014 Germany

    Sure. Agree to that. But still, I'd say:
    there are different LINES or traditions of Kellerbiers.
    Like when in upper franconia and ordering a Kellerbier, you know you will get a rustic,hearty, hoppy, most likely amber and most likely non fizzy lager beer. You know what to expect, basically.

    BTW, farmhouse ale is a synonym for Saison in the US,right? I had many belgian saisons and......yeah, I think I see were you are coming from (if US saisons are anything like them:wink:). I think it has to do with the long,cold lagering of the unfiltered beer that makes the overly yeasty character go away, yet leaves a nice rounded, fruity character that I'd say is in both most Saisons and most good german Kellerbiers.
  3. captaincoffee

    captaincoffee Meyvn (1,350) Jul 10, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    During a particularly beer-geeky period a couple years ago, I read Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski prior to brewing my first saison. They are exceptionally diverse, but tend to have spicy and estery yeast characteristics (Fantome Saison, Saison Dupont). They are often brewed at slightly higher than normal temperatures to accentuate the yeast character, so lagering would not be typically involved. I'm absolutely no expert on Kellerbier, but I wonder if the (generally) greater attenuation and (generally) slightly spicer hop notes is what reminds you of saison. Of course, it is all generalization and speculation with these very broad styles.
  4. Lurchus

    Lurchus Aspirant (247) Jan 19, 2014 Germany

    Ok, did NOT know they were not lagered.
    Silly me. Sorry, I just assumed because, they are fruity,yet not as funky as some abbey style beers...Maybe some of them are?
    Maybe it is really the combination of spicy hops and yeasty notes...
  5. machalel

    machalel Aspirant (286) Jan 19, 2012 Australia

    I'm going to admit to being pretty ignorant about Kellerbier, but it sounds to me as if Kellerbier is a style in the same way that Cask Ale is a style...

    would that be accurate?
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,386) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Yes and No.

    Cask Ale is more a method of delivery. For example Porters/Stouts can be served on Cask and since they are technically ales by modern day standards they could be referred to as Cask Ales but....

    A Kellerbier could also be considered a method of delivery but the types of beers that are labeled as Kellerbier are not as wide ranging as beers that are served via Cask. A Kellerbier is typically Pale-Amber in color and a lager with a variety of malts but Pilsner is often the predominant base malt. There will indeed be a variety of flavors from a Pale Kellerbier to an Amber colored Kellerbier but in my opinion they have more in common vs. the difference in beers served on cask.

    utopiajane, machalel, zid and 2 others like this.
  7. Relik

    Relik Aspirant (203) Apr 20, 2011 Nova Scotia (Canada)

    But most are Faux Cask?? Is that what you are getting at? Because sadly its true.
  8. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (391) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    In honor of @Hier-gibts-Bier recently joining this website, I'll recommend that you go to their site and get yourself a mixed crate of Kellerbiere aus Franken. My guess is you won't be disappointed. If you don't already know, lots of places in Germany will deliver beer directly to your door, you just need to look around a bit. We're happy to offer suggestions over in the Germany forum!
    Hier-gibts-Bier likes this.
  9. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,149) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Much of this just comes from my experiences, but German beer doesn't always follow "styles" so much as they follow descriptors. While Pils is a defined style, things like helles (pale/bright), dunkel (dark), schwarz (black), weiss (white), and rauch (smoked) are more along the lines of a description. Depending on where you are, that description can mean different things. Kellerbier is more along those lines.
    If you order one in and around Bamberg, you know what you're going to get. Ditto with Munich, although the kellerbiers from both areas are pretty dissimilar beyond being slightly hazy lagers. In Franconia they're rich, malty, and nutty. Further south they're dry and hoppy.
    Both are uncommon over here. There aren't too many American versions that are similar to the German versions. We don't get many German imported versions, either. Mahr's U (Mastodon, too) is one of the few, and luckily is pretty amazing. I haven't encountered many that are Germany fresh, but it's at least a start.
    utopiajane likes this.
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,386) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    What I was trying to communicate is that there are a diverse variety of beer styles that could be called Cask Ales. The stereotypical Cask Ale is Bitter Ale but there are many of styles served via cask: Porters, Stouts, Mild Ales, IPAs, etc.

    The range of 'styles' that are labelled as being Kellerbier is not as wide ranging vs. the styles that are served via cask and could be considered as Cask Ales.

    @Domingo discussed how in Germany the 'style' of a Kellerbier can vary upon the region of Germany. IMO a Bamberg Kellerbier is 'closerer' to a Munich Kellerbier than a Porter served on cask is to a Bitter served on cask.

    I have had a number of Kellerbiers served via gravity pour but most of them have been from bottles. I have had Mahrs U from the bottle, from 'regular' draft and served via gravity pour. Despite the fact there are various ways to serve Mahrs U, that beer is a Kellerbier for all of these serving methods IMO.

  11. Relik

    Relik Aspirant (203) Apr 20, 2011 Nova Scotia (Canada)

    Ahh, i missinterpted what you said @JackHorzempa. I thought you were referring to the practice of blending beer from a Brite Tank and from a Ferment Vessel in a firken size cask and then calling it Cask beer without the conditioning that is common practice resulting in a Quickie Cask/Faux Cask Product.
  12. Lurchus

    Lurchus Aspirant (247) Jan 19, 2014 Germany

    Oh, I'd say the range of Biers labelled "Kellerbier" is very wide. Maybe not strength whise- int that department, they range typically from Vollbier to Export strength.
    But regarding color, I'd say the variety is as big as with cask conditioned Ales. Yes, very dark Kellerbiers exist, and are more common than you might think.
    Regarding fermentation, the variety for Kellerbier is surely bigger than cask, since top-fermented Kellerbies do exist. For instance, Riegele Kellerbier is made with an english ale-yeast..Plus, unfiltered Kölsch (Wiess) is sometimes labelled Kellerbier as well.
    So, in short: This beer is labelled "Kellerbier"
    and this beer is labelled "Kellerbier" as well: [​IMG] l
  13. barroomhero1977

    barroomhero1977 Aspirant (215) Nov 2, 2010 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    Not positive but I seem to remember that Biere De Gardes are lagered. They are the "other" farmhouse style that tends to be a bit more malty than saisons (all said in EXTREMELY general terms).
  14. Lurchus

    Lurchus Aspirant (247) Jan 19, 2014 Germany

    I knew that biere de gardes were lagered- it was another reason I assumed belgian saisons were lagered as well. Plus, some french brewers regard them as the same thing.
    Now I'm confused.
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,386) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    That is another point of discussion. i have had Imperial Stouts on cask and Mild Ales on cask so I will stick to my prior statement that in my opinion there is more variety of cask ales.

  16. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Aspirant (214) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    Interestingly, that is fairly close to the practice of "krausening" which is employed by German (and other nationalities) brewers. Not to get too geeky, but the gist is that a small batch of wort is inoculated with yeast, allowed to ferment to 'high-krausen' and added to a recently finished ferment. The purpose being that the small 'krausen' batch is introduced at it's strongest phase of fermentation, and will help to clean up any fermentation byproducts from the initial larger batch fermentation.

    Truthfully I do not know how common this practice is. I've tried it several times in my own homebrew with good results.

    Much like cask-conditioned beer, you could at this point seal up the fermentation vessel and allow carbonation to happen naturally. This normally requires the use of a spunding valve which would allow pressure to build up to a pre-determined value.
    steveh likes this.
  17. barroomhero1977

    barroomhero1977 Aspirant (215) Nov 2, 2010 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, I think that is kind of what happens when people talk about farmhouse ales. I wouldn't be surprised at all to find a saison example that is lagered however. I mean, they do everything else with those ales.
  18. Relik

    Relik Aspirant (203) Apr 20, 2011 Nova Scotia (Canada)

    @Seacoastbrewer, Yes it is much like Krausening in that you are adding mid fermenting beer to previously cold crashed beer to get some active yeast and protein turbidity, but the volumes in the Faux cask are much higher than the amount you would use to Krausen a home brewed beer(10-17% of the total volume for a typical beer while in a faux cask it could be 20-30%).
    Typically used to get the sensation of a Cask Conditioned beer in the fraction of the time ( 2-4 hours from serving can be blended and come up close to temperature); unlike Proper Cask, that has gone a short (3-4 day secondary ferment) with finings, left to come down to cellar temp over 10 days or so, then after the yeast has settled been allowed to breath for 2 hours before tapping and serving.
    zid likes this.
  19. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Aspirant (214) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    I wonder if the high percentage of young beer in cask beer affects the taste? I guess it must be part of the style and thus, is expected.
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,386) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Who are the breweries that are doing this?

    What is the concept here? The brewery adds some freshly fermenting beer to a cask and the beer is served 2-4 hours later? How is this managed at a bar?

    I am very confused on what this faux cask thing is.:confused:

  21. Streaky

    Streaky Initiate (98) Mar 26, 2013 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Bayreuther Aktien Zwick'l Kellerbier is the best Zwick/Keller I've ever had in my entire life. Nothing has come closer to the feeling of "liquid bread", just a thick, creamy, yet insanely drinkable and refreshing flavor. The head was like whipped cream. Been dreaming of it for the last three years since I last tasted it...
    machalel and Domingo like this.
  22. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,149) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Never had it, but you're not the first person to say that. That beer is on my list of ones I hope to try next time I make it over that way.
  23. Relik

    Relik Aspirant (203) Apr 20, 2011 Nova Scotia (Canada)

    Basically the concept is trying to capture a trend without the investment of time on the brewery side. It helps bars who do not have access to proper storage for a firkin (a dedicated cask fridge or fridges set to the proper temperature) and the use of a hand pump; as these are typically served right on the bar top so when the 10 gallons of beer are gone its easy to remove, no real clean up of lines and equipment just remove the bungs and sanitize the spigot (much like a horizontal gravity keg). As once tapped it has a short life span if not consumed.

    Hypothetically speaking, but say there is a pub that wishes to run a weekly firkin night and asks for a few from local breweries to supply these 10.8 gallon vessels full of beer typically one of creations or normal rotation favorites tweaked differently. Now instead of keeping these little firkins tucked under larger conical for 3-4 days in the brew house, then into the cooler for 10 days and babying them for almost 2 weeks the brewer decides to fill it and deliver it the day off the firkin night and fills it with say approximately 2/3rds full of an dry Irish stout from his 40° brite tank that has been carbonated and ready to fill kegs with, the other 1/3rd he fills with the same beer but from his 65-68° ferment vessel adding a few ounces of Jameson Irish Whiskey just for fun. The 2/3rds beer from the brite tank supplies the carbonation and the mature beer essence, the 1/3rd green beer helps mute the carbonation levels and changes the mouth feel slightly.
    The brewer then goes and delivers said firkin to the pub and calls it a day.

    This whole process has taken from deciding what he is going to deliver to the pub, to having a finished product could be 20 minutes or less and not the 14 days needed for the Proper Cask Beer.

    Now not that this method is all bad, but calling it the same thing as cask beer is insulting.

    But claiming this method as cask beer it is not.
    TongoRad and JackHorzempa like this.
  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,386) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Thank you for taking the time to explain this.

    Which breweries are doing this?

  25. infiniteloop

    infiniteloop Initiate (141) Dec 13, 2012 District of Columbia
    Beer Trader

  26. MisterB330

    MisterB330 Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2015 New York
    Beer Trader

    Anyone looking for a great representation of a traditional (non-amber) Kellerbier should check out New Paltz Brewing. They do a Keller that is by far one of the best I have ever had. It was and is founded by a very talented and knowledgeable German gent name Heiko and he really has his stuff together..
  27. MerryTapster

    MerryTapster Disciple (349) Mar 6, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Local brewery where I live makes a kellerbier. It's not strong at all maybe 4% abv, but its tasty as all hell. Real ready type of beer.
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,386) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    How about letting us know what beer this is?

  29. MerryTapster

    MerryTapster Disciple (349) Mar 6, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    JackHorzempa likes this.
  30. BeerIsland

    BeerIsland Zealot (548) Feb 9, 2003 Pennsylvania

    the Hondo was pretty good last time I tried it.