7C - Pale Kellerbier

Style: 7C - Pale Kellerbier

I previously had a not-fully-lagered Czech Pils standing in for Pale Kellerbier, but after reading some history about the style, I though it deserved its own entry. Contrary to what I had previously thought, Kellerbier is not just a young lager that hasn't had time to, well, lager (according to BJCP which describes the modern version). Rather, it is its own style and traditionally it did indeed go into storage for some months in oak casks (in caves!) before being served from the same cask.

The BJCP style description says nothing about the tradition of storing Kellerbier in oak casks in caves, but this article does. Hell, "kellerbier" literally translates to "cellar beer!" The modern pale version is mostly a Helles while traditionally this was somewhere between a Märzen and Helles (see Amber Kellerbier).

Since Kellerbier in its traditional form was served straight from the cask, I'll put this on nitro to replicate the lower carbonation of cask beer.  Though I won't do anything to speed up clarity, SafLager W34/70 (Weihenstephaner strain) does tend to clear up just fine on its own and I don't think haze is necessarily required for the style (clear kellerbier from kegerator.com article above). When serving from the casks that had been holding the beer for a couple of months, sediment and yeast would get shifted around during transport resulting in a cloudy beer, much like when I bump a keg in the keezer and it serves a hazy pint or two before clearing up again. In other words: after about a month of 'keg-lagering' this will probably be just as clear as any other lager which is fine.

And since Kellerbier was stored in oak casks, that has to be integrated into the process somehow. I chose to go with light toasted oak chips which will be boiled in a tea and added after fermentation slows down.

Full recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR
  • Brewday: 2018-8-12
  • Malt: Pilsner (last of the Bohemian, and the remainder is Barke)
  • Hops: [Magnum] (Spalt) {Cascade}
  • Yeast: SafLager W34/70 (Weihenstephaner)
  • Additional Ingredients: 113g light toasted Oak chips, 60g fresh (2017 crop dried/vacuum sealed in freezer) Cascade dry-hops
  • OG: 1.048; FG 1.006; ABV 5.5%
  • Kegged 2018-9-2
5.4kg of Pils malt just fits the standard hopper on the MonsterMill


Making a Kellerbier, having a "Keller-Pils" for brewday beer

Mash temp

Floor Manager Steve working outside today

48g (2g/L) Spalt added at 5 min

Saved about 1L of slurry from the Pilsner I kegged last week

Yeast in the fermenter, ready for wort

Into the fermenter

OG (adjusted) 1.048; 67% efficiency

Wort sample

And away we go. This didn't get going right away, but by the next morning it had some steady bubbles in the airlock. 

Once fermentation slows down, I'll add the oak chips

2018-8-15 (+3) made some oak chip tea. I let them simmer a bit then allowed to cool before adding to the fermenter.

2018-8-15 (+3) oak chips added AND 60g of last year's (2017) fresh hops (cascade)!

2018-9-2 (+21), kegged. Excuse the 1-handed potato-quality selfie shot.

2018-9-4 (+23) nitro pour

2018-9-16 (+35) sample. more clear and flavors are getting there.

2018-10-13 (+62) full clarity but still has a funky wet grass flavor that doesn't seem to be going away. I've learned that fresh hops should NOT be used in light beer. Ever. Might be ok in an IPA or PA, but never a pils. Took practically ruining 2 batches for me to learn but there it is.