Kellerbier Amber Kellerbier

7C. Kellerbier: Amber Kellerbier
The original style of Kellerbier from the Franconia area of Germany. A much older style compared to the relatively more recent pale Helles-Style Kellerbier that is popular in the Munich area today.

Overall Impression:
A young, unfiltered, and unpasteurized beer that is between a Helles and Märzen in color, spicier in the hops with greater attenuation. Interpretations range in color and balance, but remain in the drinkable 4.8% ABV neighborhood. Balance ranges from the dry, spicy and pale-colored interpretations by St. Georgen and Löwenbräu of Buttenheim, to darker and maltier interpretations in the Fränkische Schweiz. This style is above all a method of producing simple drinkable beers for neighbors out of local ingredients to be served fresh. Balance with a focus on drinkability and digestibility is important.

Aroma:
Moderate intensity of German malt, typically rich, bready, somewhat toasty, with light bread crust notes. Moderately-low to moderate spicy peppery hop aroma. Very low to low diacetyl, occasionally low to moderately-low sulfur and very low green apple or other yeast-derived notes. Caramel, biscuity, or roasted malt aroma is inappropriate.

Appearance:
Moderately cloudy to clear depending on age, but never extremely cloudy or murky. Gold to deep reddish-amber color. Off-white, creamy head. When served on cask, can have low carbonation and very low head.

Flavor:
Initial malt flavor may suggest sweetness, but finish is moderately dry to dry, and slightly bitter. Distinctive and complex maltiness often includes a bready-toasty aspect. Hop bitterness is moderate to moderately high, and spicy or herbal hop flavor is low to moderately high. Balance can be either on the malt or hop side, but the finish is not sweet. Noticeable caramel or roasted malt flavors are inappropriate. Very low to low diacetyl. Possible very low green apple or other yeast-derived notes. Smooth, malty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:
Medium body, with a creamy texture and medium carbonation. Fully fermented, without a sweet or cloying impression.

Comments:
The best examples of Amber Kellerbier are served only on tap at many of the small Franconia area breweries (as this is a beer best served fresh and the serving style being an important part of the style). Bottled versions are not likely to have the freshness, hop character and young beer notes exhibited by the draft versions.

History:
This was the classic, historical style before it was adapted in other areas. This original, older style of Kellerbier would have simply been beer served from local taverns that did not lager long enough to drop bright. Many breweries in Franconia would use some of this young beer during the summer months, for festivals such as the Annafest (est. 1840) in July in Forchheim, where it was traditional to drink directly from the lagering vessels.

Characteristic Ingredients:
Grist varies, although traditional German versions emphasized Franconian pale and color malt. The notion of elegance is derived from the high-quality local ingredients, particularly the malts. Spalt or other typically spicy local hops are most common. Frugal Franconian brewers rarely used decoction brewing due to the cost of energy.

Style Comparison:
Most commonly, this style is a young, unfiltered, unpasteurized, hoppier version of Munich Helles or Märzen. Fränkische Schweiz versions can edge up to dark amber or brown.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.048–1.054
IBUs: 25–40
FG: 1.012–1.016
SRM: 7–17
ABV: 4.8–5.4%

Commercial Examples:
(local) Greif, Eichhorn, Nederkeller, Hebendanz (bottled) Buttenheimer Kaiserdom Kellerbier, Kulmbacher Monchshof Kellerbier, Leikeim Kellerbier, Löwenbräu Kellerbier, Mahr’s Kellerbier, St. Georgen Kellerbier, Tucher Kellerbier Naturtrub

California Common

19B. California Common

Overall Impression:
A lightly fruity beer with firm, grainy maltiness, interesting toasty and caramel flavors, and showcasing rustic, traditional American hop characteristics.

Aroma:
Typically showcases rustic, traditional American hops (often with woody, rustic or minty qualities) in moderate to high strength. Light fruitiness acceptable. Low to moderate caramel and/or toasty malt aromatics support the hops.

Appearance:
Medium amber to light copper color. Generally clear. Moderate off-white head with good retention.

Flavor:
Moderately malty with a pronounced hop bitterness. The malt character is usually toasty (not roasted) and caramelly. Low to moderately high hop flavor, usually showing rustic, traditional American hop qualities (often woody, rustic, minty). Finish fairly dry and crisp, with a lingering hop bitterness and a firm, grainy malt flavor. Light fruity esters are acceptable, but otherwise clean.

Mouthfeel:
Medium-bodied. Medium to medium-high carbonation.
Comments: This style is narrowly defined around the prototypical Anchor Steam example, although allowing other typical ingredients of the era. Northern Brewer hops are not a strict requirement for the style; modern American and New World-type hops (especially citrusy ones) are inappropriate, however.

History:
American West Coast original, brewed originally as Steam Beer in the Gold Rush era. Large shallow open fermenters (coolships) were traditionally used to compensate for the absence of refrigeration and to take advantage of the cool ambient temperatures in the San Francisco Bay area. Fermented with a lager yeast, but one that was selected to ferment relatively clean beer at warmer temperatures. Modern versions are based on Anchor Brewing re-launching the style in the 1970s.

Characteristic Ingredients:
Pale ale malt, non-citrusy hops (often Northern Brewer), small amounts of toasted malt and/or crystal malts. Lager yeast; however, some strains (often with the mention of “California” in the name) work better than others at the warmer fermentation temperatures (55 to 60 °F) typically used. Note that some German yeast strains produce inappropriate sulfury character.

Style Comparison:
Superficially similar to an American Amber Ale, but with specific choices for malt and hopping – the hop flavor/aroma is traditional (not modern) American hops, malt flavors are more toasty, the hopping is always assertive, and a warm-fermented lager yeast is used. Less attenuated, less carbonated and less fruity than Australian Sparkling ale.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.048 – 1.054
IBUs: 30 – 45 FG: 1.011 – 1.014
SRM: 10 – 14 ABV: 4.5 – 5.5%

Commercial Examples:
Anchor Steam, Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager, Schlafly Pi Common, Steamworks Steam Engine Lager

Kellerbier

7C. Kellerbier
Aroma:
Reflects base style. Typically has additional yeast character, with byproducts not frequently found in well-lagered German beers (such as diacetyl, sulfur, and acetaldehyde).

Appearance:
Reflects base style. Typically can be somewhat hazy or cloudy, and likely a little darker in appearance than the base style.

Flavor:
Reflects base style. Typically has additional yeast character, with some byproducts not frequently found in well-lagered German beers (such as diacetyl, sulfur, and acetaldehyde), although not at objectionable levels.

Mouthfeel:
Reflects base style. Has a bit more body and creamy texture due to yeast in suspension, and may have a slight slickness if diacetyl is present. May have a lower carbonation than the base style.

Comments:
Young, unfiltered, unpasteurized versions of the traditional German beer styles, traditionally served on tap from the lagering vessel. The name literally means “cellar beer” – implying a beer served straight from the lagering cellar. Since this serving method can be applied to a wide range of beers, the style is somewhat hard to pin down. However, there are several common variants that can be described and used as templates for other versions. Sometimes described as Naturtrüb or naturally cloudy. Also sometimes called Zwickelbier, after the name of the tap used to sample from a lagering tank.

History:
Originally, Kellerbier referred to any Lager beer being matured in the caves or cellars under the brewery. In the 19th century, Kellerbier was a strong, aged beer meant to last the summer (Sommerbier), stored in rock cellars and served straight from them. But when refrigeration began to be used, the term shifted to describing special beers that were served young, directly from the cellar or lagering vessel. Today some breweries use the term purely for marketing purposes to make their beers appear special. While a kellerbier is sometimes considered more of a serving style than a beer style, the serving technique is still predominately used with certain styles in certain regions (such as Helles around the Munich area, or a Märzen in the Franconia region).

Pale Kellerbier

Amber Kellerbier

Vienna Lager

7A. Vienna Lager
Overall Impression:
A moderate-strength amber lager with a soft, smooth maltiness and moderate bitterness, yet finishing relatively dry. The malt flavor is clean, bready-rich, and somewhat toasty, with an elegant impression derived from quality base malts and process, not specialty malts and adjuncts.

Aroma:
Moderately-intense malt aroma, with toasty and malty-rich aromatics. Clean lager character. Floral, spicy hop aroma may be low to none. A significant caramel or roasted aroma is inappropriate.

Appearance:
Light reddish amber to copper color. Bright clarity. Large, off-white, persistent head.

Flavor:
Soft, elegant malt complexity is in the forefront, with a firm enough hop bitterness to provide a balanced finish. The malt flavor tends towards a rich, toasty character, without significant caramel or roast flavors. Fairly dry, crisp finish, with both rich malt and hop bitterness present in the aftertaste. Floral, spicy hop flavor may be low to none. Clean lager fermentation character.

Mouthfeel:
Medium-light to medium body, with a gentle creaminess. Moderate carbonation. Smooth.

Comments:
A standard-strength everyday beer, not a beer brewed for festivals. American versions can be a bit stronger, drier and more bitter, while modern European versions tend to be sweeter. Many Mexican amber and dark lagers used to be more authentic, but unfortunately are now more like sweet, adjunct-laden Amber/Dark International Lagers. Regrettably, many modern examples use adjuncts which lessen the rich malt complexity characteristic of the best examples of this style. This style is on the watch list to move to the Historical category in future guidelines; that would allow the classic style to be described while moving the sweeter modern versions to the International Amber or Dark Lager styles.

History:
Developed by Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841, became popular in the mid-late 1800s. Now nearly extinct in its area of origin, the style continues in Mexico where it was brought by Santiago Graf and other Austrian immigrant brewers in the late 1800s. Authentic examples are increasingly hard to find (except perhaps in the craft beer industry) as formerly good examples become sweeter and use more adjuncts.

Characteristic Ingredients:
Vienna malt provides a lightly toasty and complex, Maillard-rich malt profile. As with Märzens, only the finest quality malt should be used, along with Continental hops (preferably Saazer types or Styrians). Can use some caramel malts and/or darker malts to add color and sweetness, but caramel malts shouldn’t add significant aroma and flavor and dark malts shouldn’t provide any roasted character.

Style Comparison:
Lighter malt character, slightly less body, and slightly more bitter in the balance than a Märzen, yet with many of the same malt-derived flavors. The malt character is similar to a Märzen, but less intense and more balanced. Lower in alcohol than Märzen or Festbier. Less rich, less malty and less hop-centered compared to Czech Amber Lager.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.048 – 1.055
IBUs: 18 – 30 FG: 1.010 – 1.014
SRM: 9 – 15 ABV: 4.7 – 5.5%

Commercial Examples:
Cuauhtémoc Noche Buena, Chuckanut Vienna Lager, Devils Backbone Vienna Lager, Figueroa Mountain Danish-style Red Lager, Heavy Seas Cutlass Amber Lager, Schell’s Firebrick

Rauchbier

6B. Rauchbier
Overall Impression:
An elegant, malty German amber lager with a balanced, complementary beechwood smoke character. Toasty-rich malt in aroma and flavor, restrained bitterness, low to high smoke flavor, clean fermentation profile, and an attenuated finish are characteristic.

Aroma:
Blend of smoke and malt, with a varying balance and intensity. The beechwood smoke character can range from subtle to fairly strong, and can seem smoky, woody, or bacon-like. The malt character can be low to moderate, and be somewhat rich, toasty, or malty-sweet. The malt and smoke components are often inversely proportional (i.e., when smoke increases, malt decreases, and vice versa). Hop aroma may be very low to none. Clean lager fermentation character.

Appearance:
This should be a very clear beer, with a large, creamy, rich, tan- to cream-colored head. Medium amber/light copper to dark brown color.

Flavor:
Generally follows the aroma profile, with a blend of smoke and malt in varying balance and intensity, yet always complementary. Märzen-like qualities should be noticeable, particularly a malty, toasty richness, but the beechwood smoke flavor can be low to high. At higher levels, the smoke can take on a ham- or bacon-like character, which is acceptable as long as it doesn’t veer into the greasy range. The palate can be somewhat malty, rich, and sweet, yet the finish tends to be medium-dry to dry with the smoke character sometimes enhancing the dryness of the finish. The aftertaste can reflect both malt richness and smoke flavors, with a balanced presentation desirable. Moderate, balanced, hop bitterness. Moderate to none hop flavor with spicy, floral, or herbal notes. Clean lager fermentation character. Harsh, bitter, burnt, charred, rubbery, sulfury or phenolic smoky characteristics are inappropriate.

Mouthfeel:
Medium body. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Smooth lager character. Significant astringent, phenolic harshness is inappropriate.

Comments:
Literally “smoke beer” in German. The intensity of smoke character can vary widely; not all examples are highly smoked. Allow for variation in the style when judging. Other examples of smoked beers are available in Germany based on styles such as Dunkles Bock, Weissbier, Dunkel, Schwarzbier, and Helles, including examples such as Spezial Lager; these should be entered in the Classic Style Smoked Beer category. This description specifically refers to the smoked Märzen version.

History:
A historical specialty of the city of Bamberg, in the Franconian region of Bavaria in Germany. Beechwood-smoked malt is used to make a Märzen-style amber lager. The smoke character of the malt varies by maltster; some breweries produce their own smoked malt (rauchmalz).

Characteristic Ingredients:
German Rauchmalz (beechwood-smoked Vienna-type malt) typically makes up 20-100% of the grain bill, with the remainder being German malts typically used in a Märzen. Some breweries adjust the color slightly with a bit of roasted malt. German lager yeast. German or Czech hops.

Style Comparison:
Like a Märzen with but with a balanced, sweet, smoky aroma and flavor and a somewhat darker color.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.050 – 1.057
IBUs: 20 – 30 FG: 1.012 – 1.016
SRM: 12 – 22 ABV: 4.8 – 6%

Commercial Examples:
Eisenbahn Rauchbier, Kaiserdom Rauchbier,Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, Spezial Rauchbier Märzen Victory Scarlet Fire Rauchbier