I’m still working my way through the world of German beer, and there is no shortage of varieties to try. Although kellerbier isn’t necessarily a discrete style (just being vaguely young lager), I wanted to give it a go. I also wanted to use up some ingredients. How convenient!
I aimed for an amber kellerbier, with a rich and malty character. I had some Munich malt to finish, as well as Vienna malt. A little bit of melanoidin (Great Western’s Mela malt, in this case) went in to raise the maltiness bar, and I used some Carafa Special II for color adjustment. Spalt hops are apparently somewhat traditional; I had a little bit to use up, so in they went too.
The name of “Dimorphos Kellerbier” is after the smaller member of the 65803 Didymos asteroid system. Coincidentally, it’s also part of the root for the pterosaur Dimorphodon, which appealed to my paleontological side. In any case, Dimorphos is the planned target for the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission, in which the orbit of the asteroid will be changed very slightly through impact by a satellite. It’s testing technology that may be used to save Earth from an asteroid impact someday, which I can definitely support as a paleontologist. The mission launched on November 24, and I was just a few miles from the launchpad to see the satellite head into the great beyond. It was a pretty incredible experience, and one worth commemorating with a beer batch!
For many of my beers, I write up the tasting notes after a few weeks on tap. This gives the beer chance to mature, and allows me to figure out the character of the beer. This time, I wrote up the tasting on my very first glass out of the keg. Because the style is supposed to be served young, I figured I didn’t gain anything by waiting. It also gave me a chance to provide first impressions, before I’ve had a chance to talk myself into a particular opinion about the beer.
- 5 lb. 1 oz. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
- 3 lb. 12 oz. pilsner malt (Viking)
- 15 oz. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
- 4 oz. Mela malt (Great Western)
- 2 oz. Carafa Special II malt (Weyermann)
- 0.5 oz. Magnum hop pellets (10.1% alpha), first wort hop and 60 minute boil
- 1 oz. Spalt hop pellets (3.0% alpha), 20 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 1 oz. Spalt hop pellets (3.0% alpha), 5 minute boil
- 2 pkg. Diamond lager dry yeast (Lallemand)
- 1.049 o.g., 1.007 f.g., 5.5% abv, 28 IBU, 10 SRM
- Full volume Hochkurz mash, held at 144° for 45 minutes, 160° for 45 minutes, and 10 minute mash-out at 168°
- Claremont tap water
- I mashed in with 7 gallons of water at 149°, adding 6 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust the pH. This hit an initial rest temperature of 144°, which I held for 45 minutes with recirculation.
- Next, I raised the mash (while recirculating) to 160°, and held it here for 45 minutes.
- Finally, I raised the mash temperature to 168°, and held it there for 10 minutes before removing the grain basket.
- In total, I collected 6.4 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.045, for 77% mash efficiency. The Hochkurz mash protocol seems to do well for efficiency!
- I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe.
- After a 60 minute boil, I turned off the heat and chilled to 70°, before transferring to the fermenter.
- I brewed this beer on 22 November 2021, and let it sit overnight in the fermentation chamber to get down to my target temperature of 50°. I pitched the yeast on the morning of 23 November 2021.
- Starting gravity was 1.050.
- I raised the fermenter to 52° on 24 November 2021, to 54° on 28 November 2021, 56° on 1 December 2021, and let it free rise to 60° on 3 December 2021.
- On 6 December 2021, I started to cycle down the temperature, lowering it by 5° to 10° daily (sometimes dropping 5° in the morning and 5° in the evening). It was down to 34° on 9 December.
- I kegged the beer on 11 December 2021, and force carbonated it.
- Final gravity was 1.013, which equates to 4.9% abv.
- Deep copper beer with a slight haze; very persistent ivory head
- Bready, malty aroma with a slight bread crust character and a slight spicy hop character. Yeast character is very clean.
- Rich and very pleasant maltiness. Moderate bitterness with a spicy, slightly herbal quality. Clean yeast character.
- Medium body, medium-low carbonation. Smooth, very slightly dry finish with extended bitterness.
- Would I Brew This Again?
- Yes! This is like tearing off a piece of warm, crusty bread pulled straight from the oven, and popping it into your mouth. There is so much awesome malt character, and the yeast quality is super clean. This is a perfect winter lager!