June 14, 2014

I Hate This Place Kellerpils Recipe

Living in a town called Keller, I thought it made sense to try brewing a beer in the technique of the same name. "Keller" is German for "cellar" and refer to beers that have been lagered. However, the term is not generally used for modern lagers, rather it is generally used along with "zwickel" to identify beers that are unfiltered and unpasteurized, leaving behind a beer that has naturally clarified by lagering but not filtered or fined like modern lager styles. Kellerbier is generally served on a gravity pour from a lined barrel, not too different from English cask ale. It's fairly clear, since it undergoes some lagering, but lacks the clarity of filtered lagered. Like cask ale, it is low in carbonation because it is traditionally aged in unbunged casks so no carbonation forms. However, you may find some served with a cask-like level of carbonation, particularly those given the zwickel name.

Kellerbier has been adopted as a particular style of (flavor) hoppy and orange-ish German beer that is unfiltered; however, I am using the term "keller" in reference to the technique of creating a lager-like beer without filtration and served by cask. The base beer for this particular recipe is a bohemian pilsner rather than what has been deemed kellerbier as a specific style. It is an untraditional marriage of a non-German lager style with German verbiage. I am not creating a kellerbier, merely a bopils brewed and served using keller technique. This recipe is an adaptation of the kellerpils recipe from Victory in For the Love of Hops.


Although this beer was designed with the keller serving method in mind, it's a fairly straightforward pilsner recipe that could be adopted for bottling or kegging. It's a bohemian pilsner recipe at its heart but I've adopted a little German influence with some first wort hopping and a newer noble-like variety for the big hop finish at knockout. So it's also a little all-over-the-place. Maybe calling it "fairyly straightforward" is incorrect. However, this recipe is 100% pilsner malt. There are lots of pilsner recipes out there with munich malt, melanoidin malt and even old 1990s recipes with crystal malt out there. I prefer my pilsners a little drier and to develop those melanoidins through a decoction mash rather than specialty malt.

The danger in using straight pilsner malt is that the malt flavor in the beer can be very one note so I've combined two different pilsner malts from two different parts of the world. Here I have blended American and Belgian pils. I admit that's unconventional for a bopils. I wanted to get some floor malted pils and mix it with another variety but I couldn't find the floor malted in stock at the time I bought my grain for the year (it seems to come and go at various shops) and took what I could get. It will certainly be an interesting experiment.

Kellerbier is most commonly served out of a gravity keg but I am going to employ my free party pig, sans pressure pouch, to accomplish roughly the same technique that I have used to treat the party pig as a cask for English/American beer styles but leave out the regulator piece and carbonate it down to around one volume so it will pour easily. Plus, a little priming will help consume the oxygen trapped in the pig during packaging so that will help the beer stay fresh while it ages. I hope to be drinking this end of July or early August, right at the midpoint of our ridiculously hot summers.

Last note before getting into the recipe: I said above that I live in Keller, Texas. I hate living here and frequently tell people that. The name of the beer is meant to impugn the city's good name rather than honor it by brewing a beer in the technique of the name. Suck it, Keller. The long term plan is to move to Denver but financially we have to stay put for a while.

I Hate This Place Kellerpils Recipe

Batch size: 2.5 gallons
Est. IBU: 43.6
Est. SRM: 3.4
Est. OG: 1.046
Est. FG: 1.008
Est. ABV: 4.9%

The Grist

3 lb. 4 oz. Briess Pilsner malt (2 SRM)
1lb. Dingemans Pilsner malt (2 SRM)

The Mash

Decoction mash with RO water adjusted in Bru'n water to target Pilsen profile but acidified to target 5.2 mash ph.

Mash Schedule

Infuse 8.5 qt at 128.6F for 122F rest for 15 minutes
Decoct 2.95 qt and boil, return to mash for 148F rest for 30 minutes
Decoct 1.28 qt and boil, return to mash for 156F rest for 30 minutes

Mash Water: 8.50 qt

0.1g epsom salt
0.1g chalk
1.1 ml lactic acid

Sparge Water: 1.70 gal

0.1g epsom salt
0.1 calcium chloride
0.9 ml lactic acid

The Boil

90 minute boil

0.15 oz. Spalt [4.5%] first wort hop 20 minutes (3.8 IBU)
0.40 oz. Belma [12.10%] at 90 minutes (39.8 IBU)
1.00 oz. Aurora [8.25%] at flameout (0 IBU)
0.20 oz. Spalt [4.5%] at flameout (0 IBU)

The Fermentation

Pitch 1.2qt starter of Wyeast 2000 Budvar Lager
Ferment at 52F with diacetyl rest at 1.020 gravity
Lager 2-3 weeks
Re-yeast at packaging

The Brewday

Brewed 6/14/14

Had issues getting hitting the last rest after returning the final decoction. Had to pull a second decoction to raise temperature. Ended up mashing like 146F for 35 minutes, 152F for 10 minutes and 158F for 15 minutes. Should be ok.

First runnings: 1.053
Second runnings: 1.018
Pre-boil gravity: 1.035
Pre-boil volume: 4 gallons
Mash efficiency: 88%

Added 20 minutes to boil time to reduce volume to 3.5 volumes

Post-boil gravity: 1.048
Post-boil volume: 2.5 gallons
Efficiency 75.8%

Pitched yeast at 65F with fermentation chamber set to 52F.

6/20/14: Raised temperature to 55F

6/21/14: Gravity 1.014. Raised temperature to 59F for diacetyl rest.

6/30/14: Cooled to 37F to lager. Gravity dropped to 1.012. Tastes malty and grassy, slightly herbal hop flavor.

7/12/14: Bottled/casked to 2.0 volumes. FG: 1.012.

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