Style Details

Name
Amber Kel­ler­bier
Cate­go­ry
Amber Bit­ter Euro­pean Beer
BJCP Style Code
7 C2
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.
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.
Fla­vour
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.
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.
Typi­cal 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.
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. 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).
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.
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
Notes
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.
Ori­gi­nal Gra­vi­ty
1.048 - 1.054 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.012 - 1.016 SG
Color
7 - 17 SRM
Alco­hol
4.0 - 5.0 %vol
Bit­ter­ness
25 - 40 IBU