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So Many Types of Beer, It's a Complex World - Part 3 (German/Czech Brewing)

Beer-Various-Horiz

Traditional Brewing by Country

Moving to the continent, our next stop on this world tour via beer is  Germany and the Czech Republic. Whether a traditional lager, a golden wheat beer, or a Rauchbier , grab your steins and join us.

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German/Czech Brewing: The Land of Lagers

Traditional Lagers: Helles, Pils, Export, Fest, Schwarz, Bock, Doppel Bock

Beer-Pour-Horiz-Hanna

Lagers are the main beer style produced in central Europe.  Germans perfected the art of cold storing [lagering] their beers, selecting out bottom fermenting yeast strains in the process.  When lakes froze over, ice would be cut by saw, hauled to breweries and stored in caves or cellars where the beer would continue to age through warmer weather.  Golden beers like Helles, Export and Pilsner developed in this manner and became popular as refrigeration allowed for controlled temperatures.  Helles is a Bavarian tradition, Export developed in Dortmund, while a town in the Czech Republic gave us the hoppier Pilsner, meaning “from the town of Plzen”, all three of medium strength.  In the deep golden/amber category, Oktoberfest/Festbier for the fall is now the standard for malty, medium strength, copper colored lagers.  The black lager Schwarzbier is also of medium strength, low hopping, but has a distinct roasted flavor from black malt.  On the high end of the alcohol scale, Germans make Bock and Doppel Bock, both malty and amber.  Originally from the town of Einbeck, Bocks are brewed all over Germany, usually at  6.0-6.5% ABV for Bock and 7.0-8.0% ABV for Doppel Bock.

 

Wheat Beers: Hefeweizen, Berliner, Gose, Dunkel, Weizenbock

Beer-Wheat-Brewing-Horiz-HannaBeers made from 40-50% malted wheat, unfiltered and fermented with wild yeast are called Hefeweizen, Hefe meaning yeast and Weizen meaning wheat.  These beers have a spicy or phenolic character from the yeast and are normally hazy golden.  A cousin of the style is the very pale golden, Berliner Weisse, a much more sour version.  From the town of Leipzig comes Gose, a wheat beer that has sour bacteria and salt in the mix.  The darker version of wheat beer is called Dunkelweizen, ranging from deep amber to black in color.  Weizenbock is the strongest wheat beer, coming in at 6.0-8.0% ABV and can be hazy golden to dark amber.

 

German Ales: Altbier, Kolsch

Beer-German-Horiz2Not all beer in Germany is lager.  Two styles in particular are still brewed with top fermenting yeast.  Altbier [old beer] refers to the original brewing ingredients and methods of the region around Dusseldorf.  Altbier is amber to brown in color, medium strength and slightly hoppy.  The other contribution to the category is Kolsch, a golden ale from Cologne, also made with top fermenting yeast, fermented warmer than lagers, but cooled to the cellar and filtered bright.

 

Rauchbier: Pils, Wheat, Bock, Doppelbock

Rauchbier [smoked beer] is made with beechwood kilned malt, giving the beer a smoky flavor.  Traditionally made in Bamberg, the brewers make an array of styles with the signature smoky flavor, including Pils, Wheat Beer, Bock and Doppelbock.

Beer-Dark-Amber-Horiz

More Variations: Roggen, Kellerbier

Roggen, a beer made with rye malt, is usually dark amber, hoppy and spicy, using Wheat Beer yeast.  Kellerbier  literally means Cellar Beer, an unfiltered lager that is not pasteurized.  

                                    HI801_LCDS-ABS-Measure-720x480-98440972-1fea-486b-8ffe-2bb61b8ed5eb

Check your beer color with the HI801 Spectrophotometer

The journey following beer around the world still has a few stops to make!

If you have questions regarding your beer testing, please contact us using one of the channels below.

Stay tuned - this is only PART 3 of a 5 part blog mini-series!

 

Did you miss Part 1 or Part 2? Click the buttons below to read them now!

Beer Styles Part 1Beer Styles Part 2

[1] The Oxford Companion to Beer, Chris Holliland, 2011       

[2,3,4] The World Guide to Beer, Michael Jackson, 1977

[5] Gruit Ales: Beer Before Hops, A. Sparhawk, Craft Beer.com, 2018

Tim Morse

Written by Tim Morse

Tim Morse has been brewing for four decades, from brewpubs and micros to regional breweries. Mr. Morse has a Brewing Degree from Siebel Institute of Technology and received the Large Brewpub Brew Master of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival, 2000. As the son of a Food Scientist, Mr. Morse continues the tradition of making a living messing around with yeast.

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