#19P Heidelberger Kellerbier Clone

Eureka, yet another recipe from the old days (2010). There is one recipe left to publish and afterwards all my recipes up to batch number 50 will be on this blog. The recipe below is basically a recipe clone to re-create a Kellerbier (link to ratebeer) I tasted during a study trip to Heidelberg, Germany. Originally brewed by the Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg. We even visited the brewery for a tour which was quite interesting as well. Was quite a nice study trip. Our goal was to find the best beer in Heidelberg… In the end, the group decided Heidelberger Export (link to ratebeer) to be the best. Anyway… Lets get back to the Kellerbier. I really enjoyed this beer, bought myself a bottle and isolated the yeast from it. And this recipe was the first (and last) attempt to brew a Kellerbier clone using the isolated yeast.

Recipe: Heidelberger Kellerbier Clone
Numbers: Volume [L] 5 (1.3 gal)
Original gravity 13.5°P (1.054)
Terminal gravity 4°P (1.016)
Color Around 20 EBC
ABV 5.2% (v/v)
Grains: Munich malt (14.5 EBC) 0.65 kg
Caramunich II (120 EBC) 0.075 kg
Acidified malt (5 EBC) 0.025 kg
Vienna (8 EBC) 0.3 kg
Hops: Hallertauer Tradition (4% AA) 8.2 g and boil for 90 min
Saazer (5% AA) 5 g and boil for 1 min
Yeast: Wyeast’s Yeast isolated from
Heidelberger Kulturbrauerei
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 4 L (1.1 gal), sparge: 5 L (1.3 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @55°C (131°F),
15 min @55°C (131°F),
35 min @64°C (147°F),
20 min @72°C (162°F),
20 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 14 days @8°C (46°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary N/A
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3 with sugar addition
Maturation time > 3 weeks

August 2010: (Don’t know the exact date anymore). Small batch brew day. Crushed all the grains, mashed in at 35°C (95°F) and increased the temperature to 55°C (131°F) and followed the mash schedule as mentioned in the recipe above. Then sparged at 78°C (172°F) and boiled the wort with the mentioned hops. Cooled down to 20°C (68°F) and stored the fermenter (no yeast added yet) in my refrigerator at 8°C (46°F) over night. I then added the yeast in the morning, aerated by shaking and left the fermentation go for 14 days. Gravity was down to 4°P. Left the fermenter sit at room temperature for two days (diacetyl rest). Then bottled with an addition of sugar.

Tasting: (beer nearly 2 months in the bottles):

Aroma: Very malty. Nothing else.

Appearance: Brilliant clear, amber color, white head with very small bubbles.

Flavor: Malty, caramel, sweet, not bitter and slightly dry nevertheless

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, average carbonation level, finishes with a malty medium lasting aftertaste.

Overall Impression: Unfortunately, I could not compare this batch with the original brew since I had to drink the only bottle I got to get to the yeast sediment. However, this is a very neat malt-caramel driven beer like one would expect from a Kellerbier.

I lost the isolated yeast strain in the meantime and this is why I can’t brew another batch. Honestly, I am not sure if I would have brewed a second batch anyway. Anyway, it turned out great, was fun to brew and cool to use an isolated yeast as a primary strain. Cheers!


Beer Travel – Brussels Part 3

Eureka, and we already get to the last post about my latest trip to Brussels. If you haven’t read the previous two check out this page. Now, I only mentioned that the third post will be about a brewery resident in Brussels. And if you know me and Brussels well enough you already guessed the brewery. It is…”drum roll”… Cantillon. The pictures below are courtesy of my brother and most of the information are taken from the pamphlet you get for the brewery tour.

IMG_0946Cantillon is one of the remaining traditional Lambic breweries in the world and is still a family business founded in 1900 by Paul Cantillon now within Brussels. They still use the old brewing equipment and brew an average of 1700 hectoliters (1450 barrels) of beer a year. In the 1960ies Jean-Pierre Van Roy carried on brewing and today Jean Van Roy is taking care of the legendary brewery. As we visited the brewery both Van Roy’s were present and Jean-Pierre Van Roy himself gave the brewery tour…

The brewery is open for visits. You pay a small entry fee and get a nice 15 page pamphlet with some information about the brewing process and the products of Cantillon and two vouchers for a beer tasting after the tour. The brewery tour begins in the brewing area.

IMG_0888For the mash they use 35% raw Belgian wheat and 65% malted barley. They mix the grains with water and hold the mash temperature for 2 hours and steadily rise the temperature from 42°C to 72°C. They then lauter with hot water and collect the wort in the hop boiler upstairs. IMG_0893

The hop boiler is made of copper and is heated by steam and has a propeller to mix the hops with the wort. They cook the wort for 3 to 4 hours with aged hops. During the boil they lose 2500 L due to evaporation from an original wort volume of 10000 L. After the primary fermentation the alcohol level is at approximately 5 ABV. IMG_0898Next you climb up into the attic of the brewery. Up there they store their malt and wheat supplies and the hops. And there is the coolship were all the magic happens. After the boil the 7500 L of hot wort are pumped into the coolship to cool down. The large surface area helps to cool down the wort relatively fast. The cooling is done over night during the brewing season of October to April. During the cooling process a broad range of wild yeasts, bacteria etc. fall into the cooling wort. And these microorganisms lead to the spontaneous fermentation and in the end to the flavors in the finished product you either love or hate. It is mentioned in the pamphlet that over 100 different yeast strains, 27 acetic acid bacteria and 38 different lactic acid bacteria have been found in a single Lambic.

In the morning, after the wort cooled down to 18 to 20°C the wort is transferred into a stainless steel fermentation vat for the primary fermentation. IMG_0910After the primary fermentation the beer gets transferred into oak or chestnut casks.

IMG_0930IMG_0932Cantillon use casks which have been used by wine makers or Cognac producers. Once in the barrels the fermentation continues and a lot of foam and carbon dioxide escapes from the barrel as it can easily be seen in some of the pictures above. There was a lot of hissing noise in this room with the barrels above and a very nice smell in the air. The next pictures shows is more clearly…

IMG_0927The vigorous fermentation slows down after some weeks and the barrels can be sealed. Now begins the maturing process which can take years.

IMG_0924Lambic is beer straight from the barrel and thus contains no carbonation at all. On the other hand, Gueuze is a blend of Lambics of different ages. Due to remaining sugars in the young Lambic (1-year-old) the fermentation in the Gueuze goes on and provides carbon dioxide to carbonate the beer. The 3-year-old Lambic provides the taste in the Gueuze. Yet another product of Cantillon are fruit beers. Lambics with fruits such as sour cherries, raspberries, grapes or apricots. The fruits (150 kg) are added to 500 L of 2-year old Lambic during the summer season (July to August). The fruits then stay in the Lambic for at least another three-month before the fruit beer is bottled. For bottling young Lambic is added again to supply the carbonation in the bottle. Lambics with sour cherries are called Kriek, with raspberries Framboise and the ones with grapes and apricots are somewhat specific for Cantillon. Vigneronne for the one with grapes and Fou’ Foune with apricots.

Lambic is not made within some weeks like many top fermented beers. Patience is needed like stated by the sign below. Freely translated as “Time doesn’t respect those doing without it”

IMG_0917And if you heard the story about the cobwebs in a Lambic brewery before, this is definitely true for Cantillon. There is this story that a lot of insects might harm the maturing beer and instead of using insecticides a lot of the brewers rely on spiders taking care of these insects. And thus Lambic brewers leave any cobwebs intact. However, have a closer look at the following barrel…

IMG_0922It might be hard to see but there are some sort of maggots around the plug enjoying the dripping Lambic… Enough of weird stuff.

The tour ended in the barrel cleaning room and the bottling facility. Interestingly, Cantillon steam treats all their barrels prior to refilling. Thus killing any of the micro flora in the barrel formed during the last fermentation.

After the beer is bottled, the bottles stay another few months in the brewery which can easily be seen as you begin your brewery tour walking by huge bottle piles. IMG_0939After the amazing tour and a small talk with Jean-Pierre Van Roy it was time for a tasting. IMG_0943– Lambic straight from a barrel: Very pale color, not a lot of funky or sour aroma in the nose. On the palate some minor Brettanomyces notes but not (very?) sour. I encountered this before as I tasted a Lambic brewed by Girardin and was surprised that the Lambic after spending a year in the barrel is not sour.

– Gueuze: Blend of Lambics. Pours with a pale color as well (picture above, glass on the very left side). In the nose the beautiful character one expects from a Gueuze. Lactic and acetic sourness, lots of barnyard, earthiness and some leathery smell as well. On the palate a decent sourness combined again with a funky earthiness. What a treat!

– Kriek: Lambic with sour cherries. Pours with a red color (glass on the right side in picture above). Some cherry character in the nose with the additional sour lactic vinegar notes. On the palate a lovely cherry bouquet complemented with a decent amount of sourness. Not sweet as modern Krieks are.

– Iris: Brewed with pale malt and spontaneously fermented and dry hopped with Saaz hops. Pours with a darker yellow color (glass in the middle in the picture above). I never had this beer before and was quite amazed how awesome the Saaz hops work with a sour beer like this. It gives the beer a very nice spiciness. The Saaz hops are definitely detectable on the palate as well. Fantastic!

Luckily for me I already had a lot of the Cantillon beers before visiting the brewery. The only ones still missing are the Vigneronne (the Lambic brewed with grapes), the Saint-Lamvinus (Lambic brewed with Merlot grapes), the Fou’ Foune (Lambic brewed with apricots) and the Faro (Lambic blended with caramel and candy sugar). Unfortunately, none of the beers above were available at the brewery shop expect from one, the Fou’ Foune. So I went home with a 0.75 L bottle of Fou’ Foune and wait for an opportunity to open the bottle… Luckily the bottle survived the flight back home.

I know I am very lucky to get Cantillon beers in the first place and to have the opportunity to pay a visit to the brewery. Anyway, as I walked through the storage space of the brewery I saw three euro-pallets like the one below:

IMG_0938Maybe there is your next Cantillon bottle in there somewhere? I hope so.

I am very happy about the visit and will definitely go there for another visit in the future. The beers they brew are just amazing, although some of the visitors had a funny face expression as they lowered their noses in the glasses for the very first time. Cantillon is a definite must if you ever are in/around Brussels. Even if you are not into the whole Lambic/Gueuze stuff. It is an experience and who knows maybe some day you really like to drink a traditional Gueuze, Lambic or fruit Lambic as well. The only thing I would love to do is take some agar plates with me next time… Thanks for reading and stay tuned for further posts.


Beer Travel – Brussels Part 2

Eureka, the journey goes on. This post is the second one in the Beer Travel log of Brussels. Today’s post is all about Brussels and beer. No further introduction because this post will be long enough already. All the pictures below are courtesy of my brother.

Moeder Lambic Fontainas


Fig 1: Welcome to Moeder Lambic

Moeder Lambic runs two craft beer bars in Brussels. The one we visited was Moeder Lambic Fontainas with 46 beers on tap…

Sure we could not try all the 46 beers. We nevertheless tried Grisette’s Fruits de Bois brewed with wild fruits, Val-Dieu Noël, Tournay Noel, de Ranke Hop Harvest 2012, de Ranke Kriek and de la Senne’s Band of Brothers. If this was not enough yet, we ordered a bottle of Stone’s Old Guardian from 2010. This was my very first Stone brew and I was not disappointed at all.

Maybe some words about the bar. The bar is located in the East of the Grand Place and the interior design is very modern and very well made. We sat at a wooden table at the very end of the bar and had to climb up there one some Westvleteren 12 cases.


Fig 2: Insight Moeder Lambic Fontainas

The bar not only serves a lot of beer on tap but has a huge beer menu as well. To me it seems that the bar focuses mainly on Belgian beers on draught but caries a lot of excellent foreign beers in bottles. Funny enough, if I would have to name two very well made Swiss beers it would have to be BFM’s Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien or Trois Dames Oud Bruin. And those were in fact the two beers they carry from Swiss breweries…


Fig 3: Beer menu of Moeder Lambic Fontainas

Moeder Lambic is definitely a craft bar to visit if you are in Brussels. In fact you could skip all the other bars below but don’t miss out Moeder Lambic. And if you are a bit hungry order a Planchette mixte, a small snack. Maybe some of the best bacon I had in my life. Not only the beer is excellent in this bar but the food is very delicious as well.

A la Mort Subite

Next stop A la Mort Subite. A small pub serving Mort Subite (sudden death) beers located in the centre of Brussels. This bar opened in the early 20th century and the interior is very vintage with some very old wooden tables, wooden chairs which all gives you the feeling of the old days.


Fig 4: A la Mort Subite

On draught are Mort Subite’s Kriek (cherry lambic), Faro, Peach, Lambic white and some other Belgian beers. In addition, you can order Mort Subite’s Gueuze and Framboise in bottles. For a complete list of served beers check out their website. We tried the Faro, Peach, Gueuze and Framboise and they were not bad. However, Mort Subite’s beers are sweet. I like the sweet fruit Lambics as well and if you don’t like the sweet Lambics, visit the bar because of the feeling.


Fig 5: Mort Subite Gueuze

Delirium Café

This is maybe the most visited bar in Brussels. It seems they have the largest beer menu on the planet with over 2400 beers available.


Fig 6: Delirium Café at daylight

This cafe (I would not call this a cafe though) is located in the middle of the city. We wanted to visit the cafe on a Friday evening and the cafe was just filled with a lot of rather young people. To me it looked like a place where young people go out for a drink or two or three… There is nothing wrong with that but this is not the environment I am looking for to enjoy a nice glass of beer in the evening. Or enjoy some craft beer with the distinct pub smell in the air… Maybe I am already too old for this kind of cafe? Anyway, I am not very sad about not drinking a beer in this cafe.

250 Belgium Beer store

This is the only beer store I went to in Brussels and is located at the Boterstraat right in proximity of the Grand Place.


Fig 7: Inside a Belgian beer store

I believe they really carry 250 Belgian beers. For me the most interesting section of the store was the Lambic and Fruit beer department. They carry a lot of Lindeman, Liefman, de Troch, Mort Subite, Cantillon and Boon. I might have forgotten other breweries. We bouth ourself Duvel Groen, Lindemans Pecheresse, Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor, Gouden Carolus Tripel, Cuvée René from Lindemans and a Gueuze made by DeKoninck.


Fig 8: Beer hunting…

By the way, the Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus and the La Trappe Quadrupel are from a souvenir shop.

I would like to share a funny story here. If you had Belgian beers before you might know that a lot of bottles have a cap and a cork. Basically I was aware of that but forgot to take a corkscrew with me. On the first evening we wanted to try the Lindemans Pecheresse but we could not get the cork out of the bottle. This is why I bought myself a silly Manneken Pis corkscrew as shown in the picture below.


Fig 9: Manneken Pis bottle before opening a bottle of Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus

I screwed the spiral of the Manneken Pis corkscrew in the cork of the Pecheresse bottle and after some turnings… the spiral broke off. Luckily the spiral was already deep enough in the cork to get the cork out of the bottle. We then wanted to open the Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus (with a cork as well) and I used the Manneken Pis to get the cap off… and the thing broke as well. We had to ask the lady from the hotel for a corkscrew to open the Cantillon bottle in the end.


Fig 10: Manneken Pis after opening a bottle of Lindeman’s Pecheresse and Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus

Lesson learned: Take a corkscrew with you or/and don’t buy yourself a Manneken Pis corkscrew… By the way, the Rosé de Gambrinus is fantastic!

I highly recommend to visit the Moeder Lambic and A la Mort Subite bar. Both places serve excellent beers and have a nice ambience. And don’t buy a Manneken Pis corkscrew…

I would like to end this post with the mentioning that there are further beer places in Brussels to visit. I just could not visit all these places within three days. The next and last post in this beer travel log is about a brewery within Brussels. And because this is post number 100, I should enjoy a nice beer after publishing. Stay tuned!

Beer Travel – Brussels Part 1

Eureka, and happy New Year. I wish you all a prosper 2013. I would like to start with some experiences of my latest visit to Brussels, Belgium. The days after Christmas are always a good opportunity for me to visit an European city and luckily for me Brussels is only a 60 min flight away… (sorry guys). I have been in Brussels two times already and it was time for another one. The first part will cover some general information about Brussels, the second one some beer related information and the third one will be about a specific brewery based in Brussels. More about this particular brewery later on. The pictures in all the Brussels posts are courtesy of my brother


Fig 1: Houses at the Grand Place with the Belgian brewers guild (the one with the horse on the top)


Fig 2: Buildings of the European Commission complexes

Brussels as the capital of Belgium and chair of the European Commission (executive of the European Union) is not only worth a visit if you are interested in architecture (Fig 1 and 2) but also for beer or comics. Luckily for me I am evenly interested in beer and comics… The old city of Brussels is very beautiful and is definitely worth a visit (Fig 1).


Fig 3: Atomium located in the North of Brussels

In 1958 Brussels hosted the world exhibition and built the well-known Atomium (Fig 3) which symbolizes an elementary cell of iron. Other town landmarks for Brussels are the fountain with the little boy releasing himself called Manneken Pis (Fig 4) or the Royal Palace (Fig 5).


Fig 4: Manneken Pis


Fig 5: Royal Palace in Brussels

I could go on and on… Brussels is such an interesting and vivid city. A lot of people speak English so no worries. In fact this is true for most of the European cities I visited so far. However, if you speak French it is much easier to speak to people in Belgium. The food was very good as well and the Belgian beers, well, are just incredible. But there are some mainstream beers (Lagers) in Belgium as well. So not every Belgian beer is great!


Fig 6: Belgian Beer

I was very surprised how easy it is to get some very good beers in Brussels. The very first beer I had was from Rodenbach. Even a lot of souvenir shops sell a broad selection of Belgian beers (Fig 7) at a very low price: St. Bernardus Abt 12 in a 0.33 L bottle for 2.50 euros (roughly 3.3 USD)… or even Cantillon’s Rosé de Gambrinus for 5.5 euros (7.3 USD). And all the restaurants I visited had a broad selection of Belgian beers in their menu. To top it all, I bought myself a tax-free beer gift box at the airport. I do not remember another airport where they sell beer in the tax-free shops. Very cool!


Fig 7: Belgian beer selection in a souvenir shop

I guess most of my readers are interested in beer related information about Brussels and the mysterious brewery we visited. The next post will be solely about beer bars, beer shops, beer museums…

Oh, if you ever go to Brussels pack an umbrella… Rain is very common here in Europe.