Modifications to this record on March 11, 2009
Reason for change:
Beer was added to the database by bluesandbarbq (ID# 6217)
Beer name: Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen
Brewer: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (ID# 45)
Style: legacy style #54
It is a traditional Bavarian Hefeweizen that we have been working on for a number of years. We are brewing it in the old school German way, using only open fermentation and top-cropping the yeast.
We have a yeast strain that is from a very small Bavarian brewery, and we are the only American brewery using this truly unique yeast. Here’s the story in a nutshell:
Several years ago, we started working with a unique Bavarian Hefeweizen yeast strain. This amazingly flavorful yeast was so exciting that we began work on a year-round Hefeweizen. After several incarnations, the beer still wasn’t right. A handful of our brewery hopped on a plane and landed in Germany where they visited dozens of traditional breweries for inspiration.
Eureka! Open fermenters were the key to the round depth of flavor in the traditional German beers.
We’ve been making a portion of our beer using the difficult and labor-intensive technique of open fermentation for years. Manly Bigfoot, and some Pale Ale. Most modern fermentation takes place in closed, stainless-steel tanks; this method is efficient, quick and clean. In closed tanks, however, the yeast doesn’t have the opportunity to coax as much complexity from the fermenting beer. Using shallow open fermentation, the yeast has space to build layers of flavors and aroma that would otherwise be impossible.
After seeing the technique in use in Germany, the inspiration to make Kellerweis in the open system took hold. The name is an homage to the German Keller, meaning cellar—the name breweries give to their fermentation systems, and weis, or weiss—the German name for “white” or wheat beer, hazy with suspended yeast.
The flavor is rich with bready wheat notes and massive banana and clove… The finish is clean and crisp and the beer has a low enough ABV to be scarily session-able.
We’re really excited about this beer. It something totally new and different for the Sierra Nevada lineup and we hope it will be a big success. The beer should be available toward the end of May and just in time for those hot summer days here in Chico that scream for a nice Hefeweizen. Kellerweis joins Torpedo as two polar opposites on the flavor spectrum. Both very different and both packed with as much flavor as we can get into the bottle.