ZWICKELBIER

AKA:
Kellerbier, Zoigl(bier)

Pronunciation guide for English-speakers:
"Tzvickle-beer"

Definition:
Zwickelbier is essentially an effervescent form of a Bavarian Kellerbier (see there),
but generally brewed slightly weaker and less hop-accented. Its alcohol content by volume is usually below 5%. The name Zwickelbier stems from the sampling cock ("Zwickel" in German) mounted at the outside of a cask or tank to take tastes for assessing the brew's progress during fermentation. Like Kellerbier, Zwickelbier originated in the small artisanal and home breweries of Franconia. It is rarely exported to other German States or internationally. Thus, it is generally not available in the North America. Zwickelbier is unfiltered and unpasteurised, but, unlike Kellerbier, the maturation casks (or modern tanks) are bunged or capped ("gespundet" in German) just before the end of fermentation. This furthers the dissolution of carbon dioxide gas in the brew. As a result, Zwickelbier, unlike Kellerbier, builds up effervescence and has a nice creamy head when poured into a glass. While Kellerbier is aged for months, Zwickelbier tends to be served as soon as it is finished fermenting. Because Zwickelbier has less hops than Kellerbier (the acids in hops serve as a preservative) it tends to have only a short shelf life, which is the main reason why it is not shipped to distant markets. A mild version of Zwickelbier is made from grain that has been de-husked before malting.

Related beer styles:
Zoiglbier, Kellerbier

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Illustrations courtesy of Elva Ellen Kowald