Dortmunder / Export Lager
Dortmunder Export Lagers were first brewed in 1873 by brewers in Dortmunder, Germany to compete with Pilsners. Around this time men and women were working hard for long hours in coal mines and steel factories in the industrial heartland of Germany known as the Ruhr District. After spending all day running a jackhammer 3000 feet underground, or working in the fiery blast furnaces of the steel industry, these hard workers wanted a seriously hearty beer.
For a blonde lager, the Dortmunder style beer is big in alcohol. In fact, the Dortmunder beer ABV typically ranges from 5-6% and was classified by German beer tax laws as export strength. As a whole a Dortmunder beer is stronger in alcohol than Pilsners and Munich Helles, the other popular beer in Germany at this time.
The Dortmunder beer recipe consists of a well-balanced amount of malts and hops. The Export Lager beer consists of mainly Pilsner malt, although some Vienna (5%) and Munich (3%) malts are acceptable. Dortmunder beer hops are either Noble German or Czech hops. Together, the medium dry balance of hops and malt with a hefty mouthfeel give the impression of a bigger beer.
When brewing the Export Lager, one must take Dortmunder's unique water into consideration. The water in Dortmunder is high in sulfates, which accentuates hop bitterness, and has a high total alkalinity. Because of these factors, local brewers moderate the quantity of hops and use slightly darker malts with a higher acidity in order to balance the alkalinity and avoid an overly bitter beer.
A Dortmunder Export is light to deep gold in color and has a long lasting white head. As a whole the German beer is crisp, balanced, biscuity, earthy, smooth, and medium bodied. It is a clean lager that possesses malt sweetness, with a lingering hop bitterness at the finish, and no fruity esters. Dortmunder beer pairs excellently with lighter, flavorful dishes such as salads, seafood, pork, and spicy ethnic fare.
We offer this fantastic brew style in our monthly beer subscription club. Enjoy!
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