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 a day full of working in the mines or steel industry, these hard workers wanted a seriously strong 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 moderately dry balance of malt and hops, along with the robust mouthfeel makes the beer seem bigger than it is.
When brewing the Export Lager, one must take Dortmunder's unique water into consideration. The water in Dortmunder has a substantial amount of sulfates, which heightens the bitterness of the hops and the alkalinity. Because of these factors, local brewers tend to restrain the hop quantity and make use of darker malts that have greater acidity in order to equalize the alkalinity and prevent the production of an excessively bitter beer.
A Dortmunder Export ranges in color from pale golden to deep golden, and has a durable 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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