Brewing Dortmunder Adambier

Picture courtesy Beer Archives. NOT Woodland Brewery’s Adambier.

A dated article, but I have heard no one talk of this style. Just had one in Marcy, NY. Interesting-Ken Carman

A Dortmunder Adambier is malt dominated strong ale from Northern Germany. No one can be certain on the origin. Dortmund was one of the cities in the 14th Century Hanseatic League (along with Einbeck — the home of Bock); the city was best known for beer and brewing. In the 19th Century, King Frederick William IV of Prussia was known as a hard drinking man. He visited Dortmund and some Adambier put him under the table for more than a whole day! With the development of lagers, this style fell out of favor among German beer drinkers, and now is very difficult to find. Even the BJCP (sadly) abandoned the style when they revised the guidelines in 1998.

My first exposure to Dortmunder Adambier was when I was judging European Ales in the mid 1990s. There was this wonderful strong beer that tasted like a cross between an English Barley wine and a dopplebock. I later found out that Bruce Brode and Brian Vessa were the brewers and have since brewed several myself. The only commercial example of an Adambier I know of is Hair of the Dog’s Adam. Brewer Alan Sprints goes to great trouble with this flagship beer. Each batch is numbered, and the carbonation comes from krausening, where Hair of the Dog adds some new fermenting Adam to some that is ready to be bottled. One can tell, Adam will last many years if kept cold, and the head is as intense and rocky as any beer I’ve ever seen. Alan adds some smoked malt as well — peat if you can believe it. If you haven’t tried Adam, do yourself a favor and get some. Stuffed Sandwich has many aged magnums going back a number of years.

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