Dortmunder Export

For other uses, see Dortmunder (disambiguation).
The original Dortmunder Export

Dortmunder Export or Dortmunder is a pale lager originally brewed by Dortmunder Union in Dortmund, Germany, in 1873. A soft-textured beer influenced by the Pilsner lager brewed in Pilsen,[1] it became popular with industrial workers and was responsible for Dortmunder Union becoming Germany's largest brewery and Dortmund having the highest concentration of breweries in Germany. With the decline of heavy industry in the area, the sales of Dortmunder also declined until, by 1994, the Dortmund Union brewery had shut down, and merged with several other Dortmund breweries to form Brinkhoff's Brewery.


Dortmund was one of the earliest commercial brewing centres in Germany, establishing itself as a major brewing city which exported its beers to the neighbouring Westphalian cities. The Dortmunder breweries originally brewed a wheat based, dark coloured, short fermented beer. However, in 1873, when the golden coloured, pale barley based, slow fermented beer as brewed in Pilsen and known as Pilsener, became popular, several of the local breweries grouped together under the name Dortmunder Union to produce their own pale lager under the guidance of the brewmaster Fritz Brinkhoff. There were originally two varieties: Lagerbier and the slightly stronger Export at around 5.5% abv.

After WW II, Export was the most popular type of beer in Germany until 1970, when it was supplanted by Pils.[2] Its fortunes have revived a little since its low point of the late 1990s. In 2008, just under 10% of the beer sold in German shops was Export.[3]


The beer from Dortmund is a pale lager influenced by the golden beer from Pilsen known as Pilsner, though is mainly labelled as Dortmunder Export. Like all other pale lagers the beer is a pale gold colour, with a moderate bitterness from the noble hops, a lean, well attenuated body, and a crisp carbonation. The local water contains a fairly high amount of sulfate,[4] which gives the beer's taste a slight element of sulfur and bring out the hops – see Burtonisation. It also contains more carbonate than average which tends to give a sharpness to the flavour of the hops. Brewers use less hops to avoid the harsh hop notes, giving the beers a subtle emphasis on the malt flavours.

Dortmund style beers

An example of a beer brewed in USA, and termed Dortmunder

Fred Eckhardt in A Treatise on Lager Beers, published in 1969, set out the view that Dortmunder is a distinctive enough pale lager to be classed as a separate beer style.[5] Michael Jackson and Roger Protz continued the trend, although with a certain faint heart, uneasy at pinning down exactly the distinctive nature of the beer.[6][1] Beers described as Dortmunder or Dortmunder Export are also brewed in Denmark, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, Sweden and the US, such as Dortmunder Gold by Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio.[7] and "Grandpa Tractor" by Barley Forge Brew Co. In Costa Mesa, CA. Brewers outside of Germany who brew beers they term Dortmunder will tend to brew a pale lager with a soft, rounded character.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Roger Protz. " — all you need to know about beer". Retrieved 2008-05-06.
  2. Die Biere Deutschlands, by Holhuber and Kaul, 1993
  3. "German beer sales by type (German)". Deutscher Brauer Bund. Retrieved 2009-05-05. Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. The bar & beverage book — Google Books. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  5. Fred Eckhardt, A Treatise on Lager Beers: How to Make Good Beer at Home, 1969, ISBN 0-9606302-3-6
  6. Michael Jackson. "Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter — Beer Styles: Export". Retrieved 2008-05-06.
  7. "Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland, Ohio". Retrieved 2009-06-25.
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