Tuesday, 17 October 2017


I got around a fair bit in the DDR. I went to most of the major cities: Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Erfurt and Halle. And lots of not so big ones, though those were mostly limited to Thuringia.

The one big city I never visited - and have still never been to - was Magdeburg. Not unless you count passing through it on a train. Which is as close as I ever got. The train didn't even stop, as it was travelling from West Germany to West Berlin. No chance of getting off until Bahnhof Zoo.

I never even drank any beer from a brewery there. Which is a shame as I really like some of the labels.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Other Bavarian wheat beers in 2014

I’m not quite done with Bavarian wheat beers. Because there are still a couple of types I haven’t covered yet. And if nothing else, I’m a completist.

The first is a fairly recent development, Leicht Hefeweizen. Over the last decade or two lower-gravity versions of a few styles have appeared. And Weizen is no exception.

For the most, these are beers that would have been legal in the days when there was hole between 9º and 11º Plato. All but one of the beers fits into the old Schankbier category, which had a maximum OG of 8º Plato. At one time, pretty much all the Schankbier brewed was in the form of Berliner Weisse.

The one exception is the Göller beer, which at 9.5º is smack in the middle of the old forbidden zone.

Interestingly, the average rate of attenuation is a bit less than for the full-strength versions. I would have guessed the opposite.

Bavarian Leicht Hefeweizen in 2014
Brewer Town Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Göller Zeil am Main Leichte Weisse 9.5 1037.8 1009.3 3.70 75.39%
Püls-bräu Stadtsteinach Weismainer Leichte Weisse 7.8 1030.8 1008.4 2.90 72.75%
Paulaner Munich Hefe-Weißbier Leicht 7.7 1030.4 1005.8 3.20 80.93%
Hacker-Pschorr Munich Leichte Weisse 7.7 1030.4 1005.8 3.20 80.93%
Kitzmann-Bräu Erlangen leichtes Weißbier 7.7 1030.4 1008 2.90 73.70%
Privatbrauerei Kesselring Marktsteft Steffen Leicht 7.6 1030.0 1007.6 2.90 74.67%
Pyraser Landbrauerei Thalmässing Federleichte Weiße 7.2 1028.4 1006.8 2.80 76.04%
Brauerei Hermann Sigwart Weißenburg Leichte Weiße 6.8 1026.8 1005.2 2.80 80.57%
Average 7.8 1030.6 1007.1 3.05 76.87%
The relevant brewery websites

The final type of Weissbier is a much older one. And rather under threat. Once this was the most popular type of Bavarian Weissbier, but fashion has turned against it and the version with yeast rules.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been a big fan. I prefer the ramped up spiciness of Hefeweizen. Kristall Weizen has always struck me as rather bland.

Here are the numbers:

Bavarian Kristall Weizen in 2014
Brewer Town Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Paulaner Munich Weißbier Kristallklar 11.8 1047.4 1007.5 5.20 84.17%
Weihenstephan Freising Kristall Weisbier 12.7 1051.2 1009.7 5.40 81.04%
Privatbrauerei Kesselring Marktsteft Kristall Weizen 12 1048.2 1007.6 5.30 84.24%
Distelhäuser  Tauberbischofsheim Kristall Weizen 12.5 1050.3 1008.9 5.40 82.31%
Kulmbacher Kulmbach Kristall Weisbier 12.7 1051.2 1009.7 5.40 81.04%
Average 12.3 1049.6 1008.7 5.34 82.56%
The relevant brewery websites

It’s a small sample, but there does appear to be a significant difference with the yeast versions: the rate of attenuation. It’s three points higher. My guess would be it’s because it’s conditioned at the brewery for longer.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Erdinger beers in 2017

Someone asked after my recent series of posts on Bavarian Weizen: why no Erdinger?

I did contemplate being a smartarse and saying; "Because their beers are shit." But that isn't the real reason. Which is that I just hadn't looked up their website. I thought I'd put that right. And luckily they give both the OG and ABV on their website.

They brew quite a range of wheat beers, eight in all. Excluding the alcohol-free versions.

Most have a very high degree of attenuation, which must make them quite light in the mouth. The Urweiss is an amber-coloured version, in case you're wondering. There are a lot of beers around 12º Plato, which I guess is to be expected. German brewers still mostly stick to the old gravity bands. Habit, I guess.

There was one intersting point I noticed. The website also lists the ingredients. For the Dunkles and Pikantus in includes Röstmalzbier - roasted malt beer. Which I'm guessing is either Sinamar or something similar. Effectively it's a type of malt-based caramel. So no actula dark malts in the grist. I told you lots of this goes on in Germany.

Oh, and do you see what it says on the top of the label? Brewed according to the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot of 1516. Which is a downright fucking lie. The original law sys that beer can only be brewed from barley, hops and water. No mention of wheat.

Erdinger beers in 2017
Brewer Town Beer Style OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Erdinger Erding Weissbier Hefeweizen 12.60 1050.7 1010.1 5.30 80.19%
Erdinger Erding Urweisse Hefeweizen 11.90 1047.8 1010.1 4.90 78.87%
Erdinger Erding Dunkles Hefeweizen Dunkel 12.80 1051.6 1010.9 5.30 78.87%
Erdinger Erding Kristall Kristallweizen 12.50 1050.3 1009.7 5.30 80.82%
Erdinger Erding Pikantus Weizenbock 16.70 1068.3 1012.6 7.30 81.63%
Erdinger Erding Leicht Hefeweizen 7.90 1031.2 1009.6 2.80 69.26%
Erdinger Erding Sommerweiße Hefeweizen 11.30 1045.3 1009.9 4.60 78.13%
Erdinger Erding Schneeweiße Hefeweizen 12.90 1052.0 1009.1 5.60 82.50%

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Let's Brew - 1879 Adnams Tally Ho

I like it when I have a good long run of brewing records from a brewery. Because then you can see how a beer developed over time. Like Tally Ho.

Tally Ho is unusual in being a very early named beer. Very few beers were called anything other than [brewery name] [style of beer]. For example, Bass Pale Ale or Guinness Extra Stout. I’m trying to think of other examples of named beers. Things like Old Tom, I suppose. I think there might have been a few with names like that before 1900.

The first version of Tally Ho I found in Adnams records is a very simple beer. But the brewing record is also a bit light on detail. There’s nothing about boiling or mashing, so that’s just a guess based on later versions. I could be way off. Oh, and there’s no FG, either.

The ingredients aren’t explained in much more detail than the process. Malt, saccharine and hops is as far as the description goes. All in all, there’s a whole lot of guesswork going on. Pale malt is obvious enough for the malt, but what about the sugar? I doubt if it was pure sucrose, though it could have been. In the end I plumped for No. 2 invert.

As for hops, Goldings are a safe bet. It’s on the early side for Fuggles, but they’re also a possibility. They were being grown commercially in the 1870’s.

One thing there is no argument about: the very high percentage of sugar in the grist. A third is about as high as it gets.

Apologies for the vagueness of it all. It will improve as we progress through the years.

1879 Adnams Tally Ho
pale malt 11.00 lb 67.69%
No. 2 invert sugar 5.25 lb 32.31%
Goldings 120 mins 4.00 oz
Goldings 60 mins 4.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 4.00 oz
OG 1089
FG 1027
ABV 8.20
Apparent attenuation 69.66%
IBU 123
SRM 16
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 175º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold

Friday, 13 October 2017

Bavarian Dunkel Hefeweizen in 2014

It wasn’t just pale Hefeweizen that I caught in my sweep of Bavarian brewery websites. I also found quite a few dark versions.

It’s a sign of the increased popularity of Weissbier that there a many breweries that produce more than one variation. Sometimes a dark version. Which is a bit like black IPA. Because the name Weissbier is connected to the colour and not necessarily anything to do with wheat.

I can’t help wondering how these beers are coloured. It wouldn’t surprise me if some were just the brewery’s standard pale Weissbier with added Sinamar. Or maybe I’m being over cynical.

Though the fact that the averages for these beers and the pale versions are almost identical. Here are the lovely numbers:

Bavarian Dunkel Hefeweizen in 2014
Brewer Town Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Weihenstephan Freising Hefeweissbier Dunkel 12.7 1051.16 1010.5 5.30 79.48%
Brauerei Kanone Löhr Schnaittach Weizen (dunkel) 12.8 1051.59 1013.9 4.90 73.15%
Arnsteiner Brauerei Seinsheim Ur-Weisse 12.7 1051.16 1012.7 5.00 75.18%
Kitzmann-Bräu Erlangen Dunkles Weißbier 12.6 1050.74 1007.9 5.60 84.53%
Klosterbrauerei Andechs Andechs Weissbier Dunkel 12.5 1050.32 1011.9 5.00 76.35%
Göller Zeil am Main Kaiser Heinrich Urweisse dunkel 12.5 1050.32 1010.4 5.20 79.43%
Distelhäuser  Tauberbischofsheim Dunkles Hefe-Weizen 12.5 1050.32 1008.9 5.40 82.31%
Brauerei Hermann Sigwart Weißenburg Dunkle Weiße 12.5 1050.32 1012.6 4.90 74.96%
Paulaner Munich Hefe-Weißbier Dunkel 12.4 1049.90 1009.2 5.30 81.56%
Hacker-Pschorr Munich Dunkle Weisse 12.4 1049.90 1009.2 5.30 81.56%
Brauhaus Leikeim Altenkunstadt Dunkle Weisse 12.3 1049.47 1008.1 5.40 83.63%
Pyraser Landbrauerei Thalmässing Angerwirts Weizen altfränkisch dunkel 12.3 1049.47 1008.8 5.30 82.21%
Privatbrauerei Kesselring Marktsteft Schlemmer Schwarz 12 1048.21 1007.6 5.30 84.24%
Average 12.5 1050.2 1010.1 5.22 79.89%
The relevant brewery websites

And these are the averages for the pale ones:

OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
12.5 1050.3 1010.1 5.24 79.96%

See what I mean? The averages are scarily similar.

Interestingly, no-one seems to make a Kristall Dunkles Weissbier. I wonder why that is?

Thursday, 12 October 2017


Mühlhausen was an amazing place in the 1980's. A town that seemed almost untouched by the last 300 years.

It had a near-complete city wall and a near-complete old centre. Dolores's sister used to live in an amazing ancient house, with a weird galleried inner courtyard. Amazing, I guess, if you didn't have to live there as it was slowly crumbling into dust.

It also had three breweries, which, given its population of just 50,000, was also pretty amazing. My brother-in-law knew someone who worked in Turmquell and got me inside the brewery. Not exactly the most modern kit they had, but they brewed one outstanding beer, Pilsator. One of the best pale Lagers I've ever drunk. Sadly both it and the three breweries are all long gone.

But we can still gaze in awe at their labels.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Remember how it was

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores. Please don't.

It's a hollowed out shell. Empty of joints and pies.

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores.

The crumpets are all gone. There's only cheddar left.

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores.

The loose tea has vanished. I bought the last on Saturday.

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores.

The Mild is no more. Just one mark of civilisation left in Amsterdam.

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores.

Remember how it was.

Let’s Brew Wednesday - 1946 Barclay Perkins XX

You’re probably as relieved as I am that this interminable series of Barclay Perkins Mild recipes is now at an end. Unless I decide to do the 1947 one.

You might be surprised to see that, despite the war having been over for 12 months (this beer was brewed in August 1946), the OG has fallen by 4 points to just 1027.5º. Its gravity has dropped below what that of A, their cheap 4d a pint Mild, had been in 1935.

This OG is about as low as any UK beer would be. There was no point dropping the gravity below 1027º as the minimum duty on beer was charged at that rate. Though I should point out that the effective gravity of this beer was higher as the primings added at racking time were enough to increase it by 3º, making it really 1031.5º. But that’s still pretty damn watery.

As in WW I, the nadir came a year or two after the end of hostilities. The late 1940’s were difficult years in Britain. The war had come at a terrible financial cost. The pound wasn’t a hard currency and imports had to be paid for in dollars, which were in short supply. Which is why there hadn’t been a return to using flaked maize, which needed to be imported.

They must have been short of No. 3 invert, because the quantity has been changed from 9 to 5 quarters and 4 quarters of No. 1 have been added in red. Otherwise the grist is unchanged, consisting of mild malt, SA malt, crystal malt and amber malt. As usual, I’ve substituted more mild malt for the SA malt.

You’ll need to add extra caramel to get the colour right.

1946 Barclay Perkins XX
mild malt 4.25 lb 76.16%
amber malt 0.25 lb 4.48%
crystal malt 60 L 0.25 lb 4.48%
flaked barley 0.25 lb 4.48%
No. 1 invert sugar 0.25 lb 4.48%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.25 lb 4.48%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.08 lb 1.43%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1027.5
FG 1007.5
ABV 2.65
Apparent attenuation 72.73%
IBU 18
SRM 20
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Munich Export 1879 - 1899

I hope you’re enjoying my series on Lager styles. I realise now that II started this series a few years ago. Then got distracted and forgot to finish it.

I’d written the first part about Export, then never gone any further. Sorry about that.

I’ve so many analyses that I’ve split them up by region. I’m starting with some names that you may find familiar. Several of these names are still around though, as in the case of Löwenbräu, not necessarily the brewery.

The gravity of Export has been whittled down over the years, which is the main reason that the distinction between Export and Lagerbier has been eroded. Most modern examples don’t even reach 13º Plato. As we’ll be seeing later. Assuming I can be arsed to continue this series that long.

The numbers are much as I would expect, especially the low degree of attenuation. That’s so typical of 19th-century Lagers. It leaves the average ABV under 5%. A level of alcohol achieved in modern Lagers with an OG of no more than 12º Plato.

You’ll note that there’s a fair degree of variation in gravity, from just 12.31º Plato to 15.23º Plato. As a drinker, there was no real way of knowing how strong the beer in your glass was. Other than to guess based on its mouthfeel and effect.

In the UK at least, Lager had a reputation for not being very intoxicating. Which presumably was a result of the low degree of attenuation. That and lower gravities to start with. The average gravities of these Exports, which were considered strongish Lagers, is about the same as London X Ale of the period. Which wasn’t considered particularly strong at all.

Next time we’ll be looking at Export from around Nuremburg.

Munich Export 1879 - 1889
Year Brewer Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity
1879 Spaten Export 13.91 1056.3 1020.1 4.68 64.30% 0.19
1879 Löwenbräu Export 13.63 1055.1 1014.7 5.25 73.32% 0.23
1883 Löwenbräu Export 14.18 1057.5 1019.6 4.90 65.88% 0.207
1883 Leistbräu Export 14.45 1058.6 1015.5 5.60 73.55% 0.291
1884 Löwenbräu Export 12.97 1052.3 1018.7 4.34 64.24% 0.26
1884 Münchner Kindl Export 13.11 1052.9 1015.7 4.83 70.32% 0.11
1885 Prschorrbräu Export 12.31 1049.5 1018.5 4.00 62.63% 0.14
1885 Spaten Export 12.42 1050.0 1019.6 3.93 60.80% 0.2
1886 Augustinerbräu Export 13.98 1056.6 1021.0 4.60 62.90% 0.135
1886 Spaten Export 13.84 1056.0 1018.2 4.90 67.50% 1.081
1887 Hackerbräu Export 14.28 1057.9 1020.0 4.90 65.46% 0.238
1887 Bürgerliches Brauhaus Export 14.47 1058.7 1021.4 4.83 63.54% 0.223
1888 Löwenbräu Exportbier 14.84 1060.3 1024.8 4.58 58.87%
1888 Leistbräu Exportbier 14.73 1059.8 1023.6 4.68 60.54%
1889 Unknown Export 14.96 1060.8 1021.0 5.15 65.46%
1889 Unknown Export 15.35 1062.5 1021.0 5.38 66.40%
1889 Unknown Export 14.54 1059.0 1027.9 4.00 52.71%
1889 Unknown Export 15.24 1062.0 1023.9 4.93 61.45%
Average 14.07 1057.0 1020.3 4.75 64.44% 0.275
König, J (1903), Bier in Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel by Joseph König, 1903, pp 1101 - 1156, Julius Springer, Berlin.

Monday, 9 October 2017

North German wheat beers 1878 – 1886

It’s not just Bavarian Weissbier I’ve analyses for. I’ve also some for North German variations.

They’re quite an interesting bunch. Especially as all but one – the Lichtenhainer – are examples of extinct beer styles.

The first six in the table below are all from the Hannover region, Cell and Ahlten being villages just outside the city. Two of the beers – the ones from Glitz and Schlombs – look quite similar to Berliner Weisse. They’re around 3% ABV and pretty sour. Are these in fact examples of Broyhan?

What the other four Hannover beers share is a terrible degree of attenuation and minimal amounts of alcohol. And two of those are specifically called Broyhan. In contrast to the stronger beers, none of these is particularly sour, a little tart at the most.

I assume that the Hamburg beers were from a specialist Weissbier brewery. At least that’s what the name implies. The first two look very much along the lines of Berliner Weisse again: around 3% ABV and with a high level of acidity.

The Lichtenhainer stands out due to its high degree of attenuation and is easily the strongest of the set. It shows a mild degree of acidity, which is how the style is usually described. Sadly, this is the only analysis of Lichtenhainer I’ve ever found.

North German wheat beers 1878 - 1886
Year Brewer Town Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity
1878 Unknown Celle Weizenbier 5.02 1019.6 1012.8 0.87 34.69% 0.18
1878 Städtisches Hannover Weissbier 9.86 1039.3 1028.7 1.35 26.97% 0.18
1878 Glitz Hannover Weissbier 9.31 1037.0 1011.2 3.34 69.73% 0.42
1884 Schlombs Brauerei Ahlten Weissbier 8.53 1033.8 1009.8 3.11 71.01% 0.787
1884 Städtisch Hannover Einfacher Broyhan 7.84 1031.0 1023 1.03 25.81% 0.158
1884 Städtisch Hannover Doppelter Broyhan 12.78 1051.5 1042 1.20 18.45% 0.06
1884 Hamburg-Altonaer Weissbierbrauerei Hamburg Export Weissbier 10.97 1043.9 1017 3.48 61.28% 0.627
1884 Hamburg-Altonaer Weissbierbrauerei Hamburg Weissbier 8.21 1032.5 1009.5 2.98 70.77% 0.578
1884 Hamburg-Altonaer Weissbierbrauerei Hamburg Braunbier 5.69 1022.3 1010 1.59 55.16% 0.165
1886 Unknown Lichtenhain Lichtenhainer 9.57 1038.1 1007.1 4.03 81.36% 0.238
König, J (1903), Bier in Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel by Joseph König, 1903, pp 1101 - 1156, Julius Springer, Berlin.