Sunday, 23 March 2008

Breihan (Broyhan) part II

Do you remember that yesterday I had only found one description of brewing Breihan? It turns out that's not true. "Broyhanbier und Brauergilde Hannover 1526 - 1976" by Erich Borkenhagen, 1976 includes a complete reprint of "Broyhans Brau-Ordnung" of 1719. sixty-odd pages of detailed rules about all aspects of brewing Broyhan from malting to retailing. I'll translate the most useful sections when I have time.

However, today it's the turn of Oekonomische Encyklopädie of 1773 (pages 160 - 163).

"Wiessbier or Breihan
Beer is also brewed from wheat malt, either from that alone or with the addition of barley malt, sometimes without hops, sometimes with a very small amount of hops. The general name of this beer is Breihan or Broihahn; in many pplaces it is also called Weissbier, although this is mostly made from air-dried barley malt [Luft-Malz]. I want to only say this and that, because anyhow you can refer for everything else to the general instructions. When just wheat malt is to be used, which must ro air-dried or only very lightly kilned, so that there is no brown to be seen, to give the beer a yellowish-brown colour; so it can be reckoned, for example, for 3 Tonne [1 Braunschweig Tonne = 101.18 litres] beer 12 at most 15 bushels of malt, partly because wheat is more than double the price of barley; partly also because it contains more than twice as much strength, which is extracted during brewing . Brewing itself is carried out exactly as shown on page 153, except that usually when the wort is drawn off it is allowed to run through some hops, although it wouldn't be incorrect, for a brew of 30 Tonne, to soak a few pounds of hops in warm water for 1 or 2 hours and to later mix this extract thoroughly with the wort. To give just one example, I will detail the method of brewing Breihan which Hr. Verf. des Chemischen Lehrbegriffs from the Wallerius gives, and which presumably must be used in Sweden. It consists of the following:

'Take 2.5 parts of barley malt, a half part of wheat malt and as much oat malt and air-dried malt as you want. After they have all been mixed, they are milled, and wort made in the way beer is made, except that a handful of hops is laid in front of the hole in the Gestelkübel [a tub in a frame]. About 3 to 4 Kanne of this [the wort] are specially drawn off; of the remainder, a fifth is boiled and afterwards, while it is still warm, mixed with finely ground spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, coriander seeds, Galgant [ don't know what that one is] and violet root; when it has cooled, start it ferementing with a good fermentation medium, including two parts of French brandy. Afterwards, watch to see when the peaks and towers raised during fermentation begin to collapse. As soon as this happens, the liquid has to be put into barrels and the barrels filled with the wort which was held back.'"
I'm struck most by the minimal amount of hops used and the spices. That, and the use of oats, barley and wheat, make it resemble a late-medieval beer. Breihan seems to fit somewhere between Belgian Witbier and Berliner Weisse.

I would love to know when the last true Breihan was brewed. My guess would be between 1880 and 1900. Any of you home brewers fancy reviving it?


Anonymous said...

From what I've gathered galgant is another name for galangal.

Kristen England said...


2 parts french brandy!? Thats pretty odd being that this is a German beer. Why wouldn't they use German brandy or an Obst or something. As for 2 parts my question is 2 parts compared to what?

As for galagal, thats native to S.E. Asia...that is very odd indeed. Kind of a woodier ginger. Not as fragrant. I have some fresh in the freezer and some powdered that I use for Thom Yun Gai soup!


Id be down for making something like this. It would be a cool experiment.

Gunnar H said...

The June issue of Danish beer magazine Ølentusiasten carries the news that Kongens Bryghus, aka House of Beer, aka Carlsberg, just released their 6th reconstruction of historic beers: Broyhan Rød.
Short description says high proportion of wheat malt, Altbier yeast, red ale aroma with no trace of cloves or banana, late hopped, giving a light citrus and floral aroma.
Get it? I don't, but look forward to try it at the European Beer Festival in Copenhagen mid September.

Anonymous said...

You really need to do some follow up on the broyhan story. I need my fix.