The Summer of Hate, sorry, Summer of Lager continues with a look at Salvator. One of the most famous beeers of the 19th century. Today, it's a trademark of Paulaner, but back then it was used as a generic term for all Doppelbocks.
Because of its fame, I've plenty of hard evidence about Salvator. I collect numbers. I can't help it. Occasionally, like now, it does come in handy. If I weren't such a saddo, I wouldn't all the fascinating figures with which I'm about to regale you. So don't mock me.
The first data I have comes from the 1850's. The beer was brewed by Zacherl, the forerunner of Paulaner, so it's the real deal. It has a massive OG of 23.5º Balling (approx. 1095), but a relatively puny alcohol content of just over 6% ABV. Let's be honest, the attenuation is crap. Less than 50% apparent. With an FG higher than the OG of most beers today, it must have been pretty thick and sweet. No wonder they used it as a meal substitute.
The 1858 version (not sure if it's from Paulaner or another Munich brewery) has a substantially lower gravity (19.8º Balling, or around 1080) , but almost as high an ABV (5.74%). As a consequence, the apparent attenuation has increased from a pathetic 46% to a still unimpressive 53%.
By 1870, the gravity has dropped further, to 18.5º Balling (approx 1074), but the ABV has remained about the same (5.64%). Apparent attenuation has again increased and is 56%.
Unfortunately for me, I have no idea which breweries the 1930's samples come from. However, the first in the list looks rather like a Doppelbock to me. Assuming that it is, we can see a further slight reduction in the OG (17.99º Balling, approx 1072), but a similar ABV (5.8%). Consequently, apparent attenuation is up to 60%.
Finally we see the present incarnation of Salvator. This has a much higher alcohol contente - 7.5% ABV - than any of the older versions. Which has a big impact on the apparent attenuation, which is now a respectable 75%.
So how does modern Salvator compare with the 19th century versions? It has a 22% lower OG, but a 25% higher ABV. The difference in body is enormous. The FG in the 1850's was more than double what it is now. To sum up, modern Salvator is less full-bodied, less sweet and sticky, but more alcoholic.
Another difference is the colour. Though I don't have enough numbers to do a precise analysis, I know from personal observation that Salvator has become paler over the last 15 years. And generally pretty crap, but that's a subjective opinion.
I suppose I should try and dig out an old description of Salvator brewing. My guess would be that the 19th-century method was a triple decoction Dickmeisch. If you've been paying attention you should know all about that. Don't tell me you've forgotten already? Really.
(Published as part of my one-interesting-to-one-boring_post initiative.)
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