Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Bohemian lager in 1886

I've just remembered. This is supposed to be a summer of lager, not a summer of merchandising. Time to plunge my hand into the gravity table pot and see what I pull out.

Let's see what this is. Not too fat and not too sticky. Should do. It even illustrates a point. Perfatasterrific. Here we go then, some Bohemian lagers analysed in 1886.

Exactly what point might that be? I hear you ask. The Czech love of výčepní pivo. Schankbier if you're a German-speaker. Or desítka. The lagers below are unusually weak for everywhere except the Czech Republic. Just 9º or 10º Plato. And under 4% ABV. You wouldn't have found any lagers that weak in Bavaria.

The attenuation is surprisingly low, too. For a majority, it's less than 70%. My guess is that today it would be closer to 80%.

I wonder how many of the breweries still exist?

More lager fun on the way.

Unless I change my mind again.


MentalDental said...

Surprizingly low OGs which make some UK "lagers" (and I use that term with some irony) seem full strength. And low attenuation again for older beers which raises the same old question: was this by design or because they were unable to ferment any further? I suppose that low attenuation in a gravity beer might give the illusion of higher strength.

I wonder why the OGs went up later? Fashion? To compete with those pesky Germans and their exports? Legislation/taxation? Who knows? Ron probably! :-)

Ron Pattinson said...

MentalDental, Czech beer never did get stronger. The most popular type of beer is still desitka or 10º (Plato).

MentalDental said...

Ah, of course I am thinking about the stuff imported into UK which is usually the normal 5.0% or so. I didn't have my think head on.

Alistair Reece said...

An 11 degree lager coming out of Plzen?? And to think PU claim that they have only ever made Pilsner Urquell in its current form.

Barm said...

Is it coincidence that the Czechs like the British do a high proportion of their drinking in taverns and also favour lower-gravity beer?

Anonymous said...

It's funny. I think we are the first in America to brew some výčepní pivo. 3.6 ABV. And also, we have the same Og-Fg. About 10P Og and 3.1FG. It's damn good and not watery at all...
It's called "l'éléphant 10P".

Pivní Filosof said...

Actually, Pilsner Urquell isn't a 12 degree beer. I read somewhere that it's brewed at 11,2 degrees. Legislatively speaking, that makes it a ležák, which most people call dvanáctka, regardless of the gravity. Just like it happens with desítka.

Anyway, I think there used to be a Pilsner Urquell desítka.

The increase in ABV is interesting, though. Most výčepní beers today are around 4%ABV. I recently saw an old bottle of a beer from Klášter called Kryštof, an 11 degree amber, if I remember well, with not even 3%ABV!

Ron Pattinson said...

Pivní Filosof, you can see quite a few analyses of Pilsner Urquell over the years here:

The ABV is remarkably constant.

Thr most certainly was a PU 10 degree. Ive got the label somewhere.

Alistair Reece said...

PF, perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I was referring to the marketing campaigns which claim that PU is the same today as it has always been, which as we all know is marginally wide of the mark.