Sunday, 12 May 2013

New German beer styles

It's not every day that I come across new German beer styles. At least not ones that have been produced withing living memory. But that happened today, thanks to Robbie over at I Might Have a Glass of Beer and Andreas Bogk.

Robbie pointed me at a wonderful short manuscript that Andreas has published on his website as a pdf.It was written in 1947 by the brewer at the Groterjan brewery in Berlin. It has  detailed descriptions of how to brew their range of beers, which were all top-fermenting. A couple are new to me.

This is the list:

11.5º Malzvollbier with added sugar (bottled)
11º Malzvollbier with added sugar (draught)
4º Carameleinfachbier with sweetener (draught)
3º Jung- and Braubier with sweetener
8º Berliner Weisse
15º Starkbier Feinbitter
18º Porterbier

Starkbier Feinbitter and Malzvollbier I'm sure I've never come across before. And here are complete descriptions of how to brew them. Brillarific!

I'm not sure many modern brewers are likely to take on any of these beers, due to their strength. Or almost total lack of it. Suffice it to say that the Berliner Weisse was the second strongest after Porter. None of the others was above 2% ABV, despite what their gravities might suggest. They were barely fermented at all, which fits right in with the analyses I've seen of top-fermenting North German beers from the 19th century.

And do you know what the absolute bestest is? I've drunk one of the Groterjan beers. I was lucky enough to try a bottle of the Berliner Weisse that probably dated from the 1960's.


Gary Gillman said...

Starkbier feinbitter... Perhaps an attempt at an English "fined" bitter? Could the brewery have been producing it with an eye to the Occupation forces in the City?


Barm said...

Sure you’ve come across Malzvollbier. It’s just a proper, fermented Malzbier, the ancestor of today’s Vitamalz and Karamalz. Vollbier is the tax bracket it’s in due to its gravity.

I wouldn’t be too sure that nobody will want to brew this again some day. After super-hoppy IPAs, sour beers are coming into fashion. After that, it might well be sweet, dark, ridiculously poorly attenuated beers. I don’t see why not.

Barm said...

Gary, Berlin was occupied by the Russians, so we can discount that theory.

And Feinbitter-Starkbier is absolutely nothing like an English bitter anyway. It was made from 70% Munich malt and had a finishing gravity of 12 degrees Plato (which is higher than the starting gravity of a modern Pils) and only 1.4% alcohol. A really sweet, sticky beer.

Gary Gillman said...

Barm, Berlin was occupied jointly by the Allies.


Ron Pattinson said...


no it wasn't. It was occupied by the Russians. They later swapped part of Berlin for Thüringen.

Anyway, the manuscript decribes the brewery's beers before WW II.

Gary Gillman said...

Well, I've always read that from 1945 at least until the Berlin airlift there were three zones in Berlin administered by the Allies (France, U.K., U.S.). The brewing materials cited earlier date from 1947, so I believe it is fair to say Berlin was being run in part by the Allies then. The beer style itself sounds unrelated and that's fine (no pun intended), but it's fair to make that point, IMO.