I've nearly finished this short series. It's helped to plump up "Decoction!" a treat. I've just passed the 500 page mark. Is there anyone else writing about Lager history? Not that I can see. "Decoction!" is becoming a great little source. I'm sure it will used as a source by many. Now if only I could be arsed to translate that early 19th-century text describing the Munich method of decoction.
"Filtration and bottling.— Little home beer was pasteurized and the commonest procedure was to pre-filter by kieselguhr and polish by pulp, giving a life of up to 6 weeks: this could be increased to 3-6 months for export beers by pasteurizing. In some cases, sterilization of bottles was attempted by flushing with sulphur dioxide gas, and bottles for home trade were often manually closed with swing-top stoppers, crowning being reserved for export."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 66, 1960, page 500.
This sounds much like the situation in the Czech Republic in the 1980's. Czech beer was almost never pasteurised and bottled beer would start throwing a sediment after a few weeks, presumably because it had only been roughly filtered. My guess is that they only did the kieselguhr filtration. A short shelflife wasn't a huge problem for Czechs. They never left beer lying around for long anyway.
It's good to be reminded how recent the domination of the crown cork as a beer bottle stopper really is. Swing-tops had been the standard in Germany before WW II and were clearly still very popular. They've been making a comeback in the last ten years by brewers striving to cultivate a traditional image. I quite like them myself. No bottle opener is required and you can reseal the bottle. Which can be handy when you're travelling.
"The sale of filtered beer in pressure casks corresponds to the English draught beer trade, and in the Dortmund area the sale of this type amounted to over half of the total trade. Until recently all casks were wooden and lined with pitch or wax, which was melted out and renewed for each filling. This practice was still observed in all breweries, but aluminium kegs were gaining popularity and these too were often pitched, particularly for the American trade. Beer filled into cask was often kieselguhr pre-filtered and plate-pasteurized in bulk."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 66, 1960, page 500."
Keg beer is what he means. It's a shame bayerischer Anstich isn't mentioned. I'm sure it was still quite common at the time in Bavaria. But even in the Rhineland there must have been some. It's still not rare today to serve Alt and Kölsch directly from a barrel. The percentage of draught beer is much lower now. The proportion of draught is now way lower than 50%:
|German beer production by package type (%)|
|Year||Draught||Returnable bottles||Nonreturnable bottles and cans|
|Deutscher Brauer-Bund, Bonn|
|"Beer Statistics 2012 edition", the Brewers of Europe, page 10.|
While I'm doing tables I may as well put in another at this point: beer sales by type.
|German beer production by beer type (%)|
|1968, 1970, 1976: Die Biere Deutschlands, 1993.|
|1992-2001: Brauwelt Brevier 2003|
|2002-2006: Deutscher Brauer-Bund, Bonn|
|2009-2010: Deutscher Brauer-Bund, Bonn|
This is just take home, not the on-trade. I find that a confusing picture. Pils is clearly in decline but there's no obvious winner. With numbers two and three - Export and Weizen - also in decline. Bizarrely pretty much all the styles in the table are in decline. I wonder when IPA will start showing up in these figures?
"Most bottling halls employed the Seitz type of filling head in which contamination of the beer with air was largely avoided. Carbon dioxide top pressure could be employed to feed the filling reservoir which was permanently filled with beer, and return air and beer from the bottle passed up a tube to a separate collecting tank, the recovered beer being returned for subsequent processing. Reports on hot-bottling were obtained from the Dortmund area. This process involved plate pasteurizing to about 143° F. and filling pressures were of the order of 100 lb. per sq. in. using the Meyer type of filling system; no after-cooling was employed. Canning was well established in the larger breweries."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 66, 1960, pages 500 - 501.
I'm surprised about the canning comment. Cans have never been very popular in Germany the last figures I have - for 2011 - show their market share as 4%*. I've not really anything more to say about that.
I've just about mined out this article. Unless you're interested in Danish and German brewing laboratories.
* "Beer Statistics 2012 edition", the Brewers of Europe, page 10.