Monday, 20 October 2014

German brewing in 1966

I've been poking around the Journal of the Institute of Brewing and I've found more stuff about post-war German brewing. They fit in nicely with my current Lager kick.

There are articles from the 1960's and the 1970's. I'll be starting with the former purely for reasons to chronology. The article we'll start looking at today was written by Professor Dr. L. Narziss of Weihenstephan. I'd like to hope he knows what he's talking about when it comes to German brewing.

First something about German drinking habits.

"During the last 15 years the change in drinking habits has had the effect of transferring much of the beer consumption from the public house to the home, and at the same time causing a change from cask beer to bottled beer. Beer outlets now include sales from off-licence and supermarket, direct delivery from the brewery to the home and sales in the factory canteen. All this has resulted in a considerable increase in the possible time interval between the beer leaving the brewery and being drunk by the consumer. It is none the less taken for granted that the beer will survive this increased distribution interval even though it may repeatedly move from cold to warm rooms and finally may spend several weeks behind the bar. It is expected by the public that the beer will remain bright and without deposit and at the same time retain its character and freshness. Despite the restrictions of the German beer law, which is based mainly on the Bavarian Purity Law dating from the year 1516, the brewer has the task of providing a beer with good biological stability and an extended flavour stability."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, page 13.

The move from pub to domestic consumption is ongoing in Britain, while in Germany it happened several decades earlier. The point he makes about the supply chain being longer for take home beer is one I'd never consider, but it makes a lot of sense. In turn this means that brewers need to make their beers more stable to cope with rougher handling. Does he mean pasteurisation? Which, of course, is perfectly fine according to the Reinheitsgebot.

Now here's something about the types of beer brewed in Germany:

"Types of Beer Brewed

Although light, bottom-fermentation beers with original gravities of 11-5 to 14% (46-57°) form the basis of most requirements, flavour preferences in the various areas may be quite different. In Bavaria the light, full-bodied, mild lager beer of 11.5 to 12% original gravity (46-48°) is mainly preferred whilst the famous dark beer, once in great demand, continues to be pushed more and more into the background. The dark, strong beers of 18-20% (74-84°) are generally welcome only at certain times of the year. The other two types are basically the Pilsener (up to 12.5% O.G. with 240-400 g. of hops per hl.) and the pale strong export beer (up to 14% O.G. with 180-270 g. of hops per hl.). At the same time, there are many variations between the two types and it is quite possible that a beer known as Pilsener in the Wurttemberg area may be less bitter than an export beer in the Rhine Ruhr area.
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, page 13.

I love the way he calls Helles "mild lager beer". I've always thought of it as the Lager version of Light Mild myself. Nice to know such an eminent brewing scientist agrees with me. You'll remember from my earlier writings that Dunkles was Munich's favourite beer until WW II, after which it was replaced by Helles, which remains the most popular style.

Bock remains mostly a seasonal style, usually sold in the colder months. Or, in the case of Maibock, in spring. Though he only seems to be talking of Doppelbock. Standard Bock would have an OG between 16.5º and 17.5º Plato.

How handy that he's given hopping rates. Because we can compare them with ones from the late 19th century:

19th-century hopping rates
Beer OG Plato gm hops per hl
Bohemian Lagerbier  12.5° 420 - 500
Bohemian Export  13.5° 450 - 550
Munich Summer Bier 12.5-14.5° 200 - 300 
American Handy Book of Brewing , Malting and Auxiliary Trades byWahl & Henius, Chicago 1902, pages 780-792.

It's clear that hopping rates had declined, though the styles and regions aren't an exact match.

Next time it will the turn of top-fermenting styles.

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