Friday, 10 July 2015

Dutch Lager Styles 1870 - 1960 (part four)

Heineken Lagers in the 1880’s

Price lists can be very handy.  They tell you not just which beers a brewer made, but also their relative strengths.

Heineken prices in 1886
Beer price per litre (cents)
Gerste 10
Beiersch 13
Pilsener 13
Münchener 14
"Korte Geschiedenis der Heineken's Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij N.V. 1873 - 1948", by H. A. Korthals, 1948, page 117.

I’m surprised buy a couple of things here. First, that the price of Gerste and Pilsner were so close. Second, that they brewed two Dark Lagers, Beiersch and Münchener. Based on the price, the Münchener was probably about 14º Plato.

More Lagers in the 1880’s
Here are the Lagers of Holland’s first bottom-fermenting brewery

Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad 24th December 1886, page 4.

Kon. Ned. Beijersch- Bierbrouwerij beers in 1886
Beer per bottle (cents)
Beiersch 18
Münchener 18
Erlanger 18
Pilsener 20
Gerste 10
Lager 10
Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad 24th December 1886, page 4.

This list has me slightly confused. What was the difference between their Beiersch and Münchener? They’re both Dark Lagers, presumably, so what distinguished one from the other? At Heineken it was obvious, the Münchener was stronger. Here they’re the same price.

At what was Erlanger Bier? Another Bavarian type, obviously. It’s in Franconia, so my bet would be very dark and quite bitter.

The only analyses I have from the period don’t tell me much, other than that, at around 13º Plato, they were standard strength for the day.

Erlanger Lagers
Year Brewer Beer FG OG ABV App. Attenuation
1875 Erlanger Schenkbier 1014.62 1051.67 4.64 70.67%
1875 Erlanger Lagerbier 1012.49 1052.98 5.08 75.48%
Wahl & Henius, pages 823-830

One other thing: they were relatively highly attenuated.

Heineken Lagers in the 1890’s
From this next price list, we can see that Heineken also produced a higher-strength pale Lager in the 1890’s, Export.

Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad 22nd February 1895, page 4.

My guess would be that the Export and Münchener were both close to 14º Plato, the Pilsener around 13º, Gerste 12º Plato and Tafelbier – which looks like what was later called Lagerbier - 10º Plato.


Roel Mulder said...

Hi Ron, according to my Praktische bierbrouwer (1866), Erlanger beer was made out of 'yellow malt', i.e. amber. For Kitzinger they used pale malt, and for Neurenberger brown malt.
As for the Münchener/Beiersch difference, Beiersch may have been a pale beer at that point. A lot about these early Dutch lagers remains unclear! Too bad the old avert usually show the breweries' buildings, not the product.

Ron Pattinson said...


I can only go on the evidence I've seen and accorsding to that Beiersch is dark. But it is from slightly later and I know that styles can change colour.