I recently found some good analyses of Dunkles in 1902. Dead handy, as most of the ones I already had were from the 19th century. And for comparison purposes I’m also throwing in some modern ones that I harvested from brewery websites in 2014.
It will give us a chance to see just how the styles changed over the period of 100 years. While German beer weren’t transformed as dramatically as their British counterparts, there were some significant changes. Ones which seem to apply to all German bottom-fermenting beers.
What always strikes me about older Lagers is the poor rate of attenuation. With the exception of some pale Bohemian Lagers which had around 75% apparent attenuation. You can see in the table below that only one of the 1902 Dunkles had attenuation over 70%. Coincidentally, it was also the one in the set with the lowest OG. The average of all 17 samples is 65%.
The poor attenuation means that despite relatively high OGs, only one beer is above 5% ABV, with one even below 4% ABV.
Here’s the table:
|Munich Dunkles in 1902|
|Year||Brewer||Beer||Acidity||OG Plato||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||Colour|
|"Bayerisches Brauer-Journal vol. XII", 1902, page 353.|
The biggest differences in the modern versions are the rate of attenuation, OG and ABV. All are at least 5% ABV and the lowest rate of attenuation is 76%. This is a pretty much universal trend in German beers. Modern Lagers have lower OGs, but that’s more than made up by the higher rate of attenuation. It makes sense. It’s a way to cut costs. But it must have had a big impact on mouthfeel. The older versions must have been much thicker and chewier.
Here’s the second table:
|Munich Dunkles in 2014|
|Year||Brewer||Beer||OG Plato||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation|