As you would expect, the numbers look very different to those for Dunkles. We’ll be comparing the two sets later. But first I’d like to concentrate on Helles.
In 1902 it was still a relative newcomer on the Munich scene. The first versions were only brewed in the 1890’s. Munich brewers, who were associated all over the world with dark Lagers, didn’t want to dilute their brand. Eventually they gave in to the inevitable and began brewing beers “Nach Pilsner Art”, which later came to be called simply Helles.
The attenuation of the Helles examples looks more reasonable, averaging over 70%. But the generally lower gravity means the ABV is about the same as for Dunkles.
I’m always surprised by the high level of acidity in old Lagers. As a means of comparison, the acidity in British draught beers measured by Whitbread in the 1920’s and 1930’s is usually below 0.10%. Here it’s averaging 0.17% lactic acid.
If anyone has any suggestions as to why Lagers were so acidic, I’d love to hear them. I always thought they were meant to be very clean beers.
|Munch Helles in September 1902|
|Year||Brewer||Beer||Acidity||OG Plato||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||Colour|
|"Bayerisches Brauer-Journal vol. XII", 1902, page 353.|
Unsurprisingly, modern versions have a lower gravity, but higher attenuation, leaving them 0.5% ABV stronger. As you can see in our next table:
|Munich Helles in 2014|
|Year||Brewer||Beer||OG Plato||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation|
There’s not as big a difference in the OG as with Dunkles, only 0.73º Plato. But the big difference in FG and attenuation must mean that modern versions are much thinner than ones of a century ago.
That’s been so much fun, I’ll be back with some more tables and shit derived from the same data.