Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Champagner Weisse

I continue to be surprised just how many types of top-fermenting beer were still knocking around in Germany on the eve of WW I. Especially the number of regional wheat beers.

Like this one: Champagne Wheat Beer. Though I guess they had to forget that name after WW I.

is a refreshing beer which is particularly liked in Saxony and is mainly produced there (Zwenkau, Leisnig).

The infusion procedure is used. Half barley, half wheat malt is used, it is mashed in cold in the copper, add 5 kilos of oat chaff per Zentner [50kg] of malt, and leave to rest for an hour; then one takes one-fifth (the so-called cold Satz) or the entire mash, and draws it into the lauter tun. - The remainder (4/5) of the mash is then heated to 33° R [41.25º C]i n the kettle, the mixture is left to rest for 10 minutes, and then rapidly brought to 45° R [56.25º C]. Again left to rest (20 min.) and then heated to 60º R., left to rest for another hour and finally brought to a boil, and per Zentner [50 kg.] add 250 g of cooking salt, the mash is boiled for one hour and mashed out in the lauter tun, where the Satz that was held back is located.

This brings the complete mash to 60-62° R [75º - 77.5º C]; this is left to rest for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with water at 68-70° R. [85º - 87.5º C] and add enough so that the Saccharometer shows 6.5% balling. - Now you add 250 gr. of hops per Zentner [50 kg] of grist, let it boil again properly, and then the wort is pumped into the cooler, run over the refrigerator and pitched with yeast at 12°R [15º C]. Fermentation: 3 days.

The beer is clarified, filled into bottles immediately or sent to the landlords in barrels and from these filled into bottles.

Care should be taken that the CO2 content is high at racking time, and on account of this also thick-walled bottles are used and brought up only as required.”
"Die Fabrikation obergäriger Biere in Praxis und Theorie" by Braumeister Grenell, 1907, pages 67 - 68. (My translation.)

Saxony isn’t somewhere that I associate with Weissbier. I’m intrigued that it was home to this particular type of the style. A lightly hopped variety, obviously.

A metric Zentner is handily almost exactly a hundredweight. Multiply 250 g by three and you have the hopping rate per quarter of malt. In this case, 1.65 lbs hops per quarter. Or bugger all. 4 lbs per quarter is lightly hopped. Under 2 lbs is almost unhopped. Surprisingly, there’s the same weight of salt added as hops.

Hang on a minute. A Saxon wheat beer with loads of salt in it. This is sounding rather similar to Gose. Though without the coriander. It sounds like there were other salty wheat beers in Saxony.

It’s pity that they didn’t mention the OG. The gravity of 6.5º Balling mentioned is pre-boil, meaning post-boil it would be 7-7.5º Balling. Still not very high and, given the poor rate of attenuation, the finished beer probablt wasn’t stronger than 2.5% ABV.

I’m a bit confused by the mashing system. It says that it’s an infusion mash then goes on to describe what sounds like a classic decoction mash, even down to using Satz.


Phil said...

Some brewers used to add salt to accentuate the sweetness of dark beers (it works, although it doesn't sound like it should). Is it possible this was what was going on here? Or was this just a plain old salty beer?

Lady Luck Brewing said...

I'm making my a Gose in two weeks. Maybe I'll split the batch and pitch coriander only in one half.

A Brew Rat said...

After tasting a couple of goses brewed by American microbrewers, I am not the least bit surprised that salty beers disappeared.