Friday, 26 May 2017

Döllnitzer (Leipziger) Gose

Now we’re done with Grenell’s description of Berliner Weisse brewing methods, it’s time to continue with some other old top-fermenters. Starting with a style you might have heard of: Gose.

“Döllnitzer (Leipziger) Gose.
Original wort: 7-8% B. Infusion procedure.

One uses air-dried malt and 2 parts air-dried malt with well-modified kilned malt, but lower quality will also do, as it works just as well.

The Gose is a cloudy, slightly acidic beer and was already mentioned as an export beer in 1755, but originally came from Goslar and was later produced in Döllnitz. Nowadays it is produced in the Leipzig area by a number of breweries, but the yeast is taken from the distillery Libertwolkwitz.

Hopping rate: 125 g per Zentner [50 kg.] malt.

The yeast is pitched immediately. Degree of saccharification 45%. Secondary fermentation in bottle. Before filling, add 1/3 of water and 1 gram of salt (dissolved in water) per litre; if foam is forced out of the bottle, insufficient salt has been added.

Cardamom-liquorice is also added.- "Genuine" Gose should taste full-bodied and oily. Gose is not filled into barrels, not even stoppered, but it has a plug of yeast.

The yeast is repeatedly skimmed off and only the last covering left.

For Gose do not take red, yellow, brown, etc. bottles, otherwise the light splits the fine proteins, creating ammonia and muddying the beer.

This also applies to other beers!”
"Die Fabrikation obergäriger Biere in Praxis und Theorie" by Braumeister Grenell, 1907, page 74. (My translation.)

Interesting that the grist is a combination of air-dried and kilned malt. Most beer were either one or the other. This would imply that Gose, containing a third kilned malt, would have been darker in colour than a beer like Berliner Weisse.

I’m intrigued to learn that Gose was cloudy. Not sure I’ve heard that before. And most other sources, if they mention acidity, say Gose was very sour, not slightly sour.

Interesting to see that it’s another beer than was watered before bottling. This practice seems to have been pretty widespread for old German top-fermenting styles. If they mean real attenuation by “Degree of saccharification”, then the ABV would be just 2.3%. And that’s before watering it down.

Cardamom-liquorice is my translation of Kardamon-Süssholz. Does it mean coriander? Or a type of cardamom? And was there really any liquorice element? I really don’t know.

125g of hops per 50 kg. of malt is a very low level of hopping. An English Mild Ale of this period contained 1 – 1.5 kg. of hops per 50 kg. of malt. Not really surprising that a beer than was soured by lactobacillus during primary fermentation didn’t contain many hops. Too many would have killed all the lactobacillus.

If you weren’t supposed to use red, yellow or  brown bottles, what colour were you supposed to use? Or is the implication that you should use earthenware bottles? I’m confused. I also wonder why they got the yeast from a distillery rather than a brewery.


Stuart Carter said...

distillery yeast is probably very neutral, so it sounds like they were looking for a very neutral yeast character.

Barm said...

I’ve seen many, many references to excess brewery yeast being sold on to distilleries, but this is the first time I’ve heard of a brewery sourcing yeast from a distillery.

Elektrolurch said...

green bottles?

Craig G said...

Gose in Leipzig is often served with Allasch (, a local caraway liqueur flavoured with bitter almonds, anise, angelica root and orange peel. I wonder if the cardamom-liquorice refers to one of those ingredients as there are liquorice notes in them.
My wife and parents in law (native Germans and from Leipzig) say your translation is correct so maybe it is an old name for one of those ingredients.

StuartP said...

Not sure the advertising would encourage me to try it !

Anonymous said...

If I was going to have a random guess for the distillers yeast it would be that distilleries don't boil their wort. The contaminants in the wash break down the sugars to the extent that its there is no residual sugar left.

If you were to use it for a beer it would be full of lactic acid bacteria and other fun stuff. Most lactic fermentations leave a pretty decent haze. If you see kettle sours as they are being made they are often pretty cloudy.


Andrew Rathband

Benedikt Rausch said...

I think there was a lot of change in the late 19th century to Gose.
The translation of Cardamom and liquorice is correct. I think nearly everyone had their own spice mixture for the Gose. I've been trying to get behind it but everybody was secretive then and is secretive now...
What I found so far about Goslarsche Gose was wormwood, cinamon and elderberry. These where added to make a special type of gose.
I think they started adding them regulary when the spices became much cheaper.
Wormwood was readily available and used as a medicin so it has a longer tradition in germany.
Some spice additions where mentioned together with the medicinal use.
Concerning the bottles I think they where using brown bottles. I'm a bit sceptic about the information from Grenells book.
I found a lot of sources stating that even Dölnitzer or orhter Gose (beside Goslarer) was 100% wheat.
I think they added a barley percentage when modern lautering techniques came into play. Gose is one of those styles that shows the development between farmhouse style brewing (goslar) and modern brewing techniques (Leipzig etc).
It is a tough research topic since they where so secretive then ...