Thursday, 27 July 2017

Böhmisches Bier

Isn’t this exciting? A look in detail at Czechoslovakian beer in the first few years of the country’s existence.

The chapter begin with a couple of paragraphs on malting. The gist being that you need good pale malt. The way you made it was to start with thin-husked, low protein barley. The malt was dried with hot air, starting at 35-38º C, rising slowly to 60º C. The drying process was slow and lasted at least 24 hours.

Fascinating stuff, but probably not what you’re most interested in. So I’ll quickly move onto the brewing method. Which I paraphrase here:

Per 100 kg of malt 260-270 litres of water are used for mashing and 200 for sparging. Meaning it was a thin mash.

Mashing in is at 35º C. Part of the mash is transferred to the kettle and raised to 65º C for saccharification then brought to the boil in the kettle and boiled for 15 minutes. When this is added back to the main mash the temperature is raised to 52º C.

A second thick mash is boiled in the kettle for 10 minutes and when returned to the main mash the combined temperature should be 65º C.

Now the lauter mash is boiled in the kettle for 15 minutes which when added back to the main mash raises the temperature to mash out at 75º C. The wort is run off after a rest of 35 to 40 minutes.

Sparge water should be at 75º C or a temperature such that when the wort is drawn off it’s at most 70-75º C. If the water is hotter it can dissolve starch from the grains and this can a haze, albeit slight.

The hopping rate is 2 pounds per 50 kg of malt. A quarter of the hops are added as soon as the copper is filling, another quarter after 30 minutes boiling and the last half 45 minutes before the end of the boil. Boiling lasts 2 hours.

To obtain the right aroma and mild hop flavour, only the best Bohemian hops are used and just before the boil ends 1 or 2 pounds of hops are added.

The yeast is pitched at 5º C and fermentation is conducted in a way that ensures it lasts at least 10 days. The pitching rate is 5 litres per 1,000 litres of wort. The OG is 12º Balling and the beer is transferred to lagering vessels at a gravity of 5º Balling.

Schankbiers are brewed to a gravity of 10-10.5º Balling, are equally heavily hopped and are handled like Lagerbier except only lagered for two months. The beers are only left with the bungs open for 2 weeks but then are left under the bunging apparatus for a long time.
Source: Olberg, Johannes (1927) Bömisches Bier in Moderne Braumethoden, pp 59-61, A. Hartleben, Wien & Leipzig.

That’s a very usefully detailed description of how to brew a pale Bohemian Lager. Or rather pale Bohemian Lagerbier and pale Bohemian Schankbier. The Czechs have long been fond of relative weak Lagers, with 10º Plato beers (around 4% ABV) being the most popular.

Olberg forgets to mention how long the Lagerbier was , er, lagered. Probably 3 months.

The hopping rate isn’t crazy at around 6 lbs per quarter of malt. But it’s a lot compared to most 20th-century Lagers. Even Pilsners, a supposedly hop-accented style, were mostly very lightly hopped in comparison to British beers.

As there are three wort boils, I guess the mashing scheme is a triple decoction. Though it isn’t made that clear in the text, the first two decoctions are thick mash, i.e. containing lots of grains and the final one thin mash, i.e. mostly liquid. It’s a pretty classic triple decoction method.

1 comment:

Pivní Filosof said...

"Modern" floor maltings will dry the malt for 36 hours in two steps, each starting at 30° and climbing to 80° IIRC.

The labels, on the other hand, are from Communist times.