Friday, 21 July 2017

Kulmbacher Art

I can never find out too much about Kulmbacher, a style that’s always intrigued me.

This is a pretty late mention, coming from the 1920’s. Kulmbacher was pretty famous in the late 19th century, but seems to have quickly plummeted to obscurity in the 20th. Not sure why that happened. Perhaps it was all part of dark beers going out of fashion.

Time for me to summarise Olberg:

The foundations for the character of this beer are already laid during the malting process. The germination process is slow and cold. The shoots are well-developed, even if they aren’t that long. Drying is within the limits of the Munich drying method in general and the malt is more highly dried, with the flues either severely restricted or completely closed.

The mashing scheme consists of two thick mashes and one lauter mash. In addition to the highly-dried malt Farbmalz and caramel malt are also used. As highly-dried malts contain less diastase than pale malts, the saccharification temperature of 70º C is held for as long as necessary.

Mashing in is at 35º C, the first thick mash is allowed to saccharify at 70º C, before heating to boiling point and being left to simmer for an hour. When this is added to the remainder of the mash the combined temperature is raised to 52º C. After that there’s the second thick mash which raises the temperature of the combined mash to 70º C and then there’s a lauter mash at 75º C to mash out. Hops are added at a rate of 1.25 pounds per 50 kg of malt and boiled for 3 to 4 hours.

According to an old method from Habich, mashing in is at 50º C and boiling water added to raise the temperature to 54º C. From this a clear wort is run off and brought to the boil then added back to the remaining mash to raise the temperature to 70º C. This temperature is held until saccharification has occurred.

After about 1 to 1.5 hours the remainder of the lauter mash is brought to the boil with hops and boiled for 10 minutes and then interrupted by adding the back the run off wort. The wort boils for 5 hours. Original gravity 16º Balling.
Source: Olberg, Johannes (1927) Kulmbacher Art in Moderne Braumethoden, pp 78-79, A. Hartleben, Wien & Leipzig.

It’s no wonder Kulmbacher was dark if it had a grist of very dark Munich malt, farbmalz and caramel malt. Maybe I should throw together a recipe.

The level of hopping is much lighter than quoted in earlier sources. 1.5 lbs per 50 kg of malt is only around 4.5 lbs per quarter – about the same as a Mild Ale.


InSearchOfKnowledge said...

Can you try to write this more clear: "As highly-dried malts contain diastase than pale malts, the saccharification temperature of 70º C is held for as long as necessary." Do they contain more or less diastase than pale malts?

InSearchOfKnowledge said...

And a second question, a technical term which puzzled me: highly dried (also because English is not my native language). Does this mean that it is more dried than other malts, that it contains less moisture?

Ron Pattinson said...


I missed out a less.

Yes. Dried at a higher temperature and with less moisture.

dana said...

Wouldn't mind a recipe...

Elektrolurch said...

Stupid question time......
Though I did drink a lot of modern franconian Dunkles, I have no real knowledge of how they are made.
So, seeing that this "Kulmbacher" seems very dark in color, yet not heavily hopped- how does it differ from some very dark modern franconian Dunkles? Maybe, just maybe, that the style kinda survived and evolved in the larger region, but is just called "Dunkels" or "Vollbier" by some brewers....?