Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Deutscher Porter

The brewing of Porter in Germany has a long and pretty much uninterrupted history. The first references I’ve found are from the 19th century.

German Porter developed its strongest roots in the DDR. Porter was a fairly common style brewed by dozens of breweries. I can be certain of that because I’ve seen the labels. In character, they resembled very closely the type of Porter described by Olberg: strong and quite heavily hopped. Beers which would have been called Stout in the UK.

Sadly, all the examples of that style of Porter seem to have disappeared. Several breweries in the East do currently brew a beer called Porter, but it’s completely different in nature: much weaker and very sweet. Pretty awful beers, to be honest.

Time for some Olberg paraphrasing:

German Porter is brewed in the following way: using, for example, 300 kg. pale malt, 50 kg. dark malt and 45 kg. Farbmalz (pale coloured!) and 80 kg. of sugar. 8 to 10 kg. of hops are used.

Because of the use of large quantities of Farbmalz and dark malt, which have little diastase, a kettle mashing scheme or a thick mash and lautermash are recommended.

Mashing in is at 35º C, after which the mash is left to rest for 30 minutes, then the temperature is raised to 65º C, left for at least 45 minutes for saccharification to take place and then raised to the mash out temperature of 75º C. The lauter tun should be well heated up with warm water first.

Another method is to mash in in the tun and raise the temperature to 55º C with hot water, move two-thirds of the mash to the kettle where it is raised to the  saccharification temperature (65º C) and held for as long as necessary. It’s then boiled for 10 minutes and returned to the mash tun where it raises the temperature to 65º C. There’s now a second lautermash which only boils for 5 minutes. When return to the rest of the mash this raises the temperature to the mash out temperature of 75º C.

After a rest of 35 to 40 minutes, the wort is run off. The sparge should preferably run off at 72 to 74º C because the Farbmalz and dark malt are often made very fine through milling and can clump together and make the run off very slow. If the sparge water isn’t 75 to 78º C (75º C in the mash tun) the sparge will run off very slowly and lengthen the mashing process.

The wort is boiled for three hours. The OG is 16 to 18º Balling. There are two hop additions, a third of the hops when the copper is falling and two thirds an hour before the end of the boil.

Top-fermenting yeast is used. Barrel fermentation is usually preferred with a pitching temperature of 21 to 22º C.
Source: Olberg, Johannes (1927) Porter, deutsch in Moderne Braumethoden, pp 89 - 90, A. Hartleben, Wien & Leipzig.

Lots of useful information, plus some confusing stuff. How can Farbmalz be coloured? Or perhaps he just means you should use the pales type of Farbmalz?

Note that they loved fiddly mashing schemes, recommending either a three-step mash or a double decoction. No-one in the UK would have employed such a complicated mashing scheme at this point.

The hopping rate works out to about 7lbs per quarter of malt. Which is roughly the same amount as Barclay Perkins and Whitbread used in their Stouts in the 1920’s.


Lee said...

This looks like it is worthy of a Let's Brew!

Unknown said...

Not far off the rates for Allsopp's Stouts either Ron!!

BryanB said...

Given that Porter and Stout are the latest fashion among German boutique craft brewers, I wonder how many are following these guidelines, as opposed to knocking off a modern American Porter?

kaiserhog said...

Ron, was the yeast used in the older porter top or bottom fermenting and did they lager the porter?

Anonymous said...

Farbmalz = Carafa - it´s a roasted Malt.

Ron Pattinson said...


sadly most craft brewers will blindly copy the US rather than looking to their own traditions.

Loads of interesting old German styles. But who can be arsed to brew them amongst the new generation of brewers? Just a handful of people like Sebastian Sauer.

Ron Pattinson said...


I think both top and bottom fermenting. Groterjan in Berlin brewed Porter top-fermenting after WW II. But they were a 100% top-fermenting brewery. I'd guess breweries that mostly brewed Lager probably bottom-fermented Porter.

rod said...

"Anonymous said...
Farbmalz = Carafa - it´s a roasted Malt"

"farbmalz" (colour malt) is a fairly generic word as normally used in these type of recipes.

On the other hand, "Carafa" is a very specific product - the word is actually a registered trademark of Weyermann, Bamberg. Carafa is a very dark malt, so probably not the type referred to here.

Carafa is a caramel malt, of course, as the name would tend to imply, perhaps?