This is another type of low-gravity, sweet top-fermenting beer. They were a funny lot, traditional North German beer styles. Most were pretty weak, either through a low gravity or a poor degree of attenuation. Few seem to have been intoxicating. I guess drinkers were used to knocking back a spirit or two with their beers.
Right, let’s get on with the paraphrasing.
These sweet-tasting beers are produced in various different ways based of the preferences of the intended customers.
In general they are brewed dark. It’s recommended to use Munich malt with in addition an appropriate amount of Farbmalz and 5% to 8% caramel malt, which will lend a natural sweetness and stop the beer attenuating too much.
In the first method short kettle mash is employed, with mashing in at 35º C. The mash is left to stand for half an hour to allow it to dissolve, then the temperature is raised to 50º and finally 70º C, at which temperature saccharification takes place.
In the second method the mash is heated in the aforementioned way to 65º to 68º C, a third is left in the tun to saccharify and the rest is boiled for half an hour before being added back to the tun, raising it to the mash out temperature of 75º C. After a rest of half an hour the wort is run off. It is then boiled for 1.5 to 2 hours with half a pound of good hops per 50 kg of malt, added 45 minutes before the end of the boil. The gravity varies between 8º and 12º Balling, depending on the price it is to be sold for.
The wort is top-fermented in tuns at a temperature of between 12º and 17º C (15º C is normal), depending on the outside temperature. Per 50 kg of malt 1 litre of yeast is pitched. At the end of primary fermentation the beer is filled into 2 to 5 hectolitre barrels, and is allowed to overflow through the bung. The clear beer is filled into bottles from these casks.
Or the beer is transferred to 10-hectolitre casks, bunged after three days and then the highly-carbonated beer is filtered directly into trade casks after having a cooled, boiled sugar solution in the required amount added to it.
To brew pale, golden-coloured Malzbier, high-dried pale malt is used along with 5% caramel malt. The mashing scheme is as above, with a 15 minute boil of the thick mash. Care is taken that during primary fermentation the expulsion of yeast is not interrupted. For this reason a pure yeast is used.
Higher gravity beers don’t need to be sparged because of their strength and beers over 11º Balling are hopped at a rate of 0.75 pounds per 50 kg of malt. High-dried malt is used, which naturally tend to a lower degree of attenuation, also the higher saccharification temperature of 70º C has the purpose of producing less easily fermentable sugar such as maltodextrine.
Source: Olberg, Johannes (1927) Erntebier in Moderne Braumethoden, pp 72-73, A. Hartleben, Wien & Leipzig.
Half a pound of hops per 50 kg of malt is a very low level of hopping. Not so surprising as the beer was intended to be sweet. It’s the equivalent of 1.65 lbs per quarter of malt. An English Mild Ale of the same period had 5 to 6 lbs per quarter, a Bitter 7 to 8 lbs and Strong Ale as much as 14 lbs.
I really wish there was some mention of the degree of fermentation. I suspect it was very low. Certainly the Malzbier brewed at Groter Jan in Berlin in the 1930’s was under 2% ABV despite having an OG of 11.5º Plato. That was hopped at about 0.25 lb per barrel, which is about the same as Olberg recommends for Malzbier.
I’m tempted to knock up a recipe, though keeping the degree of fermentation low might be a problem. Would any of you brew it if a did publish a recipe? I don’t want to just waste my time.