But, rather than providing answers, it’s provided more questions. Because the acidity level is all over the shop, from 0.196 to 0.85%. That is, from mildly tart to pretty damn sour. Without any apparent pattern. What does it mean?
One slight problem is that what’s listed is specifically lactic acid. Any acetic acid that might have been present isn’t included. I know from analyses performed in the 1970s that considerable amounts of acetic were present in Berliner Weisse. Less than the quantity of lactic acid, but present nonetheless.
Where I can see a pattern is in the OG, which seems to have fallen from the mid-1040s in the 1870s to around 1032º by the end of the century. Which is about the same as today: 8º Plato. There also appears to have been an increase in the degree of attenuation. 78-80% is extremely high for a late-19th century German beer.
|Berliner Weisse 1878 - 1898|
|Year||Brewer||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lactic acid||CO2 %|
|1887||Aktein-Brauerei (formerly H. A. Bolle)||1018.6||1009.5||1.18||48.92%||0.363|
|Wahl, Robert and Henius, Max (1902) Composition Of Beers in American Handy Book of the Brewing, Malting, and Auxiliary Trades, pp 823-830, Wahl & Henius, Chicago.|
|König, J (1903), Bier in Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel by Joseph König, 1903, pp 1101 - 1156, Julius Springer, Berlin.|