Thursday, 19 July 2018

That 1869 Adambier again

I’ve just got a new pdf book to play with. One I asked Google to make fully viewable a few weeks back. I just had an email saying that they had done that. I feel so proud.

The first thing I looked up was an article on the Pure Beer Bill. When I got to the appropriate page, I was amazed to see what the next article was: one about Adambier. Complete with a chemical analysis.

This is the article:

“Adam” Beer.
IN Westphalia a. peculiar beer is met with which. is there called by the above name or Old Beer. Unlike the majority of German beers. It is produced by “top” fermentation, and it is remarkable for its high percentage of lactic acid. One of these Old Beers, which was brewed from good raw materials and fermented with “top” yeast, after being kept for more than twelve months, and was very popular in the Dortmund district, had the following composition:—

Gravity 0.23 per cent. Balllng.
Extract 3.37 "
Alcohol 7.38 weight per cent.
Acid calculated as lactic acid 0.61 per cent.
Maltose (direct copper reduction) 0.66 "
Other sugars  0.62 "
Dextrin 0.50 "
Ash 0.284 "
Phosphoric acid 0.133 "
Nitrogen 0.112 "

From the above the following can be calculated :—

Original gravity 17.26 per cent.
Apparent fermentation 98.67 "
Actual fermentation 80.47 "

The remarkable features in the composition of this beer are the high percentage of lactic acid and the low percentage of dextrin. The beer was brown in colour, bright, without any sediment, and remained bright for a very long time; it was absolutely devoid of carbonic acid and tasted sour. A microscopical examination of the beer disclosed the presence of traces of yeast cells, very few rod bacteria, and traces of albumenous substances.”
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 129.

When I started looking at the numbers, they looked remarkably familiar. Looking at something I’d written about Adambier a few years back I realised why. The article is clearly based on one in "Zeitschrift für Angewandte Chemie, Volume 3", also from 1889. That also comments on the high lactic acids and low dextrin content.

There are a couple of additions to put Adambier in context, but it’s really little more than a paraphrased translation of the German text. It’s a bit naughty nicking it without acknowledging the original.

You can find my translation of the German article here:


Anonymous said...

Your older piece says it was sometimes called altbier, but I assume it'e not connected to what you can get today called altbier, right? They're just both old types of beer.

Ron Pattinson said...


there were several different types of Altbier. You also have the Münster version.