Monday 4 May 2020

German Light Lagerbeers in 1984

A bit of a change of pace today. So nothing about WW II. Instead some fairly random analyses of German Lagers.

I doubted that the "light" referred to the colour, as a couple are definitely on the amber side.  Surely 14 EBC is too dark for a Helles?

When I bothered to look at the accompanying text, I learnt that in the South of Bavaria and around Munich, Helles was very pale, but in the Northeast of Bavaria it was darker. There's a new style for you: Northeast Bavarian Helles.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this table is the inclusion of bitterness values. In which there's a fair amount of variation, from 18 to 28.5. According to modern style Nazis, the bitterness level should be around 20.

I'm surprised in the variation in colour of the base malt, between 2.8 and 8 EBC. I would have assumed that the base malt would be all fairly similar pils malt. Even more of a shock is the inclusion of some quite dark malts.

Most of the beers used a double decoction, though one used a simple infusion. I suspect that, if a similar analysis were done today, that there would be more infusions and fewer decoctions.

Light lagerbeers of different character extract ca 11.5% P = 1046º G
Brewery 1 2 3 4 5 6
colour of beer EBC 5.5 7.5 7.5 9 11 14
Bitter units EBC 18 22 28.5 26 23  20
Alcalinity of brewing liquor ºGH -3 2 -2 3 3 4
colour EBC of malt 2.8 3 3 4.3 6 8
Specialmalts %
cara lightest (5 EBC) 3
cara light (40 EBC) 3 3 3
cara dark (130 EBC) or 1 3
dark malt (15 EBC) 10 or 40
Mashing procedure D2 I D2 D2 D2 D2
Mashing-in temp ºC 62 45 52 52 52 37
I = infusion mash
D2 = two mash decoction
Journal of the Institute of Brewing Vol. 90, 1984, page 355.


BryanB said...

In many cases Hell/Helles is more comparative than descriptive. So it's Pale compared to the same brewery's Dark, rather than specifically being yellow-gold coloured.

These days it's not unusual to see a Helles described as Bernsteinfarben, or Amber, which seems kind of weird at first.

Rob Sterowski said...

@BryanB: really?