Saturday, 10 July 2021

Let's Brew - 1941 Heineken Pils

I'm back with wartime Heineken recipes. I hope you don't mind.

In the summer of 1941, things took another turn for the worse in the Dutch brewing world, when gravities were cut again. Now even Pils, Heineken’s strongest beer, was under 3% ABV.

There’s also been a big change in the grist, with the replacement of some of the malt with sugar. Which type of sugar isn’t specified in the brewing record. I assume it must be some type of beet sugar as nothing would have been getting into Holland from the tropics. I’ve assumed it was plain old sucrose.

Colourless sugar would explain the other change to the grist: the addition of a small quantity of roasted malt. I’m sure purely to darken the colour a little. So the punters wouldn’t be able to see how piss-weak their beer was.

No fewer than four types of hops were used. Barth Hallertau, Hallertau, Breitsch and L.A., all from the 1940 harvest. As Heineken had mostly used German hops before the war, nothing much had changed there. With brewing restricted and hops not capable of being used for food, their supply doesn’t seem to have been a problem.

1941 Heineken Pils
pilsner malt 4.75 lb 82.18%
carafa III 0.03 lb 0.52%
sugar 1.00 lb 17.30%
Hallertau 90 mins 0.125 oz
Hallertau 60 mins 0.33 oz
Saaz 30 mins 0.67 oz
OG 1029
FG 1007.5
ABV 2.84
Apparent attenuation 74.14%
IBU 13
Mash double decoction  
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 48º F
Yeast WLP830 German Lager


Mash in at 35º C (95º F) 5 minutes
Warm whole mash to 52º C (126º F) 20 minutes
Rest whole mash at 52º C (126º F) (protein rest) 15 minutes
Draw off first mash and without a rest bring to the boil 30 minutes
Boil first mash 10 minutes
The rest of the mash remains at 52º C (126º F) 40 minutes
Mash at 70º C (158º F) 25 minutes
Rest whole mash at 70º C (158º F) (saccharification rest) 30 minutes
Draw off second mash and without a rest bring to the boil 15 minutes
Boil second mash 10 minutes
Mash at 76º C (169º F) and mash out 20 minutes


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