Tuesday 21 June 2022

Cooling and fermenting Berliner Weisse in 1845

I've started the week a fun way - reading my way through an old German brewing text. It's so much fun. Really.

We've bot past the mashing section and are now looking at the remainder of the process. This time there are some temperatures given. Even though the brewery in question didn't seem to believe in them, relying instead on the ever-so-reliable finger method.

After standing, the wort began to be drawn off. At first the tap was only opened a little and the wort returned to the top of the filter tub until it began to run clear. The tap was then opened wide and the wort run off into the grant and from there pumped to the cooler. When the wort started to become cloudy again the tap was closed.

Meanwhile the kettle had been refilled with water and brought to the boil. This was now poured over the grain bed in the filter tun. This was left to stand without being touched for around 30 minutes.

The kettle had meanwhile been refilled and brought to the boil again. The boiling water was added to the filter tub and left to stand for another 30 minutes.

The first wort was now returned from the cooler to the cleaned mash tun and the second wort transferred to the cooler.

When the first wort reached a temperature of 27.5º to 30º C, some of it was drawn off and mixed with yeast. The yeast mostly came from a previous brew, but twice in the week yeast shipped from Cottbus was used.

After about an hour this wort started to ferment and it was mixed with the first wort in the mash tun, which was now about 22.5º C.

When fermentation of the first wort had kicked off, after 6 to 8 hours, the second wort was added. This new mix started to ferment after around an hour. It was then filled into barrels and immediately shipped out to publicans. 

What little fermenting wort remained was transferred to barrels in the fermentation cellar. Fermentation was completed in 18 to 20 hours.

A third addition of cold water was poured over the grain bed and left to stand for between 30 and 60 minutes. This was drawn off, pitched with yeast and sold to the poorer classes as Koventbier. Fermentation was completed in their home. To make it more palatable, it was often mixed with some strong Weisse before bottling.
"Handbuch der praktischen Bierbrauerei" by Dr. Julius Ludwig Gumbinner, 1845, pages 225 - 230.

Once again, the wort was pitched in the mash tun. Note that the majority of even the primary fermentation was performed by publicans. Only a small amount was fermented in the brewery itself.


Rob Sterowski said...

Was the grain still in the mash tun when they were pitching yeast into it?

It sounds like they had discovered empirically that this practice led to a reliable fermentation.

Ron Pattinson said...

Rob Sterowski,

it was the "cleaned mash tun". No grain in it any more.