Tuesday 28 June 2022

Porter in the DDR

How common was Porter in the DDR? Not that common, to be honest. I think i saw it in a shop once. Almost certainly in Berlin. Because that's where all the nice things went.

That said, it was sufficiently widespread for it to feature in all the standards documents. The one on ingredients specifically mentions Brettanomyces. Which a 1950s DDR brewing textbook suggested should be pitched in Porter for secondary conditioning.

The quantities produced was probably pretty small. But a surprising number of breweries made one. I know that from my DDR label collection. At least 15. That's how many I have labels from. I'm sure that there more quite a few more than that.

These are the 15:

Berliner Kindl
Meisterbräu Halle
Rose-Brauerei Grabow

It's weird how Deutscher Porter as a style seems to have been almost totally forgotten. Even though it was brewed until around 30 years ago. They all seem to have been discontinued soon after reunification. Either that, of the breweries simply closed. A few did reintroduce beers called Porter, but they were totally different in style. Much weaker and really sweet. Pretty awful, the ones I've tried.

Here are the labels:



Anonymous said...

Didn't realize there were so many DDR breweries making porter. Until recently, Weyermann had a recipe on their site for German Porter which mentioned the DDR in the introduction. I no longer see it on the Weyermann site, but I think I have a copy of it somewhere, if anyone's interested.

Phil said...

I had a Baltic porter a couple of years back which I believe was brewed in Stralsund, on Rügen - which is actually on the Baltic (as well as in the former East), so fair play. But I doubt there was any continuity with these DDR beers - it was pretty strong, but it was really sweet; any Brett was very well hidden.

BryanB said...

Yeah, most "German Porter" is/was awful sweet stuff, and much of the current craft Porter is English or American in style, but there's a few honourable exceptions, e.g. Cologne's Freigeist does a DDR-style Porter complete with Brett & salt.

Bruce said...

Hi Ron! I brewed your DDR Porter recipe from the Beer Advocate article a couple years ago, using Maris Otter as the pale malt and a mix of Munich and Vienna for the 70% Munich called for (it's what I had on hand), fermented with Altbier yeast and with my favorite strain of wild-caught Brett added at kegging. Turned out delicious, I'd love it if more commercial breweries would produce a strong Brett-conditioned porter! Next time you're in Portland Oregon I'd be happy to brew it again and give you some bottles!

Ron Pattinson said...


I'll be in Portland Tuesday 26th July and Wednesday 27th July if you'd like to meet up.