Saturday, 7 July 2007

Lagering and numbers

Lagering and numbers

Thank you for all your responses to this blog. Their number prevent me from immediately identifying the direction you think I should follow. Not that I would have paid any attention. But it would be nice to know if I were sucking up or pissing off. I'll assume the latter.

"He's not going to get any laughs out of this topic." You're right. I'm not. Life isn't all about fun. It's about hardship, boredom and pain. Expect the latter two from now on.

Oh. Alright. Here's a joke. "Why did the chicken jump off the cliff?" "Because he wondered how trees felt."

I would blame Lexie for that. But it's one of Andrew's. I'm too old to understand.

Hang on. I'll just knock my brain back it to place. Ungh . . .ungh . . . ungh-angh . . . uuungh .. Yep. That's it.

Beer. I'm supposed to be talking about beer, aren't I? Activating autobiographical, abuse and random book scan modes . . . . . Generated text will appear in 3 .. 2 .. 1 .. 0 .. seconds . . .

For someone who has been a CAMRA member since his 18th birthday, I have what might be considered an unhealthy interest in lager. Not the yellow piss-water on sale in British pubs, but the real central European stuff.

Here's what "Brauerhandbuch (Karl Hennies, Nürnberg 1956, pages 282 and 283) has to say on the subject of lagering:

  • Pale beers need to be lagered longer than dark beer. Only after a longer lagering period is the strong hop taste transformed into a noble bitterness. Dark beer on the other hand lose during too long a lagering their fine malt aroma. Stronger beers also demand longer lagering times than those of a lower gravity; also beer has to lager longer in cold cellars than in warm ones. Normally dark beers are lagered for one and a half to two and a half months, pale beers two to six months. Pale export beers which are unpasteurised are lagered for up to a year and very cold, so that as much protein as possible is eliminated. Beer with insufficient secondary conditioning are only lagered briefly, since longer lagering only makes the faults more obvious.

Modern IPA brewers should perhaps pay attention to the purpose of lagering pale beers - smoothing out the rough hop flavour. Here's a hint. If you want to brew an authentic 1842 Burton IPA, try maturing your beer for 4 months not just in wooden barrels, but also in a wooden sailing ship, making sure to vary the temperature between 5 and 50º C and to rock it around a lot. Then you have authentic. And fiddle around with the magnetic field. Maybe that doesn't have any effect. I'd still do it just to be on the safe side.

Breweries by country

Flicking through another of my old German books ("Almanch für das deutsche Brauwesen" Darmstadt, 1957 pages 56 and 57), I noticed a table of the number of breweries per country in 1956. I thought you might find it interesting if I compared it with the situation today (see image). I use the word "interesting" in a very unconventional way. I don't really believe that. People just keep saying it. I thought I should pass it on. In the sake of impartiality.

According to the book, in 1956 there was a total of 6,531 breweries in the world, 5,752 of which were in Europe. You'll be disappoinnted to hear that I can't tell you how many there are now. And I call myself Mr. Serously-unnaturally-interested-in-statistics. Or Suiis for short. Looks sort of Finnish doesn't it? Suiis Baltic Porter - I can just see the reviews on web rating sites. "A delicious black beer, but more Imperial Stout than a Baltic Porter." "Too roasty for a Porter." "Not roasty enough for a Porter." "Perfectly roasty, but too dark for a Porter." "Not dark enough, but too roasty for a Porter." I could go on. I really could.

Bugger. I said no jokes. [straightens face theatrically]

Anyone have any idea how many breweries there are today? I guess not the same.

There a couple of observations I would like to make:

  1. the only countries with fewer breweries in 2006 than in 1956 are the Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, France, Sweden and Luxemburg.
  2. The biggest decreases are: Belgium, 563 to 124; Germany 3,218 to 1,284: Czech Republic/Slovakia, 330 to 114.
  3. The biggest increases are: USA 305 to 1,409; Austria, 98 to 170; UK 404 to 633; Italy, 32 to 168.

That's it. Really. Draw your own conclusions. You try to form that unmalleable clay into .. urm . . pots of .. urm ... something else. You're on your own.


Alan said...

I have noted my praise for this post and encouraged others thereby to take in its wonder. I fear one day you may actually be in Stonch's presence and some sort of implosion of beery wit will take place. Wear asbestos should you plan a get together.

A Good Beer Blog

Ron Pattinson said...

I'll meet Stonch in 3 weeks. Should be fun.

We'll be visiting Regensburg, which will be very poignant for me. The last emails I exchanged with John White were about Regensburg. I plan sinking a few beers to his memory in Historische Wurstküche.

Anonymous said...

Aah... the Historische Wurstkuche. Happy memories.

Alan said...

That should be fun and interesting, Ron. I have had very little face to face contact with beer blog reality but have always been happily surprised by the company I find I am keeping. Hoist one for me.

Knut Albert said...

Your proposal for making an authentic 1842 Burton IPA is interstin. This is the method they still use for the best Norwegian aquaavits, you know. The are stored in old sherry casks, which are then shipped to Australia and back.

I would not be surprised if one of the Danish breweries already has plans. They are the ones on the cutting edge for the time being.

Ron Pattinson said...

Hopefully someone will give it a go. If they can do it for aquaavit, it should work for beer, too.

And not just IPA. It's often forgotten that large quantities of Stout were shipped to the tropics, too.

Anonymous said...

Can't you simulate shipping something for cheaper and have it come out nearly as good?

Ron Pattinson said...

Yes, you could simulate it. But then it wouldn't be authentic, would it?