Thursday, 20 January 2011

A titbit of Dornbusch bullshit

Reading through Horst Dornbusch's German Beer Institute website is enough to cause me apoplexy. There's so much that's distorted, misinterpreted or just factually wrong.

"In 1843, only one year after the first Pilsner Urquell was brewed, the Bohemian chemist Carl Joseph Napoleon Balling invented the hydrometer."

Balling did not invent the hydrometer. Richardson, who's credited with being the first to use a hydrometer to measure the gravity of beer in the 1780's, did not invent the hydrometer. The instrument had been around for centuries and had been used by distillers since at least the 17th century.


Barm said...

How about this: "It is a well known fact that all central European wheat ales originated in Bohemia, slightly to the southeast of Berlin, sometime in the high Middle Ages." I'm now searching for a page on his site that isn't full of howlers.

Alistair Reece said...

Here's an article by him about brewing at U Fleku (including, seemingly, the recipe!):

Barm said...

The page about Heller Bock is OK, I think. Then again, it is very short.

Ron Pattinson said...

Velky Al, in typical Hosrst fashion, his recipe gets the OG wrong. The Fleku beer in 13º, not 12º.

Bohemian Dunkel. Why can't they just use the real name for beer styles instead of making up shitty new names?

Alistair Reece said...

that was my first thought, but then he does give the OG as "just from the mash", I would assume post boil that it gets to 13.

StuartP said...

I have found a very accurate entry on the GBI website. It is on the front page for everyone to see.
It says:-

"expect a few bumps, dead ends, omissions, and distortions"

Never a truer word spoken.

Barm said...

What's this? Are the BA finally conceding that the Czechs have more than one kind of beer? Hallelujah!

Ron Pattinson said...

Velky Al, OK, I'll let him off that one.

Alistair Reece said...


Now all we need is HateBeer to admit the existence of tmave and then I can start messing with their heads by claiming polotmave to be different from Vienna (with agreement of beer expert what lives there).

Craig said...

I love how in the BA article, Horst throws North American's under the bus, with this one:

"In North America, that beer style is generally known as Bohemian Dunkel."

I've lived in North America for my enitre 36 years. I've never heard of a Boehemian Dunkle. It sounds like Horst is subtley introducing Weyerman's new line of Bohemian Dunkle malt.

StuartP said...

Maybe we ought to lay off him.
Judging from the stuff he writes, HD might not be the full shilling.
Poor sod.

Rod said...

"that was my first thought, but then he does give the OG as "just from the mash", I would assume post boil that it gets to 13."

You're probably right, Velky, but that's not the way I would expect an international beer expert (or indeed anyone with a knowledge of the brewing process) to put it.
He probably does mean that the wort, pre-boil, is 12 and, post-boil, 13, - a reasonably efficient boil.However,"just from the mash" could just as easily be taken to refer to the first runnings I think.

I followed a link on a previous Dornbusch thread to an American homebrew site/forum and even they think he's full of shit. One of the homebrewers said, "I've been wondering why this guy's considered to be an expert, and I've come to the conclusion that it's because he's German"

Anonymous said...

"Bohemian Dunkel. Why can't they just use the real name for beer styles instead of making up shitty new names"

Ron - cerne (or tmave) lezak is way too difficult, let alone polotmave.....
so much easier to call tmave "bohemian dunkle" and polotmave "vienna"
(sorry this keyboard doesn't do Czech accents)

Alistair Reece said...


I would worry less about the keyboard not doing Czech diacritics and more about the insane number of beer "experts" and "geeks" who don't do any form of knowledge when it comes to Czech beer.

Rod said...

Velky -
I didn't mean to be Anon - just forgot to put my name in or something. My point about Czech accents is that it doesn't look like Czech without them.......
You're right about the ignorance re Czech beer and it's ridiculous. It's no more difficult to get to the Czech Republic that it is to get to Belgium or Germany. I think part of the problem is that people tend only to go to Prague, where the big brands of svetle lezak rule the roost and it can be difficult to try the products of other smaller breweries. However, you only have to go to somewhere like Brno (not some tiny village) and it's much easier to find different beers from smaller breweries. I mean Cerna Hora, for example, has a pivnici right in the central square in Brno, with lagerbier, kellerbier and wheat in addition to its standard pale and dark beers.
Whilst it's true that Czech is a difficult language to actually master, many younger people speak good English, and it's not difficult to learn a few phrases of "pub Czech". There's no excuse for this ignorance on the part of so-called experts.

Rod said...

Velky -
I followed the link to the article on brewing at U Fleku, and it's interesting in many ways. However, for a supposed beer expert, Dornbusch misunderstands several points. For example -

"For additional opacity and a mildly roasted aroma and flavor, Ivan used Weyermann® Carafa® II (5 percent of the mash at approx. 430 °L; 1,150 EBC). The Carafa®, however, was milled separately in the morning and kept aside during the mash-in. It was added to the mash after the second decoction. This is because Carafa® is in no need of conversion and thus would have added an extra and unnecessary load for the slurry pump."

A malt this dark is not "in no need of conversion" - it has been roasted beyond the point where you would get any extraction.
The reason German and Czech brewers add very dark malts right at the end of the mash is not to reduce the work that their mash pumps have to do. They do this because they want the colour, but only a little, if any, of the roasty flavour from the malt. They are making cerne/tmave or dunkles, not stout. If you think about putting a teabag into a glass of hot water, you will realise that the colour comes out straight away, but the flavour takes longer.

Barm said...

It's not even as if Michael Jackson didn't write about Czech dark lager. The insistence that Czech beer is "Bohemian Pilsner" is stubborn ignorance pure and simple.

By the way, here's my contribution to the Dornbusch vs. reality debate: