Sunday, 26 October 2014

German brewing in 1966 - barley

I seem to have been looking at barley a lot recently.

I've also been thinking about a lot. Especially since I learned Chevallier was making a comeback. That's really my next move in historical accuracy: using the barley varieties and malting techniques of the appropriate period. There's still so much more work to do.

I guess you all already knew this:


All domestic lager beers are made entirely from malt and only top fermentation beer, Nähr Biere, and Süssbiere may be brewed with sugar. Almost all malt is made from barley, with the exception of malt for the Bavarian top-fermentation white beers and wheat beers both of which use a certain percentage of wheat malt."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, page 14.

He's forgotten to mention the artificial sweetener allowed in top-fermented Einfachbier.

Let's move quickly on to barley:

"Barleys.—Pure varieties of spring barley are preferred and despite its good quality, winter barley has not yet been successful; this seems to be mainly the result of agricultural considerations of crop rotation. The main types of barley planted in 1963 were Breun's Wisa (44.5%), Firlbeck's Union (14.0%), Ackermann Donaria (17.0%) and Isaria (5.8%). In addition, other barleys like Heines Amsel, Ackermann's Bido, Breun's Nota and Breun's Volla are being developed and will be expected to replace some of the present types.
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, pages 14 - 15.

As in the UK, barley varieties are adopted and dropped with rapid frequency. None of the varieties from 1963 still seem to be grown. in fact none of the current varieties dates back further than the mid-1990's.

Variety Year approved
Annabell 1999
Auriga 2012
Barke 1996
Belana 2004
Braemar 2002
Lisanne 2006
Marthe 2005
Pasadena 1998
Power 2005
Quench 2006
Scarlett 1995
"The Soul of Beer: Malting Barley from Germany", Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V., pages 1 - 55.

The Germans seem to like giving barley varieties girls' names.

That list came from the successor to this organisation, the Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V.

"The German Gesellschaft zur Forderung des Qualitätsgerstenanbaues (which is similar in function to the English Plant Breeding Institute) not only considers it its duty to recommend and introduce new types of barley suitable for malting and with good agricultural characteristics, but also it tests the quality of the accepted barley types annually.

The creation of barley types with a stable extract and a suitable protein content has resulted in an increase in brewhouse efficiency. The malt requirement in the grist has been reduced by 0.45 kg. per hl. (1.0 lb. per barrel). The planting of maritime barley types such as Proctor, Balder and Carlsberg could not be introduced in Germany, as the growing period on the Continent is considerably shorter than in England; this has resulted in weather and climatic influences producing variable yields and qualities. Nowadays, the formerly well-liked Bohemian, Moravian and Hungarian barleys are no longer available and, as the dormancy period is not overcome, generally speaking, until October or, with a wet harvest, even later, one is forced to start the malting season with freshly dried barley of the new harvest."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, page 15.

Those Hungarian and Czech varieties were unavailable for political reasons. Though I've seen plenty of evidence of Saaz hops being exported all through the communist period.

While the German organisation endures, Britain's Plant Breeding Institute was privatised in 1987. Guess what? It no longer exists, having been closed by its private owner. It wonderful the way Britain's research institutions have been systematically destroyed in the name of privatisation. The Germans haven't been that stupid.

You can see the impact this type of organisation can have. Increasing extract means brewers use less malt to achieve the same results, so everyone wins. The benefit to the economy is so much more than the few quid it costs to run the thing.

Now this is interesting. The Germans were importing barley from elsewhere in Europe:

"Barleys from England and neighbouring countries are frequently utilized in Northern and Western Germany. Australian barleys were formerly used at the beginning of the malting season, but the extract was 1% less than from German barleys and the concentration of enzymes of the malts was not always satisfactory; these barleys, which are very expensive by the time they are delivered to the maltings, are no longer used. Even the German barley areas differ considerably from one another as a result of weather and other environmental influences. The annual regional variations are equalized by the big commercial maltsters and brewer-maltsters by blending the various barleys available.
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, page 15.

But, like in Britain, they always did the malting themselves, always importing raw barley rather than finished malt. Dragging barley all the way from Australia does seem a little silly, especially if local stuff is better quality.

More malt next.


Ed said...

I heard that nowadays barley varieties last about eight years before they're superseded.

Ed said...

I heard that nowadays barley varieties last about eight years before they're superseded.

BryanB said...

Interesting that he refers to Bavarian white beers and wheat beers separately - Kristall and Hefe?

Franzsigel said...

White/wheat - perhaps just a direct translation of weiss/weizen?

BryanB said...

Franzsigel - genau, but my point was that the writer mentioned them separately, implying that he thought they were (or knew them as?) separate styles.