Thursday, 18 December 2014

German and English Beer Types Compared in the 1930’s

In case you hadn’t guessed, this is more from the Wahls. Where they compare British top-fermenting beer with German bottom-fermenting beer.

I love this sort of stuff. These were the two main families of beer at the time. Still are today, really. And the USA was one of the few places in the world where they were both brewed in large quantities.

But first a quick overview of each group:

“The continental lager beers are termed bottom fermentation beers because the yeast settles to the bottom of the fermenting vat while the English beers are termed top fermentation beers because the yeast works to the top where it is removed by skimming. This skimming is generally done with the aid of what is called a parachute, a funnel that can be rotated, raised or lowered with a pipe connection extending through bottom of open vat through which the yeast passes into the yeast vat. Another method is by cleansing, that is, the yeast is allowed to work out of the bung hole at the top of the cask. In the case of unions holding usually about four American barrels they are provided with a curved tube, a so-called swan neck. Through these the yeast works from the bung hole into a common trough running along the upper side of the casks.”
"Beer from the Expert's Viewpoint" by Arnold Spencer Wahl and Robert Wahl, 1937, pages 155 - 156.

It’s one of the few times I’ve ever seen cleansing mentioned in an American document. It seems to have been dropped very early in US Ale-brewing. Having seen how much of a head bottom-fermenting yeast throws, cleansing probably wouldn’t be out of order in Lager-brewing, too. Though I suppose lagering and filtering took care of yeast removal.

Now some more detail:

German and English Beer Types Compared
German beers are all of the so-called lager beer type undergoing cold storage in artificially cooled cellars whereas the English beers, like ale, porter, stout, are produced without any refrigeration of cellars whatever. They are either put out directly after fermentation as are the mild "1 day ales and porters" of London or are stored for a considerable period in casks as are the stock ales and stouts which are heavily brewed for high sugar content in the wort and are consequently highly alcoholic and heavily hopped. Two pounds of hops are brewed in per barrel for stock ale; besides, these stock ales are further dry-hopped in the storage tanks. The stouts are heavily hopped in brewing but are not dry-hopped.”
"Beer from the Expert's Viewpoint" by Arnold Spencer Wahl and Robert Wahl, 1937, pages 154 - 155.

Again, I think the Wahls were discussing British beer from before WW I. Not many British beers were being brewed in Stock form in the 1930’s. Just a few very special Strong Ales and Stouts. Everyday Stouts were not aged before sale and weren’t particularly high in alcohol.

Here are Barclay Perkins beers as proof:

Barclay Perkins Ales 1928 - 1931
Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl dry hops (oz / barrel) colour
1928 Ale 4d Mild 1028.8 1006.5 2.95 77.43% 7.43 0.90 34
1928 X Mild 1042.9 1011.0 4.22 74.35% 5.50 0.94 42
1929 DB Brown Ale 1040.6 1009.0 4.18 77.82% 7.50 1.20
1928 IPA bottling IPA 1045.8 1012.0 4.47 73.80% 8.00 1.44 3.00 15
1928 PA Pale Ale 1052.7 1013.0 5.25 75.32% 6.49 1.36 3.00 20
1931 PA (trade) Pale Ale 1052.6 1014.5 5.04 72.43% 7.50 1.57 3.00 23
1929 PA export Pale Ale 1058.9 1017.0 5.55 71.15% 8.89 2.00 4.00 21
1931 XLK Pale Ale 1044.6 1008.5 4.78 80.95% 8.00 1.47 3.00 22
1931 KK Strong Ale 1055.7 1014.0 5.52 74.86% 9.00 1.98 3.00 88
1928 KK bottling Strong Ale 1069.4 1021.5 6.34 69.04% 11.00 2.99 8.00 96
1928 KKKK Strong Ale 1079.0 1024.0 7.27 69.61% 11.00 3.44 4.00 120
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/614.

Barclay Perkins Porters 1928 - 1929
Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl dry hops (oz / barrel) colour
1929 TT Porter 1033.0 1012.0 2.77 63.58% 6.00 0.81 240
1929 IBS Stout 1060.7 1022.5 5.05 62.93% 8.00 1.95 290
1928 OMS Stout 1050.9 1017.0 4.48 66.57% 6.50 1.36 220
1928 RNS Stout 1054.5 1017.5 4.90 67.91% 8.00 1.80 320
1929 SBS Stout 1054.7 1019.0 4.72 65.24% 7.50 1.68 260
1928 IBS Ex Stout 1102.8 1042.0 8.05 59.16% 14.19 6.75 10.66 680
1928 BBS Ex Stout 1080.0 1027.5 6.94 65.62% 15.00 5.15 8.00 320
1928 BS Exp Stout 1071.6 1022.0 6.56 69.27% 14.00 4.29 8.00 240
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/614.

I’ve used Barclay Perkins and not Whitbread for a reason: the former includes dry-hopping details and the latter doesn’t. I believe only these six were aged: IBS Ex, BBS Ex, BS Exp, KK bottling, KKKK and PA export. Unsurprisingly, they also have the highest level of dry-hopping.

You can see that Stock Stouts were both very heavily hopped in the kettle and dry-hopped, despite the claim of the Wahls. Though running Stouts were, indeed, without dry hops. Most of Barclay Perkins Stock Beers had considerably more than two pounds of hops per barrel. As the Wahls are probably talking in US barrels, which are smaller than imperial ones, you need to knock about 25% off the value in the tables. Which still leaves most of the examples way over 2 lbs per barrel.

Next time we’ll be looking at storage of British and German beers. Where I think there’s a huge howler in the Wahls’ text.


Gary Gillman said...

Ron, no question some stouts were dry-hopped, and Frank Faulkner makes the same point IIRC, again of export stouts. I think this was to assist keeping but possibly also to assist a secondary fermentation, to impart a brett character via organisms in the dry hops.

Th fact that mild porter didn't use dry hops (or generally) was because stylistically a burst of hop aroma was not part of the palate, unlike for most pale ales. Mild ale too was generally not dry-hopped. For bitter/pale ale, especially the original type that was well-attenuated, hop character was more important.

In America and Canada, many stouts now have a hop character in the nose but it doesn't strike me as "correct", I mean just on palate grounds. A stout should offer keen (neutral) bitterness and the rich character of the grist. Many North American stouts do taste like this and these are the best ones, IMO.


Jeff Renner said...

Bottom fermenting lager yeasts do throw a big head, but it's not particularly yeasty, mostly just foam and braunhefe, which is a not yeast, despite its name. I t is intensely and harshly bitter. I think it is break material and hop resins. Anheuser Busch (and likely others) has their fermentors carefully sized so that the kraeusen rises just to the top, where it sticks and is left behind as the kraeusen falls. I just skim it myself.