Wednesday, 21 January 2015

German brewing in the 1970s – barley

We’re past the statistics and into the meat of this fact sandwich, starting to take a look at raw materials. Beginning with barley.

What barley varieties were being grown in the early 1970’s?

“Table VI gives analytical data for new German barley varieties of the 1974 crop. The Table also gives the areas of seed barley sown which indicates the amounts of the different barley varieties cultivated. The variety Villa has been widely distributed until recently but, giving only mediocre yields per acre, it is being replaced by the variety Carina, which was introduced in 1971. This latter variety also gives an inadequate yield and although it shows a very good extract yield and high a-amylase content it is expected to be replaced by the varieties Canova, Aramir and Adorra. Adorra has given the best yield of grain and a high extract yield (81.2%) by the EBC Congress Mashing Method.”
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 83, Issue 1, March-April 1977, page 73.

Here’s that first table:

TABLE VI. Analytical Quality of New German Spring Barley Varieties, 1974 Crop.
Variety Year of registration Extract %DM a-Amylase DM Diastatic power ºWK, DM) Yield* Seed area (ha)
Villa 1968 81.7 92 213 4 3,841
Carina 1971 83.0 104 228 5 3,007
Conova 1973 82.0 72 220 6 753
Hilde 1973 81.9 91 272 6 6
Aramir 1974 82.1 79 203 8 446
Adorra 1974 81.2 87 239 6 517
* Yield: 2 = very low, 8 = high.

The vast majority grown was just two varieties, Villa and Carina.

Recognise any of those names? I don’t. Because they’re completely different from the varieties grown a decade earlier:

Malting barley varieties in 1963
variety % of crop
Breun's Wisa 44.50%
Firlbeck's Union 14.00%
Ackermann Donaria 17.00%
Isaria 5.80%
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 72, Issue 1, January-February 1966, pages 14 - 15.

Even the varieties just being developed in the 1960’s had all disappeared: Heines Amsel, Ackermann's Bido, Breun's Nota and Breun's Volla. More evidence of how quickly barley varieties are adopted and discarded.

Time for some more details:

“Table VII gives further analyses of these new German spring barley varieties; results are the averages from seven different regions. Compared with other foreign varieties, malts of these barleys show excellent extract values. It is a pity that Congress worts of the variety Aramir are very dark in colour, even when kilned at temperatures of 80°C, due to its high content of proteolytic enzymes. It is likely, therefore, that Aramir will not find as wide a distribution as, for example, the new variety Canova. The fine-coarse difference indicates that the variety Canova also has a very high content of proteolytic enzymes. The Kolbach indexes of all varieties show excellent values but it should be noted that the malts were produced in a micromalting plant using a floor malting regime where no loss of green malt moisture occurs. The high enzyme content of the varieties Aramir and Villa can also be seen from their attenuation limit values. Overall these figures show how in the future barley varieties in Germany will be cultivated for extract yield and high enzyme content.”
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 83, Issue 1, March-April 1977, page 73.

A dark coloured malt wouldn’t be much use to you in Germany where most beer is very pale.

This is the accompanying table:

TABLE VII. Further Analyses of the New German Spring-Barley Varieties (1974 Crop).
Variety Villa Carina Canova Hilde Aramir Adorra
Extract (% DM) 81.7 83 82 81.9 82.1 81.2
Colour (°EBC) 3.1 2.9 3.7 3.1 4.9 3.0
Fine/Coarse-grind extract difference (DM. %) 1.4 1.6 1.0 1.9 1.4 1.9
Total protein (% DM) 10.2 9.2 9.0 9.8 9.9 9.1
Kolbach index (% DM) 45.3 44.9 48.3 47.3 53.8 45.4
Hartong 45ºC mash (% DM) 41.5 43.3 47.9 46.0 52.9 42.4
Apparent attenuation limit (%) 82.4 81.9 81.8 81.0 82.1 80.0

I’m not going to pretend that I understand all those numbers. But there is one I do and which may answer a question that’s been kicking around in my head for a while: why is the degree of attenuation of modern German beers so much higher than 100 years ago? It looks like my hunch of it being the malt could be correct.

The apparent attenuation limit looks close to the degree of attenuation of modern German Lagers. As German Lager is all-malt, attenuation can’t be boosted by the use of more readily fermentable adjuncts. Leaving the capacity of the malt as the limiting factor. Where can I get these sorts of analyses from the early 20th century?

Hops next time.

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