Sunday, 28 May 2017

Deutscher Porter

Here’s a style you should have heard of: German Porter.

Over the last 150-175 years Porter, of one description or another, has been brewed continuously in Germany. Oddly enough, it was in East Germany, even in the communist period, where the tradition of brewing Porter remained strongest. Only to disappear after reunification. In recent years a few East German brewers have started making the style again, but these new Porters, weak and very sweet, bear to resemblance to their predecessors.

I’m not sure why Porter should be considered Gesundheitsbier (Health Beer), unless they’re thinking along the lines of Invalid Stout or Nourishing Stout.

"Gesundheitsbier (German Porter).
The decoction method and high-dried malt are employed with up to 1/3 caramel malt. Original gravity: 14-18.5% balling.

Hops; 700-750 gr. Per Zentner [50 kg.] of malt; These are added, as well as soon as the wort has covered the bottom of the kettle (3 additions are better!)

Boil time: 2-3 hours. Or until there is a good break.

Fermentation: as for Einfachbier, but slightly longer (for high extract); After the main fermentation, lagering takes place in cool cellars. After 10-14 days lagering or longer it is bottled. The secondary fermentation also takes longer as a result of the high gravity.

Before sending out one may add up to 1 kilo of Farbmalz, to obtain the desired colour.

This bottled beer is usually pasteurised to prevent further fermentation in it and make the beer keep better.

If the brewer has two kettles, then usually two kinds are made: standard Porter and from the second wort Einfachbier or Braunbier, as is also the case in England."
"Die Fabrikation obergäriger Biere in Praxis und Theorie" by Braumeister Grenell, 1907, pages 75 - 76. (My translation.)

That’s an OG of 1056º to 1074º, which covers the gravity range of a London Porter and Single Stout of the period pretty much exactly.

A hopping rate of 750 gr. per 50 kg. is the equivalent of about 5lbs per quarter of malt. In 1905, Whitbread’s Porter contained 5.47 lbs of hops per quarter*. So pretty much exactly the same.

Whitbread’s Porter wasn’t as boiled as long as Grenell suggests, just 1.5 and 1.75 hours for the first and second worts, respectively.

The lagering period is pretty short at two weeks. Though a London Porter by this point probably didn’t get more than a week in cask before being consigned to pubs.

Adding Farbmalz just before consignment to customers seems odd. How would that even work? I wonder if he means Farbebier? I.e. Sinamar. That would work.

And here’s someone else getting parti-gyling wrong. London brewers did parti-gyle their Porter and Stouts, but they weren’t using the spargings alone to make a beer, rather blending all the worts post-boil to get several different strength beers. They certainly weren’t making anything even vaguely as weak as Einfachbier or Braunbier at this point.

* Whitbread brewing record held at the london Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/099.

1 comment:

Phil said...

these new Porters, weak and very sweet, bear to resemblance to their predecessors.

I had some very decent beers when I was on holiday in the former East (although only a couple of really good ones); the only dud was the Störtebeker Hanse-Porter, which was hard to distinguish from Coca-Cola.