That said, it’s not the world’s most inspiring style. On my first trip to Holland, I can remember getting all excited in a Deventer bar when the barman told me that, in addition to the standard draught Pils, they also had a bottled dark beer. It looked the part in the glass, but I was horrified when I tasted it: thin and gum-achingly sweet.
I’m not really selling the style, am I? It doesn’t have a long history. Though there was a style of beer called Oud Bruin that went back centuries (and which was closer to the Belgian style) , this type was only invented in the 1930’s. Supposedly by northern Lager brewers who wanted to wean drinkers in the south of Holland off the sweet, dark, top-fermenting beers still brewed down their way.
Several Lager brewers still produce Oud Bruin, but only in tiny quantities. When I wanted to buy some (for scientific purposes) the only one I could find was Heineken. I’ve heard rumours that some breweries just water down, colour and sweeten their Pils to make it, rather than brewing it from scratch.
Surprisingly, it’s one the bitterest Amstel beers.
|1956 Amstel Oud Bruin|
|lager malt||6.75 lb||89.46%|
|black malt||0.125 lb||1.66%|
|Candi sugar dark 275 SRM||0.67 lb||8.88%|
|Hallertau 90 mins||0.50 oz|
|Hallertau 60 mins||0.50 oz|
|Hallertau 30 mins||0.50 oz|
|Mash double decoction|
|Boil time||90 minutes|
|pitching temp||43º F|
|Yeast||WLP830 German Lager|