Friday, 22 September 2017

Malzbier, dunkel

Are you finding all these different types of Malzbier confusing? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

We’ve just seen another dark, top-fermenting Malzbier, though that was called Gerstenmalzbier rather than simply Malzbier. Though this Malzbier is also brewed from 100% barley. I’m really struggling to see the distinction.

Anyway, I’ll crack on with summarising Olberg.

To brew this beer Munich malt is always used as a base with 6-8% caramel malt and a sufficient quantity of well roasted Farbmalz. Mashing in is at 35º C then the temperature is slowly raised, after resting for half an hour, to 50º, 62º and 70º C, when it’s rested for half an hour for saccharification. A third of the mash is left in the tun while the other two-thirds, the thick mash, is boiled in the kettle for 30 minutes. When this is returned to the thin mash the temperature of the combined mash is raised to the mash out temperature of 75º C. The wort is drawn off after a rest of 30-40 minutes.

The sparge is performed so that a wort of 10-12º Balling is produced. As soon as the kettle is full, the hops are added at a rate of 0.6 pounds per 50 kg. of malt.

Depending on the outside temperature, the wort is pitched at between 15º and 19º C (15º C is normal) with I litre (1.5 litres in winter) of top-fermenting yeast and is fermented in a tun. When a barrel fermentation is preferred, the wort is moved from the collecting tun to one or two hectolitre casks. Naturally the pitching temperature needs to be 3 to 4º C higher.

When primary fermentation is over, to get the beer completely clear it’s filled into 4 to 10 hectolitre casks and from there into bottles. The casks can be bunged and the beer then filtered and put straight into bottles. Alternatively, the casks can be left unbunged and 2 to 3% Kräusen added. If the beer needs to stay bright for a long time, it’s pasteurised at 75º C for half an hour.

Breweries which produce strong beers and which have a small side kettle can make a Malzbier from their sparge wort. Of course, these won’t good, strong Malzbiers, but only cheap ones with sugar added. It’s also possible to make a smaller quantity properly. Naturally, you can also run off a few hectolitres of wort before it’s hopped. Boil for 1.5 hours, hopping rate 0.5 pounds per 50 kg of malt.
Source: Olberg, Johannes (1927) Malzbier, dunkel in Moderne Braumethoden, pp 81-82, A. Hartleben, Wien & Leipzig.

Let’s see if I can work out how this differs from the last Malzbier. The gravity looks higher – 10-12º Balling rather than 8-12º Balling. The grist is also different containing Farbmalz in addition to Munich and caramel malt. The hopping rate is a little higher at 0.6 rather than 0.5 pounds per 50 kg of malt. But that’s not really significant.

One big difference is that no sugar solution is added before bottling. Which leads me to assume that perhaps this wasn’t as sweet as the other type of Malzbier. Though, unfortunately, there’s no mention of the degree of attenuation, making that just guesswork.

Another guess is that these beers weren’t that alcoholic. Probably not over 2% ABV, despite having the gravity of a standard-strength beer.

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