Friday 6 October 2017

Bavarian Weizenbock

Strangely, I’ve got almost as many 19th century analyses of Weizenbock as I do of standard-strength Weissbier. Isn’t that odd?

Though I’m only 100% certain about three of them. The Streicher one may be from Switzerland. I haven’t been able to track down a place called Rorsach. The closest name I can find is Rorschach in Switzerland.

One thing immediately strikes me about these beers: only one could legally be called Bock in Germany today. Because there’s a minimum OG of 16º Plato for Bockbier. Which obviously wasn’t the case in the 19th century.

The Streicher beer stands out because of the high level of acidity, making me think that it might well be a different type of Weizenbock. It’s strange to see a strongish beer that’s so acidic. The relatively high degree of attenuation might betray the presence of Brettanomyces.

Bavarian Weizenbock 1866 - 1892
Year Brewer Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity
1866 Hofbräuhaus Munich Weisses Bockbier 15.37 1062.6 1020 5.52 68.03%
1888 Schramm Munich Weissbier Bock 17.34 1071.1 1027.7 5.61 61.04% 0.180
1888 Schneider Munich Weissbier Bock 14.40 1058.4 1020.8 4.86 64.38% 0.180
1892 Streicher Rorsach Weizenbock 14.49 1058.8 1014.2 5.80 75.85% 0.420
Average 15.40 1062.7 1020.7 5.45 67.33% 0.260
"Handbuch der chemischen technologie mit besonderer berücksichtigung der gewerbestatistik" by Johannes Rudolf Wagner, 1875, page 614
König, J (1903), Bier in Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel by Joseph König, 1903, pp 1101 - 1156, Julius Springer, Berlin.

You can probably guess what’s coming. Some modern Weizenbocks. It’s pretty obvious what one of the main differences is going to be.

Bavarian Weizenbock in 2014
Brewer Town Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Weihenstephan Freising Vitus 16.5 1067.5 1008.8 7.70 86.95%
Göller Zeil am Main Weizen Bock 17.5 1071.8 1018.2 7.00 74.73%
Kulmbacher Brauerei Kulmbach Vitus 16.5 1067.5 1008.8 7.70 86.95%
Brauerei Reblitz Bad Staffelstein Reblitz-Weizenbock 16.1 1065.7 1010.8 7.20 83.64%
Kitzmann-Bräu Erlangen Weißbier-Bock 16 1065.3 1011.8 7.00 81.93%
Brauerei Hofmann Pahres Weizenbock 16.5 1067.5 1015.4 6.80 77.25%
Average 16.5 1067.5 1012.3 7.23 81.91%
The relevant brewery websites

That’s right, the OG of the modern versions is higher. As it has to be by German law. It’s about 5 OG points, or 1.1º Plato higher. That, couple with a much higher degree of attenuation adds up to much stronger beers, averaging 7.23% ABV as opposed to 5.45% ABV.

I’ve noticed before that there were few really strong beers in the 19th century in Germany. The higher OG beers often have very poor degrees of attenuation, leaving them under 6% ABV.


Pivní Filosof said...

Why did higher OG beers had such low degrees of attenuation? Was it due to market preferences or technical limitations?

Ron Pattinson said...

Pini Filosof,

your guess is as good as mine. Some Doppelbocks have less than 50% apparent attenuation.

StuartP said...

I would say (with one notable exception) that FG was the biggest difference between now and then.

Elektrolurch said...

Fascinating, the average ABV of those old Weizenbocks is pretty close to modern, standard-strength bavarian Weizen. Very interesting.