Monday, 9 October 2017

North German wheat beers 1878 – 1886

It’s not just Bavarian Weissbier I’ve analyses for. I’ve also some for North German variations.

They’re quite an interesting bunch. Especially as all but one – the Lichtenhainer – are examples of extinct beer styles.

The first six in the table below are all from the Hannover region, Cell and Ahlten being villages just outside the city. Two of the beers – the ones from Glitz and Schlombs – look quite similar to Berliner Weisse. They’re around 3% ABV and pretty sour. Are these in fact examples of Broyhan?

What the other four Hannover beers share is a terrible degree of attenuation and minimal amounts of alcohol. And two of those are specifically called Broyhan. In contrast to the stronger beers, none of these is particularly sour, a little tart at the most.

I assume that the Hamburg beers were from a specialist Weissbier brewery. At least that’s what the name implies. The first two look very much along the lines of Berliner Weisse again: around 3% ABV and with a high level of acidity.

The Lichtenhainer stands out due to its high degree of attenuation and is easily the strongest of the set. It shows a mild degree of acidity, which is how the style is usually described. Sadly, this is the only analysis of Lichtenhainer I’ve ever found.

North German wheat beers 1878 - 1886
Year Brewer Town Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity
1878 Unknown Celle Weizenbier 5.02 1019.6 1012.8 0.87 34.69% 0.18
1878 Städtisches Hannover Weissbier 9.86 1039.3 1028.7 1.35 26.97% 0.18
1878 Glitz Hannover Weissbier 9.31 1037.0 1011.2 3.34 69.73% 0.42
1884 Schlombs Brauerei Ahlten Weissbier 8.53 1033.8 1009.8 3.11 71.01% 0.787
1884 Städtisch Hannover Einfacher Broyhan 7.84 1031.0 1023 1.03 25.81% 0.158
1884 Städtisch Hannover Doppelter Broyhan 12.78 1051.5 1042 1.20 18.45% 0.06
1884 Hamburg-Altonaer Weissbierbrauerei Hamburg Export Weissbier 10.97 1043.9 1017 3.48 61.28% 0.627
1884 Hamburg-Altonaer Weissbierbrauerei Hamburg Weissbier 8.21 1032.5 1009.5 2.98 70.77% 0.578
1884 Hamburg-Altonaer Weissbierbrauerei Hamburg Braunbier 5.69 1022.3 1010 1.59 55.16% 0.165
1886 Unknown Lichtenhain Lichtenhainer 9.57 1038.1 1007.1 4.03 81.36% 0.238
König, J (1903), Bier in Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel by Joseph König, 1903, pp 1101 - 1156, Julius Springer, Berlin.


Jason said...

One of the things that has always intrigued me about these low ABV beverages is that they existed before soda/pop/coke culture. It seems like the market for a refreshing, fizzy, tart beverage (that was safe to drink) would have been vast. My guess is that anyone who had the ability to package such a beverage did so.

Were these niche products in their day or did every house have a house recipe?

Ron Pattinson said...

Jason Ewart,

they were mostly brewed on a pretty small scale. Industrial brewing only really arrived with the advent of Lager. The old top-fermenting breweries tended to be family businesses, while the Lager breweries were limited companies.