Sunday, 18 April 2021

Heineken beers in 1928 - 1929

It's not just the Carlsberg records I've not done much with. The same is also true for the Heineken ones I have. 

I hadn't even bothered to troll down to the Amsterdam city archives to photograph every volume. As it turns out, that was probably for the best. You can request that the archive digitises documents and I've been working my way through them (you can only request 5 documents per month).

If you're into the sort of time-robbing, mind-bending research that I do, you can find the digitised records here:

 Much better quality than my crappy photos. Enjoy.

Why haven't I looked at them more? Because it's hard work. And I'm a very lazy person.They're trickier to interpret than UK records, for various reasons. Also, as with Carlsberg, they weren't relevant to anything I was working on. Now I'm bashing out a talk on continental Lager between the wars, they've become very relevant.

You may have noticed that I've gone all metric, rather than my usual imperial measures. It's not a statement or anything, just me taking the line of least resistance. The brewing records are metric and it's much simpler to leave them as such. Especially as it makes the maths simpler.

These beers are from Heineken's Rotterdam brewery, which closed several decades ago. The offices are still there and I used to often walk past them on my way into town when I lived in Rotterdam, shithole that it is.

The range is fairly modest: two pale Lagers, two dark Lagers and a Bock. The latter being a seasonal beer. 

When I first started looking at this era of Heineken beers I was surprised to see that they had both a pale and a dark Lager at Schankbier strength, 9º Plato. They weren't the most popular beers in Heineken's portfolio, but combined they did account for more than a quarter of the brewery's output.

Heineken Rotterdam production by type in 1929
type no. of brews size of brew (HL) total amount % of total
Licht 95 440 41,800 14.46%
Donker 48 770 36,960 12.79%
Bayerisch 41 295 12,095 4.19%
Pils 491 395 193,945 67.11%
Bok 21 200 4,200 1.45%
total 696   289,000  
Heineken brewing record held at the Amsterdam Stadsarchief, document number 834-1754.

The pale version had the highest hopping rate in terms of hops per 100 kg of malt, even more than the Pils. While the two strongest dark beers, Bayeriche and Bok, have the lowest rate. Not such a shock, that. 

None of the beers is particularly heavily hopped by UK standards. Though the rates are broadly similar to those of Carlsberg. In my usual measurement, lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt they range between 2.4 lbs and 4.5 lbs. Which is similar to Scottish rates.

Note that the Pils has, compared to Carlsberg Pilsener, much more like the gravity you would expect - a little over 12º Plato.

The rate of attenuation is very similar for all five beers, with, unexpectedly, Bok having the highest, at 76%

Heineken beers in 1928 - 1929
Year Beer Style OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation kg hops/ 100 kg hops kg/hl colour
1928 Li Licht Lagerbier 9.0 2.4 3.50 74.03% 1.50 0.11 4
1928 Do Donker Lagerbier 9.2 2.6 3.50 72.48% 1.20 0.14 11
1929 P Pils 12.2 3.5 4.70 72.29% 1.33 0.21 5
1928 Bayerische Münchener 12.5 3.6 4.80 72.20% 0.96 0.17 17
1928 Bok Bok 17.4 4.4 7.20 75.97% 0.80 0.20  
Heineken brewing record held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 834-1753.

We'll be looking at the grists next time.

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