Thursday, 15 April 2021

Ny Carlsberg beers in 1928-1929

I've been too diligent in collecting brewing records. That's how I excuse myself for the mountain of unprocessed ones. Including a hillock of Carlsberg logs. Our perhaps I'm just a lazy git? I'll let you decide.

Ever since I built up a backlog, I give priority to transcribing records which are relevant to a current project. That ruled out anything that wasn't in the time slot 1938 to 1948. After a lifetime and a half of toil, I finally finished off William Younger. I suspect most of it a waste of time. Dead handy for my birthday recipe thing, though. Lots and lots of different dates.

Wandering a bit off the path there. It was years back (May 2015, according to the photos) when I visited the Carlsberg archives. I photographed 20 brewing books from Ny Carlsberg, spanning 1867 to 1934. Quite a lot of stuff. Which would take years to fully process.

There's a good reason I'm looking at them now.  I'm writing a talk on interwar European Lager. Carlsberg is a great example. Getting to use my research here as well makes it a win-win. For me, at any rate. Probably depends on how number-obsessed you are.

One word of warning: the FGs are a guess. I've a couple of analyses of Carlsberg's beers from around this time and they're around 75% apparent, so that's what I've gone with here. It could have been lower for the two dark beers and the porter.

As far as I can make out, Carlsberg brewed six different beers: three Pilsners, a Lagerbier, an Export and a Porter. Not a massive range. If these were German beers, I'd call the middle two Dunkles Lagerbier and Dunkles Export.

The standard Pilsner, which was by far the most-brewed of Carlsberg's range, is weaker than you would expect: under 11º Plato. Checking back through older logs, I saw that it was 12.9º in 1895, 12.6º in 1901, but only 10.9º in 1910. It wasn't WW I, as I suspected, that pushed the gravity down. 

Export Pilsner is simply the same strength as the 1895 standard Pilsner. Looks like Carlsberg lowered the strength of the beer domestically and kept on brewing the old version for export.

Ny Pilsner (New Pilsner) looks like it's fitting into some sort of price class:

"The beers with less than 2.25 per cent alcohol show an even greater increase. The new Pilsener for instance increasing from Kr. 7.5 to 24.25 ore per bottle (about 0.75d. to 2.5d.) and from Kr. 16 to Kr. 60 per hectolitre in cask (or 26s. 3d. to 98s. 6d. per barrel)."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 27, Issue 1, January 1921, pages 26 - 27.

This confirms that Ny Pilsner was a tax category:

Average Original Gravities of Danish Beers 1914 - 1920
Year ending September 30th 1915 1916 1917 1916 1919 1920
Lager beer 1052 1051 1048 1045    
Pilsener beer 1044 1044 1041.5 1032 1038 1038
Stout, tax class I 1076 1076 1072      
Stout, tax class II 1068 1068 1065 1058 1055 1056
Munich beer 1056 1056 1055      
Export beer 1052 1050 1049.5      
New Pilsener, tax class II 1032 1032 1032 1030 1031 1031
Source: Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 27, Issue 1, January 1921, page 27.

You may have noticed the eccentric colour scale used by Carlsberg. The higher the number, the paler the colour. How mad is that?

Lagerol and Export are both dark, but how dark? I'd guess 12-15 SRM. When we get to the recipe next time, I'll explain exactly why I'm guessing that.

By far the most heavily hopped of the beers, in terms of hops per 100 kg of malt, is Ny Pilsner. Probably to cover up how watery it was. Amongst the other beers, Export Pilsner is a little heavier on the hops. As the strongest beer by quite a way, it's no surprise that Porter has by far the most hops per hectolitre.

In general, the darker beers were boiled longer, the exception being Export Pilsner.

Ny Carlsberg beers in 1928-1929
Year Beer Style OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Attenua-tion kg hops/ 100 kg hops kg/hl boil time (hours) colour
1929 Ny Pilsner Pilsner 6.5 1.6 2.56 75.87% 2.63 0.19 1.75 19
1928 Pilsner Pilsner 10.6 2.6 4.27 76.24% 1.26 0.18 1.75 19
1928 Lagerol I Lager 10.6 2.6 4.27 76.24% 1.25 0.18 2 5.5
1929 Gammel Carlsberg Exp Export 12.8 3.2 5.18 75.94% 1.28 0.21 2 5
1928 Exp. Pilsner Pilsner 12.9 3.2 5.24 76.13% 1.58 0.28 2.25 20
1928 Porter Porter 18.9 4.7 7.89 76.48% 1.41 0.41 2.5  
Carlsberg brewing record held at the brewery, document number Serie 000000299 000056839.



Andreas Krennmair said...

The only colour scale that I know of where paler colours were represented by higher numbers is Stammer's colorimeter. 19 would be equivalent to 4.4 SRM, while 5.5 would be equivalent to 17 SRM. Does that sound remotely plausible?

Ron Pattinson said...


that makes sense. How do you convert from Stammer's to SRM?

Clark said...

Dou mind if I ask about your record keeping? You seem like one of the best sources out there for this kind of project.

I'm in the process of digitizing a ton of old family records -- birth certificates, diplomas, etc. Getting the data from paper to computer is fairly straightforward, but I'm puzzling a bit over creating metadata for the sources themselves.

So for instance, for a birth certificate from 1930, it is easy to know what written information to keep. But I am less sure whether I should be keeping information about the file -- scan date, scan location, current owner of the document, document dimensions, etc. I can think of a million possible fields to create, but I'm not sure whether I'll ever use any of it and whether it is worth the burden of creating and reconciling.

How much metadata do you keep for your records? And do you set up a database, spreadsheet, or maybe just append a notes file to a directory of scans?

Thanks for any input you might offer.

Anonymous said...

In 1927 Denmark had a beer tax system where the full strenght beer (known as pilsnerøl in the legilsation) was divided into three subclasses, "Skatteklasse I" of maximum 10.75% plato and 3.2% abw taxed at 21 kroner per hl, "Luxusøl A" of maximum 13% plato and 4% abw taxed at 45 kroner per hl, and "Luxusøl B" (the class where porter was brewed) of maximum 16% plato and 5.1% abw taxed at 60 kroner per hl. Luxusøl A and B made up around 1.5% of the sales of pilsnerøl at the time. They also had a couple of classes for lower strenght beers of maximum 2.25% abw to which Carlsberg's Ny pilsner belonged.

Anonymous said...

By 1934 the abw limits had been removed from the Danish tax class pilsnerøl and the law simply stated that it had to be over 2.25% abw for all three subclasses. The plato limits remained for the first two subclasses, for the third it was lifted and simply included all beers above 13%. I do not know when the change was made between 1927 and 1934. The amount of tax per hl had been changed to 28 kroner 25 øre, 33 kroner and 45 kroner respectively.

A Brew Rat said...

"The standard Pilsner, which was by far the most-brewed of Carlsberg's range, is weaker than you would expect: under 11º Plato. Checking back through older logs, I saw that it was 12.9º in 1895, 12.6º in 1901, but only 10.9º in 1910. It wasn't WW I, as I suspected, that pushed the gravity down."

I suspect the temperance movement pushed gravity down. The Scandinavian countries were thick with those chuckleheads.

Andreas Krennmair said...

Ron, I managed to find that out. So it starts the Stammer reading, which is how far down a tube had to be moved down in the sample liquid until the colour in two viewers appeared to be the same. This is a value in mm. The Schwackhöfer analyses of beer sold in Vienna from the 1870s uses that reading. Then there is the "actual value", which is 100 divided by the mm reading, hence why the colour values would be higher the lower the colour is.

The first step is to get the mm reading, i.e. 100 / e.g. 19 = 5.263. To turn this value into Lovibond, you need to divide the value by 1.38, i.e. 5.263 / 1.38 = 3.813 Lovibond. Then turn this into by into SRM: 1.3546 * 3.813 - 0.76 = 4.4 SRM. And to turn this to EBC, multiply by 1.97.

Ron Pattinson said...


thanks. That's very useful.

Ron Pattinson said...


if you can't think how you might use information, it may well not be worth recording. However, I've changed my mind several times about what to record. As time has gone on I've had to go back and add in more fields for records I'd already processed. So anything you think could possible be of use, I'd advise to record.

The only metadata I keep is the document's location and, if it has one, the document number.

I just record everything in a spread sheet. It's handy because some of the fields - such as the quantity of hops per barrel or the ABV - are calculated.

Rob Sterowski said...

Doesn't a spreadsheet get unwieldy after the first few thousand records?

Clark said...

Thanks for the reply, that's helpful.

Ron Pattinson said...


not really. I have separate sheets for each brewery. None of the sheets has over 5,000 entries. Even my gravity spreadsheet, which catalogues beer analyses, which has almost 23,000 entries is quite manageable.