Monday 31 May 2021

Parti-gyling in WW II

I'm back with my current favourite topic of WW II. Not really my favourite by choice. It's just what I'm currently researching and writing about. Trying to cross the lats t's in my "Blitzkrieg!" manuscript. 

I'm also half-way through cooking Sunday dinner and a bit rushed for time. Knowing how lethargic I'll be after stuffing myself with roast chicken and stuffing, the lazy-arse option is to nick a bit of the manuscript I haven't posted yet.

Talking of the manuscript, I'm pretty pleased with it. Despite its immense length. Who knows how many readers are as equally fascinated by the minutiae of wartime brewing as I am. Not that it matters. The point isn't to sell as many copies as possible, but to write the book I'd want to read.

I just checked the chicken. It needed a little more liquid. Which, today, is in the form of an Imperial Stout I brewed in 1993. Surprisingly well carbonated, considering. Though that was probably due to whatever the infection was lurking in the bottle. Sort of drinkable despite that. Not really oxidised, but quite acidic and funky.

I'll head off and finish the cooking now while you have the thrill of learning about parti-gyling.

A technique much loved by many British breweries was parti-gyling. It involved blending multiple, and different strength, worts created during the mashing process after they had been boiled separately. The blending was usually performed in the fermenting vessels.

One of its main advantages was that it allowed brewers to produce multiple beers from a single brew. Also, to produce small batches of beer economically on equipment with a much larger brew length. A great example of this is Fullers Old Burton Extra, of which rarely more than ten barrels was brewed, despite their equipment having a capacity of over 400 barrels.

Four beers were produced: two Mild Ales (X and XX) and two Burton Ales (BO and OBE). Without parti-gyling, the two small batch beers – BO and XX – would have been totally uneconomical on the kit Fullers had.

Scottish brewers were particularly keen on the technique. Most had a single recipe from which they produced three different-strength Pale Ales and a Strong Scotch Ale.

Fullers parti-gyle 8th November 1939
  barrels OG barrels OG barrels OG barrels OG
1st wort 113.5 1077.6º 14.75 1077.6º 102.25 1077.6º 8.75 1077.6º
2nd wort 51 1009.5º 14 1009.5º 187.5 1009.5º 0 1009.5º
hop sparge 2.5 1002.8º 1.25 1002.8º 10.25 1002.8º 1 1002.8º
together 167 1055.6º 30 1042.6º 300 1032.4º 9.75 1069.9º
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery

Just off to pop the Yorkshire puds in the oven. See you soon.

Sunday 30 May 2021

Heineken grists in 1939

Heineken had two basic types of grist: one for the pale beers and another for the dark ones. 

The pale grist was 80% pilsner malt and 20% rice. I’m not sure the exact form the rice took. It could have been flaked, simply ground into flour, or it could have even been in the form of syrup. The brewing record isn’t very specific. I’m guessing that its purpose was twofold, to lighten the body and colour and to save money. The slightly darker Export Pils also contained a very small amount of “kleurmout” (“colour malt”).

The short-lived Meibier was unusual in having a grist of 100% pilsner malt.

The grists for the darker beers were much more complex and, with the exception of Donker Lagerbier, adjunct-free. Three types of coloured malt were used: kleurmout, broeimout and caramelmout.

Kleurmout was a type of dark roasted malt similar to black malt. Caramelmout was a type of crystal malt. Nothing too complicated there. Broeimout is a different matter. Literally “heating malt”, it had a specific method of production.

“In the case of broeimout, there is no cooling during the germination process, so that the temperature rises quite high and the flour body dissolves a great deal. Due to the higher germination temperature, it is not necessary to kiln at a high temperature. The colour of the malt darkens due to the germination heat alone to about 30 - 40 EBC. However, broeimout cannot be 100% of the grist, as many enzymes have been destroyed by the higher temperatures. Amber malt is sometimes also called broeimout, but this does not always necessarily the case.” 

In addition, a small amount of “kleur”, a type of caramel, for extra colour.

Heineken grists in 1939
Date Beer Style pilsner malt kleur mout broei-mout caramel mout rice litres kleur
26th Dec Do Donker Lagerbier 69.70% 0.90% 6.00% 3.40% 20.00% 20
11th Dec Li Licht Lagerbier 80.39%       19.61%  
12th Dec Exp Pils 79.83% 0.17%     20.00%  
6th Dec P Pils 80.00%       20.00%  
7th Dec Bei Münchener 89.22% 0.98% 5.88% 3.92%   28
18th Jan Mei Meibier 100.00%          
7th Aug Bok Bok 94.00% 1.00% 3.00% 2.00%   15
Heineken brewing records held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document numbers 834 - 1758 and 834 - 1759.


Saturday 29 May 2021

Let's Brew - 1939 Heineken Beiersch

One of Heineken’s first Lagers, Beiersch simply means “Bavarian” in Dutch. It was presumably intended to be a Much type of Dark Lager. Although it was called Beiersch in the brewhouse by 1939 it was being marketed as Münchener.

With a slightly higher OG than Pils, it was their strongest year-round beer. Not that they brewed it that often – only 15 times in the whole of 1939. A volume of just 4435 hl out of a total of 299,053 hl brewed (in the Rotterdam brewery).

The grist is surprisingly complicated with no fewer than four malts. In addition to the base pilsner malt there’s caramel malt, broeimout (“heating malt”) which is a type of amber malt, and kleurmout (“coloured malt”) which is a type of black malt. There’s also some caramel.

There was a single type of Hallertau hops from the 1938 harvest. Not a huge amount of them, though. Which is pretty typical of Heineken’s beers of this period. If I’ve interpreted the brewing record correctly, most were added fairly late in the boil. 

1939 Heineken Beiersch
pilsner malt 10.25 lb 87.83%
caramel malt 60 L 0.50 lb 4.28%
amber malt 0.67 lb 5.74%
carafa III 0.125 lb 1.07%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.07%
Hallertau 90 mins 0.25 oz
Hallertau 60 mins 0.25 oz
Hallertau 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1051
FG 1013
ABV 5.03
Apparent attenuation 74.51%
IBU 12
SRM 18
Mash double decoction  
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 48º F
Yeast WLP830 German Lager

Mash in at 35º C (95º F) 5 minutes
Warm whole mash to 52º C (126º F) 20 minutes
Rest whole mash at 52º C (126º F) (protein rest) 15 minutes
Draw off first mash and without a rest bring to the boil 30 minutes
Boil first mash 10 minutes
The rest of the mash remains at 52º C (126º F) 40 minutes
Mash at 70º C (158º F) 25 minutes
Rest whole mash at 70º C (158º F) (saccharification rest) 30 minutes
Draw off second mash and without a rest bring to the boil 15 minutes
Boil second mash 10 minutes
Mash at 76º C (169º F) and mash out 20 minutes

Friday 28 May 2021

Heineken (Rotterdam) output in 1939

Having access to every single page of Heineken's wartime brewing records means I can do all sorts of fun stuff. Like trawling through them recording every gyle: beer, batch size and OG.

This give me access to all sorts of interesting and useful data. Like exactly how much of each beer they brewed in a year. Getting hold of that information was my main motivation. But I also get to see how much beer they brewed month-by-month and its average OG.

I'm dead glad that I did. It's revealed some unexpected insights. The first being how much the quantity they brewed varied from month to month. In November they brewed over 35,000 hl, but in August fewer than 11,000 hl. That's a huge difference. Far larger variation than I've ever seen at a UK brewery. And a very different pattern

At Whitbread, the summer was the peak brewing season, with the greatest amount brewed in July, followed by August. It was the exact opposite at Heineken, with those two months being the slackest. I know why Whitbread brewed more in the summer - people drank more beer during warmer weather. But why would Heineken brew less then? Could it be because, if they were lagering for any length of time, beer had to be brewed months in advance?

Second surprise was the average OG. 11.2º Plato is 1044.86 in SG.Not a huge amount greater than the UK average of 1041.02 (1937). I would have expected a continental brewery's average to be quite a bit higher than the UK's.

Heineken (Rotterdam) output and average OG by month
month year hl grav. Points average OG
Jan 1939 33,594 383,843.9 11.4
Feb 1939 30,712 350,098.1 11.4
Mar 1939 21,793 237,043.0 10.9
Apr 1939 21,178 232,720.9 11.0
May 1939 21,015 230,321.8 11.0
Jun 1939 29,354 329,148.0 11.2
Jul 1939 12,968 138,059.7 10.6
Aug 1939 10,887 129,107.3 11.9
Sep 1939 26,980 301,120.3 11.2
Oct 1939 34,986 395,410.6 11.3
Nov 1939 35,207 393,956.5 11.2
Dec 1939 20,379 232,225.5 11.4
Total   299,053 3,353,056 11.2
Heineken brewing records held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, documents number 834 - 1758 and 834 - 1759.

Whitbread Ale output by month
month year barrels
Jan 1939 29,574
Feb 1939 30,114
Mar 1939 35,865
Apr 1939 39,817
May 1939 36,053
Jun 1939 42,091
Jul 1939 44,130
Aug 1939 40,878
Sep 1939 37,476
Oct 1939 33,246
Nov 1939 35,365
Dec 1939 39,100
Total 1939 443,709
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/103.

Heineken (Rotterdam) output by beer in 1939
Beer OG hl %
Bok 17.2 1,713 0.57%
Mei 15.2 2,163 0.72%
Bei 12.5 4,435 1.48%
Do 8.9 26,429 8.84%
Li 8.9 41,036 13.72%
P Exp 11.8 43,004 14.38%
P 11.8 180,273 60.28%
total   299,053  
Heineken brewing records held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, documents number 834 - 1758 and 834 - 1759.

Thursday 27 May 2021

Heineken beers in 1939

Heineken had a pretty simple range at the start of WW II: a pale and a dark full-strength Lager, a pale and a dark Schankbier-strength Lager, an export Pils and a Bok. With the standard Pils being by far their biggest seller, accounting for around two-thirds of their production.

The Pils was pretty typical for the style. A touch under 12º Plato, and 4.7% ABV. Though, if you look at interwar labels, the strength is given as 5% ABV. (Holland was unusual in having the ABV listed on beer labels in the interwar period.) Yet it was always really 4.7% ABV. I assume they were exploiting the tolerance for error allowed on the ABV to the maximum. A trick still performed by large breweries today.

The hopping rate of the Pils at 0.2 kg per hl is lower than you might expect for a hop-accented beer. It’s the equivalent of around 4.5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt and 0.75 lbs per barrel. To put that into context, in the same year Barclay Perkins Standard Mild, X Ale, was hopped at 7 lbs per quarter of malt and 0.95 lbs per barrel.

Heineken’s other full-strength Lager, Beierische, was obviously intended to be in the Munich style. It actually pre-dated their Pils, having been one of their first bottom-fermented beers. By the late 1930s its popularity had faded and it was brewed in modest quantities.

Beierische was lightly stronger than Pils both in OG and ABV. It was even more lightly-hopped than Pils, though that was in keeping with the intended style. I’m not sure what colour scale they were using. Based on the colour of the Pils, it looks about the same as old Lovibond or EBC, so about double SRM. Which would make it a little on the pale side for a Münchener.

Licht Lagerbier look much like a light version of Pils. Session Pils, I suppose you could call it. The hopping rate per 100 kg of malt is a little bit higher than that of the Pils, but roughly similar. As you would expect, the colour was a little paler.

Donker Lagerbier was more lightly hopped, but of the same strength as its pale sibling. The colour being the same as Beierische.

Export Pils was much the same as the standard beer, just being a little hoppier. In fact, it was the most heavily hopped of all their beers.

Finally, there’s Bok, a seasonal beer only available in the Autumn. It must have had a reasonable amount of lagering. The example in the table was brewed at the beginning of August but wouldn’t have been on sale for at least another two months. It was by far the strongest beer of the range at 7% ABV. Which is why this is one of the last brews for several years. It wasn’t ever brewed during the occupation. It has the lowest hopping rate per 100 kg of malt of all their beers.

Heineken beers in 1939
Date Beer Style OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation kg hops/ 100 kg hops kg/hl colour
26th Dec Do Donker Lagerbier 8.91 2.31 3.50 74.75% 1.10 0.13 15
11th Dec Li Licht Lagerbier 8.96 2.36 3.50 74.35% 1.37 0.16 4
12th Dec Exp Pils 11.86 2.93 4.80 76.16% 1.50 0.23 6
6th Dec P Pils 11.91 3.18 4.70 74.21% 1.33 0.20 5
7th Dec Bei Münchener 12.59 3.33 5.00 74.51% 0.98 0.17 15
7th Aug Bok Bok 17.14 4.44 7.00 75.36% 0.80 0.19 15
Heineken brewing records held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document numbers 834 - 1758 and 834 - 1759.


Wednesday 26 May 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Heineken Pils

I just couldn't resist. I've cracked and am adding a few Heineken recipes to "Blitzkrieg!". This is recipe number 532.

After WW I, Pils became firmly established as Heineken’s favourite beer, accounting for around two-thirds of its output.

While originally Heineken had brewed all-malt, they seem to have got used to using adjuncts during WW I, when they had little option due to material shortages. Between the wars rice was their preferred adjunct.

Other than that, there’s nothing really to the recipe, just a lot of pilsner malt. Though there were five types of that. Including one made from Kenyan barley.

I’m not really sure what the hops ere, other than that there were three types, two from the 1938 harvest and one from 1939. Two are described as “A” and one as “R”.

Note that the ABV is below the 5% printed on the label.

1939 Heineken Pils
pilsner malt 8.75 lb 79.55%
flaked rice 2.25 lb 20.45%
Strisselspalt 90 mins 0.25 oz
Strisselspalt 60 mins 0.50 oz
Hallertau 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1048
FG 1012
ABV 4.76
Apparent attenuation 75.00%
IBU 16
Mash double decoction  
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 48º F
Yeast WLP830 German Lager

This is the mashing scheme:

Mash in at 35º C (95º F) 5 minutes
Warm whole mash to 52º C (126º F) 20 minutes
Rest whole mash at 52º C (126º F) (protein rest) 15 minutes
Draw off first mash and without a rest bring to the boil 30 minutes
Boil first mash 10 minutes
The rest of the mash remains at 52º C (126º F) 40 minutes
Mash at 70º C (158º F) 25 minutes
Rest whole mash at 70º C (158º F) (saccharification rest) 30 minutes
Draw off second mash and without a rest bring to the boil 15 minutes
Boil second mash 10 minutes
Mash at 76º C (169º F) and mash out 20 minutes




Tuesday 25 May 2021

Slow progress

A bit like the Allies in Normandy in the initial weeks after the D-Day landings, I've got a bit bogged down. In my case it's Heineken's brewing records rather than the bocage that'd slowing me down.

To be honest, what I'm researching - brewing in the Netherlands during the war - is an optional extra to my book "Blitzkrieg!".  Whose subject is really brewing in the UK during WW II. Leaving out the short Dutch section wouldn't really affect the core of the book. But it's still going.

Partly, because it would be a shame not to use material that's just lying there waiting to be picked up, sorted into some sort of order and squeezed into lovely tables. Mostly, however, because it shows what was happening on the other side of the fence. Over on the dark side. Allowing for some comparing and contrasting of the problems facing brewers.

As the relevant brewing books have been digitised by the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, I've the luxury of having every page and every brew at my fingertips. The downside being that I've a shitload of material to sift through.

The pre-war stuff was a doddle. They only produced six beers and every batch was pretty much identical. Not so after 1940. The reason there's so much work is the same reason that "Blitzkrieg!" contains over 500 recipes. Wartime problems caused incessant tinkering. In strength, materials used, hopping rates. Constant change. Recording every single tweak is a right pain in the arse. It's taking me forever to get through 1942.

Up until June 1941, the war hasn't had much impact at Heineken. But from then on, it all goes downhill very quickly. Pils from 41.5% ABV to 3.2% ABV. A couple of months later, it's down to 2.8% ABV. In June of 1942, things turn really bad. Most Pils is just 1.4% ABV, though some is still brewed at 2.8% ABV and there's the occasional full-strength batch, presumably for the Germans.

And Pils was Heineken's strong beer. The other beers they continued to brew were all just 1.4% ABV. Watery stuff, indeed.

I should be able to drag myself through all the records this week. Unless I get distracted by Homes Under the Hammer or Come Dine with Me.

Monday 24 May 2021

AK hops after WW II

We really are done with AK after this post. I promise. Unless I'm too lazy to write a recipe for Wednesday. Which is definitely a possibility. Especially as I'm investing do much time in Heineken's wartime records.

Lots and lots of English hops is the short overview.  Along with a few Styrians and one lot of Californian. That's no surprise. From the 1950s the UK was pretty much self-sufficient in hops. No need to import any. It seems to have almost completely ended hop imports from the USA.

About all you see in the first couple of decades after WW II are European hops. Quite often Styrian. Presumably because they were cheap. Quality hops like Hallertau and Saaz also crop up a little.

Between 1946 and 1965 only in three years, 1956, 1959 and 1961 were insufficient hops grown to cover domestic needs.

Hops: home production and imports 1946 - 1965
Year ended 31st Dec. Estimated Produce Imports: Less Re-Exports Exports: British Hops Consumption Years ended 30th Sept. following surplus British hops
  Cwts. Cwts. Cwts. Cwts. Cwts.
1946 257,451 29,243 35,056 217,759 39,692
1947 289,908 7,716 31,661 231,470 58,438
1948 273,584 4,561 29,135 233,168 40,416
1949 250,406 900 42,301 232,979 17,427
1950 368,313 269 84,027 229,106 139,207
1951 321,824 626 107,738 228,512 93,312
1952 282,349 502 76,620 225,569 56,780
1953 272,593 1,015 64,762 216,841 55,752
1954 246,748 3,075 51,323 217,716 29,032
1955 256,821 5,836 49,049 218,820 38,001
1956 184,170 6,416 40,746 215,114 -30,944
1957 267,677 8,848 38,635 208,870 58,807
1958 302,640 5,441 42,352 226,371 76,269
1959 222,768 6,007 34,291 234,611 -11,843
1960 248,195 8,172 12,220 234,611 13,584
1961 204,306 19,235 24,914 226,437 -22,131
1962 266,812 16,489 16,070 234,611 32,201
1963 276,384 10,063 21,790 226,437 49,947
1964 252,398 12,624 24,181 226,565 25,833
1965 258,727 12,961 19,474 237,356 21,371
1955 Brewers' Almanack, page 63.
1971 Brewers'Almanack, page 54

During the 1950s hip imports were minimal, though they did start to increase in the 1960s, they still amounted for well under 10% of the hops used in UK brewing.

AK hops after WW II
Date Year Brewer Beer hop 1 hop 2 hop 3 hop 4 hop 5
22nd Jan 1946 Shepherd Neame AK English 1942 English 1944 English 1945    
15th Jul 1947 Shepherd Neame AK English 1943 Kent 1945 Kent 1946    
19th Mar 1952 Strong SAK Worcs 1951 Kent 1950 Kent 1950 Kent 1951 Kent 1951
3rd Jan 1964 Eldridge Pope BAK Kent 1962 Worcs 1962 Sussex 1962 Styrian 1962   
6th Jan 1967 Eldridge Pope BAK Kent 1965 Worcs 1965 Worcs 1965 Californian 1965 Styrian 1965
17th May 1982 Eldridge Pope BAK English English English Styrian  
27th Jun 1984 Eldridge Pope BAK English English English English Styrian
Strong brewing record, number 79A01-A3-3-27.
Eldridge Pope brewing record.
Shepherd Neame brewing record held at the brewery.