Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Heineken Meibier

I hadn't really finished the full set of 1939 Heineken Lagers. There was one more. Last, and very much least, is Meibier. Which was similar to its namesake the mayfly, in that it was only brewed one year, never to return.

Dutch brewers were keen to add a spring seasonal beer and made a couple of abortive attempts. The original idea was to introduce a Märzen, but this was delayed after a tax increase in 1935. The project was revived in 1939. Except the name had been changed to Meibier. It was supposed to be like a Bok in strength – around 16ºPlato – but much paler in colour. The idea must have stuck in someone’s head because in the 1990s a similar beer was successfully introduced: Meibok.

There’s not a great deal to Heineken’s version. It’s a smash beer, consisting just of pilsner malt and Hallertau hops. You couldn’t get any simpler than that.

The hopping regime was different to Heineken’s other beers. There were two additions rather than three and the additions were of equal amounts, rather than being larger in the final two. The hops themselves were from the 1938 season. Making them pretty fresh as this batch was brewed in January.

1939 Heineken Meibier
pilsner malt 13.75 lb 100.00%
Hallertau 90 mins 0.75 oz
Hallertau 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1062
FG 1015
ABV 6.22
Apparent attenuation 75.81%
IBU 15
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


Anonymous said...

It's interesting the beer in that illustration is a good bit darker than it should be. I assume they had a pretty limited color palette and that's all they could do. Or maybe the illustrator just didn't know any better.

LaurensP said...

Could you do a book on just Dutch beer recipes? Not only Heineken, but maybe Grolsch, ZHB, Hengelosche Brouwerij?

Ron Pattinson said...


I'd love to. I just don't have the brewing records.