Tuesday 31 August 2021

Reducing beer gravity

Almost as soon as Holland had been occupied by the Germans, the Dutch brewers' organisation, the CBK, began to discuss reducing beer strengths to preserve barley and malt supplies. 


Mr Stikker recalled the discussion in the previous meeting about the gravity reduction in connection with the uncertain supply of raw materials and the plan itself to propose surcharges on the excise duty to levy in accordance with the gravity reduction in order to prevent too large an increase in excise duty. This last point was informally discussed with the Department of Finance, which considered the position of the breweries to be loyal and considered the reduction in gravity to be motivated. If the gravity reduction is effected by a C.B.K. regulation, i.e. a regulation under private law, this does not include imported beer; if their strength did not follow the Dutch strength, this would form a difficult competition. This has been discussed with the Department of Trade, N & S without a solution being found. Perhaps a settlement can be found, although the danger will not be so great. If necessary, contact can be made with the German brewery organizations."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 21st June 1940, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, page 355.

Note that, umlike in the UK, this move wasn't being required by the government but by a voluntary agreement amongst the brewers. Which consequently had no force in law.

It's weird that they were worried about unfair competition from German imports. I think that shows how the reality of the new situation hadn't really sunk in. I'm not that discussions with German brewers would have yielded much. Their German colleagues had much more important concerns.

Representatives of the different breweries had varying opinions about when the gravity cut should come into effect.

"Mr. de Groen is not against a reduction in content, but thinks it would be better not to start this until January 1, 1941, among other things to gain time and to wait and see whether the situation changes in the meantime.

Mr. Berkemeier does not agree with this and advises that the reduction be made at a time when the beer sales are harmed as little as possible, which is the case in the summer season, when beer of a lower gravity tastes better than in winter.

Mr. Zylker says that Mr. de Groen is right when he believes that the situation can change quickly. The speaker noted that this could in fact lead to an order to suddenly very sharply reduce gravities.

Mr. A. Smits says that he originally had the same thought as Mr. de Groen, but that this has been changed by the explanation of Mr. Stikker. Nevertheless, for technical reasons, the Speaker proposes to set the date as September 1 instead of August 1.

Mr. Swinkels agrees with Mr. de Groen, and points out that the proposed reductions in the gravity of Lagerbier have a different character to that of the heavy beer. After all, the new Lagerbier will not be drunk by the public, so that consumption will pass to the beer of the higher grade, to the detriment of the breweries which mainly sell Lagerbier. The speaker therefore proposes to set the new gravity for Lagerbier at 8%. The Speaker also believes that it should also be taken into account that the smaller breweries will not comply with the regulations."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 21st June 1940, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 355 - 356.

Some interesting arguments there. I suppose it is true that a lighter beer does down better in the winter than the summer. 

Were they right to fear drinkers switching up to Pils if Lagerbier was made too weak? I think so. It's what I would have done. If you remember the sales figures I published for Amstel, Lagerbier outsold Pils almost three to one in Amsterdam. While outside the capital, dark and pale Lagerbier combined just about matched that of Pils. Clearly Lagerbier was a very important segment for brewers.

When were gravities cut? We'll get to that next time.

Monday 30 August 2021

Heineken cloning again

Heineken's pilot brewery records are so much fun. Filled with wacky stuff. This example is rather more mundane. It's an attempt to clone a competitor's product.Amstel Gold.

Amstel Gold., which is still knocking around, is a sort of strong Pils. Or something like that. Stylistically, it's all a bit vague. I think Amstel introduced it in the 1950s. If I could be arsed to look through their sales records, I could pin down the precise date. But I can't. Be arsed, that is.  It's a bit of an oddity in the Dutch beer market. There isn't a similar product I can think of from any of their rivals.

The thought clearly crossed Heineken's mind. Enough to bash out a trial brew. It doesn't seem to have gone any further. Though I'd need to trawl the main brewery records to be sure of that.

How similar were the two beers? Well, I just so happen to have Amstel records for the same year.  I've even a real version brewed almost on the same exact day. As you can see below.

The basic spec look pretty similar. Heineken's is a bit lower in OG, but the hopping rates are almost the same. Which doesn't mean they would have tasted the same. Just that they would have been generally similar in character.

Heineken "Amstel Gold" Gold in 1956
Date Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation kg hops/ 100 kg hops kg/hl
12th Mar Amstel Gold 1058.8 1015.2 5.77 74.21% 1.19 0.23
16th Mar Heineken Amstel Gold 1055.5 1013.3 5.57 75.98% 1.29 0.24
Amstel brewing record held at the Amsterdamse Stadtsarchief, document number 1506-555.
Heineken Brouwjournal van de proefziederij held at the Amsterdamse Stadtsarchief, document number 834-1791.

Sunday 29 August 2021


We decided to have a belated birthday meal for Andrew. The day itself was a couple of weeks ago.

"Don't rely one me to decide." Andrew states helpfully.

"How about somewhere in Chinatown?" I suggest.

As no-one screams at me in rabid opposition, I search for options on Zeedijk, heart of Chinatown.  Oh look - Vietnamese street food.

"Do you fancy Vietnamese?"

It's met with almost as enthusiasm as my Chinatown suggestion. Little Saigon it is, then.

After flirting with the metro, we opt for the good old No. 2 tram and walk through. Past Wildeman and the Beurs. Through the narrow streets of the Red Light district, over an bridge and there we are.

It's the kids' first taste of Vietnamese food. Let's see what they think. Probably like it, given their reaction to other Asian food. I order a shitload of starters and a pho. I can't not have a pho.

My pho comes with a plateful of foliage and bean sprouts. And what looks like one small chopped chili.

"You not going to put that in without knowing how hot it is?" Andrew asks.

"Of course. It'll be fine as long as I mix it in  well."

"Do you think this is spam?" I enquire of Alexei. He's quite the spam connoisseur.  

"It's tofu."

"Try it."

"It's tofu."

I don't know. It could be tofu. Does have a porky tang, mind.

The kids are very happy with their duck. It is, indeed, rather nice.

I'm struggling with my noodles. The little slimy bastards keep wriggling off my chopsticks. This is frustrating. The spoon meant for sucking up the broth is equally ineffective. Dolores has already finished her noodles. I console myself with the thought that hers were thicker than mine, hence easier to handle. It's not just my crap chopstick technique.

"Im giving up on the noodle. Just too annoying."

"Why don't you at least eat the broth, dad?" Alexei suggests.

"Remember Andrew told me not to put in all the chili without knowing how hot it was? He  was right. See what you think, Alexei."

"Not bad." 

He takes another couple of spoonfulls, before losing enthusiasm. I guess it's too hot for him, too.

Me and the kids are drinking Saigon beer.

"I wonder where that's brewed? I bet it isn't Vietnam. Take look on the label Andrew."

"I doesn't seem to say."

After much searching he finds the answer: Vietnam. No wonder it tastes a bit oxidised.

We drop by de Prael on the way back to the tram stop. Just a couple of beers to stave off dehydration on the 30-minute tram ride home.

It's just enough. Luckily, there's an Abt on hand at home.

Little Saigon
Zeedijk 88-90.
020-737 2491

Saturday 28 August 2021

Let's Brew - 1953 Heineken Stout

Yet another in my series of weird Heineken beers. From their pilot brewery, obviously.

It’s clear that they were experimenting with Stout recipes. Over a period of three weeks, they brewed three batches of Stout, each with a different grist. One had a more typically Dutch mix of pilsner malt, caramel mout and kleur mout. And weas hopped with Saaz. The other two used mild ale malt as base. In one case along with caramel mout and C.D.M. sugar (caramelised dextro-maltose). And this one with just roast barley.

The result is a very English-looking beer. Never in my life would I have expected to see Heineken using mild ale malt. It’s not as if it would have been available from a Dutch maltster. Next month, they reverted to the more standard Dutch-style grist. Judging by the number of identical brews, these weren’t experiments, rather small batch production runs.

The hops in this batch were all from Kent, a combination of Fuggles and Goldings, both from the 1953 season.

Based on some other brews of Stout, I’ve guessed that this was infusion mashed and top fermented.

If this version hit the market, drinkers must have noticed the difference from the usual beer. If only because it was much darker: 460 EBC as opposed to 230 EBC. And the hops were so different, English rather than Czech.

Pilot brewery records are so much more fun than those from full-size plants. There are always all sorts of weird brews. Like the Barclay Perkins decocted Mild from 1915.

1953 Heineken Stout
mild ale malt 15.00 lb 86.96%
roast barley 2.25 lb 13.04%
Fuggles 150 mins 3.75 oz
Goldings 60 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.25 oz
OG 1073
FG 1018
ABV 7.28
Apparent attenuation 75.34%
IBU 79
SRM 36
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Friday 27 August 2021

Dr. Mendlik's new lab

More Heineken, I'm afraid. Sorry about that.

You may recall Dr. Mendlik being mentioned in a previous post, when hew was sent out to Heineken's brewery in Serabaja (in present-day Indonesia) to set up a lagering department. He seems to have been quite a prominent brewing scientist.

"Seventy years after the first "lab"
New laboratory for Heinekens Beer brewery
(From one of our reporters)
ROTTERDAM, Wednesday. — The Heinekens Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij today inaugurated a completely new and modernly equipped laboratory in Rotterdam. This is about the time the company got its first "lab" seventy years ago.

The reason for the new building is the fact that the task of the laboratory has grown significantly. This is partly due to the greatly increased demands of sales, such as the transition from cask to bottled beer and the high demand for Dutch export beer; partly due to the increased number of breweries, over which Heineken has technical supervision, namely twelve large breweries, of which two in the Netherlands, one in Belgium, two in Singapore and one in Surabaya. one in Cairo, one in Lagos, three in the Belgian Congo and Ruanda Urundi, and one in Venezuela, as well as those of several smaller breweries.

The first and second floors of the new building are dedicated to pure laboratory work. In the rooms on the ground floor there is space for storage and ancilliary work also takes place. There is also a room, kept at a constant temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, for checking the biological and physical durability of beers, and for checking the shelf life of export beer samples. In the basement there is another cold room in which tests can be carried out at lower temperatures.

The laboratory of Heineken, de Maatschappij, which accounts for more than half of Dutch beer exports, is led by four academics, namely three chemists and a microbiologist. The head of the laboratory is Dr. F. Mendlik, who is also secretary of the European Brewery Convention, the main organization of scientific brewery research across Europe.

De Nacobrouw — the National Committee for Brewing Barley — will find temporary accommodation in the new building."
Het Parool 21-09-1955, page 11.

When looking at Amstel's output records, I was surprised to see how high the percentage of draught beer was. It looks like this changed after WW II. Presumably because drinking moved from pubs to homes.

You can see that Heineken had already built up quite an international presence, especially in the Far East and Africa. Not sure why they would need two breweries in Singapore. I assume they consolidated those into one at some point.

From the articles I've read about Dr. Mendlik setting up lagering in Soerabaja, it was obvious that he was an important brewing scientist. Being secretary of the EBC is pretty prestigious. And may be one of the reasons Heineken went over to EBC colours rather than that annoying Brand scale.

Remembering Heineken's Amsterdam brewery when it was still in operation, there was a rather unlovely 1970s building towards the back of the site. It was a lab and the last new construction on the site. Presumably built to replace the lab in Rotterdam when their brewery there closed.

Thursday 26 August 2021

I've been wondering what the hell that stood for

N.A.C and N.M.C. They kept coming up in the minutes of the C.B.K. (the Dutch brewers' organisation). Two organisations connected with the grain trade in some way. 

They both come up repeatedly in the minutes. Searching on the internet didn't get me very far. It didn't help that N.A.C. is the name of a Dutch football team. After around 50 pages, they're finally spelled out fully:

"It will also be useful that the C.B.K. is being expanded. Until now, its task was mainly limited to the malting barley supply, which meant that the C.B.K. had to deal almost exclusively with the Nederlandsche Akkerbouw Centrale and the Nederlandsche Meelcentrale. However, the agricultural orientation of these institutions can clash with the industrial character of brewing. It is therefore desirable to contact the Industry Department of Economic Affairs. During a meeting they appeared to be very favourable of the organizational structure of brewing.

The intention is that the company refers to the Dutch authorities and does not follow the German authorities.

In Germany, where the brewing is strictly organized according to the Führerprinzip, barley and malt stocks at breweries are kept small; moreover, the beer gravity is limited, first to the maximum of 10.3% and now probably 7%. "
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 7th June 1940, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number Document 31121-1, page 360.

 Akkerbouw = agriculture and meel = flour. The associations of farmers and grain dealers, I suppose.

This was just after the German invasion  and occupation of the whole country om 17th May. Hence the reference to the Germans. This was the first meeting of the C.B.K. after that. A mere three weeks later. 

They did have a lot to discuss. And not just the reduction in strength of German beer. 10.3º Plato is a bit over 4% ABV. 7º Plato most likely just 2,8% ABV.

Though they were already talking about reducing the strength of Dutch beer. Not everyone was for it.


Mr Stikker points out that it may be necessary to lower gravity in order to make raw materials last as long as possible. That reduction in gravity will therefore have to apply to imported beer. This can be achieved if the Distribution Grid is switched on; this also happened with the spirits regulation. Importation cannot become involved in a private law arrangement of the C.B.K..

Mr. de Groen asked whether it would not be better to wait with a reduction in gravity. The speaker considers it desirable to process the raw material available into beer, which is best done in the form of beer with a high gravity.

Mr Stikker explains the reasons why it is better to consider reducing the gravity now. The speaker explained the stock position, which can bridge a certain period in the event of a gravity reduction by, for example, 20%. Efforts will of course also be made to obtain new domestic or foreign raw materials for breweries.

Mr. Zylker, like Mr. de Groen, considers it desirable to process malt into as much beer as there is coal available for. However, one will have to prepare for the reduction in gravity, but not yet make it known to the outside world.
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 7th June 1940, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number Document 31121-1, page 360.

Just so you know who everyone was:

Stikker: Heineken
de Groen: Klok (Grolsch)
Zylker: Oranjeboom 

 I suspect some brewers feared the Germans would take their stock of malt and wanted to turn it into beer as quickly as possible.

A bit sneaky keeping the cut in strength secret.

B.I.C. didn't get a mention, sadly. Still no idea what that stands for.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Let's Brew wednesday - 1957 Heineken Dortmunder Union

Now here’s a really weird one. A Heineken attempt to clone Dortmunder Union Export. Not for sale, but as a Christmas beer for their employees. They didn’t brew a huge amount of it, just 15.9 hl, as it was pm their pilot plant. No idea why they picked this beer to imitate. Though DUB Export was pretty popular in Germany at the time.

There’s not much to the grist. Well, at least I don’t think it is. There are four different types of malt, most of which I assume are pilsner malt. Though I’m not totally sure. Two are described as “Tcheco”, which must be an abbreviation of “Tchecoslovakia”, which is Dutch for Czechoslovakia.

Another is described, rather enigmatically “B.”. My first thought was broeimout. But that would make the colour too dark. After fiddling around in BeerSmith a bit, I found pale Munich malt gave the right colour. Perhaps it stands for “Bavaria”.

The hops were all Roudnice from the 1956 harvest. Roudnice being a town between Prague and Usti nad Labem. I’ve assumed that they’re something like Saaz. I’ve increased the quantity by a third as the alpha acid content is listed as 5% in the brewing record.

300 gms. of gypsum were added to the brewing water.

Lagering lasted 60 days. 

1957 Heineken Dortmunder Union
pilsner malt 10.50 lb 80.77%
Munich malt 10 L 2.50 lb 19.23%
Saaz 120 mins 0.67 oz
Saaz 60 mins 0.67 oz
Saaz 30 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1058
FG 1012
ABV 6.09
Apparent attenuation 79.31%
IBU 22
Mash single decoction  
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 44º F
Yeast WLP830 German Lager

Dortmunder Union 26th Sep 1957
step duration (minutes)
Mash in at 52º C (126º F) 10
Draw off decoction and raise to 72º C (162º F) 5
Rest whole mash at 72º C (162º F) 15
Raise decoction to 100º C (212º F) 15
Boil decoction 15
Mash at 72º C (162º F) and mash out 5
Sparge at 65º C (149º F) and rest 30
Draw off main wort 90
Draw off second wort 85
Total time 270
Heineken Brouwjournal van de proefziederij, held at the Amsterdamse Stadtsarchief, document number 834-1786, page 50.

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Lagered Beer.

It's funny sometimes the places you come across information. Stuff you've been looking for, but were unable to find.

Oh, we're back with Heineken again, by the way. Just in case you were wondering.

Finding stuff in unexpected place is why it's always a good idea to exhaust every possible source. Despite reading through lots of very detailed Heineken brewing records, I'd been able to unearth only patchy information about their lagering regime. Now I think I've tracked it down. Not in any Heineken document, but in a newspaper article.

An article that isn't even about the Amsterdam or Rotterdam brewery. Instead it's discussing the Heineken plant in modern day Indonesia.

"Lagered Beer.
The “classic” system introduced in India.
These days, the management of N.V. Heineken's Ned.-Indische Bierbrouwerij Mij., more popularly known as the Java beer brewery in Soerabaja, received a number of invitees and the press to view its new yeast and lager cellar department.

Mr. De Man set out in a short speech the purpose of the meeting. The Java breweries follow a system known as Nathan system. It consists of the beer fermenting and fermenting in the same tank. That setup is economical and good. It can be used to market cheap beers that are of excellent quality. A great success has been achieved and these breweries gradually reached their maximum capacity.

However, many consumers have a preference for lager, according to the classic system. And in connection with this, the brewery will now also lager beer.

The group was then shown around and they first visited the fermentation plant. From here the split in processing of the beers continues. One saw the Nathan tanks where the Java beer ferments and matures, after which the lager system was viewed. To this end, they came to a location where the fermentation vessels are set up at a temperature of approximately 5 degrees Celsius. Glass discs allowed to follow the fermentation process. When the beer has been exposed to this operation for about nine or ten days, it goes down into the lagering tanks. It stays here for three months to get its fine and aromatic taste. It lies in large tanks at a temperature of 0.5 degrees C. Each of these tanks contains 250 H.L.

It should also be noted that a specialty in the field of lagered beers, Dr. Mendlik, who previously worked as leader of the brewing laboratory of Heineken's Brewery in Rotterdam, came especially to Soerabaja to supervise and direct the preparation of the new lagered beers."
De locomotief 17-09-1937, page 4. 

I had been wondering what the difference was between Java beer and Heineken. Now I know. The former wasn't lagered.

As they'd brought out Dr. Mendlik from Rotterdam to set up their lager cellar, I think it's safe to assume that the procedure on Java was the same as back home in Holland.

Nine to ten days primary fermentation matches what went on in Rotterdam. So I'm guessing that was also followed by 3 months lagering at 0.5º C. Which is pretty much what I had expected. Nice to have confirmation, mind.

Monday 23 August 2021

Dutch barley supply

It's Sunday and I'm a bit pushed for time. I'm writing this between putting the roast in the oven and peeling the spuds. There won't be any time after dinner. That's earmarked for dozing in front of the telly with an Abt or two. Hence the slightly cheaty post.

I've found yet another treasure trove of information about Dutch brewing during WW II. I won't say stumbled across because I was pretty sure it was in the archives and I specifically went looking for it. It's the minutes of the committee meetings of the CBK, the Dutch brewers' organisation. It will take me weeks to trawl through it.

It's left with with a dilemma. Should I include it all in "Blitzkrieg!"? What was intended as just a page or two. Now its more than 20 pages and 9,000 words. Making the book a bit lopsided. I'm now considering spinning it off into another book. If only so I can finally publish "Blitzkrieg!". Which, other than the Dutch stuff, is finished. Let me know what you think.

Finally arriving at today's topic, When Germany invaded Poland, the Dutch government banned the malting of barley. They proposed releasing barley for malting, but only on a week by week basis, which seems pretty inefficient.

These are the rules for distribution proposed by the C.B.K. I'm struggling to find out what the N.A.C., N.M.C. and B.I.C.. It doesn't help that N.A.C. is a Dutch professional football team. If you know what any of these organisations was, let me know.

As a preliminary principle for the distribution scheme for barley and malt, the following is concluded:

a. the N.A.C. buy the barley,
b. the C.B.K. buy the barley from the N.A.C., as much as possible at once for the whole year's requirements,
o. the price, varying with the quality, depends on the target price, the cleaning costs, etc.,
d. the quality is determined by the Nacobrew,
e. if necessary, storage is provided elsewhere than at dealers, malthouses and/or breweries,
f. supervision of the batches during storage is carried out centrally,
g. it is desirable that the N.M.C. release the barley for malting not from week to week but from month to month,
h. all barley is malted for hire, except what breweries turn into malt for themselves,
i. in order to obtain the cooperation of the malthouses for the system, breweries will only malt for hire after the commercial malthouses have obtained orders to their full capacity,
j. about this plan and about the charge for malting (for which f.2.50 per 100 K.G. is mentioned) consultations will be held with the malthouses,
k. the C.B.K. will with the involvement of the B.I.C. allocate to each brewery its share proportionally, taking into account as far as possible a brewery's preference for barley from a particular grower or trader or malt from a particular malthouse,
1. The basis for allocation is the beer excise duty paid by each brewery or the raw materials processed by each in 1938, the figures of which are submitted to the B.I.C. are known the difference is in the beer export, for which about 10% of the total deposited raw material is needed; the government wants to maintain exports for as long as possible and, moreover, it prefers to work with the B I.C.; for these reasons it is considered desirable to make distribution in proportion to the quantity of raw material deposited by each brewery in 1938,
m. should a brewery wish for less than its share, it remains liable for the greater amount; if wanted in this regard they will be informed before the assignment,
n. with the purchase of the NAC, payment will have to be made directly by the CBK, which must therefore receive the payments from the breweries in advance (if necessary, this includes financing by a malthouse in some cases); in addition to the price, the payment will also include the cost of malting, freight, insurance etc.,
o. consultation will be held with the Nacobrouw about the quality determination; the Nacobrouw, which has already declared itself to abstain from commercial activities, will have a meeting at the office of the Government Commissioner for Agriculture,
p. a proposal will be made to the N.A.C. and the N.M.C., who have requested it."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 13th September 1939, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number Document 31121-1, pages 414 - 415.

Sunday 22 August 2021

Dutch malt rationing in 1939

Even before The Netherlands entered the war, the government was undertaking measures to regulate the use of barley and malt. No doubt prompted by their bad experiences in WW I. In 1914 the country was totally dependent on imported barley. When supplies were cut off due to German U-boat activity, brewing fell into crisis and production collapsed.

In October 1940, it was determined that 20,000 tons would be released for brewing in the following 12 months. This was to allow 26,000 tons in total to be used - 2,000 tons more than in 1938. Quite surprising. But demand was expected to increase by 5% and replacements would need to be found for the 2% of beer imported.  

It was intended to have a stock of 15,000 tons at the end of September 1940. 6,000 tons fewer than in October 1939. A slightly risky strategy, as it turned out. After Holland was occupied by the Germans, refreshing stocks would be extremely difficult. However, no-one in Holland knew that was going to happen at the end of 1939.
There was still plenty of rice available and the government placed no restrictions on its use. The same wasn’t true of sugar and breweries were allocated just four weeks of supplies.

Much as in the UK, the quantity of malt allocated to a brewery was based on the quantity used in 1938. Which was obviously the fairest method.

Rather counterproductively, the government insisted that if a brewery imported barley or malt itself, that quantity would be subtracted form its allocation. In WW I, the government had confiscated malt jointly imported by a group of brewers. The net result being brewers abandoned attempts at importation. Consequently in 1939 the CBK (Centraal Brouwerijkantoor, the Dutch brewers’ association) proposed that brewers should be allowed to retain a percentage of their imports without a reduction in their allocation. 

This is how they calculated 20,000 tons being available:

In 1938, malting barley processed   24,000 tons
Increase for possible loss of beer import (2%)   500 tons
Increase if turnover level remains 5% above 1938   1,250 tons
Rounding   250 tons
For one year of production subject to beer exports remaining   26,000 tons
Starting stock Sept.'40 (50% of total consumption 1938, after conversion of other raw materials into malting barley)   15,000 tons
Total   41,000 tons
Deducted from this is the stock as at 31 August 1939, namely:    
4/3 x malt stock 19,000  
barley stock 2,000 21,000 tons
Balance   20,000 tons


Saturday 21 August 2021

Let's Brew - 1936 Heineken Märzenbier

Another in my series of styles you didn’t expect a Dutch brewer to make. This time it’s Oktoberfest favourite: Märzen. Though, at 16º Plato, it’s too strong to be sold as Märzen in Germany. There it’s a maximum of 14º Plato.

It is amber in colour, mind. A fairly pale shade of amber, but noticeably darker than Pils. That’s coming from a fair percentage of caramel malt. I’ve guessed at its colour, but it gives a shade that matches fairly well 0.95 Brand. Which is what is listed in the brewing record.  There’s nothing else in the grist. No adjuncts, unlike their other pale Lagers which all contained rice.

Why did Heineken brew a Märzen? Because they wanted a spring seasonal beer, similar to Bok in Autumn. Meibier a few years later was another attempt. Neither was a success.

Just one lot of hops, Barth Hallertau from the 1934 season. I do at least know that they were the exact doses and timings of the hops. Thanks to the extremely detailed records of the pilot brewery. Well done, Heineken. It almost makes up for the shittiness of the ones from the main brewery. Almost.

Those detailed records mean I also have a full mashing scheme:

Märzenbier 18th Jan 1936
step duration (minutes)
Mash in at 52º C (126º F) 20
Draw off first decoction and raise to 70º C (158º F) 45
Raise decoction to 100º C (212º F) 15
Boil first decoction 15
Rest whole mash at 65º C (149º F) 75
Draw off second decoction and raise to 100º C (212º F) 15
Boil second decoction 15
Mash at 74º C (165º F) and mash out 5
Sparge at 70.5º C (59º F) and rest 10
Draw off main wort 60
Draw off second wort 90
Total time 365
Heineken Brouwjournal van de proefziederij, held at the Amsterdamse Stadtsarchief, document number 834-1786, page 50.


They weren’t exactly pleased with results. A handwritten note says:

“Niet zeer goed, te zoet en te flauw, bijlucht.” 

Which means:

“Not very good, too sweet and too bland, odd flavour.”

1936 Heineken Märzenbier
pilsner malt 13.75 lb 93.22%
crystal malt 60 L 1.00 lb 6.78%
Hallertau 120 mins 0.125 oz
Hallertau 60 mins 0.50 oz
Hallertau 20 mins 0.67 oz
OG 1066
FG 1010
ABV 7.41
Apparent attenuation 84.85%
IBU 12.5
SRM 8.5
Mash double decoction  
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 44º F
Yeast WLP830 German Lager



Friday 20 August 2021

Foreign beers analysed by Heineken

around the start of WW II, to be precise.

Remember me saying the other day that someday I might be arsed to harvest the Far East beers from Heineken's Gravity Book? Against all expectations, I actually did get off my arse and do the work.  At least the stuff from 1939 and 1940. For some reason there's then a big gap until 1946. I wonder why that might be?

I now realise that Heineken were financially involved in many of the breweries whose beers they analysed. The list from 1946 is longer than in the 1939 annual report.

Sint Servatius Bierbrouwerij N.V., Maastricht;
Polar N.V., Maastricht; (soft drinks)
Distilleerderij en Likeurstokerij P. Hoppe N.V., Amsterdam;
Van Vollenhoven’s Bierbrouwerij N.V., Amsterdam;
Brasserie Leopold S.A., Brussel;
N.V. „Cobra”, Amsterdam;
Malayan Breweries Ltd., Singapore;
Archipelago Brewery Cy. (1941) Ltd., Singapore;
N.V. Heineken’s Nederlandsch-Indische Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij, Soerabaja;
Nederlandsch Indische Glasfabrieken „Niglas” N.V., Soerabaja;
Heineken’s Curacaosche Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij N.V., Willemstad;
S.A. des Bières Bomonti & Pyramides, Cairo;
Crown Brewery S.A., Alexandrië;
Société Internationale de Brasserie (Interbra), Brussel;
Brasserie de Leopoldville Sté Cong, a r. 1., Leopoldville (Belgisch Congo);
Bouteillerie de Léopoldville Sté. Cong, a r. 1., Leopoldville (Belgisch Congo);
The Nigerian Brewery Ltd., Lagos;

minor investments:
Brasseries & Glacières de l’Indochine, Saigon;
Société des Brasseries du Maroc, Casablanca;
Société des Brasseries de l'Ouest-Africain (Soboa), Dakar;
Palestine Brewery Ltd., Rishon-le-Zion;
S.A. Brasseries de la Meuse, Parijs.
Heineken annual report 1946, page 5.

Pretty much all the beers are Pilsners with one exception: those from Singapore are all Stouts. Not sure why that was.

In addition to breweries with which Heineken was financially entangled, there are a few from others involved heavily in the export trade to the Far East: Tennent, Allsopp and Carlsberg. Plus, weirdly, a Swiss-owned brewery in Accra, Ghana, the oddly-named Overseas Brewery.

Foreign beers analysed by Heineken
Date Year Brewer Town country Beer Style Colour OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
24th Jun 1939 Malayan Brewing Singapore Malaya Tiger Stout Stout 44 1088.0 1017.6 9.14 79.96%
24th Jun 1939 Archipelago Brewing Singapore Malaya Lion Stout Stout 66 1082.9 1012.0 9.25 85.54%
21st Nov 1939 Leopold Brussels Belgium White Star Export? 0.41 1056.0 1010.2 5.90 81.77%
21st Nov 1939 Leopold Brussels Belgium Bock Bok 0.37 1048.3 1008.8 5.09 81.85%
21st Nov 1939 Leopold Brussels Belgium Pilsen Pils 0.65 1028.5 1008.5 2.70 70.28%
21st Nov 1939 Leopold Brussels Belgium Stout Stout 30 1068.9 1023.3 5.95 66.16%
21st Nov 1939 Heineken Soerabaja Indonesia Pils Pils 0.42 1049.9 1009.7 5.15 80.46%
21st Nov 1939 Heineken Soerabaja Indonesia Rex Pils 0.32 1050.7 1009.6 5.29 81.10%
21st Nov 1939 Heineken Soerabaja Indonesia Java Pils 0.35 1050.4 1011.1 5.05 77.94%
27th Dec 1939 Bomonti & Pyramides Cairo Egypt Stella Pils 0.39 1051.2 1010.8 5.19 78.80%
27th Dec 1939 Bomonti & Pyramides Cairo Egypt Pilsner Pils 0.43 1048.3 1009.6 5.00 80.07%
3rd Jan 1940 Malayan Brewing Singapore Malaya Tiger Stout Stout 0.38 1049.4 1010.6 4.99 78.52%
3rd Jan 1940 Carlsberg Copenhagen Denmark Pilsner Pils 0.58 1049.7 1011.4 4.89 76.99%
3rd Jan 1940 Allsopp Burton UK Pilsner Pils 0.6 1044.1 1008.7 4.56 80.29%
3rd Jan 1940 Cascade South Hobart Australia Special Lager Lager 1.2 1049.8 1018.5 3.98 62.74%
17th Apr 1940 Allsopp Burton UK Pilsner Pils 0.62 1044.7 1008.6 4.64 80.72%
19th Apr 1940 Tennent Glasgow UK - Scotland Pilsner Pils 0.55 1049.2 1010.0 5.04 79.72%
19th Apr 1940 Overseas Brewery Accra Ghana Club Lager Lager 0.65 1050.7 1010.3 5.19 79.69%
19th Apr 1940 Carlsberg Copenhagen Denmark Pilsner Pils 0.6 1049.6 1011.8 4.93 76.26%
Rapporten van laboratoriumonderzoeken naar producten van Heinekenbrouwerijen in binnen- en buitenland en naar producten van andere brouwerijen held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 834 - 1794.