Saturday, 2 July 2022

Let's Brew - 1913 Boddington XXX

The only Boddington Mild to retain its 1901 name was XXX. Though it had lost 7º in gravity. Don’t ask me why it hadn’t become BBB.

It might look impressively strong for a Mild to modern eyes. But in London it would only have counted as a single X. A base-level Mild.

Other than the introduction of flaked maize, not much has happened to the grist. Still mostly base malt. Just a tiny bit less of it. The sugar is a pure guess. It’s most likely some type of invert. I’m pretty sure about that. Pretty sure, but I could be totally wrong.

I find it odd that the three Mild recipes, while pretty similar, are by no means identical. I suppose that, as Boddington didn’t parti-gyle, they didn’t need to use exactly the same recipe for each.

The hopping rate had fallen considerably, from 5.7 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt in 1901 to 3.6 lbs.

The hops were the same as in BB. Copper: English from the 1909, 1911, and 1912 harvests; Californian from 1911. Dry hops: English from the 1911 and 1912 seasons; Californian from 1911.

1913 Boddington XXX
pale malt 10.25 lb 87.23%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 8.51%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 4.26%
Cluster 155 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.75 oz
Cluster dry hops 0.125 oz
Fuggles dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1052
FG 1017
ABV 4.63
Apparent attenuation 67.31%
IBU 27
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 155 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

Friday, 1 July 2022

Duttson's Brewing Materials

The Duttson name turns up quite a bit in brewing records. As does CDM. They must have had a large number of customers for their brewing sugars.

I came across an advert of theirs a while ago. I'm only just realising how useful some of the information is.

Is a brilliant Syrup containing 84 per cent. (calculated on the dry matter) of Dextrin and Maltose, which exist as an unfermentable combination; consequently it will be found very useful for increasing the Dextrin in Beers, giving them fulness and adding to their stability.

MALTO-DEXTRIN may also be used as a Priming, the 12 per cent. of fermentable matter which it contains is gradually split up during Cask fermentation, creating persistent condition.

C.D.M. is FREE from the acrid flavour of Caramel, therefore can be used to advantage in the production of Porter and Stout.

It is not fermentable, consequently can be added to Wort prior to fermentation. of high tinctorial power (112 lb. being capable of imparting as much colouring power as a quarter of best Black Malt). When used in suitable proportions as a black malt adjunct produces a soft mellow Stout or Porter, unobtainable when Black Malt alone is employed.


C.D.M. can be profitably employed; compared with Black Malt it yields a large extract — i.e., 256 lb. (the Excise equivalent for a quarter of Malt) gives an extract of 74 BBEWERS’ lb.

It is sent out in casks of 1 cwt. and 2 cwt.
"Brewing and Malting Practically Considered", by Frank Thatcher, 1898, The Country Brewers' Gazette, page 161.

Malto-dextrin is unfermentable. Except for when it is. Having a relatively small amount of fermentasble amterial which is released slowly sounds perfect for secondary conditioning. Was it the enzymes in the dry hops that broke it down?

I wonder if CDM was unfermentable in the same way? 1 cwt. (112 lbs) having the same colouring power as a quarter (336 lbs) of black malt. Obviously, some black malt character was still required as CDM was suggested to be used in conjunction with it, rather than as a replacement.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Yet another new book

I've just published my second book this week. Is that a record?

This one is a couple of years' wort of travel reports. I hope it does as well as the first two volumes. Between them, they've sold almost three copies.

 Buy this wonderful book!


Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.


Berliner Weisse today

I’m going to limit myself here to versions brewed in Berlin. Yes, I know many, quite possibly hundreds, are brewed in the USA, to varying degrees of authenticity. But I’m going to stick to those brewed in the style’s home city.

Berliner Weisse is the best-known German sour beer, which is somewhat ironic given that it’s virtually extinct in its home city. There’s currently only one example really brewed on a large scale: Kindl. And that’s crap.

In 2010 just 10,180 hl of Berliner Weisse were sold in the off trade , meaning total output couldn’t have been more than 20,000 or 25,000 hl.

In the late 1980’s there had been three different Berliner Weisses brewed: East Berlin Schultheiss, West Berlin Schultheiss and West Berlin Kindl. First West Berlin Kindl bought East Berlin Schultheiss and closed it. Then West Berlin Schultheiss and Kindl merged and the Schultheiss Berliner Weisse was dropped. Which was really annoying because the Kindl was by far the worse of the two.

But . . . there are more authentic versions being brewed, albeit on a fairly small scale. Better than nothing, I say.

That was an extract from my recently published book on Berliner Weisse, "Weisse!"

 Buy your copy now!

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Let's Brew wednesday - 1907 Berliner Weisse (Schankbier)

To celebrate the publication of my book about Berliner Weisse, here's one of the recipes from it.

This recipe is based on a description in "Die Fabrikation obergäriger Biere in Praxis und Theorie" by Grennell.

The book describes four different ways of brewing Berliner Weisse, this is method II. It differs considerably from Schönfeld’s procedure. For a start, half of the wort is boiled during the decoction. The hops were added during the decoction rather than to the mashing water.

As always, some time secondary conditioning is required to bring out the required Brttanomyces character. A minimum of four weeks, longer if you like your beer with more bite and funk.

1907 Berliner Weisse (Schankbier)
wheat malt 5.25 lb 75.00%
lager malt 1.75 lb 25.00%
Hallertau 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1032
FG 1007
ABV 3.31
Apparent attenuation 78.13%
IBU 5.5
SRM 2.5
acidity (pH) 3.63 to 3.73 
Mash single decoction  
Boil time 30 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 2565 Kölsch
lactobacillus delbruckii
Brettanomyces bruxellensis

 Buy your copy now!

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Weisse! has just been published

Yes, after a couple of weeks of not really all that intensive work it's done. My book about Berliner Weisse is finished and published.

99 pages of Berliner Weisse fun, tracing the history of the style from the 18th century to today. Including a look at Weisse from both sides of the Berlin wall. As an extra special bonus there are 19 historic recipes hand crafted by me.

It's easily the best book in English about Berliner Weisse*

 Buy your copy now!

 * I'm pretty sure it's the only one.

Porter in the DDR

How common was Porter in the DDR? Not that common, to be honest. I think i saw it in a shop once. Almost certainly in Berlin. Because that's where all the nice things went.

That said, it was sufficiently widespread for it to feature in all the standards documents. The one on ingredients specifically mentions Brettanomyces. Which a 1950s DDR brewing textbook suggested should be pitched in Porter for secondary conditioning.

The quantities produced was probably pretty small. But a surprising number of breweries made one. I know that from my DDR label collection. At least 15. That's how many I have labels from. I'm sure that there more quite a few more than that.

These are the 15:

Berliner Kindl
Meisterbräu Halle
Rose-Brauerei Grabow

It's weird how Deutscher Porter as a style seems to have been almost totally forgotten. Even though it was brewed until around 30 years ago. They all seem to have been discontinued soon after reunification. Either that, of the breweries simply closed. A few did reintroduce beers called Porter, but they were totally different in style. Much weaker and really sweet. Pretty awful, the ones I've tried.

Here are the labels:


Monday, 27 June 2022

Brewing Berliner Weisse between the wars

The Berliner Weisse book is coming along nicely. I just need to finish off the recipes and write the section on the current situation

I've learnt quite a bit. Enough to change my opinions on some topics. Or at least have a more nuanced approach. The level of sourness being a big one. You'll need to buy the book if you want to learn all the details.

In the meantime, here's  a description of the brewing process at one Berlin brewery between the was.

In the kettle, the malt was doughed in with water at 30º C. The temperature was slowly raised to 53º-54º C where it was held for 30 minutes for a protein rest.

The temperature was raised to 75º C by which time saccharification should have occurred.

A third of the wort was transferred to the lauter tun and the remainder of the wort in the kettle brought to the boil. 

After boiling for 30 minutes, it was mixed with the other third of the wort in the lauter tun, making sure the temperature didn’t exceed 76º C. The mixture was left to stand for 40 minutes before running off.

The clear wort was returned to the kettle and brought to 95º C for 15 to 20 minutes. Then immediately cooled to 18º C.

The wort was pitched at 16º C and after four days the temperature rose to 20º C. When it had dropped back down to 16º C, primary fermentation was done. 

1º to 1.25º Plato gravity needed to be left for bottle conditioning. If not, Frischbier needed to be added to raise the gravity to the required level.
"Die Herstellung obergärige Biere und die Malzbierbrauerei Groterjan A.G. in Berlin" by A. Dörfel, 1947 pages 12 - 14.


Sunday, 26 June 2022

Berliner Weisse in the 1880s and 1890s

The internet is wonderful for research. Sometimes you come across wonderful information in the oddest of places. Like the stuff that follows.

I found it in a book about the architecture of Berlin. There's a section on breweries which has some dead useful information. For me, at least.

In the late 1880s and early 1890s, around two thirds of Berlin’s breweries were top fermenting, but they only produced one third of the beer. The table below lists all top-fermenting breweries which did not all necessarily brew Weissbier.

Intriguing that more new top-fermenting breweries were arriving than bottom-fermenting ones: 27 compared to 8. Though that’s probably due to Lager breweries operating on a larger scale and requiring more capital to set up.

It’s hard to see any trends in the production figures.

Remember that there were several other top-fermenting styles in Berlin: Braunbier, Porter, Bitterbier. The quantity of Weissbier brewed was lower than the number in the table, which is for all types of top-fermented beer.

There’s no discernible shift from top to bottom fermenting that I can see. The proportion is always around one third to two thirds. Though it’s clear that the bottom-fermenting breweries were on a larger scale.

The difference in scale only became larger over time.

The average output of a top-fermenting brewery remained rooted at 20,000 hl. While that of bottom-fermenting breweries increased by more than 50%.

Number of Berlin breweries 1872 - 1894
Year Bottom fermenting Top fermenting Total
1872 21 43.75% 27 56.25% 48
1888/89 26 36.62% 45 63.38% 71
1889/90 26 34.67% 49 65.33% 75
1890/91 27 36.00% 48 64.00% 75
1891/92 27 35.53% 49 64.47% 76
1892/93 29 38.16% 47 61.84% 76
1893/94 29 34.94% 54 65.06% 83
Berlin und seine Bauten, Architecten-Verein zu Berlin, Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn, Berlin, 1896, page 648.


Output of Berlin breweries 1872 - 1894
Year Bottom fermenting Top fermenting Total
1872         898,049 62.89%        530,000 37.11%     1,428,049
1888/89      1,858,530 64.21%     1,036,058 35.79%     2,894,588
1889/90      1,891,693 63.95%     1,066,378 36.05%     2,958,071
1890/91      1,939,023 64.66%     1,060,001 35.34%     2,999,024
1891/92      1,936,987 67.62%        927,678 32.38%     2,864,665
1892/93      2,116,979 67.95%        998,661 32.05%     3,115,640
1893/94      1,988,179 63.87%     1,124,491 36.13%     3,112,670
Berlin und seine Bauten, Architecten-Verein zu Berlin, Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn, Berlin, 1896, page 648.


Average output of Berlin breweries 1872 - 1894
Year Bottom fermenting Top fermenting
1872           42,764           19,630
1888/89           71,482           23,024
1889/90           72,757           21,763
1890/91           71,816           22,083
1891/92           71,740           18,932
1892/93           72,999           21,248
1893/94           68,558           20,824
Berlin und seine Bauten, Architecten-Verein zu Berlin, Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn, Berlin, 1896, page 648.





Saturday, 25 June 2022

Let's Brew - 1834 Berliner Weisse

This is based on the description in Johann Heinrich Moritz Poppe ‘s "Die Bierbrauerei auf der höchsten Stufe der jetzigen Vervollkommnung"

I’ve had to make a few guesses. Such as the OG and FG. Which I’ve based on the ingredients and analyses. I could be wrong.

What I am certain about is the proportion of wheat and barley malt. Which was three to one. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if it varied from brewery to brewery

Altmark hops were specified. I don’t think they exist anymore. So, I’ve plumped for Hallertau. Given the low level of bitterness, it probably doesn’t matter so much which type of hops you use.

How sour should it be? That probably depends on how long you age it. Bottle-conditioning for at least a couple of weeks is the way to go.

1834 Berliner Weisse
smoked wheat malt 7.50 lb 75.00%
lager malt 2.50 lb 25.00%
Hallertau 15 mins 1.25 oz
OG 1045
FG 1021
ABV 3.18
Apparent attenuation 53.33%
IBU 13
Mash single decoction  
Boil time 15 minutes
pitching temp 66º F
Yeast Wyeast 2565 Kölsch
Lactobacillus clausenii
Brettanomyces clausenii


action temperature time (minutes)
Mashed in 100º F 30
first rest 133º F 30
deoction with hops   15
mash out 167º F