Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Hop growing in the DDR (part 1)

One big problem facing the DDR brewing industry in its early days was a lack of locally-grown hops.

Hops had been grown on the territory of the DDR in the past, but by the middle of the 20th century, this was no longer the case. The remaining hop-growing regions were all in West Germany, mostly in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

The answer was to start up hop growing again in the East.

"1.4.1. Growing areas
Due to the division of Germany after the Second World War, the traditional hop-growing areas in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg were separated from the DDR. Previously, valuable foreign currency had to be spent on importing hops. In order to avoid this and to become independent in this area as well, in 1951 hops were again cultivated in the districts of Magdeburg - Halle - Erfurt - Suhl - Gera - Leipzig - Dresden - Karl-Marx-Stadt.

One could fall back on old experiences, since hops had already been grown here about 160 years before. In the meantime, the successes have shown that it is possible to grow hops in the southern districts of the Republic and that these hops are qualitatively equal to other noble hops.

With this in-house production, our trade also makes itself independent of the large price fluctuations to which hops are subject in capitalist countries as a result of yield fluctuations and other manipulations.

For example, it cost 1 dt of hops in West Germany

1957 800-900 DM,
1958 up to 2400 DM.

In 1959 prices were kept so low that production costs could not be covered. Quite a number of hop growers burned the unpicked crop because the cost of picking exceeded the selling price. During this period, 70 farms covering an area of ​​370 hectares were ruined every day in West Germany by these crises.

The agricultural policy of our state, on the other hand, ensures a planned increase in production in agriculture, the full sale of the products and thus increasing income for those employed in agriculture.

Since 1951, hop cultivation has developed vigorously in the southern districts of the republic, as the following tables show."
"Technologie Brauer und Mälzer" by Wolfgang Kunze, VEB Fachbuchverlag Leipzig, 2nd edition, 1967, page 43.

See how much better a planned economy is than capitalist anarchy? Look at those crazy hop prices. Obviously, such big increases in price would have been a big problem for the DDR, which had limited amounts of hard currency at its disposal.

As the text says, the new hop gardens were planted in the South and the East. Erfurt, Suhl and Gera are in Thuringen; Leipzig, Dresden and Karl-Marx-Stadt in Saxony; Magdeburg in Mecklenberg-Vorpommern; Halle in Sachsen-Anhalt.

Next time we'll see how many hops were grown and where.


Monday, 8 August 2022

Brewing Doppelkaramelmalzbier (part 2)

Exactly how did they get all that sugar into Doppelkaramel? remember, it was effectively doubling the OG of the beer. Which entails an awful lot of sugar.

"In the case of Doppelkaramelmalzbier, the finished drink must contain 6 kg (Fig. 259) of sugar per 1 hl of sales beer, based on an 11.7 to 12.2 percent pitching wort. This sugar is added in a concentrated aqueous solution as a sugar syrup before bottling. Since the syrup water means a dilution, Doppelkaramelmalzbier is blended to a higher gravity beforehand (7-8%). The mixing of the 7-8% beer with the syrup is done by repeated pressing between pressure tanks. At the same time, a few litres of thick mushy yeast are usually added to initiate fermentation again, which is intended to generate a higher carbon dioxide pressure in Doppelkaramelmalzbier.

Doppelkaramelmalzbier is not filtered but pasteurized.

Due to the addition of sugar, a lot of fermentable extract gets into Doppelkaramelmalzbier. If the remaining yeast and the added yeast could ferment this extract, all the bottles would burst due to the ever-increasing carbon dioxide pressure.

However, a slightly higher pressure produces a better foam (see p. 434). To generate this increased pressure, the temperature at the beginning of the pasteurisation is increased to 30-35°C for about 2-4 hours. Then it is heated to around 65°C, which stops further fermentation and carbon dioxide formation by killing off the yeast cells."
"Technologie Brauer und Mälzer" by Wolfgang Kunze, VEB Fachbuchverlag Leipzig, 2nd edition, 1967, pages 451 452.

6 kg per hectolitre is 60 gm per litre. That's a lot of sugar. I'll go out on a limb here and guess that the finished beer was pretty sweet.

I'm interested to see that fresh yeast was added along with the sugar. With all that sugar, fermentation must have started up pretty quickly. I was going to say that I wondered how long this fermentation was allowed to take place. But, from TGL 7764, I know the lagering time: 5 to 8 days. Is that before or after pasteurisation, though?

I'm left with one question? Who drank this stuff? And did they drink it straight or blend with another beer? Sorry, that's two questions. Where was it drunk? There, that's yet another question. My resident DDR expert couldn't answer them.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Brewing Doppelkaramelmalzbier (part 1)

A quick dive into "Technologie Brauer und Mälzer" has answered so many question about Doppelkaramel. How do you brew a 12º Plato beer with less than 2% ABV? It turns out that it's quite simple.

A surprising truth is revealed.

"6.1.2. Peculiarities in the production of Doppelkaramelmalzbier and Malzbier
Both beers are made in most breweries using the same process right down to the lager cellar.

Both beers are 6% dark beers; with the Doppelkaramelmalzbier, the higher gravity of up to 12% is later achieved by adding sugar.

The bulk contains 3-6% Farbmalz and often 6-8% caramel malt. Part of the colour is always achieved by adding caramel (see p. 92). The addition of hops is small (see TGL) and only serves to round off the taste.

There are several ways to achieve the wort concentration:

The brew is turned out with a gravity of about 6%; by reducing the grist, the brewhouse capacity decreases in fully utilized brewhouses. When using a mash filter a dummy plate must be fitted.

With a normal grist quantity, a wort of about 6% is knocked out; but it needs to be much more must be diluted to reach 6% in the cast wort. This amount exceeds the volume of the kettle, some breweries cook the extra amount in the mash kettle. However, this blocks the brewhouse for longer and water is boiled unnecessarily.

The brew is turned out with a gravity of 9-10%, as far as the pan volume allows. Water is then blended to about get the wort to 6% (reckoned in pitching wort) when transferring.

Benefits: Time savings in the brewhouse, vessel savings in the fermenting room, energy savings because the waste water is not boiled."
"Technologie Brauer und Mälzer" by Wolfgang Kunze, VEB Fachbuchverlag Leipzig, 2nd edition, 1967, page 451.

The surprising truth: Doppelkaramel and Malzbier were exactly the same until after fermentation. Both were fermented as a 6º Plato wort. The only difference is that Doppelkaramel had sugar added before bottling.

There were three options to getting the right strength wort:

1. Create a 6º while mashing by using half as much malt.

2. Use the normal amount of malt but water down to 6º in the kettle.

3. Create a wort of 9-10º Plato and water down to 6º when transferring to fermenters.

Obviously, option 3 was the most efficient use of the brewing equipment.

Handy to see the grist revealed:

Doppelkaramel grist
pilsner malt 66-71%
Farbmalz 3-6%
Caramel malt 6-8%
unmalted grain 20%

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Let's Brew - 1885 William Younger 80/-

A reminder that this has no connection with post-WW II 80/- or Export. Also, note that there was no 70/- brewed in the 19th century. After 60/-, beers incremented by 20/- at a time.

I won’t discuss the recipe, as it was identical to the 60/- above, with which it was parti-gyled. Not that there’s much to discuss, grist-wise. There’s just base malt and nowt else.

While most of Younger’s beers were dry-hopped, neither 60/- mor 80/- were. Not sure why that was. Perhaps because they were exclusively bottled beers. I’m guessing that because they were both only racked into half and quarter hogsheads.

I’m sure that the real FG of these Shilling Ales was lower than in the recipe below. I think these are cleansing rather than racking gravities. Plus there would have been secondary fermentation either before bottling or consumption, if on draught. 

1885 William Younger 80/-
pale malt 14.75 lb 100.00%
Cluster 120 min 1.25 oz
Spalt 60 min 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.25 oz
OG 1064
FG 1029
ABV 4.63
Apparent attenuation 54.69%
IBU 41
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 163º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Friday, 5 August 2022

DDR 1960s speciality malts

Want to know more about DDR malt than TGL 17756 told you? Well, you're in look. I've had a look in the excellent "Technologie Brauer und Mälzer" by Wolfgang Kunze and it has some handy details about the manufacture of the fancy malts.

Not quite all the fancy malt, mind. Kara-Hell and Munich malt are missing. Which is a shame. I assume that the former was produced much like Kara-Münch and Kara-Pils, with a roasting temperature somewhere between that for those two types.

Munich malt - wouldn't that be made much like pilsner malt, just with a higher kilning temperature?

It's really nice to have a fairly detailed description of the process of making Brühmalz. If only I understood what the he4ll it meant.

DDR 1960s speciality malts
Specialty Malt Manufacturing Properties
Farbmalz Green malt or moistened kilned malt is roasted in a ball roaster at 180 - 220ºC with constant rotation. It is partially debittered by injecting water.  very strong coloring special malt, gives the beer a slightly burnt taste
Brühmalz Green malt that is kept for 3 days is piled up to a height of 1.5 m and sometimes also covered with a tarpaulin. Due to the strong onset of breathing, the temperature rises to 50 °C and higher. At these temperatures the heap is left for 2 days. A lot of amino acids and maltose are formed due to strong enzyme activity. Drying takes place at 90 - 100ºC on the kiln. A lot of melanoidins are formed in the process. not so strong coloring, very aromatic malt with a high content of protein degradation products and maltose
Melamalz is produced in the pneumatic malting plant and roughly corresponds to Brühmalz. After a few days of normal management, the heap is scalded with water at 50°C. This encourages enzyme activity and the pile is turned to maintain an even temperature. Kilning takes place at around 100 °C on the kiln. Many melanoidins are also formed in the process. like Brühmalz
Kara-Münch green malt is saccharified in a roasting drum at around 70 °C. The saccharification can be heard as a crackling noise. The malt is then roasted in the roasting drum at 150 °C. strongly coloring malt, which also improves head retention (see p. 455) and full-bodiedness; However, caramel substances only form above 150 °C, so that these are primarily melanoidins
Kara-Pils Like Kara-Münch, green malt is saccharified in the roasting drum at around 70 °C and then dried in a kiln.  
Wheat malt Wheat is soaked for only two days so that the degree of softness does not rise above 40 - 42%. On the threshing floor, the wheat should be processed as little as possible.  is particularly suitable for the production of Berliner Weißbier and Leipziger Gose
Technologie Brauer und Mälzer by Wolfgang Kunze, VEB Fachbuchverlag Leipzig, 2nd edition, 1967, page 171.


Thursday, 4 August 2022

1980 DDR bottled beer value for money

One thing that struck me when assembling the table of the price of bottled beer was how bad value the new styles Extra, Edel-Bräu Hell, Deutsches Pilsner Spezial and Märzen were. Why not work out just exactly how bad value they were.

Though not the worst value. That honour belongs to Doppel-Karamelbier. At least on the basis of price per ABV. Not a surprise, really, as it's a full-gravity beer with little alcohol.

The specialist beers Schwarzbier and Porter were also relatively poor value. Perhaps for the very reason that they were niche products. 

Some the the best value were the most popular styles: Hell and Deutsches Pilsner. Though, a little surprisingly, Bockbier Hell just sneaks in as best value of all.

1980 DDR bottled beer value for money
Type 50 cl OG ABV pf per º OG pf per % ABV
Doppel-KarameIbier 0.75 12 1.80 6.25 41.67
Extra 0.98 8.9 3.47 11.01 28.24
Märzen 1.20 11.75 4.65 10.21 25.81
Schwarzbier 1.10 12 4.44 9.17 24.77
Deutsches Pilsner Spezial 1.28 14 5.23 9.14 24.47
Deutscher Porter 1.53 18 6.29 8.50 24.32
Edel-Bräu Hell 0.98 10.75 4.23 9.12 23.17
Deutsches Pilsator 1.00 12.25 5.05 8.16 19.80
Diabetiker-Pils 0.98 12.25 5.05 8.00 19.41
Dunkel (Einfachbier) 0.38 6 1.99 6.33 19.10
Weißbier 0.55 7.5 2.90 7.33 18.97
Deutsches Pilsner 0.92 12.25 4.86 7.51 18.93
Dunkler Bock or Bockbier Dunkel 1.08 16 6.22 6.75 17.36
Hell 0.72 10.75 4.23 6.70 17.02
Dunkel (Vollbier) 0.72 10.75 4.23 6.70 17.02
Weißer Bock or Bockbier Hell 1.08 16 6.48 6.75 16.67
My label collection.
1980 TGL 7764, pages 9 - 10.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1885 William Younger 60/-

Still a long way to go on our ascent of the Shilling Ales. Straight 60/-. Another beer which seems a bit for its price. It’s the strength of a London 1 shilling per gallon Ale. That is 54/- for a hogshead.

Apart from the difference in gravity, the hopping rates also aren’t the same. 6.5 lbs per quarter for H 60/-, 5 lbs for 60/-.

No surprise that three base malts graced the mash tun and nothing else. With just over a third from Scottish barley, the rest from foreign. There’s some of that weird “Pat.” Stuff again. 10 flgs then 4 flgs in the copper.

The hops were the same as in H 60/-: 1884 season Kent, Californian, Spalt and American.

1885 William Younger 60/-
pale malt 12.00 lb 100.00%
Cluster 120 min 1.00 oz
Spalt 60 min 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.00 oz
OG 1052
FG 1025
ABV 3.57
Apparent attenuation 51.92%
IBU 37
SRM 4.5
Mash at 156º F
Sparge at 178º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale



Tuesday, 2 August 2022

1980 DDR beer shelf life in days

I've mentioned, haven't I, that TGL 7764 from 1980 is rather more detailed than the 1960 one. That includes the bit on shelf life.

Because, while in 1960 only dates for bottled beer were given, the 1980 one also includes draught beer. Which had a shelf life four days longer. It also says which beers could only be sold in bottled form. Seven of them, which are easy enough to spot in the table as they have no draught shelf life specified: Aubi, Extra, Diabetiker-Pils, Deutsches Pilsner Spezial, Märzen, Weizenbier and Deutscher Porter.

The eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted that Berliner Weisse is missing. Perhaps that's because its shelf life was so much longer. In the 1960 version it's given as 270 days.

For some popular beers, the period is shorter than in 1960. Deutsches Pilsner is down from 15 days to 10. Vollbier Hell and Dunkel from 12 days to 8 days. Bockbier Hell and Dunkel from 15 days to 10. Doppel-KarameIbier from 90 days to 30.

Why do some styles have much longer periods? Because they were pasteurised. It's these specific types: Aubi, Doppel-KarameIbier, Diabetiker-Pils, Deutsches Pilsner Spezial and Märzen.

1980 DDR beer shelf life in days
Type Bottled draught Remarks
Aubi 90 without sediment or cloudiness
Extra 25
Hell 8 12
Edel-Bräu Hell 18 22
Dunkel (Vollbier) 8 12
Diabetiker-Pils 30
Deutsches Pilsner 10 14
Deutsches Pilsator 18 22
Deutsches Pilsner Spezial 90
Weißer Bock or Bockbier Hell 10 14
Dunkler Bock or Bockbier Dunkel 10 14
Dunkel (Einfachbier) 9 13 without fermentation or souring; light sediment allowed
Doppel-KarameIbier 30 34
Schwarzbier 15 19
Märzen 30
Weizenbier 21
Deutscher Porter 24
1980 TGL 7764, page 11.

Monday, 1 August 2022

1980 DDR bottled beer prices

For once, this isn't taken from TGL 7764. Or any other standards. This all thanks to the wonderful price controls under socialism. And that they printed the prices on the labels. it makes my life so easy. Which is how I like it.

I could have done a bit of number fiddling and demsonstrated how they new styles - Extra, Edel-Bräu Hell and Deutsches Pilsner Spezial - were poor value for money. And why did Märzen cost more than the stronger Bock? It makes no sense. While the 1960 prices had been pretty much in line with gravity.

Why did Extra - at about 3.5% ABV - cost more than Deutsches Pilsner which was almost 5% ABV? And why did Deutsches Pilsner Spezial cost 25% more than Deutsches Pilsner?And why was Märzen more expensive than Bock?

It's starting to make me doubt the logic of the DDR.

This was the price you would pay in any shop. Hard to charge more, when it's printed on the label.

1980 DDR bottled beer prices
Type 33 cl 50 cl
Dunkel (Einfachbier) 0.25 0.38
Weißbier 0.37 0.55
Extra 0.65 0.98
Hell 0.48 0.72
Edel-Bräu Hell 0.65 0.98
Dunkel (Vollbier) 0.48 0.72
Doppel-KarameIbier 0.50 0.75
Schwarzbier 0.75 1.10
Deutsches Pilsner 0.61 0.92
Diabetiker-Pils 0.65 0.98
Deutsches Pilsator 0.67 1.00
Deutsches Pilsner Spezial 0.86 1.28
Märzen 0.80 1.20
Weißer Bock or Bockbier Hell 0.72 1.08
Dunkler Bock or Bockbier Dunkel 0.72 1.08
Deutscher Porter 1.02 1.53
My label collection.

I could group all this information into style guidelines for these styles. Hands up if you'd like that.