Friday, 28 April 2017

Jena station buffet

Another lazy post, with a flimsy personal connection.

I wish I'd taken more photos. In my DDR hanging around time. I was a total idiot. Captured fuck all photographically.

Jena station buffet. A HO job.

Jena was a town I knew from the footy team. One of the few DDR town names to drift into western consciousness.

Jena is in Thüringen, the home ground of Dolores. Not so odd we needed to change trains there, once. Or nipped into the station buffet.

A HO job. But decent. Reminded me of Stayleybridge.

It sold Jena beer.


Thursday, 27 April 2017

Berliner Weisse according to Grenell (part two)

Grenell lists several methods of brewing Berliner Weisse. And I’m going to bore you with all of them.

Here’s the second:

Method II. - Mash in the medium-milled grist in the kettle with water at 30° R. [37.5º C], at a rate of 3 hectolitres per Zentner [50 kg]. Leave to rest for 1 hour and then raise the temperature to 52° R [65º C] over 40-45 minutes and cover the fire. In the meantime, the mash tun is kept ready, half of the whole mash is drained into it, and the second half of the whole mash, which has been retained in the kettle, is slowly boiled, drained, and filtered as the first wort, as usual it is sparged using a Scottish sparge arm with water at 64-65° [80º - 81.25º C] so that the temperature in the tun does not fall below 60° R [75º C], or even simmeringly hot water, which would give a higher yield. Boil for 1/2 hour and mash out at 61-62° R. [76.25º - 77.5º C]

Hops. Once the bottom of the kettle is covered, 250-325 gr. of light hops are added per Zenter [50 kg] of Malt. - The wort should run off quickly and bright, etc. as in method I.

Pitching temperature. 12° R. [15º C] in cellars below 7° R [8.75º C], also probably at 14-15° R. [17.5º - 18.75º C], that is in summer 9-10° R. [11.25º - 12.5º C] in winter 12-16°R. [15º - 20º C]; Optimum: 10º R. [12.5º C].

It is pitched in large vats, after about eight to twelve hours it is partly transferred to smaller vessels, in which the main fermentation takes its further course, or is used as a "young beer" to blend with beer in the tun.

Yeast pitching rate: 1 litre of thick yeast per Zentner [50 kg] of malt or 5 hectolitres of wort. Length of fermentation: 2.5 to 3 days, also perhaps 3-5 days. After pitching the yeast, remove the head 2-3 times until a pure yeast head appears, then the beer is drawn off (or the yeast head is taken off before drawing off the beer), 1/2 water and 10% fresh beer are added and it is filled into bottles or jugs. Send out after 14 days or you can add up to 1/4 fresh beer, depending on how quickly the Weissbier needs to be delivered.

In the case of bright (sparklingly clear) Weissbier, filtration occurs after the main fermentation, and it is filled into bottles with a very small addition of bottom-fermenting yeast.

Berlin Weisse intended for "external consumption," is stored for some time in cool cellars; where the secondary fermentation proceeds slowly. At the customer, the Weisse is pitched again, for which purpose the brewery sends approximately 80 gr. of yeast per hectolitre. In the pub the landlord also adds 1 kilo of refined sugar, which has previously been dissolved in 3 litres of water,  per hectolitre.

The size of the yeast and sugar addition of course depends on the desired fermentation.”
"Die Fabrikation obergäriger Biere in Praxis und Theorie" by Braumeister Grenell, 1907, pages 70 - 72. (My translation.)

I was at first baffled by the term “scottischer Drehkreuz” in the text. Then twigged that it meant a sparge arm. Another phrase to add to my German brewing vocabulary.

Repitching with bottom-fermenting yeast caught my eye. I’ve heard that some Weizenbier producers do the same for their Hefeweizen. Even though it might be technically illegal – wheat beer has to be top-fermented according to the Reinheitsgebot.

Note that once again the beer is diluted with water at bottling time. This seems to have been a common practice in the brewing of top-fermenting beer in Germany.

The beer intended for "external consumption," – by that I think they mean in pubs – looks like it’s being cask-conditioned in the pub. The addition of extra yeast and sugar would surely have started a secondary fermentation in the cask.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

US tour

No words. Relaxing in my first chance to catch breath since landing. Just a few images.

And no, that wasn't a lite beer.

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1962 Lees Archer Stout

I’ve been scouring my brewing records looking for Milk Stouts. And I have to say that I’ve found disappointingly few.

I’m not totally sure why that is. From labels and advertisements it’s clear that a high proportion of breweries had a Milk Stout in their portfolio. Most likely explanation I can think of is that an ordinary Stout had lactose added at racking time. Though I could be wrong.

Imagine my delight, then, at spotting lactose in Lees Archer Stout. I’ve published a recipe for Lees Stout from 1952 which didn’t contain lactose. Looking through the records, I saw that they only started using it in 1956. Which seems quite late for introducing a Milk Stout.

Though it seems that they never billed it as such. The labels I’ve seen for Archer Stout make no mention of milk sugar. They don’t even claim that it’s sweet. Strange, as it contains about the same percentage of lactose as other Milk Stouts.

Archer Stout wasn’t the only Lees beer to contain lactose. Their Best Mild did, too. Though, intriguingly, not their Ordinary Mild. Make of that what you will.

Turning to the beer itself, Archer Stout has quite a complicated grist, consisting of three malts, one adjunct and four sugars. The brown malt in my recipe is a substitution for something called “oak dried” malt. Brown malt seems like the best equivalent. There’s also a reasonable amount of flaked oats in the recipe. So it’s odd that the brewery didn’t claim Archer was either an Oatmeal or a Milk Stout.

The No. 3 invert is another substitution, this time for CDM and HX. CDM I’m pretty sure was a dark sugar, based on its usage at various breweries. HX I’ve no idea about

I know nothing about the hops, other than that most were English with a tiny amount of Styrians, just 2 out of the total of 28 lbs. Fuggles seems a good bet for this type of beer, but, as usual, feel free to substitute any appropriate English hop.

As Lees couldn’t be arsed to note down the FG, I’ve had to make a guess. It could be wildly wrong, though I doubt it could have been much lower. Could have been higher.

1962 Lees Archer Stout
pale malt 2.75 lb 40.26%
brown malt 1.00 lb 14.64%
black malt 0.50 lb 7.32%
flaked oat 0.33 lb 4.83%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 10.98%
No. 4 invert sugar 0.50 lb 7.32%
lactose 1.00 lb 14.64%
Fuggles 90 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.75 oz
OG 1036
FG 1014
ABV 2.91
Apparent attenuation 61.11%
IBU 20
SRM 29
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Dresden with Matt

DDR label fun, with a vague personal twist.

You should be getting the idea. I've a long trip coming up and a effing load of posts to write.

My first experience of DDR fun, was with Matt. University friend.

I enjoyed Leipzig more than Dresden.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Berliner Weisse according to Grenell

I can never get enough of Berliner Weisse. It’s strange how this obscure style – it never made up more than a tiny percentage of the beer brewed in Germany – has had so much written about it. Easily the best documented of all German beer types.

The text below confirms some of the odder characteristics of Berliner Weisse. Namely that it was originally brewed using smoked wheat malt and that it was often watered down at bottling time. Also, that there was a Märzen-strength version.

I’ll let Grenell explain further.

Original gravity: 12%, Märzen: 15-15% balling.
Berliner Weisse is a very refreshing, highly-carbonated, slightly sour drink, and is particularly enjoyed in the summer mixed with fruit juice.

As it is produced nowadays, it is quite different from the old version, as in the past a smoked wheat malt was used, the yeast changed after every third brew, and a new batch brought from Cottbus; furthermore, in the middle of the last century, Weissbier was usually sold as a young beer, shipped immediately to publicans, and further fermented by them, and then bottled with some barm, with a little water added, and therefore they were called Ganz- or Vollweisse [whole or full Weisse]. Heavily watered beer was delivered as Halbweisse [half Weisse] at a cheap price.

The brewing process is similar to Einfachbier. 3 parts of wheat malt and 1 part of barley malt or 2/3 of wheat malt and 1/3 barley malt are used. Both malts, on account of the different grain sizes, are milled separately, and the wheat malt, for a better yield,  is milled finer; additionally the malt is mostly assembled in bins the day before, and lightly sprinkled (with 1-2% of water) in order to make the husks crush more easily. However, the wheat malt itself is to be kept dry.

In the authentic brewing process the wort is not boiled, but is mashed in at 61-62° R. [76.25º - 77.5º C], pumped directly from a grant to the cooler, and left there for as short a time as possible, the best way to do this is to let it flow through the cooler and then over the chilling apparatus into a large pitching tun.

The hop charge of 375-500 gr. Per Zentner [50 kg] of malt is boiled for 5 minutes before mashing in the mash tun and then used with the brewing water to brew the mash, that is, cold water is added to bring the whole mash to 28° R [35º C] h and the quantity is calculated so as to produce 1 hectolitre of original wort per Zentner [50 kg] of malt. It is mashed at the above temperature with the rakes moving constantly.

The mash out temperature of 61-61° R. [76.25º - 76.25º C] is necessary, if one does not wish to run a great danger of infection; however, one should not go higher in order not to weaken the "diastase" too much and thus prevent saccharification. The lauter tun should, of course, be well insulated compound in order to prevent it cooling. Once the wort is in the pitching tun it should be immediately pitched yeast!”
"Die Fabrikation obergäriger Biere in Praxis und Theorie" by Braumeister Grenell, 1907, pages 68 - 70. (My translation.)

Not boiling the wort was typical of 20th-century Berliner Weisse production. Partly to keep the colour of the finished beer incredibly pale. You can see why that would form a risk of infection, hence the care taken to quickly cool and pitch the wort with yeast.

A ratio to two parts wheat malt to one of barley is the classic grist, but by no means fixed. There were even versions without any wheat at all sometimes in the 20th century. Which is a bit of a cheek. Though that was Kindl and their Berliner Weisse always was crap.

The current incarnation of Berliner Weisse at only Schankbier (8º Plato) strength is fairly recent. Stronger versions existed in the 20th century. Not sure when they disappeared, but the post-war DDR-brewed Märzen-Weisse was Märzen in name only, still being Schankbier strength.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Milk Stout 1938 - 1939

You may be wondering about my current Milk Stout obsession. Why? Would seem a logical question.

It's because I'm on my travels. Not as I write this, but as you read it. I'll be in Michigan when this is published, a couple of days into my Macbeth tour. I've no idea when I'm away if I'll have either the time or the inclination to write blog posts. So I write them all before I leave. Enough to have me covered until a couple of days after I return. Having a theme saves me the trouble of thinking up post ideas.

Lots more lovely Milk Stouts. Though they're still a bit all over the shop, varying in OG from 1036º to 1066º. Which is pretty much identical to the last set. Except top dog this time is William Younger. I published a recipe for 1939 William Younger Btlg DBS and remarked it didn't look like the usual idea of a Milk Stout. I'm heartened to see that it clearly was marketed as a Milk Stout, because it's a perfect match for the two examples in the table.

You can see that the gravity of Mackeson has fallen a little, from 1060º in 1929 to 1056º in 1939. While at the same time the FG has risen from 1020º to 1025º, reducing the attenuation from 66% to 55%. The conclusion must be that it was becoming sweeter. The ABV also dropped from 5.2% to 4%. I don't think I would have appreciated that.

The most significant change is in the average rate of attenution, which has fallen from 64% to 61%. It looks to me as if Milk Stout in general was getting sweeter. Something I suspect will be confirmed when we look at Milk Stouts during and after WW II. There's another couple of posts mapped out.

Milk Stout 1938 - 1939
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1938 Barclay Perkins Milk Stout 6 1048.6 1019.2 3.79 60.49% 325
1938 Bernard Milk Stout 9 1057 1013.6 5.65 76.14% 320
1938 Birkenhead Brewery Milk Stout 1057.9 1020.9 4.78 63.90% 320
1938 Brickwoods Milk Stout 10 1052.6 1016.2 4.72 69.20% 330
1938 Fullers Milk Stout 8 1045.5 1020.4 3.23 55.16%
1938 Gilmour Milk Stout 9 1047.4 1014.5 4.26 69.41%
1938 Hydes Milk Stout 9 1052.4 1016.5 4.65 68.51% 225
1938 John Smith Milk Stout 1047.9 1016 4.13 66.60%
1938 Mackeson Milk Stout 1056.5 1025.5 3.99 54.87%
1938 Mackeson Milk Stout 1058.25 1026.75 4.05 54.08%
1938 Richdale, John Milk Stout 9 1045.1 1017.2 3.60 61.86% 320
1938 Stone, Wm. Milk Stout 1055.4 1027.6 3.57 50.18%
1938 Truman Milk Stout 1047.1 1021 3.36 55.41%
1938 Watney Milk Stout 9.5 1048.6 1020.2 3.66 58.44%
1938 Watney Milk Stout 10 1050.5 1025.3 3.23 49.90% 175
1939 Barclay Perkins Milk Stout 9 1049.2 1020.2 3.74 58.94% 320
1939 Calder Alloa Milk Stout 10 1052.5 1021 4.06 60.00%
1939 Kemp Town Milk Stout 9 1046.8 1015.7 4.02 66.45% 200
1939 Leicester Brewing & Malting Co. Milk Stout 11 1040.3 1011.5 3.73 71.46% 200
1939 Lovibond Milk Stout 1051.9 1019.4 4.20 62.62% 425
1939 Mackeson Milk Stout 12 1056 1025 3.99 55.36%
1939 Ridley Milk Stout 1049.2 1020.2 3.74 58.94% 330
1939 Tamplin Milk Stout 1036 1011.5 3.17 68.06% 225
1939 Taylor Walker Milk Stout 10 1061.1 1031 3.86 49.26% 800
1939 Truman Milk Stout 9.5 1047.7 1022 3.31 53.88% 250
1939 Truman Milk Stout 9.5 1045.7 1020.1 3.30 56.02% 275
1939 Warwick & Richardson Milk Stout 1052.4 1021.2 4.02 59.54% 300
1939 Watney Milk Stout 10 1050.3 1024.5 3.31 51.29% 175
1939 Wm. Younger Milk Stout (Monk Export Brand) 1065.8 1023.9 5.42 63.68% 500
1939 Wm. Younger Milk Stout 12 1065.5 1019 6.04 70.99%
Average 9.6 1051.4 1020.2 4.02 60.70% 316.6
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Let's Brew - July 1917 Magee Marshall Government Ale

What joy! I’m able to bring you another luverly, watery Government Ale. Courtesy of Edd Mather, who has taken a look at the Magee Marshall brewing records.

It got me dead excited when I learned about that. Because Magee Marshall was a prominent brewery in Bolton and is mentioned by name in The Pub and the People, the brilliant Mass Observation book about working-class pub culture in the North of England.

July 1917 is a very significant date because that’s when the first restrictions on beer gravity were introduced. Half of the beer a brewery produced had to be below 1036º. But, on the other hand, the price of this beer was controlled. It retailed for a maximum of 4d per pint in the public bar. Brewers and drinkers alike took to calling such beer Government Ale. Which didn’t go down well with the government, which eventually banned the use of the name.

Most brewers produced a (for the day) low-gravity Mild as their Government Ale. It made sense, as Mild was the biggest seller for most breweries. Initially, these beers were much like modern Mild Ales. But as the UK’s grain supply became more and more stretched, new restrictions turned it into a non-intoxicating drink. Some were as weak as 1.1% ABV. Not really beer at all.

Magee’s Government Ale wasn’t a complicated beer. Just pale malt and sugar. Which begs the question: what colour was it? Probably not that dark, though it’s hard to know for sure. It could have been coloured with caramel.

Unsurprisingly, the hops are all English. By this phase of the war pretty much no foreign hops were being used.

Edd sent me the recipe in a rather different format from the one I usually use. So I’ve included both his and my formats.

July 1917 Magee`s Government Ale
pale malt 7.00 lb 93.33%
cane sugar 0.50 lb 6.67%
Fuggles105 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.125 oz
OG 1034.5
FG 1009.5
ABV 3.31
Apparent attenuation 72.46%
IBU 32
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 163º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

July 1917 Magee`s Government Ale
OG 1034.5
FG 1009.5
ABV  3.40%
Malt ;
Maris Otter 93%
Cane Sugar 7%
Hops ; IBU
East Kents 17
Bramling X 14
Dry Hop (east kents) 1 oz per barrel
Boil :  1.75 Hours
Mash Directions
Strike Temp: 73º C
Mash Temp: 64º C
Mash Length: 1.75 Hours
Sparge Temp (START AT 1.75 HRS): 73º C
fermentation temperature 16-18º C

Friday, 21 April 2017

Milk Stout 1925 - 1937

I should temporarily change title of the blog to The Milk Stout Story". Don't worry. I'm nowhere near finished with the topic.

I've dove into my collection of Gravity Book analyses to spear all the Milk Stout examples. And there are quite a few. All I can say is: what a diverse bunch.

For a start, the gravities are all over the shop. As you can see, the original, Mackeson, had a very respectable OG of 1060º in 1929. To put that into perspective, Guinness Extra Stout was around 1055º between the wars. The examples in the table vary from 1036º to 1066º. Though admittedly the high one is a Belgian example from Lamot. Though, at 1064º the strongest UK-brewed dexample isn't that far behind. The overall average of 1053º is probably about the same as the average for all Stouts.

Some of the rates of attenuation surprised me by how high they were. I wouldn't expect a Milk Stout, with all that unfermentable lactose to get higher than 65% apparent attenuation. Yet there are a few pushing 80%. Not sure how they achieved that, unless the quantity of lactose used was quite small. At the other end, there are a few at 50% attenuation of less. Which is more like you would expect. The overall average of 64% is higher than I would have guessed.
Note that the price per pint didn't always necessarily reflect the strength of the beer. At a time when beer strengths weren't gerneally known, it was relatively easy for a brewer to overprice a beer.

What I see is typical of fairly new styles. initially, different brewers interpretations vary considerably in strength and character, but eventually settle into a similar pattern. We'll see if that's true as I slowly creep through the decades.

Milk Stout 1925 - 1937
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1925 Simonds Milk Stout 11 1062.1
1927 Ashton Gate Brewery Milk Stout 9 1052.4 1015.7 4.76 70.04%
1928 Simonds Milk Stout 10 1058.7 1017.5 5.35 70.19%
1929 Mackeson Milk Stout 10 1060.4 1020.4 5.18 66.23%
1930 Beer & Rigden Milk Stout 1054.4 1027.1 3.50 50.18%
1931 Calder Milk Stout 1059 1023 4.65 61.02%
1931 Fremlin Milk Stout 10 1047.5 1019.9 3.56 58.11%
1932 Carter, Milner & Bird Milk Stout 11 1044.2 1013.4 3.99 69.68%
1933 Murray Milk Stout 1036 1018 2.31 50.00%
1933 Simonds Milk Stout 10 1049 1018.5 3.94 62.24%
1934 Fremlin Milk Stout 8 1048.7 1020.4 3.65 58.11%
1934 Woodhead Milk Stout 8 1041.6 1016.3 3.26 60.82%
1935 Allsopp Milk Stout 9 1049.3 1013.8 4.61 72.01%
1935 Ansell Milk Stout 11 1060.7 1018.1 5.53 70.18%
1935 Fremlin Milk Stout 8 1048.8 1020.2 3.69 58.61%
1935 Lamot Milk Stout 1065.7 1016.9 6.35 74.28%
1935 Mann Milk Stout 10 1044.6 1022.9 2.79 48.65%
1935 Simonds Milk Stout 10 1048.4 1014.3 4.42 70.45%
1935 Simonds Milk Stout 10 1055 1018.3 4.75 66.73%
1936 McEwan Milk Stout 12 1064.4 1013.1 6.70 79.66%
1936 Wm. Younger Milk Stout 10.5 1063 1014.7 6.30 76.67%
1937 Allsopp Milk Stout 12 1050.3 1014.5 4.64 71.17%
1937 Ansell Milk Stout 12 1060.8 1018.1 5.54 70.23%
1937 Calder Alloa Milk Stout 1055.75 1022.25 4.32 60.09%
1937 Mackeson Milk Stout 1057 1024.5 4.19 57.02%
1937 Mann Milk Stout 9 1043.8 1023.8 2.56 45.66%
1937 Marston Milk Stout 9 1045.8 1010 4.66 78.17%
1937 Murray Milk Stout 6 1044.8 1019.2 3.30 57.14%
1937 Seed, Richard Milk Stout 11 1052.9 1011.3 5.42 78.64%
1937 Wenlock Milk Stout 8 1053.5 1025.9 3.55 51.59%
Average 9.8 1052.6 1018.3 4.39 64.26%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Younger, Wm. & Co Gravity Book document WY/6/1/1/19 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Macbeth comes to Manchester (part two)

Beer Nouveau as an easy stroll from our hotel. All we need to do is follow the railway line running from Manchester Piccadilly.

It takes us along the ironically named Temperance Street. Which is Beer Nouveau’s official address. As we’re walking down the, to be perfectly honest, rather desolate street, I hear someone call ”Ron” behind me.

It’s Matt Thompson, a fellow blogger who will be attending the event*. He gets me to pose below a Temperance Street sign. I can’t imagine why.

When we arrive at the brewery, there are already a few people there, sampling the historic beers that have been brewed for the occasion. It’s more Shilling Ales, though not the same ones as in Macclesfield.

Steve Dunkley, the man in charge at Beer Nouveau, quickly puts a beer in my hand. Steve has been doing some interesting things with wooden casks. Putting beer in them, mostly, which I guess doesn’t sound that interesting. But it is when you have exactly the same beer served from a plastic cask using a beer engine and by gravity from a wooden cask. I wouldn’t have believed what a difference it could make, had I not experienced it myself.

I’m pleased to say that a few brewers have taken an interest in oak casks. Definitely something to watch out for. Who said SPBW was irrelevant?

I’ve time for a few beers while I wait for the final stragglers to show up. Which I’m not going to complain about. That was, after all, one of the points of setting this whole trip up: getting to drink beers from historic recipes. How else would I get the chance?

Happily there’s a projector for me this time. Makes life much easier. I positively rattle through the talk, finishing in just 2 hours 45 minutes. That’s a full 15 minutes quicker than yesterday. Maybe some editingis needed before I take it to the US later in the month.

We have a few more drinks when I’m done talking before trailing back to our hotel. I finish off more of bottles that I’ve acquired. Can’t take them on the plane is my excuse.

* You can read Matt’s account of the event here:

Beer Nouveau
Temperance Street Brewery
75 North Western Street,
Manchester, M12 6DY.

Buy my new Scottish book.