Sunday, 22 October 2017

Amstel Bock

You may have heard me mention Amstel Bock before. It's a beer I've a really soft spot for.

It dates back to ten tears or more back, when a couple of years I tried to taste all the Dutch Bokbiers blind. Amstel's stood out as a really good example of the traditional style. Which had resisted the trend towards sweetening. It's also dirt cheap. Especially when on special offer. I get through a crate or two every season.

I noticed something odd last week. I had a few empties on the floor and I noticed there were two different label designs.

See:


Checking back, I can see that the lower design was used in 2015 and 2016. My immediatte fear was that they were selling last year's beer. But a look at the sellby dates demonstrated that wasn't the case. Both say May 2018.

Obviously they've changed the design this year, but still had some of the old labels, so they've used them up. That's frugal for you. What must a label be costing them? A cent? Probably not even that.

The beer's lovely no matter what the label.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Let's Brew 1913 Adnams Tally Ho

We've reached the 20th century the Tally Ho recipe has got a good bit more complicated.

In many ways, this is a typical 20th-century recipe. The grist is a combination of mild malt, pale malt, crystal malt, flaked maize and sugar. It could just as easily be a Mild recipe or even, without the caramel, a Pale Ale recipe.

The hopping, on the other hand, is more interesting. It’s a mixture of Oregon, Worcester and Saaz hops. This sort of international hopping mostly disappeared with WW I. Not because of any dissatisfaction with foreign hops, but for the simple reason that the UK no longer needed to import large quantities of hops. After 1850, this had been a necessity, with demand from brewing far outstripping what the UK could grow. All in the amount of beer brewed and a big reduction in its strength left the UK almost self-sufficient in hops.

The sugar content, at 15% quite high, is I assume to stop the body getting too heavy. Brewed all-malt, a beer like this would be pretty chewy. It’s ironic that often it was the more expensive beers which contained the greatest proportion of sugar.

This beer is very heavily dry hopped, with a combination of Saaz and Worcester hops. I’ve assumed that the latter were Fuggles.


1913 Adnams Tally Ho
mild malt 8.00 lb 47.41%
pale malt 4.75 lb 28.15%
crystal malt 60 L 0.75 lb 4.44%
flaked maize 0.75 lb 4.44%
no. 1 sugar 2.50 lb 14.81%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.13 lb 0.74%
Cluster 120 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.25 oz
Saaz 30 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles dry hops 1.00 oz
Saaz dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1081
FG 1025
ABV 7.41
Apparent attenuation 69.14%
IBU 57
SRM 18
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold

Friday, 20 October 2017

Chile preview

I've been a good boy whilst away. Writing stuff up as I go. Here's a preview of my birthday day.

Is it already 5 days I've been here?

I rise late. Fuck it. I've been up at 7:45 every day. And spent 8 hours judging beers. Not drinking. You actually drink bugger all while judging. Well, most people do. When I get one I like, I finish the bastard off. It's only going to get thrown down the sink otherwise.

It's noon by the time I troll up. Kristen has already started his talk on Stout. He notices me walk in and does his best to embarrass me. "We thought you might be dead."

He flicks back to a slide with a picture of me with an eye patch photoshopped on. The gets everyone to sing happy birthday. It is my birthday, but it's still pretty weird. At least I have a beer in my hand. A very nice mosaic IPA. Things could be worse.

I'm tempted to shout comments out a couple of times, but manage to restrain myself. I'm talking later. And I know what a vindictive bastard Kristen is.

Random Dutch beers (part 52)

I've not made much of a dent in the Bok pile Dolores provided for me. time to put that right.

Starting off with the standard Heineken offering.


Heineken Tarwebok, 6.5% ABV
Heineken used to brew a traditional barley Bok, but 15-20 years ago changed to a wheat Bok. The first couple of iterations were pretty good. Tyhen they sweetened it, in an attempt to adapt to preceived customer demand. Can't say I've liked it since. It smells OK: caramel, liquorice type thing. But it's so sweet in the mouth I can feel my teeth dissolving. Not going to be able to finish this. Might go well in the gravy, though.

"Do you want to try my beer, Lexie?"

"Nah."

I don't feel like pushing it.

"Do you want to try my beer, Dolores?"

"OK. That's quite nice . . .. uggh. That's so sweet. It tastes like caramel. It might go well in the sauce."

"That's what I thought."

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Deutscher Porter

I was most surprised when I discovered that Porter was brewed in the DDR. Excited, too, when I got to drink some.

While you couldn't find it in every corner shop, it was brewed in small quantities by a large number of breweries. Which is sort of what I'm trying to prove here.

These are just the labels I own. I've seen lots of others from different breweries. There must have been at least 25-30 producing it in the DDR. As far as I'm aware, it was usually top-fermented. I wonder why they all disappeared after reunification?












Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Let's Brew - 1890 Adnams Tally Ho

There’s a bit of a gap between my first two examples of Tally Ho. A little more than ten years. And there have been a few changes to the beer in the meantime.

The brewing records have also got more detailed. Thankfully. Though they still aren’t perfect. It’s still pretty vague about the type of sugar used and there’s something simply called colour. I’m guessing that’s a type of caramel. And this time I’ve gone for No. 3 invert sugar. For no particular reason other than that I think this beer is darkish.

At least there are more details about the hops. They’re from Worcester, Kent and Burgundy. To be honest, I’ve no idea what type of hops came from the latter. And, as the amount of them was quite small, just 15 of the 105 pounds, I’ve gone for 100% Fuggles. But Goldings or a combination of Goldings and Fuggles would be fine, too.

The gravity has dropped a few points, but not a huge amount. No FG is specified, so that’s a guess again. Based on the first FG that I have for Tally Ho, which is from 1913. That’s the beer we’ll be looking at next.


1890 Adnams Tally Ho
pale malt 12.50 lb 75.35%
No. 3 invert sugar 4.00 lb 24.11%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.09 lb 0.54%
Fuggles 120 mins 3.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 3.00 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 3.00 oz
OG 1086
FG 1026
ABV 7.94
Apparent attenuation 69.77%
IBU 84
SRM 25
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 175º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 57º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Magdeburg

I got around a fair bit in the DDR. I went to most of the major cities: Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Erfurt and Halle. And lots of not so big ones, though those were mostly limited to Thuringia.

The one big city I never visited - and have still never been to - was Magdeburg. Not unless you count passing through it on a train. Which is as close as I ever got. The train didn't even stop, as it was travelling from West Germany to West Berlin. No chance of getting off until Bahnhof Zoo.

I never even drank any beer from a brewery there. Which is a shame as I really like some of the labels.




















Monday, 16 October 2017

Other Bavarian wheat beers in 2014

I’m not quite done with Bavarian wheat beers. Because there are still a couple of types I haven’t covered yet. And if nothing else, I’m a completist.

The first is a fairly recent development, Leicht Hefeweizen. Over the last decade or two lower-gravity versions of a few styles have appeared. And Weizen is no exception.

For the most, these are beers that would have been legal in the days when there was hole between 9º and 11º Plato. All but one of the beers fits into the old Schankbier category, which had a maximum OG of 8º Plato. At one time, pretty much all the Schankbier brewed was in the form of Berliner Weisse.

The one exception is the Göller beer, which at 9.5º is smack in the middle of the old forbidden zone.

Interestingly, the average rate of attenuation is a bit less than for the full-strength versions. I would have guessed the opposite.

Bavarian Leicht Hefeweizen in 2014
Brewer Town Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Göller Zeil am Main Leichte Weisse 9.5 1037.8 1009.3 3.70 75.39%
Püls-bräu Stadtsteinach Weismainer Leichte Weisse 7.8 1030.8 1008.4 2.90 72.75%
Paulaner Munich Hefe-Weißbier Leicht 7.7 1030.4 1005.8 3.20 80.93%
Hacker-Pschorr Munich Leichte Weisse 7.7 1030.4 1005.8 3.20 80.93%
Kitzmann-Bräu Erlangen leichtes Weißbier 7.7 1030.4 1008 2.90 73.70%
Privatbrauerei Kesselring Marktsteft Steffen Leicht 7.6 1030.0 1007.6 2.90 74.67%
Pyraser Landbrauerei Thalmässing Federleichte Weiße 7.2 1028.4 1006.8 2.80 76.04%
Brauerei Hermann Sigwart Weißenburg Leichte Weiße 6.8 1026.8 1005.2 2.80 80.57%
Average 7.8 1030.6 1007.1 3.05 76.87%
Sources:
The relevant brewery websites


The final type of Weissbier is a much older one. And rather under threat. Once this was the most popular type of Bavarian Weissbier, but fashion has turned against it and the version with yeast rules.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been a big fan. I prefer the ramped up spiciness of Hefeweizen. Kristall Weizen has always struck me as rather bland.

Here are the numbers:

Bavarian Kristall Weizen in 2014
Brewer Town Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Paulaner Munich Weißbier Kristallklar 11.8 1047.4 1007.5 5.20 84.17%
Weihenstephan Freising Kristall Weisbier 12.7 1051.2 1009.7 5.40 81.04%
Privatbrauerei Kesselring Marktsteft Kristall Weizen 12 1048.2 1007.6 5.30 84.24%
Distelhäuser  Tauberbischofsheim Kristall Weizen 12.5 1050.3 1008.9 5.40 82.31%
Kulmbacher Kulmbach Kristall Weisbier 12.7 1051.2 1009.7 5.40 81.04%
Average 12.3 1049.6 1008.7 5.34 82.56%
Sources:
The relevant brewery websites

It’s a small sample, but there does appear to be a significant difference with the yeast versions: the rate of attenuation. It’s three points higher. My guess would be it’s because it’s conditioned at the brewery for longer.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Erdinger beers in 2017

Someone asked after my recent series of posts on Bavarian Weizen: why no Erdinger?

I did contemplate being a smartarse and saying; "Because their beers are shit." But that isn't the real reason. Which is that I just hadn't looked up their website. I thought I'd put that right. And luckily they give both the OG and ABV on their website.

They brew quite a range of wheat beers, eight in all. Excluding the alcohol-free versions.

Most have a very high degree of attenuation, which must make them quite light in the mouth. The Urweiss is an amber-coloured version, in case you're wondering. There are a lot of beers around 12º Plato, which I guess is to be expected. German brewers still mostly stick to the old gravity bands. Habit, I guess.

There was one intersting point I noticed. The website also lists the ingredients. For the Dunkles and Pikantus in includes Röstmalzbier - roasted malt beer. Which I'm guessing is either Sinamar or something similar. Effectively it's a type of malt-based caramel. So no actula dark malts in the grist. I told you lots of this goes on in Germany.

Oh, and do you see what it says on the top of the label? Brewed according to the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot of 1516. Which is a downright fucking lie. The original law sys that beer can only be brewed from barley, hops and water. No mention of wheat.

Erdinger beers in 2017
Brewer Town Beer Style OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Erdinger Erding Weissbier Hefeweizen 12.60 1050.7 1010.1 5.30 80.19%
Erdinger Erding Urweisse Hefeweizen 11.90 1047.8 1010.1 4.90 78.87%
Erdinger Erding Dunkles Hefeweizen Dunkel 12.80 1051.6 1010.9 5.30 78.87%
Erdinger Erding Kristall Kristallweizen 12.50 1050.3 1009.7 5.30 80.82%
Erdinger Erding Pikantus Weizenbock 16.70 1068.3 1012.6 7.30 81.63%
Erdinger Erding Leicht Hefeweizen 7.90 1031.2 1009.6 2.80 69.26%
Erdinger Erding Sommerweiße Hefeweizen 11.30 1045.3 1009.9 4.60 78.13%
Erdinger Erding Schneeweiße Hefeweizen 12.90 1052.0 1009.1 5.60 82.50%
Source:
https://de.erdinger.de/biere

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Let's Brew - 1879 Adnams Tally Ho

I like it when I have a good long run of brewing records from a brewery. Because then you can see how a beer developed over time. Like Tally Ho.

Tally Ho is unusual in being a very early named beer. Very few beers were called anything other than [brewery name] [style of beer]. For example, Bass Pale Ale or Guinness Extra Stout. I’m trying to think of other examples of named beers. Things like Old Tom, I suppose. I think there might have been a few with names like that before 1900.

The first version of Tally Ho I found in Adnams records is a very simple beer. But the brewing record is also a bit light on detail. There’s nothing about boiling or mashing, so that’s just a guess based on later versions. I could be way off. Oh, and there’s no FG, either.

The ingredients aren’t explained in much more detail than the process. Malt, saccharine and hops is as far as the description goes. All in all, there’s a whole lot of guesswork going on. Pale malt is obvious enough for the malt, but what about the sugar? I doubt if it was pure sucrose, though it could have been. In the end I plumped for No. 2 invert.

As for hops, Goldings are a safe bet. It’s on the early side for Fuggles, but they’re also a possibility. They were being grown commercially in the 1870’s.

One thing there is no argument about: the very high percentage of sugar in the grist. A third is about as high as it gets.

Apologies for the vagueness of it all. It will improve as we progress through the years.


1879 Adnams Tally Ho
pale malt 11.00 lb 67.69%
No. 2 invert sugar 5.25 lb 32.31%
Goldings 120 mins 4.00 oz
Goldings 60 mins 4.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 4.00 oz
OG 1089
FG 1027
ABV 8.20
Apparent attenuation 69.66%
IBU 123
SRM 16
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 175º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold

Friday, 13 October 2017

Bavarian Dunkel Hefeweizen in 2014

It wasn’t just pale Hefeweizen that I caught in my sweep of Bavarian brewery websites. I also found quite a few dark versions.

It’s a sign of the increased popularity of Weissbier that there a many breweries that produce more than one variation. Sometimes a dark version. Which is a bit like black IPA. Because the name Weissbier is connected to the colour and not necessarily anything to do with wheat.

I can’t help wondering how these beers are coloured. It wouldn’t surprise me if some were just the brewery’s standard pale Weissbier with added Sinamar. Or maybe I’m being over cynical.

Though the fact that the averages for these beers and the pale versions are almost identical. Here are the lovely numbers:

Bavarian Dunkel Hefeweizen in 2014
Brewer Town Beer OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Weihenstephan Freising Hefeweissbier Dunkel 12.7 1051.16 1010.5 5.30 79.48%
Brauerei Kanone Löhr Schnaittach Weizen (dunkel) 12.8 1051.59 1013.9 4.90 73.15%
Arnsteiner Brauerei Seinsheim Ur-Weisse 12.7 1051.16 1012.7 5.00 75.18%
Kitzmann-Bräu Erlangen Dunkles Weißbier 12.6 1050.74 1007.9 5.60 84.53%
Klosterbrauerei Andechs Andechs Weissbier Dunkel 12.5 1050.32 1011.9 5.00 76.35%
Göller Zeil am Main Kaiser Heinrich Urweisse dunkel 12.5 1050.32 1010.4 5.20 79.43%
Distelhäuser  Tauberbischofsheim Dunkles Hefe-Weizen 12.5 1050.32 1008.9 5.40 82.31%
Brauerei Hermann Sigwart Weißenburg Dunkle Weiße 12.5 1050.32 1012.6 4.90 74.96%
Paulaner Munich Hefe-Weißbier Dunkel 12.4 1049.90 1009.2 5.30 81.56%
Hacker-Pschorr Munich Dunkle Weisse 12.4 1049.90 1009.2 5.30 81.56%
Brauhaus Leikeim Altenkunstadt Dunkle Weisse 12.3 1049.47 1008.1 5.40 83.63%
Pyraser Landbrauerei Thalmässing Angerwirts Weizen altfränkisch dunkel 12.3 1049.47 1008.8 5.30 82.21%
Privatbrauerei Kesselring Marktsteft Schlemmer Schwarz 12 1048.21 1007.6 5.30 84.24%
Average 12.5 1050.2 1010.1 5.22 79.89%
Sources:
The relevant brewery websites


And these are the averages for the pale ones:

OG Plato OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
12.5 1050.3 1010.1 5.24 79.96%

See what I mean? The averages are scarily similar.

Interestingly, no-one seems to make a Kristall Dunkles Weissbier. I wonder why that is?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Mühlhausen

Mühlhausen was an amazing place in the 1980's. A town that seemed almost untouched by the last 300 years.

It had a near-complete city wall and a near-complete old centre. Dolores's sister used to live in an amazing ancient house, with a weird galleried inner courtyard. Amazing, I guess, if you didn't have to live there as it was slowly crumbling into dust.

It also had three breweries, which, given its population of just 50,000, was also pretty amazing. My brother-in-law knew someone who worked in Turmquell and got me inside the brewery. Not exactly the most modern kit they had, but they brewed one outstanding beer, Pilsator. One of the best pale Lagers I've ever drunk. Sadly both it and the three breweries are all long gone.

But we can still gaze in awe at their labels.







Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Remember how it was

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores. Please don't.

It's a hollowed out shell. Empty of joints and pies.

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores.

The crumpets are all gone. There's only cheddar left.

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores.

The loose tea has vanished. I bought the last on Saturday.

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores.

The Mild is no more. Just one mark of civilisation left in Amsterdam.

Don't go to Marks again, Dolores.

Remember how it was.

Let’s Brew Wednesday - 1946 Barclay Perkins XX

You’re probably as relieved as I am that this interminable series of Barclay Perkins Mild recipes is now at an end. Unless I decide to do the 1947 one.

You might be surprised to see that, despite the war having been over for 12 months (this beer was brewed in August 1946), the OG has fallen by 4 points to just 1027.5º. Its gravity has dropped below what that of A, their cheap 4d a pint Mild, had been in 1935.

This OG is about as low as any UK beer would be. There was no point dropping the gravity below 1027º as the minimum duty on beer was charged at that rate. Though I should point out that the effective gravity of this beer was higher as the primings added at racking time were enough to increase it by 3º, making it really 1031.5º. But that’s still pretty damn watery.

As in WW I, the nadir came a year or two after the end of hostilities. The late 1940’s were difficult years in Britain. The war had come at a terrible financial cost. The pound wasn’t a hard currency and imports had to be paid for in dollars, which were in short supply. Which is why there hadn’t been a return to using flaked maize, which needed to be imported.

They must have been short of No. 3 invert, because the quantity has been changed from 9 to 5 quarters and 4 quarters of No. 1 have been added in red. Otherwise the grist is unchanged, consisting of mild malt, SA malt, crystal malt and amber malt. As usual, I’ve substituted more mild malt for the SA malt.

You’ll need to add extra caramel to get the colour right.


1946 Barclay Perkins XX
mild malt 4.25 lb 76.16%
amber malt 0.25 lb 4.48%
crystal malt 60 L 0.25 lb 4.48%
flaked barley 0.25 lb 4.48%
No. 1 invert sugar 0.25 lb 4.48%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.25 lb 4.48%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.08 lb 1.43%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1027.5
FG 1007.5
ABV 2.65
Apparent attenuation 72.73%
IBU 18
SRM 20
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale