I'll own up. I'm not as organised as I should be. On Sunday I wanted to write about rice beer. There was one problem: the marker had fallen out of "Zeitschrift für das gesammte Brauwesen".
I have a very simple system of keeping track of interesting tidbits of information in my books - paper bookmarks. Just pieces fo scrap paper, sometimes colour coded, sometimes with a little text scribbled on them. (I hope I'm not boring you. Skip a couple of paragrapghs. It might get better.)
Just when I needed to look it up, the one marking the article on malt substitutes in the Brausteuer Gebiet had gone walkies. As a result, I spent much of Sunday morning flicking through "Zeitschrift für das gesammte Brauwesen" looking for it. In the process I stumbled across a couple of other things I would like to share with you. Yes, they are numbers. How did you guess?
Austrian beer production
One difficulty when looking at statistics from before WW I is the way national borders have been moved around in the hundred or so years since. Austria is particularly tricky. Which is what makes the production figures on page 210 of the 1894 edition of “Zeitschrift für das gesammte Brauwesen”: they are broken down by state. Much more useful. It means I can (relatively) easily remove what no longer belongs. Let's see: Bosnia, is that part of Austria? No, I don't think so. Bascially all I need to do is strip out the bits that have recently had a civil war and hey presto, modern Austria. Or at least close enough.
While I was about it, I though that I may as well include the figures for the modern Czech Republic (Böhmen and Mähren in the table). It makes for some interesting (odd use of that word yet again) comparisons. You'll see that in in 1893 more than half of the beer produced in Austria came from what is now the Czech Republic. In fact 45% came from Bohemia alone. Secondly, whilst beer production increased 46% in present-day Austria between 1893 and 2005, in the Czech Republic it has gone up by 118%. Fascinating stuff. I could hardly sleep on Sunday night.
Attenuation in British beers in the 1890s
The next one is slightly odd. Why were the Germans so interested in the attenuation of British beers? No idea, though the article had been translated from English.
The tables do give an idea of the characteristics of typical British beers of the 1890s. Note that the Milds are stronger than all the Light Bitters and most of the Bitters. Mild didn't mean meek in those days.
Much has been said about the sweetness of 19th century Mild. I can't see any evidence for it in these figures: there is no appreciable difference in the degree of attenuation between Mild and the Bitters, nor is there a greater proportion of fermentable material left in it. But maybe I'm just looking at it the wrong way. Let me know if you can see something different.
My new best friends at Ninkasi made sure I will be a welcome guest this day of thanks. And therefore thanks to them. - These arrived on my doorstep in a big, big box yesterday afternoon (accompanied by, I should note, a smaller box carrying two 12oz bottles of Widmer Brothe...
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