Thursday, 6 September 2007

Pripps beers 1863-1923 (part two)

I've had such an overwhelming response to yesterday's post about Pripps that I've decided to expand upon it. "Yes, yes" I hear you say "tell us more about beer styles in late 19th century Sweden." OK then. If you insist.

Here are a few important dates:

  • 1844 first bottom-fermenting beer (Munich-style dark lager) brewed by Åkershult in Stockholm
  • 1846 first bottom-fermenting beer (Munich-style dark lager) brewed by Jacobsen (Carlsberg) in Copenhagen
  • 1846 first bottom-fermenting beer (Munich-style dark lager) brewed by Schous in Kristiania (Norway)
  • 1862 Pripps first brew bottom-fermenting beer (Munich-style dark lager)
  • 1876 Pripps stop brewing Engelskt (English-style) beer
  • 1877 first Pils in Sweden brewed by Hamburgerbryggeriet in Stockholm
  • 1884 Pripps first brew Pils
  • 1892 Pripps stop brewing Svenskt (Swedish-style) beer
You'll see that Sweden (and Denmark and Norway) were very early to start bottom-fermenting. Before most of northern Germany, in fact. The availability of natural ice, very important before the development of artificial refrigeration, must have helped. You may be surprised to see how long only dark lager was brewed. This pattern was repeated across Europe. Pale lagers, inspired by those of Pilsen, weren't really brewed outside Bohemia before 1880.

Hopping rates
On page 104 of "Pripps Bryggeri 1828-1928" there's information about hopping levels in the 1860's and 1870's. I want to share it with you. (I don't really. I want to make sure I don't lose the information and here seems a good place to put it. I've told you about my desk; any sheet of paper I put there soon gets swallowed up in the ocean of other crap.)

Svenskt öl 0.3 kg (later 0.6 kg) hops per 100 kg malt
Engelskt öl 0.8 - 0.9 kg hops per 100 kg malt
Bayerskt öl 1.8 kg hops per 100 kg malt

To provide a comparison, these are the hopping rates for Barclay Perkins ales in 1869:

X (the weakest Mild) 2 kg hops per 100 kg malt
XX 3.25 kg hops per 100 kg malt
XXX 3.75 kg hops per 100 kg malt
KK 4.5 kg hops per 100 kg malt

It makes you wonder exactly what the Pripps "English-style" beers were with such woefully low hopping rates. The Barclay Perkins Ales quoted are the most lightly-hopped they were making. Even the bottom of the range Mild was twice as heavily-hopped as the Swedish Engelskt öl.

If you're thinking "how can he compare the hopping rates beers that may be of different strengths?" I have an answer. Because the amount of hops is specified per 100 kg of grain and not per 100 litres of wort, the strength of the beer is irrelevant.

Here's a joke before I go. What do you call a man with a bird on his head? . . . . Duck.

I think that was it. I'm not very good at remembering jokes. Or making them up. There is a joke with duck as its punchline, I'm sure. Let me know if you can recall it.


Knut Albert said...

It may sound funny now, but ice was actually a major export article for Norway until electricity came along and ruined everything.

GenX at 40 said...

On an entire side note, the ice man was also the bootlegger in the town I lived in. During prohibition, all summer long the insulated warehouse that lake ice was stored in had a stash of illegal booze in the centre. I met the town's bootlegger from that era in the 80s when I was a kid mowing lawns at the seniors citizen's complex and he was an only happy and rather well respected guy in his 80s.

A Good Beer Blog

Ron Pattinson said...

Knut, I remember vaguely a story about icebergs being towed south for ice. Id that true?

Great story, Alan. I love tales that add a human dimension. In which town was it?

GenX at 40 said...

As you might have guessed - Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Ron Pattinson said...

Exactly when did they have prohibition in Nova Scotia?

It's funny, people still regularly discuss the impact of prohibition on modern American beer, yet I've never once seen it mentioned in relation to Canada.

Knut Albert said...

I know there have been schemes for towing icebergs south, but I don't think it has been done commercially. No, it was more lake ice from Noray, ideally lakes close to major ports that traded with England.

Ron Pattinson said...

I'm sure lack of sufficient natural ice was a factor in Britain's late conversion to bottom-fermentation. Buying in sufficient quantities from Norway wouldn't have been very economic for large breweries like those in London.