Since the weekend I've been spending the few free moments I have looking through Heineken Rotterdam brewing records. Interesting stuff, once you learn what everything means. I've just about got most of it sussed.
My son Andrew has been a great help. "How can that be?" I hear you ask. Easy. he can read the handwriting much better than me. It's an odd thing, handwriting. British handwriting has changed considerably since even as recently as the 1950's. I know, because I've struggled over documents as recent as that. Dutch handwriting is the same now as in 1911. Andrew can read without any problems. I knew the kids would come in useful eventually.
Fisons and Winter. They're the base malts that come up most often in the Heineken records (1911, 1928 and 1930 I've looked at so far). Is that the name of the supplier or the type of malt? It needs more research.
Lager base malts. Nowadays it's mostly pilsner malt. Darker lagers just have a small quantity of darker malt or sinamar added. In Germany, at least. They have their Reinheitsgebot. Where the rules are less fussy, it's likely to be caramel that's added for colouring. (If you're interested, Heineken used both in its dark lagers 1911-1931.)
I've read conflicting reports of 19th century practice. In the very informative section on Thick Mash Beers in Germany and Austria"American Handy Book of Brewing , Malting and Auxiliary Trades" (Wahl & Henius, Chicago 1902, P.780-792). it says that Vienna lagers were brewed from 100% Vienna malt, Munich lagers from 100% Munich malt. That struck me as odd when I first read it. British brewers had swapped to using pale malt as the base for all beers, no matter what their colour, around 100 years earlier. Their motivation was simple: cost. Yet here were lager brewers still using the uneconomic older method. Why?
More recently I found a much earlier German text, "Lehrbuch der rationellen Praxis der landwirthschaftlichen Gewerbe" (Friedrich Julius Otto, 1838) which says something completely different, but much more logical. That all beers (including lagers) were brewed with a base of pale malt and used small amounts of dark malts for colouring.
Which do you think is correct?
Gasthaus Tschigg - *A tavern on the mountainside above Marling/Marlengo in the Südtirol/Alto Adige. *The photos tell you all you need to know. It was my lunch stop on a hike ...
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