Sunday, October 29, 2017

More German Beer Talk (Part Two of a Series)

Okay, where was I?  Oh, yes; getting to the 'hands-on' part of period German beer brewing.

Obviously, to do 'hands-on' brewing in a period style, we need to know what period-style brewing looks like.  Enter Johannes Coler, with his Oeconomia oder Haussbuch.  Published in 1599 in Berlin, this was actually Coler's father's work; the old man was on his deathbed, and Coler took it up on himself to put it out there.  Volume 2 of the work is On Beer.  And scanning down to chapter ten gives us a step-by-step process!

Fourteen steps for beer, going from raw grain to tapping the cask.  Herewith, part 1:

Das X. Capitel.
Vom Brewen.
Wiewol ich droben gesagt/dz die weise zu brewen in einem jedern Lande und ort von den Einwonern mus gelernet werden/So wil ich doch hier anzeigen/was wir allhier zu Berlin für eine art zu brewen haben. 1. Schütt man die Gerste in eine Butte/und lefft sie drey Tage und Nacht drinnen weychen/im Winter auch wol viere. 2. Schütt mans auff einen Söller oder Pühne uber einen hauffen/biß es beginnet zu keimen oder zu schiessen. 3. Rüret mans immer ein wenig und aber ein wenig von einander/biß es an den spitzen fein lödicht wird. 4. Wenns genug geschossen oder gewaschen/so bringet mans fein weit von einander/und treugets/entweder in einer Stuben/oder in der Sonnen/oder in einem Dörrofen.

The translation -
Chapter 10.
On Brewing.
As I said above/the wise must learn to brew in any one country and place from the residents/so I want to show here/what kind of brew we have here in Berlin. 1. Put the barley into a butt/and leave it for three days and nights/in Winter four is as well. 2. Put it in a pile or a heap/until it begins to germinate or shoot. 3. One always stirs it a little, but separates a little from another/until it has at the point a made a fine sprout. 4. When it is sufficiently shot or washed/so one brushes the fine parts far from it/and dries it/either in a stove-room/or in the sun/or in a drying-oven.

Commentary: So, we're looking here at a Berlin-beer. This is pretty much the basics of barley malting. The "drying in the sun" part is of interest--that would be "wind-malt," which would certainly be very lightly-colored; most reports I've seen also describe it as being a little "grassy." The Stuben/stove-room notion sounds interesting. I've got a wood stove in my living room, with space beneath it; I may have to try drying some in a tray there, this winter. A medieval German Dorrofen would be an interesting thing to see. (I've got another book that describes some of the specifics of building a malt kiln, but that's for a later post.)

Next up: Mashing!

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