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Guide to Lost German Beer Styles

Jeff Allworth, in an article on his Beervana blog, parses a few ambiguous and lost beer styles from Germany. Pivo.by publishes a translation of the material.

In the last two to three years, breweries have begun to take a strategic approach to production. Instead of releasing pinpoint innovations, they create entire “lines” and release a release schedule for the year ahead. As a rule, they are more informative for the production team, distributors and retail partners. However, from time to time, something interesting appears in them. When the Zoiglhaus brewery published its calendar, it found a place for a new line of beer for the brewery – Heritage (in the image it is highlighted with a red arrow):

Some of these beer styles are better known than others. Lichtenheiner, for example, was mentioned in the Beer Bible:

“Lichtenheiner, another smoked ale, remains the most obscure. This is a cross between a Grodzis beer and a Berliner Weiss, and the last time this style of beer was brewed in 1983. In the Lichtenheiner, prepared barley was responsible for the smoked meats in taste. The description of the beer sounds very attractive: “It has a high attenuation and carbonization, a clean taste and is considered a“ special “beer”. ”

The Doppelsticke style also does not look unfamiliar – it is a stronger version of the altbier. The Uerige Brewery in Düsseldorf tried to do everything possible to make Americans aware of it. Other beer styles from this calendar look less clear.

Steinbier is a rather strange and old style. In its production, highly heated stones are used, which are added directly to the wort in order to affect the saccharification temperature. Michael Jackson in his six-episode television show “The Beer Hunter”, which was released in 1989, showed how the process of producing such beer takes place. In the fourth episode, he visited the German brewery Rauchenfels, which revived the tradition of using heated stones in the production process in 1983 and for several years produced beer in the style of Steinbier.

What about the rest of the styles from the calendar? Curiosity prevailed, and I asked Zoiglhaus brewer Alan Taylor to tell me a little more about the line in general and about each of these releases in particular.

Background
As you may know, Taylor studied brewing at VLB University in Berlin. This can be called a fluke, because Berlin is located in the north of the country, where exotic beer experiments were conducted. (Camp beer has been produced in Bavaria for centuries. This is where the Doemens and Weinstefan breweries trained their future brewers).

The VLB library is a repository of information about old styles of beer. When Taylor was there, he copied a large number of specialized materials. He held his hand at a height of 10 cm above the table, showing the thickness of the papers that he managed to get. (An interesting fact: the Soviet authorities actually looted the VLB library, but the old brewers donated private copies of the books to restore it). If Taylor went to study in Weinstefan, his interest in potato beer would probably never have sparked.

Rotbier
The name, pronounced “rotbier”, means “red beer”. It is most closely associated with Nuremberg, where, apparently, it has been produced since the 16th century. But it was also produced in the north, in the city of Hamburg. It was with the heritage of this city that Taylor was more familiar. It seems that this is not so much a style as a description, which does not have so many specific recommendations for production. But who does not like beautiful red beer? An interpretation of the style from Taylor – a lager with a certain mixture of malts. His version was a bit sweet, with caramel notes and quite full-bodied. Alan plans to tweak the recipe a bit to make the beer drier. It is curious that there are not so many varieties in this style on the market, so perhaps its version will set a peculiar trend.

Kartoffelbier
The most interesting, in my opinion, style from the entire line is kartoffelbier, which is made from potatoes. When we encounter such “oddities” in history, we often forget to make corrections for the time. What taste does potato bring to beer and what did the brewers of the past know that was inaccessible to us? It must be understood that at that time life was quite difficult, poverty and hunger were commonplace. Surely, this beer arose spontaneously, in the process of improvisation. Take the same scar. No one eats it in times of plenty. Half of our traditional recipes were created by chefs working with the products that they had. Potato was a source of cheap starch, so it was decided to add it to the mash vat.

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