Thursday, 16 March 2017


Confusing, isn’t it, just how many different types of watery top-fermenting German styles there were?

Though this one does have a British equivalent. Which becomes obvious when you read the description of how it was brewed. That equivalent? Small Beer. Which is also a literal translation of one of the terms used for Enfachbier below, Kleinbier. Though even the smallest of Small Beer would have been more than 1% ABV.

(Scheps, Hansla, Erntebier).
Einfach- or Kleinbier is drunk in the warmer times of the year because it has a fairly high CO2 content in the bottle and so has a refreshing and thirst-quenching effect.

It is usually prepared by the method described for Jungbier, that is, after the first wort from the tun has been run off at a gravity of 10-11% the grains are sparged to obtain an Einfachbier of 5-7% Balling. - This light beer is then sold as "Weissbier", or, coloured with Couleur, as "Braunbier".

Analysis (on average): FG 1012; Turning v, 14 21; Alcohol 0.96%; apparent extract 3%, real extract. 3.43%; OG in Balling 5.36%; apparent attenuation 56%, real attenuation 44%.

Yeast pitching rate; 1 litre thick (yeast) yeast per Zentner [50 kg] of malt. Attenuation 40-50%.

Producing Klein- or Einfachbier in the above manner is now quite wrong; It is better to brew a special Einfachbier of 5-7% Balling single-gyle than to squeeze a heavier & a weaker beer from a single brew in the above way.

As a matter of fact, the yield is significantly higher if the Einfachbier is brewed single-gyle!

It is only allowed to use the return wort from the previous brew if brewing is continuous; it is best not to re-use it, however, and proper drainage of the grains is preferable. The former is not ideal, but the latter is!"
"Die Fabrikation obergäriger Biere in Praxis und Theorie" by Braumeister Grenell, 1907, page 64. (My translation.)

The first method described is, as you should know by now, combined grist brewing. Which was practised in the UK in the 18th century. Brewing a weaker beers from the later worts of a stronger brew was a common way of brewing Small Beer. But even back in the 1740’s, advice was that a better Small Beer was obtained by brewing it single-gyle.

I’m assuming that the alcohol figure in the analysis is ABW. It’s still pretty amazingly watery. Really more a carbonated drink than an alcoholic beverage. The crap rate of attenuation doesn’t help. I used to think the attenuation of late 19th-century Lagers was crap. It’s wonderful compared to most German top-fermenters.

With their love of caramel colouring, they sound rather like the Scots.

Here are a couple analyses of Einfachbier:

Einfachbier 1879 - 1884
Year Brewer Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity
1879 Remmer Einfach Braunbier Braunbier 1038.5 1016.4 2.85 57.40%
1884 Hannover, Städtisch Einfacher Broyhan Broyhan 1031.4 1022.5 1.03 27.67% 0.158
"Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel" by Joseph König, 1889, pages 806 - 851
Wahl & Henius, pages 823-830


Benedikt Rausch said...

I think the dark version is the predecessor of the Malzbier. Schönfeld is talking a lot about it in his book.
It is also called Nährbier in some regions and has quite a lot sugar left.
To produce it there is now a special yeast Saccharomyces Ludwigii it can only ferment Glucose, Fructose and Saccharose.
So it has quite a crapy attenuation ;)

A Brew Rat said...

I can picture myself not brewing this.