Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Einbecker Project

Homebrewers, in my experience, are a curious bunch. Always engaging in seemingly odd experiments with their beer, whether it be aging it on white grapes, messing about with hop varieties or trying to prove a point. Mrs V often laments that I seem to be incapable of just settling on a recipe and brewing it time after time for consistency and reliability, a tweak here, a tweak there and so it goes.

My particular experimental side veers toward the historical. I have always loved history, much to the chagrin of my school geography teacher who seemed baffled that having got top grades in geography, I chose to study history for my Standard Grades and Highers (for those not familiar with the Scottish education system, that's kind of GCSE and A-Levels, kind of). My interest in beer history is thus only natural, and was a driver in the upcoming recreation of a milk stout for the International Homebrew Project. However, I have another historical homebrew project that I am playing around with.

Think bock and you immediately think stronger than average lager from southern Germany. Take a step back from there are you find a warm fermented beer from the town of Einbeck in modern Lower Saxony, in the north of Germany. I am sure you know that I am a Germanophile, what perhaps you don't know is that back in the 18th century my father's ancestors came from the kingdom of Hanover, which largely corresponds to modern Lower Saxony and was, at the time, in personal union with the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Reading Designing Great Beers one Saturday afternoon, as I am wont to do, I decided that I would try to recreate something approaching the original Einbecker bier.

Apparently the original was:
  • 2/3 malted barley, 1/3 malted wheat
  • highly hopped
  • warm fermented (sorry but using the term "ale" for a German beer just sounds wrong)
Now, I will be honest and say that I am in the process of my research, and I am not sure yet how Einbecker bier would relate to some older North German beer styles such as Mumme and Broyhan, but that is the joy of loving history - learning these things. So if you can add to or correct anything I have said so far, please do.

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