Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Get Horner

The other day my good friend, and much missed drinking buddy, Evan Rail, posted about the 19th century Central European brewing texts which are available on Google Books.

One of the things that was mentioned in the books was Mozart's favoured tipple, Horner Bier. From what Evan mentioned in his post, and in the comments which follow, Horner Bier was pale, sour, effervescent, and made from oats. My initial thought was that it sounded remarkably like an oat based Berliner Weisse, and thus it turned out to be.

Horner Bier was described in 1816 as being "a white, unhoppy beer, similar to Hanoverian  Broyhan". That description is my own translation of the German text, and as with any translation there is room for debate, in particular around the German word "hopfenloses", which I have translated as "unhoppy" but might equally be translated as "hopless". Given that hops had achieved widespread acceptance in German brewing by the 14th century, I am assuming that hops were present, but not an important flavour factor, in this Viennese speciality. According to various guidelines, Berliner Weisse has an IBU rating in the single digits, which may attest to Horner Bier being unhoppy rather than hopless.

Being somewhat prone to experimenting with my homebrew, I have decided to attempt to create a Horner Bier. I do though have a major point that I need to resolve, was the beer made with 100% malted oats, or was there a portion of barley in there as well? Once that is decided, I am basically planning to take Berliner Weisse as my model, and create an oaten version thereof, with the follow characteristics:
  • OG - 1.032
  • FG - 1.004
  • ABV - 3.7%
  • IBU - 8
I am thinking at the moment to use a German Ale yeast for the primary fermentation and then inoculate it with lactobacillus delbrukii in secondary to get the sourness. But as I say, the only question I really have at the moment is the grist - any thoughts?

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