We are strange people, we all know. There are those who say that one day we will be arrested and no one will feel sorry, but there are also those who say that we wear a cape of heroes, for putting into practice ideas that didn’t even fit on paper (it’s possible that this second part is just us dreaming).
This is and will be what defines us: the focus on beer, on creativity, combining tradition with innovation, with stupidity. Too much stupidity.
During these hot months, especially in a pandemic season, the question that comes up the most – “so what about vacations?” – leaves that bitter taste like the IPA of 10 years ago. The rhythm of our writing has been slower but the brewing work has never stopped. So we have a lot of keys to hit and make up for lost time.
Also guilty of this lack of time are social gatherings (kind of) with friends, always with the utmost care, tasting the beers we have been inventing here, but also other beers – there are always other beers to taste. It’s amazing to be able to follow the feedback of these tests, regardless of how well we know people. Beer exists to be shared and the same applies to knowledge.
Dropping the tasting glasses and grabbing the books, let’s take a trip through the enchanted world of German beer. One of the oldest and most important brewing schools in the world. Unfortunately, with the advancement of technology, industry and preferred distribution channels, many styles have been driven to extinction.
So far nothing new, anyone who doesn’t know Berliner Weisse or Gose, even Adambier? You must have heard of it. But there is more, much more.
Diving headfirst, like on vacation, we swapped the pool and beach for a lounger in the backyard, a glass of anything alcohol-free, quite fresh, and it’s time to better understand what’s lost in German beer history. A lot, there is a lot lost, and lots of it is because of Reinheitsgebot. Unfortunately, as we have seen in the past, the story is confusing and unclear.
For that investigation, and we will leave more obscure styles in store for the future, Kottbusser grabbed our attention. A beer that escaped the dictatorial beer regime, later known as Reinheitsgebot, since it incorporated additions of Wheat, Honey and Molasses.
In fact, it drew our attention, because the definition was something like: “Same as Broyhan but with more hops”. But wait, what the fuck is a Broyhan?
Oh Okay bro(yhan), I should have a book that should talk about it.
Let’s go to the bookshelf, and pull Andreas Krennmair’s Historic German and Austrian Beers for the Homebrewer, a book with homework done well, with almost two dozen recipes supported by prose about the evolution, and change, of the German school. Devouring pages, anxious to understand what this mysterious style was, we arrived at the chapters of “German White beers”. Well, not surprisingly, being a northern style, it has Wheat in its composition.
What would later be known as the German purity law, a law adopted in the 15th century, only began to include Wheat in beer production after a century.
Just as the first law emerged, forcing the use of hops, its amendment was sustained in its own interests for the construction of a monopoly. Historic corruption! The capital game!
Well, back to our research on Broyhan: very light, cloudy color, from the use of dry malt outdoors, Wheat and Oats with the peculiarity of adding honey and cane sugar – it is likely that whoever invented this style was there just to take the piss out of the other guy who thought the law of purity was a good idea. Dumb. To help the party, the hops were omitted, culminating in a somewhat sweet beer but with little storage time – look what a surprise …
Kottbusser, on the other hand, was a more hoppy version, which several sources argue that also had an assertive acidity. Curious, but not yet satisfied, let’s go and investigate further.
It sounds easy, but believe me, finding a tutorial to bust a car door with a tennis ball is easier than trying to make any sense of this historic beer thing …
There was still more confusion than answers found. Acid interpretations, some dark, some above 7% alcohol, some with molasses, some without, some with Wheat and Oats, some without either.
We started to think that the puzzle remains unresolved in this episode of CSI.
But the wort must be done, and it will be done, whether we leave the lord of Cottbus proud of us or if he comes from the dead just to get on our asses. Let’s hope that the second option doesn’t happen.
We went to drink inspiration from the Grimm Brothers, perhaps the most replicated interpretation of the style, with additions of Barley malt as pale as possible, Wheat and Oats. flavored with noble hops and seasoned with molasses and honey while the temperature drops. Fermented with Kölsch or Weissbier yeast.
We were even controlled in the amount of madness, we opted for a more moderate alcohol level than the gentlemen of Grimm, around 5%. Cereals ready, a piece of honey and a remainder of molasses from our Black Gose and with the yeast of this same beer at hand, everything seemed to be too normal.
Wait, the hops are missing. Although Saaz is a favorite here in the house, there was a Vic Secret trying to shine, like an angel fallen from heaven.
Wait, and the water? Certainly, the Germans used over-worked water, in fact, the NE IPA fever started in Germany. It’s not true, we know, but let’s see if the Germans left everything to lose this time.
Water full of chlorides, cereal, yeast, honey and molasses – if it’s on the internet, it’s because it’s true – hops ready and fermentation chamber ready. Here we go to an alternate Kottbusser NE IPA world, probably the simplest and stupidest thing that ever got out of our heads.
Kottbusser NE IPA style
Total Cereal: 5 Kg.
Original Gravity: 1.058
Boil Time: 90 minutes
52.2% – 3 kg. Pilsner
34.8% – 2 kg. Puffed Wheat
13% – 0.75kg. Flaked Oats
10 gr. Vic Secret (pellet, ~15% AA) @ first wort hops.
10 gr. Vic Secret (pellet, ~15% AA) @ 5 min.
40 gr. Vic Secret (pellet, ~15% AA) @ Whirlpool 82ºC 10 min.
Yeast nutrient @ 5 min.
Rosemary Honey – 40 gr. @ 82ºC
Molasses – 30 gr. @ 82ºC
Fermentis K-97 – 18ºC
SO4 to CL Ratio: 0.6
Saccharification – 60 min. @ 69ºC
Mash Out – 10 min. @ 76ºC
pH@ 5.27 mash
pH@ 5.38 pre-boil
pH@ 5.17 post-boil