What were pre-1900 cave aged lagers like?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

Witherby

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2011
Messages
91
Reaction score
150
Location
Holden, MA
Gordon Strong’s style profile in the newest issue of BYO (Jan/Feb 2022) is on Pre-Prohibition Lager. He has this to say about midwestern German-American brewers in the second half of the 1800s:

“The ingredients available in the US needed adaptation to produce European style beers, though. The local 6-row barley had a higher protein content and needed to be diluted with adjuncts such as corn, rice, or sugar in order to produce clear beer. Beers were bittered with domestic hops like Cluster, but finished with imported German noble hop types.”
 

Oleson M.D.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
445
Reaction score
481
I suspect the crop seasonality had a lot to do with the materials brewed with back in the day. Probably the batch recipes changed based on what was available to them at a reasonable price throughout the year.

At first glance, this would make sense. But how many breweries would actually change their recipe? They most likely would buy in bulk quantity to ensure an adequate supply of malt for long enough to brew their beer.

How about the brewers today? Spatan, Hofbrau, Paulaner, AB, Miller, Boston Beer Co.? How far out do they source ingredients. Supply and demand is nothing new, and would affect everyone today like it did 100 years ago.
 

Beermeister32

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 20, 2013
Messages
1,285
Reaction score
2,156
Location
Southern California
A lot of them ran multiple products/recipes, you can see all the vintage beer labels on ebay, very interesting. They weren't locked into one or two products, - that came later. I suspect they had quite a bit of flexibility there based on material availability. Very similar to all the small breweries today, they would run multiple styles.
 

Beermeister32

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 20, 2013
Messages
1,285
Reaction score
2,156
Location
Southern California
Here's some interesting info from 1880; Beer, Its History And Its Economic Value As A National Beverage, Frederick William Salem.

1880 page 1.jpg
1880 page 2.jpg
1880 page 3.jpg
1880 page 4.jpg
 
Top