View Full Version : Shut up about Barclay Perkins - American beer styles of the 1930’s – Muenchener

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02-01-2015, 07:10
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You have to feel sorry for the Munich style of Dark Lager. It was, along with Dreher’s Vienna Lager, the first bottom-fermenter to colonise Europe. Yet soon fell out of favour and was supplanted by paler types.

The style hung on through the first half of the 20th century but gradually disappeared from most countries after WW II. Even in its Munich heartland it had to play second fiddle to Helles after the war.

“Muenchener Type Beer
We recommend in order to supply the higher alcoholic variety the Munich type beer be brewed. The Muenchener beers are higher in alcoholic content than the Pilsener and to correctly brew this type of beer a greater amount of materials per barrel are necessary. For the strong flavor quality introduced with the increased materials as well as that inherent in the alcohol produced in the fermentation of this grain mash a coverage quality stronger than that of the hops is necessary.

To correctly brew this type of beer therefore a very high percentage of malt is necessary. This type of malt should be dried at high temperatures by the maltster in its manufacture. Such a procedure gives this malt considerable caramel flavor, better known to the brewing trade as a malty flavor. To be correctly brewed the Munich type of beer should have a taste which predominates in malt.
"Beer from the Expert's Viewpoint" by Arnold Spencer Wahl and Robert Wahl, 1937, pages 170 - 171.
That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? It should be brewed from mostly malt and should taste, er, malty. It’s implying that dark Munich malt should be used as the base, rather than using a small amount of highly-coloured malt on top of a pils malt base. I wonder how true that was in the 1930’s? Even in Germany a pils malt base was common for dark beers. Why else does Sinamar exist?

Here are some more details:

“As above stated a brew of this type having 4-4.5% alcohol by weight cannot be brewed to its perfection with a high percentage of brewing adjuncts having a very neutral flavor. Furthermore, the hop quality of this type of beer should be subdued by the employment of not more than .55 pounds or slightly more than 0.5 lb. hops per barrel if the wort can be removed from the hops in less than one-half hour's time. This Muenchener type beer should be made from worts of approximately 14% original extract.”
"Beer from the Expert's Viewpoint" by Arnold Spencer Wahl and Robert Wahl, 1937, page 171.
That’s 5 to 5.3% ABV. Which doesn’t sound particularly high strength nowadays. But you need to remember the poor degree of attenuation prevalent. A modern Bavarian Märzen of a similar gravity is usually around 6% ABV. Half a pound of hops per barrel is pretty light hopping. But only a little less than in the lower-gravity Pilsener types we’ve already looked at.

Here’s something else I don’t really understand:

“This high alcoholic beer with a predominating malt flavor should receive considerable boiling period in the kettle. It contains a high percentage of malt which requires considerable boiling to stabilize. The longer boiling period furthermore adds an additional malty flavor produced from caramelization in the kettle. (See analysis on Muenchener Type Beer.)”
"Beer from the Expert's Viewpoint" by Arnold Spencer Wahl and Robert Wahl, 1937, page 171.
I’ve never heard before that malt-accented beers needed to be boiled for longer. I can see you might want to get more colour through a long boil, but malty flavour?

Here’s the nice table of details on this type of beer:


Reported by Wahl Institute, April 27, 1936

This beer is composed of the following substances, reported in percentages or pounds per hundred:

Alcohol (by weight)

Real extract (dry substance)

Carbonic acid.



The real extract (4.75) is made up of the following substances:

In Percentage
In Percentage

of the beer
of the extract

Acid (Lactic)

Acid salts



Sugar (reducing)



The following are important brewing figures:

Specific gravity of beer

Original balling of wort

Apparent extract of beer (balling)

Real attenuation

Fermentable sugar in the wort

Apparent attenuation

Alcohol (by volume)

Percent of extract fermented

Percent of extract unfermented

Percent of sugars in original wort

Percent of non-sugars in original wort

pH value

Total acidity

Carbonic acid by volumes

Amylo dextrins

"Beer from the Expert's Viewpoint" by Arnold Spencer Wahl and Robert Wahl, 1937, page 176.

Surprisingly, the percentage of sugars in the wort is higher than for the Pilseners – 69% for Mild Pilsener and 72.6% for Strong Pilsener.

The degree of attenuation is higher, too – 79%. It was 72% for Mild Pilsener and 77% for Strong Pilsener. Fascinating stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.

It’s brilliant. This is going to keep me going for ages. Plenty more beers styles to come. Half and Half is particularly exciting.

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