All-Malt Anheuser-Busch Beer, 1908

This is a follow-up to a post earlier today, I was querying if there is data for the final gravity, and other characteristics, of Anheuser-Busch beers before WW I. The following came up on a search.

The table is from a 1908 issue of American Brewers Review (Jan-June, Vol. 22), a technical journal edited by Robert Wahl & Max Henius, names well-known in American brewing science.

Considering the column for Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis, the brand is not stated, unfortunately. Likely it was either Michelob, introduced in 1896 as a draft-only beer, or Muenchener, the dark lager introduced for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.

The domestic all-malt beers – good to know there were some – seem mostly Munich-style Dunkel, or similar. The Dortmund-style may be blonde, but even that is not certain. Another export-type, from Berghoff in Indiana – a beer of that name still exists but not the brewery – is expressly stated as”dark”.

The A-B all-malt beer had an original gravity of 13.13 P (1053) and a final gravity of 5.00 P (1020). Apparent attenuation would be 62%. I get, in abv, 4.39%, or 3.5% abw which is higher than the 3.31%, presumably abw, shown in the table. I am not sure why this difference shows.

Calculations from other columns show alcohol results similarly out.

But clearly a rather malty beer even with the comparatively high hopping of then. I’d guess it’s the Muenchener. In the second table, where European imports are compared including numerous pilseners, the average FG is rather lower: the pils beers as expected were not as sweet as the dark beers.

The Michelob of Dreher, import section, was comparatively on the dryish side.

As we have seen, Wahl & Henius in the American Handy Book of Brewing gave for an American sample fermentation FG of 1016, for a 5% abv beer. In the 1930s, that was still, approximately, a gravity norm for a beer of 5% abv, as A.L. Nugey’s book shows.

Average FG could go even higher before 1900, as previously discussed, e.g. to 1018. If 1016 FG is taken as a year-1900 benchmark, and as we know Budweiser was 5% abv then (see evidence here), 1016 seems a reasonable FG.*

The Michelob might have been the same or maybe a bit lower, especially as it was supposedly a copy of the Dreher beer.


*See next post where the abv and FG of Budweiser in 1884 are documented. 5.3% and 1015, respectively.