Polish Brewing Resource, 1899

Encyklopedya Rolnicza

A resource in Polish not reviewed to my knowledge in English is the brewing section of Volume Eight of Encyklopedya Rolnicza, published in Warsaw in 1899. This is a multi-volume work on the history and economics of agriculture and food in Poland.

It was a project of a Warsaw museum that is now defunct. A co-editor was the economist Stanislaw Kempner, of whom you may read in StudyLight.

Each volume was authored by a committee, described in each volume. It appears Czeslaw Przemyslaw Boezkowski wrote the brewing section, as his name appears at the very end in italics, after the (impressive) bibliography.

I was not able to find any biographical information on him, however.

The Brewing Section

It is actually more a text on brewing, as it comprises 160 pages. It states the information was obtained from both European and national, hence Congress Polish, sources.

Needless to say, there is a tremendous amount of information here. There are many interesting observations and discussions, and I have only read portions to date. Just as an example, the cask pitching procedure for Grodziskie beer differed from all others.

There is also an interesting discussion of the history of brewing. Top-fermentation is dealt with relatively cursorily, as it was passé by 1899 except in Britain, the author tells us. Detailed production figures are given for Poland by area and brewery. And so on.

I will focus here on the four tables which start at pg. 687. The first two address Viennese and Czech brewing. The third is from the Berlin Experimental Station, written by Dr. Wilhelm Windisch, mostly describing German beers.

The Windisch name is familiar, I may have seen his table or a form of it discussed earlier, but not the others, to my recollection again.

The Czech survey, like the German one, is fairly extensive. The Vienna one is just a brief summary, while the Polish table also is just a summary, but still of good interest.

The German table has a few foreign beers. For example, a (presumably) English or Irish porter follows a German one. The table sets out data for an ale and strong ale, with sources not stated. These probably were English in origin.

The categories of beer specified in the Polish table are pilsener, Bavarian (dunkel, that is), Kulmbacher, and export. No porter, or ale as such, which probably in production terms were not significant. There is also reference to a farm or estate beer of some kind, very low alcohol, probably a harvest refresher or kvass.

The pilsener in Poland later became Jasne, clear or light beer, and that term appears numerous times in the text. It is explained as something fashionable, as it would be for the 20th century and beyond.

The writer explains that Warsaw beers most closely resemble the Vienna, hence inclusion of that table. He states however that Czech beers are the standard to which everyone aspires, so that is why those are included.

Zywiec Porter Gravities, 1899, 1932

Zywiec is in the Czech section, with a few other non-Czech beers. It is no. 42 in the table, for porter.

It states, as I read it, starting gravity 20.48 B., final 5.81, alcohol 6.4% (by weight, clearly), 71.6% app. attenuation. In abv rounded, 8%. From the book:



The starting gravity is of good interest, as, in the 1930s, it was 22 B. See this discussion in a 1932 travel and tourist magazine (p. 29), Przegląd Krajoznawczy, describing Zywiec brewery.

Extract from magazine:



22 B. is the same as Lviv Brewery used in 1924 until, apparently, April 1939 (see my last post).

As I suggested there, perhaps gravity rose – Lviv’s rose by all appearances to 23 B. in April 1939 – so the same amount of alcohol could be obtained from bottom yeast as previously was produced with top yeast.

Other Zywiec Gravities, 1932

Note also the starting gravities of the other Zywiec beers in 1932. Ale was 22. Further evidence it was not a pale ale. The others: 10 and 12 B. light beers, much like today in parts of East Europe, and the stronger, darker March beer, at 14.

Zywiec Porter today is 9.5% abv, but I’m not clear on its starting gravity. As to fermentation system for Zywiec porter and ale in 1899 and 1932, I could not see mention, although my canvass of Rolnicza thus far is limited.

Note re images: source of each image above is linked in text. Used for educational and research purposes. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owner, as applicable. All feedback welcomed.









1 thought on “Polish Brewing Resource, 1899”

  1. It’s the Windisch from the Windisch-Kolbach unit for diastatic power, but that’s probably not his only legacy.



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