2010: Diest beer
Bière de Diest
A wheat beer made from wheat, malted barley and oats. Especially good for wet nurses!
They make a strong beer at 1.066-1.082 and a weaker beer at 1.047-1.049. They both seem to use around 300 grams of hops per hectolitre, despite the fact that he says the weak beer uses less hops.
Original text here.
In this city they prepare several types and varieties of beer, but I shall describe here only those which are exported far into the interior of the country, which are designated by the names double and single Diest beer. These are two distinct varieties of the same kind of beer, since they don’t employ the same quantities or proportions of grains for preparing the two kinds of beer which, in the same area where they are prepared, are also called gulde-bier or bière de cabaret and bière de bourgeois or bière de Diest. The latter is the weaker of course, but it is brewed the same as the first. I begin by giving the proportions of the grain used to make each kind, then I will describe at the same time the usual manner for preparing one and the other.
The following information was provided to me by an impartial person who, in the interests of art, has kindly given me all the manufacturing details that I wanted of him to complement those that I already had on this subject.
COMPOSITION OF A BREW OF BIÈRE DE CABARET, MADE IN A MASH TUN OF 25 HECTOLITRES CAPACITY.
Wheat 18 sacks weighing in total ........... 414 kg
Barley malt 40 sacks weighing in total ... 440 kg
Oats 10 sacks weighing in total ............... 160 kg
Total grain used. . . . 1014 kilograms
This amount of grain reduced to flour gave a wastage of one percent.
The amount of beer produced varies sometimes, but doesn’t vary too much from 16 casks for the quantities indicated, which is 27.20 hectolitres of strong beer and the small beer, which is collected in small quantities, doesn’t have great value since it is made with cold water, which is poured on the malt and is not boiled; very often it is even used to cool maceration vats in grain distilleries.
COMPOSITION OF A BREW OF BIÈRE ORDINAIRE DE DIEST DONE IN A MASH TUN OF 55 HECTOLITRES CAPACITY
Wheat 20 sacks of 24 kg ............. 480 kg
Malt 80 sacks of 11 ½ kg ......... 920 kg
Oats 15 sacks of 16 kg ............. 240 kg
Total ........................................... 1640 kg.
From these proportions they obtain 55 casks making up 59 ½ hectolitres of single Diest beer.
Here is the procedure followed in the preparation of these two kinds of beer: All grains are ground together which fill the mash tun to three quarters, and in some breweries even fully, and then they add through the false bottom the amount of water needed to hydrate it thoroughly, that is to say completely wet the grist, which compresses while they add this first infusion of water, warm in winter at 55 or 60 degrees centigrade, and a little more than lukewarm in summer. When the grist is completely wet, they add through the false bottom enough boiling water to fill the mash tun, and with fourquets in the shape of forks six to eight workers mix at the same time; after half an hour to three quarters of an hour, finally, when the mixture is perfect, and they cover the tank, they let it stand for half an hour or twenty minutes, then it is run off to the holding tank and when the first mash was entirely drained it goes to an open boiler, where it is promptly brought to the boil, adding a pound of good hops per cask of 170 litres of double beer.
While they bring the first mash to the boil, they add a second infusion of boiling water which they mix and let rest like the first, then it is run off in parts to the half-full boiler which is already in a full boil; then they push the fire quickly and continue to boil vigorously for five to six hours, after which the wort is clarified by letting it rest and filtration through the hops which takes place when the wort is moved to the cooling trays, where it remains until its temperature is no more than 26 to 28 degrees in cold weather, and a temperature of 22 to 24 degrees centigrade when it is a little warm; because they brew these beers in every season except during the very hot weather of summer.
They commonly add to the wort two and a half to three decilitres of yeast per hectolitre and it is put into casks of 85 and 170 liters where it undergoes fermentation which is very active, which lasts only a couple of days and gives yeast which is thick, very plentiful and very much sought after by local bakers and distillers; 7 to 8 hours after casking the fermentation begins, and usually only lasts 48 hours. The beer first throws a light foam, then yeast which is fairly thick, but black and very bitter, called brand gest, which is removed and set apart from the good yeast that comes next.
To completely exhaust the starchy materials, they again add water to the grist, but usually for this they use only cold water, which gives a wort so feeble that commonly it is intended for distillation, or it is used to make small beer by mixing it with a little of the first wort, and fermenting it without prior boiling; at least that is how it is typically practiced.
When, instead of double beer, they want to make ordinary Diest beer, they boil a little longer for the first two mashes, and it uses fewer hops than the double, with about 300 grams per hectolitre.
The fermentation of this variety of Diest beer takes place as for the double; it also has substantially the same taste, only its wort before fermentation measures only six and a half to six and three quarter degrees Beaumé (Ed: 1.047-1.049), while the double measures nine to 11 (Ed: 1.066-1.082), and is extremely soft and sweet. These beers have a high density even after fermentation, single Diest beer measures two and a half to three degrees Beaumé (Ed: 1.018-1.021), when it is still very fresh and the double often four and a half to five degrees Beaumé (Ed: 1.032-1.036), they are also very frothy, especially the latter variety which has the great defect of being a little cloudy and honeyed when it is fresh, unless it is put into bottles, in which case, after a fortnight to a month after manufacture, whether it is brewed in the summer or winter, it drops well and becomes quite clear.
These beers, especially the beer they call gulde bier, or bière de cabaret, has a very sweet and pleasant taste; their creamy flavour slightly sweet, and has something honeyish which is highly sought after by aficionados, amongst which we must count the majority of women and especially wet nurses who find in them a drink which is comforting and nutritious, as well as healthy and pleasant to drink.
The double Diest beer can be compared to Peeterman in that it looks great, both for the taste and the appearance, it is however a little darker in colour, and tastes smoother and sweeter. It is usually superior to Peeterman in strength and quality. Moreover, as with Peeterman, it keeps one month to six weeks in summer and two to three months in winter; as with Peeterman also, it too is always a little cloudy from the barrel, and does not clarify with regular fining, and as I said before, this is its greatest fault.
 1014 kilograms, for a tank of 25 hectolitres, makes a little more than 40 kilograms per hectolitre in the mash tun; how can you brew properly with such a grist, especially in hot weather?
 This Flemish name, which literally means golden beer, derives without doubt from the beautiful amber colour that this kind of beer usually has.
 Experience has shown, in fact, that this beer was especially favourable for wet nurses, for whom it maintains weight and promotes lactation, and this is well explained by the high proportion of extractive matter and nitrogen contained this beer when it is young; what I just said also applies to Peeterman.