YESSSSS! Finally we can share with you that soon our B2B platform will be completely renewed under the name Birdys. After a lot of research and testing, we were able to develop a platform to make it super easy and convenient for you as a customer to order your brewing supplies.

What will change for you?

As a user of the platform, nothing changes in the ordering process. Your account will stay the same and you will have the same login details. Furthermore, the agreements you might have (including payment terms, contract terms, prices, etc.) will stay exactly the same. The product range will be as you are used to, in fact it will expand. In the future you can continue to contact your familiar contact person.

What has changed is the logo as well as the usability. After testing and developing we are happy to introduce a platform with heavily advanced usability and a much better user experience. The whole ordering process will be even more convenient than it used to be. Be our guest and test it soon!

If you would like to have an account for Birdys, fill in the form on our webpage.
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The use of ingredients to enhance taste in beer is as old as its history. In general it is believed that the first beer was made or “discovered” by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia some 6000 years ago. It was also the time nomads started to create agricultural communities producing e.g. bread from the growing and breeding of grasses. Probably some wet or soaked bread started to ferment spontaneously and tasting the liquor, the drinkers found it very promising….

But it was already clear then that the primitive sugary partially low fermented liquor tasted very weak. Local tasty ingredients as honey, dates and some herbs were used to spice the beer.

And ever since one has always been trying to improve taste and more interesting shelf life. In Medieval times in North-West Europe the use of a mixture of herbs (gruit or gruut) did partially the job. As beer making was not only a domestic occupation anymore monasteries and the first commercial brewers had to pay tax for the use of “gruut”. This right to put tax was sometimes given to the Church but also sold by the government to rich families. That is why the constitution of the blend of the different herbs was kept secret and often dried and mixed with malt It was in fact the first tax on beer in history.

The mean ingredients were bog myrtle or sweet gale (gagel), marsch or wild rosemary (moeras rozemarijn) and yarrow (duizendblad). The first two were growing in different location so it was the one or the other. Apart of those herbs a lot of other herbs (more than 100) were used even ones which were absolutely dangerous when used too much. Used along their appearance.

Growing of hops arises around 9th century in South Germany and Techy. It started to be popular in beer as from the 13th century. Beer made with hops had a much better shelf life and with increasing trade amongst the Hanza cities this beer was preferred by the trade. But it could only compete the “gruut” beer when also the hop beers were taxed (on demand of the trade). So there was no problem for the beneficiaries of the tax to change. Around that time beer making became also an important craft. And if money is to be made there are always crooks… Often tax was bypassed by using less, other or cheap ingredients. This led already in the 14th century to laws which were stipulating which ingredients to be used.

In 1516 the two Bavarian monarchs proclaimed the famous “Reinheitgebot” wherein was fixed that beer could only be made anymore with water, barley(malt) and hops. This law insured at the same time two purposes: a certain quality level and also a more easy way to tax the beer. This law claims to be the first food safety law in Europe. For sure the law also prohibited the import of “other” beers in Germany up into the 20th century. Certainly pilsener type brewers adapted the German law not only for export/import reasons but also from a marketing point of view.

Nowadays big adjunct brewers get strong competition of the Craft scene. A new attitude come along with the new interest in artisanal brewed beer. A lot of attention is paid to ingredients, not only a big choice in all kind of hops but also in malted cereals.

Porters has been created as an answer to the lighter pale ales. It became very popular among porters who worked at docks and streets of England and quickly turned into the beer of the working men in the 18th century. In the 1800’s the invention of the roaster opened wide opportunities for brewers to increase complexity and create new tastes. Since then Porter is continuously developing in terms of ingredients, technology and of course drinkers taste. Nevertheless – just like a few other styles – Porters disappeared after WWII and have been also ascended with the start of the craft beer era. These days craft brewers create many new interesting – and sometimes crazy – Porter style beers, that makes sometimes the lines between certain Stouts and Porters blurred. This time we would like to bring you back to the traditional roots and give you an overview about the 3 main types of Porter: Brown Porter, Robust Porter and Baltic Porter.

Brown Porter originates in England somewhere in the early 1700’s, also called English Porter. Most historians claim that the style evolved from a mixture of 3 various beers (pale ale, mild and stale), known as “Entire”, while others say it’s simply a darkening evolution of English Ales. This type is the lightest one, easy to drink, has the lowest ABV and bitterness in the group. Provides a creamy mouthfeel with sweet and caramel-like flavours. Although it is considered as the precursor to stout, strong, burnt roasted malt character should not be present. Some old versions of this beer even used Brettanomyces to add a funky character to the beer. The grain bill consists of numerous varieties, including various crystal malts, chocolate and also a small amount of darker black malts.

Robust Porter is the stronger, longer-aged, more complex and roasty big brother of Brown Porter. The style has recent origins, evolved in the modern craft beer ages from less bold English variants to full-bodied American ones. This is why nowadays it is often referred as American Porter too. This style is the more aggressive and hoppier version of Brown (English) Porters, so the examples we drink today significantly differs from the traditional ones. These Porters should always have an intensive roasted character with hints of coffee and chocolate, that is well balanced with the creamy and malty sweetness of crystal malts. Roasted barley flavour isn’t typical in this style either, that distinguish it from Stouts. The tastiest versions may expand the malt character with bready and biscuit-like flavours and aromas.

Baltic Porter Porter was the first internationally distributed beer. When England started beer export to the Baltics, people quickly fell in love with the style. As in these colder countries German lager brewing dominated, a bottom-fermented variant emerged. Those creative brewers not only adapted the traditional ale style to the lager version, but also began to create stronger and more complex types of the English Porter, formed what today is known as Baltic Porter. It can be also described as a lager-style Imperial Stout and in fact it has a large influence by its ale brother, therefor it’s often referred as Imperial Porter. Among these Porters this is the heaviest one, imparts a huge load of roasty character, reminiscent of chocolate, coffee and some fruitiness.

Investment fund ‘het Zeeuws Participatiefonds (ZPF), specialized on innovation investments in the region of Zeeland, recently agreed to participate in the growth investment of The Swaen B.V. together with its current shareholders. The Swaen B.V. with its production facility and offices in Kloosterzande, is a malthouse specialized in the production of craft malts such as caramelized or roasted malts for the beer and food industry. The Swaen plans to invest in the production plant to enhance energy efficiency and increase the capacity.

“With the large network within Zeeland and the clear focus on our region, the ZPf is the best possible partner for the next steps The Swaen is going to take”, said Maximilian Dohse, CEO of The Swaen B.V. “we are delighted to have Impuls Zeeland on board to support”.

Investment manager Ralph Veerhoek from Impuls Zeeland, where the ZPf is part of, commented: “Being a substantial infrastructure to Zeelands agriculture, The Swaen is a perfect fit to our participation fund that stimulates and facilitates innovation, growth potential and impact in the region”. Edwin van Houte, head of Impuls Zeeland Innovation Financing Hub completed: “The Swaen’s ambitious digitalisation plans for their industry, show that Zeeland is strongly working on innovation.”

The Swaen investeert in groei voor de toekomst

Investeringsfonds het Zeeuws Participatiefonds (ZPf), onderdeel van Impuls Zeeland, investeert in de groei-investering van The Swaen B.V. The Swaen is een speciaal-mouterij gelegen in Kloosterzande. De mouterij is gespecialiseerd in de productie van ambachtelijke mouten zoals gekarameliseerde en geroosterde mouten voor de bier- en voedingsindustrie. The Swaen is van plan te investeren in de productiefaciliteit om de energie-efficiëntie te verbeteren en de capaciteit te vergroten. “Met een groot netwerk in Zeeland en een duidelijke focus op onze regio, is Impuls Zeeland de beste partner voor de volgende stappen die The Swaen gaat zetten. We zijn enorm blij dat Impuls Zeeland, door een participatie van het Zeeuws Participatiefonds (ZPF), ons kan versterken”, aldus Maximilian Dohse, CEO The Swaen B.V.

Investment manager Ralph Veerhoek, Impuls Zeeland: “Mede door hun grote toegevoegde waarde voor de Zeeuwse agrosector, is The Swaen een perfecte match met het ZPf, dat innovatie, groeipotentieel en impact stimuleert en faciliteert. Edwin van Houte, hoofd Innovatiefinanciering Impuls Zeeland: “De ambitieuze plannen van The Swaen om te groeien en verduurzamen met daarbij de grote impact voor de regio, laten zien dat in Zeeland hard gewerkt wordt aan innovatie’.

The very original brown malt had still enzymatic power in order to convert the sugars as the malt was used in a very high percentage in the grist bill of Porters. This is not the case anymore with the current brown malt. To understand this we have to go back in time. Kilns in malthouses were direct fired and hand laboured. The green malt was spread out in a thin layer (much thinner then for Ale malt production) and half way its withering process the green malt was exposed very fast at higher temperature for a “short” while. This made the grain popped or blown. Some conversion must have happened, also some saccharification of the green malt although the malt was not caramelised. This process must have been difficult and expensive. For the boost in temperature straw or hardwood was used. Straw was better as it did not give smoky taste. Porters made with hardwood stayed much longer on casks and during that time the smoky taste somewhat disappeared. But also a lot of the green malt did not undergo all those changes (kilning is a static process – grain is not moving enough), nevertheless the stirring, many kernels just got a higher colour like Ale malt, making the total batch in average sufficient diastatic in order to convert most of the starch and polysaccharides.

Today brown malt is made on a roaster. At The Swaen we still use green malt (no ready base malt) in a very dynamic environment whereas every kernel in the roaster is moving continuously. No saccharification and caramelisation is allowed but we raise the product temperature up to the level some coffee notes are distinguished. We avoid having burnt notes. For that effect we have our Chocolate and Black malts. With our new Porter Brown we are as close as possible to the original idea of a Brown malt for every Porter.

Porter originated in London around 3 centuries ago, so it has a quite long history. Where does the name come from? Well, it became very popular among the porters, who worked at the local markets and delivered those products to the pubs. According to beer-historians the style evolved from Brown ales, that were widespread back in those days. Since then Porter is continuously developing, in terms of ingredients, technology and of course drinkers taste. As many other styles, Porters disappeared after the world wars and a they have been also ascended with the start of the craft beer era.

Back in the 19th century Porters were widely-exported, first in Europe and later to the US. The English version – that is usually soft, sweet and caramelly – hasn’t changed much, unlike its foreign variants. The American Porter is stronger, has higher gravity and not surprisingly it’s also hoppier. In the Baltic countries, where German lager brewing dominated, it became a bottom-fermented, high ABV, dark beer, the Baltic Porter. And the story of the Russian version is related to the import to St. Petersburg, supplying the needs of the British diplomatic community, especially after daughter of Queen Victoria married to the Czar. That style is known today as “Imperial Stout”. In those days Porter and Stout has no prominent difference, and both expression were used interchangeably. If you want to know more about that topic, check out our other article.

Grain bill:
My preference as base of the grist is our Ale malt, with some addition of Munich for the fuller rich malt character. Special malt varieties are essential for this style. Crystal malts will help in addition of caramel flavors and residual sweetness, which is required to balance the bitterness of the roasted grains and hops. A mid-color crystal malt should work well. As for darker grains I’m pleased to introduce our brand new product, the PlatinumSwaen©BrownPorter. Historically Porters were brewed from brown malt, which is a very dark base malt. We also kilned this product in our roaster, at lower temperature, in order to avoid burnt flavours, so technically it’s not roasted. You can increase its ratio vs roasted varieties, in order to have a smoother result. A single step mash for 60 minutes in the middle should work well (67⁰C / 153⁰F).

The Swaen malts
Quantity: 4,0 kg – 8,8 lb
Colour: 7 EBC- 2,6 lov
Ratio: 70%

Swaen©Munich Light
Quantity:0,7 kg – 1,5 lb
Colour: 14 EBC – 5,3 lov
Ratio: 12%

GoldSwaen©Munich Light
Quantity: 0,4 kg – 0,88 lb
Colour: 100 EBC – 38 lov
Ratio: 7%

Quantity: 0,3 kg – 0,66 lb
Colour: 425 EBC – 160 lov
Ratio: 5%

BlackSwaen©Chocolate B
Quantity: 0,2 kg – 0,44 lb
Colour: 900 EBC – 339 lov
Ratio: 4%

BlackSwaen©Black Extra
Quantity: 0,1 kg – 0,22 lb
Colour: 1300 EBC – 490 lov
Ratio: 2%

Hops: As in Porters the focus is more on malt flavours, you don’t need to think a lot about what to add. I would recommend traditional English varieties, like Fuggles, EKG, Northern Brewer or as you see in the recipe, Challenger. For an American version feel free to switch to local hops. They can be allocated evenly for bittering and aroma purpose. Please note your hops need to have enough character to compete with bitter flavours of roasted malt.

Variety: Challenger
Quantity: 28 g – 1 oz
Lenght: 60 min
Alpha acid: 9%
IBU: 27

Variety: Challenger
Quantity: 28 g – 1 oz
Lenght: 10 min
Alpha acid: 9%
IBU: 10

Yeast: Any typical English or American-style ale yeast should work well in a porter. For a fuller body we would recommend to use a lower attenuative strain. To have the best result, ferment at 20°C / 68°F. As for many other styles, the higher is your ABV, the longer aging is required.

Fermentis Safale S-04
Mangrove Jack M36 Liberty Bell Ale

WLP002 English Ale
Wyeast 1028 London Ale

Batch size: 23 l (6 gallon)
Efficiency: 75%
OG: 1,055
FG: 1,012
ABV: 5,6%
Bitterness: 37 IBU
Colour: 29 SRM
Carbonation: 2,2
pH: 5,0

Appearance: Deep brown colour, creamy foam

Taste: PlatinumSwaen©BrownPorter, paired with other specialties definitely brings you what you need for a Porter – an intense range of chocolate, coffee and caramel flavours, but without the burnt, roasty aroma.

Food pairing: Beef dishes, BBQ