I'm still making good progress with my book. I must be. I've got to the middle of the 19th century. Which is about where I live, in my mind. "Would you like to live in the 1950's?" I asked Dolores yesterday while we were watching Miss Marple. "Not really. It sounds boring. No computers and hardly any television." "What about for a holiday, then?"
Myself, I'd like to retire to the 1920's. Nice and cheap, plus a good variety of draught beers in your average pub. Not so happy about the lack of antibiotics. Might have to take a supply of those with me.
Sorry. Getting distracted yet again. This is supposed to be about early 19th century Porter.
In case you're thinking "Hey, all I have to do is nail his blog posts together and I won't need to buy the book", I should point out that these are only excerpts. The book will contain much, much more.
Early London Porters were strong beers by modern standards. Early trials with the hydrometer in the 1770's recorded Porter as having an OG of 1071° and 6.6% ABV. Increased taxation during the Napoleonic War pushed its gravity down to around 1050-55°. For the rest of the 19th century it remained in the range 1055-60º.
The huge popularity of the style prompted brewers to produce Porters in a wide variety of strengths. These started with Single Stout Porter at around 1070°, Double Stout Porter at 1085°, Triple Stout Porter at 1095° and Imperial Stout Porter at 1100° and more. As the 19th century progressed the Porter suffix was gradually dropped. British brewers, however, continued to use Porter as the generic term for both Porters and Stouts.
The move from brown to pale malt continued. London Porter grists of this period contained between 70 and 85% pale malt and just 10 or 15% brown malt. The small proportion of brown malt was possible because of the introduction of black patent malt. Though the speed of it adoption had varied from brewery to brewery, by the second half of the 19th century all large Porter brewers in London were using it. Some also used a portion of amber malt, especially in stronger Stouts.
As for the idea that Stout was roastier than Porter, you can see that the Stronger Reid Stouts, SS and SSS, used a smaller proportion of black malt than their Porters. That theory can be crumpled into a ball and hurled nonchalantly into the wastepaper basket of history. It just doesn't stand up to the evidence.
In general, there was little difference between the Porter and Stout grists in any particular brewery. At Whitbread, which party-gyled its Porter and Stouts, they were identical. Barclay Perkins had basically two grists. One for the standard strength Porter that was 12% brown, 3% black and the rest pale malt. Their Stouts had rather more brown malt - 18% - and 10% amber malt.
You can see that Barclay Perkins Porters (TT, EI, Hhd) contained a higher proportion of black malt than their Stouts (BSt, IBSt).
One of the last London brewers to adopt the use of black malt was Whitbread. As you can see in the table above, they were still using just pale and brown malt in 1844.
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