Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1915 Courage X


Welcome to the very first Let's Brew Wednesday. Brought to you by Barclay Perkins in association with Kristen England of the BJCP. I do the bullshitting, Kristen does the work of actually putting the recipes together.

Today's recipe is an Courage X Ale from the early years of WW I. The original was brewed in the Horsleydown brewery, situated right next to Tower Bridge on the south bank of the Thames. The brewery building is still there, though nowadays it contains fancy flats rather than brewing kettles.

The war, other than making beer more expensive through tax increases, had little effect on brewing before 1917. Beers remained at pretty much their pre-war strength. At around 5% ABV, Courage X was considerably stronger than later Milds. Note that the darkest malt in the grist is crystal. Which is why the colour is a dark amber rather than brown.




These are Kristen's notes on the recipe:

Grist - 1 pale, 1 mild, 1 6-row and 1 crystal. Whomever you like to use, do so. I would have to say that the three base malts are all quite a bit different so do your best to mimic that.

Sugars - #3 invert syrup. If you dont have it you can mimic it by using dark brown sugar and inverting it. Invert sugar is made by mixing two parts table sugar to one part water, and adding two teaspoons lemon juice (1/4tsp tartaric acid) per pound of sugar. The mixture is brought almost to a boil and then reduced to a vigorous simmer for about 30 minutes.

Hops - Three different varieties are used. Fuggles and EKG are good substitutes for the UK ones but really any hop can be used that has an extended pedigree (read old). The ubiquitous Cluster American hops are a must.

Mash - Underlet the mash if at all possible (adding liquor to the bottom). If not, then a direct infusion will work just fine. You want a rate of 1.03qt/lb strike ratio. Do the two step infusion...if you aren't able, do a single infusion at 149F.

Liquor treatment - Salts are to be added to each gallon used.

Yeast - Any English will do well. One that particularly finished dry is one you want. Timothy Taylors yeast started at Courage so if you can get it, do so.

Ferment - This beer is a bit different in that its fermented at quite a high temperature. It averages right around 74-75F which is really quite high.


Here is a simplified version of just the recipe for 5 gal:

5gals

Grist (lbs)
English Pale malt (Hutchinson) 3.06
English Mild malt (Hilton) 3.06
American 6-row malt (California) 0.90
English Crystal (75L) 0.44
Invert #3 syrup (Garton) 0.99

Hops (original) Oz.
EKG @ 4.1% (Scott - 1914) 1.00
Cluster @ 5.2% (California - 1914) 0.33
Fuggle @ 4.2% (Prichett - 1913) 0.50
Total 1.83oz

Blend all of the hops together and then add:
Start of boil 1.25oz
After 90min remainder

Boil - 2 hours

Water treatment (g/gal liquor)
Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom) 1.26
Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum) 0.85
Sodium Chloride (Salt) 0.60

21 comments:

Woolpack Dave said...

75F? I don't think in F only centigrade.

75F is about 24C? Do we think that's high? I ferment at a upper limit of 22C, not that much lower. If I drop the temperature more than that the beer is in the fermenter too long.

MentalDental said...

Kristen,

I am a little confused (as normal).Your notes say something like "1 six row, one pale, and one mild." OK, so the Californian will be the six row I guess but the Hutchinson and Hilton both have the same colour (5 Lovibond) which would seem to indicate that they are both Mild Ale Malts. Is this that correct? Or should one of them have a lower colour?

Now I am a proper English bloke (I wear a flat cap, own a whippet, and drink mild) so I have never used US 6 row malt (one musn't encourage Johnny Foreigner TOO much) but how would using this in the recipe, rather than PA malt alter the resulting beer?

PS thanks for the very detailed recipe details. They are making my brain ache but I'm getting there.

Ron Pattinson said...

Dave, 75F does appear quite high. I've just checked the fermentation records from Fullers (for the year 1910) and their maximum fermenation temperature was between 68F and 71F.

BTW, do you brew a Mild?

Ron Pattinson said...

MentalDental, funnily enough, just yesterday I found some analyses of malt from 1913 and 1914. It gives the colour in Lovibond. There was one pale ale malt and 4 mild ale malt examples:

pale ale malt 5
mild ale malt 6.5, 6, 4.5, 5.5

which gives mild ale malt an average colour of 5.6.

Dale said...

It appears that Timothy Taylor's yeast is WYeast 1469.

Oblivious said...

Dale I believe that the Timothy Taylor's yeast is special release not sure if there is still any left around?

MentalDental said...

Re: Brewing sugars

This site is worth looking at:

http://www.ragus.co.uk/brewing/index.html

Kristen England said...

Boys,

Here is a simplified version of just the recipe for 5 gal:

5gals

Grist (lbs)
English Pale malt (Hutchinson) 3.06
English Mild malt (Hilton) 3.06
American 6-row malt (California) 0.90
English Crystal (75L) 0.44
Invert #3 syrup (Garton) 0.99

Hops (original) Oz.
EKG @ 4.1% (Scott - 1914) 1.00
Cluster @ 5.2% (California - 1914) 0.33
Fuggle @ 4.2% (Prichett - 1913) 0.50
Total 1.83oz

Blend all of the hops together and then add:
Start of boil 1.25oz
After 90min remainder

Boil - 2 hours

Water treatment (g/gal liquor)
Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom) 1.26
Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum) 0.85
Sodium Chloride (Salt) 0.60

Kristen England said...

Guys,

A general just overview for this first one. I understand there will be a lot of stuff that is outside the ballpark of what you are used to doing. I will provide you with the exact details when at all possible. You can do with them what you choose. However, don't be afraid to follow things to the letter. Ill put notes in when I see something that I would change. This goes for all the recipes from here on out.

Now to hops...there were minute and large differences of the hops at the time. I'm talking variety and not so much the alpha acids. I put down suggested varieties however feel free to play with anything remotely close. Fuggles for EKG for Brewers Gold for Northdown etc. Ill give you the calculated IBU for each hop at a certain alpha acid, its up to you to change them based on your specific hops. This is one of the areas I find that most recipes are incorrect for the time period.

Woolpack,

No the temps are correct. Most of the brewing journals leave off the first 1 in the F scale. It confused me at first but first perfectly.

MentalDental,

6-row is very different and posseses a unique flavor profile. It has a higher DP and lower extract. It has a very specific flavour (thats the last time I spot you a 'u') that is reminiscent of a very husky pilsner malt without the DMS (corny).

Oblivious said...

Hi MentalDental

These are the brewing sugars and syrups that Ragus sells

http://www.ragus.co.uk/brewing/page2_data.html

Gary Gillman said...

Note at pp.404-405 of:

http://books.google.com/books?id=Y8cUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA419&dq=thrids+%2B+beer&lr=#PPA404,M1

the fairly technical description of hops qualities as early as the 1870's. O.8% content is given as typical for the "tannic acid" content of hops. Is this a statement of alpha acid content? If so is it comparable to that found in some varieties today?

Also, note the comment that old hops have a particular cheesy aroma. This may mean that recreations of the subject beer may elude the period flavour unless this quality ahem is imparted.

Dash of Parmesan, anyone?

Gary

Gary Gillman said...

Oops sorry the 0.8% is lupulin, the essential oil.

Tannic acid is stated as 2-5%. But again does this enable us to compare accurately modern hops to 1800's hops for bittering power?

Gary

Kristen England said...

Gary,

There is a big difference between old hops and old OXIDIZED hops. Ive found a bag of hops in the back of my frezer from 2002. They were vacuum packed under nitrogen. I opened them and they didn't smell like much. Degraded for sure but not cheesy.

The bittering potential is about the same for the hops then as now as long as we are talking about similar varieties. The UK stuff, fuggles and goldings, are all right about 4% or so. Czech Zatec are about 3%. American Cluster about 6%. These varities as the 'grand fathers'. As you move forward in time much more stress is placed upon the alpha acid content (eg more bang for the buck) than the actual hop character.

Gary Gillman said...

Very helpful, Kristen, thanks. Your aged hops had the benefit of cold storage of course while I would think the 1870's-era aged hops mostly did not. I am mindful though that Ron has said that some mechanical refrigeration was applied by the early 1900's.

So probably no sixes and sevens here, and therefore no cheese needed!

Gary

Woolpack Dave said...

Ron, I've been known to brew mild occationally, although it tends to get accused of being a porter. I know, I should look more carefully at your numbers and adjust my recipies accordingly.

I might even do some soon, in March. I agree with you about the month of March being more suitable for mild. Unfortunately my customers don't flock here in big enough numbers until May, so though put can be too slow to justify putting a Mild on the bar.

First Stater said...

Just bought the ingredients to brew this ale this weekend. Tonight I'll be inverting sugar. Into the fermenter and then off to Belgium for a holiday!!!!

First Stater said...

The 1914 Courage X clone is in the fermenter. OG came in at 1.054. Beautiful color and aroma. Wort tastes quite sweet, probably the sweetest wort I've ever made. However I don't typically add sugar unless it's a Belgian. I used the Safale SA-04 which I have been told is the Whitbread yeast. I kegged the small mild (1.029 OG)to make room in the fermenter.

Thanks for the recipe, I have a feeling it's a winner.

Ron Pattinson said...

First Stater, great to hear that you're having a go at brewing these old Milds. I'll be very interested to hear how the finished beers turn out.

Willie said...

Ron, I'm brewing this next, but could you please check the sugar. The spreadsheet has No 2 at 32L however the recipe notes have No 3.

Ron Pattinson said...

Willie,

it doesn't specify the exact type of the sugar in the brewing record, so use whatever you fancy. My guess would be No. 3 or something similar.

Willie said...

Thanks Ron