Sunday, 8 March 2009

Truman Porter and Stout in 1850

I had a question (from Bill in Oregon) about is response to yesterday's Truman Imperial recipe. Did all the Truman Porters have so little black malt (just over 2%)?

It had struck me how little black malt it used. About 5% is what I would have expected. So I went and had a look at the whole set for the same year, 1850.

As you can see, none had more than 3.3% black malt in the grist. Which is pretty low by later standards. But for 1850? Well let's take a look at Barclay Perkins at the same period:

Pretty much the same: 2 0r 3% black malt. Why so low? Take a look at the rest of the grist. They still contain a healthy proportion of brown malt. My guess is that they were only using the amount of black malt needed to get the desired colour.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating, as is the comment about a projected 200 IBUs for that other recipe.

I can't recall who wrote this - maybe Tizard - I can find it if necessary - but he said no matter how much hops is used and no matter the alcohol level, it won't prevent acetification. I wonder if that is true though.


Anonymous said...

I am happy with the low levels of black malt in these recipes. I really don't like the its flavour, which is a bit of an inconvenience if you are interested in brewing 19th C beer recipes especially dark ones!

Am I correct in believing that there is a maximum taste threshold for bitterness? That is, does it matter that a beer has 200 IBUs because a drinker can perceive do increase above, say, 100 IBUs.

Mind you I can't find any information on this at the moment so it may be complete nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"Running" stout at 1082! If running in this context means a running beer that is quite a gravity--greater than some keeping stouts. Is that a bit odd?

Anonymous said...

Ron, it is interesitng to see the black malt so low, but more interesitng to me is the fact that in general for both Barclay Perkins and Truman, the porters seem to use about 3% while the stouts are at 2%. That's the reverse of what I would have thought. It's not a huge, huge difference but it throws the whole BJCP "stouts are roastier than porter" thing on it's head. Do you have recipes from other brewers from the same period? I'm wondering if it's common for porters to use slightly more black malt than stouts. Really fascinating.

Ron Pattinson said...


the same was true of the Griffin Brewery, too. In 1844 their standard Porter had 4% black malt, SSS 3.41%. By 1867 it was Porter 5.42%, SSS 2.57% In 1867 Porter was 5.56% black malt, SSS 2.55%.

It's a similar story with Whitbread. You can find more 19th Porter and Stout grists here:

Ron Pattinson said...

MentalDental, often the Keeping Stouts weren't any stronger, just more heavily hopped. Gravities were crazily high in the period 1830 - 1850.