Saturday, 23 January 2010

Brewer's notes

A little something from the inside cover of  a Barclay Perkins brewing log. One for the period 1899-1901. It's been far too long since I last mentioned Barclay Perkins.

It's a series of scribbled notes, registering events at the brewery or changes to recipes. See what you make of it:

Saturday Sept 15 - Our freezing machine broke down
Monday Oct 8 - Mortons Burton men finished fixed refrigerator
August 21 - increased hops to 10 lbs per qtr.
August 31 - X 1 pint syrup
Sept 2 - X 1 quart syrup
Sept 26 - X Raised mash heat
Sept 26 - X Decreased quantity of hops to 9 lbs per qtr.
Oct 15 - X Decreased quantity of hops to 8 lbs per qtr.
Oct 15 - X 2 quarts priming
Oct 19 - XLK First new hops used 1/3rd
Oct 31 - XLK Raised mash heat
Nov 2 - X Change yeast Whitbread
Nov 5 - X First new hops for X
Nov 7 & 8 - XLK & X Raised mash heat
Nov 9 - X Increased quantity priming
Nov 15 - X Increased old hops
Nov 9 - KK (2) 1/2 new malt
Nov 26 - X Increased old hops
Dec 6 - X Decreased quantity of Sacc to 1/5
Dec 11 - X Used Calif instead of Smyrna
Dec 13 - X All malt
Dec 18 & 19 - X 209 - 210 1/4th new malt
Dec 21 - XLK Decreased hops to 9 lbs per qtr.
Dec 21 - XLK Lower mash heat
Jan 8 1901 X Ran out of Smyrna used less.

Probably the most significant items are those recording the first use of the new season's hops. In mid-October for XLK (ordinary Bitter) and the beginning of November for X (Mild).

Normal practice was to wait a few months before using new season hops. And, as it says in the note, starting off by only using a third fresh hops.

That's it. I told you it was little.


Gary Gillman said...

Overall theme seems use more hops as the weather warms, less as it cools. More new hops in the season, more old as time goes by. More English malt in the season, more imported as time passes again.

Having read for years that hops should be dried before use and of the English practice of blending old and new hops, I was always chary of trying the spate of "wet hop" beers that have issued here in recent years. Not only were these hops very new, but they were off the vine, no drying involved at all (as far as I know). On a whim though I tried Sierra Nevada's Wet Hop ale recently and was much impressed. The beer had a notable complexity and an appetizing, "melting" quality on the palate.

Could it be that brewers rationalized the use of old hops in the old days, i.e., as something desirable when really it was an expedient in the days before refrigeration?


mentaldental said...

From 1883 to 1887 there were considerable excess in domestic hop production compared to the quantity required. In 1888 there was a small deficit of 4.2%.

In 1889 there was again an excess of 33%.

In 1888 East and mid-Kents cost 203s per cwt, in 1889 they were only £85s per cwt.

I guess that BP were quite well off for new hops and they would be inclined to use since they were quite cheap.

Ron did brewers at this time use old hops because they liked the results or was it simply out of necesity?