Saturday, 6 February 2010

New beer styles

New styles, eh. Dontcha just love 'em? I know I do. But I'mn not talking about Black IPA or some other such oxymoronic rubbish. No, indeed. It's old new styles that catch my attention.

Old new styles? What am I talking about? And I'm the one accusing others of oxymoronicity. Just bear with me a bit. I may eventually stumble into sensible land and ask for directions. There's an idea slowly forming from the fog that usually fills my head. What was it again? I think I can just make out its shape over there  . . . .

Old new styles. I could also call them forgotten styles. Or the styles Michael Jackson missed. Burton, AK, Double Brown. Beers that not only were around for decades in the past, but have clung on as tattered remnants to this day. Vital links in the evolutionary chain of styles whose place in history has been forgotten and ignored.

It's all Michael Jackson's fault. Or rather the laziness of his successors. They didn't bother looking themselves and adopted wholesale his analysis of British beer styles. Time for this historic wrong to be righted. But not in this post. Because I want to discuss another new style I've just spotted.

Ale 4d. Great name, isn't it? Fourpenny Ale is probably snappier. Lloyd George's lovechild, it was the result of WW I brewing restrictions. Low-gravity Mild. That's what I've called until now. Until I took a bit closer look at Barclay Perkins Ale 4d. Now I'm not so sure.

Take a look and see what you make of it. I've included Barclay Perkins X Mild and Whitbread Porter for purposes of comparison:


Barclay Perkins Ale 4d
Date
18th Sep
11th Oct
22nd Nov
27th Dec
10th Jan
3rd Jul
24th Feb
Year
1918
1918
1918
1918
1919
1919
1919
Brewer
Barclay Perkins
Barclay Perkins
Barclay Perkins
Barclay Perkins
Barclay Perkins
Barclay Perkins
Whitbread
Beer
Ale 4d
Ale 4d
Ale 4d
Ale 4d
Ale 4d
X
P
Style
Mild
Mild
Mild
Mild
Mild
Mild
Porter
OG
1025.8
1025.7
1025.6
1025.9
1025.7
1039.4
1042.9
FG
1006.6
1006.4
1006.4
1006.1
1006.4
1009.4
1012.0
ABV
2.53
2.56
2.54
2.62
2.56
3.97
4.09
App. Attenuation
74.23%
75.21%
75.11%
76.47%
75.21%
76.10%
72.05%
lbs hops/ qtr
6.01
5.50
4.50
4.98
4.97
6.96
7.60
hops lb/brl
0.67
0.63
0.51
0.56
0.55
1.11
1.45
pale malt
63.06%
58.74%
58.84%
56.29%
62.58%
64.12%
64.32%
brown malt
6.54%
5.63%
5.63%
5.45%
7.13%
0.00%
11.05%
black malt
0.93%
0.94%
1.41%
1.36%
1.34%
0.00%
8.91%
amber malt
8.58%
7.38%
7.39%
7.15%
9.93%
10.45%
0.00%
crystal malt
5.17%
4.67%
4.16%
4.52%
0.00%
3.71%
0.00%
no. 3 sugar
0.00%
7.75%
6.90%
7.51%
5.73%
6.16%
15.71%
caramel
0.27%
0.27%
0.16%
0.21%
0.20%
0.14%
0.00%
glucose
10.30%
6.89%
8.62%
10.01%
7.36%
0.00%
0.00%
other sugar
5.15%
7.75%
6.90%
7.51%
5.73%
6.93%
0.00%
flaked maize
0.00%
0.00%
0.00%
0.00%
0.00%
8.47%
0.00%
Source: 
Whitbread and Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Library


See how Ale 4d contains brown, black and amber malts? Quite different to the grist of the normal X Mild. You know what it looks like to me? Something halfway between Dark Mild and Porter. Morter, you could call it. Or Pold. Unless, of course, you prefer Fourpenny Ale.

Next: I make the case for AK.

13 comments:

Barm said...

It looks like they are adding the brown and black malt to help the beer be not quite as watery as the gravity suggests. I don't think a wartime mutation should be classed separately from its parent.

Mark, Real-Ale-Reviews.com said...

I love the name Fourpenny Ale. Morter could also be a cross between hospital porter and Mordor, neither of which have particularly nice connotations.

I'd love to here that Thrupence Lager and Two Bob Barley Wine used to frequent our pubs too!

Anonymous said...

No wonder Ernie Mayne sang: "In the breweries there's nothing doing –
All the waterworks are brewing
Lloyd George's Beer –
Lloyd George's Beer!"

Jeff Renner said...

There's a problem with the hops lb/brl
for the porter - it's listed as 79.80.

Ron Pattinson said...

Jeff, just fixed that little mistake. Glad someone's paying attention.

Ron Pattinson said...

Barm, but the Ale 4d had a very different grist from the other Mild they were brewing at the time, X Ale.

I forgot to mention that the black malt was added to the copper, not the mash. That's a technique I've only seen used for Porter or Stout.

Barm said...

It's the "hybrid" comment that makes me shudder. From reading your blog I've developed an reflexive aversion to the notion of an hybrid between an Ale and a Beer.

I think the difference in grist is important to note, but is 7% brown malt and 2% black in the 4d so important? Is maize so essential to an X Ale?

And culturally, it took the place of X in the pubs.

Ron Pattinson said...

Barm, I wasn't being 100% serious. But that Ale 4d is a fascinating beer. Wonder what it tasted like?

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention that the black malt was added to the copper, not the mash. That's a technique I've only seen used for Porter or Stout.

That would, I'm guessing, increase colour and flavour extraction so you could get more black for your buck - or am I wrong?

Adrian said...

"That would, I'm guessing, increase colour and flavour extraction so you could get more black for your buck - or am I wrong?"

If Kristen chimes in, he may have more to say, but in my limited experience, this indeed the case. I've powdered a couple ounces of black malt (using a food processor) and tossed it into the boil. The resultant beer turned out quite dark despite the small amount.

Gary Gillman said...

Michael didn't miss AK, it is prominently described (and very well, for the time) in World Guide to Beer (1977). As for double brown, he did cover variations on low-gravity brown ale such as the stronger bottled brown ales extant in his time in the North. As for Burton, that is the one style I believe he missed, he seems to have considered Burton's beers only from the time they copied and developed London bitter beer (India pale). I should read that chapter again though, perhaps he did advert to the older style.

Michael didn't miss that much actually. Sometimes he has just a line or two where you can see he had a glimpse of a larger issue but hadn't the time or resources to develop it.

The main things he was not aware of I think were: the use of very pale malts for most pale ale and mild ale in the 1800's and the very high hop rates of that time, whereby e.g., the pale ales of today would have been classified as mild then. Also, the ubiquity of Guinness and its use of some roasted barley and decent hopping in his day led him to consider that a bitter stout was the hallmark of Ireland, which is not really correct (as you have shown) when viewed historically. Finally, his description of old ales doesn't seem, as I recall it, to focus on the keynotes of aging and development of acetic properties. He does mention this e.g., for George Gale's Prize Old Ale, but not (again as I recall) as a hallmark of the style. The focus too on barley wine as a style seems a little misplaced in that probably barley wines were either Burton ale (original type) or strong versions of any of the styles that existed by 1900 (strong mild for example, as Zythophile has shown).

But his main focus was to describe the beers of his day, not historical ones. He used history to illuminate his writings (he had to of course) but it only went so far.

Gary

Graham Wheeler said...

They probably do get a bit more colour from putting the black malt in the copper, as there are no mash efficiency issues; the theory being that, in the mash, if fermentable extract is low, the colour extracted will be low too, but the effect is minimal in terms of economy.

However this is not their motive for doing it. In this case it is probably done out of habit, because I cannot see this stuff being parti-gyled with anything.

But with parti-gyled beers and brewers that use exactly the same grist for everything they produce, the only difference between their range of beers is the original gravity (perhaps) and what goes on in the copper. Colour, either black malt or caramel, is added to the copper to produce their pseudo-variants.

0.94% black malt will achieve nothing anyway except contribute 9EBC of colour. It is pointless.

It is a strange grist and smacks of amateurishness. Like a newbie home brewer's first attempt at designing his own recipe; ten different malts plus twenty different varieties of hops, all added at different times, in his quest to produce his world beating beer. The human palate is nowhere near that good.

The 11th of October version uses five types of malt and three types of sugar. Crazy. There is little point in using more than three types of malt; almost anything can be achieved with just three. Sugar is just sugar. One of the sugars could easily go. Keep the number 3 invert for the colour and any flavour it contributes, plus one other, perhaps.

There are several methods of achieving the colour within that grist, the ratio and type of dark sugar used or black malt, but they still cannot resist their usual dollop of gravy browning. If they are going to use caramel there is no point in the black malt being there.

It would be nice to know how they brewed it. It strikes me as being particularly inefficient to brew at that gravity. The mash tun/ copper capacity ratio is more evenly matched in porter breweries than ale breweries, but even so, it is recorded that in 1871 B.P had 150 quarter mash tuns and 350 barrel coppers. Assuming an extract of 90lbs per quarter, which is conservative, that gives them 350 barrels at O.G. 1100 with a full mash tun and an all malt brew. This is fair enough; a commercial mash tun should at least be capable of producing a barley wine at full copper capacity.

It is not an all malt brew. In practice this is increased by about 30% due to the 22% sugar they use, which of course goes into the copper, not the mash tun. It now becomes 350 barrels at O.G. 1130.

So what did they do? Brew 350 barrels at 1.026 with the mash tun less than 20% full - poor vessel utilisation. Or brew with a full mash tun, boil at high gravity, then liquor it down to 1026 prior to fermentation producing 1750 barrels - more probable.

The safest way with such a weak beer would to be ferment at high gravity, say at 1050, and then liquor it down to the equivalent of 1026 with de-oxygenated water at casking. It is unlikely that the brewer would know how to do that, but I would not be surprised if Whitbread were doing something similar with their 1027 porter mentioned elsewhere in this blog.

Nevertheless, with such a low gravity and low hop rate it has to be a difficult beer to brew in 1918; the older the plant the more difficult. It must have gone off almost before it was out the brewery gate. Some regional brewers would never have coped.

Out of personal interest, next time I'm in town I'll look at our local newspaper archives and see what beers Great-Granddaddies brewery was advertising in 1918. It seems unlikely that good old 'Wheeler's Wassail' will be one of them.

Ron Pattinson said...

Graham, the Ale 4d brew of 27th December 1918 was of 1656 barrels. 126 quarters of malt split evenly between two mash tuns. Barclay Perkins usually used two mash tuns in parallel for a single brew.

I thought they blended post-boil.

No secret about how the 1027 Porter was brewed: just a lot more of the weaker worts. The quantities of each strength of wort blended are on the log.

You can create differnces between party-gyled beers. Barclay Perkins were masters at that. They had a whole set of Milds of different colours that had things like "sweet" and "dark sweet" added in the barrel. And, of course, many beers were primed at racking time with high-gravity sugar solutions.

Mackeson looks weird in the logs. It was basically the same beer as Extra Stout and often party-gyled with it and London Stout. The lactose was added as primings and doesn't show up in the brewing record. But, because I have the OG and FG from analyses done at the bottling stores, it should be fairly easy to work out how much lactose was added.