Thursday, 22 April 2010

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1953 Ben Truman

It seems a while since we last had a Let's Brew post. And, yet again, this isn't Wednesday. But I think you're going to enjoy today's beer, an early version of Ben Truman.

Ben Truman is a good example of the type of stronger Pale Ale that many breweries introduced after WW II. It was heavily advertised by Truman in the 1950's and designed to compete with beers like Bass and Double Diamond.

Two different strengths were produced, the stronger one being bottled. I'm not sure if it ever appeared in cask-conditioned form. There was deinitely a keg version, which was still knocking around when I drank in the Tenterden in Bromley by Bow in the late 1970's. Not that I ever tried it. I didn't drink keg, if I could avoid it. That it no longer exists in any form, says much about how much British brewing has changed in recent decades. From national brand to the great slop bucket in the sky in half a lifetime.

This is how Andrew Campbell described Ben Truman in the mid 1950's:

"As we write, an intensive advertising campaign is in course to establish their beer Ben Truman as a national beer. Of similar strength to Bass, Double Diamond, and Worthington, it is a good solid beer, with a strong flavour. "
"The Book Of Beer" by Andrew Campbell, 1956, pages 204-205.

This beer wasn't brewed at the original Truman brewery on Brick Lane but it their Burton outpost, built in the late 19th century specifically to brew Pale Ale. Some London brewers were reluctant to attempt Pale Ale brewing in London and had them made in areas with more suitable water. Truman had a brewery in Burton, Courage had one in Alton, Hampshire.

That's it from me. I'll just hand you over to Kristen . . . . .




Truman - 1953 - Ben Truman
General info: Premium ale! Oh yeah, sounds awesome right!? Many people still above ground on this planet have actually drunk this beer. My granddad, for one, would drink it from time to time and never had anything really nice, or bad, to say about it. He always called it the 'Working Mans' Bass. I don't know about that but I do know that this beer is absolutely typical of the day’s type of 'Premo' ale. Looks quite a lot like the Bass ale recipe in fact.
Beer Specifics

Recipe by percentages
Gravity (OG)
1.051

78.2% English Pale malt
2.2% Invert No1
Gravity (FG)
1.009

12.6% Mild malt
0.4% Caramel
ABV
5.65%

0.6% Crystal 75L
0%
Apparent attenuation
82.69%

5.9% Flaked Maize

Real attenuation
67.74%







IBU
33.9

Mash
120min@149°F
1.20381962864721qt/lb

SRM
11


120min@65°C
2.52L/kg

EBC
21.7










Boil
1.5 hours













Homebrew @ 70%
Craft @ 80%
Grist
5gal
19L
10bbl
10hl
English Pale malt
7.56
lb
3.442
kg
410.10
lb
158.45
kg
Mild malt
1.22
lb
0.555
kg
66.14
lb
25.56
kg
Crystal 75L
0.06
lb
0.028
kg
3.36
lb
1.30
kg
Flaked Maize
0.57
lb
0.259
kg
30.87
lb
11.93
kg
Invert No1
0.22
lb
0.099
kg
11.76
lb
4.54
kg
Caramel
0.04
lb
0.019
kg
2.30
lb
0.89
kg

9.669

4.402

524.52352



Hops








Fuggle 5.5% 90min
1.11
oz
31.4
g
68.65
oz
1.659
kg
Fuggle 5.5% 30min
0.54
oz
15.4
g
33.73
oz
0.815
kg









Fermentation
74°F /23.3°C















Yeast
Nottingham ale yeast

1968 London ESB Ale Yeast  - WLP002 English Ale Yeast









Tasting Notes: Grainy pale malt with hints of biscuits and caramelized sugar. Much lighter tasting than the color would indicate.  Lots of apples and pears with a bit of corn which leads directly into a touch of hop astringency adding a little dryness to the finish that is exaggerated by the hop bitterness.

Ingredients and technique
Grist & such
Lots of typical British ‘ESB’ ingredients. A few different pale malts, a good portion of mild malt, flaked maize and invert sugar. Nearly all the color comes from the very little bit of crystal malt and caramel colorant.

Hops
The hops weren’t all that old nor that young. Average of about 1.5 years or so. There are hops from all over the UK in this beer. Nothing specific, for once, as to the variety of hop so lets just go with a nice Fuggle. We use Goldings for some many things, right?

Mash & Boil
Very simple mash with two infusions and a long sparge and a 1.5 hour boil. Nothing fancy, just functional.

Fermentation, Conditioning & Serving
This is where everything kinda goes pear-shaped with the ‘normal’ practices. The fermentation temperature averages are very high. The cool it down a good way but then let it ramp very high for an English ale of this sort and then crash it. This is one of the first beers that we’ve done that was made for bottling. Aim for about 2.3 volumes of CO2 using either corn sugar or glucose syrup and around 1 million cells/ ml of beer. Serve at cellar temp into a snappy Nonic glass.

Gyling & Blending
If the other stuff went off the reservation then the gyling and blending of this simple beer really falls off a cliff. A party-gyle of no less than 7 separate gyles of which there are 4 basic strengths. One has to weight the results with such an extensive technique and see if there is difference enough to dedicate the amount of time to do the technique. In this case, it is not. A single infusion is good enough for this recipe as indicated.

4 comments:

Gary Gillman said...

I drank what may have been some of the last of this beer from Truman, in London in the mid-1980's. It was at the bar at New Berners Hotel on Berners Street, Soho (or Finsbury maybe, Berners is just the other side of Oxford Street). In an earlier comment I stated that my recollection was the beer had a blue label. I see by the label you have used to illustrate the posting, Ron, that indeed there was a royal blue component. My memory (this is from 25 years ago) is correct I think.

I liked it, it had a fruity taste like a good Southern bitter or like Ind Coope Burton did then.

Gary

Martyn Cornell said...

Argh! Not the Nonik glass! Cheap and vile. Either a straight handleless glass or a dimple, or, best of all, the 10-sided glasses seen in the old "Beer Is Best" ads.

Graham Wheeler said...

"Either a straight handleless glass or a dimple, or, best of all, the 10-sided glasses seen in the old "Beer Is Best" ads."

Naw,straights are for larger-louts and poofters. I think the 10-sided were known as lantern glasses. A local pub still has some, but they are only lent out to highly esteemed customers because they are highly nickable. They've got a G. R. on the excise stamp, but I don't know which George.

The old advertising used to go "There are more hops in Ben Truman", but it turns out that there wasn't, so they were forced to change their slogan to "You can taste the hops in Ben Truman". For advertising standards to jump on that seems a bit trivial when you consider the pseudo-science that goes on with the modern telly advertising of ladies' face creams. It seems that women are still impressed by long scientific-sounding names and are quite willing to slap such stuff on their faces, but one too many E-numbers in the food they feed to their kids and a riot would ensue. I am amazed that those advertisers get away with such crap in this day and age.

mentaldental said...

I started drinking beer in the 1970s. Part way through the decade Ben Truman was ?relaunched and promoted quite heavily on TV. So when I saw this post I had to brew it.

A couple of days OK I bottled and casked (well Cornie Kegged) it and there was a taster left over. Bloody hell! It did taste pretty much as I remember BT from the 1970s even though the gravity was probably quite a bit lower then.

Obviously this is an entirely subjective observation with quite a gap between sampling. But I was quite stunned at how it brought the taste of 1970s BT back. And it reminded me why I didn't drink it very much. I don't really like it!