Saturday, 10 July 2010

Porter moves from brown to black

Porter grists. A subject abnormally dear to my heart. More an illness than an interest.

The period around the Napoleonic Wars was a key moment in the development of Porter. Specifically, the development of black malt. The new wonder colouring material that arrived in 1817. Its effect on Porter grists was pretty dramatic. As the table below demonstrates.

Before we go any further, a word of explanation. For the percentages in the table, I've assumed a quarter of pale or amber malt weighs 336 poiunds and that a quarter of brown or black malt weighs 244. I'm pretty certain that they were using volume quarters in this period and not standardised 336 pound quarters. I could be wrong, but that's the assumption I've made.

And these are what the beer names mean:


TT = standard Porter
EI = Export India (Porter)
BSt = Brown Stout
FSt = Family Stout (I think)

Here's the table:

-->
Barclay Perkins beers 1812 - 1821
Date
Year
Beer
Style
OG
FG
ABV
App. Atten-uation
lbs hops/ qtr
hops lb/brl
barrels
lbs hops
qtrs malt
Pitch temp
pale malt
brown malt
black malt
amber malt
29th Apr
1812
BSt
Stout
1076.2
1027.0
6.51
64.56%
9.57
4.01
836
3350
350
61º
60.31%
39.69%
0.00%
16.96%
16th Mar
1812
EI
Porter
1055.7
1016.0
5.25
71.26%
13.85
4.00
1159.75
4640
335
61º
59.40%
40.60%
0.00%
0.00%
23rd Mar
1812
EI
Porter
1054.3
1016.0
5.07
70.53%
13.13
3.82
1150.75
4400
335
61º
60.10%
39.90%
0.00%
0.00%
18th Mar
1812
FSt
Stout
1052.1
1016.0
4.77
69.28%
12.03
3.17
1214.5
3850
320
64.5º
59.45%
40.55%
0.00%
0.00%
21st Mar
1812
FSt
Stout
1051.5
1015.5
4.77
69.92%
11.88
3.14
1209.75
3800
320
64º
60.95%
39.05%
0.00%
0.00%
1st Apr
1812
FSt
Stout
1052.6
1015.5
4.91
70.55%
11.88
3.13
1214.5
3800
320
64º
57.93%
42.07%
0.00%
0.00%
20th Mar
1812
TT
Porter
1052.6
1016.0
4.85
69.60%
9.78
2.50
1249.75
3130
320
66º
68.24%
31.76%
0.00%
0.00%
25th Mar
1812
TT
Porter
1053.5
1015.8
4.99
70.54%
9.38
2.48
1209.75
3000
320
63º
72.44%
27.56%
0.00%
0.00%
26th Jun
1812
TT
Porter
1051.2
1015.5
4.73
69.75%
7.19
1.95
1049
2050
285
63º
67.06%
32.94%
0.00%
0.00%
6th Feb
1813
BSt
Stout
1075.3
1027.0
6.40
64.16%
11.14
4.89
797.75
3900
350
61º
60.31%
39.69%
0.00%
16.96%
27th Mar
1813
BSt
Stout
1075.3
1027.0
6.40
64.16%
9.57
4.22
793
3350
350
61º
56.30%
43.70%
0.00%
19.41%
5th Feb
1813
EI
Porter
1054.6
1016.0
5.10
70.68%
13.13
3.99
1101.5
4400
335
63.5º
58.66%
41.34%
0.00%
0.00%
30th Mar
1813
FSt
Stout
1054.3
1016.0
5.07
70.53%
11.09
3.08
1154.25
3550
320
63.5º
60.95%
39.05%
0.00%
0.00%
4th May
1813
TT
Porter
1052.6
1015.5
4.91
70.55%
8.75
2.39
1173.25
2800
320
73º
65.36%
34.64%
0.00%
0.00%
3rd Jan
1821
BSt
Stout
1075.6
1027.0
6.43
64.30%
9.74
4.15
891
3700
380
63º
75.37%
23.81%
0.82%
9.37%
10th Jan
1821
BSt
Stout
1078.9
1027.0
6.87
65.80%
10.66
4.83
838.25
4050
380
63º
76.63%
22.58%
0.79%
9.33%
17th Jan
1821
BSt
Stout
1078.1
1027.0
6.76
65.44%
10.76
5.00
818
4090
380
63º
71.54%
27.57%
0.89%
9.49%
21st Mar
1821
EI
Porter
1059.3
1015.8
5.76
73.43%
14.32
4.28
1239.25
5300
370
64º
77.34%
21.30%
1.36%
0.00%
23rd Feb
1821
FSt
Stout
1057.6
1015.5
5.57
73.10%
12.57
3.63
1280.25
4650
370
63º
78.09%
21.25%
0.66%
0.00%
29th Jan
1821
S Ale
Small Ale
1051.8
1015.0
4.87
71.04%
14.88
3.75
674.75
2530
170
62.5º
100.00%
0.00%
0.00%
0.00%
1st Jan
1821
TT
Porter
1060.1
1016.0
5.84
73.38%
8.96
2.46
872.25
2150
240
65.5º
88.15%
11.06%
0.79%
0.00%
15th Jan
1821
TT
Porter
1060.1
1016.0
5.84
73.38%
9.29
2.57
1265.75
3250
350
64º
86.08%
13.10%
0.82%
0.00%
22nd Jan
1821
TT
Porter
1059.8
1016.0
5.80
73.26%
9.14
2.49
1285
3200
350
66º
85.04%
14.25%
0.71%
0.00%
25th May
1821
TT
Porter
1060.4
1015.5
5.94
74.33%
8.38
2.46
1261
3100
370
64.5º
84.47%
14.54%
0.99%
0.00%
Source:
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan archives.

In 1812 and 1813, Barclay Perkins Stouts and Export India Porter grists contained about 40% brown malt. The Stouts also had 15-20% amber malt. Their bog-standard Porter (TT) contained about 30% brown malt. As this was a few year's before Wheeler's invention of the stuff, there's obviously no black malt in the grist.

In 1821, things are very different. The brown malt content of the Stouts had almost halved to 20-25%. As had the amber malt content, down to 9%. The reduction was even more for the Porter: it contained just 11 to 15% brown malt. Both Porter and Stouts around 1% black malt.

A great example of how a technological innovation can transform the way a beer is brewed. And its character.

4 comments:

Ruud said...

Wonderful, I already missed your contributions on the item "stout"for a few days!

First Stater said...

Do you think it was innovation or economics that caused the drop in brown malt? If it wasn't cheaper I think that we'd still have high percentage brown porters until this day.

Martyn Cornell said...

Interesting that they were making a 100% pale malt "small ale" as early as 1821. And it had a higher hopping rate per barrel than the TT porter, which has the lowest hops per barrel of any of the brews.

I suspect you're right about the FSt being "family stout" rather than, say "foreign stout", because its hop rate is the lowest of the stouts, and while its gravity is much the same as the porter it seems to earn its "stout" name by containing more brown malt than the porter, in both the pre-Wheeler and post-Wheeler iterations, which presumably gave a slightly sweeter flavour, making it more acceptable to "family" drinkers (although looking at the comparative FGs and attenuations, it may be I don't know what I'm talking about …)

Ron Pattinson said...

First Stater, a combination of the two. Brewers were looking for a cheaper way to colour Porter than a large proportion of brown malt. The innovation of black malt made this possible.

The third factor at play was legislative: the law preventing the use of anything but malt for colouring.

The interplay of these three factors brought about the new type of Porter grist.

At least at Barclay Perkins, they were still using very similar grists 40 years later.