Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1934 Barclay Perkins Ale 4d

It's Meek and Mild Month here at SUABP. At least for today. We're back with one of my favourite lost styles: Ale 4d or just Ale.

This type of low-gravity Mild has its origins in WW I. When government restrictions from 1917 onwards forced brewers to slash gravities. Barclay Perkins discontinued their biggest-selling beer, X Ale, and replaced it with GA (Government Ale). When that name was forbidden (for some reason the government didn't like it), it became Ale 4d. The 4d (four pence) being the controlled price at which it was sold.

GA had a resonable gravity of 1038º. Ale 4d, introduced in April 1918 was considerably weaker - just 1027º and 2.7% ABV. Not really an intoxicating drink. After X Ale was reintroduced in 1919, Barclay Perkins continued to brew Ale 4d. There was clearly still demand for a cheap, low-gravity beer. The price differential was significant: X Ale cost 6d a pint and Bitter 8d.

Most other London brewers had a similar beer.Whitbread's was called MA. And, like Barclay Perkins Ale 4d, it was party-gyled with their standard X Mild. Gravities were in the range 1027º to 1030º. The quantities brewed gradually declined through the 1930's, but these beers only disappeared in the early 1940's when war again caused a fall in gravities. When standard X dropped to a similar gravity, Ale 4d disappeared.

Though it could be argued that post-WW II Milds were more similar, at least in terms of strength, to Ale 4d than they were to the old X Ale.

This particular beer comes from a three-way party-gyle of XX, X and Ale 4d, respectively 1042º, 1035º and 1031º. Though it was even more complicated than that. XX came in light and dark versions and there was a darker version of Ale 4d called Royal Ale. Extra caramel and different priming sugars were used to create them. So there were really 5 beers produced from a single mash. There's efficiency for you.




That's me done, so over to Kristen . . . . .







Barclay Perkins - 1934 - 4d
General info: This is a beautiful prototypical mid-war less than X, mild ale 'thing'. 4d ale is the type of ale that allows you to see what kind of a brewer you really are. Its low enough in gravity that there is nothing to hide behind. Has everything a growing boy needs. Pale malt, toasted malt, crystal malt, some corn and lots of dark sugar. Throw in a good dose of the burnt stuff for color and you have a meal in a glass...however many you need to fill your belly is completely up to you. A really fruity or spicy yeast will make this that much better. Made well, this is a very nice pint!
Beer Specifics

Recipe by percentages
Gravity (OG)
1.028

31.1% English pale malt 1
3.8% Crystal malt
Gravity (FG)
1.007

14.9% English pale malt 2
13.7% Flaked maize
ABV
2.81%

18.7% American 6-row
11.6% Invert No3
Apparent attenuation
75.10%

5.2% Amber malt
1% Caramel colorant
Real attenuation
61.52%







IBU
17.9

Mash
120min@152.25°F
0.93qt/lb

SRM
18


120min@66.8°C
1.94L/kg

EBC
36.1










Boil
2.5 hours













Homebrew @ 70%
Craft @ 80%
Grist
5gal
19L
10bbl
10hl
English pale malt 1
1.69
lb
0.767
kg
91.44
lb
35.33
kg
English pale malt 2
0.81
lb
0.368
kg
43.89
lb
16.96
kg
American 6-row
1.01
lb
0.460
kg
54.86
lb
21.20
kg
Amber malt
0.28
lb
0.127
kg
15.15
lb
5.85
kg
Crystal malt
0.21
lb
0.094
kg
11.15
lb
4.31
kg
Flaked maize
0.74
lb
0.338
kg
40.23
lb
15.54
kg
Invert No3
10.07
oz
288.0
g
34.14
lb
13.19
kg
Caramel colorant
0.83
oz
23.9
g
2.83
lb
1.09
kg





293.69



Hops








Goldings 4.5% 120min
0.56
oz
15.9
g
34.68
oz
0.838
kg
Goldings 4.5% 90min
0.26
oz
7.4
g
16.10
oz
0.389
kg









Fermentation
66°F /18.9°C















Yeast
Nottingham ale yeast

1968 London ESB Ale Yeast  - WLP002 English Ale Yeast









Tasting Notes:
Mmmmm....mildly, mildy. Lots of dark stone fruits, cherries and plums. Some sweet malt and toast with a bit of a corny hint on the end. Rather rich and mouthfilling in the middle but dries out quite well on the end leaving a very fruity finish and a decent little hop bite.

6 comments:

StuartP said...

OG 1028?
That is yeast abuse and I'm not doing it.

Kristen England said...

Great simple base beer for getting enough yeast for a big X or K or IBSt!

Ron Pattinson said...

StuartP, just use less water and brew XX at 1042. Or party-gyle the pair.

Craig said...

How much differnt was the X Ale from Ale 4d? Did they taste totally differnt? Would a pub have had both on at the same time or were they produced to be bought by the pin, for home? I guess I'm confused at why BP produced two ales that were only a few points of gravity, off, from each other?

I guess there is Diet Coke and Coke Zero, but I don't get that either.

Velky Al said...

On the Diet/Zero thing, I believe that they are the same product, but Coke Zero was created to be more appealing to men.

Kristen England said...

If you put them side by side they are different. A little different in color a little different in flavor from the different amounts of dark sugar/caramel thats added to them. They are unique beers for sure.

And it was 3 beers, XX, X and 4d (ale) not just two. Each with very specific directions for different types of sugars, caramels and such. Lots of work to do the calculations and blending in todays market that just wouldn't happen.