Thursday, 28 April 2011

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1934 Kidd PA

Time for the next beer in our Kidd 1934 series. (And only one day late.) This tinme it's PA, or Bitter as it would have been called down the boozer.

In reading "The Pub and the People" I've realised there was a big difference between the beers sold in a Lancashire pub and a London one. Most of the pubs in Bolton only sold one type of draught beer: Mild. In London, the choice was much greater: Mild, Bitter, Burton, Stout and possibly Porter. I think it's important to remember this difference.

It reminds mne of the 1970's. In London, when you could find cask beer, the choice was likely to be Bitter or Best Bitter (London Pride or ESB, Young's Ordinary or Young's Special, Courage Best or Directors). Mild had largely disappeared. Whereas in a Manchester, Leeds or Nottingham pub the choice was Mild or Bitter. Regional differences have been around a long time.

Today's beer is a pretty typical southern PA of the period. A touch weaker than Whitbread's PA(1044.5º to 1048º), quite a bit weaker than Barclay Perkins' PA(1052.5), but very similar in strength to Barclay Perkins' XLK (1045º). That places Kidd's PA very much as standard Bitter. You can blame WW II for kniocking about 8 gravity points off ordinary Bitter. I blame Hitler.

The recipe is pretty standard: pale malt from English and American barley, flaked maize and sugar. Note the absence of crystal malt. It only seems to have been commonly used in Bitter after WW II. Cystal malt was originally mostly used in Mild, later Stout and only much later in Bitter. I suspect it's all to do with the fall in gravity: crystal malt was used to beef up the body of the weaker wort.

One last point. Kristen seems to have been confused by the duty entry. There were three beers produced: PA at 1044.5, XXXX (darkened with caramel) at 1058.75 and something called SBA that must be a mix of the two. No idea what the gravity of that was, because it isn't given. Though interestingly it was all filled into hogsheads. The 12 gallons at 1131º are the primings.

Now over to Kristen . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

This is one I just had to make by the gyle and straight. The gyle is very complicated, complex and I don’t really think you get more out of doing it that way. The beers are drastically different b/c of the different types of sugars and caramel added to them. This one, is definitely a stand out for me. The combo of the fuggles and brambling cross are wonderful. Lots of hop tannins to go with the heavier Invert No.2 fruit. A drive by fruiting if you would.


Grist – Optic, because of its maltiness, is my preferred choice here. I’ve made this w/ and w/o the 6-row. The 6-row definitely adds a level of tannins not available with other malts. I have found that using a lower alpha acid hop can actually replicate the bit of tannin the 6-row adds. It’s a different sort of tannin but gives one a better idea than not using anything. The No2 is very important. For such a pale beer it’s the primary player in the ‘fruit’ territory apart from the yeast. I’d say this beer quality will really hinge on your quality of No2. So either buy a good one or make a good one from great ingredients. Don’t skimp here.

Hops –  I’ve made the rest of these beers with Brambling and frankly, I’m running low so I wanted to swap it out a bit. For Fuggles I used US Willamette which do a very nice job of being a Fuggle. The fuggles I was going to use just were great. I chose Cluster for the bitter as 1) they are cheap-o and 2) they give nearly exactly the same bitter character. For dry hop I did Willamette alone and 50:50 with the Cluster. I do have to say that I preferred the Willamette but could definitely understand the people that liked the fidy:fidy combo…a little more in your face.

Yeast – I chose my favorite PA yeast here. The Tim Taylor strain. However, I really love the Whiteshield nearly as much but its also drops a ton of that minerally character. If you have hard water, use the Taylor, if you have soft use the Whiteshield.

Salts – The first I’ve really advocated their use. Some salts really go a long way here in accentuating the bitter character and brightening the end. Using something along the lines of 0.25g Epsom  and 0.5g Gypsum per liter directly in the boil kettle is a good starting point. Less if you have hard water. I wouldn’t mess around with using it in your mash to start. Get the flavors done working backwards then tweek.

Advanced Mash – There was a short underlet but the single infusion worked pretty much exactly like the multi-infusion. Really, nothing special.


Neil Spake said...

Question for Kristen, where do you get the Timothy Taylor yeast strain? Is it commercially available (if this is obvious to UK brewers, my apologies, I am from the US)?

author said...


This was released as Wyeast 1469, a special edition yeast. I don't know if it's still around or not.

Kristen England said...


Author is correct. its my very favorite strain for really any US or UK ale. it does beautifully for pretty much everything. If everyone that brews with it emails Wyeast and demands for it to be brought back it might make it to the regular yeast lineup. That would be sweet!

NAM said...

Interesting point about pubs in Bolton only selling mild - but how many milds? I remember it being common in the early 70s for pubs around Bolton to sell a light mild and a dark mild. Whether the same would have been true in 1934, I have no idea.

Ron Pattinson said...

NAM, a little patience and all will be revealed.