Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1883 Truman Export Pale Ale

Ha! On time for once. Probably because today's beer is so special. A Pale Ale with an unusual recipe.

First, a little background. Truman were one of the large London brewers that didn't attempt to brew Pale Ale in their home brewery. Instead, they built a plant specifically for that purpose in Burton. Despite never really running flat out, Truman's Burton brewery was around for more than a century.

It brewed two ranges of beers: Pale Ales and numbered Burton Ales, similar to those of Bass. They went from 1 to 8, 1 being Barley Wine and 6 to 8 Mild. I'm not sure what I'd call the rest, other than Burton Ales.The Pale Ales were, in ascending order of strength PA, P2 and P1, with gravities of 1058º, 1062º and 1068º. All the beers - Burton Ales and Pale Ales - had grists that were 100% pale malt.

Some of you may remember P1. Not under that name, of course. Under its later brand name: Ben Truman. Truman's premium bottled and keg Bitter of the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. In 1953 it was down to just 1045º and was hopped at about 1 lb per barrel: In 1883 it had 4.5 lbs per barrel. Quite a difference, but all Victorian beers were hopped like crazy.

What's unusual about the recipe? I'm getting to that. From the middle of the 19th century Britain's hop industry was incapable of meeting the demand from brewers. The solution was to import hops. Lots of them. From just about every country that could supply them: USA, Germany, Belgium, France, Bohemia.German and Bohemian hops were prized for their flavour. American hops for their low price and long shelf life. I must dig out the Barclay Perkins KK from the 1930's that was dry-hopped with Saaz.

This beer contains hops from just about everywhere.USA, Germany, Bohemia and even England. A truly international beer. And one that demonstrates how hopelessly outdated the idea is of British beers only using British hops.

That's it from me, so over to Kristen . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

So this beer is quite different than the other Truman pale ales we have done before. They are similar in OG and BU. They are similar in the ingredients in general. However they differ tremendously in the hopping type. One can look at as many logs as a brewery has ever been done and get a very good idea as to why things were done. You can see the same beer done over the course of a year and then a few years. Although the ingredients change a bit the theme is the same with a beer that is very similar. This one, the hops are so different there must have been a reason, right? There was only 145bbl made and it was for export so maybe it was made for someone, some place in particular. Maybe the brew master wanted to try out these hops as it was an export beer he had the leeway to do so. Maybe there was a shortage of their normal hops or they didn’t have the ages he wanted. Or, as most brewers know, he had all these hops he wanted to get rid of and did a kitchen sink-type thing as there is no rhyme or reason to these hop combos. However, I will not go so far as to make any sort of solid hypothesis. Seems like a really cool ‘one off’.


Grist – So…as with all the single malt-type beers, its completely up to you. Use the very best malt you can get of your very favorite variety. As long as its fresh and English, I think you are good. I very much like Optic for this one. I’m starting to get sick of the honeyed Maris Otter I’ve been getting lately. Golden Promise and Halcyon work quite well for this also.

Hops –  I’ve talked about hops about 6 times about this beer so far. Hops. They make this beer. They make it different. The quality is of the utmost importance. For this beer, for the shear uniqueness, try using 4 hops from 4 places. The  varietal Cluster, at the beginning, really doesn’t play a part so really any US hop with a 7%-ish AA% would be a fine replacement. Even higher % would be fine also. Same can be pretty much said for the Fuggle at 120min. Any UK at that % is fine. Where it gets interesting and fun is the late hop additions. Basically Bavarian and Bohemian hops are what you are looking for. Bavarian I’d stick with either Tettnang or Hallertauer (any). Whichever you can get fresher. Stay away from Northern Brewer, Spalt, etc. Bohemian, I would stick with Saaz. The prototypical Bohemian hop. You’ll also notice that I didn’t add any dry hopping. The average dry hopping for a pale ale or export pale ale was between 0.25 and 0.5lb/36gal bbl (~0.8-1.6g/L)…somewhere close. Nearly all of these were dry hopped. This log, the variety wasn’t included. They usually use the most fresh hops but since this log is so different I wanted to leave it to you. I’ve dry hopped with Saaz, Hallertauer and Goldings. Both at 0.8 and 1.6g/l. I’ve blended them to see what level was the my favorite. I found that right about 1.15g/L was optimum for this beer. I really like the combo of Saaz and Hallertauer (50:50). It was very different from most I’ve done like this. Do as you’d like, see what you’d like best.

Yeast – West Yorkshire. 100% West Yorkshire. However, most people can’t get it. So, I listed the Whiteshield. Which I do very much. But its very minerally. So keep that in mind. The Nottingham, this time, just came off too dry.


dana said...

From what I can tell, the West Yorkshire yeast is from Wyeast & is seasonal, Oct-Dec.

I'd expect the hops to maybe get in a fist fight or something.

StuartP said...

What puzzles me is this: if you're brewing all these recipes, and often variations with different yeast, hop, malt and sugar profiles, where is all the beer going?
It is a large volume.
You must know some very thirsty people.