I'm sure you can guess the source. Good old Horst Dornbusch, man of a million unfounded claims.
"Pale ale originated in England about two hundred years ago when some brewers started to use cleaner, but more expensive, coke — instead of coal or wood — to dry their malted barley. The higher-priced grain led to higher-priced brews. This helped to foster the British notion that pale beers are for the upper classes, while darker beers are for the toiling masses. Most of this new ale came from just one city — Burton-on-Trent.Not too awful yet. Except for paragraph two, obviously. Unless all my archive visits have been some fantastic and fantastically-detailed dream. Naah. I went down the pub after every visit. They were always open and I can remember tasting the beer. Couldn't have been a dream. The street was even the same after I came out of the pub. Conclusive evidence against the dream theory.
British breweries have only been maintaining reliable brewing records since the beginning of the twentieth century, so we do not have the recipe of the original brew. From the perspective of authenticity, we have only a few vague hints as to what the original pale ale might have looked or tasted like. It ought not to come as a surprise, therefore, that pale ale has one of the broadest style definitions you can find in the world of brewing.
Early English beers brewed with these paler grains were mostly amber to copper in color. Today we might not even consider them pale, because we compare them to modern beers such as the golden-blond Pilsners, the brilliant Munich helles, and even American light lagers. By the standards of the staple brown ales and porters of two hundred years ago, however, these new beers were pale indeed."
What else has he got wrong? That there weren't any Brown Ales in the early 19th century. And that Mild - a working man's drink if ever there was one -was pale at the time. By 1800 pale malt was cheaper to brew with than other base malts. That's why Porter grists were changed to be mostly pale malt.
"Originally, in cask-conditioned “real” pale ales, the turbidity from the yeast was taken out of the drink with various finings. But in regular “running” beer — as draft beer was often called then — this was not the case. It was not until the invention of beer filtration in 1878 that pale ales could sparkle, too."I'm not even sure what that means. What the hell were 'cask-conditioned “real” pale ales'? If he's saying what I think he is, he's got it arse about tit. I wouldn't trust that date for the introduction of filtration, either. The idea of Stock Pale Ales was that the long maturation allowed them to drop bright without fining. Read any description of Bass or Allsopp Pale Ale and they go on about how wonderfully pale and bright it is.
"The name “pale ale” is not without ambiguity, or even confusion. Initially, the beer was known as India Pale Ale (IPA) because it was being made mostly for shipment to the administrators, merchants and soldiers of the British Empire in India. This beer faced a six-week long, often rough, ocean voyage through the tropics and around the tip of Africa. To ensure that the beer would survive the trip without spoiling, Burton brewers made it almost twice as strong and twice as bitter as the standard ales of the day."
He's not the only one to claim that. Doesn't make it right, though.
"This India Pale Ale acquired a domestic British market only by accident when, after a shipwreck off Liverpool in 1827, casks of IPA were salvaged and sold for local consumption. Once the Liverpudlians had tasted the hoppy export ale, they clamored for more and the Burton brewers obliged. Because of the beer’s bittering levels, it became known domestically as “bitter.” However, because plenty of alcohol as a preservative was no longer necessary on the short transport routes for domestic sales, Burton brewers made their bitter in three strengths. They brewed an ordinary bitter (with an average OG in the mid-1.030s), a best bitter (with an average OG in the mid-1.040s), and a strong bitter (with an average OG in the mid-1.050s). The strong bitter also became known as special or extra-special bitter (ESB). As beer bottles entered the British market from the 1860s onward, the bottled bitters came to once again be called pale ales to distinguish them from the bitters in casks. At this time, however, the “India” prefix was dropped."Domestic IPA was in reality higher gravity than the ones sent to India. I'll make no other comment. Except to point out the irony in this being the next sentence in the original:
"As brewers, we may be comfortable with the thought that styles are something fixed and lasting. But in reality, styles are born as an expression of their times and tend to change with them, sometimes even radically."
To top it all off, there's this brilliant recipe:
"British Nineteenth-Century Best BitterYou can read the whole article here:
(5-gallon, all grain)
OG = 1.044
FG = 1.010
SRM = 11–13
IBU = 30
7.0 lbs. two-row pale ale malt (3° L)
1.0 lb. crystal malt (40° L)
6.75 AAU East Kent Goldings hops (bittering)
(1.35 oz. of 5% alpha acid)
0.5 oz. Fuggles hops (flavor)
0.5 oz. East Kent Goldings (aroma)
Wyeast 1028 (London Ale) or White Labs WLP026 (Premium Bitter Ale) yeast
0.75 cup corn sugar (for bottling)"
I rest my case.