Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Scotland month

Scotland. It's my new theme. You have to theme things up every now and again. And September and Scotland both begin with the letter S.

First there will be a series of Scottish Let's Brews. Some of those much misunderstood Scottish styles, like Heavy Wee and Smoked Scotch. Maybe even a Scottish Stout, if you're lucky. Shillings or numbers - which do you prefer? There are numbers 1 to 4. Then 50/-, 60/-, 80/-, 100/-, 120/-, 140/- and 160/-. Don't ask me what the difference is between the two sets. There's a big overlap in terms of gravity. And no obvious consistent difference in the hopping. But they must exist for some reason, mustn't they? I wonder how many other brewers had five different beers over 1100º?

Then I'll be applying my mighty intellect to the Scottish beer analyses I've collected. Am still collecting, almost even as we speak. Seeing if I can finally identify what makes a beer Scottish. Other than a ridiculously high gravity. Wish me luck.

To kick things off, here's a table of Scotch Ales from between the wars:

Scotch Ales 1920 - 1939
Year Brewer Beer Price size package Acidity FG OG colour ABV App. Atten-uation
1920 Usher Old Scotch Ale pint bottled 1026 1080.7 7.11 67.78%
1920 Usher Old Scotch Ale pint bottled 1008 1078 9.24 89.74%
1920 Usher Old Scotch Ale pint bottled 1022 1078 7.30 71.79%
1921 McEwan Old Scotch Ale pint bottled 1028 1086 7.54 67.44%
1922 McEwan Old Scotch Ale (ex Brussels) pint bottled 1025 1090 8.49 72.22%
1922 Usher Old Scotch Ale (ex Brussels) pint bottled 1000 1071 9.42 100.00%
1922 Usher Old Scotch Ale (ex Brussels) pint bottled 1000 1072.8 9.67 100.00%
1923 Usher Old Scotch Ale (ex Brussels) pint bottled 1016 1082 8.66 80.49%
1923 Usher Old Scotch Ale (ex Brussels) pint bottled 1017 1083 8.66 79.52%
1923 Usher Old Scotch Ale (ex Brussels) pint bottled 1016 1082 8.66 80.49%
1925 Younger, Wm. & Co No.1 Strong Scotch Ale 9d half pint bottled 1013.8 1084.7 9.34 83.71%
1925 Younger, Wm. & Co No.3 Scotch Ale 7.5d half pint bottled 1009.3 1053.8 5.81 82.71%
1928 McEwan Scotch Ale pint bottled 1017.2 1069.6 6.83 75.29%
1932 Younger, Wm. & Co Scotch Ale 9d pint draught 0.05 1011.8 1051 5.10 76.86%
1932 Younger, Wm. & Co Scotch Ale 9d pint draught 1010.2 1048 4.92 78.75%
1932 Younger, Wm. & Co Scotch Ale 9d pint draught 0.07 1012.6 1050 4.86 74.80%
1933 Usher Old Scotch Ale pint bottled 1022 1096 9.72 77.08%
1939 McEwan Scotch Ale bottled 0.13 1019.6 1086.2 4 + 40 8.73 77.26%
Sources:
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11
Whitbread Gravity Book


You should notice something immediately. Two quite different beers being sold as Scotch Ale: one of 8 or 9% ABV and another of 5% ABV. Younger's ones explain it the best. The Stronger is their No. 1 Ale, the weaker No. 3 Ale. The latter being a beer which had been available, off and on, since I've been drinking. It may even still exist.

Then there are the Scotch Ales brewed for the Belgian market. There must have been money it, judging by the number of brewers involved.Including some, like John Smith, that were in, er, England.

That reminds me. I must go through more Younger's logs. In particular the ones from the 1930's and 1940's. Only had them for two years. A backlog of logs is building. Even though I've not harvested many new ones this year. So much information, so little time.

7 comments:

bark said...

I am really looking forward to learn more about those underrated styles.

Besides, how should one interpret the "Acidity" column? How was that measured?

Ron Pattinson said...

Bark, that's total acidity as a percentage. It would include both lactic acid and acetic acid.

Normal levels for British draught beer of the period were 0.04 to 0.06%.

Velky Al said...

Looking forward to the recipes! I will endeavour to brew as many as I can.

Kristen England said...

Will be a really great month! Already brewed the first one for tomorrow!!!

Craig said...

Yes, Scottish beer from the 1940s—I might be interested in that...

Arctic Alchemy said...

Giddy like a schoolboy, I have often wondered the history of Scottish brewing from the Pattinson perspective ..game on !

mentaldental said...

Bark,

Acidity was expressed "as acetic acid" and, I presume, measured by titration. These days we use pH which is much more convenient. If you want to convert the "as acetic" figue you may use this spreadsheet formula:

=LOG(SQRT(B5*A5/100))*-1

A5 is the "as acetic" figure expressed as a decimal.
B5 is the dissociation constant of acetic acid (0.0000175).

For example an "as acetic" figure of 0.12% returns a pH of 3.84.

The formula is the one I use in Open Office but I think it will work in Excel.