Ever since I dragged the family to Glasgow to spend some time with the Scottish Brewing Archive, I've been planning a series of in-depth comparisons between English and Scottish beers and brewing practices. This is part one.
It's taken me a wee while to lasso and tie all those pesky numbers. More than two years. But the wait has been well worth it.
In the interests of fairness and coming up with results that actually have some effing meaning, I'm comparing like for like. That is, beers in the same style and with similar gravities. Not that there's a heap of variety in this first set. All I have from Younger are Shilling Ales. It'll get more complex as we progress through the 19th century and Younger's range gets ever broader.
It says something about early 19th-century beer strengths that only one solitary, single example we'll be looking at today is below 1070º. Nice Cooking Milds.
|Date||Year||Brewer||Beer||Style||OG||FG||ABV||App. Attenuation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||boil time (hours)||boil time (hours)||boil time (hours)||Pitch temp º F||max. fermentation temp º F|
|7th Mar||1837||Barclay Perkins||X||Mild||1071.5||1013.2||7.71||81.53%||7.05||2.44||2.5||58||70|
|16th Aug||1839||Barclay Perkins||X||Mild||1071.5||1012.3||7.83||82.79%||9.09||3.16||3.25||59||77|
|14th Mar||1839||Barclay Perkins||X||Mild||1071.7||1013.4||7.72||81.32%||7.11||2.48||3.5||58.5||72|
|12th Apr||1832||Truman||X Ale||Mild||1072.0||1032.7||5.20||54.62%||4.5||1.30||64||75|
|3rd Dec||1831||Truman||X Ale||Mild||1072.3||1021.6||6.71||70.11%||7||2.33||62||77|
|2nd Dec||1831||Truman||XX Ale||Mild||1077.3||1024.4||7.00||68.46%||8||2.77||62||79|
|24th Dec||1831||Younger, Wm. & Co||60/-||Mild||1076||3.97||1.67||1.25||53||70|
|Whitbread brewing book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/001|
|Barclay Perkins brewing book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/550|
|William Younger brewing book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document WY/6/1/2/1|
|Truman brewing book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/115|
I guess you want me to kick the teeth out of that? Sorry, I meant pick the bones out of that.
Don't read anything into 60/- equating to X Ale, or ordinary Mild. That's pure historical coincidence.
Based on the standard bolleaux written about Scottish beer, I'm concentrating on three areas:
- hopping rate
- boil length
- fermentation temperature
Which, according to the standard story, should be low, low and long for Scottish beer.
Let's go through them in order.
The Younger's beer is on average about 50% less heavily hopped than the London beers. There's only one English beer, a Truman's X Ale, that contains fewer hops.
Oh look at that! The Younger's beer has a much shorter boil than any of the English beers. None of them was boiled for less than 2 hours. The Scottish beer is, on average, boiled for more than an hour less.
According to Roberts (an other sources), Scottish beers were pitched on average around 10º F cooler than English beers, usually around 50º F. You can see that the Younger's beer was pitched at a greater temperature than that, 53º F. It was indeed pitched 9º F cooler than the average of the English beers. However there's a much smaller difference in the maximum fermentation temperature - just shy of 4º F. And one English beer had the same maximum of 70º F.
The Younger's beer was definitely fermented cooler than the English beers, but the difference than is usually stated.
I've too much for just today. I'll need a couple more posts to get through it all. What a treat.