Friday, 25 November 2011

England vs Scotland, part 1b: the 1830's

This is turning out to take much more time than I imagined. We're finally at the end of my comparison of English and Scottish beers of the 1830's. It took three parts and there were only two types of beer: Mild and Stock Ales. Just wait until we hit the William Younger brand explosion of the 1850's.

Today's the turn of Stock Ales. The mighty 120/- and 140/-. Beers so mighty, in fact, that I've struggled to find exact English equivalents. At times in the 19th century William Younger brewed half a dozen different beers with a gravity over 1100º.

One difference I have noticed between William Younger and London brewers is that brewed more strong Mild Ale. The London brewers tended to brew the stronger Ales mostly as Stock Ales. By the end of the 1800's they had concentrated 100% on X Ale and discontinued the stronger Mild Ales such as XX, XXX and XXXX. While Younger still brewed a 100/- Ale at 1074º in 1899.

I wish I'd been around in the glory days of Stock Ales. These beers look right down my Straße. I suspect they'd be appreciated in the USA, too. High ABV and a bucketload of hops (I have literally tipped bucketloads of hops into a copper, so I know what I'm talking about).

I suppose you want to take a look at the beasts. Here they are. Just remember not to poke any peanuts through the bars. They may rip your arms off.

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 max. fermen-tation temp
5th Mar 1832 Truman XXXK Ale Stock Ale 1097.5 1034.3 8.36 64.77% 14 6.67 60 79
2nd Jan 1837 Whitbread KXXX Stock Ale 1098.6 1032.7 8.72 66.85% 7.49 3.29 2 2 3 64 78
13th Mar 1837 Whitbread KXXX Stock Ale 1098.9 1034.9 8.46 64.71% 7.64 3.24 2 2 3 59 78
10th Mar 1832 Truman XXXK Ale Stock Ale 1099.7 1026.0 9.75 73.89% 14 7.29 59 79.5
17th Feb 1837 Whitbread KXXX Stock Ale 1100.3 1033.2 8.87 66.85% 7.65 3.26 2 2 3 59 76
3rd Mar 1837 Whitbread KXXXX Stock Ale 1112.7 1036.6 10.08 67.57% 8.07 3.95 2 2 3 59 75
12th Mar 1832 Truman XXXXK Ale Stock Ale 1118.0 1052.6 8.65 55.40% 14 8.91 60 78
average 1103.7 1035.8 10.41 5.23 2.0 2.0 3.0 60.0 77.6
6th Jan 1832 Younger, Wm. & Co 120/- Stock Ale 1117 4.07 2.79 1 54 70
difference -6.34 -2.44 -1.00 -2.00 -3.00 -6.00 -7.64
30th Dec 1831 Younger, Wm. & Co 140/- Stock Ale 1135 5.42 5.16 1 52 70
difference -4.99 -0.07 -1.00 -8.00 -7.64
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

As you can see, none of the London beers quite matches the gravity of Younger's 140/-. Which makes a true direct comparison impossible.

Let's go through the main points of comparison again: hopping rate, boil time and fermentation temperature.

Younger's 120/- is the most lightly hopped beer in the table, despite being the third strongest. With 2.79 lbs per barrel, it contains a little over half the average of the London beers. Though you'll note the large variation amongst the London beers. Most of the Whitbread examples only have a half pound more hops per barrel. Truman's Stock Ales are much more heavily hopped, averaging over 7 lbs per barrel.

Younger's 140/- on the other hand, is more heavily hopped than any of the Whitbread beers, though it should be remembered that it is stronger. It doesn't match up to the Truman beers. The Truman beer closest to it strength contains almost 4 lbs of hops per barrel more.

Overall, a slightly confusing picture. If we just compare Younger with Whitbread, there's little difference in hopping. Truman, with their prodigious hopping, skew the London averages. Based on these small samples, I find it hard to draw any real conclusions.

Boil times
This is much simpler. Younger's beers were boiled for a much shorter time than the London beers. Just one hour. While the London beers all had a two hour boil for the first two worts and three hours for the third. It's the same pattern as we saw with the Mild Ales. And it concurs with the descriptions of early 19th century Scottish brewing which emphasise the nees for a short boil to preserve hop aroma.

It's clear that in the 1830's William Younger boiled their worts much more briefly than London brewers.

Fermentation temperature
Here, too, a clear pattern is emerging: the Younger's beers were pitched cooler and the maximum fermentation temperature lower. In the Stock Ales, the difference between the English and Scottish pitching temperatures and maximum temperatures was about the same, around 8º F. Which is getting close to the 10º F usually quoted.

My conclusion? In the 1830's William Younger fermented cooler than London brewers. Between 4º and 9º F.


BryanB said...

You don't really mean fermenting at 8ºF, do you? That's minus 13C, so the wort might even be frozen.

Ron Pattinson said...

BryanB, that's a difference of 8º F.

Jeff Renner said...

Could you add an image of the table? The right hand side is cut off otherwise. Thanks.

Ron Pattinson said...

Jeff, fixed.