Just to change things up a bit, we've finally left William Younger. And moved across town to Thomas Usher. Across town? I mean a little to the south. When this beer was brewed, Thomas Usher had already moved from Cowgate to St Leonard’s Street. The brewery is listed in the 1978 Good Beer Guide, which I've just been going through. At the time, it was owned by Lorimer.
What jumps out at me about this beer is the gravity. Just 1046º. In England, very little was brewed that weak. You know what it looks like to me? A Light Bitter. A light beer in both senses, colour and strength. I know I don't need to tell you this, but I'm going to say it in case any strangers have wandered in. IPA wasn't a strong beer in the 19th century. Even so, 1046º is pretty weak.
Here's another assumption that shouldn't be made: that IPA was stronger than Pale Ale. I can think of plenty of examples of the opposite. Like at Usher. They had three Pale Ales in their range: PA 60/- at 1060º, PA at 1054º and IPA and 1046º. Sometimes they parti-gyled them together, others they brewed them entire gyle.
What was the difference between Pale Ale and IPA? There's no hard and fast rule. At one brewery the IPA would be stronger, at another the Pale Ale. And the hopping. IPA wasn't necessarily more heavily hopped. At Usher it wasn't. Being parti-gyled with Pale Ale, the hopping rate per quarter was identical. Being lower gravity than Pale Ale and parti-gyled with it, the hopping rate per barrel had to be lower.
That's me about done. Except to draw your attention to the use of black malt. I've never seen black malt in an English Pale Ale in the 19th century. Or the 20th, come to think of it. Maybe all that stuff about roasted barley in Scottish beer isn't the load of bollocks I've always assumed. Something to think about . . .
Kristen time . . . . . .
First Usher’s logs of a lot we’ll be doing. They do things a bit differently but have a lot of similar feel too them. Lots of ingredients and such will be the same throughout so follow along to see the differences.
Grist – Unlike Younger’s, Usher’s uses a good deal of Scottish base malt. If you have access to anything Scottish other than Golden Promise give that a shot. If not, use Golden Promise. It’s a great malt. You’ll notice the black malt. Yes, you are correct! However, don’t you go throwing that in the mash. No sir! That goes directly in the boil kettle! Yes, I said that correctly. Right in the boil kettle. I find that if I micronize it (aka stick it into a coffee mill and destroy it) I get much better extraction, flavor and it drops like a rock in the hot break and subsequent whirlpool. Also, if you remember, Barclay Perkins did the same for a lot of their stouts. I’ve received numerous emails with numerous theories of why this is a bad idea. None of them make scientific sense. Give it a shot, you won’t be sorry.
Hops – Lots of really cool stuff here in these Ushers logs. Specifically, American and French hops, specifically Alsace. Here’s the rub. During the late 1880’s, Alsace were probably the cheapest hops you could buy on the English market and were also thought to be the lowest class. Google eBooks. House of Commons. 1890. Vol 13. Lots of great stuff about the cost and quality of hops. Saaz, Spalt and EKG were the thought to be the best quality and got the highest price. Continuing…Happy Cluster hops give a really nice deep bitterness that hangs on and the late addition of the Hallertauer-esque hops really add to the huge hop flavor of this beer. I was out of Hallertauer but used some Strisselspalter from, yep, you guessed it, Alsace itself. Never used them before and at 1.8% there really wasn’t much to them. Definite Hallertauer-y.
Yeast – Lets start off with two yeasts very easy to use. Nottingham or Fullers. I prefer the fruit of the latter for IPAs but its your choice.