Monday, 23 January 2012

England vs Scotland, part 2e: the 1840's

It's finally bye bye to Mild in this interminable series. Something completely different thistime: Pale Ale.

I'll start with a caveat. There are only seven beers from just two breweries. A rubbish sample size. I would be very reluctant to draw too much in the way of conclusions from this handful of Pale Ales.

That fact in itself tells us something. Of the three large London breweries for which I have long sets of brewing records (Whitbread, Truman and Barclay Perkins) only Truman brewed a Pale in the 1840's. As I've mentioned several times before, the Scots were ahead of the game when it came to Pale Ale. That was a big factor in the success of Edinburgh and Alloa brewers: anticipating the demand for Pale Ale.

Date Year Brewer Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) boil time (hours) boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fer-ment-ation temp length of fer-ment-ation (days)
23rd Oct 1845 Truman Pale Ale Pale Ale 1066.2 1017.5 6.45 73.64% 20.0 5.92 61 76.5 10
16th Mar 1846 Truman Pale Ale Pale Ale 1066.8 1019.1 6.30 71.37% 25.0 7.44 60 77 12
Average 1066.5 1018.3 6.38 72.50% 22.50 6.68 60.5 76.8 11.0
10th Jan 1849 Younger, Wm. Export Pale Ale 1061 1018 5.69 70.49% 20.00 5.41 1 2 56 65 6
24th Jan 1849 Younger, Wm. Export Pale Ale 1062 1015 6.22 75.81% 20.00 5.83 1.33 1.33 56 66 7
3rd Apr 1849 Younger, Wm. Export Pale Ale 1062 1014 6.35 77.42% 20.00 5.68 1.17 1.17 56 67 8
14th Nov 1849 Younger, Wm. Export Pale Ale 1063 1012 6.75 80.95% 20.00 5.95 1 1 56 67 9
7th Jun 1849 Younger, Wm. Export Pale Ale 1071 1017 7.14 76.06% 20.00 6.32 1 55 66 8
Average 1063.8 1015.2 6.43 76.15% 20.00 5.84 1.10 1.38 55.8 66.2 7.6
difference -2.7 -3.1 0.05 3.64% -2.50 -0.84 1.10 1.38 0.00 -4.7 -10.6 -3.4
Truman brewing record document number B/THB/C/127 held at the London Metropolitan Archives
William Younger brewing record document number WY/6/1/2/3 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive

Rather than go through point by point as usual, I'll restrict myself to more general comments. The beers are generally pretty similar. Truman's has a slightly higher OG, but Younger's is a bit more attenuated, leaving the ABV almost identical. That's a bit of a turnaround. So far in my comparisons the London beers have always been the most attenuated. I can't see any huge difference in the hopping. All the beers in the table contain a shitload. Considering how similar the beers are in other respects, the difference in fermentation temperatures is striking. The maximum temperature of Truman's beers averaged over 10º F more. Yet weirdly, the Younger's beers fermented for more than three days less on average.

Whatever the differences with Truman's, Younger's Pale Ale looks the part for the mid-19th century: moderate gravity, quite high attenuation, loads of hops. And nothing at all like the cliché of Scottish beer.


Jeff Renner said...

Do you know how those shitloads of hops was used? How much early of the boil, how much later, how much as dry hops?

Ron Pattinson said...

Jeff, these are only the kettle hops. The log has no details of the additions, but I know from other sources that Scottish brewers didn't like to boil hops for long.

According to Roberts, a 70 minute boil was sufficient, with half the hops added at the start of the boil, the second half after 40 minutes. He recommened 8 pounds of best East Kent hops per quarter of malt. (Source: "The British Wine-Maker and Domestic Brewer" by WH Roberts, Edinburgh, 1835 page 261.) Adding all the hops at the start of the boil "I have found to be a bad plan, for by boilng long, they lose a great part of their fine aromatic flavour, a flavour which ought to incorporate itself with the wort." (Source: "The British Wine-Maker and Domestic Brewer" by WH Roberts, Edinburgh, 1835 page 274.) By splitting the hops, he wrote "I have found the flavour of the ale to be much more delicate than when all the hops are put in at first and boiled the whole time; for in this case they impart to a coarse and disagreeably bitter flvaour." (Source: "The British Wine-Maker and Domestic Brewer" by WH Roberts, Edinburgh, 1835 page 274.) He was in favour of a vigourous boil "the quicker the worts boil, the sooner they wil break." (Source: "The British Wine-Maker and Domestic Brewer" by WH Roberts, Edinburgh, 1835 page 274.)

The dry hops also don't appear in this log. But they do later in the 1850's. The Pale Ales also had a shitload of dry hops - 18 or 19 oz per barrel.

Gary Gillman said...

Short boils also promoted clarity, helpful since finings were not used in Edinburgh according to both Roberts and Thomson & Stewart. This does accord as well with the reported dislike of the townsmen for very bitter beer. Still, I suspect this is all quite relative.


Jeff Renner said...

I thought I posted another comment thanking you, Ron, for the additional comments, but it didn't show up. Or maybe you don't like IBU calculations, because I also added that the lowest hopping rate with that schedule would be nearly 100 IBUs theoretical, and 8 lbs would be 138. Probably not actually, though.

My experience suggests that it would take a long time for that to age out to a pleasant drinking beer.

Ron Pattinson said...

Jeff, maybe I hit the wrong button when drunk. I didn't intentionally not publish a comment of yours.

I steer well clear of IBU calculations. I don't understand them. They aren't precise. And with the historic stuff, there are too many unknowns.

Some variations in hopping rates I'm sure are due to differences between batches of hops. The quantity used was adjusted up or down to maintain a certain level of bitterness.

My point is that, while we can't start pinning IBU figures on these beers, we can compare them with each other, because from the same period and using the same hops.

Jeff Renner said...

Thanks, Ron. In my original post, I assumed a very low alpha acid of 2.5%, way below modern Kent hops.

I find IBU calculations useful only because I'm familiar with IBUs as a homebrewer. I have a pretty good idea of what a beer tastes like with a calculated bitterness of x IBU.

Pounds of hops per barrel doesn't compute with me as well. I suppose I should learn.