Thursday, 2 February 2012

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1879 William Younger No.3

It's Thursday, it's five to five, it's . . . . Crackerjack! Let's brew, really. A day late. Well, 8 days late, technically. But who's counting?

This is a terrifically exciting day for me. Because we're getting into known territory. For me, at least. Let me explain. I have a special relationship with Younger's No. 3 (not quite like Britain's special relationship with the USA - we treat each other with mutual respect).

But to explain it we'll need to travel back in time, to the dark days of the early 1970's, when the flares were wide, the colours gaudy, and the power regularly cut. A fun time to be an impecunious teenager, not quite of drinking age. There was a way around the twin barriers of age and poverty: brew your own.

My brother was a CAMRA member and What's Brewing had a regular home brewing section. One month they published a clone recipe for Younger's No. 3, a beer that had been discontinued. "Dark Bitter" is how I think they described it. Makes you laugh now. Though I'm not sure a modern style dilettante would do much better. Burton would have been the most apposite descriptor. It looked an interesting beer so we brewed it up.

I recall it being one of our better extract efforts. The dark grains helped hide the extract twang. We must have brewed a fair bit, because I have several memories of drinking it. I took along a couple of bottles to the first party I attended. Happy days.*

Later Younger (well, S & N) resurrected No. 3. It was preferred drink in their pubs. Not a bad drop, when looked after. Which brewery would it have come from then, back in the 1980's? Abbey? Fountain?

When I was in my last job in London (1984 -1985) an S & N pub just off Gloucester Place was our local. At least for lunchtime and hometime pints. They had two or three cask beers, including No.3. I must have drunk a fair few pints of it over the 18 months I worked there. It was still a decent beer. And had the advantage of being dark and not Bitter.

Little did I realise the history nor the dramatic transformation that No.3 had endured. The beer I'd drunk was literally a shadow of its former self: it was, like a shadow, darker than the original, but infinitely thinner.

If you've been waiting for me to describe the beer from the recipe, you've waited in vain. My head is somewhere else today. Trying not just to remember the name of that pub off Gloucester Place, but its location. I can't seem to track the bugger down on Google maps. John Cumberpatch was one of my colleagues. Now there's a coincidence.

Best hand you over to Kristen while there's some semblance of coherence . . . .

See Younger's 1879 No1 for instructions

FYI - These next No3’s will be pretty much the same as the No1’s of the same year. If there are any differences, we’ll chat about it here. This one, there are none.

* Not really. Miserable, boring days I'm glad are long gone.


Barm said...

I didn’t even realise the Abbey Brewery was still operating in the 1980s. I had assumed the point of building Fountainbridge in 1973 was to consolidate everything on one site. Mind you, some old facilities continued for a surprisingly long time – the Heriot Brewery for one.

So no, I don’t know where the Younger’s No 3 was brewed in the 80s. But I know a man who might.

Ron Pattinson said...

Barm, I'd forgotten I had some GBG's close to hand. Just checked and in the 1978 edition only the Fountain brewery is named. I guess the beer I drank must have come from the Fountain brewery.

I was shocked to find that the Heriot Brewery (Jeffrey's wasn't it?) was still open in the 1980's.

Alex Wilson said...


Is this an 1879 Recipe or a 1979? The recipe suggests 18*, but the prose alludes to 19*



half_man_half_pint said...

Youngers Holyrood Brewery shut in 1986. In the 70s and 80s it was keg only I believe.
All cask was brewed at McEwans Fountain Brewery.
McEwans 80 and Youngers IPA were the same beer,
just a different pump clip. No 3 would also have been
brewed at Fountainbridge.

Ron Pattinson said...

Alex, 1879. The 20th-century stuff is just me cruising nostalgia street.