Tuesday, 20 March 2012

England vs Scotland, part 3g: early 1850's Porter

The beer styles are coming thick and fast now. We're now at Porter. You may have noticed that I'm working my way through in alphabetic order. Guessing what will come next shouldn't be too hard.

I'll start with a few words of explanation about how I've selected that data. London brewers made a variety of Porters in this period. Most of which had no equivalent at William Younger. Keeping Porter, Export Porter, Export India, Bottling Keeping. As beers that were meant to last a long time before consumption, they were naturally more heavily hopped than standard running Porter. Younger's BS wasn't aged and it wasn't brewed for export. Comparing it with Export or Keeping Porter would be like comparing apples and persimmons. Consequently, I've only included London Running Porters.

I can see a similar to phenomenon to that in action with Pale Ale. Porter being an alien style, Younger appear to have copied London brewing practice. There are several points of dissimilarity with the other beers in their range: pitching temperature, length of boil and attenuation all jump right out.

Here's the table:


England vs Scotland early 1850's Porter
Date Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Attenuation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) boil time (hours) boil time (hours) boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fer-ment-ation temp length of fer-ment-ation (days)
27th Aug 1852 Whitbread P 1056.0 1019.4 4.84 65.35% 10.41 2.88 1.5 1.5 2 64
7th Jul 1854 Whitbread P 1056.0 1017.5 5.09 68.81% 11.24 2.75 1.5 1.5 2 64
11th Sep 1852 Whitbread P 1060.9 1017.2 5.79 71.82% 11.55 3.03 1.5 1.5 3 64
24th Jan 1850 Whitbread P 1061.2 1019.4 5.53 68.33% 12.50 3.26 1.5 2 2 2 64
20th Aug 1853 Whitbread P 1062.0 1020.8 5.46 66.52% 12.69 3.41 1.5 1.5 2 64
14th Sep 1850 Whitbread P 1062.3 1017.2 5.97 72.44% 10.58 2.78 1.5 2 2 64
2nd Jan 1851 Whitbread P 1062.3 1017.2 5.97 72.44% 10.21 2.67 1.5 2 2 2 64
5th Jul 1853 Whitbread P 1062.6 1018.3 5.86 70.80% 11.32 3.06 1.5 1.5 2 64
18th Sep 1850 Whitbread P 1062.9 1016.6 6.12 73.57% 11.17 2.90 1.5 2 2 64
31st Jul 1852 Whitbread P 1062.9 1017.7 5.97 71.81% 11.14 2.95 1.5 1.5 2 64
1st Sep 1851 Whitbread P 1063.2 1019.4 5.79 69.30% 11.15 3.14 1.5 1.5 2 64
18th Aug 1852 Whitbread P 1063.2 1017.7 6.01 71.93% 11.22 3.25 1.5 1.5 2 64
8th Sep 1851 Whitbread P 1063.4 1018.3 5.97 71.18% 11.19 3.13 1.5 1.5 2 64
11th Sep 1850 Whitbread P 1063.7 1016.9 6.19 73.48% 11.84 3.08 1.5 2 2 2 64
9th Dec 1852 Whitbread P 1064.0 1018.0 6.08 71.86% 10.18 2.93 1.5 1.5 2 64
9th Nov 1852 Whitbread P 1064.0 10.08 2.84 1.5 1.5 2 64
16th Aug 1851 Whitbread P 1064.5 1021.9 5.64 66.09% 11.19 3.12 1.5 1.5 2 64
1st Jul 1850 Truman Runner 1065.1 1019.7 6.01 69.79% 10.8 2.71 66.5 7
11th Aug 1851 Whitbread P 1065.1 1020.8 5.86 68.09% 11.11 3.55 1.5 1.5 2 64
20th Sep 1850 Whitbread P 1065.9 1020.8 5.97 68.49% 11.84 3.09 1.5 2 2 2 64
Average 1062.6 1018.7 5.80 70.43% 11.17 3.03 1.5 1.7 2.1 2.0 64.1 7.0
3rd Nov 1851 Younger, Wm. BS 1056 1015 5.42 73.21% 23.87 2.86 2.25 63 72 5
11th Oct 1851 Younger, Wm. BS 1057 1017 5.29 70.18% 21.75 3.08 2.25 64 73 5
28th Feb 1852 Younger, Wm. BS 1057 1018 5.16 68.42% 23.87 2.93 2.25 64 72 6
15th Nov 1851 Younger, Wm. BS 1060 1022 5.03 63.33% 23.46 2.61 2.25 63 72 5
22nd Nov 1851 Younger, Wm. BS 1060 1021 5.16 65.00% 25.26 2.93 2.5 64 73 5
29th Nov 1851 Younger, Wm. BS 1060 1024 4.76 60.00% 27.37 3.17 2.25 64 71 5
Average 1058.3 1019.5 5.14 68.57% 24.26 2.93 2.29 63.7 72.2 5.2
difference -4.2 0.8 -0.66 2.47% 13.09 -0.10 0.79 -1.7 -2.1 -2.0 -0.5 72.2 -1.8
Sources:
William Younger brewing records document numbers WY/6/1/2/3 and WY/6/1/2/5 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive
Whitbread brewing records document numbers LMA/4453/D/09/043, LMA/4453/D/09/044, LMA/4453/D/09/045, LMA/4453/D/09/046, LMA/4453/D/09/047 and LMA/4453/D/09/048 held at the London Metropolitan Archives
Truman brewing record document number B/THB/C/052 held at the London Metropolitan Archives


Let's start pulling apart the stitching with hopping rates. It doesn't take an expert to see that there's bugger all difference in the hopping rate per barrel. All the beers, English and Scottish, have about 3 lbs per barrel. In the early 1850's Younger's Porter was hopped at the same rate as equivalent London beers.

Boiling times are more tricky. Because of the different number of worts. London Porters were blended from 3 or 4 worts, which were all boiled for different lengths of time, getting longer as the wort got weaker. Younger's Porter had a single wort. A direct comparison isn't possible. What is clear is that Younger boiled their Porter for much longer than their Ales. About twice as long, to be precise. It looks like they are trying to imitate the long boils of London brewers. What can I say? In the early 1850's Younger's Porter had a longer boil of the first wort than equivalent London beers.

Thankfully, pitching temperatures are dead easy. Almost every beer, English or Scottish, was pitched at 63º or 64º F. I can see no difference. Unfortunately, I don't have the maximum fermentation temperatures for any of the London Porters. But the pitching temperature and max. temperature of Younger's Porters are considerably higher than of their Ales. The pitching temperatures are a good 6º to 8º F warmer. As the temperature didn't rise as much during fermentation, the difference in the maximum temperature is smaller, 4º to 5º F warmer. It again looks as Younger deliberately copied London practice. In the early 1850's Younger's Porter was pitched at the same temperature as equivalent London beers.

Younger's Porter was a the low end of gravity range covered by the London beers. The average OG was a full 4 points lower. Though the average FG was a touch higher. Surprisingly that's not really reflected in the attenuation, which is only a little lower. There's not much that can be said, except: in the early 1850's Younger's Porter had about the same level of attenuation as equivalent London beers.

I think the results are very clear: Younger's Porter was very similar to the Porters brewed in London. There was one enormous difference. The amount brewed per batch. Younger's brew length was just 40-odd barrels. The London ones between 600 and 1,000 barrels.

4 comments:

Andrew said...

I'd love to pitch at a similar temperature for a porter of this type. Homebrewers typically have to ferment a few degrees cooler to compensate for our fermentor geometry lack of lesser degree of hydrostatic pressure. What size fermenters were being used for these porters, 100 barrels? If so the equivalent homebrew pitching temperature would be around 61. I don't think any English strains would do very well with such a low starting temp. But it probably would get you around the same attenuation of the beers per the logs. Might have to give this a shot.

What was the typical grist of an 1850's porter?

Ron Pattinson said...

Anrew, the fernmenter size depends on the brewery. At Younger it was small - 40-something barrels. The London ones were a good bit bigger.

Typical grist? Where? London, pale brown and black malt. At TYounger, much the same.

Tom said...

Dear Ron,

is McEwan's Export/India Pale Ale still broadly the same beer as it was in the Victorian era?

Cheers

Ron Pattinson said...

Tom, no. No beer is.