Over-complication is a modern failing. How many current beers have recipes that are more complicated than they need to be? My guess is quite a lot. I don't want to bore you with this, but one of my favourite beers of all time, Pretty Things XXXX Mild*, has just four ingredients. That's including water and yeast.
The London X Ales definitely have the edge in terms of grist complexity. Only Barclay Perkins ones were 100% pale malt. That these beers were pale in colour is attested by the use of white malt in some. That was the palest kind of pale malt.
The Courage grists really are unusual. I'd forgotten that they included brown malt. The percentage is pretty small so I wonder what the point was. It would have added a little colour, but also flavour. I wonder which was the prime reason for its use?
The limited amount of sugar used is also worth highlighting. Sugar had been a legal ingredient since 1847, but it wasn't immediately hugely popular. Whitbread was the first of the big London brewers to adopt it in a big way, coincidentally about exactly at this time. This is when these brewers began using sugar regularly:
Barclay Perkins 1880
When we finally get to the next instalment in this series, you'll see just how much Barclay Perkins grists were transformed by the Free Mash Tun Act.
What can I say about the provincial grists? Very little as they are, with a single exception, 100% base malt. The only exception is the Medway X Ale with its small amount of crystal malt. This is a very early sighting of crystal malt. But that's another topic we'll be learning more about later.
Almost forgot my other point: the differing gravities. You can see that London X Ale was over 1060º, the provincial ones around 1050º. There's a similar gravity gap all the way up the strength scale
That's me done. I'll leave you with the tables.
|London X Ale grists in the 1860's|
|Date||Year||Brewer||Beer||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||pale malt||brown malt||white malt||sugar|
|14th May||1867||Barclay Perkins||X||1061.2||1018.6||5.64||69.68%||9.85||2.77||100.00%|
|2nd Oct||1868||Barclay Perkins||XX||1078.9||1024.7||7.18||68.77%||12.89||4.47||100.00%|
|2nd Oct||1868||Barclay Perkins||XXX||1092.8||1030.2||8.28||67.46%||14.21||5.90||100.00%|
|3rd Jul||1865||Truman||X Ale||1067.3||1013.9||7.07||79.42%||9||2.78||64.71%||35.29%|
|4th Jul||1865||Truman||40/- Ale||1072.6||1020.8||6.85||71.37%||9||3.00||100.00%|
|22nd Aug||1865||Truman||XX Ale||1081.2||1020.5||8.03||74.74%||11.0||7.17||100.00%|
|22nd Aug||1865||Truman||XXX Ale||1088.9||1022.7||8.76||74.45%||11.0||10.15||100.00%|
|23rd July||1867||Courage||Ale X||1065.9||10.00||3.10||97.82%||2.18%|
|30th July||1867||Courage||Ale XX||1078.9||10.00||3.71||91.90%||3.05%||5.05%|
|Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/032 and LMA/4453/D/01/033.|
|Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers ACC/2305/1/572 and ACC/2305/08/275.|
|Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number B/THB/C/147.|
|Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number ACC/2305/08/275.|
|Provincial X Ale grists in the 1860's|
|Date||Year||Brewer||Beer||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||pale malt||crystal malt||white malt|
|17th Oct||1868||William Younger||X||1053||1023||3.97||56.60%||6.30||1.36||100.00%|
|24th Aug||1868||William Younger||XX||1057||1024||4.37||57.89%||9.58||2.25||100.00%|
|26th Aug||1868||William Younger||XXX||1068||1028||5.29||58.82%||8.00||2.55||100.00%|
|Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds document number WYL756/16/ACC1903|
|William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive document number WY/6/1/2/21|
|Medway brewing record owned by me|
|Lovibond brewing record owned by me|
* Dann has promised he'll be brewing it again soon. I can't wait to get my hands on some more of it.