Friday, 14 December 2012

Thomas Usher's beers in the 1930's (part two)

I'm really glad I pulled my finger out and had a proper look at those Usher brewing records from the 1930's. They've answered a lot of questions. And there was an extra special bonus: I found a Scottish Brown Ale recipe.

I can now say, without fear of contraception, that I know what that Amber Ale was. It's not difficult to work out. Usher only brewed two beers with a gravity of 1040º: Mild Ale and PA 60/-. There's a good reason why it can't be the Mild. That's way too dark, with all sorts of dark sugar in it. You expect that, since it was parti-gyled with the Stout. My suspicion is confirmed: Amber Ale is PA 60/- with less caramel.

I'm really excited about the Brown Ale. They have a habit of not turning up in brewing books because of the way many breweries produced them. Basically by fiddling with another beer, usually Mild. Usher's is different, and all the more fascinating for that. It's full of sugary goodness, as we'll discover next time when I go through the grists in the agonising detail that must surely one day drive you to dive off the top of a multi-storey car park. It was parti-gyled with another iteration of Mild Ale.

The four Pale Ales and the IPA are, unsurprisingly, basically the same beer. They were parti-gyled in all sorts of combination. IPA was a newcomer to the product range in the early 1930's. I can see why they might introduce a lower-gravity beer - hard times and all that. But why call it IPA? I think I know the answer: because that's what the punters expected an IPA to be like, a light Pale Ale.

Going through the pages of the brewing log has given me a good idea of how much of each beer Usher brewed. The vast majority was PA 60/-, followed by IPA and PA. I've added up how much of each beer was brewed in four pages of the brewing book, covering 1st October to 20th November. Here's a nice little table of the results:

Beer Barrels %age of total
Brown Ale 35 0.63%
IPA 1067.5 19.32%
MA 92.5 1.67%
PA 573 10.37%
PA 60/- 3442.5 62.32%
PA 70/- 240.25 4.35%
PA 80/- 38.5 0.70%
Stout 80/- 34.75 0.63%
Total 5524 100.00%

Usher didn't use dark malts at all as far as I can tell. The darkest was crystal, which went in the Brown Ale, Mild Ale and Stout. All the real colour in these three came from dark sugars.

Next time we'll be looking at the grists of these beers.

Thomas Usher's beers in the 1930's
Date Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) boil time (hours) boil time (hours) boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp length of fermen-tation (days)
20th Nov 1931 Brown Ale Brown Ale 1055 1016.5 5.09 70.00% 4.26 1.89 1.75 1 60º º
13th Oct 1931 IPA IPA 1032 1011 2.78 65.63% 5.98 0.78 1.75 2 2.5 60º 67º 7
2nd Oct 1931 MA Mild 1040 1015.5 3.24 61.25% 3.75 0.62 2 1 60º 67º 7
6th Oct 1931 PA Pale Ale 1034 1012 2.91 64.71% 5.98 0.83 1.75 2 2.5 60º 67º 7
6th Oct 1931 PA 60/- Pale Ale 1040 1013 3.57 67.50% 5.98 0.97 1.75 2 2.5 60º 67º 7
5th Oct 1931 PA 70/- Pale Ale 1047 1013.5 4.43 71.28% 5.98 1.43 1.75 2 2.25 2.5 60º 67º 6
12th Nov 1931 PA 80/- Pale Ale 1055 1012.5 5.62 77.27% 6.02 1.35 1.75 2 2.25 2.5 60º 67º
2nd Oct 1931 Stout 80/- Stout 1052 1023 3.84 55.77% 3.75 0.80 2 1 60º 67º 7
Thomas Usher brewing record document TU/6/6 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive

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