Today's recipe is a departure in some ways. For one thing, it's not taken from a record I collected myself. I (and you, too) have Peter Symons to thank for this one. He sent me a collection of Eldridge Pope logs. This is one of the earliest ones.
I don't need to remind you of my AK obsession. I find this type of Light Bitter (it's not an effing Light Mild no matter Kristen says below) fascinating. So common in the last couple of decades of the 19th century but almost completely vanished by 1939. Except at McMullen and Holes. I still find it hard to accept McMullen's role in convincing many that AK was some sort of Light Mild. It wasn't. It was a Light Bitter. Or a Mild Bitter. But not a Light Mild. Is that clear?
I was about to say that this was a little on the strong side for an AK. Then I looked up Fuller's. That was 1050º in 1897, so about exactly the same as this one. This beer is a typical strength for an AK. It's a "light" Pale Ale, as a full-strength Pale Ale was a good bit stronger, with a gravity around 1060º.
It's also a "mild" or Running Pale Ale, which would have been consumed pretty much immediately after racking. At this time beers like Bass were still brewed as Stock Pale Ales which were aged for extended periods - up to a year or more - before sale.
Eldridge Pope brewed two versions: AK and BAK, the latter being the bottled version. BAK hung around for a long time. It was still being brewed in the 1980's, though it wasn't sold as AK. The trade name was, I believe, Crystal Ale.
Here's an advert from a few years earlier which includes Crystal Ale:
Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser, Wednesday 4th February 1891, page 4.
There will be more about Eldridge Pope's other beers from 1896 later this week. With nice, neat tables of data.
One point about the recipe. One ingredient is listed as "flake". Kristen has taken it to mean flaked barley. I think it's flaked maize. Mostly because I've never seen flaked barley in a 19th century recipe.
Oh, another point. About the sugar. This record doesn't specify the type, but some others do. Based on them, I'd say that it was No. 2 invert in this beer.
It's so long since I've written this . . . . . . time to pass you over to Kristen . . . . .
Notes: Well well well…My apologies for the extended absence. With the brewery now fully operational, we are back in the swing of things! So, we start, with the first in a series of beers from Eldridge Pope given to us from my good buddy Peter! Thanks Peter even if I can’t understand what you say half the time! Can I get a Hill Yis!!!
To the recipe then…oh man, an AK. One of my very very very favoritist beer styles ever. I call it a Pale mild, as that seems most awesome. You can call it what you like…maybe even what would today be a Golden Bitter. Either way, its delicious.
Malt: The malt for this beer is pretty damn straight forward. English and Continental pale malt from a few various lots. A bit of some flaked barley and then a bunch of sugar...tasty tasty sugar. The idea is to choose what you really want to taste in this beer because it is very pale with nothing to hide behind. I really like Tipple if you can get it, or Optic, but this is a really good place for some Golden Promise (I like Simpsons) or some Maris…yeah, maybe a combination…50:50?
Hops: So lets rap about these hops. The most important thing for a beer this pale and simple, chose your very best ones. Its much better to have fresh over ‘perfect choice’. This beer is perfect from some Goldings of any variety. Maybe a combination of EKG or Styrian and Willamette. Now, you see we have a new technique down here. The very last entry for the Goldings. It says ‘Hop back’. Very few people actual have a hop back which basically is a container, holding hops, that you run your beer through post-boil, pre-chill. You can accomplish pretty much the same thing by using a whirlpool/steep. After knockout, add your hops at zero minutes stir…get a nice whirlpool going. If you have a pump, leave it on about 15-20min. If not, give it a good stir and leave it be for about for 25-30min. You’ll need less time for the pump because the agitation. You’ll have to experiment with your own system to get the most out of it. Its not exactly the same but its much closer doing it this way, than end of boil hops or dry hops.
Yeast: If you want to use the Eldridge Pope/Hardy’s yeast, use the WLP099 Super High Gravity. This yes is a pretty strong fermenter but you can limit it by reducing the amount you pitch and the oxygen you give by about 1/3rd. If you want another yeast, anything that gives a nice bright beer with a good note of lighter fruits. Nothing weird here.