Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1896 Eldridge Pope LTS

Here we are again on a Wednesday. This is confusing. Two weeks in a row, we've got the recipe together in time. I hope you're suitably grateful.

We're staying with Eldridge Pope and why not? It's exciting to see how they brewed down in the Southwest in the late 19th century. At least it is for me. This time it's LTS, or Light Tonic Stout, to give it its full name. This beer is instructive when coupled with last week's AK. It tells us about the trends in late 19th-century British brewing.

While WW I is usually given the blame for low strength of British beer in the 20th century, the process had started much earlier. WW I just accelerated it. Just as the second half of the 19th century saw a move away from heavy stock Pale Ales to lighter running Bitters, there was a similar swing to lighter Stouts. The names ran in parallel, too, with descriptors like Luncheon, Dinner or Light being added as prefixes. Luncheon Stout sat alongside Light Dinner Ale in bottled section of brewery price lists.

Beers like this are also indicative of the growing split between Porter and Stout. A beer of this modest gravity would once have been called a Porter. But as Porter start began to fade outside London, the weakest Black Beer at many breweries acquired the name Stout. Especially in bottled form. By the 1890's bottled Porter was pretty rare and its place was taken by weak Stouts like this.

Was it just bottled Porter with a different name? Sort of. There is a London example. At Fullers. I was surprised to see that they were still brewing P - their Porter - in the mid 1950's. The latest London Porter that I've found. It was the direct successor to their Porter. But it wasn't sold as Porter. Nor was it a draught beer. It was sold as Nourishing Stout. With the enormous gravity of 1031.

Beers like LTS are the ancestors of the low-gravity, sweetish Stouts of the mid-20th century. Much more so that stronger Stouts like Guinness. And were the beers that mostly defined British-brewed Stout.

I almost forgot a really important point about the grist. And the fact that it includes brown malt. That's pretty traditional by the 1890's. Old-fashioned might be better than the T-word. London brewers always kept faith with brown malt - it was one of the defining features of London Porter and Stout, after all - but provincial brewers were more fickle. Many of them dropped brown malt in favour of a simpler pale malt and black malt grist.

Wow. That went quickly. Time to pass you on to my technical friend . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

Malt: Such a simple little grist. Three malts and a sugar. I really like my stouts with Maris Otter so lets do that then, yes? Favorite black and brown malts? Your choice, I’m using Fawcett. Make your invert. The beer will be that much more complex if you do. If you have to, go ahead and use can sugar. The percent isn’t that high but you’ll definitely notice a difference for the better if you do the invert.

Hops: These are definitely Kentish. However, sometimes one needs to shake it up a bit. Any of the Goldings would do very nicely. I really wanted the spice and floral character from the Willamette this time round…if it comes out at all. These babies aren’t added very late in the boil so there isnt’ a lot of aroma character at all.

Yeast: Same for the other ELP beers. 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. Try your favorite stout yeast. My guess is you are gonna have to crash cool your beer to get it anywhere near finishing towards 1.019!


Edward said...

Where did you get the information on origins of yeast strains? I've seen the list on thats credited to you. In addition to the origin, I'd be very interested in seeing what breweries are currently using the strain. Does this information exist anywhere?

Ryan said...

Is there some reason you couldn't just mash hotter to avoid drying this out too much?

Kristen England said...


Its hard to get credible information about yeast. You need one to one interaction as in, 'We use this yeast' or 'Its originally from here' or 'We cultured it from here'. Those are the only sources I use for the chart. To this specific yeast, I'm really not sure. It being called Super High Gravity usually makes it a one off yeast for most places. My guess is that there is someone, in the UK specifically, that uses this yeast as their house yeast. However, I really am not sure.


No. You can mash as hot as is feasible and you still wouldn't get it to finish that high. It would really change the mouthfeel of the beer too. A beer that finishes high gravity with a lot of residual sweetness tastes wholly different than one that finish b/c of a very high dextrin level.

Martyn Cornell said...

Ron, I'm glad you've revealed what Fuller's was doing with the porter in the 1950s: "Nourishing Stout" indeed. The triumph of marketing over honesty. This was, of course, all part of the whole "stout is good for you" meme so common from about 1890 to the 1960s.

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, I had a quick look through the Nourishing Stouts I have details of, and they're diverse bunch. Even in the 19th century, they vary from very strong to pretty weak.

I've never said much about Fuller's P in the 1950's, because I know that it wasn't sold as Porter. Does it count as a London Porter? Reg, the former brewer, didn't seem to think so when I mentioned it to him. And he'd brewed it.

On the other hand, they brewed a beer with the brewhouse name of P from the earliest records right through until the fifties. If it stopped being Porter, when axactly was that?