Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Let's brew Wednesday - 1864 Lovibond XXXX

"What about something special for Christmas?" Kristen suggested. Good idea, as Wednesday is Weisswurst day this year.

Being a lazy bastard, I automatically went for the one beer I could remember being specifically brewed for Christmas. A cheerfully strong Lovibond XXXX. I have seen Christmas mentioned in other records. Not remembering exactly where, I wasn't going to waste my time looking. Sorry, my time is precious.

This recipe has been brewed professionally. Rod made a version at Meantime Old Brewery. And very nice it was, too. He recently told me that he still has a bottle. With my name on it. Must get to London again soon.

What can I say about the beer? It's a strong Mild Ale. Or is that an Old Ale? I'm not going to argue the toss. It's an Ale, I'll leave it at that.

Almost forgot - shows there was beer specially brewed for Christmas in the middle of the 19th century.

Kristen time . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: Quite simply, a really eye opening beer.
1) it was made for Xmas
2) any beer that manages to fit 5 ‘ecks’ in a title 5X’s is good with me and
3) if you added a bunch of crystal malt and took away commonsense you’d have a craft double IPA and if you only made 4 bottles then broke to it would be #1 on Ratebeer and Beer Advocate 100. “It tastes like Santa and Jesus dancing on my tongue and I got one of only two bottles!!!!’.

Anyway….this is a great beer and should be made by all including using entirely whole hops so you can see what a beast this thing is to work with…Fin.

Malt: One malt. Pick something nice. Don’t be lazy. I’m choosing a 50:50 blend of Maris otter and Golden promise. Yes, I said 1 malt but since you guys don’t follow along with what I say, I wont either…

Hops: Cabbage, skunk weed, garbage water, garlic chives and dirty ass patchouli smelling are welcome as long as you don’t shate this beer with me. Really. A nice combo of Amarillo of Styrian Goldings would be nice. Fuggles and Pilgrim. Brewers Gold and Chinook. Or even the ones I have listed. Make sure they are fresh, regardless of the twattery that ensures thereafter.

Yeast: London III. Yeah, I’m being lazy. The Courage yeast would be great. Us anything but your standard US Cali ale. Something with a bit of character. Please.

Cask: Standard procedure:
1) let the beer ferment until finished and then give it another day or so. For me right around 5-7 days.
2) Rack the beer to your vessel of choice (firkin, polypin, cornie, whatever).
3) Add primings at ~3.5g/L
4) Add prepared isinglass at 1ml/L
5) ONLY add dry hops at 0.25g/l – 1g/L.
6) Bung it up and roll it around to mix. Condition at 55F or so for 4-5 days and its ready to go. Spile/vent. Tap. Settle. Serve at 55F.


Rod said...

Just for the record (no implied criticism of Kristen's suggestions)-

We used 75% Maris Otter + 25% Lager malt, both from Fawcett.
Cluster (7.9 alpha) at first wort and Goldings (5.1 alpha) boil and whirlpool.

Kristen England said...


Very cool! Ive done a recipe very similar to this with all Halcyon and FWH, WP and dry hopping only. Worked really well.

Sylvain Grand'Maison said...

I was looking for something nice to brew and share with the family this Christmas and digged your recipes to find this one. I brewed it a few days ago and just checked the gravity (down to 1.019 right now) and it's already amazing! The only thing I changed is that I added a few ounces of Crystal malt (168 Lovibond from Simpsons) to give it a deeper colour.I can't wait to taste the final result...

Ron Pattinson said...


hope it works out well. Meantime in London brewed a small batch of this and it was knockout.