Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1938 Starkey, Knight and Ford FA

Starkey, Knight and Ford - dontcha just love them? Er was that hate? I can't quite remember. I'm becoming a bit of a goldfish in the memory department.

I am quite pleased that they occasionally brewed one of their Milds straight. Unlike their Pale Ales, where they magic several from one brew. The asme trick was pulled with their Mild, conjuring up different strength ones, but this, at least, is a straight brew.

The first thing that strikes me about this beer is its strength. It looks very much like a pre-1931 X Ale, with its gravity in the low 1040's. But after Snowden's disastrous 1931 emergency Budget, most breweries knocked their X Ales down to around 1036º. Though some did continue with a Mild at the old strngth, usually giving it a different name. For example, Barclay Perkins, whose XX Ale was really their pre-1931 X Ale.

A gravity of 1043º implies to me a retail price of 6d per pint in 1938. However, in the log it says that it was all racked as FA 5d, implying a gravity of 1036º. The record is tricky to interpret because it doesn't give the gravity of the combined worts. And it's not so simple to see the volumes of each of the two constituent worts because they're given as 54+11 and 71+11. If you assume they were all wort, then the combined gravity is 1043º. However, if the figure after the plus sign is water, then the gravity is 1037º, which fits in better with a 5d beer.

Feel free to brew to whichever of those gravities you fancy. I've no way of knowing which is correct. Starkey, Knight and Ford - dontcha just hate them? They really are driving me nuts. Their records have so much information, yet are still virtually unusable.

Turning to the recipe, it's a very typical Mild Ale of the 1930's. The grist is a combination of pale and crystal malt, plumped up with flaked maize and No. 3 invert sugar. As was usual, the colour comes primcipally from sugar and no malt darker than crystal is involved.

If you'd like to brew the Brown Ale whose label I've reproduced, knock the gravity down to 1037º and bottle.

Can't think of anything more to say, which means that it's Kristen time . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

Notes: This is a really great recipe for you lot to mess around. It gets nearly all its color from caramel and the Invert No3. Allows you to even add it to the fermenter if you want. Or split it into 4 and do one with No1-No3 sugars in each. Basically it gives a great platform to see what dark invert can do. Make some proper homemade stuff. Make some by dilution with blackstrap. See what you like best. Not a lot to really say about this beer other than use this for something fun. It’s brown. It’s wet. Make it more interesting.

Malt: As I said, there is no dark malts at all in this beer. Not to mention that but there is nearly 30% adjunct! As previously, choose a nice pale malt. I’m going to choose Mild malt because I can and I want as much character as I can get as its such a little amount. Could even use a Vienna or Munich if you were lazy and only had that on hand!

Hops: Hops are pretty straightforward. Goldings, US, Styrain. All that really matters is you hit your numbers regardless of what you use. A good place to use some old hops you’ve been meaning too!

Yeast: Any yeast really will work. We’ve been using London III and Southwold. Either will work really well.

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.

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