Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Brewing in 1960’s Canada – beer styles

Yes, now I’ve decided to finally go through “Brewing in Canada”, I’m going to get my money’s worth out of it.

Today we’re looking at Canadian beer styles. Isn’t that fun?

As in the US, beers were divided into two basic classes:

“The word "beer" is used generally to cover both ale and lager. However, a confusing note is introduced by the fact that the word "beer" is also sometimes used specifically as a synonym
for lager.

Ale and lager are brewed basically from the same materials: malt made from selected Canadian barley, water, hops and a small proportion of "adjuncts" such as flakes of rice and corn. But there are differences in the brewing of ale and lager which account for the distinctly different taste of the two types of beer.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 26.

Small is s pretty vague description. How many adjuncts did Canadian brewers use? In the US, 30% maize or rice was standard. Does that count as “small”?

“Take ale first —
More hops are used, and in some instances a very small percentage of "adjuncts". The fermentation is done with "top-fermenting" yeast, as described on page 32.

Fermentation is conducted at a temperature of 60° to 70°F. Canadian ales contain about 4% alcohol by weight, or 8.8% British proof spirits. This is about the same strength as the popular British ales.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 26.

60° to 70°F is the same as British fermentation temperatures. Nothing odd about that. But British beers weren’t usually 4% ABW (5% ABV) in the 1960’s. In reality, standard draught beers were rarely over 4% ABV.

Did they really only occasionally use small amounts of adjuncts? I’d have thought that they would have struggled to brew all-malt beers because of the nitrogen content of North American barley.

“Lager —
The name comes from the German verb "lagern", to stock, to store. It is usually lighter in taste than ale, although of the same alcoholic strength. Less hops are used than in ale. As with ale, adjuncts are sometimes added, usually a larger proportion than in the case of ale.

Lager is fermented at temperatures between 50° to 60°F. Fermentations are slightly longer than ale fermentations, and less vigorous. Lager fermentations in continental Europe are conducted in the range of 41º to 54°F and are longer and less vigorous than Canadian lager fermentations.”

Because a "bottom fermenting" yeast is used, the yeast settles to the bottom of the fermenter when the fermentation is completed. The lager itself must be drawn off, leaving the yeast in the tank — unlike an ale fermentation, where the yeast is skimmed off the top.

Normally more hops are used in European than in Canadian lagers.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, pages 26 - 27.

So Lager was less hoppy and contained more adjuncts than Ale. Still a bit vague about the adjunct quantity. The fermentation temperature looks very high for a Lager and isn’t that much lower than for Ale.

Despite saying there are two types of beer, a third is then listed:

“Porter and Stout —
Generally, no distinction is made between these two. They are traditionally fermented as ales are, using ale yeast. In addition to the ale ingredients, varying proportions of roasted malt or barley are included, or barley and various sugars. Sometimes malted or flaked oats are used.

Porter may sometimes be slightly lighter in color and alcohol content than stout, and less bitter.

In Canada, alcoholic content of stouts and porters is the same as ales and lagers; but outside Canada, particularly in the United Kingdom, alcoholic content of stouts and porters varies widely.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 27.

Interesting that this is the only type where sugar is mentioned as an ingredient. Did they really make Oatmeal Stout in Canada? Or are they talking about Stout worldwide? It’s not really clear.

Oh, and I love this: yet another explanation of the name Bock:

“Bock Beer —
Traditionally brewed during winter for the spring market, the origins of the name "bock" are shrouded in the mists of history. For some reason it is associated with the symbol of a goat. The usual belief is that the name comes from the famous medieval brewing town of "Einbeck" in Germany. But curiously enough, a Mesopotamian seal of 2200 B.C. shows a queen and her nobles sipping beer through golden straws, and between them, a prancing goat. And the Hindustani word for goat is "bok". In any event, it is a heavy, dark lager beer, full, rather sweet and hoppy in character. Its dark color is normally obtained through the use of high-colored malts.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 27.

So it’s from Mesopotamia, really. But what on earth has Hindustani to do with any of this?

To finish here are a few analyses of Canadian beers from around this period:

Canadian beers 1957 - 1962
Year Brewer Beer Style Acidity OG FG colour ABV App. Atten-uation
1957 Carlings Black Label Lager 0.05 1031 1006 4.5 3.25 80.65%
1957 Carlings Black Label Lager 0.05 1036.3 1007.7 7.5 3.71 78.79%
1957 Carlings Black Label Lager 0.04 1037.5 1007.8 10 3.86 79.20%
1960 Molson Export Ale Ale 0.02 1047.8 1009.7 8 4.76 79.71%
1962 Molson Export Ale Pale Ale 0.05 1047.3 1009.2 10 4.76 80.55%
Whitbread Gravity Book document LMA/4453/D/02/002 held at the London Metropolitan Archives

The Black Label looks as if it’s been specifically brewed for the British market at that strength.

Not sure what’s coming next. Probably more numbers.

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