Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1955 Fullers Old Harry

While I'm on my whole 1950's thing, I thought I'd throw in some recipes, too. It's thirsty work doing all this number shuffling.

This is an odd beer. On the label, it's billed as a "Extra Brown Ale". Which I suppose it sort of is. Though it could equally be called a Burton. The base brew is X Ale, or Hock, Fullers standard Mild. Because obviously this was a parti-gyle. That's just the way Fullers operated. And the quantity of Old Harry being brewed was quite small - just 60 barrels, along with 480 barrels of X. Still, that's a huge volume compared to OBE in the 1930's. I don't think I've seen a batch bigger than five or six barrels.. The smallest are only one or two barrels.

I was a bit surprised by the lack of crystal malt in the recipe. I would have expected that. Instead it's just pale malt, flaked maize and sugar.

A word about the sugar. The original is No. 2 Invert, PTX and Intense. I'm not totally sure what the composition of the latter two was. I know Intense was pretty dark, probably a mix of invert sugar and caramel. PTX I haven't a clue about. So I've specified No. 3 invert and caramel as a substitute. It should get you somewhere in the right area.

There are no details of the hops, other than that they are English. A Fuggle's/Goldings combination seems a fair enough guess. Feel free to use any English hops that take your fancy.

Brown Ale is another one of those terms used inconsistently. As you'll see when I finally get my arse in gear and look at my Brown Ale analyses. There a couple of pretty different variations.

Right, time to pass you over to . . . me, again . . . . .

1955 Fullers Old Harry
pale malt 7.75 lb 73.81%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 9.52%
No.2 invert 1.25 lb 11.90%
No.3 invert 0.50 lb 4.76%
caramel 1.00 oz
Fuggles 90 min 0.75 oz
Goldings 60 min 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.75 oz
OG 1051
FG 1015
ABV 4.76
Apparent attenuation 70.59%
IBU 30
SRM 24
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 166º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1968 London ESB or 
White Labs WLP002 English Ale


From Inside the Maelstrom said...

Silly question: which No. 2 invert should be No. 3? I presume the second?

Ron Pattinson said...


the second one. I've fixed it now.

BryanB said...

Parti-gyle is still the way Fuller's operates, for London Pride, ESB, Golden Pride and Chiswick, if I remember rightly.

John Keeling said the new Oliver's Island golden ale is a parti-gyle too, their first for 56 years.

Jeff Renner said...

With that amount of presumably 100% fermentable sugar and the lowish mash temperature, how would you keep this from fermenting out 90%? Of course, this is the question with most of these historic brews, but I've never heard the answer. Cold crash at target SG? That would seem to produce an unstable product.

From Inside the Maelstrom said...


A Brew Rat said...

For us homebrewers too lazy to make invert sugar, do you think D45 and D90 candi syrup would be reasonable substitutes for No. 2 and No. 3?

Phil said...

I am now completely baffled by English names for types of beer. This "Brown" ale seems to have almost nothing in common with earlier Browns.

I realize the BJCP approach is broken, since English (and American and Belgian and Czech and ....) brewers clearly didn't have finely tuned prescriptive definitions of types of beers -- nobody was saying "oh, this type must have this kind of ester and this level of sweetness" before they put it in bottles or on tap.

But is there any kind of *reliable* glossary out there which can help explain what people might have meant when they called something a Brown or Burton or an ESB (or for that matter a Saison or an Alt or a Pilsner)?

I'm assuming you'd need at least a couple of dimensions -- what people were saying in 1900 is going to differ from what they thought in 1950, and what they meant in London would be different from what they meant in Berlin or York.

This is probably a fool's quest, I know, but is there a better alternative to the current crimped and faulty beer style guides out there which keep putting out overly prescriptive and wholly unhelpful descriptions of beer? Something that gets the beer geeks to just relax?

Ron Pattinson said...

A Brew Rat,

not sure. What exactly is candy syrup? Is it invert sugar?

Ron Pattinson said...


there are even more beers in that partigyle: the Export versions of London Pride and ESB plus Vintage Ale.

Ron Pattinson said...


not sure invert is 100% fermentable, though I think it's close.

It is typical for the attemperators to be put on towrds the end of the fermantation to drop the temperature below 60º F.

Ron Pattinson said...


other than me, I can't think of anyone who is really examining what styles were like historically.

You're right that ant definitions would need a time and a place element.

I see British styles as variations on four basic styles: Mild, Pale Ale, Strong Ale and Porter.

If I ever get around to finishing my series of historic style guidelines, they might fill the gap. But there's not much chance of that happeneing anytime soon.