Friday, 22 May 2015

Let’s Brew Wednesday – 1871 Carlsberg Mild

As an extra special treat, two Let’s Brews this week. And let’s face it, this is a pretty special beer.

The historian at Carlsberg told me Carl Jacobsen had wanted to brew both Lager and Ales when he returned in 1871 from his study trip to Britain. But I was still amazed to find Mild Ale on the very first page of his Copenhagen brews. It’s not as odd as it might first seem.

British beers still had a good reputation internationally and there had been plenty of brewers taking on British styles on the Continent. Porter and Stout were the most common, but there were also Pale Ales and IPAs made. And Dutch newspaper adverts prove that Mild Ale was exported as well as the more fashionable styles.

These pages in Jacobsen’s personal brewing book are particularly odd. He mixes up imperial and metric measurements. Sometimes he gives the gravity in SG, others in Balling. There are quarters and kilos and who knows what size of barrel he means. Are they imperial or Danish beer barrels? Or something also altogether? It’s hard to say because I can’t get the numbers to make sense. Either he was getting truly dreadful efficiency, of the barrel is at least a hogshead in size.

Not that Jacobsen brewed loads of Mild. The first brew was on 3rd March 1871 and the last on 25th September. A total of 7 brews in all. Table Beer fared better, lasting until 1872. Strong and Pale Ale were still around in 1874. And DBS, his Stout, that still pops up in the last Carlsberg brewing record I looked at, from 1934.

Jacobsen’s first Ales were brewed with yeast from Kongens Bryghus, but later he used Evershed and Lovibond yeast that he must have picked up in Britain.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment. Over to Kristen . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: What a little treat it was to receive this from Ron. Wow, he must really hate me for giving me this piece of crap log!! Ha!! Seriously though, this is one of the most maniacal, ADHD logs I’ve ever seen. A mix of units, weights, volumes, temperature scales, gravity scales, random numbers, etc etc etc. The funny thing though that they used the log of what looks like Youngers gyle books from the same era but everything is hand written in Danish and some of the columns are used for god knows what. Anyway, when all was said and done, it got sorted. I can’t help to think of the poor bastard that had to actually keep these records and replicate anything. Onward…

Malt: A single malt for every single beer in the log. Seriously. One malt. It’s a pale one to be sure. Probably not English. It was based on volume measurements not weights so the exact same beer has a different weight of malt added to it. Which essentially says to me, if they couldn’t be buggered with having the same recipe time and again, lets just choose something nice and be done with it. Belgian Pale malt. That’s what I’m going with. Castle is nice…so yeah, Castle pale malt.

Hops: It’s funny. You have a log that has no really remarks about malt…for any of the beers. Then you have the hops. Where are broken down very well and easily legible. All Saaz. No question. This thing is even dry hopped! A mild. Dry hopped. But look at the amount. Something like 2oz/US bbl. Seriously!? Why go do the trouble of doing it at all?? The only thing I can think of is that it added in the fining process but that’s pretty sketchy as most of the other beers weren’t dry hopped. So. Saaz it is. Dry hop if you’d like. Really up to you but you could go higher if you’d like. Enough so you could taste it but be nice about it. No need to go all bonkers on this one.

Yeast: I count like 4 different yeast strains or there abouts in the log. With the FG being so high, pick something that doesn’t attenuate very well. Like the Northwest ale, or the ESB. Both very nice.

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.


J. Karanka said...

You can already recognise a Carlsberg beer in the 1870s! 22 IBU! How is that even acceptable in the period? Customers must have been sending this stuff back.

Gary Gillman said...

That's very interesting about multiple yeast strains. How did that work?

As I recall the Urquell brewhouse used to use multiple strains too (no longer) but there it was a blending operation with worts or finished brews being blended (can't recall exact details).


Ron Pattinson said...


that's different yeast strains for different beers. Carlsberg yeast for the Lager; Kongens Bryghus, Vogelius or Unions for the Ales. Later on they use Lovibond or Evershed yeast for the Ales.