Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1955 Flowers XXX

We’re approaching the finishing line with Flowers. With what was undoubtedly one of their biggest sellers.

Mild was still wildly popular in the mid-1950’s. Though that was already beginning to change. Younger drinkers were switching to Bitter. And there was a swing from draught to bottled beer, which also didn’t help Mild.

It was during the post-war period that Mild’s status as exclusively a low-gravity beer evolved. Before WW II there had still been Milds with gravities over 1040º, about the same as Ordinary Bitter. Barclay Perkins had three Milds, at 1043º. 1035º and 1031º. After the war, few breweries had more than one Mild. Some had a Best Mild, but this was usually only a couple of degrees stronger than standard Mild. Ones with gravities over 1036º were extremely rare.

Looking at lots of 1950’s Milds recently, I’ve notices a big variation in the degree of attenuation. The gravities are all much of a muchness: 1030-1033º, mostly. But because the attenuation varies from the low 60’s to high 80’s, the ABV goes from 2.7% to 3.7%. Which much have entailed very different drinking experiences. And not just in terms of intoxication.

Flowers XXX is towards the low end of the attention scale, not quite managing 3% ABV. Though, looking at the ingredients, that isn’t such a surprise. You’re never going to get a 85% attenuation with 7% lactose in the grist. The brewers was obviously aiming for body and a degree of sweetness in the finished beer.

Lactose aside, it’s an unspectacular grist. Just pale malt, No. 3 invert sugar and a touch of malt extract. Still not totally sure why malt extract was so common in the 1950’s. Especially in such small amounts.

Not much to say about the hopping. The variety is a guess. But Fuggles were the standard hop of the day. The chances are that was what was used in the original. Goldings were generally reserved for more delicate hop-oriented beers.

Almost forgot. You’ll need to add caramel to get the right colour. It won’t get anywhere close without it.


1955 Flowers XXX
pale malt 5.75 lb 82.14%
No. 3 invert 0.50 lb 7.14%
lactose 0.50 lb 7.14%
malt extract 0.25 lb 3.57%
Fuggles 90 min 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.50 oz
OG 1032.4
FG 1010
ABV 2.96
Apparent attenuation 69.14%
IBU 22
SRM 24
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast WLP007 Dry English Ale

This may well be my last post in this format. Depending on how things go at the weekend.

10 comments:

Craig said...

How much caramel?

Ron Pattinson said...

Craig,

enough to hit the target colour. The quantiity will depend on how dark your caramel is.

Anonymous said...

As far as the mystery malt extract additions, is there any indication in the records when the malt extract was added? I'm wondering if it served some purpose such as being added a couple of days into the fermentation to give the yeast a boost, or maybe it was added for priming? Or do those ingredients always refer to what goes in the mash and boil?

marquis said...

I wonder if the malt extract was simply added to adjust the gravity of the wort.This would explain the small amounts used , if the malting barley was of variable quality a small addition could be used as a top up.


J. Karanka said...

Isn't 47 SRM stout-like black?

Craig said...

Ah! Totally missed the SRM at 47!

Ron Pattinson said...

Anonymous,

no indication as to when the malt extract was added, I'm afraid.

Ron Pattinson said...

Marquis,

it's not being added to adjust the gravity.

Ron Pattinson said...

J. Karanka,

my mistake. It should be 24. I've given EBC rather than SRM.

Anonymous said...

No color details on the malt extract? I wonder if it was dark and used mainly as a colorant