Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Let’s Brew Wednesday – 1909 Barclay Perkins KK

A little relief from the 1950’s, with a classic Edwardian Burton Ale, KK. And a recipe from Kristen.

This beer would have been sold as Burton and would have been one of the standard draught beers in their London pubs. Burton Ales were pretty common in London until the 1960’s, though in their latter days as a winter seasonal. Youngs Winter Warmer is the only survivor of this tradition.

K Ales, the keeping versions of X Ales, evolved during the 19th century, especially towards the end. Initially K and X Ales were identical, save for the hopping, with K Ales having approximately 50% more hops. The grists were achingly simple: pale malt. At Barclay Perkins, that changed in the 1880’s, when crystal malt was added to their X Ale grist but not to the K Ales. Instead, they contained No. 2 invert sugar.

Around 1900 there was another change to the K Ales grists, with SA malt (I think it stands for Strong Ale) being used as part of the base malt. After WW I the grists diverged  even more at Barclay Perkins, leaving their Burton and Mild Ales as quite different beers.

At Fullers, it was different story. They were still part-gyling X Ale with their Burton or Strong Ales after WW II. Meaning their Burton was really just a stronger version of their Mild.

I’m pretty sure this would have been my drink of choice, had I been living in London a little over a century ago.

On that happy thought, it’s over to Kristen . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: Another week, another KK. This is the style of K-ales I really like. Absolutely loads of hops, lots of tasty dark sugar with a little higher finishing gravity to round everything out nicely. If you are in need of more K-ale’s in your life, this is for you. If not, this is for you. Seriously.

Malt: A few pale malts…English and American 6-row. Also, we have again here our ever sexy, never duplicated SA malt. Finishes pretty fat and sweet and tasty but we don’t have that. We’ve spoken of this before… so what I’ve done here is sub-out the English ale malt and SA malt with some nice English Mild malt. It won’t get you all the way there but it will definitely get you closer than just using pale malt. If you can’t find mild, they go ahead and go with something like Optic, that’s pretty nice and rich. The US 6-row I think is quite mandatory to these K-ales. Really lends some huskiness to bright up the rich malt character. I have crystal 120L on here but really you can use anything from 50 to 150ish. Pick your favorite English type because we aren’t talking ‘cara’ here…proper English caramel is all you need. Invert No2 is required; if you don’t have it, make it. If not, make something else.

Hops: Loads and loads of Goldings chucked into this baby here along with, surprisingly, a good amount of Hallertauer! We’re talking like +3#/bbl and that’s before all the dry hopping! The first addition should be first wort hopped, then follow along. Dry hops aren’t huge but a nice boost for the aroma at 0.5#/bbl or so. As always, they use different Goldings from different places but if you want to get this beer similar in character, you’ll keep your AA% low as you need that greenery to get the correct mouth feel and such. 

Yeast: Same problem as always with these types of beers is trying to keep the gravity higher and not finishing too dry. As long as you are north of 1.015 or so I think it will be close enough. Any drier than that and it will get oppressive.

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.


Barm said...

Would Fuller's Mild have been a tad hoppier than the run of the mill, or their Burton less so?

Ron Pattinson said...


comparing Fullers and Barclay Perkins, Fullers Mild is more heavily hopped, the Burton less:

Barcaly Perkins X 1043 1 lb
Barcaly Perkins KK 1056 1.91 lbs

Fullers X 1035 1 lb
Fullers XX 1046 1.35 lbs
Fullers BO 1062 1.81 lbs
Fullers OBE 1072 2.15 lbs

Ed said...

I've just read a history of malting and I saw there used to be 'running ale' malt so I wonder if SA is 'stock ale' malt?

Ron Pattinson said...


could well stand for Stock Ale.

Anonymous said...

This recipe looks absolutely beautiful. I can't understand why today's homebrewers and craftsters aren't all over Burtons in the way they love big stouts.

From my experience, going from 1070 to 1020 isn't unrealistic with Danstar Windsor yeast -- does that seem like a reasonable alternative to Nottingham, which in my tries with it has always been a much more agressive yeast.

Are there other liquid yeast which are decent candidates besides 002? In my experience, that's also a fairly high attenuation yeast, and I assume there are English liquid yeasts which tend not to work as hard, right?