Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1910 Barclay Perkins KKK

Time for another Edwardian Burton Ale. Probably one of my favourite style/period combinations.

Without WW II, would people still have been slurping back this sort of loony juice in the 1970’s? I suspect not, but you never know. Though, in fact, one of the biggest disincentives to brewing strong beer only dates from the 1920’s. In 1921 tax was set at 100 shillings a standard barrel, but as a concession to the brewers, in 1924 a rebate of 20 shillings per bulk barrel was introduced. This made stronger beers less tax-efficient.

Let me explain. A beer of standard-barrel gravity, 1055º, would pay 100 shillings minus 20. So 80 shillings tax. A beer of half standard-barrel gravity, 1027.5º, would pay 50 shillings minus 20, making 30 shillings. That meant that a 1055º beer paid 1.45 shillings per gravity point, but a 1027.5º beer just 1.09 shillings. This system continued right up until WW II.

I’m pretty sure this was a draught beer. Though I doubt it was a ubiquitous presence on the bars on Barclay Perkins tied pubs. You certainly wouldn’t have been able to knock back many pints of it in a session. A pub wouldn’t have got through huge quantities. But a beer this strong didn’t need to be shifted as quickly as one of 4% ABV.

The drop in strength in WW I caused lots of problems with draught beer quality for this very reason. Older beers had been more robust through their greater strength and heavy hopping. Landlords didn’t need to be that careful in their cellar management. After the war that was no longer true and many struggled to get their beer into good condition.

That said, Barclay Perkins did have a beer similar to this between the wars. KKKK, with an OG of 1079, was a winter seasonal which, if their adverts are to be believed, was served from a pin on the bar. A pin of Old Ale on the bar was something you still saw in the 1970’s and 1980’s during the colder weather. Maybe it still happens in the tied houses of some regional brewers.

Time to let Kristen weave his magic . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: Look at the 1909 BP KK we did recently. Notice anything similar?? Yeah, these babies are twins!! Well, not exactly twins as there are a few differences but definitely ‘blood’.

Malt: The only difference between the KK and KKK we see here this week is the lack of SA malt, hence no mild malt. Choose two nice English pale malts or just one...or really whatever you’d like that is a really nice pale malt. I’m going with Maris Otter and Optic b/c they are great and I have them right in my little grimy bands… A touch more invert No2 but not massively so. Loads more caramel but same as always, feel free to lose it, or make your own but don’t go sub’ing in any sort of sinamar or the like.
Hops: Loads more hops than even last week. About equal split between Hallertauer and Goldings this time round. All towards the beginning and a load of dry hops should make this nice and aromatic.  I really prefer my dry hops on for a short time, around 3 days, at about 64-65F. I find I get exactly what I want and if I leave them on longer, it adds nothing…personal preference though

Yeast: (repeat of last week) 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.


Anonymous said...

Looks like something went pear shaped Ron.
Kristen's recipe is nowhere to be seen

Andy said...

Is the American malt supposed to be 6 row?

Jeff Renner said...

Image, please.

Anonymous said...

Noting the potential issue with finishing too dry, any thoughts on cheating a bit by adding some maltodextrin and/or lactose? If so, how much might make sense?

If it's lactose, how sweet would one of these be? Like a sweet stout, or dialed back a bit from that?

Kristen England said...


Yes, 6-row.


I'd not add either sugar. If you are really worried, maybe 5-10% carapils in place of some of the English malt would help some.