Sunday, 10 July 2016

Let's Brew - 1904 Amsdell Burton

As a special treat for the week of the 4th July, I’m publishing an American recipe for once.

I didn’t come up with the idea myself. It was a suggestion of a reader. And a very good suggestion it was. I just wish it had come a few days earlier.

This recipe has an interesting history. I originally wrote it for my book The Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer. There was initially a chapter at the end on American beers. Then I changed my mind, deciding I’d like to save those for a later book. Which obviously hasn’t happened do far. One day, one day.

Getting back to the beer itself, Burton was a style that never really caught on in the US. Beers with the name pop up every now and again in the Northeast, but with nothing like the frequency of IPA, Porter or Stock Ale. The most famous example, Ballantine Burton, was only ever brewed a few times and wasn’t available for purchase, being given by the brewery as a Christmas gift.

In terms of strength, this looks more like a Bass No. 1 type Burton Ale than the London draught beer (usually called KK). That would have had an OG of about 1075º in this period. Even the stronger London KKK would have been weaker than this beer.

Amsdell’s Burton does have much in common with London Burton. The brown colour and heavy hopping, for a start. Plus the combination of pale malt, maize and sugar. Not seen black malt in a London version of this period, though.

I’ve made one slight adjustment to the recipe, changing grits to flaked maize. If you fancy having a go at a cereal mash, feel free to use grits as in the original. I assume most of you would rather not bother.

Almost forgot. Amsdell was a largish Ale brewery in Albany, New York.

1904 Amsdell Burton
pale malt 6 row 15.25 lb 72.62%
Black malt 0.25 lb 1.19%
fructose 1.50 lb 7.14%
Flaked corn 4.00 lb 19.05%
Cluster 90 min 4.00 oz
Cluster 30 min 4.00 oz
OG 1094
FG 1028
ABV 8.73
Apparent attenuation 70.21%
IBU 113
SRM 20
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 180º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1098 British ale - dry
Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


Anonymous said...

I bought a six pack of Ballantines Burton Ale this past winter in the Syracuse NY area. Delicious.

Brando V said...

I saw in that book on Hudson Valley Breweries that Amsdell was Krausening at the turn of the century - would they've done so for a stock ale as well?
Also, how much do I and other 'mericans have to pay you to publish the whole Amsdell lineup? And whatever else you got...

Anonymous said...

Well, what smart readers you must have. Ha ha and thank you for the recipe.

Mike from Montreal

Craig said...

I left this on facebook, but I figured I'd chime in here as well.

I'm not 100% sure of this, but I think Amsdell may have been trying to copy—or perhaps was given the recipe for—Quandt's Burton. Quandt was a brewery in Troy, a few miles north of Albany. A note at the top of the log says "Burton by W. Grainger made in Quandt Brewery Troy 1904". Amsdell had made a Burton in the late 19th century, but this is the only recipe in both the 1900-1901 and 1904-1905 logs. Perhaps they were trying to get a new version into rotation.

For "W. Grainger"'s part, he was probably one of the New York Grangers—a family of brewers who owned and/or brewed at locations in Hudson, Syracuse and New York City. I suspect whomever wrote the note misspelled his name.

Ron Pattinson said...

Brando V,

they kräusened pretty much everything.

Craig said...

Just as an added bit of awesomeness that Brando V mentioned my book (sort of) on Ron's blog.

But as for krausening Ron, I have to disagree. Amsdell's stock beers (IPA, Diamond Stock, Pale Stock, etc.) and Porter were NOT kräusened, but their XX, Polar and Scotch Ale (and their variants) were.

Lady Luck Brewing said...

English yeast and not an American strain?

Andy said...

Any reason to expect that fructose would give a different result than sucrose/white sugar?

Brando V said...

I would probably avoid a modern American strain myself, if only because it may attenuate a bit too much to get the proper profile. If I had a choice, that is... unfortunate that commercial brewing can be so limiting! Of course it is possible that the yeast strain they used came from the UK somewhere, but only Ron or Craig could possibly know that info...

Ron Pattinson said...


yes, as fructose isn't exactly the same as sucrose.

Craig said...

I would use East Coast Yeast's Old Newark Ale (ECY10).

The recipe actually calls for "grape sugar". In the U.S., at the turn of the century, the term "grape sugar" meant the powdered version of glucose. "Glucose" meant the liquid version—something like corn syrup. The log actually has a printed column for glucose, which is scratched out, and grape sugar is written in its place.