Wednesday 16 November 2016

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1956 Shepherd Neame Abbey Ale

AA – what the hell does that mean? That’s what I thought when I first stumbled across this beer in Shepherd Neame’s records. Luckily, I’ve analyses for a beer of theirs called Abbey Ale. And label images.

It must have been introduced around 1953, a typical time for stronger beers to be introduced. I say that because it isn’t in their 1952 brewing book, but is in the 1956 one.

This is a difficult beer to categorise. In my gravity spreadsheet, I’ve classified it as a Pale Ale. Based mostly on its colour, which is pretty pale at around 10 EBC / 5 SRM. Which you’ll note is much paler than the calculated colour in the recipe below. That will be on account of the gyling. In reality, the proportion of No. 3 invert sugar would have been lower.

OK back to the drawing board. That’s clearly come out wrong. Abbey Ale contained very little of the second wort – only 4 of the 98 barrels. Assuming all the No. 3 went in the second copper, that drastically reduces the percentage of the sugar in Abbey Ale. From 25% to 9%.

As I was saying, a difficult one to categorise, this one. I’ve got it down as a Strong Ale in my brewing log spreadsheet. That was mainly because it was parti-gyled with a couple of Brown Ales. I’d assumed that it was darker than it was. I think I’ll standardise on Pale Ale. Though it is weird that it wasn’t parti-gyled with the Pale Ales.

Ah. I think I know why it wasn’t parti-gyled with the Bitters. Abbey Ale was a bottled beer, as were all the beers it was parti-gyled with. That probably explains it. And also the presence of wheat malt. For head retention, is my guess. Something more important in a bottled beer.

Not much else to say, other than that the attenuation isn’t great. I was going to say tank conditioning before bottling would have lowered that a bit. But having looked at the two analyses of Abbey Ale I have, I’m not so sure. The one from 1954 is, indeed, more highly attenuated at 76%. That from 1961, however, is only 67% attenuated.

1956 Shepherd Neame Abbey Ale
pale malt 7.75 lb 85.45%
wheat malt 0.50 lb 5.51%
no. 3 sugar 0.75 lb 8.27%
malt extract 0.07 lb 0.77%
Fuggles 105 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1044.3
FG 1016.9
ABV 3.62
Apparent attenuation 61.85%
IBU 27
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 60.25º F
Yeast a Southern English Ale yeast

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