Saturday, 17 December 2016

Let's Brew - 1912 Thomas Usher IP

I just can’t resist another watery IPA recipe. You might get the idea that I’m trying to prove a point with these recipe. As if I’d ever do something as tacky as that.

I hope you aren’t getting bored of all these Scottish recipes. I see it a documentary duty to get at least a few dozen genuine Scottish recipes out there. One wee widdle into a hurricane, given the number of made up ones out there. But at least I’m trying. I have increased the number of fact-based recipes by several hundred percent this year. Looking at it positively.

It’s always a good laugh looking at how a beer like this scores on the style characteristics in BeerSmith. Way wrong on every single one. The only one even vaguely close, the ABV, is wrong because it assumes a much better rate of attenuation than the original achieved.

Here’s how it scored:

This isn’t a dig at BeerSmith. It just uses the “official” BJCP styles. Hang on. BeerSmith lets me define my own style.

I’ve just added this one:

That looks way better, doesn’t it? When do you reckon the BJCP will add English Watery IPA to their style guidelines? When they start gritting the roads in Hades? Even though I’ve done all the work for them. I can even think of at least two current examples: Greene King IPA and Harvey’s IPA. Which is about as many “Southern English Brown Ales” I can think of.

I need to take this further. Add more real old styles, old and new. Entering as many recipes to BeerSmith as I am, I should be able to refine the definitions as I go on. What a fascinating project.
Almost forgot about the recipe. It’s more pale malt, flaked maize and sugar. Incidentally, they’re the ingredients listed in my official style definition of English Watery IPA. Do you think I should trademark the term? Wouldn’t want some bastard nicking it.

What else? All English hops, which is a bit odd pre-WW I. You’d usually expect some American ones in there.

It was parti-gyled with a couple of even weaker beers, 50/- Br and 60/- Br, at 1034º and 1031º. Really, really watery for back then. I’m still wondering what the hell “Br” means. First records I have that mention it are from 1894. Could it mean “Bright” or “Brilliant”, i.e. a chilled and filtered bottled beer? The 1890’s is when that type of beer was appearing. None of the beers with the designation is over 1037º.

Right. Recipe time. (And tea-time for me.)

1912 Thomas Usher IP
pale malt 7.25 lb 80.56%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 11.11%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.75 lb 8.33%
Fuggles 90 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.75 oz
OG 1042
FG 1014
ABV 3.70
Apparent attenuation 66.67%
IBU 28
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale


Barm said...

My first thought was: If guard books, showing the labels printed for each beer and each bottler, survive for even one or two breweries, and one of the beers can be identified as being the one which is "Br" in the brewing records, it would confirm the theory of Br being a filtered bottled beer.

Except such a beer wouldn't have been sent out to independent bottlers, would it?

Anonymous said...

"Brrrr it's bloody cold"

I think I'm going to make one of these drinks after new year.

Thanks for the laugh, don't forget to add "scottish grits beer" to beersmith :).

Ed said...

Also Charles Well's Eagle IPA and Wadworth IPA (both at 3.6% ABV)

Ron Pattinson said...


Scottish Grits Beer sounds like a great style. In the case of William Younger, a substyle of every other.

I'm now convinced, it will be a service - at least to home berwers - if I make up my own styles for every pattern I see. Sounds like lots of fun.

Ron Pattinson said...


if we go back 30 years, I'm sure we'll find more. Or maybe even not that far.

Ron Pattinson said...


before WW I, it almost certainly would have been sent out for others to bottle. Most of the labels I've seen from then have the names of the bottler stamped on them. It was much later that most breweries took all their bottling inhouse.

Michael+ said...

Ooh please do make some new style guides, that sounds fun. AK, please!

J. Karanka said...

Brains IPA is 3.4% abv if I recall well.

Anonymous said...

So, this ticks one of my biggest issues with "beer styles". Namely there is no "when" component to them.

"English IPA 1921" is vastly different from "English IPA 1990", so `when` is "Southern Brown Ale" that you find in the BJCP guide?

I took your 1909 style guide book and created some rough styles in Beersmith to assist me in brewing them. They look something like "English Mild 1914", "English IPA 1910", etc...