Saturday, 24 December 2016

Let's Brew - 1917 Truman Government Ale

I was dead pleased to discover that one of the two Truman’s brewing books Derek Prentice has in his office at the Wimbledon Brewery covers almost all of WW I.

It certainly has the most interesting period, i.e. 1917 and 1918, when brewers didn’t to become inventive. This beer was brewed in July 1917, when the first set of heavy restrictions on brewing were just starting to bite. And when gravities began to plunge fearlessly from the roof.

It’s basically a weakened version of their Mild, X Ale. That was still a respectable 1048.5º right up until June 1917, not much lower than the pre-war gravity of 1052.5º. This version of GA was the first step on the road to gravity Armageddon. A couple of years later and it would be firmly encamped in non-intoxicating territory.

There are a couple of significant differences between this recipe and X Ale. Almost certainly the result of restrictions or shortages. Out were flaked maize and liquid glucose, replaced by more pale malt. Ironic, in a way, that wartime problems improved the recipe.

It’s a pretty simple recipe, containing just three ingredients: pale malt, crystal malt and sugar. All it says for the sugar is “Fowler”, which I know was a producer of invert sugar. So I’ve guessed no. invert. There are half a dozen types of pale malt made from barley from different countries. So feel free to throw in some US six row if you fancy.

The hops are specified as Pacifics and CF. Pretty obvious that the first is Cluster, but I’ve no idea about the other. Pretty sure that they’re English. Fuggles seems a safe bet, but you could also use Goldings. This being a Mild, my money would be on Fuggles.

For once, the BeerSmith calculated colour matches the original exactly. Not sure what that tells me.


1917 Truman GA
pale malt 7.00 lb 86.63%
crystal malt 80 L 0.33 lb 4.08%
no. 2 invert sugar 0.75 lb 9.28%
Cluster 90 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.50 oz
OG 1036
FG 1009
ABV 3.57
Apparent attenuation 75.00%
IBU 65
SRM 8
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 175º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale


4 comments:

David Boshko said...

65 IBUs. On a mild? Damn.

Jack Frost said...

Interesting recipe, very similar to the session bitters I used to brew at home.
Can you tell us when Crystal malt began to be used?

Oh, and a Happy Christmas and good drinking in 2017

Ron Pattinson said...

JAck Frost,

crystal malt starts turmning up around the 1880's, mostly in Mild and Stouts.

Brando V said...

I know, a little low idnit?