1917 was a funny year in British brewing. At its start, gravities hadn’t changed much since the war began. They’d dropped a few points but nothing too significant. Once the unrestricted U-boat campaign started to bite, the government took drastic action and gravities began to tumble. The second half of the year saw changes to strength and recipes almost on a weekly basis.
It’s a nightmare for me when I’m researching. In a normal year, little changes at a brewery. A dozen or so snaps is sufficient to capture all the beers and recipe variations. The later years of WW II demand far more photos to make sure nothing is missed. It quadruples my work, at least.
For a Scottish beer, this has a very complicated grist. Three types of malt and five types of sugar. As usual, I’ve substituted invert sugars for proprietary sugars. The original contained 2.5 cwt Durax, 2.5 cwt CDM, 2 cwt maltosan. 2.5 cwt DL and 6.5 cwt Penang. The Penang is easy – that’s a type of cane sugar. I know that CDM is a pretty dark proprietary sugar and that DL is a very dark one. The Durax, DCDM and maltosan I replaced with No. 3 invert, DL with No. 4 invert.
The poor attenuation was becoming typical of Scottish Stouts. It rarely poked its head much over the 50% parapet. The resulting ABV – just over 3% in this case – is pretty pathetic for a beer of 1048º.
The hopping has been greatly reduced from the pre-war version, which had roughly three times as many hops. Which, coupled with the poor attenuation, must have left a very sweet, sticky beer. The variety of hops is a pure guess. By the latter stages of the war pretty much only English hops were used. For a beer like this, Fuggles are the obvious choice.
After the war, Scottish Stouts would become even more poorly attenuated, lower in gravity and just about unintoxicating.
|1917 Thomas Usher 54/- Stout|
|pale malt||5.50 lb||57.89%|
|black malt||0.75 lb||7.89%|
|crystal malt 60L||0.50 lb||5.26%|
|cane sugar||1.00 lb||10.53%|
|No. 3 invert sugar||1.25 lb||13.16%|
|No. 4 invert sugar||0.50 lb||5.26%|
|Fuggles 180 min||0.50 oz|
|Fuggles 60 min||0.50 oz|
|Fuggles 30 min||0.50 oz|
|Mash at||148º F|
|Sparge at||170º F|
|Boil time||180 minutes|
|pitching temp||60º F|
|Yeast||WLP028 Edinburgh Ale|