Saturday, 8 April 2017

Let's Brew - 1913 Adnams BLB

I just realised that I’ve published very few Adnams recipes, despite having a very long run of their records.

This is a little number from the eve of WW I. Looking at Adnams beers of this period, it becomes obvious that wartime restrictions on beer gravity had a much bigger impact on London brewers. Gravities in London were significantly high than in more rural areas like Southwold. Whitbread’s weakest Pale Ale in 1913 had an OG of 1050º, its strongest 1061º.

Though the difference in Mild Ale gravities is even greater. Adnams had two Milds, X at 1033º and XX at 1039º. While Whitbread’s only Mild, X Ale was 1055º. When gravities began to be limited in 1917, Whitbread needed to make far bigger cuts than Adnams.

The grist is both uncomplicated and typical: pale malt, flaked maize and invert sugar. Which is about as complex as Pale Ale recipes got back then. As you’re no doubt bored of hearing, crystal malt was pretty much unknown in Pale ales before WW I and fairly rare after it. Only after WW II did it become pretty much standard.

The original beer was made using an underlet mash. The initial heat was 151º, rising to 152.5º after the underlet (hot water added to the mash tun from the bottom). In most examples, the heats were  150º, rising to 152º. Not sure if I’d bother with such a small temperature change, but if you want 100% authenticity, feel free to give it a go.

The hops are more interesting. The log lists Worcester, Kent and Saaz. The first two I’ve interpreted as Fuggles and Goldings, respectively. The Saaz is, well, obviously Saaz. They were also used as dry hops, in quite a large quantity. In a beer of this gravity about half that amount would be normal.

The rate of attenuation is pretty high, leaving the beer about 0.5% ABV higher than you would expect. With modern malts, that probably won’t be much of a problem.

BLB didn’t survive the war. My last sighting of it is in December 1916, when it still had a respectable OG of 1042º. In 1917 its replacement, simply called PA, was just 1032º. PA survived its wartime experience, only to be replaced by BB in 1961, a beer with a slightly higher OG.


1913 Adbams BLB
pale malt 7.00 lb 77.78%
flaked maize 0.50 lb 5.56%
No. 1 invert sugar 1.50 lb 16.67%
Fuggles 120 min 0.75 oz
Goldings 60 min 0.75 oz
Saaz 30 min 1.00 oz
Saaz dry hop 1.00 oz
OG 1044
FG 1007
ABV 4.89
Apparent attenuation 84.09%
IBU 30
SRM 6
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold

1 comment:

David Boshko said...

It's a bit weird hearing 1 oz being a lot of dry hops. You get modern recipes with half a pound. But I guess a lot for the time and place.