Saturday, 3 June 2017

Let’s Brew - 1862 Barclay Perkins XX

These Barclay Perkins early Mild recipes are such fun, I just have to keep on going. Plus they’re a handy addition to the new edition of “Mild! Plus” I’m working.

Working on along with several other projects. “Victory!” – have I ever published that? (I’ve just checked.) Nope, not published that yet. And it could be a little tricky to release, seeing as it weighs in at almost 900 pages. Considerably more than the maximum Lulu book length. Looks like it will need to be a two volume job.

But I digress like a politician asked a tricky question. Back to Mild Ale, in particular the 1862 XX of my favourite London brewery Barclay Perkins.

As you can see, this is another typical Victorian Mild Ale, pale in colour, high in alcohol and packed full of hops. Just about everything a modern Mild isn’t. But what would be the fun if this was exactly like modern interpretations of the style? Plus I’d be out of a job.

Once again, the recipe is  dead simple. Just white malt and Kent hops. The brewing record doesn’t even specify which bit of Kent. Goldings are always  a safe bet. I’m slightly surprised that no foreign ingredients have shown up in these recipes yet. A lot of US hops were being imported in the 1860’s.

You’ll note that the boil has become much shorter, down from 3 hours or more to just 75 minutes. I’ve absolutely no idea why the earlier boils were so long nor why they were suddenly cut so much.

1862 Barclay Perkins XX Ale
pale malt 18.00 lb 100.00%
Goldings 75 mins 3.00 oz
Goldings 60 mins 3.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 3.00 oz
OG 1079.2
FG 1020
ABV 7.83
Apparent attenuation 74.75%
IBU 92
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 163º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 64º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


Kevin said...

A question for anyone who brews these beers at home. When you input the recipes into your chosen software, do you generally ignore the BJCP style guidelines? Because their definition of mild is so narrow that virtually none of Ron's vintage recipes match. Or do you find a style like "historic" that matches the recipe?

I use Beersmith 2 and those who use it are familiar with the little sliding scales they have for the key recipe features. Even if you load all of the beer styles that they offer, you only have three choices of mild and every one of them says the OG range should be 1030 - 1038/1039. Which pushes a mild like this way off the scale.

I can get pretty anal retentive about certain things and until recently I used to choose the "historic beer" style which pretty much covers anything. Tonight however I decided to screw it and reset all the milds I had input as "historic" back to their proper style just to help me sort my recipes better and help me find my milds or my bitters later on when I want to find them.

Ron Pattinson said...


I've added my own styles to my brewing software, Beersmith. Things like English watery IPA, but also Victorian X Ale.

Edd Draper said...

+1 for Ron's post. I created my own style guides for both modern and historic UK recipes, based on a large collection of modern recipes as well as Ron's extensive Let's Brew back catalogue. It is nice to see all those sliders line up in the middle more often than they do if you try to use BJCP, but then of course they would if you design the styles to match the recipes. It does make creating your own recipes accurate to these styles a lot easier. Learning to create custom styles in Beersmith is also useful if you would like to make a beer that BJCP does not recognise, helping you to get on target. Beersmith also supports importing and exporting styles, so potentially these could be posted somewhere for others to download - though everyone might not agree on what one person has created for themselves.

Kevin said...

Thank you! I only recently started using Beersmith. Do either of you have your styles published online somewhere?

Anonymous said...


Considering it is a Mild and that it is packed full of hops, how long would a beer like that have been matured for before being sent out for sale?

Ron Pattinson said...


probably no longer than a couple of weeks.

Mango225 said...

Looking at the recipe it looks very similar to an English IPA minus the sugar. What actually is the difference here?

Ron Pattinson said...


this is a real beer, English IPA is a modern constrcut.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that.

Was that fairly standard for most Milds at the time, even considering the strength and hops?

It's got to be an interesting drink! - Well worth a brew.

Brando said...

Hey Ron,
What was the max temp during fermentation? Wanna recreate the schedule...

Ron Pattinson said...


78 F.

Mango225 said...

Live in Melbourne mate, they like their style classifications here. I'll definitely give one of these early mild recipes a bash though.

Steve N said...

Hi Ron - I've been noodling on 'the boil has become much shorter, down from 3 hours or more to just 75 minutes. I’ve absolutely no idea why the earlier boils were so long nor why they were suddenly cut so much' since you made the post. My immediate thought was that the decline might be connected to fuel costs - obviously if there was an increase in the price of fuel around this time (assume coal?) then one way to maintain margin is to cut the boil time and consequently the energy costs per batch. I then looked for any evidence of a price rise in coal around 1860, and found this paper:

Figure 1 shows that the nominal price of coal saw a spike around the 1860's; Figure 3 interprets this as the mid-point of the 1845-1871 coal price supercycle. The supercycles themselves are driven by episodes of industrialization, which makes sense.

That led to a thought that another factor might be capacity issues - the mid-nineteenth century saw large rises in the young urban population driven by the Industrial Revolution, and also mass immigration from Ireland and elsewhere as a result of famine. Such rises would presumably have led to increases in demand for beer, and one way to satisfy that demand would be to reduce your boil times thereby allowing greater throughput without capital outlay on equipment for at least some stages of the process.

Do you have any evidence that there was a switch in availability (= popularity) of aged porter versus young mild around this time? Wikipedia has this: 'After 1860, as the popularity of porter and the aged taste began to wane, porter was increasingly sold "mild"'. Maybe the breweries were just trying to manipulate the market and shift mild beer out as quickly as possible to satisfy increased demand - shorten boil times, get the beer out to the pubs in a matter of weeks, charge less for it than(presumably) more expensive aged porter?

Maybe all of the above - (demand driven?) price rises in coal, increased demand for beer, greater opportunity for profit - led to a reduction in boil times and the promotion and popularity of mild over porter.

Do you have any evidence that boil times ever recovered, or was the 1860's the death of the long boil time in brewing?

Ron Pattinson said...


some intersting points. It could well be at least partially connected with the price of coal.

Aged Porter fell out of popularity in the 1860's and was as good as dead by 1870. Breweries just responded to public demand. There was a shift from Porter to Mild Ale in the middle of the 19th century. But there was a good bit of regional variation. porter remained very popular in London right up until WW I.

Mild wass generally quicker to brew than Porter because the mashing scheme was simpler and there were fewer worts.

These are the beer production stats for the 1860's:

1860 20,340,096
1861 19,534,460
1862 19,989,313
1863 20,081,408
1864 21,360,461
1865 22,546,889
1866 25,388,600
1867 25,206,665
1868 24,301,841
1869 24,542,664