We’re now getting close to beer Armageddon, when British beer was changed forever. This beer was brewed on 6th July 1917. Just a few days earlier, on July 1st the first restrictions on gravity were introduced. Half the beer a brewery made had to be no more than 1036º . And guess what? Parti-gyled with this beer was the very first batch of Government Ale, at a gravity of 1036.4º*.
There have also been changed to the recipe. Out goes the flaked maize, the sugar content is halved and in comes crystal malt. And the percentage of amber malt has increased by 50%. Flaked maize disappeared from Barclay Perkins’ recipes in May 1917, presumably because it was no longer available. Maize wasn’t grown in the UK at the time and had to be imported, usually from the USA. I assume shortages also explain the reduction in sugar content. Only the hopping has remained unchanged.
All the changes in ingredients must have had an impact on the character of the beer. You could argue that the enforced changes have improved the recipe, as it now contains to adjuncts and a higher percentage of malt. But, as we’ll see in a few recipes’ time, as soon as it was available, Barclay Perkins went back to using flaked maize.
The OG has fallen, but only by a couple of points. However, that’s deceptive. Because after this date most of the Mild Barclay Perkins brewed was GA. For example, the batch of X Ale brewed on 2nd July was 859 barrels. This batch was just 242 barrels with 438 barrels of GA. Most drinkers would have been on GA. Though I’m sure some unscrupulous publicans sold GA as X Ale.
Next time we’ll take a look at that GA.
* Taken from "The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101.
|1917 Barclay Perkins X Ale|
|pale malt||7.50 lb||74.96%|
|amber malt||1.00 lb||10.00%|
|crystal malt||0.50 lb||5.00%|
|no. 3 sugar||1.00 lb||10.00%|
|Fuggles 120 mins||1.00 oz|
|Fuggles 60 mins||0.75 oz|
|Fuggles 30 mins||0.75 oz|
|Mash at||152º F|
|Sparge at||170º F|
|Boil time||120 minutes|
|pitching temp||61º F|
|Yeast||Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale|