Saturday 15 July 2017

Let’s Brew (November) 1917 Barclay Perkins Government Ale

This beer shows the direct relationship between government rules and changes to recipes during WW I.

The initial version of Barclay Perkins’ GA was the result of rules introduced in April 1917. These were changed in October of the same year:

Oct. 1 1917: Rate and conditions of previous quarter continued but gravity for one-half of the output raised to 1042º. Prices also fixed at 4d. per pint under 1036º, 5d. per pint under 1042º.
Source: "The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101.

The result? Barclay Perkins increased the gravity of their GA to 1041.9º. There’s no way that was a coincidence. I’ve even got the letter telling the brewery to raise the gravity. It’s pinned inside the front cover of the brewing book.

The recipe today is that beer from the 10th November.

As for the recipe, there’s been a very significant change to the grist: out goes crystal malt and in comes brown malt. And, at over 11%, a considerable amount of brown malt. With the No. invert sugar dropping from over 9% to 3.5%, too. I’m sure that latter change was dictated by a shortage of sugar for brewing. Being something that could be easily used for food, unlike malt, supplies were mostly allocated for that purpose.

I reckon that the addition of brown malt is at least partly to add colour to make up for the reduction in no. 3 invert. There’s an intriguing note in the front of the brewing book which reads:

“For color
Roasted 1 sack (1/2 Qtr.) = 70 lbs caramel”

That says to me that they were short of caramel and using roasted malt as a substitute. It’s also dead useful for me because it means I can work out the exact colour of the caramel they were using: approximately twice as dark as roasted malt. (Or barley, it isn’t quite specific.)

If I’m being honest, this looks like a more interesting beer than pre-war X Ale. I like the look of that pale, brown and amber malt combination.

1917 Barclay Perkins GA
pale malt 7.25 lb 76.00%
brown malt 1.00 lb 10.48%
amber malt 1.00 lb 10.48%
no. 3 invert sugar 0.25 lb 2.62%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.04 lb 0.42%
Fuggles 120 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1041.9
FG 1011.1
ABV 4.07
Apparent attenuation 73.51%
IBU 22
SRM 14
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

1 comment:

StuartP said...

I'm also liking the look of the malt bill - might just brew that fella come Autumn.