Friday, 22 December 2017

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1920 Barclay Perkins KK (Bottling)

A welcome return for Kristen after a very long absence. He had some pathetic excuse about having a brewery to run.

After WW I Barclay Perkins produced two versions of their KK Burton Ale. The draught version, which was one of the standard beers in their tied houses, had an OG of around 1058º in the 1920’s. A powerful beer, but quite a good bit weaker than the bottling version, which was marketed as Southwarke Ale.

The grist is typical for a Burton Ale, with the base malt being SA malt rather than pale malt. SA malt is kilned in such a way that it produces a less fermentable wort. At least for primary fermentation. In addition to the base, there’s some crystal, flaked maize and invert sugar. All the usual stuff that you’d expect. Oh, and a little bit of caramel, which Kristen seems to have forgotten in the recipe below.

We had a lot of discussion about the FG on this one. With me arguing that it would have fallen during secondary conditioning. Looking at the brewing record again, I can see some interesting remarks in the dry hopping section.

“4oz Alsace after 4 or 5 days rolling”
“4oz Champion EK after a further week, casks bunged down on Feb 5th”

Remember this is a beer that was only available bottled. It was brewed 14th January and racked on the 22nd January. As it says on the record “All to Hhds [hogsheads] for bottling.” So obviously it was getting a secondary conditioning in casks before being bottled. It’s unfortunately not clear for how long, but it was at least a couple of weeks. I suspect at least a couple of months.

While we’re mentioning dry hops, this beer, with half a pound per barrel, had loads.

That’s me done. Over to Kristen . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: This is one of those beers that are going to be a beast to ‘point’ out the way it is in the log. Wherefore? This thing has a pretty high FG. It’s not that big of a beer, really, but getting it to finish/stop at the gravity is going to be a pain.

Two English pale malts, both SA malts, which would have been less fermentable than standard ale malt. Basically we need to get as many dextrins in this sucker as possible, especially with the amount of adjunct in this bad boy. So we’ll use mild malt if you can get it, which will definitely help. Mashing hotter will definitely help also…156F (68-69C) should do well enough. The remaining recipe is a touch of maize and a proper solid whack of invert. You’ll see they also added a decent jigger of caramel to this sucker to get it ‘just right’…these were their actual words in the log. Use it or don’t. I’m not, as its not really that much of a difference.

Hops were really neat for this one. Some standard Kentish ones and the rougher, higher AA% American ones however we see some Alsace hops poke in. More importantly, this is quite decently dry hopped at 0.5lb/bbl (~2g/L) split between some more Alsace and some East Kentish. You really do want that lower alpha stuff for the bulk of the bittering to get the ‘greenery’ character that much hops will give. That said, you do lose a lot of beer in that much hops so any decent higher alpha hop for the bitter will work fine. Strisselspalt will be the closest you can get to Alsace uniqueness but there have been hops grown there since the 1700s I think…a long time anyway. You can replace with really any German ‘lager’ hop will do well….same holds for any Slovak/Czech/etc will do well enough. Basically you want something that has a solid oil content but nothing that’s ‘New World’.

Really your choice. You’ll want something to not ferment as full so a nice ‘ESB’ yeast will do well…basically anything that has lower attenuation is what you want but hold an ‘English’ profile. It shouldn’t be weird nor be a big driver of the flavor profile.

Standard procedure:
1) let the beer ferment until finished and then give it another day or so. For me right around 5-7 days.
2) Rack the beer to your vessel of choice (firkin, polypin, cornie, whatever).
3) Add primings at ~3.5g/L
4) Add prepared isinglass at 1ml/L
5) ONLY add dry hops at 0.25g/l – 1g/L.
6) Bung it up and roll it around to mix. Condition at 55F or so for 4-5 days and its ready to go. Spile/vent. Tap. Settle. Serve at 55F.

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