Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Low Gravities

In the second half of the 19th century a new type of beer appeared in the UK: Light Bitter.

The early Pale Ales were all brewed in the Burton mould as Stock Ales. That is beers that underwent extensive ageing before sale. And when I say extensive, I mean extensive. Bass Pale Ale for example, was over a year old before sale, even domestically. The version sent to India was 12 months old before it even left the brewery.

"Low Gravities.
THE tendency for light beers seems to be on the increase, and we cannot quite understand why brewers should not make large profits, more especially when the public demand a beverage constituting nothing more nor less than a dry, thoroughly fermented beer, containing but small percentages of sugar and albumenous matters, with a somewhat high percentage of alcohol. There is surely no difficulty in producing such a beverage, and if mashing operations are conducted in a manner favouring the minimisation of these objectionable bodies, and the extract constitutes that of a dry sugar such as cone or glucose, we venture to say that a beverage of this character would answer family customers much better than the ordinary publichouse mild ales of somewhat high gravities and containing as they do, comparatively speaking, high percentages of azotised and sugar bodies. More attention should be paid to this question than readers are aware, for in these days of increasing competition, when it is indeed hard to buy publichouses at reasonable prices, there remains but one alternative, and that is (to those brewers who cannot afford to pay fancy prices for houses) if they are to hold their own, much less increase their trade, they must undoubtedly cultivate a family trade; and we are bound to assert that hundreds of brewers, instead of giving proper attention to this class of customers, are too prone to forward the ordinary publichouse mild ale, which we need hardly say is anything but pleasant for the family trade."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, pages 317-318.
By "family use" they mean beer consumed at home. Which at this time was still mostly in the form of draught beer. The advertisements brewers placed in newspapers for this home trade are a great source of information about exactly what beers were being brewed by a specific brewery. Light Bitter, especially AK, is often praised in such adverts as being perfect for family use.

Here's an example of what the author was talking about, from Fullers of London:

Fullers Mild and Bitter in 1887
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
AK Pale Ale 1049.6 1014.1 4.69 71.51% 7.61 1.66
XX Mild 1064.8 1023.3 5.50 64.10% 6.64 1.93
X Mild 1054.6 1020.5 4.51 62.44% 6.64 1.63
IPA IPA 1060.9 1016.6 5.86 72.73% 12.38 3.45
XKK Pale Ale 1055.1 1015.2 5.28 72.36% 12.36 3.12
XK Pale Ale 1057.1 1016.1 5.42 71.84% 11.58 2.84
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery

AK had the lowest OG of all their Bitters and Milds, though, due to the higher degree of attenuation, the ABV is higher than X Ale's. You can also se that AK was sinificantly more lightly hopped than Fuller's other Pale Ales. In fact the hopping rate wasn't much higher than for the Milds

Monday, 24 September 2018

Colouration of Beer

One of the things that drives me nuts are American home brew recipes for dark British styles, like Mild Ale, where roast malt is used to get the colour. This is a good example.*

Because that's not the way the vast majority of real examples of the style were brewed. Most Milds got their colour from sugar, usuall a combination of No. 3 invert and caramel. It's rare to find any malt darker than crystal in Mild.

That's one of the reasons I was struck by this Victorian article about colouring beer. And why you shouldn't use black malt.

"Colouration of Beer.
IT is at the time of writing well known throughout brewing circles that the majority of brewers resort to the use of black malt for the purpose of colouring beer. Now very little attention is paid as to whether the black malt used is sound, and we venture to say that the greater portion so used for this purpose is in nine cases out of ten very unsound. Take, for instance, small brewers. A quantity of black malt is received at the brewery for stout and porter brewing; the trade in black beer declines, and the question then arises, What shall we do with the remaining black malt on hand? The answer is very simple, since the conclusion arrived at is, that it will do very well for colouring purposes. It, or a portion of it, is ground and remains perhaps for months in its disintegrated state; it thus takes up moisture and very rapidly turns sour. Is there any wonder, therefore, that ten or twelve pounds of such material, mixed with grist in hopper, sprinkled over the mash before commencing to sparge, or thrown into the copper, which ever of the various methods are carried out, should have a tendency of turning the resulting beer sour, or have an effect upon its dietetic properties. We think that this question should have long ere this come to the knowledge of practical men, and our reason for this note is on account of a sample of beer lately sent us possessing a peculiar taste somewhat resembling brown paper. The beer was by no means sound, since samples placed upon the forcing tray rapidly deteriorated, yet from the details of the manipulation of the materials, combined with the water supply, cleanliness of plant, and soundness of yeast, such beer should have defied the forcing temperature of 75° F. for at least three weeks without showing any form of disease. We therefore advise brewing readers to guard against this evil, and either look to the soundness and quantity of black malt used, or, on the other hand, resort to the use of some other colouring agent, such as caramel."
It's instructive to read just how black malt was used for colouring purposes. Either esprinkled over the mash just before sparging or in the copper. I knew about the latter already. Barclay Perkins usualy added some of the black malt or roast barley to the copper when brewing Porter and Stout.

The point about the decline in the trade in Black Beer (Porter and Stout) is also interesting. AFter 1870 there's a notable decline in Porter and draught Stout outside London. In most of the provinces, Porter was dead by the time of WW I.

I'm not surprised that the author ends up recommending caramel for colouring. Though he doesn't mention one advantage of caramel: the colour it adds is predictable. Which isn't necessarily the case with black malt. Also, because it's added later in the brewing process, the anount used xcan be modified based on the colour of teh wort.

* I'm not having a go at Jamil Zainasheff. This is how people were told Mild was brewed/.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Tetley's beers in 1848 - 1849

Did I mention that I'm a deeply lazy person? I sometimes wonder what I could have achieved, had I not been such a lazy arse.

This information is a good case in point. A few years back I had a lightning visit to the West Yorkshire Archives in Leeds. In a frantic two hour session between the archive opening between and when the family picked me up in a taxi to go to the airport, I snapped as much as I could. to peruse later at my leisure.

The earliest records were from 1848. Yeah! But, rather than the pre-printed form with stuff filled in, they're totally handwritten. Which makes life much more difficult for me. Being a lazy bastard, i went straight to the 1858 records. Which are on pre-printed forms.

The 1848 records I'd just left untouched. Until this week. When I wanted to know when Tetley started brewing Pale Ale. And had a trawl through them, looking for Pale Ale. Which I found. Then I realised: these things aren't as hard to read as I thought. Harvest time.

An interesting set. Especially the Pale Ale. Few breweries were making it in 1848. Mostly just in Pale Ale specialist towns like Burton and Edinburgh.

I was surpised at how much Porter Tetley brewed. The occasional Stout, but quite a lot of Porter. and loads of Mild, of all strengths. Five different ones. The amount of Porter brewed surprised me. A decent percentage of Tetley's output.

A dream: all five 1848 Tetley Milds on draught in the Cardigan Arms.

Tetley's beers in 1848 - 1849
Date Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl hops
27th Mar 1849 E.I. Pale IPA 1065.6 1016.1 6.56 75.53% 19.78 5.57 English
24th Apr 1848 PA Pale Ale 1067.9 1018.8 6.49 72.24% 21.44 6.04 English
1st Apr 1848 X1P Porter 1063.7 1018.3 6.01 71.30% 10.40 2.66 English
14th Apr 1848 Stout Stout 1077.6 1021.3 7.44 72.50% 12.12 3.70 English
18th Apr 1848 X Mild  1049.9 1023.8 3.44 52.22% 6.53 1.36 English
5th Apr 1848 X1 Mild  1077.6 1027.1 6.67 65.00% 6.95 6.11 English
5th Apr 1848 X1 S Mild  1069.3 1026.3 5.68 62.00% 6.95 2.95 English
12th Apr 1848 X2 Mild  1088.6 1025.5 8.36 71.25% 6.31 2.26 English
7th Apr 1848 X3 Mild  1099.2 1025.5 9.75 74.30% 6.37 2.54 English
Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archives, document number WYL756/1/ACC1903.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Let's Brew - 1915 Truman P1

As you would expect of a brewery based in Burton, Truman produced top-class Pale Ales. And pick of the bunch was P1.

At 1064º, it had the classis Burton IPA gravity. The ABV might look a bit low at a little under 6%, though it was almost certainly stronger when sold. As this was a Stock Pale Ale that would have undergone a secondary conditioning of 6 to 12 months. AT the end of that time, the FG would have been considerably lower.

They didn’t go in for fancy grists at Truman’s Burton brewery. I doubt they had any coloured malts on the premises, as all their Porter and Stouts were brewed in London. Though the pale malt is a mix of Indian, Smyrna and English. I’m not sure what the sugar was. It could easily have been No, 1 invert, which would leave the finish beer a little paler.

Most of the hops were English from the 1914 crop, though they were a few described as Pacific from 1912. The varieties are just my guesses.

1915 Truman P1
pale malt 11.00 lb 80.00%
flaked maize 1.50 lb 10.91%
No. 2 invert sugar 1.25 lb 9.09%
Cluster 120 mins 0.25 oz
Goldings 90 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings 60 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1064
FG 1020
ABV 5.82
Apparent attenuation 68.75%
IBU 61
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 57º F
Yeast Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Friday, 21 September 2018

The Liquor Trade of Australasia

I found this fascinating overview if booze in Australasia.

Kicking off with some general stuff.

THE Australian Trading World gives the following summary of the
resent position of the beer, wine, and spirit trade of Australasia:—

Of the various sections of business between Great Britain and her Australian Colonies, one of the most important is that which comes under the above designation. Alcoholic liquors are, in most countries, made to bear a greater relative amount of taxation than other commodities, and the duties placed upon these goods in Australia and New Zealand are extremely heavy. The trade, however, make no serious complaint on this score, and it would seem that the volume of business has not been seriously affected by the duties levied. The trade is a very large and important one, and for those interested in it a few general remarks may be of some value. In the first place we may consider the population to be supplied. This is in round figures 3,200,000 people, say about three-fourths of the population of the metropolis; but it will be readily admitted, in the first placethat the population of the Colonies is more adult in its character than that of London and its immediate suburbs. It will further be allowed that the number of males in the colonial population is larger; whilst the third consideration is that the average prosperity of people in the colonies is certainly greater than the condition of the population of greater London. These circumstances being considered, we think that we may obtain a general view of the consumptive power of our southern colonies by saying, roundly, that the liquor trade there is of equal volume to that of metropolitan London. We think that this estimate gives an appreciative view of the case that is useful to bear in mind."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 39.
I assume that 3.2 million is both Australia and New Zealand combined. Well done antipodeans, is what I say, matching London for boozing. Very high tax on beer? Drinkers in the UK would get used to that 30 or so years later.
"The liquor trade of Australasia may be looked at in its three sections — beer, wine, and spirits. Now, first as regards beer, this liquor has a very large consumption, and it is being gradually supplied, so far as ordinary draught liquor is concerned, by colonial brewmgs. But excepting from one or two breweries in New Zealand, no ale or stout has been produced that will bear any comparison in point of quality to the best Burton and Scotch ales or to Dublin or London stouts. It is no discredit to colonial brewers to state this fact; they have not got water of that peculiar quality that will permit the manufacture of beers equal to those made in Britain, nor, we may add, have they a climate which, with all its beauties for other purposes, will compare with this for the business of brewing. Some months ago we commented on the purity of British export beers, as evidenced by a very severe critical examination, made at the instance of the New South Wales Government. But let colonial brewings go on increasing, there will always be a large business in the imported article for the best of the trade. Bass s India pale ale, Robert Younger’s Edinburgh ale, “Boar’s Head" brand, James Aitken & Co.’s Falkirk ale, Guinness’s Dublin stout (that bottled under the “Boar’s Head" brand holds a premier position), Whitbread's London stout, and beers of this class in hogshead, will always command a market, whilst the trade in bottled beers is hardly interfered with at all by the colonial brewings. The bottled beer trade is a very heavy one, and its volume is likely to increase rather than to diminish. Malt liquor will always be the standard drink of the Anglo-Saxon until some constitutional infirmity or luxurious fashion puts him on to wine or spirits."
 "The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 39.
Interesting that there were breweries producing good beer in New Zealand bit not Australia. Could it have been the water? Or the climate?

I know from a later Australian price lists of imported UK beer that Burton Pale Ale, Scotch and Pale Ales from Scotland and Dublin and London Stouts were, indeed, the most popular UK beers. The top-class stuff, basically.

The expectation that those classy British beers would continue to be imported turned out to be false. After Confederation in 1901 Australia introduced large import duties on imported beer to encourage the local industry. British imports gradually dried up to a trickle.

As this table shows:

UK beer exports to Australia 1890 - 1920
1890 1900 1910 1920
147,014 96,785 90,416 18,176
Brewers' Almanack 1928, page 115.
Brewers' Journal 1921, page 24

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Austerity! errata

I've just had it pointed out to me that a couple of recipes wer missing in Austerity!. My apologies.

It's fixed now, but for those who have already bought the book, here are the missing recipes:

1959 Fullers X
pale malt 5.50 lb 78.35%
flaked maize 0.67 lb 9.54%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.50 lb 7.12%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.25 lb 3.56%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.10 lb 1.42%
Fuggles 90 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.75 oz
Goldings Varieties 30 min 0.125 oz
OG 1031.5
FG 1009.5
ABV 2.91
Apparent attenuation 69.84%
IBU 19
SRM 17
Mash at 146º F
Sparge at 166º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale

1948 Lees Best Mild
pale malt 5.75 lb 69.70%
black malt 0.25 lb 3.03%
crystal malt 80 L 0.75 lb 9.09%
enzymic malt 0.25 lb 3.03%
No. 3 Invert 1.25 lb 15.15%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.125 oz
OG 1032
FG 1006
ABV 3.44
Apparent attenuation 81.25%
IBU 21
SRM 19
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

1964 Whitbread Ex PA
pale malt 10.50 lb 85.16%
crystal malt 60L 1.50 lb 12.17%
No. 1 invert sugar 0.33 lb 2.68%
Fuggles 90 min 1.25 oz
Styrian Goldings 90 min 0.25 oz
Fuggles 60 min 1.25 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.25 oz
Goldings dry hop 0.50 oz
OG 1056.5
FG 1009.5
ABV 6.22
Apparent attenuation 83.19%
IBU 45
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

For the rest of you home brewers - those who don't have the book - this is a rare treat. Three recipes in one day.Three very different beers.

Fullers X Ale, also known as Hock (the brewery was very inconsistent in the brewing records), is a fairly typical Dark Mild, with the colour all coming from sugar. I was quite partial to Fullers Hock. When I could find it. One of my favourite Southern Milds.

Lees Best Mild is low-gravity, but with an interesting grist. That actually contains some dark grains, unlike most Dark Mild. At just 1032º, it's hard to see what's "best" about it. I suppose in comparison to their other Mild, which was even weaker at 1028º.

Whitbread Ex PA is, I'm pretty sure, the Pale Ale Whitbread brewed for the Belgian market. The beer still exists, brewqed by someone somewhere. It's much stronger than most UK Ple Ales of its day and quite impressively bitter. At least in calculated IBUs.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1917 Kidd SXXX

This is a beer that originally had me confused. I assumed that it was some sort of Burton Ale.

But when I looked more closely at the hopping rate, I realised that it was really a strong Mild. At least that’s what I think at the moment. I might change my mind.

The big difference with the other Mild Ale, X, is the type of sugar. X has No. 3 invert and Budgett, SXXX has No. 1 invert alone. The percentage of sugar in the grist is far lower than in X. Probably an indication that this was a fancier beer. Unlike X, there’s no crystal malt. That, combined with the use of No. 1 rather than No. 3 invert makes this a paler beer than X.

The hops are listed as Farnham and Kent, which, as usual, I’ve interpreted as Goldings and Fuggles, respectively. They were all from the 1916 crop so I haven’t reduced the quantity. That all the hops were fresh is another indication that this was a posh beer.

1917 Kidd SXXX
pale malt 9.00 lb 82.76%
No. 1 invert sugar 1.50 lb 13.79%
cane sugar 0.25 lb 2.30%
malt extract 0.125 lb 1.15%
Fuggles 150 mins 2.25 oz
Goldings 30 mins 2.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.75 oz
OG 1053
FG 1018
ABV 4.63
Apparent attenuation 66.04%
IBU 55
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Old flame

I was back in Leeds recently. A city that was my home for seven years. For many of them, I had one true love: the Cardigan Arms.

I can't exactly remember how we first met. It's all connected with Simon. A school friend who was also studying in Leeds.

The first year, I may have seen Simon once. At the start of the second, I bumped into him and we stumbled into a pub. Three hours later, we were boozing buddies. Friendship renewed through a gallon of Tetley's Mild, drink of the gods.

Simon lived in a weird house in Headingley. I was in an even weirder spot out in Cross Green, in classic Leed back-to-back with the bogs in outdoor courtyard. There were loads of good local pubs. With handpulled Tetley's through univacs. Heaven, really. Yet I'd walk three miles to drink in my favourite.

I can remember that first time. When I said to Simon "Why don't we head out west? Away from all the fucking students."


There was a huge amount of excitement in my early years in Leeds, discovering new areas of Tetley's pubs beyond the student pale.  We weren't disappointed when we headed down Kirkstall Road.

We first hit the Rising Sun. A magnificent former Melbourne house with amazing etched gass windows. But a few hundred metres further waited our true love. A pub so wonderful, I still dream of it. The Cardigan Arms.

When I arrived in Leed in 1975, electric pumps were the order of the day. The fascist health authorities had decided that univacs were unhygienic, and Tetley had ripped out the handpumps from most of their Leeds pubs. In a few grotty areas, where imminent demolition was anticipated , Tetley had let the old pumps remain.

The Sheepscar, in an area cleared save for the odd pub, was my first experience of handpulled Tetley's Mild. What the fuck? I'd been drinking the same beer for several months through electric pumps. The handpulled version was a revelation. So much better, it seemed like a different beer.

Me and Simon started drinking in the Cardigan when they had electric pumps. The beer was pretty good. Then Tetley changed their mind about handpulls.

One day we troll up in the Cardigan and the electric pumps are gone. Instead there's a wicket of handpulls. And the beer has gone from good to nectar. One of the best pints I've ever had.

And it remained like that. Tetley's Mild in the Cardigan was amazing. Drinkable, but subtly complex. Like Augustiner Heeles, but Mild. A suicidal beer that threw itself down your thoat before you could stop it. I miss it so much.

It was great being back in the Cardigan. Just a shame there was no Tetley's Mild.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Number of Licensed Houses in the UK in 1889

Some more pub numbers for you. I hope you enjoy them.

"Number of Licensed Houses.
A PARLIAMENTARY Return, giving the number of houses licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquors in each licensing district of England and Wales, has recently been issued. From this we learn that there are altogether 105,484 houses licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquors to be consumed on the premises, and 23,024 off-licences; this gives an average of one house to 202 persons on the basis of the last census; 67,009 on licences and 13,270 oflicences are in the counties, and 38,475 on licences and 9,754 off-icences in the boroughs; in the counties there is one licensed house to every 219 persons, and in the boroughs one to every 173 persons. There are altogether 4,188 six-day licences, 274 early closing licences, and 703 combined six-day and early closing licences in England and Wales. Wales having a Sunday Closing Act, has the largest proportion of the six-day licences. In the boroughs licensed houses are far more numerous than in the counties ; the ratios range from 1 to every 66 persons in Banbury to 1 to 480 persons in Jarrow; in the counties the range is even wider, for the Rhyl division of Flintshire has the largest proportion of licensed houses, there being one to every sixty persons, whilst in the Lower Llanidloes Division of Montgomery shire there is only one to 613 persons. As a rule,licensed houses appear to be more numerous in proportion to the population in the purely agricultural, whilst in the manufacturing counties the proportion is lower. Taking the principal boroughs, we find the City of London comes first, with one licensed house to 80 persons, and there is one licensed house to 123 persons in Portsmouth, 130 in Liverpool, 131 in Manchester, 152 in Sheffield, 165 in Leicester, 167 in Nottingham, 170 in Salford, 173 in Bristol, 175 in Hull, 183 in Birmingham, 190 in Bradford, 195 in Newcastle, 248 in Liverpool, and 271 in Leeds."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 178.

It doesn't surprise me that the City of London had the most pubs per population. Because the pubs in the City really serve the area's working not resident population. Nor is it a shock that Leeds scores relatively poorly. When I lived there it was notably less well pubbed than some other cities I knew, such as Nottingham.

How does that match up with today? Let's take a look:

UK On and Off licences in 2016
On licences Off licences Total Population population per on licence
England and Wales 118,700 55,700 174,400 58,744,600 495
Scotland 11,593 5,110 16,703 5,424,800 468
Northern Ireland 2,058 585 3,125 1,870,800 909
Total 132,351 61,395 194,228 66,040,200 499
Office for National Statistics (GB) https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates
2017 Statistical Handbook of the BBPA, pages 64 - 66.

Surprised at the high number of on licences? That's because the numbers include things other than pubs, such as residential hotels and restaurants Though not clubs). I'd have preferred to use just the pub numbers, but after 2004 I only have those for Northern Ireland. The total nummber of pubs in the UK is probably around 50,000. Which equates to one pub per 1,175 people.

Note that the current number of off licences is around triple that of 1889. But that's slightly deceptuve because in the 19th century most off sales were from pubs. Usually in the form of jugs of draught beer.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Brewing of Beer for Bottling (part two)

Continuing the article about brewing beer for bott;ing, we've got to fermentation, cleansing and conditioning.

Starting with primary fermentation:

"The yeast is added whilst the worts are running down; about half a pound of yeast to each barrel of wort is the average quantity. There are different ways of fermenting, including the skimming and stone or slate square systems, unions and wooden rounds, &c.; the latter are mostly used in Burton, and the squares in northern counties. Ale must not be attenuated as low for bottling as it is for draught purposes, so as to ensure life in the bottle; the heat had better be maintained at 60° Fahr. or thereabouts."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 381.
That doesn't seem very much yeast. A quick look at some brewing records shows me that a minimum of 1 lb of yeast per barrel was the norm. No idea where teh author got his amount from.

At first I thought the author was claiming unions were used for fermenting in Burton. Then, looking at the punctuation more carefully, I realised that it means Burton brewers used unions and wooden rounds. Though it should be the other way around. The wort went into the rounds first, then the unions.

"Cleansing by running the ale off into puncheons or cleansing casks, racked from these into dry and sweet casks when the required gravity is obtained; these casks are allowed to stand overnight, and well hopped on bunging down next morning with new hops, then stored in a cool dark cellar for a few months, and vented when required. If it is unsound it will develop iself, if sound, it will get bright and sparkling."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 381.
That's the London system of cleansing. If you were using a Yorkshire square, that combined fermentation and cleansing. While Burton brewers would use the already-mentioned unions. Stock Beers that underwent this sort of secondary fermentation in cask was expected to drop bright without fining. Unles something was wrong with the beer.

"Bottled after this treatment the ale should be perfectly satisfactory. If the bottled ale is not to be used for some time, it is generally bottled without gas (carbonic acid); the bottles must be perfectly clean and dry, filled to within a couple of inches from the top of the neck, then tightly stoppered; if corks are used they must be very close and solid, so that the gas cannot escape. Some bottlers advise leaving the bottles open for about twenty-four hours after filling, then corking and laying them lengthways in sand, covered with sawdust, for the prevention of mould."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 381.
It sounds like sometimes beer was being bottled with artificial carbonation. Having clean bottles is a bit of a no-brainer. Though not sealing the bottles for 24 hours sounds like asking for trouble. Not sure what point there could be in that. Can't see why covering a bottle in sand or sawdust would prevent mould. Though it could protect workers from flying glass, shouls a bottle explode.

"Pasteur advises the laying of the bottles on their sides, so that the oxygen in the small quantity of air between the liquid and the stopper may be rapidly absorbed by the larger surface of liquid so exposed. If the ale is for immediate use, it is better to saturate it with carbonic acid gas. There is always a certain amount of sediment, especially in porter, and this is deposited on the sides of the bottles when they are laid length ways, even when only for twenty four hours: and this is of more importance than the fear of the growth of mould on the surface of the liquid, especially when the ale is for immediate use, but there ought not to be any fear of mould when the bottles are well washed and dried."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 381.
Not sure what Pasteur was on about. Whay do you want the beer to absorb oxygen. Surely, if a beer had been bottled well, there would be no oxygen in the heas space, but CO2? I wonder why Porter always had sediment?

"When the cork is drawn it must be done gently, so that the gas does not escape too quickly, and the sediment is not disturbed. A spring cork screw answers this purpose admirably. When a stopper is used it must be unscrewed gently, and the ale poured down the side of the glass. If the above instructions are carefully attended to, and if the beer has had constant attention, it will be of a good colour, sparkling, and have a full taste on the palate."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, pages 381 - 382.
Good advice there for pouring a bottle-conditioned beer. It's how I do it myself.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Let's Brew - 1914 Crowley Porter

Unusually for a provincial brewery, Crowley still produced a Porter in 1914.

At 1050º, it’s a similar strength to London Porter. Though the grist is quite different. For a start there’s no brown malt, which a London Porter would always include. No black malt, either, instead there’s chocolate malt. It’s a very early date to see this type of malt. Though Whitbread started using it in the 1920s.

The presence of a small amount of oats mean they must have been selling some of the brew as Oatmeal Stout. There’s not much of it, despite it being considerably more than London brewers bothered with.

Then there’s lots of sugar: around 14% of the grist in total. The original had three sugars, in addition to the caramel, 10 cwt cane, 2 cwt candy and 1 cwt CDW. I’ve rolled the last two together as candy.

As with most of Crowley’s beers, the hops are a combination of 1912 and 1913 English with 1913 Oregon.

1914 Crowley Porter
pale malt 8.25 lb 75.00%
chocolate malt 1.00 lb 9.09%
flaked oats 0.25 lb 2.27%
cane sugar 1.00 lb 9.09%
candy sugar 0.25 lb 2.27%
caramel 500 SRM 0.25 lb 2.27%
Cluster 120 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1050
FG 1017
ABV 4.37
Apparent attenuation 66.00%
IBU 38
SRM 36
Mash at 155º F
Sparge at 176º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley ale

Friday, 14 September 2018

It's that time again - don't miss out

on the chance to buy one of my excellent new books before I increase the price at Christmas. Between them they contain getting on for 1,000 recipes.:




Carlsberg and yeast

The contribution of large breweries to the science of brewing is often ignored by the geeky end of the beer world. Carlsberg is one of the breweries which has made the largest contribution.

They were one of the first breweries to set up a proper laoratory and carried out much ground-breaking research. As they continue to do to this day. Whatever you migh think of their beer, their contribtions to brewing science have been immense. Especially in the field of yeast.

"The Carlsberg Brewery.— In his last report on the trade of Denmark the British Consul at Copenhagen, referring to Danish breweries, says that the same thoroughness of purpose which is so generally noticeable in all enterprises undertaken in Denmark has for many years past been brought to bear on this industry, and notably by the late Captain Jacobsen, whose brewery at Old Carlsberg is the result of a lifetime devoted to the perfecting of the various processes, and is at this day a model establishment, in which no expenditure is spared to maintain the excellence of the produce. In a well-fitted laboratory annexed to the establishment, under the superintend ence of Dr. E. C. Hansen, experiments are made, in the results of which the trade at large is allowed to participate. Dr. Hansen is a distinguished disciple of Pasteur, and independent discoveries have been made by him on the propagation of micro-organisms. These researches led him to the cultivation of pure yeast, which since 1885 has been exclusively used in the brewery. A few years ago at one of the other breweries at Old Carlsberg heavy losses had been sustained in consequence of the beer turning sour at intervals for a period of two years. Dr. Hansen ultimately traced the cause, and for the first time had an opportunity of trying on an extended scale his then recently-discovered pure yeast. The result was in every way satisfactory, and from that day his system has practically been applied at Old Carlsberg. In an interesting monograph contributed to the scientific periodical published at the brewery, Dr. Hansen describes the process. Briefly stated, his system consists in selecting a single cell of yeast, of a species which by experiment has been proved to give a certain ascertained result in fermentation, and from this cell to cultivate yeast in large quantities for the fermenting vats. The advantages of this mode of fermentation have now been fully recognised, and it is in use in all the large Dutch and many foreign breweries. The brewer using the pure yeast knows with absolute certainty that his beer will turn out of the desired taste and quality. It should be stated that the mode of fermentation in vogue is what is called “bottom" fermentation at a low temperature, on the Bavarian plan."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 155.

Learning how to generate 100% pure yeast was a big breakthrough, one from which almost the whole of the world's brewing industry has benefitted. Well, other than some eccentric UK breweries like Harveys.

Just as back in the 19th century, Carlsberg still makes the reults of its research available to everyone. As a real scientific institution should.

Hansen's laboratory has been preserved by Carlsberg. It's hard to describe the thrill I got entering the space where Hansen and Claussen performed such important work on yeast.

I'm not surprised that all the large Dutch breweries used pure yeast cultures. It probably came from Heineken that had a plant for producing pure yeast cultures in their Rotterdam brewery.