Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Scotch Ale

Another book preview, I'm afraid, as we count down to the publication of Austerity!.

This time it's the fun topic of Scotch Ale.


"Scotch Ale
I’m only going to consider strong Scotch Ales as being in this category. Scottish Shilling Ales – 60/-, 70/- and 80/- are just types of Pale Ale.

Scottish breweries were dead dull for most of the 20th century, William Younger excepted. Most had a single recipe, from which they’d parti-gyle three Pale Ales – 60/-, 70/- and 80/- - plus possibly a Strong Ale. Sometimes they even managed to parti-gyle Stout with Pale Ale.

I’m classing Scotch Ale as two types. Which rather than pissing around with some abstract description, I’ll define in reference to two William Younger beers: No. 1 and No. 3. Though the latter type seems to have been peculiar to them. Strong Ales from other Scottish breweries were mostly along the lines of No. 1.

The No. 1 type of Scotch Ale was around 1070º - 1080º, dark and not particularly well attenuated. At most breweries it was parti-gyled with Pale Ales and so was effectively a double-strength Scottish Pale Ale."
"Austerity!" by Ronald Pattinson, 2235, pages 100 - 101.


Scotch Ale 1947 - 1950
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Aitchison Scotch Ale 1080 1020.8 7.73 74.00% 55
1948 Aitken Strong Ale 1067.5 1021 6.04 68.89%
1948 Ballingall "Angus" Strong Ale 1073.5 1023.5 6.49 68.03%
1948 Calder Scotch Strong Ale 1065.5 1019 6.04 70.99%
1950 Campbell Royal Scotch Ale 1080.1 1014.2 8.66 82.27% 77
1948 Dryborough Strong Ale 1060 1019.5 5.25 67.50%
1947 Fowler Heavy Ale 1081.4 1025.5 7.27 68.67%
1948 Fowler Twelve Guinea Ale 1080 1021.5 7.63 73.13%
1949 Fowler Extra Strong 1078 1012 8.68 84.62%
1949 Fowler Twelve Guinea Ale 1077.7 1030.3 6.13 61.00% 100
1948 Jeffrey Strong Ale No. 1 1067 1025 5.43 62.69%
1948 Jeffrey Strong Ale 1065 1019.5 5.91 70.00%
1948 Maclachlan Strong Ale 1070.5 1024.5 5.96 65.25%
1948 McEwan Strong Ale 1078 1022.5 7.23 71.15%
1950 McEwan Scotch Ale 1088 1022.6 8.56 74.32% 63
1947 Murray Heavy Ale 1066.3 1017.25 6.38 73.96%
1948 Steel Coulson Strong Ale 1063 1026 4.77 58.73%
1947 Usher Old Scotch Ale 1073.5 1020.5 6.90 72.11%
1948 Usher Strong Ale 1090.5 1024.5 8.63 72.93%
1947 Younger, Wm. No. 1 Strong Ale 1074 1022 6.76 70.27%
1950 Younger, Wm. Scotch Ale 1087.6 1017.5 9.21 80.02% 60
Average 1074.6 1021.4 6.94 70.98% 71.0
Sources:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document TU/6/11.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Want to see my beautiful face

talking?

Then - if you're in the USA - you'd better get to Foggy Noggin in Bothell on the 10th August:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1815649785407368/

Because that and a talk in Colonial Williamsburg in October are likely to be my only events in the USA for the rest of the year.

I'll be talking about - while we're drinking it - No. 1 Ale. The Ur Barley Wine. It should be lots of fun. Especially as the six beers are all over 8% ABV.

Many of the recipes feature in my ground-breaking book on Scottish beer:

Scottish Pale Ale Grists 1948 - 1965

 Now the new book is almost done, it's time for a little preview. This is something I literally just finished writing five minutes ago. On the ever fescinating topic of Scottish Pale Ales.

Scottish brewers were, for the most part pretty dull when it came to recipes. Most only had the one.

I’ve only bothered with one of a brewery’s Pale Ale range, as all were parti-gyled together. Except at the ever contrary William Younger. Not only weren’t their Pale Ales parti-gyled together, they all had slightly different recipes. The crazy bastards.

Scottish Pale Ale grists 1948 - 1965: malts and adjuncts
Year Brewer Beer OG pale malt black malt enzymic malt flaked maize flaked barley
1958 Bernard Pale 1/1 1031 75.20% 0.82% 13.08%
1948 Drybrough P 60/- 1030 79.11% 0.78% 1.65% 10.55%
1954 Drybrough 60/- 1032 74.52% 2.40% 0.64% 6.01% 6.01%
1960 Drybrough 60/- 1031 74.95% 0.44% 12.49%
1965 Drybrough 60/- 1031 74.45% 0.06% 12.07%
1951 Maclay PA 6d 1030 86.33%
1956 Maclay PA 6d 1030 74.82% 11.51%
1965 Maclay PA 6d 1030 74.82% 11.51%
1962 Thomas Usher P 1/4 1036 69.23% 6.29%
1957 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 77.03% 13.75%
1960 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 71.39% 19.99%
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP Btg 1031 92.86% 7.14%
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP 1031.5 88.24% 11.76%
1949 Younger, Wm. Ext 1047 87.50% 12.50%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPQ 1033 60.00% 26.67%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPSL 1038 58.62% 27.59%
1958 Younger, Wm. EXT 1046 60.94% 29.69%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPS Btg 1038 62.16% 32.43%
Sources:
T & J Bernard brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TJB6/1/1/1.
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number D/6/1/1/6.
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number D/6/1/1/7.
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number D/6/1/1/8.
Maclay brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number M/6/1/1/28.
Maclay brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number M/6/1/1/35.
Maclay brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number M/6/1/1/44.
Thomas Usher brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TU/6/9/1.
Robert Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number RY/6/1/2.
Robert Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number RY/6/1/3.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/88.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/3/112.


I’ve lumped the malts and adjuncts together because there aren’t many of either. Mostly it’s just pale malt and flaked maize or barley. A couple of examples have a small amount of black malt for colour. But there’s no crystal malt in sight.

William Younger loved to stuff their beers with adjuncts. Before WW II most of their beers were 40% grits. The beers above aren’t quite that bad, but those from the 1950s all still have over 25% flaked maize.

Two sugar tables for this set.

Scottish Pale Ale grists 1948 - 1965: sugars
Year Brewer Beer OG no. 1 sugar invert Avona Hydrol
1958 Bernard Pale 1/1 1031 6.54% 4.36%
1948 Drybrough P 60/- 1030 2.64%
1954 Drybrough 60/- 1032 3.21% 3.21%
1960 Drybrough 60/- 1031 6.81% 1.51%
1965 Drybrough 60/- 1031 7.38% 0.67%
1951 Maclay PA 6d 1030 9.59%
1956 Maclay PA 6d 1030 7.67%
1965 Maclay PA 6d 1030 7.67%
1962 Thomas Usher P 1/4 1036 17.48%
1957 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 4.58% 3.67%
1960 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 3.81% 3.81%
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP Btg 1031
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP 1031.5
1949 Younger, Wm. Ext 1047
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPQ 1033
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPSL 1038 2.30%
1958 Younger, Wm. EXT 1046 3.13%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPS Btg 1038

Invert sugar is as popular as ever. No. 1 being what you’d expect in Pale Ales. The unspecific “invert” is most likely either No. 1 or No. 2 invert. Avona and Hydrol are enigmatic proprietary sugars.

Scottish Pale Ale grists 1948 - 1965: sugars again
Year Brewer Beer OG cane candy caramel malt extract other sugar
1958 Bernard Pale 1/1 1031
1948 Drybrough P 60/- 1030 0.88% 4.39%
1954 Drybrough 60/- 1032 0.80% 3.21%
1960 Drybrough 60/- 1031 1.51% 0.76% 1.51%
1965 Drybrough 60/- 1031 2.68% 2.68%
1951 Maclay PA 6d 1030 0.24% 3.84%
1956 Maclay PA 6d 1030 0.24% 1.92% 3.84%
1965 Maclay PA 6d 1030 0.24% 1.92% 3.84%
1962 Thomas Usher P 1/4 1036 0.00% 2.10% 4.90%
1957 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 0.05% 0.92%
1960 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 0.05% 0.95%
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP Btg 1031
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP 1031.5
1949 Younger, Wm. Ext 1047
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPQ 1033 8.89% 4.44%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPSL 1038 6.90% 4.60%
1958 Younger, Wm. EXT 1046 6.25%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPS Btg 1038 5.41%

A more normal lot of sugars. Though exactly what is meant by cane and candy isn’t 100% clear. I assume that cane refers to some partially refined cane sugar. There’s lots of malt extract again, always in tiny quantities. The largest amount used is under 3% of the total grist.

Pale malt, flaked adjunct and sugar. That’s all there is to Scottish Pale Ale grists.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

A Normal Life

Before I became a 100% beer obsessive, language was my thing. And by extension literature.

Fearing forgetting my French, I started reading its classic literature: Gide, Flaubert, Maupassant, De Beauvoir, and loads more. Oh, and "La Modification" by Michel Butor. A book that hugely influenced my writing style.

Hearing English knowledge was zero in Czechoslovakia, I decided to learn a little Czech before my first visit in 1983. It was the start of a weird obsession.

I took evening classes, and tried to repeat my French upkeep. I tried to read books with the aid of a dictionary. Hard, hard work with a language as different from English as Czech. But I can be a stubborn bastard at times. What else was I to do on my boringly long commutes?

As well as being able to order beer and pork, Kundera played a role in part interst in learning Czech. I'd been impressed with what I'd read in translation. But after my experience with French literature, I realised that I needed to taste the real thing. Direct. With no trnslator inbetween.

Once I'd cracked reading literary Czech, an amazing world opened up. Wonderful, imaginative books. Hasek, Capek, Paral, Klima, Hrabal and more. A vibrant, playful tradition.

"Válka s mnohozvířetem" (War with the Multibeast) by Paral, is one of the craziest things I've ever read. I couldn't get it out of my head for years.

But one book really spoke to me. Obyčejný život (An Ordinary Life) by Karel Čapek. (The man who invented the word robot.) Saying how apparently boring lives conceal unexpected depths.

Not sure where this is going. Other than learn shit - it's worth it. Don't choose stupid.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Let's Brew - 1961 Thomas Usher GSA

Usher’s records from this period are some of the dullest I’ve come across. I can only find two beers: their 70/- and this Strong Ale. Or was it a Scotch Ale? One of the two. It was certainly strong and brewed in Scotland.

Which is a bit odd, as I’ve seen labels for Export, Amber Ale, Sweet Stout, Brown Ale and Pale Ale labels from this period. Were all of those beers really just P 1/4? I suppose if they blended GSA with it they could make a stronger Export-style beer. But how would you make the Stout?

There’s only one sugar in this, DAS. Could that be Dark Amber Syrup? Maybe. I’ve gone for No. 3 invert, in any case. The colour is close to the one in the brewing record so it can’t be that far off. The final colour was almost certainly quite a bit darker, around 20-25 SRM. Probably achieved through a caramel addition at racking time.

I know from the weekly totals on materials that Usher used considerable amounts of caramel. But it doesn’t appear in the brewing records of the individual beers. It must have been added at a later stage in the brewing process.


1961 Thomas Usher GSA
pale malt 15.25 lb 86.35%
flaked maize 1.75 lb 9.91%
malt extract 0.33 lb 1.87%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.33 lb 1.87%
Fuggles 120 mins 2.25 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1077
FG 1025
ABV 6.88
Apparent attenuation 67.53%
IBU 43
SRM 8
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 157º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 57.5º F
Yeast WLP013 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Friday, 13 July 2018

Summer reading

What's better for light reading on the beach than one of my lovely tabkle-filled books?

There are some crackers in there, mind. And my books are one of the ways I earn money directly. Or any effing money, for that matter.

Buy my books!



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It's the Perfect Ale

I guess lots of you agree, seeing as that spells out IPA. As it does in this advert from 1950:




Banbury Guardian - Thursday 23 March 1950, page 2.

What was that beer like? How strong was it? What colour? They're the questions I always asked when I was adverts like this. I never expected to get answers. But I did. Thank Whitbread.

The Whitbread Gravity Book is one of the most valuable sources on 20th-century UK brewing. Without its thousands of ananlyses, I'd have no idea - and no possibility of ever discovering - the details of the beers from brewery's whose records are lost.

The colour numbers in the Gravity Book are particularly helpful. Brewers mostly didn't record the colour in their brewing records. Nor all the colouring sugars they added post-fermentation. Many of the recipes in my new book came out way paler than the Gravity Book analysis. I've adjusted the recipes accordingly.

Multiple sources. Combining them to make something greater than their simple sum is my ultimate joy.

Here are those NBC beer details:


Northampton Brewery beers 1948 - 1952
Year Beer Style Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1948 Brown Ale Brown Ale 18 1032.4 1008.4 3.11 74.07% 150
1950 IPA IPA 1046.2 1012.4 4.39 73.16% 24
1950 PA Pale Ale 1035.2 1007.8 3.56 77.84% 32
1952 Jumbo Stout Stout 18 1037.8 1016.8 2.70 55.56% 100
1952 Brown Ale Brown Ale 18 1038 1013 3.23 65.79% 200
1949 Pale Ale Pale Ale 15 1033.4 1008.1 3.28 75.75% 28
Source:
Whitbread Gravity Book document LMA/4453/D/02/002 held at the London Metropolitan Archives