Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Truman X "Dark"

The Burton brewery of Truman was another with a rather bewildering array of beers at the start of WW II.

Their lower-numbered Burton Ales – No. 5 down – had been dropped during WW I. These were their Mild Ales. They were replaced by ones fitting the more common Mild system of designations, X, XX and XXX. Though maybe that last one was really their Burton Ale. Not totally sure on that. But X and XX both came in two versions, light and dark. Rather like what Barclay Perkins had.

But at Truman the dark versions weren’t just the pale beer coloured up with caramel at racking time. They were specifically brewed as the dark version, with a different grist. Though, in a way, they may as well have been as the only difference in the recipe was caramel. Which could just have been added at racking time.

The way X was brewed was a hangover from WW I, when brewers blended or watered down beers post-fermentation. The reason – as far as I can tell – was for yeast health, brewers fearing what would happen to their yeast if it were only ever exposed to low-gravity wort.

Though in this case it’s the opposite that’s going on. X was brewed at 1027.4º then blended with 40 barrels of the stronger XX, raising the effective OG to 1028.5º.

The grist is typical Truman: pale malt, high-dried malt, crystal malt and sugar. Plus the all-important caramel to get the dark colour.

The hops were all English from the 1937 and 1938 crops.

1939 Truman X "Dark"
pale malt 3.75 lb 55.72%
high dried malt 1.50 lb 22.29%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 7.43%
flaked maize 0.33 lb 4.90%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 7.43%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.15 lb 2.23%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1028.5
FG 1004.5
ABV 3.18
Apparent attenuation 84.21%
IBU 21
SRM 17
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 61.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)


Kevin said...

Maybe I'm dense but I just can't wrap my head around the way you present wort gravity.
When you write 1027.4° and 1028.5° can you translate that for me as a homebrewer of meager experience using a hydrometer that came with my kit.

Ron Pattinson said...


what scale is that? I though homebrewers usually used SG?

Anonymous said...

First, welcome to home brewing. The gravity is 1.027 and 1.028. If you try a low gravity brew like this I would brew to 2-4 points above and add water to adjust. Much easier than adding sugar/extract to gain gravity. Apologies if you already know this stuff.

Kevin said...

I've never seen specific gravity represented in five digits with the decimal point at the end. I've always seen something like:

And the ° symbol makes me think degrees plato. It's all confounding me.

I am tempted to just take 1027.4 and make it 1.027 ...dropping the 4 and ignoring the ° but that could be very wrong.

C_G_ said...

1027.4 = 1.0274 on the hydrometer. If you move the decimal point three places to the left (and maybe drop the final digit or round), you get the hydrometer reading.

James said...

Kevin, I think you just need to move the decimal point three digits to the left. That's the way specific gravity is typically presented in U.S. homebrewing literature.

James said...

Kevin, in practice you will not be able to calculate specific gravity that precisely anyway, so yes, it is safe to round the last digit off.

Kevin said...

I have been home brewing since 1999 so not really new. Just relatively new to following this blog on a regular basis. Thanks confirming what I had assumed to be true.

Brian said...

I have seen high dried malt in a few of your posts in the past, what would be a modern replacement, amber malt?

Ron Pattinson said...


that's a very good question. I'm not really sure, to be honest. High dried malt was diastatic, which most modern amber malt isn't. I usually use dark Munich as a substitute in my recipes in BeerSmith.