Saturday, 31 August 2019

Let's Brew - 1963 Lees Lager

Around 1960 a lot of smaller breweries suddenly got interested in Lager, which everyone in the industry reckoned would be the next Big Thing.

Rather than miss out on the fun, the set about brewing a Lager of their own. With wildly differing degrees of authenticity. Most breweries just didn’t have the equipment to do the job properly. They could neither decoct nor lager properly. What they ended up doing was brewing a Golden Ale that was filtered and artificially carbonated.

Because some vital details are missing, it’s impossible for me to tell how authentic Lees Lager was. For example, the pitching temperature isn’t listed, nor is it clear exactly what yeast was being used. In the recipe below, I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt and gone for a cool fermentation with a genuine Lager yeast. There’s a good chance it was really fermented warm with their standard yeast.

At least they did use proper lager malt, I know that for sure. Along with flaked rice and some enzymatic malt. The rice replaces the flaked maize used in Lees other beers. There are also two types of sugar: P.S. Crystals and Solprima. I’ve substituted No. 1 invert sugar.

The hops were something English and Styrian Goldings. I’ve guessed Fuggles for the former.

1963 Lees Lager
pilsner malt 6.25 lb 78.13%
enzymic malt 0.25 lb 3.13%
flaked rice 0.75 lb 9.38%
No. 1 invert sugar 0.75 lb 9.38%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.75 oz
Styrian Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1037
FG 1009
ABV 3.70
Apparent attenuation 75.68%
IBU 20
Mash at 146º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 48º F
Yeast Wyeast 2042 Danish lager

This recipe come from my excellent book on brewing after WW II.


Chris Pickles said...

Round about 1980 Lees Lager started appearing at CAMRA local beer festivals. Although I never came across it myself I do remember reading about it at the time. Whether in Whats Brewing or in local Branch mags I don't remember but it was definitely there. Served through the "Lees Pillar Tap" whatever that was. How it qualified... I don't know that either.

Tandleman said...

Almost certainly warm fermented with standard Lees yeast.In fact certainly.