Saturday, 7 September 2019

Let's Brew - 1869 William Younger BS Porter

Porter, the big beer hit of the 18th century, didn’t take long to spread from London, first to other parts of England and then north of the border into Scotland.

Initially it was all imported. A poem, published in a newspaper in 1774, bemoaned the money Scots wasted importing Porter from England: “Why drain our cash be-south the Tweed?” Local brewers took heed and picked up the style.

Stout was popular in Scotland right through into the 20th century, but standard-strength Porter never took hold like it did in England. By the middle of the 19th century, little of it was brewed. Making this a rare Scottish example of the style.

Most striking is the very low gravity for the 19th century. A good bit lower than in England. For example, in 1879, Whitbread’s Porter had an OG of 1050º . The grist is odd, too. There’s a surprisingly high percentage of amber malt. There’s so much that I suspect it must have been diastatic. A London Porter of this period might have contained a little amber malt, but would certainly have contained brown malt.

The hopping is very tricky on this one. All of the hops were second-hand, having already been used once in another brew. I’ve greatly reduced the quantity to take that into account. Though whether that’s really the same is open to debate. If they have them to hand, you could try using 3 oz. of spent hops instead.

1869 William Younger BS Porter
pale malt 4.50 lb 45.00%
amber malt 4.25 lb 42.50%
black malt 1.25 lb 12.50%
Goldings 90 min 1.25 oz spent hops
OG 1041
FG 1017
ABV 3.18
Apparent attenuation 58.54%
IBU 22
SRM 36
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 185º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

The above is an extract from the best book ever written on Scottish brewing, my Scotland! vol. 2:


Anonymous said...

Ron does the "BS" indicate that this was sold as brown stout?

Ron Pattinson said...


Younger wasn't very consistent in the naming of this beer. Sometimes it appears as P in the brewing log, others as BS. This particular brew was called both. The records span two pages: on the left page it's called P and on the right page BS.

Yes, BS would have stood for Brown Stout. Though what the beer was sold as is anyone's guess.

Paddy MeBoy said...

How can I emulate spent hops? I assume I could simmer them on the stove the night before in water or even finished beer?

Paddy MeBoy said...

I brewed this beer close to spec. The full lb. of black malt had everyone in my homebrew club scratching their heads. Mine came in around 2.5% abv. and didn't taste like an ashtray as they always say about black malt. It is fantastic. The high FG of 1.022 really helped the body and keeps it interesting. I would brew it again. I would probably use a bit less black malt, though. I also wouldn't dilute to reach the OG. I diluted a bit too much, I think. I would let it come out how it wants. I think I wound up with OG 1.044 which would have been fine. This was my first Ron Pattinson recipe brew. I plan on many more. Cheers, Ron! Thanks for this great wealth of information and a look back and taste of what life might have been like.