One unusual feature of William Younger’s brewing methods is that they didn’t much go in for parti-gyling. While this isn’t so odd in the case of standard-strength beers like Pale Ale or the weaker Milds, it’s very unusual to brew super high-gravity beers like this single gyle. For a simple reason: it wasn’t very economical.
The method most breweries employed to produce very strong beers was to parti-gyle them with something much weaker. The strong beer would get all first wort and the weaker beer a blend of first and later worts. When brewing something strong single-gyle, either you’d need to boil the buggery out of the later worts to make them stronger, or you’d waste some extract.
Given this beer had a very short boil, the first of those wasn’t an option. Which begs the question: where did the weaker worts go? I don’t believe for a minute that they’d just throw away extract. Perhaps they used them as return worts. That is, they’d use the wort to mash another brew.
Not only is this beer very high gravity, it’s also hopped like mad.
This being a Stock Ale, it would have undergone an extensive maturation, probably in vats. Whether it took place in vats or in trade casks, one thing would have remained the same: the action of Brettanomyces. The secondary fermentation the beer underwent while ageing would have been accomplished by Brettanomyces slowly eating away less fermentable sugars, drying the beer out and producing the highly-valued, vinous aged character.
I’d recommend ageing this at least six months with Brettanomyces. By which time the FG should be down in the 1020’s.
|1851 William Younger XXS Stock Ale|
|pale malt||24.25 lb||100.00%|
|Goldings 70 min||6.00 oz|
|Goldings 50 min||6.00 oz|
|Goldings 20 min||6.00 oz|
|Mash at||154º F|
|Sparge at||184º F|
|Boil time||70 minutes|
|pitching temp||55º F|
|Yeast||WLP028 Edinburgh Ale|
The above is an excerpt from my excellent book on Scottish brewing: