Saturday 30 May 2020

Let's Brew - 1838 and 1943 Barclay Perkins X Ale

I thought I’d end Mild Month with a special pair of Mild recipes. Two versions of Barclay Perkins X Ale brewed more than a century apart. It’s a demonstration of how much a beer can change over time. In small, almost imperceptible steps, but ending up as something completely different.

As you’ll see, 1838 X Ale had nothing in common with 1943 X Ale. Despite being the same product from the same brewery.

1838 Barclay Perkins X Ale
The 1838 iteration is typical of standard London X Ales in the 1830s. Ridiculously strong and heavily hopped by today’s expectations.

The recipe is dead simple: base malt and two types of hops. The latter consisting of two thirds East Kent from the 1837 cop and a third Mid-Kent from 1838. I’ve reduced the quantity to account for this.

As was standard practice at the time, there were multiple mashes. An infusion followed by what looks like an underlet, followed by a third infusion. Plus another two mashes which seem to be for return worts. That is very weak worts which were used for mashing water in a later brew. In this case, they were 1013º and 1008º.

1838 Barclay Perkins X Ale
pale malt 16.50 lb 100.00%
Goldings 180 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings 90 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.25 oz
OG 1072.5
FG 1013
ABV 7.87
Apparent attenuation 82.07%
IBU 46
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 166º F
Boil time 180 minutes
pitching temp 58º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

1943 Barclay Perkins X
Good news for Mild drinkers – Barclay Perkin X has got a tiny bit stronger since last year. But, at just 3% ABV, it wasn’t exactly heady stuff.

There have been a few changes in the grist, too. The lager malt has gone and there’s been a change in the adjuncts. Flaked oats have replaced flaked and torrefied barley. And the percentage has risen from 11% to 14%. Oat malt has also made an appearance. Not unusual in 1943, the year of oats.

Around two-thirds of the base malt was SA malt. I’ve replaced it with mild malt, which is about the closest modern equivalent.

No. 3 invert sugar content has increased by about 50%. That’s excluding the extra No. 3 I’ve added to account for the primings.

The hops weren’t the freshest. Mid-Kent Fuggles from the 1941 and 1942 harvests, plus Kent from 1941. I’ve reduced the hopping rate to 70% of its original value to take account of this.

Compared to 1838 X Ale, it's pretty weedy. And far less hoppy. Almost to the point of imperceptibility. Darker, too. Especially as it was coloured up with caramel to around 20 SRM. What a difference a century could make.

1943 Barclay Perkins X
mild malt 4.00 lb 59.52%
crystal malt 60 L 0.33 lb 4.91%
amber malt 0.50 lb 7.44%
oat malt 0.33 lb 4.91%
flaked oats 0.75 lb 11.16%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 11.16%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.06 lb 0.89%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1031
FG 1008
ABV 3.04
Apparent attenuation 74.19%
IBU 14
SRM 13
Mash at 145º F
After underlet 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale


Sean said...

Hi Ron,
I was looking up the Barclay Perkins 1838 X Mild recipe, and I noticed the one in Mild! is the same as another of your posts from 2017. I'm trying to understand, are these two different batches of the same beer from the same year, or is there another explanation for the differences?

Ron Pattinson said...


one was brewed 22nd November, the other 13th December. So, yes, different batches.