Monday, 2 January 2023

How to interpret brewing records - part two: header and ingredients

Not sure how long I'll be arsed to do this. If you want me continue you'd best be really enthusiastic. Even better, donate some money. That's the best way to incentivise me to continue.

We'll start with a really easy bit. You should be able to work out the header without my help.

 Working from left to right:

The date: Wednesday 7th October 1891

The weather: A (atmosphere) 49º (F) Fine

The beer: BS (Brown Stout) 26 (brew number of Brown Stout, i,e this is the 26th brew of it this brewing year) 

The gyle number: No. 122

That was pretty simple. Next it's the turn of the grist.

 First are the malts, measured in quarters of 336 lbs and bushels of 42 lbs.. There are five of them:

1 quarter 2.5 bushels C (crystal malt)

3 quarter 2 bushels HB (Hertfordshire brown malt)

7.5 bushels of HA (Hertfordshire amber malt)

2 quarters 3 bushels of roasted malt

22 bushels and one bushel of W (white malt)

Total 28 quarters 4 bushels and 30 quarters.

Why are there two totals? Not totally sure, but I think the one on the left is weight quarters, i.e. 336 lbs, and the one on the right is volume quarters. Because a quarter was originally a volume measure. There were big differences in the weight of a quarter. In this brew, they varied between 268 lbs and 320 lbs, with the roasted malts being the lightest.

Finally there's the sugar:

Sacc 9.5 quarters

Note that a sugar quarter was 224 lbs.

Now the hops.

Four types of hops:

EKs /91 (East Kent, 1891 harvest) 1.24 (1 quarter of 28 lbs, 24 lbs: total 52 lbs)
EKs /91 (East Kent, 1890 harvest) 1.24 (1 cwt, 2 quarters, 14 lbs: =112+56+14, total 182 lbs)
EKs /91 (East Kent, 1889 harvest) 1.24 (1 quarter of 28 lbs, 24 lbs: total 52 lbs)
EKs /91 (East Kent, 1886 harvest) 1.24 (1 quarter of 28 lbs, 24 lbs: total 52 lbs)
Total 3.0.2 (3 cwt 0 quarters 2 lbs) 338 lbs = 3.0 b (3 lbs per barrel)
Peckham, Jenner, Harnett, Tompsett (names of the growers)

The growers are in the same order as the hops. That is, EKs /91 are from Peckham.

That wasn't too hard, was it?


Martyn Cornell said...

Won't bring you amy money, Ron, but this would all make a FABULOUS piece for the Brewery History Society journal …

Anonymous said...

I could see buying a homebrewers book that started with the log and talked through how you came up with the recipe.

Maybe structured with an intro to the brewery, explaining the difference between the brewery name for the beer and what it was called in the pub or newspaper ads, how it did (or did not) fit the definition of a style, talk about the methods of brewing and how a home brewer might have to adapt, how a home brewer might handle gaps in the log or oddball notations.

Maybe 10 recipes covering a fair sample of breweries, styles, and periods. Being able to see the log entries in that kind of context would be pretty fascinating.

Of course I realize that could be a ton of work....

Christoph Riedel said...

Something that bothered me about your transcription of recipes (sorry for saying it so harshly) was that you gave the sugar as part of the grist. Since sugar does not have a brewing efficiency, it can be scaled down exactly in lbs/bbl etc. This would then be the most accurate data, while grist and hops suffer from varying yield when used in homebrew setup.

Will you post your extracted recipe later? Would be great for comparison. The closest I could find is the 1892 stout:

Jeff Renner said...

I’m surprised that they would use white malt in a dark beer. Wouldn’t that be more expensive than pale or mild?

Ron Pattinson said...

Christoph Riedel,

yes, good idea.

Ron Pattinson said...


I'd probably aim for something like that. If I have the time.

Ron Pattinson said...

Jeff Renner,

it all depends. They might have just had a lot lying around. It pops up every now and again in dark beers for no apparent reason.