Wednesday 11 January 2023

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1837 Combe Brown Stout

At least, that’s who I think the brewing book belonged to. In the archive, it’s listed as the earliest Reid book. Except, it’s in the wrong format. And the beer names don't match

Why do I think it’s from Combe? Well, it was in a Watney archive. And Combe was part of that group.

Also, the amount being brewed. The largest batches were over 400 barrels. I estimate that they were brewing somewhere around 100,000 barrels a year. There weren’t many brewers producing that much in the 1830s: Barclay Perkins, Whitbread, Truman, Reid and Combe.  I know what the records from the first four look like. By process of elimination, it must be Combe. Prove me wrong.

There’s quite a lot of similarities between the Single Stouts from different London breweries. Combe’s Brown Stout is generally quite like 1845 Reid Single Stout and Whitbread Stout.

Though the grists are a little different. Combe’s has about 50% more brown malt, but around the same amount of black malt. Leaving it a little darker than its rivals.

Combe provide plenty of details about the mashing process. Which is nice of them. They went for just three mashes, starting off, like Whitbread with quite a cool initial infusion. Followed by quite a warm mash and finishing with a sparge-like temperature.

Mash number barrels strike heat time (mins) tap heat gravity
1 213 160º F 90 142º F 1106.5
2 113 182º F 50 158º F 1084.2
3 155 168º F 40 158º F 1051.4

 With 14 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, the hopping was pretty intense. As you can see from the (calculated) 95 IBU.

Fairly fresh East Kent hops from the 1836 and 1837 season were employed.

I know this was aged because it notes in the log that it went into vat no. 8. Six months or so would be my guess. 

1837 Combe Brown Stout
pale malt 13.75 lb 77.82%
brown malt 3.25 lb 18.39%
black malt 0.67 lb 3.79%
Goldings 75 min 3.00 oz
Goldings 60 min 3.00 oz
Goldings 30 min 3.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1074
FG 1020
ABV 7.14
Apparent attenuation 72.97%
IBU 95
SRM 31
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 64º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


Neil Livingston said...

When IBUs are this high, what is the result? Is it very bitter to taste or does the malt profile balance it out? Does it need to condition for an age or is it drinkable in a couple of months? I'm tempted to try one but wondering if my palette is ready for IBUs like these!

Ron Pattinson said...

Neil Livingston,

remember that this wouldn't have been consumed fresh, but with probably 6 months age. That would have toned down the hops quite a bit. And there was plenty of roast and malt to balance out the bitterness.