Saturday 7 October 2023

Let's Brew - 1945 Drybrough Burns Ale

Yes, even the strong Burns Ale managed to make it through until the end of the war. Well done Drybrough. I can't imagine that beers of 6% ABV were being brewed anywhere else in Europe in 1945

Not that they brewed very much of it. But it’s the thought that counts. At least some strong beer did still exist all through the war. However few people got to drink it. As a large amount of strong Scotch Ale was exported, to Belgium, the West Indies and Asia, it is a bit of a surprise that brewers persisted with it when foreign markets disappeared.

There remains one slight difference with Drybrough’s Pale Ale recipes: there’s rather more chocolate malt. I assume because, unlike the Pale Ales which came in a variety of colours, Burns Ale was always dark. Even darker than indicated in the recipe below. Based on analyses, around 25 SRM. 

1945 Drybrough Burns Ale
pale malt 12.75 lb 75.56%
enzymic malt 0.50 lb 2.96%
chocolate malt 0.125 lb 0.74%
flaked barley 1.75 lb 10.37%
malt extract 0.25 lb 1.48%
No. 2 invert sugar 1.50 lb 8.89%
Fuggles 135 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1076
FG 1031.5
ABV 5.89
Apparent attenuation 58.55%
IBU 28
SRM 12.5
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

This recipe is from my recently-released Blitzkrieg!, the definitive book on brewing during WW II.

Get your copy now!

The second volume contains the recipes. But not just that. There are also overviews of some of the breweries covered, showing their beers at the start and the end of the conflict.

Buy one now and be the envy of your friends!


Iain said...

Given the limitations on brewing high-gravity beers in wartime, it seems somewhat extravagant to make one at 1.076 only to have it attenuate to around 60%. Would the brewer not have considered lowering the OG and have it finish 10 points lower? I'd have thought a 1.020 FG beer would still be substantially malty and sweet.

Anonymous said...

Why was so much of the market overseas? Was it just that the home market didn't have a taste for it?

Christoph Riedel said...

Iain, this looks like a Brown Ale which was supposed to be finished sweet.

I believe that same beer is nowadays brewed by Belhaven, because it is available here in Germany and the person on the label is the same.