Thursday, 27 November 2008

SA malt question

Quick question for you all.

I suppose I ought to explain the reason asking it first. Menno has hops and is ready to start recreating the past again. Time for me to put a couple of recipes together.

Remember me mentioning 1937 Barclay Perkins Russian Stout? Well, change of plan. Last week in the archives, I found a killer recipe from 1850. It's all malt and hopped crazily. Nine and a half pounds of (all new) hops per barrel. And an OG over 1100. Menno likes the sound of it, so we're going with the 1860 instead of the 1937 version.

But that's not why I need to ask a question. I understand the IBSt grist. Pale, amber, brown, black. A malt in the other one is my problem. The other beer Menno will brew: Whitbread 1910 2KKK. (Great name, eh?) It has loads of something called SA malt in it. PA malt is pale ale malt, MA mild ale malt. It seems logical that SA would be strong ale malt. But what the hell is that?

So anyone know what a modern equivalent of SA malt would be? It was mashed the "SA way".

Whitbread went three ways with their Ales. There was the X way. A "taps" temperature of 143º F. The PA way: 151º F; and SA way: 148º F. If that's any help in working out what SA malt might be.

The first person to point me the right way on SA malt will receive a bottle of both IBSt and 2KKK. Assuming they get brewed. And that you can either pick them up in Amsterdam or live in a country it is legal for me to post them to. Failing that, meeting at the ZBF is a possibility.


Anonymous said...

Wild speculation here, but might 'SA' stand for 'special aromatic' instead? In which case you could speculate that SA malt might be something similar to Belgian aromatic malt. Or Belgian special B, for that matter. Trouble is, I don't think either of them have much diastatic power, so you'd still need a high proportion of base malt.

Bit of a long shot, but I thought it worth mentioning anyway...

Ron Pattinson said...

Tom, SA is being used as a base malt. Has to have diastatic power.

Tim said...

My baseless guess is that its the best malt that is typically used in strong ales. I'm thinking along the lines of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale.

The only reference to SA malt that google turned up is Southern Australia malt.

Zythophile said...

Spratt-Archer would be my guess, though I can't see why you'd mash it "the SA way".

Barry M said...

This came up last year too. Was the mystery not solved then? :)

Ron Pattinson said...

Zythophile, don't think so. I've never seen any other mention of a barley variety.

NOB. That's another one I keep seeing. And "CS" next to a hop entry. It's all over the Whitbread logs. What does it mean?

Adeptus, you're right. I just have a mortal brain. I can't remember everything. Or is that anything?

Any idea what SA malt is?

Anonymous said...

Ok. I'll try.

My guess is that SA stand for "scottish ale" malt. It's was a bit different from the Pale Ale one, (1 or 2 SRM darker) and lighter than Mild Ale malt. It also an old malt, used in the 19th century for sure. It can be the answer...

Anonymous said...

And, for the "CS" next a hop entry, my first guess would be "Czech Saaz"

Hope it helps!

TheName said...

Could it be "sweet ale" malt? I remember that being an old Scots version of "mild ale" referenced somewhere ... if I can find the reference I remember there being a distinction in how the malts were taxed.

jonbrazie said...

SA is most definately "super ale" malt. Where's my beer? In all seriousness, I would guess special, or strong. In the case of special, I'm at a loss as to what it would be. If it were strong, I would think that it would be something with a lot of diastatic power and also a lot of potential fermentables. That said, I think fermentables are more dependent on mashing temperatures, and less so on the type of malt, as long as it's relatively light in the roasting/kilning department.

Of course I could be completely wrong.

Oblivious said...

I would also second the Scottish ale" malt answers, its also went by the name of High amber malt as well I believe

Ron Pattinson said...

ealusceop, CS definitely doesn't stand for Czech Saaz. If onlt because Czechoslovakia didn't exist at the time. They would have said Bohemian Saaz in 1910. And CS appears in conjunction with the hop variety - usually EK (East Kent) or MK (Mid Kent).

My best guess is "cold store". That is, that they're saying that the hops have been stored cold. But that could be way out. The "CS" is often written in red ink while the rest is in black. What could that mean?

Anonymous said...

Yes you're right about the Czech Saaz, I did'nt check so well. But what about the Scottish ale malt? I think it can be the answer. No problems with the dates, I'm pretty sure about this.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll pop my head up then.

I'd go for Smyrna. Smyrna barley, of Turkish origin, was a very popular imported barley prior to WWI, probably the primary imported barley, but died out after that war. Its demise was probably more to do with the Turkish / Greek conflicts of the 1920s which resulted in the near destruction of the port of Izmir, than anything to do with the war. Californian barley became the dominant imported barley after that.

Ian Spencer Hornsey, in his history book, states that Julian Baker, a technical brewer at Watney's Stag brewery at Pimlico, "certainly recommended" it in his treatise of 1905.

The powers-that-be at Whitbread would certainly have been aware of it and would almost certainly have been using it in its heyday.

My copy of "Brewing: theory and practice", E.J. Jeffery, 1956, gives a paragraph over to it, and implies that is a six-row, but he may be wrong.

Compana-Smyrna is a classification of barley within the (about) four classifications of which barley types fall, and is grown in various parts of the world nowadays. Scant references to this on the web imply that it is two-rowed. There might, of course, be a distinction between the original Turkish stuff and modern variants.

Whatever, being imported it would probably be excessive in nitrogen and if used at more than about thirty per cent of the grist would have to be mashed with a step mash, and explains the "S.A. way".

I'll send you my address.

Kristen England said...


All of the logs I've seen actually use the name Smyrna. SA, MA and the like usually have an 'Earp' or such attached to it to describe where it came from. On top of this they always list whether the malt is new or old.

Anonymous said...

how about posting up the 1850 russian stout recipe details.


Ron Pattinson said...

Not before the beer's been brewed.

Anonymous said...

You don't think you have your answer about the SA malt, Ron?

Ron Pattinson said...

ealusceop, no, I don't think my question's been answered. Unfortunately. It's driving me crazy.

Anonymous said...

First: It must be a well-modified malt, that you can use in a great proportion of your grist.
Second:It is sufficently different from Pale Ale and Mild Ale malt to be mashed "in a particular way"
Third: It was used in the 19th century and in the beggining of the 20th.

Must: Not be to dark (the brown malt is the limit in term of enzymatic activity)
Must: give something to the beer or be cheaper than the Pale Ale and the Mild Ale.

Well... This is a hard one. you don't have thousands of possible answer. The guess of the scottish seems good to be, because the malt had a great reputation among brewers, was different in terms of color (a little bit darker), can be used 100% of the grist, and was present in 18th scottish recipe. But if it is not this one, I really bid you good luck, I really what it can be! :)

Anonymous said...

I think I may know the answer, Ron. I think it means "Special Amber". Christine Clark in her book The British Malting Industry Since 1830,at pg. 127, discusses malting barleys in commerce in the later 1800's. In a lengthy listing of various malt types taken from the Brewer's Journal, she refers to "...the special amber, crystal and roasted malts...".

Earp was Gilstrap Earp, a well-known malster firm. The Earp was Thomas Earp, one of the Victorian founders, possibly deceased by 1910All this is from her book.


Anonymous said...

To pursue my thinking and try to answer the question more fully: You have indicated in recent postings, Ron, that some amber malt was made in a way to retain most of its diastase.

Well, I'd think this S.A. Earp was just such a malt - that is why it was "special". Also, mashing the SA way including using the striking heat you mentioned might have been a means to maximise the diastasic power.

As to current possible base malt options for Earp S.A.:

What about MFB's caramel amber malt? A brief description:

MFB makes a darker amber version as well.

I am not a brewer so I must tail off at this point.