Thursday 30 April 2009

New Jersey, New Jersey

I've got the afternoon off. Yippee! Not that I'm feeling guilty. I've had plenty of 10-hour plus days on this trip.

At lunchtime a colleague took me to buy a present for Dolores. Not the most exciting present, but what she wants. A type of stainless steel cleaner. I'm so romantic.

Instead of returning to work, I headed for the A&P supermarket. On the hunt for more requested presents. Food colouring for Lexie. Vanilla essence for Dolores. I'm not sure what this reveals about my family. That we're a bunch of weirdoes? Probably.

Next door to the A&P is a liquor store. They have a reasonable beer selection. Quite a few from Stone, Brooklyn and Southern Tier. I've had plenty of Stone beers before, so I didn't bother with any of theirs. And I wasn't very impressed by the Southern Tier beer I tried on my last trip. Remember, this is my last evening in the US. Not much time to drink any purchases. And I've no intention of lugging a suitcase full of beer back to Amsterdam. I settled for Brooklyn Local 2 and Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S.

Brooklyn Local 2
Dark brown colour, fine-beaded head. Flowery, dusty aroma. Sweetish taste, aniseed, caramel, mint and spice aroma. Bitterish finish with aniseed, spice and toffee aromas. A pleasant, subdued brew where he restrained spiciness works really well. I know what it reminds me of: Floreffe. That mint humbug taste.

That's me about done with tasting notes for another year. I don't like to publish too many of them. I'm neither a good enough taster nor recounter of my sensory experiences to get away with more than the occasional effort. Though, as I'll be posting non-sequentially, you will get to read some more.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

New York (part three)

I didn't realise how brief my notes were about my last stop on Friday, Hop Devil. After several super-strong beers and no food, I wasn't in much of a writing mood.

I see now why Lew is so keen on promoting session beers. Finding anything under 7% ABV was a challenge in the pubs I visited. When you're on a day-long pub crawl, this means either drinking very slowly or paying the price. I'm not renowned for restraint. The result was, with hindsight, predictable.

Anyway, on with the last fragment of my notes.

Hop Devil
[I'd had Hop Devil on my "definite" list, mostly because of its location. When I lived in New York in the mid-1980's, I used to go boozing in a basement bar that sold Prior Double Dark. I've forgotten its name and hoped to rediscover it. No luck, I'm afraid.]

Hop Devil is a pretty weird beer bar. The interior looks more like some tacky Mexican restaurant. The sort of Mexican restaurant no Mexican would ever eat it. It made me think twice about entering. But, I was already fairly tanked up and there was no nearby alternative. I took at seat at the corner of the bar.

Anderson Valley Deep Enders Dark Porter
Like a nice version of draught Guinness. Not too cold. Malty, a bit roasty. Coooooool. [Excuse the brevity of my notes. Long day, strong beer, etc. This was one I really liked. At least I think that's what it's saying.]

"Buck Foston" it says on a blackboard behind the bar. I could change it for 3 bucks. But what to? I have nothing to say in two words. I'm far too verbose.

Hop Devil Grill
129 St. Marks Place
New York, NY 10009
(212) 533-4468

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Blessed are the cheesemakers (NYC part two)

Another lowercase bar. I won't hold that against them. After all, plan-b is one of mall all-time faves.

Ridgeway Ivanhoe Pale Ale (cask)
Nice colour. Nice thin head. I would tell you the aroma, but the people sitting next to me have brought in their own food. Including a really weird smelling cheese. It (the beer, not the cheese) tastes like a blandish draught Bitter. But have been on much stronger stuff. That's probably influencing my perception.

The barmaid is covered in tattoos. On the sound sytem an early T-Rex number is playing. From their acoustic period. "Deborah" I think it's called. I used to have a bootleg tape with it on, way back before most of you lot were born. Memories, memories. I had an email from my brother today. Another blast from the past.

Victory Storm King (keg)
I missed out on this by 5 minutes when I was in NYC in February. I was keen to try, as it was highly recommended. Nice and black. Decent-sized tan head. Sniff. Oh no. It's a c-hop Stout. I wish I hadn't insisted on a pint (the standard pour is 10 oz.). Big, big mistake. It may as well be a black IPA for all the Stoutiness I can taste. Briliiant! A beer I can slag off like crazy. NOT TRUE TO STYLE. I love writing those words. That's why they're in uppercase. I've no problem with a Stout being hoppy. It is a BEER, after all. NOT TRUE TO STYLE. I've written it again. Black IPA. That's the second time I've said that, too. What a boring, repetitive twat I am. How much of these notes will I publish? Probably not these bits. Maybe just as images. No-one ever bothers to read those. Even if they wanted to, I doubt they could decipher my scrawl. [Contrary to my expectation, I am publishing these bits. As you've doubtless already noticed.] [Bad joke removed to save me from unnecessary grief and overlong explanations. Joke available on request to people I know personally.]

Victory Old Horizontal (keg)
Between amber and brown in colour. Bugger. More fucking C-hops in a style where they don't fit. [In my opinion. I've no problem with C-hops in Pale Aley type beers. Call me traditional. Or reactionary. Or anything else you like. Just don't post abusive comments.] Sweet, malty, overlain with C-hops. Frankly, a dull beer. And slightly NOT TRUE TO STYLE. The worst so far today. I warmed to the Storm King about half way down. After I got talking to the cheese guy. It was his own cheese. Like much cheese, the taste was much better than the smell. As they say, "blessed are the cheesemakers".

The above was taken pretty much verbatim from my notes. It's sad that I feel the need to add this word of explanation, but I've had weird reactions before. While I may have had some criticisms of certain beers, none of them was by any means bad, nasty or undrinkable. If they had been, I wouldn't have finished them. And I drank every single drop. Certain of my remarks are jokes. If you can't work out which, don't make yourself look stupid by hurling insults at me. I had a great time in d.b.a and drank beers and I'd wanted to try for a long time. And the cheesemaker was a really interesting guy. Explanation over.

41 1st Ave,
New York,
NY 10003.
(212) 677-5365

Monday 27 April 2009

NYC (part one)

Time for more holiday tales. My free weekend is just ending. Where shall I start? What about at the beginning. Friday it is then.

After checking into the Hotel Chelsea, I headed directly for Blind Tiger. It seemed a good place to start. I got there at around two PM.

Beerwise, I kicked off with a Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout. According to some on BeerAdvocate, a session beer. "Nice and black with a thin veil of head" my notes say. "Roasty smell, in the gob a bit plummy with more roast. A slight hint of sourness, but I don't mind that. Not that packed with flavour for the style.(I shouldn't say that, should I?) Drinks more like an Imperial Mild."

The inexplicable random Belgian beer was better than last time. De Koninck rather than Palm. I kept an eye out, but didn't see anyone order it.

At the risk of offending Jeff, Blind Tiger was much more to my taste in the early afternoon. I'm an old fart with a dodgy ankles. That's one of the reasons I prefer afternoon boozing. The availability of seats. And not going to bed late and pissed. That kills me the next day.

What to try next? The 9 Wayerbacher beers on draught was a bit of an overkill. The other cask beer was a sour. "Very sour" according the barmaid. I had to make do with keg. Did they have any hop bombs? This seemed a possible bomb candidate:
Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA
OK. I know this one is a hop bomb.Fairly deep amber colour. Isn't that a bit dark for an authentic IPA? Pure grapefruit aroma. There really must be something wrong with my tastebuds. Yes, it's hoppy, but not insanely so. Maybe slightly less so than Westmalle Tripel. Not much to it apart from grapefruit and bitterness.It reminds me of Menno's Amerikaans. I know he's very proud of it, but one glass is enough for me.Barnsley Bitter. Now there was a Bitter you wanted to drink by the bucket. But everything was better in the early 1970's.

A bloke's just walked in wearing a red England shirt, 1966 model. Number 10. Bet no-one else in here realises the significance. It'd full of fucking English people.There was another English bloke at the bar earlier.

An endless stream of open-topped double-decker buses squeeze their way down Bleecker Street. God, I hate tourists. Yes, I do realise the iroony in that statement. But I'm not a tourist. I'm a traveller.

Oh shit. Mike was right. They do have a TV. Just the one, though. I'll pretend I didn't see it. It is quite discrete. In the corner on the way to the bogs.

What next?

Green Flash Triple
After one sniff I think: they really do believe Tripel has to be floral. They've clearly taken Westmalle Tripel as their model. Scary. And equally clearly hadn't tried Westmalle Tripel more than 10 years ago. Not as hoppy as Westmalle. And bit gloopy.Bet they brewed it all malt. It's OK, I suppose. Wonder if when Westmalle changes next they'll follow it. Naaah. They'll say Westmalle is no longer true to style. By picking an example beer and copying it, then sticking to that interpretation weirdly fixes a beer. Not healthy. Don't they realise how European beers evolve? Not a bad beer, but still slightly depressing.

That's all I can be arsed to type tonight. I want to watch The Simpsons and American Dad. More of my Friday pub crawl tomorrow. Or the day after. Tomorrow could be knackering.

Blind Tiger
281 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 462-4682

Sunday 26 April 2009

Counterfeit Bass

Flogging cheap knock offs as the real thing is nothing new. In the second half of the 19th century Bass was plagued by imitations of its Pale Ale.

The following text is the evidence given by Bass to a parliamentary select committee preparing the Trade Mark Bill. In was very much in Bass's interest to get protection for their Trade Mark, the red triangle. After the bill had become law, Bass's red treiangle was duly registered as Trade Mark number 1.

Mr. Thomas Coopee Coxon, called in ; and Examined.

Mr. 2480. Mr. Moffatt.'] You are, I believe, manager in London for the firm of Bass & Company, ~ brewers, of Burton ?—Yes.

2481. Who are very extensively engaged in the manufacture of what is called Bass's pale ale ? —Yes.

2482. Do you use a trade mark in vending that ale ?—Yes (handing in the same).

2483. How long have you used that trade mark ?—We have used it for eight years.

2484. Have you found that other people have adopted a similar trade mark ?—We have found that it has been frequently imitated.

2485. And with the object, as you suppose, that their beer shall pass off as the genuine manufacture of Bass & Company, of Burton ?—No doubt,

2486. Is it your impression that that imitation has been prejudicial to your interests as a manufacturer ?—Very prejudicial.

2487. Can you produce to the Committee the imitations of the label, that they may judge whether the imitation is likely to mislead the public?—Yes (handing in some specimens).

2488. Chairman.'} Are all these imitations ?— Yes, all but one; one is genuine.

2489. How do you know that that (pointing fo the same) is a forgery ?—That label was sent to us from New Orleans, and this is a letter that we have received from New Orleans: " We learned a few days since that a spurious Bass & Co.'s ale, purporting to be of your bottling, was in the market, and we hasten to advise you of the result of our investigations in relation thereto, viz., some three weeks since a German house of respectability in this city received a consignment of this ale from Bremen, which they have now on hand, with the exception of a few casks which they have sold to their German friends for private use; they have sold it, not for Bass's ale, but for what it really is, Bremen beer; they say they had never seen the genuine Bass label, and were not aware of the nature of the fraud which had been perpetrated until advised of it by us; they will not sell any more of the ale, and they have given us the name of the party who is responsible for the fraud and forgery, viz., H. Deetzen, a brewer and bottler of Bremen, Germany. We enclose one of the counterfeit labels, which you will observe is a very clever imitation, and well calculated to deceive even those who are familiar with the genuine. The omission of the word 'by' after export will enable those who are advised of it to detect it readily. You will also observe, on scrutinising closely, the letters'B'and'S' on the margin of the inner circle, opposite the lower corners of the triangle, which are not in the true label. We hope you will be able to protect your rights, and those of Messrs. Bass & Co. in this matter, and punish the perpetrator of the forgery as he deserves." The others were forged at Cadiz.

2490. Mr. Moffatt.] Is this fraudulent use of Bass & Company's laUel generally practised wherever Bass's beer is known ?—It is very general.

2491. Have you met with any cases of a similar kind in other parts of the world ?—Yes. I have one label here that was forged in Paris; another that was forged in Dublin; another at Glasgow; and another at Liverpool.

2492. Are all of them equally clever imitations of your trade mark label ?—Some are as good as those I have handed in, and others are not.

2493. Mr. Alderman Copeland.] Do Messrs Hibbert deal with you ?—Yes. I have their letter here; it was Mr. Hibbert who sent me that label.

2494. Mr. Moffatt.] Do you know where those labels are made ?—That label (pointing to the same) was made at Bremen.

2495. Are they generally made in this country or abroad ?—We suffer more in this country than anywhere else.

2496. Mr. Crum Ewing.] Do you mean by other brewers using them ?—It is by the bottlers principally, who buy cheap ale and vend it as ours.

2497. Mr. Moffatt.] And put your name and mark on the bottles ?—Yes ; we suffer very much by their mixing genuine ale with spurious ale ; and from their falling the bottles on which the genuine label is pasted.

2498. Have you any positive information as to how you suffer by the mixing of your beer with beer of an inferior quality ?—We know by analysis that it is mixed.

2499. Can you trace out who are the mixers ? —We have at present very little or no protection by the law ; we consider that we have none ourselves, directly.

2500. But you are perfectly certain that your beer is very much mixed with beer of an inferior quality and then sold to the public as Bass's ?— It is done every day.

2501. And you seek, I suppose, for some protection in reference, first, to your own interests, and secondly, the interests of the public?— Exactly.

2502. Mr. Alderman Copeland^] Has your firm ever taken any proceedings to stop this ?—We have obtained many injunctions.

2503. Have they not been very costly ?— Yes; and we failed in one case, which cost us about 500 /. or 6001.

2504. Chairman.'] Why did you fail ?—I suppose, because we could not prove our case; we had not the least doubt that the fraud was committed, but we could not bring it home to the party.

2505. Mr. Maffatt.~\ Could you not bring home the use of a fraudulent label ?—I forget the particulars of the case.

2506. Have you met with some cases of forgery in any place beside at Bremen and in Paris?— Yes; we have had information on several occasions that labels are sold in Melbourne; we have also received a letter from a person in Melbourne, stating that one of our casks was taken to a foundry to have an imitation of our brand made.

2507. Do you believe that that species of misrepresentation is frequently resorted to ; branding your name upon casks ?—Not frequently.

2508. The wrong you mainly complain of, is the imitation of your label or trade mark on bottled beer?—Yes.

2509. It is your belief that that is adopted wherever Bass's beer is known to have any extensive consumption ?—Yes.

2510. And in this country also to a very great extent ?—Yes; and in Ireland and Scotland more than in England, but also very much so in England.

2511. Mr. Alderman Copeland ] Can you give the Committee any information as to the probable amount of costs that Messrs. Bass have incurred in taking legal proceeding against persons who have pirated their label ?—I think they have spent about 700 or 800 pounds in the last two years.

2512. But take the last seven years?—I cannot tell you.

2513. Can you procure that information for the Committee ?—Yes.

2514. Mr. Moffatt.] Can you give the Committee any illustrations of the manner in which this fraud of mixing is perpetrated?—Yes; this is a very ingenious machine for mixing (handing in a tooodcut).

2515. Mr. Milner Gibson.] Do you authorize the sale of your own labels ?—No; we give them all away; they are supplied gratis, and they are all supplied by ourselves; we take very great

precautions. Every label has either the name of the bottler on it, or a number signifying his name.

2516. Supposing a person bought a quantity of your ale in cask and wished to bottle it. he would wish also to put on those bottles your mark to show that it was your beer, though not of your bottling; how would he get those labels ?—If he could show to us that the beer was in proper condition to be bottled, we should be glad to give them to him.

2517. You said they were openly sold in Melbourne ?—Yes, they were all forged ; the genuine label cannot be sold.

2518. Might not those labels be put upon bottles containing beer which had been brewed by you?—It is quite possible; but the parties who got our genuine ale in cask, if they wished for genuine labels, could get them from us gratis.

2519. Does not the use of a label like yours rather enable persons with greater ease to deceive the public by filling your empty bottles with spurious beer, because all the bottles bearing your mark when emptied, the mark not being defaced, might be filled again with spurious beer?—We think that if the refilling of the bottles were punished as a misdemeanor, no person would be found to do it.

2520. Then the question would be, to ascertain whether the ale in the bottle had been brewed by you or not; the question of the mark would not arise, as it would be your mark ?—No doubt.

2521. Mr. Attorney General.'] It would be applying a mark denoting Bass's ale to an ale that was not Bass's ?—Yes.

2522. Mr. Selwyn.] Would you make that penal ?—Yes; that would be a worse offence than the other.

2523. Suppose I had some of your bottles, and brewed some beer of my own, and kept it in rny own cellar, that would do you no harm ?—No, if you did not sell it.

2524. You would say that a person must not only refill the bottles with ale, but sell it ?—Yes.

2525. And you would make it a penal offence unless those labels were taken off?—Yes; if they sold it as Bass's ale they should be subject to penalties.

2526. It would cost some labour, would it not, to take the labels off of a good many bottles ?— Not much when they are washed ; the difficulty would be how to keep them on; in fact, some pains would be taken to keep them on if dishonesty was intended. \

2527. You do not sell bottled ale yourselves ? .'—Ko, but we issue with every lot of ale that we sell for bottling a sufficient quantity of labels to cover the bottles.

2528. What sort of bottles are they ?—There are reputed quarts and reputed pints, and-also imperial quarts and imperial pints.

2529. How much do the reputed quarts contain ?—There are six reputed quarts to the gallon, and 12 reputed pints to the gallon.

2530. Has your attention been called to the clause in the Bill which relates to the marking of goods with false quantities ?—Yes ; it is now the custom of all bottlers to sell the old fashioned quart and pint as " reputed quart" and " pint," and the imperial quart and pint as such; so that there is no deception practised whatever, and n person understands what he is buying.

2531. If he buys 12 dozen quart bottles, what would he expect to get ?—He would be asked the question whether lie should be supplied with T. C. Coxon. " reputed quarts " or " imperial quarts."

2532. Are they so marked ?—Yes; on the card of prices it is always put " reputed quarts."

2533. Mr. Moffat] On the label ?—No; that is put indiscriminately on all the sizes of bottles.

2534. Mr. Milner Gibson."] You export largely to India, do you not?—Yes.

2535. Is it true, that after your bottles have been emptied, it is the common practice in India to fill them with an inferior beer made there, and to sell them again ?—I do not know where the beer is made; we receive information that the bottles are re-filled.

2536. Mr. Selwyn.'] Is there not an inferior beer sold under the name of Byass ?—Yes, but he is a bottler, not a brewer; he is a very respectable bottler.

2537. Mr. Moffatt.'] Does he buy beer from you ?—No, he never has bought beer from us; but that was an accidental resemblance of name.

2538. Have you any other instance to give to the Committee of the manner in which these frauds tell upon the interests of your firm ?—I will read a letter from Dr. Bloxam, 28, Duke- street, Grosvernor-square. He says, " I think it right to ask you a question. I have been in the habit of sending for pints of your ale to a public- house in this neighbourhood, and have generally been well supplied. On three or four occasions, however, bottles have been sent to me containing an ale differing totally in colour and quality; apparently 4d. ale which had been bottled in your bottles, i.e., having the same label as the one inclosed. Suspecting fraud somewhere, I ordered my servant to deface the labels as the bottles were returned, and I have to-day received a message that they will not take the bottles back if the labels are so defaced. Is this right ? I therefore believe that justice to you demands that you should be put in possession of the facts, leaving you to draw the inference. I enclose a label taken from a pint bottle this day, on which I have endorsed my signature."

2539. Have you any reason to believe that that case is one of very general occurrence in your trade ?—Yes, we have no doubt of it; we have had information that persons have seen them draw beer from an engine at the counter into the bottles.

2540. If you put no label upon a bottle, that fraud would not be perpetrated ?—No.

2541. Chairman.'] But they might draw your beer ?—Yes, they might.

2542. Mr. Moffatt.'] Are there any other instances that you can lay before the Committee ? —Yes. I have a letter here from India, the writer of which says, " When in Calcutta about two years ago I amused myself one day at lunch by pulling the label off a bottle of Bass' beer; my native servant begged me not to deface the label. I inquired why; he informed me that for every bottle he sold to the native beer merchants with Bass' label well preserved on the bottle he received two pice ; but if a Bass' label was not on, he could only get one pice." Then I have another letter in these terms: " I am a consumer of your bottled ale, and purchase in this vicinity what purports to be ale of your brewery, and as a protection to yourselves, the public, and myself, I ordered my servant to deface the labels upon the bottles previously to returning them to the person from whom I purchased them. When my servant accordingly took the bottles, the person refused to receive or allow for the empty bottles. Will you kindly inform me whether this is one of your rules, or if you sanction such a proceeding." And many other cases have come to our knowledge. There is also this fraud practised : the genuine ale is sold upon its merits, and the labels supplied for the genuine ale are put upon inferior ale.

2543. Can you furnish the Committee with any estimate of the pecuniary loss which Messrs. Bass & Company suffer by these misrepresentations and fraudulent labels ?—It is impossible to give any estimate.

2544. Have you any remedy to suggest to the Committee by which the rights of Messrs. Bass & Company could be better protected, and the spurious article not be sold for theirs ?—We have seen two Bills which have been introduced, and we think that either one or the other would answer the purpose; that either would be a sufficient protection, and all we want is that the House should pass the Bill.

2545. Do you think that Bill No. 2 would be sufficient to protect the interests of Messrs. Bass & Company .'—We think that registration would be an advantage.

2546. Mr. Potter.'] What benefit do you think would arise from registration ?—We think that this (pointing to a label) is very like a fraudulent imitation, and we think that if there were registration, that could not be passed; it is very like our label.

2547. But would you have any difficulty in proving, without registration, which was your original mark ?—None whatever.

2548. Would not summary jurisdiction enable you to punish at once the fraudulent imitator, and at a slight expense ?—Probably so.

2549. Mr. Attorney Genera/.] Before a magistrate ?—Yes; that would be a great protection to us.

2550. Mr. Milner Gibson.] You used to have a different label from that which you put on the bottles now ?—Yes, without a trade mark.

2551. Why did you make the change?—The old label had become so much imitated and forged in all directions that we thought it was doing us more harm than good, and we withdrew it, as I have no doubt we shall have to withdraw this, if things go on as they are now doing.

2552. Have you found that since the subject has been before Parliament, and it is proposed to make the appropriation of trade marks a criminal offence, there has been any diminution in the practice ?—Yes, it was very common, before the Trade Marks Bill was talked of, to sell Burton ale as Scotch ale, and Scotch ale as Burton; and I know that since the first Bill was introduced that many parties have discontinued the practice, and they now label things much more carefully.

2553. You think that they were a little alarmed? —Yes, no doubt they were, and they began to take some pains to be prepared for the alteration in the law.

2554. I do not exactly see how you would stop the practice of re-filling the bottles, which is as injurious to you as forging the trade mark itself? —We think that if it were made a misdemeanor the risk would be so great that people would be deterred from running so great a risk as two years imprisonment.

2555. Chairman.'] How would you prove that it was not your beer ?—We should prove it by analysis; the Burton water is a very peculiar kind, and different from the water used by most brewers.

2556. But suppose that a person set up as brewer in Burton, he would puzzle your analyst ? —Yes, no doubt.

2557. Mr. Crum Euring.] Or, I suppose, if he were to take the water anywhere from the Trent? —No; the beer is not brewed from Trent water ; it is brewed from spring water.

2558. Mr. Attorney General.] You have spoken of re-filling as a practice that you object to; but is not the real ground of the complaint this, that the beer of another manufacturer is sold in a bottle with Bass's trade mark upon it ?—That is perhaps the more correct way of speaking of it.

2559. It is selling the manufacture of A. in a vessel, cask, or bottle, which is marked as the manufacture of B. ?—Yes.

2560. It is clear that the re-filling by itself would not be objectionable if it stopped there; but what you complain of is the selling of that beer under a false designation?-;—Yes.

2561. If there is a bottle honestly marked containing Bass's ale, that is emptied and the ale is drank, then Thompson's ale is put in and sold in a bottle bearing Bass's label; that is a false representation, the ale being sold as Bass's ale, when it is Thompson's ?—Yes.

2562. I infer from the memorandum you havehanded in that it would 'ye a part of the duty, or Mr. at least it would be in the power of the registrar, to refuse to register a mark brought before him if he thought it so like another as to be calculated to deceive ?—That is the intention.

2563. You suppose that it would be a part of the business of the registrar to refuse to register marks ?—Yes ; but it would be indifferent to us whether he refused or not if we had notice, so that we might look at the marks before they were registered, and protest against them.

2564. Or if they were passed, that you might appeal against them ?—Yes; there is another case that I have not yet mentioned; an ale is sold in Ireland as the ale of Bars & Company.

2565. But in what way do you consider that to be a fraud ?—Because the party buying it thinks that he is buying Bass's ale.

2566. Mr. Milner Gibson.'] You would not consider the use of your name alone without a mark a sufficient security ?— No; because there might be another Bass.

2567. Mr. Attorney General.] You consider that there is a colourable imitation in the case of " Bars;" would you say the same thing of Base ? —Yes, unless the man's name really was Base ; if this man's name had really been Bars we should have had nothing to complain of, any more than if his name was Thompson or Johnson.

Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on the Trade Marks bill
Parliamentary papers, 1862, pages 114-117

Saturday 25 April 2009

Scotch Ale in the 1920's and 1930's

Whereas the massively strong Edinburgh Ales that brought fame to Scottish brewing in the 19th century had been pale beers, brewed from 100% pale malt, by the 1920's they had become dark and had a more modest gravity.

"Scotch Ale. A brown beer rather resembling Burton. In the London pubs the term almost invariably stands for Youngers Scotch Ale, in bottle or on draught, which is a genuine Scottish brew. As this is a very popular drink it is often found in free houses, where it usually replaces a Burton, though there are a few pubs that sell both. Younger's Scotch Ale is their No.3. Their No.1 is a really strong brew."
"The Younger Centuries", by David Keir, 1951, page 88.

So that explains what No.3 was: a Burton-like Strong Ale. I drank the stuff many times and always wondered what the hell type of beer it was. I seem to remember it occasionally being called a "dark Bitter", whatever that means.

Here are some details of Younger's Scotch Ales:

That's me about done with Scotch Ale. For the time being, at least. I wonder what will attract my attention next?

Friday 24 April 2009

Last night I drank a Budweiser American Ale

I went to Applebee's for dinner last night. I was knackered and it was just down the road from the hotel. That was good enough for me.

This being Wisconsin, they had Spotted Cow on draught. But I spotted a tap with American Ale written on it. Usually, I'd rather be dragged naked over broken glass than drink Budweiser. I've read about American Ale and was intrigued. Curiosity got the better of me. I ordered one.

The colour was quite pleasing. A nice reddish amber. It looked rather appetising, in fact. What would it taste like? Only one way to find out. I took a sip. Mmmm, I've had much worse. Like a better keg Bitter, is how I would describe it. Keg Bass. That's the closest I can think of. Not that I ever drank much keg Bass.

It slipped down quite nicely. Not that I ordered a second. I switched to Spotted Cow. American Ale reminded me of something I've noticed before. Big industrial breweries can brew decent beer. When they choose to. Problem is, most of the time they choose to brew something else. Probably for some accounting reason.

You know something. American Ale would probably work well cask-conditioned. I 2wonder if they've considered brewing a cask version? Stranger things have happened.

Thursday 23 April 2009

Beer houses (part two)

More stuff about beer houses. I find it fascinating. Especially the interviews with ordinary drinkers.

Though we start with Mr. Farren, a London brewer:

Mr. Farren's evidence is extremely interesting, in reference to various points connected with the operation of the new law. He states that he brews entirely for the beer- shops, and is the only brewer in London whose business is exclusively confined to that branch. Such is the revolution, however, that has been occasioned in the trade generally, that " Barclay and Perkins," he says, " and other great houses, finding that there is a decrease in the consumption of porter, and an increase of the consumption of ale, have gone into the ale trade ; nearly all the new trade is composed of mild ale."

Well there's this week's Barclay Perkins reference. Seamlessly worked in, I think. The quote is interesting because it puts the beginning of Porters decline back 20 years earlier than is normally supposed. 1850 is the date usually quoted for the switch to Ale.

Much of the beer house ale in London was brought in from outside the capital:

The ale sold in these houses is by no means all of London manufacture. This witness states that the average quantity of Scotch ale imported into London is 2,150 barrels a week; that there is hardly a beer-house but what takes in Scotch ale, in addition to the brewers' ale ; and that there is also ale brought from almost every county in England, and a vast quantity of porter from Dublin.
If you've been reading my posts on Scotch Ale, you'll be aware that much of that Scotch Ale came from Wm. Younger. I think you can probably work out for yourselves the source of the Dublin Porter.

It's hard to imagine now the impact of a huge number of new beer outlets:

It appears that in the first three months after the bill came into operation, 1508 licenses were taken out in London : in the year 1831 the number taken out was 1407 ; and in 1832 it was only 1200. " Of the 1503 licenses granted in the first quarter," says Mr. Farren, " I am of opinion that not less tnan 800 were taken out by chandler-shop keepers, who had previously been privileged to sell beer not exceeding a certain price, without license. Allowing then for the licenses applicable to that class of persons, there would remain 708 licenses taken out by individuals who went into the new trade. I apprehend that there has been little or no diminution in the number of licenses taken out by chandler-shop keepers ; and, therefore, deducting 800 for chandler-shops from the 1206 licenses granted in the year ending 5th January, 1833, there would remain only 406 licenses for beer-house keepers." Upon this calculation, then, we have a reduction on the number of the new retailers, in fifteen months, of 302 out of 708, or more than forty-two per cent. It is probable that the trade has now found its level.
More than 2,500 new licences in just two years. What happy times they must have been for the drinker.

Beer was cheaper uin the new beer houses, too:

It appears from the evidence of several of the witnesses, that many of the public-houses still charge their customers about a penny on the pot more than they would be charged for liquor of the same quality at the beer-shops. One beer-shop keeper says that he has got some at 6d. a pot that you cannot get for 7d. at a public- house. Another witness says that for a mixture of ale and porter for which before the remission of the tax he used to pay 7d. at the public-house, he now pays only 5d. at the beer-shop. Another, who is a dealer, states that he sells ale for 6d. a pot, for which, before the passing of the beer-bill, he used himself invariably to pay 9d.

Could you imagine something similar happening today? Slashing the price of beer and allowing thousands of new pubs to open. Not very likely, is it?

"The Companion to the Newspaper" By Society for the Diffusion of Political Knowledge
Published by Charles Knight, 1834, pages 152-156

Wednesday 22 April 2009

I like Wisconsin

A couple of days into my trip and I've noticed this: Wisconsin has charm.

Rolling hills dotted with farmsteads. A seductively lilting accent and a bunch of friendly people. It's a side of America I've never seen before. My fault. I'm a city boy. I'd never paid rural USA any attention.

On the drive from Monroe to Madison this afternoon, the countryside looked eerily like Leicestershire. Apart from the silos. Though the conical fermenters of the New Glarus Brewery fitted seamlessly into the landscape.

Spotted Cow I'm beginning to like, too. Every pin tonight ub I've been in had it on draught. Which would certainly start to bore me of it, if I lived here. But It's an indicator of how far craft beer has come. The Irish pub we ate tonight had a surprisingly decent selection. I went for Capital Maibock. Dare I say it - pretty much true to style.

Monday 20 April 2009

Monroe, Wisconsin

It's been an interesting day. Starting in New Jersey and ending in Wisconsin. Monroe,Wisconsin, to be precise.

The highlight was a sprint to catch my connecting flight in Chicago. Thrombie time, I feared. Luckily, my heart and belly both made it unscathed to the gate.

The drive from Madison to Monroe made a change. A change from the urban sprawl of New Jersey. Open farmland, punctuated here and there by farmhouses, lofty barns and towering silos. And empty roads. About as unlike eastern New Jersey as you could imagine. The occasional towns are mostly just a handful of houses. "Unincorporated" underlines the town name on the signboards. Effing tiny, it could equally well say.

One town had a different subscript. New Glarus. That said: population 2,111. Surprisingly, my colleague knew the town's claim to fame: New Glarus Brewing. The place itself is bizarrely distinctive, many buildings being in the form of Swiss chalets. No sign of any mountains, though.

Stan Hieronymous had told me Monroe was a good spot for beer. New Glarus all over the place. He wasn't wrong. Ludlow, the bar restaurant next to my hotel, has Spotted Cow on draught. I had three with dinner. Drinkable enough, but not outrageous. Where are all the extreme beers? I never seem to be able to find them. Am I looking in the wrong places? I'll continue my search tomorrow in Madison.

Beer Houses

1830 was a momentous year. The tax on beer was abolished. And anyone could start a pub, as long as they paid the license fee. And only sold beer and cider. Definitely no spirits. Two classes of pub were established: full-licence and beer-house.

The English are a bunch of pissheads. Beer pissheads. Chaos in the town centres. The following was written in the 1830's:

To any one at all acquainted with the habits of the people of England, and, therefore, having even the vaguest notion of the immense extent of the consumption of beer in this country, the mere statement of these alterations of the law is enough to convey an impression of consequences of vast magnitude and importance.
Quite significant then, he reckons. Some drinkers loved the new beer-only boozers:

John Morris, styled a mathematician, but put down by himself, he says, a mathematical instrument maker, who frequents these houses three or four times in the week, or when it suits him, or when a friend calls upon him, declares he can take his oath that the beer sold at the new houses is in all respects better than that with which he was wont to be served by the licensed victuallers—cheaper, more palatable, and more wholesome,—that this is the opinion of hundreds to whom he has spoken on the subject,—and that he never meets at the beer-shops with any but respectable and orderly persons. He never, he says, saw any drunkenness in these places ;

"I am speaking," he adds, with great emphasis, " positively, and candidly, and honestly." The only thing that Mr. Morris complains of, is that they shut up so early. "When I have half got through my second pint," he says, " I am obliged to drink it up fast, in a rough way, to accommodate the landlords, in order not to suffer them to be fined ; and when I am there and thirsty, I sometimes could stop another hour with great convenience, and without any inconvenience to myself and family."

That sounds eerily like my own experiences. Fun spoiled by stupid rules. Other temptations lurked in the shadows:

Mr. Thomas Phillips, called a musician, but who asserts that he is no such thing, but has a small independence, and is of no trade, when asked what sort of persons frequent the beerhouses, answers, " Like myself and respectable tradesmen, and two or three doctors and proctors ; and a few persons of that kind meet there almost every evening—a very genteel party—but we are obliged to leave too soon." The enactment, obliging keepers of beer-shops to shut their doors and expel their customers at ten o'clock, is the subject of complaint with almost all the London witnesses, and appears, indeed, to have been productive of serious evils.
I'm starting to wonder if this article wasn't sponsored by the beerhouse publican's guild:

Mr. Penny, accountant and valuer, says, " Myself I have an antipathy to any kind of spirituous liquor, but I have observed that a man that earns a guinea or 25s. a week will go to those beer-houses, and will find that he is not satisfied, and away he rues to a gin-shop. I have actually noticed it in a clerk of my own. He says, ' It is ten o'clock, I shall not go home yet' ; and he goes to a gin- shop, and, after taking a small quantity of ale, he goes and takes some pennyworths of gin, and it upsets the whole frame altogether ; but I think if you were to put them all out at eleven o'clock, it would be a great benefit."
Mr Penny the accountant. Yes. It makes me wonder if this is a reliable source. For those who don't understand old money, 25 shillings is 1.25 quids. See what happens when you overpay the staff?

Going to a gin shop after the pub. Is that so evil? I do it all the time. I'm so early 19th-century. (If you saw the way I dress, you could easily believe I was that far behind the times.) A few beers in Wildeman, then on to Olofspoort or Oievaar for the warm embrace of a velvety Zuidam or a peppery Wees. Bog off, Mr. Penny. Let the poor wage slave have his brief transcendental moment.

I've quite a bit more from this article. Some of it even funny. I may pester you with it. If something more interesting doesn't walk across my path.

I never thought I'd say this, but there's getting to be too much information. One book, the history of Wm. Younger, started me on a bizarre journey that's led to Mumme. And lots of other stuff. Damn you, Google Books, for diverting my path.

Today's source:
"The Companion to the Newspaper" By Society for the Diffusion of Political Knowledge
Published by Charles Knight, 1834, pages 152-156

Sunday 19 April 2009

Back in the USSR

I was going to call this post Back in the USA. Then I remembered that I'd already used that one. So back in the USSR it is. Not quite as appropriate, but I've been up for 22 hours. My coherency is suffering.

The flight over was packed, but on time. And I got a couple of 12 year old Glenlivets. They made up for the food. The evening I've spent chilling in my room. And the bar, briefly. I drank a couple of Flying Fish Pale Ales. It was OK, but a bit keggy. I doubt I'll get anything much better in the work-packed week ahead of me.

Bit dull this post, isn't it? That's what a day's travelling and a corporate hotel do for you. Destroy your ability to think. I won't even mention what they do to your soul. I hope my brain has recovered by tomorrow. Busy day.

The kids will be jealous. I got to see brand new episodes of The Simpsons and American Dad. Admittedly, they could download them tomorrow. That's not the point. I've seen them now.

Wisconsin. I wonder if it's cold up there. Do they have polar bears? I guess I'll find out tomorrow. Wish me luck.

The death of Porter (part 92)

You may have noticed that I use a multipronged fork to devour and absorb the past. Brewing manuals, price lists, brewing logs and newspaper articles all play their part. Today I'm going to use one of these sources, brewery price lists, to analyse Porter's demise.

I've pretty well destroyed the Porter dying out due to WW I malting restrictions theory. And, as we've seen, Whitbread were still brewing their Porter and the start of WW II. Fuller's was still around in the 1950's. Porter didn't disappear overnight. It was a long slow process. What's happened with Mild over the last 30 years seems like a good parallel.

A quick overview of Mild's decline seems a good place to start. In 1960 Mild was brewed everywhere in the UK and available in every pub. By the time I started drinking in 1973 Lager only just outsold Mild (14.6% of sales to 14.2%), yet there were already parts of the country where Mild had almost disappeared. London, Sheffield, Scotland. The areas where it retained a degree of popularity - South Wales, West Midlands, parts of Yorkshire and the North West - today form the style's last strongholds. Many southern breweries no longer regularly brew Mild. Scottish 60/- is close to extinction.

The uneven geographically spread of decline can be seen quite clearly with Porter, too. The brewing records I've seen, being mostly from London, give a distorted image. London was Porter's last toehold. It was still a standard part of a London brewery's range in the 1920's. Most still made one in the 1930's. But what about elsewhwere? That's where brewery price lists come in.

Price lists provide an invaluable record of the range of beers being brewed bty a specific brewery at a specific time. See when Porter disappears from the price lists and you can plot its decline. In the 1850's and 1860's just about every brewery produced a Porter. When did they start to drop it?

The answer is: surprisingly early. Already in the 1870's there were breweries that brewed Stout, but no Porter. As the 19th century progresses a greater proportion produce no Porter.

The table below gives an idea of how brewers turned their backs on Porter. I won't claim that it's wonderfully scientific, as it's based on a random sample of price lists (the ones I happen to have found). But it does give an impression of the rate and extent of Porter's decline.

It looks as if the 1890's was the decade when Porter hit serious trouble. Half the breweries in my sample didn't brew one. And those still with a Porter were increasingly concentrated in the South. The maps below show clearly the uneven distribution of Porter brewing breweries.

View Porter in a larger map

Romford, Bristol, Stratford-on-Avon, Stockport, Watford, Leamington, Northampton, Putney, Chiswick, Hitchin Herts, Leamington, Sheffield, Epping, Mansfield, London, Hastings.

View No Porter in a larger map

Newark, Manchester, Nottingham, Chippenham, Cambridge, Cambridge, Hull, Colchester, Swansea, Swansea, Newark, Hull, Wickwar Gloucs, Stafford, Brigg, Sheffield, Tiverton

Saturday 18 April 2009

Packed and ready to go

The title says it all. I'm packed (just about, a few trollies are still drying) and ready to go. I fly to the USA tomorrow.

There have been a few things to finish off at home first. Making an MP40 for "Vive la résistance!". I'm surprised how realistic it looks. Even better than Lexie's sten gun.

And this morning I added the finishing touches to my New York pub guide. Just think. This time next week I'll be strolling around the Big Pineapple. Not that I'll be going to very much of it. Just the villages. Greenwich and East. Checking out the cask beers at the Blind Tiger and d.b.a., amongst others.

I've got pretty much a full week of posts queued up and ready to go. In case I'm so busy that I have no time to write new ones. We'll see how it goes.

Scotch Twopenny

I've waited a long time to get some details on that ancient Scottish drink, Twopenny. So I'm sharing them with you straight away. You must have been waiting as impatiently as me.

Of Scotch Twopenny.

At and previous to the beginning of the eighteenth century, every publican in Scotland (being every man who chose to embark in the trade) brewed his own ale; and the resort to his house depended on the quality of his liquor; which, when thunder or witchcraft did not interfere, was generally excellent. The strong ale was reserved for holidays and the tables of the great; but the twopenny (so called because it was sold at twopence the Scotch pint*) was so much esteemed as a national beverage, that it was inserted by name, and guarded by peculiar privileges, in one of the Articles of the Union. Another Article, however, in the same Act, secured to the Scottish brewery an Exchequer Court; and this, conjoined with the enormously increased malt duties, so lessened the exhilarating qualities of this ancient ale, that it has now lost its fame. In its stead, a kind of small drink is brewed; but it is destitute of all the qualities which were so often celebrated in Scottish song, and is scarcely superior to the trash termed table-beer in the workhouses of the metropolis.

When the Scotch twopenny was the boast of the nation, saccharometers were unknown, and thermometers had not been heard of by the brewer. Reshaped his course by habit, and with surprising accuracy, as blind men are often known to do. When we first knew the article it had much degenerated; but even then it must have weighed from fourteen to sixteen pounds per barrel, as far as we could judge from the lengths which they drew. The quantity of hops seldom exceeded two pounds and a half to the boll of malt, or about three pounds to a quarter. This was forty years ago, and the old tapsters were then accustomed to tell tales of how they managed to brew ale without hops in their youth.

The boiled worts were usually cast into what were then called half-barrel casks, for few had coolers **; and the gyle-tun (which was often the mash-tun also) was first started, or pitched, at about blood heat. This was done with a single half barrel, or less, for the purpose of chipping the worts ; and the tun was afterwards filled up, by half-barrels at a time, when they had cooled to the requisite degree. The heat of the fermentation was regulated by the appearance of the yeasty head, and great care was taken that it should neither be1 scalded nor chilled. When the smell of the tun became strong, the ale was cleansed into half-barrels, and discharged its yeast into tubs. But the whole brewing was never so fermented; for a great part, often one half, was preserved (in the casks in which it had been thrown from the copper) in the state of worts.

On reading this account of turning the worts boiling hot into the casks, and allowing them to remain there for several days, the modern brewer will immediately exclaim that the ""ale must have been foxed, a term which he gives to an incipient stage of putrefaction, which is supposed to be atl ended with a smell like that of the animal whose name it bears. We can assure him, however, that this accident was very rare, although it would probably be an inevitable consequence of the same practice in many other breweries. The, great preventive was .cleanliness. The casks were repeatedly washed and steamed with hot water before every brewing; and, in order.that not a speck of dirt should be left, the bungholes were cut square, and large enough to allow the brewer to put in his arm, and scour them completely with a heather rinse. The large size of the holes, as well as the hignly fermenting state of the liquor, rendered it inconvenient to use corks ; and, therefore, when the ale was sent out in casks, it was kept in the barrels by means of covers made of clay. " It is in allusion to this practice that Shakespeare speaks of tracing the dust of Alexander till it be found stopping a bunghole." *

After that part of the ale which was cleansed had discharged the greater portion of its yeast, a pailfull was drawn from every cask, into other casks, and the vacancy in each was replaced by a pailfull of the reserved wort. The fermentation was thereby renewed, and the operation was repeated once a day until all the reserved worts were expended; and those were so proportioned as to keep the fermentation alive until the succeeding brewing. This operation was called handling ; and it was in this slowly fermenting state that the ale was sent out to the customers, in casks, or sold in flaggons. We have seen ale preserved, by this means, for nearly a fortnight, in summer weather, without the least perceptible tendency to acidity. Ale, in Scotland, whether strong or weak, was always bottled. In the kind of which we now speak, the cask was allowed to be undisturbed, before drawing off, for twenty-four hours, or perhaps twice that period, according to the length of time which it was to remain in the bottles before ripening. It was generally expected to be very brisk in the course of a week.

With respect to unlawful ingredients, we have already said that the Scotch are less to be complained of than their brethren of the South. The legislature, however, has, it seems, always thought otherwise; for, in addition to the caveats which are addressed to the whole island, there are some which are peculiarly directed against the brewers of Scotland. The following extraordinary prohibition, for example, is still in the Statute Book, and is regularly promulgated under the authority of the Excise:— "
" In Scotland.—By the Act Will., Parl. 1. Sess. 6. c. 43. no salt shall be made use of in brewing beer or ale, whether in washing and seasoning of vessels, or any other way whatever, under pain of confiscation of looms and vessels, with the liquor found therein, attour the loss of his freedom, if the transgressor be a burgess, and the being incapable to use the trade of brewing thereafter. The looms and vessels shall be given to the informer, who shall be free from the said penalty, albeit he have been a servant or accessory."

To prevent ale or beer from foxing, we are convinced that no cleansing material could be better than salt.

* The old ale pint was nearly two English quarts.
** They held about sixteen English ale gallons.

"The Art of Brewing", by David Booth, 1834, pages 57-58.

I think I've still got a couple of thins to tell you about Scotch Ale. Exciting, isn't it?

Friday 17 April 2009

David Booth's description of Scotch Ale

It seems to have become Scotch Ale week here at Barclay Perkins. I hope you don't mind. There's no particular reason for it, other than that I'm currently reading a history of Wm. Younger.

The passage below neatly details all the main identifying features of Scotch Ale: high gravity, pale colour, modest hopping, high striking heat, single mash, long, cool fermentation. And definitely no effing peated malt nor roast barley in the grist.

David Booth's description of Scotch Ale
"The distinguishing characteristics of Scotch ale, are paleness of colour, and mildness of flavour. The taste of the hop never predominates, neither in its stead do we discover that of any other ingredient. It is perhaps more near to the French pale wines, than any of the other ales that are brewed in this country. Like them, too, it is the result of a lengthened fermentation.

The low heat at which the tun is pitched, confines the brewing of Scotch ale to the colder part of the year. During four or five of the summer months, the work (except perhaps in some houses for table beer) is completely at a stand, the utensils are limed down, and the greater part of the workmen discharged. No strong ale is either brewed or delivered.

The Edinburgh brewer is particularly nice in the choice of his malt and hops. The former is generally either English, or of his own making from English barley; and the latter Farnham, the finest East Kent, or a mixture of both. The yeast (or store, as it is termed) is carefully preserved, and measured into the gyle-tun, in the proportion of about three gallons to twenty barrels of wort.

The Scotch practice is to take only one mash, and that pretty stiff for strong ale, making up the quantity of wort (length) by eight or ten subsequent sprinklings of liquor over the goods, which are termed Sparges. These sparges trickle successively through the goods, and wash out as much more of the saccharine from the mash, as may suffice for the intended strength of the ale. In this manner, specific gravities may be obtained much higher than could be done by a second mash, which always requires a certain portion of liquor before the goods can be made sufficiently fluid. If we suppose this necessary portion of liquid in a particular mash to be fifteen barrels, it would be found, on trial, that these fifteen barrels, when drawn from the mash- tun, would not contain nearly so much saccharine matter as might have been extracted by ten successive sparges of a barrel each. The reason of this will be obvious, if we recollect that the grains always remain wetted with wort equivalent in strength to that of the wort last drawn off, and that the quantity remaining on the goods is about three- fourths of a barrel to a quarter of malt. The gravity of this imbibed wort will, in the one case, be equal to that of the second mash; but in the other, will be reduced to that of the tenth sparge, or washing. Mr. Richardson, so often quoted, condemns this practice ; but, in doing so, we know that he labours under a mistake. " What power," says he, " or what time, has a fluid to extract, which is sprinkled over the surface of the materials, and immediately trickles out below, without being allowed a stationary moment for infusion ?" We answer, that in malt (and it is only of malt brewings that we now speak) the infusion, if properly conducted, is. finished with the first mash,; and thaf. nothing more is necessary than to-draw out from the goods, in a pure state, that saccharine matter which the first infusion has set free. But the question with us does not depend on theory. We have brewed strong ale for years, without following it either with table beer or returns, and we have, in all cases, drawn as much from the malt as we could have done by repeated mashings. The only objection to the sparging system is the loss of time.

The first part of the process is to mash with liquor heated to 180° at least, and generally to 190°, varying with the dampness of the malt. According to Dr. Thomson, the best brewers take the lower heats, but this is doubtful. After mashing from twenty minutes to half an hour, that is, until every particle of the malt is in contact with the liquor, -the tun is covered, and the whole allowed to infuse about three hours, when it is drained off into the under back, or (what is far better) into the wort copper.

After the first wort is run off, a quantity of liquor (generally a barrel), at the heat of 180°, is sprinkled equally over the surface of the goods. To prevent the liquor from dashing on one part, it is usually received upon a circular board, about three feet diameter, which is swung over the centre of the mash-tun; and, being perforated with small holes, allows the water to descend in a shower. The board being hung on cords, is moveable by the hand over every part of the surface of the tun. When, as generally happens, the cock of the liquor-copper is not high enough to carry the liquor to the board, a separate cock is inserted in the side for that use only. Other means may be adopted to answer this purpose of sprinkling, the object being to spread the liquor, equably, in a shower over the whole surface of the goods, as if from the rose of a watering-pan.

When the barrel (or other quantity) of liquor is thus let in upon the goods, the cock of the mash-tun is opened, so as to let it off, as in the case of an ordinary mash. Some brewers, instead of the common outlet of the mash-tun, have three or four small cocks inserted in different parts of the bottom, from the fear that a single cock might draw the filtrating liquor to one point, and thereby create a crack in the goods, instead of leaving the whole of the liquor to descend in one horizontal stratum.

When the first sparge is run off, or nearly so, which may be in twenty or five and twenty minutes, another of equal quantity is put on the goods, in the same manner, and thus, successively, until the whole of the sparges, when mixed with the first mash worts, show that gravity which is desired. The strong ale worts are then completed, and a mash is made to search the goods either for table beer, or a return, as the trade requires. This mash, however, is not necessary as a saving of extract; for the whole of the saccharine matter of the malt may be exhausted, as well as any required gravity of wort produced, by means of sparges alone; but there is an opinion, probably not ill founded, that the last weak extracts are less fitted for fine ale. The making up of strengths from the coolers formerly explained, is here anticipated, being regulated by the saccharometer in the under back, or wort-copper; for practice soon teaches the increase that, is produced by the boiling. It may be here noticed, that after the first sparge at 180°, it is customary with some brewers to reduce the others gradually, so that the last is perhaps 175° or 170°.

All rankness of flavour being carefully avoided in this species of ale, the quantity of hops seldom exceeds four pounds to the quarter of malt; and the bitter thus created being too slight to cover the taste of ruder ingredients, we believe that the Edinburgh brewers have been less the prey of travelling druggists than their brethren of the south. A little honey to add to the sweet, and a few coriander seeds or other aromatics to assist the flavour, are, as far as we have learnt, the amount of the sins of which they have been accused.

The manner of boiling the worts does not differ from the directions of Mr. Richardson; but when they arrive at the gyle-tun, the process of brewing is no longer the same. The first heat of fermentation, in the Scotch method, is as low as possible, consistent with the action. The favourite heat is 50°, a point at which chemists have generally asserted that the vinous fermentation could not exist, but 45° and 46° are by no means uncommon in the manuscript brewing-books that now lie before us. Even in the coldest weather, the lowness of heat is not to be feared, provided the brewery be in full work. The fermentation sometimes continues for three weeks, and a fortnight would be a pretty fair average. Were the brewings made three times a week, seven or eight working-tuns would thus be generally in play; and these being in the same room, some of them at 12 or 15° of increased heat, would create an atmosphere for themselves.

The quantity of yeast formerly mentioned is generally sufficient, but, in some cases, an addition is made a day or two after, if, in the judgment of the brewer, it appears necessary. The least quantity that will carry forward the fermentation to the required point is always preferred; and, to assure that purpose, the tun is roused twice a day (morning and evening) to prevent its becoming too languid. This rousing is continued until the ale is nearly ready for cleansing.

The rule for cleansing differs from that given by Mr. Richardson. It is an application of his saccharometer, of which he himself was not aware. The attenuation is attended to daily, and, towards the close of the operation, twice a day. While the heat is increasing, the attenuation proceeds; that is, the weight of the worts continues to diminish. After a certain time, the heat has reached its highest point, and begins to lessen. It is here that we are directed by Mr. Richardson to trust* to the smell; but this smell merely informs us that carbonic acid continues to be evolved, and the same circumstance is, in consequence, indicated by the sac- pharometer: for as long as any such evolution of gas exists, so long will the weight of the worts continue to diminish. When the progress of the attenuation is so slow as not to exceed half a pound in twenty-four hours, it is prudent to cleanse, especially if the attenuation is already low; for it might otherwise happen, that the gas being too weak to buoy up the now close head of the tun, the yeast might partially or wholly subside, and the ale would become yeast- bitten : it would receive that disagreeable taste which the head had acquired by too long exposure to the atmospheric air.

When the ale is cleansed, the head, which has not been disturbed for two or three days, continues to float on the surface, till the whole of the then nearly pure liquid is drawn off into the casks ; and this is considered as a preservative against the admission of the atmospheric air: for (he Scotch do not skim their tuns as the London ale brewers so generally do. The ale thus cleansed does not require to be placed on close stil- lions. It throws off' little or no yeast, and a tub placed so as to catch any little overflow of the scum that arises is quite sufficient. The fermentation is almost finished in the tun ; and it is not the wish of the brewer that it should proceed much farther.

The strength of Scotch ale, when it deserves the name, ranges between thirty-two and forty-four pounds weight to the imperial barrel, that is, of a specific gravity between 1089 and 1122, according to the price at which it is meant to be sold. The general mode of charge is by the hogshead (about a barrel and a halQ, for which five pounds, six pounds, seven pounds, or eight pounds are paid, as the quality may warrant; the strength for every additional pound of price being increased by about four pounds per barrel of weight.

In a good fermentation, there seldom remains above & fourth of the original weight of the wort at the period of cleansing. Between that and a third is the usual attenuation. If above a third remains, the taste is generally mawkish, and it is to be feared that the acetous fermentation will commence, before the time in which the ale might be expected to improve. Of the less sensible process of attenuation which goes on afterwards in the casks, we have already spoken when treating generally of the "Vinous fermentation." Scotch ale soon becomes fine, and is seldom, racked, at least for the home market."
"The Art of Brewing", by David Booth, 1834, pages 52-55.

These are the examples of Scotch Ale brewing Booth gave:

There will probably be more Scotch Ale fun tomorrow. Unless something else distracts me. You know what I'm like.

Thursday 16 April 2009

Scotch Ale - lightly hopped?

I've become very wary of stories without any hard facts to back them up. Too many have been demonstrated to be just that: stories. I'm addressing one today. That Scotch Ale was lightly hopped because hops don't grow in Scotland.

I've doubted this tale for some time, but hadn't come across any conclusive evidence. I won't get your hopes up. I still haven't. But I have found a couple of quotes that at least cast doubt upon the theory.

Hop-growing has been concentrated in a few regions of the British Isles for centuries. They weren't grown to any noticeable extent in the North of England, Scotland, Wales, the Southwest of England or Ireland. Though plenty of brewing went on in all those regions. Guinness is a good example of a brewery than brewed beers using plenty of hops, while situated far from the nearest hop field.

Consider this: hops aren't exactly a heavy cargo compared to, say, barley or barrels of beer. And there was already a large export trade in beer in the 18th century. Initially mostly Porter issuing from London. But by 1800, Edinburgh brewers were sending beer in the opposite direction:

"As we should expect, these architectural additions had their counterpart in the growth of his [William Younger II] sales. These had been making such phenomenal progress that even in London, where competition was fierce, he was well-established by 1830, thanks not only to his own excellent product but to the fleet of fast Leith smacks, which, in half the time taken by his father's old brig the William were conveying his hogsheads south and bringing back in return hops from Robert Tooth of Cranbrook and other Kent growers."
"The Younger Centuries" by David Keir, 1951, page 39.

It seems only logical that, as Scottish brewers had a liking for Kent hops, that these were carried on the return journey back to Scotland.

On to my second piece of evidence. Quite agood one, as it talks specifically about the flavour and hopping of Edinburgh Ale:

"From this pernicious though ingenious manufactory [distilling] willingly turn to one of a more advantageous nature, which for the welfare of the community, it were much to be wished could supersede the former; that is to say, the trade of brewing ale, which has of late years been carried to great perfection in Edinburgh. Formerly a brewer, who had established his works in the southern district at the Pleasance, Mr Bell, was more celebrated than any other in Scotland for the preparation of malt liquor ; but his ale had the fault of being extremely intoxicating. Mr Giles of Leith afterwards acquired great reputation for preparing ale of uncommon beauty, capable of being preserved for a long period. It is understood, however, to be chiefly acceptable to persons of a peculiar taste, on account of its bitterness, arising it is supposed from the large quantity and strong boiling of the hops used in its preparation. But the ale which has acquired the highest reputation, and is now bought up with great avidity in London and other distant markets, is that prepared by two brothers who carry on business separately, Messrs Younger. When properly managed, this ale is as transparent as Sherry, without froth or sediment, and of such a moderate degree of astringency or bitterness as to be universally acceptable. It were well that, in consequence of its growing celebrity and popularity, it could find its way into general use among the lower class of people to the exclusion of ardent spirits."
"The Beauties of Scotland Vol I", by Robert Forsyth, 1805, pages 159-160.

This passage describes two very different types of Edinburgh Ale. One, brewed by Mr Giles of Leith, was extremely bitter. The other, brewed by the Younger brothers, was more mellow and less bitter.

Looks like the reality was a good deal more complicated than the tale. But isn't that always the case?

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Let's brew Wednesday - Whitbread 1918 IPA

Two WW I posts in a single day. You're so lucky. I don't have much to say on this one. Except it's good to see a recipe for a proper, traditional English IPA.

The gravity, 1033º is no arbitrary number. This is the period of price control. Beers with an OG between 1030º and 1034º cost 5d a pint (in the public bar).

I'll now leave you in Kristen's capable hands.

Future recipe notes:
From here on out I'll be using values for fresh hops as its easier for most people. I'll include the avg AA% from the actual log for the ones that want to make a beer more traditional. After numerous requests I'll also be adding a craft size recipe in both metric and standard. Additionally, Ill add a little blurb with tasting notes. Now to the beer...

Whitbread 1918 IPA

Only one year later than last weeks recipe and this beer has gone into the toilet. The gravity has dropped by about a quarter and the hops nearly in half. Its a vague representation of what it was.

Here are a few notes on the differences in the two beers, 1917 and 1918 IPA:

Not entirely different here. Nearly the same percentages of the different grains. Spanish is out and in its place is twice the amount of California 6row. You'll notice that the malt isn't as old in the 1918 version which should make the character a little more fresh and malty than grainy. The sugar is in pretty much the same proportions (~20%) but it will dry out even more than the 1917 version. They start using the invert #1 rather than glucose which will give it a touch of
caramel character.

Same method in both cases. Quite thick with large sparge volume.

There was a glut of hops towards the end of WWI so I'm not sure why they cut them by half. The 1918 hops are also fresher than the 1917 edition. Both are similar EKG varieties. I think this is a very good time to bring up something that many people get confused about historic recipes. The difference between hops per quarter and hops per barrel. In nearly every recipe I've seen they give the hops in hops per quarter and only the later years do they start doing hops per barrel. So lets look at these two recipes as an example:

1917 IPA
2.42lb/ bbl
11.94lb/ qtr

1918 IPA
1.7lb/ bbl
11.88lb/ qtr

As you can see the lb/ bbl is an indication of the actual bu where lb/qtr is an indication of ONLY the ration of the weight of hops to the VOLUME of grist. I don't know how many 'expert' beer writers tomes I've read that indicate beers with 25 or even 30lb/ bbl which is ridiculous.

Tasting Notes
Pour deep golden and releases a subtle resinous nose. Some grassy, herbaceous hops with lots of candied fruit. Grainy sweetness on the palate turns into a hint of toffee drops on the end. Finishes quite dry lending a pithy, tart character.

Comparing rations

I'm easily distracted. You've probably already noticed. Something in "British Food Control" about WW I rations.

WW I Food Control. Why do I find it so fascinating? It must reveal something about my character, obsessing over rationing in the Great War. (Or "The World War" as they call it in the book. It was published in 1928. Calling the First World War would have shown eery prescience.)

Where was I? Rationing. That was it. (Don't expect any beer theme in this post. Not until I clumsily insert an irrelevant reference a few sentences before concluding.) Being married to a German, I'm well aware that there were two sides two WW I and WW II. So seeing British and German rations compared was a real treat.

It's no great surprise, seeing as food riots brought the Germans to sue for peace, that the German rations were smaller than the British. The Germans did get more potatoes. I feel a table coming on. Just wait a second while I tippy-tap away at a spreadsheet . . . . . . . .

. . . . .

almost done . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

Those numbers tell the story of how WW I was won. By the Royal Navy (with the assistance of the Japanese Navy and later the US Navy). All that slaughter on the Western Front turned out to have been a complete waste of time. It decided nothing. The Germans and Austrians were starved into surrender. Very medieval.

Barclay Perkins! (Andrew typed that. Well done, lad. Theme maintained.)

Did I say the forced beer reference would be a couple of sentences from the end? Promise kept.