Tuesday 7 April 2009

Let's brew Wednesday - Whitbread 1917 IPA

It's always WW I Week here at Barclay Perkins. "If you like WW I so much, why don't you move there?". If only I could. If only I could.

What have we for you today? I was going to say "a typical IPA". But what is a typical IPA? Whitbread's is very much a London IPA. Light-bodied, relatively low-gravity (it was below average), heavily-hopped. I'll let Kristen explain further.

Kristen's notes
It's funny that this beer seems to completely opposite to what is commonly held as what an IPA is and was. Lower gravity, but tons of hops, heap of sugar...

There are actually two types of 6-row malt being American and Spanish. The interesting thing about this beer is the use of the Spanish malt. You know its desperate times when you start having to use Spanish malt. The two English malts, Taylor and Earp, were not of the highest quality and old as indicated. I wouldn't use the choices malt for this one but something a little less complex (Halcyon, pipkin, etc) and definitely not Mild malt. Lots of plain glucose which really doesn't add a whole lot of any character but ferments nearly completely.

This is really the first time that I've seen such a high mash temperature for such a low gravity pale beer. That being said, with the amount of sugar added (~20%), one would need to mash this high to keep the beer from fermenting out to much. The beer finishes up around 1.010 which keeps this beer from being to dry. You'll also notice that the strike infusion ratio is quite low making this mash quite thick. Don't be afraid of this but do be sure to have extra sparge liquor on hand.

Talk about a beer that uses a ton of hops. All from the same year. All from the same area...East Kent. Although the yards were different the characteristics should be similar enough. Whitbred Goldings would be the closest but EKGs are much easier to find. Either way, there will be a ton used. The AA% at the time would have been right about 3.5% so the actually amount of hops would have been about 30% more than the 5% EKGs I list to us. This would definitely change the beer. This wouldn't increase the 'hop' character necessarily more so would have added a much great grassy, herbacious character. So, point short, if you can find some older hops, use those instead.

Simplified recipe


MentalDental said...

Another recipe to add to the "to do" list.

Kristen: I need to age some hops for these recipes you keep publishing! Most of my hops are "plugs", vacuum packed, and frozen--all factors designed to reduce aging. Any suggestions how to mimic the aging that hops used by, say, Whitbread in 1917 might have experienced? I am thinking of well (but not airtight) wrapped plugs stored at cool room temperature. Any better ideas?

Ron: What does NOB mean? And why were Whitbread using glucose rather than brewer's sugar? War-time restrictions perhaps?

Ron Pattinson said...

No idea what NOB stands for.

Shortage of brewing sugars would be my guess as to why they used glucose. Once materials became scarce, brewers seem to have used anything they could get.

Kristen England said...

To speed up the aging all you need to do is take them out of the bag and leave them exposed to air at room temperature (70F/22C). Make sure to break up the plugs and leaf hops. Leave the pellets be. This is actually a good practice for everyone so they can see what a difference it makes to cold store your hops.

Each hop has a different keeping capacity but for English hops like Fuggle, EKG, etc you can use the following as a guide:

Pellet = loss of 0.45%AA/month
Leaf = loss of 0.5%AA/ month

Just put them in a bowl and then put them in a dark 'warm' place. When you get the amount of age you want, seal them and get as much air out as you can adn then put them in the freezer.

mrbowenz said...

Interesting recipe Kristen and thanks, for the malt grist pale 1 and 2 , would a M&F 2 row pale or Maris Otter be a good subsitute for your simplied 5 gal, recipe ?