Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1936 Barclay Perkins KKKK

Today it's the turn of a beer I'm dying to try myself. A powerful, seasonal Strong Ale from my favourites Barclay Perkins.

Between the wars, Barclay Perkins brewed a massive range of beers. 22, if you include the darkened versions of X and XX. Many were produced in tiny quantities, as you can see from the tables below. This was possible because they had a small batch brewhouse. In the main brewery, each brew was 500 to 1,000 barrels. Way too much for a beer like Russian Stout, even though it was only brewed once a year. Some beers were brewed in batches as small as 18 barrels.

Where did KKKK fit in? This was a Strong Ale sold in the winter. Judging by Barclay Perkins adverts, it seems to have been a draught beer. My guess is that it was sold from a pin on the bar. Much like some Old Ales still are today. For the period, it was unusually strong. Few beers had gravities higher than 1055 or so.

That short introduction over, it's time to hand you over to Kristen . . . . (I think he likes it, BTW) . . .

Almost forgot. This beer is perfect for your christmas pudding . . . . . now really over to Kristen . . . .

Barclay Perkins (BP) 1936 KKKK

Big ass brown mame a jamma. Huge beer with a ton of hops. Something very unique and not seen anymore in any place. Think turbo charge brown IPA. If you are on the fence about any beer. MAKE THIS ONE!!!!

Grist and such
Tons of No2 invert syrup and crystal really put the focus on this beer to the dark fruits and deep caramel tones. 80% of the grist is malt with a VERY heavy dose of the californian 6-row at nearly 1/3 of the total grain bill. This brewery is quite different in that they use a number of different 'caramel' colorants. Most use just one...that standard dark. This beer uses a much lighter caramel. Not sure why. Maybe it was giving a touch of flavor as well as the color!? All in all not a really different type of grain bill for standard brown ale. The difference lies in the quantities per barrel. This beer weighs in at 1.078. A big beer in any light!

The mash is actually quite high for this beer at 153F. With all the non-reducing sugars left from the invert and crystal and this high mash temp really will make this beer finish quite 'thick' as can be seen from the finishing gravity of 1.027.

Lots and I mean LOTS of very fresh goldings hops at 3.64 lbs/ barrel! The nearly 80 bu's these provide will make the sweet finish of this beer seem much drier than it normally would. In addition, 4oz of hops were added per barrel changing the overall aroma of this beer.

Usually beers were kept quite low. I only mention this in that this beer was fermented damn near 72F. At this temp it would completely change the profile! It would no longer have the big fruit of the 60-ish fermentation but would have more of a peppery alcoholic character along
with some of those spicy phenols.

Tasting notes
Dark toffees wrapped in orange rind with a ton of spice. Caramel middle is very rich and grainy but dries out in the finish it a big smack of hop resins. The spice, hop resins and 6-row astringency really extent the finish and keep this beer from being cloying. Quite refreshing for
such a large beast.


Bill in Oregon said...

Awesome choice this week. It's a really interesting recipe that I'll have to put in the queue for the early Autumn. Thanks for continuing to do the Brew Wednesday recipes.

Jeff Renner said...

A few questions - what are those liquid treatments in the original recipe, MP, KMS and BiS? That's a lot of the second and third - 2 oz. and 1/4 pint per quart in the mash tun. 29 bbls mash liquor is 144 quarts, meaning they added a lot of whatever these are.

I'll bet these have been explained before, but I missed them and didn't find them in a quick look.

I think there is a misplaced decimal in the third chart where it shows 9 lbs. caramel per barrel. In the second chart, you show 56 lbs of caramel for 60.5 barrels, which is about 0.9 lbs/bbl.

Kristen - you wrote " ...all the non-reducing sugars left from the invert ... will make this beer finish quite 'thick'." I think invert sugar is nearly 100% fermentable. A quick look at the seven posts here tagged "invert sugar" confirm this.

Ron Pattinson said...

Jeff, well spotted on the caramel. It's the total amount that gives it away.

Aah, those liquor treatments. I've no idea what MP and KMS are. BiS I guess means something BiSulphate.

I think the quantities are wrong. It's 2 oz and 0.25 oz. And whatever the squiggle means, it won't be quart. My guess would be gallon, but it could be quarter.

Jeff Renner said...

I wrote "29 bbls mash liquor is 144 quarts" but I neglected to show that I multiplied the number of quarts in a barrel (144) by 29 to get the total number of quarts of brewing liquor. Of course, that's moot anyway since the units weren't quarts.

It would be interesting to know how they treated their liquor. It would certainly have an effect on the wort composition.

Ron Pattinson said...

Jeff, there was treatment of the liquor before it got to the mash tun, too. "As KK" it says in the log. I must fish out the log page that lists all the different liquor treatments.

Joshekg said...

MP: magnesium phosphate

KMS: potassium sulphite
[source A Text-book of the Science of Brewing By Edward Ralph Moritz, George Harris Morris, pg 416]

BiS: Bisulphite of lime
[source A Text-book of the Science of Brewing By Edward Ralph Moritz, George Harris Morris, pg 416]

Anonymous said...

It's weird, if a take the "homebrew" version, at 70% efficiencie, It give me a beer of higher than 1.090, so I don't know, is ther some mistake in the translation for homebrewer? By the way, it's really awesome to have the Lovibond of the Garton number 2, it really makes my day! I didn't notice it in the past recipes I guess...

Ron Pattinson said...

Joshekg, that's really useful. Thank you. A couple of more things explained.

But what do you reckon the quantities were?

Joshekg said...


I'd go with per quarter for the potassium and the bisulphite.

For the bisulphite that would be 1/4 pint per quarter.

A systematic handbook of practical brewing By E. R. Southby on page 371 gives the proportion of bisulphite of lime added at racking to between 1/4 to 1/2 pint per barrel (it was more effective as a preservative when added at racking rather than earlier as done here).

This works out to about 1/10 a pint per barrel, but considering there was additional water treatment per KK (which may or may not have had bisulphite of lime) and that this was brewed in 1936 and the book was written in 1885 between which the usage of bisulphite of lime could have diminished 1/4 pint per quarter seems reasonable.

Graham Wheeler said...

The water treatments are not really water treatments as such, but preservatives that supply sulphur dioxide. It is strange that they use two sources of sulphite / sulphur dioxide in the mash, but so be it.

2oz to 4oz of Potassium Metabisulpite, per quarter of malt, added to the mash tun was typical for the period, so 2oz per quarter would be what is meant. It is meant to keep micro-organisms naturally present on the malt at bay - some of which can survive mash temperatures and can sour a mash with long mash times. Another organism on the malt, fusarium, which causes "gushers" in bottled beers, among other problems, is another reason for inclusion.

Bisulphite of lime or calcium bisulphate was normally added to the yeast slurry, some hours before pitching to reduce yeast-borne bacteria. To see it used in the mash tun alongside another source of sulphite is strange - if not misguided.

Magnesium phosphate is probably added as a yeast food. I can't see any other reason for it. Magnesium is an essential co-enzyme for the yeast. Phosphate probably helps too.

I will agree with ealusceop that many of the numbers do not match up - particularly colour. I would also suggest that it is probably impossible, or at least pointless, to make a caramel at 500 (whatever colour units are being used there) 30,000 EBC is typical.

Ron Pattinson said...

Graham, I've done a new post with more information on the water treatment and extra details about the caramel.

Kristen England said...

Jeff asked about non-reducing sugars in invert sugar.

Straight invert is nearly all fermentable. However, dark invert like the 3 will definitely have non-reducing sugars. The fermentability is less as one goes from 1 to 3.


yeah, thats just what I had also.


Some of the old breweries just used 'caramel' but some also used different levels of caramel which they indicated with number. When one runs the colors of the beers out you can get a decent idea of the actual color of the caramel they used.