Saturday 31 October 2009

1909 Beer Style Guide - X Ale

Time for a sneak preview of mine and Kristen's 1909 Beer Style Guide.

This is part of a sample chapter. In addition to the text here, the book version will include a recipe or two. Your comments are welcome.

X Ale

X Ale, or standard Mild Ale, was the most popular type of beer. It formed over 50% of output, even of some of the large London Porter breweries like Whitbread and Truman.

Amongst the London brewers there was a trend to brew a much reduced range of X and K Ales. XX and XXX were dropped. Mostly just the weakest remained, X. The stronger slots were left to Stock Ales, KK and KKK. Increasingly, the Stock Ales were referred to as Strong Ales and X Ales as Mild Ales. This relationship would last little changed until the 1950's.

For example, in 1881, Whitbread brewed X, XL and XX. By 1910, only X remained. The gravity of X was starting to move downwards, too. Whitbread's was 1061º in 1881, but was down to 1057º in 1910. Much worse was to happen after 1914, when Mild Ales bore the brunt of gravity cuts.

X Ales had pretty simple recipes: pale malt and sugar. Though some brewers had taken advantage of the 1880 Free Mash Tun Act to use adjuncts like maize or rice. No modern Mild bears much resemblance to such Ales. Colour mostly came from dark No.3 invert sugar or caramel. Sometimes small amounts of amber or black malt were used, but this was more the exception than the rule.

What differentiated Mild from Pale Ale wasn't colour or gravity, but a lower hopping rate and higher FG which made them maltier, sweeter and fuller-bodied.

X Ales were hopped at a rate of 7 to 8 pounds per quarter in the 1880's, falling to 5 to 6 pounds per barrel by 1910. PA and IPA were hopped at about double that rate.

Surprisingly, Bitters like PA and IPA generally had a lower percentage of malt in the grist than X Ales. Whitbread's X had 10% sugar in the grist, their PA and IPA 20%. This, too, must have helped Mild Ales to taste more full-bodied than the Bitters.

1050 – 1057º
1009 - 1018 º
5 – 6%
Apparent attenuation:
70 – 85%
40 - 90
lbs hops per barrel
1 – 1.5

English 2-row pale malt, foreign 6-row pale malt, English mild malt, crystal malt, amber malt, black malt, No.3 invert sugar, caramel, maize
Mid Kent, East Kent, Worcester, Oregon, California.

Noakes 1915 X
Californian pale malt 11%
English 2-row pale malt 57%
black malt 0.5%
crystal malt 5%
No.3 invert sugar 25%
CDM sugar 1%
Hops 100%
Californian hops 50%
Oregon hops 50%

Fuller's 1910 X
Californian 6-row pale malt 18%
Australian pale malt 17%
English 2-row pale malt 36%
No.1 invert sugar 9%
No.3 invert sugar 10%
luscious priming sugar 4%
caramel 0.64%
flaked maize 6%
East Kent hops 45%
Mid Kent hops 45%
Oregon yearling hops 10%

Barclay Perkins 1906 X
Californian 6-row pale malt 25%
English 2-row pale malt 54%
No.3 invert sugar 10%
maize 11%
caramel 0.10%
Worcester hops 33%
American hops 33%
Mid Kent yearling hops 33%

Barclay Perkins 1914 X
Indiian 6-row pale malt 10%
English 2-row mild malt 14%
English 2-row pale malt 39%
amber malt 7%
No.3 invert sugar 20%
maize 10%
caramel 0.12%
Mid Kent hops 33%
East Kent hops 33%
Mid Kent yearling hops 33%

Whitbread 1914 X
foreign 6- row pale malt 32%
English 2-row pale malt 61%
No.3 invert sugar 7%
Pacific hops 22%
Mid Kent hops 78%

Fuller's 1910 X
Californian 6-row pale malt 18%
Australian pale malt 17%
English 2-row pale malt 36%
No.1 invert sugar 9%
No.3 invert sugar 10%
luscious priming sugar 4%
caramel 0.64%
flaked maize 6%
East Kent hops 45%
Mid Kent hops 45%
Oregon yearling hops 10%

Friday 30 October 2009

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1916 Truman No.1 and No. 5

Kristen and I have finally overcome our fear of Truman's Burton logs. And here's the proof. Two lovely Burton Ales from mid-WW I.

Numbers. As you know, I love numbers. Handy when dealing with Burton brewers, who tended to number rather than name their beers. Truman followed very closely the pattern set by Bass. They started at No.1, their Barley Wine, and worked down through other Strong Ales to 6, 7 and 8 which were Milds. There was also a range of three Pale Ales called P1, P2 and P3. (You'll be hearing more about them later. They'll be playing an important part in our 1909 Beer Style Guide.)

No.1 is Barley Wine, so what modern style is No. 5 most like? No idea. Really no idea at all. There may well be no modern equivalent.

There were very few brews of No. 1, usually only one or two a year. No.5, on the other hand, was brewed frequently, party-gyled with a variety of other beers. No. 4, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8.

The lack of sugar in this brew is a WW I thing. You see it quite a bit, beers being brewed all-malt during the war, presumably because they couldn't get hold of sugar.

Not much of my bullshit today. I'm busy with the 1909 Beer Style Guide. You'll love it.

Now over to Kristen . . . . .

Grist and such
Wow, what a huge number of ingredients or such a simple beer. Count them, five different English pale malts, one American 6-row and about 12% Flaked maize. Absolutely no sugar. The gravity on the No1 is 1.095 which is quite massive for no sugar and the No5 is no slouch at 1.060. If you want to make this, make any combination of 5 pale malts you like. I've only listed 3 in the recipe as most people can easily get 3 types.

The hopping on this one is very high. The No1 clocks in right around 50 and the No5 right around 65 or so. Exactly the same hopping rate for both but the gravity reduces the number of bu's for the No1. The No1 would have definitely gotten more dry hops which is what you see here. As for most cases in Burton that I've seen the strong American hops would go in at the beginning leaving the more 'pleasant' English varieties for the end.

As in standard Truman fashion they gyled his beer with three different worts. Truman is different in that the blended each of the the worts into 4 different strength parts and used those to blend the two different beers. It gets massively complicated for anyone wanting to follow these to a tee. Frankly, I don't think these two particularly benefit from doing a gyle with them. If you do them straight, as I have written, it will make your life much easier.

Water salts
So for the first time, or one of the first time, I've included water salts that weren't in the log. Us it or don't. The big difference between the Burton-type beers was the magnesium and sulfates in the water that really accentuates the bitterness and increases the perception of bitterness on the palate.

Tasting notes
No1 - Massive resins, marmalade and citrus. Big chewy bread down. Sweet alcohols and lots of ripe pears and apples. Drying finish for strength with the water salts really accentuating the length and breadth of the bitterness.

No5 - Same as the first except with a more robust hop profile. The bitterness is even great making the finish even more dry.

Thursday 29 October 2009

2009 Bokbier Festival

Is it that time of year already? How the years fly by. Here's was me thinking it was still Tuesday and it's actually almost November. Bokbierfestival time.

These are the details:

32e PINT Bokbierfestival
Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam
Friday 17:00-23:00,
Saturday 12:00-23:00,
Sunday 12:00-19:00
Entrance: €8
Beer price: €2

I'll be there on Saturday, as usual. Saturday afternoon, when it's nice and quiet. I hate crowds. (Really, I hate people.) My routine will be the same. Buy armfuls of stuff at the book stall, try to dodge the infected beers and finish off with an Ijsbok.

I may be wearing a Barclay Perkins T-shirt. If you want to press money or beer into my hands. Should you have another reason to find me, I'll be wearing a Hell's Angels jacket.

Trips! (South) for sale

No. I haven't abandoned my Mini Book Series. The latest, volume IX, is now available for purchase. "Trips! (South)" is the title.

What's it about? Well, nothing, really. It's a collection of pub guides to Southern Germany. Munich, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Forchheim, Regensburg, Augsburg, Stuttgart, Bayreuth and Ulm. And if that wasn't enough, there are details of the breweries in the areas covered. All in all, a dead handy book for anyone heading South for beer. I'd buy a copy myself, if I didn't already have one.

Click here and "Trips! (South)" can be on your doormat within a couple of days.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Style guidelines 1909

Style guidelines, dontcha just love 'em? You can never have too many. Then I realised. Everyone's been so occupied writing ones for the present, they've forgotten about the past. Time to put that right.

Here are some style guidelines* for 1909. Handy for time-travelling home brewers who don't want to stand out.

OG: 1040 - 1048
FG: 1008 - 1010
ABV: 4.5 - 5%
Hopping: 1.25 oz Cluster, 2.25 oz Goldings (for 5 gallons)
Grist: 55-80% pale malt, 0-15% maize or rice, 15-35% sugar
Colour: 20 - 25 EBC

OG: 1050 – 1057º
FG: 1009 - 1018º
ABV: 5 – 6%
Apparent attenuation: 70 – 85%
EBC: 40 - 90
lbs hops per barrel 1 – 1.5
Grist: English 2-row pale malt, foreign 6-row pale malt, English mild malt, crystal malt, No.3 invert sugar
Hops: Mid Kent, East Kent, Oregon, California.

OG: 1055 - 1060º
FG: 1012 – 1020º
ABV: 5.5 – 6.6%
Apparent attenuation: 70 – 80%
EBC: 25 - 30
lbs hops per barrel 2.5 – 3.25
Grist: English 2-row pale malt, foreign 6-row pale malt, crystal malt, No.1 invert sugar
Hops: East Kent, Mid Kent.

OG: 1040 - 1050º
FG: 1010 - 1015º
ABV: 3.5 - 5%
Apparent attenuation: 65 - 75%
EBC: 20 - 25
lbs hops per barrel 2 – 2.75
Grist: English 2-row pale malt, foreign 6-row pale malt, crystal malt, No.1 invert sugar
Hops: East Kent, Mid Kent.

* These guidelines apply only to London.

Style guides

Say what you like about them, style guides have their place. Not, in the dustbin of history, as you might have expected. No, in its inbox.

There aren't too many style guides. There are too few. Think about it. The ones knocking around are incredibly unambitious. They only try to cover the present day. What about the rest of human (brewing) history? Where are the style guides to the 1930's or the 1850's? Or 1909, for that matter.

How am I ever going to set tests for the BHCP if there's no study text? It's a problem I need to address. And soon.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

The first beer analyses

1784 was a momentous year. It's when the first analyses of beer gravity and attenuation were published. You could see it as the beginning of modern, scientific brewing.

It's hard now to imagine that brewers once had little idea of the strength of their beers. They knew how much malt they'd put in, which gave them a very general idea. But they had no idea what sort of yield their malt gave them nor how far the wort had attenuated. The hydrometer changed all of that.

In the 1770's, Richardson carried out a series of experiments using the hydrometer to measure worts before and after fermentation. Funny thing is, hydrometers had been knocking around for ages. Distillers had been using them since the 17th century. funny how no-one thought to take one into a brewery.

Here are the results of Richardson's investigations:

A couple of things stand out. First, the erratic attenuation of Strong and Common Ales. Second, the poor attenuation of the Strong Ales. The Porters, averaging around 75% attenuation, look positively modern. You'll note that the Porters are much stronger than their 19th century descendants.

What effect did the hydrometer have on brewing? It made brewers aware of the yield they obtained from their malt. Which in turn led to changes in the selection of materials and brewing techniques. Seeing the better yield from pale malt, brewers soon changed to using it as a base for all beers, including Porter and Stout.

Soon after the publication of Richardson's work hydrometers were in widespread use in larger English breweries. Not really a surprise. Would you want to brew commercially without one?

Monday 26 October 2009

Random fun with Barclay Perkins

More random fun with random notes stuck in logs.

You know, I've had the same problem. Beers where the yeast goes into suspension as soon as you open them. Burton Bridge Empire Ale is a good example.

If you want to know the contents of the letter, you'll have to click on it. I'm too busy to transcribe it all. Make sure to look in the top left-hand corner. Where it gives Barclay Perkins cable address. What were they trying to tell people?

Sunday 25 October 2009

Dry hops for KK Bott.

More random stuff from the logs. Bet you can guess how I've been spending most to my time.

This note, stuck inside a Barclay Perkins brewing log, gives details of the dry-hopping scheme for the bottled version of KK.

"4 oz Saaz after 4 or 5 days rolling" What a great description. I remember being told that they used to regularly roll casks of Russian Stout around the brewery yard. I wonder if anyone still does that?

Barclay Perkins seemed to like using Saaz for dry-hopping their Strong Ales. I wonder why?

Saturday 24 October 2009

I can't put that many hops in

It's been said to me a couple of times. "I can't put that many hops in." By brewers when we've been discussing recreating old brews. I don't know. I thought this was supposed to be the age of heavy hopping.

You're doubtless fed up with reports of my ferreting around in brewing records. I would be. But that isn't going to stop me. Otherwise I might have to come up with some new ideas. And I'm way too old for that. Anyway, my current ferreting has a goal. Or two. One is gathering information on hopping rates.

I'm assembling a table to contain all the info. So far it's got 1,421 entries. Still a long way to go. The beer with the most hops isn't a surprise. At least not to me. Barclay Perkins IBSt. That's Russian Stout to you and me. When I gave Menno the recipe for the 1850 version, his response was "I can't put that many hops in." He calculated the IBU's at something over 250. Just as well I hadn't used the 1855 version. That had even more hops. A full 10.12 pounds per 36 gallon barrel. The 1850 recipe only had 9.31 pounds.

The quantities of hops used are terrifying. Barclay Perkins used tons. Literally. In some brews, more than two tons. That's right, two tons of hops. I can't imagine what two tons of hops look like.

Did I mention my secret projects? Obviously not, otherwise they wouldn't be secret, would they? Can't have you knowing everything I'm up to. That would be scary. Even I'm not aware of everything.

One of my now-not-quite-secret projects involves brewing an old beer. "I can't put that many hops in." Was the initial response of the brewer. Admittedly, I had cocked up the hopping rate. I'd given it as 8 pounds a barrel rather than the 4.3 it should have been. The brewer thought the lower figure was still a lot.

Those crazy Victorians, eh? The beer in question wasn't even particularly hoppy. By Victorian standards. It comes 213th in my list of 1,421 beers.

Friday 23 October 2009

Brewers' notes again

I'm feeling knacked so just more random brewer's notes again today.

This week I've been reading "Draught of Contentment", a history of Courage. There's a reason, but I won't go into that now. It's odd reading about the breweries absorbed into the Courage group over the course of the 20th century. I've seen brewing logs from many of them. Hodgson's Kingston Brewery, Camden Brewery, Beasley, Russell's Gravesend Brewery, Noakes, and Kidd. It's a log from the latter where I found this:

A weird mix of international events and more mundane happenings at the brewery are recorded. This is a good sequence:

June 21 New Dome for old Copper
June 28 Peace signed
July 1 Brewery Yard paved

Thursday 22 October 2009

Bayerische Anstich

"Are you going?" Mike asked. "Going where?" I had no clue what he was on about. "Wildeman. You really should get on their mailing list. There's Bayerische Anstich tonight. A Prael beer."

Mike's right. I ought to get myself on Wildeman's mailing list. I could easily have missed the Bayerische Anstich. Oh well. As long as he's on it, things work out pretty well.

For those of you who've never heard the phrase, Bayerische Anstich is just the German way of saying "gravity served". You know, where they whack a brass tap in with a dirty great mallet. (One of my favourite sounds.) You can see the full set to the right: barrel, hammer, brass tap.

We'd already seen the barrel. It had been parked in a corner of the former no-smoking room. I'd wondered if it was just a themed table or decoration. No, as it turned out. It was full of beer.

It's one of the things they do semi-regularly at Wildeman. Bayerische Anstich on a Friday evening. Usually it's something Bavarian. Often dead yummy. Like Schlenkerla Fastenbier. Or something from Beck. Life is good in Amsterdam.

The barrel was due to be tapped at six. Not wanting to miss out, I was there a quarter to. Fortunately, they had other beers to keep my thirst at bay until the tapping. Löwenbräu Oktoberfest, for example. Not quite as nice as the Hacker I had at the festival, but not bad. And true to style: a proper Oktberfest Helles Märzen.

Mike showed up at five to six. As the barrel hadn't been tapped, time for a second Oktberfest. We'd barely taken our seats when the delightful sound of wood on brass drifted in from the bar. Time for two-handed drinking.

De Prael Johnny was in the barrel. A Kölsch, supposedly. It was cloudy almost to the point of sludginess. Just the two counts it fails on for being officially a Kölsch then. I'd show you how sludgy it was. But I prefer the snap of Löwenbräu in a Beck Brau glass. Johnny tasted pretty decent, despite all the sludge.

De Prael should be opening their own taproom sometime in the next year. A thought has struck me: will it feature Bayerische Anstich? That could explain why they've gone to the expense of getting a wooden cask. I do hope so.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1941 Whitbread weak IPA

After last week's not-true-to-style IPA, here's the proper version. Just about exactly half the the beer.

I've banged on about this before. But that's not going to stop me banging on about it again. This beer is typical of 20th century British IPAs. A gravity a little below average, but a healthy dose of hops. It's the true British IPA tradition which, sadly, has been almost totally disappeared as modern brewers produce what they think a "traditional" IPA should be.

I'll leave it at that. Don't want to be too repetitive.

Here's Kristen . . .

1941 Whitbread weak IPA

So guys, as I promised last week, here is the 'weak' version of the IPA I posted from last week. When you look at them they are very much similar in ingredients and percentages. I believe this weaker version would be much more hop forward than the stronger one drying out quite a bit in the end. This versions seems much more what a 'traditional' IPA would have been like.

Grist and such
This weak IPA is missing the 6row malt but all the other malts, including the sugars, are exactly the same. The percentages of the crystal malt and sugars are a little higher in the stronger version but on a whole, the theme is very much the same. Lots of 'old' malt here. The mash schedule is very similar but the temperatures are different. The weak one is mashed quite a bit lower which would equate to a much dryer beer with less body.

Its striking how fresh the hops are. This beer was made in October and the hops are from that same year. The good majority are from the previous year. All in all, still very fresh. I was suprised at the level of bitter in this beer. 40 bu's is quite high for any beer let alone a beer that is only 1.034 or so. The low finishing gravity of this beer along with the sheer hopping level would really accentuate the dryness.

Nothing fancy. Moderately cool, beer is done in less than a week. The yeast gives a big estery 'light' fruit character for sure.

Tasting notes
Very similar to the strong version. Lots of floral and herbal overtones. Very fruit forward. Apples and pears as this yeast is known for. Very little malt, a touch of bread and hints of unrefined sugars. Mouthful of tannic hop resins finishing very dry with a long lasting bitter that refreshes the palate.

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Scotland vs England, second division results

After yesterday's shocking revelations, you must be eager for more results. Of my mega comparison of English and Scottish beers. Who am I to disappoint you?

It's the turn of Mild Ale. In the period we're looking at today, Mild was the most popular type of beer, outselling Bitter by 3 to 1 or more. So not a bad choice for making general comparisons.

The sample sizes were 34 Scottish Milds and 101 English. Once again, I removed some of the weaker Scottish beers without English equivalents (strength-wise). The average gravity of the two sets is almost identical so I believe the comparison to be a fair one. Shall we take a look?

And what fascinating reading it makes. The hopping rates are as good as identical, Scotland 1.91 lbs per barrel, England 1.9 lbs. There are no significant differences in boil times or pitching temperature, either. The only difference is in attenuation.

Intrguing stuff, you have to admit. As I expected, it's turning out to be much more complicated than just "English beer was hoppier than Scottish beer". Strong Ale tomorrow.

Monday 19 October 2009

England vs Scotland - first results

Right, I've done the first bit of proper analysis. On the 697 beers I've collected details of so far. Want to know what I found? Of course you do.

It wasn't actually the full 697 I played with. I stuck to Pale Ales. I've 181 of those. Split into two groups, 1877 to 1899 and 1900 to 1914. I started with the latter.

There were 51 English and 29 Scottish examples. The first two rows of the table below shows the average values of the full groups:

As you can see, the average OG of the English PA's is considerably higher - a whole six points. There's quite a difference in the spread of gravities between England and Scotland. The Scottish beers were in the range 1033 to 1054.5, the English 1044.9 to 1061.1. As this will distort the hopping rates, I removed out the weakest Scottish beers and the strongest English beers. That's what the second two rows show.

Let's look at the differences.

Gravity: Scottish PA's were on average significantly weaker.

Attenuation: Scottish PA's had a lower degree of attenuation, just under70% compared to 76% for English PA's

Hopping rate: Even in the comparison of only beers in the same gravity range, Scottish PA's were on average significantly more lightly hopped - a full half pound a barrel. The hopping rate measured in pounds per quarter was also significantly lower - 6.6 compared to 8.8.

Boil times: There was no difference at all between the boil times.

Pitching temperature: On average, English beers were pitched 2º F cooler than their Scottish counterparts.

To sum up, Scottish PA's were weaker, less well attenuated and fermented warmer than their English cousins. There was no difference in boiling practices.

Of course, this is just a first iteration with a comparatively small sample. But it does seem to be showing some differences between practices in England and Scotland.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Brewers' notes

I mentioned about the scribbled notes in the inside cover of brewing logs. Here's your chance to look at some.

These appear in the front of a Barclay Perkins covering 1899 and 1900:

It gives an indication of how recipes were tweaked to cope with changes in the raw materials. For example, you'll see that it notes when the latest season's malt and hops were first used. You can also see how the hopping rate for X was changed several times: increased to 10 lbs per quarter, reduced to 9, reduced to 8, then increased to 9 again.

But my personal favourite is: "our freezing machine broke down". Then three weeks later "men finished & fixed refrigerator". I know. I'm weird.

Saturday 17 October 2009

Beer colour

More stuff about beer colour that I posted as comments. So they don't get lost, I'm putting them here. Purely for my convenience. Don't feel obliged to read any further.

Amber Ales, like Brown Ales, disappeared just after 1800. The names popped up again later (Amber beating Brown by a couple of decades) with totally different meanings.

I'll be honest here: I've no idea what an Amber Ale was. The name is used fairly erratically, usually referring to bottled beer. I've also no idea what the colour was. I could guess. But we all know how dangerous that is.

What's meant by amber as a colour? I'd describe Bitter as amber in colour. And one Amber Ale I did see, Newcastle Amber, was paler than most Bitter.

What I do know, is that Barclay Perkins had different coloured Milds in the 1920's and 1930's. Sometimes they were sold "as brewed" others darkened with caramel. Before colouring they were about 40 EBC, after 90. Their Pale Ales of the period were 21 to 26.

I've seen odd examples of amber malt used in Milds 1890 - 1910. And in Stock Ales. Because, of course, they went dark too. What you see in the logs are the use of fairly small amounts of amber and brown in the beginning. And some dark sugars. The amounts increase until, by around WW I, most Stock and Mild Ales are pretty dark.

In the breweries I've looked at, almost all the colour comes from sugar. About the only time they used much dark malt was during the wars, when they couldn't get the sugar.

Before the late 1800's, getting any colour other than black consistently would have been just about impossible. In Britain, at least. When caramel was allowed, colour adjustment became practical.

Even in the 1930's, Barclay Perkins struggled to hit their target colours. They had to adjust the colour of just about everything. OK, you'd obviously aim low in the brewing because you know you can only adjust up. But I've seen plenty of logs with "too dark" scribbled on them as well.

The why is an even tricker question than the when. This is my crazy guess which has only minor basis in documented fact.

1890-ish is when, according to one source, pubs in London were going from serving in opaque tankards to glass. So drinkers could notice more subtle differences in colour. The way beers were brewed at the time, from 100% pale malt, would have made the stronger beers a bit darker. Punters associated darker with stronger, so brewers made their beers artificially darker so they looked more attractive. Continue this process for 30 years and you've gone from pale to dark.

Just a total guess. Don't quote me.

Beer colour is a fascinating subject, but frustratingly difficult to research. Without a time machine, I fear much will never be certain.

Dark Mild

When did Mild become dark? That's a very good question. To which I don't have a good answer. Sorry about that.

Why's is it so difficult to pin down? There are a number of reasons.

  1. First, and fairly obvious, is the fact that only in the 1920's did they begin to record the beer colour on logs. (And even then, only on some.) That means you have to try and work it out yourself. Not always as easy as it sounds.

  2. Which leads onto the second reason. Being unspecific about the kind of sugar being used. The entries often just say "sugar". Even though the invert sugars still used today - No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 - were already around. When no dark malts are used (mostly the case) it just leaves you guessing as to what effect the sugar might have had on colour.

  3. Breweries adjusted the colour using caramel, but didn't always write it in the logs. Especially if the adjustment took place after the boil.

What's the point of all this? Well take a look at this Barclay Perkins log from 1886:

Do you see? Towards the top in the middle: "12 Garton's No. 3 Sacc." That's dark No. 3 brewing sugar. Given that it makes up 25% of the grist, I think we can assume the finished beer must have been dark.

So when did Mild turn dark? Well, at least one Mild was dark by 1886. That's progress. It's the first real evidence I have from before 1900. I wonder if I can push the date back any further?

Friday 16 October 2009

Dry hopping at Younger in 1885

Dry hopping. It's a tricky subject, when it comes to brewing records. Some brewers didn't bother to record it at all. Others did. One of those is William Younger.

Not only do the logs include details of the dry hops per brew, they also included a cut-out-and-keep guide to their dry-hopping regime. You can see it to the left.

The first bit gives the hops used:

1/2 Wurtg. '84
1/4 Amer. '84
1/4 Kent '84

Now I hate to keep banging on about this. But I'm, going to anyway. Look at the origin of the hops. The first looks like Württemberg. The second is America. As with most British breweries, by the second half of the 19th century a significant proportion of the hops were foreign. So would this persuade Younger to use fewer hops because of the expense? Bollocks. They were actually at an advantage, over many other breweries because Edinburgh is a port (well, Leith is, to be precise). It would be cheaper to get American hops to Edinburgh than to, say, Burton, because they could be delivered directly by sea.

The rest of the image shows number of ounces of hops per barrel added. In the case of the stronger beers, it was rather a lot. No.1 Ale, with a gravity of 1103 a nice session beer, led the way with a whole pound. P and XP, in case you're wondering, are Pale Ales.

This isn't the full list of Younger's beers of the period. Most of the shilling Ales are missing. For one simple reason. They weren't dry-hopped.

I really should try to get out more. All these log details. You'll be thinking I spend all my time looking through these things.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1941 Whitbread Strong IPA

I'll admit it upfront: I'm not sure what to make of this beer. It's a bit of a riddle. Why? let me explain.

Whitbread started brewing IPA around 1900. With a gravity of 1050, it was the weakest beer in their lineup. By the 1920's, it was just 1037. It remained at that strength until 1941, when something weird happened. They made a few much stronger brews with almost double the OG of the normal version. What were they up to?

It's even more bizarre because this is just when WW II was starting to eat away at beer gravities. All the other beers in Whitbread's range were getting weaker. Why suddenly double the strength of IPA? I'm at a loss to explain it. Any suggestions are welcome. Maybe they'd read the style guidelines and wanted to brew an "authentic" IPA.

Now over to Kristen . . . .

1941 Whitbread Strong IPA

Ok guys, back to WWII for a bit shall we. The tremendous changes in 'war' grists and overall beer profile is very interesting to me. All the changes that needed to be made to the recipes in order to brew something similar to what people were used to. A massive increase in the use of older malts, especially non-domestic, has been a theme in all the logs I've seen over every brewery. Hops are similar but not until towards the end of the war did you really see any striking difference.

Today's beer is an IPA brewed by Whitbread in 1941. One of the most interesting things to me about this beer is that its is quite strong for the time. When IPAs were clocking in around the mid to high 1040s this beer is nearly 1070. Not to mention a very liberal hand with the hops. Next week I'll do that beer right next to this one in the log. Whitbread's weaker IPA. Very neat stuff. Two IPA's of different strength, grist and hopping levels so you'll be able to compare.

Grist and such
Every single line in the log indicates that all the base malts were old and of 'number 2' quality. Nothing really fresh went in to this beer. Quite a good dose of crystal malt went in which would have added a definitely caramel/ toffee character. The nearly 10% invert sugar would have gone a good way in drying this beer out. Don't go messing about trying to find old grains. Just make sure and use a few different ones. As always, the 6-row isn't mandatory so do pull your hair out if you can't source any. Your best bet would be to switch to a pils type malt. Invert your own sugar or simple white table sugar, beet or cane work the same, is fine.

The mash wasn't entirely typical for the time. Rarely have I seen a mash with this many infusions for this period. That's not saying there they don't happen, a simple single infusion is more the norm. Whereas a few years prior, the boil would have been 2-3 hours it gets dropped down to just over an hour. Lots of ways breweries were trying to save money and this is an easy one. A simple mash of around 150-2F would have a similar effect.

The hops are quite old on the whole but the average alpha acid percent wasn't to low. There was a bunch of different Golding-type varieties. East Kent, Mid-Kent and some Worcester Goldings all mixed of different ages. At nearly 3# of hops a bbl, this was quite a strongly hopped IPA. Definitely would have had a lot of the tannic, strong tea character and lots of spice. A good portion of dry hops would have definitely been added at around 14-15oz per bbl. Most important thing in this recipe is that you use hops that are of lower AA% in order to get the effect of all the 'green stuffs' in this recipe.

Right around 65F will do just fine. Keep it cool and the choice of yeast is up to you. Whitbreads two strains are readily available and will give a more characteristic' flavor. However you can use whatever you like. I would suggest that you stay English as the yeast has more character than the bland US ones.

Tasting notes
Herbal spice, resiny floral hops. Caramelized apples and pear. Biscuits and bread crush. Hints of husky grain. Crisp and drying finish with a mouth drying astringency.

Younger's competition

I bet you can't guess what I'm doing at the moment. That's right. How on earth did you know? I'm working my way through William Younger's logs.

Rather than keep telling you stuff (lectures are so boring) I'm going to set you a little test. To see if you can work it out.

OK, let's go. This was at the back of Younger's log for 1880 - 1881:

I'm pretty sure I know what was going on. But only because I read about the practice a couple of weeks ago. I probably wouldn't have had a clue if I hadn't.

As I'm about to publish the next volume in my Mini Book Series it seems like a good time for a competition. The first correct answer will win a copy of "War!".

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Scotland vs England - the kick off

I've just had my first quick glance. Of how Scottish beers stack up against the English. Fascinating.

I've got a table of 500 beers brewed between 1880 and 1914. Three Scottish breweries: William Younger, Maclay, Thomas Usher. Three English breweries: Barclay Perkins, Whitbread and Truman (Burton). I did the stupidest possible sort: pounds of hops per barrel. Bet you're wondering what the result was, aren't you? Be patient.

One thing I didn't need a sort to see. Who had the longest boil times. There was a very clear winner: Truman. There's no great difference in pitching temperatures. All are 57º - 61º F. In general, the stronger the beer, the lower the pitching heat.

William Younger brewed beers with the largest range of gravities: 1030 to 1110. The English breweries didn't brew hardly anything below 1050. Younger brewed several very sweet Stouts that were unlike anything brewed in England. And were still brewing Table Beer a couple of decades after London brewers had dropped it.

Younger brewed a bit of everything. Shilling Ales, X Ales, Pale Ales, Sweet Stout, Stout, Dinner Ale. And loads of other things I can only guess at. SLE, SE, MM, LDE. They also had a range of numbered Ales:, 1, 2 and 3. Very like Burton Ales brewed by Bass or Truman.

I bet you're still wondering about the winners and losers in the hopping race.

The ten most heavily hopped beers were all brewed by either Barclay Perkins or William Younger. Surprisingly beating Truman (at least for me).

The least heavily-hopped beers were all Scottish. No surprise, as some Scottish beers much weaker than any of the English ones. And those Younger Stouts with second-hand hops.

Younger's No. 1 Ale contained more hops than Truman's No. 1 Ale. They were similar beers, of a similar gravity.

One thing is clear. The blanket statement "Scottish beers were less hoppy than English beers" is not true. At least not 1880 to 1914. But I'm sure it's a lot more complicated. Things always are.

Spent hops

I'd read of hops being re-used. Usually in the older brewing manuals. And usually when a Table Beer or Small Beer was made from the later runnings. Second-hand beer, you could call it. Second-hand malt, second-hand hops.

But the Younger's logs are the first where I've seen evidence of the practice of re-using hops lasting until comparatively modern times. The examples below date from 1898.

Younger's brewed a crazy number of different beers. 25 just at the Abbey brewery. Because their mash tuns were relatively small, their brews were relatively small, just 120-140 barrels. This also meant they brewed multiple times a day. Usually 6 or 7 times, at least. Which is handy when you want to re-use spent hops.

Where was I? Hops. Loads of different beers. That's it. Younger's produced 6 Stouts. Two, MBS and DBS, resemble London Stouts of the day. Then you've got S1, S2, SS1 and SS2. It took me a while to get my head around those. In particular the hopping.

This is a log for SS1 and S1:

20 is the amount of hops in SS1. A whole 20 pounds for 68 barrels. S1 only got 10 pounds for 74 barrels. Hardly worth bothering, you might say. But then there were the second-hand hops. SS1 got all 350 pounds from an earlier brew of No.3 plus 97.5 pounds from a brew of SLE.

Sometimes they didn't bother with any fresh hops at all. This comes from a log of S1 and S2:

It's where the hop entries should be. This particular brew used no fresh hops at all, instead re-using those from a brews of LAE and No. 3 / XXX earlier in the day. Given that they'd already been boiled for 3 hours, I can't imagine they had a great deal of goodness left in them.

These are the details of Younger's Stouts:

It's more evidence of Scottish brewers leading the way. (Like Lager and low-gravity Pale Ales.) These lightly-hopped and poorly-attenuated Stouts are more like those of the 1930's than the 1890's. In London, such sweet Stouts were unknown in the 19th century.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

William Younger's unions

The inside covers of brewing logs can be fascinating. You'll find all sorts of notes scribbled there. Like when Whitbread was hit by incendiaries in 1940. Or the reduction in beer tax at the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

The one I'm sharing today is more technical. Take a look:

This is what it says:

"The cooled worts from Holyrood was brought to Abbey & used in Union Attemperators for the first time on 19th August 1885 at noon.
No. 18 Set of Unions here was used for the first time on 16th Oct. 85
No. 16 Set of Unions here was used for the first time on 20th Oct. 85
No. 17 Set of Unions here was used for the first time on 22nd Oct. 85"

In 1885 they started using unions at William Younger's Abbey brewery. I find that interesting. It's slightly odd, in a way, because the Holyrood brewery was where they usually brewed their Pale Ales.

Monday 12 October 2009

Whitbread Mild 1836 - 1965

Phew. Finally got all the way through the Whitbread Ale logs. Being a nice chap, I thought I'd share some of the results with you.

You know I have this thing about Mild. It's an obvious place to start. And it's the only Ale Whitbread brewed for the whole of the period. Here - especially for Jeff - is the table:

No huge surprises with the gravity and ABV, which fell steadily over time. As did the hopping rate, at least in pounds per barrel. In terms of pounds per quarter (a better measure for beers of different gravities), the hopping stayed more constant during the 20th century, with the exception of the war years.

I've not much more to say. This is, of course, nothing more than an aside. I've still loads more material to assemble for my ultimate goal: a comparison of English and Scottish beers. Shouldn't take more than a couple more months.

Sunday 11 October 2009

The cupboard was bare

You may be wondering why I've been uncharacteristically silent of late. Posting nothing but travel reports. It's nothing complicated. I'm just very busy.

Doing what? A few things. Like going through Whitbread logs for my England vs Scotland comparison. So far I've done 1837 to 1943. Then I'm updating my Munich Pub Guide and preparing the public version of "Trips! (South)". Not forgetting writing the odd article I get paid for, checking manuscripts and answering email questions. I just about have time to sleep.

I digress. I wanted to show you something I've found in the Whitbread logs. One for IPA from 1st April 1943. Why? It's a good indication of how they were running short of raw materials. Take a look:

No, it isn't the flaked oats, though they would never have been in an IPA pre-war. It's an item in the list of hops that caught my eye. "Samples". They used 40 pounds of hop samples in this brew. As no variety or supplier is given, I guess they were a mixed lot. But how desperate must you be to start using up samples in a production brew?

Saturday 10 October 2009

Munich (day 3.2)

Only one page of notes to go. This really will be the last post about my Oktoberfest trip.

Somehow I managed to miss the Hugendubel on Marienplatz on my first pass. Not sure how, as it occupies several storeys of a corner building. At the "drinks" section it was the same old story. A library of books on wine, shelves of whisky books, dozens of volumes on cocktails. Beer was represented by a couple of Michael Jackson translations. The Munich section was slightly better. They had the book I'd bought an hour earlier. It was hot enough to melt marble in the bookshop. I made a quick exit.

I didn't write down anything about my next stop. It was purely for pleasure. Look, I'm not going to walk past Augustiner Grossgaststätte without nipping in for a quick beer. Not when it's sitting there all inviting, doors provocatively open. If I lived in Munich, this would be my post-shopping destination. It being too early in the day for cask Edelstoff, I stuck with Dunkles. Very nice it was, too. Nutty and malty without being too sweet. Dunkelicious.

I was on the downward slope. Did I mention I was trying to fill out my Munich Pub Guide? I did? No harm in mentioning it again. I was on the lookout for new entries for my Munich Pub Guide. I'd noticed (and snapped) a likely candidate on the outward leg of my wander: Paulaner im Tal.

It's easy enough to find, being directly opposite Weisses Brauhaus. Though not in quite so nice a building. It's one of those postwar jobs where the architects seem to have had blandness as their main goal. Inside, it's a different story. They've done their best to create a traditional* pub within the less than promising environment of a single large, square room. It could be worse.

The original building, which had been a pub since 1612, survived the war. Though it was badly damaged. Paulaner, who had acquired it in 1921, continued to run it as a pub until 1993, when it was demolished. In 1996 the pub reopened in the new (and incredibly dull) building. History lesson over.

What it does have is good outside space. A courtyard beer garden and seating on the street. Which is where I sat. Rather too close to a group of blokes teetering on the brink of middle age who were enthusiastically demolishing beer and schnapps in a way I would have loved to. If I hadn't been feeling crap.

What to drink? Not really much a discussion in my head about that one. I do quite often silently argue with myself (if I did it out loud people would think I'm crazy). No need. In Munich, drink Dunkles. Paulaner Dunkles, in this case. It was a challenge. Finding any flavour at all apart from a trace of caramel sweetness. Paulaner's beers have really turned to shit.

By now Weisses Brauhaus was calling me. I could see the grannies flitting in and out with beer. That's enough to get anyone excited.

I was served by the same granny as on Saturday night. Must keep you young, this waitressing. My order was the same, too. Eisbock. Mmmm. High-alcohol deliciousness. Bocktastic. It really is a lovely beer. Having a second was a real temptation, but I had an appointment with a pig, Or at least part of one.

What was that smell? Was it my socks or the cheese I bought at Victualienmarkt? I moved my nose closer to my bag. I was pretty sure it was the cheese. I hope everyone else realised that and didn't assume I had personal hygiene issues.

I'd taken a few snaps outside Augustiner am Platzl earlier in the day. A delivery was in process and four wooden barrels were stacked outside. Sad, isn't it, how excited that sort of thing gets me. The pub is a welcome addition for a couple of reasons. It has beer from the wood and is handily placed right next to the Hofbräuhaus, a place I can only stomach in small doses.

I was too early for the cask Helles, sadly. Just for variety, I tried the standard Helles. It was OK, if you like that sort of thing. Me, I prefer the Dunkles. The pub has all the features you come to know and love in Bavaria. Panelled walls, pine-topped tables, waitresses in dirndls. (You try finding new ways to write these descriptions. Lapsing into cliché is difficult to avoid.)

The pig turned up on time for our appointment. At least its leg did. Didn't know where the rest of it got to. And I didn't particularly care, either. The crackling was particularly tasty. A crunchy, fatty delight. I always allow myself one Schweinehaxe on every German trip. Just the one, mind. Otherwise I'll be wearing kecks the size of tents and having my arteries scraped every month.

And that's it. The relief I felt at getting through to the end in obne piece is probably matched by your oen relief that I'm finally flipping finished with telling you this crap. Back to the tables of numbers.

* In this sense "traditional" means 1890 to 1940.

22 Marienplatz,
80331 München.

Augustiner Großgaststätte
Neuhauserstr 27,
80331 München
Tel. 089 - 231 83257
Fax: 089 - 260 5379

Paulaner im Tal
Tel: 089 - 2199 400
Fax: 089 - 2199 4022
geöffnet von 10:00 Uhr bis 24:00 Uhr
Snacks 4-10, meals 12-18

Weisses Bräuhaus
Tal 7,
80331 München.
Tel. 089 - 299 875
Fax: 089 - 290 13815

Augustiner am Platzl
Munzstrasse 8,
80331 München (Munich).
Tel: 089 - 2111 356
Fax: 089 - 2111 3577