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.


DaleJ said...

When did a 1103 beer become a session drink?
I thought low gravity ales were session beers.

Ron Pattinson said...

DaleJ, just my little joke.

rod said...

Dale - try to keep up mate.....

Gary Gillman said...

Interesting that the shilling range did not receive such treatment. Presumably the burst of hop flavour was regarded as an English taste, fashionable like porter and pale ale were by then.

Why were some beers dry-hopped to begin with? To off-set the yeasty quality of a cask-conditioned beer? To accentuate a hoppy quality to begin with? To assist preservation?


Bill in Oregon said...

Really fascinating and it blows more homebrew ideas about Scottish brewing away. Even the milds were dry hopped, and the dry hopping on the pales is pretty significant as well. Out of curiosity, what were the OG's of the P and XP?

Ron Pattinson said...

Bill, P 1047, XP 1054.

Gary, there's quite a bit of variation in dry-hopping regimes. Some breweries dry hopped everything, others just some beers. Barclay Perkins, for example, only dry hopped Pale Ales and K Ales. Fullers dry hopped everything.

Gary Gillman said...

Good chat from Southby about dry-hopping:

There appear two reasons for its use: first and foremost, to impart a delicate flavour to beer, and second, to assist in its preservation e.g., for certain export types.

By the way Thomson (1849) is very insistent that Edinburgh beer drinkers disliked hop flavour and required their beers to be sweet and malty.

I can only assume from the data uncovered either that brewers and drinkers changed practice in this regard - i.e., later in the 1800's - or (what is very possible) actual brewery conduct varied from what was thought meet by those who taught the theory and practice of brewing...