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?


Anonymous said...

Who said internet keywords were a new phenomenon?

Bill said...

I want to know how an ale can be sick and get better.

Gary Gillman said...

This is something I have long wondered about too. Micheal Jackson in his World Guide To Beer (1978) stated of Worthington White Shield that the palate sometimes goes awry and then recovers to attain a new and splendid condition. I have read the odd 19th century comment to the same effect (not of Worthington beers specifically). I am not sure what is intended here, it may be a reference to clarity or perhaps to flavour. "Sickly" was a term often used to describe beer then, and as I recall, we had a discussion about it here that was inconclusive. I don't keep unfiltered beer long enough to have tested any of these theories. One problem I have encountered is that sometimes a beer when chilled will throw a protein haze and never recover after. Perhaps that is what happened here? Winnipeg can have extremes of weather, and I wonder if perhaps the beer was held too cold for a time.


Gary Gillman said...

Reading up on sickly, it seems to mean two things. One is too sweet from an insufficient fermentation. (Hence the commonplace term, sickly sweet). Another meaning relates to that of frettedness so to speak, when a beer (or wine) is "on the fret". This happens basically due to an uncontrolled additional fermentation, when the beer is stored in cask or bottle.

I think a sickly beer in this sense is one re-fermenting, possibly with brett influence. This will create a cloudy and disturbed state, and possibly acidity, ultimately.

I think a recovered beer is one which completes this stage without further damage - indeed perhaps as Jackson was stating, in some cases the process improved the palate. We know that some Belgian beers are subjected to multiple ferments, some in the bottle, to achieve a specific character. These are intended and controlled by the brewer.

It is what Wahl & Henius wrote, that it is better to innoculate with brettanomyces for a secondary fermentation of that character rather than await its chance effects which may worsen the palate.

If the Barclay's stout that recovered did not go sour or completely so, perhaps it was regarded as saleable if not even improved.

One type of frettedness I have encountered, a few times with draft craft beer in the pub, is when the beer re-ferments and produces an astonishing amount of very small bubbles, so many that normal decanting and shaking can't get rid of them. Usually the taste is adversely affected.


Ron Pattinson said...

I've read descriptions of secondary conditioning where they discuss something similar. There being a period where a beer tastes bad, but recovers. It seems to be a brettanomyces type thing. Where did I read about that? Sorry, it escapes me at the moment.

Jeff Renner said...

I think that another "sickness" is ropiness, which can reverse itself. I seem to recall that this is the case in some Belgian sour ales.

I heard this at a talk at an American Homebrewers Association National Homebrewers Conference a few years back from the brewer at an California brewery that makes sour Belgian-style ales. Sorry I can't remember more.

Anonymous said...

At Fullers in Chiswick they are firmly of the belief that as a bottle-conditioned beer ages its taste will alter in peaks and troughs: at (say) 10 months it may taste great, as 16 months the taste may have deteriorated, and 20 months it may have come back again, and so on in a series of waves. It seems to be perfectly plausible that in the complex series of reactions taking place in ageing beer, at any one point the taste (from the drinker's viewpoint) may be sickly or good, depending on whether the beer is currently peaking or troughing in its ageing progress.