Sunday, 21 February 2010

Hopping Russian Stout

Call me Mr. Pitiful. That's what I am. Missing all the details of hop addition in Barclay Perkins brewing records.Oh well, at least I know they're there now.

How was Russian Stout hopped? That's a question no-one has ever asked me. (Not that I can remember.) But I've asked myself it. In those moments of reflection on the tram home. A bit like Einstein. Except without the genius.

Now I have the answer. In as much detail as I could possibly have wanted. For 1928. I'm thrilled. Much more thrilled than is normal. Would you like me to share it with you? Say please . . .

Ow, alright then. These details are taken from a 1928 brew of Barclay Perkins IBS Ex. That's Russian Stout to you and me. The strong version with an OG of 1100+.

It's not that clear, so here's a transcription (the boil lasted 2.5 hours in total):

All Reeves 1926 (Tutshams) during make up (81 lbs)
1/2 Banks MK 1927 after 0.5 hour boil (40.5 lbs)
1/2 Banks MK 1927 after 1 hour boil (40.5 lbs)
1/2 Rogers 1927 (Goldings) 2 hours boil (87 lbs)
1/2 Rogers 1927 (Goldings) 2.25 hours boil (87 lbs)

These are the hop details:

The TT party-gyled with the IBS Ex was boiled in a different copper with 11 pounds of each type of hop added at the start of the boil.

I was surpised by:
  1. the number of hop additions
  2. how late the last addition was

But this log has much more to teach us. About what can go wrong in a brewery.

About 50 barrels each of IBS Ex and TT (Porter) were boiled in separate coppers. The IBS Ex had a bushel (approx 40 pounds) of roasted malt added to the copper. The TT copper got 112 pounds of caramel. At least that's what was supposed to have happened:

See what it says about the caramel in red? "put into IBS Exp in error". The result of this mistake is recorded in another part of the record:

Firstly the colours. (These are 1 inch cell Lovibond.) IBS Ex was 680 and the TT 96. That's way above what they should have been, about 400. And TT was well below its target colour value of around 200.
The finally note in red tells of the beer's fate:

"This IBS Ex was not put into trade because of excessive colour and caramel flavour.
Sent to vats."

I wonder what happened in the vats? Bet someone got a bollocking for the cock up.


Graham Wheeler said...

At least now you have got their hopping terminology, nailed.

You now know that "at makeup" must be while the copper is being filled.

There was a school of thought that hops gave better characteristics if they were soaked prior to use; it crops up from time to time in Victorian stuff. Some home brewers have latched onto this idea of adding hops to the wort before the boil and call it first wort hopping (yes, I know). They claim great things from this technique. When I have tried it I have not noticed ha'p'orth of difference, indeed I cannot see why it should make any difference, but there we are.

I did suggest, in the earlier post, that the good money on where your orphaned hops ended up would be option 1.

I cannot see that the two subsequent additions would make a busting lot of difference; the majority of the aroma will be boiled off in the remaining 1-1/2 hours, leaving just bitterness. it doesn't do any harm though.

You have the classic flavour addition with 30 minutes left to go, and the classic aroma addition with approx five minutes left to go. It indicates that B.P do not use the hopback method of adding aroma.

I am surprised at the aroma addition. A beer of this strength and with half a ton of roasted malt is going to have far more assertive flavours and aromas than a bit of hop aroma would supply, assuming that it survived into the end product.

Furthermore, this is going to be kicking around in the brewery for a year or so to be matured before it is bottled. Not only would any aroma diminish in this time, but a multitude of more interesting flavours will develop from other stuff.

The dry hops are another gobsmacker. If someone had told me that dry hops were added to an O.G. 1100 beer that is going to be matured for a year, or that anything was expected of such a practice, I would have told them to return to their own planet.

"Inch", although not used here, now must mean when the copper comes to the boil.

Gary Gillman said...

The vats would have been for aging and subsequent blending I guess.

Ron, here is an early 1800's porter I just "made" using Barclay's testimony and the Thomson & Stewart account.

I used 2 parts Fuller London Porter (for the mild), 1 part a lightly sour bottle-conditioned English pale ale (for the stale, fortunately it went off, perhaps the first time in my life I've ever felt that way), and a dash on top of that of Sinha (Lion) Stout - 8% AVB - for the brown stout addition.

The result is brilliant! It is chocolatey but dry, as near to good claret as beer can be. Not really fruity but I didn't give it any further aging and it is fine as it is.

The only thing that would make it better perhaps is a small measure of Rauchbier from Bamberg since the latter uses the same wood that was often used to dry English brown malt, but I don't have any to hand. Next time.

The logic of this really works and John Tuck said if you do it well, you cannot tell the difference from entire butt.