Sunday, 23 May 2010

Beer Ignorance

Unwisely, I've looked at some more of the Beer Genie site. Oh dear. Oh dear.

One section is called "Beer Knowledge". Beer Ignorance would be more accurate. Here's one of the best bits:


A drier, darker, fuller-bodied and, some would say, stouter descendant of porter. Born in London as "stout porter" and raised in Ireland, it soon lost its surname and become synonymous with a brand founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. Having drunk imported porters and stouts from Britain, the Irish brewer decided to brew his own "dry Irish" version using unmalted roasted barley instead of dark malts - producing a more acrid, astringent and thicker interpretation. London Stouts, in contrast, were made with 100% malt grist including the original brown malt and with no roast barley. When the British government imposed restrictions on malting and beer strength during the First World War, the dry Irish style stole a march on its British counterpart and, aided by both canny advertising and the missionary zeal of Irish Diaspora, it's become the benchmark for stouts."

Yeah, Arthur Guinness used roast barley. Despite the fact that it wasn't invented until after his death. And if the excisemen had caught him with unmalted barley on his premises he would have received a big fine and possibly had his brewing equipment confiscated. Beers brewed in Britain and Ireland were all-malt by law. Why do people keep repeating this bollocks? Guinness only started using roast barley in the 20th century. Well after some London breweries, like Barclay Perkins.

Oh, and dry "Irish-style" Stout only appeared in the 1950's. But who cares about boring things like facts?

The irony is that BBPA publications (and those of its predecessor the Brewers' Society) have provided me with many of the facts that I use. They should get the writers of their website to look through some old editions of the Brewers' Alamanack.


Oblivious said...

Beamish and Crawford only started using roasted barley between 5 Sept. 1936 – 6 April 1957

Hardback “RECEIPTS/DELIVERIES” book for Messrs. James J. Murphy & Co. Ltd., Lady‟s Well Brewery, Cork. Details information under headings – RECEIPTS, Date Week ending; DESCRIPTION OF MALTS AND HOPS RECEIVED; No. of Bins; PALE MALTS, Brls.; BLACK MALTS, Stones; HOPS, Weeks Receipts Lbs., Total Lbs. Received; DELIVERIES HOPS; Date; No. of Brewing; PALE MALTS, Brls, NAME, No. of Bins; BLACK MALTS, Stones, Lbs (x6, with MSS names Leney, Agnew, Oregans, [Hallerrans], et al); TOTALS. Includes MSS list from the Malt Department re-return of stock, and the amount of hops, roasted barley and carrageen moss in stock (1956).

Barm said...

Sadly the BBPA probably commissioned some "content provider" to write the site, who got their information from unsourced internet pages rather than using the BBPA's own archives.

I emailed a brewery a while back with some questions about their beer, and the response I got was based on internet beer sites, Wikipedia and Roger Protz. I appreciate it that they made an effort to help me (they didn't have to), but I could have done that kind of research myself.

Martyn Cornell said...

The BBPA's own archives are all at Oxford Brookes University now.