Thursday, 9 June 2011

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1928 Barclay Perkins BBS Ex

As you may have realised, I've been in Bavaria for a week. Which is why there was no Let's Brew last week. Judging by Kristen's enthusiasm for today's beer, the wait has been worth it.

Barclay Perkins brewed a crazy number of different beers in the 1920's and 1930's. Especially Stouts. There were nine in all: BBS Ex, IBS, IBS Ex, TT, RNS, OMS, BS, SBS, BSc. To put this into context, Whitbread only brewed five Porters and Stouts: ES, S, P, LS and LOS. Two really, as ES, S, LS and LOS were identical. The Barclay Perkins beers were mostly separate brews. Though TT was sometimes party-gyled with BS or IBS Ex.

Barclay Perkins Stouts also covered a much wider range of strengths.  In 1928, Whitbread's Porter was 1028º and the Stouts 1056. And they were all party-gyled together. Barclay Perkins started with TT (Porter) at 1033º and went all the way up to IBS Ex at 1103º. BBS Ex, with a gravity in the high 1070's, was towards the top end.

Twenty years earlier, there were plenty of Stouts at a similar strength or stronger. But the gravity cuts resulting from WW I, left such beers rare, except for export versions.

I wonder which countries it was exported to? In the 19th century Barclay Perkins had exported beer all over the world: North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Many of these markets had been lost by the 1920's, as British-style beers became less popular. Anyone have any evidence for where this beer went?

As I'm still knacked from my trip, that's all the bullshit you're going to get from. Time for Kristen to take the wheel . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

As I said, this one is my very favorite of the export stouts we’ve done here at Barclay Perkins. Such a lovely beer with a ton of complexity and 3x the passion of other beers! Right!? That’s what counts!  It’s the delicious passion that one puts into making the beer. I’ve made this beer numerous ways. Here is the one I found works out best for me.

Grist – A nice and clean pale malt with a good malt flavor but not overwhelming works best. I really like Golden Promise for this. Paul’s Mild malt is pretty much mandatory or any other good rendition of a proper mild malt. Make sure its not ‘mild-like’ but proper mild malt. The American 6-row, at ~10%, really comes through pretty strong in the aroma. I particularly like this character but some hate it. If so, leave it out. The quality of the amber, black and brown malts are very important here. Use your favorite for sure. I find that the Fawcett Brown and Amber and then the Baird Black really work well together at these percent’s. Fawcett Black works equally as well, it just has a different character and I prefer the Baird. Now the Invert. I was under the impression previous to this beer that No3 works best for everything dark. While I do find this to be MOSTLY true, this is a very good instance when it wasn’t the case. These bigger stouts bring so much to the table that the huge amount of dark fruity awesomeness really muddies the waters. Too much of a good thing, apparently, can be too much. With the No3 it was just too much. When I used the No2 it was perfect. Make it. 
Hops –  This stout is not just hoppy but very hop forward. It has a hopping schedule very reminiscent of Pilsner Urquell. A long boil, hops broken into thirds and added throughout the boil. This also has a heavy hand at the dry hopping. Lower alpha acid hops work better in this beer as it gives you more of the tannin from the actual hop. Fuggles or Goldings work very very well. Same for the US versions. Each just a bit different. For the dry hopping make sure and chose something very fresh and similar to what you use in the boil. I find that 100% East Kent Goldings work perfectly. Goldings were added in the secondary and let sit for two weeks.
Yeast – Lots of yeast tried. The two best were the dry Nottingham and the West Yorkshire. Frankly, as long as you use a yeast that has good attenuation, the flavors really get covered up by everything going on in the beer. Stay away from the buttery ones. Stay away from the ‘minerally’ ones. The fruity ones seem to work best.

Advanced Mash – Similar for most of the bigger beers this one had a two step mash followed by an extended sparge. A simple dough-in with a short rest and then an underlet to the final temp. The mash temps are pretty high for this beer which can go a long way to explaining the high finishing gravity here.

Dough in


Bill said...

I have a tee shirt with that bottle label. And some guy's blog advert on the back.

Brad said...

Was this one brewed with black malt thrown in the copper like other porters/stouts from BP? Any benefit/detriment in doing so?

Ron Pattinson said...

Brad, yes. 2 bushels of black malt in the copper. Out of a total grist of 30 quarters (240 bushels). So quite a small amount.

They must have done it for a reason. I've always guessed for colour, but that just is a random guess.

Kristen England said...

I wouldnt guess color as they had better ways and at such a low amount to boot. I would say flavor and texture. With the boiled black malt I find the beer to be a bit more tannic and richer flavoured.

Andrew Elliott said...

I'm definitely planning on giving this one a shot, but having trouble finding your recommended maltsters. NorthernBrewer has the Briess Mild, so I'll likely get everything from them.

Is there someone else you would recommend/I should consider?


Kristen England said...

I used to work at NB and I drive by it daily so its easy to stop for me also. However, I order sacks of different things from time to time, especially the amber, brown, mild, etc. They can also special order most things for you. I know they can get Pauls Mild for a fact.

Don't worry so much about maltsters as i would about the type of grist/malt used. My personal preference for maltsters is just that. How I like it. You may not agree so I'd rather you make it to the general spec's than my specific ones...unless you tend to agree with my tastes. I write the specifics so you can get an idea into what I think about when I'm making these.

Do what you can. Just make a good effort.

Andrew Elliott said...

Thanks Kristen, I just wanted to be sure. I once did a big time award winning Dunkel that took BOS out of 1000 entries. Part of the prize was brewing the award winning recipe at a local brewpub, but unfortunately they were not able to procure from the same maltsters that I did, so the beer was sh!t. Ok, nevermind I decoct all my German styles and do my Lager primaries at 44F... honestly the malt was the big kicker.

Thanks for all the awesomeness you guys put on this blog!!

Graham Wheeler said...

Ron Pattinson said... (regarding black malt in the copper) "They must have done it for a reason. I've always guessed for colour, but that just is a random guess."

Colour is obvious, and particularly common for parti-gyled beers, when one of the copper charges could be "converted" into a "stout" by the addition of black malt to the copper.

However, in this beer the major reason for adding the black malt to the copper would be that adding it to the mash reduces the sale value of the spent grains. Either moo-cows refuse to eat it, or it turns their milk black; something along those lines.

There is little point in adding black malt to the mash as there is little that can be extracted from it; might as well get top whack for the spent grains.

Ron Pattinson said...

Graham, that's a fair enough point, and why Truman mashed their black malt in a separate small mash tun sometime (according to Derek Prentice).

But that's not the case here. Only 2 of the 20 bushels of black malt used went into the copper.

This was also a relatively small brew by Barclay Perkins standards. Only 24 quarters of malt in total. Most brews of Bitters or Milds contained over 100 quarters.

Graham Wheeler said...

Ron Pattinson said...
"But that's not the case here. Only 2 of the 20 bushels of black malt used went into the copper."

Oh! I didn't realise that. I assumed that you had accidentally left a zero off when you said 2 bushels. I realised that it was nothing like the 7% in Kristen's recipe and assumed you meant 20.

Had it been any other beer, given that information, I would have said colour adjustment rather than colour itself, but the beer is going to be jet black with or without those 2 bushels, so it wouldn't have needed any colour adjustment.

It will have to remain a mystery and rank along with the other seemingly odd things that B.P. got up to around that time. Perhaps there isn't a reason for it. Perhaps one particular head brewer, active in the twenties and thirties, had strange practices. Or, as I suspect, there might have been a "We've always done this way" culture within B.P. Brewers were notoriously conservative and resistant to change.