Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1868 Tetley's X3P Stout

Yes, this is one of those Tetley's beers with a challenging brewhouse name. Basically a weird character that doesn't appear anywhere in the ASCII set. Or even the Unicode set. What I'm representing as "X3" is really an X with threee lines through it.

Now, I'm going to be a bit mean on the contextualisation front. Because I've already got something lined up about this Stout comparing it to London Stouts of a similar period and gravity. Much in the same drawn out, tedious way I've been comparing London and Scottish beers for the last few decades.

Though perhaps it would be better to compare this beer with Scottish Stouts. Because of the high FG and low attenuation. Ah . . . just checked my William Younger Stouts from 1868 -1869. And the buggers are all 69% to 77% apparent attenuation. There goes that theory. Though, in my defence, the 1879 version of William Younger's DBS does have similar attenuation to Tetley's X3P.

What we're really seeing is how Stout had gradually transformed itself after it left its London home and spread across Britain and, indeed, the world. Like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, it eventually became blurred and unrecognisable.

There's a huge difference between this beer and London Stouts. As I've said many times before, London brewers were unswervingly faithful to brown malt. They stuck with it to the bitter end. Tetley's brewed with a simplified grist, just pale and black malt.

One thing I noticed when flicking through Tetley's brewing records: they didn't brew much Porter and Stout. Finding these brews took quite a hunt. While they regularly brewed PA (called East India Pale Ale in the shops), a style that was only just beginning to be brewed in the large London breweries. It's highlighting an odd paradox of London brewing. Despite being some of the largest and best-equipped breweries in Britain, the giants of the 18th and early 19th centuries were anachronistic in their dependence on Porter. For brewers in most of the rest of the Britain Porter and Stout had become a niche market by the second half of the 19th century.

The relatively small output of Stout has been borne out by my vain search for a Tetley's Stout label to decorate this article.

We may be returning to Tetley's recipes soon. The end of summer is approaching and I'll need to think of a new theme to replace Stout. I wonder if I've any photos of Imperial in my collection Tetley's brewing records? I've always wondered what that was like.

I give you over now to Mr. Technical, Kristen . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

Notes: Ok, I said last weeks was the easiest. I was wrong. This week is the easiest. Two malts. Pale and black. I chose Golden Promise and black, both from Simpsons. This baby is big thick and rich. Pretty damn sweet to boot. Something along the lines of a sweet milk stout sans the lactose. Something that just coats your innards for a long night of boozing.


Oblivious said...

"What we're really seeing is how Stout had gradually transformed itself after it left its London home and spread across Britain and, indeed, the world. Like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, it eventually became blurred and unrecognisable."

Ron are we not forgetting Guinness, one of the first to drop brown malt and adopt black patent, although keeping a proportion of amber malt.

By 1860 Guinness sales of extra stout in Britain (82,690) where out stripping that of Ireland (52,594)
Could it be also be that region brewers where starting to copy Guinness extra stout, as stout had started to become a niche product outside of London?

Ron Pattinson said...

Oblivious, that's a possibility.

But, the black malt Guinness used was very differnt from the English type. And Guinness Extra Stout was blended with vatted beer and those weird "headings". It's really a type of its own.

In 19th-century texts they talk of three types of Porter: London, Irish and provincial. I think it's even more complex than that, as there was more than one type of provincial Porter.

Martyn Cornell said...

This is the time when, if you read eg the Brewers' Journal, they were talking about the increasing popularity of sweet-tasting stouts: I suspect this is an example of a truly vanished beer style, "Late Victorian sweet stout", which would be replaced by Mackeson-style lactose-containing sweet stouts.

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, I've definitely observed the same thing in Scotland. There you see fairly high-gravity Stouts with high FG's. There still seem to have been some knocking around after WW I, though gradually the Milk Stout type took over.

Unknown said...

How do you go about getting such low attenuation? Low pitching temps? Dropping tempuratures after the level of attenuation is achieved?

Ron Pattinson said...

Andrew, the pitching temperture was quite high: 65º F.

There's a fermentation record, so I should be able to say if they dropped the temperature to stop fermentation. But they don't record the temperature over the last 24 hours before racking.

My guess would be that they used attemperators to reduce the temperature of the wort. I've seen that at other breweries.

Kristen England said...


Ron is correct. They added more than enough yeast to the beer. The temp drops steadily until after ferment when they only list the gravity as Ron says. The only way to get that to stop would be to chill it. Its a great techinique to ensure your beer stops where you want it. At PDBC, for our Pubstitute, an 8P Scottish Light, I drop the temp to make sure it finishes at 1.012. If not, it would dry out too much.

Edward said...

Is 1469 West Yorkshire the same strain as used in modern Tetley? I haven't ever seen that yeast associated with Tetley before.