Friday 11 April 2014

Courage Mild Ales 1920 - 1928 (part two)

You must remember how these things work. First I do the basic specs then the ingredients. It's served me well in the past. I see no need to change it now.

It's not just because of my current London in the 1920's obsession that I'm suddenly writing about these beers. I've finally got around to going through this particular set of brewing records. There are still depressingly large piles of stuff I've not touched. Truman and Barclay Perkins records included. Loads of Drybrough ones. They're so irritating that I've abandoned going through them a few times.

You can see that the pale malt percentage fell from 66% to 60%, while flaked maize rose from nothing to 10%. A word here about the 1920 recipe. It would, to some extent have been out of the brewery's control. As maize had to be imported, supplies of it dried up during the war. It was a couple of years after the war before the supply situation was fully sorted out.

Crystal malt fell from 16% of the grist to 12%, while No. 3 invert hovered around 10%.  The recipe is fairly standard for London Milds between the wars: pale malt, crystal malt, flaked maize and no. 3 invert sugar. Though Whitbread left out the maize and Barclay Perkins used some amber malt.

The colour - these were dark brown  beers - mostly came from the No. 3 invert, caramel and primings. Which, as you must have learned by now, was also pretty typical.

The war also played havoc with the hop trade, but in contrast to malt and sugar there was a glut rather than a shortage. Though foreign hops arrived soon after war's end. West Coast hops had always been favourites of British brewers before the war and they started using them again as soon as they could. It's a little more surprising to see Saaz hops - from a former enemy - as early as 1921. Probably a sign of how much brewers valued them. Why in an X Ale then? Because that particular one was part-gyled with Strong Ale.

Wasn't that fun? No, it probably wasn't for you. I had quite a good time and that's all that really matters, narcissist that I am.

Courage Mild Ale grists 1920 - 1928
Year Beer OG pale malt crystal malt no. 3 sugar caramel flaked maize primings hops
1920 X 1037.7 66.53% 16.04% 12.67% 0.99% 3.76% Californian and English hops
1921 X 1032.7 65.50% 17.90% 9.02% 6.55% 1.02% Californian, Saaz and English hops.
1922 X 1032.7 60.50% 17.02% 8.40% 5.67% 8.40% Californian and English hops
1923 X 1032.7 64.90% 17.88% 8.29% 6.22% 2.72% Pacific and English hops
1926 X 1032.7 62.34% 12.66% 11.36% 1.62% 8.77% 3.25% Oregon and English hops
1927 X 1032.7 60.61% 12.12% 11.26% 1.44% 10.39% 4.18% Oregon and English hops
1928 X 1032.7 60.80% 12.50% 10.98% 1.52% 9.09% 5.11% Oregon and English hops
1926 MC 1042.7 64.91% 12.27% 11.58% 1.70% 8.18% 1.36% Oregon and English hops
1927 MC 1041.6 61.76% 13.24% 11.47% 1.47% 10.59% 1.47% Oregon and English hops
1927 MC 1041.6 63.23% 12.56% 11.66% 1.49% 9.87% 1.20% Oregon and English hops
1928 MC 1041.6 63.02% 12.37% 11.60% 1.55% 10.05% 1.42% Oregon, British Columbian and English hops
Courage brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/08/251, ACC/2305/08/253, ACC/2305/08/255 and ACC/2305/08/256.

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